Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Christie and Fiorina are Out: Too Much Trump for Them

New Hampshire seems to be the great winnowing of the field. In past elections this is when people just got interested. I have been following it when there were like 15 people in the field so it feels strange now that there are only a few left.

The choices we have left are mostly unpalatable as well. The megalomaniac billionaire, the hated Senator from Texas, the young robot from Florida, the decorated surgeon that knows nothing about foreign policy, the wooden brother of the other President, and the likable Governor from Ohio (who I could actually vote for without reservation.) The Dem side has the duplicitous potential felon that had her email hacked and the septuagenarian socialist that all the Millennials love. I might have to vote present like Obama in this election because nearly everyone sucks.

Hillary's Quid Pro Quo With the Press

So this is what they mean by "objective" journalism.
“1) You in your own voice describe them [Clinton’s remarks] as ‘muscular’ 2) You note that a look at the CFR seating plan shows that all the envoys — from Holbrooke to Mitchell to Ross — will be arrayed in front of her, which in your own clever way you can say [is] certainly not a coincidence and meant to convey something 3) You don’t say you were blackmailed!”

Ambinder delivered the gushing story Reines wanted after getting the speech early to scoop rivals.

Ambinder told Gawker he regretted cutting the deal.
It also show how her handlers micro-manage her image to make her look less insecure. I would be willing to bet that Condelezza Rice's people didn't have to cut deals with the press to make her look "muscular" or have the other envoys "arrayed in front of her." I assume the envoys were genuflecting worse than these press sycophants.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Well Idiot Cruz admits that His Campaign Used some Lies by Omission on the Iowa Caucus: #LoseCruz

And this guy is going to try to run against the Queen of Lies herself, Hillary?
CNN reported Monday night that Carson would go home to Florida following the Iowa caucuses instead of flying directly to the early voting states New Hampshire and South Carolina. The network added that he planned to stay in the race.

Some Cruz allies shared that news widely on the night of the caucuses, including to Carson supporters, but did not include the part about Carson remaining in the race.
Now that is dirty politics and I would expect nothing less from idiot Cruz. The funny thing is that he can no long accuse Hillary of being untruthful because he was caught red-handed to try to win Iowa at all costs. If Cruz is the nominee I will probably vote for the devil I know (aka Hillary) and not the idiot America should fear. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Looks Like Amazon Found Their Retail Store Head: Steve Kessel

Hmm I guess Bezos trusts the guy.
Kessel joined Amazon in 1999 and was part of the team that built the original Kindle. He's known to be close with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as he was one of the 10 people who directly reported to him before leaving for a sabbatical in 2012.

In early 2015, Kessel returned to Amazon, but his role has been unclear until now. Re/code says he's been working on this project secretly for a long time.
Amazon's retail ambitions were first revealed in November 2015 when it opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in downtown Seattle.

Aside from the bookstore, Kessel's team is also planning to open physical stores that sell things other than books, although it's unclear what they will be. Another idea it's testing is a store without a payments gateway, allowing the customer to pay with a smartphone app instead.
Hmm does that mean there might be Amazon clothing stores or even Zappos shoe stores opening up? Might be yet another reason to head back to the mall. 

Amazon to Open Brick-and-Mortar Book Stores: A Great Idea Indeed: Time to Buy the Stock?

One of the things I used to love was perusing the bookstore to look for things I would like to read. Ever since Amazon killed Borders and severely damaged Barnes and Noble I haven't done this very much. Now this news is very welcome.
After dipping its toes into brick-and-mortar retailing last year with its first physical bookstore, online giant Inc. is poised to dive into the deep end.

The Seattle company plans to open as many as 400 bookstores, Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of mall operator General Growth Properties Inc., said on an earnings call on Tuesday.

“You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400,” said Mr. Mathrani in response to a question about mall traffic.
One thing about a book is that it is great to flip through a copy and see if you like the prose style and such. I don't do this on my tablet because you have to download some of the book or read a preview. It is just so much easier to pick up a book and flip through it and put it down if you don't like it. Hopefully Amazon understands this and that is why they are going brick-and-mortar. I would love to have my Amazon stuff sent to the store and pick it up there and maybe buy something else while I'm doing that. The Wal-Mart online shopping model. 

Another idea is that they can use these stores as the hub of Amazon fulfillment services. If you are a seller on Amazon you just drive your products down to these stores and they will send them out for you. That way Amazon doesn't have to have the seller mail them the product so they can store them in some warehouse. 

They had higher costs this past Christmas because so many people used their fulfillment services that they had to rent a bunch of overflow warehouse space really quickly. I'm sure that space was very costly being around the holiday season. If they had a brick-and-mortar they would store the items there as well as in their fulfillment center. In fact the seller could drive the product there and a buyer can then pick it up from that same store. Or they can save money by simply using Amazon trucks and planes to send them back and forth.

Finally, with Amazon Web Services they could build out an engineering force based at their brick-and-mortar places. Imagine them having a Geek Squad like group that could come into your business and set up your virtual servers, email system, do any programming your company needs, offer testing in the cloud etc. for one price. Kind of a Data Center in a box. 

With this they can get into tech consulting and go head-to-head with IBM and whomever for that high margin business. If they want they could even do an Amazon network services fiber to go head-to-head with Google. They could conceivably sell you the network and the data center all at once. All of this would be very easy if they have a Amazon Consulting Services (or whatever they call it) added to their brick-and-mortar place. Kind of like CompUSA used to have business services added onto their stores back in the day. However, it will be much cheaper and more lucrative because they won't have to sell you expensive servers made by HP or Dell. They simply sell you cloud services using AWS.

In any case, I think this might be a buying opportunity for the stock. It got beaten down when they missed earnings due to the problems above. They had great revenue growth but they had to spend a bunch of extra money that they might not have had to if they had brick-and-mortar to augment their fulfillment centers. They will have a high CAPEX in the near term to open these stores but it will save them big money and allow many more ways of selling their products. Hell, I would drive down to an Amazon Store simply to try out Amazon Echo to see if all the hype is justified.

Trump Cries like a Baby on Iowa Caucus: Accuses Cruz of Stealing it #DumpTrump

Just win the next one (if you can) you whiny blowhard.
Two days after finishing second to Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump is accusing the Texas senator of fraud and demanding that either a “new election” take place in the Hawkeye State or that its results be “nullified.”

“Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!”
This guy is such a whiner. You would think a New Yorker that made his money in the the real estate market would have thicker skin. I guess not.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Yahoo to Concentrate on Mobile? Case in Point on How Bad They Are: You cannot change portfolio contents from the mobile app

I really think they should fire Marissa Mayer's and bring in a turn-around expert.
The company’s turnaround plan includes continued investment in what the company calls “Mavens,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said on the company’s earnings conference call. Mavens refers to Yahoo’s mobile, video, native and social businesses, where its ad revenue is growing.

“Our plan involves continued investment in Mavens to counterbalance legacy declines, with a particular emphasis on mobile,” Mayer said on the call. “With Mavens revenue at over $1.6 billion for the year, mobile is the largest contributor, adding over $1 billion, or nearly a quarter of our traffic-driven revenue.”
It's funny that they are going after mobile at long last because their mobile has been woeful. I have used the Yahoo Finance app for several years and it has been a long slog. First of all you cannot change your portfolio from the app. You have to log into the website for that and then it is carried over. That is something that should have been implemented years ago. Secondly there is all this stale news on there that is different than the webpage. So I just repeat the stock search from the CNBC app so I can read current news.

The only reason I even use the Yahoo Finance app is that I have had my watchlists and such on there for years and years so I am a legacy user. If an easier app that contained more information came along I would certainly go through the long process of shifting everything there and not look back.

Blackrock Head Takes Other CEOs to Task: Forget about Quarterly Earnings Guidance

I agree with him 100%.

"Today’s culture of quarterly earnings hysteria is totally contrary to the long-term approach we need," Fink, the CEO of BlackRock Inc., wrote in a letter to more than 500 companies, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. Instead of focusing on small deviations from analysts’ earnings estimates, management should use quarterly reports to demonstrate progress against strategic plans, he wrote.

This is exactly why companies use their cash on pointless stock buybacks instead of increasing value for their businesses. Even acquisitions seem to be a waste of money for the most part. Look at Yahoo's terrible spending spree of failed businesses. You can point to any number of failures when it comes to buying out other companies. However, you might get good engineers or top salespeople or something so it is at least a better use of cash than stock buybacks. They only benefit short-term thinking.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Bernie Whipping Hillary in Millennial Women

Who would have thought a 74 year old white guy would be the choice of a new generation?
The age gap is stark. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that Sanders bests Clinton among 18- to 44-year-olds, 78 percent to 21 percent. But support for Clinton seems to grow with age: 53 percent of 45- to 64-year-olds chose her, along with 71 percent of people 65 and older.
So older women like Clinton for some reason or another but young women want Sanders. I think the idea that Wall Street sharpies and connected Washington big-wigs tanked the economy and made it so the millennials might be one of the first generations in decades that will be poorer than their parents. Hillary is the epitome of the Washington big-wig with pockets full of Wall Street sharpies money. I wonder if it will lose her Iowa again?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Clinton Tax Plan Looks Like Ass: Congress Won't Pass them so No Big Deal

I think the Dems are just addicted to tax hikes for whatever reason.
Clinton’s plan would lead investors to postpone realizing their gains -- and would therefore reduce capital-gains tax collections by $374 billion over 10 years, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Tax Foundation, a research group whose board of directors includes corporate executives. The group has not yet published an analysis of Sanders’s proposals.

Clinton’s tax plans, which would also cap itemized deductions that tend to benefit higher-income taxpayers, appear to raise $498 billion over 10 years, according to the foundation’s analysis. But the group’s report also said Clinton’s proposed tax increases would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by 1 percent over the long term -- resulting in actual collections of $191 billion over the next decade.
There is nothing like a 1% GDP hit to get only $19 billion a year to waste on some crap. I guess this would be called share the pain plan for almost no gain plan. I wish I could vote for someone decent in this election but everyone sucks.

Cowardly Trump Ducks Debate: If You Can't Handle Megyn Kelly He Can't Handle Putin or Angela Merkel

I thought he was just a blowhard but now he is a cowardly wimp as well. When the going gets tough Trump ducks out.
Trump on Tuesday withdrew from the televised encounter, scheduled for Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa, irritated at host Fox for allowing Kelly to moderate after her questioning had angered him in a debate last year.
He is just like any other bully. When you confront him and stand up to him he hides like a wimpy bitch. I can just hear the cries of "Angela Merkel is such a bimbo. I'm not going to the state dinner" or "Putin is so unfair I'm not going to the summit talks." His image as a person that gets things done has taken major damage from his cowardice.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fox News Spits Shade at the Donald and its Very Funny #DumpTrump

There might be some wit left at Fox News.
“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president,” Fox News said in the statement, adding this gem: “A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”
I think they should put an empty lectern on the stage or maybe just direct questions to Jimmy Fallon dressed as Trump. You will probably get the same sort of sound bites from an actual Trump on stage.

Damn! The Mongols were Bad-asses: A Letter Sent to the Mamaluk Sultan in 1260 AD

Now this is how you write a threat.
From the King of Kings of the East and West, the Great Khan. To Qutuz the Mamluk, who fled to escape our swords. You should think of what happened to other countries and submit to us. You have heard how we have conquered a vast empire and have purified the earth of the disorders that tainted it. We have conquered vast areas, massacring all the people. You cannot escape from the terror of our armies. Where can you flee? What road will you use to escape us? Our horses are swift, our arrows sharp, our swords like thunderbolts, our hearts as hard as the mountains, our soldiers as numerous as the sand. Fortresses will not detain us, nor armies stop us. Your prayers to God will not avail against us. We are not moved by tears nor touched by lamentations. Only those who beg our protection will be safe. Hasten your reply before the fire of war is kindled. Resist and you will suffer the most terrible catastrophes. We will shatter your mosques and reveal the weakness of your God and then will kill your children and your old men together. At present you are the only enemy against whom we have to march.
Qutuz wasn't a slouch either. His reply was to kill the messengers and have their heads displayed on a gate to Cairo. People didn't fool around in those days.