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Wealthy families hiring private jets to take their spoiled kids to camp

Meanwhile there are people too poor to afford air conditioning dying all over. To Reach Simple Life at Camp, Lining Up for Private Jets - NYTimes.com
A turboprop Pilatus PC-12 carrying Melissa Thomas, her daughter, her daughter’s friend and a pile of lacrosse equipment took off for their home in Connecticut, following the girls’ three-week stay at Camp All-Star in nearby Kents Hill, Me. Shortly after, a Cessna Citation Excel arrived, and a mother, a father and their 13-year-old daughter emerged carrying a pink sleeping bag and two large duffel bags, all headed to Camp Vega in Fayette. “Love it, love it, love it,” Mr. LePage said of the private-plane traffic generated by summer camps. “I wish they’d stay a week while they’re here. This is a big business.” For decades, parents in the Northeast who sent their children to summer camp faced the same arduous logistics of traveling long distances to remote towns in Maine, New Hampshire and upstate New York to pick up their children or to attend parents’ visiting day. Now, even as the economy limps along, more of the nation’s wealthier families are cutting out the car ride and chartering planes to fly to summer camps. One private jet broker, Todd Rome of Blue Star Jets, said his summer-camp business had jumped 30 percent over the last year. This weekend, a popular choice for visiting day at camps, private planes jammed the runways at small rural airports.

Are DC and Marvel making writers race for jobs?

Blog@Newsarama -- Creators: The Least Valuable Part Of The Creative Process At The Big Two?
Here’s Warren Ellis on recent rumors around the Big Two publishers’ editorial practices: I’m hearing a lot lately about writers being put into foot races on gigs. And not only do they not know who else is running for the job – but many of them seem not to be told they’re in a foot race at all. Writers who assumed they were writing the gig are being told that they never had the gig at all, that other writers have been run parallel to them. Even though they were put through multiple drafts. They didn’t know they were in competition. He went on: Commercial comics can be enough of a snakepit even in relatively benign times. But bringing back a process both demeaning and creatively inferior, and just fucking lying to people about it? I don’t like what that says about the next cycle in the field.

July 26, 2011

Ars Technica sells free review for $5 on Kindle, makes $15K in three days

Ars Technica's OS X Lion review made $15,000 in 24 hours on the Kindle - TNW Media
Will people pay for quality digital content? It’s an argument that has been on the table for quite some time, with naysayers pointing towards downloads of discographies instead of paying attention to concrete purchasing decisions. Last week, Apple released its new version of Mac OS X “Lion”, and as per usual, Ars Technica’s John Siracusa delivered a whopping 27,300 word review of it. His 19-page story, published last Wednesday is available for free online and has already received over 3 million page views. In a telling turn of events, Ars Technica also decided to sell his review as a $5 Kindle ebook. In its first 24-hours on sale, the ebook sold 3,000 copies. And at $5 a pop, that’s a cool $15,000 in revenue in just one day. Harvard’s Niemen Lab interviewed Ken Fisher, the founder and editor of Ars, who is “pleasantly surprised by the outcome”. In fact, Fisher thinks of it as “free money” and that “he underestimated the power of Amazon’s one-click experience, which makes impulsive purchases painless.” . . .

July 25, 2011

If Corporations And The Rich Paid Taxes At The Same Level As The 1960s, The Debt Would Disappear

If Corporations And The Rich Paid Taxes At The Same Level As The 1960s, The Debt Would Disappear | ThinkProgress
Over at the Campaign for America’s Future, the Institute for Policy Studies’ (IPS) Sam Pizzigati notes that one way to very easily tackle U.S. debt going forward would be to increase taxes on corporations and the wealthy to levels more closely matching mid-20th century rates. Pizzigati cites an IPS paper from last spring to make the argument that if corporations and households making more than $1 million paid the same rates as they did in 1961, our debt would virtually disappear in a decade: Some numbers — from an Institute for Policy Studies report released this past spring — can help us better visualize just how monumental this political failure has been. If corporations and households taking in $1 million or more in income each year were now paying taxes at the same annual rates as they did back in 1961, the IPS researchers found, the federal treasury would be collecting an additional $716 billion a year. In other words, if the federal government started taxing the wealthy and their corporations at the same rates in effect a half-century ago, the federal debt to investors would almost totally vanish over the next decade. . . .