It’s no surprise that Comcast donates money to members of Congress. Political connections come in handy for a company seeking government approval of mergers, like Comcast’s 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal and its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC).
But just how many politicians have accepted money from Comcast’s political arm? In the case of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held the first congressional hearing on the Comcast/TWC merger yesterday, the answer is all of them.
Of course the stock scalpers and their supporters are pretending there’s nothing wrong with this.
“Stock market’s rigged” is what millions heard last Sunday on “60 Minutes.” Author Michael Lewis, of “Liar’s Poker” and “Moneyball” fame, championed the claims of his newest book’s protagonist, an inquisitive trader who didn’t like what he found.
Together they fingered the nation’s stock exchanges, Wall Street bankers and an esoteric group called high-frequency traders. Everybody else in the market, they declared, is a victim.
The blowback came out of Lenexa, home of Bats Global Markets. Bats was founded by Kansas City-based high-frequency trader Dave Cummings just nine years ago. But it now handles daily trading volumes that match the venerable New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market.
“Shame on you both for falsely accusing thousands of people and possibly scaring millions of investors,” Bats president William O’Brien told his adversaries during a live debate Tuesday on CNBC.
From The Mozilla Blog:
Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.
We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.
Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.
Amazon wants to take over your TV. On Wednesday, the company unveiled a $99 set-top box called Amazon Fire TV. The device will start shipping immediately.
The huge Internet retailer showed off its latest piece of hardware— a device “thinner than a dime” that connects televisions to streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu and of course, Amazon’s own video streaming service.
“We need to invent and simplify on behalf of customers,” Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle, said to a group of journalists and analysts in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. “When we looked at the living room we took the same approach. How do we make the complexity disappear?”
Fire TV also comes with a “small, elegant” remote and is connected via Bluetooth, which “really helps to make it disappear,” Larsen said. The device itself will fit underneath or behind your TV.
This is the value of the business, but at the consumer and user end of the pipe things will blur and the values perceived will transform as actual end users creatively adapt to the new environment of ubiquitously connected idiot savant devices in their lives. Verges will be crossed, and things and products as yet unimagined will become real.
Gartner is predicting the IoT will tie together approximately 26 billion units by 2020, and IoT product and service suppliers will generate over $300 billion in incremental revenue by that same year.
Yet, only 6 percent of the respondents to a recent ISACA survey were aware of the term “Internet of Things,” and 92 percent have concerns about the information collected by Internet-connected devices.
THINKstrategies believes that these concerns stem from a lack of education regarding the various benefits that can be derived from IoT technologies and real-world use cases. Instead, too many organizations and end-users are more aware of the potential privacy issues surrounding their connected devices as a result of the NSA scandal and other revelations about misused data.
While these concerns are healthy and raise legitimate questions about the potential abuses that can arise from monitoring objects and the people who use them, the real benefits of these new network capabilities far outweigh the threats.
Yesterday, the news shows were filled with predictions on how the Supreme Court would resolve the “Hobby Lobby” case, which revolves around whether a private company can refuse to offer contraception coverage in the health insurance policies it provides for its employees. I sincerely hope the justices hear about what an affiliate of JP Moran Chase just did before they rule.
Chase Paymentech, the payment processing service offered by JPMorgan Chase, has refused to process payments for Lovability, a condom company, because they consider the action a “reputational risk”.
Loveability Inc., which Facebook classifies as a “health and beauty” company, was founded by mother-daughter team Pam and Tiffany Gaines “to empower women to take responsibility for their sexual health.”
Lovability’s mission, according to its website:
Lovability Inc. brings you beautifully packaged condoms with one goal in mind: to de-stigmatize women’s relationship with condoms by helping women celebrate the empowerment that comes from being prepared…
Mitt Romney famously called Tesla Motors a “loser” company during his run for president. He lost, of course, and Tesla is by any measure winning. And so we see would-be presidential candidates lining up behind the Silicon Valley carmaker as its fight against auto dealers becomes a potential breakout issue in the 2016 election.
In dispute are bans several states have against Tesla stores selling cars directly from the company instead of through third-party dealers. The most recent ban was enacted in New Jersey with the support of Gov. Chris Christie, a possible contender for the GOP nomination. That prompted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Christie rival, to heartily defend Tesla’s direct sales model.
“It’s an established product,” Rubio told CNBC. “Customers should be allowed to buy products that fit their need, especially a product that we know is safe and has consumer confidence beneath it.”
Perhaps even more surprising was the love shown by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the once and possibly future presidential hopeful whose oil-rich state bars employees in Tesla’s two showrooms from even telling potential customers how much the Model S costs. On second thought, maybe it isn’t at all surprising. Texas is a leading candidate for Tesla’s planned $5 billion battery factory, which would bring thousands of jobs to the state. Perry said Texas should revisit its ban on direct sales of Teslas.
The Rot at General Motors: How Its ‘Counting Pennies’ Days Led to Cars With Faulty Ignition Switches
GM’s grand plan to make money on small cars, by developing them jointly with Fiat SpA, was crashing.
As it became clear that GM’s planned Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions wouldn’t get made on a money-saving global design, Gary Altman, the models’ chief engineer, told the group they needed to find other ways to reduce costs, including a suggestion to pull parts from existing models, said a person who was at the meeting in the automaker’s suburban Detroit technical centre.
Those same Cobalts and Ions are among 1.6 million vehicles that GM recalled last month over an ignition-switch flaw the company says is behind 12 deaths. U.S. investigators and regulators want to know what went wrong, who knew about it and why the nation’s largest automaker took so long to mount a recall of models made a decade ago.
Altman’s message, while by no means a directive to build unsafe vehicles, reflected the environment at GM: The cars were the product of a culture of cutting costs and squeezing suppliers, as described by five people with knowledge of the automaker’s engineering, management and suppliers in the decade preceding its 2009 bankruptcy.
Red Lobster sales fell 8.8 percent from a year ago in its latest quarter, parent company Darden Restaurants said Friday. The restaurant chain is suffering from price swings in two of its signature offerings: Shrimp and, you guessed it, lobster.
Darden’s profits tumbled 18 percent from a year earlier, to $109.7 million, thanks partly to Red Lobster’s performance, which has been so bad that Darden is considering spinning it off or selling it.
Terrible weather and a shorter holiday season were partly to blame, Darden executives said on a call with analysts and shareholders on Friday. Those factors hurt sales in December, typically a huge month for the chain.
But the shrimp and lobster are hurting the most.
Let’s see what God has to say about this.
These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.
Why aren’t the fundies protesting every single restaurant and every single store selling these abominations before God? Don’t they even read their own damn holy book?
Specifically, I paid a visit this past summer to the Ttokamsa Home Mission Church, a large, gray, industrial box of a building near a highway on the edge of Echo Park, a residential neighborhood in East Los Angeles. A well-known local institution among Korean Americans, the church is the spiritual home of the Chang family—the owners of Forever 21, the largest fast-fashion retailer based in the U.S. (Look on the bottom of any canary-yellow Forever 21 shopping bag and you’ll find the words “John 3:16.”)
With more than 630 locations worldwide, the Changs’ retail empire employs more than 35,000 people and made $3.7 billion in revenue in 2012. But in the pews at Ttokamsa, the Changs are in good company: The vast majority of their fellow parishioners are Korean families that also make their livelihoods in fast fashion.
As an anthropologist, I have been coming to Los Angeles with the photographer Lauren Lancaster for the past two years to study the hundreds of Korean families who have, over the last decade, transformed the city’s garment district into a central hub for fast fashion in the Americas. These families make their living by designing clothes, organizing the factory labor that will cut and sew them in places like China and Vietnam, and selling them wholesale to many of the most famous retailers in the U.S.—including Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, T.J. Maxx, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom.