Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Insider Trading Right Out in the Open


When it comes to our current political and economic climate, the insider trading is pretty easy to spot:

Eastman Kodak Company KODK 377.9% shares skyrocketed 222% on Tuesday after the company announced it's pivoting to drug ingredient development and announced a large government loan.
Benzinga's PreMarket Prep co-host Dennis Dick said on Tuesday morning’s show that he noticed some suspicious trading activity in both the Kodak stock and options market on Monday ahead of the news.
“All I want to know is who got the memo yesterday? Look at the pop on this thing yesterday ahead of the news. That’s a big candle. That’s the biggest up move it’s had in two months,” Dick said.
I guess someone has to clean up. There are no honest ways of making a living anymore.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Incompetent Any Way You Slice It


This is the header of an Email that I just received from the Small Business Administration. I checked--it's not a phishing scam, nor is it something that also promises me several million dollars in funds from a dead prince who used to live in Nigeria.

I am not a small business owner. I've never registered as one, nor have I ever even tried to be a small business owner. This Email going to me is proof that the government has no idea what it's doing right now. It is sending out information to people who don't need it, promising money they are not entitled to, at a time when people who actually do need help aren't receiving anything other than silence and dropped connections.

If you are a small business owner, I hope you received this Email. I doubt that we even have a government right now that can process your request for a forgivable loan. I hope they get their act together and help you.

When this landed in my In-Box, I just couldn't believe it. This is the gang that couldn't shoot straight, and they have no fucking clue how to help anyone right now. What a shame.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Go After the Health Care Profiteers


Harry Truman was a distinguished and accomplished public servant, and he made a name for himself going after war profiteers. Who will be the public servant who will expose the health care profiteers?


I am not going to give into cynicism here. We desperately need to take care of people, and then we need to go after each and every individual who jacked up prices and created these shortages. I don't know if that has to be Senator Elizabeth Warren or Rep. Adam Schiff, but that would be a hell of a thing. They could join forces on a joint effort to not only figure out what Trump and his goon squad did wrong but how to fix things and ensure it doesn't happen again.



Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Business Savvy President


Everything is crashing down around our Wall Street president, who just doesn't seem so business savvy these days:
Stocks fell sharply once again Thursday as investors worried that the coronavirus might be spreading in the U.S. A slew of corporate and analyst warnings also dragged down the major averages.

The Dow plunged more than 800 points, while the S&P 500 tumbled 2.9% and the Nasdaq sank 3.3%. Those losses put the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq in correction territory, down more than 10% from the record highs set earlier this month.

The CDC confirmed Wednesday the first U.S. coronavirus case of unknown origin in Northern California, indicating possible “community spread” of the disease. The CDC doesn’t know exactly how the patient, a California resident, contracted the virus.
“We’re extremely cautious in the short term,” said Tom Hainlin, an investment strategist at Ascent Private Capital Management. “No one really seems to be an expert on the coronavirus. We haven’t seen anything like this really in our investing lifetimes.”
Apple, Disney and Visa were among the worst-performing Dow stocks, dropping at least 3% each. AMD and Nvidia fell 4% and 4.2%, respectively. Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences climbed 1.9% after the company announced the start of two studies for a possible coronavirus treatment.
The slow collapse of the "Trump Economy" is really the result of being handed the gains of the Obama era and then taking a massive orange dump all over everything. It is beginning to accelerate, and the fake money being pumped into the economy is going to run out faster than Larry Kudlow on a coke binge.

Trump has started trade wars, imposed tariffs, fired competent people left and right, and engaged in every pro-oligarch policy imaginable. This is literally the guy who campaigned on the idea of running America like a for-profit business venture. And instead of prosperity, we get the mother of all Trump bankruptcies. 

Hope your 401K is doing well, MAGA voters.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

America Wants Nothing to Do With These Boobs




And, just so we're clear--I'm not talking about the ladies.

What you see above was the incredibly sexist marketing photo designed to get people excited about half-baked opinions and crosstalk. It accomplished nothing. Jon Stewart was right then and he's even more correct now--no one is well served by having a show this monstrous on the air.

Crossfire was a tremendous failure and a reeking pile of disastrous programming decisions. CNN decided that America needed to see Newt Gingrich on the televisions every day or whenever it aired and that was just too much for the people.

How does Gingrich continue? Easy, by showing up somewhere and holding out his hand, there will always be a ready-made bunch of suckers willing to pay him for his Friedman-esque nonsense. Hell, there are alternative history buffs who lose their mud when he's within fifty feet of a lectern and a dollar bill.

What a tragic waste of human endeavor television news is these days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Antebellum is a Code Word in American History




Gawker Media, which is a big deal and can handle such things, is being told to stop referring to Blake Lively and something called Preserve LLC as fans of slavery.

Specifically, the "antebellum" slavery of the Southern United States before the outbreak of the Civil War. This would be the War of Northern Aggression that wasn't about slavery, of course, because State's Rights are all anyone ever talks about [and I am rolling my eyes].

When you count on the privileged and the wealthy class to have an ignorance of American History a mile wide, you can make money pretending things like slavery didn't happen. You can select periods of history and just copy the clothes and the look of the people. You don't do context when you have cash. You do for yourself, and that means looking your best.

Here's the context of the term "antebellum"

In the South, cotton plantations were very profitable, at least until overplanting leached most of the nutrients from the soil. Advances in processing the fiber, from Eli Whitney’s cotton gin to the development of power looms and the sewing machine, increased demand for cotton to export from the South to England and the mills of New England. Plantation owners were able to obtain large tracts of land for little money, particularly after the Indian Removal Act was passed in 1830. These plantations depended on a large force of slave labor to cultivate and harvest the crop—most white farmers in the 19th century wanted and were able to obtain their own farms as the U.S. expanded south and west, and slaves not only provided a labor source that couldn’t resign or demand higher wages, their progeny insured that labor source would continue for generations.


The demand for slave labor and the U.S. ban on importing more slaves from Africa drove up prices for slaves, making it profitable for smaller farmers in older settled areas such as Virginia to sell their slaves further south and west. Most farmers in the South had small- to medium-sized farms with few slaves, but the large plantation owner’s wealth, often reflected in the number of slaves they owned, afforded them considerable prestige and political power. As the quality of land decreased from over-cultivation, slave owners increasingly found that the majority of their wealth existed in the form of their slaves; they began looking to new lands in Texas and further west, as well as in the Caribbean and Central America, as places where they might expand their holdings and continue their way of life.

Unfortunately, the only history people know nowadays is Hitler Kinda Bad and Flares Are Out. Expecting people to understand that the "antebellum" South created a plantation class that exploited slaves, excluded poor whites, and maintained a great deal of control over the United States by playing obstructionist games in the Congress is a bit much. Look at these hats!

The word "antebellum" is a code word for when things were "right" in the South. Using it to sell clothes is akin to using it to convince people that it is your God-given right and your solemn duty to your heritage to buy and sell other human beings.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hammering Away at Legacies




Dick Cheney's legacy took another beating at the hands of the people who have been trying to clean up the mess created by his old boss. This is why he has lashed out and called the President of the United States weak:

"Some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint but from our willingness to rush into military adventures without thinking through the consequences, without building international support and legitimacy for our action or leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required," Obama added. "Tough talk draws headlines, but war rarely conforms to slogans."


President Obama's abandonment of neoconservatism and nation-building means fewer contracts for the companies that saw huge profits under Bush-Cheney. Those people are angrily telling Cheney to say something and use what influence he has because they own the souls of neoconservatives and are demanding repayment for their loyalty. An entire way of life is about to come crashing down and the rush to diversify portfolios and invest in providing solar panels to drowned polar bear researchers has people climbing over one another, trying to get beachfront property in Ohio and bid on the contract to provide security for the next drone base in West Africa.





We finally have a President who only wants to start a handful of moderate-sized wars. We no longer have a President who wants to start larger wars that will break the military. It's a slight change, but it's a big enough change to frighten people used to wider profit margins.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Shine That Turd




Someone has to try and prove that the evening news is still relevant. Sadly, it is not.

The vast majority of the viewers for these newscasts are AARP-eligible, although that's true for news in general. Right now Williams and Sawyer are battling for first place in the ratings category that both networks covet most, the 25- to 54-year-old demographic. ABC, long accustomed to second place behind NBC at 6:30 p.m., has won for four of the past six weeks.

The AARP crowd is the Fox News demographic, and it is often cited to show that "millions" are watching Fox News. Really? Then why are they running ads for people who have little if any disposable income?




When you are desperately trying to remind people that something is still relevant, you've already lost the game. In the 1980s, over 40 million people would regularly tune in and the advertising revenue was through the roof. The nightly news anchors were stars. The ones we have now are the also-rans and the leftovers. I mean, Scott Pelley? Really? How many Americans know instinctively who Pelley is and what job he holds and would give a damn if he walked off the set and told his bosses to shove it up their asses? You want to compare Pelley to Rather and Cronkite? Go ahead.





The audience has aged and shrunk to the point where there's no point for many advertisers to even contemplate running anything during this time slot.



In television, don't talk about numbers unless you know where the people who actually have money are and what they're watching.





Good God, son. Scott Pelley is the top of the food chain at CBS News? Seriously?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pinch Steps on a Rake



There's a reason why this story matters, and it really doesn't have anything to do with the fact that this is a media story or that these are wealthy, privileged media people who are whining and carrying on in public. This story matters because of how women are treated in the workplace when they ask for equal pay.

I mean, full stop.

This story resonates with the experiences of millions of American women. Jill Abramson found out she wasn't getting paid what her male colleagues and predecessors were getting paid. This went back years. Years of this kind of behavior, which is awful. And when she asserted her rights, they fired her. In violation of every common sense workplace ethic, they pulled the trigger on getting rid of her when they should have addressed the issue and made it right and apologized.

Which is going to be cheaper in the long run?

This whole thing about trying to cover up the fact that they fired her because she brought in a lawyer to talk about her compensation package is the legal nightmare behind the scenes--that's the inside baseball stuff that stood out to legal-minded folks. That's what set people on fire. That's what really drove home the idea that this could be applied to factory workers, retail workers, IT professionals, nurses--you name it. Forget the wealth and privilege of these media personalities--it could be a story unfolding in a company anywhere in America. Women just don't get paid what they're worth. We see it time and again.

And it's wrong. It's fundamentally the wrong thing to do to people.

What stood out to me was that you could write this story in a lot of places where women aren't paid as much as men for the same work--for work that is often better. There was a collective reaction to this story because so many women have experienced exactly what Abramson experienced--that sickening feeling of not being treated right because of only one thing--their gender.

In each and every part of America's work life, that has to stop. It should have stopped long ago. We passed Lily Ledbetter--legislation that addressed these issues--and it still goes on. We see stories about wage theft, and it made me think about what would solve something like this.

Pay women the same as men or lose your business. Steal wages from your employees and you lose your business. I'm not talking about shutting it down--I mean, you lose your property.

Your property is guaranteed to be protected by the law of the land and the infrastructure You Didn't Build that helped you create and run your business. If you don't pay people what they are worth and if you steal the wages of their work, you forfeit your right to enjoy the business you are in. You collect what you put into that business (minus what you cheated someone out of or stole) and you walk away with nothing else. You lose your business. It goes into public trust or receivership and is sold so that nobody loses their job. Whoever buys that business  has to keep everyone employed and has to pay them what is owed to them.

Try that and see if that brings pay up to an equal level and see if that stops wage theft.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Demonizing Jill Abramson




Jill Abramson had the audacity to ask to be treated equally at The New York Times.

It is 2014. Women are still being paid much, much less than men for equal work in far too many jobs and careers. Abramson was at the pinnacle of the American (world?) media establishment and she was still begging to be treated as an equal.

Instead, we're treated to the usual "bitchy, bossy woman" commentary that will render this story a footnote in the days ahead. By this weekend, will we have an actual conversation about workplace equality or will we assume that the wealthy and privileged Abramson will simply have to find work somewhere else?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This is Normal in a New Gilded Age




This is the new Gilded Age. For a handful of human beings, their existence is vastly different than the rest of humanity. They live in a fantasy world of extreme wealth and a poverty of accountability. Our elites are now so completely and utterly incompetent and bloated with cash that there is no way to reverse the path we're on, not without some sort of violent cataclysm or a really, really good series of Congressional hearings.

I kid. We're doomed. Start a blog, roll in the grass, eat something fattening, pet your dog. You'll be broke in a year like all the rest of us. Enjoy forever.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

End the Bush Tax Cuts


There are going to be a lot of these stories between now and whenever they swerve the car and avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." They are designed to scare the public.

What we should be having a discussion about is this: since the Bush-era tax cuts didn't produce jobs, growth, and improve the fiscal health of the United States one bit, why should we continue to bail out millionaires while the Middle Class suffers?

The argument is already being made, and it's being won by those who want the rich to pay their fair share and let the Bush-era tax cuts expire. If the job creators had, you know, actually created jobs instead of lining their pockets, cutting wages, cutting workers, and outsourcing American jobs, we wouldn't be in this mess.

Here's what will avoid the "fiscal cliff" and save us from disaster--putting two or three million Americans back to work--meaningful jobs, good wages, and sustained employment--will fill the coffers of state and local governments and, in turn, the Federal coffers. Nothing grows an economy like jobs, and this Congress has purposefully avoided dealing with unemployment for far too long.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Romney's Medicare Lie


This is one of those cases where Mitt Romney is going to lie, and then not get away with it, and his handlers and supporters are going to have an aneurysm when they realize that they simply cannot make stuff up and get away with it.

I really, really hope that Romney's lies from the first debate are called out for what they are--distortions of reality that bear no resemblance to actually governing this country. NBC news has that piece, cited on top, on their front page and I hope it gets more coverage.

"Obamacare" actually helped Medicare, and the more people who know that, the better.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Devastating Ad That Explains Bain Capital Better Than Anything Else


When you ask people, "What is Bain Capital?" more often than not, you're going to get puzzled stares. That's because much of the defining and explaining that went on happened in the early summer.

Bain Capital was Mitt Romney's version of predatory capitalism. It bought companies, it sold companies, it rearranged them, and it tore them apart to make profits. And while Republicans claim that Bain created jobs, here's a testimonial as to what the tearing apart looked and sounded like.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Japanese Nationalism and Natural Gas


Is this really about nationalism? Is this really about a resurgence of pride and conquest amongst the Japanese population? Or is this yet another troublesome protest fueled by outside interests who are more motivated by publicity and helping to draw attention away from the fact that the natural resources of Asia are being stripped and extracted faster than ever before?

There is such a thing as Japanese nationalism; these are the same kooks you'll find everywhere else. Someone is being paid to stir up trouble, nothing more. That "trouble" is being used to disguise the fact that natural resources and the poor are being exploited.

Asia is ripe for a war over resources. This is why we are maintaining a huge military presence in Okinawa and are considering a move to return to the Philippines.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paul Rahe is a Terrified Old Man


Poor Paul Rahe. He's terrified of the future and he doesn't have any idea how to process the information that he's being given.

In the case of Nate Silver, in particular, the act of equating his work with the CIA during the Cold War, and how they missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, is laughable. Silver does not prognosticate with anything other than sheer raw data to back him up. He doesn't "wing" it and throw wild predictions around. He has been elevated to the position he's in solely because his methodology is extremely sound and is based on statistical models which produce excellent results. Silver works those models, and acknowledges his mistakes as well as his achievements with the data; he deals with things that exist in the real world, in other words, and Rahe cannot fathom anything like this.

Rahe is looking at Mitt Romney's prospects and he's using inductive, not deductive, reasoning to argue that Romney is going to win in a landslide.

Which polls does he see? Who's data is he using? Which model shows Romney winning the Electoral College by a wide margin? Everyone else is using data that is many times more sophisticated and accurate than the famous "Dewey Beats Truman" data of yesteryear. That data breaks down the states by polls that are rigorously compared with other polls; the accuracy of a pollster's previous work is also factored in. This is some serious math we're talking about.

But math doesn't tell the whole story; trends and demographics do. The information used by the people Rahe dismisses is pretty damned good. If the polls were going the other way, would Rahe disagree with them as well?

Here's what he actually thinks is going to give Romney a landslide:
Romney can go on to speak of Obamacare. He can point to the corruption that Barack Obama brought from Chicago to Washington. He need only mention Solyndra and sound the theme of crony capitalism. Romney can also point to the President’s systematic misuse of the executive power – to defraud the salaried employees of Delphi and the bondholders of General Motors and Chrysler, to gut the welfare reform passed by New Gingrich and adopted by Bill Clinton, to let school systems out of No Child Left Behind, to sick the IRS on political enemies, to force people into unions, to encourage voter fraud, to deprive Catholics and other Christians of the free exercise of their religion. The list is long.
I'm not aware of anyone who even remotely believes that Romneycare, I mean, Obamacare is a loser; far from it--Romney cannot bring it up and, when one of his spokespeople does, all hell breaks loose.

Solyndra, Delphi, and welfare reform are not on the lips of voters. Crony capitalism is, and the word is Bain. People are vaguely aware that the auto company bailout worked and saved millions of jobs. People probably don't remember how the Bush Administration sent the U.S. Attorneys after voter fraud (another issue no one cares about because it doesn't exist) and the political enemies of George W. Bush; I don't think they see the Obama Administration in any such light. People are also vaguely aware that the Catholic Church has a tendency to change the subject so that people stop talking about all those kids who were raped. Newt and Gingrich are words so poisonous that the man is literally and figuratively bankrupt because people in his own party rejected his candidacy. And Bill Clinton is pretty popular right now.

In short, Paul Rahe has no idea what he's talking about because things like fact don't matter to him. Winning does. And his guy is the worst presidential candidate since whenever.

When you're old, that's gotta hurt. That's gotta hurt like a son of a bitch. But, the facts remain. Which poll shows a Romney landslide? So far, the data simply isn't there.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No Taxes For Ten Years?


Everyone who is blogging about this probably has the same thing to say, and I'm not going to throw fuel on the fire by simply saying my own version of "holy cow!"

This is an apocryphal story, and if it should prove to be true, it really does highlight the divide between rich and poor in this country. America is not a country that wants to hate the rich; far from it. It is a country where being rich is not treated the same way it is treated everywhere else; it is something to aspire to, especially through hard work and perseverance.

The problem with Mitt Romney is that he is running a terrible campaign and he is stonewalling on his tax returns. He is a terrible politician who is fast becoming the poster child for being out of touch, too rich, and indifferent to political realities.

Nobody wants to hate Romney; people want to like him, but he is too used to holding his nose and stiff-arming the little people. He is an order giver, not a politician. He has failed to find his true calling in life, and, for that, we are now suffering.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Perfect Way to Change the Subject


American workers aren't all bad, of course. We have plenty of highly skilled people. What we lack are ethical capitalists who actually want to produce things and take measured risks. And, when you think about it, why should they do the right thing? This notion that they can't find workers is yet another wingnut myth--it has no basis in reality.

The current system rewards cutting workers, shedding overhead, and taking a short-term gain instead of investing and growing companies over the long haul. Nobody cares what the profits might be in two or three years; American companies live or die by the next quarter. If the choice is to keep profits flat or cut a thousand workers and see a jump in the value of the stock, guess who's going to be looking for work? The CEO or the thousand workers sacrificed to make things look profitable? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, until, of course, there's no one left to fire.

If we had a tax policy that rewarded job creation and investment, you might see a change in this outlook. But, instead, you have a corporate culture which worships at the altar of cutting, not investing.

One of the biggest enablers of this outright theft of productivity is Tom Friedman. How many times do we need to hear that American workers have no skills? Well, that's all dashed to pieces now, isn't it? The problem is, no one cares.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brad DeLong Buries Austerity


The move to austerity crippled Europe; I don't think there is a sane person who would argue otherwise. But, austerity in America has been a huge bust, and you have to champion those who called it for what it was--stupid, irresponsible, and utterly, utterly ruinous.

One quibble--when DeLong celebrates Larry Summers, I know he's praising him in the big picture sense. In the small picture, however, it was Summers who argued against using TARP funds to aid small businesses.

I would argue that America's problem, economically, stems from the fact that not enough was done, or is being done, to stimulate small business activity.

This is the sort of madness that true economists face.



How much faith would you put in that nonsense? And yet, I can guarantee you that far too many decision-makers follow the line of thinking espoused by Pethokoukis rather than Krugman, et al.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Virgin Airlines Leads the Way


There is almost no chance I'll be able to fly Virgin Airlines this summer, but, if I could, I certainly would.

But, then there are people who will say, oh, it's all a sham. Well, so what? At least they are trying.