Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Research in Motions Savior: Android Blackberry!

I was reading this article on how RIM is pretty much stuck in 1997 when it was a huge deal.

Of course, RIM’s shortcomings were old news by that point. From June 2008 to June 2011, RIM Shareholders lost almost $70 billion, or 82 percent, as the company’s market capitalization dropped from $83 billion to $13.6 billion. The decline forced the company in July 2011 to cut 2,000 jobs, the biggest lay-off in its history, reducing the workforce by around 11 percent.

That is pretty sobering and there might be more pain to come. However an idea that I just thought about is Blackberry needs to abandon its OS altogether and bet the house on a Blackberry that works with the Android OS.

When I got my first Blackberry I mostly got it because it had a full keyboard and not some digital keyboard which are normally hard for me to type on. I then bought a Samsung smartphone that had a full keyboard that you can access by pushing up the screen part. The main reason I went from Blackberry to Samsung is that Blackberry Apps suck and their web browser was a joke. I will probably never buy another Blackberry that runs on a Blackberry OS. However I would probably buy a Blackberry that ran on Android and perhaps there are others out there like me.

So RIMs plan should be in two parts. First their email software can be sold as an Android app for use on non-Blackberry phones. Secondly on Blackberry phones they can have very close integration for email but have access to the Android Play store. So a Blackberry can still be used for work because you will have your corporate email and your micro-strategy app that runs on Android at the same time. This company would not have to worry about either developing their own piece of software just so people can keep their Blackberries.

What they save on programmers and development for a hypothetical Blackberry 11 phone O/S they can instead to make the Android Blackberry stand out from the Samsung and LG phones on the market. I can see corporate customers who have Blackberry servers in place wanting an updated email service that runs either on their IPhones or Android Phones or on a Blackberry dedicated phone. If that isn't currently possible in the code then they need to rewrite it instead of forging on with Blackberry 11.

In other words concentrate all of their programmers and developers toward making the Blackberry email app the best and most secure email app in the App Store/Android Play Store so that it becomes ubiquitous. Then the phone OS will be Googles problem and not RIMs. In this situation licensing costs will go up but other costs and user flight will go down. I think an Android Blackberry might be RIMs last gasp before they need to sell themselves off to Microsoft or something.

Obama Blows it Again: Polish Deathcamps?

Ugh, does he actually proof-read his speeches or does he just not have anyone checking things out before he pops off about them?

During an East Room ceremony honoring 13 Medal of Freedom recipients, Obama said that Karski "served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action."

The correct statement should have been a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland or simply used the actual account of what Karski did. Maybe by using his secret trip to Izbica which was a transit ghetto that shunted Jews to the Nazi death camps of Sobibor and Belzec Obama could have had a bit of a teach-able moment.

Instead he just shows that he isn't sophisticated enough to know that calling something a "Polish death camp" sounds like the Poles set the place up or something. They have a right to be outraged at such a thing and its good that the White House quickly apologized. In any case either Obama or his handlers need to double check things like this because they might not mean much to people in the US but it is a big deal to Poland.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Facebook Phone? Sounds Like a Dud in the Making

These guys seem to be grasping as straws trying to make something work.

Reports that Facebook aims to enter the smartphone field took off with a New York Times blog post Sundaythat cited unnamed company employees and software engineers Facebook has sought to hire. The post said Facebook "hopes to release its own phone by next year."

Facebook declined to comment.

I really hope they don't intend to get into the hardware business where they will be torn apart by Apple, Samsung, LG, etc. who have decades making hardware and have the channels and product development that Facebook couldn't hope to match. Or do they hope to directly compete against the IPhone OS and Android in the Phone OS market because they own 80% of the market share?

Both of those ideas sound like something Microsoft would do and simply amounts to chasing after giants for pennies. The other smart phone companies are so far ahead that it will take a nearly perfect product to wrench any market share out of them. This perfect product would have to come out of a company that has never done hardware before and has no experience writing a phone OS.

However, if it is some branded phone like the Samsung Facebook Galaxy or something then maybe they would have some sort of chance. I'm just not sure what this hypothetical phone can do that the Android Key Lime Pie or the IPhone 5 could not do better and more elegantly.

What will the selling point of this Facebook phone be? I hope it isn't just something like being able to automatically update your Facebook location using GPS or some other nonsense. If that is the case they should just give back whatever money they will waste on this phone to shareholders in the form of a special dividend or a stock buyback. The Facebook phone just sounds like such a Microsoft idea it isn't even funny.

Blackberry Continues to Circle the Drain

Well it looks like they are cruising for a loss in the upcoming quarter.

Beyond saying the company would report a loss, CEO Thorsten Heins did not provide specific guidance. He added that Research In Motion's expects its "financial performance will continue to be challenging for the next few quarters" and said more detail would be available when the results for the quarter are released June 28.

In other words everything is in the air and they aren't sure what will happen in the next few quarters. I guess this might include trying to sell what is left of themselves to Microsoft or Facebook or some sucker who will get smashed by the IPhone and Android.

The company, which also announced plans to reduce its workforce, has hired JPMorgan(JPM_) and Royal Bank of Canada(RBC_) to assist with the review of its operations and business. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Um Worldwide Recession you Say Marc Faber?

Well this guy is the Gloom, Boom, and Doom maven so he might be overly negative although I have had rumblings of something like this occurring.

“As an observer of markets – whenever everyone focuses on one thing – like Greece and Europe – maybe they miss issues that are far more important – such as a meaningful slowdown in India and China.”

The latest reports from Beijing would support Faber's assertion.  The HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, slipped to 48.7 in May from 49.3 in April. That marks the seventh straight month that the index has been below 50, a level which indicates economic activity is contracting.

Also I have heard that the Indian economy is slowing down as well:

The GDP scare today intensified even more after CLSA and Morgan Stanley revised their forecast for India lower to 6.3%. Goldman Sachs has also downgraded its estimates to 6.6%. Bank of America Merrill Lynch's estimates too have been revised down to 6.5%. CLSA told CNBC-TV18 that it doesn’t expect any improvement in the June quarter GDP reading.

The government’s Economic Survey sees FY13 GDP at 7.6%, while the finance ministry has been headstrong in stating that the government is hoping for a 7.5% growth. The RBI too has said it expects FY13 GDP to grow by 7.3%.

That is quite a disparity between the investment banks and the Indian Government but at least they are still growing about 3 times as much as the US. I mean Europe is pretty much in recession as a continent and will probably not grow for several years. The US could easily go into recession if we go off the "fiscal cliff" in January. While Japan is growing a pretty scant 1% and if China falls it will take Japan with it. That pretty much covers the biggest economies so maybe Faber is not too far off the mark in his assertion.

Another Failing of the Stimulus: More College Grads Than Ever Unemployed

Well, I'm still looking at what the $1 trillion in "stimulus" and $5 trillion added to the deficit has actually done for anyone. It seems for the first time in American history there are more people that have degrees or have some college experience are unemployed than those who dropped out or graduated high school. Hows that for Hope and Change?

Seasonally unadjusted BLS data from April show that about 4.7 million of the nation's 9 million unemployed either graduated from a four-year or a two-year college program or attended college for some time before dropping out. A smaller 4.3 million share of America's unemployed graduated only from high school or didn't finish high school. Jed Graham from Investor's Business Daily graphed the change.

Of course this article has to pound the point home that the class of 2012 are a bunch of lazy morons as well. If I were that sleeping grad I would sue the AP for making me look like crap:

The Amateur the New Book on Obama Pretty Scathing

Wow, I think I might want to pick this thing up to check out how bad it hits him. Judging from this review it gives you some serious insight into his character using 200 interviews from people at all times in his life.

Liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen recently advised him to read Robert Caro's newest volume on the life of Lyndon Johnson as a primer on how to be president.  Johnson, of course, was a master at pulling levers of power, but he also knew how to persuade individual politicians on both sides of the aisle to work with him on legislation.  But, of course, LBJ also had the common touch and, having risen from humble beginnings, never considered it beneath him to work with those underneath him.  Not so Barack Obama.  He complained to foreign leaders that he had to waste time talking with "congressmen from Palookaville."  At another time, he switched locales and said he was tired of dealing with people from "Podunk."

This is the chief reason why he can't get anything passed in Washington. I think he views people on both sides of the aisle as beneath him. Even if that congressmen from Podunk will be instrumental in passing his budget or his green initiative he just hates having to work with them so he doesn't. This certainly explains why he was so hands off when it came to passing Obamacare and other legislation when the Dems still controlled Congress. 
Also he seems like a world class user as well:
Klein reveals dismay among former Obama supporters who feel they have been mistreated, maligned, and thrown under the bus.  Obama's most generous early donors have been all but ignored; early mentors in the black business community have been sidelined if not completely ditched; people don't hear from him or his staff unless a fundraiser is coming up. 

Yup, he only calls when he needs money. Kind of like a dead-beat brother-in-law or something similar. It also seems like Michele is a fat-hater and barred Oprah because she is too fat.
Oprah only wants to cash in using the White House as a backdrop for her show to perk up ratings. Oprah with her yo-yo dieting and huge girth, is a terrible role model. Kids will look at Oprah, who's rich and famous and huge, and figure it's okay to be fat.

In other words Michele to Oprah "Sorry fatty no White House for you!" I wonder if Adele or Kevin James would be barred from the White House functions as well? Obama also seems to have a Svengali or a Rasputin type figure lurking around him in the White House.

The role of Valerie Jarrett has prompted much speculation.  As Edward Klein notes, she has a mouthful of a title --  senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement -- that "doesn't begin to do justice to her unrivaled status in the White House."  Valerie Jarrett apparently has a role in most major decisions: she often appears in meetings the president has with major political leaders from Capitol Hill and with foreign leaders as well.  She often stays behind to have private discussions with the president.  Obama admitted that he ran every decision by her.
The more I read about this the more I want Hillary to run against him for the Democratic nomination. That way we either get Mitt or Hillary and both would be preferable to Obama in the next 4 years. She has experience in foreign policy, ran a business, and would actually listen to someone other than her husband and some Chicago Rasputin. I think if she wins quite a bit of the gridlock will be drained out of Washington because she was fairly well liked as a Senator and can actually work with the GOP. It would be a serious sit-down-and-think if she was pitted against Mitt for President. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Citadel Securities Loses Big on Facebook Trades

Well, at least one firm is in the red pretty decently from botched Facebook trades.

Citadel Securities, the retail arm of Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group, has become the latest firm to report “significant losses” from Facebook trades on behalf of clients, according to people familiar with the situation. 

News of Citadel’s losses comes a day after Knight Capital disclosed that it could incur losses of $30-$35 million in the second quarter on Facebook [FB  33.03    1.03  (+3.22%)   ] trades alone.  

Now this sounds like a kick in the pants if I was a poor sucker trying to buy Facebook stock at the open:

Advisers familiar with the situation at Fidelity said many investors are now finding out, nearly a week after the fact, that their orders were not executed at the prices they thought. 

In other words you had to wait a week in order to see if you got in at $45 and are now sitting on a $12 a share loss or not. That sounds like they were using ENIAC mainframes at Nasdaq or something. The idea that you have to wait a whole week in order to figure out if you own a stock or not is just egregious. I hope the SEC levels stiff fines at everyone involved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Facebook is Going to Kill the Ad Sponsered Web?: Talk About Going from Hype to Despair

Now I think pundits are overcorrecting after hyping Facebook to high heaven.

Facebook is not only on course to go bust, but will take the rest of the ad-supported Web with it.

Given its vast cash reserves and the glacial pace of business reckonings, that will sound hyperbolic. But that doesn't mean it isn't true.

At the heart of the Internet business is one of the great business fallacies of our time: that the Web, with all its targeting abilities, can be a more efficient, and hence more profitable, advertising medium than traditional media. Facebook, with its 900 million users, valuation of around $100 billion, and the bulk of its business in traditional display advertising, is now at the heart of the heart of the fallacy.

I have to agree with this article when it says that the death of Facebook will deal a serious blow to banner ads since it will show Madison Avenue that even if you have 900 million or a billion users you still hardly get any of them to click on your ad. They will figure that shoveling money toward Facebook might be a waste like GM recently has.

However I don't think the ad-supported Web will die because of Facebook's potential demise. Also this argument that the Web is a more efficient and profitable advertising media is not a fallacy. Traditional ads have always been shoveling money at something for a non-measurable return. You put on a 30 second commercial and hopefully people buy your crap. If you put that commercial in front of a million people it is better than only 10,000 people. It isn't rocket science.

So advertisers follow the people. They think that Facebook has 500 million sets of active eyeballs so they have to get their ads in front of those people. It is pretty much like advertising on a billboard. People see it and think I need that product. The Web allows you a more efficient way to go from the "I need that product" to the "I'll buy that product" by clicking through the banner ad. The problem is that not enough people are doing that to make Facebook grow long term and have it trade at that high a multiple.

However, that doesn't kill the ad-sponsored Web by any stretch of the imagination. I mean billboards still provide a pretty decent stream of revenue and there is no way to measure how effective they are at selling the ad buyers crap. So banner ads will become the billboards of the Web and will be priced with a similar model. I mean if you want to get people to notice your product putting a billboard in front of 500 million people isn't the worst thing you can do.

This "banner ads as billboards" effect doesn't mean that suddenly all of the ad dollars will drain out of the Web. I mean where are they going to go instead? All of the traditional media has been tried and most of them have no way of measuring their effectiveness. Companies are still shoveling billions toward prime time TV even though time shifting is making it so that less and less people see those commercials.

I mean most traditional media sources are having problems with diminishing eyeballs as we speak. People watch less prime time TV, read less magazines and newspapers, and most people throw away direct mail without looking at it. So the Web is the last place where there are millions of eyeballs that you can put your crap in front of. The banner ad might not be the most effective way of selling your crap but it sure beats sending out a million flyers and hoping you get some business from them. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Facebook Continues to Drop: I'm Just Not Sure How they Grow Revenue in the Future

The stock kept falling today as people finally come to the realization that this stock is not the next Google and might be shrinking rather than growing as people think is supposed to happen.

Facebook released an amendment to its S-1 filing Monday, showing a drop in advertising revenue for the quarter. Total advertising revenue amounted to $872 million in the quarter ending March 31, down from $943 million in Q4 2011, but up from $731 million during the same period a year ago.

That does sound worrying but I figure that is mostly seasonality as people ramp up the ads for Christmas and then take them down when the new year comes along. Now they need to have a big time growth number in Q2 or we might see the stock become a victim of "half-off sale" from its IPO price. 

I'm still not 100% sure how it makes any more money from its 900 million accounts. Only 532 million actually log in daily so that number should be correct amount of "users" of the site. That 900 million figure should just be buried since 400 million of those accounts are simply sitting on a server somewhere waiting to be deleted.

Supposedly these 532 million users are worth $9.51 in ad revenue each. I'm just not sure how realistic that figure is because I have never clicked through to a banner ad on Facebook or any other internet property since like 1998. That model didn't work then either. Maybe there is a bunch of people on Facebook who are assiduously clicking ads for whatever reason but it just doesn't seem plausible. It would be interesting to see the exact number of impressions that each Facebook ad generates and compare them to the click-through on a top ranking on a Google search.

Also the gaming aspect (aka payments and fees which is about 20% of their revenue) is dying a slow death due to smart phones. The only reason I went to Facebook (before I deleted my account due to privacy concerns) was to play games. Now I play the same exact same games on my smartphone for free without needing the Facebook front-end to get to them. You can be sure that this trend will not slow down any time soon and this revenue stream will be dead in 3 years or less.

I have also read that mobile is the big revenue driver for Facebook going forward. I just don't see the people who aren't clicking through to the ads on the desktop version of Facebook would suddenly click through to the ads on a smart phone. This is doubly true when they have a data plan that costs them money for internet usage over a certain limit. People would be even more loathe to click through an ad when it wastes precious bandwidth that they need to play games, upload pics, or check their mail. So I don't see an ad based model bringing in big-time revenue growth on the mobile version of Facebook either.

Maybe Instagram will be their savior because I downloaded the app and it is pretty damn cool. I mostly use it to check to see what pictures celebrities put up since no one I know uses the app at all. If they can somehow get advertisers to pay for placement on Instagram or have people join corporate picture feeds (the Red Bull one would have lots of gals in bikinis for instance) they might have something. The problem is that Instagram has no moat and can be duplicated pretty easily by Google or someone who has a better idea.

Whatever the case the thing that would make Facebook big money just hasn't come out yet and that is bad news for a company valued at 70x earnings (50x now I think.) The idea of paying such a high premium hoping that Zuckerberg can crank out something awesome when proven tech companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google are trading so cheaply just doesn't make any sense to me.

Part of the Monday Swoon in Facebook Shares Attributed to NASDAQs self inflicted wound?

I guess we can see why there was a run on the stock at the open on Monday.

It started with an alert sent out Monday morning by Nasdaq OMX Group, the exchange whose technical glitches caused a delayed opening of Facebook on Friday and left many orders unfilled.

The alert said that any investor who lost money because of the delay could be eligible for compensation. Claims had to be submitted by noon on Monday. 

So what happened was that people sold the stock with both hands and eventually the stock recovered after the noon deadline had passed. Either way I think NASDAQ and Morgan Stanley needs to sit down in from of regulators and figure out exactly what happened and see that it doesn't happen again.

Former Greek Prime Minister Talks About Euro Exit

I think they need to just pull the band-aid off of the wound and leave the Euro already. This he-said-Papa said BS is beginning to look stupid.

Greece's financial stability fund approved an 18 billion euro ($23 billion) injection of capital into the country's four biggest banks on Tuesday and will release the funds on Wednesday, a fund official said. 

At the same time, news reports quoted former Greece Prime Minister Lucas Papademos as saying that preparations for the country's exit from the euro zone are being considered.

I think the IMF needs to get some economists together in a room and hash out exactly what the fallout would be if Greece left the Euro by a certain date. They can look at the potential losses and different exit scenarios so we can get some clarity on this mess.

If You Own a Ferrari in Italy the Tax Man Cometh

Well, it seems that Europeans are finally understanding that increasing their revenue means going after tax cheats. It seems that Italy has a very long history of people not paying their taxes to the government and they seem to be driving Ferraris.

A widely reported tax blitz in January on Cortina D'Ampezzo, the winter playground for the rich and famous, received widespread support from Italians. Tax authorities looked into the owners of 133 Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and other luxury cars and found nearly a third of the owners declared incomes of less than $30,000 per year – a laughable amount, considering not only the cost of their cars but the $8.95/gallon cost of gasoline. 

In other words these guys who reported to be making less than I am are driving around in $100k cars burning $8.95 a gallon gas. Yeah they are hiding their income alright.

Now the DEA is getting in on the Prostitutes

It seems that the Secret Service isn't the only government agency partaking of the worlds oldest profession.

"It's disturbing that we may be uncovering a troubling culture that spans more than one law enforcement agency," the Maine Republican said this evening. "In addition to the Secret Service scandal, we now learn that at least two DEA agents apparently entertained female foreign national masseuses in the Cartagena apartment of one of the agents. The evidence uncovered thus far indicates that this likely was not just a one-time incident." 

Again it isn't the act itself that is troubling to me but the idea that these guys are now prime for blackmail. All it takes is a hidden camera and suddenly a drug cartel has a DEA agent on the payroll. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Yet Another Case of Individual Investors Taking the Hype of the Facebook IPO

I'm glad some of these people have financial planners to keep themselves from freaking out.

On Monday, 74-year-old Betty Tanguilig told her financial adviser to liquidate a $400,000 account and put all the proceeds into Facebook Inc IPO shares.

Her adviser, Alan Haft, agreed to sell only $46,000 of the $400,000 account, one of several the retiree has. But at about 6:00 a.m. EDT Friday, Haft heard from his brokerage firm, E*Trade Financial Corp, that Tanguilig did not get any IPO shares.

Tanguilig, a retired mother of eight, was furious. She has been on Facebook for many years and regularly logs in. "I had to have it," she said.

So this poor woman wanted to liquidate her entire account and buy shares of Facebook? Now that is a bigger epic fail than its IPO debut.

Facebook Debut an Epic Fail; Underwriters had to Rush to Keep it Above IPO Price

Now this is embarrassing for a "historic IPO" and the greatest of all time and other hyperbole that was used by CNBC to hype Facebook.

But the shares lost steam in the final hour of trading, and fell back to the $38 level—a tepid performance for one of the largest and most closely watched IPOs. More than 30 banks were involved in the offering, which sold at least 421 million shares to investors.

There was supposed to be a rush to keep the stock above the IPO price of $38 which would have been a serious embarrassment for the underwriters and Facebook as well. Also I hope this guy was able to get in at $38 and not $45 because he swallowed that CNBC hype uncooked:

"If it wasn't for Facebook I wouldn't be here," he said as he left the branch to go to his bank and transfer money into his new account. "I missed out on Groupon when it went public, so I'm not going to miss the boat this time."

Mr. Hodges said he plans to invest $10,000 in Facebook shares—including $4,500 of his own money and $5,500 from his mother.

Mr. Hodges expressed confidence in Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook's CEO and said he isn't worried about Mr. Zuckerberg being young. "To me, he's a genius. You know, he created something for the whole world... Everything is social now. The world is a different place with Facebook," he said.

Um, Mr. Hodges has no business investing his or his mom's money because he just isn't very good at it. If he bought Groupon at the IPO price of $20 he would be down $8.42 a share on paper. In other words he would have lost nearly half of his initial investment. Or maybe to put it in a positive light he "missed the boat" on losing $8.42 a share which is a pretty good deal I think. In any case he is not the kind of retail investor that WSJ should be interviewing.

I'm not saying that Facebook will drop too far below $38 since I think the underwriters will prop it up as much as they can to not look like fools to have priced the stock too high. Facebook just isn't worth half of Google's market cap but trades at 45 times earnings while Google trades at only 12 times earnings. Google is growing their earnings at a 60% clip.

Facebook is basically trading on the hope that Zuckerberg can keep Facebook growing its earnings +50% a year for quite a while. I mean the stock is worth 1/5th of Apple and doesn't come close to growing their revenue at anywhere near the 94% that Apple currently is. I think Facebook should have priced a smaller allotment than 18% of float at $30 and they would have had lots of room to grow higher. Right now they are priced for even more than perfection. I just don't see how they can do it by only selling banner ads.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More Looming Problems: Congress About to Jump Off The "Fiscal Cliff?"

In my opinion they have already jumped off of it but if they don't do anything by Jan 1st 2013 then it might get pretty bad.

Economists agree that tax hikes and spending cuts will drag down economic growth in 2013 yet the estimates vary. Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi predicts the fiscal drag next year could be to closer to 1.5 of a percentage point of GDP. The Congressional Budget Office calculated GDP could drop by nearly 3.6 percentage points in the 2013 fiscal year while Morgan Stanley economist David Greenlaw says fiscal tightening could translate into a 5 percent drag on GDP during the 2013 calendar year.

So with our anemic 2% GDP growth a -5% smack in the face will put us right into a recession for 2013. The bad part is that Congress is such a joke that they probably won't get anything done until right after the election. If the GOP wins they might be able to throw something together to at least push the deadline forward until the 1st quarter of 2013.

However, the markets get to be in uncertainty mode until they finally get something done. The idea that a bunch of Americans need to figure out if they will be paying 15% or 35% capital gains taxes come Jan 1st will be sure to rile the markets at the end of the year.

Obama's Gay Marriage Stance Viewed as Politcal Move according to Recent Poll

I think they did not read the poll numbers on this whole gay marriage thing that Biden had him step into.

Most of those polled say the president's position will not impact how they vote. But among those who say it will influence their choice, 26 percent said they are less likely to vote for Obama as a result, while 16 percent say they are more likely to.

And in what is expected to be a tight race, "even a small shift in swing states could be costly," says the Times.

I would be willing to bet many of those lost votes will be in areas with minorities who are religious that would normally vote for him and did so in the past. If they don't vote for him or just don't turn up like they did in 2008 then states like North Carolina, Colorado, and maybe Nevada would jump to Romney. This part of the poll jumped out at me as well.

Sixty-seven percent said they thought Obama's announcement was made "mostly for political reasons," while 24 percent said it was "mostly because he thinks it is right."

In another potentially damaging sign, 70 percent of Independents attribute the president's move to politics, along with nearly half of Democrats.

That is quite a wide margin who thinks that the only reason he made the announcement in the first place was for political reasons instead of an actual stand on an issue. Basically he flip-flopped so that he can get some of that sweet Hollywood cashola. Obama seemed like he was anti-gay marriage right up until George Clooney waved his checkbook at him. Suddenly he was all for it. That shows that Obama needs about $15 million in donations in order to change his mind on something. Maybe Israel needs to throw him a fundraiser in the near future and they can take care of this whole Iranian nuke thing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Greece Owes 436 Million Euros Due Tomorrow?

This Greek mess is getting stranger and stranger as we speak.

Greece has a 436 million euro principal repayment due Tuesday. So far, the country has not decided what to do.

Under normal Greek-debt contracts, if Greece doesn’t pay, it would have only a seven-day grace period. But experts who have pored over all of this have found that one of the key paragraphs from the normally boiler-point language is missing. 

As a result, Greece will have a 30-day grace period, leading to the possibility of an extended, “Will they?” or “won’t they?” drama.

What sort of an organization are they running when they leave out a paragraph on how long a grace period will be when there is 436 million Euros due to your indebted asses? So is it the total amount due in 7 days or 30 days? Or will the commie government just say to hell with the payment and Greece goes into technical default? I assume they will be good for the money but 436 million Euros due tomorrow sounds pretty scary.

This whole thing reminds me of the scene from Trading Places where the Commodity Exchange guys go to the Dukes and say "Margin Call Gentlemen." Then Greece says in a high pitched voice. "We can't come up with 436 million Euros by the close of business tomorrow!" This whole thing is such a joke.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mayan Apocalypse Put Off for Billions of Years

It seems that way from a recently unearthed Mayan calendar.

The hieroglyphs, painted in black and red, along with a colorful mural of a king and his mysterious attendants, seem to have been a sort of handy reference chart for court scribes in A.D. 800 — the astronomers and mathematicians of their day. Contrary to popular myth, this calendar isn't a countdown to the end of the world in December 2012, the study researchers said.

"The Mayan calendar is going to keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future," said archaeologist David Stuart of the University of Texas, who worked to decipher the glyphs. "Numbers we can't even wrap our heads around."

The attendants mentioned were called Older Brother Obsidian and Younger Brother Obsidian. I wonder if they were some kind of servants to the king or from the scribe class. In any case they sound like awesome both characters in a D&D game.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hit Piece Goes After Romney in Prep School 50 years ago

Now this is a new low for the mainstream media I think.

Mitt Romney has apologized for incidents described in a Washington Post story about his prep school years in Michigan. Some of the events include forcibly cutting a boy's bleached-blond hair and hassling a closeted gay student in English class.

"Back in high school, I did some dumb things," Romney said in an interview on the "Kilmeade and Friends" talk show on Fox News radio Thursday. "And if anybody was hurt by that or offended by that, I apologize." He added: "There is no question I became a very different person since then."

These are things that happened 50 years ago. I mean just about everyone has done some stupid stuff in high school and it should not come under scrutiny if they run for President half a decade later. I mean Obama is supposed to have smoked pot and snorted coke and was a small time drug dealer at Punahou. I didn't think that was relevant to the man now because it can all be chalked up to youthful indiscretion. 

If Romney was still forcefully cutting off some blond guys long hair or Obama was dealing out of the Oval Office it would be relevant but this scrutiny is just absurd.