Friday, December 29, 2017

I'm loving @Axios: It really feels like an Old School Newspaper

Well I have been using Axios as my front page news source now that Yahoo News seems to be liberal screed all day long. I love how quick the news bites are and they link to source material pretty easily. It also feels like they are sticking to "just the facts" more than any other news source. I tried Google News but there just seems to be too much of the same thing. Like very similar story seems to be shown over and over with little variation. I do still use them from time to time. However, Axios seems to have a mix of different stories that don't seem to be slanted one way or the other. I'll keep using it and see how it goes.

2018 Predictions: It's Going to be an Even Better Year than 2017!

Well its that time of year again. I will do a slate of predictions and see if they come true at the end of 2018. 

Politics

1. The Dems will win a few seats in the midterms but it won't be a blue wave like they think. The Senate will be split 50/50 with Pence being the swing vote. There is an actual call for bipartisanship but only a few things get done.

2. DACA gets done within a larger fight for immigration reform. It is mostly used as a bargaining chip to get the wall build. Trump settles for a partial win with an electronic wall instead of an actual physical wall. He calls it the "greatest wall ever built." The Chinese scoff.

3. The infrastructure bill gets passed but it is far short of the $1 trillion dollars that was called for in the Trump campaign. The GOP cannot come out against it as deficit hawks after a $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut.

4. Sexual allegations sweep through Washington and claims a number of high profile Congress-critters. However, there is a backlash as the accused go on the offensive asking for their due process rights. Only a handful actual resign. The sexual allegations move to the sports world as a new wave of revulsion grips America. 

5. Trumps tweets become less important as America enjoys the prosperity that the tax cuts bring in. Outrage turns to ephemera as things like Prince Harry's wedding overshadows Trump hate. Colbert and other Trump-haters ratings dip.   

World

1. There are talks between North Korea and the US brokered by Dennis Rodman of all people. There is a "Nixon goes to China" moment as Trump and Kim meet in Beijing. A deal is struck as North Korea backs down. There is no hot war in Asia.

2. Saudis and Iran start to move away from a strict interpretation of Islam and start to move toward a rapprochement. They both move to diversify away from oil with Saudi Aramco's IPO being one of the biggest of all time. Mohammad Bin Salman becomes the man of the year.

3. Terror attacks and warfare with the Islamic world starts to slow considerably. The world moves into a more peaceful period.

4. European Countries start to cut taxes to compete with America. This creates a global positive feedback loop that lifts all boats. Economic growth is unheard of since the 50s as capital starts to flow all over the place. This causes an inflation scare that takes the market down in March. However, it recovers and it sees highs it has never seen in decades.

5. Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies crash as everyone jams the exits at the same time. This causes another market pullback but it soon recovers and reaches long term highs again.

Economic Predictions

S&P 500: 3,000         
Dow: 27,000           
NASDAQ: 7,100      
Russell 2000: 1,650   
Bitcoin: $800

Crude Oil: $68           
Gold: $1320              
EUR/Dollar:   $1.10      
10 Year Bond: 2.55     

Sports Predictions:

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles    
NBA: Boston Celtics
MLB: New York Yankees
Premier League: Arsenal
Bundesliga: Bayern Munich
NCAA Football: Georgia Bulldogs
NCAA Basketball: Duke

Top 5 Grossing Movies:

1. Avengers: Infinity War
2. Incredibles 2
3. Deadpool 2
4. Black Panther
5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald




2017 Predictions a Look back.

Here are how my predictions for 2017 came out.

Politics

1. Donald Trump will have a whirlwind 100 days and will have one of the more successful runs in modern times. He leaves much of the heavily lifting to his talented cabinet and goes after minutiae with his Twitter account and phone. There will be a rise of the Trump Twitter-ologists like the Kremlin-ologists of old who pick over his Tweets looking for hidden meanings and such. All in all at the end of the year America would be well on the way to prosperity that it hasn't seen in more than 16 years.

Got this one correct except his 100 days was a whirlwind of suck. He was a divisive force with his Twitter driving the MSM crazy. People do watch the Twitter like a pack of crazy people as well.

2. There is a huge fight over the next Supreme Court nominee as the Dems make their stand on this issue. There is much character assassination and back-and-forth but Scalia's seat goes to another person in his same mold but far younger. This person turns out to not be as conservative as many think.

Hmm time will tell with Neil Gorsuch but he pretty much skated in because the Senate got rid of their gentleman rules. 

3. Black Lives matter leaves the stage as the racial animus in the country slowly recedes. By the end of the year there are less cop deaths and less deaths by violence by young African Americans. Crime levels slow go back to normal as the cops go back about their business with less fear.

Black Lives matter is still around but their voice seems much muted. Also police deaths went from 141 to 128 so that is certainly positive.

4. The main stream media suffers cracks that they never had before as CNN, Fox, and MSNBC and the various newspapers become less important to the zeitgeist. Viewership is way down as American's enjoys the prosperity that the Trump era brings in. Many Americans are energized as consumer confidence and other measures are way up by the end of the year.

The MSM is pretty much morphed into the opposition party for Trump. However I was wrong that viewership is down. It seems to be way up for certain networks.

5. Hillary Clinton is not hear from very much but Obama seems to be everywhere as the left holds on to the last popular thing they seem to have left. Young Bernie supporters slowly remake the Democrat party as they stay involved in the process.

Hillary was woefully front and center while Obama seems to have vanished. I got this one wrong.

World

1. Russia moves back in the Great Power spotlight as they now have a man in the White House that apologizes for their misdeeds. They solidify gains in the Levant and form a partnership with the US to eliminate ISIS. Russia slowly moves their neighbors into their Sphere of Influence by undermining elections to but pro-Putin people in charge. Russia deftly plays the Great Game and looks powerful and influential by the end of the year.

This one is spot on since ISIS is no longer a major threat. The Russians have moved right back into the Great Power status since they have moved into every Democrats worst nightmare. After "stealing the election."

2. North Korea collapses as Kim tries to hold onto power by eliminating everyone he can. It is not enough as the Red Chinese backed junta takes control of the Hermit Kingdom. The Red Chinese dominate North Korea and move their Sphere of Influence outward.

North Korea is still in the hands of a "rocketman" Kim. I do think the Chinese are operating behind the scenes to make North Korea back down though. 

3. The Red Chinese still rattle the sabre in the South China sea and various places in the world but there is a rapprochement with the Trump White House (that is still weird to say) by the end of the year. The USA and China work on a long term trade and security deal that is unprecedented. There is no Trade War and oddly enough Trump turns out to be the best thing Red China ever got in the White House.

No Trade war so far and Trump and Xi Jinping seem to get along pretty well. There was some tough tweets for a while but that seems to have died down.

4. The Syrian Civil war is totally over by the end of the year as ISIS is destroyed by Russia and the USA working with Turkey. Assad stays in power and rebuilding starts in earnest as Russian petro-dollars pour into a solid place on the Mediterranean. Catherine the Greats dream is finally realized by the richest KGB agent to have ever lived.

Syrian Civil war is over with Russia, Assad, the US, and a few tough Kurds whipped ISIS and sent them packing. Now what will peace look like?

5. Israel and the UN continue to spar but the problem seems to recede by the end of the year. Israel and the Palestinians find themselves in peace for much of the year.

Other than a few thrown rocks it seems that there is relative peace in the region. I did not see us moving our embassy to Jerusalem though. That is pretty wild and might actual lead to a peace deal now that America is 100% pro-Israel.

Economic Predictions:

S&P 500: 2750          2673
Dow: 22,000            24719 
NASDAQ: 5800         6903
Russell 2000: 1510   1535 

Crude Oil: $75           $ 60.10
Gold: $1200               $ 1305
EUR/Dollar: $0.98      $ 1.20
10 Year Bond: 2.75     $ 2.40

Sports Predictions:

NFL: Patriots    Patriots
NBA: Golden State Warriors Golden State
MLB: Cleveland Indians  Houston Astros
Premier League: Chelsea Chelsea
Bundesliga: Hertha Berlin Bayern Munich
NCAA Football: Clemson Clemson
NCAA Basketball: UCLA   North Carolina

Time to Restart the Blog!

Well I think I will start Blogging again for 2018. I'll start with a look back at my predictions for 2017.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

$TGT Starting to Move Away From AWS: First of Many?

Well it seems that Target doesn't want to compete with Amazon and fill their coffers at the same time.
Target is struggling mightily to compete with Amazon in retail, but it's finding other ways to fight back.
The discount retailer is scaling back its use of Amazon Web Services, according to sources familiar with the matter, as the company aims to take greater control over its infrastructure and stop financing its chief rival. Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods is the latest sign of how deep the e-commerce giant is moving into all forms of retail.
I think this Whole Foods merger might cost Amazon on the Web Services end. I can see Kroger and Safeway and such bring their business to Microsoft's Azure to stop funding their competitor like that. Target might be the canary in the coal mine to see if there is a rush for the exits vis-a-vis AWS.

It Seems Millennials are Spending More in Certain Categories

Hmm lots more eating out and coffee shops.
Millennials spend more than an average of $2,300 per year than older generations on five key items: groceries, gas, restaurants, coffee and cell phone bills, a recent study released by personal-finance site Bankrate.com found. Millennials spend $233 per month on meals versus $182 for older generations, and $161 on cell phone charges versus $135 for older people (but they spend $1,130 less per year on travel and TV). For TV services like cable, satellite and steaming/subscription, millennials spend just $80 per month, compared to $114 for those aged 37 and up.
That cell phone bill thing is going to go up and up as we go forward. Much of that bill is a monthly charge on the phone because almost no-one is going to buy an iPhone8 outright.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

$TGT Beats By Going Small Format: Might be a Winner

It seems that Target is going after neighborhoods near colleges with a small format store and it seems to be paying off.
On the company’s second-quarter earnings call, Target Chief Executive Brian Cornell said the retailer would be nearly doubling the number of small-format stores it has this year, with the ultimate goal of having more than 100 open for business over a three-year period. The plan is to have 30 in 2017, said Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan, with nine opening in July and four opening in the first quarter.
I think this might be a good plan because college kids might be more brand loyal and have a harder time getting Amazon delivered in the dorms.

It would be easier to buy a charger cable, a plastic pitcher, or something by popping into Target. Or they could just hit a button on an app and then pick the item up after class. They don't need to drive out to the Outlet Malls and search through a large format Target and be disappointed when the item isn't in stock. That is if they can drive in the first place. Plus Target saves money on rent, employees, and can bump up revenue per square foot metrics.

Interesting Article about @RottenTomatoes and its Influence

Very interesting article indeed.
But in spite of its failure, Detroit is a counterweight to an old saw that was dusted off this summer movie season. “Rotten Tomatoes Is Causing Hollywood’s Latest Existential Crisis” a HuffPost headline screamed two weeks ago. The column detailed an oddly triumphal chapter in a confusing media-managed narrative coming out of Hollywood’s excuse factory. The headline was spurred by The Emoji Movie, a poorly reviewed movie featuring animated phone icons, which had a successful box-office performance in spite of those poor reviews. This was deemed a victory over the tyranny of the number that appears beside a movie’s title on Rotten Tomatoes. (In this case, 8 percent.)
I usually don't look at the critics review's as much as I do the spread between that and the peoples review score. If the movie has an 19% Fresh from the Critics and a 75% from the people. I am much more likely to watch it than one that has a 19% from both groups. I figure that most critics have different tastes than the average moviegoer like myself.

Friday, August 04, 2017

A Surprisingly Open-Minded View of the @Heritage Conservative Woman's Conference

If more liberals checked their biases at the door we would have better communication and respect for one another. The article sited about was especially interesting.
Recently, I spent two days at the hub of conservatism in Washington, DC. Nope, not the White House, but the Heritage Foundation for the Network of Enlightened Women’s National Conference—also known as NeW—where a group of college-aged conservative females gathered to discuss and learn about Republican policy and leadership. And yes, Kellyanne Conway was there.As a 24-year-old liberal woman who cried watching Hillary Clinton lose the election live at New York’s Javits Center, this wasn’t a room I ever thought I’d find myself in, and my preconceived notions ran rampant—all I could think was that I didn’t have the right clothes, let alone the bandwidth for the mental gymnastics it would take to talk to women about Donald Trump without combusting.
This author figured out that they will never agree on things like abortion but she did have empathy and understanding for this group of conservative women.
I started thinking about Hall’s ideal definition of feminism, and how she believes it should be a network of women supporting each other to run for office. Before the conference, I never really thought about wanting more Republican women in positions of power, I only focused on what was happening on the left. Now having met these girls, and witnessing how tough-as-nails they are, I’ve never been more confident that the future of the Republican party is female—and, in that way, they have my support.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Something about #Japan I have Never Heard About Before: Evaporating People

Here is a fascinating article about something I have never heard about before.
The New York Post reports, of the many oddities that are culturally specific to Japan — from cat cafes to graveyard eviction notices to the infamous Suicide Forest, where an estimated 100 people per year take their own lives — perhaps none is as little known, and curious, as “the evaporated people.”Since the mid-1990s, it’s estimated that at least 100,000 Japanese men and women vanish annually. They are the architects of their own disappearances, banishing themselves over indignities large and small: divorce, debt, job loss, failing an exam.
It makes sense that these are people that would be people around that would hide their shame and invent a new life instead of simply killing themselves. This is the Japanese equivalent of giving up ones life and "moving out West" or "leaving for the colonies." Although the description of their lives after they "evaporate" sound pretty terrible.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

@nytimes Turns on Woman's March Organizers: Interesting Article by @bariweiss

Wow, when the NY Times stops being a Trump-hatred mill it seems they do a good job with actual journalism.
What wasn’t to like?
A lot, as it turns out. The leaders of the Women’s March, arguably the most prominent feminists in the country, have some chilling ideas and associations. Far from erecting the big tent so many had hoped for, the movement they lead has embraced decidedly illiberal causes and cultivated a radical tenor that seems determined to alienate all but the most woke.
It is so strange to get this kind of journalism directed at the top people in the progressive women's movement. The writer is a dyed-in-the-wool Trump-hater and progressive as well so this isn't some kind of missive from a newly formed alt-right convert. Her take-down of Linda Sarsour is especially notable.
But just last month, Ms. Sarsour proved that her past is prologue. On July 16, the official Twitter feed of the Women’s March offered warm wishes to Assata Shakur. “Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur!” read the tweet, which featured a “#SignOfResistance, in Assata’s honor” — a pink and purple Pop Art-style portrait of Ms. Shakur, better known as Joanne Chesimard, a convicted killer who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.
I did not know all this about Sarsour that was mentioned in the article. But she sounds like the kind of person that does no favors to the progressive movement.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

63,000 Public Employees in Illinois make more that $100k a year? That Adds up to $10 Billion with a B

Talk about giving themselves a raise.
Whenever we open the books, Illinois is consistently one of the worst offenders. Recently, we found auto pound supervisors in Chicago making $144,453; nurses at state corrections earning up to $254,781; junior college presidents making $465,420; university doctors earning $1.6 million; and 84 small-town “managers” out-earning every U.S. governor.
I would be willing to bet those small-town "managers" don't do half of what a US Governor does. Also I wonder what value-added these college professors and Deans are adding to their schools?
9,567 college and university employees – including the southern Illinois junior college power couple Dale Chapman ($465,420) and Linda Terrill Chapman ($217,290). The pair combined for a $682,000 income at Lewis and Clark Community College. Fady Toufic Charbel ($1.58 million) and Konstantin Slavin ($1.04 million) are million-dollar doctors at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
I wonder what the budget for Lewis and Clark Community College is minus the salaries of these two highly paid persons? Also those two doctors (I guess they are professors at the college) are actually paid more than quite a few college football coaches. I guess the medical department of University of Illinois at Chicago is making big money or something.