[CES Blog 1] Yukuma power bank backed by Russian money (and it’s awesome)

That’s probably the coolest piece of information I managed to get out of Ivan at the Yukuma CES booth here in Las Vegas. The elegantly designed power banks have 10,000 mAh and can supposedly charge devices in 30 minutes. And, they cost $100 or so when they come to market. I’d love to find out who the financier is, considering Russia’s not-so-flattering portrayal in the media these days. But, reign of confusion can be extinguished. In another note, a manufacturer enlightened me today that Slavs were Russian slaves. I don’t know about all that. I’m Ukrainian with affinity for Turkey, blogging, rapping and generally being free. If a device like the Yukuma helps power me up, I’m all for that. Can they say “marketing budget” in Russian or nah when the product is rolled out? Stay tuned for part 2 and a wrap-up of sorts. I’m just to write my way out like Hamilton… Signing out, #SKOLARSHEEP #16YEARSAJOURNALIST

Is SoftBank ‘Sprint’-ing ahead with Trump’s leverage?

POTUS-elect Donald J. Trump pictured with SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son

I’ve produced political and investigative journalism in northcentral Ohio for a Gannett newspaper. I’ve done the same in northeast Texas, driving an inept publisher so crazy she took notes on my “activities” and fed them to FBI Dallas. That was a waste of time. An investigative journalist’s life is not meant to be understood or controlled by malevolent publishers who train K-9s and can’t write an editorial to save a life – quite literally. But, I’m going to let Monica Lewis, publisher of the Kaufman Herald, off the hook because FBI Dallas told me to do so. I’m not bitter. She knows the level of work I’ve put in for the Kaufman Herald and that work speaks for itself. The fact that I’m out of journalism and writing this blog is really my own prerogative and destiny. I haven’t had the itch to get back into journalism, but one particular job opening has me jazzed up.


It’s only my wish – and hope, really – that Chick Howland, the news editor of the Kansas City Star, hires the best qualified candidate for the job of lead political reporter. It’s a super-important job, not unlike that of Spencer Ackerman at Guardian US. I may not be able to beat out more qualified candidates, but perhaps the fact that I speak Russian and know that CNN Politics’ race identity reporter Eugene Scott got his start before moving on to the Arizona Republic and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, I may have a shot. Perhaps KC Star will indeed see potential in a naturalized American citizen from Ukraine who understands the nuances of international trade in the Trump administration. I’ve reached, but more so than just sent a cover letter, I’ve provided business intelligence. Folks, when an investigative journalist who speaks Russian is allowed to work a “normal” job at a DIRECTV customer care call center and actually do sales, billing, tech support and generally provide good vibes with hundreds of Russian-speaking DIRECTV subscribers, he starts applying the SWOT analysis he learned in online business classes at the University of Maryland University College.

While I may prefer to be based in Dallas, and possibly continuing to run Najja Enterprises USA LLC, which could very well assist AT&T disrupt the music industry and telecommunications in Ukraine and Tanzania, I am thinking about that lead politics reporter job. I tried to reach readers when I reported this story in the Kaufman Herald and it ended up on Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling website. Hensarling’s a Republican through and through, but at least he was easier to secure an interview with than, say, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whose staffers I had to email five times just to get an update on the progress of Line of Duty Act. That became this non-story. In Missouri, one senator is a Democrat and the other is Republican. If that’s not interesting for someone who lives in California, I don’t know what it is. Perhaps an outsider is exactly what Howland needs, just like Mississippi State needed men’s basketball coach Ben Howland once he departed Westwood.

Paul Knutson at the Wall Street Journal is ahead with his reporting on SoftBank-Trump business ice-breaking that is likely leaving President Vladimir Putin in awe after his safari to Japan recently (remind me to do a video for YouTube about Kremlin_Putin instagram account). I took a quick glance at print WSJ on January 1 at a Starbucks in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. Right there below the fold was Knutson’s story about that SoftBank-Trump business dealing with Sprint’s market share at stake and thousands of jobs.

I am certain that SoftBank’s owner is being advised on the balance of political power in states such as Missouri and Kansas – Overland Park, Kansas, is a suburb of both as much as it is of Kansas City Star’s coverage area, as far as I can tell – to consider creating jobs. While the types of jobs these would be we don’t know, but competitor AT&T’s training is so standardized, William Kennard’s Carlyle Group pedigree a boost to VXI Global Solutions global business (sans Russia-Ukraine), that I’m not quite sure how and where Sprint would be able to find a workforce diverse enough. The Midwest does need jobs, sure, but AT&T is building out teams in Bratislava, Slovakia, because it is likely looking to stay ahead of the curve and enter Russia in the next four years.

As far as the reporting I’d be inclined to do if I joined the KC Star as lead political reporter? How about finding that AT&T and DIRECTV subscriber in Overland Park who speaks Russian and has the WorldDirect package consisting of up to 9 Russian channels and getting a bit more into their lifestyle and how they see the price points of DIRECTV vs. Moi-Dom.TV or ETVNET.COM, the over-the-top hardware that funnels a myriad of Russian channels from servers in Solomon Islands, Israel and Spain into American homes via Russian-Armenian media entrepreneurs who have registered their company in North Hollywood. This may appear to be bottom-feeding to some, and it very well may be that, if not an outright back-end gateway for Russian hackers and/or Russian propaganda, but even this company would be interested in partnering with a legit corporation like Sprint, I’m sure. I mean, if AT&T can collaborate with Dish Network and a video content company on the future of video advertising, there’s no reason Sprint can’t disrupt the telecommunications industry as well.