Friday, April 28, 2017

Consumer Problems Revealed by Two Reports

Recently, the brokerage firm Credit Suisse released the results of a study on retail store closures.

According to the report, 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores are set to shutter their doors in 2017.  This is up from 2,056 in 2016 and 5,077 in 2015 with a combined total for the last 3 years being over 15,000 stores.  Many of these stores are anchors that support other in the malls they operate in.  Also, the 8,600 closures this year outpaces 6,163 closure in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession.  CNN, which reported on these stats, concluded that it was Amazon and other online activity that was responsible for the closures.

My problem with CNN's conclusion is that, while it may be true in some cases, it doesn't square with what's happened in the restaurant industry which is also suffering from a loss of business and, logically, would be unaffected by online activity.  As reported by Nation's Restaurant News, year-over-year, same-store sales were down 1.6% and foot-traffic was down 3.4% in March.  This disproportional drop in foot-traffic versus sales implies that low-end restaurants are seeing the greatest losses in foot-traffic.  And, this is worrisome.

The loss of low-end customers coupled with massive retail store closures tells me that consumer activity is weak.  And, if consumer activity continues to wane, we could easily find ourselves in another recession since 70% of measuring economic growth is based on consumer spending.  Then there's this reality.  Store closures mean losses of jobs, and subsequently, losses of even more retail activity and restaurant foot-traffic. Further, restaurant job growth is now negative. Two facts that further point to a potential recession.


Stores are closing at an epic pace:

Q1 restaurant sales performance disappoints despite March improvements:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Where Is Trumps Budget Cutting 'Penny Plan'?

Back in the fall and before the election, Trump was talking about implementing a spending cutting plan called the "Penny Plan".  If implemented, it would, year after year, cut one penny out the budget for every dollar of spending.  An analysis by the Washington Post showed that after a decade of applying this technique, spending would be reduced by 23%.  And, it could either be applied across the board or targeted to specific areas such as the EPA.  The cuts would be gradual and not immediately earth-shattering.

However, after Trump took office, his budget cuts started to appear earth-shattering by aggressively targeting  programs that political conservatives have never really like.  It would immediately cut the EPA by 31%.  The Department of Health and Human Services by 16.2%.  He also would eliminate all spending for things like Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment of the Arts.  It is these program eliminations that have the political left, and some on the right, in an uproar.

Trump is not going to get all the cuts he wants, and, quite frankly, I don't think most Americans will agree with the major changes and program eliminations he has proposed.  The final budget has to be approved by May 15th, and I strongly suspect that the Republican controlled Congress will cave and only moderate reductions will be made.  They want to keep their jobs after the 2018 election.  Congress is always good at creating spending, but never really willing to make cuts because of political consequences.


This chart shows how Trump’s ‘penny plan’ would add up to huge budget cuts:

CNN: Trump's budget would cut off funding entirely for several agencies, including arts, public broadcasting and development groups, and also proposes steep cuts to agencies like the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Interersting Facts From Latest WaPo/ABC Trump Poll

With only a week left before Donald Trump completes his "First 100 Days", the Washington Post/ABC News teams released the results of their last polling on Trump (and, also Hillary).  The lead story appears to be that Trump has the lowest `100-day approval' of any President in modern history.  While the average approval of those "modern" Presidents is 69%, Trump's number is just 42%. Of course, the biggest dig on Trump from these two liberal-leaning news agencies is the fact that Obama had a 69% approval as most of his predecessors did.  I guess, from this, we are supposed to regret that Obama isn't still President.

What isn't talked about in the Washington Post polling story is the fact that if the election was rerun today, Hillary would still lose to Trump: 43% to 40%. Another buried but interesting tidbit is the fact that only 4% of Trump voters regret voting for him, while 15% of Hillary voters regret voting for her. As a result, if the election was rerun, Trump would have won the popular vote.

And, guess what?  The Russians had nothing to do with these polling results!


Nearing 100 days, Trump’s approval at record lows but his base is holding:


Wash Post poll hides: Trump still beats Clinton, 43%-40%:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fear and Loathing of Terrorists in France

Since the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in 2015 that killed 130, France has been in a declared state of emergency.  In December, the French parliament extended it until after the national elections.  Now, with the most recent terrorist attack on the Champs Elysees, just before the election, the Parliament is sure to extend or renew the state of emergency again.

France offers a perfect example of the fact that more Muslims in the country doesn't make life better.  With up to 7 %, they have the largest Muslim population of any country in Western Europe.  Hate crimes against Muslims have soared.  According to Fox News Research, a poll of adults in March of this year said that 71% believe terrorism overshadows all other problems in France.  59% feel they are not safe anywhere in the country. French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has called for the expulsion of anyone who is suspected of terrorism.  I suppose, even if that person is a French citizen?

If this doesn't sound like Donald Trump's take on Muslim refugees and immigration, I don't know what does.  France is in a proverbial pickle when it comes to Muslims.  Even if they still represent a small percentage of the population, the higher the percentage, the greater the chance for attack.  I think that France will ultimately block the entrance of any further Muslim immigrants.  And, I think, other European countries are sure to follow their lead.  We'll see.


French parliament votes to extend state of emergency until after 2017 elections:

Paris shooting: Marine Le Pen calls for all French terror suspects to be expelled after Champs Elysees attack:

March 10-14, 2017 poll of French adults:

Hate crimes against Muslims and Jews soar in France:

Islam in France:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thank God! We Lived To See Another Earth Day!

Last Saturday was Earth Day.  In 1970, when the first Earth Day was held, the doom and gloomers of our scientific community warned of the consequences of treating Mother Earth like crap.  Polluting her waters and air.  Over populating and depleting her great resources.  Of  course many of us ignored the warnings and went about our evil ways.  Evil ways that would lead to the eventual extinction of mankind.  Yet, this year, we still live to celebrate this year's Earth Day.

You see, back in the 1970's, there was no global warming to worry about.  In fact many scientists and climatologists believed that we were headed into an ice age.  Then, there was the depletion of the ozone layer which would cause the sun's intense rays to fry us all to a crisp.  Reflective aluminum garb was predicted to be the all the rage.  With all the plant life fried there would be no food to eat.  All the animals would be dead from intense U.V. ray exposure. So, why would we even need aluminum suits?

Then, there were all the failed specific scientific predictions. As itemized by Mark J. Perry at the American Enterprise Institute, here as some the "real beauts" that made up that first doomed list  for the first Earth Day in 1970:
  • "Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that 'civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.'”
  • "Paul Ehrlich predicted that "between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the 'Great Die-Off.'”  To put this prediction in context, the world population in 1980 was 4.5 billion. 
  • "Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, 'At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.'”
  • "Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, 'By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.''”
  • "Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look [magazine] that, 'Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all  species of living animals will be extinct.'”
This is just a sample of the ridiculous and supposedly real scientific predictions made that year; and I think you get the point.  Earth Day isn't a day of celebration.  It's a day of mass depression for a few thousand alarmists who hate themselves and all the rest of mankind.  Alarmists who see only the worst ahead of us.  What a beautiful place the world would be with humanity! But, this begs the question. If the scientists couldn't  get it right in 1970, how are we supposed to believe them now, as they drone on about the horror of climate change?


April 22, 2017: Happy Earth Day. Enjoy It While You Last:

In the 1970’s, this research led to some interesting observations about the ozone layer and ozone hole of the Earth:

The 1970s Ice Age Myth and Time Magazine Covers – by David Kirtley:

18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Will O'Reilly's Leaving Finally End a Sexist Culture at Fox News?

Having worked at a Fortune 200 company and been involved with numerous acquisitions and one major merger,  the most difficult task in bringing two companies together is dealing with two distinct corporate cultures.  Every company has it's own corporate culture, which usually stems from the personality of its leadership.

Fox News seems no different. The fact that Roger Ailes was forced out only weeks ago for sexual harassment; and, now Bill O'Reilly -- the network's "franchise" -- is forced out for the same reason speaks volumes as to the character and culture of this popular cable station.  Add to this, the fact that a lesser known Fox News personality, Steve Doocy, was also caught up in the sexual harassment story, one can only wonder if this attitude towards women is somewhat pervasive at the network.
The fact that O'Reilly was discharged is a good thing.  It sends a signal that even the network's top personality isn't  protected when sexual harassment is involved.  Thus, if there is a sexist culture alive at Fox News, cold water was just thrown all over it. 

My only problem with this whole sad story is why it took so long to happen.  Apparently, the Murdoch's took a "see no evil, hear no evil" stance while all this was taking place over the years.  For this reason, some fans of Fox News may elect to stop watching the network altogether. Just my opinion.


Fox News Confirms That Bill O'Reilly Won't Return to Air:

6 More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them:

Outfoxed? Gretchen Carlson’s harassment suit against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes seems to catch the network flat-footed:

Fox News employees saw Steve Doocy sexually harass Gretchen Carlson: report:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

In Georgia, Big Money Couldn't Buy Democrat Love

Because Democrat Jon Ossoff didn't get the requisite 50+% of the vote in the special election to replace Republican Tom Price, there will a runoff election in June with Ossoff squared off against Republican Karen Handel for Georgia's vacant 6th District's U.S. Representative.

The media and Democrats thought they really had this one, in what has been a decades long Republican stronghold in the belief that this election would actually be a referendum on President Trump. Outside Democrat money and outside activist volunteers poured into Georgia's 6th District in an attempt to give Ossoff the win.  In fact, Ossoff had raised $8.3 million in campaign funds of which 95% were from sources outside the state to win 92,390 votes.  That's about $90 a vote.  Compare that to Karen Handel's $463,000 campaign for 37,993 votes; or, a little over $12 per vote.

The point here, is that Democrats always think that money and not message is the winning element in any election.  Hillary spent double what Trump spent and still lost.  Then there was the recall election of Governor Walker in Wisconsin in 2012.  Democrats -- mostly from outside sources -- spent an unheard of $81 million in an attempt to oust Walker and failed.  By comparison, the combined Republican and Democrat Wisconsin Gubernatorial campaigns in 2010, that saw Walker become governor, spent a total of just $37.4 million.

The bottom line, is that Democrats aren't winning, and their policies aren't winning over the voters.  Some pundits are already predicting that Karen Handel is likely to win with only herself as the sole Republican in the June runoff instead of competing with this last election's 10 other Republicans.   If Ossoff only repeats his 48.1% vote count, she wins the majority and takes the District.


Georgia Special 6th District Election: Final Voting Results:

Outside Money And Volunteers Pouring Into Georgia Special Election:

Trump spent about half of what Clinton did on his way to the presidency:

Recall Race for Governor Cost $81 Million:

Wisconsin recall breaks record thanks to outside cash:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Could Dems Hang A Recession Around Trump's Neck by 2018?

Thanks to the work of Ben Carlson in 2015 at "A Wealth of Common Sense" (referenced below) we have this extremely interesting graphic:
As you can see, the median time between recessions since 1929 is 4 years and 2 months.  The longest time between recessions is 10 years from 1990 to 1991.

By June, this country will have gone 8 years without a recession. The primary reason for this is that the Federal Reserve has treated those 8 years as if we were in a recession by keeping Fed Funds Rates at historically low levels.  But, in December 2015 the Federal Reserve began raising rates and there is no indication that they won't continue to do so because they're now responding to the growing inflation they're seeing in the economy.

Raising the Fed Funds Rate will have a negative impact by making it more expensive to borrow money.  Credit card debt, car loans, and mortgages will all become more expensive.  The problem  is that the economy isn't that strong and might not be able to support higher interest rates.  The Atlanta Federal Reserve is with the GDPNow estimates that the economy will grow at a meager 0.6% in the first quarter.  Well below consensus estimates, as you can see from this graphic:

What this all means is that we could see another recession before or during the 2018 elections and the Democrats are sure to pounce on this and blame Trump and the Republicans; arguing that Obama never had a recession during both terms;  something that uniformed voters are sure to swallow hook, line, and sinker.


Source of 1st Graphic:

Fed Funds Rate History: Highs, Lows and Chart With Major Events:


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why "The Mother of All Bombs" Wasn't Used Before

When the so-called "Mother of all Bombs" or "MOAB" was unleashed in a remote area of Afghanistan recently, some questioned why it hadn't been used before.  The simple fact is that the MOAB is an obliteration bomb; leveling everything in its blast radius.  Its predecessor was the "Daisy Cutter" that weighed a mere 15,000 pounds compared to the "MOAB" that weighs nearly 22,000.

The "Daisy Cutter" was originally developed for use in Vietnam to clear landing areas for troop transport helicopters as shown in this picture:

Can you imagine what impact that bomb would have on any human within its 5,000 to 5,500 blast area if trees can be obliterated in this fashion?  And, that's the problem.  As a result of the later use of this bomb as part of an intimidation program where, in some cases, civilian populations were maimed and killed,  the Geneva Convention was modified in 1977 to make its use against civilians a war crime.  This along with carpet bombing and all forms of area bombing where there could be concentrations of civilians.

Thus, a bomb like the "MOAB" is restricted to remote areas where civilians can't be harmed to avoid committing war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, to which the U.S. is a signatory.

One last thing. Because the "MOAB" detonates above ground and is not intended to create a cratering of the ground, some question its recent use against ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan, and I agree.  We have massive earthquake bombs that would more easily and effectively cause tunnels to collapse.  We currently have a 30,000 "Massive Ordnance Penetrator" at are disposal for this very purpose.  We also used smaller 5,000 pound earthquake bombs during the first Gulf War to destroy tunnel systems and underground complexes near Baghdad. So, this leads me to think that the real purpose for using the "MOAB" was more about intimidation rather than the destruction of a network of tunnels.


Source of Photo:

THE United States has dropped a Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb – the largest non-nuclear weapon in its arsenal – on an ISIS tunnel target in Afghanistan:

Daisy Cutter:

Carpet Bombing, Obliteration Bombing: Geneva Convention:

Earthquake Bombs:


Monday, April 17, 2017

California's Crazy Energy Policy

Recently, a California District Court of Appeals upheld the State's controversial cap-and-trade program.  A program that is clearly intended to reduce green house gases for electricity production.  Yet, the State keeps approving the building of new power plants, while at the same time, promoting rooftop solar for private homes.   The irony of approving conventional power plants is that the State plans to have half of its electricity production from renewable energy by 2030.

But, here's the real craziness.  California already has too much power.  In fact, in March of last year, solar farms were shutdown because too much power was being put on the electrical grid.  It was electrical overload and it is more than likely to happen again and again.  A study by the L.A. Times found that California will have 21% more power than it needs by 2020.

For a state that is so energy conscious, it would love to single handedly save the planet from global warming, it sure has a strange way of going about it.


California's cap-and-trade program survives a legal battle in a win for Gov. Jerry Brown and environmentalists:

What Will California Do With Too Much Solar?

Californians are paying billions for power they don't need: 

Cap-And-Trade Costs California Businesses $1 billion: 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

California to Boycott Companies That Even Bid on Trump's Wall

Recently, two supervisors for the city of San Francisco introduced legislation that would bar any company from bidding on any city contracts if that company even entered a bid on Trump's wall.  This follows Berkeley which, as noted in the first reference below, "unanimously passed a resolution last week recommending the city divest from any company involved in any aspect of the project, and the Oakland City Council is set to vote on a measure Tuesday barring the city from entering into contracts with companies that work on the wall"  At the same time, the State Assembly has proposed divesting all state pension plans of every company involved with the building of the wall.

What's silly about this, is that Trump will build the wall. Further, it is California companies that may have worked on it and who are going to lose the most business under these legislative activities. Companies who would have probably hired Californians for the job. Companies who won't pay taxes on that lost business.  Further, those pension plans will suffer because a company awarded a contract to work on the wall should see a bump in its stock price. Further, California has the largest population of illegal immigrants at 27% of illegals in the country.  As a result, the taxpayers already have to cough up more than $30 billion a year to support them. This in a state that is now $1.3 trillion in debt and growing.

For sure, it is Democrats pushing this legislative action because Hispanics are an integral part of their voting base.  But, as I have said before, California should not impose its will on the rest of the country.  Illegals across the U.S. cost the taxpayers at least $113 billion a year.  In addition, crimes committed by illegals cost billions of dollars a year. Unless California wants to pay that tab, it should not be dictating its desire to block Trump's wall.


2 SF supes seek to punish companies for bidding on border wall:

U.S.-Mexico border wall fight: California considers divesting from companies involved in the project:

Illegal Immigrants Cost California $30.29 Billion A Year:

California’s Total State and Local Debt Totals $1.3 Trillion:

The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers (2013):

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Oversold Flights in 2016 Resulted in Millions of Removals

The recent incident of a passenger being involuntarily dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago, due to the flight had been oversold, has caused a firestorm.  While it is now being reported that the doctor being forcibly removed was once convicted for abusing his drug license and also had serious anger management issues, this does not excuse why he and 3 other passengers had to be removed in the first place.

Apparently, this overbooking problem is a serious issue within the airline industry.  According to Fox News Research, 16 major airlines in the U.S. removed a total of nearly 660 million passengers due to overbooking in 2016 alone.
To me, and any reasonable person, this is an unbelievable number.  But, what is worse is that nearly 41,000 passengers had to be forcibly removed; hopefully not in the same way that the doctor was removed from that "United" flight.

If there was ever an issue that Congress should get involved in and regulate, this is one of them.  Too many people are being affected by what appears to be an all too common practice in this country.


Doctor dragged off United flight was felon who traded prescription drugs for secret gay sex with his patient and took them himself - and he needed anger management, was 'not forthright' and had control issues, psychiatrist found:

Fox News Research Twitter Account:

Source of Graphic:


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hillary's Misplaced Claims as to Why She Lost

In a recent interview, Hillary Clinton stated that she lost the election because of Comey, Wikileaks, and misogyny.  Yes, that right,  misogyny.  Not because she was simply a bad candidate.

In the case of FBI Director Comey, she need only look inward to find a justification for his investigation into her conducting classified State Department business on a private email server in her home.  Comey was just the messenger who eventually cleared her.  And, many still think she was wrongly cleared of what should have been considered a crime.

Then, there's the Wikileaks dumping of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hacked emails. If she wants to blame anyone, she should blame her own Democratic party.  The DNC was warned months in advance that there could be hacking of that server.  The whole incident could have been minimized if the DNC had acted quickly to block any hacking.  Instead they waited months to do so.

Then, there's this bull about misogyny.   Clearly, she wants the world to believe that she lost because this country is sexist, and she was a victim.  The only problem is that, except for college educated white women, she substantially lost the women's vote.  This conclusion is based on a post election analysis by the website  For example, among white women without a college degree, she only garnered 34% of the vote compared to 62% for Trump.  And, even among college degreed white woman her win margin was only 51% to 45%.

The simple fact is that Hillary lost because she was a bad candidate with the wrong message for America.  To many, she was just another 4-year iteration of the Obama presidency. For myself and others, it was President Obama that created the Trump victory.


Hillary Clinton blames Comey, WikiLeaks and 'misogyny' for 2016 loss:

FBI Chief Jim Comey Clears Hillary Clinton—and Puts Himself in the Crosshairs:

CNN: Sources: US officials warned DNC of hack months before the party acted:

Clinton Couldn’t Win Over White Women:

Why did Hillary Clinton lose? Simple. She ran a bad campaign:

CNN's SE Cupp: Hillary Was 'Singularly Terrible Candidate' For Dems:

And the worst candidate of 2016 was ... Hillary Clinton:

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Sea Change For Retail in America

Last Friday, the March jobs report was released and it was abysmal.  Only 98,000 jobs were created even though the unemployment rate fell to 4.5%. Dragging that job's number down was the fact that 30,000 retail jobs were lost in that month.  Thus, in the last two months, 60,000 workers in retail have been let go.

The reality is that traditional brick-and-mortar stores are dying, while digital commerce takes a bigger and bigger slice of America's spending money.  Payless, the discount shoe company, just filed for bankruptcy protection and is now closing 400 stores.  J. C. Penney's will close 138 stores.  Macy's 68.  Sears and Kmart 150.  And, the list just goes on and on.  In fact, over the last 3 years, thousands of retail stores have been shuttered.

Now, I know I've written about this before in this blog, but 60,000 jobs lost in just two months is rather dramatic.  Many of these jobs were non-college or non-high school degree level work.   Many minimum wage.  These workers already have difficulty finding jobs.  For example, the unemployment rate for people without a high school diploma is 7.4%.  High school but no college is 5.2%.  Compare that to the current overall unemployment rate of 4.5% or the rate of 2.6% for those with a bachelor's degree or higher. 

If this trend continues and accelerates, we are going to have a serious employment problem with possibly a permanent underclass of unemployable low-skilled workers.  Something that I don't think Trump understands when he says he will be the job's President.  Retail purchases on the Internet are a form of job replacing automation and the key to Amazon's success and profitability.  Certainly, this is a sea change that should worry all of us.


March Employment Report:

Today’s Jobs Report Masks a Huge Employment Problem:

60,000 Retail Jobs Lost in Past Two Months, According to Latest Employment Report:

These major retailers are closing nearly 3,000 stores this year:

March 2016: Number of store closures already set to outpace last year:

Friday, April 7, 2017

.European Union Official Threatens to Break Up the United States

Sometimes there are stories that are just completely laughable.

One such story is that the President of European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, says that if Trump continues to urge the break up of the European Union, he will back the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas.  Really?  Ohio, a state, and Austin, a city will secede from the United States?  Obviously, we need to send him a map.

Trump's comments are not going to break up the European Union.  The "Union" has been in serious trouble for years and the exit of the United Kingdom was only the beginning.  I think Jean-Claude Juncker should focus in on why this is happening and what is needed to keep his European Union together.


I'll back Texas independence, EU's Juncker warns Trump:

Trump: Other countries will follow 'smart' UK out of EU:

These countries could be next now that Britain has left the E.U.:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Trump's Treasury Secretary is Dead Wrong on Machines Taking Jobs

In a recent interview, Trump's Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, said he wasn't worried about artificial intelligence taking American jobs.  In his opinion, we are anywhere from 50 to 100 years away from that happening.  Thus, the U.S. treasury shouldn't be affected by the drop in tax revenues that may occur from people's jobs being replaced.

But, he's dead wrong.

We are already seeing jobs replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).  And, have for years.  When you self-checkout at the grocery store, make no mistake, those devices replaced people. Wendy's recently announced that it will install order-taking kiosks at 1,000 stores around the country.   McDonald's is going to do the same with 14,000 stores.  A company called Miso has already perfected an AI robot called "Flippy" that can cook hamburgers, flip them, and then, place them on a bun.

Besides Google's self-driving cars that may replace taxi drivers, Mercedes is currently testing long-haul self-driving trucks that may be ready to hit the roads in 2025.  A company called Knightscope is already selling a fully autonomous robot security guard.  There is also a bricklaying robot called "SAM" that can automatically lay bricks at a cost 7 times cheaper than a human. The list of these human job replacement machines and devices is growing by the day.

The government needs to wake up to that fact before we have too many people in this country out of work, not paying taxes, and instead, needing money from the Treasury to survive.


Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says AI taking US jobs is '50-100 more years' away — but it's already beginning to happen:

Robots Are Slashing U.S. Wages and Worsening Pay Inequality:

Thanks To 'Fight For $15' Minimum Wage, McDonald's Unveils Job-Replacing Self-Service Kiosks Nationwide:

There’s Now a Robot That Can Flip Burgers Fortune Editors Mar 14, 2017:

Wendy’s Is Going to Install Self-Ordering Machines in 1,000 Stores:

The long-haul truck of the future:


Meet SAM, Brick Laying Robot That Does The Work Of 6 Humans:


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Are We Moving Too Fast With Self-Driving Cars?

Recently, Arizona had 12 self-driving cars on their roads.  One of them was involved in what was called a "high speed" crash with the car landing on its side.  On a percentage basis, one accident out of 12 cars is not very good.  Because of that accident, Uber has now been forced to shut down its Arizona program of self-driving cars until further notice.

Yet, researchers, as reported by the "Atlantic" in 2015 (see below), said this:
"Researchers estimate that driverless cars could, by midcentury, reduce traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent. Which means that, using the number of fatalities in 2013 as a baseline, self-driving cars could save 29,447 lives a year. In the United States alone, that's nearly 300,000 fatalities prevented over the course of a decade, and 1.5 million lives saved in a half-century."
Of course, that assumes that the technology is sound.  In fact, in late 2015, "USAToday" ran a story that stated:  "self-driving test cars are involved in crashes at five times the rate of conventional cars."

Google and other companies such as Ford are pushing to put unmanned vehicles on the roads right-now, I personally think the states should slow down a bit and let the technology prove itself with lower accident rates.   As reported by the U.K. Daily Mail, a "leaked" internal report from Uber said that a self-driving Uber vehicles can't drive a mile without human intervention.  Doesn't sound like the technology is quite there, yet! 


Self-driving Uber SUV crashes and flips onto its side after 'high impact' accident in Arizona:

Uber crash raises question: How do self-driving cars deal with the other guys on the road:

Self-Driving Cars Could Save 300,000 Lives Per Decade in America:

Study: Self-driving cars have higher accident rate:

Uber's self-driving cars get into another crash | TechRadar:

Uber Halts Self-Driving Car Fleet After Crash In Arizona:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What Doesn't Make Sense About the Russian Hack

In January, and before Trump was inaugurated, the CIA, FBI, and the NSA issued a joint report on the Russian hacking of the DNC email server and Podesta emails and came to this conclusion:
“Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him."
Putting the words "most likely" aside and the fact that those words imply a weak argument, the statement suggests that Putin was angry at Clinton back in 2011.  Yet, supposedly, the Russians didn't start hacking the DNC server until 4 years later in 2015.  This was followed by the release of those emails a year later during the late election cycle.

What doesn't make sense is that, if Putin truly wanted to damage Hillary Clinton, why wait 4 years to do so?  From everything we know about her private server, there was very little security and loads of information damaging to Hillary Clinton.  Also, it was operational since 2008.  An analysis by the Associated Press said the server was open to "low skilled hackers".  For Russia's first class hackers, Hillary's server would have been a cakewalk.  In addition, the exposure of the classified data in those emails and other State Department related emails would have done far more damage to Hillary Clinton, both politically and personally, than the peripheral data on the DNC server. Also, any one receiving an email had to know it wasn't from the State Department's server because her address was stupidly  A simple domain name search by a trained hacker would have been able to locate that server's IP address and allow it to be hacked.

Personally, I think the CIA, FBI, and NSA's conclusion is flawed and probably political in nature.


U.S. intelligence says Putin wanted to damage Clinton, help Trump:

Revealed: Hillary's private server was open to 'low-skilled-hackers' who could take it over remotely because its 'amateur hour' operators ignored official warnings:

What does the 22 in Hillary Clinton's private email account mean?

Why Clinton’s Private Email Server Was Such a Security Fail:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Biden: Middle Class Sunk Hillary's Campaign?

In a PBS interview, Joe Biden stated that Hillary lost because she didn't "talk" to the middle class.  His actual statement was:
"What happened was that this was the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for -- and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class..."
The problem I have with that statement, is the phrase, "burgeoning middle class" The middle class isn't growing, it is shrinking; and those in the middle class know it. Pew Research found that the middle class has fallen from 62% of our population in 1970 to just 43% in 2014.  And, Democrats still fail to understand that it is their policies that have weakened those in this coveted social class.  For example, when you heavily raise the minimum wage, money is drained away from the middle class to give those at the bottom a larger-than-normal raise.  In another example, the affordability clause of the employer mandate of Obamacare states that when an employer must offer health insurance, it cannot cost any more than 9.56% of an employee's household income.  So again, the middle class is hurt because in order to limit the cost of insurance for low-end workers, other classes of workers, such as the middle class, are forced to pay more for their insurance.

In my opinion, Hillary lost because people in the middle class did not benefit from Democrat governance under Barack Obama.  It wasn't because of "talk".  Talk is cheap.  It is always actions that ultimately matter, not words.


Joe Biden indirectly knocks Clinton's failed campaign:

The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground | Pew Research Center:

ObamaCare Employer Mandate: "Coverage offered to employees must be considered affordable (can’t cost more than 9.56% of employee household income) and must provide minimum value (must have an average cost sharing of 60%). If coverage isn’t affordable employees can use the Marketplace and the employer can be fined"