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marmar

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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,444

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Ticket sales for some bowls hit surprising rough spots


from the USA Today:



When Virginia Tech was chosen as an at-large team for the Sugar Bowl instead of Kansas State or Boise State, after both teams finished higher than the Hokies in the Bowl Championship Series standings, some eyebrows were raised.

The Hokies had lost 38-10 to Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game, but Tech's reputation as a good "traveling" school helped it get selected, with the expectation that it would bring plenty of fans and alumni to New Orleans for the game against Michigan.

....(snip)....

But while Tech has sold only about 10,000 of its 17,500 allotted tickets, athletics director Jim Weaver has steadfastly maintained there will be 15,000-20,000 Hokies fans at the Sugar Bowl.

....(snip)....

Ohio State, coming off a subpar season, was allocated 12,750 tickets for the Gator Bowl and has sold a little more than 7,000, said OSU spokesman Jerry Emig. "We are fortunate to have a terrific fan base, and we typically sell out our allotment of bowl game tickets. There are times, like this year, when we don't," Emig said. "We are hopeful our fans will continue to purchase tickets right up until game day." .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/bowls/story/2011-12-22/ticket-sales-hit-surprising-rough-spots/52170064/1




'we have poured money into the banks, without restrictions, without conditions and without a vision'


from Vanity Fair:



The Book of Jobs
Forget monetary policy. Re-examining the cause of the Great Depression—the revolution in agriculture that threw millions out of work—the author argues that the U.S. is now facing and must manage a similar shift in the “real” economy, from industry to service, or risk a tragic replay of 80 years ago.

By Joseph E. Stiglitz


It has now been almost five years since the bursting of the housing bubble, and four years since the onset of the recession. There are 6.6 million fewer jobs in the United States than there were four years ago. Some 23 million Americans who would like to work full-time cannot get a job. Almost half of those who are unemployed have been unemployed long-term. Wages are falling—the real income of a typical American household is now below the level it was in 1997.

We knew the crisis was serious back in 2008. And we thought we knew who the “bad guys” were—the nation’s big banks, which through cynical lending and reckless gambling had brought the U.S. to the brink of ruin. The Bush and Obama administrations justified a bailout on the grounds that only if the banks were handed money without limit—and without conditions—could the economy recover. We did this not because we loved the banks but because (we were told) we couldn’t do without the lending that they made possible. Many, especially in the financial sector, argued that strong, resolute, and generous action to save not just the banks but the bankers, their shareholders, and their creditors would return the economy to where it had been before the crisis. In the meantime, a short-term stimulus, moderate in size, would suffice to tide the economy over until the banks could be restored to health.

The banks got their bailout. Some of the money went to bonuses. Little of it went to lending. And the economy didn’t really recover—output is barely greater than it was before the crisis, and the job situation is bleak. The diagnosis of our condition and the prescription that followed from it were incorrect. First, it was wrong to think that the bankers would mend their ways—that they would start to lend, if only they were treated nicely enough. We were told, in effect: “Don’t put conditions on the banks to require them to restructure the mortgages or to behave more honestly in their foreclosures. Don’t force them to use the money to lend. Such conditions will upset our delicate markets.” In the end, bank managers looked out for themselves and did what they are accustomed to doing.

....(snip)....

The fact is the economy in the years before the current crisis was fundamentally weak, with the bubble, and the unsustainable consumption to which it gave rise, acting as life support. Without these, unemployment would have been high. It was absurd to think that fixing the banking system could by itself restore the economy to health. Bringing the economy back to “where it was” does nothing to address the underlying problems. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/01/stiglitz-depression-201201



Oops!!! .... Student leaves $172,000 violin on bus


PHILADELPHIA—Police are asking for the U.S. public’s help in recovering a rare violin worth $172,000 that was left on board a Boston-to-Philadelphia bus by a groggy music student from Taiwan.

Philadelphia police say the instrument was left in an overhead bin on a Megabus late Tuesday.

Muchen Hsieh tells KYW-TV she noticed she didn’t have the violin after getting picked up by the family hosting her visit to the Philadelphia area. She called the bus company but was told the instrument hadn’t been found. .....(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1106264--student-forgets-172-000-violin-on-bus?bn=1



Burger King demoted to court jester





from ABC News:



Fast-food chain Wendy’s is on pace to surpass rival Burger King, becoming the second largest fast-food burger chain in the U.S., according to a recent report from Janney Capital Markets.

“We expect Wendy’s to overtake privately held Burger King for the No. 2 market-share position within the limited-service hamburger sector, perhaps as soon as this year,” Mark Kalinowski, an analyst at Janney Capital Markets, wrote in his report, according to the Orange County Register.

This increased market share can most likely be attributed to Wendy’s focus on premium foods and the remodeling of its restaurants, Kalinowski told the Register. This focus on premium foods, such as the Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers, which were introduced this year, has allowed Wendy’s to rebrand itself as “a cut above” rivals, rather than “a McDonald’s clone,” Kalinowski told the Register. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2011/12/burger-wars-wendys-set-to-overtake-burger-king-in-market-share/



Small Dairy Farmers Fear Coming Out of the Barn


from Civil Eats:


Small Dairy Farmers Fear Coming Out of the Barn

December 22nd, 2011
By Christopher Fisher


Amidst a spate of law enforcement raids and other regulatory actions taken by local, state, and federal officials against raw milk producers across the country, an alarmed group of small California dairy farmers and consumers have recently formed the Food Rights Coalition and begun to push state regulators and legislators to take action to help them. The coalition formed in response to at least a half dozen cease and desist orders issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) over the past year to small dairy herdshares across the state.

At a Petaluma, California meeting last week, several local members of the group expressed concern for the loss of their livelihoods and the safety of their families, seeking the assistance of 6th District Assemblyman Jared Huffman to protect their milking rights.

Prior to meeting Huffman, Farmer J (who spoke during an interview on condition of anonymity) stated that the CDFA’s actions forced them to reach out to other herdshares, farmers, and advocates to begin organizing: “It was the fear of what they were doing and where that could be heading that led us to come together and try to protect ourselves and fight for our right to do what we’re doing–milking and caring for a few cows and sharing the milk with our co-owners.”

A herdshare is a private business arrangement whereby consumers purchase a piece, or share, of a cow, goat, or herd of the animals and contract with a farmer who is compensated for feeding, caring, and milking the animals, and bottling, storing, and distributing the milk. The details of the relationship between farmers and their herdshare co-owners may vary, but they generally feature the encouragement, sometimes requirement, that co-owners make some regular contribution to the animals’ care themselves. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2011/12/22/small-dairy-farmers-fear-coming-out-of-the-barn/



How Gay Media Helped Sink the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger


from HuffPost:



There are many stories to be told about the collapse of the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger. One of them underscores, once again, the vitality of an advocacy press and bloggers who ask questions and hammer away at the truth in a way that much of the media simply does not. And while there were many involved in that effort, LGBT bloggers and gay media in particular were critical.

The merger blew up for a variety of reasons: AT&T's timing was horrible, with Occupy Wall Street focusing on corporate injustice as President Obama heads into a tough reelection; the promise of massive job creation just didn't add up; and the Justice Department was on a winning streak with antitrust cases.

But another reason attributed is the backfiring of AT&T's aggressive lobbying, getting nonprofit organizations and civil rights groups to support the merger -- in what looked like an exchange for cold, hard cash.

It was in early June when gay bloggers first got wind of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's endorsement of the merger. As Towleroad put it, "GLAAD Touts AT&T-- T-Mobile Merger as 'Social Justice' in Bizarre Endorsement Letter to FCC." The letter from GLAAD to the FCC indeed connected "faster wireless" to "social justice": "The LGBT community has a longstanding commitment to all forms of social justice. That is why we look at the deployment of faster wireless Internet options not only from financial and technological viewpoints but also in terms of how this improves society." ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/how-gay-media-helped-sink_b_1160449.html



Joe Conason: The Bigots and Billionaires in Ron Paul’s Orbit


from truthdig:



The Bigots and Billionaires in Ron Paul’s Orbit

Posted on Dec 22, 2011
By Joe Conason


The latest evidence of simmering racial resentment on the American political fringe showed up Monday in a Facebook post by a California man who urged the assassination of the president and his two daughters in obscene, racist language. Aside from the Secret Service, there was little reason for most of us to pay attention to this sick boob—except that he was identified as a local political leader of the tea party and an avid supporter of Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who now seems likely to place first in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

To those who have followed Paul’s long career as a failed presidential candidate—these campaigns have become a family business—the appearance of yet another racist nut job in his orbit is scarcely news. The newsletters that earned millions of dollars for him from gullible subscribers over the decades were often soiled with vile invectives against blacks and other minorities. He is a perennial favorite of the John Birch Society and kindred extremists on the right. He once refused to return a donation from a leader of the Nazi-worshipping skinheads in the Stormfront movement.

What is it about the kindly old doctor that attracts some of the most violent and reactionary elements in society to his banner?

For many years, Paul was merely an outlying crank in the ranks of the Republican Party—a “libertarian” who courted the paranoid bigots in the John Birch Society, whose monthly magazine featured his name on its masthead as a “contributing editor.” More than a decade ago, during his 1996 campaign for Congress, the racist ravings in his newsletters were first exposed—the same series of articles that besmirched Martin Luther King and Barbara Jordan and encouraged every racist stereotype about African-Americans as criminals and welfare dependents. He disowns those words now, but back then a spokesman defended them as merely “taken out of context.” ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_bigots_and_billionaires_in_ron_pauls_orbit_20111222/



James O'Keefe is what happens when sh*t takes a crap






A criminal complaint of harassment against James E. O’Keefe III of Westwood, who has gained fame — and notoriety — as a video-producing conservative American muckraker, was dismissed Wednesday when his hometown’s judge decided there was insufficient cause for the matter to proceed in criminal court.

The Nov. 21 complaint by Boston-based conservative blogger Nadia Naffe alleged O’Keefe became verbally and relentlessly abusive to her after she told him she was backing out of his next “undercover” film project, in downtown Manhattan during the Occupy Wall Street protests.

.......(snip)......

She told the court O’Keefe initially refused to bring her to a train station and insisted she stay overnight in a barn at his parent’s property. Naffe said she threatened to call the police.

She testified that at one point in the evening, “I found it hard to move and control my muscles.” ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/Okeefe.html



The electoral college is a relic. It's time to let the people choose the president


The electoral college is a relic. It's time to let the people choose the president
A move to elect the US president by popular vote and to sideline the electoral college is gaining momentum – and it's making some lawmakers very angry indeed

Jason Farago
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 December 2011


It's nearly 2012, and the national horse-race polls that the media adore during primary season will soon recede. Instead it will be time, once more, for colored maps that divide the United States into red states, blue states, and swing states. Only the last category gets much attention, of course. The Washington Post cuttingly titles its own 13 states that matter." Sorry if you live in one of the other, irrelevant 37.

We all know what's to blame for the writing off of most Americans in the presidential election. The fault lies with the electoral college, that relic that means contests are decided state by state. It's ungainly, it's unpopular, it has a dirty, slavery-inflected history, and it's manifestly unfair. But attempts to reform it haven't made much headway since the passage of the 12th amendment two centuries ago. At least until recently.

As a quadrennial reminder, you and I will not be voting for president next November. We vote instead for a slate of electors, known collectively as the electoral college. They, not we, then go on to cast ballots for president and vice-president some time in December. But the actual election is so underpublicized that until 2000 I naively thought that the college was a real meeting, a kind of one-day estates-general in which all the electors fly to Washington and cast their ballots with pomp and circumstance before adjourning to the Dupont Circle Fuddruckers. It's not that fun, I was disappointed to learn. In practice the electors just go to their state capitals to vote, the governors each sign a certificate stating the result, and then Congress counts up the total.

Mostly the electors can be trusted to do what they're told, but sometimes they screw it up. Two elections back, some elector in Minnesota voted for John Edwards for president instead of John Kerry – and he or she didn't even spell his name right, voting for one John Ewards. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/dec/22/us-presidential-election-popular-vote



Eric Alterman: Governor Cuomo Is Still Governor One Percent


from The Nation:



Governor Cuomo Is Still Governor One Percent

Eric Alterman
December 21, 2011


As 2011 slips into history, it appears a safe bet that despite tough competition, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has walked away with this year’s coveted award for “stupidest and most offensive analogy made by a non-Republican candidate or a journalist not covering said candidate.” Asked why, when he was being forced to lay off thousands of city and state workers, cut the pensions of countless others, and reduce aid to mass transit and education, he insisted on fighting tooth and nail to kill the so-called millionaire’s tax on the state’s highest earners—a tax, by the way, that would have ensured an additional $4 billion for such needs, and that was favored by 72 percent of respondents in an October poll—Cuomo replied, “The fact that everybody wants it, that doesn’t mean all that much.” Cuomo then recalled that his father, Mario Cuomo, famously opposed the death penalty despite strong majority support. “Reporters would say, ‘Well, people want it,’” Cuomo added. “And the point was, you know, we don’t elect—you can’t just have as a governor a big poll-taking machine, right?” So Andrew Cuomo’s willingness to thwart the will of the majority and stick a thumb in the eye of his own party on behalf of the interests of multimillionaires and billionaires—literally, the “1 percent”—is somehow analogous to the lonely, brave and extremely costly political stand his father took on behalf of condemned prisoners on death row.

Such myopic self-regard should have sunk Cuomo with liberals and progressives, but to the contrary, all appears hunky-dory in these precincts. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that many liberals have jettisoned the politics of economic equality and prefer to focus on the far less expensive practice of lifestyle liberalism. Andrew Cuomo was the hero of the gay marriage struggle this past summer and hence is beloved in Hollywood and at the Huffington Post. But no less important has been his ability to conduct a mind-meld operation with many in the MSM to communicate the nonsensical message that, while the governor may insist, on principle, on killing the special surtax, he did not oppose forcing the well-off to pay their fair share to meet the state’s burgeoning obligations.

In early December, Cuomo persuaded New York’s famously dysfunctional state legislature to pass a new tax plan, which somehow managed to confuse the media sufficiently to satisfy his 
1 percent funders and progressive backers simultaneously. Cuomo was immediately lauded as potential presidential timber for this accomplishment. As a New York Observer report explained, “The plan was hailed as a political masterstroke. The millionaire’s tax will be allowed to expire, as Mr. Cuomo had promised. Almost everyone’s taxes will be cut.” Headlines concurred: “New York to raise taxes on the rich,” explained the Christian Science Monitor. “Albany Tax Deal to Raise Rate for Highest Earners,” added the New York Times. Its reporter Thomas Kaplan went so far as to name “Democrats, Labor Unions and Occupy Wall Street Protesters,” together with other “advocates for extending the state’s so-called millionaires’ tax,” as the winners in the struggle. And Newsweek’s “Conventional Wisdom” column cheered him on above the caption: “N.Y. gov wows ‘em again with proposed tax on wealthy.”

As if… ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/article/165305/governor-cuomo-still-governor-one-percent



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