Weekend Digest: The Saturday Night Live Edition

by Larry Brannan (ltbrannan@aol.com) 5 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

Well if not Starbucks what is America”s favorite brand of coffee sold on store shelves? It”s so popular Bloomberg Businessweek reports this leading brand of java had “an average 15.6 percent share of the U.S. market, by volume, from May to July.”

So the jingle-happy brand founded in 1850 still resonates with consumers. It was the top coffee brand of the year in the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend rankings. Volume sales from May to July increased by 4 percent.

So what is the brand and how did other well-known coffee companies fare in the rankings? You might be surprised which parent company with the famous odd name owns America”s favorite coffee. Bloomberg has brewed up all the answers with a post at this link.

The world”s second largest economy got a “reassuring sign” in August as China”s manufacturing rebounded from an 11-month low in July.

Gross domestic product registered 7.5% year-over-year growth in the second quarter, down from 7.7% in the first, prompting fears from some analysts that China”s economy had entered a period of prolonged slowdown.

“China”s manufacturing economy stabilized in August, bringing a three-month period of decline to an end,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, a financial information provider that compiles HSBC”s index.

What do the new figures show and how are the markets reacting? The Wall Street Journal has a complete look plus expert analysis at .

Some of those concoctions are being played by a DJ who makes approximately $300,000 a night which totals about $45 million a year. “That”s more than Derek Jeter and Kanye West combined,” reports Forbes. And what makes DJ Calvin Harris so valuable?

He”s playing electronic dance music to packed crowds at one of Sin City”s hottest new night clubs.

It’s 1:30 a.m. as Saturday turns into Sunday in Las Vegas, and Neil Moffitt hasn’t had a drop to drink. His 3,000 guests, are churning under strobe lights at Hakkasan, the brand-new 80,000-square-foot nightclub complex Moffitt oversees.

For Moffitt the $300,000 or so he’ll likely pay Harris this night is easily justified. He applies the same per-head math that Vegas uses to draw in gamblers: Visitors – excepting a few VIPs and attractive young women – will likely pay $50 just to get in and might drop $100 on drinks. Moffitt even has his high rollers: A handful will shell out $10,000 or more for one of the club’s prized tables. “Calvin is a line item,” he says, “that fell within our business model.”

With visitor and gaming revenue down, Forbes reports “the newest salve to Sin City’s wounds” is glitzy night clubs featuring hot electronic dance music.

Click on this link to go inside the Forbes” post to learn more about this trend that has “some of the world’s wealthiest titans betting big” on the new formula.

That was the formula one CEO took after his airline company merged with another.

After Avianca and TACA merged—each with its own rich heritage, culture, and business—we took our time. In fact, we waited more than three years to put a new face on the company. I wanted our 18,000 employees to get beyond their differing backgrounds and the separate cultures represented in the new Avianca and feel part of one “multi-Latina” family.

We knew why we wanted to bring the operations together and that doing so gave us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My dream was to create a truly pan–Latin American airline. But I also knew that I envisioned something very different from what we actually were in the days immediately following the merger.

So how did CEO Fabio Villegas”s formula of delaying re-branding for the transformation of his company affect the bottom line for Avianca Holdings? Go to this link for the full story.

Along with the promise of additional hearings, POLITICO reports “Congressional critics of government surveillance blasted the NSA after the Obama administration on Wednesday declassified documents that show thousands of Americans’ emails had been scooped up.”

The unlawful collection, which the documents reflect ended in 2011, confirmed the worst fears of some lawmakers and civil liberties advocates — that the NSA’s ability to monitor foreigners’ Internet conversations had collided with the Constitution, threatened U.S. citizens and will require significant reforms.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who had long alluded to such abuses, stressed in a statement that the revelations were “overdue.” He added that the law itself is “insufficient to adequately protect the civil liberties and privacy rights of law-abiding Americans.”

For the full story and reactions from other lawmakers as well as groups like the ACLU, click on this link.

According to the Census Bureau, there are 48 million people in the country under 65 who don”t have health insurance. One-third of them are in Texas, California and Florida. And POLITICO says those “three states could have an outsize role in the success — or failure — of Obamacare.”

If the White House and its allies can’t convince large chunks of the uninsured in those three states to enroll in the Affordable Care Act’s new insurance exchanges, the administration could have a very hard time reaching its enrollment goals.

“They have set out 7 million as their goal for enrollment in the first year and politically, getting close to 7 million is important,” said Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health. The enrollment period starts Oct. 1 and runs through March.

So what is the outlook for these so-called Obamacare swing states and just how much will this “campaign” cost taxpayers? Go to this link for full details plus graphics.

The New York Times reports that just hours after a national address promising no whitewash of Watergate, President Richard M. Nixon privately urged his new attorney general not to appoint a special prosecutor and suggested that a former aide avoid questions by asserting national security.

A series of secret tapes released on Wednesday, the final ones to be made public, shed new light on Nixon’s efforts to stanch the mushrooming scandal in the spring of 1973. On the same night he pushed out top aides and gave his first speech on the episode, Nixon stayed up late making and taking a series of phone calls that planted the seeds for further cover-up.

“Because of the tapes, the fiercely secretive Nixon has wound up running the most open White House in history,” said Gary J. Bass, a Princeton scholar whose new book, “The Blood Telegram,” is based partly on the tapes. “You can listen in on top-secret, obscenity-filled, blunt conversations and reconstruct how Nixon’s decisions really got made in a way that’s totally unequaled for any other administration.”

340 hours of secretly taped conversations were released by the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum this past week. Go inside the Times post at for a fascinating look and overview of these tape recordings it calls a “treasure trove of historic recordings that has provided an unparalleled window into the workings of one of the nation’s most tumultuous presidencies.”

Is there a difference? Absolutely reports the Washington Post.

Here are a few facts every ad buyer and marketing strategist knows: Republicans like to watch live sports and reality television shows. Democrats prefer sitcoms and “The View.” Republicans prefer Jay Leno, while Democrats who stay up late choose Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” or David Letterman’s “Late Show.”

And can all this be mapped? Yes, it can.

Our friends at National Media, a Republican ad-buying firm, sent us this map of a recent television event. Using data from Rentrak, a company that monitors data from set-top boxes, the map shows what percentage of television viewers in specific designated market areas watched this television event live.

How did it split among party lines and what are the red/blue percentages for other popular shows?  Click here to find out.

Heard a podcast lately? Well if you have, you”ve helped make a major digital milestone.

Apple got lots of attention last week, as the tech and business press speculated over the deeper meaning of its latest quarterly results. Meanwhile, a notice in the iTunes store marked a milestone that drew far less media interest: total podcast subscriptions via iTunes passed the 1 billion mark.

Apple celebrated by highlighting widely popular podcasts like This American Life and WTF with Marc Maron.

Do you have a personal favorite podcast? A Yahoo News reporter shares some of his along with some podcast gold moments at this link.

Forbes has it and it includes such listings as 85 Broads, the Forte Foundation and Catalyst.

As is always the method to our madness, this list is the culmination of a year’s worth of Internetting, asking around and getting lost down the rabbit hole of the best (and sometimes weirdest) of the Web.

For this year, more than any other, this has been true collaborative effort by dedicated staffers, contributors and ForbesWoman readers. For that reason, it just might be — dare we say it — the best list ever.

Okay ladies, for the full list and much more click on this link.

He is considered the “God of Saturday Night Live” and if you have an audition before his presence for the NBC show, how do you please him?

22 SNL cast members were asked that question and the New York Times shares tales of their auditions that can make or break careers.

Though new cast members come from many different avenues, there”s ultimately only one way to get on this NBC late-night franchise: impress Lorne Michaels, the “SNL” creator and executive producer who has run the show for 33 of its 38 seasons and is known for his cryptic, sphinx-like presence over the show.

This year he and his team have their work cut out for them as they try to replace the veteran “SNL” players Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, and Jason Sudeikis and prepare for the departure of Seth Meyers next year.

But what exactly is Mr. Michaels looking for?

Click on this link from the New York Times to find out.