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Dana Blankenhorn

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  • How Good Can Ford Get? [View article]
    This is neither a political story nor a story about GM. It's about Ford. Ford took no bailout money.

    But Ford did support the bailout. As did many foreign producers. Why? Because if the parts makers went under as GM and Chrysler went under those foreign nameplates would have had to close assembly plants all around the US, or dramatically raise prices because they would have to import more parts.

    There was no private capital available when the car companies came to Washington. Just as there was none when the banks came to Washington.
    Mar 7 09:39 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Walgreen Stock Continuing Collapse In ExpressScripts Fallout [View article]
    Both great comments. I have long believed that the discussion threads on a blog post can have equal or greater value to the posts themselves, and you both prove it.
    Feb 4 10:02 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Have Bank of America (BAC) managers lost their minds," asks Robert Smith. Facing several multi-billion dollar lawsuits and its stock trading at 30% of book, the bank decides to anger 50M loyal retail customers by charging $60/year for using a debit card? "Thinking you can do whatever you want to your customers because you're the biggest ... is reckless and foolhardy."  [View news story]
    As I wrote elsewhere on this site, it was a signaling maneuver. And if you look at moves by Citi and the other big banks, it seems to be succeeding. They're not all moving as BofA is, but they are moving to raise the costs of small (and even large) accounts.

    I'm also not yet seeing ads from any other quarter saying "if you don't like their deal come to us." Which may speak volumes. If y'all see such things, let us know.
    Oct 5 05:10 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple May End Mobile Phone Contract Era [View article]
    Run the numbers. People are paying $2,400 for two years' service for this $411 discount, whereas in a competitive market (one where they might move) the prices would be much more reasonable.
    Aug 27 10:54 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Whether Michele Bachmann Really Could Give Us $2 Gas [View article]
    The cheapest renewable fuel right now remains efficiency. There are lots of ways to gain efficiency, and when you invest in it the money comes back quickly.

    Like changing your light bulbs. You can "choose" old-fashioned bulbs, Bachmann says, but that maintains inefficiency, thus increases demand for fuel, thus keeps prices high. The policy of "choice" sounds appealing, but it only benefits the oil barons.

    There are many technologies, including algae fuel, which people are working on, and which other people are investing in. Some will succeed, others will fail. The successes will be able to both scale and keep costs coming down. First Solar is already producing CdT solar at $1/watt, and getting things down another 35% means solar will cost less than fossil fuels. That's real pressure on prices. Downward pressure. Which is what we need.

    Then all we need do is scale these products, and America is very, very good at that.

    Remember, folks, there is no energy shortage. We're just running out of stuff to burn. There's abundant energy. The Sun shines, the wind blows, the tides roll, and we live on a molten rock. Northwest Investor might add that the grass grows, too.

    Harvest the abundance.
    Aug 19 10:41 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Republicans pounce on the Atlanta Appeals court ruling against the President's healthcare law, saying it confirms their argument: "ObamaCare" must go.  [View news story]
    No, it wasn't. I know you want to tell lies to yourselves to excuse your nonsense, but it's false.

    The only way to get a thumb down on costs is by having everyone in the pool. If people pick their risks, insurers are left with bad risks and the rest go with no coverage when something does happen. Care we wind up paying for.

    The critics need to ask this simple question. Why do we pay 17% of GDP to cover 70% of us while our economic competitors pay 10-12% to cover everyone? (Crickets.)

    We require everyone on the road to have car insurance for a reason. Same reason we should require health insurance. Yes, there are uninsured drivers, but that's an enforcement problem, not a policy problem.
    Aug 12 07:23 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Is a Correction, Not a Crash: Buy Your Wish List [View article]
    As in the 30s, there's a lot of thought out there that democracy is a failure, that freedom can't work, that people need a "firm hand" on their backsides to succeed.

    I think this idea is just as wrong now as it was then. The problem is our willingness to accept corruption. Here as in Europe.
    Aug 12 07:19 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Jamie Dimon Just Sound the All-Clear on Banks? [View article]
    None of this is about banks. It's about brokerages. Morgan and Citi prospered this quarter through trading, not banking. They had good quarters at the casino, because they control the board as well as place bets.
    Jul 15 01:10 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pres. Obama's "original sin" is his "failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down," Frank Rich asserts - a simple explanation for the current troubles but not accurate, Derek Thompson counters. "Unemployment suffers today not because of, but independent of, Wall Street's success. That is the simple, boring truth."  [View news story]
    Horse hockey.

    The fiscal problem, so far as it exists, is caused by wars we didn't pay for and tax cuts that didn't stimulate. Do nothing and the budget balances in 5 years.

    You don't know what revolution is. It's violent. And you don't know what glasnost is, either. It's surrender. Don't toss around words whose meanings you don't understand, please.
    Jul 5 09:31 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pres. Obama's "original sin" is his "failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down," Frank Rich asserts - a simple explanation for the current troubles but not accurate, Derek Thompson counters. "Unemployment suffers today not because of, but independent of, Wall Street's success. That is the simple, boring truth."  [View news story]
    There are many technologies for storing, moving, and making up for alternative energy. Batteries are not the only answer by any means.

    We can store it underground as compressed air. We can store it above ground as lifted water. We can store it by turning it into hydrogen.

    The nonsense that we "can't store it so we shouldn't do it" is an excuse to just keep burning stuff that gets more scarce every time we burn more of it.
    Jul 5 09:22 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin says financial inequality resulting from stagnating incomes for most Americans and rapid growth in wealth for the richest 1% is undermining the recovery. The disparities help “drag down maximum economic growth and are anathema to the social progress that is part and parcel of such growth."  [View news story]
    The facts don't fit your ideology. The top 1/10th of 1% of people are gaining an increasing share of the nation's wealth, and an increasing share of our nation's income.

    I think the point the Fed governor was trying to make is that this it not really in the best interest of anyone -- even the very wealthy. They're getting a bigger piece of a smaller pie, when they could do better with a slightly smaller piece of a much bigger pie.

    This happens sometimes, because the competition of capitalism leads to fewer-and-fewer winners over time. The situation today is comparable to what we found in the 1890s, only without that age's excuse of a capital shortage.
    Jun 29 02:16 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is The Run-Up In Intel Overdone? [View article]
    Cloud chips are cheap as chips. Data centers don't buy high-end stuff...not if they want to exist in five years they don't.

    As I said, Intel has done well this year. But there are reasons to question the story going forward, which are detailed here. Feel free to disagree, and I respect the fact you say you're willing to put your money on the line in defense of your point.
    Nov 18 04:42 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Happens When Solar Costs Go Below Fossil Fuels? [View article]
    There are multiple answers to your question of what happens at night. Wind energy peaks at night. Solar also peaks when air conditioning peaks and when rates peak, so in some sense it doesn't matter. Also, storage.

    As solar and wind expand, we need fewer fossil fuel plants. Many coal plants have been taken offline. More will be.
    Nov 11 08:05 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • One Word Separates Apple From $500 [View article]
    Western markets and eastern markets are different. Americans and Europeans can afford to have both a tablet and a phone. Chinese and Indian consumers can't -- it's one or the other. Since Samsung began giving them both,they have been flocking to it.

    The idea that Apple will ignore this opportunity out of arrogance or ignorance is insane. But if they don't announce something to fill this market niche in the summer, I'm selling.
    May 29 05:48 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Any Hope In Facebook? [View article]
    Murdoch can do what he wants. We just both happen to think he's daft.

    I think Murdoch's statement indicates he still doesn't understand why MySpace failed, which is that Murdoch mucked with it, tried to brand a young person's site with an old person's brand (Fox), and treated it as a media entity rather than a tech company.
    May 17 02:05 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment