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Archive for July 6th, 2010

Righter wing media

Posted by Charles II on July 6, 2010

Terry Krepel has what looks like a scoop to me:

In early June, Newsmax raised a few eyebrows by declaring its interest in — and then making an official offer for — Newsweek magazine, which the Washington Post Co. has put up for sale.

While the offer itself got attention, the likely money behind it mostly didn’t. While Newsmax makes rich Republicans its target demographic — according to Talkers magazine, 20 percent of its readership claims a net worth of $1 million or more — and while it claimed revenue of $36 million in 2008 and has projected $50 million in revenue this year, it likely doesn’t throw off enough money for Ruddy to purchase money-losing Newsweek without help.

Enter Richard Mellon Scaife.

Now, it’s not a done deal. But the very idea that a crackpot bunch like Newsmax, famous for inventing a noticeable fraction of the lies against Clinton among other lowlights, could conceivably take over a magazine like Newsweek tells us that media in this country are seriously screwed up.


Posted in big money, capitalism as cancer, mythmaking, Republicans as cancer, Richard Mellon Scaife, rightwing moral cripples | 3 Comments »

A prayer of thanksgiving

Posted by Charles II on July 6, 2010

This will mean nothing to anyone but me. On the first of the year, I wrote a post called The Year of the Metal Tiger, which proposed A modest amount (perhaps 5% exposure?) in options to the downside. .

Now, anyone who does options trading knows that it’s a nervous way to make a buck. You are not only betting on what price a stock will achieve, but also (more or less) when it will do so. If you guess wrong, you can be on the hook for as much or more than the amount of the original investment. And the swings are often 5%, 10%, or 20% on a single day. Some days, the option may not trade at all, making its value more theoretical than tangible. And this year has been more nervous than others. Options to the downside did horribly through April, as the market wafted upward on nothing more than fervent wishes.

Well, today marked the clearing of all of the options trades I placed this year. Each of them hit my profit goal. The median annualized profit was 102% (yay!), with no losses. But at one point, each of them was also down 40-60% (hence the nervous). It was never a lot of money: if there’s a market crash, options could easily become illiquid, or temporarily so. But doing it was, for me, an act of faith.

Hey, if other people can pray for parking spaces, I can pray for successful options trades. And God does answer prayer.

Anyway, this year’s adventure in making money is done. Praise be to God!

Posted in Just for fun, stock market | 5 Comments »

Hatin’ On The Waitstaff, Tom Emmer Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 6, 2010

I see that Tom Emmer, the RPM’s choice for Minnesota’s next governor, has decided to use waitresses for punching bags — politically, at least (h/t to Bluestem Prairie):

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Emmer said the state could gain jobs if employers could a pay a lower hourly wage to employees who earn a lot of money from tips.

He stopped by the Eagle Street Grille in St. Paul Monday morning, saying government needs to listen to businesses about reducing regulatory burdens and adding jobs.

“With the tips that they get to take home, they are some people earning over $100,000 a year. More than the very people providing the jobs and investing not only their life savings but their families’ future,” Emmer said.

Ooooh! Lemme cue up my Dr. Evil voice: One Hundred THOUSAND Dollars! Too bad the Eagle’s own Republican-friendly management shot this sucker down:

Emmer said some well-tipped Eagle Street Grille employees are among those making more than $100,000 a year. But one of the grille’s owners said only a “couple” of his 45 or so servers make that much in a good year.

And in the backwash of the Bush years, I reckon there haven’t been many good years lately for that tavern, Hummer-driving owner aside. (Oh, by the way, the tavern wouldn’t exist if not for the millions of taxpayer subsidies that went into the nearby Xcel Center, site of the Minnesota Wild’s home games and other sporting events. But I digress.) Setting aside guesstimates for reality, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (again h/t to BSP) states that the mean annual wages for waiters and waitresses in Minnesota is $22,730. That’s considerably less than Emmer’s pulled-out-his-butt numbers for these folks.

I’m trying to decide if Emmer’s just doing a riff on the old fake-libertarian War on the Waitstaff that’s currently popular among Galt-worshiping Republicans, or if he’s cuddling up to RPM Chair and would-be taco tycoon Tony Sutton by working to lower his operating expenses?

UPDATE: Here’s some more on the ironic douchery of the Republican owners of the Eagle Street Grille, courtesy of MNObserver in the comments to this Cucking Stool post:

Let’s not overlook the setting for Candidate Emmer’s comments – the Eagle Street Grille. Five years ago, the Eagle Street Grille’s owners testified tearfully at the Saint Paul City Council hearing on the proposed smoking ban that fully half of his customers were smokers and that the ban would most certainly kill his business.

His animosity toward Council Member Dave Thune, who had proposed the ban, went so far that the owner added a special menu item:”The Thune: All the leftover scraps from the Grille thrown on a bun $0.00
(We wont actually serve it to you because who wants a mouth full of crap)”

But now, five years after the ban, his servers make $100k a year? How fortunate for all that the Grille is located just across the street from the largest taxpayer-funded entertainment venue in Saint Paul.

And of course, who pushed the hardest for the Xcel Center, the thing that made the Eagle Street Grille possible in the first place? Why, that Dave Thune guy, the one the owners trash on their menu.

If creeps like this will call out Emmer for his flim-flammery, what does that say about Tom Emmer?

UPDATE #2: It gets better — the Strib’s Jon Tevlin, eager to get one of the vaunted $100K server jobs, has a Kodak Moment with Kevin Geisen, one of the co-owners of the Eagle Street Grille:

But my waiter, who turned out to be co-owner Kevin Geisen, wouldn’t even give me an application. He had just fielded a call from an angry woman.

“She called me the effenheimer and said we had disgraced St. Paul by lying about how much our servers make,” said Geisen. “She said she’d never come back again.”

The caller probably did the same spit-take I did when I read Emmer’s quote.

Let’s see, according to state data, the median wage for a waiter or waitress is $9.36 per hour. If they work 40 hours a week, with no vacations, that comes to $19,468 per year, including tips. So, a super server would need to make $80,000 more in tips to make up the difference. That comes to $1,538 for a five-day week, or $307 a day in tips, every day. For a year.

See, Joe Kasel, the other co-owner, was the guy quoted by NPR as saying that “a couple” of his servers made $100,000, but only in a “good year”. Turns out that this is a wee exaggeration — and pissed off the servers:

At first, Kasel said Emmer’s quote was “manipulated” by the media, then changed that to “misquoted.”

“He didn’t say anything wrong,” said Kasel.

(Star Tribune reporter Jackie Crosby stands by the quote, which was recorded.)

“I don’t want people thinking we have people making $100,000 a year here, because we don’t,” said Kasel, who had to call his 29 employees that morning to prevent a mutiny. “No way, shape or form did I [tell Emmer] anyone made $100,000.”


Posted in 2010, eedjits, Minnesota, real wages, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | 3 Comments »

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