Cheat Sheet Q&A:

 

Topic:  The Donald Sterling situation

 

Here’s the entry:

 

Dear Mr. Mudd:  While listening to your coverage on the above topic I think you owe your listeners the additional explanation that his "girlfriend" is the same one he is suing for embezzlement of $1.8 million.  And while I do not condone his comments, it is obvious to me this was a set up conversation if you listen to the questions he was answering - - i.e., Instagram photos, etc.

 

How can he be a racist when he tells her he doesn't care who she goes out with, does things with; just don't flaunt them in public.  Plus the fact he just signed up Doc Rivers to be the coach of his team when there were certainly eligible white coaches available.  While these might be his true views, I still feel he was set up.

Bottom Line:  So I expedited this Q&A topic due to the timeliness in the news and numerous requests to dive deeper into this topic.  There are a few different aspects to this story that should be considered independent of one another in my view. 

First and foremost…  It’s important to view the character of a person based on a body of work and as much information as possible prior to passing judgment one way or the other.  It’s likely that all of us have said inappropriate things or have said something that’s stupid and regrettable.  So while I don’t think the audio is defensible from Mr. Sterling’s perspective on its own, we also have several other situations in years previous with which to judge Mr. Sterling’s character. 

Incidents that were brought public involving racial prejudice and Mr. Sterling began in 1983 and continued in legal situations he settled in 2003, 2006 & 2009.  I’m not even comfortable depicting the things he said in those situations but it’s safe to say that this latest incident isn’t his first racially charged episode.  For that reason I don’t think Donald Sterling is the type of person you want to be defending and extending the benefit of the doubt to.  That being said…

It’s clear that the “girlfriend” framed him and yes it’s true that she is alleged to have embezzled $1.8 million.  It’s reasonable to think that she intentionally attempted to blackmail him to make the legal action against her stop (and likely with an additional payday).  That doesn’t provide cover for explaining away his clear prejudice (and I think it’s highly likely that he’s a racist).  Let’s also have a get real moment.  When you have 50 or so years on your girlfriend do you really think it’s about something other than money? 

There is a point that is worth making with the story.  It’s not in defense of Mr. Sterling but rather a greater story about free speech, ignorant or not.  There is a rush to force Donald Sterling to have to sell his team and forfeit other benefits afforded to him through his ownership without due process.  The first Amendment to the Constitution provides protections to your speech.  Even ignorant and insensitive speech.  We also are a country of due process.  He’s already losing access to his team, NBA functions and other pending activity without any consideration for process.   While the process plays out the free market can exact outcomes.  For example the Clippers have already lost sponsors, fans can choose not to go to the games or watch them on TV.  fans can avoid buying merchandise and players can choose to not sign contracts with the team while this plays out. 

My concern is the rush to force a person out of their profession and possessions based on the dissent to one’s protected speech.  What happens if more noble people and more noble controversial speech are also met a rush to force their end?  I’m sensitive to this with a bill sitting Congress, that if it would pass would label my profession “hate speech” and could subject those who operate in this industry to prosecution. 

If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:  brianmudd@clearchannel.com

Audio Report:

 

You may be surprised how much you're worth to your cable company:

Bottom Line:  One of the three lowest rated industries for customer satisfaction is the cable industry.  With that in mind you very well may feel like your service provider doesn’t value you much at all.  The inverse is actually true, even if it feels like you’ve been treated otherwise.  How do I know?  Because Comcast just put a specific price tag on their customers. 

Comcast is in the process of attempting to buy Time Warner.  As part of that process they need to sell existing business that overlaps with current Time Warner coverage (so they don’t have monopoly control of certain territory).  Yesterday Comcast offered to sell 1.4 million existing customers to Charter Communications for $7.3 billion dollars.  Naturally that sent my curious brain into action:

  • 1.4 million customers for $7.3 billion equals:  $5214 per customer!

That’s the equivalent of about 3.5 years worth of service revenue per customer.  So in other words you likely have far more clout with your service provider than you may realize.  While the first person you get on the phone may not treat you that way, don’t stop there if you have real issues.  It’s awfully expensive to lose and have to replace more than $5000 per customer you lose. 

Audio Report:

 

 

The home closing process will forever change for the better next year:

Bottom Line:  And there was much rejoicing…( 2 bonus points if you get the reference).  If you’ve ever purchased a home you’ve likely found yourself at a closing table with multiple people and feeling pressure to sign all of the paper sitting in front of you whether you’ve had a chance to even skim the pages or not.  At best you have an attorney or trusted advisor who explains what each page means and you sign trusting what they have to say.  But what if you have significant questions or reservations?  It’s a pressure packed situation in which you’re expected to hammer away at signing the myriad of pieces of paper in front of you.  As of August 2015, that’ll no longer be the case. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reforming the closing process.  In the future you’ll be electronically provided the closing documents you’re expected to sign three days prior to closing.  You’ll be able to review on your own time.  You’ll have time to ask questions and have them addressed.  You’ll be able to more clearly think in a non-pressure packed environment.  This is a tremendous step forward to aiding home buyers become more informed and more responsible in one of the most important contracts they’ll likely ever sign.

Audio Report:

 


Don't know if it's the waffle taco but more Americans are doing fast food breakfast than ever before:

Bottom Line:  The reason why more fast food outlets have engaged breakfast (Taco Bell, Subway) or expanded breakfast offerings (Starbucks, Dunkin Doughnuts) is that breakfast traffic for fast food locations is rising while traffic for lunch and dinner is declining.  With that in mind the new American breakfast is no loner a bowl of Cheerios or Corn Flakes.   It’s… a waffle taco…?

  • In 2009 33% of adults said they at least occasionally would eat a fast food breakfast

Fast-forward to today:

  • 50% of Americans now eat fast food breakfasts at least occasionally

We don’t know if our increased appetite for the fast food breakfast is a by-product of the economy, speed of our lives or increased offerings (probably a combo of those) but it’s clear that many more Americans are finding it a viable option.  Expect even more competition and offerings to ensue. 

Audio Report:

 
5 more states act on the minimum wage and soon more than half of the country won't need a Federal standard:

Bottom Line:  Whatever one’s opinion of a minimum wage may be (I tend to be against the premise), I think at a minimum we can agree that it makes far more sense to regulate the standard at the state rather than Federal level. 

For example:  It’s evident that the cost of living in D.C. is vastly different than Alabama.  Arkansas’s cost of living isn’t at all comparable to California’s.  So for the Federal Government to determine a Federal standard is foolish an inherently erroneous in its intent. 

Already 21 states and D.C. have their own minimum wage laws that exceed the Federal standard (including Florida).  While no real movement has taken place at the Federal level, 5 more states have recently passed their own minimum wage laws which will be phased in over the next two years.  At that point 26 states plus D.C. will have their own standard.  In other words the majority of the country won’t be leaning on a Federal standard anyway.  That makes far more sense and hopefully we can table this ineffectual national debate and keep it local where it makes more senses.

Audio Report: