Streaming soon: Disney+

If you read the post just below this cartoon/post, you know how I feel about movies. Movies and sport, 4K and what TV-watching we do in our extended family on Lot 4.

I wrote that piece because this cartoon was emailed to me by one of our regular followers. And I certainly accept that Bob Iger and Disney have the talent pool and sufficient geedus to capture as much of our allotted electronic entertainment time as anyone else in the business. Gobbling up Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and adding that to existing goodies like Pixar and Marvel and ESPN ain’t easy-peasy. I expect the talent pool at Disney will come through to meet the standards set by Iger.

And as I said in the preceding post — “Storytelling will play as big a part as cost, no doubt. But, the storytelling is how it always starts. A great deal on crap television is not what we’re looking for.”

NFL will sack Georgia if they pass anti-Gay religious “liberty” law — UPDATED

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, is on the cusp of becoming America’s newest gay icon.

Goodell, who has an openly gay brother, and the NFL have emerged as staunch allies in gay rights advocates’ efforts to defeat HB 757, the controversial religious freedom bill that passed the Georgia legislature late last week.

HB 757 began the year as “the Pastor Protection Act,” a measure giving clergy the right to refuse to perform same-sex weddings. But after two trips through the Georgia state House and Senate, the bill now gives faith-based organizations the right to hire and fire people who violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” as well as the right to refuse to rent facilities for events they find “objectionable…”

With every expansion of the bill, Georgia legislators were warned by local business leaders not to do to Georgia what Indiana legislators did in 2015, when their own Religious Freedom Restoration Act led to an immediate nationwide backlash, including more than 400 million #BoycottIndiana tweets in the week the bill passed.

A year later, local tourism officials estimate the city lost at least 12 conventions and $60 million in direct business as a result…

Along with LGBT advocates, major players in Georgia’s business community have ripped the legislation.

Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Delta Airlines oppose it. Michael Dell, Richard Branson, and Jack Dorsey have all spoken out against it. SalesForce CEO Mark Benioff, who has 16,000 employees in Georgia, has warned he’ll pull as much of his business as possible out of the state, tweeting last week:

“Once again Georgia is trying to pass laws that make it legal to discriminate. When will this insanity end?

Some think a sports-mad community like Georgia will listen most of all to folks in leading sports. I think they’re as capable as anyone in the Confederacy of cutting off their noses to spite folks who refuse to kneel before the Georgia version of sharia.

And, BTW, you can add Marvel and Disney to the list of firms ready to boycott the state. Why make a movie in a place that might refuse a room to staff or stars?

UPDATE: Georgia governor vetoes anti-gay religious exemption bill

Georgia’s term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal took a stand against his own party and averted threatened boycotts by major corporations on Monday by announcing his veto of a “religious freedom” bill passed exclusively by Republican lawmakers.

“I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” Deal declared.

The bill enumerated a list of actions that “people of faith” would not have to perform for other people. Clergy could refuse to perform gay marriages; churches and affiliated religious groups could have invoked their faith as a reason to refuse to serve or hire someone. People claiming their religious freedoms have been burdened by state or local laws also could force governments to prove there’s a “compelling” state interest overriding their beliefs.

All but 11 Republicans in the Georgia House and Senate voted in favor; all Democrats voted against it.

Deal said he could “find no examples that any of the things this bill seeks to protect us against have ever occurred in Georgia.”

Like most bigots, the things Georgia Republicans feared had never come to pass in the wake of the SCOTUS decisions on gay rights. No different from the days when the “modern” Confederacy crapped their drawers over an end to legal segregation, mixed marriage, the whole agglomeration of laws guaranteeing racist practices. Reactionary politicians centered in the Republican Party, nowadays – Dixiecrats BITD – try their damndest to sink the American Constitution as it proceeds slowly towards actual modern times.

The Party of NO continues to be the Party of Know Nothing, the Party of Do Nothing Useful.

Disney World ends support to Boy Scouts over LGBT discrimination

Walt Disney World has jumped on the bandwagon of businesses pulling their funding from Boy Scouts of America, as the organization still refuses to end its ban on openly LGBT adults.

Charitable contributions will no longer be made to BSA or local troops as part of Walt Disney World’s “Ears For You” grant program…

Scouts for Equality co-founder and Eagle Scout Zach Wahls praised Walt Disney World’s decision.

“We’re never happy to see Scouting suffer as a result of the BSA’s anti-gay policy, but Disney made the right decision to withhold support until Scouting is fully inclusive. Scouts for Equality will continue to advocate for a fully inclusive membership policy, to help build a stronger Scouting community that is eligible for the support of Corporate America.”

As the straight son of a lesbian couple, Wahls has been working to reverse the BSA’s policies of discrimination and exclusion. Since its inception in 2012, Scouts for Equality has succeeded in influencing seven major corporations – including Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, UPS and now Walt Disney World — to end their sponsorship.

Bravo! I give Disney credit for joining a Free America. And kudos to Zach Wahls for his courage confronting an outdated administration. Scouting can do some real good – when ethics come up to constitutional standards.

Think Congress left corporate subsidies out of the Fiscal Cliff bill?

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Throughout the months of November and December, a steady stream of corporate CEOs flowed in and out of the White House to discuss the impending fiscal cliff. Many of them, such as Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, would then publicly come out and talk about how modest increases of tax rates on the wealthy were reasonable in order to deal with the deficit problem. What wasn’t mentioned is what these leaders wanted, which is what’s known as “tax extenders”, or roughly $205 Billion of tax breaks for corporations. With such a banal name, and boring and difficult to read line items in the bill, few political operatives have bothered to pay attention to this part of the bill. But it is critical to understanding what is going on…

Most tax credits drop straight to the bottom line – it’s why companies like Enron considered its tax compliance section a “profit center”. A few hundred billion dollars of tax expenditures is a major carrot to offer. Surely, a modest hike in income taxes for people who make more than $400k in income and stupid enough not to take that money in capital gain would be worth trading off for the few hundred billion dollars in corporate pork. This is what the fiscal cliff is about – who gets the money. And by leaving out the corporate sector, nearly anyone who talks about this debate is leaving out a key negotiating partner…

Here are a couple of the goodies. There actually is a generalized tax credit or two worth keeping. Most of these plain-and-simple suck tax dollars that could do something otherwise useful.

1) Help out NASCAR – Sec 312 extends the “seven year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complex property”, which is to say it allows anyone who builds a racetrack and associated facilities to get tax breaks on it. This one was projected to cost $43 million over two years.

3) Disney’s Gotta Eat – Sec. 317 is “Extension of special expensing rules for certain film and television productions”. It’s a relatively straightforward subsidy to Hollywood studios, and according to the Joint Tax Committee, was projected to cost $150m for 2010 and 2011.

5) Subsidies for Goldman Sachs Headquarters – Sec. 328 extends “tax exempt financing for York Liberty Zone,” which was a program to provide post-9/11 recovery funds. Rather than going to small businesses affected, however, this was, according to Bloomberg, “little more than a subsidy for fancy Manhattan apartments and office towers for Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Corp.” Michael Bloomberg himself actually thought the program was excessive, so that’s saying something. According to David Cay Johnston’s The Fine Print, Goldman got $1.6 billion in tax free financing for its new massive headquarters through Liberty Bonds.

You get the idea. RTFA. Recognize for the umpteenth time the hacks in Congress can’t pass up a single opportunity to kiss butt for the folks picking up the tab for their political campaigns.