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marmar

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Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,152

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Warren Buffett Says Happiness From Coca-Cola Trumps Benefit of Broccoli

(Bloomberg) Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the largest investor in Coca-Cola Co., said his happiness from drinking the sodas outweighs health benefits from eating more vegetables.

“I elect to get my 2,500 calories a day from things that make me feel good when I eat them,” Buffett, 85, said at his company’s annual meeting Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska. “I have not seen evidence that convinces me that it’ll be more likely I reach 100 if I suddenly switched to water and broccoli.”

The answer ignored a request from New York Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin to discuss the effect of Coca-Cola on global public health without Buffett touching on his own diet. Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive officer, has heard from critics including hedge fund manager Bill Ackman over the Coca-Cola investment, as studies show sugary drinks may contribute to obesity.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charles Munger, 92, said those who cite soda’s detriments make the “ghastly error” of not also considering the advantages of consuming the drinks. He said people have to drink 8 or more glasses of water a day, and adding flavor to some of those drinks is a benefit. ..............(more)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-30/buffett-says-happiness-from-coca-cola-trumps-benefit-of-broccoli




Donald Trump can actually beat Hillary in November: Stubborn pundits still refuse to accept it


from Salon:


Donald Trump can actually beat Hillary in November: Stubborn pundits still refuse to accept it
Polls have Hillary beating Trump in swing states, but the billionaire is far more popular than we'd like to believe

Sean Illing


Pundits are paid to pretend they know things. But we have no special insight, no higher claims to truth. We’re wrong as much as we’re right, if not more so. Sometimes it’s clear what will happen, often it’s not. In the case of Trump, everyone – myself included – got it wrong.

When Trump descended preposterously from that escalator and announced he was running for president, we all giggled. Trump? President? Seriously? And yet all the polls suggested that he had real traction. But we assumed his star would fade. Then he started winning primaries – by massive margins. We downplayed it. Then he made one gaffe after another – insulting John McCain’s military service, hurling a menstruation jab at Megyn Kelly, calling Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals,” promising to ban all Muslims from entering the country. He even vicariously called Ted Cruz a “pussy.”

None of it mattered. Trump is now on track to receive the most primary votes in the history of the Republican Party. Let that sink in for a moment.

The political class is experiencing a collective cognitive dissonance: We just can’t quite believe this is happening. And yet it is happening – right now, in front of our faces. Barring something extraordinary, Trump will be the Republican nominee. Will he win the general election? Probably not. But he absolutely could win, and willing ourselves to ignorance won’t make it any less likely.

.....(snip).....

The truth is that Trump is far more popular than we’d like to believe. A recent NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, for example, showed that Trump reached 50 percent approval among Republicans and Republican-leaners nationally for the first time since the poll started tracking in late December. He’s trending upwards, in other words.

As for this claim that there aren’t enough “xenophobic, angry white” people to elect Trump, well, that’s not so clear either. This is likely the case, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it. Take Trump’s outrageous comments about banning Muslims. Such an obscene and unconstitutional position ought to sink his campaign. However, as Byron York noted this week, take a look at the exit polls from recent Republican primaries. Voters aren’t just sympathetic to Trump’s proposal – they support it overwhelmingly. 69 percent of GOP voters in Pennsylvania said they agree with Trump. The number was 68 percent in New York; 69 percent in Wisconsin; 64 percent in Florida; 68 percent in Georgia; 65 percent in Ohio; and 65 percent in New Hampshire. These numbers will be significantly lower in a general election, but they’re high enough to dim the excitement of anyone who thinks Trump’s xenophobia is a deal-breaker. ......................(more)

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/29/donald_trump_can_actually_beat_hillary_in_november_stubborn_pundits_still_refuse_to_accept_it/




iSad: Nobody wants to buy tablets anymore


(MarketWatch) There’s only one thing helping the tablet market right now—keyboards—and even that is not enough to stave off a decline in tablet sales as consumers grow increasingly uninterested in the devices.

Worldwide shipments of tablets fell another 15% during the first quarter as “overall disinterest” in the product category reached record highs, according to analysts at industry tracker IDC.

Apple Inc. AAPL, -1.15% sold the most tablets of any other company during the quarter, giving it a 26% market share. However, that is a decline from a 27% share last quarter as iPad sales plunged 18%, according to IDC. ............(more)

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/isad-nobody-wants-to-buy-tablets-anymore-2016-04-29




Freddie Mac may need another taxpayer bailout next week


(MarketWatch) Freddie Mac is expected to report a loss when it announces first-quarter earnings before the bell on Tuesday. That’s bad news for any public company, but especially critical for the mortgage provider because of its tangled history with the federal government.

Freddie and its counterpart, Fannie Mae were put into conservatorship in 2008 as the mortgage meltdown ensnared the financial system. They have lingered as wards of the state ever since. The Treasury Department modified the deal in 2012, requiring Fannie and Freddie to send all quarterly profits to the government — and shrink their reserves to zero by 2018.

As Mel Watt, the chairman of Fannie and Freddie’s regulator, put it in a speech in February, Fannie and Freddie are quickly approaching the point where they won’t be able to weather quarterly losses without going back to the Treasury for taxpayer dollars.

There are many reasons Freddie and Fannie could lose money in any given quarter, Watt noted, including the fact that the enterprises now stand to make less income on the portfolios they’re required to shrink. What many analysts are watching for this time, though, is the use of interest-rate derivatives. ..............(more)

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/freddie-mac-may-need-another-taxpayer-bailout-next-week-2016-04-29




Why this Economy Feels Even Lousier than the Lousy GDP Print: Your Slice of the Economic Pie......


Why this Economy Feels Even Lousier than the Lousy GDP Print: Your Slice of the Economic Pie is Shrinking
by Wolf Richter • April 29, 2016


[font color="blue"]But the numbers are hushed up.[/font]

The meme that 14 million jobs have been created since the Great Recession is constantly held up as proof that the labor market has healed, or has practically healed, even if there are a few soft spots left over – such as the pandemic lousiness of the jobs that have been created.

In official circles, the sound of folks patting themselves on the back is deafening. But for many working-age Americans, who have to compete with each other in the labor market, reality is tough.

Turns out, the US population, currently at 323.2 million, has grown by 16.5 million people since the Great Recession. Which is exactly why the unemployment problem has become so intractable: job growth has been less than population growth!

While slow economic growth might look OK-ish on paper overall, but in a country with significant population growth, it’s toxic on a per-capita level – and that per-capita level isn’t theoretical. It’s what people actually experience.

That scenario just played out with the Advance Estimate for first-quarter GDP, released on Thursday. Economic growth compared to the prior quarter was a miserably small 0.5% annualized, which means if the rest of the year is like this, total economic growth for the year will be 0.5%.

These numbers are adjusted for a version of inflation. One tiny understatement of inflation, purposefully or by statistical accident, would drive this “real” economic growth into the negative, meaning economic shrinkage. That’s bad enough.

But on a per-capita basis it’s even worse. ........................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/29/per-capita-gdp-falls-in-first-quarter-why-economy-feels-lousier-than-gdp/




The Hong Kong Housing Bubble Implodes


The Hong Kong Housing Bubble Implodes
by Wolf Richter • April 29, 2016


[font color="blue"]Everything suddenly goes the wrong way.[/font]

As in so many housing bubbles, soaring apartment prices feed epic high-rise construction booms with the promise of big profits backed by easy money. Years can pass between initial plan and completion, and now the fruits of Hong Kong’s epic construction boom are hitting the market just when prices are crashing and sales collapsing.

In the first quarter, the number of housing units under construction set a new frenetic record: 13,300, the South China Morning Post reported, citing the Transport and Housing Bureau. By comparison, in all of last year, 14,200 homes were under construction. In 2015, 11,300 new homes were completed. This year, the number will jump 61% to 18,200! Over the next three to four years, 92,000 new homes will hit the market.

And this is happening just as home sales are plunging. According to the Rating and Valuation Department’s April Property Review, sales for January and February – the most recent months included – plunged 69% from a year ago to 3,852 homes. February’s 1,807 home sales was a 25-year low.

Prices have already taken a hit. After peaking in September last year, they’ve fallen every month since, including in March, when they fell 1.3% from February, according to the Rating and Valuation Department. Over those six months, home prices have plunged 11.7%.

And there’s more gloom on the way. The SCMP: “An increasing number of property analysts expect home prices to fall in the next two years, with Nomura predicting they will fall by a further 19% by the second quarter of next year.” ................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/29/the-hong-kong-housing-bubble-implodes/




Professor Richard Wolff on Worker Coops: Theory and Practice of 21st Century Socialism





Professor Richard Wolff on the Panama Papers






TYT: TSA Catches More Whistleblowers Than Terrorists




Published on Apr 29, 2016

Obviously we rely on the TSA to protect us at airports. With most tests showing a 95% fail rate of finding weapons and contraband, they haven't been doing a good job. Now we're finding out that the agency is developing a troubling culture of looking the other way at security threats, waste, fraud and abuse.



Why this Economy Feels Even Lousier than the Lousy GDP Print: Your Slice of the Economic Pie......


Why this Economy Feels Even Lousier than the Lousy GDP Print: Your Slice of the Economic Pie is Shrinking
by Wolf Richter • April 29, 2016


[font color="blue"]But the numbers are hushed up.[/font]

The meme that 14 million jobs have been created since the Great Recession is constantly held up as proof that the labor market has healed, or has practically healed, even if there are a few soft spots left over – such as the pandemic lousiness of the jobs that have been created.

In official circles, the sound of folks patting themselves on the back is deafening. But for many working-age Americans, who have to compete with each other in the labor market, reality is tough.

Turns out, the US population, currently at 323.2 million, has grown by 16.5 million people since the Great Recession. Which is exactly why the unemployment problem has become so intractable: job growth has been less than population growth!

While slow economic growth might look OK-ish on paper overall, but in a country with significant population growth, it’s toxic on a per-capita level – and that per-capita level isn’t theoretical. It’s what people actually experience.

That scenario just played out with the Advance Estimate for first-quarter GDP, released on Thursday. Economic growth compared to the prior quarter was a miserably small 0.5% annualized, which means if the rest of the year is like this, total economic growth for the year will be 0.5%.

These numbers are adjusted for a version of inflation. One tiny understatement of inflation, purposefully or by statistical accident, would drive this “real” economic growth into the negative, meaning economic shrinkage. That’s bad enough.

But on a per-capita basis it’s even worse. ........................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/29/per-capita-gdp-falls-in-first-quarter-why-economy-feels-lousier-than-gdp/




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