CenturyLink has accused Comcast of trying to prevent competition in cities and towns by making it difficult for the company to obtain reasonable franchise agreements from local authorities.
CenturyLink made the claim yesterday in a filing that asks the Federal Communications Commission to block Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) or impose conditions that prevent Comcast from using its market power to harm competitors.
Comcast has a different view on the matter, saying that CenturyLink shouldn’t be able to enter Comcast cities unless CenturyLink promises to build out its network to all residents. Without such conditions, poor people might not be offered service, Comcast argues.
No quid pro quo, even though the beneficiaries are all big Christie donors, so everything’s cool according the the Supreme Court.
Gov. Chris Christie’s administration openly acknowledged that more New Jersey taxpayer dollars were going to land in the coffers of major financial institutions. It was 2010, and Christie had just installed a longtime private equity executive, Robert Grady, to manage the state’s pension money. Grady promoted a plan to put more of those funds into riskier investments managed by Wall Street firms. Though this would entail higher fees, Grady said the strategy would “maximize returns while appropriately managing risk.”
Four years later, New Jersey has secured only half the promised results. The state has sent more pension money to big-name Wall Street firms like Blackstone, Third Point, Omega Advisors, Elliott Associates and Grady’s old firm, The Carlyle Group. Additionally, the amount of fees the state pays financial managers has more than tripled since Christie assumed office. New Jersey is now one of America’s largest investors in hedge funds.
The “maximized returns” have yet to materialize.
Between fiscal year 2011 and 2014, the state’s pension trailed the median returns for similarly sized public pension systems throughout the country, according to data from the financial analysis firm, Wilshire Associates. That below-median performance has cost New Jersey taxpayers billions in unrealized gains and has left the pension system on shaky ground. Meanwhile, New Jersey is now paying a quarter-billion dollars in additional annual fees to Wall Street firms — many of whose employees have financially supported Republican groups backing Christie’s reelection campaign.
Comcast’s proposed $45.2-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable has been criticized by angry customers, consumer advocacy groups, and even some members of Congress.
But Comcast has plenty of support, too, much of it from politicians and organizations that benefit from its political and charitable donations. With the deadline to submit initial comments on the merger to the Federal Communications Commission set to expire Monday, a number of elected officials and charities have urged the FCC to think favorably of Comcast during its merger review.
Charities supporting the acquisition include the Greater Washington Urban League, the Urban League of Broward County in Florida, the Boys and Girls Club of Rockford, Illinois, and the United Way of Tucson in Arizona. “Comcast has dedicated itself to advancing organizations like ours through financial support and partnerships,” the Greater Washington Urban League wrote.
Comcast fans also come from political organizations. The Democratic Governors Association asked the FCC “to consider Comcast’s impressive body of work and all that they do in helping strengthen the middle class and investing in our nation’s infrastructure.”
Comcast gave $225,000 to the Democratic Governors Association this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The group includes the governors of Vermont, New Hampshire, California, Montana, New York, Colorado, Washington, Delaware, Maryland, and Illinois. Comcast is a prolific donor, giving money even to politicians and organizations who criticize the company.
Hollywood battles to keep movie and TV shows from leaving the state, another local industry — adult entertainment — is fleeing Los Angeles.
At least that’s the picture that emerges from the latest data on location filming in the region.
The number of permits issued for X-rated productions plummeted about 90% to just 40 permits last year compared with 2012, according to data from FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit group that handles film permits for the city and county. Only 20 permits have been issued so far this year.
The decline follows the passage in late 2012 of a county law mandating condom use by performers.
Google continues to expand its use of legal-but-questionable tax shenanigans as a way to minimize its overseas tax burden.
According to Irish media reports Friday, in 2013 Google Ireland Limited paid an effective tax rate of just 0.16 percent on €17 billion ($22.8 billion) revenue, which came to a mere €27.7 million ($37.2 million). Google paid €11.7 billion in “administrative expenses,” which The Irish Times reports “largely refers to royalties paid to other Google entities, some of which are ultimately controlled from tax havens such as Bermuda.”
David Wilson, a London-based Google spokesman, confirmed the Irish figures to Ars.
Google and many other tech firms have recently come under increased scrutiny for using a quirky Irish tax law arrangement that allows organizations to incorporate in Ireland but legally route money through other jurisdictions, such as the Netherlands. It’s all done in the name of drastically reducing tax burdens. The general term is called “transfer pricing,” although specific tactics involve colorful names like the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich.”
Ted Nugent Show Canceled After Native-American Tribe Hears About Rocker’s ‘Racist and Hate-Filled Remarks’
Still, you have to wonder WTH they were thinking of to book him in the first place. Hasn’t Nugent made it perfectly clear that he’s a racist, gun obsessed lunatic who had a hit song 40 years ago?
WORLEY, Idaho (AP) — A Native American tribe has canceled an Aug. 4 concert by Ted Nugent at its casino.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe on Monday said that the cancellation of the concert at the casino in the northwest Idaho city of Worley was because of what it called the rocker’s “racist and hate-filled remarks.”
The tribe says it booked Nugent without realizing he espoused “racist attitudes and views.” The tribe did not detail which of Nugent’s specific views it opposes.
Early last week, the drug firm Mylan stomped on the Stars and Stripes as it ditched America for the Netherlands. Then, on Friday, the drug company AbbVie similarly renounced America. For 30 pieces of silver, it will become Irish.
Medical device maker Medtronic deserted America for Ireland last month. The pharmacy chain Walgreens recently announced it may be next. It plans to dump the land of the free for the bows and scrapes of royal subjects.
Walgreens is willing to prostrate itself before Queen Elizabeth because the British corporate tax rate is lower. Anything for money, right AbbVie? These firms will still park their assets and staff and sales in America. They just won’t pay taxes on foreign income to the country that nurtured them, protected them from patent violators and unfair competitors, and provided them with educated workers, federally-sponsored research and development, and myriad other public services. Now, they can freeload instead. As a result, their U.S. competitors, as well as hardworking Americans, will pay more to cover the shirkers’ share.
“If content is still king in a media business challenged by new technologies and nimble upstarts, Rupert Murdoch hungers to wear the crown,” Andrew Ross Sorkin and Michael J. de la Merced write in DealBook. On Wednesday, Mr. Murdoch’s boldest bid yet emerged: an $80 billion takeover offer for Time Warner Inc., which would be the biggest media deal in more than a decade. Time Warner has rebuffed his offer and no talks are underway. But Mr. Murdoch is known for getting what he wants ‒ even when companies have first said no ‒ and people briefed on the matter said he is unlikely to walk away anytime soon.
Mr. Murdoch’s pursuit is likely to set off a wave of takeover battles elsewhere in the industry as others race to keep up with the media mogul. “Mr. Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is seeking to create a colossus in the television and film industries at a time when both face pressure from the growing power of cable companies like Comcast and online video giants like Google,” Mr. Sorkin and Mr. de la Merced write. Combining the two companies would bring under one roof some of the leading sources of content, including HBO and Fox Broadcasting. Notably, the deal would not include CNN, which 21st Century Fox plans to sell in any deal to assuage concerns from antitrust regulators.
Republican, of course.
US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wants to make sure the Federal Communications Commission never interferes with “states’ rights” to protect private Internet service providers from having to compete against municipal broadband networks.
Twenty states have passed laws making it difficult for cities and towns to offer their own broadband Internet services, and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has pledged to use his agency’s authority to “preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband.”
He may get a chance to make good on that promise soon. EPB, a community-owned electric utility in Chattanooga, Tennessee said it is “considering filing a petition to the FCC” to overturn a state law that prevents it from offering Internet and video service outside its electric service area.
“There are vast areas of Tennessee, surrounding EPB’s electric service territory, where citizens and businesses have little or no broadband Internet connectivity,” EPB’s announcement this month said. “For several years EPB has received regular requests to help some of these communities obtain critical broadband Internet infrastructure. However, since 1999, while state law has allowed EPB to provide phone services outside its electric service territory, it has prohibited EPB from offering Internet and video services to any areas outside its electric service area.”
That’s exactly what Blackburn wants to prevent. Yesterday, she proposed an amendment to a general government appropriations bill that would prohibit taxpayer funds from being used by the FCC to preempt state laws governing municipal broadband.
Bad news for chocolate lovers — your favorite indulgence is about to get more expensive.
Hershey Co., the nation’s leading candy producer, said Tuesday it is raising prices of chocolates such as Kisses, Reese’s, Mounds bars and other candies by 8% to combat increasing food, utility and transportation costs.
The costs for cocoa, dairy and nuts have “increased meaningfully since the beginning of the year,” said Michele Buck, president of Hershey’s North America, explaining that prices of these commodities “have been volatile and remain at levels that are above historical averages.”
Cocoa futures jumped to almost a three-year high this month because of increased demand and weather issues in major cocoa-producing countries.
I’ll eat it anyway!!!!