Financial
Debt vote in Senate kept from public view PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:27

WASHINGTON (AP) — Financial markets were watching, the retirement accounts of millions of Americans on the line.

Nervous senators were watching too, well aware that political fortunes could be on the line.

So on perhaps the most important vote of the year, the Senate did something extraordinary this week: It tried to keep the vote tally secret until the outcome was assured.

As lawmakers voted Wednesday on must-pass legislation to increase the government's debt limit, they dropped the parliamentary equivalent of a curtain on the voting as it was in progress.

Typically, roll-call votes in the Senate play out in a very public manner. People watching from the galleries or tracking action from afar via C-SPAN can watch democracy unfold in all its messy wonder.

Each senator's vote is announced by the clerk; each time a senator switches sides, that's announced too. Onlookers can keep a running tally of how it's going.

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Jos. A. Bank buying Eddie Bauer in $850M deal PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:23

HAMPSTEAD, Md. (AP) — Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. is buying the parent company of Eddie Bauer in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $850 million.

The men's clothing company, which itself is being pursued by Men's Wearhouse Inc., made the deal with Everest Topco LLC to buy Everest Holdings LLC, Eddie Bauer's parent company.

Jos. A. Bank said Friday that the transaction includes $564 million in cash and about 4.7 million new shares of Jos. A. Bank stock issued to Everest Topco at $56 per share.

Everest Topco may also earn up to an additional $50 million in cash based on Eddie Bauer's adjusted earnings for fiscal 2014.

Jos. A. Bank may end the deal if it receives an acquisition offer for its company that it feels is superior.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Comcast-TWC merger worries, outrages consumers PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by RYAN NAKASHIMA, AP Business Writer   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:25

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Comcast and Time Warner Cable regularly rank at the bottom of the pay TV industry when it comes to customer satisfaction. So it didn't take long for customers to vent frustrations online over high prices, spotty service and fears of a monopoly after Comcast announced its $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable.

Outrage that these two big cable companies would join hands to form an even more massive entity spurred a cascade of sarcastic tweets and satirical memes: the killer Death Star battle station from "Star Wars," the evil Eye of Sauron from "The Lord of the Rings," and a "South Park" snippet where character Eric Cartman and friends are tormented by cable employees before a logo curiously similar to Time Warner Cable's own.

Consumers weren't buying the assertion of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts that the combination, which will have 30 million TV and Internet subscribers, would be "pro-consumer and pro-competitive."

Using a contorted logic, the two companies are expected to argue to anti-trust regulators that the fact they don't directly compete against each other in many parts of America shows the deal won't reduce competition and therefore should be approved.

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New gender options for Facebook users PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:08

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — With a click of a cursor, Jay Brown in Cheverly, Md., went from Male to Trans Male. A few states away, Debon Garrigues of Asheville, N.C., switched from Male to Neutral. In San Francisco, Marilyn Roxie, formerly Female, chose three: Androgynous, Transgender and Genderqueer.

Across the country Thursday, news swept through the transgender community that social media giant Facebook had added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them. And one after another, they made their changes in a quiet revolution of sorts.

"For me, this is about much more than a button on a monitor," Garrigues said. "This encourages people to think outside the binary spectrum. It means I don't have to try to fit in the wrong boxes."

For many others, the change went unnoticed — or too far.

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