Tag: amazon

Jack throws all this “Young Americans” stuff out the window for an episode of pure Lord of the Rings exegesis. He and Craig Hanks of the Legendarium podcast discuss the first season of the recently concluded Amazon series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. They air their complaints, look for the good in the show, try to determine whether it will get better, and more.

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Season 1 is over! What did the people of ricochet think … Good, Meh, Suck? I liked it. Episodes 1, 2, and 8 were strong. The middle of this season was a long walk in the woods.  I think Episode 8 was a good-? Especially after the last three clunkers, I think they brought it […]

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Are You Ready For Some PAY Football?

 

How much would you be willing to pay to be the exclusive home to an NFL game? How about $67M per game? When you break it down, that’s what Amazon Prime is paying the league for its package of Thursday Night Football that debuted Thursday Night.

I expect the coverage to be unremarkable. Amazon has done nothing but hire broadcast network veterans to run the show. For everyone to get comfortable with each other, they’ve been taping practice games for weeks. Will there be moments that Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit step on each other? Maybe. But the only wildcard in this pack is the production truck itself. While it comes from one of the leading providers of remote facilities, Game Creek Video, it’s brand new. And brand new anything that complicated comes with surprises. That’s why Bezos paid for all those practice games.

The real question is will the audience be able to find it? Your benchmark will be $16.4 million, that’s the combined numbers between the Fox/NFL Network simulcast of the same package last season. Interestingly, Amazon is only promising advertisers 75% of that, around 12M per game. (For perspective, the worst draw in the NFL – a matchup between two losing teams late in the season draws around 4M on a Sunday afternoon.)

Laboring Under a Delusion

 

In its most recent issue, the New Yorker gloated that in “one of the biggest labor victories since the nineteen-thirties,” the Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted—2,654 for and 2,131 against—to form a union. The union victory was organized by the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), a grass-roots, home-grown operation that operated outside the traditional channels of organized labor, but with substantial material support and strategic advice from old-line unions. The vigorous union campaign highlighted worker grievances that included a demand for improved safety conditions in light of the COVID virus, higher wages, longer work breaks, better grievance procedures, and a shuttle bus connection to the Staten Island ferry. In the run-up to the election, two key union organizers were fired and one warned. All were black. Amazon claimed it was for violating social distancing rules. The workers claimed that it was an illegal effort to fire them for their organizing efforts. Because of the ALU’s success, further union-organizing campaigns at Amazon are now in the offing.

Union optimism about the ALU election should be tempered by the long litigation struggle that lies ahead. It is an open secret that many businesses that are generally liberal on social issues—think Howard Schultz, who has just returned as the head of Starbucks—are widely and correctly regarded as anti-union. This posture is taken for the simple reason that unions are bad for business—period. To the progressive mind, that anti-union posture is a high political sin. President Joe Biden has already cheered on the Amazon workers, saying, “Amazon, here we come.” But there are at least two major reasons to question the merit of his position.

At a theoretical level, the purpose of any sound system of labor law is to improve the overall productivity of the employment relationship, which includes the welfare of firm workers as one part of that calculation. But union elections are, at best, an imperfect way to achieve that objective. About 45 percent of the Amazon employees voted against the union, which means that the net overall gain for current workers is small indeed: the dissenting workers certainly have legitimate concerns. Why pay union dues, typically at 3 percent, that will eat into any future wage increases? Why encourage management-labor confrontations that will sever direct worker-employer relationships, which could price the Staten Island facility out of the market or could lead Amazon to divert some of its business to nonunion warehouses where costs are lower and profits are higher?

With everyone talking about Big  Tech these days, Jack brings on his National Review colleague Daniel Tenreiro to discuss whether the companies are monopolies, what (if anything) should be done about their business practices, which anti-Big-Tech arguments hold water and which don’t, and more.

Brooding Over Cicadas? Just Eat Them. The UN Says So.

 

“Brood X” Cicadas are making their appearance in a big way this weekend in northern Virginia. They’re a nice, harmless, and (eventually) noisy diversion from our current theater. But just wait – someone will politicize them, too. You know it’s coming.

In a sense, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan already has. He’s declared the months of May and June as “Magicicada Months.” Never missing a chance to promote his state, he notes that the bugs sport the official colors of Maryland.

April Showers Bring . . . Woke Weatherproof Styles Ad

 

Amazon April front pageIt is perfectly natural for retailers to pitch products to the season or occasion. We should especially expect on-line retailers to pitch rain gear in April. So, the presence on Amazon’s homepage of two boxes, “Men’s weatherproof styles” and “Women’s rain-ready styles,” is unremarkable. We have also come to expect the leftist virtue signaling, in the form of the latest approved intersectional hashtag and special emphasis on Black Lives, showing that they Matter to Amazon. Yet, what are we to make of the visual presentation of how Amazon thinks a black man should look?

The top right image is a Amazon screen capture from the evening of 11 April 2021. There is a web page wide top banner advertisement that rotates. The advertisement you see is for an Amazon Prime original series, Them, with each season intended to tell a tale focused on African Americans, and apparently on white people as racists.

Them‘s first season is grounded in the historical reality of the second Great Migration (1940-1970). This was the second wave of the Great Migration (1910-1970). American blacks moved from rural areas to inner cities and from the old South to the North and West. Walter Mosley set his Easy Rawlins private eye series in Los Angeles, with the series starting in 1948. If you have not read any of the series, you likely at least recognize the Denzel Washington movie based on the first novel, Devil in a Blue DressSo, Los Angeles is a good setting for a series set in the 1950s, as well as convenient for the video/movie industry.

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Tuesday’s big headline in the financial world is that the world’s richest man, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos – also the owner of the Washington Post and Whole Foods, supports higher taxes in Joe Biden’s “infrastructure” plan (although he does want bipartisanship “concessions” – on the details). Good luck with that, in the Schumer-led […]

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On this episode of “The Federalist Radio Hour,” President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center Ryan T. Anderson joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss Amazon’s recent attempt to deplatform his book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.”

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Molly Kinder, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, joins Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky to discuss her research into how big corporations such as Amazon and Walmart used their skyrocketing profits in the midst of the pandemic and whether their workers benefitted from the financial growth.

 

Make Amazon Pay … for What?

 

A Yahoo! finance article brought to my attention a recent open letter sent to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. The letter has been signed by “401 parliamentarians” from around the world including some of the usual suspects from the US, among them Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Talib.

In the article, Talib is quoted as saying “This pandemic has exposed just how broken and wrong it was to allow a man with this amount of wealth to get away with not paying his fair share.” Everybody knows what someone’s fair share is and it’s obvious when they’re not paying it. Right?

Howard Husock talks with Shelby and Eli Steele about their new documentary, What Killed Michael Brown?, and Amazon’s refusal to make the film available on its Prime Video streaming platform.

The documentary is written and narrated by Shelby Steele, a scholar at the Hoover Institution, and directed by his filmmaker son, Eli Steele. It is available through their website, whatkilledmichaelbrown.com.

Colin Quinn (stand-up comic, actor, writer, Saturday Night Live alum) stops in to talk about his book Overstated – A Coast-to-Coast Roast of All 50 States, and he and Bridget manage to cover, the election, why Bridget should be a criminal profiler and write a book about U-Haul rentals, Colin’s plans for modern-day Constitutional Conventions, the fact that everybody’s crazy now and nobody seems to notice, and they compare psychic experiences (Colin’s involves OJ Simpson). They discuss how odd it is that our society has reached a place where people on the extreme left and right give people in the middle sh*t rather than vice versa, Colin’s elaborate plan to become best friends with Jeff Bezos, how he almost starred in Crocodile Dundee 2, why giving your opinion can be very expensive, and learning the meaning of the word “consequences.”

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On Monday night, my iPhone turned off and wouldn’t turn back on. That’s just a minor personal inconvenience with a straightforward, if not pricy, solution—right? So the next morning, I scheduled an appointment at a repair shop for that afternoon and tried to log in for work. And that’s where the “minor personal inconvenience” snowballed. […]

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Anders Hagstrom returns to the show to discuss the Big Tech menace (?), the Tik Tok menace (!), and the pleasures of video games (?!?).

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I ordered a whip from Amazon. No, not the kind of whip you see in those movies you know you shouldn’t be watching, but a 102 inch variety that screws on the end of an antenna mount. I am a ham radio operator. And, while there are only a few online stores that sell primarily […]

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