Home » Situational Awareness: Xbox, Kindle, Derek Jeter

Situational Awareness: Xbox, Kindle, Derek Jeter

by Bruce Haring

Situational Awareness. PhotoDune.RUSSIAN TO JUDGMENT — The downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 has brought new calls for action against Russia, which is actively encouraging militias to move into eastern Ukraine. The airline crash capped a period where a hospital and several villages were shelled by the militias. Evidence of Russian weaponry being used by the militias shows the combat is not a Ukrainian civil war. While the US has rolled out sanctions, the world community has yet to step-up and indicate that Russian pot-stirring in the region has to end.

MICROSOFT CUTBACKS — The Silicon Valley obsession with increasing the amount of H-1B visas knows no shame. The visa, which allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers, is killing US citizen opportunities in technology. That was never clearer than this week’s news that Microsoft is cutting 18,000 jobs in the next year. They call it “focus” — we call it hocus-pocus, an effort to replace higher-paid US workers with lower-priced immigrants. As a side note, Microsoft is also apparently abandoning its efforts to produce entertainment for the Xbox, canning its Xbox Entertainment Studios initiative (although it will complete work already in production). Perhaps they realized foreign workers from countries where on-screen kissing is banned couldn’t deliver content US audiences would embrace.

AMAZON BUFFET OF BOOKS — It’s “read all you want for $9.99” at Amazon, as the company debuts its “Kindle Unlimited” option. There are over 600,000 Kindle books, which means you never have to visit an airport bookstore again. As with most buffets, they’ll try to get you to fill up on the bread and salads, not the meats and seafood. The good news is more people will be encouraged to read. The bad news is that, given the all-you-can-eat remuneration examples experienced by music industry artists, the average author/publisher will likely receive pennies on the dollar in compensation.

DRUG OFFENDERS COMING TO A STREET NEAR YOU — The United States Sentencing Commission last week agreed to reduce the penalties for most drug crimes. That means nearly 50,000 federal inmates will soon hit the streets and seek gainful employment, vying with the illegal immigrants and those who have given up looking for work. What could go wrong?

WAINWRONG STATEMENT — St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright said he threw Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter some very hittable pitches last week during their All-Star game confrontation. The 40-year-old Jeter, who is retiring at the end of the season, wound up serving a double into right field. A storm of protest on social media about cheapening the moment for Jeter later had Wainwright backtracking, but the damage was done. Wainwright is best known for striking out Carlos Beltran to end the Mets 2006 World Series hopes. He’d best stay out of New York for a long time.

GOVERNORS GO NIMBY — State leaders aren’t happy with federal plans to relocate illegal immigrants piling up at the southern border into their states. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, said it best: “The federal government is complicit in a secret operation to transfer illegal individuals to my state and they won’t tell us who they are.” Meanwhile, reports surfaced that religious charities are lining up to collect money for relocating the illegal immigrants throughout the US. The source of the money? The federal government. Meanwhile, a Washington Post-ABC News poll notes that 58% of those surveyed disapprove of Obama’s performance on immigration issues, while 66% don’t like the Republican way of addressing the issue.

JOSE VARGAS PINNED-UP, THEN RELEASED — Illegal alien activist Jose Vargas was detained at a checkpoint in McAllen, Texas that was designed to stop illegal immigration. Vargas, who has flouted the law for years and actively encouraged others to enter the country illegally, was later released and told to report to an immigration judge. He has been living the United States without documentation since 1993, and without a conscience for far longer than that.

FOX STALKS TIME WARNER — Word surfaced this week that 21st Century Fox has made an $80 billion takeover offer for Time Warner Inc. The move was rebuffed, but Rupert Murdoch knows the shareholders will likely start asking the board why they can’t get a premium on their usually moribund stock. Combining 21st Century Fox and Time Warner would bring together HBO, the movie studios Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, and assorted sports holdings. It would also make Murdoch the biggest media mogul the world has ever seen. Maybe he will put in a bid for Mexico next.

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