Judging from the tech press, you’d think the biggest risk to successful companies is competition. But when you examine the history of technology, incumbents usually decline because the world changes and they lose relevance, or because they lose visionary founders and the organization decays.
Which means Apple sold new iPads as fast as they could make them. If you believe this 11.9 million unit sale number deserves to be called “disappointing”, you should be disappointed only by Apple’s inability to manufacture them faster.
Colony’s pessimism is, unlike most Apple bearishness of late, perfectly reasonable. Apple did not fall to pieces when Jobs died, but no one with a clue expected it to. But Tim Cook and the remaining leadership team have yet to prove themselves in the long run. I’m not saying I agree with Colony (I don’t), I’m just saying his argument is reasonable. Apple is untested in these regards.
What’s more interesting to me is the technical story. It’s no wonder Android has struggled to match the smoothness, touch responsiveness, and high-frame-rate graphics of the iPhone, given that this is where they were in 2007. They’ve come remarkably far in five years.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire now makes up the absolute majority of the Android tablet platform in the US, comScore found in a fresh study. The e-reader and tablet crossover represented 54.4 percent of all Android tablets sold in the country. At second place, the entire Samsung Galaxy Tab lineup comprised just 15.4 percent of Android slates.
As you’d expect, Google is still trying to spin this, but the court documents don’t lie. In 2010, Google itself projected making $278.1 million off of Android. Of that, $158.9 million was expected to be on ads versus just $3.8 million from app sales. They were making much more off of the iPhone
It’s well known that Mario/Zelda/etc creator Shigeru Miyamoto has no intention of letting this happen — like Apple, he strives to set the entire user experience through hardware and software — but it’s hard to see Nintendo focusing on gaming hardware and continuing on. Maybe they pull and Apple and fully reinvent the company, but there’s a reason why such transformations don’t happen often.
Anyway. On air today, CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin talked with everyone’s favorite Harvard grads cum Olympic athletes cum Mark Zuckerberg nemeses about their latest foray into the tech startup space as individuals with significant financial reserves and no apparent engineering credentials. They’re becoming venture capitalists.
These guys just rub me the wrong way. - JT
TSA handles Seattle and it’s a mess. TSA agents are joking around, not paying attention, and get angry quickly. In San Francisco, where they use private security at a much lower cost, things are much more sane and much more professional.
First of all, the lack of a dividend is hardly part of Jobs’s legacy. Jobs’s legacy is that of a single-minded vision of shipping well-designed products that deliver an exceptional user experience and appeal to a broad base of users. Second, while rumors do not a product make, it’s important to point out that Jobs also derided television as something you turn your brain off to watch.
When my son was born, I was amazed. I was amazed at my wife’s strength and at her body (which did some things I don’t know if I should have watched) and I was amazed that this dude that I’d been waiting for for almost a year was suddenly in the room with me (like when you meet your buddy’s girlfriend: “oh, you’re Samantha. Nice to meet you. You look a lot like/vastly different than I expected. Cool.”). I was also afraid. I had no experience being a dad, I had ZERO experience even SEEING a baby this new and I didn’t know how to wipe an ass, feed a kid, hold a kid, anything. I didn’t know what he liked (is he into bunnies? Tigers? Spaceships? Spiderman? Sports? Music? Cuddles? Is he retarded? Is he a genius? Is he just about to die at any second due to some weird defect that I can’t see? Lord knows he looks like absolute shit, but is that normal?)
Olivier Knox is first to publish the complete list of new Secret Service guidelines. I'll focus on the guidelines that recommend agents to behave like high school students taking awesome trips to Europe for Model United Nations.
None of this should come as news, since the failure of austerity policies to deliver as promised has long been obvious. Yet European leaders spent years in denial, insisting that their policies would start working any day now, and celebrating supposed triumphs on the flimsiest of evidence. Notably, the long-suffering (literally) Irish have been hailed as a success story not once but twice, in early 2010 and again in the fall of 2011. Each time the supposed success turned out to be a mirage; three years into its austerity program, Ireland has yet to show any sign of real recovery from a slump that has driven the unemployment rate to almost 15 percent.
One possibility is that it’s easier to get on food stamps than ever before. The stimulus bill, for instance, allowed able-bodied unemployed adults to receive benefits for longer than three months. That provision expired in 2010, but at least 46 states have received waivers from the federal government to continue this program. (Apart from that tweak, reports USA Today, eligibility standards remain what they were before President Obama took office.)
The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, on Wednesday dismissed proposals to escalate the Fed’s economic stimulus campaign as 'reckless,' arguing that the costs would be high and the benefits uncertain.
Disagree with his reasoning. Krugman's response sums up my thoughts. - JT
Europe is in recession...Why should we care? Because a recession in the world’s third-largest economy, combined with the current slowdown in the world’s second-largest (China), spells trouble for the world’s largest...The danger here for the United States is clear, but there’s also a clear lesson. Republicans have become the U.S. party of Angela Merkel, demanding and getting spending cuts at the worst possible time - and ignoring the economic and social consequences.
"An increasing number of the nation’s large banks -- U.S. Bank, Regions Financial and Wells Fargo among them -- are aggressively courting low-income customers like Mr. Wegner with alternative products that can carry high fees. They are rapidly expanding these offerings partly because the products were largely untouched by recent financial regulations, and also to recoup the billions in lost income from recent limits on debit and credit card fees.
Banks increasingly piss me off. - JT
Throughout American history, almost every generation has had substantially more education than that of its parents. That is no longer true. When baby boomers born in 1955 reached age 30, they had about two years more schooling than their parents, according to Harvard University economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, who have calculated the average years of schooling for native-born Americans back to 1876.
It seems natural that the first wave of mobile apps would be about improving core smartphone apps (e.g. photo apps) or porting apps from other devices (e.g. games). And there is probably a lot of interesting innovation remaining there. But the really massive opportunity is dreaming up new ways that the little computers loaded with sensors that we carry around with us everywhere can improve our real-world experiences.
You’ve probably seen this already, but if you haven’t, check it out. The watch itself is a very cool idea; I’m in as a backer, and looking forward to playing with one. But more interesting is the success they’re having raising money through Kickstarter. They sought only $100,000; as of my typing this they’ve raised over $6 million and still have 25 days to go in their campaign.
Kickstarter is one of the most amazing, inspiring, empowering things I’ve ever seen.
This is one of my biggest questions about the DOJ’s suit against Apple. Why are books any different than music or apps or periodicals? (And, if Apple loses this suit, does it mean their App Store and Music Store 70/30 pricing models are at risk too?)
This is certainly a solution to the problem, but I think there’s a better one: Make an excellent product, and then support the crap out of it. I guess I’m suggesting that we’re entering a post-marketing world where people don’t care about how companies tell them they should feel. In response, we need to shift our focus away from traditional channels to focus on what’s really important: the thing we’re making.
Facebook continues to emphasize that any bad blood between the two companies could hurt financial results. Zynga recently overhauled its site as a web destination for gaming that it hopes will attract users away from the Facebook canvas. The social network is still powering payments for the site, however, meaning that Zynga is still paying Facebook its 30 percent share.
Intel debuted its next generation of processors today, dubbed Ivy Bridge, that promises to bring a number of innovations into the computing world. The Verge has put together a post on everything that should be known about Ivy Bridge, which is to say, a long post. However, as Ivy Bridge will play a large role in the the next generation of technology released this year, it is worth taking the time to understand.
But the question was raised with particular force last week, when Mr. Romney tried to make a closed drywall factory in Ohio a symbol of the Obama administration’s economic failure. It was a symbol, all right — but not in the way he intended.
First of all, many reporters quickly noted a point that Mr. Romney somehow failed to mention: George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, was president when the factory in question was closed. Does the Romney campaign expect Americans to blame President Obama for his predecessor’s policy failure?
Because it creates alienation...For a long time economists said: Wait until productivity rebounds. Then working families will get their share. But when productivity rebounded like crazy in the aughts, working families saw no reward. What this means is that if you’re at the median you have no positive reason to care how the economy does. Your only motivation is fear—if the economy does really badly you may lose your job. But there’s no upside.
A longer school day, especially if combined with other steps such as frequent feedback to teachers from administrators and intensive tutoring, could improve academic achievement. For example, Roland Fryer and Will Dobbie of Harvard University have found that a longer day is a key aspect of high-performing charter schools in New York.
Drug exclusivity does not, however, last forever: After a name-brand drug has five years on the U.S. market, generics are allowed to come in and compete. That’s what a generic pharmaceutical company wanted to do with Tricor-1. Novopharm submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration to produce a generic version of the drug.
Before putting together this list of stuff I think is worth checking out, just going to give another shout-out to the "Thursday Discussion" this week, that sucker was long - but I am pretty proud of how it came out. So, check that out and make sure to leave your own stories in the article's replies.
Been in a much more aggressive music listening binge the past few days ... been in a weird mood. Wife's heading out of town for a week, I'm stuck at home -- expect even more blogging than usual.
YouTube is facing the threat of court-ordered censorship once again, this time in Germany. The Hamburg state court in Germany has ruled that YouTube must pre-filter all videos for copyrighted content. The case has been ongoing for years at this point, and although the final decision could be overturned, it does seem like the court have made up its mind.
Google isn’t the only company working on self-driving cars, as news has hit the wire that Cadillac is working on creating self-driving cars, with a proposed release date of 2015. Cadillac made the announcement today that it has been developing it to drive the car, brake, and assist drivers in some conditions. However, it doesn’t appear to be as fully-featured as Google’s offering, as it won’t work when the road markers aren’t visible or in bad weather.
Oddly enough, looking back, it now reminds me a bit of The Hobbit. When Bilbo finds the Ring, you think: oh magic ring, kind of cool. But actually the Ring is the story, you just don’t realize it at the time.
Everyone, including myself, focused on Diaspora. Kickstarter was the story.
The Pebble watch has now raised over $5.5 million dollars on Kickstarter. The original funding goal was $100K. It still has 28 days to go.
Improving poor taste in upper leadership is almost as difficult as treating severe paranoia: people who don’t value taste and design will rarely recognize these shortcomings or seek to improve them. With very few exceptions, companies that put out tasteless, poorly designed products will usually never change course.
I agree with one thing: sustaining high profit margins is difficult. But where Denninger goes wrong is in assuming that competitors can easily or quickly copy what Apple is doing. His argument is no different than the dire predictions for the iPod a decade ago. Yes, Apple’s hardware margins are extraordinary. But Apple is an extraordinary company. They have an unparalleled retail presence, a top-shelf brand, and a loyal, large, and growing customer base. They write and design their own entire software stack, have incredible third-party developer support, and, by selling very large quantities of a relatively small number of hardware products, attain astounding economies of scale.
This conclusion is troubling. Most presidents, after all, probably want to be thought of as great. When they spend resources on war, they are spending almost entirely other peoples money and lives. They get little credit for avoiding war. Martin Van Buren, for example, effectively avoided a war on the northern border of the United States.8 How many people know that today? Indeed, how many people have even heard of Martin Van Buren?
Some in Washington see this number and their eyes light up: It’s tax reform time! Democrats can get more revenue. Republicans can cut effective federal spending. Taxpayers can get a simpler code. And the economy can get a boost from a tax regime that does less to distort the workings of the free market.
In the study, psychologists created a fictional thyroid cancer and had subjects read descriptions of its symptoms. Some had the very general symptoms, things like fatigue and weight fluctuation, grouped together at the start. Others had those general symptoms interspersed with more specific problems such as a lump on the neck.
He digs up an 2011 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities compiling evidence that the vast majority of Americans don’t seem to vote with their feet and flee their state because of high taxes. Among other things, most Americans don’t ever leave their state, period. Just 1.7 percent of the population moves in any given year, on average. And only 30 percent of the U.S. population will ever change their state of residence in their lifetimes.
America’s got a debt problem. But we’ve been around for hundreds of years. Our political system, for all its inanities and disappointments, is fairly well understood, and quite widely trusted. The euro zone has only been around since 1999, and Greece didn’t join until 2001. There’s nothing obvious that could force a rethinking of America as a continuing, surviving enterprise in the way that we’ve seen in Europe.
So how do we re-create the American middle class? Making our loopy tax code more equitable appears to be off the agenda, what with Senate Republicans’ refusal Monday to allow a vote on a tax hike for millionaires. And even if the 'Buffett Rule' were enacted, it would do nothing to alter the rocketing inequality in Americans’ pre-tax income...Recently, though, two proposals have emerged that could boost Americans’ incomes. One -- part of an omnibus stimulus measure from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) -- would raise the minimum wage and index it to the cost of living. The second, laid out in the new book 'Why Labor Organizing Should Be a Civil Right,' by Richard Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit, would extend the employment protections of the Civil Rights Act -- which forbids firing workers for reasons of race, gender, age and disability -- to workers seeking to join a union.
Guns or bandages. That’s the choice House Republicans are framing for the White House in the early phases of a battle over budget cuts that will hammer the Pentagon later this year if Congress and President Barack Obama don’t slash other programs. GOP lawmakers are moving to eliminate so-called slush funds in Obama’s health care law, save $44 billion by cracking down on overpayments to people who are insured through its new health exchanges and wring out tens of billions of dollars more by limiting medical malpractice awards and overhauling Medicaid...The Republicans are making their preferences clear: Better to cut the health reform law that much of the country hates -- and basically dare the Democrats to defend it -- than allow the defense cuts to go through. At a time when the government has racked up nearly $16 trillion in debt, it’s a matter of picking losers, not winners, if Washington is to avoid automatic 'sequestration' cuts of $1.2 trillion.
There’s an atmosphere of grand fragility hanging over America’s colleges. The grandeur comes from the surging application rates, the international renown, the fancy new dining and athletic facilities. The fragility comes from the fact that colleges are charging more money, but it’s not clear how much actual benefit they are providing...One part of the solution is found in three little words: value-added assessments. Colleges have to test more to find out how they’re doing. It’s not enough to just measure inputs, the way the U.S. News-style rankings mostly do. Colleges and universities have to be able to provide prospective parents with data that will give them some sense of how much their students learn. There has to be some way to reward schools that actually do provide learning and punish schools that don’t. There has to be a better way to get data so schools themselves can figure out how they’re doing in comparison with their peers.
The Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) worked a lot better, and at a much lower cost, than is commonly recognized...Banks are recapitalized and less dependent on short-term funding, which makes them less vulnerable to the dynamics of the 2008 crash (the collapse of the overnight funds market was a major catalyst). But the Dodd-Frank financial reform law is far from implemented, and special interests are aggressively working to defang it. The arsonists have not left the scene...The TARP-led financial rescue worked, and we should learn from its success. That said, the damage caused by the bursting bubble goes far beyond any expected profits from the bailouts. If our government doesn’t put in place the regulatory framework to deal with the inherent instability in financial markets, we’ll be back in the bailout business again before we know it.
Damn, been a pretty insane day around the website. It started out with a really cool Q&A video with Brian from The Gaslight Anthem that we posted up late last night (check it out if you haven't), and then the crazy threads just seemed to keep coming: The Wonder Years, Paramore, Dick Clark, and a really fun article on pop-punk all dominated the news. That one was a lot of fun to write and participate in -- hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
I'm unsure what the band really gets out of the idea that they should email us something that's a flat out lie, confirm it when I ask if it's true, tell them I'm going to post it and if there's anything they want to include, please let me know -- and then after posting it pull the whole "lol you post anything ur not credible" shtick. Laughs? Like, it's a joke that they can lie and get shit posted? I'm bored with their entire victim pity party to be honest. At some point: be it other bands, ex-managers, their label, virtually anyone that's ever worked with them -- they've had an issue with them. I think it's clear where the pattern is. I think it's clear where the problem is. Maybe the world isn't actually out to get you? Fuck.
At this point I don't really want to post the band's press releases, let alone do them any favors. My time is finite, and I'd much prefer to just spend it focusing on bands that aren't a walking disaster. I don't think I've ever seen a band implode as dramatically as they have over the past few years. It's honestly sad to watch. A lot of talent, IMO, and a lot of opportunities most bands would give a lung for ... squandered. I'll pass on TDS duties to other staff. Fuck it.
Anyway, enough of that. Here's the stuff I think you should check out for the day.
According to a report by Piper Jeffray analyst Gene Munster, one-third of high school students now own an iPhone. In addition to the 36% that said they own an iPhone, 40% of respondents to the survey said that they plan on buying an iPhone in the next six months.
While Kickstarter is quickly proving itself to be a wonderful way for entrepreneurs to find funding for projects that no investors will go near (see: The Pebble), it’s also a great way for people with no idea what they’re doing to get in over their head with a couple thousand angry customers expecting results yesterday.
After several years of saying it was opposed to selling ads, tumbler has apparently seen the light and on May 2 will begin offering advertisers space on Tumblr Radar, which highlights its top posts and gets approximately 120,000 daily impressions.
Search remains the biggest piece of the pie, with $14.8 billion in revenue, up from $11.7 billion in 2010. Not surprisingly, however, as a percentage, mobile is the fastest-growing sector, more than doubling from $0.6 billion 2010 (the first year that the report tracked mobile numbers) to $1.6 billion 2011. Display advertising grew 35 percent to $11.1 billion overall, with video in particular accounting for $1.8 billion.
The folks at Coke explained that music has always been a huge part of Coke’s marketing efforts, going all the way back to a series of ads featuring Ray Charles nearly 50 years ago. That said, the partnership will focus on four key pillars: global, technology, social, and a commitment to music. Spotify explained that Coca-Cola will be a huge factor in bringing Spotify to new markets and new corners of the world.
Free is not only a bad business model, but it is short-sighted and short-lived. No service can remain free indefinitely and that’s why it is negligent not to question a new free service when it comes out, because “figure it out later” can often end up being something that you, the user, aren’t going to be OK with and that is relevant.
TIME magazine today released its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and two of the selections have close ties to Apple: CEO Tim Cook and Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson.
According to the report, the systems would essentially be a local wireless backup system capable of quickly obtaining an iCloud backup from a device and temporarily storing it while the device is swapped out for the user. Once the replacement device is powered on and activated if necessary, Genius Bar staff would be able to quickly pull that data onto the new device to provide the user with a fully-updated and functional replacement device.
Companies generally prefer to bring in ranks of lawyers and bankers to scrutinize a deal before proceeding, a process that can eat up days or weeks. Mr. Zuckerberg ditched all that. By the time Facebook’s board was brought in, the deal was all but done. The board, according to one person familiar with the matter, “Was told, not consulted.”
So far, this is actually one of the qualities I admire (and am insanely jealous of) Zuck having at Facebook. He just does ... there aren't 80 committee meetings. He's not having to ask permission (each step adding to the odds of someone fucking it up). - JT
Yahoo’s CEO Scott Thompson apparently has a bold new plan for Yahoo, that involves cutting out the fat and executing ideas better. While that may sound like something every company should be doing, that’s because it is. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it is worth noting that Thompson will be shutting down 50 Yahoo properties in the coming months, and will be consolidating redundant technology platforms.
Unless your laptop is on its last legs and you have to move quickly, there are compelling reasons to wait until at least the summer, and probably the fall, to buy a new machine, especially if you are looking for a Windows PC, but even if you are in the market for a Mac.
The Justice Department finally took aim at the monopolistic monolith that threatened to dominate the book industry. So imagine the shock when the bullet aimed at threats to competition went whizzing by Amazon — which not long ago had a 90 percent stranglehold on e-books — and instead, struck five of the six biggest publishers and Apple, a minor player in the realm of books.
A new paper by two Irish network scientists, Conrad Lee and Pádraig Cunningham of the Clique Research Cluster, tries to answer the question by analyzing listening habits on Last.fm, a popular music Web site that pinpoints users by geography. The researchers found that, in North America, Atlanta tends to propel trends in hip-hop music, while Montreal leads listening habits for indie music. Over in Europe, meanwhile, Oslo is the big trend-setter.
Swedish economists Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixson crunch the numbers on shipwreck survivors and find that women and children fare the worst, while ship captains and crew members have especially high survival rates.
So Leo should have survived! Fucking Kate. Ruining everything. - JT
The gap between America's highest- and lowest-paid workers is widening. Labor Department figures released Tuesday show that between the end of the recession in mid-2009 and the first quarter of 2012, earnings of Americans at the top--meaning those who earned more than 90% of all workers--rose 7%, before adjusting for inflation. During the same period, wages of those at the bottom--meaning those who earned less than 90% of all workers--rose 2.5%. That pay difference predates the global financial crisis: Between 2003 and 2007, wages grew 12.9% for high earners, compared with 8.4% for the lowest-paid 10% of workers...In the first quarter of 2012, people in the bottom tenth of the work force earned $360 or less a week, the Labor Department said. The typical worker among the top 10% of earners earned $1,858 or more a week. Between 1979 and 1989, wages for top earners rose 75%, while those for the bottom tenth of the work force climbed 54%.
House Republicans are pushing an ambitious summer tax agenda, including a series of politically charged votes on everything from expiring Bush income tax rates to capital gains, while laying out a timeline for broader tax reform, according to several sources familiar with GOP planning.
As prices have neared and in some cases topped $4 a gallon, drivers have cut their consumption of gasoline to its lowest levels in a decade, driving less and buying cars that are more fuel-efficient. The adjustment has slowed the climb in gasoline prices, which until last week had risen for 10 consecutive weeks, and could preserve some money for Americans to spend on other items as the economy struggles to recover more convincingly.
Took a break from posting anything here over the weekend, but that doesn't mean there's not a bunch of good stuff worth posting now. If you're curious about my reasoning behind it (why certain topics show up here), my post about it should clear that up. Enjoy.
Warner Bros. would have been very happy, but I said to the guys there that I wanted it to be stylistically consistent with the first two films and we were really going to push the IMAX thing to create a very high-quality image. I find stereoscopic imaging too small scale and intimate in its effect. 3-D is a misnomer. Films are 3-D. The whole point of photography is that it’s three-dimensional. The thing with stereoscopic imaging is it gives each audience member an individual perspective. It’s well suited to video games and other immersive technologies, but if you’re looking for an audience experience, stereoscopic is hard to embrace. I prefer the big canvas, looking up at an enormous screen and at an image that feels larger than life. When you treat that stereoscopically, and we’ve tried a lot of tests, you shrink the size so the image becomes a much smaller window in front of you. So the effect of it, and the relationship of the image to the audience, has to be very carefully considered. And I feel that in the initial wave to embrace it, that wasn’t considered in the slightest.
For example, if I watch last night’s SNL episode on my Xbox through the Hulu app, it eats up about one gigabyte of my cap, but if I watch that same episode through the Xfinity Xbox app, it doesn’t use up my cap at all.
Brin then equated these countries’ censorship with the “walled garden” model of Facebook and Apple, and says that data silos are going to be the death of the open Web. He sounds credible, until he makes it seem like “open Web” actually means “The Web that Google can crawl and store on its servers until the end times”.
All Things D has confirmed that Path has raised $40 million in a round led by Redpoint Ventures based on a $250 million valuation. The last round of funding was raised in early 2011 and amounted to $8.65 million.
Does anyone actually use Path on a day to day basis? - JT
Dan Provost (of Studio Neat) decided to go through the pros and cons of elongating the iPhone’s screen and keeping the current 326 PPI format of the Retina Display. Provost’s conclusion is similar to what others are saying: a 16:9 iPhone at 4-inches would be awkward to hold, design for, and use.
When we do things the hard way, we invest in ourselves in the best possible way. We kick off an endless cycle of learning and mastery that helps us grow and lead fulfilling lives of purpose. When we take shortcuts, we become mere pretenders. We learn how to play the part, but there is no substance or continued growth. The instant gratification makes us build the house of cards ever higher, which brings anxiety about the whole thing coming tumbling down. Why would we shortchange ourselves like that?
Apple has now released a tool that removes the Flashback Trojan from infected Mac computers, according to a security update posted to Apple.com on Thursday. The malicious software, which some have casually referred to as the “Mac virus,” (even though, yes, we know, a Trojan is not a virus), had previously infected some 650,000 Mac laptops, making it one of the largest infections the Mac install base has ever seen.
Of these, $4.6 trillion is the revenue cost over the next decade of the tax cuts embodied in the plan, as estimated by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. These cuts — which are, by the way, cuts over and above those involved in making the Bush tax cuts permanent — would disproportionately benefit the wealthy, with the average member of the top 1 percent receiving a tax break of $238,000 a year.
Republicans view taxes with an almost religious fervor: They are profane and must always be fought. Get thee behind me, revenues! Democrats see them as a kind of moral cause: They are about “fairness,” and should be used to help rectify some of the most glaring inequities in the economy. Lost on both sides is a more practical view of taxes: They are how the government pays for itself.
In making the legal case against Obamacare’s individual mandate, challengers have argued that the framers of our Constitution would certainly have found such a measure to be unconstitutional...The framers, challengers have claimed, thought a constitutional ban on purchase mandates was too 'obvious' to mention. Their core basis for this claim is that purchase mandates are unprecedented, which they say would not be the case if it was understood this power existed. But there’s a major problem with this line of argument: It just isn’t true. The founding fathers, it turns out, passed several mandates of their own. In 1790, the very first Congress--which incidentally included 20 framers--passed a law that included a mandate: namely, a requirement that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. This law was then signed by another framer: President George Washington. That’s right, the father of our country had no difficulty imposing a health insurance mandate.
Late Wednesday night, BrightSource Energy, a start-up formed to build solar thermal power plants, was forced to make a humbling admission: Despite a year of hopes and efforts, it could not find the market it wanted for its stock. The company canceled its initial public offering of shares just hours before trading was to begin...In part, the company’s I.P.O. troubles show the limits of investor faith in the kinds of large-scale solar power projects that BrightSource develops, analysts say. The projects often pose environmental challenges, need new infrastructure and take up acres of land, and they require enormous investments before generating revenue, posing large risks for developers. But BrightSource is also emblematic of the dark clouds that have settled over the solar market, analysts and industry executives say. Despite a vast increase in the installation of solar panels in the United States and the rollout of new utility-scale plants, profits are scarce.
A study this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that if kids ate just 64 fewer calories per day, by 2020 our childhood obesity rate would fall to 10 percent lower than where it stood in the early mid-2000s. Not too shabby for an intervention that’s as easy as cutting up cookies.
Stop for a moment and ask yourself why the interest rate can’t be reduced much below 1 percent. The trouble is cash. At any given time, relatively little paper currency circulates in the United States. Instead, most of the American money supply consists of bank accounts and other electronic stores of value. People prefer to keep money in bank accounts because it’s convenient and because you get interest on it. If the rates were driven below zero—in effect a tax on holding cash in the bank—people would just withdraw money and store it in shoeboxes instead.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes broke the news this morning. Back in January, Romney appeared at a town hall even in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he explained his position on welfare.
“While I was governor,” Romney said, “85 percent of the people on a form of welfare assistance in my state had no work requirement. I wanted to increase the work requirement. I said, for instance, that even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless,’ and I said ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving daycare to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’”
Momgate is so stupid and a waste of time. What a disgrace to real issues. - JT
According to the most recent Congressional Budget Office estimates, the total cost of TARP has fallen from $700 billion to $34 billion. In 2010, the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was projected to cost $53 billion by 2020, and the White House now estimates that cost will shrink to $28 billion by 2022. Put together, all the government’s efforts to bail out the financial system in 2008 and 2009 could ultimately end up turning a profit for taxpayers--in the ballpark of $10 billion, according to the Treasury Department.
I'm going for day two of my "shit worth reading" post round-up of things I read, and found interesting, throughout the day. If you're curious about my reasoning behind it (why certain topics show up here), my post about it should clear that up.
That's right: There are seven stories leading the site about a comment made by a CNN analyst who does not work for the Obama campaign, but who is described here as "adviser to Obama." There is a multiplying effect, because the people who write the news read Drudge. It's possible that the Romney-Drudge alliance is well-enough known to lessen the impact. Also possible: That the incredible intelligence-insulting exercise underway here is too intense to actually work.
And yet, Romneycare is doing pretty well. As you can see in Sarah’s charts, it’s covered about 95 percent of Massachusetts adults. Premiums are growing more slowly than the national average in both the employer and individual markets. And the law is, perhaps most importantly, very popular in Massachusetts.
Well, then, it was settled! Someone who may have advised a campaign months before appearing on TV is still, clearly, coordinating a message with the campaign. My colleague John Dickerson tried to get the surrogates to explain, under the new standard, who was and wasn't officially speaking for a candidate. Suddenly the topic changed.
The difference between the two parties over the last few years has been that Democrats wanted to spend more on job creation and Republicans wanted to move to austerity budgeting. If the Republicans had succeeded, I think the bulk of the evidence suggests that we wouldn’t have seen a different pattern of recovery so much as less recovery.
This might not seem like a huge deal to you. But it is. And it gets to one of my favorite scary statistics: 70 percent of the antibiotics used in this country -- 70 percent! -- go into livestock production. And that's before you even get to the antibiotics that are used on animals who actually fall ill.
The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that it collected $171 billion in taxes and other revenue last month, the highest March tally since 2008, when Bear Stearns was acquired at a government-run fire sale by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Individual income-tax revenue from October through March, the first half of the government's 2012 fiscal year, hit $484.1 billion, up from $475.6 billion in the year-earlier period. Corporate income taxes rose to $84.5 billion from $55.1 billion a year earlier. The higher tax revenue helped shrink the six-month deficit to $778.8 billion this year, $50 billion lower than the year before.
The two parties spent most of this week, as they tend to spend most of every week, arguing about taxes. Democrats are for ‘em. Republicans, against. Right? Wrong. These tiresome debates obscure the near-consensus in Washington on taxes: Republicans don’t want to raise taxes on anyone, and Democrats don’t want to raise taxes on almost anyone. The argument between the two parties rages over that sliver of territory between 'anyone' and 'almost anyone.'...In the long run, this anti-tax orthodoxy is likely to harm both parties. Democrats cannot, in the coming decades, pay for the social welfare state they say they support by raising taxes only on the rich. Yet sharply raising taxes only on the rich -- the most noxious and counterproductive kind of tax increase, according to Republicans -- is all but guaranteed if Republicans continue to oppose any and all attempts at revenue- raising tax reform and force future tax hikes to come entirely through Democratic votes.
Isn’t it strange how when there’s something to legitimately brag about, the bragging is done in a very specific manner? Actual numbers are given. But when there isn’t, numbers become relative. Or exceedingly confusing. Or worse.
It’s coming down to a lot of bedrock issues about how you VALUE things in general. What’s the VALUE in paying more? What should electronic items cost if the physical value is largely held in the device? How do we maintain a thriving literary life in the face of these new developments? Is this a sign that publishing is an outmoded business of “gatekeepers,” or is this a rallying point to stand up and say we’re willing to pay more for things that are of value to us?
But even the case against the publishers is not a sure thing for the Department of Justice. Some experts suggest that even amid claims that the publishers met to discuss a shift to an agency model being championed by Apple, the publishers may not be found guilty of antitrust violations.
Instead of slapping a bunch of ads on people’s tumblogs, which Karp says would make the network profitable almost immediately, the Tumblr team will focus on rolling out more features to help creatives gather attention or create better things, similar to the Highlight feature that the company previously released.
This case is actually pretty fascinating because had Apple not accepted the agency model to gain some traction in e-books, we’d probably be hearing the publishers complaining to the DoJ that Amazon was using their monopoly in e-books to destroy their businesses.
Ok, following up the blog post yesterday about political stuff I read throughout the day, I decided today to include the good stuff that I read from basically any subject that isn't music related. On a day-to-day basis I read a lot, and most of that is within the music, technology, and political realms (with sports being the fourth). The music stuff gets covered on this here website you're reading -- this is everything else.
Note, I cross post all the political stuff into the political forum general thread. One of my favorite threads on the website.
Students in California have a proposal. Rather than charging tuition, they’d like public universities in California to take 5% of their salary for the first twenty years following graduation (for incomes between $30,000 and $200,000). Essentially, rather than taking on debt students would like to sell equity in their future earnings. This means students who make more money after graduation will subsidise lower-earning peers.
We only ask that you do not redistribute the show. Once you download the file, it’s yours to keep forever, and yours to use for any reasonable personal use, such as watching, enjoying, converting to MP3 for the morning commute, making backups, burning to DVD, hosting a screening for friends, and so on
Another misconception: The proposal doesn’t raise $47 billion over 10 years. Or, rather, it does, but only if you use the “current law baseline” that assumes the full expiration of the Bush tax cuts. No one really uses that baseline. If you look at Paul Ryan’s budget, for instance, its appendix tables use a “current policy baseline,” which assumes, among other things, that the Bush tax cuts are extended.
Compared with that baseline, the Paying a Fair Share Act actually raises about $160 billion. Still not enough to solve our deficit problems on its own, but nothing to sneeze at.
In the depths of the financial crisis, borrowers with tarnished credit like Ms. Alejandro were almost entirely shut out from credit at traditional lenders. It was hard enough for people with stellar credit to get loans. But as financial institutions recover from the losses on loans made to troubled borrowers, some of the largest lenders to the less than creditworthy, including Capital One and GM Financial, are trying to woo them back, while HSBC and JPMorgan Chase are among those tiptoeing again into subprime lending. Credit card lenders gave out 1.1 million new cards to borrowers with damaged credit in December, up 12.3 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to Equifax’s credit trends report released in March. These borrowers accounted for 23 percent of new auto loans in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 17 percent in the same period of 2009, Experian, a credit scoring firm, said.
Fender benders, rear-enders and those three-car pileups that back up traffic may be going the way of the buggy whip. Within a few years, cars whizzing down the highway will begin chatting among themselves. Once they all are equipped to join the conversation, every car will know the speed, distance and direction of every other car close enough to pose a risk...Just as it has changed so many other aspects of life, wireless technology is about to revolutionize the way we drive...It could cut highway fatalities and injuries by more than half, eliminating billions of dollars in medical bills. It could reduce by millions more what it costs to repair damage from the more than 6 million crashes each year. By governing the flow of traffic with real-time information, it can reroute drivers to avoid congestion and reduce time and fuel wasted while stuck in traffic.
Also currently unavailable is pricing information – that is, how much you’ll be able to get for your CDs once sent in. Surely pricing will be variable depending on artist, we would guess. After all, your Beatles CD will probably sell fast…your Barry Manilow, not so much.
The malware is said to have infected over 600,000 Macs worldwide. While 3rd party tools have been developed to test for the infection, Apple reveals they are working on their own tool to detect and remove the software.
Spotify isn’t content with just dominating Facebook; the service is now allowing tracks to be embedded into websites, which…launches the Spotify app. Okay, that’s cool, I guess; if Rdio hadn’t been doing the same thing without launching an app for at least a year. But hey, maybe black and green is your thang, in which case, proceed.
The Google team has announced a redesign of their ghost town social network, Google+. Described as part of the initiative to create a “simpler, more beautiful Google” the redesign is essentially a brand new layout and, well, it looks a bit like a cleaner version of Facebook. Unfortunately, the relative lack of engagement with Google+ has never been a matter of looks (it already looked much better than other social networks) but rather a matter of motivation, which Google hasn’t solved with this redesign.
The problem with this model of Series A and B investing is that, in reality, many of the companies with big hits weren’t overnight successes. Pinterest, OMGPOP, Twitter, and Tumblr were around for years before taking off and all benefited greatly from having patient investors. In the current financing environment, a lot of good companies won’t live to get Series As and Bs and big VCs will pay valuations on hits that are priced to perfection.
Remember last year when analysts said that the lack of a full redesign with the iPhone 4S was so disappointing? Hahaha, wow, good times. AAPL closed at what, 626 today? Analysts suck. - JT
I have no idea what to title this sort of thing ... so, for now, I'm just calling it "Shit Worth Reading." It's pretty easy to do with how I consume material on the internet each day, so I'll probably keep doing it for a little while and see how people enjoy it. All of my personal comments are in italics, the rest is quoted from the article I am linking to.
We live in a world where music can be found, consumed, and loved or discarded within seconds. For better or for worse: it's reality. In this kind of world: how band members act is going to matter. This sorta thing just makes everyone involved look ridiculous. A good rule of thumb to everyone: stay off social networks when you're mad.
No one wants to be "that band that got pissed and went on a tirade on twitter." And no one wants to defend that band.
Figured it was worth checking back in as a follow up to my previous post searching for a certain multimedia gadget. I got a lot of great feedback from people on here, Twitter, and Facebook. I tried out XMBC, Windows 7 media center, and Boxee. I thought they all had pros and cons - however, none of them were extremely effective for what I wanted (having a laptop hooked up to the TV just didn't seem like a great long term solution). So I ended up grabbing the WDTV Live from Amazon. It's smaller than most hardbound books, was insanely easy to install, worked with my wireless network, and was set up completely in about 15 minutes. It's probably my favorite toy in the house now. It's perfect for listening to my music downstairs, putting on Pandora, or watching any videos I have on my computer. HD quality. Fast. Perfect.
So, yeah, I recommend it. With the Boxee Box coming out later this year (which will support netflix and hulu) - I may be grabbing one of those as well, but for right now - I couldn't be more satisfied. Got exactly what I was looking for. And it just works.
Seems to be a lot going on on the website today (new releases, new Cartel stream, Dashboard interview, etc.) - so I'm gonna wait and roll out a new Graduate track in the next day or two. When we can make sure to feature just it. Just know it's coming.