The Week in News Review

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Sandy

Sandy left 10 million people without power in New England states and the most populous metro hub in the U.S. stranded as the speedy subways came to a halt earlier this week as Sandy neared Ellis Island.  While subways and trains are slowly coming back online (with limited schedules) the gridlock continues as construction crews muddle through flooded areas and downed trees to bring back power.  Death toll has almost reached 90, but the final numbers are still an estimate.  The biggest challenge ahead for the states hit by Sandy will be getting power back online and people back to work.  Normalcy will come eventually.  In the meantime, my prayers go out to the victims of Sandy – stay warm until we can come help you.

The silver lining to Sandy’s devastation is that utility workers are in high demand.

Jobless Rates

Any economists reading this?  How realistic of a picture do jobless rates paint of the country’s economic stability?  Hiring increased in October – about 171,000 new employees joined the workforce.  However, unemployment rose to 7.9 percent as more workers become optimistic and join the labor force.  According to Georgia Department of Labor, my state is suffering from a 9 percent unemployment rate. What do these numbers say about Georgia and the nation?  While the statistics have thankfully dipped back into single digits, the U.S. economy still feels sluggish.  How much faith should readers put into these reports?

I’m not an economist, but I do think that unemployment rate is a good number to show how much need there is in our country to grow.  The trend has been steadily improving and signs point to optimism.

Elections

Today is the last day for early voting in Georgia.  November 6 is only around the corner and is the last chance for Americans to cast their ballot and have a voice in the political debate.  We can’t all be in Washington lobbying for our causes, but our vote is the most effective way we can make sure our interests will not be overlooked during the politicking process.

More importantly, be an informed voter.  CNN published op-ed’s from both presidential candidates.  Take the time to read their words and hear their arguments before going to cast a ballot that will shape the next four years of American (really global) history.

Star Wars Trilogy Enters New Era

George Lucas sold his LucasFilm empire to Disney for $4.05 billion.  How much does Disney own?

Disney Media Networks, a company whose holdings include:

The ABC Television Network: ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime, ABC News, ESPNon ABC, ABC Television, ABC Kids, and Touchstone Television.

Production & Distribution Companies: Walt Disney Television, Walt Disney Television Animation, BVS entertainment, ABC Studios, Walt Disney Television, Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

Cable Networks: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN PPV, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPNHD, ESPN2 HD, ESPNEWSHD and ESPNUHD, Disney Channel HD, Toon Disney, SOAPnet, ABC Family Channel, A&E Television Networks (37.5% equity; includes A&E, the History Channel, the Biography Channel, History en español, Military History Channel, Crime & Investigation Network, A&E HD, The History Channel HD), Lifetime Entertainment Services (50% equity; includes Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women).

International Channels: ESPN International, ESPN Classic Sport Europe, ESPN Latin America, ESPN Asia, Jetix Europe, Jetix Latin America, Jetix Canada, Jetix Israel, International Disney Channels, History International.

The ABC Television Network has 226 affiliated stations reaching 99 percent of all U.S. television households. The company owns and operates ten ABC television stations in the nation’s top markets.

Programming: Good Morning America, World News with Charles Gibson, World News Now, 20/20, Primetime, This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Sportscenter/Monday Night Football, ESPNplus, Playhouse Disney, Jetix, ABC Kids.

Through its majority ownership stake in Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, Disney owns 277 radio stations in the United States.

Programming: ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes Radio, Radio Disney, Lifetime Radio for women (50% equity), ABC Music Radio, ABC Radio Networks: Imus in the Morning, The Mark Levin Show, Morning Joe, The Tom Joyner Show.

Magazines: Family Fun, ESPN the Magazine, Jetix Magazine, Wondertime Magazine, Bassmaster Magazine and Disney Adventures

Music: Disney Music Group distributes music and motion picture soundtracks under its four labels: Walt Disney Records, Hollywood Records, Buena Vista Records, Lyric Street Records, Disney Music Publishing Worldwide.

Books: Disney Publishing, a subsidiary of the Company, owns Hyperion Books, Hyperion Books for Children, Disney Press, Disney Editions, Disney Adventures, Disney Fairies, Disney Digital Books, Mirimax, ESPN books, ABC Daytime Press, Hyperion East, Hyperion Audiobooks, Volo, Jump at the Sun, Disney Libri (Italy), Disney Hachette JV (France).

Production and Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures (includes Walt Disney Feature Animation and DisneyToon Studios), Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Films, Pixar Animation Studios, Hollywood Pictures, Buena Vista International, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Entertainment International, Disney Theatrical Group, A&E IndieFilms (37.5% equity).

The Walt Disney Internet Group includes:
* Broadband channels ABC News Now and ESPN360.
* Disney’s Blast, broadband entertainment for children
* Subscription-Based Internet services: Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online, for toddlers; Disney Connection, for children; Disney’s Toontown Online, for families
* Websites: ABC.com, ABCNews.com, Oscar.com, Disney.com, Disneychannel.com, Family.com, ESPN.com, Familyfun.com, Go.com, Soccernet.co (60%), NFL.com, NBA.com, NASCAR.com, Toysmart.com (partial), Go Network, http://www.disneysgamecafe.com, ESPN.com, Abcsports.com, ESPNdeportes.com, Movies.com, Wondertime.com, iparenting.com, celebrityparents.com, incrediblebabynames.com, disneyfairies.com, clubpenguin.com, Disneyshopping.com, (37.5% equity: aetv.com, biography.com, historychannel.com, militaryhistory.com, thehistoryhcannelclub.com, Historytravel.com).

Parks and Resorts: Disneyland (CA), Walt Disney World Resort (FL), Disneyland Resort Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and DisneyVacation Club, Euro Disney, Walt Disney World (separate from Resort), Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, WD Studio Park, WD Tokyo, Sea Disney-MGM Studios, Disney Animal Kingdom, and ESPNZone.

Consumer Products: Disney Hardlines, Disney Softlines, Disney Toys, the Baby Einstein Company, Muppets Holding Company, Disney Direct Marketing’s catalog and website (DisneyShopping.com), Disney Stores, Disney Princess, Disney Interactive Studios, AETN Consumer products (37.5% equity).

Disney also owns Mobile ESPN and has launched the cellular service Disney Mobile.

Disney now also owns LucasFilms.

(If I wasn’t adopted from Vietnam, I’d look into my roots to find some connection to the Disney owners.)

Halloween

Where does this strange tradition begin?  Latin countries celebrate Day of the Dead for centuries, and we have americanized the holiday of commemorating ancestors to a capitalistic tradition with over-priced candy and costumes.  From All Saints Day to All Souls Day, families ask for protection and guidance from their dead relatives with flowers and picnics in graveyards. To these families, they believe that the dead and living co-exist, and Halloween is a way to reminisce and honor one’s ancestry.

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