Monday, September 30, 2013

Iran Flip-Flops on Holocaust Denial says "Genocide? Yeah Pretty Much"

It seems that the denial was "lost in translation."

Iran’s foreign minister insisted on Sunday that his country does not deny the historical reality of the Holocaust, which he called “a heinous crime,” and “a genocide,” which “must never be allowed to be repeated.”

Near the end of an interview with ABC News that was otherwise concerned with negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and the prospect of improved relations with the United States, Iran’s chief diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was challenged on his claim during a Twitter conversation about the Holocaust last month that “Iran never denied it.” He argued that a statement calling the Holocaust a “myth” still posted on the English-language Web site of Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was poorly translated from Persian.

Well it seems that rational people are at the top posts in Iran. Hmm, we might get a more peaceful world out of all this after all.

Government to Shut Down Tomorrow: Pandas to be Affected!

Wont you think of the pandas you Rethuglicans!

About 800,000 federal workers, many already reeling from the effect of automatic budget cuts, would be ordered to report to work Tuesday for about four hours — but only to carry out shutdown-related chores such as changing office voicemail messages and completing time cards. Once they departed, they would be under orders not to do any government work.

With less financial impact but important to many viewers, a camera that feeds images of a new-born panda at the National Zoo would be shut down.

That newborn panda will not have eyes-on at all times! I check that panda-feed at least 10 times a day to make sure the panda is getting along okay. That is a travesty and the GOP is at fault. It is also funny that it takes a federal worker 4 hours to change office voice-mail and complete a time card (why they can't do this today before they go home I have no idea.) My tax money is paying for the very best.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Axis of Evil Member and Great Satan Phone One Another

It seems that Obama will soon be Facebook Friends with Rouhani and the Iranians.

The surprise diplomatic overture came after Obama and Rouhani had traded letters following Rouhani's  election earlier this year. The White House had proposed an informal meeting between the two leaders this week in New York around the United Nations General Assembly, which both men attended. But officials said the Iranians had concluded that the timing was wrong.

Lawmakers of both parties have warned Obama against too quickly embracing Rouhani and easing up on crippling economic sanctions tied to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

In the White House briefing room, Obama noted "important obstacles to moving forward" and cited "deep mistrust" between the United States and Iran.

My money is on sanctions raised in less than a year and Iran taking their bomb program secret. They are well enough along that the rest of the program can slow down and can be done in the cover of darkness in some underground bunker.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

iOS 7 Making People Sick: Literally if you have Problems with Vertigo

It seems that the swooping icons are making some people nauseous.

“Apple’s new operating system is making me nauseous and giving me a headache - just like when you try to read in the car,” says one user.

Others complain of “vertigo” when apps “zoom” in and out - and say that using iOS 7 devices has left them feeling ill for days.

Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system has been downloaded 200 million times - and some users are complaining that the animations make them seasick - or worse.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Heritage Foundation Morphs from Intellectual Think Tank to Purity Attack Group

I have to agree with this passage when it comes to conservative thought or the lack thereof.

Today, prominent Republicans publicly worry they're becoming the "stupid party." In its prime, Heritage rose to rival the power and capacity of the liberal academic establishment, giving conservatives a reputation as serious thinkers. “There was a time when leftist intellectuals dismissed conservatives as the party without intellect. Heritage undid that,” Edwards said. “The Republican Party for a while had the high ground. Everyone said that’s where the ideas are, that’s where the intellectual ferment is. When your intellectual ferment is nothing more than a political platform, that [reputation] is undercut. That hurts the conservative movement in general.”

There needs to be a rival to the liberal academic establishment. The liberals own most of the faculties of the most prestigious universities in the country so there needs to be a counter balance. When the GOP "get rid of Planned Parenthood" they need to say "replace it with such-and-such" and here is the evidence backing up our position. In other words say how you can make something better and not just cut something and move on.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Price of Chocolate Surging: Cocoa Beans at All-Time High

This seems to be a supply and demand problem at its worst.

With an international cocoa bean shortage, chocolate prices are on target to hit an all-time high of $12.25 per kilogram – a 45% increase since 2007.

This is the first time in three years that the world's cocoa bean supply is expected to fall short of demand. Experts blame the situation on unusually dry weather in West Africa, where the majority of the beans are produced.

The problem is that people are eating more dark chocolate than ever before. Making that awful stuff takes more beans than it does to make that tasty milk chocolate. In any case the cocoa market is fairly small at only $5.4 billion and if speculators get in on it in a big way we might see even more appreciation going forward. Luckily I like sour candy more than chocolate so it is a wash to me.

Apple Might Have Goosed the Record Numbers of Sales on its new IPhone Analysts Claim

Well good news is they sold out all of the 5S inventory in a few days which sounds pretty good. However that 9.5 million iPhones sold might contain quite a few 5Cs shipped to retailers and not necessarily sold.

At least two analysts have estimated that part of the big beat came from units of the iPhone 5C that have been shipped to other retailers – but not necessarily sold through to customers. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray wrote on Monday that he believes about 3.5 million units of the iPhone 5C represent a “sell-in” to other retailers. Apple recognizes a sale when a customer buys a product through its own store and Web site, as well as when it ships a product to a retail partner. Munster noted that all versions of the iPhone 5C remain available on Apple’s Web site to ship within 24 hours of order.

“We believe this implies that the company has near-full channel inventory of the 5C,” he wrote. “Based on the 11 million total iPhones available in channel inventory as of the June quarter, we believe this implies that 5C could be 3-4 million units.”

It is not like they didn't sell a single one of those 5Cs that were "sold-in" to their retail partners though. However the 5C seems widely available and seems like it is just a 4S with a colorful plastic shell. It would be a good idea to figure out how many of those 3-4 million units of 5Cs are actually in the hands of the public if you are making an investing decision on Apple.

Disney Rethinks "Tentpole" Movies Wants to Stick to Marvel, Pixar, and Lower Budget Movies

Well I guess losing $190 million on one movie does that to you.

“I think we’ve also learned that there needs to be a cap on tentpole nonfranchise movies,” Jay Rasulo, Disney’s chief financial officer, said earlier this month at an investors’ conference. 

“We need to cap those at a level that allows us to experience good economics and doesn't quite put as much at risk." Rasulo laid out the studio’s annual film strategy: two movies from Marvel, a Star Wars film, one from Disney Animation, one or two from Pixar, up to three “live-action tentpole movies,” and a few others described as nontentpole live-action films.

That sounds like a good idea. Spend the big money on the franchises they shelled out billions for and make wait for the money to roll in. No more trying to resurrect things from the 1930s like John Carter of Mars and just stick to selling what people enjoy paying for. I hop the nontentpole live-action movies include a healthy dose of scary movies. That means less movies in general but I would take quality over quantity any day.

Feed Gore the Rock! I Agree with This Assessment of the 49ers Offensive play

I have to agree with this article on how the 49ers can get rid of their malaise and start winning again.

Kaepernick is a gifted quarterback, but given the inexperience at receiver, there's been too much emphasis placed in the passing game. Opponents have defended Kaepernick better, and his wideouts have struggled to get open. Those three-and-out drives then affect the 49ers defense, leading them to see the field too often. 

Sticking with Gore would help bring balance to the entire ball club. Controlling the clock with their physical brand of football would take some pressure off of Kaepernick while giving their defense some time to breathe on the sideline. 

I think that is what happened against the Colts and Seadorks. Kaep tried to pass as best as he could but his receivers were just not open against a tough secondary. They should have pounded the rock and went to the screen pass and the quick slant. Just move the ball down the field in a long, bruising, mauling sort of way and give the defense time to get some Gatoraide. I hope they dump some of the fancy Read Option plays and stick to a more physical game instead against the Rams on Thursday.

Entire Article on Terrorist Attack on Kenyan Mall Omits the Word Terrorist

It is just shocking how the news media uses language when it comes to their reports.

A 33-year-old pregnant staffer for the Clinton Global Initiative and her boyfriend were among those killed in the Kenya mall shooting, former President Bill Clinton said.

Elif Yavuz, a senior vaccines researcher based in Tanzania, had been expecting a baby with Ross Langdon, an award-winning architect, who was also killed in the rampage.

So the terrorist attack is called a "mall shooting" and a "rampage" and not what it actually is. It sounds like a mass shooting in the US and I think that was the authors intent. Later in the article you have this passage:

As many as 62 people are feared dead in the siege that began on Saturday, when gunmen stormed the multilevel Westgate shopping center in Nairobi.

Okay now we have "siege" and "gunmen" pop up. That sounds a little better than "mall shooting" but if you read this article you do not get a sense that it was an Al-Quida linked group attacking that Mall.

I wonder if writer Dylan Stableford is carrying some of Obama's water. I was told Al-Quida was almost defeated from repeated drone strikes. I guess the Kenyan people and these two poor Americans mentioned in this article beg to differ.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Um Republicans, Almost No-One Supports Shutting Down the Government to Defund Obamacare

It is so hard to support these idiots when they have ideas like this.

The CNBC poll reported that by a 59-19 percent margin, respondents opposed linking defunding of "Obamacare" to a possible shutdown starting on October 1, or to a failure to raise the government's borrowing authority, meaning Washington may not be able to pay all of its bills by sometime in October or early November.

Eighteen percent were undecided, according to nationwide poll of 800 people conducted by Hart-McInturff. It had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Yup 60 against, 20 for, 20 don't know in a poll run by CNBC which you would figure would have more GOP supporting members (Wall Street types/plutocrats) than most polls. In other words even core members of the GOP are against shutting down the government only to see Obama veto anything that threatens his signature accomplishment. The GOP just loves to take unpopular decisions for little or no gain.

Headline from the Future: Microsoft Writes Down Millions of Unsold Surface 2s. It is Still Too Pricey!

Microsoft just does not know how to compete effectively in the hardware arena.

Microsoft's more "productive" tablet device, the Surface Pro 2, will launch with the full version of Windows 8.1 Pro, featuring compatibility with all Windows desktop software. On the hardware side, Surface Pro 2 is packing Intel's new Haswell i5 processor and now comes in storage and RAM configurations larger than the original Pro offered, either 4 or 8GB of RAM and 64, 128, 256 or 512GB of storage. The battery life on the Surface Pro 2, Microsoft has said, has been optimized for 60% longer life compared to the Surface Pro, which tested at about 4 hours of use. The price for the Surface Pro 2 will start at $899 (64GB, 4GB RAM), $100 more than its predecessor.

$899 is pretty much how expensive most full featured laptops with small screens would be. The Macbook Air is about $100 more expensive while most Dell laptops with 15 inch screens cost about $400 or so. In fact you can buy two Nexus 10s for the price of one Surface Pro 2. Actually you could buy the top of the line IPad and the best docking station you could buy and still have money leftover to buy a Kindle Fire or a Nexus 7 to read books with or whatever. An IPad or Nexus 10 has lesser specs but you still get a chance to be as productive as you can be with a Surface Pro 2. It just seems that Microsoft wants you to pay +$100 for 60% better battery life.

You also get a chance to buy a gimped version as well:

The Surface 2, meanwhile -- the sequel to Microsoft's Surface RT, which is meant to compete with Apple's iPad -- is being given an even more noticeable specs bump and a new silver colored casing. The NVIDIA quad-core processor is now a speedier Tegra 4; the display has been upped to 10.6" Full HD (1080p); and the company is claiming 10 hours of battery life for the device, about 25% longer than the Surface RT. The Surface 2 will have a starting price of $449 (32GB version).

Hmm, I think I would rather buy a Nexus 10 for slightly cheaper ($419 on Amazon) and have all of my Android apps from my phone available on my tablet. No need to re-download a bunch of Surface RT apps that won't work anywhere else other than on the device. Plus no ugly-assed Fisher-Price OS AKA the Metro display to look at as well. I'm sure 10s of people are lining up to buy them.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pope Francis (aka the Greatest Pope Ever) Says Chruch Can't Be Obsessed with the Gays

Yeah pretty much. If the church can talk more about mercy and God's love and less about abortion and gays then it will do better in the world.

The interview of some 12,000 words took place over three sessions in August in his simple quarters in the Vatican and was released on Thursday simultaneously in translations by Jesuit journals around the world.

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that," he said.

"But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the Church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the Church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time," he said.

I think we should just pre-Beatify this guy already. Maybe they should make sure that a Jesuit is made Pope from here on in because this guy is a bad-ass.

America Really Wastes 40% of Our Food?

This probably doesn't make starving people in a slum in Mumbai or East Africa hate America any less.

In 2012, an NRDC study found as much as 40 percent of the country’s food supply goes uneaten. The cost of that wasted food? Roughly $165 billion, including $900 million in "expired" food. A family of four, the study found, spends an average of $455 a year on food it doesn't eat.

Wow, 40% of our food supply ends up in the garbage? I can believe it when you go to Foodland or somewhere and see like 8 boxes of apple turnovers or something just sitting there. I'm pretty sure that maybe only one or two of those boxes get eaten. I guess the rest of them are dumped or fed to pigs or something.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

If the GOP Shuts Down the Government to "Defund" Obamacare I'm Done

I think the GOP has just lost their mind and it might actually affect my portfolio.

In a bow to conservatives, House Republican leaders facing a Sept. 30 deadline to avoid a government shutdown will hold a vote Friday on a three-month funding bill that would permanently drain funds from the Affordable Care Act. The move -- a gamble that the establishment wing of the GOP decried not so long ago -- nonetheless has unified the conference, according to Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy.

Of course this legislation has no way of passing the Senate and Obama would veto it even if it gets to his desk. It is just such a stupid gamble I don't know what to say. It will roil markets that can only go up because the FED isn't going to taper. (I just *hate* the word taper now) If GOP stupidity makes my stocks go down I will never forgive them.
I don't understand why they are going to play chicken with the markets over something that seems so purely symbolic. The US cannot afford to have its debt rating dinged again for pretty much no reason. If the GOP presented something that "fixed" Obamacare then I would be all for it. Maybe something with tort reform attached, a ban on penalties for not buying insurance imposed by the scandal-plagued IRS, or something similar should be what they gamble on.

If this gamble were tied to tax reform that slashed all capital gains and dividend taxes on people making less than $150K I would support it as well. The take away is they need to gamble on something that will actually help the middle class instead of taking what seems like the 100t toothless vote on Obamacare for a purely symbolic meaning.

Tablets to Pass PC Sales for the First Time Ever

This is something to site whenever someone talks about how fast tech moves.

The ascent of the tablet only continues. According to research firm IDC, Q4 of this year will mark the first time tablets outsell PCs. For the whole year, PCs will still rule, according to IDC, but by 2015 tablets will begin outselling PCs, and that's not likely to change in 2016 and beyond. Assuming the tablet trend pans out as IDC believes it will, there are two questions device manufacturers need to answer: How are tablet and smartphone owners using all those mobile devices, and do they have a product that fits their needs?

It seems the home computer has been replaced with a tablet for everyone. The study says that almost all of the tablet time is devoted to watching TV, playing games, reading books and other types of entertainment.

Iranian President Rouhani Takes Step Back from Nuclear Arms

Hmm if Iran actually backs away from nuclear weapons then you can go ahead and give this guy the Nobel Peace Prize.

In an interview with NBC News days before he travels to New York for a U.N. appearance, the new Iranian president also insisted that he has "complete authority" to negotiate a nuclear deal with the United States and other Western powers.

"We have time and again said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever," Rouhani said when asked whether he would forswear nuclear arms.

If they move away from the Bomb I can see the US lifting sanctions and Iran moving into the economic pole position. All they need is oil majors (I'm sure China would knock people down to be first in line) to build state-of-the-art refineries and the Mullahs can retire as billionaires and buy soccer teams and such. Also if Obama can get a verifiability nuclear weapon free Iran he can add quite a feather to his cap regarding his legacy.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wardrobing a Billion Dollar Problem?

Since I don't usually buy expensive clothes I had no idea how big a problem this is.

Bloomingdale’s, owned by Macy’s Inc. (M), is using the tactic to combat a practice known as “wardrobing” -- buying clothes and using them once -- a form of return fraud, which the National Retail Federation estimates cost the industry $8.8 billion last year. Curtailing such practices is complicated because while stores want to protect themselves, they risk demonstrating a mistrust of customers who are paying thousands of dollars for garments. It’s a gamble some chains, including Nordstrom Inc. (JWN), aren’t taking.

Too bad there isn't a more high tech way of combating this problem. Maybe a special RFID tag that senses if someone puts on the garment outside of the store. Something to do with biometrics would be interesting. Like something that senses a heartbeat or sweat when it is placed on the body.

Thanks to NSA Snoopers Brazil Moves to Break Out of US-Centric Internet

I guess more countries will now follow the China model of the Internet.

Brazil plans to divorce itself from the U.S.-centric Internet over Washington's widespread online spying, a move that many experts fear will be a potentially dangerous first step toward fracturing a global network built with minimal interference by governments. 

President Dilma Rousseff ordered a series of measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security following revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company's network and spied on Brazilians who entrusted their personal data to U.S. tech companies such as Facebook and Google.

What she doesn't know though is that the NSA will probably work with the CIA to set something up in Brazil to continue to spy on them. Even if they wall off the US Internet is still doesn't protect them from snooping.

Friday, September 13, 2013

NBC Spruces up Today Show: Slimy Matt Lauer Still Remains

I guess I'll still watch Good Morning America for the time being.

“This is a content-led strategy,” Ms. Turness said. “And we have the right team and the best team to deliver that strategy.” 

Her comments may tamp down continued speculation in the TV industry about the futures of Matt Lauer, whose reputation was spoiled when Ms. Curry tearfully signed off in June 2012, and Savannah Guthrie, the woman who was pressed into service as Ms. Curry’s replacement. 

The female-centric “Today,” which was already slipping, lost about a quarter of its audience and became stuck in second place after Ms. Curry left; last week, “G.M.A.” had about 5.3 million viewers each day, about 750,000 more than “Today.” Among viewers ages 25 to 54, the ones coveted by advertisers, “G.M.A.” led by 118,000. 

The article fails to tell you that Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer are an item despite Lauer being married. In any case all the new sets in the world won't erase the stain that Lauer brings to the show.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Buttfumbler Done at the Jets

Well it seems that the Buttfumbler Mark Sanchez time with the Jets is done.

Sanchez will likely have surgery for a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, ESPN reported. That's the most likely option after Dr. James Andrews confirmed the injury, the report said. That would end his season, and he's very unlikely to be back with the Jets next year. He could also choose to avoid surgery and rehab the injury instead, ESPN said, but could still land on injured reserve even if he picks that option.

He was an awful QB that I had on my avoid list for three years in my fantasy football draft. I think Geno Smith might be a bust in the making but he is head and shoulders better then Sanchez. Here is the Buttfumble in all its glory.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

3 SEC Schools Could be in Trouble for Players Recieving Bribes from Agents

It seems that nearly every top level program is crooked in some way or another.

Five Southeastern Conference football stars violated NCAA rules by receiving extra benefits prior to completing their collegiate careers, a Yahoo Sports investigation has found. The benefits – which in some cases came from multiple individuals – were conveyed to University of Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, University of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch, Mississippi State University defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Mississippi State wideout Chad Bumphis

It's kind of sad that Yahoo Sports has to do these kind of investigations and not ESPN or NBC or someone. I guess shelling out billions to the SEC crates a conflict of interest when it comes to pointing out violations. One interesting question would be if found guilty would Alabama have to forfeit 2 BCS National Titles since they won them with DJ Fluker on their roster.

NSA Admits that they Spied on Americans: Sites Stupidity and Ineptitude

Is this supposed to make people feel better?

U.S. officials for nearly three years accessed data on thousands of domestic phone numbers they shouldn't have and then misrepresented their actions to a secret spy court to reauthorize the government's surveillance program, documents released Tuesday show. 

Okay they admit guilt and they lied to get the court to reauthorize the program. Name the people that should be fired and fire them.

Officials said that the complexity of the computer system — and a misunderstanding of the laws, court orders and internal policies controlling analysts' actions — contributed to the abuses. There's no evidence that the NSA intentionally used its surveillance powers to spy on Americans for political purposes, a fear of many critics who recall the FBI's intrusive surveillance of civil rights leaders and protesters in the 1960s. 

The computer system is "so complex" that they misused it 1000s of times? That is a Soviet level obfuscation if I ever saw one. I wonder if any of these phone numbers belonged to Kate Upton or some other hot celebrity. I'm sure some NSA analyst would have loved to snoop her phone calls and text messages.

Walton noted, for instance, that just 1,935 phone numbers out of 17,835 on a list investigators were working with in early 2009 met the legal standard.  

So that was 15,900 illegal phone queries? How are the heads of this organization still in place?

SNL Goes out on the Limb and Hires the same White Person with 5 Different Haircuts

I know people talk about diversity in hiring on TV but this new SNL cast makes me think that they have a point. They look like the same person with 5 different hairstyles:

Okay the first two white dudes could be brothers and actually might be the same person. The 4th white dude has a larger than average nose like the 3rd white dude. Maybe it is just the first white dude with nose putty? And the last one is a woman but could actually be the twin sister of the big nose dude or maybe just the big nose dude in drag? In any case Lorne Michaels there are other races on this planet.

Monday, September 09, 2013

I Guess Sex Doesn't Always Sell: Cyrus Bumped from Vogue Cover after Grotesque VMA Spectacle

Well, I guess dancing like an insane person with your tongue sticking out doesn't always make you more popular.

According to The Daily Mail, noted fashion fan Cyrus was lensed for the upcoming December issue of Vogue, but after Wintour caught wind of her controversial performance at the MTV VMAs with Robin Thicke, she killed the story. In case you need a refresher, Cyrus took the stage at the August 25 event in New York to duet on Thicke's smash single "Blurred Lines." Sadly, their vocals were overshadowed by Cyrus grinding on the 36-year-old married father's genital area. 

I think Cyrus' weird cow tongue should have been enough to get her bumped off the cover. She just reminded me of the Licker from Resident Evil.

Putin Becomes World Badass According to Conservatives

I guess conservatives just like a strongman instead of wimpy, aimless, Obama.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earned a new distinction last month, when conservative U.S. blogger Matt Drudge branded him the "leader of the free world. "

Drudge's support of Putin may seem odd (just last year he was angry with Obama for calling Putin after the Russian was re-elected president), but Drudge doesn't seem to be alone in his newfound high opinion of the Russian leader. When Business Insider posted a photograph of Obama's G20 "death glare" to Putin on Facebook, the comments were overwhelmingly pro-Putin.

"The back of Putin's head is more intimidating than Obama's 'death stare,'" one user wrote. Other less visceral, yet still positive, opinions about Putin can be found at places like Foreign Affairs journal and The New York Times' op-ed page.

The back of Putin's head is more intimidating than Obama's whole body. Putin is such a Bond villain that I can see him offing Obama with a well timed throat punch while his KGB goons backstab the surprised Secret Service agents. Then he says "Now I am Ruler of Free World" and glare into the camera. 

Russia Floats Syrian Peace Plan: Wants the Nerve Gas Locked up

This seems like a fairly reasonable plan if you can trust Syria and Russia to follow through on it.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his Syrian counterpart and urged Damascus to "place chemical weapons under international control and then have them destroyed."

Tony Blinken, deputy US national security advisor, said Washington would consult Russia over the plan but expressed doubt about the trustworthiness of the Syrian leadership.

"We would welcome a decision and action by Syria to give up its chemical weapons," he said, but added that Syria's "track record to date, doesn't give you a lot of confidence."

If I were playing Russia in the "Great Game" I would then arm the crap out of the Syrian regime and have them crush the rebels with conventional weapons. Maybe have some Hezbollah pretending to be rebels "attack" the Russian naval base at Tartus so that you can mount a more robust response. Just a car bomb or two at the front gate of the base would do.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Break up Microsoft to Unlock Value? Great Idea!

I have to say that Cramer makes all kinds of sense with this idea.

Microsoft has to do "something wild," Cramer explained, like spinning off the Xbox business that is "buried within" the company, or turning Nokia back into a pure cellphone company and using the proceeds to buy a company like Sprint. "You could go buy Netflix with Xbox," he said, and run the Windows business like a utility company with reliable cash flows.

Cramer listed the big components as the Windows operating system business, an entertainment business-including Xbox-and the "other" business with the Nokia cellphone division as a cornerstone. 

First you get a CEO that knows how to integrate businesses and not just blow money on something you have to write down 3 years later. AKA the Ballmer special. You can no longer waste money on some crap and bring products to market 3 years after your competitors. It didn't hurt for years because Windows and Office propped up all the losers. That won't fly now that people have less use for PCs going forward.

The first piece would be Nokia and Sprint aka the Windows phone segment and call it Microsoft Telcom. You would have a company that pushes the Windows phone and can tightly integrate it with the Sprint Network. You could also sell your competitors phones as well because they want to keep them on the Sprint Network as much as possible.

Then you put XBox and Netflix together and call that Microsoft Entertainment. I guess Bing would go here. You can build out this segment by adding a company like Lions Gate Films to create more content for Netflix. The idea of a dedicated subsidiary pumping out movies, TV shows, and other content for Netflix is a no-brainer. This would be the high margin company that will be fighting the cable companies for a share of the living rooms.

Finally you have slow-growth regular Microsoft which will be just milking the Windows and Office cash cows until they are dead. This company will pay a hefty dividend and roll out software year after year. You can put the cloud business, virtual server, and the Software as a Service businesses here.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

German Spy Agency (no not the Abwehr) Says Assad Behind Gas Attack

Well it looks like Assad actually used the gas attack because he was desperate.

Participants at a confidential meeting of German lawmakers on Monday said the head of the BND foreign intelligence agency told them it had intercepted a phone call believed to be between a high-ranking member of the Lebanese Shi'ite militant group and the Iranian Embassy in Damascus.

"The BND referred to a phone call they had heard between a Hezbollah official and the Iranian embassy in which he spoke about Assad having ordered the attack," one of the participants told Reuters.

In the phone call, the Hezbollah official says Assad's order for the attack was a mistake and that he was losing his nerve, the participants reported the BND briefing as saying. Both Iran and Hezbollah support Assad.

I agree with the Hezbollah official when he said that the attack was a mistake. However, seeing all the dithering on Capital Hill about striking Syria Assad might be getting away with a war crime for the time being. 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Possible Heisman Trophy Contender Jameis Winston Didn't Get a Callback from Mack Brown and the Longhorns?

I wonder how this guy still keeps his job after hearing this.

Winston, Florida State’s redshirt freshman phenom, told ESPN’s Max Olsen in a 2012 interview that he wanted desperately to go to Texas, but couldn’t get the Longhorns to acknowledge he even existed.

CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman confirmed with Winston’s high school coach that the quarterback had called Texas “four or five” times and never received a call back.

Remember, this is the same Mack Brown that wanted the last two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks – Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel – to play defensive back for the Longhorns.

Winston could potentially be a third Heisman Trophy winning QB to get the snub by Brown and his staff. And they wonder why they’ve been “rebuilding” for the past few years.

Wait Mack Brown wanted RG3 and Johnny Football to play defensive back? Who does Texas have under center this year? Some dude name David Ash who threw 2 picks against New Mexico State. This Winston kid is a phenom that wanted to go to Texas and would have ignored all other schools. I guess Brown has some blackmail information on the Texas Board of Regents or something.

Republicans Rattle Sabre on Syria: "No" vote Would be Catastrophic

Even though I agree that no nation should be able to gas their people without consequences McCain needs to dial down the hyperbole.

McCain emerged from the meeting with a stern warning for fellow Republicans who may be considering voting against military action purely to damage the Democratic president.

"A vote against that resolution by Congress I think would be catastrophic," said McCain.

"It would undermine the credibility of the United States of America and the president of the United States. None of us want that."

It would be catastrophic for Republicans that voted against the use of force solely to score political points against Obama. That would especially be true if they voted to okay the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.