- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 1, 2009

‘PTL’ archive going on auction

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | An Atlanta investment banker is auctioning off more than 15,000 videotaped episodes of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s iconic Christian talk show.

“The PTL Club,” which aired from 1974 to 1987, featured Jim Bakker offering upbeat sermons from a couch and Tammy Faye, wearing her trademark heavy mascara, singing about Jesus.

The 15,069 hourlong tapes went to a Charlotte church, then a cable content provider, said Ben Dyer, president of Gospel Properties. The cable provider defaulted on a loan from Mr. Dyer’s company and he got the tapes, which he plans to auction in San Francisco on March 27.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Bakker said the televangelist has been told the tapes have been appraised at about $8 million. The tapes provide enough content to create a channel exclusively showing “The PTL Club,” said Dean Becker, vice chairman of Ocean Tomo, the merchant bank handling the auction.

Three killed in plane crash

LIVINGSTON, La. | Authorities say three people died after a small plane crashed in a wooded area in southeastern Louisiana.

Perry Rushing of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office says the Cessna 182 went down just before midnight Friday in a heavily wooded area west of Independence. The cause of the crash was unknown, but Mr. Rushing said weather did not appear to be a factor.

He identified the pilot as Glen Johnson, 39, of Gautier, Miss. Also killed in the crash were Tabitha Dolbare, 39, of Vancleave, Miss., and her 13-year-old son, Nelson Dolbare.

Berkshire takes hit, but Buffett bullish

OMAHA, Neb. | Warren Buffett says the economic turmoil that contributed to a 62 percent profit drop last year at the holding company he controls is certain to continue in 2009, but the revered investor remains optimistic.

Mr. Buffett released his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders Saturday morning and detailed the worst performance in his 44 years leading the Omaha-based insurance and investment company.

Mr. Buffett wrote that he’s certain “the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 - and, for that matter, probably well beyond.”

Berkshire’s 2008 net income of $4.99 billion, or $3,224 per Class A share, was down from $13.21 billion, or $8,548 per share, in 2007. In between the news of Berkshire’s sharply lower profit and its nearly $7.5 billion investment and derivative losses, Mr. Buffett offered a hopeful view of the nation’s future.

“Though the path has not been smooth, our economic system … has unleashed human potential as no other system has, and it will continue to do so,” he said.

Justices to decide ‘right’ to DNA test

ANCHORAGE, Alaska | William Osborne says he’s a victim of mistaken identity and that a DNA test would prove it. Prosecutors say his rape and attempted-murder convictions are solid and would be pointless to revisit.

Osborne’s attorneys will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday that DNA testing is not something states can choose to allow when they have doubts about a conviction, but a constitutional right.

“Most prosecutors, judges and states recognize that while DNA testing in these crimes may not always protect a conviction, it protects our system of justice by revealing the truth,” said Peter Neufeld, co-director of the Innocence Project.

The state argues that Osborne got a fair, error-free trial, and that he is trying to use nothing more than a claim of innocence to reopen the case. Osborne, 36, was convicted of raping and trying to murder a woman in 1993. She identified him as one of her two attackers; he was incriminated by the other man; and Osborne confessed in a detailed statement in 2004.

Nation of Islam to go beyond blacks

ROSEMONT, Ill. | A top Nation of Islam minister says the Chicago-based movement has primarily focused on blacks but he envisions expanding a racially universal approach across the globe.

Ishmael Muhammad, the religion’s national assistant minister, spoke Saturday at an annual convention in a Chicago suburb.

He told the Associated Press that the Nation of Islam has been on an “evolutionary course” and must continue changing to thrive. The organization has espoused black nationalism, but in recent years it has moved to include other groups, particularly Hispanics and immigrants.

Mr. Muhammad, 44, is widely considered a potential successor to minister Louis Farrakhan, though Mr. Muhammad says he doesn’t think himself “the least bit qualified” to fill that role.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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