April 4, 2017 Last Updated 8:19 am

Who exactly voted for an end to Internet privacy, right? So is an end to coverage for the ill next?

Morning Brief: The Richmond Times-Dispatch, owned by Warren Buffett’s BH Media Group, announces 33 layoffs at the paper, as well as a reorganization of its printed sections

The most dangerous kind of adversary is one that has nothing to lose – the proverbial cat backed into a corner. Also dangerous, though, is the person who believes in nothing except self-interest. Who is only in it for the money.

The president campaigned on the idea that Washington politicians and big businesses were corrupt, that they didn’t look out for the little guy, were out of touch. But today, in one of the first actual pieces of legislation passed through the Congress, Donald Trump signed into a law that will repealed a regulation that required Internet service providers to get the customer’s permission before collecting and sharing their data. It is hard to remember if any candidate campaigned on the idea of killing off internet privacy, but I doubt it.

Now, the Republicans are back at it, working to reverse their failure to pass a health care bill by working to make the new bill even worse than the last one that was voted down.

The Hill, Peter Sullivan:

Pence presents new healthcare offer to Freedom Caucus

Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials presented an idea to the Freedom Caucus meeting to allow states to choose to apply for waivers to repeal two ObamaCare regulations that conservatives argue are driving up premiums.

Those two regulations detail ObamaCare’s essential health benefits, which mandate which health services insurers must cover, and “community rating,” which prevents insurers from charging sick people higher premiums.

Conservatives had previously called for the bill to repeal those regulations outright, but the deal now being discussed would give states a choice by allowing them to apply for a waiver from the federal government.

The Huffington Post, Matt Fuller:

The House GOP Health Care Bill Is Very Much Alive – And it could be disastrous for the sick.

Meadows said Monday night that the pre-existing conditions protections would remain in the new form of the health care bill, but when pressed on whether gutting the community rating provisions would allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more, he acknowledged that some sick people may be picking up the slack so that premiums of the healthy would go down.

“The fundamental idea is that marginally sick people would pay the risk associated with their coverage,” Meadows said. “Those that have premiums that would be driven up because of catastrophic illness or long-term illness, we’ve been dealing with that for a long time with high-risk pools.”



There were those who really thought Warren Buffett investing in newspapers would be a good thing. Buffett, himself, said he believed in the medium.

“Newspapers continue to reign supreme, however, in the delivery of local news. If you want to know what’s going on in your town – whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football – there is no substitute for a local newspaper that is doing its job,” Buffett said in 2013.

But by 2016 he had changed his tune, saying that only two papers were well positioned to survive, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Buffett was never going to be a good newspaper owner for two important reasons: he entered the business for profit, not political influence or out of a desire to make sure newspapers survived; and he brought no knowledge, or even vague idea, how he could make a difference other than simply being the man with the money. No surprise then to see one of his papers announce layoffs and a cutting back of its publishing.

Today readers were informed that the paper had laid off 33 full-time employees, 13 in the newsroom, and that it would undergo a “reorganization of the printed newspaper as a result of declines in print revenue.” The main effect will be to trim the number of sections being produced – putting business at the back of the A section, for instance.

Update: It turns out that the layoffs were chain wide at BH Media Group, with 289 jobs cut. In addition to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, layoffs are occurred at the Tulsa World, the Roanoke Times, the Winston-Salem Journal and the Press of Atlantic City.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, John Reid Blackwell:

Times-Dispatch announces layoffs, reorganization of printed newspaper

In essence, we are resetting the legacy side of our business so we can continue to publish a high-quality newspaper delivered to loyal subscribers’ homes seven days a week,” Silvestri wrote in an email to employees on Monday. “At the same time, we also push ahead on adding to our growing digital audiences and developing new revenue segments such as premium magazines, e-commerce, paid RTD events, sponsored content, and archive products and services.”

“We regret having to part with so many employees whose years of service and contributions to our company are greatly appreciated,” he said.

Across its publications, BH Media Group eliminated 289 jobs, 108 of which were vacant positions. Those reductions leave the company with a total of 4,450 employees, said Terry J. Kroeger, president and CEO of BH Media Group, which is based in Omaha, Neb.

Dow Jones Newswire:

Berkshire Cuts 289 Jobs At Newspaper Division

Warren Buffett’s newspaper company cut 289 jobs, including 108 vacant positions, due to lower advertising revenue, according to a memo sent Monday to employees.

BH Media Group, a subsidiary of Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. that owns 31 daily newspapers, is also cutting the number of pages in some of its papers, the memo said.

“Our digital revenue is not growing fast enough yet to offset print revenue losses from both advertising and circulation,” Terry Kroeger, BH Media’s chief executive, wrote in the memo. “It is imperative that we take this action. Otherwise some of our operations will become unprofitable.”



John Paczkowski, who used to be part of the AllThingsD team (then Recode) is over at BuzzFeed now, and while Apple doesn’t spoon feed its PR to BuzzFeed the way it does other outlets, Paczkowski is still digging up Apple news.

This story’s headline seems to be good news for fans of the Mac Pro, but the sub-headline ruins the day by saying “There’s a new Mac on the way for pro users, but it isn’t hitting shelves anytime soon.”

That’s what one could say for a lot of Apple products consumers used to buy, but since Tim Cook became CEO never seem to get updated: the Mac mini, iBooks Author, the Apple TV, etc. It’s all iPhone now, leaving some to wonder what happens to the company should Samsung actually succeed in luring iPhone users away (as unlikely as that might be)?

BuzzFeed News, John Paczkowski:

The Mac Pro, Apple’s marquee desktop machine, hasn’t been refreshed since 2013. But lest you think it was forgotten, the diminutive black obelisk is top of mind at Apple these days — specifically how to reimagine it in a way that will appeal to professionals frustrated by its seemingly stalled evolution. To that end, there is officially a new Mac Pro in the pipeline, but it’s going to be a while before it arrives.

“We are completely rethinking the Mac Pro,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing said during a recent roundtable with a handful of reporters at the company’s Machine Shop hardware prototyping lab… That’s good news for anyone worried that Apple’s lost interest in its highest end desktop, but there’s a caveat per Schiller: “You won’t see any of these products this year.”

…”We designed ourselves into a bit of a corner,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering said of the current Mac Pro’s unique arrangement of pro computer innards around a triangular heat sink inside a cylindrical chassis. “We wanted to do something bold and different. What we didn’t appreciate completely at the time was how we had so tailored that design to a specific vision that in the future we would find ourselves a bit boxed in — into a circular shape.”

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