Friday, May 31, 2013

Second Shoe to Drop: IRS Taxpayer-Funded Conferences to Be Scrutinized June 6th

Well we had the IRS sponsored political hit machine now we might get the part where they waste tax payer money on lavish gifts and such.

The panel will hear from J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), who issued the audit on Tea Party group scrutiny earlier this month, setting off a furor, an FBI probe, and the resignation of the IRS acting chief.

The congressional aide said the hearing would be about "an upcoming audit uncovering information about excessive spending at IRS conferences."

A spokesman for TIGTA could not be reached for comment.

I'm hoping for lavish parties and 1st class living for the people in charge of the IRS. Maybe then we can tear that whole organization apart and make filing taxes easy and painless.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Market Top is In: USA Today Headline Bleats "Bull Run on Solid Footing"

Well it seems that when the mainstream media gets involved in the stock market news it usually signals that there is a market top.

As people drift into the CNBC lobby in the morning, they grab bundles of newspapers from the front desk. It's a routine. 

Almost universally Wednesday morning when people saw the front page of USA Today, with its banner headline "Bull run gets solid footing," heads shook and there were mutters of "it's a top." 

That's an outgrowth of the contrary indicator thinking that once mainstream media picks up on a market trend, be it bull, bear, pig or whatever, the trend is over. 

Actually it is when the mainstream media says something like "Bull Run on Solid Footing" then that usually means that Bull Run is nearly over. This reminds me of the apocryphal story that JP Morgan was getting his shoes shined on his way to work and the shoe shine boy gave him a stock tip. He was said to have sold millions of dollars in stock as soon as he got to his desk. Morgan thought that if the shoe shine boy was long the market then he should not be in it anymore and needed to take money off the table.

Crazy Michele Bachmann Rolls Up the Tent

I guess they won't have Michele Bachmann to kick around anymore. She is quitting the House and going back to wherever it was she came from.

That message helped sweep Republicans into a majority in the House in 2010. John Boehner rewarded her with an appointment to the prestigious House Intelligence Committee in 2011. But between then and January 2013, when it looked like she could lose that position, something happened: the 2012 election. In the Republican primary, Bachmann got a little too crazy. She floated conspiracy theories about vaccines causing mental retardation. There were questions of whether she revealed classified information in debates. She, like most of the other Republican candidates, was anti-immigration. Losing the Latino vote by 40 points helped cost Mitt Romney the White House that fall. 

Yup anyone who is anti-immigrant needs to find the door because the GOP will never win another national election without appealing to at least some of those Latino voters. Also that vaccine stuff is crazy Jenny McCarthy territory and should stay with loony Hollywood types and not be in the Congress.

I was intrigued by her until I saw those crazy eyes. Bachmann just looks like someone that would pick up the Red Phone to order some Papa Johns and then to cover up her error she would launch the nukes. She would then say "well didn't want to look stupid so I had to follow through." I think this picture sums her up pretty well:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Holder Personally Approved going After Fox News Reporter

Wait why is this guy still at his post?

The U.S. Justice Department did not mention the subpoena when it issued a statement on Friday describing how Holder had vetted a decision to seek a search warrant for the contents of an email account used by Fox News reporter James Rosen.

The revelation that Holder approved subpoenas that sought Fox News phone records shows that his involvement was broader than the Justice Department had earlier acknowledged publicly, as details continue to emerge in the controversy.

I wonder if there is an email from the White House that ordered him to do this in the first place? 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wow the Scandals are Taking Their Toll on Obama

Well I guess trying to cover up three different scandals at the same time seems to be taking their toll on Obama. This picture is worth a 1000 words

This picture kind of reminds me of this embattled President.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Well it Wasn't Overworked "Rogue Agents" at the IRS Blocking Tea Party Applications

It seems that the higher ups at the Cincinnati IRS actually knew what was happening at the IRS as far back as Dec 2010.

And Cincinnati's Fox 19 News, which has done more solid reporting on this story than most of the major news outlets, looks to have put the final nail in the "rogue agent" story.

The local news station found that there were six agents — not two as former IRS head Steven Miller insisted just last week — who worked on these tax-exempt applications. These agents, Fox 19 learned, all had different direct managers, who in turn had different territory managers.

That means any directive applying to all these workers would had to have come from at least three levels up the management chain.

That manager turns out to be Cindy Thomas — who the IRS says oversees "exempt organization determinations" nationwide. She also happens to be the same person who ProPublica said signed off on releasing nine confidential tax-exempt applications from conservative groups to that liberal-leaning news website.

What is sad is that the national media again ignores the story and it is up to the Cincinnati Fox Affiliate to do their jobs. I'm sure Holder is bugging their phones, hacking their emails, and tracking their movement with drones as we speak.

This national manager who is supposed to be unbiased seems to have leaked tax-exempt applications to some leftist website as well. Isn't that some sort of crime? According to this it sure might be a crime.

According to the IRS’s own manual, anyone found to have engaged in the “unauthorized disclosure of a return or return information” may be subject to felony charges punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and five years in prison:

Well a return isn't an application so she might be in the clear and Holder will never go after her anyway. It does show the incredible bias at the IRS to have a national manager leaking applications to liberal sites though. Now the smoking gun is going to be some email to Cindy Thomas from somebody at the White House saying "Operation Dunk the Tea Bag (or whatever) has been Greenlit"

Look Whats in My Right Hand Not My Left: Obama posts his Prom Photo

This has to be the worst case of trying to distract the press that I have seen in a long time.

The magazine obtained the photos from Kelli Allman (née McCormack), Obama's classmate at Punahou School in Hawaii. The images, taken at Allman’s parents’ house in Honolulu, show a smiling Obama, in a white sports coat and draped in a lei, with his arm around his date, Megan Hughes, a student at La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls, alongside Allman and her date, Greg Orme, a fellow varsity basketball player and Obama's best friend at the time.

Just in time to distract people from the three scandals swirling. What is funny about that article is it has this caption to the photo.

President Obama, second from right, on prom night, 1979 (Courtesy of Kelli Allman/Contact Press Image)

Wait he isn't the blond in the blue dress? Or the stoned guy in the navy blazer? I'm glad Time Magazine cleared that up for us.

IRS Official that Targeted the Tea Party Put On Administrative Leave

I guess this is a pre-emptive strike to keep this scandal from getting further out of hand.

Lois Lerner, the IRS official whose unit is at the center of the investigation into alleged Tea Party targeting, has been placed on administrative leave and a replacement has been named.

Ken Corbin was named acting director of exempt organizations during Lerner's leave. He is currently deputy director of submission processing in the wage and investment division. 

She should have just testified and not invoked the 5th Amendment like she was a gangster or a communist in the 50s or something. I think in the minds of a lot of Americans if you have information just admit it and see what happens. When you use the 5th Amendment you just look guilty even though you might not be. Mark my words though, there will be a link to someone in the White House before too long. This kid of stuff has a way of metastasizing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

30% of Millennials Regret Going to College (AKA Student Loan Hell)

It seems that Millennials are getting buyers remorse when it comes to college.

Here’s an indication of how burdensome student loans have become : About one-third of millennials say they would have been better off working, instead of going to college and paying tuition.

That’s a according to a new Wells Fargo WFC -1.43% study which surveyed 1,414 millennials between the ages of 22 and 32. More than half of them financed their education through student loans, and many say the if they had $10,000 the “first thing” they’d do is pay down their student loan or credit card debt.

Wow if $10K fell out of the sky Millennials would rush to pay off debt first. Well for some of them that debt will follow them around for decades and act as a wall to buying a car, a house, or getting married. More people have to realize that debt is acid that eats away at your future buying power. The less debt you have the more money you have to spend later on. It's that simple.

I bet quite a few of them are now regretting the vast majority of majors since they don't lead to jobs outside of academia in many cases. So all those ethnic studies or medieval literature majors are ruing the fact that they went into debt for $100K at some private college and there will never be a job waiting for them. That job is currently being held by some baby boomer that has tenure and will never give it up as long as the gravy train (which means tuition hikes) keeps running.

At least some of them are understanding that they got the shaft way back in high school.

The Wells Fargo survey found that 79% of millennials think personal finance should be taught in high school; basic investing, how to save for retirement and how loans work were the top three topics they “wished” they’d learned more about.

You would be surprised on how many college graduates could not tell you what the S&P500 or the NASDAQ is or name one stock in either Index. I'm sure if they ever get a job they will end up taking the minimum 401K match because they have to pay off their stupid college loan debt. So that may eat away at 10 years or more of retirement savings.

What sucks even more is that most of the crap that they were taught in high school has absolutely no practical purpose in the real world. I'm pretty sure that many of them would trade every bit of whatever their Trigonometry or Calculus knowledge still remains for a simple business math course. Introduction to personal finance should be a required course that every high school kid needs to pass.

In any case I hope it makes these kids anti-debt and anti-conspicuous consumption. They can't afford a ton of credit cards when their college loan debt is dogging their path.

It Seems Drone Strikes Are Paying Off Only 13 This Year So Far

I guess it must be effective because the Al-Quida leaders are getting killed off and the strikes are coming down in number.

That’s right, the program’s very success in efficiently eliminating scores of Al Qaeda operatives means there are, quite simply, fewer Al Qaeda targets left to kill.

“The [Obama] administration used the drone strikes aggressively and killed the top al Qaeda leaders,” an unnamed intelligence official told Pakistani news site The News International in December 2012. “Now that we have taken out most of these guys, the usage of the drone strikes seems decreasing.”

In Pakistan, it appears so many Al Qaeda targets have been killed, the focus has quietly shifted to Taliban fighters. Taliban targets account for more than 50 percent of targeted killings, compared with just 8 percent for Al Qaeda figures, according to national security analyst Peter Bergen.

They are running out of Al-Quida guys so they are killing Taliban leaders instead. Pretty soon they will just be flying drones around dropping leaflets at this rate. This is one thing I have praised Obama about because I think it is effective and puts the fear of allah into these scumbags.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Might Be Close to the "Cure for Cancer Wonder" According to a Phase 1 Study

Well I was wondering why Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) stock shot up today when the market was down and it might have been due to this finding.

Ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and nivolumab (BMS-936558, Bristol-Myers Squibb) target immune system checkpoints on immune cells, increasing the immune system’s ability to fight off cancer, according to background information provided by researchers.

For their study, Wolchok and colleagues enrolled patients with inoperable stage III and stage IV metastatic melanoma who underwent up to three prior therapies.

Okay so these are some of the worst of the worst skin cancer patients. So the cancer is bad stuff and getting close to killing the person off. It seems when you use both of these hard to pronounce drugs together this happens:

“What was unique in our experience was that most of these responding patients had rapid and deep regressions,” Wolchok said. 

Three out of four patients who responded to concurrent treatment demonstrated tumor reduction within 3 months, a rate faster than that observed with ipilimumab alone, Wolchok said. Sixteen of 52 patients (31%) experienced tumor shrinkage of more than 80%.

“When all concurrent cohorts were considered together, 40% had objective responses,” Wolchok said. “If one broadens this to include patients with slow responses, then 65% of patients have the melanoma controlled with this combination.”

So 65% of the people that took both drugs had the melanoma "controlled." I'm not sure if that is actually cured but I guess it means you won't die from it like in a few weeks or something. Also shrinkage of 80% sounds pretty impressive. I wonder if these people kept taking both drugs it would shrink it even further?

I guess that is what other future studies will show. Also they need to find out how it will work on other types of cancer as well. It's only a Phase 1 study but it might be a pretty good deal for BMY going forward as long as it doesn't have all sorts of side effects and such. Even then 80% tumor shrinkage sound pretty good as far as I can tell.

Some at the Fed Want to Take Away the Punchbowl

I guess you can't buy $85 billion in treasury bonds forever. Easing from the Quantitative Easing is not going to be easy and the market is going to sell off because of it. There is just too much funny money floating around and a nice correction might be a good time to pause to get back in.

Minutes of the Fed's April 30-May 1 meeting released Wednesday show "a number" of members expressed a willingness to scale back the $85 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage bonds the Fed has been purchasing, perhaps as soon as next month, if the economy accelerates. The Fed next meets on June 18-19. 

Still, Chairman Ben Bernanke, the Fed's most important voice, signaled Wednesday in testimony to Congress that it is too soon for the Federal Reserve to slow its extraordinary stimulus programs. 

I'm picturing the other Fed officials jumping on the skids of the money-dropping helicopter that "Helicopter Ben" is in trying to get it to land.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cute!: I Had to Post this Sphinx Rat Bathing

I came across this picture and just had to post it. This is the Ottoman Sphinx taking a quick spritz.

The White House Went All Big Brother on Fox News Reporter

Um why does Eric Holder still have a job? This kind of stuff sounds like something out of a Stalinist Police State and not the US.

Investigators looking into disclosures of sensitive information about North Korea got Rosen’s telephone records and a warrant for his personal emails but also used his State Department security badge to track his movements in and out of that building, the Post reported, citing court documents.

They tracked his security badge to see where he went in and outside of the State Department building? I can see Vladimir Putin nodding his encouragement. 

The case began when Rosen reported on June 11, 2009, that U.S. intelligence believed North Korea might respond to tighter United Nations sanctions with new nuclear tests. Rosen reported that the information came from CIA sources inside the hermetic Stalinist state.

In other words the reporter developed a source and asked him for news on what is happening at the CIA. Kind of like any reporter in the world. I wonder if the White House plan to break into Rosen's psychiatrists office (if Rosen was indeed seeing a shrink) or not? This pretty much sums up the White House currently.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why Women Hate Game of Thrones? Wait all the Women I Know Love It

Talk about a way to insult women's intelligence. The article also appears to have been written by a woman that came from the 1950s. 

We hate gross things. Know what’s gross? Screwing your sibling.

Yeah girls hate gross things. All those frogs and blood and stuff. Women should be fainting dead away of the vapors upon hearing about that kind of thing. There is not enough poodle dresses and cotillions on Game of Thrones for this author. Although the Lannister siblings getting it on is pretty damn gross. However, it fits the strange world of Westeros and mirrors our own world quite well. The royals in our world are all a pretty inbred lot.

It’s hard to follow. Brilliantly developed storylines are great, but whipping out a dry erase board and Venn diagrams to figure it all out isn’t our idea of a good time. Unless we’re talking about soap operas. Those are perfectly fine. 

Wow misogynistic much? She just said that the show is too complicated for a woman to follow. I think this statement got into a time machine from 1951 and found its way onto the Internet. I guess this is brought to you from the same women that gave you the "Allergic to Algebra" T-shirts from Forever 21.

It reminds us of the kids that used to play magic cards in the cafeteria. And people who go to Renaissance festivals. Eating a giant drumstick and drinking out of a goblet is cool, just not every Sunday night for three months straight.

Hmm, the Ren Faires I have been to have about the same amount of women as men. It seems that watching Game of Thrones makes a woman "uncool." I guess the author is still waiting for Barry the Football god to pick her up for a couple of malteds at the soda fountain in his jalopy.

It’s all naked chicks. In addition to the actual ladies of the night on the show, there seem to be a lot of...unofficial ladies of the night on the show. This is why guys love it, we get it, but we can do without seeing topless wenches in loin cloths. 

There seems to be about as many men's butts as there is boobs. I have seen far too much of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau wandering around nude. Also the first season was all about Jason Momoa never wearing a shirt the entire time he was on screen. I'm sure this woman gets the vapors whenever she sees herself in the nude.

Dudes get their hands chopped off. And their nipples. And their balls. Really? How is it that you guys like this again? 

It's almost like there are no such things as female trauma surgeons in this woman's idealized 1950s world. What is sad about this article is that Game of Thrones has some of the most powerful and capable female characters on TV anywhere.

College Industrial Complex Scrambles to Fill Seats: Offers Deep Discounts

Well it seems that going into debt for decades to go to college is finally starting to run into pricing pressure.

Among colleges still seeking students for fall classes are Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, the University of Maryland, College Park, The New School in New York City, Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, according to

Its list includes more selective schools but the National Association of College Admissions Counselors counts 288 colleges nationwide that have reported having space for incoming freshmen this fall.

The reason why is that families and high school kids are getting sticker-shock at these outrageous prices.

Average tuition and fees alone at private nonprofit four-year institutions rose $1,173 or 4.2 percent to $29,056 in 2012-13, according to the College Board. The costs are not much lower for out-of-state students at public four-year institutions where average tuition and fees rose $883 or 4.2 percent to $21,706.

Yeah that is a brand new car a year to send a kid to college. Over 4 years you could buy a pretty nice three bedroom house somewhere in the Midwest.  What makes this even worse is that after spending all this money these newly minted graduates have a 50/50 chance at best of finding a job. So maybe these colleges shouldn't raise their tuition at four times the rate of inflation going forward.

Monday, May 13, 2013

One thing the GOP and the Dems can Agree On: They Hate Justin Bieber

Well I am not a big fan of the Bieberite but these numbers are pretty crappy.

Bieber was the only artist who had a majority unfavorability rating across all party lines – a majority of Democrats (23-54), Republicans (17-52), and independents (18-56) all reported negative views of the singer.

I wonder what Nikki Minaj got? She can also be called Nikki "I made everyone lose their job on American Idol" Minaj. I do agree with their top three liked people though.

PPP tested the favorability ratings of several of today’s biggest music stars: Taylor Swift (53-27), Adele (54-18), Beyonce (51-30), and Justin Timberlake (52-24) all received positive reviews from voters.  

It seems like these celebs seldom get into trouble and produce work that people enjoy.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Holy Crap! Snake-eaters! aka JSOC *pumps fist* Heck Yeah!

I must be buying this book because this stuff sounds strait-up awesome!

Their real days of glory ... really only started after 9/11," Colonel Walter Patrick Lang, who spent much of his career in covert operations, told Scahill. "They didn't do a lot of fighting before that."

Known within the covert ops community as ninjas or "snake eaters," JSOC operators train to track a target, fix his position, and then finish him off without being detected.

"They're the ace in the hole," General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Clinton, told Scahill. "If you need someone that can sky dive from thirty miles away, go down the chimney of a castle, and blow it up from the inside — those are the guys you want to call on."

Snake-eaters vs. Jihadis! Who are they killing in a castle? Man, global killing teams culled from the best soldiers we have along with 1000s of targeted drone assassinations? America is such a bad-ass nowadays.

Kudlow is Right: Immigration Reform Means Big Growth for the US

I never understood that nativist part of the GOP that is so dead-set against immigration reform. I think Kudlow is right when he says that a great engine of growth will be unlocked if we fix immigration.

Immigration-reform proposals from Senator Marco Rubio and others land squarely on the growth side of the debate. And I do find it interesting that the Congressional Budget Office — no friend of supply-siders — is touting the dynamic impacts of immigration on economic growth. In a letter to budget chair Paul Ryan, the CBO said the failed 2006 immigration effort would have increased federal revenues more than direct spending. The Joint Tax Committee agreed. The dynamic idea is that immigration significantly increases the size of the U.S. labor force, and that more workers mean more growth.

If you put 11 million people on the tax rolls and starting bringing in waves of future Sergey Brins then the pro-growth part of the GOP needs to jump at the chance. The former CBO head figures that it will put on 1% to GDP growth and reduce the deficit by $2.5 trillion. You add a few Googles to that mix and we are talking real money.

That is why the GOP is such a Frankenstein Monster nowadays. You have pro-growth fiscal conservatives like Kudlow and I butting up against grim austerity nativists trying to block immigration reform. Then we have the Religious Reich vs. the younger part of the GOP who doesn't give a crap about gays and abortion has been the law of the land for our entire lives. Hell I was -2 when Roe vs. Wade actually decided by the Supreme Court.

Buried News: We Have the Biggest Monthly Budget Surplus in 5 years?

You would think that the White House would hang this news from a banner on the South Lawn.

The U.S. government had a budget surplus of $113 billion in April, the largest monthly surplus in five years, the Treasury Department reported Friday. The April surplus was $54 billion more than the same month a year ago. Tax receipts were $407 billion, up 28% compared to April 2012, while spending was $294 billion, 13% more than the year-ago period. April is usually a surplus month because of income tax payments. Through the first seven months of fiscal 2013, the deficit was $488 billion, 32% narrower than during the same period last year.

We usually run a surplus during April but I love how income growth is outpacing expense growth by nearly double for the first time in I don't know how long. Add this to the narrowing Trade Deficit and America might actually make some money for a little while.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Players Flee World of Warcraft; 1.3 Million in Three Months

Well, I think this might be the death-knell of the pay per month model because it is only downhill from here.

According to the company, most of those departures were players in the East, though a significant number of Western players left as well. All told, the game now has about 8.3 million paying customers -- down from 9.6 million in February -- and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick admits that number is bound to drop even further.

I could not get behind paying $19.99 (or whatever it is now) a month just to play a game. I don't mind micro-transactions for cool gear but I would end up hounded by that monthly fee month after month. Oh well, I would be willing to bet that World of Warcraft will eventually go the way of Everquest and Guitar Hero played by a few die-hards but a shadow of its former self.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Thanks to Windows 8 Acer Debuts Ugliest Touch PC Ever

I think the Acer Aspire R7 might be the high watermark for stupid looking touch screen PCs.

It looks like a very ugly Star Trek ship and looks like it will break in a minute. I can see that portion with Acer written on it right below the saucer section being a nightmare to keep from snapping off. Also why is the trackpad above the keyboard? I guess that is so the screen doesn't cover the keys when you type or something. Using that trackpad would be torture if you had to do it day after day.

This is all to somehow shoehorn touch into your computing experience. What takes the cake though is you are supposed to pay $1000 for the right to own this eyesore. Just pay $400 for the Nexus 10 or just wait until there is a Windows 8 tablet (if you really have to have Windows 8) and buy a keyboard and mouse dock for like $100. These half-tablet, half-laptop, all-stupid PCs are such a waste of money.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

JCPenny Says They are Sorrrwwy

It seems that JCPenny is going on a mea culpa tour and asking customers with hat-in-hand to come back to buy stuff from them again.

It only took a year and about $6 billion of lost sales to get here, but JCPenney (JCP) says it's learned its lesson. In a humbling new multi-media ad campaign, the Texas-based department store chain is openly admitting that it messed up when it revamped its stores, styles and sales promotions under the brief leadership of former CEO Ron Johnson.

As my co-host Jeff Macke and I discuss in the attached video, the mea culpa is remarkable on many fronts but it remains to be seen if the strategy works. It's a strategy that is more in line with its historic roots and formerly loyal customers rather than the younger, hipper shoppers it was aiming to attract, which is evident from the vintage storefront photos shown in the opening frames of the 30-second spot.

I think it just might work from what I can gather. America loves it when a company or celebrity admits they were wrong and try to make amends. A redemption story is very important in America for the most part. JCPenny took their customers for granted and tried to make the company into an Apple Store. That seemed like a good idea on the surface but deep down the people that shopped at JCPenny probably aren't the ones waiting in line to buy an IPad 4 on release date.

I would go long JCPenny if they weren't so damned mired in debt. They have billions in debt on their books and they need a turn things around and fast or they will be looking at closing stores to make up the difference. If they lose $500 million in a quarter again they will be circling the drain. I still think the company is a good value play because the guy that lost $6 billion (gasp!) in sales is now looking for work and an industry Vet is at the helm. You are pretty much putting your faith in the new CEO to turn things around or not.

Facebook's Says 99% of People that See an Ad will Buy Something in a Store. Duh!

This is yet another weird metric that they use to show how well their ads work on their site.

How is Facebook going to pick up the pace? A hint at the answer was buried in the conference call after results were released. Speaking on the call, CFO Sheryl Sandberg dismissed the traditional idea of using clicks to measure the efficacy of online ads. Instead, FB suggests that the mere existence of the ad on FB leads to sales. Citing a DataLogix study, Sandberg noted that "99% of people who saw Facebook ads and then bought a product in a store never clicked on an ad at all."

Sandberg has done two things there. First she's dismissing the industry standard for measuring the success or failure of an online advertisement. In other words, because you don't click an ad doesn't mean it didn't work. As an alternative to measuring clicks, FB is following users' off-line purchases.
This suggests Facebook is working to cross-reference the influence of ads not only on users' online purchases, but on their in-store purchases, as well.

If you parse what she said 99% of people that saw a Facebook ad and bought a product in a store shows that their ad was effective. There are quite a few other factors that go into buying a product and just seeing the ad doesn't make 99% of people rush out and buy it. Also she says "bought a product in a store" and not "brought the advertised product in a store." I wonder if this was a slip of the tongue or this had some other meaning. I mean 99% of people on Facebook see an ad and will eventually buy something (not necessarily the advertised product) in a store. That is a given.

Also how exactly are they following your off-line purchases? I guess you can say that you bought the item like Amazon has that "Do you own it" button. Any other way they figure out what you bought offline seems creepy and borderline illegal. This is yet another reason why I'm glad I deleted my Facebook. I have to agree with this sentiment though:

When companies have to start inventing new metrics or methods for keeping score, it's generally a bad sign. MAU, sharing, reach. These aren't financial metrics, yet they're things FB is pointing towards as evidence of the company's growth and progress.

History hasn't been kind to companies reduced to inventing their own way of keeping score.
If you don't do well or merely average on established metrics you make up something in order to show you are growing at that made up thing. I had to actually look at what MAU was when I was reading their earnings report. It stands for monthly active users. I'm not sure what active means but it seems to be growing as far as I can tell. I wonder if I generated a MAU impression when I went back to check that my account was deleted or not?

Tunguska Rocks Found; It Might Be a Comet Afterall

Well it seems someone came forward to offer some of the fragments from the Tunguska explosion of 1908.

Zlobin revisited this collection in 2008 and singled out three particularly interesting rocks, nicknaming them "dental crown," "whale" and "boat" because of their features. The biggest one, "whale," weighs a mere 0.02 pounds (10.4 grams) and measures just over an inch diagonally (29 millimeters).

Zlobin says the stones have telltale signs of melting and what appear to be regmaglypts, shallow surface indentations that are sometimes created when a space rock makes a fiery entry into Earth's atmosphere.

He was supposed to have collected these specimens in 1988. That is quite a bit of a layoff between finding these rocks and putting them up for further study. Here is a picture of the rocks that the researcher said came from a comet and not a normal meteor. The one in the lower left looks like chewed bubblegum.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Interesting Tidbit from the Facebook Earnings Call. User Under 25 Leaving Facebook?

Well it seems that Facebook is moving to mobile as fast as they can. I found this answer to a question regarding under 25 year olds leaving Facebook kind of interesting.

Is there an urban legend that under 25 users are slowing down on Facebook: Ebersman: We have high penetration rates in the U.S. and globally. Younger users remain among the most active users we have. Younger users are also extremely active users of Instagram. The urban legend we think is more often than not from surveys. We take this feedback seriously but the assumption is of a zero sum game. We don’t think so.

The question was about under 25 year olds leaving Facebook and the answer was they are the most active users. I assume that they are active but he didn't address how many of them seem to be jumping ship. What is bad is that these people might actually leave for good. A Facebook vacation turns into a permanent one.

A question I want to see answered is that once more people find out how Instagram owns your pictures through Facebook will they self-delete or not. The whole crux of the Facebook's business plan is that they deliver tons of eyeballs to advertisers. If those eyeballs look to Path or Snapchat or something else the advertisers will chase them there instead.

Ugh Someone is Trying to Get Sarah Palin to Run for Senate

Well, I hope they fail and do not take a bunch of GOP money with them.

In an email to supporters, Todd Cefaratti of the Tea Party Leadership Fund says the plain-spoken conservative icon is a proven fighter with a "clear path" to victory. "We know that, with Sarah in the Senate, conservatives across America can rest a little easier at night knowing that she’s at the watch," Cefaratti says.

The GOP cannot afford to have these sorts of people be their standard bearers anymore. Palin is politically damaged goods. After she left the Governorship of Alaska with two years to go for whatever reason that should pretty much end her career. She looked like she was cashing in a big check from Fox News and didn't just stick it out until the rest of her term. Then on Fox News she looked like a clueless newbie and pretty much talked a bunch of nonsense when she was on. The less people see of Palin the faster the GOP can re-brand themselves.  

Mountain Dew Gets Racist and makes Light of Battered Women all in the Same Ad!

I think this might be the low point in recent advertising history. The ad starts with a lineup of all black men dressed in thug garb with a goat wearing a suit and a bow-tie.

The one-minute ad (the link is gone in most places but you can still see it by clicking here) shows a badly beaten blonde Caucasian woman approaching the line-up on crutches. A white male warden says, "We got 'em all lined up, nail the little sucker." The goat, in a raspy male voice bullies her with phrases, "keep your mouth shut, I'm going to do ya when I get out," "ya better not snitch on a playa'," and "snitches, get stitches, fool." The woman becomes hysterical and runs from the room. As the ad ends, you can hear her screaming off-screen.

Wow, "I'm going to get ya when I get out?" That is some low stuff and shows that Mountain Dew is just scraping the bottom of the barrel to sell their product. You would think that these ad-men would vet this stuff before releasing it. Maybe sit down a focus group and say "is a police lineup featuring only black thug types and a goat menacing a battered woman a good way to sell our high-caffine soda?" Or did they ask "what about Mountain Dew makes you think of battered women and racist stereotypes?" Someone needs to be fired over this mess.