On Thursday, ESPN — like much of the Cleveland area — got word that one of its on-air personalities had welcomed LeBron James back to the Cavaliers with a not-terribly-welcoming billboard. Not amused, ESPN suspended South Florida TV and radio host Dan Le Betard, who had not-so-secretly financed at least six billboards in Akron with the following message:
ESPN suspended Dan le batard for this billboard because they can't have anybody make fun of their baby boy bron pic.twitter.com/Bmi2yLAW3Y
— Coach Hines (@joe_pizzo13) August 7, 2014
James, an Akron native, is returning to Ohio on Friday, and he left many Miami fans cold not only by leaving the Heat with just two championship rings but also studiously not thanking Miami in his homecoming letter to Cleveland fans.
ESPN, through spokesman Josh Krulewitz, said that Le Betard will be off the air until Monday, adding: "His recent stunt does not reflect ESPN's standards and brand. Additionally, we were not made aware of his plans in advance." They could have gotten a hint from tuning in to his show, the TV version of which is called, for the record, "Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable." Peter Weber
Governors and law enforcement officials are increasing security Saturday in light of State Department warnings of a heightened risk for a July Fourth terrorist attack, CNN reports. Authorities didn't have one specific threat to highlight, but are especially mindful of any attacks from suspected ISIS supporters in the country.
In particular, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday he is upping security statewide for various holiday-related events.
"We are keenly aware that New York State remains a top target for terrorists," he said. Julie Kliegman
Only in America: Man complains about NBC changing logo to 'colors of gays,' doesn't realize it hadn't changed
A Little Rock, Arkansas, man lodged a complaint with the local NBC affiliate over its peacock logo, charging it included "colors of gays" to show support for the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling. Don Stair said the logo was "a disgrace" and vowed to switch to ABC. The station responded that its multicolored NBC peacock — which dates from 1956 — is the "same logo as always."
As America continues its slow, miserable climb out of the 2008 recession, wage stagnation is becoming a bigger concern. On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' jobs report showed that wage growth effectively remains flat. It's a trend that has actually defined most of the 21st century — and, at least in comparison to one particularly well-off group, the depressingly slow growth of worker compensation goes back further still:
Since 1978, CEO compensation has risen 90 times faster than the average worker's, the liberal Economic Policy Institute shows in the above graph. That's not CEO pay vs. worker pay; that's just rates of growth.
The average CEO made $1.5 million, after adjusting for inflation, in 1978, EPI says. He or she now makes $16.3 million. The salary of the average worker, however, has risen from $48,000 to just $53,200. CEOs at top firms now make over 300 times more than the average worker. Nico Lauricella
The Solar Impulse made history on Friday when it landed without incident in Hawaii. Flying about 5,000 miles from Japan and spending 118 hours in the air, the Impulse set records in distance and time for manned, solar-powered flights. The pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, who switch off flying legs, are on a quest to circumnavigate the globe. Next stop: New York. Read more at BBC News. Nico Lauricella
In a short televised address Friday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked Greece to vote "no" on Sunday's bailout referendum. "I ask you to say no ultimatums, blackmail, and fear-mongering," he said. "No to divisions, no to those who want to spread panic." Polls show both sides neck-and-neck, and many Greeks are reportedly confused by the technical language of the referendum, which is over a bailout deal that is reportedly off the table. Tsipras tried to clear up the confusion, saying the vote is over a bad deal, "not Greece's participation in the euro." Read more at The New York Times. Nico Lauricella
A Jewish political action committee hired several Mexican day laborers to dress as Orthodox Jews and protest at the Gay Pride parade in New York City. After a reporter noticed that the men in Orthodox garb were clearly Hispanic, the Jewish Political Action Committee admitted it hired substitutes for its members "because of what they would see at the parade."
Nguyen Phu Trong will become the first leader of Vietnam's Communist Party to ever visit the United States when he meets with President Obama at the White House next week. They will reportedly discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would foster closer relations between the U.S., Vietnam, and 10 other Pacific Rim nations, as well as security concerns with China. The meeting is seen as a sign of growing ties between the two countries, and will mark the 20th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations following the Vietnam War. Read more at AFP. Nico Lauricella