Issue XCVI

21 OCT 2016

Miscellaneous

09/25/2014

Clinton Aide Watches Stall As Reporter Relieves Herself

Misc1

 Talk about shitty.

Amy Chozick, the NYT reporter tasked with covering Hillary Clinton, already knows full well how rough it’s going to get for the press covering Clinton’s probable presidential campaign this time around. After covering the Clinton Global Initiative, she wrote of a 20-something aide trailing her to the restroom. The aide walked her to the potty and waited outside the stall for Chozick, apparently confused for a toddler, to finish.

“Security, foundation aides told me, dictates that the hordes of journalists, many of them from overseas news outlets, be cloistered in a basement at the Sheraton,” Chozick wrote Wednesday. “An elaborate maze of security barricades separates where reporters enter and roam (though not freely) from the lobby of the hotel, where actual guests enter.”

When the reporter asked why scribes like her have to be subjected to this demoralizing guarding, suffice it to say she was not given a clear answer.

“An escort is required wherever we go, lest one of us with our yellow press badges wind up somewhere where attendants with an esteemed blue badge are milling around,” she wrote. “When asked about the practice, Craig Minassian, a spokesman for the initiative, directed me to a press release about American Standard’s Flush for Good campaign to improve sanitation for three million people in the developing world. ‘Since you are so interested in bathrooms and C.G.I,’ Mr. Minassian said.”

Huh?

Chozick explained that this tightening of the press corps is relatively new. Until last year, for instance, reporters could “roam freely,” as in tinkle without an escort.


The Clinton team is following reporters to the bathroom. Here’s why that matters.

Amy Chozick is the reporter tasked with covering the Clintons -- and the runup to the now-almost-inevitable Hillary Clinton presidential bid -- for the New York Times. Sounds like a plum gig, right? Until, that is, a press aide for the Clinton Global Initiative follows you into the bathroom.

Chozick describes a "friendly 20-something press aide who the Clinton Global Initiative tasked with escorting me to the restroom," adding: "She waited outside the stall in the ladies’ room at the Sheraton Hotel, where the conference is held each year."

Yes, this may be an extreme example. And, yes, the press strictures at the Clinton Global Initiative are the stuff of legend. But, the episode also reflects the dark and, frankly, paranoid view the Clintons have toward the national media. Put simply: Neither Hillary nor Bill Clinton likes the media or, increasingly, sees any positive use for them.

“If a policymaker is a political leader and is covered primarily by the political press, there is a craving that borders on addictive to have a storyline," Bill Clinton said in a speech at Georgetown University back in April. "And then once people settle on the storyline, there is a craving that borders on blindness to shoehorn every fact, every development, every thing that happens into the story line, even if it’s not the story.”

That view, according to a terrific story by Politico's Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman over the summer, informs and impacts the Clintons' thinking on a 2016 bid.  Write the duo: "As much as anything else, her ambivalence about the race, [Clinton sources] told us, reflects her distaste for and apprehension of a rapacious, shallow and sometimes outright sexist national political press corps acting as enablers for her enemies on the right."

It also colors how the media is treated during the long runup to Clinton's now-expected bid. While Chozick's experience may be on the extreme end of the spectrum, reporters who have spent any amount of time on the trail with the Clintons -- including during their recent trip to Sen. Tom Harkin's Steak Fry -- describe a candidate and an operation that always assumes the worst of the press horde and acts accordingly.



09/22/2014

News Corp shouldn’t blame Google for the media’s woes

Misc1

There are many reasons for the EU to much more robustly police Google, but newspaper websites’ troubles aren’t among them

What do Google and Scotland have in common? One is a territory bravely battling for its independence and freedom against a biased press and a vicious, manipulative “no” campaign waged by out-of-touch institutions, and the other is a country at the north end of the British Isles. Last week the decade-long feud between the world’s favourite search engine and the world’s publishing organisations sputtered back to life.

European publishers lobbying against a proposed EU competition settlement with the search giant had already registered vocal objection, and last week Rupert Murdoch’s US-based News Corp weighed in. Its chief executive, Robert Thomson, described Google as a “platform for piracy” as he sought to dissuade EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia from letting Google off the hook with a billion-dollar fine. In somewhat emotional terms Thomson wrote:

“The shining vision of Google’s founders has been replaced by a cynical management, which offers advertisers impressively precise data about users and content usage, but has been a platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks, all while driving more traffic and online advertising dollars to Google.”

Five years ago Thomson, the former Times editor who loves nothing more than some artful alliteration garnishing his regulatory interventions, described Google as one of the “tech tapeworms in the intestines of the internet”. Now he suggests not so much a nasty tummy problem, but more a rampant flesh eating virus which will devour not just tiny newspapers but democracy itself. Thomson’s missive continues:

“The internet should be a canvas for freedom of expression and for high quality content of enduring value. Undermining the basic business model of professional content creators will lead to a less informed, more vexatious level of dialogue in our society.”

It is worth reading the whole of Thomson’s letter to the EU as it is both very specific (Google is not pointing readers to our websites) and wildly broad and accusatory (Google is responsible for the rise of extremism in Europe). Straying into what one might call speculative territory, Thomson carries on that the business of producing “biased” search results will undermine the principles of civilised society:

“There will be no shortage of opinions, in fact, opinions will proliferate, but they will be based on ever...


Support grows for curbs on Google: practices threat to media, says APN’s Michael Miller

Misc2

GOOGLE’S search practices pose a serious threat to a healthy media industry, APN News & Media chief executive Michael Miller has warned as he joined calls for the internet giant to be tamed following News Corp’s blistering attack in Europe.

In a strongly-worded letter to the European competition tzar last week, News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson launched a surprise attack on Google, expressing the unease felt by media companies.

He said Google was a “vast, powerful, often unaccountable bureau­cracy”, whose business practices were stifling competition and would lead to the demise of some newspapers within five years “because the value of serious content has been commodified by Google”.

Mr Miller, whose APN assets include a large trans-Tasman newspaper and magazine business, said: “Robert’s letter highlights the social cost being caused by the deterioration of quality and independent opinion and debate, as search engine bias draws the audience’s attention to sites which often have commercial relationships with Google.”

Mr Thomson’s extraordinary intervention in a long-running European antitrust case has ­echoed loudly around the world. The letter cites several “inappropriate” practices Google allegedly deploys to shut out smaller companies, including manipulating search results to favour its own products, turning a blind eye to illegal downloading and delaying approval of other companies’ Android apps.

Mr Miller said: “While competition is to be encouraged ... Google has a near monopoly in search engines and the success of many companies is now dependent on the Google algorithm or a commercial agreement with Google.”

“Further, the aggregation approach of Google undermines the potential of news media sites, whose uniqueness are their tone, presentation, graphics, video and pictures with contextual copy; and the social conversations they elicit.”

Mr Thomson also accused Google of undermining the advertising models that support newspapers by enabling third parties to use the data the company collected on users to sell audiences at a steep discount to the original source.

News Corp has significant interests in Europe, including The Times, The Sun and The Wall Street Journal Europe newspapers, and book publisher Harper­Collins.

“Clearly this habitual appropriation of content and aud­iences does...



09/16/2014

Miss Mississippi robbed by red cup at Miss America Pageant

Misc1

Jasmine Murray, Miss Mississippi, was robbed of the Miss America crown Sunday night. And it came down to a red cup.

Miss New York, Kira Kazantev, did something a little different for her part in the talent competition. She sat cross-legged on the stage, barefoot, while singing the Pharrell song "Happy" and tapping a red cup on the stage.

Miss America wins with 'happy cup' talent

Kazantev said she chose her talent as an homage to that scene in "Pitch Perfect" where Anna Kendrick did the same thing.

Anna Kendrick weighed in on the controversy.

People wondered if Toby Keith will re-do his "Red Solo Cup" video.

And Mississippians say Jasmine Murray was ROBBED!

So, Miss Mississippi didn't win this time.


Miss Ohio made Top 10 at Miss America

Misc2

“I was obsessed with Lamb Chop and I loved Shari Lewis,” Bart told reporters last week. “I used to sit with an old sock and I would mimic what they were doing. I just loved it.”

This summer, Bart served as an intern with the Weather Channel in Atlanta. Since June she has traveled the state promoting her platforms of universal newborn screening and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

A self-described go-getter, Bart said she spent spring break in Moore, Oklahoma, helping to rebuild homes after a tornado. She loves studying weather and wants to become a meteorologist because she is interested in keeping people safe.

She is a senior at The Ohio State University majoring in atmospheric sciences.

Although Bart’s talent was unique at this year’s Miss America pageant, Miss America 1965, Vonda Van Dyke — was the first and only ventriloquist to win the crown.

Bart made national news at Miss America this past week, with articles in People and TV Guide as she was singled out for the energetic performance with her puppet Roxy.

Many Ohio fans followed her to the Miss America competition and even more followed her on social media during her trip to Miss America.

Gloria Buwala, president of the Miss Ohio board, by telephone said the Miss Ohio program was so proud of Bart.

“All of us at Miss Ohio could not be any prouder of Mackenzie! She represented our state awesomely here in Atlantic City! From the ‘Show Us Your Shoes’ parade, to Top 10 semifinalist, to receiving her gold medal for her Duke of Edinburgh’s journey, to being a S.T.E.M. finalist and receiving a $5,000 scholarship. We are sad that she did not win but happy that we still have her to represent Ohio,” Buwala said.

Sunday night, Miss Ohio fan and Miss Ohio stage manager Terri Herlihy of Mansfield on Facebook stated it well: “Mackenzie Victoria is amazing. The world deserved to see her talent and will always remember it. So happy.”



09/08/2014

S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A, Dies at 93

Misc1

S. Truett Cathy, the 93-year-old billionaire and founder of Chick-fil-A, died early Monday morning surrounded by family, according to a spokesman for his company.

In a statement released soon after Cathy's death, the company announced that a public funeral will be held for the Chick-fil-A founder on Wednesday at First Baptist Jonesboro in Jonesboro, Georgia.

"In addition to presiding over one of the most successful restaurant chains in America, Cathy was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather," noted the company.

"He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jeannette McNeil Cathy; sons Dan T. and Don 'Bubba' Cathy; daughter Trudy Cathy White; 19 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren."

Cathy opened his first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta back in 1967. At present, the chain has over 1,800 locations and is worth approximately $5 billion.

A devout Southern Baptist, Cathy's business has a policy of being closed on Sundays.

Cathy and his family have been known to offer support to socially conservative causes, much to the chagrin of various political groups, noted CNN.

"Chick-fil-A's leadership shares Cathy's religious beliefs, openly espousing biblical values not only in its operating principles but in its conservative definition of family as well," reported CNN.

"Gay and lesbian rights groups have had a longstanding beef with Chick-fil-A over what they claim is the company's opposition to gay marriage."

Despite calls for boycotts and even the closing down of their restaurants, the controversy has not harmed Cathy's business.

"The family-owned company has said it has had 46 consecutive years of positive sales growth," The Associated Press reports.

"Cathy's $6 billion fortune as the founder of Chick-fil-A puts him on the yearly Forbes magazine list of the wealthiest Americans in the country."

While Truett passed his leadership position in the company to his son, Dan, the founder remained active in Chick-fil-A management through his 80s.

He also authored multiple books from 1989 to 2011 on various nonfiction topics and funded his share of philanthropic endeavors.

These included setting up several foster care homes across the South via the WinShape Homes program and giving over $25 million in $1,000 scholarships to Chick-fil-A restaurant employees since 1973 via the Leadership Scholarship Program.

During the weekend, Jonesboro First Baptist...


S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, dies

Misc2

JONESBORO, GA (RNN) – Samuel Truett Cathy, founder of the popular restaurant Chick-fil-A, died early Monday. He was 93 years old.

In a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Sunday, Chick-fil-A stated: "Truett is 93 years old and is slowing down. He is in the loving care of family and friends, and they are grateful for concern and prayer for him." 

Born in Eatonton, GA on March 14, 1921, Samuel Truett Cathy graduated from the Boys High School, now Grady High School, in Atlanta before being drafted in the U.S. Army in 1939 and serving in World War II.

As a child, he sold Coca-Cola to help support his family as his father struggled as an insurance salesman, while his mother took boarders into their family home. As a teenager, he also was a newspaper boy, delivering the then Atlanta Journal to homes in his Techwood neighborhood of Atlanta.

After Samuel Truett Cathy was honorably discharged from the Army in 1945, he and his brother, Ben, started their own business, a suburban Atlanta diner called The Dwarf Grill in 1946 in Hapeville. The restaurant was later named The Dwarf House, creating a predecessor to his popular chain.

The first Chick-fil-A was opened in 1967 at Greenbrier Mall in Atlanta. Samuel Truett Cathy is credited with creating the chain's trademark chicken sandwich.

Samuel Truett Cathy served as the head of the company for more than 50 years before he stepped down in 2013, handing the company over to his son, Dan Cathy. Samuel Truett Cathy was named the chairman emeritus.

There are more than 1,500 Chick-fil-A restaurants in 38 states and Washington, DC, according to the Cathy family website. The company earned more than $5 billion in revenue in Samuel Truett Cathy's last year as chief operating officer, and in 2012, the company surpassed KFC as America's one-stop shop for chicken. 

At the time of his departure in 2013, the Chick-fil-A franchise was worth $4.6 billion, and the company was rapidly developing new restaurant concept ideas.

Samuel Truett Cathy, known for his generous and philanthropic spirit that allowed him to thrive in business, is also a religious man who credited his Christian faith to his success.

“Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else - our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return,” he said in his 2002...



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