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Bush says US will help automakers avoid collapse

President George W. Bush offered a $17.4 billion government lifeline to ailing automakers General Motors (GM.N) and Chrysler LLC CBS.UL to prevent a deeper economic recession but he demanded they prove by March 31 that they can survive.
With only a month before leaving office, Bush emphasized that he normally opposed intervening in the free market but that the U.S. economy was too fragile now to allow the two big automakers to go bankrupt and throw thousands out of work.
"The automakers and unions must understand what is at stake and make hard decisions necessary to reform," Bush said in a statement. "By giving the auto companies a chance to restructure, we will shield the American people from a harsh economic blow at a vulnerable time."
The collapse of the auto industry would have been another blow to the Republican president's legacy, already tarnished by an economy in recession, the country fighting two wars and low popularity ratings.
The White House said before reaching agreements for the three-year loans, administration officials consulted with Democratic President-elect Barack Obama's team but declined to say what input, if any, they provided.
Chrysler, which is the weakest of the automakers, will get $4 billion in initial funding. The company said concessions would happen quickly and it would continue to undertake "significant cost reductions."
GM, due for $13.4 billion, said the bailout will lead to a leaner and stronger company. Ford, which says its liquidity is adequate for now, said it hoped to continue restructuring without need for a government line of credit.
Conditions imposed by the White House include requiring the automakers to provide restructuring plans by March 31, with an interim report in mid-February. There would also be limits on executive compensation and other perks and the government would receive warrants for non-voting stock.
"These conditions send a clear message to everyone involved in the future of American automakers: the time to make hard decisions to become viable is now or the only option will be bankruptcy," Bush said.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan told reporters that the terms of the loan were tough and tried to accomplish many of the goals laid out in legislation that Congress failed to approve earlier this month.
"I think that they have to be tough if we're to be successful in achieving the restructuring that I think most objective observers would say is necessary for these companies to be viable," he said.
The money for the loans would come from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was originally established to help struggling financial institutions and the White House had resisted using for the automakers for weeks.
Kaplan also said that talks were still ongoing on aiding the financing arms of the automakers. Continued...

B.I.G. Producer Easy Mo Bee On Being Left Out of "Notorious" Film, "I Thought That Was Strange"

In light of the upcoming Biggie biopic BLOGGER sat down with the Notorious B.I.G.'s first official producer, Easy Mo Bee, to discuss why he was overlooked on the new Notorious film, and what really went wrong with his Bad Boy relationship.

Easy Mo Bee is a Grammy winning producer who crafted beats for nearly half of the Notorious B.I.G's debut album, Ready to Die. "I am very integral to Big's very beginnings. I'm the first producer that he went into the studio with," he told BLOGGER. "When we recorded, 'Party and Bullshit' and the 'Ready To Die' song those were his first times going into a real studio." But Mo Bee's relationship with Sean "Diddy" Combs, then known as Puffy, hit a rough patch when he questioned the production credits on Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear" Remix. "[It] came out and on the record it was printed, 'Remix by Sean "Puffy" Combs, Chucky Thompson and Easy Mo Bee.' So I took the record up to the label and I asked [Puffy], 'What's this?' I was like, 'Yo don't do that no more.'" That's when Easy Mo Bee stopped getting calls to produce for Bad Boy artists. "Sometimes when I think about it maybe he didn't like that I approached him about that in that way, " he admitted. Though he hadn't seen or worked with Combs in years when Easy Mo Bee got word that a movie was being made about Biggie's life he wanted to be involved.

Working through a consultant, Mo Bee reached an agreement with the producers of Notorious to score parts of the film. He signed a contract and was paid in full but Easy Mo Bee was never called in to work. "How do you do a contract with someone, pay them some good money, but the guy don't actually get to do the work?" he asked. "I thought that was strange." Easy Mo Bee is hoping speaking out now may get him some answers about the film and about his past with Sean "Diddy" Combs and Bad Boy Records. "By me doing these interviews, it may stir something up and it may spark him to want to talk to me," he said. "You know why? It's because I need my heart to be cleared and free. This is something that's always been on my heart." Even though he didn't get to lay down the score for Notorious, which will hit theaters January, 16, 2009, Easy knows that he'll always go down in Biggie's history. "Whether I got to be involved with the film or not it actually doesn't really matter because I am engraved in stone in the legacy of the Notorious B.I.G.," he said. "Regardless of who likes it or not, I'm going to go down in history for my connect to that man and the work that I did with him. I'm glad that I was able to work with him."


People can try to reinvent themselves. I don’t think you can really change who you are, though, because who you are is pretty much where you came from and what you’ve done up to now. You can change your image and all that–you can change your fucking clothes, your underwear, your hair color, all that shit–but it’s not going to mean you’re a brand-new person.
Within the last year, I started learning how to not be so angry about things, learning how to count my fucking blessings instead. By doing that, I’ve become a happier person, instead of all this self-loathing I was doing for a while.
Full Article: Esquire