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Michigan teachers got Right To Work legislation passed six years ago. Teacher's Union membership is no longer mandatory. Guess what. From Michigan's Capital Confidential:

Dues-Paying Membership In Teachers Union Has Collapsed Since Right-To-Work
By December 2013, Michigan’s new right-to-work law had been in effect for nine months.

The Michigan Education Association was collecting dues from 113,147 active members. Its spokesman said the union’s response to the new law was to get the word out to members about what the MEA could do for them.

And the result six years down the road?

Six years later, the MEA’s active, dues-paying membership has fallen to 78,475, down 31%. That is despite the sales pitches and contract extensions.

Under right-to-work, employees in workplaces organized by a union – including people in most government and school jobs – can no longer be compelled to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

“We don’t know what to expect,” the MEA’s Doug Pratt told the Detroit Free Press when the law was enacted in December 2013. “What we can do is continue to explain to our members why membership is of value. Have we had to increase our efforts on that? Sure we have.”

They were not offering anything of perceived value so the customers stopped buying once it was no longer mandatory. Classical example of market forces.

Do not get me wrong - unions very much had their place in the American work force 100 years ago. Workers were being horribly exploited, the idea of picking up and moving to a different city was completely foreign to most people and the wages were not sustainable. The unions helped a lot but they have not kept up with the times.

What is worse is that in some cases, they have negotiated unreasonable benefits and pensions and the employers (State of Illinois - I am looking at you) are unable to fund them.

Aaaand he's out - Boeing CEO

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From Seattle station KOMO:

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to step down immediately
Boeing's CEO is resigning amid ongoing problems at the company over the troubled Max 737 aircraft.

The Chicago manufacturer said Monday that Dennis Muilenburg is stepping down immediately. The board's current chairman David Calhoun will officially take over on January 13.

The board said a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the company as it works to repair relationships with regulators and stakeholders. The Max was grounded worldwide in March after the second of two crashes of its jet, killing a combined total of 346 people.

Good - the 737 was a good airplane until they added a much larger engine and tried to adjust the flight performance in software. Never a good idea. Time for the 737-Max to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Totally free for basic stuff. They get you for processing payments but no more than Square or any of the others. They also charge for payroll but not that much either. Looks really good. Check out Wave Financial

They were started in 2010 and were recently acquired by H&R Block so they are not going anywhere soon. Have to try it out for my blacksmithing business.

In other words - they can not fix it.

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From the Everett Herald:

Boeing to indefinitely suspend 737 Max production in January
The Boeing Co. will indefinitely halt production of the grounded 737 Max in January, a move that will deepen the crisis engulfing the planemaker, complicate its eventual recovery and ripple through the U.S. economy.

Employees at the Renton factory where the Max is built will continue 737-related work or be temporarily reassigned to other programs, the company said in a news release Monday.

The 737 was a decent airplane. Their mistake was trying to graft a much larger engine on it and then to "fix it in the software". Not gonna happen...

Grouchy Old Cripple delivers a fine rant:

OPEC Is In Trouble
Came across this story in the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation.

VIENNA — The countries that make up the OPEC oil-producing cartel ended talks late Thursday without an announcement on possible deep cuts to production that would support the price of fuel around the world.

The price of oil is dropping because there is a glut of oil. Even with the loss of the oil production of the socialist utopia of Venezuela and sanctions against Iran there is still an oversupply of oil.

Hey! Whatever happened to peak oil? Remember that? We were supposed to run out of oil by now. Of course we were also not gonna be able to produce enough food to feed the planet either.

Whenever booger eatin’ moh-rons like Paul Ehrlich speak, ignore them. Same goes for the climate crisis dipshits. It’s all bullshit.

Denny is just getting started... Truth to power

Meet Jim Biden - just as creepy

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Joe's brother is being sued. From the Knoxville, Tennessee Knox News:

FBI probing terroristic threat against McMinnville couple suing Joe Biden's brother
The FBI is investigating the delivery — via the mail — of a terroristic threat to a McMinnville couple who are suing the brother of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Knox News has confirmed.

The threat came in August in a plain white envelope to the McMinnville home of Michael Frey and his wife, Natalie Frey, just days after Knox News publicly revealed their claims of fraud and deception against Biden’s brother, Jim Biden, in a federal lawsuit.

Inside the envelope was what appeared to be blood-stained currency from a Middle Eastern country commonly known as a haven for terror groups and a “torture ticket” — a voucher for the infliction of torture.

The Freys revealed the receipt of the threat in an exclusive interview with Knox News late last month. The U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed this week the threat was under investigation by the FBI. The office and the FBI declined to comment further.

The lawsuit:

The Freys founded Diverse Medical Management and partnered with Dr. Mohannad Azzam to create a blueprint for turning struggling rural hospitals into one-stop shops for physical and mental health services for residents.

The Freys and Azzam say in a lawsuit filed earlier this year in U.S. District Court by attorney Robert Peal that Jim Biden used his brother’s star power to convince them to turn over that blueprint and then stole it — pitching it to Turkish investors as a “white paper” bearing the names of “His and Her Excellency Jim and Sarah Biden" and omitting the names of Frey and Azzam.

A very sordid mess - there is a lot more detail at the site. Jim Biden is an odious man.

Now this is big - oil exports

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From Yahoo / Bloomberg:

U.S. Posts First Month in 70 Years as a Net Petroleum Exporter
The U.S. solidified its status as an energy producer by posting the first full month as a net exporter of crude and petroleum products since government records began in 1949.

The nation exported 89,000 barrels a day more than it imported in September, according to data from the Energy Information Administration Friday. While the U.S. has previously reported net exports on a weekly basis, today’s figures mark a key milestone that few would have predicted just a decade ago, before the onset of the shale boom.

President Donald Trump has touted American energy independence, saying that the nation is moving away from relying on foreign oil. While the net exports show decreasing reliance on imports, the U.S. still continues to buy heavy crude oil from other nations to meet the needs of its refineries. It also buys refined products when they are available for a lower cost from foreign suppliers.

“The U.S. return to being a net exporter serves to remind how the oil industry can deliver surprises -- in this case, the shale oil revolution - that upend global oil prices, production, and trade flows,” said Bob McNally, a former energy adviser to President George W. Bush and president of the consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group.

Thank you President Trump. Unraveling Obama's "legacy" bit by bit.

And the mainstream media will cover this in 3... 2... 1...

...

...

--- crickets ---

President Trump and China

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Trade wars work - from agricultural news site Ag Web:

In a China Win for Trump, U.S. Can Now Ship Rice for First Time
The U.S. can now ship rice to China for the first time ever, signaling a win for President Donald Trump in his efforts to reshape the trade relationship just after talks between the nations broke down Wednesday.

Officials from the nations finalized a protocol to allow for the first-ever American shipments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a statement. China is the world’s biggest rice consumer, importer and producer.

The rice deal comes just a month after China reopened its market to U.S. beef imports for the first time in more than a decade and is the latest in a flurry of trade negotiations between the nations. China is also approving more biotech products and increasing U.S. natural gas imports.

Wrap your brain around this: President Trump just sold rice to China.

Is there nothing that he can not do (except getting the liberals to grow the fsck up).

Another business bails from the PRC

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That would be the People's Republic of California - a real worker's paradise. From retired journalist Don Surber:

Schwab Inc. leaving SF for Texas
Pooping in the street has consequences.

In announcing it will acquire TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab and Co. Inc. announced it will move its headquarters from San Francisco to Dallas/Fort Worth.

The San Francisco business reaction:

The San Francisco Chronicle reported, "Charles Schwab has been headquartered in San Francisco since its founding in 1971, while TD Ameritrade is based in Omaha, Neb.

"'We’re deeply disappointed about it,' said Jay Cheng, public policy director at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. 'We probably will lose significant taxes.'"

Wow has the Chamber of Commerce changed.

It is more worried about the government collecting taxes than companies making money.

Create a business-friendly environment and stand back. Corporations will move there. I really wonder if Boeing is regretting moving from Seattle to Chicago - frying pan/fire. Wonder if they will move to Texas as well...

Follow the money - marijuana sales

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California again...  They legalized it and proceeded to tax the hell out of it. From Sacramento, CA station KCRA

Illegal pot sales outpace legal cannabis in California
California’s marijuana industry is undergoing some severe growing pains -- and it’s much bigger than just licensing permits.

Nearly two years after recreational marijuana became legal in California, the black market is still much bigger than legal sales of marijuana.

At All About Wellness, a Sacramento pot shop, business is thriving. In fact, owner Phil Blurton is planning to expand into a bigger building next month. But, he’s also worried about his illegal competitor who don’t pay taxes.

“Our city license now is $20,000 a year,” Blurton said. “The state license is $96,000. Then we pay 8.75% sales tax to the state."

Blurton said he also pays an additional 4% cannabis tax to the city, on top of an additional 15% tax to the state, “which is making the cost of our product so expensive the black market is booming now.”

It's booming to the tune of $8.7 billion in illegal sales this year. That’s more than double the legal market, according to an industry report released by BDS Analytics.

Yikes - talk about an egregious level of taxation. That is not sustainable for any business unless they jack their prices up to well above "traditional" pot prices. No wonder the "black market" sales are going so well.

It is neither Best nor Buy. Seems that their CEO has gotten hisself WOKE so there goes the company. From Vox Day:

The new climate for business
Is one where business is rapidly shrinking. Best Buy's CEO takes a very converged position on corporate profits:

"The purpose of a company is not to make money," says Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, discussing the need for a re-foundation of capitalism. Purposeful leadership is being clear about your purpose as an individual and how it connects to the purpose of the company where you work.

If you can't see the danger in where this is headed, then you really aren't paying attention. What is the purpose of the company where you work if it isn't to make money?  How long do you anticipate working there without making money yourself? And if the purpose isn't to make money, then why do so many companies nevertheless insist on charging money for their goods and services?

Capitalism doesn't need to be refounded, it is something to which we should return. The modern day financialized corpocracy which funnels most profits to the financial institutions, the government, and the pirate class is simply not capitalism by any measure.

By the way, there is a whole conference devoted to business convergence. Look at the pictures on the linked Twitter account. There is literally zero productive business being discussed there.

Speaking truth to power. 130+ interesting comments - a lot along the line where we should just walk into the local BestBuy and ask for free stuff. To charge money for it would not be purposeful.

The last three years of BBY stock prices are actually pretty decent. We will see what happens:

20191114-bby.gif

From The Seattle Times:

Amazon lost the Seattle City Council elections after a $1 million power play. Will it see a new head tax?
More than a year ago, Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold teared up as she voted to repeal a per-employee tax on high-grossing businesses that would have raised money for homeless housing and services.

“This is not a winnable battle at this time,” Herbold said, referring to a referendum on the so-called head tax bankrolled by Amazon and other large companies. “The opposition has unlimited resources” to spend on turning voters against the tax.

Fast forward to this year’s council elections, and that picture may have changed. An attempt by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to remake the council and ensure policies like the head tax would never return has been soundly rejected by a progressive-minded electorate, despite Amazon pouring nearly $1.5 million into seven district races through the chamber’s no-limit political-action committee (PAC).

Heh - the progressives want to soak the rich and use the money to fund stuff that sounds good and will buy them votes from the low-information voters. Little do they know that elections have consequences and their pet projects may run out of money in a few years. 30 years ago, Boeing was fed up with Seattle's perennial tax-the-rich policies and moved their head office to Chicago. I bet Amazon will have zero problem doing the same thing. Seattle is not holding up its end of the bargain when trying to keep large businesses in the area. Goose that lays Golden Egg sort of thing...

Amazon has already put their toes in the water with New York City but discovered that AOC was just as entitled as Seattle is - they decided against a move and NYC lost a whole bunch of nice jobs.

The economy of Germany is one of the primary drivers for the whole EU economy. Germany's largest bank is experiencing some serious problems.

Started earlier this year - from February 25th, 2019 - CCN News:

Failing Deutsche Bank Lost $1.6 Billion, Conspired to Hide Bond Bet Gone Wrong
Germany’s largest lender Deutsche Bank is in the news again for the wrong reasons. According to the Wall Street Journal, Deutsche Bank lost approximately $1.6 billion over a decade in a bond bet gone awry.

Interestingly, Deutsche Bank has never publicly revealed the loss. This is likely to generate controversy over the bank’s corporate governance structures. As recently as last year the possibility of restating past financial results to reflect the loss was discussed. However, this proposal was shot down.

Fast forward to June 17th, 2019 - Forbes:

Deutsche Bank's Latest Restructuring Plan Fails To Impress
Since the failure of merger talks with Commerzbank, there has been speculation that Deutsche Bank would embark on a major restructuring in the hopes of restoring its fortunes. Now, details are beginning to emerge. According to the Financial Times, the bank’s chief executive, Christian Sewing, plans to create a “bad bank” into which will be placed up to €50bn ($56.18bn) of poorly performing assets, mostly from the troubled U.S. investment bank. The bank also intends to make further deep cuts to its investment bank, and pivot to a new focus on transaction banking and wealth management.

And then there is this - from July 17th - Zero Hedge:

Bank Run: Deutsche Bank Clients Are Pulling $1 Billion A Day
There is a reason James Simons' RenTec is the world's best performing hedge fund - it spots trends (even if they are glaringly obvious) well ahead of almost everyone else, and certainly long before the consensus.

That's what happened with Deutsche Bank, when as we reported two weeks ago, the quant fund pulled its cash from Deutsche Bank as a result of soaring counterparty risk, just days before the full - and to many, devastating - extent of the German lender's historic restructuring was disclosed, and would result in a bank that is radically different from what Deutsche Bank was previously (see "The Deutsche Bank As You Know It Is No More").

In any case, now that RenTec is long gone, and questions about the viability of Deutsche Bank are swirling - yes, it won't be insolvent overnight, but like the world's biggest melting ice cube, there is simply no equity value there any more - everyone else has decided to cut their counterparty risk with the bank with the €45 trillion in derivatives, and according to Bloomberg Deutsche Bank clients, mostly hedge funds, have started a "bank run" which has culminated with about $1 billion per day being pulled from the bank.

As a result of the modern version of this "bank run", where it's not depositors but counterparties that are pulling their liquid exposure from DB on fears another Lehman-style lock up could freeze their funds indefinitely, Deutsche Bank is considering how to transfer some €150 billion ($168 billion) of balances held in it prime-brokerage unit - along with technology and potentially hundreds of staff - to French banking giant BNP Paribas.

And now this from last Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 - Zero Hedge again:

The Deutsche Bank Death Watch Has Taken A Very Interesting Turn
Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,
The biggest bank in Europe is in the process of imploding, and there are persistent rumors that the final collapse could happen sooner rather than later.  Those that follow my work on a regular basis already know that this is a story that I have been following for years.  Deutsche Bank is rapidly bleeding cash, they have been laying off thousands of workers, and the vultures have been circling as company executives desperately try to implement a turnaround plan.  Unfortunately for Deutsche Bank, it may already be too late.  And if Deutsche Bank goes down, it will be even more catastrophic for the global financial system than the collapse of Lehman Brothers was in 2008.  Germany is the glue that is holding the EU together, and so if the bank that is right at the heart of Germany’s financial system collapses, the dominoes will likely start falling very rapidly.

Much more at the site - things are so bad that they cancelled the Christmas party for their retired executives

This bodes poorly for Europe - I hope that England can Brexit before it all comes crashing down around their ears.

Must be nice - California pensions

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From The Washington Free Beacon:

Calif. Taxpayers on Hook for Six-Figure Government Pensions
Nearly 80,000 Californians collected six-figure taxpayer-funded pensions in 2018, as retirement costs leave half the state's cities at "high risk" of serious financial distress, according to an analysis.

Transparent California, a free-market think tank, found that 6 percent of retired government workers collected more than $100,000 in 2018, an 85 percent jump since 2013. Those payouts represented 20 percent of the $51.7 billion in total pension payments. Taxpayers spent a record-high $40 billion to cover the costs of public sector retirees in 2018, the report also found.

The median household income in California is $75,277. The six-figure payouts propel thousands of retirees into the top 38 percent of all earners in the state, according to census data. About 1.2 million people received pension checks in 2018, including a retired deputy police chief who collected nearly $1.5 million in 2018.

The California state government promissed these pensions so they are obligated to pay them. The problem is that they kicked the can down the road - they promissed this money without having the means to pay for it. They are unable to maintain their infrastructure and now they come crying to the rest of us American's hoping that we will bail them out.

I say no - let them learn from their mistakes.

I really wish that we had this chain up here - great food plus super secret hidden messages:

20191105-epstein.jpg

$2.5 billion?

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That's enough for two or three houses in California - from the Los Angeles Times:

Apple pledges $2.5 billion to address California’s affordable housing problem
Apple said it will direct $2.5 billion toward affordable housing in California, the latest tech giant to pledge money to one of the state’s most pressing problems.

The announcement, made Monday, follows similar big pledges this year from Facebook, Google and Microsoft, which put money toward housing in its home base of Seattle. And it comes amid criticism that tech firms had done too little to ease an affordability crunch that their rapid expansion helped worsen.

Yeah - virtue signalling writ large. Making a grand statement - a promise to DO SOMETHING instead of actually, you know, doing something about the problem.

Apple could move to Detroit - lots of cheap housing there.

Taking back the power - PG&E

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Great news - from Nevada County, Calif. station KCRA:

Nevada County water agency considers PG&E power takeback
About 200 people piled into the Nevada Irrigation District headquarters in Grass Valley on Tuesday night to discuss the possibility of the water agency taking control over the local electric grid amid growing frustration with PG&E power shutoffs.

“It’s about local control,” said general manager Remleh Scherzinger. “It’s about taking back the opportunity to decide how we, as a community, want to run our power system.”

Nevada Irrigation District is an independent agency that supplies water to about 85,000 customers in Nevada and Placer counties. Scherzinger said the district is looking into acquiring local PG&E assets after the community called for action.

“We would purchase their assets and their property as necessary to begin the service here in our community,” he said.

Makes perfect sense. PG&E has already amply demonstrated that they are incapable of managing their system efficiently. Time to deregulate.

President Trump leaves New York City

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And he tells us why - from the New York Post:

This is President Trump’s ‘Why I’m leaving New York’ essay
Donald Trump is leaving New York.

President Trump on Thursday night explained his decision to ditch the glitzy world of Midtown skyscrapers and — eventually — flee to his Mar-a-Lago resort at the conclusion of his White House tenure.

The Queens native penned a series of tweets about his departure from Trump Tower after reports said he filed documents to change his primary residence to Palm Beach, Florida.

“I cherish New York, and the people of New York, and always will,” Trump wrote.

“But unfortunately, despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state.”

This from New York's Governor:

“Good riddance,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said after news broke of Trump’s impending exit. “He’s all yours, Florida.”

New York does not realize what a benefit Trump is - he turned the city around in the 1970's. It will be interesting to see the downward slide when he leaves. Nothing sudden but still, inexorable. Those Amazon jobs would have been nice - decent tax base too. Thanks AOC.

Management gives little thought to mentoring but in a large organization, mentoring is one of the most valuable things.

#1) - There are things specific to any large organization that take years to learn and
#2) - someone coming in at the entry level will take years to get into a major position (Silverback) so
#3) - it behooves that today's Silverbacks mentor promising FNGies so that when the Silverback is ready to retire,
#4) - they will have a replacement Silverback waiting to take over.

Mentoring smooths the transition of power and guarantees that the organization will function at some measure of efficiency through the decades. This mentoring is something that the top brass understands as they went through the same process themselves until they were tapped for the higher management positions whereupon, they went through a second mentoring period.

Mentoring costs money but the return on the investment is invaluable. It guarantees a consistency to the function of the corporation. Its heartbeat never falters.

Cost-cutting management looks at the H-1B visa program as a win/win - they get highly qualified employees for much cheaper than the home-grown ones. Unfortunately, these new people do not have the benefit of years of learning the corporate culture and it shows. Look at Boeing. Look at PG&E. Look at General Electric. Some of the tech giants are feeling this pain as well...

Whoops - business as usual for Boeing

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But not turning out good at all. From The Seattle Times:

Before deadly crashes, Boeing pushed for law that undercut oversight
With a few short paragraphs tucked into 463 pages of legislation last year, Boeing scored one of its biggest lobbying wins: a law that undercuts the government’s role in approving the design of new airplanes.

For years, the government had been handing over more responsibility to manufacturers as a way to reduce bureaucracy. But those paragraphs cemented the industry’s power, allowing manufacturers to challenge regulators over safety disputes and making it difficult for the government to usurp companies’ authority.

Although the law applies broadly to the industry, Boeing, the nation’s dominant aerospace manufacturer, is the biggest beneficiary. An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 50 regulators, industry executives, congressional staff members and lobbyists, as well as drafts of the bill and federal documents, found that Boeing and its allies helped craft the legislation to their liking, shaping the language of the law and overcoming criticism from regulators.

In a stark warning as the bill was being written, the Federal Aviation Administration said that it would “not be in the best interest of safety.”

Government oversight can be a very good thing at times and this is one perfect example. The people employed by the Federal Aviation Industry applied for work there because they love airplanes and flying. These are the people you want taking a second look at any new design.

Boeing needs to reorganize itself sooner rather than later - the corporate culture has become toxic. This is what they get for hiring "qualified" engineers from other nations under the H-1B visa program. Much cheaper labor costs but the ineffectual middle management suck-ups do not see the degradation in quality and skill until it is too late.

ineffectual middle management suck-ups? A Seattle punch-line.

Cutting off your nose

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To spite your face. From One America News Network:

San Francisco Blacklists States With Pro-Life Laws
San Francisco is bringing its pro-choice agenda to the national level. The city’s mayor announced a measure last week, which will blacklist 22 states that are considered to have restrictive abortion laws. All those listed have similar time restraints for terminating a pregnancy, ranging from a 13 week to a 24 week cut off.

Mayor London Breed defended the measure by saying, “every day in this country women’s reproductive rights are threatened and we have to fight back.”

Under the law, all San Francisco city workers will be prohibited from taking work-related trips or doing business with companies in those states. However, critics argue the city does not provide those states with enough tax revenue to encourage any real policy changes.

And of course, residents of those states will most likely find reasons to not visit California. Conferences, tourism, shopping. The unintended consequences should be interesting.

Looking at the Boeing 737 problems

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An interesting analysis of the Boeing corporate culture and it's downfall. From David Perell:

WHY DID THE BOEING 737 MAX CRASH?
Airplane crashes capture an outsized share of attention. Even though they represent a small fraction of transportation-related crashes, their rarity and drama hold a steel grip on our hearts and minds. But what if we could understand the systemic issues that cause certain airplane crashes?

And David gets into the problem:

Why did the 737 Max crash? Because of a software failure.

Why did the software fail? Because Boeing’s executive team has lowered its engineering standards.

Why did Boeing lower its engineering standards? To lower costs and increase efficiency — the goal was to save money.

Why does Boeing save money at the expense of human lives? Because Boeing purchased McDonnell-Douglas in 1997 and absorbed its ultra-corporate culture with relatively low engineering standards. Since the acquisition, the company hasn’t innovated as fast as it once did. In lieu of actual innovation, the company cut corners to maintain growth rates.

Why did Boeing buy McDonnell-Douglas? Because the airplane manufacturing industry is consolidating, and Boeing is pursuing profit at the expense of human lives.

The actual story of the 737 Max crash begins with that McDonnell-Douglas purchase in 1997, 21 years before the first accident in late 2018. Unfortunately, media coverage of the crash mostly ignores Boeing’s corporate history.

This is more than a story about two airplane crashes. It’s a story about an iconic American giant that lost its way because of mergers, risk-aversion, and excessive outsourcing.

Fasten your seat belts, put your seat in the upright position, and prepare for takeoff.

A long but fascinating analysis - really interesting and Boeing is going to have to re-invent itself if it expects to survive.

Boeing knew - 737Max

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Two years before the two crashes - from The New York Times:

Boeing Pilot Complained of ‘Egregious’ Issue With 737 Max in 2016
A Boeing pilot working on the 737 Max said in messages from 2016 that a new automated system was making the plane difficult to control in flight simulators, more than two years before it was grounded following two deadly crashes.

The existence of the messages strike at a central part of Boeing’s defense over how the plane was certified to fly. For months, the company has maintained that the Max was certified in accordance with all appropriate regulations, suggesting that there was no indication that MCAS was unsafe.

Ouch!

This warm fuzzy tongue-bath from The Hollywood Reporter:

Inside the Modern Design of WarnerMedia's New NYC Headquarters With Jeff Zucker
Spread across 25 floors and 1.4  million square feet at Hudson Yards, CNN, HBO and the whole conglomerate are together at last. Says Zucker: "Our new home gives a nod to our history and future."

Well before AT&T cemented its acquisition of Time Warner in June 2018 to form WarnerMedia, the decision to combine all divisions under a single roof already had been made. The strategy to execute a decidedly egalitarian approach soon followed. "This was a very different process than most companies use, where a small cadre of people make decisions behind closed doors," says Thomas Santiago, senior vp global real estate at WarnerMedia. "What we did was consensus-driven and we cast a wide net," he says of the midtown design lab set up to allow staffers to provide feedback on every element of furniture and design in the new offices that landed at New York's mini-city Hudson Yards. "We paraded hundreds of employees through to see and touch and cycled through different finishes, screening-room seating, desks, even ceiling fixtures. We went for the chair that hundreds of employees preferred, not one a guy picked out of a catalog. It proved to be an effective process."

They are clamping their hands over their ears and yelling out: "We Can't Hear You"

I wonder just how long they will enjoy their shiny new offices before they have to sublet like the New York Times.

Unreal - this would be tossed out by any intelligent group of people. From the New York Daily News:

Dental hygienist labeled sexual abuser and stripped of license because he slept with a patient — to whom he is married
The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario stripped a hygienist of his license and labeled him a sex offender because he had a sexual relationship with a client. It didn’t matter that the client was his wife.

Alexandru Tanase, of Guelph, confessed to cleaning the teeth of Sandi Mullins when on several occasions between April 2015 and August 2016, according to the Canada’s CTV news. They were engaged when the treatments started and are now married.

Despite fighting the case over the past three years, Tanase said he was stripped of his license last month. He was reportedly outed by a tipster who was a social media photo of Mullins flashing her pearly whites following a cleaning by Tanase, who is pictured by her side.

Like I said - unreal...

Roast beef at the legion hall

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Tonight was the roast beef dinner at the American Legion hall. $18 for a big plate of prime rib, vegies and cake.

Sat next to a delightful couple from Australia who were on vacation. They were house (and pet) sitting through the worldwide Trusted Housesitters program. Very clever idea - the house and pet owners as well as the wanna-be sitters each pay $100/year to join the program and then they have a background check. There is an online database that links them up and there is no charge for the visits. Part of the $100 covers insurance for emergency vet care, etc...

The $15 minimum wage

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As expected, it is killing jobs - from the New York Post:

As predicted, the $15 wage is killing jobs all across the city
Just as predicted, the $15 minimum wage is killing vulnerable city small businesses, with the low-margin restaurant industry one of the hardest-hit as it also faces a separate mandatory wage hike for tipped staffers.

In Sunday’s Post, Jennifer Gould Keil reported on the death of Gabriela’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar — closing after 25 years. It struggled all year to find a way out, gradually laying off most non-tipped employees, including some chefs, only to find that quality suffered and customers fled. Owners Liz and Nat Milner finally hung it up.

Other eateries share the pain. In an August survey of its members, the NYC Hospitality Alliance found more than three-quarters have had to cut employee hours, more than a third eliminated jobs last year and half plan to cut staff this year.

“It’s death by a thousand cuts,” the Hospitality Alliance’s Andrew Rigie told The Post, since “there’s only so many times you can increase the price of a burger and a bowl of pasta.”

The unions are the ones pushing this - not only does it kill the small businesses, union saleries are indexed to the minimum wage so an increase means a jump in wages for union employees as well.

Capitalism versus socialism/communism

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Adam Smith always had a way with words:


"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."
--Adam Smith

Trade wars work

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From Yahoo/Reuters:

China's slowdown deepens; industrial output growth falls to 17-1/2 year low
The slowdown in China's economy deepened in August, with growth in industrial production at its weakest 17-1/2 years amid spreading pain from a trade war with the United States and softening domestic demand.

Retail sales and investment gauges worsened too, data released on Monday showed, reinforcing views that China is likely to cut some key interest rates this week for the first time in over three years to prevent a sharper slump in activity.

Despite a slew of growth-boosting measures since last year, the world's second-largest economy has yet to stabilise, and analysts say Beijing needs to roll out more stimulus to ward off a sharper slowdown.

All Beijing has to do is normalize their currency and stop the unfair trade practices. Things will rapidly get back to normal. That is all...

Wonderful news - unions

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Looks like the heads of the labor unions are a bit worried. From Breitbart:

Union Bosses Fear Workers Will Stick with Trump: ‘It’s a Serious Problem’
Union bosses, closely tied to the Democrat Party, say American union workers sticking with President Trump in 2020 and his economic nationalist agenda is “a serious problem” for them.

A report by the Wall Street Journal reveals how union bosses and Democrats are looking to peel off Trump’s support from American union workers who back his agenda, where most recently he has demanded multinational corporations move their production in China to the U.S.

The Journal reports:

“It’s a serious problem for us,” said Alan Netland, president of the North East Area Labor Council in Duluth, Minn., which represents 40,000 union members. “People may say, ‘I voted Republican and the world didn’t fall in, so maybe I better keep doing that.’”

Union officials, along with Democratic presidential candidates, are now trying to highlight what they see as a yawning gap between the president’s pro-worker rhetoric and his policies.

Democratic candidates have put appeals to working-class voters at the front of their campaigns. “I am a union man,” declared former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads in 2020 primary polls, during his campaign kickoff in Pennsylvania in May. [Emphasis added]

Vice President of the United Mine Workers of America in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Chuck Knissel said based on the current 2020 Democrats running for president, it will be difficult to get union workers to vote for anyone other than Trump.

Good. Maybe the union bosses will listen to their constituents for a change. They have been listening to the power brokers in D.C. and look where it has gotten them.

The ultimate cheat sheet for business

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Great list of 100 rules for running a business. From James Altucher writing at Quora:

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Starting And Running A Business
No joke. This is going be a bullet FAQ on starting a business. If you're a lawyer, feel free to disagree with me so you can charge someone your BS fees to give the same advice.

If you can think of anything to add, please do so. I might be missing things. If you want to argue with me, feel free. I might be wrong on any of the items below.

There are many types of business. Depending on your business, some of these won't apply. All of these questions come from questions I've been asked.

The rules are: I'm going to give no explanations. Just listen to me.

    1. C Corp or S Corp or LLC? C-Corp.
    2. What state should you incorporate in? Delaware.
    3. Should founders vest? Yes, over a period of four years. On any change of control the vesting speeds up.
    4. Should you go for venture capital money? First build a product, then get a customer, then get friends and family money (or money from revenues which is cheapest of all) and then think about raising money, But only then. Don't be an amateur.
    5. Should you patent your idea? Get customers first. Patent later. Don't talk to lawyers until the last possible moment.
    6. Should you require venture capitalists to sign NDAs? No. Nobody is going to steal your idea.
    7. How much equity should you give a partner?
    8. Divide things up into these categories: manage the company, raise the money, had the idea, brings in the revenues, built the product (or performs the services). Divide up in equal portions.
    9. Should you have a technical co-founder if you are not technical? No. If you don't already have a technical cofounder you can always outsource technology and not give up equity.
    10. Should you barter equity for services? No. You get what you pay for.
    11.  How do you market your app? Friends and then word of mouth.

Excellent advice from a master. 90 more at the site.

The trade war with China

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It seems that the nabobs at the Wall Street Journal think that they know more about economics than President Trump - from Breitbart:

Donald Trump Rips Wall Street Journal: ‘They Understand Nothing About Trade or Business’
President Donald Trump ripped the establishment Wall Street Journal on Thursday for editorializing against his ongoing trade battle with China.

“The Wall Street Journal editorial board and some others continue to publish foolish articles that demonstrate that they understand nothing about trade or business,” Trump said. “Nothing.”

The president spoke about the paper during a political rally in New Hampshire about leveling tariffs on China, noting that the Wall Street Journal editorial page kept urging him to remove them.

“I lose all the cards if we take off the tariffs,” Trump replied, pointing to the tough tariffs leveled by countries like the European Union and India.

The members of the WSJ editorial board are not businessmen. They went to journalism school. Big difference.

Looks like it is going ahead full-steam. From their website:

Expansion Project
The original Trans Mountain Pipeline was built in 1953 and continues to operate safely today. The Expansion is essentially a twinning of this existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Strathcona County (near Edmonton), Alberta and Burnaby, BC. It will create a pipeline system with the nominal capacity of the system going from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

Sounds like a great project. Also good is that they can shut down one of the lines for inspection without impacting the other so the oil will continue to flow. Not bad - 66 years of continuous operation.

This reduces the cost of Canada's oil - of course the environmentalists oppose it.

Grizzly Tools

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I love the place - have a lot of their tools. Well made, hold their accuracy and well priced. They started in the 1980's and are now the largest tool supplier in the USA (for good reason). They just published a very nice video of their founder, his story and the growth of the business - a great example of the power of America. Want to do something? Put in the time? You can do it!

From Business Insider:

Starbucks is installing needle-disposal boxes in locations across America following OSHA penalties and worker concerns about drug use in bathrooms
Starbucks' efforts to address opioid use and improperly disposed needles in its bathrooms are expanding.

Starbucks stores in at least 25 US markets have installed needle-disposal boxes in bathrooms in recent months. By this summer, the chain aims to have installed sharps boxes in bathrooms in all regions where such action has been deemed necessary.

Stopped going there 25 years ago - independent coffee is best.

Some interesting research - from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Do Minimum Wage Increases Reduce Crime?
An April 2016 Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) report advocated raising the minimum wage to deter crime. This recommendation rests on the assumption that minimum wage hikes increase the returns to legitimate labor market work while generating minimal adverse employment effects. This study comprehensively assesses the impact of minimum wages on crime using data from the 1998-2016 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), and National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY). Our results provide no evidence that minimum wage increases reduce crime. Instead, we find that raising the minimum wage increases property crime arrests among those ages 16-to-24, with an estimated elasticity of 0.2. This result is strongest in counties with over 100,000 residents and persists when we use longitudinal data to isolate workers for whom minimum wages bind. Our estimates suggest that a $15 Federal minimum wage could generate criminal externality costs of nearly $2.4 billion.

Emphases mine - the whole paper is paywalled but I'm going to get it through our local library. Very interesting and shows that every action has unintended consequences - some good and some not so good.

Yay America - Oil Exports

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Great news from CNN:

America is set to surpass Saudi Arabia in a 'remarkable' oil milestone
Move over, Saudi Arabia. America is about to steal the kingdom's energy exporting crown.

The United States will surpass Saudi Arabia later this year in exports of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products, like gasoline, according to energy research firm Rystad Energy.

That milestone, driven by the transformative shale boom, would make the United States the world's leading exporter of oil and liquids. That has never happened since Saudi Arabia began selling oil overseas in the 1950s, Rystad said in a report Thursday.

"It's nothing short of remarkable," said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank. "Ten years ago, no one thought it could happen."

That was then:

This (Thank God) is now. More faster please.

alt.energy in the news

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The rush to develop alternative energy sources is not altruism on the part of the utility companies. It is about sucking up those sweet Benjamins - taxpayer subsidies. From John Hinderaker writing at Powerline:

THE FOLLY OF SOLAR ENERGY
The late January brownout in central Minnesota, during a time of Arctic cold, showed that reliance on “green” energy can be life-threatening. Xcel Energy instructed customers to turn thermostats down to 60 degrees and refrain from using hot water. Xcel went so far as to put some customers up in hotels.

Investigation of the brownout has been informative. The principal problem, given that Minnesota has invested massively in wind energy, was that the wind wasn’t blowing. But there was another problem, too, which came out in testimony before the state’s Public Utilities Commission by an Xcel official. My colleague Isaac Orr explains:

During their testimony, Xcel Energy representatives stated that the company’s solar panels only produced 8 to 10 percent of their potential output because of snow cover.

John talks about subsidies and concludes with this:

It is all about the rate base. Any capital expenditure that goes into a utility’s rate base provides a guaranteed return. Whether the expenditure makes any sense in terms of providing reliable energy is another matter altogether.

We The People are being screwed. No simpler way to say it.

Interesting - Amazon

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From GeekWire:

Amazon backs out of massive Seattle office tower as questions swirl about growth plans
Amazon has placed a high-profile Seattle office project on the sublease market, signaling plans to scale down its growth in its hometown.

A marketing flier obtained by GeekWire confirms that the tech giant is seeking new tenants for its office space in Rainier Square, a building under construction that will one day be the city’s second-tallest skyscraper. Amazon had leased all 30 floors of office space in the building. After weeks of rumors, the listing was made official over the weekend, according to real estate brokers familiar with the marketing efforts. Amazon will make all of the office space it leased in Rainier Square available to other companies.

The skyscraper project, once an emblem of Amazon’s ambitions in Seattle’s urban core, now becomes a symbol of its uncertain future in its hometown. The move follows Amazon’s decision to back out of its HQ2 project in New York City after opposition there, amid signs that the company will focus its Seattle-area growth in nearby Bellevue, Wash.

Interesting - the article points to another article about how Amazon was not pleased with the head tax designed to fund free shit for homeless people. I bet that Bellevue does not have this head tax.

Trade Wars work - China

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Canada renegotiated their trade deal with us.
Mexico renegotiated their trade deal with us.
Now it is China's turn.

Trade wars work - a little discomfort for a short while but a long term benefit.

December 2019

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Environment and Climate
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