Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Morning Hiccups

That's what I get for drinking Globe soda for breakfast:

Philly Fi$$le

"Philadelphia soda tax sold as way to raise revenue" Associated Press  June 12, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia is on the verge of becoming the second city in the country to pass a tax on soft drinks.

The 1.5 cent per ounce tax on regular and diet sodas is expected to raise $91 million. City council is set to approve the measure at its Thursday meeting.

The mayor is pushing the plan as a way to address some of its other ills, including paying for prekindergarten opportunities, rebuilding crumbling recreation centers, and creating community schools.

They always say that and then the money always seems to disappear down the rathole of corruption here in AmeriKa these days. 

First of all, where has all the money gone, and secondly, how much is the city of Philadelphia (and state of Pennsylvania) doling out in corporate welfare and tax breaks?

Related: The winners, losers in Mass. economic development bill

I haven't looked at the $core yet.

It’s an approach that could be the key to victory for an idea that has failed twice in Philadelphia and dozens of times in places across the country in recent years — and a new strategy cities have been watching as Philadelphia is poised for a rare victory on an issue that has been unpopular.

They never stop reaching for your wallet no matter how many times you say no!

‘‘Cities learn from each other,’’ said Vanessa Williamson, a fellow at the Brookings Institute who studies American attitudes about taxation. ‘‘I would be very surprised if other cities weren’t going to think about whether the example set by Philadelphia can apply to their cities as well.’’

The City of Brotherly Love looked to Berkeley, Calif. — the first city in the country to pass a soda tax last fall — for how they might pull off its own. But Berkeley, a town of less than 120,000, has nearly twice the median household income of Philadelphia and is overwhelmingly white. 

Even the terminology is inferring theft, and why drag race into it?


In Philadelphia, often cited as the poorest big city in the country, more than 180,000 citizens — many of them children — live in deep poverty and only 45 percent of its 1.5 million residents are white.

‘‘Berkeley’s not Philadelphia,’’ said City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown, who voted against the soda tax in 2010 and 2011 but is supporting the latest version, which includes a tax on diet soda.

‘‘I'm satisfied because the homework says diet soda is more often consumed by non-African-Americans,’’ said Reynolds-Brown, who is black. ‘‘That’s casting the net far wider and more citizens have some skin in the game.’’

The case could certainly be made for a healthier Philadelphia — more than 68 percent of adults and 41 percent of children in the city are overweight or obese. But Kenney, a council veteran who ran pledging to establish universal pre-K and took office citing poverty as his top priority, focused on the public interest over public health in making the argument to tax sugary drinks.

It's $erious bu$ine$$.

And the novel strategy of taking a tax that has traditionally been criticized as preying on poor communities and pledging to use the money to help those same neighborhoods was an argument that helped neutralize some of the racial backlash.

That's a novel strategy for their latest looting scheme? 

The $ame old $hop-worn $hit promi$es we all get from authority no matter what our color?


Are they taxing alcohol in Philadelphia?

The key is moderation.


Soda industry is on the verge of losing Philadelphia tax battle

Looks like a lot of people drink soda.

Philadelphia becomes 1st major American city with soda tax

The guy on the left has got it right. 

Here comes the buuuuuuuuurp....

"With ‘for her’ marketing, advertisers are missing the mark" by Jessica Contrera Washington Post  June 10, 2016

Ladies, as everyone knows, are dainty and fragile, and prefer the world to be awash in pastels. Or, at least, that’s the philosophy behind the old marketing mantra for making products attractive to women:

‘‘Shrink it and pink it.’’

It’s hard to imagine this phrase being uttered in a boardroom in this era, and yet, every so often still, a new product emerges doused in shades of magenta and labeled ‘‘for her’’: And now, soon to make its way to grocery store shelves in Florida: beer, made especially for women.

It’s infused with chamomile, elderflower, and passion fruit juice. The packaging resembles a knockoff Lily Pulitzer print. The label is adorned with hops poking out of a stiletto. The brand name: High Heel Brewing.

The reaction?

‘‘What a slap in the face to all women brewers and drinkers,’’ one commenter on the beer’s Facebook page said. 

I can hear it now: I was drunk!

‘‘What does gender have to do with beer?’’ wrote another.

You can’t begrudge any manufacturer for wanting to tap into a burgeoning market, and for the beer industry, there is certainly room to grow: Women make up slightly more than half the US population but consume only 32 percent of American-made craft beer.

Alcohol does distort the thinking process and lower inhibitions.

But is wrapping it in pink really going to do the trick?

After her beer was unveiled in May, Kristi McGuire, the brewmaster and creator of High Heel, was shocked by the backlash.


She sat up at night scrolling through the comments and mulling her 20 years in the male-dominated brewing community.

I'm not doing that anymore, even if I wake up early. It's now back to bed. I won't log on until after I get a Globe, assuming I even bother reading it, and have a noon deadline regardless. Sometimes I push it over by an hour or so, but it's more a question of health than anything else. That and the neglect of my own personal situation these last ten years.

Sorry to ramble on like some drunk.

She says she believed she could make a beer everyone would like, while using the name and packaging to celebrate that it was brewed by a woman.

But the ‘‘for her’’ marketing approach seems to have lost its appeal.

Same as a certain regional flag$hip new$paper I know.

“Pink is not a strategy, unless you’re raising money for breast cancer research,’’ said Bridget Brennan, the author of ‘‘Why She Buys.’’

That's another big i$$ue being brought to the fore.

‘‘In 2016, marketing to women is all about being inclusive. That doesn’t mean excluding men; it means excluding stereotypes.’’

It’s not that women don’t want products made with them in mind. ‘‘Marketing to Women’’ author Marti Barletta points to other examples in the business of alcohol: Skinnygirl Cocktails and Vixen Vodka. Their logos feature spiky pumps and female silhouettes to indicate their target market — but without explicitly declaring it, as High Heel Brewing did. (It may have helped that vodka has long been seen as a drink that appeals to both genders, unlike beer.)

‘‘Anything that says ‘you women’ is going to get a backlash,’’ Barletta said, whereas an approach that comes from the angle of ‘‘we women’’ just might get a listen.

Women have been the primary targets of advertising since the early days — notably for food products. 

Those in$ecurities have created illnesses such as bulimia and anorexia.

Good thing the pre$$ is looking out for your rights, ladies.

But that was because marketers saw them more as the domestic providers than the ultimate consumer. Those early ads didn’t quite recognize women as full people, said Katherine Parkin, an associate professor of history at Monmouth University who has studied gender roles in advertising. ‘‘They impressed upon women that if they serve Grape Nuts, their husband will be a successful businessman or their children will be popular. All these kinds of threats and promises go with their messages.’’

No wonder I'm turned off and turning the channel.

Eventually, advertising’s pearls-and-apron housewives were replaced by working moms in jeans or business suits, but when marketing becomes more gendered, it’s often the ladies’ products that cost more — notably body-care products such as deodorant, shaving cream, or body wash. There is often no difference in the women’s and man’s versions of these items besides scent and color. But as an analysis of nearly 800 products from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs showed last year, women pay approximately 7 percent more than men for similar items.

And they get paid less! 

Some might call that price gouging. 

You ladies pay more for a gallon of gas?

This is especially true in the kids’ aisle. ‘‘Girl’’ toys, even if they’re basically the same trinket, just in a more feminine colors or patterns, cost an average of 7 percent more than toys in ‘‘boy’’ colors. In clothing, girls’ shirts cost an average of 13 percent more.

The whole child products market is a huge shakedown and racket. What are you going to do? Neglect the kid?

Where manufacturers really go wrong, said Barletta, the ‘‘Marketing to Women’’ author, is when they assume that if they make something pink, women will buy it. As when an item comes in only two colors, black and pink. Or when sports apparel in women’s sizes is made only in pastels.

‘‘When pink is a color women can choose, they will choose it. When it is the only color that isn’t the ‘normal’ one, women will not choose it,’’ Barletta said. ‘‘They don’t want it forced on them.’’

Somehow no one seems to like that, male, woman, transgender, anybody?

Subtlety, marketing experts say, is key. Forget about the quirky craft beer industry for a moment; what if America’s brewing giants made a concerted push for female customers?

They already are; they’re just doing it quietly. Perhaps you noticed Amy Schumer in all of those Bud Light ads. Or Coors’s recent ‘‘Climb On’’ ads. Right there, next to the manly dudes climbing mountains and drinking beer with mud on their faces, are tough gals climbing mountains and drinking beer with mud on their faces.

The NFL, the auto industry, and athletic clothing brands such as UnderArmour have all caught on to the same secret.... 

I gue$$ it's not a $ecret anymore.


Just wondered what's next, drafting women for combat?

Going to be a hot one today so.... you want Pepsi or Coke?

I'd say time for a swim, but....

Saugus Sadness

Teen swimmer drowns in Saugus pond

Staying silent out of respect for the tragedy.

"Confidential data released as Saugus legal fight grinds on" by Kathy McCabe Globe Staff  June 05, 2016

In the long-running legal furor that has gripped Saugus Town Hall, it seemed like a fairly routine request. The lawyer handling a former employee’s whistle-blower suit against the town asked for “all documents concerning allegations” related to James Rivers’s two-year tenure as the town’s information technology director.

Not even the FBI can keep them safe.

Town officials took the request quite literally, it seems, responding with nearly 49,000 pages of material. Somewhere around page 8,000 — amid copies of flu shot reminders and snow removal notices — were the names, Social Security numbers, and bank account details for nearly 1,200 Saugus town employees.

See: Going Public

How did that help?

“I was stunned,” said Rivers’s lawyer, Elayne Alanis, a Boston employment lawyer, who said the “document dump” seemed intended to bury her in needless material. “I did not ask for anyone’s Social Security number, or their banking information. . . .”

There was, she said, “no way in the world” such personal, confidential information should have been disclosed.

In the world of suburban government, feuds among town factions are not all that unusual, and can sometimes rival the cutthroat ferocity of big-city politics. The drama unfolding in Saugus ranks, in its own way, as one of the more memorable.

I've had enough of O.J. anniversary shows, thanks.

The disclosure of the town workers’ confidential financial information was only the latest twist in the legal battles that have roiled the town since early 2015....

Such skulduggery in Saugus!


Of course there is always a hiccup regarding catching the "terrorists," and is that why the Globe is hiding the profile as millions of Muslims around the world mark the holy month of Ramadan, a time marked by intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting, and nightly feasts?

So what, was it raining or the camera just out of focus?

Landslides, floods kill 35 on Indonesia’s Java island

Who knows how long it will take them to dig up the remains that are pinned in that rabble.

I'm now going to go dig into my Monday Globe for a while. Who knows how far I will get. It always looks interesting; however, as you can see I'm mostly noting the stories with apathy and indifference these days. It's hard to read something in which you have no faith.