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  • After more than 90 hours of debate, the Republican-controlled House voted to cut at least $61B in federal spending this year. The measure now heads to the Democratic Senate, along with the possibility of a budget battle that could shut down the government.  [View news story]
    Useless, nothing meaningful at all. The american people lose again while the morons play politics instead of engaging in meaningful dialogue. What a joke. They can't possibly, honestly, seriously have expected that what they passed had a snowball's chance in hell of making it through the Senate or passed by the president.

    Let's hope gov't really shuts down, the clowns in charge stop getting their paychecks.

    Of course in that case they'll just make an amendment keeping their pay coming while everyone else does without.
    Feb 19 02:34 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The recession's been hard on everyone, but there's a particular pain on older Americans, 1.6M of which are putting off retirement - with stock portfolios worth less than in 2006 and fixed-income investments with no income. And don't ask whether their house is worth more than it was a few years ago.  [View news story]
    We can at least be happy for elder americans in that soc sec and medicare willl likely still be around for them and that any adjustments planned or enacted won't affect them.

    I personally know a few of these guys who can't/won't retire, I feel for them but they universally scoff when I tell them soc sec won't be there for me and my children...
    Dec 11 07:23 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • America's Mammoth Natural Gas Inheritance: The Burden of Transition [View article]
    Said new government is also offering tremendous incentives to reduce energy consumption, among other things a 30% reduction in the cost of installing geothermal heating/cooling systems. Also article here recently pointed out $3B in incentives is starting to trickle out any day now for wind and solar.

    I realize the portion of US energy in renewables is low but I suspect each and every project has a noticeable impact on our overall use.

    I agree the country needs stronger energy policy, and that more focus on NG can help, but to an extent was that not encouraged by cap and trade?

    I think overall this administration - even with all the problems facing it - is doing an admirable job on energy policy and is definitely taking us in a new direction.
    Aug 4 07:01 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • China's Growth: Far Less than Meets the Eye [View article]
    they've got plenty of ability to keep it going for a long time, even if it will eventually pop
    Aug 3 09:56 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Electric car maker Coda files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after selling only one hundred units of its all-electric model. The company aims to come out the other side of bankruptcy as an energy storage firm. The development effectively leaves Tesla Motors (TSLA) the last automaker standing out of a promising California-based EV trio that also included Fisker and Coda. [View news story]
    Coda actually made a nice product, it's weakness was in that it could not float it's way to profitability because of its business model. It's sort of a shame really.

    Fisker's business model is what did that company in, and arrogant management.

    Tesla started with a viable business model, and that's why it's still here. Testament to Elon Musk's competence that Tesla is the first US automaker to appear and succeed in a half century or more.
    May 1 07:49 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • With their healthcare costs ballooning, many companies have started to penalize fat employees with regards to healthcare coverage, raising all sorts of legal, privacy and discrimination questions. Michelin North America, for example, plans to cut healthcare credits for staff who fail to meet requirement for waistline and other metrics, and don't sign up to health programs. Other companies making similar moves include Mohawk (MHK), CVS and Honeywell (HON). [View news story]
    Reword the market current to mean 'smokers' versus 'overweight' people.

    My point being, this is the Next Big Thing now that the scourge of smoking has been marginalized. Momentum is growing behind this.

    The comments made here are also reminiscent of those made when the war on smoking was begun.

    Disclosure: non obese ex-smoker... and happy being an EX-smoker for that matter... but I do find the parallels interesting. I suspect the campaign will be successful, and the first shot, Bloomberg's attempt to ban extra large soft drinks, will be forgotten in the annals of this war...
    Apr 7 09:47 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "We are talking about a mobile-computing experience that makes sure that for you as a user, you only have to carry one computing device," speaks Thorsten Heins, pitching the idea of BB10 phones acting as tablet/PC replacements with the help of peripherals. He claims BlackBerry (BBRY -7.7%) is studying "various configurations," and will discuss some of them at the May 14-16 BlackBerry World conference. Asus and Motorola have experimented with the docking station concept, with modest success. (WSJ Z10 report[View news story]
    This is precisely what I have been looking forward to for a couple of years now, and I really thought MSFT with its Windows8 product would have been first to market with it. It's obvious Google is trying to move in that direction with its recent combining of teams from the Chrome and Android divisions, and it seems Apple's iOS is furthest away (probably because it is so damn profitable right now).

    The Asus padfone concept is terrible, and the Motorola product had a lot of promise initially but was eventually neutered into uselessness.

    There is certainly a market awaiting this development.
    Mar 22 07:27 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In an attempt to stir up conservatives in Congress, former Senator and now Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint is urging Republicans to stand their ground against the President in the upcoming showdown over the debt ceiling. "The government itself is not going to shut down, DeMint says, "In fact, I don't think people are even going to notice it." [View news story]
    Spending bills originate in Congress. It isn't Obama waving the credit card around, he's the one waiting to sign the check to pay the bills.

    This spending has already been authorized, the debt ceiling is a technicality. Congressional Republicans are trying to retroactively impose an alternative fiscal agenda on legislation and spending previously approved. It's just... stupid.
    Jan 18 07:56 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Outlook 2013: Americans Are Going Broke [View article]
    "Brown points to the fact that the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY) staged a "rally on top of a rally" in 2012, outperforming the S&P 500 by 30%."

    Consumer discretionary outperformed last year, in my opinion quite clearly, on the back of an historically mild winter. It was pretty obvious that leaving several hundred dollars a month or more in the pockets of consumers would allow them to spend more on discretionary purchases.

    This winter is not the same. Weak holiday shopping season has already shown that as per column above weak wages, weak economy are finally actually showing up in the figures.

    It will likely continue to get worse. Fiscal cliff resolution won't make a difference to the upside but will exacerbate the situation to the downside if not resolved.
    Dec 31 08:01 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Risks Of Residential/Mortgage REITs Are Too Many [View article]
    "The share prices on most MReits has been on a tear lately"

    Yes they have, and I'm happy with it, but I think it's new money not organic growth.

    I'm in, and comfortable, because I expect the economy to grow slower than what the dividends paid to me through mReits will provide.

    For example, we are in a deleveraging macro cycle. Which means that consumption will necessarily be slow. Which will affect most segments of the economy. But while we wait for deleveraging to complete, we sit in mReits which pay us to wait.

    When the delveraging completes, we can rotate out into other sectors, but for the time being this is a nice place to sit and wait.
    Sep 23 11:38 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • One reason Research In Motion (RIMM -0.2%) is likely to stick around: In Washington, D.C., where "time stands still," BlackBerry remains the official smartphone. According to a Washington Post report, either confidence in RIM's e-mail security or slow bureaucracy contribute to the government requiring 500K federal workers to stick with their BlackBerrys.  [View news story]
    There are dozens of reasons why RIM will stick around, but the easiest one is this: far crappier companies with far worse business models have managed to cling onto relevancy (see: AOL).

    It's also a fact that Blackberries via BES are far easier to centrally control than competing products which are routinely hacked, 'jailbroken', 'rooted', etc, by their own users as opposed to some malicious 3rd party perpetrator.

    It's amazing to me how eager folks are to trash RIM, as when its competitors follow its business model via incremental improvements on unfinished products (Apple TV versus Playbook for example), or via slow gains in marketshare (WindowsPhone), no one utters a peep.
    Apr 5 11:36 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • President Obama's anti-drilling argument uses false statistics, argues CNBC's Larry Kudlow. The president argues that America uses over 20% of the world’s oil, but has only 2% of the world’s known oil reserves. Patently untrue, says Kudlow. The U.S. has 1.4T barrels of recoverable oil, which is enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for about the next 200 years, without any imports.  [View news story]
    Who cares. US oil consumption is rapidly decreasing. Not to mention we have tons of natural gas wind and solar too.

    Expanding oil drilling only makes sense if you wanna export it, it does nothing to help the energy security situation or help reduce the average american's energy costs.
    Mar 16 08:03 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Telegraph reports German and French officials working on a multitrillion-dollar "firebreak." Among the steps is a bank recapitalization going well beyond the laughable €2.5B tagged by the EU stress tests (the IMF puts the figure at €200B, others say €1T). A bump in EFSF firepower to €2T and a "controlled" Greek default giving a 50% haircut to lenders are also in the mix.  [View news story]
    Greece's backup plan references a large wooden horse dropped off at the EFSF's door.
    Sep 24 09:28 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon.com's (AMZN) "very real" 7-inch Kindle Tablet will arrive in November for $250, MG Siegler writes - a price point just half that of the entry-level iPad (AAPL). Meanwhile, Lenovo's (LNVGY.PK) IdeaPad A1 tablet is pricing at $199. Looks like the mini-frenzy over $99 TouchPads (HPQ) - now back in limited production - may be re-setting the price bar, as Apple works toward a spring upgrade for its $499 iPad 2.  [View news story]
    I felt it was overpriced at $320 and watched it lick $400 but didn't want in on either side, and still don't, since I think AAPL has at least a couple of quarters left in it on the long side.

    I believe market dynamics will inevitably eat into Apple's growth revenue, and marketshare, and it will end up being blamed on Jobs' departure, but that will hardly be the case.
    Sep 3 09:44 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon.com's (AMZN) "very real" 7-inch Kindle Tablet will arrive in November for $250, MG Siegler writes - a price point just half that of the entry-level iPad (AAPL). Meanwhile, Lenovo's (LNVGY.PK) IdeaPad A1 tablet is pricing at $199. Looks like the mini-frenzy over $99 TouchPads (HPQ) - now back in limited production - may be re-setting the price bar, as Apple works toward a spring upgrade for its $499 iPad 2.  [View news story]
    Amazon's has no issue doing what other tablet manufacturer's didn't want to, or could not, do: partially subsidize sales of its tablet to lower its upfront cost to create momentum and pick up 'long tail' returns.

    This is a tried and true strategy that may really move momentum towards tablets in a way no one else was able to. Sony did it with Playstation, MSFT with Xbox, we saw it done with Blue-Ray etc.

    HP's firesale underlined what the 'real' consumer price point was for a 'cheap' commodity tablet was - something muc less than what Apple is selling for.

    And now with component prices coming down those 'commodity' devices will start to flood the market.
    Sep 3 08:39 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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