Sunday, October 31, 2010

George Bush throws first pitch to Nolan Ryan, World Series game 4, 2010

UPDATE: 10/23/2011: George Bush throws first pitch to Nolan Ryan, World Series game 4. San Francisco Giants Cody Ross shakes hands with former President George Bush prior to World Series game 4 in Texas, 10/31/10. getty, ap, ap Nolan Ryan with Presidents Bush prior to first pitch of World Series game 4, 10/31/10, reuters

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California cap and trade FAQ's show why hedge fund billionaires care so much about 'climate'

California's cap and trade business (if it passes Tuesday) will be overseen by the "Climate Action Reserve," on whose board sits a long time aide to Al Gore, a science fiction movie promoter. Nancy McFadden was Gore's deputy chief of staff. Climate Action Reserve "is a national (carbon) offsets program focused on the US carbon market." They "may later accept carbon offsets from developing countries, such as Brazil and Indonesia."... 1. (FAQ 47 on their site states they're in talks with 'a major commodities exchange' to begin trading their credits): "Q: How do I sell CRTs (Climate Reserve Tonnes or 'carbon credits') once they are in my account? Is there a specific contract template that we should use?
  • A: All sales happen over-the-counter between buyers and sellers. At the moment there is no template contract for the sale or transfer of CRTs. However, we may develop one in the future. We are also in discussions with a major commodities exchange about allowing CRTs to be traded on their system."
2. (FAQ 39 deals with regulation and compliance. They mainly take a developer's word for it, which as bad as it sounds is the only answer. Transactions take place via a computer click. Those that occur on the ground cover territory too vast for human supervision. These are facts that have attracted organized crime to similar programs.): "Q: How is regulatory compliance verified?
  • A: All project protocols contain provisions for verifying that projects registered with the Reserve comply with all local, state, and national regulations. Project developers are required to 1) sign a Regulatory Attestation that states the project is in compliance with all applicable regulations and 2) disclose specific regulations to which the project is subject. While verification bodies are not required to conduct a full regulatory audit as part of verification, they do use the information provided by the project developer and their professional expertise to assess the project’s regulatory compliance."
3. (FAQ 40 states most projects are verified only once a year): "Q: How soon after a project begins operation can it be verified?
  • A: Most projects require at least annual verification; the project developer may choose to verify more frequently. A project may be verified as soon as there are reduction tonnes to be verified. Some developers may choose to have their project verified when operations begin, just to make sure everything is being done correctly, but this is not required. The exception to this is for forest projects, which may not be verified sub-annually."
Hedge fund owner George Soros says he likes cap and trade because it can be "gamed:"
  • ####
The 'climate industry' can make more money if people believe a preoccupation with CO2 is part of everyday care of the environment. "Wall Street realized there was money to be made in 'going green.'" Robert Redford, April 2009


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Texas Rangers fan waves Texas flag, World Series game 3

10/30/10, v San Francisco Giants in Texas, getty. Below, another in the 'fan on the field' medley. 4/5/10, Texas Rangers security seeks to tackle fan on field, 5th inning v Toronto Blue Jays. getty.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

George and Laura Bush after Josh Hamilton home run

Nelson Cruz (l) celebrates after Josh Hamilton's 5th inning home run, World Series game 3 v San Francisco Giants in Texas, 10/30/10, ap

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Ruling Class queen in Alaska spits up her caviar, middle class talk radio host at KFQD yanked after small tea party

10/29, "Dan Fagan, the conservative talk show host (on KFQD in Anchorage) who lately spends much of his three-hour radio show slamming U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and extolling the virtues of Republican Joe Miller, has been yanked off the air.

About halfway through Fagan's show Thursday afternoon a caller phoned in to say he had just registered as a write-in candidate in the Senate race, which includes Miller, Murkowski, and Democrat Scott McAdams.

  • The caller's provocation -- and the reason Fagan liked the idea -- was the Division of Elections' decision to provide voters who ask with a list of the write-in candidates. The Alaska Supreme Court is currently looking at the legality of that decision. Flooding that list with 150 names ranging from Michael Ames to Kathy Jo Zurek, Fagan figured, would mean fewer votes for Murkowski.

Fagan gave the addresses of the Anchorage and Wasilla offices of the Division of Elections and urged his listeners to drive over and register as write-in candidates.

  • Branch Haymans, an Anchorage financial advisor, was angered by Fagan's show Thursday afternoon.

Haymans is a close friend of Murkowski's and has volunteered for her campaign, but is not part of her paid campaign staff.

On Friday morning, Haymans called KFQD and spoke with Joe Campbell, KFQD's program director. Haymans said he told Campbell

Campbell did not return a message requesting comment for this story.

"To send people with no legitimate reason other than to create confusion and chaos in an election seemed, to me, to be over the line," Haymans said. "He was no longer a talk show host. He was just a mouthpiece for Joe Miller."

Haymans also said that his phone call to KFQD was not coordinated with the Murkowski campaign in any way.

"If the campaign is having heartburn over Dan Fagan, they haven't told that to me and I haven't asked," he said.

John Tracey, longtime news director at KTUU and current president of Bradley Reid, an Anchorage public relations and advertising firm, told the Anchorage Daily News

  • that he called KFQD to complain about Fagan's show Friday morning, and that he checked with the Murkowski campaign first.

Fagan said the station's general manager, Dennis Bookey, told him he was off the station Friday and they would evaluate the situation Monday.

  • Diluting the list of write-in candidates isn't solely a conservative idea.

Kelly Walters, a McAdams supporter, walked into a polling place during early voting last week and was surprised and

  • angry when an elections worker passed him a list of the write-in candidates after he asked for assistance.
  • Walters said he e-mailed Fagan to ask him to tell his listeners to register as write-in candidates.

Walters' partner, Shannyn Moore, hosts a popular left-leaning radio show in Anchorage.

Walters helps with Moore's radio show and also co-created her weekly television show. On Thursday morning Walters faxed the Division of Elections his application to be a write-in candidate. But later that day, listening to Fagan on the air, Walters said he thought the conservative talk show host was taking the idea too far.

Walters said he had tried to convince Moore and popular liberal blogger Jeanne Devon to tell their listeners and readers to register as write-in candidates, but they both thought it was a bad idea.

"Bottom line is that Lisa Murkowski is a very powerful person, and she has succeeded in taking me off the air the Friday before the election," Fagan said. "It's impressive."

  • Fagan is sure Murkowski is behind his getting yanked, but Murkowski campaign spokesman Steve Wackowski said they didn't have anything to do with it."

from Alaska Dispatch, 10/29, "Talk radio host off the air after rallying listeners to run for Senate," by Joshua Saul, photo above Alaska Dispatch

via RedState.com
  • Ruling Class on its last legs. ed.


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San Francisco Giants treat Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo as 'Mr. Giant'- did show from Willie McCovey suite -Neil Best

10/29, "Dog is Mad for Giants," Neil Best Watchdog: "Chris Russo just called on his way from the airport to the Sirius XM studios in Manhattan after
  • returning from a triumphant week in San Francisco.

The famously passionate Giants fan said the city is far more “juiced up’’ than it was in 1989 and 2002 in part because the team’s postseason run has been such a surprise and in part because this is a more likable team than those.

  • “It’s a cozy, nutty, ragamuffin, misfit team,’’ he said. “They gravitate to that kind of team.’’

Russo said call volume to his show has been heavy as listeners react to his excitement as the self-described “loudest’’ Giants fan in America.

  • The team itself treated him during his stay as “Mr. Giant,’’ he said,

giving him access to A-list guests and setting him up to do his show from

  • Willie McCovey’s personal suite.

It’s a fun team,’’ Russo said. “They can taste it.’’"

This is Chris 'Mad Dog Russo', very big SF Giants fan, one day while working at WFAN radio in late summer of 2005 or 2006. His show along with Mike Francesa was simulcast on the YES Network (thus the video). Mike was on vacation so Chris was having some fun. He hates the Yankees and was hoping that by wearing a Yankee ski cap and doing a rant in the summer that he would jinx them into not making the post season. I obtained the above image from Neil Best's WatchDog column on August 8, 2007. Chris of course now has his own show on Sirius XM.


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NY Times rescuer Carlos Slim among those with stranglehold on Mexico's struggling economy, likened to Enron executive

"Slim's (fortune) say critics,
  • is part of [what] sends Mexican migrants across the U.S. border looking for them."...
"By choking oxygen away from the rest of the economy"... "The voice that answered the telephone that February afternoon in the New York Times newsroom was cordial. That is, until the conversation turned to the reason for the call: Did the editorial writer have time to talk about a column he wrote in August 2007
  • about Mexico's "robber barons," a label he had pinned on the country's superrich?
Suddenly, there was a chill on his end of the line.

"I'm not going to talk to you about that," said Eduardo Porter, abruptly ending the conversation. His refusal to comment was understandable. The article he had written 18 months earlier suddenly had come back to haunt him and his bosses.

  • When Porter wrote the opinion piece, he was responding to a seismic shift in the world's financial sector. Fortune magazine had just reported that
Mexican business titan Carlos Slim Helú had catapulted over Microsoft founder Bill Gates to claim the title of richest man on the planet. Slim was then worth roughly $60 billion. At the time, the name didn't ring bells for most Americans, but Porter, who grew up in Mexico,
  • knew the consequences of Slim's massive wealth.
He responded with blistering criticism of the stranglehold Slim and other billionaires had on Mexico's struggling economy. It wasn't just the "momentous scale of Slim's riches" that appalled him.
  • "There's the issue of theft," Porter wrote. "Mr. Slim's sin, if not technically criminal, is like that of [John D.] Rockefeller, the sin of the monopolist."
Porter wrote that Slim was "a shrewd investor..buying up hundreds of Mexican companies and entering wireless markets across Latin America." In his August 27, 2007, piece, he
  • likened the telecom mogul to a Russian oligarch or an Enron executive, hardly flattering comparisons.

Fast forward to January 2009.

Like other American firms that own newspapers, the venerable New York Times Co. faced plummeting advertising revenue and mounting debt. The cash-strapped company faced deadlines for paying back $1.1 billion over the next few years, with a $400 million credit line due to expire in May. On January 19, the Times Co. accepted a $250 million loan at 14 percent interest from a controversial billionaire who already owned a 6.9 percent stake in the company.

  • The benefactor: Carlos Slim Helú.

Immediately, questions swirled about the propriety of the nation's leading newspaper getting a bailout from a much-criticized subject of its own news coverage.

The New York Post blasted the headline "'Robber Baron' saves the Times." In a January 25 story, the Post reported that Slim's critics said he has "expanded his riches in a poor country, where the minimum wage is 50 cents an hour, by charging excessively high telephone rates with his near monopoly." (In March, Slim slipped to third place in the wealth sweepstakes, with Warren Buffett in second and Gates back at the top. Although Slim remains Latin America's richest man, his fortune has dropped to an estimated $35 billion, another victim of the global economic downturn.)

  • The industry was abuzz with the apparent conflict of interest.

In a January 20 article for Slate, Andrés Martinez, who served on the Times editorial board from 2000 to 2004, asked, "Will Slim now be referred to as a 'robber patron?'"

"Slim's investment will be a factor, even if unspoken, in editorial decision-making" at the Times, predicted Martinez, who served as editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times from 2004 to 2007. Later, he wondered "whether the New York Times will have the same credibility as it once had in reporting on excessive wealth created by

  • politically connected monopolists at home and overseas."

"Second-guessers will ask why the paper of record doesn't take a closer look at what its white knight, Mr. Slim, is up to in Mexico," he wrote.

Even if the Times doesn't neglect coverage, there could be the appearance of a conflict and conspiracy theories, Martinez told AJR. "The Times would never strike this deal with Bill Gates or other American tycoons. They wouldn't do it with a Russian oligarch or a Chinese billionaire. Why Carlos Slim?"

On January 20, Time magazine pointed out that the Times press release about the loan didn't mention previous controversies over Slim's operations. "Having Slim come to the rescue may be a bit of an embarrassment to The Times. His past business practices may be pristine, but there have been reasonable observations that they have not been," wrote Time's Douglas McIntyre, who noted that

  • Slim would be a "perfect target for investigative reporters" if he were in the United States.

A January 26 editorial in the Seattle Times said what many in the industry were thinking: "The New York Times is not just a company, but an institution. It is a major player in American democracy.

It should not fall into the hands of a capitalist with loyalties to a foreign state."

The Times Co. declined requests for an interview about the company's connection to the Mexican billionaire. Catherine Mathis, senior vice president of corporate communications, wrote in an e-mail to AJR: "Our journalistic and business operations are independent of one another. No institutional shareholders have a say in the journalism of the New York Times."

  • Slim's son-in-law and spokesman, Arturo Elias Ayub, declined a request for an interview with Slim or a family member for this story.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are the superstars of the global financial scene, drawing crowds and publicity wherever they tread. Until recently, the name "Carlos Slim" was not well-known in the United States.

Slim is the descendant of Lebanese emigrants who cast their lot in Mexico. His mother, whose parents arrived in the late 19th century, was born in Mexico.

  • His father, Julian Slim Haddad, moved to Mexico in 1902 and made a fortune as a merchant and in real estate.
  • When he died, Julian Slim left his six children well heeled.

Carlos Slim operated under the radar until he entered the telecom business in 1990 during Mexico's push to privatize state monopolies. That year, he won voting control of the state-owned phone company, Teléfonos de México, which he renamed Telmex, for $1.7 billion. Slim had a knack for being in the right place at the right time

  • with the right powerful friends.

In his August 2007 Times column, Porter noted that in 1990, the government of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari sold Slim the national phone company,

  • "along with a de facto commitment to maintain its monopoly for years."

Then the government awarded him the only nationwide cell phone license, Porter wrote.

Only a handful of American journalists have spent time with the 69-year-old Slim. On August 4, 2007, the Wall Street Journal published a highly detailed profile under the headline "The Secrets of the World's Richest Man," by Latin America bureau chief David Luhnow. The piece outlined the economic impact Slim had on

  • his poverty-stricken homeland and noted that

between 2005 and 2007, he made an unimaginable $27 million a day while a fifth of Mexico's population got by on less than $2 a day.

Luhnow reported that Slim's fortune grew "faster than any in the world" during those two years, swelling from more than $20 billion to about $60 billion. His companies account for 7 percent of Mexico's annual economic output, Luhnow said.

In February, Luhnow talked about his impressions of Slim after four or five interviews over the years. "He is a genius monopolist. He is an incredibly smart, hard-working, driven guy who wants every bit of money he can get. The problem is, he was doing it in a country where the state wasn't strong enough to stop him. I admire the guy on one hand, but totally disapprove of what he's done."

In his story, Luhnow describes a chatty, friendly man with a quick temper and strict sense of thrift. Slim is "an insomniac who stays up late reading history" and likes to study "[Genghis] Khan and his deceptive military strategies." He is a business tycoon who prefers pen and paper to computers and doesn't travel widely.

  • An avid New York Yankees fan who could build palaces anywhere in the world, Slim "proudly says he owns no homes outside of Mexico." (No longer true, bought 5th Ave. mansion in Manhattan, ed.)

So, what does Slim own? According to Luhnow's piece, "it's hard to spend a day in Mexico and not put money in [Slim's] pocket." Beyond his iron grip on telecommunications, he controls more than 200 companies — he told Luhnow he had lost count — in several areas. Across the border, he has bought an interest in Citigroup and in the luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue, among other holdings.

  • The day after the Journal profile ran, Luhnow was summoned to Slim's office.

He found the billionaire sitting with the article in front of him heavily underlined in red.

  • Slim insisted they go through it line by line

so he could point out what he considered to be unfair, incorrect or based on misunderstandings.

"This took around two hours; he was very thorough. When he finished, he said in Spanish, 'You harbor ill will against me,' and he wanted to know why I had it in for him," Luhnow recalls. "I said, 'Honestly, I don't. But you're a monopolist, and I think all monopolies are bad.'" Slim appeared unfazed by Luhnow's comments.

  • "I genuinely can't figure out whether he's incredibly cynical or genuinely believes what he says. He will defend it to the hilt," says the bureau chief, who was born in Mexico and has been with the Journal since 2000.

Journalists invited into the inner sanctum often are struck by what Stephanie Mehta, an assistant managing editor at Fortune, called the "juxtaposition of austerity and wealth."

"Just by looking at him, you would never know he is a billionaire," says Tim Padgett, Time magazine's Miami and Latin America bureau chief. Forbes reporter Helen Coster had a similar reaction when she spent time interviewing Slim for a lengthy profile.

In her March 26, 2007, story, Coster said Slim's office has a bookshelf with works about other billionaire superstars — Buffett, Rockefeller and J. Paul Getty, to name a few. On that same shelf, Slim kept five ledgers from his childhood. Each Sunday, his father would give his son a 5-peso allowance, requiring him to meticulously record each expenditure....

  • Coster began working the Mexico beat for Forbes in 2005. For two years, she prodded sources to get her an interview with Slim, with no luck. Then suddenly, through what she describes as "some very roundabout channels," he agreed to meet.

"I had a sense that he knew he would soon be in the international spotlight and wanted to tell his story," says Coster, who spent four hours with Slim and his family in his Mexico City office.

She found him "incredibly gracious, very unassuming and personable." During the interview, Slim made a point of telling the reporter he was unaffected by what his critics were saying. "When you live for others' opinions, you are dead. I don't want to live thinking about how I'll be remembered," he told her.

Coster's instincts about why he finally agreed to an interview appeared on target. Slim was named the world's richest man a few months after her story ran, setting off a media explosion. Mehta was already pursuing a story about the Slim family when he dethroned Gates. Like Coster, she wrote about his lack of self-aggrandizement.

  • During a visit to the headquarters of Inbursa, Slim's financial business, Mehta was led to a room that was "a bit shabby... poorly lit and [smelling] faintly of cigarettes" but also filled with valuable art. There was an ordinary folding table in the middle. "Mr. Slim sometimes likes to eat his lunch here," son-in-law Elias told her.

In her August 2007 piece, Mehta wrote that "anyone expecting to find monuments to the Slim financial empire in Mexico City — a gleaming TelMex tower jutting out of the skyline or an América Móvil stadium — would leave disappointed. In fact, América Móvil, Latin America's largest provider of wireless services, is housed in a converted tire factory."

  • "He's a very thrifty guy," says Mehta, who spent time with one of his sons but interviewed Slim only by telephone.

One of Mehta's sources was George W. Grayson, a Latin America expert at the College of William and Mary, who she said "coined the term 'Slimlandia' to describe how entrenched the Slim family's companies are in the daily life of Mexicans." How did he come up with that label?

"There was no epiphany," Grayson told AJR. "It's just that one can eat meals in a restaurant owned by Slim, make calls via his phone company, purchase insurance sold by his company, bank at a facility that he owns, go to work in a building that belongs to him, etc. In other words, you can spend your life in a Slim bubble."

That could explain why not all Mexicans are cheerleaders for Carlos Slim. Time magazine's Tim Padgett reported in an April 14, 2007, article that

Mexico's "archaic system of monopolies and oligopolies" helps to keep nearly half its population in poverty. How does that happen?

"By choking oxygen away from the rest of the economy," Padgett wrote. In his story, he noted that while U.S. authorities have "thwarted Gates' subjugation of the PC software business in recent years, Mexico has done precious little to rein in ubiquitous business empires like Slim's," which control industries from "telecom to tobacco."

A review of Slim's holdings over the years shows that he became rich by being a good bargain hunter, buying up weak companies. He has a gift for spotting undervalued investments and making them profitable. Case in point: The Wall Street Journal reported that from 2002 to 2004, he amassed a 13 percent stake in bankrupt carrier MCI, later selling it to Verizon Communications Inc. for a stunning $1.3 billion. Reuters reported that Slim stood to gain as much as $900 million from the deal....

For the past two-and-a-half years, Mexican business writer Eduardo Garcia has produced a quarterly feature called Slim Watch, tracking the tycoon's fortune and business practices. He posts the column on his online financial publication Sentido Común.

  • "Nobody knows this subject better than Eduardo," Padgett says.

Mexicans have mixed feelings about Slim. On one hand, they take pride that one of their own has become such a standout in the international financial arena. At the same time, they are

  • painfully aware that his wealth comes from monopolistic practices.

They know they pay a lot more for the basics, such as telephone service, because of Slim.

"They are frustrated that one man can amass such a large fortune at the expense of the rest," says Garcia, who was bureau chief in Mexico City for Bloomberg News before striking out on his own seven years ago.

Garcia says experts believe Slim's companies account for one-third of all advertising dollars spent in Mexico,

  • effectively silencing many detractors

who fear the repercussions of tossing pebbles at a giant.

His companies are major advertisers in both print and broadcast media in Mexico. "It is not healthy for a nation to have someone with that much power," Garcia says.

He explains that Mexican consumers during the past 15 years have paid some of the highest telephone rates in the world, for both fixed-line and mobile calls, transferring vast amounts of wealth to Slim. Businesses pay large telecom fees, leaving them with fewer resources to plow back into their companies. "When companies invest, there is more job creation and there is more economic growth.

  • Monopolies [like Slim's] often cap the growth potential of their industries and their country's economy," Garcia says.

Exactly how did Carlos Slim amass his fortune?

According to an Associated Press story, Slim's critics accuse him of running "ruthless monopolies that illegally block competitors."

Rivals or regulators who dare take him on find themselves lavishly outspent, facing a

  • barrage of legal hurdles that can drag on for years in court.

Over the years, he has been dogged by criticism for chumming up to political elites like former Mexican President Salinas de Gortari, a family friend, to grease the skids for business deals.

By 26, Slim had already accumulated $400,000 in wealth from his business ventures and from his mother (his father died when Slim was 13). Forbes' Coster reported that Slim obtained a degree in civil engineering and had a keen eye for "unloved assets." He took a scattershot approach to buying businesses. "There was no overarching strategy except to make a profit," Coster wrote in March 2007.

Today, he profits from the goods and services basic to the daily lives of Mexicans. In his April 2007 story, Time's Padgett asserts that Bill Gates' "fortune is part of an engine that creates jobs; Slim's, say critics,

  • is part of [what] sends Mexican migrants across the U.S. border looking for them."

Denise Dresser, a political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico — and one of Slim's staunchest critics — repeatedly points out how his dominant position in the telecommunications market

  • has sapped economic growth from her country.

"There are so few outspoken critics of him in Mexico, I can count them on one hand. His critics are portrayed as grumpy, strident people who just don't get that he's a nice guy," Dresser says. "The issue is not whether he's evil or good. The issue is the way what he's doing is holding Mexico back" by blocking healthy competition.

Dresser says one of his companies has interfered with her work. She co-authored a satire on Mexican politics that was published in April 2006. Dresser says Sanborns, a retail chain Slim owns, asked the publisher to send page proofs referring to Slim before it came out.

  • The critical passages, Dresser says, kept the book out of Sanborns until a boycott convinced the company to carry it....

She doesn't place all the blame on Slim. She views him as the product of a Mexican governmental system that paved the way for monopolies like Telmex and other fiefdoms run by the country's superrich at the expense of average citizens. She reasons that the state helped create his monopoly and allows him to keep control of a key area of the economy without forcing him to compete fairly.

"It's the Mexican government's fault out of weakness, out of corruption, complicity, and lately out of fear because he's become so powerful," Dresser says. "When you talk to government regulators here, they will say things like, 'Oh well, we'll have to wait until he dies, then maybe we can regulate his sons.'"

Slim has recently turned much of his business operation over to his three sons and increased his philanthropic efforts, including contributing $100 million to former President Bill Clinton's charitable foundation to fight poverty in Latin America.

The New York Times' Elisabeth Malkin reported in June 2007 that Slim pledged to increase the endowments of his companies' foundation from $4 billion to $10 billion over the next four years. Slim told her there would be no ceiling on his donations.

"He has granted several interviews in his office, which is tucked above a branch of his bank and down the hall from a gallery showing works from his collection of European and Mexican art," Malkin wrote. "The interviews, and a four-hour news conference in March, seem to be part of an effort to soften his robber baron reputation." During the interview, Slim was unabashed about his fortune. Instead, he told Malkin, wealth is "like an orchard, a fruit tree. You have to distribute the fruit, not the branch. You have to plant more seeds to create more wealth."

Slim's rescue of the Times Co. invests some of that fortune in both his business and his image. "It gets him respect, prestige, and it is a very cheap way for him to get a foothold in an arena that interests him," Dresser says.

But what does his investment really mean? Does his $250 million foothold plus the 6.9 percent he already owned in the Times Co. signal that Slim has designs on arguably the world's most important newspaper?

No one can say for sure, but should Slim decide he wants a world-class media jewel in his crown, former newspaper editor Alan Mutter offers a formula for how it might happen.

In a January 20 entry on his Reflections of a Newsosaur blog, he explained that the loan to the Times Co. not only nets Slim the hefty 14 percent annual interest rate but also enables him to buy enough stock in the company to more than double his stake to 17 percent of its common shares. Slim has earned the right to "a detailed view of the company's finances" and "to put the screws" to the newspaper "the minute it violates any of the terms of the loan," wrote Mutter, former deputy editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

He reported that "after the company's operating profits fell by 38% in the first nine months of 2008, NYT was forced ... to cut its dividend by three-quarters," a huge blow to the "Ochs-Sulzberger family members who own the super-voting shares that control the company." Their collective annual stipend was trimmed to less than $7 million from $28 million.

Mutter paints this scenario: "If the newspaper business continues to deteriorate, NYT would be forced to choose between making further cuts in the dividend or making substantial reductions in the ample resources still afforded the flagship newspaper." That could lead to a fight "between the family members who want to preserve what's left of their dividends and those who want to maximize resources" to keep the Times a world-class newspaper.

The Times has stressed in news articles that Slim would have no representation on the company's board or any shares with special voting rights. But if Slim exercises the warrants he holds from the loan, he will be among the largest single shareholders in the Times Co., owning up to 17 percent of the common shares outstanding; family members hold a total equity stake of 19 percent and wield control through special voting shares, reported Times writer Eric Dash.

Veteran Slim watchers like Eduardo Garcia don't see him in the role of media mogul. According to Garcia, Slim's investment in the Times fits neatly the business model he has practiced for many years. He spots a company in financial trouble, analyzes it and recognizes profit potential. He buys shares on the market to own a stake, and then lends resources to get the company back on its feet. His share prices then go up, he makes money off the interest on the loan and can sell at a profit.

"I see this totally as a business deal," Garcia says. "I don't think his motivation is to own the newspaper. With him, investments come first, reputation second."

Arturo Elias Ayub has been quoted in news reports saying his father-in-law is not interested in meddling in the world-renowned newspaper's coverage. Slim called his investment in the Times Co. a good business move, not a foray into journalism, according to the AP.

But questions of journalism are at the heart of this move for the New York Times."...

via poynter.org/romenesko

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Mayor Ed Koch and Yankees best exemplify NY-Wall St. Journal poll

10/29, "Turning to sports, the Journal poll asked voters which team—the Yankees, the Mets, the Giants, the Jets, the Knicks, the Nets, the Rangers—best embodies the qualities and spirit of New York City. The poll found that 59% chose the Bronx Bombers. The Mets came in a distant second place, at 11%.
  • But wait—it gets worse for the Amazin' Mets. Even voters in Queens, the Mets' home base, gave the team the Bronx salute. According to the poll, 52% of Queens voters picked the Yankees, while only 13% chose the Mets.

So, who is the most quintessential New Yorker? Former Mayor Ed Koch topped that list, with 20% support, followed by Mr. Giuliani, with 18%."...


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Friday, October 29, 2010

Rich guys gone wild-James Cameron and Google chief say it's criminal not to buy their version of global warming

10/29, "Google CEO Eric Schmidt and film director James Cameron recently concurred that people who question the science of anthropogenic global warming are, in their opinions,
  • “criminal”.

The two made the comments during a recent on stage conversation at a private event in Silicon Valley.

“If that continues, business as usual as our leaders in Washington say is OK for us to do, we will have extincted 70% of the species on the planet by the end of the century.” Cameron responded to Schmidt’s line of discussion on global warming.

During the same conversation Schmidt stated,

  • “There are people who in my view
  • criminally doubt some of the science.”
  • “I agree, criminally, I agree with that.” Cameron interjected.

People, we need to evolve mentally and philosophically to something that has never existed before.” the Avatar director continued.

  • “We need to become techno-indigenous people of an entire Earth, not of a nation, not of a state, but of a planet.”

So, according to these two high priests of the scientific community, if you point out that the warming trend observed predominantly throughout the 1980s and 90s stopped over a decade ago,

  • as admitted recently by both Professor Phil Jones, the figure at the head of the Climategate scandal, as well as one of the most prominent AGW advocate groups in existence, The Royal Society,

you should be locked up.

Presumably the two would want to see thousands and thousands of scientists have their rights taken away and their freedoms eliminated, for merely expressing disagreement or dissent with the much lauded, rarely present “consensus”.

  • After all, questioning hypotheses and presenting counter-evidence and alternative theories has nothing at all to do with science – no no no, that’s the behaviour
  • of morally corrupt criminals.

Cameron is of course, another green celebrity hypocrite. The man owns three large houses in Malibu, totaling 24,000 square feet – ten times the average US home. He also owns a 100 acre ranch in Santa Barbara and numerous private luxuries such as helicopters, Harley motorbikes, super cars, a yacht, and even a fleet of submarines. Nevertheless he demands that we all “live with less” because it is us that are responsible for killing the planet.

  • Earlier this year, Cameron said he wanted to debate the “deniers”, but then pulled out at the last minute even after the “criminals” agreed to endless dubious stipulations he kept demanding, such as no recording of the debate and no media coverage.

Cameron has also just given $1m to help defeat California’s Prop23 which will overturn the Global Warming Bill, legislation that critics have argued would cause unemployment to sky rocket, effectively killing dead the already crippled economy.

  • One wonders what punishments Cameron and Schmidt have in mind for global warming denying criminals? Perhaps execution, in line with the recent 10/10 propaganda campaign."

from PrisonPlanet.com by Steve Watson, "James Cameron and Google CEO: Questioning warming science is "criminal," via Tom Nelson


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Bud Selig MLB PAC 2010 election cycle, 66% to democrats, 32% to republicans

"Official PAC Name:
  • Location: WASHINGTON, DC 20036"
Contributions from this PAC to federal candidates (list recipients)
  • (66% to Democrats, 32% to Republicans) $344,000)
from OpenSecrets.org, Center for Responsive Politics, "Major League Baseball Commissioner's Office," 10/29/10, "


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Saudi Prince Alwaleed says Ground Zero mosque must relocate

10/28, "Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed has said he is against the construction of a mosque close to the site of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York. In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business to be published on Sunday, His Royal Highness also said he had no part in financing the controversial project.
  • In his first public comments on the issue, he said: “I heard and saw a lot of news about me being associated with it and this is all wrong. We did not finance this thing.

I say that I am against putting the mosque in that particular place. And I’ll tell you why. For two reasons: first of all, those people behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York, and not try to agitate the wound by saying 'we need to put the mosque next to the 9/11 site'.

"The wound is still there. Just because the wound is healing you can’t say 'let’s just go back to where we were pre-9/11'," he said.

  • “I am against putting the mosque there out of respect for those people who have been wounded over there.”

Prince Alwaleed added: “More importantly, the mosque is not in the best location, the mosque has to be in a dignified location. It can’t be next to a bar or a strip club, or in a neighbourhood that is not really refined and good. The impression I have is that this mosque is just being inserted and squeezed over there.

  • So I am personally against putting the mosque over there…"

"I believe that Christians have the right to build churches where they want and Jews have the right to put synagogues where they want and Muslims have the right to put a mosque where they want. But you have to take care and respect the dignity of those New Yorkers who have been hit badly.

  • Ten years ago is nothing when you talk about history.”

Several US news organizations claimed earlier this month that the prince had been involved in funding the construction of the mosque.

  • In the interview, the prince argued that the wounds of the twin terror attacks could take up to 30 years to heal....

I don’t want to exaggerate and say things are falling apart, they are not. Most governments are pragmatic, most people are logical. There are pockets of extremism in Israel, in the US and in the Muslim world. But we have to fight them with reason, with logic and with compassion. We can’t just say ‘go to hell,’ we cannot do that.”

  • *The full interview with HRH will be published at 8am UAE time on Sunday 31 October on www.arabianbusiness.com."...

10/28, "World Exclusive: Prince Alwaleed 'against' Ground Zero mosque," Arabian Business Journal, by A. Bhoyrol

Comments to article at ArabianBusiness.com

"Posted by: arabgirl

Well said. Its construction will be like a reminder for what had happened in 9/11/ It's not the place to build a mosque at all. There are lots of mosques in NYC anyway, but building one in the twin tower area is actually 'an insult' to the dead. We should be sensitive to the memory of the tragedy. I'm a muslim woman.

Posted by: jb

Now I know why he is the best boss in the Gulf region. He certainly is a wise man. No wonder he can get the best from the people working from him...My great respect to you sir..."

photo from ArabianBusiness.com

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mexico town's entire 14 man police force quits amid Calderon failure to stem violence

Los Ramones, Mexico. 10/27, "Mexican town's entire police force quit after drug violence" Daily Mail UK, photos reuters, map google

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How "journalists" at NY Daily News represented Cliff Lee's statements a greater cause for concern than a few drunks at the Stadium-Neil Best

10/27, Neil Best Watchdog: "Given what Cliff Lee actually said Tuesday in his pre-World Series news conference
  • and what the Daily News' headline turned it into -
"Texas Ace Lee Rips Bronx Thugs" - if I were Mr. Lee I think I'd be more worried about New York's tabloid back pages
  • than about a few drunk yahoos at Yankee Stadium
  • Just sayin'....

An interesting discovery I was not previously aware of: postseason.tv, an MLB-sanctioned live video stream that offers eight camera angles and the Fox audio. Cost: $9.95."...


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Looks like MLB Network Radio has job openings if you want to work in the Beltway

1. Associate Producer, MLB
  • Sirius XM Radio - Washington, DC
  • SIRIUS XM Radio is America's satellite radio company delivering to subscribers commercial-free music channels, premier sports, news, talk, entertainment, and traffic and weather.

2. Associate Producer, MLB

  • XM Radio - Washington, DC
  • Associate Producer, MLB Job ID: 5749 Location: US-DC-Washington Pos. Type: Regular - ... facility * Must have working knowledge of MLB Requirements and General Skills: *...

3. Producer, MLB

  • Sirius - Washington, DC
  • Producer, MLB Job ID: 5637 Location: US-DC-Washington Pos. Type: Regular - Full-Time ... to meet broadcast deadlines * Work with Associate Producer(s) to gather work parts...

4. Sports Media/PR/Broadcasting - Associate Producer, MLB

  • Work In Sports - Washington, DC
  • team to create superior radio programs for MLB Home Plate. Supports creative processes, ... facility Must have working knowledge of MLB Requirements and General Skills:..."

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WPA career post season leaders per Sean Forman

"Lastly, there are the career postseason leaders and trailers. I can’t think of a stat that does a better job of bringing into focus the role Mariano Rivera played in the Yankees’ extended run of postseason success. I don’t think it is a performance that will ever be equaled.Teams of above: Rivera, Yankees; Schilling, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox; Smoltz, Braves, Cardinals; Pettitte, Yankees, Astros; Hershiser, Dodgers, Indians, Mets.


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

California's 12.4% unemployment can set the pace for much worse as a deformed society of lemmings is piously predisposed to punishment

CS Monitor piously urges lemmings to vote 'yes' for carbon profiteers and 'no' for Prop. 23: California's 12/4% unemployment "can set the pace". "Now is not the time, nor is there any need, The blame and the burden has been shifted back again to the individual, awash in primordial guilt, the familiar sinner facing punishment for his sins, his excesses, Californians can set the pace by not driving to the San Francisco World Series games this year. This is the perfect chance for America to show other countries that we will adjust our lifestyle, we know it makes them angry that we're not quite dead in a gutter. We might vote YES on Prop 23 coming up as a last gasp of life, but we'll otherwise do as groups like NRDC and MLB want us to do, which is to think of the planet before ourselves. And Dave Matthews, too. He told us to ride a bike while he flies or his bus dumps 800 pounds of human waste into a river. This shows how selfish Americans are, and other countries aren't going to put up with it. It's not fair to them for us to drive to the World Series in San Francisco even if the Giants allow their elite ballplayers to become promoters for the trillion dollar carbon trading industry. "On opening day of the 2007 baseball season, the owner of the Toronto Blue Jays
  • stood in front of the giant jumbotron,

an electronic extravaganza, encircled by a ring of dancing corporate logos and advertising,

  • and exhorted every person in the crowd, preposterously, to go out and
  • buy an energy-efficient light bulb.
  • They applauded."...
"If the corporate climate change campaign has fuelled a fevered popular preoccupation with global warming, it has also accomplished much more. Having arisen
  • it has restored confidence in those very faiths and forces which that movement had
  • worked so hard to expose and challenge:
  • globe-straddling profit-maximizing corporations and
  • their myriad agencies and agendas."...
Cartoon, photo, CS Monitor satire from Steven Goddard blog, via Climate Depot


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NPR taxpayer subsidies closer to 29%, Corp. for Public Broadcasting gives $90 million to stations-Slate

10/25, Slate, Shafer: "One sign that NPR no longer considers itself "public radio" came this summer,
  • when it changed its name from National Public Radio to NPR....
NPR's reflexive response to defunding threats is to shrug and say that it receives, on average,
  • only about 2 percent of its $161.8 million annual budget from
such federally funded sources as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • The biggest source of NPR revenues, the network states,
  • "comes from program fees and station dues
  • paid by member stations that broadcast NPR programs." On average, those program fees and dues account for about
  • 41 percent of NPR's revenues.

But where do the member stations get their loot? As Tim Graham of the Media Research Center wrote in 2008, "NPR receives substantial money from the CPB—through member stations," a fact that can be easily gleaned on the NPR Web site. In Fiscal Year 2008, NPR acknowledges on its site,

  • CPB funds accounted for 10.1 percent of all public-radio-station revenue.

The New York Times puts the dollar amount of CPB largesse to local stations at about $90 million.

  • In what looks suspiciously like money laundering, the feds give money to CPB,
  • CPB gives $90 million of it to member stations,
  • and the local stations give a chunk of it
  • to NPR.
According to NPR, public radio stations collect
  • another 5.8 percent of their revenues from federal, state, and local government.
  • Universities, many publicly supported, chip in another 13.6 percent.
That means the public contribution to the average public radio station's budget—if it's affiliated with a public university—
  • could be as high as 29 percent.
It's impossible to tease out from this information the exact percentage of taxpayer contribution to the NPR budget, but it's
  • obviously higher than 2 percent...

Republican threats (to defund NPR) never go anywhere...because the GOP's primary goal is to "whip" the networks into line, not to defund them. NPR and PBS have been such useful campaign targets for Republicans that if they didn't exist, the Republicans would have to invent them."...


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Monday, October 25, 2010

Texas Rangers radio voice Nadel says post season games require different call than regular season

10/24, Star-Telegram: "The radio voice of Eric Nadel has been something in life to count on.

Since 1979, he has painted word pictures of Texas Rangers games: a brim of the cap adjusted; a tap of the plate with the bat; a majestic home run launched --

  • "That ball is history!"; the phase of the moon on hot summer evenings.

In all those years, his artistry and passion have never really wavered, whether the home team was 30 games out in late September or battling the hated Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Given that consistency, that professionalism, one might have assumed some indifference on Nadel's part about whether the Rangers would ultimately advance to their first World Series.

  • Nothing could have been less true.

In the radio booth in Rangers Ballpark, killing time before Friday's Game 6, Nadel described himself as the team's "biggest fan."

  • He remembered the late Mark Holtz, his longtime broadcast partner in the 1980s and '90s.

"Now, so deep into the playoffs, I'm thinking about him more, how much he would have loved this," Nadel said. "He'd be just like the rest of us. He'd be euphoric that we were in this position. ... And like the rest of us, his stomach would be tied up in knots, waiting to get it done. Waiting is the hardest part, and the anticipation."

  • Nadel's stomach was in knots?

"Totally," he said. "The fact that we've never won makes the stakes so much higher. I talk to my friends who do the Yankees and the Phillies -- those guys have won. It isn't as big a deal to them as it is to me and as it is to Ranger fans. It really isn't. And you know, if there is justice in the universe, the Rangers will win and get their chance. But there is no justice for Cubs fans, so ... "

  • In a few hours, Game 6 would begin. Nadel and the Texas faithful had good reason to believe that this year would be the one. In those anxious hours before the game, the question surfaced: If the Rangers finally did win, how would Nadel describe the moment? Just what would he say?

Nadel was born in Brooklyn 59 years ago and remembers autumn afternoons when the radio play-by-play of the Yankees' World Series games filled the streets. That's part of what inspired him to become a sportscaster. He graduated from Brown University and called minor league hockey and women's professional basketball before landing with the Rangers seven years after the franchise moved to Texas.

  • The baseball teams that Nadel followed over the next three decades were sometimes dreadful and mostly mediocre, with three short-lived playoff appearances against the Yankees.

Early in Nadel's career, Cleveland Indians announcer Herb Score, who had called his share of bad baseball in that city, offered some valuable advice.

"Just treat each game as an independent entity. Almost do it in a vacuum," Nadel said he was told. "This is a Major League Baseball game, involving the best players in the world. Even if it's not two teams in contention, you might see the best play you've ever seen or see the best game you've ever seen. So just treat it as that game."

  • Nadel did. Broadcasting accolades began to pile up, but a huge gap on his résumé remained.

No broadcaster had gone longer with one team without calling a playoff series victory.

  • "Sure I despaired that I never had a chance to call a Game 1 of the ALCS and, as of today, I still despair that I've never had a chance to call a World Series game," Nadel said Friday.

He knew the 2010 Rangers were different, a team with uncommon chemistry, good pitching and an ability to manufacture runs in ways that previous clubs couldn't. But as manager Ron Washington says, in baseball, the best team doesn't always win. Nadel himself wasn't convinced that the long drought was over until Ian Kinsler homered in the ninth inning of Game 5 at Tropicana Field in Florida, giving the Rangers a nice cushion in the American League Division Series against Tampa Bay.

To describe the final out of that series, Nadel paid homage to his friend Holtz, borrowing his former partner's signature line.

  • "Hello win column!"

So the Rangers moved deep into uncharted playoff territory, and as they did, the nature of Nadel's artistry subtly changed.

  • During the season, he would banter more freely with partner Dave Barnett, fill air with obscure stats or interesting stories, try to add humor where he could.

"So much of that stuff which is used to maintain audience interest during the regular season is not needed in the playoffs," Nadel said.

  • "People want to know what's happening on every pitch.

Much more often I'll tell you where the defense is positioned so that you have a better view as a listener.

  • I'll tell you what the pitcher is doing between pitches or what anybody else on the field is doing between pitches. ... Describe. Describe. Describe."

He described a heartbreaking loss in Game 1 against the Yankees, then a gritty Rangers comeback in Game 2.

He described taking two of three at Yankee Stadium. On Friday night, he described a masterful pitching performance by Colby Lewis, a clutch hit by Vladimir Guerrero and a fifth-inning bomb by Nelson Cruz. Two quick outs in the ninth.

  • He finished the game above a roaring crowd.

"One ball, two strikes, two outs, 6 to 1 Rangers lead in the top of the ninth," Nadel called. "Feliz the high set. Here comes the pitch. Breaking ball. Strike three called!

  • The Rangers are going to the World Series!"

For the next 36 seconds, the veteran broadcaster let the delirium in Rangers Ballpark tell the story. His instincts told him when it was time to speak again, summoning poetry when he did.

  • "In the 50th year of the franchise, in their 39th year in Texas, under a full moon in Arlington, the Texas Rangers have won the American League pennant."

Nadel and Rangers fans despaired no more. There was justice in the universe after all."


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