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NBC’s “Pity” Olympics

NBC’s ratings for this Olympics have been in free fall. Even great performances by American athletes, and the amazing performance by Usain Bolt couldn’t drag them out of the doldrums. Now admittedly, a number of the Olympic sports just don’t convert to television, and those that do have been expanded to the point of pointlessness. I mean when you have 50, 100, 200, 400 meter events in each of the swim forms freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke – not to forget the individual medley, it is not hard to see why swimmers garner so many medals. It is sort of like expanding the shot-put to use 1, 3, 5,8, 10, 20 lb balls thrown backwards, forwards, and to each side. Many Olympic athletes compete in sports where there is only one opportunity to win a medal. Some of the “bloated” sports offer 10 or more opportunities…

Which devalues the accomplishment, and audience interest.

I mean, imagine the Decathlon, where a gold medal is not only awarded for the best cumulative score in the 10 events…But for each and every one of the 10 events themselves done backwards, forwards….

It’s getting like a Montessori Kindergarten where every kid gets a ribbon for “Best Effort”.

I am not advocating dropping some of the more obscure sports – the Olympics committee does that anyway by some inscrutable formula.

NBC’s coverage is the second issue. Their incessant “Human interest” stories often pivot on some personal tragedy in the athletes life. “My dog died, so I am inspired to beat the world!” It got so bad in the 2012 Olympics, it was hard to watch at all. I mean “I’m really sorry about your dog, dude…But I really didn’t turn on the TV to watch your sob story about Rover.”

How about some useful information without the fluff? How about figuring out a way to make those lesser sports interesting?

NBC knows who to blame for poor Olympics ratings — millennials and their “Facebook or Snapchat bubbles”

Not even Usain Bolt’s race for a 8th career gold medal could salvage the network’s ratings

After the Super Bowl, the Summer Olympics have long been considered the safest bet in television, which is why NBC and its parent company, Comcast, paid $12 billion for exclusive broadcast rights to them through 2032.

The problem for NBC is that broadcast rights don’t produce the same revenue streams they once did, especially not among that most coveted 18-49-year-old demographic. As Bloomberg’s Gerry Smith noted, NBCUniversal’s CEO Steve Burke joked in June that his Olympic nightmare would be to “wake up someday and the ratings are down 20 percent.”

“If that happens,” he added, “my prediction would be that millennials had been in a Facebook bubble or a Snapchat bubble and the Olympics have come, and they didn’t know it.” Ratings are only down 17 percent from the London Olympics, so his nightmare scenario is technically incomplete — but that’s the equivalent of claiming a dream in which your teeth are falling out while standing naked before a classroom doesn’t qualify as a “nightmare” because you’re not also being chased.

NBC foresaw this possibility, and charged up to 50 higher rates to online advertisers — but the problem isn’t necessarily the platform, as 98 percent of those watching the Olympics are doing so on traditional television.

The problem NBC faces is a general disinterest among members of the non-traditional television-watching demographic for sporting spectacles. This apathy could be because of the rise of alternative viewing options — Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have each grown substantially in the years since the London games — or it could simply be that the nature of NBC’s coverage doesn’t resonate with the younger generation.

Every athlete is introduced according to the conventions of programming that doesn’t appeal to millennials — a “Dateline”-esque account of triumph in the inner city, for example, or a heartwarming “Hallmark Hall of Fame” tale about losing a parent at a young age. It’s difficult to capture an audience by selling it a product it’s already indicated an unwillingness to buy.

In the end, what cannot be doubted, only lamented, is that on the night Usain Bolt — widely considered to be one of the last “must-see” draws of the 2016 games — won his 8th career gold medal, NBC’s rating among those between 18 and 49 dipped to 7.0.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2016 in American Greed

 

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How “Outsourcing” Has Killed the Middle Class

The twin demons destroying the American Middle Class are Offshoring, and “Outsourcing”. They call it the “Gig economy”, and to be honest it is pretty f’cked up for the employees.

Offshoring is responsible for the massive growth of the Chinese economy. Back during Clinton and Bushit American companies off shored all of the computer chip Foundries. This resulted in a massive growth in the Chinese economy, and left America without a foundry on American soil capable of producing the high density chips used in everything from TVs to our most advanced weapons systems. No wonder the Chinese Military has been able to upgrade their weapons systems and  launch Astronauts into space. We gave them the technology, all because of Wall Street greed and corporate avarice.

People work at SITEL, an outsourcing call center provider, in Managua, Nicaragua on July 3, 2012. [AFP]

A sweatshop call center in Nicaragua.

Worse was the loss of American jobs, manufacturing through the movement of factories off shore, and high tech through a combination of H1b Visas enabling companies to bring cheap workers over from India and other countries to displace American Graduates, and second “Outsourcing” where either American jobs were shipped overseas, or to sweat shops on American soil. This is the driver behind Trump, and Sanders, Unfortunately in Trump’s supporter’s case they would rather cling to their racism and blame minorities – than blame who is actually screwing them. Stupid is and Stupid does.

Surge in outsourcing wipes out middle-class jobs

For nearly 20 years Alfredo Molena made a middle-class living repairing bank ATMs in Los Angeles, despite being a high school dropout and immigrant from El Salvador.

By 2000 he was earning about $45,000 a year, enough to support his wife and two children in a spacious apartment and take periodic vacations to El Salvador and Hawaii. He had health insurance, a matching 401(k) plan, and a company-supplied cellphone and vehicle. But it all unraveled in 2005 after his employer, Bank of America, subcontracted the work to Diebold Inc., a firm specializing in servicing ATMs.

Today Molena drives a truck long-haul for about $30,000 a year, putting him in the bottom third of household incomes. He has no medical insurance. “I cannot afford it,” he snapped.

Globalization and the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and other cheap-labor countries are commonly blamed for driving down the wages and living standards of ordinary American workers, but there is another, less-known factor behind the shrinking middle class: domestic outsourcing.

Many jobs have been farmed out by employers over the years. No one knows their total numbers, but rough estimates based on the growth of temporary-help and other business and professional service payrolls suggest that one in six jobs today are subcontracted, or almost 20 million positions, said Lynn Reaser, economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Separate Labor Department data show that some of these occupations have seen a significant decline in inflation-adjusted, or real, wages over the last decade.

In 2005, there were 138,210 workers nationwide who repaired ATMs, computers and other office machines, earning a mean annual salary of $37,640.

Ten years later, the number of such jobs had shrunk to 106,100, with most of them subcontracted at annual pay of $38,990. But after accounting for inflation, that’s a drop of about 15 percent from 2005.

By contrast, real wages for all occupations rose 1.3 percent between 2005 and 2015 � itself a tiny gain over the last decade, but still significantly more than those hit by domestic outsourcing.

“If a firm wants to save labor costs, outsourcing is just a way of resetting wages and expectations,” said Susan Houseman, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Unlike the effect of offshoring, with its relocation of jobs and plants abroad, economists know relatively little about the extent and effects of decades of subcontracting production and services to third parties in the U.S. But what research has been done suggests the practice has played a significant role in the nation’s troubling trends of stagnating wages and rising inequality.

Rosemary Batt and other researchers at Cornell University found that large employers at subcontracted call centers, for instance, paid their workers about 40 percent less than comparable workers employed in-house at large firms, not including the value of health and retirement benefits…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2016 in American Genocide, American Greed

 

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Trump Uses Charity Money to Buy Himself Goodies!

The CHumph’s Charity scams are increasingly being exposed a no more than efforts to fund his lavish lifestyle and failing companies – with little or no money going to the actual charities…

trump_helmet_flickr

Trump used $12,000 in charity money to buy himself a souvenir helmet autographed by Tim Tebow

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee  Donald Trump — already under attack for using charity money for lavish galas and not to help those in need — may have run  afoul of IRS rules by buying himself a Tim Tebow-autographed helmet at an auction by using money from his Trump Foundation.

According to the Washington Post,  the New York businessman placed a $12,000 bid at a charity auction in Palm Beach four years ago that won him the Denver Broncos helmet personally signed by the former quarterback.

But when the time came to pay for helmet, auctioned off by the breast-cancer nonprofit Susan G. Komen organization, Trump sent a check drawn on his own non-profit, The Donald J. Trump Foundation.

According to the Komen Foundation, it was the only contribution they have ever received from Trump.

Trump auction’s win was heralded in the Palm Beach Post, which noted, “The Donald giveth, and The Donald payeth,” although that proved to not be entirely true.

According to experts in non-profit law, Trump could be in violation of IRS laws involving “self-dealing,” if he kept the helmet for himself.

“That would be a classic violation of the prohibition on a charity being operated for the private inurement (benefit) of the charity’s creator,” explained Brett G. Kappel, an expert on tax-exempt organizations.

According to the Post, the  Trump Foundation does not appear to have offices of its own and is headquartered at Trump’s business offices in New York.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2016 in American Greed, The Clown Bus

 

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The End of College Admissions Racism

The Supreme Court, with it’s chief bigot thankfully dead, just drove a spike right through the racist vampire hearts of conservative segregationists with upholding race as a potential factor in determining college admissions. With scumsucker Scalia dead, the wheels just came off their re-segregation campaign.

Turns out the case in question, and the woman for whom it was started were a lie, and a liar from the start.

The claim by Abigail Fisher –

“There were people in my class with lower grades who weren’t in all the activities I was in, who were being accepted into UT, and the only other difference between us was the color of our skin,” she says. “I was taught from the time I was a little girl that any kind of discrimination was wrong. And for an institution of higher learning to act this way makes no sense to me. What kind of example does it set for others?”

The Truth –

Race probably had nothing to do with the University of Texas’s decision to deny admission to Abigail Fisher.

In 2008, the year Fisher sent in her application, competition to get into the crown jewel of the Texas university system was stiff. Students entering through the university’s Top 10 program — a mechanism that granted automatic admission to any teen who graduated in the upper 10 percent of his or her high school class — claimed92 percent of the in-state spots.

Fisher said in news reports that she hoped for the day universities selected students “solely based on their merit and if they work hard for it.” But Fisher failed to graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, meaning she had to compete for the limited number of spaces up for grabs.

She and other applicants who did not make the cut were evaluated based on two scores. One allotted points for grades and test scores. The other, called a personal achievement index, awarded points for two required essays, leadership, activities, service and “special circumstances.” Those included socioeconomic status of the student or the student’s school, coming from a home with a single parent or one where English wasn’t spoken. And race.

Those two scores, combined, determine admission.

Even among those students, Fisher did not particularly stand out. Court records showher grade point average (3.59) and SAT scores (1180 out of 1600) were good but not great for the highly selective flagship university. The school’s rejection rate that year for the remaining 841 openings was higher than the turn-down rate for students trying to get into Harvard.

As a result, university officials claim in court filings that even if Fisher received points for her race and every other personal achievement factor, the letter she received in the mail still would have said no.

It’s true that the university, for whatever reason, offered provisional admission to some students with lower test scores and grades than Fisher. Five of those students were black or Latino.Forty-two were white.

Neither Fisher nor Blum mentioned those 42 applicants in interviews. Nor did they acknowledge the 168 black and Latino students with grades as good as or better than Fisher’s who were also denied entry into the university that year. Also left unsaid is the fact that Fisher turned down a standard UT offer under which she could have gone to the university her sophomore year if she earned a 3.2 GPA at another Texas university school in her freshman year.

So it really was all about racism. Racism which scumbag Sclaia and Uncle Tommie Clarence were willing to stand behind.

Supreme Court upholds college affirmative action program

 

Race-based admissions policies in higher education dodged another bullet Thursday, with the Supreme Court ruling narrowly to uphold a program that helps minority students get into the University of Texas.

In a 4-3 decision, the court held that Texas’ program admitting some students based on consideration of their race is constitutional while cautioning that the university must continue to show that other means of addressing diversity have failed.

“The record here reveals that the university articulated concrete and precise goals (for example) ending stereotypes, promoting ‘cross-racial understanding,’ preparing students for ‘an increasingly diverse workforce and society,’ and cultivating leaders with ‘legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry’ — that mirror the compelling interest this Court has approved in prior cases,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in an opinion joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

But the decision also suggests potential limits, warning the university cannot rely on the policy “without refinement” and that “it is the University’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admission policies.”

Only seven justices participated in the decision. Justice Elena Kagan had recused herself for prior work on the case as United States solicitor general and the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat remains vacant.

The University of Texas enrolls 75 percent of its class by offering admission to students with top class ranks. It fills the remaining quarter of the class through a “holistic” review in which race is a factor.

The ruling directly affects all public colleges and universities. While private colleges have had more leeway to consider race in admissions, all institutions that accept federal financial aid are subject to Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibiting racial discrimination, experts said.

Justice Samuel Alito read a withering dissent from the bench, saying the university had not done what the justices had asked when they sent the case back to a lower court in 2013. “The University has still not identified with any degree of specificity the interests that its use of race and ethnicity is supposed to serve,” he wrote in a minority opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Alito said the university “presents no evidence that its admissions officers, in administering the ‘holistic’ component of its plan, make any effort to determine whether an African-American, Hispanic or Asian-American student is likely to enroll in classes in which minority students are underrepresented.”

It would be unfortunate, he said, if other colleges and universities interpreted the court’s ruling as a green light to use race more in their admissions decisions.

Only eight states ban race-based admissions for public institutions, and affirmative action policies remain in wide use. Roughly 60 percent of the most selective four-year schools consider race in admissions, an American Council on Education survey found last year.

Two other admissions-related cases filed against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, both alleging they put Asian-Americans at a disadvantage, were on hold awaiting the Fisher v. University of Texas decision.

Peter McDonough, vice president and general counsel of the American Council on Education, which represents college and university presidents, said the ruling doesn’t appear to change the expectations for colleges and universities.

“The good news about today is that schools that may visit or re-visit what they do and how they do it, in composing a diverse class, have the comfort of knowing that it’s acceptable to continue doing it,” McDonough said. “It’s appropriate for an institution to value the diversity of the campus environment and the student body.”

This was the second go-around for the Fisher case before the nation’s highest court. In 2013, Kennedy wrote the 7-1 opinion that sent jilted University of Texas applicant Abigail Fisher back to an appeals court, which upheld Texas’ admissions policy for a second time. Fisher, a white woman, argued the university’s rejection of her 2008 application violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause….

 

 

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Understanding the War Against NAFTA

And you have to wonder why people are pissed?

Souring Chicago’s sweet treat: Corporate greed, American unions, and moving the Oreo to Mexico

Corporate executives saved $47 million by moving Oreo production to Mexico, but cost 600 in Chicago their jobs

For generations, kids from age 3 to 100 have loved munching on chocolaty Oreo cookies dipped in a glass of milk. But just over a year, ago, the tasty treat suddenly went sour.

In May 2015, bakery workers in Nabisco’s monumental 10-story plant in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood had been expecting some sweet news from their corporate headquarters. Rumor had it that their renowned facility  after more than half a century and millions of Oreos — was about to receive a $130-million modernization investment to upgrade equipment and to add new production lines. So, the future looked bright and spirits were high on May 15 of last year when management convened members of Local 300 of the Bakery Workers Union to announce that the investment was indeed going to be made.

In Salinas, Mexico.

For decades, the Marquette Park community has been proud that the delectable smell of “milk’s favorite cookie” wafts through their neighborhood. But the noses of Nabisco’s corporate brass are clogged with greed, incapable of sniffing out anything but ever-fatter profits for themselves and other rich shareholders. Taking the NAFTA low road, they intend to move the iconic Oreo brand — and the jobs of 600 top-quality bakery workers — from Chicago to Mexico, where the minimum wage is a bit more than $4. Not per hour, but per day.

This is the tyranny of corporate globalization in action. In 2012 Kraft Foods split off its grocery business, which retained the Kraft name, and rebranded its remaining snack-food empire as Mondelez International, which includes Nabisco and its many brands including Triscuit, Planters nuts, Ritz crackers, Chips Ahoy and Oreos.

Such corporate empires now reign over millions of working families, arrogantly and even lawlessly making self-serving decisions from within the shrouded confines of faraway executive suites — wreaking havoc on workers, local economies, democratic values, and our sense of community. People affected are given no input or warning (much less any real say-so) in the profiteering that now routinely strikes us, like a lightning bolt from hell.

Worse, the so-called humans who’ve enthroned themselves with this autocratic power find it amusing to toy with those they rule over. Mondelez executives did exactly that after their sneak attack on Chicago’s bakery workers. In a crude ploy to shift blame for the loss of jobs to the union, the plutocratic powerhouse claimed it had made an offer to Local 300 to keep producing Oreos in Chicago, but that recalcitrant union officials refused.

Of course they did, for Mondelez essentially proposed that the workers commit mass financial suicide. Here’s the “offer”: Since the move to Mexico is expected to save $46 million a year, the conglomerate would graciously let the 600 ransom their jobs by paying that $46 million themselves. Just slash your annual pay and benefits (as well as your throats) by that amount, the executives told the union, and you can keep making Oreos for us.

This act was an astonishing, unprecedented insulting slap in the face of every middle-class worker in the U.S. Mondelez sapsuckers were effectively demanding that longtime, dedicated, productive employees subsidize the conglomerate and ransom their livelihoods by reducing their income to poverty. Note that Mondelez banked $7 billion in profit last year.

If its executives are so inept that they can’t find an honest way to fill a $46-million hole, they should dock the pay of their top three executives by that amount. They can damn sure afford it, for they totaled $37 million in compensation last year. CEO Irene Rosenfeld alone took a $20 million paycheck in 2015, bringing her eight-year total pay and benefits to almost $200 million.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in American Greed

 

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Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson – “Gun Control Is a Homeland Security Issue”

About time. The NRA should be classified as a Domestic Terror organization. This has nothing to do with the millions of hunters and sportsmen out there, and everything to do with arming up mass murders.

This is the Sig Sauer MCX used by the Orlando mass murderer. It was designed as a weapon for the US Special Forces Military as a close in battle weapon. It has no utility whatsoever as a Hunting Rifle, and it’s sole purpose is mass killing of people. In the semi-automatic version sold to commercial markets it can fire up to 3 rounds per second, and can be equipped with 100 round clips. It is fold-able, easily concealable, and can be mounted with a suppressor/silencer. Variations of the AR-15 Gun platform are the mass murderer/terrorist weapon of choice.

Jeh Johnson: Gun control is now a matter of homeland security

Just days after the massacre in an Orlando nightclub left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday said that gun control is now a critical element of protecting the U.S. homeland and keeping Americans safe.

“We have to face the fact that meaningful gun control has to be a part of homeland security,” Johnson said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.” “We need to do something to minimize the opportunity for terrorists to get a gun in this country.”

On the issue of people on the no-fly list and various other lists being able to purchase a weapon in the U.S., Johnson said, “I believe that that’s something that has to be addressed.”

Johnson said that President Obama is “frustrated” with the lack of action on preventing gun violence, but he’s still “determined.”

“I thought frankly after Sandy Hook where you have schoolchildren murdered in a classroom that maybe finally this will be the tipping point and we were not able to move the needle in Congress, unfortunately,” Johnson said.

Efforts to make gun laws stricter have failed in Congress over the last decade. The assault weapons ban, for example, expired in 2004 and lawmakers have not renewed that legislation. Democrats on Capitol Hill have grown increasingly frustrated and on Monday evening, shouted down Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, after a moment of silence, demanding to know why the House isn’t considering gun control legislation.

“At this stage in the investigation, we know of no accomplices,” said Johnson, who reiterated that the U.S. intelligence community believes it was not a terrorist-directed attack, but rather terrorist-inspired.

In order to prevent homegrown terrorist attacks in the future, Johnson said it will require the government and the public to deepen their ties to U.S.-Muslim communities.

“We’re going to continue to build bridges to American-Muslim communities, not vilify them and drive them into the corners and shadows,” Johnson said.

FBI Director James Comey said Monday that the agency had interviewed the shooter three times between 2013 and 2014 and he was “thoroughly investigated,” but the inquiries were eventually closed. The attack is now raising questions about whether the FBI made any mistakes or did anything wrong in their investigations.

“I have a lot of confidence in the FBI,” Johnson said on CBS.

 

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GOP lawmaker: Halting gun sales to terrorists solves nothing

Another NRA owned whack job killing innocent Americans…

GOP lawmaker: Halting gun sales to terrorists solves nothing — unlike saying ‘radical Islam’

An NRA-funded Alabama Republican defended his vote against a ban on gun sales to suspected terrorists shortly before a gunman who had twice been investigated for terrorism links massacred more than 50 people at a gay nightclub.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Alabama) criticized a proposed amendment three weeks ago to a 2017 funding bill bill that would prohibit firearms sales to individuals listed on the federal terrorist watch list, saying it would be a superficial solution, at best,reported AL.com.

The ban might sound reasonable, Aderholt said, “but like many liberal solutions, they are only skin deep.”

“The reality is many people find themselves on the terrorist watch list by mistake,” the lawmaker said. “Something as simple as a mix up of a birth date can put someone on the list and the process to remove a name can take months or even years.”

Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old gunman, legally purchased a military-style rifle and handgun in the last 12 days, after he had been investigated twice by the FBI and listed for a time on the terrorist watch list.

Aderholt blamed the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on President Barack Obama and “political correctness,” and then begged the media and Democrats not to politicize the massacre.

“I was sad to hear about the terrorist attacks in Orlando, on American soil,” Aderholt said. “This and other attacks we have seen, prove that we do not have the luxury of debating the political correctness of ‘radical Islam.’ We need to focus on these and other terrorists and do whatever it takes to identify and hunt down those who would do us harm.”

Aderholt, who received $2,500 from the NRA during his 2014 campaign, said “it was disheartening” to hear the president and the media suggest that stricter gun laws could prevent mass shootings.

“Terrorists by their very definition are criminals and will find a way get their hands on guns,” he said. “What the president is proposing would take guns away from the very people who would defend themselves.”

“That said, it is too soon to inject politics into the discussion. The White House and Congress should focus on the task at hand – protecting the homeland,” Aderholt added.

 

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