You drive a hard bargain

Perhaps you've heard the classic Jack Benny comedy routine, in which a robber demanded, "Your money or your life!" After a lengthy silence, the thief repeated himself, to which the legendary skinflint replied in anguish: "I'm thinking it over." Now fast-forward to last month in Oshkosh, Wis., where a judge gave a defendant who'd been found guilty in an embezzlement case a choice: 90 days in jail or surrender her family's Green Bay Packers season tickets to a local charity. For anyone else, the decision might have been easy. But Packers' tickets are hard to come by. The defendant swallowed hard ... and gave up the tickets.

Aircraft carriers: huge and costly even in retirement

How do you put an old aircraft carrier out to pasture? One way: make it a museum. That happened with the USS Hornet, which opened to visitors in 1998 in Alameda, Calif., near San Francisco. The Hornet, launched in 1943 and active in the Pacific theater in World War II, today is a national landmark. But it costs more to operate as a museum ($2.5 million a year) than it takes in (about $2 million), and the local electric utility came close to shutting off its power this week for nonpayment of the bill. Meanwhile, the Navy has a dozen carriers on "active duty." Those carriers and where each is based:

Norfolk, Va.
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
USS Theodore Roosevelt
USS George Washington
USS Harry S. Truman
USS Enterprise
San Diego
USS Nimitz
USS Ronald Reagan
Bremerton, Wash.
USS Carl Vinson
USS John C. Stennis
Everett, Wash.
USS Abraham Lincoln
Mayport, Fla.
USS John F. Kennedy
Yokosuka, Japan
USS Kitty Hawk
- Reuters

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