Daily Archive: July 21, 2012

For the DirecTV audience

DirecTV and Viacom reach deal, end blackout

By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times

July 20, 2012

“There was an increase, but not nearly the increase they were seeking,” DirecTV Executive Vice President Derek Chang said.



Although programmers and distributors often bicker over new contracts, the Viacom-DirecTV battle was particularly public and nasty. Both companies ran ads blasting each other and their executives took potshots at one another as well.



When Viacom’s channels went off DirecTV, which is in about 20 million homes, ratings for its networks dropped more than 20% in some cases. The longer the networks were off DirecTV, the more Viacom had at stake.



DirecTV did get one concession from Viacom. As part of the deal, DirecTV subscribers will now be able to access live feeds of Viacom’s channels on tablets and mobile devices outside the home. This marks the first time that Viacom has agreed to allow such an arrangement with a distributor.

However, Viacom also is likely to continue to put a lot of its television shows on its own websites for free, which was a sore point for DirecTV.

Cartnoon

Woolen Under Where?

“You People” Don’t Need to Know

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Mitt Romney made his wealth an issue of the campaign when he touted his business acumen as head of Bain Capital where he made most of his fortune. Romney has already said that he will not release anymore returns than his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011. In a lame defense of this refusal, Romney has said that, “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” claiming that the problem is not him but the tax laws. But you know you have problems when you have neo-conservatives like Bill Kristol and George Will along with 18 other prominent Republicans, telling you to release the returns. Nope, Mitt is sticking with his story and sent the missus out to put her foot in her mouth down:

Mitt Romney’s wife is reinforcing her husband’s refusal to make public several years of tax returns, saying “we’ve given all you people need to know” about the family’s finances.

“You people”? A bit condescending there, Annie.

Mitt made this an issue as Eugene Robinson notes that it just makes it all that much more suspicious:

Mitt Romney has every right to cloak his personal and professional finances in secrecy-and voters have every right to assume he has something embarrassing to hide. If this seems unfair, Romney has only himself to blame. [..]

Romney has spent the better part of a decade running for president. Did it never occur to him that if he ever won the Republican nomination, surely there would come a time when he was under pressure to release multiple years’ worth of tax returns? Did he think everyone would forget that it was his own father, George Romney, who set the modern standard for financial disclosure? Did he not recall that when he was being considered for the vice presidential nod four years ago, he furnished tax returns spanning more than two decades to the John McCain campaign?

Clearly he knew the subject would come up. The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that Romney believes that while stonewalling on his taxes may cost him some support, releasing them would cost him more.

Jon Stewart added his analysis of “The Romney Returns”

LIBOR: There Will Be No Prosecutions

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

LIBOR If you think for that the Justice Department in this administration is going to prosecute or regulate any of the people who were involved in the LIBOR scandal, erase that thought. Regardless of any evidence the government may have now or in the future that would send the average trader to prison for life, the main goal for Attorney General Eric Holder is to protect the banksters from prosecution. There was no reason to give immunity from prosecution of the Commodities Exchange Act. Since the government already had the e-mails, they had enough to issue subpoenas and arrest warrants. Instead, Holder’s office gave them immunity from prosecution:

A crucial element in any prosecution is criminal intent, and it’s plain from the Barclays e-mails that various participants knew that what they were doing was wrong. As one Barclays trader put it in e-mails to traders at other banks, “don’t talk about it too much,” “don’t make any noise about it please” and “this can backfire against us.”

Faced with what would seem to be an open-and-shut case, how did the Justice Department proceed? Barclays entered into a nonprosecution agreement in which the United States government agreed not to prosecute Barclays as long as it met its other obligations under the agreement, including continued cooperation in what the government said was an investigation still under way. Barclays also received a conditional grant of immunity from the antitrust division. [..]

The United States government “had the smoking guns,” Professor (John C.) Coffee said, and “it could have demanded its price from Barclays,” including a guilty plea to a crime. At the same time, the agreement “isn’t surprising,” he said. “The Department of Justice has done this in almost every major case since the collapse of Arthur Andersen.” (Andersen was the accounting firm indicted after the collapse of Enron.)

Glen Ford nails precisely why there will be no prosecutions, since the ultimate aim is “protecting the banks from the consequences of their crimes:”

“The reason Eric Holder is staging criminal investigations is because that’s the only way he can protect the bankers, through immunities and by gradually narrowing the scope of the case.”

The Obama Justice Department is in theater mode, again, pretending to threaten the bankster class with criminal penalties – prison time! – for their manipulation of the global economy’s benchmark interest rates. The Justice Department claims to be building criminal and civil cases in the LIBOR scandal, which in sheer scope is the biggest fraud by international capital in history. But that’s all a front, a farce. Barack Obama has spent his entire presidency protecting Wall Street, starting with his rescue of George Bush’s bank bailout bill after it’s initial defeat in Congress, in the last days of Obama’s candidacy. He packed his administration with banksters, passed his own bailout and, in collaboration with the Federal Reserve, channeled at least $16 trillion dollars into the accounts of U.S. and even European banks – by far the greatest transfer of capital in the history of the world. Obama has reminded the banksters that it was he who saved them from the “pitchforks” of an outraged public. He pushed through Congress so-called financial reform legislation that left derivatives – the deadly instruments of mass financial destruction that were at the heart of the meltdown – untouched. [..]

Now Obama and Holder are playing the same diversionary game, making tough noises about criminal investigations of the LIBOR conspirators. But the Justice Department has already given immunity to Barclay’s Bank, of Britain, and to the Swiss banking giant UBS. More immunities will follow. The reason Eric Holder is staging criminal investigations is because that’s the only way he can protect the bankers, through immunities and by gradually narrowing the scope of the case. In the end, there will be settlements all around, and the banksters will move on to even more fantastic heights of criminality – thanks to the loyal, protective hands of President Obama.

Prosecutions? Don’t hold you breath.

Le Tour de France 2012: Stage 18; Bonneval and Chartres

The Tour de France 2012, the world’s premier cycling event kicked off last Saturday with the Prologue in Liège, Belgium and will conclude on July 22 with the traditional ride into Paris and laps up and down the Champs-Élysées. Over the next 22 days the race will take its course briefly along the Northwestern coast of France through  Boulogne-sur-Mer, Abbeville and into Rouen then into the mountains of the Jura, Swiss Alps and the Pyrenees.

We will be Live Blogging Le Tour 2012 every morning at The Stars Hollow Gazette starting at 7:30 AM EDT. Come join us for a morning chat, cheer the riders and watch some of the most beautiful and historic countryside in Europe.

Stage 18 Towns: Bonneval and Chartres

Bonneval

Bonneval Abbey Referred to as the Little Venice of Beauce for its green environment and surrounding ditches, Bonneval is a perfect town for resting your body and mind. On one of the Saint-

Jacques de Compostela routes, this pretty green resort has many vestiges of the Middle Ages: a former Benedictine abbey founded in 857, fortifications from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the gate from the fifteenth century. Main town in the Canton and seat of the Community of Bonnevalais Communes, Bonneval is located one hour from Paris. Close to the A10 and A11, it is served by the RN 10 and the SNCF line Paris-Tours. Bonneval has many schools (from nursery to college), shops and businesses, a children’s centre, squares, new housing and a rich network of associations. Soon, a new swimming pool will complete the lineup of facilities necessary for the lifestyle and comfort of its residents while preserving the calm and tranquility to the delight of tourists who enjoy the unique charms of a ride on an electric boat on the Loir river. What could be better than silently sailing down a river and taking in the unspoiled flora and fauna …

Chartres

Chartres Cathedral Built on the site of an ancient Gallic city, Chartres owes the origin of its name to the Carnutes who occupied the region at the time. Later, during the Middle Ages it underwent major economic activity which developed especially on the banks of the Eure River, which crosses the city. Today, Chartres owes its international fame to the Notre Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic art, nicknamed the Acropolis of France by Auguste Rodin. Given UNESCO World Heritage status it is famous for its stained glass windows and their unique blue colour, the “Chartres blue”. But, throughout the medieval streets of the old town, you can also discover other architectural treasures that are lit up every evening during the summer. Tied to its history but resolutely looking towards the future, Chartres, thanks to its proximity to the capital, is home to a quality cosmetics industry with perfumers Guerlain and Paco Rabanne. It also welcomed the 21st century by acquiring ultramodern sports and culture facilities.

Click on images to enlarge

On This Day In History July 21

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

July 21 is the 202nd day of the year (203rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 163 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1861, the first battle of Bull Run.. In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard. . . .

On the morning of July 21, hearing of the proximity of the two opposing forces, hundreds of civilians–men, women, and children–turned out to watch the first major battle of the Civil War. The fighting commenced with three Union divisions crossing the Bull Run stream, and the Confederate flank was driven back to Henry House Hill. However, at this strategic location, Beauregard had fashioned a strong defensive line anchored by a brigade of Virginia infantry under General Thomas J. Jackson. Firing from a concealed slope, Jackson’s men repulsed a series of Federal charges, winning Jackson his famous nickname “Stonewall.”

Meanwhile, Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart captured the Union artillery, and Beauregard ordered a counterattack on the exposed Union right flank. The rebels came charging down the hill, yelling furiously, and McDowell’s line was broken, forcing his troops in a hasty retreat across Bull Run. The retreat soon became an unorganized flight, and supplies littered the road back to Washington. Union forces endured a loss of 3,000 men killed, wounded, or missing in action while the Confederates suffered 2,000 casualties. The scale of this bloodshed horrified not only the frightened spectators at Bull Run but also the U.S. government in Washington, which was faced with an uncertain military strategy in quelling the “Southern insurrection.”

Bull Run was the largest and bloodiest battle in American history up to that point. Union casualties were 460 killed, 1,124 wounded, and 1,312 missing or captured; Confederate casualties were 387 killed, 1,582 wounded, and 13 missing. Among the latter was Col. Francis S. Bartow, who was the first Confederate brigade commander to be killed in the Civil War. General Bee was mortally wounded and died the following day.

Union forces and civilians alike feared that Confederate forces would advance on Washington, D.C., with very little standing in their way. On July 24, Prof. Thaddeus S. C. Lowe ascended in the balloon Enterprise to observe the Confederates moving in and about Manassas Junction and Fairfax. He saw no evidence of massing Rebel forces, but was forced to land in Confederate territory. It was overnight before he was rescued and could report to headquarters. He reported that his observations “restored confidence” to the Union commanders.

The Northern public was shocked at the unexpected defeat of their army when an easy victory had been widely anticipated. Both sides quickly came to realize the war would be longer and more brutal than they had imagined. On July 22 President Lincoln signed a bill that provided for the enlistment of another 500,000 men for up to three years of service.

The reaction in the Confederacy was more muted. There was little public celebration as the Southerners realized that despite their victory, the greater battles that would inevitably come would mean greater losses for their side as well.

Beauregard was considered the hero of the battle and was promoted that day by President Davis to full general in the Confederate Army. Stonewall Jackson, arguably the most important tactical contributor to the victory, received no special recognition, but would later achieve glory for his 1862 Valley Campaign. Irvin McDowell bore the brunt of the blame for the Union defeat and was soon replaced by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, who was named general-in-chief of all the Union armies. McDowell was also present to bear significant blame for the defeat of Maj. Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia by Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia thirteen months later, at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Patterson was also removed from command.

Late Night Karaoke

Weaving Reality VI: On the Thickness of Skin

Some of you may have observed that I have been sharing my WeaveMothers series elsewhere…or maybe it’s better to say I have been presenting it and most people have been ignoring it.  The offerings are here:

Weaving Reality

Picking up the rhythm

Nebulous answers to cogent questions

Looking back at the present

Diversity



This is the sixth episode, originally published as part of Cafe Discovery:

The Storyteller took a deep breath and cast back for another memory, another story to tell.  The Listener was patient, but did require the occasional feeding.  The Storyteller chuckled at the observation.  The Engineer glanced backward and nodded.  And the Train switched to another happentrack.  

The Storyteller began to sing.  The Listener leaned forward.  The passenger turned over, but otherwise remained sleeping.



One day Sun found a new canyon.

It hid for miles and ran far away,

then it went under a mountain.  Now Sun

goes over but knows it is there.  And that

is why sun shines–it is always looking.

Be like the sun.

–William Stafford