the journalista

i read. i write. i think. i link.

Month: May 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Steve Ballmer to buy Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion

Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO, has won a bid to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion after embattled owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell, the LA Times reported Thursday.

Ballmer, who was chief executive of Microsoft for 14 years, was chosen over competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to three individuals familiar with the negotiations.

The team was estimated to be worth an estimated $557 million dollars earlier this year.

According to the Times, the Geffen group bid $1.6 billion, and Ressler bid $1.2 billion.

The deal still has to be approved by 29 NBA owners, but is expected to go through as long as Ballmer agrees to not move the franchise from Los Angeles.

Ballmer states that he has no intention of moving the Clippers from Los Angeles, which has the second biggest media market in the country.

The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Their efforts were buttressed by the federal government. In 1934, Congress created the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA insured private mortgages, causing a drop in interest rates and a decline in the size of the down payment required to buy a house. But an insured mortgage was not a possibility for Clyde Ross. The FHA had adopted a system of maps that rated neighborhoods according to their perceived stability. On the maps, green areas, rated “A,” indicated “in demand” neighborhoods that, as one appraiser put it, lacked “a single foreigner or Negro.” These neighborhoods were considered excellent prospects for insurance. Neighborhoods where black people lived were rated “D” and were usually considered ineligible for FHA backing. They were colored in red. Neither the percentage of black people living there nor their social class mattered. Black people were viewed as a contagion. Redlining went beyond FHA-backed loans and spread to the entire mortgage industry, which was already rife with racism, excluding black people from most legitimate means of obtaining a mortgage.

fromThe Case for Reparations”, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Why you should care about what is happening to net neutrality

How many times a day do you check your Facebook page? Are you active on Twitter? Do you have a favorite blog you like to read?

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself unable to do these things without paying significant additional fees, fees on top of what you already pay for Internet access, to do so?

Essentially, this is what the end of net neutrality could mean. There are many people who don’t understand the concept or the issues involved, so here is a primer.

Net Neutrality [wired.com image]

Net Neutrality [wired.com image]

What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is a buzz phrase that refers to the open Internet. Currently, all Internet sites are able to be accessed equally. You can get to thejournalista.com as quickly as you can get to Facebook or Amazon. There is no deterrent to surfing the web outside of any firewalls that may be put up by your employer or school. Net neutrality means things would stay this way. You will always be able to access any website you want at any time you want so long as your Internet access point allows it.

Why should you care? 

Remember how it was announced recently that Netflix would be increasing its service cost for new subscribers to its streaming service? Just prior to that announcement, Netflix had been involved in a battle with ISPs including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon in which it was alleged that the ISPs were slowing down service when users (that’s you and me) were viewing content via their Netflix streaming video accounts. The ISPs felt Netflix should pay to deliver instant video content via the ISPs direct connection. Netflix felt this was the responsibility of the ISPs, but they agreed to a deal anyway and ponied up the money. Netflix then passed that cost along to their customers via higher prices for new subscribers. See how that works?

Netflix [via digitaltrends.com]

Netflix [via digitaltrends.com]

 So what if Netflix paid. What does that mean to me?

Netflix is a big company. They turn a huge profit each year, and they have the funds and the resources to continue to throw money at these types of problems as they pop up, but what about your favorite Etsy seller? What about small nonprofits that offer social services to the needy? What about my friend Stephen and his family-run photography business? Smaller companies do not have the money and the resources to pay off communications giants in order to have their sites seen at the same speed as others, and if net neutrality ends, so could those sites. Think of it the way you think of Walmart building their huge mega-stores in your neighborhood and shutting down all the little mom and pop businesses. The end of net neutrality means that very same thing, except on the Internet. Instead of being able to read thejournalista.com, you will be forced to only get news and information from big sites that can afford to pay off Internet Service Providers for top speed access.

That isn’t fair to anyone.

How the other side feels

On the other side of the fence, there are those who make the argument that net neutrality is dumb. Gene Marks wrote this in a Forbes.com article recently: 

Wouldn’t it be great if a two bedroom, 2,000 square foot apartment on Park Avenue cost the same as one in Queens? Or if a front row ticket to a Broadway show cost the same as one in the mezzanine? Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy a new BMW for the same amount as a new Hyundai? Or if the price of a Harvard education were equal to one from your local community college? These things are priced differently. They are not neutral. Nothing is neutral in a free market economy.

I take issue with Gene comparing net neutrality to the cost of housing in different areas or the cost of education at different educational institutions. That is oversimplifying the issue and comparing apples to oranges. As my friend Pete put it, a better analogy would have been to compare it to redlining. Essentially, if net neutrality dies, so does the free marketplace of ideas. It will instead be replaced by an Internet where big corporations get to control what you can and cannot see when you log on to the Internet whether it be on your mobile device or your computer.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the freedom of choice.

Do you want to be able to choose which websites you see when, or do you want your Internet Service Provider to be able to make that choice for you?

Restore Net Neutrality By Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as “Common Carriers”

This was the wording on the petition presented to the White House to urge President Obama to direct the FCC to classify ISPs as “common carriers” so that net neutrality could be maintained.

On January 14, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s open internet rules, commonly known as “Net Neutrality” because ISPs are not classified as “common carriers”. This ruling allows ISPs to charge companies for access to its users and charge users for access to certain services. Fewer companies will be able to afford access for innovative ideas and products.

We urge the President to direct the FCC to classify ISPs as “common carriers” so that the words of the FCC chairman may be fulfilled: “I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment.”

The White House responded as follows (emphasis mine):

Thank you to everyone who has signed on to this petition in support of a free and open Internet. Since his days as a United States Senator, President Obama has embraced the principle of net neutrality. As the President recently noted, his campaign for the White House was empowered by an open Internet; it allowed millions of supporters to interact with the President and each other in unprecedented fashion. That experience helped give rise to the creation of this very platform — the We The People website — where Americans can express their opinions on any topic and receive a response from the White House. Rights of free speech, and the free flow of information, are central to our society and economy — and the principle of net neutrality gives every American an equal and meaningful opportunity to participate in both. Indeed, an open Internet is an engine for freedom around the world.

Preserving an open Internet is vital not just to the free flow of information, but also to promoting innovation and economic productivity. Because of its openness, the Internet has allowed entrepreneurs — with just a small amount of seed money or a modest grant — to take their innovative ideas from the garage or the dorm room to every corner of the Earth, building companies, creating jobs, improving vital services, and fostering even more innovation along the way.

Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries. The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide.

A wide spectrum of stakeholders and policymakers recognize the importance of these principles. In the wake of last month’s court decision, it was encouraging to hear major broadband providers assert their commitment to an open Internet.

It was also encouraging to see Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, whom the President appointed to that post last year, reaffirm his commitment to a free and open Internet and pledge to use the authority granted by Congress to maintain a free and open Internet. The White House strongly supports the FCC and Chairman Wheeler in this effort.

The petition asked that the President direct the FCC to reclassify Internet service providers as “common carriers” which, if upheld, would give the FCC a distinct set of regulatory tools to promote net neutrality. The FCC is an independent agency. Chairman Wheeler has publicly pledged to use the full authority granted by Congress to maintain a robust, free and open Internet — a principle that this White House vigorously supports.

Gene Sperling is Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Todd Park is the United States Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President.

via Restore Net Neutrality By Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as “Common Carriers”. | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government.

Notice the vague language and double-talk? Also notice how the FCC is identified as an independent agency as if the President has no power to direct what it does, yet the president appoints the head of said “independent” agency? So which is it? Does the President have a say in it or doesn’t he?

We need to be raising a stink.

Trillville’s “Some Cut” is here to give your day some kick

I am a sucker for a song that begins with the sounds of the bed springs creaking, presumably from some hot bedroom action.

The hook on the song is all that as well, and so Trillville’s “Some Cut” seeded a radio station I started on Google Play Music All Access because I needed to bounce in my seat while getting some work done.

The bonus to this video is the appearance of our favorite Real Housewife from Atlanta, Porsha Williams.

What it is shorty? What’s up?

Malcolm X and the Rubik’s Cube share a birthday, Ray J is still petty, and the best working breakfast spots in LA

Malcolm X image via tumblr

Malcolm X

Today would have been the 89th birthday of one El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazzl, better known as Malcolm X. In honor of his birthday, Davey D linked to his previous post “The Great Debate on the Civil Rights Movement w/Malcolm X, James Farmer, and Wyatt T. Walker. Video footage of the debate is presented in six parts via YouTube links.

This historic debate touched upon an array of topics ranging from integration to segregation to the general direction of the Civil Rights Movements.. They also debate Martin Luther King and John F Kennedy. Malcolm goes in and points out what he feels are major flaws with the Civil Rights Movement and the quest for integration, he gets push back from the other panelists..


 

Today is also the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube, and if you want to lose precious productivity points from your day, you can head over to Google and try your hand at solving one. I have never been able to solve a Rubik’s Cube, but perhaps I will learn now that I can do a search for how to solve it on the Internet, most likely via Google!

Rubik's Cube image via Wikipedia

Rubik’s Cube

Bonus link: perhaps your inner nerd wants to know just how Google created that 3D interactive Rubik’s Cube. Wired has your answer.


Oh my gosh. Today is also the 50th anniversary of Nutella, and if you have never had it before, I feel sorry for your mother. Huffington Post gives us 53 ways to get even more Nutella in your mouth.


 

In his quest to prove that his pettiness knows no bounds, Ray J has offered to give Kim Kardashian his profits from their mutual sex tape as a wedding gift.

Ray J: Let it go dude. It’s over now. I know it’s hard, but at some point you are going to have to move on with your life.


 

And in even more male pettiness, a Reddit user laments his demand for his girlfriend to allow them to have an open relationship when she gets all the dates and he doesn’t. I’m not making this up.

There are men crawling all over her, her profile, her pictures she’s put up. I know for a fact that she’s been on a heck of a lot of dates, both with people from the website and off it, and I also know she’s been intimate with many of them too (I keep seeing comments on her pictures saying vulgar things like ‘God I miss my mouth around those beautiful breasts’ etc from other men who I know she has been on dates with..)

via Jezebel


 

Finally, for people like me who take their office on the road each day, LA Weekly offers up its opinion on The Best Places in L.A. for a Working Breakfast, leaving me curious about Pot Cafe, which I pass several times a week.

Peggy Sue cover of Missy Elliot’s “All In My Grill” is your music for a Friday afternoon

I know I’m six years late discovering this, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome.

Jet Magazine Stops Printing; #DearAbby and a new GTA Online Update – This morning’s links

via NYTimes: “Jet was important in the civil rights movement.”

After nearly 63 years of publishing weekly news relevant to the black community, Jet Magazine will cease printing in June.

Johnson Publishing Company, the owner of Jet, will focus on digital publishing delivered through its website and a paid subscription app.

Desiree’ Rogers, chief executive of Johnson Publishing, said the move makes sense because African-Americans get their news and information from mobile devices, and readers are demanding more interactive content.

Still, barber shops everywhere are weeping right now, I’m sure. (via Jezebel)


Dear Abby: What is left cheek, right cheek?

Dear Abby got trolled by someone asking a question regarding the definition of ‘twerking.’

No, I’m not kidding.

[image via @trev_annis]

[image via @trev_annis]

Gawker pointed out the obvious trolling, and I have to agree. Anyone who hasn’t searched YouTube or Google for the definition of twerking obviously has not gotten their life yet. Here, let me help you:


 You’re nobody until #BlackTwitter roasts you

The aforementioned fake question on Dear Abby did not escape the attention of #BlackTwitter, and the #DearAbby hash tag is good for a few laughs. Here are some of my favorites:

 


We all love free restaurant bread

 

 

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

 

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits are the G.O.A.T. of free restaurant bread, and BuzzFeed agrees with me. I’d argue that the Macaroni Grill bread should rate higher on the list, and Olive Garden bread sticks go without saying.


For you GTA Online lovers out there, Rockstar Games announced that the High Life update will be live on Tuesday, May 13.

Rockstar promises five new apartments for purchase

The update will be an automatic one, and it will include five new apartments, new apartment interiors, a new shotgun, four new vehicles, and the ability to own two distinct properties.

Rockstar says it will be adding new apartments to already established prime real estate such as Eclipse Towers and Richards Majestic, adding a non-contact feature to races to prevent bumping, and adding five new contact missions to the list of available jobs.

 

The ‘If I Fought This Rapper, Would I Win?’ Chart

This is a chart to help you figure out if you should fight a particular rapper, should you somehow be in position to do so and of the mind to do so. It was inspired by the recent standoff the LAPD had with, among others, the Game and T.I., two rappers you should definitely never, ever try to fight.

Now, the “If I Fought This Rapper, Would I Win?” chart is entirely hypothetical. The top bar across it, the Toughness Indicator, is very much a flexible postulate, a raw guess at how tough/mean/aggressive somebody probably is. Best to be safe: Don’t fight anyone on this list, or on any list, for that matter. Just don’t. Really, I don’t even know why you’re thinking about it. It’s dumb. It’s real dumb.

via The ‘If I Fought This Rapper, Would I Win?’ Chart «.

Warriors Relieve Head Coach Mark Jackson of His Duties

“It’s never easy to make a decision of this nature,” said General Manager Bob Myers. “Mark has accomplished many good things during his three years with the organization, including his role in helping elevate this team into a better position than it was when he arrived nearly 36 months ago. We’re appreciative of his dedication and commitment since his arrival and are extremely grateful for his contributions. However, as an organization, we simply feel it’s best to move in a different direction at this time.”

“Mark Jackson has had a big impact on the improvement of our team and the success that we’ve had over the last couple of years,” said Owner & CEO Joe Lacob. “Nonetheless, we must make some difficult decisions in our day-to-day operations of the club and this would certainly qualify as one of those examples. We wish Mark the best of luck in his future endeavors and thank him for his contributions over the last three years.”

via Warriors Relieve Head Coach Mark Jackson of His Duties | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS.

This is disappointing news. I hate that Golden State let Mark go; he was a successful coach for their team. That being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing him coach the Purple and Gold.

Time’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2014

Now that Twitter is bigger than ever, the unique voices that make the social network so addictive are increasingly important. Choosing TIME’s annual list of the 140 most influential Twitter feeds is never easy, with tens of thousands of contenders, but it’s especially difficult as a greater volume of people, organizations and even bots find innovative ways to stand out.

This list contains a wide range of personalities, all chosen by TIME editors from diverse subjects like politics, sports, culture and technology. It’s by no means comprehensive, and as always, honorees from previous years have been excluded. Scroll through the list of 140 feeds and start following right away. Think we missed something? Let us know by tweeting your opinion using the hashtag #Twitter140.

via Behind the List | TIME.com.

“Natural High” by Bloodstone seeds today’s mood enhancing playlist

At 12:15 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon it is already 85 degrees outside, and I haven’t even begun to do my hair. It’s going to be another scorcher in Los Angeles, and all I can focus on is finding a way to keep cool.

Perhaps a chilled mind will lead to a chilled body (ha), so with that in mind, I seed today’s Google Play Music radio station on Bloodstone’s “Natural High.”

Happy Saturday.

 

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