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Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #280 on: July 27, 2022, 04:41:20 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #281 on: July 28, 2022, 03:33:51 AM »
Spirit ends merger agreement with Frontier, continues takeover talks with JetBlue

- Spirit and Frontier announced plans to merge in February.

- Jetblue came in with an all-cash offer in April.

-  Both suitors sweetened their offers though Spirit delayed a vote four times as it lacked shareholder support for the Frontier deal.

Spirit Airlines terminated its merger agreement with Frontier Airlines on Wednesday, months after a rival bid by JetBlue Airways marred the planned tie-up.

The announcement ends a protracted battle over the budget airline known for its bare bones service and low fares. Spirit said it would continue its “ongoing discussions with JetBlue as we pursue the best path forward for Spirit and our stockholders.”

A JetBlue takeover would create the country’s fifth-largest airline. A combined Spirit and Frontier would have also ranked fifth.

Shareholders on Wednesday were set to vote only on the proposed Spirit-Frontier combination, which JetBlue spent weeks urging shareholders to turn down. The New York-based carrier said in a statement that it was pleased the Frontier agreement was terminated and that it is engaged in discussions with Spirit “toward a consensual agreement as soon as possible.”

The termination of the Spirit-Frontier deal is a blow to the discount carriers that planned to combine forces into a budget behemoth. Frontier’s CEO and other people familiar with the matter had previously said Spirit lacked the shareholder support for the Frontier combination.

Spirit postponed the shareholder vote on the merger four times as it struggled to drum up enough shareholder support. In a July 10 letter to his Spirit counterpart, Frontier CEO Barry Biffle called its latest sweetened offer its “best and final.”

The termination of the Spirit-Frontier deal makes it easier to get to a takeover deal done with JetBlue, which is seeking to buy the budget airline outright for about $3.7 billion and refurbish its planes in JetBlue style, featuring seatback screens and legroom. Ongoing talks for a JetBlue takeover could still fall apart.

“While we are disappointed that Spirit Airlines shareholders failed to recognize the value and consumer potential inherent in our proposed combination, the Frontier Board took a disciplined approach throughout the course of its negotiations with Spirit,” said William Franke, chair of Frontier’s board and managing partner of Indigo Partners, Frontier’s majority shareholder in a release.

Spirit’s has board repeatedly rebuffed JetBlue’s increasingly sweetened offers, arguing that it was unlikely that regulators would approve the takeover.

Even if JetBlue and Spirit reach a deal they would face a high hurdle for the Justice Department’s blessing. The Biden administration has vowed to crack down on consolidation.

Executives for all three airlines said their preferred deal would help them compete better with the top four U.S. carriers — American, Delta, United and Southwest — which control about three-quarters of the domestic market. They also argued the deals would give them access to narrow-body jets, orders for dozens more, and trained pilots, which are in short supply.

Spirit, however, has raised concerns about a JetBlue takeover because of that airline’s alliance with American in the Northeast, a partnership the Justice Department last year sued to undo.

Also on Wednesday, Frontier Airlines reported a $13 million profit for the second-quarter, a drop from last year and 2019. The carrier said higher costs offset a surge in revenue, which came in at a record $909 million, 43% higher than the same quarter of 2019, before the pandemic.

Denver-based Frontier said it expects to generate record revenue in the third quarter.

Frontier shares were little changed in after-hours trading, while JetBlue’s were down 0.6%. Spirit shares were up more than 2%.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #282 on: July 29, 2022, 09:31:04 PM »
Price gouging at the pump results in 235% profit jump for Big Oil: analysis

As fossil fuel giants this week reported record profits for the second quarter, an analysis out Friday highlighted how eight oil companies have raked in nearly $52 billion over the past three months "while Americans continue to struggle at the pump."

The review by the watchdog group Accountable.US revealed that from April through June, Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Hess Corp, Phillips 66, Shell, and TechnipFMC "saw their profits skyrocket from the same time period last year, with income shooting up 235%."

The analysis also pointed out that leaders at Equinor, Halliburton, Hess Corp, and TechnipFMC have boasted "about excellent quarters while dismissing high prices for consumers."

Western Priorities @WstrnPriorities

Your daily reminder not to trust gas companies when they tell you they're on your side or that Biden's causing high gas prices.

"8 of the largest oil companies in the country made a record-breaking $51 billion in profit in the second quarter of 2022. This marks a 235% increase over the same quarter in 2021."

Jordan Schreiber of Accountable.US called the companies' collective profit boost "eye-popping" but also unsurprising "after spending the past three months price gouging consumers by raising gas prices to unprecedentedly high levels."

"Make no mistake; these profits mark a large transfer of wealth from working- and middle-class people to wealthy oil executives and shareholders," she said. "While many consumers were feeling the heavy burden of a life necessity suddenly doubling in price, oil executives were keeping prices high to maximize their profits."

The Q2 profits of U.S. energy giants Chevron and Exxon—$11.62 billion and $17.85 billion, respectively—along with that of Europe's largest oil company, Shell—$11.47 billion—drew widespread criticism along with calls for action by lawmakers and President Joe Biden.

Sunrise Movement @sunrisemvt

While we’ve watched our planet burn, Exxon made $18,000,000,000 this year.

Big Oil is literally profiting off our destructions.

"Big Oil companies are making a killing and pouring fuel on the climate fire while communities pay for more and deadlier climate disasters. It's outrageous," said Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity, in a statement Friday.

"Exxon and other oil and gas corporations lobbied and lied for decades to keep the world addicted to fossil fuels, making billions while hardworking families pay for higher gas prices and costlier heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and floods," he continued. "Now Exxon is once again using its record profits to line the pockets of executives and shareholders."

Wiles asserted that "elected officials cannot remain silent in the face of this injustice. Whether it's taxing these companies' record profits, or taking them to court to make polluters pay for climate damages they knowingly caused, it's time to stand up to Big Oil."

Public Citizen president Robert Weissman declared that "Big Oil is laughing all the way to the bank—and the joke's on us."

"We don't have to be suckers," he argued. "A windfall profits tax with rebates to taxpayers would offset the pain at the pump and end Big Oil's profiteering. Banning U.S. oil exports would actually lower prices for American consumers."

According to Weissman, "It's time for Congress and the Biden administration to stop complaining about Big Oil's rip-off and start doing something about it."

Some lawmakers agree. While Republicans "will continue to play politics and blame Biden for gas prices," Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said of the fossil fuel giants' quarterly profits, "we need to crack down on Big Oil."

Sen. Bernie Sanders concurred, tweeting that "it's time for a windfall profits tax."

While some of his colleagues have introduced legislation focused on Big Oil, Sanders has put forth a broader tax proposal that would target price gouging by a range of companies.

Amid rising fears of recession in recent weeks, calls have been mounting for federal lawmakers to more forcefully take on corporate greed. The Inflation Reduction Act unveiled Wednesday features some related policies, but climate activists have also sounded the alarm about its energy provisions. The bill—negotiated with fossil fuel ally Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)—contains major handouts that are reportedly "delighting" the oil and gas industry.

The fossil fuel industry has not only used its record profits to enrich shareholders; it's also dumped money into influencing officials on Capitol Hill. As Common Dreams reported exclusively on Thursday, an analysis from Climate Power shows that since last year, the sector has poured over $200 million into sabotaging climate action.

Also, let's not forget "The Big Oil And Gas Price Gouging Bill came up on the House floor for a vote back in May. This Bill was designed by President Biden and House Democrats to stop Big Oil from gouging consumers at the pump.

EVERY single Republican voted against this bill to save you money at the pump. All Republicans voted "NO" but feigned outrage over high gas prices that their big oil buddies are purposely inflating for profit.

Because Democrats control the House, this bill passed.

Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are blocking this bill from becoming law because they want high gas prices. These Republicans think high gas prices will help then politically in November. So, Republicans are forcing you to pay high gas prices all because of politics. Republicans are playing politics with your finances!

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #282 on: July 29, 2022, 09:31:04 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #283 on: July 30, 2022, 11:16:39 PM »
Flood and wildfire risks: Translating risk ratings into future costs can help homebuyers and renters grasp the odds – and act on them

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #284 on: July 31, 2022, 05:39:47 AM »
5 big trades that won't happen (but should)

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #284 on: July 31, 2022, 05:39:47 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #285 on: August 01, 2022, 04:25:49 AM »
Actress Nichelle Nichols, 'Star Trek's' trail-blazing Uhura, dies at 89

(Reuters) -Nichelle Nichols, whose portrayal of starship communications officer Lieutenant Uhura in the 1960s sci-fi TV series "Star Trek" and subsequent movies broke color barriers and helped redefine roles for Black actors, has died at age 89, her family said.

Nichols, whose fans included Martin Luther King Jr. and a young Barack Obama, "succumbed to natural causes and passed away" on Saturday night, her son, Kyle Johnson, wrote on Facebook.

"Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from and draw inspiration," Johnson wrote.

The series, which became a pop culture phenomenon, shattered stereotypes common on U.S. television at the time by casting Black and minority actors in high-profile roles on the show.

In 1968 she and "Star Trek" star William Shatner broke a cultural barrier when they engaged in U.S. television's first interracial kiss.

She had planned to quit "Star Trek" after one season, but King, the 1960s civil rights leader, convinced her to stay because it was so revolutionary to have a Black woman playing an important senior crew member at a time when Black people were fighting for equality in American society.

Nichols also helped break color barriers at NASA, whose leaders were "Star Trek" fans. After she criticized the space agency for failing to pick qualified women and minorities as astronauts, it hired Nichols in the 1970s to help in recruiting.

Her efforts helped attract, among others, the first woman U.S. astronaut, Sally Ride; the first Black woman astronaut, Mae Jemison; and the first Black NASA chief, Charlie Bolden.

Nichols "symbolized to so many what was possible" and "inspired generations to reach for the stars," NASA said on Twitter.

Nichols' portrayal of the competent, level-headed Uhura also helped inspire future Black actors, including Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg. Nichols recalled Goldberg telling her of watching "Star Trek" as a 9-year-old, seeing her playing Uhura, and yelling out to her mother: "Come quick! There's a Black lady on television and she ain't no maid!'"

The original "Star Trek" series, tracking the adventures of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise in the 23rd century, ran for only three seasons on the NBC network from 1966 to 1969. But it became hugely popular in syndication in the 1970s, inspiring first an animated series that reunited the cast from 1973 to 1975 and then a succession of feature films and shows.

Nichols appeared in six "Star Trek" films ending with "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" in 1991.

Uhura deftly handled the starship Enterprise's communications with allied spaceships and alien races while interacting with Captain James T. Kirk (Shatner), Vulcan first officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and the starship's helmsman, Sulu (George Takei).

Takei wrote on Twitter that he and Nichols "lived long and prospered together," describing her as trailblazing and incomparable. "(My) heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among."

Nichols' best-known scene featured the first scripted interracial kiss on U.S. television, although it was not a romantic one. In an episode called "Plato's Stepchildren," Uhura and Kirk were compelled telekinetically to smooch by aliens toying with the feeble humans. In real life, Nichols disliked Shatner, who she considered arrogant.

"She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world", Shatner said on Twitter.

She felt differently about "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, who cast her after she had acted in a previous show he produced. Nichols had a romance with him in the 1960s and sang a song called "Gene" at his 1991 funeral.


Obama, the first Black U.S. president, who was 5 years old when the "Star Trek" series made its debut, also was a fan. Nichols visited him at the White House in 2012 and posed for a photo in the Oval Office, with the president smiling and putting his hand on her shoulder while both made a "Star Trek" Vulcan hand gesture meaning "live long and prosper."

In a 2011 interview with Smithsonian magazine, Nichols recalled meeting King at a civil rights group's fundraiser.

Nichols said she was approached by one of the event's promoters, who told her, "There's someone who wants to meet you and he says he's your biggest fan, so I'm thinking of a young kid. I turn around and standing across the room, walking towards me, was Dr. Martin Luther King with this big smile on his face."

After Nichols told King she planned to quit "Star Trek," she said he implored her to stay.

She said King told her: "This is a God-given opportunity to change the face of television, change the way we think. We are no longer second-class, third-class citizens. He (Roddenberry) had to do it in the 23rd century but it's the 20th century that's watching.'" She rescinded her resignation.

Like other "Star Trek" cast members, she had a hard time finding work due to typecasting after the original series ended. It was during this time when she played a foul-mouthed madam in the film "Truck Turner" (1974) starring Isaac Hayes. She was a recurring character on the television show "Heroes" in 2007.

She was born on Dec. 28, 1932 in Robbins, Illinois, trained as a singer and dancer and toured with jazz greats Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before her acting career took off.

Nichols, who was married twice and had one child, suffered a mild stroke in June 2015.

© Reuters

NBA great Bill Russell dead at 88

(Reuters) -Former Boston Celtics star Bill Russell, one of the sports world's greatest winners as the anchor of a team that won 11 NBA championships, as well as the league's first black coach, died on Sunday at the age of 88.

Russell, a five-time Most Valuable Player who was also outspoken on racial issues, passed away peacefully with his wife Jeannine by his side, according to a statement posted on his Twitter account that did not state a cause of death.

"Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

"The countless accolades that he earned for his storied career with the Boston Celtics – including a record 11 championships and five MVP awards – only begin to tell the story of Bill's immense impact on our league and broader society."

Russell became a superstar in the 1950s and '60s not with flashy scoring plays but through dominating rebounding and intense defensive play that reshaped the game. He also had what team mate Tom Heinsohn called "a neurotic need to win".

The Celtics won 11 NBA titles in Russell's 13 years with the team from 1956 through 1969. He was the player-coach on two of those championship teams.

"To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was," the Celtics said in a statement.

"Bill Russell's DNA is woven through every element of the Celtics organization, from the relentless pursuit of excellence, to the celebration of team rewards over individual glory, to a commitment to social justice and civil rights off the court.

"Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn his passing and celebrate his enormous legacy in basketball, Boston, and beyond."


The Russell-era Celtics teams were rich in talent. Heinsohn, Bob Cousy, Frank Ramsey, Bill Sharman, Tom "Satch" Sanders, John Havlicek, Don Nelson, Sam Jones and K.C. Jones, his old college team mate, would all join him in the Basketball Hall of Fame, as would their coach, Red Auerbach.

But Russell's rebounding and defense, especially his shot-blocking, were unprecedented and set him apart. Russell, who was spindly compared to opponents at the center position when he came into the NBA, would leap to block opponents' shots at a time when the prevailing defensive philosophy was that players generally should not leave their feet.

"Russell defended the way Picasso painted, the way Hemingway wrote," Aram Goudsouzian said in his book "King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution."

"In time, he changed how people understood the craft. Until Russell, the game stayed close to the floor. No longer."

Russell averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game for his career. He was the NBA's most valuable player in 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1965 and was a 12-time All-Star.

Despite the individual honors, Russell viewed "team" as a sacred concept.

"For me, it didn't make any difference who did what as long as we got it done," Russell said.


Off the court, Russell was opinionated and complicated. He had a baleful glare but also a delightful cackling laugh. He was intellectual and a "Star Trek" fan. Often surly or indifferent to fans and hostile toward the media, he could be exceedingly gracious with team mates and opponents. He refused to sign autographs, saying he preferred to have conversations.

Russell often criticized Boston, a city with a history of racial strife, and was one of the sports world's leading civil rights activists in the 1950s and '60s. He was on the front row in Washington in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

"Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league," said Silver.

"At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps.

"Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity."


Russell had a celebrated rivalry with another NBA superstar, Wilt Chamberlain, who played for the San Francisco/Philadelphia Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. Chamberlain was an athletic freak the likes of which had not been seen in the NBA - muscular, exceptionally agile, 7-foot-1 inches tall (2.16 meters) and the most prodigious scorer of his time.

Chamberlain and Russell, who was 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) shorter, went head to head against each other in some epic battles. Chamberlain almost always outscored him but Russell's Celtics had an 86-57 record against Chamberlain's teams. Chamberlain compiled the record-breaking personal statistics but Russell ended up with more championship rings than fingers.

In 1965, Chamberlain became the first NBA player to earn a $100,000 annual salary so Russell demanded - and got - a contract from the Celtics that paid him $100,001. Yet the fierce rivals were friends off the court, often dining at each other's homes.

Russell was born Feb. 12, 1934, in West Monroe, Louisiana, and was eight when his family moved to Oakland, California, seeking more economic opportunity and an escape from the extreme racial segregation of the U.S. South.

It was in Oakland that Russell's career as a winner began. His high school team won two state championships and he led the University of San Francisco to national titles in 1955 and '56. Russell also was captain of the U.S. team that easily won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.


When the Celtics retired his No. 6, Russell's love of privacy and belief in the team concept led him to demand a private ceremony with coaches and team mates in an otherwise empty arena. He declined to attend the 1972 ceremony at which his number was retired in front of fans and also skipped his induction ceremony at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Russell returned to basketball as general manager and coach of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1973 through 1977 and as coach of the Sacramento Kings for part of the 1987-88 season.

Russell became semi-reclusive after his coaching career, saying, "I wanted to be forgotten." He took tentative steps back into the public arena beginning in the early 1990s, after becoming a founding board member of MENTOR: the National Mentoring Partnership. He said his mentoring effort was the "proudest accomplishment in life."

Russell went on to make frequent public speaking appearances and television commercials and even showed up when the Celtics dedicated a statue of him in Boston's City Hall Plaza in 2013.

In 2011, President Barack Obama cited Russell's dedication to mentoring when he awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which Russell called the second greatest personal honor of his life. The first, he said, was when his 77-year-old father told him that he was proud of him.

Russell, who lived in Mercer Island, Washington, was married three times and had three children.

© Reuters

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #286 on: August 01, 2022, 10:02:17 PM »
'Collateral damages to freedom': Alex Jones skips trial for segment downplaying Sandy Hook deaths

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones skipped his defamation trial on Monday and instead hosted a segment downplaying the Sandy Hook massacre deaths as mere "collateral damages to the freedom."

Jones peppered his show with complaints about his two Sandy Hook-related defamation trials.

In the ongoing Texas trial, a jury is being asked to decide how much Jones must pay the Sandy Hook parents after Judge Maya Guerra Gamble entered a default judgment in 2021.

"It's a stacked deck, but that is what our lord and savior faced -- Christ," the radio host said.

Later in the show, Jones asked Joe Brown, a former judge, to weigh in on his legal troubles.

"You know, some of us understand if we're going to be free, there are collateral damages to the freedom," Brown said, referring to the massacre. "They don't like this thing that comes with the Second Amendment because they think they should be safe."

Brown noted that the "collateral consequences" of automobiles are accepted by the general public.

"Well, if you want to be free, there are certain collateral consequences that come with that," he opined, "and one of them is that some unmanly idiot who wants to perp out and shoot up a Sandy Hook school will be able to get ahold of some of the devices that the rest of us need to have access to so we can stay free."

"So we have a struggle here," Brown added, "those who want to be free and those who would rather be safe sheep someplace with the sheepherder telling them what to do."

Jones agreed: "And of course, sheep get slaughtered."

Watch the video below from The Alex Jones Show below.

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #286 on: August 01, 2022, 10:02:17 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: Media Today
« Reply #287 on: August 02, 2022, 05:53:32 AM »
UN chief warns humanity 'one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation'

UN head Antonio Guterres warned Monday that the world faced "a nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War" and was just "one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation."

"We have been extraordinarily lucky so far. But luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict," Guterres said at the start of a conference of countries belonging to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation," he said, calling on nations to "put humanity on a new path towards a world free of nuclear weapons."

Guterres's comments came at the opening 10th review conference of the NPT, an international treaty that came into force in 1970 to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

The meeting, held at the UN's headquarters in New York, has been postponed several times since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will run until August 26.

Guterres said the conference was "a chance to strengthen" the treaty and "make it fit for the worrying world around us," citing Russia's war in Ukraine and tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East.

"Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee they will never be used," the secretary-general implored, adding that he would visit Hiroshima for the anniversary of the August 6, 1945 atomic bombing of the Japanese city by the United States.

"Almost 13,000 nuclear weapons are now being held in arsenals around the world. All this at a time when the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening," Guterres added.

In January, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France -- had pledged to prevent the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.

At the last review conference in 2015, the parties were unable to reach agreement on substantive issues.

© 2022 AFP