Tuesday, August 6, 2013

JuiceBlender: Amazon Founder Buys Washington Post, GOP Leader Pipkin Resigns, Vallario Ethics Complaint, Missing Child

UPDATE: The missing child (Ashley Fletcher) has been found. 

Below Maryland Juice highlights a few tidbits of news that may be of interest to politicos, along with a missing child alert for 14-year-old Ashley Fletcher -- last seen in Beltsville, MD in a red sweatshirt and glasses (scroll to bottom):

JUICE #1: AMAZON.COM FOUNDER JEFF BEZOS BUYS WASHINGTON POST FOR $250 MILLIONPolitical insiders were abuzz with news tonight that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, Gazette, Express and Southern Maryland newspapers for $250 million. Politico co-founder John Harris (a 21-year-veteran alum of The Washington Post) speculated on what this might mean for the future of the DC Metro region's daily paper of record:
POLITICO: Within minutes of the news going public, I had an email from a recognizable byline at the Washington Post that captured my feelings exactly: “Holy. Shit....” Here’s a list of what seem like four of the most pressing questions:

Does Jeff Bezos have a theory of the case?
.... If so, he’s not showing much leg at the outset. His letter to Post employees made an obvious observation about how “the Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs.... There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment.”

How deep are Bezos’s pockets? Remember, Bezos himself is buying the Post, not Amazon. The price tag of $250 million is a lot even for the average tycoon, but it isn’t much for him: Just one percent of what Forbes estimates is his $25.2 billion fortune....

Does he mean what he says about keeping the Post’s current “excellent leadership team?”....  Bezos will inherit a team that is regarded as intelligent and competent, but in need of a serious jolt of inspiration and direction.

What are Bezos’s politics and values?.... Although Bezos made his fortune in Seattle, not Silicon Valley, a libertarian streak would place him squarely within a long tradition of such politics in the tech world, and he would be breaking ground in this cohort. “This will be the first time a major newspaper has been owned by a tech revolutionary,” the Columbia Journalism Review noted.

JUICE #2: MARYLAND GOP SENATE MINORITY LEADER E.J. PIPKIN RESIGNING NEXT WEEK - Republican State Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin surprised Annapolis insiders with an announcement that he would be resigning from office next week. The Baltimore Sun's Erin Cox reported on the development (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin announced Monday he would retire from the legislature next week and move to Texas to pursue a graduate degree in sports management. Pipkin, 56, served as Republican's chief debater in the Maryland Senate, leading opposition in recent years to the state's new gun-control law, legalization of same-sex marriage, repeal of the death penalty and off-shore wind program....
Maryland Juice also received the following press release from the office of Senate President Mike Miller confirming the news:


Statement of Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
on the Resignation of Senator E.J. Pipkin

Today, Senator Pipkin delivered a letter of resignation to my office, effective August 12, 2013. Senator Pipkin had a strong work ethic, was knowledgeable on the issues and served his constituents well.  We in the Senate truly appreciate his years of service to the people of Maryland and wish him nothing but success in the future.

JUICE #3: MARYLAND HOUSE JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN JOE VALLARIO FACING ETHICS COMPLAINT OVER ALLEGED CONFLICT OF INTEREST - The Chairman of the Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Joe Vallario is facing an ethics complaint regarding an alleged conflict of interest regarding his son's law practice. The Washington Post's John Wagner reported on the controversy (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Kenniss Henry told the lawmaker all the horrible details about her daughter’s death: How Natasha Pettigrew headed out before sunrise on a fall morning for a bike ride, part of her triathlon training. How the SUV driver who hit her told police she kept on going because she thought she had hit a deer....  After her daughter died, prosecutors told Henry that they would try to build a criminal case against the driver, but because of Maryland’s lax vehicular manslaughter laws, the charges would probably not be severe.

That’s why Henry was in Annapolis, telling her story to Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Vallario (D-Prince George’s), who is also a criminal defense attorney, had for years stood in the way of bills aimed at making it easier for prosecutors to get jail time for negligent drivers, arguing they criminalized what were often accidents.....

Weeks later, Henry almost fainted, she said, when prosecutors told her who was representing the driver who killed her daughter: Vallario’s son, who operates out of his father’s law office in Suitland.

The episode is now the subject of an ethics complaint, with Henry arguing that Vallario — whose roles as both legislator and defense lawyer have long drawn scrutiny in Annapolis — had an egregious conflict of interest.

Henry said she never would have shared as much information about her daughter’s death with the powerful lawmaker had she known his son would be attempting to win an acquittal for Christy Littleford, the driver of the SUV....

JUICE #4: 36% OF ADULTS 18-31 LIVING AT HOME WITH PARENTS, 41.6% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR BLACK TEENAGERS - A pair of wild (but unsurprising) new data points have emerged in recent survey data. Many young people in America continue to face a disproportionate hit from the recession with a pair of polls showing a record number of adults living with their parents and massive unemployment for African American teenagers seeking work. CBS reported on the first of the two survey results (excerpt below):
CBS NEWS: A new study from Pew Research finds that 36 percent of Millennials – young adults ages 18 to 31 – are living at their parents’ homes, the highest number in four decades. A record 21.6 million young adults were still living at home last year.

“Most of my friends that have graduated end up living back home because even if they have a job they can’t afford to pay rent and pay back their loans at the same time,” Stephanie Levonne, a 20-year-old college student living at home, told CBS News....
Though the difficulties facing young people cut across all racial groups, it appears the the economy is taking a particularly difficult toll on young African Americans. Breitbart highlighted the magnitude of the problem in a recent article (excerpt below):
BREITBART: Friday's jobs report was disappointing, but it also contained a truly heartbreaking statistic. Black teen unemployment is a shocking 41.6%. In July last year, the unemployment was considerably lower, at 36%....

This isn't a numbers trick. This isn't a rate based on the whole black teen population in the country. This is the proportion of the black teen population that is looking for work but can't find a job. Just in March, the number was eight points lower at 33%. The white teen unemployment rate is half the black rate, although still high at 20%...

JUICE #5: MISSING CHILD REPORT // 14-YEAR-OLD ASHLEY FLETCHER MISSING IN BELTSVILLE, MD  - A Twitter user alerted Maryland Juice to news of a missing 14-year-old in Beltsville, Maryland. Ashley Fletcher was last seen in a red sweatshirt and glasses (details below):

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