3 Reasons Republicans Shouldn’t Worry About the Comcast Merger

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Suddenly, Republicans are worried about media consolidation. And it’s hilarious.

The GOP, you see, is very nervous about Philly-based Comcast and its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. The Washington Free Beacon — a conservative publication — this week ran an article featuring conservative fears that the merger could be bad for democracy.

The argument goes like this:

  •  The merger would result in a single company that dominates the market for local TV advertising: Following the merger, Comcast would own majorities in cooperatives that sell local ad time to national, regional, and local advertisers.
  •  Comcast execs give most of their political donations to Democrats.
  •  Thus, Comcast might very well skew the advertising market to Democrats, raising ad rates for Republicans and giving their buddies the pick of the limited ad crop.

“Given that Comcast owns some control of each aspect — national, regional, and local — they could actually grant favors to particular political candidates,” an anonymous advertising executive told the publication.

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Comcast Today: Earnings Are Up

It’s good to be the king.

Forget the onslaught of opposition to its merger with Time Warner Cable: Today’s earnings report shows that Comcast has a pretty nice business going — for now — even without adding the nation’s second-biggest cable system to its holdings.

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Tavern Games Turn Out Not to Be a Windfall

When Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill last year allowing taverns to host small games of chance, the expectation was that the project might provide $100 million to state coffers its first fiscal year. Nope. CBS Philly reports that just seven bars have received gaming licenses, and just 15 more are currently applying.

The reason? Probably because a violation of gaming law could result in the loss of a liquor licence, under the current law.

“If you have a small mistake on a small games of chance license, which is a small dollar thing, that could go after their liquor license as well,” State Sen. Jake Corman said. “And I think that scares these folks.”

Study: Paid Sick Leave Days Don’t Hurt Biz

Remember the bill — vetoed twice by Mayor Nutter — that wouldn’ve required the city’s small employers to let their worker take paid sick leave? Well similar laws have been adopted elsewhere, and now we’re getting the first official studies on how they’ve turned out.

Answer: Not bad.

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In Abandoned Sting Operation, Liquor Privatization Was Bait

Here’s a question about the abandoned sting that has Kathleen Kane in so much trouble these days: How close did it come to criminalizing normal political activity?

It’s a question that first started to lurk in our minds when the story first broke, with lurid tales of Democrats being given cash and gifts to vote against Voter ID laws they never, ever would’ve supported anyway. And the question grows stronger with today’s news from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review* that the confidential informant in the case often posed as a … proponent of liquor privatization.

* Watch out Inky! The Trib is hot on your heels on this story!

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Philly.com’s Frightening Finance Guru

dave-ramsey

There’s a decent chance you’ve never heard of Dave Ramsey, and the reason should be familiar: In an era when our Red State-Blue State bifurcation means we can’t agree about anything, we don’t even have pop culture in common anymore. So maybe the easiest way to introduce Ramsey is explain that he’s the finance guru to the Duck Dynasty set, an evangelical version of Suze Orman.

He is also Philly.com’s “business columnist” — though really, more of a personal finance advice columnist.

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Report: Abandoned Sting Started With Diverse Targets

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said she abandoned the sting operation that caught Philly Democrats taking cash on tape, in part, because the investigation settled on an almost exclusively African-American traget list, giving the project an appearance of “racial profiling” that would be fatal if the case made it to a jury.

But a new report suggests the scope of the investigation was initially much broader. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that confidential informant Tyron Ali “dealt with 25 black officials, 23 Caucasians and three Latinos, said the sources, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. Of the 51 people with whom Ali dealt, there were 27 House members, five senators, 11 lobbyists and eight Philadelphia city officials. The group included 39 Democrats, seven Republicans and five for whom party affiliation was not available.”

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