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Right Wing Harassment of Welfare Recipients a Total Failure

Bad news for the white right. Unlike their racist stereotypes, most folks on welfare (SNAP) aren’t on drugs. Yet another state fails miserably making a racist assumption and passing it into law… This one by the man responsible to murdering and maiming children in Flint with tainted water.

Guess how many welfare recipients tested positive in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s drug test?

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who faced criticism earlier this year for his handling of the water crisis in Flint, could face more pushback after the apparent failure of his program requiring drug tests for welfare users.

The Guardian reported that none of the 303 people tested under the auspices of the Family Independence Program have tested positive for drugs as of the end of May.

The pilot program ends on Sept. 30 and received $300,000 in state funding, although a spokesperson for the state health department said only $300 had been spent thus far.

“The governor will wait until the pilot program has concluded and the report is delivered, as required by the legislation, to reach any conclusions,” said Anna Heaton, a spokesperson for Snyder’s office.

The program allows health department officials to require applicants to go through a drug test based on the results of the 50-question screening process. Refusal to do so disqualifies them from receiving financial assistance for six months. However, none of the applicants reportedly refused to go through the test.

As Think Progress reported last year, several other states with similar programs also found little evidence of high drug use among social program recipients. For instance, only 11 out of 2,783 applicants in Kansas’ program tested positive.

“As we’ve seen time and time again, these misguided policies are devoid of any scientific credibility and have proven to be a colossal waste of our time and money,” said Eric Harris, a spokesperson for Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), who recently proposed a measure that would make drug tests mandatory for people reporting deductions of more than $150,000 on their tax returns.

 

 

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Drugbo Becomes Irrelevant

Once the biggest name in conservative Talk, Rush Limbaugh, and the Radio Network which spawned and distributed him to all major markets are on the way out.  The former “Clear Channel”, which gobbled up stations across the country to promote and foster conservative talk radio principally on AM Stations is near Bankruptcy.

Going to have to pawn the Gold Mike…And get a plastic one!

Rush Limbaugh hit where it hurts: World’s greatest troll faces steep pay cut

The shock jock inked a whopping $400-million deal in 2008. It will go down as one of the worst contracts in history

One of the favorite pastimes for sports fans is commiserating over the worst contract their home team ever made; guffawing over management’s decision to waste tens of millions of dollars for a player who never justified the huge payday. (See: Gilbert Arenas.)

For talk radio, there’s probably only one contract that enters that realm of notoriety: Rush Limbaugh’s eight-year, $400-million deal, signed in the summer of 2008 with his longtime radio employer Premiere Radio Networks.

Owned by Clear Channel Communications, which has since changed its name to iHeartRadio, Premiere’s Limbaugh deal instantly dwarfed any payout in AM/FM history. (Only Howard Stern’s contract with Sirius was larger.) The contract, which included a staggering $100 million signing bonus, never panned out as the wheels began to come off Limbaugh’s radio empire.

This year, his contract is up and the timing couldn’t be worse. The talker is facing ratings hurdles, aging demographics, and an advertising community that increasingly views him as toxic, thanks in part to his days-long sexist meltdown over Sandra Fluke in 2012. (He’s also stumbling through the GOP primary season.)

Concurrently, iHeartRadio’s parent company, iHeartMedia, is heading to court, teetering on bankruptcy. The once-dominant radio behemoth is saddled with $20 billion in debt, thanks to a misguided leveraged takeover engineered by Bain Capital in 2008, the same year the radio giant inked its disastrous Limbaugh deal.

Today those two defining missteps from the past are crossing paths, which means Limbaugh’s radio future has never looked less bright. This, as Limbaugh passes his 65th birthday, which seems to mirror his audience’s age.

“Who would even want someone whose audience is aging and is considered toxic to many advertisers,” asked RadioInsight last year.

Some industry insiders are wondering if his AM days are over and if Limbaugh’s futures rest with satellite radio, where advertiser indifference wouldn’t penalize him. The problem? His audience is so old. “With the aging and decline of Limbaugh’s audience, Sirius may not be as viable an option as it once was,” Darryl Parks tells Media Matters. A former talk radio host, programmer, and self-identified Republican, Parks writes about the industry at DarrylParksBlog.

Indeed, the conservative talk radio format has morphed into the Classic Rock of talk; super-serving the same aging demo for the last twenty-plus years.

“Everything needs to evolve, but stations, conservative talk hosts and programmers have decided to double down and focus on the aging Baby Boomers,” says Parks. “When a group is no longer appealing to advertisers, that spells the end of any radio format.”

The former Clear Channel network owns 850 radio stations across the country and the syndication rights to right-wing stars such as Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s the company, feasting on the fruits of media deregulation, gorged itself with profits. (It also bullied the music business for years.)

Since then, not so much. And what a brutal ride it’s been for investors:

Clear Channel stock price, January 2000: $90.

Clear Channel stock value, April 2007: $39.

iHeartMedia stock price, July 2011: $8.30.

iHeartMedia stock price at close of yesterday: $1.15.

The company hasn’t reported a profit since 2007. Today, iHeartMedia is busy selling off assets in an effort to shore up its bottom line. “It’s a case of burning your sofa to heat up the house,” Philip Brendel, a credit analyst recently told Bloomberg. “It’s not necessarily a good idea but you’re running out of options.”…More Good News Here

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Faux News

 

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The Housing Bust and the Destruction of Black Wealth

The 2005 Housing bust destroyed more black wealth than any event in American HIstory since slavery.

 

Black Americans Would Have Been Better Off Renting Than Buying

The first several years of the 21st century were relatively good ones for the housing market—at least on the surface. Homeownership climbed to around 70 percent, and all that demand meant lots of new construction and increasing home equity for existing owners. If someone was lucky enough to buy and sell before the market went bust, or if their home wasn’t in an area with catastrophic value loss, they probably increased their net worth just by keeping a roof overhead. Unless they were black.

“Becoming a homeowner was not a fruitful asset accumulation strategy for low- and moderate-income black families in the 2000 decade, in either the short- or medium-term,” write Sandra J. Newman and C. Scott Holupka, authors of a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

To come to that conclusion they looked at data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a representative survey of 5,000 American families. They find that white Americans with low net worth who bought during the boom years made out much better than black Americans who had the same timing and similar financial circumstances. Black families who bought in 2005 lost almost $20,000 of net worth by 2007, according to the paper. By 2011 those losses were more like $30,000. White homeowners didn’t have quite the same problem. Those who purchased in 2007 saw their net worth grow by $18,000 in two years, and then those gains eroded, leaving them with an increase of $13,000 by 2011. All told, the black families lost, on average, 43 percent of their wealth.

That news is perhaps to be expected given the inequities that exists in the housing market, including the quality of financing people have access to and the prospects of the neighborhoods they are buying into. The researchers note that neighborhood location, predatory loan practices, and how long families were able to hold on to homes all likely played a role in how white and black families fared during the early aughts.

Newman and Holupka also investigated how black families would have fared if they had chosen to rent instead of buy. In order to do that, they took a look at the net worth (that is all assets minus all liabilities) for families that did have a mortgage and families who didn’t. Generally, net worth for renters increases marginally each year—as workers get raises, or families pay down debt. For first-time homebuyers, those increases can be much faster, thanks to both the acquisition of a large asset and home value appreciation. But they found that in general black families would have been better off if they hadn’t bought homes at all.

According to the data white families who rented would have ultimately gained $6,600 between 2005 and 2011—less than they earned as homeowners, but still a nice gain. But for black families the choice to rent instead of buy could have moved them from negative to positive net worth. In two years, between 2005 and 2007, wealth would have increased to $1,300, and it would have hit $2,700 by 2011.

Those gains, to be certain, aren’t astronomical, but they are also certainly more promising than the tens of thousands in disproportionate losses that black homeowners experienced and are still trying to overcome. For black homeowners, there were never enough financial gains to offset the massive losses they sustained. But sadly, renting may not be much of a solution. In most places, rent just keeps on rising, which means fewer options for families already struggling to build wealth.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in American Greed

 

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Know When to Fold ‘Em… 3D TV On Cable

BTX3's Blog Goes 3D...Now, about those glasses...

What do these guys know that nobody else knows?

Sales of 3D Televisions haven’t exactly been lighting up the cash registers…

And Hollywood isn’t exactly jumping up and down with 3D Box office successes other than the slasher movies, which are the modern version of “The Wolfman” I saw back when I was a kid with those funny paper glasses in the theater…

So…Either this is the dumbest business plan since New Coke – or they have something up their sleeve nobody else has seen yet.

I’m betting on a bust. Not because I don’t think 3D is viable long term. I just don’t think it’s viable now.

Two Channels Go All 3D, All the Time

The future has arrived: Within the next week, two 3D television channels will begin broadcasting full-time. 3net, a joint venture from Discovery, Sony, and IMAX, will begin televising Sunday night. The other, ESPN 3D, will become a 24-hour channel the next day, the New York Times reports. Of course, with so little 3D programming available, expect lots of re-runs; 3net will only have around 20 hours of original programming this month. It will only be available to DirecTV subscribers at first … DirecTV subscribers with, obviously, a 3D television set and 3D glasses.

Apparently, you need different glasses to watch different programs in 3D. (BTX3 has temporarily standardized on the red/blue ones in fitting with my political themes.)

I remember the cheap paper ones back in the day! Makes you wonder, that if this takes off, will Revo and Porsche be producing 3D “sunglasses” for $400 a pair?

I think I can wait until they get the obvious issues solved.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2011 in General

 

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Another Bubble?

 

Dotcom Bubble 2.0

Remember that crazy dotcom bubble in the late 1990s and the huge bust that followed? It looks like we’re about to sit through the same movie all over again.

That’s what Fred Wilson, a well-known venture capitalist, has been saying lately. Wilson, who runs Union Square Ventures, a New York–based VC firm, says he sees “storm clouds” on the horizon, and he worries that we might be headed toward another disaster. “When I look at where we are right now, it reminds me so much of 1999 and frankly it scares me,” Wilson wrote recently on his blog. The 49-year-old venture capitalist’s fear is understandable. In 1996 he cofounded a New York venture fund called Flatiron Partners, which did booming business investing in Internet companies—until the bubble collapsed, wiping out a bunch of its portfolio companies. Wilson and his partner pretty much shut down Flatiron in 2001, while still helping to manage some of its portfolio companies that had survived.

Undaunted, Wilson and a different partner launched Union Square Ventures in 2005, and he’s riding high once more, with smart investments in some of the hottest new companies on the Web, including Twitter, Foursquare, and Zynga. Nonetheless, Wilson has grown nervous in recent months. He says too many investors are pouring money into Web-based startups, driving valuations to ridiculous heights. In days gone by, the rule of thumb was that a company with two or three employees would be valuedat $5 million or less. But “today in the early-stage market we’re seeing two- and three-person teams that are getting $30 million, $40 million, $50 million valuations, and I think that’s not right,” Wilson said onstage at a Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco last month…

I beleive that the VCs have gone waaaay off the edge in productivity improvement applications, and in the valuation of the WWW social networking utilities, whose revenue model is at best – tenuous and highly volatile.

Yeah – I tend to agree there will be another meltdown – but we are talking about a really small bubble relative to the dot com meltdown which resulted in 3 million lost jobs, and the fall of dozens of major companies from which we have never recovered.

The only real question is – in an already devastated economy, would this be the straw which broke the camel’s back?

And I am not disagreeing with the Capitalist Maxim the “Greed is good”… It’s just that other old Maxim – “Pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered” that tends to ring so true at times like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2010 in American Greed

 

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The Looming Depression – China Meltdown

China’s economic miracle has come with a number of costs. They have largely financed the US economy as a methodology to drive exports extending over $2 trillion in credit to the US to keep economic growth going.

The issue is that despite having 1.2 billion people – less of 10% of China’s manufacturing output is meant for the domestic market. Many of the products are beyond the means of the average worker. This has meant a massive slowdown as the US economy has imploded.

Interestingly enough, just as the US Government has tried to stem the tide with economic stimulus money, and has the ability to not only control the flow of money, but the lending practices of the banks – this has resulted in a massive real estate bubble instead of real economic growth. The precursor to a China meltdown will likely be the implosion of it’s overheated real estate market. There is a ton of inventory on the market, yet prices are still rising – as our own meltdown proves, that is not sustainable forever.

A second hit is going to be the movement of manufacturing back into the US, as both the US Government and increasingly restive public apply serious pressure to industrial and manufacturing companies to help in lowering unemployment. This could also have serious repercussions on the economy of India.

China: the coming costs of a superbubble

The world looks at China with envy. China’s economy grew 8.7 percent last year, while the world economy contracted by 2.2 percent. It seems that Chinese “Confucian capitalism” – a market economy powered by 1.3 billion people and guided by an authoritarian regime that can pull levers at will – is superior to our touchy-feely democracy and capitalism. But the grass on China’s side of the fence is not as green as it appears.

In fact, China’s defiance of the global recession is not a miracle – it’s a superbubble. When it deflates, it will spell big trouble for all of us.

To understand the Chinese economy, consider three distinct periods: “Late-stage growth obesity” (the decade prior to 2008); “You lie!” (the time of the financial crisis); and finally,  “Steroids ’R’ Us” (from the end of the financial crisis to today). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2010 in General

 

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