Archive for Begging Bowl

Another future bus patron

What are these people thinking? I got a title loan on my car is there any way around not paying?

Sure. Just surrender the car to whatever repo person is dispatched to collect it, and hope that it brings enough at auction to cover the balance of your loan.

Of course, this means you’re going to have a credit score of about twelve and a half for the foreseeable future, so you might want to put the money you’ll no longer be spending on the car into a savings account, in case you ever want to buy anything ever again.

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When in doubt, subsidize

Finally, something sillier than the BBC licence fee:

A tax credit Ottawa is promising to encourage more Canadians to pay for online news will roughly cover two months of a digital subscription fee.

The tax credit is one of three components of a $595-million, five-year boost for the ailing media industry promised by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in last week’s fall fiscal update — along with tax credit for the labour costs news companies incur to produce original content and offering charitable status to non-profit media organizations.

The tax credit will be worth 15 per cent of the cost of a subscription, although Finance Canada spokesman Jack Aubry says the actual dollar amount someone will save depends on the cost of a subscription.

For example, Aubry says someone who pays $200 a year to get access to a news site online would be entitled to a tax credit worth $30.

He says the government believes the tax credit is needed to encourage more Canadians to subscribe to online news and help media organizations transition to a more sustainable business model.

In other news, there is apparently at least one Canadian news site charging $200 a year.

And what happens after five years? Either (1) the subsidy goes away, and news providers go back into the toilet, or (2) the subsidy doesn’t go away, and it becomes part of the permanent landscape.

Political scientist Chris Lawrence predicts: “This idea ends poorly.”

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No more Wish Books

I’m not a Gen X’er like Tam, but we share some common experiences:

If you’re a Gen X’er, like me, Sears loomed large in your childhood. They sent out this huge catalog that was full of cool stuff. When I was home sick from school, I wasn’t allowed to watch TV (being sick wasn’t supposed to be fun) and so I’d while away my time in bed with a calculator, a note pad, and catalogs, “spending” a million dollars. Sears got a lot of that imaginary money, because they had everything.

One of my earlier projects was trying to find out about Mr. Roebuck, and why Mr. Sears hardly ever mentioned him. Turned out that Alvah Roebuck had asked Richard Sears to buy him out, circa 1895. But he didn’t quite stay gone:

After several years in semi-retirement in Florida, the financial losses he suffered in the stock market crash of 1929 forced Roebuck to return to Chicago. By 1933, Roebuck had rejoined Sears, Roebuck and Co., where he largely devoted his time to compiling a history of the company he helped found.

In September 1934, a Sears store manager asked Roebuck to make a public appearance at his store. After an enthusiastic public turnout, Roebuck went on tour, appearing at retail stores across the country for the next several years.

And Roebuck was the one survivor of the Old Days: Richard Sears had died back in 1914. Roebuck died in 1948, and was mentioned only once after that, in Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell”: “They furnished off an apartment with a two-room Roebuck sale / The coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale.”

I have, of course, my own memories of the Softer Side of Sears:

Sears hosiery ad

That side, too, is gone now.

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Not my department

Wikipedia says of Von Maur: “In the past five years, the chain has expanded out of its Midwestern home territory to open stores in Georgia, Alabama, New York, and Oklahoma.” The Oklahoma store, which opened in 2014, replaced a closed Sears location at Quail Springs in Oklahoma City.

Which sounds like things are going well. Then again:

Von Maur is in trouble, too. I know that they haven’t paid rent in any of their Ohio stores in a year or more.

I know of two Von Maur stores in Ohio: on the north side of Columbus, and in Beavercreek, near Dayton. There is, of course, such a thing as expanding too fast, though there are still fewer than three dozen stores in the chain after 146 years.

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Barren newsstand

In a matter of 21 months, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania went from having two daily newspapers to having none. At the very least, this deserves some sort of discussion.

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Nobody wants to be

This was probably inevitable, given the state of the Venezuelan economy:

A Venezuelan television station has cancelled the hit game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? after a recent devaluation of the country’s currency left the top prize essentially meaningless. The devaluation has left the top prize of 1,000,000 bolívar worth around £3.

A whole five bucks.

A squib from Wikipedia:

In many countries there is a distinction between the official exchange rate for permitted transactions and a parallel exchange rate that responds to excess demand for foreign currency at the official exchange rate. The degree by which the parallel exchange rate exceeds the official exchange rate is known as the parallel premium.

Venezuela has dealt with this issue by making it illegal to publish the parallel exchange rate, or even to admit that it exists.

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Another dose of karma

And the co-pay will make your hair stand on end:

Vyera Pharmaceuticals, formerly called Turing Pharmaceuticals, lost more than $1 million in the first quarter of 2018, according to financial documents obtained by STAT. Sales, driven by the $750-a-pill Daraprim, have been on the wane over the past two years, falling more than 14 percent in 2017 and on pace to drop another 7 percent in 2018.

The company gained notoriety in 2015 after [Martin] Shkreli, then CEO, acquired Daraprim, which treats a rare infection called toxoplasmosis, and raised the price more than 5,000 percent. Despite a public outcry, Shkreli claimed the move would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in profits for the company’s shareholders and fund the development of new, better treatments for toxoplasmosis and other rare diseases.

But audited financial statements obtained by STAT show Vyera is nowhere near meeting either goal. The documents suggest Shkreli’s move was a short-term success: The Daraprim price hike helped Vyera achieve stellar gross margins, but the company’s expenses cut deeply into its net income. After turning small profits in 2016 and 2017, Vyera is now losing money. Daraprim sales are falling, and Vyera has laid off at least a handful of salespeople; expenses remain high.

Sales are falling? After a 5000-percent price hike? Who could have imagined such a thing?

U.S. prescriptions for Daraprim have consistently fallen over the past two years, from 427 in the first quarter of 2017 to just 107 in the first quarter of 2018, according to IQVIA, a pharma consultancy that tracks drug sales.

But it’s apparently not just the price:

A former employee said the company’s problems in part reflect a shrinking patient population.

Toxoplasmosis is a rare infection that largely affects patients with HIV. As HIV therapies gain wider use across the country, there are fewer and fewer patients who need Daraprim. That, coupled with the drug’s famously high price, has put a damper on sales, the former employee said.

“It’s a dying disease — which is a good thing — but it’s bad for the company,” said the former employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to violate an agreement with Vyera.

So not only does PharmaBro’s company languish in the market while he himself languishes in jail, but fewer people are getting sick. Karma scores the trifecta.

(Via Fark.)

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And they’re out of here

OKCTalk reports that Sears is working on completing the task of abandoning this town:

The last Sears department store in Oklahoma City is set to meet its demise.

On Friday, the company added 10 more stores to their closure list including the 160,000 square foot location at 4400 S. Western.

The move is part of a rapid contraction due [to] flagging sales and revenue. Sears now operates 894 stores compared to 1,980 just five years ago.

The SW 44th and Western Sears store was built in 1965, includes a Sears Automotive Center and sits on 23.66 acres. To the south of the store, Sears leases land to Walmart for a Neighborhood Market which should not be affected.

This will leave only two full-line Sears department stores in the state, one in Norman, one in Tulsa.

At its peak, Sears had stores at NW 23rd and Pennsylvania (closed in 1991), Quail Springs Mall (closed in 2013 and now a Von Maur) and Heritage Park Mall in Midwest City (closed in 2017).

The 23rd and Penn store was actually razed; a McDonalds and a strip mall sit there now.

I remember buying my very first VCR at the 44th and Western Sears store in 1982. Built by Sanyo, it cost something like $750, including (yes!) a wired remote.

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To each according to their desire

To quote the estimable Rocket J. Squirrel, “But that trick never works!”

An all-you-can-eat restaurant has racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt and been forced to close because diners ate so much food.

Chinese restaurant Jiamener was open for less than a month despite having more than 500 customers a day.

The owner was offering a $25 loyalty card, which is about £19, for unlimited food for a month. Unsurprisingly customers took full advantage of this incredible offer, and the restaurant was soon in more than $100,000 worth of debt. There are also reports loyalty card holders passed their cards onto family and friends.

The restaurant, which is in China, opened on June 1 and was forced to close after just two weeks.

To borrow a phrase, there is all you can eat, and there is “All You Can Eat.”

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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An echo of Necco

The little flat discs will apparently live on:

A lengthy auction in federal court on Wednesday determined the fate of the 170-year-old New England Confectionary Company: the Revere [Massachusetts]-based Necco was auctioned off to Ohio-based Spangler Candy Company for $18.83 million.

Necco, well-known for its sweetheart candies and wafers, filed involuntary bankruptcy last month. Since then, numerous potential bidders cropped up for a chance at owning the iconic candy-maker.

Spangler makes Dum Dums, Saf-T-Pops and, um, circus peanuts.

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Beyond mere hyperinflation

P. J. O’Rourke once explained Mexican currency this way: “One peso is worth 100 centavos, and one centavo is worth nothing.” God only knows what he would have said about the Venezuelan bolívar, which has sunk to a level that can only be described as surreal:

How worthless is the bolívar, Venezuela’s currency? You’d be better off investing in fictional currency from a video game.

The virtual gold in World of Warcraft, the online role-playing game, is now almost seven times more valuable than real cash from Venezuela, whose economy is in shambles.

As the South American country suffers an economic crisis due to extreme inflation, the value of bolívar has cratered. One US dollar today is worth 68,915 bolívares, according to the black market exchange rate the locals use. The black market rate is considered more trustworthy than the official rate, because the Venezuelan government has lost credibility among many of its people.

Who knew? (And no, you won’t see the S-word in this piece.)

Meanwhile in Azeroth:

By contrast, an official token, or in-game credit, in WoW is worth $20. Tokens also are sold to other players for gold, and their value changes through worldwide auctions. According to a WoW token price tracker, a token is currently worth 201,707 pieces of virtual gold.

Which means a single dollar trades to 10,085 gold pieces in WoW. This makes the fake money used in Azeroth, the mythical world of the game, about 6.8 times more valuable than the Venezuelan bolívar.

If you prefer Monopoly money, you can get $20,580 for a mere $14.99. And O’Rourke notwithstanding, the Mexican peso is holding steady at about five cents Estados Unidos.

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Not really poaching

But the incentives are considerable:

The Ed Biz is a bit different in Texas: Independent School Districts — all but one are so designated — fall under the jurisdiction of the Texas Education Agency, but TEA does not set salaries and no longer mandates specific textbooks.

Says the Fort Worth district about the billboards:

The passion and concern for children recently demonstrated by thousands of Oklahoma teachers who rallied at the state capital are exactly the attributes Fort Worth ISD wants for our classroom leaders.

Fort Worth Independent School District is a vibrant, growing urban district of 86,000 students, 143 campuses and more than 10,000 employees. Our new teacher starting salary is $52,000. The District is committed to a plan of improving early years literacy, achieving significant success in middle years math, and ensuring that ALL students are prepared for college, career and community leadership.

I assume that FWISD faces the same challenges as other urban school districts: they’re not all that rich.

And the Tulsa World’s Sam Hardiman notes:

Ouch.

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As if

“There must be some kind of way out of here,” said the Yahoo! Answers loser: “How do I get out of an auto loan on a car that cost more than its worth to fix major problems?”

Like the bank is going to feel sorry for him:

I own a 10 year old Audi that I still owe $7,460 to the bank and it needs around $4,600 of MAJOR mechanical work done to it. if I don t get the car fixed it will die very soon. The car still runs but Ive taken it to 5 different mechanics the Audi Dealer being one of them, and they all came up with the same report and money to fix it. The car itself is only worth $6,000. So the question I have, is there a way to get out of my loan free and clear because of the numbers and situation? I dont want to do a voluntary repo and I own way to much on it to trade it in. So is there a special process banks can do for these kind of situations, or am I just stuck. It just cost WAY TO MUCH to fix it for what it s worth, the age and what I owe on it.

“Free and clear”? You write a check to the bank for $7,460. There is literally no other way to do this without Terrible Consequences.

You never hear plaintive wails like this from people who own ’99 Corollas.

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Vapor easier to breathe

Elio Motors may yet build 84-mpg three-wheelers at the old GM plant in Shreveport. (Hey, it could happen.) Another believer has declared himself:

Online retailer Overstock.com announced that it’s buying $2.5 million of newly issued shares of Elio’s common stock. (Elio shares are traded on the OTC market.) The money will, in part, help pay off Elio Motors’ “outstanding debt and accounts payable.”

[Overstock.com] Founder and CEO Patrick Byrne said he “was in awe” after just five minutes in the car. “I am confident that this will become my car for at least two-thirds of the days I drive,” he said. Byrne also said he believes in Elio Motors’ vision, calling the vehicle “a win for America.”

It helps that Byrne’s firm is both established and profitable. It perhaps does not help that Byrne is known to be a fan of cryptocurrency, which may or may not have influenced this bit of news:

Elio Motors also announced today that it will launch a token-based offering called ElloCoin in order to fund production, which it still plans to get rolling in 2019. Instead of an initial coin offering, or “ICO,” the company will launch a “security token offering” facilitated by JonesTrading, with the tokens only initially available to “accredited investors.”

You would be justified, I think, in asking “WTF is an STO?”

[S]ecurity token offerings will do more than simply provide a legal path for companies seeking to offer new cryptocurrencies. A security token can be linked to virtually any type of investment, such as stocks or commodities.

One of the primary STO platforms, Polymath, estimates that security tokens will soon outdistance the now-dominant “utility tokens” like Bitcoin. Polymath sees security tokens exploding to a value of $2 trillion in 2018 alone and $10 trillion by 2020.

I swear, people think blockchain can cure anything from low market capitalization to the heartbreak of psoriasis.

Speaking of market caps, Elio’s is about $75 million, or about half the company’s accumulated deficit, though price per share has risen from a rock-bottom $2 to around three and a quarter.

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Not included in the liquidation

Everything must go, but not that cheap:

But of course.

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Sometimes you just can’t Winn

While everyone is fretting over Toys ‘Were’ Us, one of the giants of the grocery industry is being pruned:

Southeastern Grocers, which owns grocery store chain Winn-Dixie, announced plans to file for bankruptcy and close nearly 100 stores.

The Florida-based company issued a statement Thursday announcing plans to implement a “prepackaged restructuring agreement” including the decision to close 94 “underperforming stores.”

Stores marked for closing may bear the W/D, Harveys or Bi-Lo names. This action will leave Southeastern with 582 stores. (As it happens, Winn-Dixie founder William Milton Davis set up his first shop in, um, Burley, Idaho in 1914; in 1925, Davis moved to Miami.)

Over the years, the chain expanded and contracted, as chains will do; in 2002, Winn-Dixie bailed out of the Texas and Oklahoma markets, and last month, a handful of Louisiana stores were dealt to Brookshire, based in northeast Texas.

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And you won’t get wafers with it

Is this the end of the Clark bar?

The Massachusetts manufacturer of such iconic candies as Necco wafers, Clark bars and those heart-shaped Sweethearts decorated with romantic sayings says it will shut down and lay off nearly 400 workers unless it finds a buyer.

Necco CEO Michael McGee wrote in a letter last week to Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo the company would close its plant in the city north of Boston if it can’t find a buyer by May 6. Negotiations with potential buyers are ongoing.

The New England Confectionary Company, which dates to 1847, has had problems before, notably in 2009 when it abandoned its original wafer flavors and colors in favor of something that wasn’t kale, but might as well have been.

(Via Marc Wielage.)

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Broke, broke

“Can a Financier Finance a SubPrime Car?” asks a guy trying to sound like he knows what he’s talking about:

A financier financed a car that I thought was in working condition and had a few cosmetic issues… I got tired of fixing it under the hood, bought another car out-right, and they repossessed the financed one. Then charged me to “make it new again”-very costly… before auctioning it off for a measly 300 dollars claiming that the engine needed to be rebuilt and the the vehicle was “abused” and I know that all I ever did was take care of it. What should I do. I reported them to the CFPB for their collections tactics etc. and they still haven’t deleted the collection item. What can I do? I don’t have “before” pictures.

Um, Bunkie? This is not Walmart. You don’t get your money back. Ever. And “… that I thought was in working condition” is utterly worthless in view of “I got tired of fixing it under the hood.”

The real question, though, is why, if you were in a position to buy a car “out-right,” did you take out a loan for that first piece of crap — and then default on that loan? You played this about as badly as it’s possible to play it.

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Ding, dong, the Web is dead

Which old Web? The World Wide Web, and, says Rob LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson, the first brick falls this year:

When we started building websites in the mid-90s, we had great dreams for e-commerce. We fundamentally thought all brick-and-mortar stores would disappear and everything dot-com would dominate. But e-commerce has failed us miserably. Today, less than 15 percent of commerce occurs through a website or app, and only a handful of brands (think: Amazon, eBay and Netflix) have found success with e-commerce at any real scale. There are two giant structural issues that make websites not work: HTML and Google.

In the case of HTML, it’s an instance of “We were never intended to do that”:

In the early years, we were speaking in library terms about “browsing” and “indexing,” and in many ways the core technology of a website, called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), was designed to display static content — much like library books.

But retail stores aren’t libraries, and the library format can’t be applied to online stores either. Consumers need a way to dynamically answer the questions that enable them to make purchases. In the current model, we’re forced to find and read a series of static pages to get answers — when we tend to buy more if we can build trust over a series of questions and answers instead.

How often do you get the answer you need on your first trip to the FAQ? Not very, I suspect.

But that’s a design problem. The 800-lb gorilla in the room is far more sinister in intent:

As Google made it easier to find the world’s information, it also started to dictate the rules through the PageRank algorithm, which forced companies to design their websites in a certain way to be indexed at the top of Google’s search results. But its one-size-fits-all structure ultimately makes it flawed for e-commerce.

Now, almost every website looks the same — and performs poorly. Offline, brands try to make their store experiences unique to differentiate themselves. Online, every website — from Gucci to the Gap — offers the same experience: a top nav, descriptive text, some pictures and a handful of other elements arranged similarly. Google’s rules have sucked the life out of unique online experiences. Of course, as e-commerce has suffered, Google has become more powerful, and it continues to disintermediate the consumer from the brand by imposing a terrible e-commerce experience.

Meanwhile, about 15 percent of the questions flung at me on Quora boil down to “How can I get the highest possible ranking on Google?” I haven’t the heart to tell them “Build a really shitty site.” Yet.

LoCascio sees 404s in our future:

I am going to make a bold prediction based on my work with 18,000 companies and bringing conversational commerce to life: In 2018, we will see the first major brand shut down its website. The brand will shift how it connects with consumers — to conversations, with a combination of bots and humans, through a messaging front end like SMS or Facebook. We are already working with several large brands to make this a reality.

Facebook? Please.

When the first website ends, the dominoes will fall fast. This will have a positive impact on most companies in transforming how they conduct e-commerce and provide customer care. For Google, however, this will be devastating.

At least there’s some redeeming social value.

(Via Jeff Faria.)

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Toys “B” Broke

Toys “R” Us filed for Chapter 11 back in September. Now comes the other shoe:

Toys “R” Us is planning to shutter a fifth of its U.S. stores.

The troubled retailer, which declared bankruptcy in September, is looking to close down as many as 182 outlets across the country, according to a court filing late Tuesday.

Over nearly seven decades in business, Toys “R” Us has built up 1,600 stores around the world. About 880 of them are in the U.S.

Stores outside the US, including the 83 in Canada, are unaffected. Oklahoma loses two: one in OKC on SE 66th east of I-35, north of what used to be Crossroads Mall, and one in Norman on Ed Noble Parkway.

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Caracalypse now

Stefano Pozzebon reports from Caracas for CNN Money that getting a dollar in Venezuela is a long, arduous task [warning: autostart video]:

It was noon. I had been looking for cash for more than two hours. I returned to the first bank I tried.

I waited another hour in line before reaching the teller with my checkbook in hand. I noticed how everyone in line was still calm and silent, as if general resignation had forced these people to simply accept the situation.

At 1:23 p.m., I finally presented my check and got the hard-earned cash: 10,000 bolívars, or 6 cents.

Yarmira de Motos, the teller, informed me that the bank manager establishes every morning how much each customer can withdraw based on how much money is delivered by the Venezuelan Central Bank.

For this reason, some banks may allow 5,000-, 10,000- or even 30,000-bolívar withdrawals depending on the day. It’s a total gamble.

With my 10,000 bolívars in hand four hours later, I met a friend for a coffee. My cappuccino cost 35,000 bolívars.

Probably fifty thousand by now.

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Gawker to remain dead

They tried, but they couldn’t do it:

The Kickstarter campaign launched by former Gawker editors to buy back the website has officially failed. Launched last month, the consortium of unnamed people — entitled the Gawker Foundation — hoped to raise $500,000 as a way to bid on the website’s domain and potentially start a new and reinvigorated media company.

The campaign raised just short of $90,000, so “not even close” would seem to apply.

(Via Fark.)

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2, 4, 6, 8, let us go and reinflate

So far as I can tell, the Venezuelan bolívar fuerte is worth 100 céntimos, and one céntimo is worth nothing. President Maduro has now made it more so:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a 40 percent increase to the minimum wage as of January, a move that will foment what many economists already consider hyperinflation in the oil-rich but crisis-stricken nation.

What’s 40 percent of nothing?

Venezuelans will now earn some 797,510 bolívars a month, factoring in food tickets, or just over $7 on the widely used black market index. Millions will still be unable to afford three meals a day, while the increase is likely to stoke inflation further. Prices went up 1,369 percent between January and November, according to figures released earlier this month by the opposition-led Congress, which estimated the 2017 rate would top 2,000 percent. The Venezuelan government no longer publishes inflation data on a regular basis.

Of course not. They can’t print it fast enough to keep up.

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They did the mash

Apparently it didn’t catch on in a flash:

Mashable, once a fast-growing digital publisher with big ambitions, has been sold at a fire sale price.

Ziff Davis, a digital media subsidiary of tech company J2, is buying Mashable for less than $50 million, according to people familiar with the transaction. In the spring of 2016, Time Warner’s Turner led a $15 million investment round that valued the company at $250 million.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that a deal was in the works.

Weird to see that description of Ziff Davis, which has been around for 90 years. During the 1970s they owned stuff like Car and Driver and Stereo Review, and they could afford not to do things like this:

Mashable’s new owners plan on keeping the site running but want to refocus the company on tech and tech-lifestyle content. That will mean laying off about 50 of the site’s employees and offering other Mashable employees jobs at other Ziff Davis publications, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans, who says founder Pete Cashmore will stay with the company.

Until he gets bored, I suspect.

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A decidedly cloudy forecast

Cumulus Media, which owns 446 radio stations in the US, has been in dire straits:

Atlanta-based radio giant Cumulus Media has filed to reorganize in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with $2.4 billion in debt. It has reached an agreement with 69% of its term loan holders.

Cumulus’ pre-packaged restructuring agreement with lenders will reduce the company’s debt by more than $1 billion. The filing took place at United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Earlier this month, Cumulus defaulted on a nearly $24 million debt payment to its lenders. The stock will continue to trade on the OTC (over-the-counter) market, where it moved after being delisted at NASDAQ last week.

Shares in CMLS are selling for a very non-NASDAQy nine cents a share. And speaking of shares, the top-rated Cumulus station in Oklahoma City, the nation’s #50 market, is WWLS, the Sports Animal, which scored a 4 share, fifth among local stations.

Required management jargon:

Cumulus president/CEO Mary Berner insisted the company will turn its fortunes around in her press statement. “Over the last two years, we have focused on implementing a business plan to reverse the company’s multi-year ratings, revenue and EBITDA declines, create a culture that fosters motivated and engaged employees, and build an operational foundation to support the kind of performance we believe Cumulus is capable of delivering. This has resulted in increased ratings, revenue market share gains, improved employee satisfaction, reduced employee turnover and, over the last several quarters, our return to year-over-year EBITDA and revenue growth — demonstrating that turnaround has not only been successful, but is continuing. However, as we have noted consistently, the debt overhang left by previous years of underperformance remains a significant financial challenge that we must overcome for our operational turnaround to proceed.”

Short version: “Most of this crap happened before I got here.”

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It has come to this

The hardest of hard luck befalls some of us:

Melody was in a car accident. It was a hit and run. This is where she had to get a rod in her leg. When that failed, she had her leg amputated. With all the medical bills, she was left homeless. From here she got a flesh eating bacteria virus. She made it though, but after that she had to start getting dialysis every week. Her ports continued to get clogged, so she was always going through alot of surgeries and complications. She passed away from a massive heart attack. At this time we are unsure of the cause of this.

Any help would be great. Thank you.

Melody was a cousin of mine; her mom was my Aunt Nena. She was fifty years old, and that’s too early to say goodbye.

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The unsoaked rich

Colonel Bunny, on the subject of the one-percenters and how they stay there:

The mask has slipped in the last 25 years as the infection of high-speed trading on the stock market, the flood of insane derivatives, the chummy relationship of public employee unions and politicians, open borders, and massive money creation, among other things, have come to light. The result has been the enormous transfer of wealth to the richest 1% that has accompanied astronomical wage stagnation. This is parasitism.

No one’s been minding the store in the West for a long time. Almost all Western nations have flooded themselves with savages and run up massive debt and money supplies, all to satisfy, I presume, the moneyed interests and their lumpenproletariat clients on whom the former rely to deliver reliable votes for economic destruction and the slide into third-world grime and savagery. This has nothing to do with common sense or patriotism.

There’s scarcely any money worthy of the name down here in the old Teeming Milieu; at best, what we have turns out to be nothing more than positive ledger entries. The more pragmatic among us will note that this is better than negative ledger entries; but at any moment your personal balance may be confiscated at the whim of the State. And if they want you in red ink, in red ink you shall be.

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But hey, it’s not a tax

“We didn’t come to the State Capitol to start raising taxes.”

Um, there’s a budget hole you could steer an aircraft carrier through, and the state constitution forbids deficit spending.

“Listen up, goddamn it. We didn’t come to the State Capitol to start raising taxes.”

And so it came to pass that this came to pass:

Letter from Child Support Services announcing a new fee

After all, those custodial parents are just rolling in extra cash these days.

Aren’t they?

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House of no blue lights

Number of K mart SuperCenters remaining in 2017: one.

That would be this one, #4939 in Warren, Ohio:

About 600 non-Super K mart stores remain, in 49 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam. That store in Guam is the largest K mart of them all.

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Some people will defend this

What they can’t defend is how various governmental entities can slap nearly four dollars in taxes on a $6 carton of Sprite, and yet said governmental entities are utterly broke.

“But that stuff is not good for you” will not wash as a justification, either, unless you plan to tax Chicago residents based upon their home addresses.

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