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Showing posts from August 18, 2015

This is the scariest chart in the history of cable TV

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[I'm subscribed to both NetFlix and Crave (although I view Crave via cable), and I use Google Chrome, and have nuked all my movie channels on cable, and am pretty well back to the basic package. I have an email in my inbox confirming the availability of Kutco here in British Columbia, though I haven't done anything with it to date. *RON*]

Myles Udland, Business Insider, 18 August 2015

What we're looking at here, via Wall Street research firm Pacific Crest, is cable subscriptions falling off a cliff.

In the first half of 2015, year-over-year growth in MVPD subscribers — "multichannel video programming distributor," or, in plain English, a cable company like Time Warner Cable or Comcast — went negative.

Over the past five years, the percent of households with cable subscriptions has been falling. But with year-over-year subscribers still seeing growth, however modest it may have been, cable companies were still able to look pa…

Your guide to China’s devaluation of its currency

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[There will be no joy in Harperville, since Canada will take a hit on this, since we are a big exporter to China. See also: Is China manipulating its currency? The Big Mac Index says Yes ("A Big Mac in China in July of 2015, priced in dollars at the current dollar-yuan exchange rate: $2.74. The average price in America this month? $4.79. They ought to be nearly the same."). *RON*]
By Kristen Koerer, PBS News Hour, 17 August 2015
What’s happening to China’s yuan?

The yuan usually changes in value a fraction of a percentage point in a day. But on Tuesday, China’s central bank abruptly devalued the yuan by nearly 2 percent — the largest single-day drop since 1994. On Wednesday, China’s central bank devalued it by another 1.6 percent and on Thursday, 1.1 percent. Since Friday, when the yuan took a turn and appreciated .1 percent, the yuan has stabilized.

Global stock markets have been on a roller coaster ride since Tuesday, as the world tries…

I Didn't Buy Anything New For 200 Days (And You Shouldn't Either)

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[My first response was cynical (i.e., "So, did you eat s**t for 200 days?"), but the basic concept is a good one. I'm going to go take a look-see at my local thrift shop to see what's what. "When you stop buying stuff, you might very well find that you have quite enough." I'll also admit that, when my mom died, after I cleaned out her stuff, I went right back home and started getting rid of junk and organizing things. *RON*]
By Assya Barrette / AlterNet, 17 August 2015


The story of my 200-day Buy-Nothing-New challenge doesn’t start with an object or a possession. It starts with my dad, many months ago.

My father had been living with me as he went through chemotherapy treatments. He was fighting a melanoma which had spread. It was a stressful time, but it was bittersweet. Thinking of these times quickly brings tears of simultaneous sadness and gratitude to my eyes.

After months, my father was declared palliative and p…

Obama Gives Shell Final Approval to Drill in Arctic Despite Protests & Pledge to Cut Emissions

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[Since another headline for today is Clinton Makes Firm Commitment To Oppose Arctic Offshore Drilling, we have to assume that the recent Obama-Clinton joint happy holiday didn't work out too well. *RON*]

The Obama administration has granted Royal Dutch Shell final approval to resume drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean for the first time since 2012 despite widespread protests from environmental groups. Shell first obtained drilling permits in the Arctic during the George W. Bush administration, but drilling stopped in 2012 after a series of mishaps. The Interior Department’s decision comes just weeks after a protest in Portland, Oregon, temporarily blocked an Arctic-bound rig of Shell’s from leaving the city after a group of activists from Greenpeace dangled off a bridge, blocking the ship’s movement while "kayaktivists" took to the water below. A coalition of environmental groups have pushed the Obama administration to say…

All 173 Confederate flag rallies since the Charleston massacre, mapped

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[There have been nearly 3 pro-Confederate flag rallies per day in the United States since the Charleston massacre. *RON*]
By Christopher Ingraham August 17 at 11:52 AM Follow @_cingraham
In the two months since a racially-motivated gunman walked into a predominately-black Charleston church and murdered nine parishioners on June 17, there have been at least 173 rallies and protests across the nation in support of the divisive symbol the gunman adopted as his own: the Confederate battle flag. That works out to an average of a little under three pro-Confederate rallies per day.


Ta-Nehisi Coates’s ‘Between the World and Me’

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[I found Ta-Nahisi Coate's latest so defeatist that I didn't finish reading it. Maybe, like Alexander, I need to read it twice instead... Her book, by the way, on The New Jim Crow, is thoroughly excellent. *RON*]

By Michelle Alexander, New York Times, 17 August 2015
For the past several years, I’ve greeted Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essays and blog posts for The Atlantic with nothing short of gratitude. As an African-American, he makes me proud. There is no other way to put it. I do not always agree with him, but it hardly matters. In a media world populated with pundits, so-called experts and public intellectuals driven by ego and familiar agendas, Coates’s voice stands nearly alone — a black man raised in the streets of Baltimore who narrowly escaped the violence that lurked around every corner and dodged the clutches of the prisons and jails that were built for him, and who now speaks unpopular, unconventional and sometimes even radical truths…

Federal Departments Not Allowing Employees To Speak To Media

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[A media cone of silence has descended. Civil servants are being told that they cannot even convey factual information to the press during the election campaign, with the excuse that anything they might say might influence the electoral process. "It's a completely lame excuse. It's a convenient way for the government to exercise messaging control and prevent and potentially negative message from getting out. It's ridiculous and it's just another way that they're politicizing everything in the civil service." *RON*]
CBC, Huffington Post, 17 August 2015


Getting information from the federal government can be difficult at the best of times, but since the election began earlier this month, some departments have taken a new approach — not talking to the media at all.

Last week, the Department of National Defence confirmed that they could not speak publicly about their annual training exercise, Operation Nanook.

"It is pa…

Your lie-detector guide to the latest PMO spin

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[One of the best lines in this whole circus: "If lying were an Olympic sport, Canada's PMO would be the Jamaican bobsled team. They’re really bad, but it's great TV." And this bit: "The PMO brand of deception has met its match in the criminal courts. The sort of PR spin that thrives in a world where government sets the rules and determines the access can't work in a courtroom. It's evaporating by the hour at the Duffy trial, under the spotlight of a single lawyer armed with hundreds of emails and all the time in the world.... Hammer time continues Monday." See also: Harper Keeps Rejecting 'Premise' Of Some Questions On Wright-Duffy Affair. *RON*]

By Sandy Garossino, National Observer, 17 August 2015

If lying were an Olympic sport, Canada's PMO would be the Jamaican bobsled team. They’re really bad, but it's great TV.

The PMO's culture of casual lying made possible by tightly controlled medi…