Booking Cheap Travel Online

News & Notes Web producer Geoffrey Bennett talks about the stories making the rounds on our blog, "News & Views," and shares tips on finding online holiday travel deals.

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FARAI CHIDEYA, host:

I'm Farai Chideya and this is NEWS & NOTES.

N-word, mea culpas and the D-list celebs who love them. That's just one of the hot topics on our blog News & Views. Geoffrey Bennet is the Web producer for NEWS & NOTES. He's joining me now to talk about this and more. Hey.

GEOFFREY BENNET: Hey. How are you?

CHIDEYA: I'm good. So last week, you linked to an op-ed about celebrities making public apologies for using the N word and it got people talking. What's the latest?

BENNET: We have (unintelligible) to the controversy surround Dog the Bounty Hunter who was caught using the N-word on tape six times in one and a half minutes. Other writers suggested that people like Dog and Michael Richards who go through this routine of getting caught, publicly apologizing and then seeking clemency from people like Al Sharpton, actually raises their public profiles.

Well, Alida(ph) who reads our blog wrote this. Given how ubiquitous offensive words are in the U.S. vernacular, I think we are seeing a shift in what we think a bigot is. It used to be simple. Bigots had a certain level of racial animus. But now, some blacks are trying to convince us that such words are terms of endearment. And we wonder how other folks can find themselves confused and put Sharpton's number on speed dial.

CHIDEYA: Well, we've also been talking about a study showing a growing income disparity between blacks and whites. What's going on there?

BENNET: Well, we went to the analysis of that study showing how many blacks are falling out of the middle class. NEWS & VIEWS reader Moji(ph) says this downward mobility has to do with quote, "the glorification of athletes, rappers and singers and the devaluation of education in our community."

But another reader named Rachel(ph) says, I think the widening income disparity between the super rich and the rest of us has a lot to do with this phenomenon perhaps more than the glorification of the gangster life. It takes a lot more income than it used to to live the American dream.

CHIDEYA: There's also been a lot of reverb about a federal probe into the finances of six prominent Evangelists.

BENNET: That was actually the most popular post on our blog last week. And lots of people had things to say about preachers potentially profiting from their flocks. A reader named Bill O'Brien(ph) says people who attain wealth through religious teachings are charlatans. Mega churches should be taxed as the businesses that they are today.

But Joe Jordan(ph) says one can be financially transparent and still exercise extremely poor judgment. The big question leaders in any venue need to ask is, does this decision demonstrate personal integrity, good judgment and a genuine commitment to serving and not taking?

CHIDEYA: I'm looking ahead. We are going forth into the holiday season. You wouldn't happen to have some Web-based news you can use for travel.

BENNET: Actually, I do. You can call it an early gift from NEWS & VIEWS. We posted some advice on booking cheap travel for the holidays. Most people know about sites like Orbits and Expedia, but they're actually some newer, lesser known sites they can actually get to a better deal. So we posted links to all of those and some tips on what to do to save time and money once you arrive to wherever you're going this season.

CHIDEYA: All right. I've got to check that out, time to make the Christmas reservations. Geoff, thanks So much.

BENNET: Thank you.

CHIDEYA: Geoffrey Bennet is the Web producer from News & NOTES.

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