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  • "Those jobs aren't coming back," said Steve Jobs to the President, who asked what it would take to bring Apple's production to the U.S. It's not just low wages, Chinese manufacturing infrastructure has grown to remarkable size and sophistication. Apple's contribution to U.S. employment will be through its stores, its empowerment of entrepreneurs, and jobs at cellular providers and shippers, but not the actual building of its products.  [View news story]
    Al Gore, 1996: "NAFTA will _reduce_ illegal immigration." Number of illegal immigrants from Mexico to the US since 1996: ca. 7 million.

    Change in Mexican % of Calif. public school population since early 1990s: from about 20% of total to 51% in 2010.

    Change in Calif. public schools' national rank since early 1990s: from top 10 in the US to #49.

    At least we're still above Mississippi.
    Jan 23 12:40 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Those jobs aren't coming back," said Steve Jobs to the President, who asked what it would take to bring Apple's production to the U.S. It's not just low wages, Chinese manufacturing infrastructure has grown to remarkable size and sophistication. Apple's contribution to U.S. employment will be through its stores, its empowerment of entrepreneurs, and jobs at cellular providers and shippers, but not the actual building of its products.  [View news story]
    There's much we should imitate about the German model - esp secondary education, incl tracking and extensive vocational ed - but a big problem is that Americans aren't Germans. Specifically, American private sector union members do not have the work ethic, the sense of individual responsibility, the social solidarity that German workers have.

    Screw around on the job in Warren Michigan etc, and the UAW has your back. Try pulling that sh*t in Bayern and you'll be called on the carpet by the German union. Americans long ago lost the yankee ethos of thrift, hard work, bootstraps etc.
    Jan 23 12:35 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 8 Reasons To Avoid Google Even After Recent Sell-Off [View article]
    Good analysis. GOOG is starting to look a bit like Microsoft 10 years ago, a cash-generating oligopolist in its maturing core market that stumbles almost everywhere else. Google Plus, like the acquisition in 2004 (?) of Dodgeball (which could have and should have become bigger than Twitter), is yet another whiff in the social realm.

    Perhaps YouTube's paid content will generate significant income for them in coming quarters, but best to hold off until that materializes.
    Jan 22 11:22 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Those jobs aren't coming back," said Steve Jobs to the President, who asked what it would take to bring Apple's production to the U.S. It's not just low wages, Chinese manufacturing infrastructure has grown to remarkable size and sophistication. Apple's contribution to U.S. employment will be through its stores, its empowerment of entrepreneurs, and jobs at cellular providers and shippers, but not the actual building of its products.  [View news story]
    This argument like most others concerning social equality in the US is behind the curve: manufacturing is already coming back to the US in certain areas where labor quality makes a huge difference, such as higher end, tech-intensive manufacturing for energy and automotive.

    In addition, you have soaring labor costs in China combined with a falling dollar and rising energy hence transport costs. All of these together indicate that the US can and should bring back certain high-end manufacturing jobs.

    The real question is not whether those jobs exist but whether we can finally have an intelligent, pro-growth energy policy that doesn't stigmatize fossil fuel E&P. That will have to wait until after November, unfortunately.
    Jan 22 11:18 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 7 Stocks That Will Not Bounce Back In 2012 [View article]
    ? How so? The enterprise business alone is worth more than the company's entire market cap, IPG is a cash cow and will remain so for years, and PSG generates cash.

    For the curious, below is a link to a serious valuation and analysis of HPQ's three business lines, which SA contributor Matt Blecker in Aug-11 estimated to be worth ca. $39/share. With sane and calm management in place, the stock's an even stronger buy for the intelligent value investor.

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    Jan 21 05:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A 5 Step Strategy For Investing In Natural Gas [View article]
    Interesting re. the political angle. Seems obvious in the wake of the Keystone insanity that the current admin is engaged in a coy little head fake of its own, voting "Present" so to speak, between now and November.

    But once the green gazillionaire donations are in the bank and the election's over, this admin (or the Romney admin) will probably go whole-hog in favor of nat gas production and transport.

    Not sure how much that factors into one's investment considerations for 2012, but we're seeing a similar phenom already in California, where Gov. Brown's recently sacked the zealots on his energy review board who'd been holding up drilling permit applications for years. Good news for OXY, and I'm betting their CA-based production (25% of total OXY reserves) esp from shale reserves in the San Joaquin Valley will rise substantially in the next few years now that the green anti-jobs diehards are out of the way.
    Jan 21 02:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 7 Stocks That Will Not Bounce Back In 2012 [View article]
    You're off target on HPQ, which is much more an enterprise company than a consumer one at this point. The bad news / value destruction re. the price tag for Autonomy is over with; now Meg and team have to execute and deliver above a low bar. IBM did it in the early 90's: if Meg is half as successful, HPQ will exceed expectations by a decent margin. Granted, that's a big "if", but Autonomy is a good product. A properly organized and managed enterprise sales force will have no problem selling effectively.
    Jan 21 02:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Halliburton To Surge Against Schlumberger [View article]
    Another good call. I sold my SLB in Nov and doubled down on HAL. The market may take another few quarters to catch up, but HAL is a steal at current prices. Also long MDR.
    Jan 21 01:58 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • HP's Substantial Upside Is Safer Than Dell's [View article]
    Good call. There is no catalyst that would argue for DELL being significantly undervalued, whereas Whitman's arrival is clearly the catalyst needed to first stabilize the management team and strategy and then start executing above the street's expectations.

    HPQ's facing an extremely low bar, given the tremendous assets they have in place - most notably their enterprise sales force and EDS, both of which have been far underutilized. Long HPQ here.
    Jan 21 01:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Natural Gas - Has The Extreme Happened? [View article]
    Good advice by billknowsall. Intervention will juice up equity returns, crush the dollar and boost commodities generally. Meanwhile, the sky is not falling on China, and the bad news has been largely priced into European asset prices. As Jim O'Neil points out, Italy's debt to GDP ratio is lower than Japan's, yet the markets unreasonably are trashing Italy.

    Me, I'm long the better-capitalized dividend-paying US-based energy producers like OXY and HES, as well as Canadian and Australian resource giants like POT and RIO. I second the recommendation to go long on BTU now: great company for the long term, priced unreasonably low due at a point of maximum pessimism about the industry.

    For two smallcap speculative spinoff plays, try Poseidon (POOSF) and Rose Rock Midstream (RRMS). Dividends, solid cash flow, lots of near-term upside while you catch your breath.

    Hang in there,
    T
    Jan 21 01:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Spin-Off Mania Benefits Alert Investors [View article]
    Another view on OSH: they recently took over the lease from a defunct Marshall's big-box (ca. 100k sq ft) in a middle-to-upper middle class part of west San Jose CA and have completely turned around traffic at that mall. The parking lot is full, neighboring tenants have seen a major spike in traffic, and the store has been busy every time I've passed by (we take the family to the Chinese restaurant next door every other week or so).

    Compared to the local HD, the OSH store is superior re. service, cleanliness and friendliness. Prices are higher, but the store is better organized and merchandised, and their stock is pretty full. OTOH, though I hate going to HD, I won't pay a premium to OSH for the same light bulb, so based on my own experience I'm not sure that OSH's superior traffic at this San Jose location isn't just due to novelty.

    As to CA real estate, we've hit bottom in the more prosperous parts of San Jose. The stronger banks are beginning to lend again. Not out of the woods yet by any means, but light at the end of the tunnel. Cautiously bullish here (for 2013, esp if we get a new president this fall).
    Jan 17 02:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The owners of The New Republic have retained Blackstone (BX) to explore a possible sale of the publication. Among those that may have interest are Bloomberg and News Corp. (NWSA) - that would make a few heads explode. The magazine currently loses money and the deal would be a small one, likely less than $20M.  [View news story]
    Why the cute comment? The New Republic is a jewel and the leading publication in its niche. It would fit perfectly with the upmarket acquisition strategies of either Bloomberg (which bought BusinessWeek) or News Corp (which bought the Wall Street Journal). It's long been supported by leading Wall Street moneymen who are friends or former Harvard students, or colleagues, of Marty Peretz. David Einhorn had a major ownership stake not too long ago.

    TNR is an institution. It's nearly 100 years old, and has been for nearly a century the premier journal of intellectual opinion in the US. It does not rely on or pay any attention to celebrity trash. As to its politics, TNR is for the most part centrist. It would be in good hands with either Bloomberg or NWSA.
    Jan 10 05:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Europe's Banking Crash Already Happened [View article]
    Correction: the "predecessor Christian empire" you refer to is presumably the Holy Roman Empire founded by Charlemagne in 800 covering most of central Europe and the Low Countries. The version of this entity that emerged nearly a thousand years later after the 30 Years' War that split Europe into warring camps, Protestant and Catholic, was a smaller and incoherent version of Charlemagne's united, Catholic realm.

    Otherwise, super article, as usual. More please.
    Jan 10 02:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 2 Stocks Benefiting From Falling Natural Gas Prices [View article]
    Interesting. What other leading US companies have >20% cost exposure to natural gas?
    Jan 9 03:16 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Iran Is Enjoying Oil's Risk Premium, But It Won't Last [View article]
    "regional economic domination" by this crew? You're joking, right?

    These corrupt buffoons can't even refine enough oil to satisfy their own domestic energy needs. They have taken what was a wealthy and powerful nation and reduced it to a basket-case economic joke.

    There's no "enigma" here. These are kleptocrats first, theocrats second. Small-time criminals and thugs who know nothing of statecraft or strategy.
    Jan 9 03:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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