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  • Desparate to lift weak DVD sales, Time Warner (TWX) has strong-armed Netflix (NFLX), Redbox (CSTR), and Blockbuster (DISH) into doubling their wait time for offering new DVD releases via their rental services to 56 days, in exchange for maintaining the right to purchase DVDs from Time Warner at wholesale prices.  [View news story]
    This is not a nail in the coffin for Netflix. Most people aren't going to care about waiting an extra 56 days for a movie. I haven't bought a movie in years as I always wait for it come out. Most people aren't going to just buy a movie so they don't have it a little sooner.

    If entertaiment studios were smart they would launch their own websites with their own subscription services for their libraries of movies, show and other entertainment. That would be the nail in the coffin for Netfix and the others.
    Jan 5 07:00 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • He's barely just started the job but Richard Cordray, the new chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has already unveiled a program to supervise instutions that "often compete with banks but have largely escaped any meaningful federal oversight." These include payday, private student and local mortgage lenders.  [View news story]
    @tigersam

    Republicans only control the house. Therefore it is a mixed congress.

    The "Democratic" controlled senate was not technically in recess, which makes this "recess appointment" unconstitutional. You may be an Obama fan, but do you really want a dictatorial precedent like this set for future presidential power. A slippery slope my friend.
    Jan 5 06:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The IMF is conducting stress tests on Japanese banks to measure how they might fare with a drop in value of their massive JGB holdings. Of late, the IMF has joined the "widowmaker" trade, warning of the nosebleed levels of Japanese bond prices and the vulnerability of government finances should yields rise. Current 10-year yield: 0.985%.  [View news story]
    Japan: Soon to be known as the land of the rising yield!
    Jan 5 06:21 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Former Sen. Christopher Dodd takes up the case for SOPA (video) on behalf of the motion picture industry, claiming the online piracy bill will not be the "end of the Internet." He says the bill doesn't impinge on freedom of speech rights, but merely aims to end rampant online crime by foreign entities. [View news story]
    The bill aims to make websites policemen. We have a wide variety of bureaus responsible for upholding the law. It is not Google or yahoos job.
    Jan 5 06:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • St. Louis Fed chief Bullard expects the central bank could introduce an inflation target this year, as well as an official line on what the planners believe to be the "natural" rate of unemployment - below which, inflation pressures rise. Skeptical of the wisdom of additional monetary stimulus, Bullard is not a voter on the FOMC.  [View news story]
    For those not aware the Fed mandate is for “stable prices,” not for consistently rising prices as an inflation target would cause. Inflation is a hidden tax as it reduces the value of every dollar savers have squirreled away. It also quietly dilutes the earnings power of everyone. What good is a 7$+ minimum wage if $7 only buys what $1 used too. Its a complicated way of taking advantage of the ignorant and those unable to control their own salary base.
    Jan 5 06:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Regulators are considering using OECD classifications to set bank capital levels instead of ratings from the likes of S&P and Moody's, which the Dodd-Frank Act seeks to remove from the calculations. The tiny flaw is that the OECD assigns zero risk to most EU government debt, including that of Greece and Portugal.  [View news story]
    The point: Remove any objectivity so that the truth can never be known.
    Jan 3 12:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • After repeated delays and a Google Wallet controversy, Verizon Wireless (VZ, VOD) is finally taking orders for Samsung's (SSNLF.PK) Galaxy Nexus, originally meant to be the flagship Android phone for the holiday season. Texas Instruments (TXN) has to be pleased the Nexus is finally available, and so must Google (GOOG), given widespread reports of strong U.S. iPhone sales. (previously)  [View news story]
    I actually picked up a jail broken Galaxy Nexus (had it since last Friday) that is compatible with the t-mobile provider. I love the new OS, it is very user friendly. I had the original Nexus as well. I am a huge fan of the Nexus line.
    Dec 15 05:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It didn't happen exactly as predicted, but the Fed finally had to step in to bail out Europe, writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. The final straw may have been an admission Tuesday night that the leveraged EFSF idea was doomed and the resultant Lehman-like spike in the euro-dollar swap spread.  [View news story]
    This may have been the goal of the Europeans all along. Stall long enough so that the US had to come in and save their butts without the Europeans having to make the major sacrifices themselves.
    Nov 30 05:11 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Target (TGT) receives petitions filled with 190K signatures of employees protesting the midnight "Black Friday" opening. Feeling employee pain, Target's HR chief nevertheless says, "Our guests have expressed that they would prefer to kick off their holiday shopping by heading out (right) after holiday celebrations."  [View news story]
    Wyo and Jackson,

    Normally most of my posts come from a completely anti-union standpoint. In this case I personally find the encroachment of my favorite non-commercial family holiday to be abhorrent.

    I understand that Target is just trying to remain competitive, but I think employees do have a right to protest treatment they don't approve of. Companies should of course try to maximize their profits, but in this effort they should not forget that their workers are humans who should be able to take a day to just be with family a couple times a year.

    The employees of course have the ability to vote with their feet and find employment elsewhere, which is what I would do. As a business owner myself I would be very concerned about the damage to employee morale that this move would make. I believe this damage will far outweigh the extra profit Target (or the other stores making this move) will make from opening at midnight rather than 5am on Friday morning.

    The reason these stores are opening at midnight is because marketing reports (I have no links, but have seen them) showing consumers would rather stay up late than get up early.

    In summation I think it is fine for stores to be open on black Friday, but I think the various merchants are missing the human element from letting their employees enjoy their Thanksgivings by opening at midnight. I would be protesting the move if I was one of their employees.

    P.S. Jackson your last line made my day =-)
    Nov 21 06:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Target (TGT) receives petitions filled with 190K signatures of employees protesting the midnight "Black Friday" opening. Feeling employee pain, Target's HR chief nevertheless says, "Our guests have expressed that they would prefer to kick off their holiday shopping by heading out (right) after holiday celebrations."  [View news story]
    I wonder what a black Friday sick out would do to a target bottom line. Executive behavior like this is an example scenario of why I think unions do have a role in society.

    I don't think they should exist in perpetuity, but they should be made easy to form by law for short periods of time so that workers can protest things like this without fearing personal retaliation.
    Nov 21 04:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Occupy Wall Street movement is showing signs of fraying at the edges. Headlines of late depict violent clashes, not just with police, but amongst themselves. Zuccotti Park, the movements main base, has seen numerous fights, several sexual assaults, and deteriorating health conditions that may put public safety at risk. Last week, ironically, meal distribution was halted for two days because protestors felt that too many homeless New Yorkers were "freeloading."  [View news story]
    James,

    I appreciate this discussion. I think there is much more common ground out there among Americans than many realize. If only we could rally together and make a difference.

    To your comment about corporate bailouts and mortgage fraud. I am sure you heard the old adage that two wrongs do not make a right. Just because we stupidly bailed out banks does not mean we should save people from their own bad choices. Everyone should pay for, and hopefully learn from, their own mistakes. I was against TARP and all the other corporate bailouts, just like I am against the stupid student debt forgiveness program that Obama put out recently. Banks and their creditors should have had to eat their poor choices, not get saved by the taxpayer. In a free market they all would have lost their cushy jobs and massive values of their investment accounts, which would have been justice served in my opinion. I also believe that students who take on massive debt for degrees that cannot possibly create the income necessary to pay off those loans deserve to suffer the results of their own choices. Past errors on bailout decisions should not be used as an excuse to make new ones. I am as mad about the fact that bad companies got saved as you are, but we need to stop the nanny state rescue cycle as quickly as possible. Otherwise we will continue to suffer massive moral hazard where people do not properly assess the risks of their choices since the expectation will be the government will save them.

    To your point about farms and immigrant labor. Farming is a different industry than many others and is not easily outsourced. You can build a factory in the Sahara, but you are going to have a hell of a hard time growing corn there. Arable land will be a major barrier to entry for foreign competition. Fertile US soil is a major advantage of our country. To a point you are correct however. Just today SA had a market current talking about how Japan and other Asian countries are buying corn from the Ukraine because ours is too expensive. This will eventually cause equilibrium though (barring government interference) as more demand will drive up prices their and prices here will fall. Eventually that will create more demand for our products. The cure for high prices is high prices, just like the cure for low prices is low prices. Someone always suffers during the adjustment period though, which is not a pleasant fact.

    My comments about WMD is not about trusting the government (I don't). It is an admission that I am aware that I do not know all the facts, which makes it impossible to make a real conclusion. My opinion as stated above is that I don't see any benefit to invading the country just for oil or corporate profits as the costs have well exceeded any perceived benefit.

    My point about relevancy was not that those topics you brought up weren't important. They didn't really have anything to do with behavior patterns between the tea party protestors and the occupy wall street crowd, which was what we were talking about originally.

    I will give that game you linked a shot when I get a moment. Thanks for linking, I am sure that will be interesting. However to your point about reducing military spending I am somewhat nervous about gutting our military power to much in face of a rising China. The homeland of Sun Tzu (I am a big fan of the art of war by the way) does not have good intentions in my opinion. I do think we should stop trying to be the world's policemen and should close all of our foreign bases and brings our troops home. Ala Ron Paul's general proposals on the subject. That should result in massive savings while allowing us to be prepared in case of hostilities that threaten us.

    I fully support OWS protestors' right to say whatever they want. I agree with some points and disagree with others, which is my right as an American.

    Good discussion.
    Nov 16 01:24 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Occupy Wall Street movement is showing signs of fraying at the edges. Headlines of late depict violent clashes, not just with police, but amongst themselves. Zuccotti Park, the movements main base, has seen numerous fights, several sexual assaults, and deteriorating health conditions that may put public safety at risk. Last week, ironically, meal distribution was halted for two days because protestors felt that too many homeless New Yorkers were "freeloading."  [View news story]
    James,

    You and I completely agree on your last paragraph. I don't think that is what OWS is calling for however. I actually went down to occupy Seattle (to people watch, not participate) and the majority of signs read to me like "I made bad decisions and want to be saved from them." Example: A protestor had a sign that said "I went to college and all I got was student debt." The way I look at that is no one made her go to college or sign loan documents to do so. I feel for her as she obviously was in a tight spot, but it is not my responsibility to save her from her own choices.

    To your other points you are broadening the issue outside the scope of the original conversation. My point was the difference between tea party protestors and OWS.

    I am not sure how WMD or Republican politicians got in the mix but my opinion on those is that no one at our level really knows what intelligence Bush and Co. was looking at that lead up to Iraq. Maybe they went in with bad data, maybe the Iraqis moved the WMD to Syria as some suggest, or maybe Bush lied to get us into Iraq for some reason. I have trouble with last one as there is no discernable benefit to anyone for doing so. I doubt (hope) that our government would not kill hundreds of thousand of people just to provide profits to Halliburton. Hindsight being 20/20 Iraq was most likely an absolute waste and mistake though we will not ever know what the alternate path would have led to.

    As far as Walker I actually approve of his attempts to curb the power of rapacious government unions. I can't say I have paid much attention to Wisconsin since that whole mess went down and don't know much about the man himself. I don't believe forcing issues through legislation is the right way to conduct policy though. Regardless of whether it is collective bargaining rights or Obamacare.

    By and large my opinion of politicians is that they are almost all scum. I consider myself an equal opportunity hater of both parties.

    The farm worker situation in Alabama will work itself out in my opinion. In order to get American's to do the jobs the farmers will have to pay better wages and/or improve working conditions. I guarantee that if they paid enough they would get hard working Americans and not the ones described in the article. This would have the unfortunate side affect of raising prices for food items in the grocery store, which could lead to less consumer buying and potential bankruptcy of the farmer. Just because I believe the TP is better behaved than OWS does not mean I support all their policies by the way. I think a guest worker program is vital to keeping farmers profitable and food prices lower since they will accept lower wages and poorer work conditions. We are a nation of immigrants with Mexicans being the latest iteration.

    Again my original point was that the TP overall is much better behaved than OWS, but the TP is the one most denigrated in the media while OWS seems to get a pass because of their left leaning bias. That doesn't mean I can't get on board with some of their messages like "no more bailouts."
    Nov 15 09:26 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Proof that Fannie and Freddie didn’t cause the housing bubble, in one chart. Do Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank and CRA explain bubbles in Belgium, Spain, the U.K. and the many other countries that experienced spikes even worse than in the U.S.?  [View news story]
    I think most involved on this site think easy Fed monetary policy (ie Greenspan) was to blame. That cheap money sloshed all over the planet and has caused all kinds of imbalances.

    Fannie and Freddie were just conduits.
    Nov 15 06:43 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Occupy Wall Street movement is showing signs of fraying at the edges. Headlines of late depict violent clashes, not just with police, but amongst themselves. Zuccotti Park, the movements main base, has seen numerous fights, several sexual assaults, and deteriorating health conditions that may put public safety at risk. Last week, ironically, meal distribution was halted for two days because protestors felt that too many homeless New Yorkers were "freeloading."  [View news story]
    James,

    Completely agree with your point about congress. Equal hatred of congress, regardless of party, is starting to become one of the few points that almost every American can agree on.

    To your belief on tea party and OWS behavior patterns please provide a link that shows of a riot or sexual assault happening at a tea party rally. The two groups have very few similarities (like end the Fed), but their behavior patterns couldn't be any more different. A quick google search for either turned up no results other than that police in riot gear were present at some tea party rallies.

    The ironic thing is if you google tea party sex assault the results page actually comes up with articles about assaults that happened at OWS.

    No moral equivalency can reasonably be made here.
    Nov 14 12:58 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The EFSF finally moves forward wtih a €3B auction of paper, receiving just €2.5B in early bids despite the cheap pricing of the debt. It's a far cry from heady days in January when orders totaled €44.5B for a €5B issue, and raises serious questions about how the fund is supposed to turn itself into a bazooka with €1T at its disposal.  [View news story]
    This ends with money printing from the ECB. It is the only way.

    The German's will fight it, but I believe in the end they will succumb.
    Nov 7 02:10 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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