Man on the Spot #52: Ray Rice, Ferguson and the uncertainty of the news media

Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Better Than First Class, an Entire Suite in the Air –

By JOE SHARKEY AUG. 11, 2014

Photo Credit: Content Providers(s): CDC/Dr. Lyle Conrad

Photo Credit: Content Providers(s): CDC/Dr. Lyle Conrad

That was “The Residence,” a three-room suite that Etihad will install in first-class sections of its A380 superjumbo airplanes, the first one scheduled for service on Dec. 27. The 125-square-foot suite has a living room with two couches, a 32-inch television set and a refrigerator, a bathroom with a shower, a bedroom with a double bed, and a private butler.  A butler, Tomas Piroska, stood by discreetly in white gloves and a spiffy suit. “I’m also a chef,” Mr. Piroska said.

Evictions Soar in Hot Market; Renters Suffer


MILWAUKEE — Just after 7 a.m., sheriff’s deputies knocked on the door of the duplex apartment, holding a fluorescent orange eviction notice. The process was quick and efficient. A moving crew began to carry out the family’s possessions and stack them neatly at the curb. Celeste Wilson, the tenant, appeared on the front step in pajama pants. For tens of thousands of renters, life has become increasingly unstable in recent years, even as the economy has slowly improved. Middle-class wages have stagnated and rents have risen sharply in many places, fueled by growing interest in urban living and a shortage of rental housing. The result is a surge in eviction cases that has abruptly disrupted lives, leaving families to search for not just new housing that fits their budgets but new schools, new bus routes and sometimes new jobs.

A Divorce That Thrusts Ken Griffin and Anne Dias Griffin Into the …

By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and ALEXANDRA STEVENSON  JULY 24, 2014 8:50 PMJuly 25, 2014 10:51 am

For a decade, they were a financial powerhouse: two ambitious hedge fund managers who captivated the Chicago social scene with a lavish Versailles wedding, widespread philanthropy and enviable art collection. Now, Kenneth C. Griffin is seeking a divorce from his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, and the domestic dispute threatens to push the private couple into the spotlight. Mr. Griffin, 45, the head of the $20 billion investment firm Citadel, filed a divorce petition in Cook County, Ill., late on Wednesday, citing “irreconcilable differences” with his wife of 11 years. Ms. Dias Griffin, 43, has fired back publicly, claiming to have been blindsided by the move.

Tax Burden in U.S. Not as Heavy as It Looks, Report Says …

By Andrew Ross Sorkin

What? We’ve been told repeatedly that the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world — 35 percent — which is higher than the nominal tax rates in places like Ireland (12.5 percent), Britain (21 percent) and the Netherlands (25 percent) and the 24.1 percent average rate of all countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Bank of America’s $16 Billion Mortgage Settlement Less Painful …


The actual pain to the bank could also be significantly reduced by tax deductions. Tax analysts, for instance, estimate that Bank of America could derive $1.6 billion of tax savings on the $4.63 billion of payments to the states and some federal agencies under the settlement. Shares of Bank of America jumped 4 percent on Thursday, suggesting investors believe that the bank could take the settlement in stride.

Fast-food workers seeking $15 wage are planning civil disobedience


But Ms. Henry defended the strategy, saying that underwriting the fast-food push has helped persuade many people that $15 is a credible wage floor for many workers. She said it prompted Seattle to adopt a $15 minimum wage and that San Francisco was considering a similar move. She also said the campaign helped persuade the Los Angeles school district to sign a contract for 20,000 cafeteria workers, custodians and other service workers that will raise their pay, now often $8 or $9 an hour, to $15 by 2016. “This movement has made the impossible seem more possible in people’s minds,” Ms. Henry said. “The home-care workers’ joining will have a huge lift inside our union.”

Harper’s Publisher Standing Firm in His Defense of Print and Paywall


HarpersCoverWhen John R. MacArthur, the publisher of Harper’s Magazine and a zealous promoter of the virtues of print journalism, sits down at his desk to write, he has three options — a typewriter, an ancient beige PC and a modern Apple desktop computer. He described being trapped in a corridor in the early 2000s “by a small mob of what I can’t help but refer to as ‘young people.’ ” Those youths, he wrote, demanded that he open the magazine to online readers. What he told them was “essentially, forget it.” The web, to him, “wasn’t much more than a gigantic Xerox machine” designed to rob publishers and writers. But the media landscape has shifted. Publishing companies like Tribune and Gannett are casting off their print operations and focusing on their television and digital businesses. Others have blended online and paper formats. And a third group of publishers has even turned firmly away from the web.

Media Companies Spin Off Newspapers, to Uncertain Futures …

By DAVID CARR AUG. 10, 2014

The persistent financial demands of Wall Street have trumped the informational needs of Main Street. For decades, investors wanted newspaper companies to become bigger and diversify, so they bought more newspapers and developed television divisions. Now print is too much of a drag on earnings, so media companies are dividing back up and print is being kicked to the curb. Media companies are rapidly dropping their print divisions.

The Nashville Scene noted that readers had to wait only one day to find out what the news of the future looks like: a Page 1 article in The Tennessean about Kroger, a grocery store and a major advertiser, lowering its prices.

Advertiser-Friendliness May Have Played Role in Time Inc. Layoffs …


Sports Illustrated rated its journalists on whether their work benefited advertisers, according to an internal document from its parent company, Time Inc. The criterion was one of eight used by the company in deciding which staff members to lay off. A spreadsheet that included traditional benchmarks like productivity and tenacity, as well as newer ones like social media and video, also listed whether the employee was “beneficial to advertiser relationship.” The spreadsheet, provided to The New York Times by the Newspaper Guild of New York, was first reported by the website Gawker.

Among Whites, Protests Stir a Range of Emotions and a Lot of …


Ferguson Police chief Thomas Jackson at press conferenceCC BY 2.0 Jamelle Bouie - Cropped from:

Ferguson Police chief Thomas Jackson at press conference. CC BY 2.0 Jamelle Bouie – Cropped from:

Andrew Tetzlaff, 52, has been coming to the protests in Ferguson from his home in nearby Hazelwood to show his solidarity with the demonstrators. He is not alone among local whites who march on West Florissant Avenue, nor among a significant number of local whites who have expressed sympathy with the protesters’ concerns and outrage at the actions of the police. But he still feels that too few whites in St. Louis County understand the realities of black life, for the most part, he says, because they fled from racially mixed neighborhoods.

Learning From the Ferguson Tragedy

To the Editor:

The New York Times and other media have focused enormous attention on the tragedy in Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black youth was shot and killed by a police officer. Unfortunately, there has been very little discussion about the economic and social tragedy that has befallen an entire generation of young black men.  Today, more than 5.5 million young Americans have either dropped out of high school or graduated from high school and have no jobs. Today, while youth unemployment is 20 percent, African-American youth unemployment is 35 percent, and in the St. Louis area, it is even higher than that.  Incredibly, there are estimates that if present trends continue, one of every three black American men born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime.  If there is anything that we can learn from the Ferguson tragedy, it should be a recognition that we need to address the extraordinary crises facing black youths. That means, among other things, a major jobs program, job training and vastly improved educational opportunities.

U.S. Senator from Vermont
Burlington, Vt., Aug. 20, 2014

In Russia, Scenes From Ferguson Are Played as Nothing Shocking …


The police response in Missouri — and Russia’s official smirking — has caused deep consternation among critics of the Kremlin here. They see it as being exploited to excuse Russia’s much more pervasive and deep-rooted restrictions on civil liberties, as well as its often arbitrary — and Kremlin-dominated — law enforcement and judicial systems.

Maria Baronova, who was arrested at one of the white-ribbon protests against Mr. Putin, posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of heavily armed St. Louis County police officers in helmets. Ms. Baronova had faced near-certain conviction on charges of inciting a riot, and she avoided a lengthy prison term only because she qualified for an amnesty program ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics. “Dear American government,” she wrote alongside the photograph on Twitter. “You can’t imagine how those who fight for freedom in Russia hate you these days. Putin saw this.”

Poll Shows Broad Divisions Amid Missouri Turmoil


A poll taken since a white police officer in Missouri shot dead an unarmed black teenager shows blacks and whites sharply divided on how fairly the police deal with each group, along with a rising feeling, especially among whites, that race relations in the country are troubled. But when asked about their own communities, members of each race say their relations with the other are good.

As Ebola Grips Liberia’s Capital, a Quarantine Sows Social Chaos …


MONROVIA, Liberia — Some people are swimming in and out of the Ebola quarantine zone in this seaside capital. One man slips out every day to reach his job at a Western embassy. Another has turned his living room into a tollbooth, charging others to escape through his apartment at the edge of the cordoned area. Countless others have used a different method: bribing their way out with fees that soldiers determine according to a person’s appearance, circumstances and even gender

Smaller Military Hospitals Said to Put Patients at Risk


“Our young docs don’t have senior docs mentoring them,” said Michael E. Menning, a health care administrator who retired from the Air Force in 2009 after 24 years. “We have orthopedic surgeons,

Ray Rice 27. CC BY-SA 2.0  Keith Allison -

Ray Rice 27. CC BY-SA 2.0
Keith Allison –

brain surgeons, thoracic surgeons, urologists, all in administrative jobs.” Partly out of frustration with the promotion system, most military doctors take civilian jobs soon after they have paid back in years of service what they owe for free medical education or training, according to two military personnel experts with the RAND Corporation, a research organization.

Ravens’ Rice Draws 2-Game Suspension From Goodell – NYTimes …

The penalty imposed on Rice, which Goodell accompanied with a letter to him that was made public by the league, was another example of the immense power Goodell wields in such matters. But it immediately attracted considerable criticism, with everyone from commentators to players to women’s advocates to writers on social media noting that other players in the N.F.L. had been suspended for more than two games for actions that were hardly as threatening as what Rice was accused of doing.

Ray Rice’s Suspension Is Followed by Praise

The Baltimore Ravens really are blessed. Let’s say Ray Rice, the team’s Pro Bowl running back, had tested positive for steroids. Under league rules, he would have faced a minimum four-game suspension. A punishment that severe might have gotten in the way of this fine team of men and their playoff drive. Instead Rice drove his hand into his then-fiancée’s head, knocking her cold last February in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. In the National Football League, domestic battery apparently counts as half-a-roid, good for a two-game suspension.

Anthony Smith, Explorer With Zest for Land, Sea and Air, Is Dead at 88

Fancy rafting across the Atlantic?

Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP.

Serious adventurers only.

So read a help-wanted ad in The Daily Telegraph, the British newspaper, on Jan. 28, 2005. The ad was no joke. The man who placed it, Anthony Smith, then 78, was a storied English explorer and author who had crossed the Alps by balloon and traversed Africa by motorcycle, among other things.

Germany Puts Curbing Russia Ahead of Commerce


The political upheaval over Ukraine has already affected Germany’s economy, slowing down growth and throwing into question the country’s ability to sustain its long record of robust performance even amid anemic recovery elsewhere in the European Union, economists said. The sanctions that would restrict trade between the countries are likely to cause further damage. Perhaps even more remarkable is that Germans, long anxious to preserve commercial, energy and cultural ties with their vast eastern neighbor, have gone along. Seventy percent of 1,003 adults polled last week by Infratest dimap for the public broadcaster ARD approved of stricter sanctions; just 15 percent viewed Russia as a reliable partner in a poll with a three-percentage-point margin of sampling error.

Putin Rushes In, Pretending Not to; Obama Stands Back – NYTimes …


When a state sends more than a thousand troops with mobile artillery and heavy equipment into a neighboring state and takes control of territory, that’s an invasion, right? Not according to NATO, which reported the Russian military movements in Ukraine this past week but depicted them only as increased Russian “interference.” And not according to President Obama, who saw Russia being only “a little more overt” in its support of secessionists in southeastern Ukraine. And certainly not according to President Vladimir V. Putin, whose lieutenants simply denied everything and labeled the evidence a Western “canard.”

In China, Detecting Fraud Riskier Than Doing It


It can be very risky to do things in China that are taken for granted in other countries. Kun Huang, a Chinese-born Canadian citizen, is back in Vancouver after spending two years in a Chinese jail. His crime was contributing to research that led his employer to recommend short sales of Silvercorp Metals, a silver producer that is based in Canada but does its mining in China.


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