Comcast — no stranger to lining the pockets of those who can help the company get what it wants (or rewarding them afterward with high-paying jobs) — was befuddled earlier this week when it and Time Warner Cable were heavily criticized for plunking down a total of $132,000 to sponsor a dinner honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn… who just happens to be in the process of reviewing the two companies’ pending merger. Realizing that maybe this might look like something just short of bribery, the cable giants have decided to pull their money — sort of.
Deadline reports that Comcast (responsible for $110K of the total donation) and TWC will no longer be sponsoring the upcoming Walter Kaitz Foundation dinner, where Clyburn is being honored.
Comcast asked the Kaitz Foundation that “there be no recognition of Comcast at the dinner,” explaining that “We do not want either the Commissioner or Kaitz to fall under a shadow as a result of our support for diversity in the cable industry….By the same token, we do not want to punish Kaitz or detract from its important work.”
The company maintains that implications of buying Clyburn’s support “are insulting and not supported by any evidence.”
No evidence? We’d like to point to former FCC Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker, who helped champion Comcast’s merger with NBC and was then rewarded with a job as a D.C.-based lobbyist for Comcast.
Time Warner Cable also gave a statement about how it pulled its piddling $22,000 contribution. Good for them.
The companies are still giving their money to the Kaitz Foundation, but will be doing it through different channels, instead of by sponsoring a party to honor one of the few people who has the leverage to shut down its merger plans.
by Chris Morran via Consumerist
Last year, we lamented the long hiatus of one of our favorite sites, Not Fooling Anybody, which featured makeovers of former chain storefronts that were, as the name states, not fooling anybody. What we didn’t know was that the site has been revived, in the form of a community on Reddit. Let the yellow-painted Pizza Huts roll!
We love tweaks to the American chainscape, so here are some of our favorite recent submissions to the subreddit.
This former Blockbuster Video can’t rent you any new releases, but they can help you achieve the latest hairstyles. Maybe.
This Subway that started out as an old-school KFC would look a lot better with a cupola. It could have a sandwich-shaped weathervane on top.
The windows make this a very recognizable former Taco Bell. Taco Bucks? Star Bell? It’s beautiful, anyway.
This former Burger King is actually quite lovely.
It even retained its square roadside sign with rounded corners.
Happy Jack’s Biscuits and Gravy has lost its trapezoidal windows and signature roof hump, but everyone still knows that it used to be a Pizza Hut.
It’s hard to disguise a former Circuit City without extensive renovations.
Really, really hard. Even if you put up a nice sign.
This Five Guys in a former Pizza Hut is an American treasure. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
by Laura Northrup via Consumerist
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It was once as American as, well, blue jeans to start your day with a bowl of cereal and milk. Breakfast grains were once major sponsors behind kid-oriented television programming, or licensed beloved fictional characters to put on cereal boxes. Now sales at major cereal companies are down, and a variety of reasons are contributing to the decline.
Earnings at Kellogg are down 15%, but it’s not just the big, expensive brand names that are falling out of favor. Cereal sales overall are down about 6%…the same amount that denim sales have fallen. Oh, no, America, what’s happening?
It’s a combination of things. Many Americans have to adjust their diets for celiac disease, which eliminates many traditional grains from their diets. On a wider scale, parents have finally figured out that maybe sugar-encrusted bits of wheat and marshmallows are not the most nutritious thing that children could eat first thing in the morning. “With childhood obesity at historically high levels, health-conscious parents are aiming to cut down the volume of breakfast cereals consumed by their offspring,” pointed out one industry analyst in a report.
What are we eating instead? Cereal companies aim to get into the breakfast shake and cereal bar business, figuring that maybe we’ll eat those as we hurry out the door. We might still eat granola, but less of it, and sprinkled in a container of Greek yogurt.
by Laura Northrup via Consumerist