Friday, September 28, 2012

End of September Polling: Romney's In Deep Doo

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Talking Points Memo posted an interesting graphic today. It charts end-of-September polling stats for each presidential election since 1980. I've posted a portion of it below.

Bottom line: Polling history shows that Mitt Romney is in dire need of an unprecedented game-changer if he intends to avoid a landslide defeat.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey St. Jude ...

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 4:35 PM

I'm betting you might have a little moisture in your eyes after watching this video version of the Beatles' "Hey Jude" done in support of St. Jude.

Marlo Thomas tells the story behind the video at Huffington Post.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney: His Hardscrabble Memphis Childhood

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 1:11 PM

I know this will come as a shock to many of you, but Mitt Romney grew up poor in North Memphis, the son of Rufus and Maybelle Romney. Or so says this well-researched piece of journalism.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Hey, I Caught a Big Fish

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Recently, my wife and I bought a little runabout boat and for the past few weekends we've been exploring the Mississippi. With water levels at near record lows, there are lots of new "beaches" within reach and many quiet coves and backwaters.

Yesterday, about five miles above Memphis, we stopped on a sandbar for lunch. Just for grins, I wrapped a piece of bacon on a hook and cast it out into some quiet water. A few minutes later, the line started stripping off the reel. When I set the hook, I knew I had a whale and that my little spinning rod was probably over-matched. However, using all the skills I learned watching Jeremy Wade on Monster Fish, I was eventually able to get the thing onto the sand.

I picked up the 20-pound blue catfish, posed for the obligatory "man holding fish" photo, and let him go "swim with the fishes," which in his case, is a good thing.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hacker Group Claims to Have Romney's Tax Returns

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

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Ken Whitehouse of the Nashville City Paper is reporting that a group is claiming to have hacked into Price-Waterhouse's files in Franklin, Tennessee, and gotten Mitt Romney's tax returns.

The City Paper reports that the group is asking for $1 million in Bitcoin to be paid before September 28th or it will release the documents to the media.

An excerpt from one the messages: "Romney's 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied. A package was sent to the PWC on suite 260 with a flash drive containing a copy of the 1040 files, plus copies were sent to the Democratic office in the county and copies were sent to the GOP office in the county at the beginning of the week also containing flash drives with copies of Romney's tax returns before 2010. A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages, taken from earlier 1040 tax forms gathered and stored on the flash drives.

The group will release all available files to the public on the 28 of September, 2012."

Is it a scam? Yeah, probably. Those Nigerians are pretty clever folks. But crazier stuff has happened. More here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

17 CA Jobs Outsourced

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

This is a press release I just received from the Memphis Newspaper Guild:

Newspaper Guild says The Commercial Appeal's outsourcing will cause long-term harm

The Commercial Appeal has outsourced nearly its entire circulation customer service department and stepped up outsourcing of advertising design services.

Starting Aug. 27, calls about undelivered newspapers, vacation stops and new subscriptions were switched over to an Arizona-based operator of call centers. The CA's in-house call center was deactivated.

Fifteen circulation customer service employees were relieved of duty and told they would be paid through Sept. 7. Company officials told the Memphis Newspaper Guild that customer service calls would be handled by Circseller, also known as Unique Communications Group Inc.

Additionally, two advertising artists lost their jobs. The company said it was increasing the flow of business to 2AdPro, a provider of graphic design services in India.

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Newspaper officials described the outsourcing as a part of a streamlining initiative, known as Scripps 3.0, which E.W. Scripps Co. in Cincinnati is carrying out at its 13 newspapers.

Memphis Newspaper Guild president Wayne Risher said: "With these outsourcings, The Commercial Appeal’s corporate overseers have taken another step down the road to stamping out the 'local' in local newspaper.

"It's bad news for our subscribers, whose calls about billing and delivery issues will no longer be answered by Greater Memphis residents who speak their language and know their community.

"It's devastating for the employees, who find themselves suddenly jobless and facing loss of health insurance coverage.

"It diminishes the media company's investment in the Greater Memphis community, and it flies in the face of America's growing preference for spending locally and buying locally.

"It will no doubt further drain the newspaper's depleted reservoir of good will, perhaps giving people in the Memphis community one more reason not to support our enterprise. In the long run, that hurts our ability to provide quality local journalism."

The Commercial Appeal has been sending a portion of its advertising graphic design work to 2AdPro in India for several years.

The service boasts low cost and quick turnaround, but the finished product’s quality is so inconsistent that advertisements often must be reworked by the newspaper's shrinking staff of in-house designers before it can be published.

The Newspaper Guild, which represents employees in news, advertising, circulation and business departments, conducted a session Sept. 1 to help newly displaced employees with financial planning and preparations for job searches.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Let Them Eat Stats

Posted By on Sun, Sep 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

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In a column today entitled "Anxiety Works Overtime," Commercial Appeal editor Chris Peck remembers a blissful time when "Labor Day was about grilling steaks and not about sweating over your job."

Peck goes on to suggest that if you're employed by, say, Pinnacle Airlines or Accredo Health Group or FedEx, "you may be worrying this weekend."

Or, I might add (since Peck didn't mention it), if you are employed by the Commercial Appeal, which quietly laid off 17 more people on August 27th, five days before Peck published this oh-so-sympatico ode to the perils of unemployment.

From the Memphis Newspaper Guild website (complete with two typos): "Reduction in Force: Due to a Scripps company-wide action, The Commercial Appeal inacted a reduction in force on Monday, August 27. The company elimiated 17 guild-covered jobs."

Back to Mr. Peck, who continues: "Half the people on Earth who are looking for a real job can't find one. Against that backdrop, we're not as bad off in the United States, or in Memphis.

"But the anxiety over finding and keeping a job is no less real for us. The ill winds of too few jobs and too much underemployment are felt even in the heat of early September."

Or late August, for that matter.

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