Another shareholder wanted to know why, if a $2 billion loss [by JPMorgan Chase Bank] is digestible, the bank cannot then reduce lending burdens and help get this economy rolling again.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
- "A huge percent of gay men in school grounds molest boys, partly because they don't have AIDS yet."
"Whitney Houston was found without clothes in a bathtub. Every corpse found without clothes has a partner who did away with them."
"P-E-N-I-S goes into the anus to rupture intestines. The more a man does this, the more likely he'll be a fatality or a homicider."
You get the drift. We all had a good laugh. We all might want to rethink that laugh:
[Jane] Svoboda lives at an assisted-living facility in Lincoln and is listed as a protected person, according to court documents. Her brother, Patrick Svoboda of Ogallala, is her conservator because she is incompetent, the documents say.
He was unaware of the video's popularity, but wasn't surprised -- he knew it would be a matter of time before she got in trouble somewhere.
He said he's disappointed the video garnered such attention and jokes without the whole story.
"To me, it shows how little society really cares about people with mental health issues," Patrick Svoboda said. "She does have a very tender heart ... but anything she says is certifiably schizophrenic ... she's not some crazy conservative."
Apparently, she speaks in front of the council regularly at their open mic sessions, which allow anyone of the general public to speak for up to five minutes on any topic. And believe it or not, this might not be the most outlandish speech she's ever given. She's talked about "Chinese subliminals," radio signals sent through our cell phones, brought a large stick figure and said it was the ghost of her mom and regularly hands out fliers on the U Nebraska campus.
I empathize with her brother and his comments, to be sure, and see his point. I have a mentally challenged brother and my mom was, well, possibly less than stable. And I've spent tens of thousands of dollars in therapy to come to grips with my own....shall we say, unique?...mental and emotional challenges. I don't think I'm normal in the way most people would define that term, but then I don't think there is a normal anymore.
But here's the thing: in her speech, she sounds perfect rational and reasonable for a right-wing conservative. She may not honestly believe what she's saying...indeed, it's possible she picked up these thoughts along the way and is merely echoing what she's learned and not what she believes, as a parrot would...but it's such a convincing performance that we all took her as being not unusual for that sector of society.
That says a lot more about that sector than it does about this woman. Still, we probably all should take a look in the mirror tonight.
iMore reports that Google may make four times the ad revenue off of their use in iOS than they do from their own Android platform. Apple wants to change that. Apple has already begun intermediating search queries though Siri, effectively cutting Google out of the valuable identity information associated with those searches. Next up is that other large data components on iOS, maps.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
According to a new AP-CNBC poll, 57 percent of Facebook users say they never click ads or other sponsored content when they use the site, with another 26 percent saying they hardly ever engage in such activity.
While the company makes money, in part, simply by displaying sponsored content, user clicks are a critical part of an advertiser’s calculus when gauging how effective those ads are and how much they’re willing to pay for them. In the first quarter, Facebook generated 82 percent of its $1.06 billion in revenue from advertising sales. In the company’s online IPO pitch to retail investors, CFO David Ebersman says the company is working to make ads “more relevant, more social, and more engaging” as it looks to grow.
And while Facebook has been able to decrease its reliance on sponsored content (down from 98 percent of sales in 2009), the hopes of expanding the company’s e-commerce footprint also faces public resistance, the poll shows. A majority of participants (54 percent) said they wouldn’t feel safe using the platform for financial transactions like purchasing goods or services. Only 8 percent said they would feel extremely or very safe in doing so.
This does not bode well for the long-term future of the company as a public entity. For my part, I'll occasionally click ads to investigate a product more, but I can't remember the last time I've actually bought something off that first click-through.
And "liking pages" allows me to enter contests and keep informed on a particular entity or activity, but usually I find those items in my newsfeed as opposed to clicking over.
There may, in fact, be too much stuff in my newsfeed for me to keep tabs on everything I want to. I don't really need to read the latest Farmville news from friend A, yet the ability to opt out is more work sometimes than its worth. It ought to be an opt-in policy (e.g. if I sign up for Farmville, I ought to be asked if I want to see my friends' activity there, rather than have to go back to my settings to opt out.)
What you'll end up with is a fad: a huge, lasting fad, but a fad nonetheless, with little opportunity to expand beyond its current capacities or abilities. People will get bored.
I think Facebook has plateaued, although that plateau could last a long time. There are some 900 million users and seven billion people on the planet. There's room for growth there.
Zuckerberg probably waited a year, maybe two, too long to issue an IPO. He'll make a boatload of money but the funds to invest in some kind of expansion into some new territory were needed last year: Facebook could have, for instance, partnered with Google to develop a true competitor to the iPad and promised an huge user base with its audience. It would also have prevented Google+ from getting underway-- which has been underwhelming anyway-- and given Facebook a genuine e-commerce stream.
As it was, they took forever to come out with an app for the iPad which is basically just the Safari browser with the Facebook logo slapped on and a pretty shoddy app at that (again, you have to opt out of things like location services and chat.)
My suspicion is that Facebook is a one-trick pony, and that the IPO is a recognition that they've done about all they can with it, and it's time to cash in their chips.
Monday, May 14, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is casting Mitt Romney as a greedy, job-killing corporate titan with little concern for the working class in a new, multi-pronged effort that seeks to undermine the central rationale for his Republican rival's candidacy: his business credentials.
At the center of the push — the president's most forceful attempt yet to sully Romney before the November election — is a biting new TV ad airing Monday that recounts through interviews with former workers the restructuring, and ultimate demise, of a Kansas City, Mo., steel mill under the Republican's private equity firm.
"They made as much money off of it as they could. And they closed it down," says Joe Soptic, a steelworker for 30 years. Jack Cobb, who also worked in the industry for three decades, adds: "It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us."
The ad, at the unusual length of 2 minutes, will run in five battleground states: Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado. The campaign declined to describe the size of the ad buy though it's in the middle of running a $25 million, month-long ad campaign in nine states. A longer version of the ad was being posted online Monday.
What President Obama can do that numbers don't is put a human face on the suffering that Romney and Bain Capital created. Following a decade of weak job growth since the dotcom bubble burst, Obama can neatly tie vulture capitalists to the job insecurity that plagues the United States working classes.
It's this simple: there once was a mutual loyalty betwixt an employer and an employee: it was for life, or at least as much of life as could possibly exist. Spending 25, 30, 40 or even 50 years working for the same company was not unusual, and neither were retirement parties where the worker's longevity was celebrated with a gold watch and a nice pension.
Factories didn't shut down and jobs didn't move to China. People belonged to unions which protected them from this kind of economic servitude, a job that was constantly under threat. People were fired only for cause and not because they were caught up in a market contraction.
In return, people put in a 40 hour week and if there was more work than could be done in that time, another hand was hired, because it was cheaper than paying double overtime.
Quality products were manufactured. We made things that were inexpensive but not cheap.
You could point to any number of things that contributed to the loss of these opportunities: automation, the expansion of the workforce over the decades, the exploitation of economic inefficiencies, or most likely, the combination of all three.
Worse, if Bain and Romney didn't do it, someone else would have, and in a heartbeat. Thing is, none of them is running for President, and if we want to send a message, if the electorate really wants to show its frustration at people who skim the cream of profits off a company before making it deal with less than 80% of its income in order to manage its future, this is that chance.
No one in America...well, very few of us...want to deny anyone the opportunity to make money, even to make as much money as they can. There are limits, however, something a radical capitalist would turn blue in the face trying to deny.
Taking capitalism to its extremes, we would find the most efficient organizations would make nothing and earn as pure a profit as they can.
We call those "investment banks." And in truth, this is where capitalism and democracy have their toughest battles, for democracy is about equal opportunity and the corporatocracy is about protecting opportunity for those who already have it.
And ain't that the story of America in a nutshell? From the Revolutionary War, where only wealthy land-owners had a say in governance, through the civil rights movement, which finally broke two hundred year old ceilings on opportunities, and to today, where the corporatocracy is reforming in bribery and graft-like political activism, America has paid lip service to equality in favor of restoring an aristocratic rule.
That has to change for this nation to have any chance to survive. If President Obama can make this case, that change is inevitable and that we must be that change we seek (and not just sloganeer it, as seemed to be the case in 2008) then we can start down the road of altering our futures for the better.
I do not envy those who are just leaving the cocoon of family and school and staking their claims to the world. You have a lifetime of hard work ahead of you, and if you've been smart, you've paid attention to the news and to events around you.
The one gift that President Obama may have given this nation that may be beyond measure was the activation of the political instincts of an entire generation of kids who might merely have grown into unintentionally ironic hipsters, poised merely to comment and not commence.