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Lots of discussion about the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger. First up, The New York Times:
Regulators might be tempted to agree with Comcast that its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion in stock poses no threat to competition and would actually benefit consumers by giving the company more resources to invest in new services. But government officials should not accept that argument without conducting a thorough investigation into what effect a merger between the country’s two largest cable companies would have on the media and the Internet.

Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, on Thursday said that his company and Time Warner Cable do not operate in the same ZIP codes. But the issue with cable mergers is not that they reduce or eliminate head-to-head competition for subscribers, because most cities have just one cable provider. This deal is important because it would give Comcast greater power over media companies like CBS and Disney and Internet services like Netflix and Amazon. And that would ultimately give it more control over American consumers.

Jon Healy at The Los Angeles Times:
Yes, cable rates have climbed almost as fast as health insurance premiums. But there's a good reason for cable operators to raise their rates at least some amount every year: the rising cost of programming.

With the cable industry slowly shedding subscribers and struggling to sign up young adults, Comcast has to be careful about how high its pay-TV prices go. In fact, one of the main rationales for the deal -- and the force driving some in the fragmented cable industry to call for radical consolidation -- is the need for more leverage when negotiating with broadcasters and popular cable networks over how much to pay for their programming. By holding down those fees, they should be able to hold down cable rates as well.

In theory.

More on the day's top stories below the fold.

Jay Bookman at The Atlanta Journal Constitution examines the latest attempt at a House Republican policy agenda:

Writing in National Review, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lays out a House Republican "policy agenda" for responding to the major long-term economic challenges facing the country. But after reading it, I have one question:

Where's the beef?

[...] Cantor attempts to disguise a mere description of the problem as a solution to the problem, and the ploy is transparent. The funny thing is, if you read the comments in response, even the conservative readership of the National Review recognizes the utter lack of content.

Pat Garofalo at US News & World Report looks at the controversy over Republican interference in a union election:
[T]he lead anti-union crusader has been U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the former mayor of Chattanooga. In addition to lambasting the UAW, Corker has said – in contradiction to the company’s public announcements – that Volkswagen will reward workers with a new product to build if they decide not to unionize. "I've had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," said Corker. As Reuters reported, labor law experts believe Corker’s statement could very well be an illegal attempt to intimidate workers.

All in all, this is a lot of GOP meddling with a private business. "In my 20 years on the hill, I've never seen such a massive intrusion into the affairs of a private company," said Tennessee Democratic state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh. Indeed, usually it's Republicans decrying any attempt by government to regulate the unionization process. So what on Earth is going on?

Well, a plant unionized by the UAW in Tennessee could potentially deal a blow to the right-wing narrative that anti-union companies in so-called “right to work” states are better for economic growth and job creation by providing a real-time counterpoint. If unions make inroads into foreign-owned auto plants in the South, the right-wing effort to claim that unions are something that ails business will be undermined. (Since Tennessee is right to work, employees in Chattanooga could still opt out of supporting the union even if the plant unionizes.)

Eugene Robinson examines the continued Republican attempt to get ride of the ACA, which is definitely here to stay:
Cumulatively, 3.3 million people had chosen insurance plans through the state and federal exchanges by the end of January. That is fewer than the administration had originally hoped but well above the predictions of critics who believed — or hoped — that the program would never succeed. The Congressional Budget Office projects that 6 million people will have chosen plans through Obamacare when the initial enrollment period ends March 31, down from a pre-launch estimate of 7 million. Not bad at all.

The numbers are even more encouraging when you look more closely. The proportion of young people — from 18 and 34 — who chose insurance plans through the exchanges increased slightly to 27 percent, compared with an average of 24 percent in previous months. This is important because premiums would have to rise if not enough young, healthy people enrolled.

Finally, Paul Krugman, as always, makes sense on the issue:
On the whole, working Americans are better at appreciating their own worth than either the wealthy or conservative politicians are at showing them even minimal respect. Still, tens of millions of Americans know from experience that hard work isn’t enough to provide financial security or a decent education for their children, and many either couldn’t get health insurance or were desperately afraid of losing jobs that came with insurance until the Affordable Care Act kicked in last month. In the face of that kind of everyday struggle, talk about the dignity of work rings hollow.

So what would give working Americans more dignity in their lives, despite huge income disparities? How about assuring them that the essentials — health care, opportunity for their children, a minimal income — will be there even if their boss fires them or their jobs are shipped overseas?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Them 'job creators' (7+ / 0-)


    Applications for jobless benefits rise to 339K

    Well so much for states like NC throwing tens of thousands off the unemployment rolls, they didn't quit jobs nor get fired, and drastically reducing the lifeline needed to live and help search for employment, then start cheering that the unemployment numbers in the state quickly dropped and take credit for same as 'job creators', never mentioning the radical unemployment policies changes!!!

    "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    by jimstaro on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:08:06 AM PST

  •  Howard Dean: Volkswagen is not idealogical. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David54, a2nite, palantir, ER Doc, Stude Dude
    •  And just what America needs! (0+ / 0-)

      More gas hogging mid-sized SUV's on the road. How about a unionized electric vehicle plant by GM instead?

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 07:42:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fingers crossed on the UAW vote. (9+ / 0-)

    Anyone know when the results will be out?

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:11:38 AM PST

  •  We Dropped Cable TV Six Months Ago (21+ / 0-)

    Our provider for Internet access is Comcast. I would not touch AT&T for Internet via phone lines for the world. They cannot match the speed my business class Comcast account provides.

    But we dumped TV completely. It got to be a little ridiculous paying nearly a grand a year when we actually watched maybe two or three programs occasionally.

    Like more and more of the younger generation, we are finding our entertainment needs served most effectively by services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Heck, you would be amazed what you can find on YouTube for free. I even found full episodes of German detective shows from the sixties recently. Just search, and usually you will find.

    FWIW, first of January I switched to Comcast digital voice, and dumped AT&T as landline phone provider. It works fine.

    But I will be writing to Congress and the FCC demanding that this merger NOT be allowed.

    At some point Congress needs to wake up to the fact the monopolies were outlawed mid-20th century for really good business and political and economic reasons.

    The problem we face is we have a Congress that is, quite literally, bought and paid for by the corporate kleptocracy. And so far, we do not have a majority of Americans cognizant of this fact and willing to quit voting the b*stards into office.

    "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

    by HeartlandLiberal on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:15:26 AM PST

    •  I love my Comcast internet/TV (10+ / 0-)

      Expensive, yes. But it's a quality product (by American internet speed standards).

      Had the whole AT&T or Comcast debate again when I bought my new place but decided to bite the bullet and go with Comcast again, even though I have Amazon and Netflix.

      I only wish that channels were offered a la carte. It would be so much easier to pay just for my Discovery-History-AMC-TLC-USA-HGTV obsession separately instead of getting a bazillion channels I don't watch.

      Here's a good piece about why we pay so much here in the US for similar products that are priced more competitively abroad.

      •  I always imagine we pay more (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, SoCalSal, thomask

        because who is going to intervene and create 'fairness".

        That is what capitalism is all about: charging people as much as they'll pay, even more, if possible.

        One has to be wealthy to get a deal in America.

        Legal means "good".
        [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:27:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A suggestion for Comcast customers... (5+ / 0-)

          I've had comcast cable/internet/home security for almost 15 years - I hate to think of how much I've paid them over the years!

          I recently called their customer service line and complained about the cost and stated that I was going to have to drop services because it was just too expensive - I was transferred to their "customer loyalty department" who managed to maintain my current level of service and reduce my monthly bill by $80 per month. It may not work for everyone, but it's certainly worth a shot.

          •  I've done the same thing too. (0+ / 0-)

            We got  cable in 1982 because we live midway between DC and Baltimore and the stations from both cities were weak.  We had local county cable which was then bought by home.com in the early 90's then by Comcast a few years later.  I always inform them that we've had them since 1982 and how we would hate to switch but cannot afford to pay what they want.  They typically offer us a 1 year "bundle" price.  When the bundle expires, the rate jumps substantially and I make the same call again.  They have to transfer you to a special office.  It's such a sham.  Obviously they can afford to provide the service for the lower rate, but why do that if people will pay more?

            “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

            by musiclady on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 08:27:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I do this about once a year. (0+ / 0-)

              Do it when you see them advertising a low-cost package to first-time subscribers.  Sometimes it works and sometimes they'll say they can't cut me a deal right then.

              Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government -- Bernie Sanders

              by OnePingOnly on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:09:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  They're *all* low-quality products (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Subterranean, cybersaur

        some are just lower than others.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:55:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Americans pay far too much for bandwidth (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybersaur

        Europeans hear what we put up with and just shake their heads.  These broadband corporations are all insanely profitable and have profit margins other sectors would kill their mothers to have.

        We need an executive branch with the stones to smash the telecoms/cablecoms into a thousand splinters.  

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:05:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I dropped cable well over a year ago. (6+ / 0-)

      $75/month for basic cable and then 26 minutes of commercials to endure each hour of programming.

      TV is why Americans don't fight back against what's happening to them.

      They are totally cowed.

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:24:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  NOTE: That was Comcast. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stwriley, cybersaur

        I still have comcast cable internet because ATT wireless is slow and shitty.

        Comcast cable is charged at least 3 times what it is worth, but that is America.

        Legal means "good".
        [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:26:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm thinking about it (5+ / 0-)

        With all the content available on the internet and Netflix, and the "quality" of programming on cable (every single cable station has gone full bore reality shows), I look at my cable bill every month and ask myself why I'm spending all this money?

        Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

        by skohayes on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:40:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  $8/month for Netflix, with the same crappy movies (4+ / 0-)

          one finds on "Comcast on demand".

          I spend a lot of time looking for a movie to watch, read reviews, then check out trailers on YouTube before deciding.

          Some nights all I do is watch trailers, which are more entertaining than many 'finished products" one par for out the nose with comcast.

          Lots of Indie and foreign films.

          Best has been Ong Bak 2, many here would like "Chocolate" (about a young Thai girl with autism who learns martial arts and protects her family).

          Thank God the economy is really bad and I have to work a lot and don't have to fill all my hours with leisure and entertainment.

          Legal means "good".
          [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

          by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:27:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I love documentaries (0+ / 0-)

            I had back surgery a few years back and watched several great documentaries on marijuana, hemp, the drug war, and other related stuff. Netflix has tons of them.

            Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

            by skohayes on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 04:08:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Netflix Has WAYYYY More than Xfinity (0+ / 0-)

            Seriously? The Xfinity movie offerings were a pathetic joke, and their interface? Designed by monkies who had apparently been encouraged to work by liberal glasses of alcohol.

            "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

            by HeartlandLiberal on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:48:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  My wife and I did the same... (2+ / 0-)

        over ten years ago. We've been watching everything we want on either broadcast TV or net services (HuluPlus, Netflix, Amazon Prime) for a tiny percentage of what we used to pay for cable. We live in Philadelphia, the home base of Comcast but interestingly enough also a city that has long prevented one cable operator from controlling the entire city. Unfortunately for those who still have cable, the other operator is...Time Warner Cable. So this deal will make Philly into another monopoly market.

        But I also want to note that there are still good alternatives to Comcast (and our phone giant here in Philly, Verizon) when it comes to internet service as well. We have a full ADSL line provided by Earthlink (because phone providers here must allow you to use any service provider equally) and get a solid 3Mbps at all times (unlike a cable connection, we don't share our bandwidth with anyone else, so it never gets slower unless there's a problem with the overall system, which has happened once for a few hours in the eleven years we've had the line.) This is more than enough to provide streaming HD video with no delays while other net activity is taking place and (since we're not a business) that's all the bandwidth we (and most people) need. We also get this without any filtering or interference from our provider, since they have no vested interest in favoring some net content over others. Their only concern is keeping their customers happy with the service, which is exactly what we all want from our providers.

        This is the real reason that, even though we could have either Comcast internet (like my in-laws, who have constant trouble with it) or Verizon FiOS fiber optic service and theoretically get higher speeds and bandwidth, we won't go with either one until net neutrality gets written into hard-and-fast law. We know that both these companies (no matter what they may claim) are already favoring some content over other content to their own advantage. I have no interest in letting Verizon, for instance, slow down my Amazon Prime services because they want to discourage it's use in favor of other content more profitable to Verizon.

        So here's my advice in the face of this merger: dump them all and get yourself a good, independent internet service provider, set up a cheap computer as a PVR with a couple of TV tuner cards in it, subscribe to your favorite net content providers, and end up like us: paying about $50 a month for the whole thing (ADSL line and content provider fees) and getting virtually anything you want to see when you want to see it.

        Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

        by Stwriley on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 08:08:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Congress, wake up? Let us know when. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon Wraight

      I'm from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

      by voicemail on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:32:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I dropped cable 8 years ago and have never (4+ / 0-)

      missed it.  I have only internet from our local communications monopoly (Mediacom).

      Streaming for three or four months every year to catch up, dvds, public radio and the BBC . . . I'm happy.

      Sure I'm a whole year behind on Game of Thrones . . . but I've read the books.  No rush.

      Hard to have a government when one-third of your representatives are insane and the other two-thirds have been sold to the highest bidder.

      by Rikon Snow on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:40:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm a sports fan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rikon Snow, prettygirlxoxoxo

        That alone means I could never do what you've done.  Each to his/her own, I guess.

        Sure, there are other ways to see games, but really?

      •  If you've read the books, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomFromNJ, Rikon Snow

        there's no reason to watch the TV Bastardization.  I tried watching two seasons but video is no match for the imagination.  The HBO series also lacks the realism and grittiness of the books.  Sociopathy doesn't translate well to the TV Machine, since if HBO was faithful to the books, viewers would freak.

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:17:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I'm rather enjoying it. (0+ / 0-)

          There's some fun moments, hot men . . . I have low standards.

          Hard to have a government when one-third of your representatives are insane and the other two-thirds have been sold to the highest bidder.

          by Rikon Snow on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 10:56:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well there's that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rikon Snow

            Tywin and Tyrion are well cast and well acted.  Sandor Clegane not so much, and The Mountain is just some burly guy.  They can't show what a sociopath The Mountain is without it being pulled off the air.  

            "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

            by Subterranean on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 07:53:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  A Note on Comcast Speed (0+ / 0-)

      One thing I should have mentioned re: my Internet speed. I am paying for a business class account. And my download speed is 50 Mbps, upload 10 Mbps, which is important, because I server up images for an online store I maintain on a commercial site from my own web server.

      I test throughput regularly using www.speedtest.net. Just now, I got 54.53 Mbps down, 11.56 Mbps up. So my speed, rather than being less than promised, is regularly at or exceeding the contracted rate.

      I have to keep slapping my hand from kicking in another 25 - 50 a month to double the speed, but seriously, 50 Mbps down for browsing the web is incredibly snap the page in place fast.

      "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” --Yogi Berra

      by HeartlandLiberal on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:53:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Considering the Big names in spew (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, wintergreen8694, Stude Dude

    Limbaugh,  O'Reilly and Beck basically were failures at what everything they tried until they found their "calling" spewing conservative Platitude-Gibberish  It's particularly vile how they lash out at those who struggle to get by.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:15:42 AM PST

  •  Repubs are working diligently on (15+ / 0-)

    alienating themselves from the rest of the Human Species with their overall agenda.

    God... the hatred they have for jobs, workers, unions, and worker power.

    I have no idea what it is going to take for the average american to add 2 + 2 and realize the utter contempt the GOP has for their lives.

    I am 53 and wonder if I will ever see Americans finally pouring into the streets, finally having had the final straw, whatever that might be. 20 more years of trying to use "voting" to get our asses out of the mess we voted ourselves into? 30 years?

    What would the quality of our life be without these systematic inequities being successfully forced upon us recurrently?

    Our lives pass by daily as these fuckers conspire to ruin anything that makes it worthwhile.

    I live for the day when Americans figure it out and things we cannot discuss here occur because people have fucking had enough.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:23:08 AM PST

    •  It is a puzzle (4+ / 0-)

      how anyone can vote or agree with these hateful, money grabbers.  We discuss this and analyze it daily but I never understand the ability to screw yourself to aid people who will turn and suck the life out of you.

      Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

      by tobendaro on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:36:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Look at reality TV shows (6+ / 0-)

        Who watches that shit?

        The same people who vote for their own socio-economic slavery while chortling about being 'free'.

        Legal means "good".
        [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:47:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The existence of the puzzle, tobendaro, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DRo, tobendaro, cybersaur

        is the result of ignorance and an inclination to accept propaganda.  A good example is the lack of attention given to the platforms of the parties in our two-party system.  Very few voters have any idea what's contained in these platforms.  They never read them, and in the current political atmosphere, even if they know what's contained in the platforms, don't hold their elected representatives accountable for acting against the policies outlined there.

        Polls have shown that most voters agree with the policies espoused by the Democrats, but many are swayed by the Republicans' mastery of diversion, propaganda and false conclusions, all delivered with disingenuous concern and disguised condescension.  Sometimes self-interest is held hostage by preconceived notions and a need to feel superior - the old story of "how to grow mushrooms."

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:26:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They can afford to. (4+ / 0-)

      After all, most of the dems in office are perfectly happy to help keep the rest of us shackled economically while the megamultinationals suck all of the life and wealth out of us.  The further entrenched the power of the plutocrats becomes, the less they need to both with keeping the rest of us distracted with fights over 'social' issues.

      •  Most of them are millionaires already (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, wonmug

        and, as such, cannot be trusted to ever do the right thing for those of us who are check to check.

        They string us out vote to vote, while never really quite giving us what we really should be enjoying: a decent life in a powerful country.

        Instead we're being destroyed systematically, while being exhorted to stay within the lines, so the damage can continue.

        Legal means "good".
        [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:45:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Enough is enough! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo, wonmug

      I also wonder when people will reach that point.A few nights ago I watched a 2011 Canadian documentary called "Surviving Progress".Excellent and I suggest you google it.It portrayed the history leading up to the sorry state of our planet.It suggested solutions which won't happen.A few of the experts were optimistic but most not so much.Like you I wonder when enough will be enough.

      We could certainly slow down the aging process if it had to work its way through Congress. Will Rogers

      by zestyann on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:18:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Job craters. (5+ / 0-)

    Here in my small town in N. central Texas, the Walmart is woefully understaffed, and is in total disarray. The shelves are unstocked, etc.
    The main reason is that the management are assholes. They have run through the entire population of potential employees and very few around here will swallow their dignity and submit to the abuse.
    Assholes are attracted to and cultivated by Walmart and the corporate management encourages an antagonistic relationship.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:25:57 AM PST

    •  But do people shop there? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David54, wintergreen8694

      If so is it solely because there is no where else to turn?  Could this be an opportunity for Mom and Pop shops to fight back?  

      "I'm not left wing because i'm ideological, or passionate, or angry. I'm left wing because I'm informed." - Mikesco

      by newfie on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:41:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. Although dollar store is cutting in on them (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DRo, ten canvassers

        with even cheaper crap.
        There's Walmart, a competing supermarket chain, a dollar store, and just a couple of local businesses that have survived.
        Based on what I've seen, our Walmart is at the end of their distribution chain, and we get a lot of products that won't sell in the city stores. Older stuff. For instance, the flavor of "Triscuit" that I know is the most popular will never show on the shelves here. Just the least popular and the store brands. Ditto every other option in the store.
        People don't want to shop at Walmart, but they have to, or drive to the city.
        We need  to bust up Walmart as being too big to fail.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:52:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The financial pundits are beginning to notice (3+ / 0-)

      I'm seeing articles on Yahoo Finance etc. saying Wal-Mart's cost-cutting may have gone too far, for exactly the reasons you outline. Smart investors actually go into the stores they're considering and notice whether they're neat and well-stocked, whether there are a lot of customers (and what they're saying), etc. And they're noticing that other stores (the "dollar store" variety) aren't struggling the same way, so it's not just that the consumers aren't spending. It's Wal-Mart.

  •  No More Mergers. (8+ / 0-)

    In fact, we need more robust enforcement of anti-trust laws.
    John Healy should look into whether lax regulations are allowing cable/satellite , etc. to collude in gouging their customers.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:28:58 AM PST

  •  Well said, xxdr! (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the roundup this morning, Georgia.

    I also wish we could have a la carte cable. I don't feel "free," I feel hemmed in by having loads of loathsome channels that I wouldn't watch if you paid me to. We watch local channels for news and weather and the rest of the time we watch PBS or one of its derivatives, like the UK channel.

    If I could, I'd have all-French, all-Arabic, and all-Mandarin channels and perhaps National Geographic, Discovery, and History. Reality shows make me feel sick. I'm just not a TV or movie watcher by nature. Books are so much more controllable!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:31:47 AM PST

    •  People like me would buy 3 channels (4+ / 0-)

      Comcast cannot make obscene and needless profits just selling us what we want.

      In America, you MUST pay for stuff you don't want in order for the rich to be coddled.

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:33:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If the pricing was low enough. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DuzT

      I don't want an 'ala carte' system that means I'll pay even more for the few channels I watch now than for those channels and the thousand or so I never watch that I get now.

      Currently, the channels I AM offered ala carte would quickly add up to more than my current bill if I even added a handful of new channels.

      I'd love a service where, for instance, every possible channel was offered to you, and you simply picked something like 25, 50, or 100 for what I pay now, and could change your mix on a monthly basis if you wanted to try out new channels and drop old ones.

    •  Where I live, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diana in NoVa

      we actually have to pay the cable provider to broadcast our "local" ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates (granted it's only about $10 a month, but still), so we're in effect paying a premium to have these stations. Now our local programming is out of Wichita, which is 4 hours east of me, and we'd never pick the station up with an antenna, but I never watch these stations anyway (except in times of severe weather), so it's even more motivation to get rid of cable altogether.

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:46:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Devolution (15+ / 0-)

    I grew up in post World War 2 Long Island. Returning vets wanted good schools and opportunities for their kids after surviving nightmares like the Battle of the Bulge, El Alamein and Okinawa. So I benefited from very good Science and Math and English instruction. There were Art and Music classes. When I got out of college I moved to a rural area and taught high school Biology. One day a parent came to school and asked me if I taught evolution in my class. I said I did and she said her daughter would not be able to attend that portion of the class due to their religious beliefs. I told her that it would effect the kid's grade on the NY State regents as about a seventh or so of that exam was about evolution. She said that was OK but the kid would not attend. The principal said to let them do what they want and so I did and the kid didn't do well on the test. I had never run into this kind of thing before. My experience was that there were Catholics, Jews and Protestants and we all took the same classes and no one ever related the content to their religion. In fact no one discussed their religion very much ay all except one kid who insisted on wearing his yamaka in school, a battle he won with little effort.

    Now I read that some elected wacko in Missouri wants parents warned if evolution is going to be taught in Biology class so they can refuse to have their kids attend. The theory of evolution is the organizing principle of modern biology. Without grasping this theory it is impossible to make sense of genetics, medicine, ecology and on and on.

    So what I once thought was an aberration of this little back water town I taught in turns out to be some sort of big issue in a country that prides itself on the advances in science it has made.

    Before I was even in high school, never mind teaching in a high school, I saw the movie "Inherit the Wind". Spencer Tracey did a great job of knocking down the inanity of the literal interpretation of the Bible. I sure wish old Spencer was around today.

    •  The Discovery Institute should be shuttered (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      singe, TomFromNJ, cybersaur

      and never have their opinion even considered by anyone reviewing textbooks for public classroom use.  They're playing havoc with the science textbook approval process here in Texas.  All but one reviewer, aligned with the Discovery Institute, agree on a high school biology textbook that ignores creationism and the Institute's disingenuous labeling of creationism as "intelligent design."  That one misguided reviewer has thrown the whole process into disarray.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:52:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My heart goes out to those or you living in the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TofG, TomFromNJ, SueDe

        belly of the beast. I am correct in believing that all Texas textbooks are bought in one big load for all the public schools whereas in other states individual school systems make their own choices? If that is the case then that is something it would be nice to change; then the folks who want their kids to be dumb could make their choice and the folks who want their kids to live in reality could make theirs.

        •  Yes but...textbook publishers must sell to Texas. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SueDe

          I worked for a textbook publisher in the 1980s and 1990s and it was understood, in order to get the volume of sales to make a profit, the books had to get by Texas and California censors.  
          In the mid 1980s, we had to put segments about AIDS, masturbation, abortion and birth control in the teachers' manual of a high school health book so they could be duplicated and disseminated to students on the sly if the schools permitted. I also was once instructed not to use the word "union" in the organized labor chapter of a high school economics textbook, which I ignored as an impossibility.
          Now that textbook publishers are transitioning to publish on demand and online texts, this may be changing and Texas ignoramuses may find themselves in an ever more isolated world

          Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government -- Bernie Sanders

          by OnePingOnly on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:33:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Comcast (7+ / 0-)

    Be prepared for blackouts of content providers.  Once Comcast has just under 30% of all cable customers, it will try to bargain down their costs--networks will resist--and blackouts will be common.  Not saying the end result might not be cheaper cable costs for the consumer--let's say I'm skeptical lower prices will be passed through.
    More troubling is the loss of net neutrality to so large a provider.  Maybe Google will buy Comcast--and we'll all get screwed.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:38:59 AM PST

    •  Right about the blackouts (0+ / 0-)

      But anyone that thinks a Comcast / TWC merger is going to lower costs to consumers is delusional. The costs are guaranteed to go up.

      We’re certainly not promising that customer bills are going to go down or even increase less rapidly.
      --Comcast executive David Cohen

      +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

      by cybersaur on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:32:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well this is interesting. I'm sure the Koch (7+ / 0-)

    brothers heartily approve:

    Venture capitalist Tom Perkins suggested that "only taxpayers should have the right to vote -- and that wealthy Americans who pay more in taxes should get more votes," CNN Money reports.

     Said Perkins: "The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes. But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How's that?"

    "The audience at the Commonwealth Club reacted with laughter. But Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking."

  •  Imagine the exploding heads (7+ / 0-)

    if Democrats said a company would be blackballed if it a union didn't get put in place.

    Hi Double-Standard! How are ya today!?

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:51:36 AM PST

  •  Lame Republican "solutions" (0+ / 0-)

    Jay Bookman is actually wrong on this one. Of course describing problems is much easier than offering real solutions. The reason this approach can actually work well for Republicans is because Americans don't ever vote for any candidate or political party. The votes are always cast against some candidate or idea that voters come to dislike. Republicans don't need to convince anyone to vote for their agenda. All they need to do is hang in there and not be too objectionable. The effort to not offend everybody doesn't need to include policy solutions.

    You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

    by mstep on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:03:50 AM PST

  •  high unemployment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Stude Dude

    Isn't it obvious that high unemployment depresses wages and salaries. It means a ready supply of unemployed workers, who will jump at the chance for a low-wage job, because it's better than no job at all.

    As far as I'm concerned the GOP are a bunch of corrupt Fascist criminal politicians, who will stoop at nothing to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power.

    The Republican brand is totally bankrupt.

    by vlyons on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:13:55 AM PST

  •  Schadenfreude? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1

    My heart breaks...
    McConnell voted to end the filibuster against raising the debt ceiling, then voted against raising the debt ceiling.

    McConnell voted to break Ted Cruz’s debt limit filibuster, helping avert a crisis that could have badly damaged the GOP for 2014. Now the Courier-Journal of Kentucky reports that this has become a major issue in the primary. Bevin is ripping McConnell as “spineless” and “a Democrat in disguise as a Republican,” while Cruz pointedly notes that whether McConnell remains Senate GOP leader “is ultimately a decision” for “the voters in Kentucky.” ....

    Legislators regularly use procedural tricks to work around difficult political dilemmas. But this comical level of contortion is what you need to resort to when dealing with a base that has been misled and had its expectations falsely inflated for literally years. GOP leaders have worked diligently to create an alternate reality in which the Next Big Confrontation With Obama is perpetually the one that will finally produce a glorious, epic victory over out-of-control Obummer-Job-Crushing-Big-Gummit, whether it’s the health law or federal spending.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

    by skohayes on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:19:06 AM PST

  •  Cable costs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Sychotic1

    When cable arrived, it touted that by paying a fee, you'd avoid all those commercials.  What happened to that?  I've never had cable, but they seem to have reneged...

  •  Comcast merging with Time-Warner? (4+ / 0-)

    Does this mean that instead of paying $200 per month for 300 channels of crap - ¼ of which are infomercials - I would end up paying $300 per month for 200 channels of crap - ½ of which would be infomercials?

    Methinks it's time to bag "the box" and break out Scrabble.

  •  Check this out. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, TomFromNJ

    Buzzfeed has up one of their "Reasons Why" articles on Ruth Bader Ginsburg titled 19 Reasons Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice.  The pictures are fantastic.  Who knew she was such a beautiful young woman?!

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:58:29 AM PST

  •  Go look at the comments on Cantor's piece (0+ / 0-)

    He's getting his ass handed to him by his base.

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 07:20:22 AM PST

  •  WH Petition to Stop Comcast Merger (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur
  •  LOLed at this: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur
    Regulators might be tempted to agree with Comcast that its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion in stock poses no threat to competition and would actually benefit consumers by giving the company more resources to invest in new services.
    Yes, because Comcast is a non-profit public service company.  

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:01:57 AM PST

  •  On NPR this morning a ComCast official said (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    they're not in competition with TW, they serve different areas, so a merger doesn't decrease competition.

    STEAMING HEAP of BS!!

    They each had REGIONAL MONOPOLIES so this DOES increase the size of the monopoly! There was already a problem because of lax regulation. That does NOT make everything OK, and does NOT mean "no increase of monopoly power".

    NPR! Report the context! GRRR!

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