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  • Wall Street Breakfast: Eurozone Growth Forecast Gets Big Boost [View article]

    I can't "listen" very well. Bad ears and poor speakers for the computer; worse speakers that are built into the (late model HD) TV. At least the TV usually has subtitles that are easy to read.

    Is that speech by Gen Hyten available in transcript anywhere?
    May 5, 2015. 01:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Tesla Moves Into Energy Storage [View article]
    Those who buy solar systems -- the panels-- but not the batteries have another approach to what they want out of the systems. Not independence from the grid; not survivability in some improbable disaster like a solar storm or an EMP bomb from some enemy nation. They want the air conditioner to be partly fed by the solar array and reduce the routine electric bill. If it is night and the building or house has good insulation the power consumption for cool air is tolerable. If there is a power blackout it is going to be for a short length of time and the situation is manageable.

    If the sky is clear in winter and there is no snow piled on the solar arrays, then maybe some electric heat is possible. That's gravy.

    For blackouts the thing is to buy an electric generator and have enough gasoline or diesel in (5 gallon ??) storage cans to last a couple of days. Run the generator a few hours on and a few hours off to keep the freezer and fridge OK and for electric light for a couple of hours at night. What else??

    I personally have not been able to make myself justify a generator. I would sign up if the local electric company wanted to put a solar array on my roof with the assurance that my electric bill would be less. Even a little less. And that the electric company would maintain that solar system. That is quite different than buying something on (your) own hook.
    May 1, 2015. 09:19 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Markets Prepare For Week Of Central Bank Decisions [View article]
    The artificial sweetener and GMO arguments are so much about nothing ever changes.

    A few centuries ago it was realized that humans need iodine. Iodine was nearly completely absent in the foods of Europe. The "Church" bypassed much of the argumentative stages by instituting "Fish on Friday." That gave the North Sea fishing industry a big market and fixed all the medical problems from the lack of iodine. Win-Win. Maybe too easy and I know I have never heard the gory details of all that. (Politics of the North Sea countries and personal gain by powerful figures in the Church, yes. But how nasty it all was ???)

    Then the (British) Navy instituted vitamins for its sailors (~Fresh limes) and cured the rampant vitamin-deficiency "diseases" of sailors. I have never heard about the arguments associated with that but have no doubt they would sound familiar.

    In the late 1800's (?) the disease was Pellagra. Very nasty. Much discussion and beliefs. Arguments ongoing about a cure as simple as assuring a 'B' vitamin (Niacin?) in the diet. Sounded just like the current arguments about GMO's.

    As far as GMO's: is it better to starve a significant percentage of the Earth population by staying with "Natural" foods or go with GMO's and everybody can eat adequately? In a couple of generations, a 100 years, GMO's will be another "No Brainer."

    Corn is also a primary food for much of the world. It is needed for food. Not for making sweeteners. Not for making fuel for Internal combustion engines. Maybe for helping cleaner exhausts in hot weather in hot weather zones; but not for 'everywhere.' The cost of sugar (old fashioned table sugar) is a result of politics, not supply or demand.

    Soda is mostly salts-- I have read. The artificial sweeteners are essentially salts. (???). The real track record of corn sweeteners in soda and every other food is clear: The obesity epidemic started when corn sweeteners were introduced. The makers have a big vested interest. Maybe the general public is realizing this link between corn sweeteners and being or becoming overweight and is slowly reacting. Sales of soda are very slowly sinking in the long term. As in decades; not within the time frames watched on Wall Street. But the big soda companies are very aware and frightened.

    The cure for much weight control for individuals is simple: drink only water. Or black coffee. Or tea-- straight. Flavor the water or tea with a little fresh lemon juice if you want. Only lemon (maybe lime juice but it is not as good nutritionally) juice.

    Everything changes and at the same time stays the same. :-)
    Apr 27, 2015. 01:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: China Shares Extend Bull Run [View article]
    When "extreme long-term" means "by Friday noon" a mortgage is forever. Values of renting vs mortgage are in a different set of parameters, or even a different paradigm (?), when "Long-Term" means "the entire rest of the life" of an individual. For those who do pay off their mortgage and then continue to reside in that house 'forever,' there is a very big payoff. There is no "rent" when money is increasingly in short supply in old age when the title to one's "shelter" is in one's own Safe Deposit Box. Costs of 'taxes' and 'maintenance' are trick accounting when discussed by those advocating renting. The typical mature American knows this and behaves accordingly when it can be managed. The whiz kids with (it was once slide rules; now it is maybe accounting programs on the computers in their lower-Manhattan offices?) the numbers have no clue about the realities of life in that 'unknown' space between the city limits of New York city and San Francisco.
    Apr 22, 2015. 09:18 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Weak China Trade Data Adds To Growth Concerns [View article]
    American foreign policy is a victim of "Mirror Syndrome." "Mirror Syndrome" is thinking that someone else has the same values and ideas, etc., as yourself. Expecting them to react, respond, behave as you would.

    "Let them eat cake." was a result of Mirror Syndrome. That girl probably did not know/realize that wheat flour is used for both bread and cake. Or even how bread and cake and other foods were actually created. She was actually trying to help by suggesting an alternative food. The reaction by the peasants was also Mirror Syndrome because for them it was so well known about where foods came from that they saw the statement as a clear insult and could not/would not recognize the abysmal ignorance of the person who said the phrase.

    This is what our leaders are in. They expect their own ideas and actions and reactions to be mirrored by all international leaders. The international leaders either consider it insulting or recognize what is happening and are contemptuous. Most of those leaders and the societies/cultures they lead have vastly different values and ideas and beliefs that must be addressed properly. Which is not happening at all.
    Apr 13, 2015. 02:09 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Nikkei Retreats From 15-Year High [View article]
    California has so many problems because they put laws about environment into place that make it impossible to do any infrastructure. No reservoirs or power lines or power plants or anything else. They shot themselves in the foot and now are crying because they are both bleeding and can't walk. But won't and can't do anything to fix it. What is really happening is that California is getting left behind by the world. And their 'fix' is to put everybody else (in the US) into the same morass. If they can.
    Apr 10, 2015. 11:47 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Shell Agrees To Buy BG Group For $69.6B [View article]
    Dallas' Talented & Gifted is in place in several schools in the suburbs, too. One of my grandchildren is in the program. Nose to the grindstone before sunrise to long after dark and often on weekends. Not a lot of children will keep that up. This child has been in the Magnets and advanced programs since kindergarten; solid A's; which is all required to be considered for the Advanced Program.
    Apr 8, 2015. 12:56 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Shell Agrees To Buy BG Group For $69.6B [View article]
    High property taxes are one thing. What about State Income Taxes in the same states?

    In Texas the property taxes sub for income tax. Non-property owners pay as part of rent but many rental tax rates are reduced. It is possible to slip through some loopholes and pay no property tax at all. Property tax and then school tax. Counties where the loopholes are heavily used have poor county services and very poor schools.
    Apr 8, 2015. 12:44 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Euro Heads For Biggest Quarterly Fall On Record [View article]
    The problem I see with Drone Package Delivery is weather. Snow and ice, obviously. What about wind? Wind is always there. Swirling turbulence around buildings more often than not. Rain. Package delivery could come to a complete halt very often for days at a time until weather clears and the wind speeds drop. A man in a truck (UPS; FedEx; USPS) mostly does not have that kind of problem.

    Putting a package into a tiny space is an interesting problem from my perspective. Fly into the location and not hit trees, power lines, whatever else? Model airplane flying contests are about speed and maneuvers. There are no "precision landing" events (that I have heard about) except for occasional fun because the planes do not have the capability, for the most part. Full-size airplanes or model airplanes. Almost all landing areas (runways) are big open spaces with some significant margin for error.

    It would be interesting to read about how the delivery systems are being developed to cope with the winds and trees and all the other myriad obstructions for a Drone approaching a residential address. Not to even mention an apartment address?

    For fun about "precision landings" look up some Caribbean Island airports with impossible runways on YouTube. Also, to the best of my recollection, FAA limits flight to higher than 500 feet almost everywhere and higher than 1000 to 2000 feet above most cities. Except of course for the landing patterns. Duh.
    Mar 31, 2015. 12:25 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Markets Await Fed Policy Decision [View article]
    I have two Citi cards. Both free. One gives back 2% cash, which has become my primary card, and the other has "Rewards." The Rewards are small discounts on mostly women's clothing, make-up, jewelry. Sometimes a 'free' soda with a paid sandwich at a fast food-- a useless option IMO.

    I have stopped using the various cards I have except the Citi 2% cash return card. I use the others just enough to keep them active, which isn't much.

    The Citi card that offers "Rewards" is feeling the pain of the other card and I am participating in a "special offer" which is supposed to return 5% cash for a few weeks.

    Citi has stopped cold several attempts at identity theft for me in recent years before those attempts could get off the ground.
    Mar 18, 2015. 12:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A No-Brainer Dividend Growth Investment [View article]
    @Coolbluelake: When most of us think of MCD we think of burgers. We also think "Big Mac." The thing to buy is the McDouble. A lot of folks with less than top-end incomes are well aware that the McDouble is really a cheap "Big Mac" and includes very little of the high fat & high calorie ingredients.

    For all of us who are older (I am well into my 70's) the thing to buy is Mickey D's chicken offerings. The much-maligned McNuggets are made to match real chicken. If a person sits down to dinner and eats a home-cooked 'fryer,' skin & most of what is scraped off the bones, then that is the same as a dinner of McNuggets. Really. For a better meal, try a McChicken sandwich with 'no mayo.' Take it home and try some salsa (from a jar bought at a grocery store) to juice it up. Mayonnaise is actually one of the worst things we all commonly consume. Even better, throw away the top half of the bun (white bread is actually 'toxic'). Or, now, Mickey D is offering chicken strips again. Eat them instead with some of that salsa.

    The bottom line is that Mickey D is the biggest and the best known and catches all the flack. There are other chains with significantly more unhealthy offerings that are invisible in the media. Some of those are regional. Apparently if a food chain does not have a store in Lower Manhattan or downtown San Francisco, they are exempt from criticism. The other part is that the food at MCD is essentially identical to, or better than, the food everywhere else, whether it be 'fast food' or most restaurants.

    My only regret is not having bought many more shares when MCD was really cheap.
    Mar 15, 2015. 08:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T: Buy The Dip? [View article]
    I'm spooked by the long term charts. On a 5-year graph of T stock price I can draw a base line that is barely rising above level. Then I draw a line across the peaks and it is significantly descending. Same thing with longer time frames. Intercept between the descending resistance and ~level support is at least 5 years in the future, but it is worrying me. What is this trend about?
    Mar 9, 2015. 03:08 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Australia Keeps Monetary Policy Steady [View article]
    Comments (6570)| + Follow | Send Message

    "If you paid attention to the right people, QE was predicted to (and did) have little effect, through theory and experience. What we need is fiscal policy."

    Please explain?"

    QE was sold as being the way to bring the 'velocity of money' back to normal; to bring the overall economy to a healthy level with jobs plentiful and all commerce into full operation.

    It does not work that way. The money flows first to the big banks. Then with QE the TBTF banks held and are holding that money and using it to make cash they can stuff into their own wallets. Legal and sensible. And predicted.

    If you really want more you should subscribe to a cheap Agora newsletter ($49/year) and then get the two "free" newsletters, "The 5" & "Daily Reckoning" which require a paid subscription to something; and several other free newsletters from Agora (Laissez Faire) which discuss all this endlessly and knowledgeably (but be careful of their slant/agenda). I have no connection at all to Agora. You asked for an explanation and this is the best I know about.
    Mar 3, 2015. 02:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: European Business Growth Gains Momentum [View article]
    "Tony Pow , Contributor
    Comments (6240)| + Follow | Send Message
    There is another SA article on Rare Earth and China. Here is my wild imagination:

    One day China wants to dominate the world by limiting the export of REEs that are used in many weapons besides the phones. The west/US send soldiers to 'open' free trade with China. It happened before: the Brits forced China to trade about 300 years ago. When they had nothing to trade, they pushed opium to China as a nation. It was assisted with the so-called '8-nations devil alliance".

    Will history repeat itself or just in my wild imagination?"

    The current world is a very different place. 300 years ago-- farther back-- there were extreme wars in progress that most of us never hear about. India was the victim (?) of an Asian (Mongol ??) invasion that produced 400 years of mostly continuous and severe war. That era of war was winding down some when the British first arrived and established their influence. China was in a series of Dynasties that lasted decades and sometimes centuries but which were each bookended by severe wars.

    Our world has perhaps calmed down some or is in a period of calm between big warring eras. The West is not likely to be the originator of big conflict but there are others who might. In the Pax West in progress, China is expected to become a principal player and largely conform to the current rules. All will be well for everybody.

    As costs increase for China because of the rise of the financial status of a majority of individuals in that society, costs for resources will rise also. Then resources like Rare Earths that exist in many other places will again be mined or otherwise recovered or extracted also. Commerce and the open market always trumps conflict. Eventually. And when politics and egos are contained.

    Feb 21, 2015. 12:12 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: European Business Growth Gains Momentum [View article]
    A new Krispy Kreme store opened in the middle of my little suburban town. Suddenly there is a lot more traffic on my morning routes as I take care of my obligations.

    I stopped and went inside deliberately instead of using the drive-thru. There is a lot of space and tables for customers. Much more than I would have expected. The glazed donuts are 99 cents; a small (dark roast) coffee (black) $1.69. I effectively dropped a $4 bill. The donuts are, of course, excellent. We will not mention the calorie count!

    How does this compare to a Krispy Kreme in your area? Are the prices the same nationwide or not? And then, with all that space for customers, is Krispy Kreme trying to become another Starbucks? I would have expected to drop at least twice as much money at a Starbucks as I did this morning for essentially the same thing.
    Feb 20, 2015. 10:50 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment