12.20.2014

Obama's Hypocrisy on "The Interview" (contrast with the "Innocence of Muslims")





President Obama Condemns Both ‘Disgusting’ Anti-Islam Video And ‘Mindless’ Violence Before The U.N.

Excerpt:


During his speech before the United Nations on Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama eulogized the murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, reiterated American values of freedom and tolerance, and condemned both the “crude” Innocence of Muslims video
Court Reconsiders Anti-Muslim Film on YouTube

Excerpt:


President Barack Obama [called on YouTube] to pull the video

Image sources: Muslim film screen snap from the WSJ ... The Interview from WIKI.

Comments:

  • One film was poorly produced at a low cost and would have quickly fallen into oblivion had it not been blamed for the 2012 Benghazi attack
  • The other film was professionally produced at significant cost and really did offend a foreign leader. 
  • Obama wanted one banned and was successful
  • The other was pulled and Obama wanted it distributed. 

Others have noticed this as well: Pardon me, Mr. President, but your First Amendment hypocrisy is showing

12.17.2014

Finding Elizabeth Gallagher



Canadian man finds woman with ex-girlfriend's name for free trip around the world

Excerpt:

A Toronto man who made headlines last month by offering a free round-the-world air ticket to a woman with the same name as his ex-girlfriend has found Ms. Right. Jordan Axani, 28, and his then girlfriend, named Elizabeth Gallagher, booked heavily discounted round-the-world air tickets in May, but their relationship ended and he didn't want her ticket to go to waste. The ticket had a strict no-transfer policy, but since passport information was not required when booking, it can be used by any Canadian named Elizabeth Gallagher. Axani posted his offer last month on the popular Reddit social media website, and received thousands of emails, including 18 from actual Elizabeth Gallaghers with Canadian passports. He's now chosen his travel mate, Elizabeth Quinn Gallagher, a 23-year-old student and part-time office administrator from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. "It's strictly a platonic trip. It's going to be great," Axani said. At first the new Elizabeth Gallagher thought a trip with a stranger whose ex-girlfriend's name is the same as hers was "crazy" but she hit it off with Axani after talking on the phone with him for hours. "It definitely did seem a little bit creepy at the beginning but now that I talked to him it's less creepy and more awesome," she said.
Comment: Image capture from Yahoo Travel. More from Canadian News

McSally (R) Wins Arizona's 2nd Congressional District - by a margin of 167 votes



UPDATE: McSally Wins Congressional Seat, Recount Confirms

Excerpt:

Republican Martha McSally won the seat in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District, the recount confirmed Wednesday. It was the last congressional race to be decided in the country. McSally beat one-term Democratic incumbent Ron Barber by 167 votes in a contest declared final 43 days after the election. That is six votes more than the margin McSally held when the vote count was completed originally. McSally and Barber were scheduled to give interviews to reporters later Wednesday. McSally released a statement calling for healing in the district over the closeness of the race and praising Barber for his work. "There's no getting around that this was an incredibly close and hard-fought race," McSally's statement said. "After what's been a long campaign season, it's time to come together and heal our community. That's why my focus will be on what unites us, not what divides us, such as providing better economic opportunity for our families and ensuring our country and community are kept safe." She thanked Barber "for his service over many years to Southern Arizona. I'll be seeking his input to continue strong constituent services and help ensure a smooth transition." In his own statement, Barber congratulated McSally and promised to work for a smooth transition. "Today I congratulated Martha McSally on her victory, and wished her well in serving Southern Arizonans," Barber's statement said. "This result is not the one we hoped for, but we take solace in having spoken out loud and clear for the principle that every legal vote should be counted." That was an apparent reference to Barber's legal team seeking, unsuccessfully, to have about 133 disqualified votes counted. His statement of concession indicated he won't pursue further legal challenges to the outcome. The race went to a recount because the margin between the two candidates following the Dec. 1 certification and canvass was fewer than 200 votes. Secretary of State Ken Bennett, whose office supervised the recount in Pima and Cochise counties, announced the results on his Twitter account at 10:07 a.m. Wednesday. McSally's victory gives Republicans 247 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, to 188 for Democrats. That is the largest number of seats held by one party in Congress since 1928, the National Republican Congressional Committee said in a statement.
Comment: See previous post. Sharp cookie .... see Wiki article.
Martha McSally (born March 22, 1966) is a retired United States Air Force Colonel. She was the first American woman to fly in combat since the 1991 lifting of the prohibition of women in combat, flying the A-10 over Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Southern Watch. She is the first woman to command a USAF fighter squadron, the 354th Fighter Squadron (354 FS) based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Living at the 45th parallel north





45th parallel: Just two markers make note of this Minneapolis distinction

Comment: My wife was born (at home mind you!) at the 45th parallel north (Google Maps image of her birth home in Mattoon WI) and we now live at the 45th parallel north in Plymouth (screen shot of my IPhone Compass with the Longitude boxed out in yellow)

Excerpt:


Here is a somewhat dubious superlative for the city of Minneapolis, suitable for any boostering or anecdotal purposes: It is the largest city in North America to be located exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, right on the 45th parallel. Minneapolis (population 400,700, despite what the signs on the freeway say) would be the largest such city in the world, but unfortunately, there are two Eurasian cities with larger populations also crossed by the line. The 45th parallel runs near a commemorative obelisk in the Piazza Statuo in Turin, Italy (population 908,551), and then through an industrial park on the very southernmost tip of the Russian city of Krasnodar (population 744,995). But biggest in North America’s not bad. The 45th parallel is the imaginary circle of latitude bisecting the Northern Hemisphere, 45 degrees north of the Equator and another 45 degrees from the North Pole. In the Twin Cities, the 45th parallel runs through the western suburbs, over Medicine Lake, then through Golden Valley and North Minneapolis, running just a few yards south of 21st Avenue North. It crosses the Mississippi into Northeast Minneapolis, almost exactly halfway between 12th and 13th Avenues Northeast, then Roseville, Lake Elmo, and finally across the St. Croix into Wisconsin and points east – Michigan, Vermont, France, Croatia, the Crimea, Inner Mongolia, Hokkaido in northern Japan, the Kuril Islands, Oregon, the Montana/Wyoming border, and back again through Plymouth.
Comment: Other images from the Wikipedia article.
The 45th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 45 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean. The 45th parallel north is often called the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole, but the true halfway point is actually 16.2 kilometres (10.1 mi) north of the 45th parallel because the Earth is oblate, that is, it bulges at the equator and is flattened at the poles. At this latitude the sun is visible for 15 hours, 37 minutes during the summer solstice and 8 hours, 46 minutes during the winter solstice. The midday sun stands 21.6 degrees above the southern horizon at the December solstice, 68.4 degrees at the June solstice, and exactly 45.0 degrees at the two equinoxes


12.16.2014

Willy Wonka's magical Elevator - Almost



Elevators Set to Take New Direction - ThyssenKrupp Designs System That Uses Less Space, Can Travel Horizontally

Excerpt:

For more than a century, elevators have helped shape skylines around the world largely through the same technology: a car pulled up and down by a cable. A new technology could change that. Manufacturing giant ThyssenKrupp AG is rolling out a cable-free elevator, a technology that—if it works as advertised—would allow multiple cars to run in the same shaft, and to run not just up and down but also diagonally and sideways. While not quite on the level of Willy Wonka’s Great Glass Elevator, such a technology would permit buildings to stretch higher, with less space for elevator shafts, and to expand in new shapes, architects and engineers believe. “I could almost not think of a technology that has the potential to fundamentally change tall buildings like this one,” said Antony Wood, executive director of the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a skyscraper trade group.
Comment: Image source. Or if you prefer the original film ... below


Top Dividend Stocks for 2015



Bank of America's 10 Top S&P 500 Stocks to Buy for 2015

10 Best Dividend Stocks to Own in 10 Sectors in 2015 and Beyond

The 10 Top Rated Dividend Stocks for 2015
The list:

Rush'n for real money



Ruble Drop Sparks Broader Russian Worry - Consumer Fears Over Rising Prices Are Potential Challenge for President Vladimir Putin

Excerpt:

Russian media across the country from St. Petersburg to Siberia reported exchange points running out of foreign currency and jacking up rates. Sberbank , Russia’s state savings bank, and Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest private lender, said they were experiencing a rush for dollars and euros. “The demand is enormous. People are bringing piles, huge piles of cash. It’s madness,” said Kamila Asmalova, a manager at a downtown branch of Sberbank. The branch ran out of foreign currency by 2 p.m., she said. Tatiana Malkova, a receptionist at a Raiffeisen Bank branch in central Moscow, said demand rose dramatically Monday evening as the ruble plunged. The bank ran out of dollars and euros in its ATMs in the morning, but expects a delivery on Wednesday, she said. Midsize Moscow lender Lanta Bank said its foreign counterpart would be unable to send foreign currency Wednesday as aircrafts that transport cash are full.
Comment: Image source. Fallout from both sanctions and the oil glut

She's lost "the new car smell"



People Magazine’s worst selling issue this year? The one with Hillary Clinton on the cover.

Excerpt:

According to a report from AdWeek on Monday, the June 16 issue of People featuring the former first lady and senator was the magazine's worst selling of 2014 with 503,890 copies sold.
Comment: See Hillary Clinton’s ‘new-car smell’ problem

12.15.2014

Blaming the Bushmaster



Sandy Hook Families File Lawsuit Against Gun Manufacturer

Excerpt:

The suit names as defendants Bushmaster Firearms International, which is owned by Remington Outdoor Co.; Camfour, a company that distributes Bushmaster products; and Riverview Gun Sales, a East Windsor, Conn., gun shop that sold the rifle to Ms. Lanza. The lawsuit claims the gunmaker, the firearms distributor, and the store that sold firearm are liable for producing and selling a weapon unfit for civilian use. “There is so much ample evidence of the inability of the civilian world to control these weapons, that is no longer reasonable to entrust them to for that purpose,” Joshua Koskoff, an attorney representing the families, said in an interview. “How many massacres do there have to be before that is realized?”

... The federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, signed into law in 2005, shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits. The basis for the Newtown suit stems from one exception under the law, so-called negligent entrustment lawsuits. Under such actions, one party can be held liable for entrusting a product to another party who then causes harm to a third-party.

... Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an association that represents the firearms industry, said the lawsuit was without merit. “It’s exactly the kind of lawsuit the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was designed to stop,” Mr. Keane said. Mr. Keane also rejected the idea that the rifle was unfit for civilian use. “Millions of people own them and do use them every day for lawful purposes,” he said. Dennis Henigan, former director of the Legal Action Project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the lawsuit would test the limits of the negligent-entrustment legal theory. “The issue in this case will be whether courts are willing to construe the doctrine of negligent entrustment so broadly as to encompass a theory of liability that is based on the sale of a particular gun to the general public instead of to a potentially particular dangerous individual,” Mr. Henigan said.
Comment: In my view without merit!  Image source

Big Oil: A Safe Investment?



Oil Selloff: Integrated Majors as Flight to Safety

Excerpt:

Thanks to their integrated structures, companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX), BP plc (BP), Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A), TOTAL S.A. (TOT) are able to withstand plunging oil prices and still protect their top and bottom lines on downstream strength. With the refining unit of these conglomerates being buyers of crude – whose price is in a freefall – their profitability improves due to a fall in the input cost. The companies’ financial flexibility and strong balance sheet are real assets in this highly-uncertain period for the economy. Most of them remain in excellent financial health, with ample cash on hand and investment-grade credit ratings with a manageable debt-to-capitalization ratio. On top of this, managements have established quite a track record of conservative capital management and cash returns to shareholders. They also pay a growing and safe dividend, yielding attractive returns. In terms of assets, the integrated players own a strong and diversified portfolio of global energy businesses that offer attractive long-term growth opportunities. Their strong inventory of development projects and increased capital expenditures should help volume growth in the long run
Comment: Image source. Also consider: How Cheap Oil Complicates Investing - While Retail Stocks Benefit, Others Take It on the Chin

12.08.2014

Minneapolis Real Estate Heavyweights



Fazendin Realtors, state's largest independent firm, passes to new generation

Excerpt:

The Twin Cities, however, is dominated by two firms, Coldwell Banker Burnet and Edina Realty, that were once family-run but now are affiliates of national firms. Edina Realty, for example, was founded by Emma Rovick, a housewife from south Minneapolis who started selling real estate to help raise money to buy her daughter a piano. The company is now an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America. Together, those two companies closed nearly 50,000 transaction sides (the listing and selling sides of a home sale) last year, according to Real Trends, a national real estate trends firm. The next biggest is ReMax Results, which had 16,165 transaction sides. Fazendin doesn’t report its transaction volume. Steve Murray, editor of Real Trends, said that Fazendin is one of only a few companies that have been owned and managed by the same family for three generations. Among all U.S. small businesses, fewer than 3 percent of them make it to the third generation.
Comment: We bought through Counselor Realty almost 19 years ago. We have been working with Ray Klotz of Edina Realty. Other realtor sites mentioned: Fazendin Realtors, Coldwell Banker Burnet, and ReMax Results . Our "go to" site for researching real estate is Edina. Image above is screen snip from website.

"Calling it #EatenAlive is like having a show on the Food Network about cooking a turkey and all they do after 2 hours is preheat the oven"



Eaten Alive Viewers Outraged Man Wasn’t Actually Eaten Alive

Excerpt:

Apparently the only thing worse than promising a man will be eaten alive by an anaconda is for a man to not be eaten alive by an anaconda. Many viewers felt Discovery had pledged adventurer Paul Rosolie would be utterly consumed by an anaconda on his special Sunday night. After all, the show was called Eaten Alive and its official programming guide description told viewers that a man “enters the belly of an anaconda.” What viewers eventually saw during the two-hour special was a large anaconda attack Rosolie, coil around him, then start to eat his helmet. That’s when Rosolie had to call in his team to rescue him, saying his arm was being crushed. “I started to feel the blood drain out of my hand and I felt the bone flex, and when I got to the point where I felt like it was going to snap I had to tap out,” he said.
Comment: Image source | More

The Financial Rise and Fall of Former NBA star Antoine Walker



Former NBA star Antoine Walker: Life after losing $110 million

Excerpt:

Former NBA player, Antoine Walker, 38, earned over $110 million throughout his NBA career, more than four times the average player in the league. All that money, though, didn’t stop this All-Star from going broke. Walker’s financial problems began his first year in the league as a 19-year-old rookie with the Boston Celtics in 1996. Although he had a financial advisor help him establish a plan for his long-term finances, Walker had other ideas about what he wanted to do with his newfound wealth. “Through my young arrogance, being ignorant to a degree and being stubborn and wanting to do my own thing with my money, I went against a lot of his wishes,” Walker told Yahoo Finance.

... He quickly acquired a taste for the finer things and upgraded his entire family to live in multi-million dollar homes that he built from the ground up. His driveways were filled with four to five luxury cars -- from Bentleys and BMWs, to his prized $350,000 Maybach. And as one of the most fashionable ballers, Walker never wore the same designer suit twice. His generosity extended beyond his family to his many friends and acquaintances. From lavish all-expenses-paid trips to luxury gifts for his friends, Walker made sure everyone in his circle enjoyed the lifestyle he led. With his fellow NBA players, Walker gambled extensively – losing $646,900 in just two years. Even as his spending spiraled out of control, Walker had a plan to put his income to work and bought more than 140 properties along the South Side of Chicago. Whether it was land to build on or commercial and income properties, Walker had a full-range of real estate investments meant to maintain the lifestyle he had built for his family after retiring from the league. With the housing bubble and bust, Walker found himself defaulting on loans where he was the personal guarantor, losing value on land, and failed to get a handle on the legal issues that followed.
Comment: Image source  See also GONE IN AN INSTANT: THE ANTOINE WALKER STORY

The Nine Most Terrifying Words

The Department of Social Justice - Federal officials lectured Ferguson residents about “white privilege.” 

Excerpt:


As investigators combed through Ferguson, DOJ’s Community Relations Service began holding the town-hall meetings, which excluded press and everyone from out of town. Ferguson resident Audrey Watson, 47, attended one of the meetings. She says federal officials organized the attendees into small groups and asked questions such as “What stereotypes exist in our community?” “How does white privilege impact race relations in our community?” and “Is there a need for personal commitment to race relations?” Hundreds of people attended the fall meetings, including Ferguson mayor James Knowles III, who says many people at the initial meetings were angry and screaming. Knowles says the Community Relations Service officials told him they had previously responded to Trayvon Martin’s death in Sanford, Fla., and that they were there to help. During the meetings, he says, the DOJ officials talked about underlying racism that people may not perceive, and the issue of white privilege. “I mean, I think it was really just trying to get people to understand what that [white privilege] means, because the average white person wakes up and says, if you’re just a middle-class white person, you say, What privilege do I have?” Knowles says. “But until you really understand the systemic issues and maybe some of those not-visible things that exist in society, which affect African Americans or other persons of color, you may not really understand what that is.”
Comment: Prophetic words from Reagan!

12.07.2014

Why Timken split



Timken Bows to Activist Investors, and Splits in Two
Excerpt:

Crunching reams of data in search of undervalued stocks, analysts at Relational Investors, a firm that manages $6 billion mostly on behalf of pension funds, happened upon a Canton company called Timken, which was in the unglamorous business of making steel and bearings. Controlled by the Timken family for more than a century, the company looked cheap compared with its industrial peers, at least according to Relational’s analysis. A few more calculations suggested that Timken’s shares might fetch more if the company were split in two. Throughout the summer and fall of 2012, Relational’s traders in San Diego quietly accumulated shares, and by November, the firm owned nearly 6 percent of Timken. Relational is not a typical buy-and-hold shop. On Wall Street, it is what’s known as an activist investor, one of a number of increasingly powerful firms that acquire big stakes in companies and pressure executives to make changes to “unlock value” and drive share prices higher. After focusing on smaller companies with dysfunctional management and languishing shares, activist investors are now taking on some of the most prominent — and successful — giants, including DuPont, Amgen, Procter & Gamble, eBay, and even Apple, the single most valuable American company. As a result, they’ve become something of a boogeyman in corporate boardrooms, pushing for bigger buybacks, fatter dividends and sometimes new chief executives. In the case of Timken, the activists demanded the breakup of the company. And last summer, after a contentious public fight and a shareholder vote, Timken relented, splitting itself into two companies, one focused on bearings, the other on steel.
Comment: Image ... the Timken Four Aces. Quotes: TKR and TMST





Arizona's 2nd Congressional District - the final seat to be decided



One race still must be decided.
Excerpt:


In a Democratic-held district in the Tucson, Arizona-area, an automatic recount will determine whether Rep. Ron Barber keeps his seat or Republican challenger Martha McSally prevails. McSally led by fewer than 200 votes. If McSally wins, Republicans would have 247 seats, the largest majority since 1929-31 when the GOP controlled 270 seats in President Herbert Hoover's administration.
Comment: In recount. McNally leads by less than 200  votes. More here and here.