This is a joke, right?

Perhaps because its second offer was less generous than the first, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been rebuffed in its bid to effect a name change. For $10,500, PETA wanted Hamburg, Germany, to rename itself ... Veggieburg, since the original evokes images of "unhealthy beef patties made of pulverized dead cattle." The payoff would have been in the form of vegetarian burgers for local childcare facilities. Said a city spokesman: "I can't afford to waste my time with this.... But that doesn't mean we Hamburgers don't have a sense of humor." PETA tried the same tactic with Hamburg, N.Y. - for $15,000. Same result, too.

I've got a good thing here

How successful has J.K. Rowling been with her books and movies about boy wizard Harry Potter? Successful enough to propel her to 122nd place on the annual "Britain's wealthiest people" list. Her take from sales and film rights so far: $445.5 million. Last year, Rowling was still behind Queen Elizabeth II, whose fortune is an estimated $397 million.

Quote of the day

'I think everybody in Crossville called. I didn't keep count, but we have 1,400 people here, and I think every one called.'

- Al Clemons, the Alabama town's police dispatcher, after a rare earthquake rocked seven Southern states.

Money talks: Highest-paid lobbying firms on Capitol Hill

Congress returns this week from Easter recess to an agenda that includes determining the final size of President Bush's proposed tax cut. Pressure to offset tax cuts with spending reductions may make for an extra-busy year for lobbyists representing such varied clients as the American Insurance Association and the government of India, according to the National Journal. The magazine'stop 10 lobbying firms of 2002, and their revenues (in millions):

1. Cassidy & Associates $28.9
2. Patton Boggs 26.3
3. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 22.2
4. Piper Rudnick 20.2
5. Greenberg Traurig 17.6
6. Van Scoyoc Associates 16.9
7. Barbour, Griffith & Rogers 12.8
8. Williams & Jensen 12.3
9. Washington Council Ernst & Young 12.1
10. Hogan & Hartson 10.7

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