Who Is John Galt? Nobody Very Qualified

Demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building, center, has been halted Monday, Aug. 20, 2007 in New York. Saturday's fire in the skyscraper killed two New York City firefighters. The building has been unoccupied since it was damaged beyond repair in the World Trade Center attack nearly six years ago. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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Who is John Galt? I mean, besides the shadowy male hero of the Ayn Rand novel "Atlas Shrugged", which manages to convince thousands of teenagers every year that greed is good?

The New York Times leads with an exhaustive investigative piece revealing that the John Galt Corporation, hired by the city to demolish the 9/11-contaminated Deutsche Bank building where two firefighters died on Saturday, is every bit as shadowy and nearly as fictional as its namesake.

Having not only never done work like the extraordinarily tricky Deutsche Bank demolition but in fact having never "done much of anything since it was incorporated in 1983," the company was "not much more than a corporate entity meant to accommodate the people and companies actually doing the demolition job," the Times reports. One of those companies, Safeway Environmental Corporation, was barred from working on city schools because of alleged mob ties.

In an admission suggesting how hard it is to do any building work in New York City without contributing to the fortunes of made men, the Times notes that Safeway also worked on its fancy new headquarters.

The Galt corporation was fired yesterday for safety violations, according to the New York Post. The firefighters died as an out-of-control fire grew to seven alarms while they waited nearly an hour for water to arrive. Investigators found have revealed that a crucial section of the Deutsche Bank building's standpipe, designed to carry water from the sidewalk to fight fires throughout the high-rise, was cut, and the building's sprinkler system wasn't working.

The Puppet Prime Minister Strikes Back

For all of Congress' and the Bush administration's recent grumbling about Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki's lack of political acumen, the guy seems to at least have a pretty good grip on U.S. electoral politics. And some cajones.

The LA Times reports that Maliki warned the Bush administration during yesterday that Iraq could "find friends elsewhere" if Washington doesn't like how he runs his country. (Snap!) He did this during a three-day visit to Syria, whose favor he seems to be courting along with Iran's, much to the Bush administration's chagrin. (Bang!) He noted the criticisms coming at him from the White House and Capitol were, according to the LA Times, "motivated by U.S. electoral politics." (Pow!)

Incidentally, "analysts" agree, according to the paper. Washington has no intention of removing him, they note, as that would just lead to more months of political wrangling in Baghdad.

He Was, Indeed, A Sex Machine

Now we know why he felt good. It looks like James Brown was a whole lot more people's daddy than the six children he named in his will.

The New York Times reports that since the Godfather of Soul's death, about a dozen people have come forward asking for their DNA to be compared to Brown's. So far, three tests have come back positive. One of the lucky winners, retired flight attendant LaRhonda Petitt Brown, proclaims her newly confirmed patrimony on her answering machine to a swell of gospel music.

Brown appeared to have predicted the onslaught in his final testimony, which includes language that specifically excludes other children from a share in the inheritance. Naturally, there are lots of lawyers getting in on the action.

LaRhonda Petitt Brown said she's been told her whole life that Brown was her dad. But when she asked him about it, he just said, "Me and your mama were friends," she said. She claims she then retorted, "Yeah, I was friends with my babies' daddy, too. That didn't stop me from getting pregnant."

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    David Hancock is a home page editor for CBSNews.com.