Update on the LAT and Orange Country Register Update.   Gannett, a media conglomerate with over 100 newspapers including USA Today, tried to take over the Tribune Publishing Co. but the Tribune rejected the offers.  As for the OCR, it is still unclear what the new owners plan to do.  Some say they will try to flip it after a year or two.  Will there be a change in their editorial right wing slant?  On Sunday April 24 the opinion editor of the OCR (Brian Calle) wrote a long editorial which was circulated to PSOC stating that the “new” OCR was not beholden to any political party and would strive for diversity of opinion which represents the community.  The OCR has never shown diversity of opinion and has always been closely affiliated with right wing Republican positions even though about 2/3 of voters today are either Democrats or Independents.  Only one out of 17 of their OpEd commentators is liberal (Erwin Chemerinsky).  On Sat., April 30, all 6 LTE in the OCR addressed his editorial.  Five of the six praised the OCR for its balance, objectivity, and its current slant.  This seemed to suggest that the “new” OCR plans to stay the same as the old OCR.  Perhaps there are few people who dislike the OCR, or perhaps the OCR is determined not to change no matter what the public wants.  If you have any opinions, please write bcalle@ocregister.com.  On the same day the supporting letters were published, the only Op-Ed was by Mark Landsbaum who criticized Pres. Obama, praised Ted Cruz, praised Ronald Reagan, advocated tax cuts, advocated government spending cuts, and advocated more use of fossil fuels.  In following days, the OCR editorials argued against efforts to lower drug prices, argued in favor of keeping secret the donor lists for the right-wing Americans for Prosperity, and argued against raising minimum wages. Topics for Op-Ed pieces?  Again a strong argument for keeping worker wages as low as possible, a favorite theme of the OCR.…Another Op-Ed wants to cut the laws on water use regulation….George Will argued that those worried about climate change are authoritarian because they want to force their views on others….Next, the terrible things that will happen if Hillary gets elected….Then why Republicans like Ted Cruz followed by why California taxpayers should not support the Univ. of California because the university allow unions….More on how California is being ruined by high taxes plus a tirade of letters opposing UCI Law School Dean Chemerinsky because he argues that Pres. Obama should be able to nominate a new supreme court justice.  This is the OCR version of diversity of informed opinion representing Orange County. How can a newspaper succeed if it refuses to change with the times?

Mother Jones is a great magazine, well worth a subscription.  The current May-June issue is especially packed with goodies.  On the cover is a photo of a cute chicken and inside is an expose of the chicken factory farm business.  Did you know that almost all factory farms heavily dose chickens with antibiotics which are partly to blame the drug-resistant superbugs which sicken 2 million Americans every year?  The main big producer of chickens which does not use antibiotics is Perdue (because they can charge more and can increase profits)…. “Freshly Loaded” provides 10 pages of data on the ten largest corporations in the gun business including how many guns they make, what types they sell, and their global revenue.  Take #2 Remington Outdoor, the maker of the Bushmaster XM-15 used in the Newton, CT massacre.  In 2014 they made 1.47 million guns and their global revenue was $939 million.  Three of their top executives were given the NRA Golden Ring of Freedom award for donating over $1 million to the NRA.  Every resident of Alabama pays $14 to subsidize their Huntsville factory….The Truth about Tipping on p 77 tells the origins of the practice, how it has been abused to exploit restaurant workers (especially women), and how black servers are tipped less. And remember that when a waiter touches you it is because of a study done years ago showing that people tip more when they are touched….Next is an expose on California billionaires Lynda and Stewart Resnick who own the largest flower delivery service, Fiji water, PomWonderful pomegranate juice, Cuties and Halo oranges, lots of pistachio and almond farms, 140 square miles or orchards, and American’s second largest produce company.  They also diversified into the water business and now own the Kern Water Bank, an underground reservoir of 488 billion gallons.  The Resnicks use about 440 billion gallons of water per year, more than all the homes in Los Angles combined. They have carefully cultivated politicians and Hollywood stars,  and as good Democrats they gave huge contributions to Gov. Brown (and previous Gov. Schwarzenegger) to get business done. This story is a real eye-opener on how things work in CA….Other articles concern Flint, police violence, Kansas’ war on judges, judge Scalia’s legacy, and finally a delicate piece by Peggy Orenstein (author of Girls and Sex) about the waxing business.

Lamborghinis in the News.  China’s rapid economic rise has turned peasants into billionaires.  The new one per cent crowd in China likes to flaunt its wealth and look for ways to get their money out of the country.  Many of them send their kids to Canada with a blank check to spend as much as they want.  A favorite hobby is to collect Ferraris and Lamborghinis and there are now over 2500 cars in Vancouver valued at over $150,000.  “In Vancouver there are lots of kids of corrupt Chinese officials” said the Shi Yi, owner of Luxury Motor which caters to affluent Chinese.  Connecting the dots, all the stuff in Walmarts and other stores has transferred wealth from the American middle class to the new Chinese billionaires.

Anti-Muslim Bigotry Spreads.  Last month in Laguna Beach 7 women were ordered to leave the Urth Café because they wore head scarves.  They were accused of being “visibly Muslim.”  The women are suing the owner who in turn filed a countersuit against them.  Meanwhile a UC Berkeley student from Iraq traveling on Southwest Airlines called his father and conversed with him in Arabic.  Southwest ordered him removed from the plane.

Greed, cont.  How much did CBS pay CEO Leslie Moonves in 2015?  Answer: $56.8 million.  Meanwhile, United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek resigned amid a federal corruption investigation. His reward?  A free car, free flights for his lifetime, and $37 million in “compensation”….McDonald’s profits rose 35% last year but the company will not share its wealth with workers other than to offer them a measly $1 over minimum wages.  Workers cannot make ends meet, and it is estimated that the public pays $1.2 billion a year in public aid to those who work at McDonalds….CVS took over the pharmacy of Target and promptly raised drug prices….Quaker Oats claims to be 100% natural, but chemical analysis has found trades of glyphosate (RoundUp)…. A top VW executive made a powerpoint presentation way back in 2006 explaining how to cheat on emissions tests.  Meanwhile, Mitsubishi now admits that it lied about the fuel economy of 620,000 cars it produced….As Congress begins to investigate gouging in health care, the industry responded with a flurry of deals ($40 billion worth of deals announced last week) aimed at more monopoly of products to insure higher prices….

In Brief…. PEW Research continues to study public approval of the political parties.  The approval rating of the Democratic party remains unchanged but the approval rating of the Republican party continues to decline and is now at its lowest point in the last quarter century.  The biggest increase in Republican party disapproval comes from Republicans themselves.  Last week Senate Democrats proposed a bill which would have blocked airlines from further reducing the “size, width, padding, and pitch” of passenger seats.  Voting on party lines, the bill was killed by Republicans….Mormon university Brigham Young has a student “Moral Code” which espouses moral virtues such as chastity but it uses the code against victims of sex crimes.  Recently a 20 year old coed was held captive and raped.  When  she complained, the university responded by suspending her for violation of the “Honor Code:” On the upbeat,  kudos for Colette Bourlier who received her PhD at age 90. Finally, April 28 was designated Ed Balls day in the UK in honor of the member of Parliament who smashed records when he tweeted his own name.

 

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