22 May 2018

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Remember all that braying about how corporations would use offshore profit to add more workers if/when they brought it back? You do remember? Did you believe it? You shouldn't.
16:17 CW Curtiss-Wright to utilize $50 million in repatriated foreign cash to expand 2018 share repurchase program (133.92 +2.03)

Board of Directors has authorized an additional $50 million for share repurchases in 2018, to begin immediately via a 10b5-1 program, by using cash that the Company has begun repatriating from its foreign subsidiaries.

Earlier this month, the Company repurchased more than $12 million in shares opportunistically through a supplemental share repurchase program and has ~$36 million remaining under the current share repurchase authorization. Since early 2014, the Company has repurchased more than 7 million shares for an aggregate purchase price of nearly $550 million

19 May 2018

Mask of The Red Death

Have you noticed that the "unmasking" meme has fallen away from the Orange Julius Caesar cabal's whining? Why might that be? Reporting that the FBI had an informant talking to Page, Papadopoulos, and Clovis very early in the investigation has created the spy meme. Hmmm. May be they were warned that such talk will only speed up the inevitable end.

Last night's MSNBC nightly feed included Maddow's refreshing of the Nixon Enemies List, in the context of Orange Julius Caesar's secret attempt to coerce the PO into doubling(!) Amazon's delivery charge. That shouldn't be surprising. What I noted was Maddow's use of video and audio from the Watergate investigation. The tapes proved that Nixon, et al, really did subvert the law. The outing of the Amazon/PO corruption was offered as today's version. But I disagree.

From the moment that Comey told us that the FBI had an open investigation into Trump/Russia, I inferred the jig was up. Maddow came this close to closing the circle. Have I mentioned in the course of these missives that I spent some time working for Jack Anderson? Well, yes. And you can find the articles I worked on if you look hard enough. This was after Anderson was co-opted by Reagan, but he had long since quit doing much reporting or writing, leaving that to the staff. I got to meet some spooks. That was fun.

My time in DC convinces me that the intelligence community, the NSA in particular, has the Trump Tapes. It's perfectly legal for NSA/CIA/FBI to sweep up Americans who engage with foreigners in treasonous activities. Doesn't matter where their feet are at the time. The cabal knows what it did, and was counting on not winning to keep their activities from public view. Thus the FISA nonsense. They just wanted the money. Just as Jared extorted from Qatar. In due time, the community will release the tapes. Whether Orange Julius Caesar spends time in prison is the only question.

07 May 2018

The Book I Didn't Get Around to Writing

On more than one occasion, I've bemoaned the silliness of Big Data. So have some others, every now and again. This morning's email brought a spiel from Amazon, with some books I might like. There is one: "Big Data, Big Dope".
While others have written about the dangers of Big Data, Stephen Few reveals the deceit that belies its illusory nature. If "data is the new oil," Big Data is the new snake oil. It isn't real. It's a marketing campaign that has distracted us for years from the real and important work of deriving value from data.

Exactly. OTOH, I worry that BLS/Census survey efforts have been corrupted by Orange Julius Caesar's minions in the agencies. Remember, it was the political appointees who made the case for WMD, not the grunts doing the work. When something is too good to be true, it likely is. One doesn't need all the population to make appropriate data-driven decisions. But it is easier to put a thumb on the scales when sampling is involved. It was bad stratification that led Crooked Hillary to believe she had it in the bag.

06 May 2018

You Must Read This

Finally, a more famous than I data nerd tells the truth.
Instead of learning, I was spending 2-3 hours a day mindlessly scrolling through Facebook looking at cat videos and political hate speech. I was also posting family pictures of our adventures and eagerly awaiting the dopamine reward of getting likes from friends and family. My attention span was getting shorter and shorter by the day.

Now, lo those many decades ago, one of my graduate profs noted that you'll know you're working a profession when you spend 80% of your time thinking. And the greatest asset you acquire while a grad student is your library. Not so much these days.

28 April 2018

What's a Blit?

It was many years ago today that Dr. McElhone came to say a new word (to me, anyway): blit. What's a blit, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you: five pounds of shit in a four pound sack. Being from Texas and Nevada, it was sack and not bag. Kind of the same vein as, "Girl, you're as dumb as a sack of hair!" So, what's up with blit and hair? The death spiral of capitalism.

"Robert, you're out of your bleeing mind!"

Could be. But follow along with me. More than once, these pages have described the problem of heavily capitalized production, namely the strait jacket of amortization and the need for stable, if not growing, demand. As more cost is claimed by capital, the more difficult it is to manage average cost, and thus price (modulo customer discrimination). Ya gotta pay the vig. In the Olde Days, as demand softened you just fired employees. Average cost dropped to more closely match market clearing price. Capital heavy production makes that anywhere from difficult to impossible, since they ain't no bodies to fire.

"But Robert, that never actually happens!" Thanks to all the news that's fit to print, we get a case study.
The Headline:
For Cancer Centers, Proton Therapy's Promise Is Undercut by Lagging Demand

Can't get more on point than that. Proton therapy is a five pound cost in a four pound sack of demand. The shit drips over the top. Yuck.
But about 30 years after the Food and Drug Administration first approved proton therapy for limited uses, doctors often hesitate to prescribe it and insurers often will not cover it.

That means there simply may not be enough business to go around.

Or, as has been argued in these pages more than once: if only the 1% have healthcare, even they won't be able to afford it. Another bone oft picked here: Say's Law, aka supply creates it's own demand. Laffer being the modern zealot of that knucklehead idea. Were it true, we'd never have recessions, much less panics and depressions.
At Indiana, he added, "we began to see that simply having a proton center didn't mean people would come."

What's even worse is that such machines seem to be no better than regular treatment.
But its pinpoint precision has not been shown to be more effective against breast, prostate and other common cancers. One recent study of lung-cancer patients found no significant difference in outcomes between people receiving proton therapy and those getting a focused kind of traditional radiation, which is much less expensive.

Remember 2005, when all the smart people in the room told us that skyrocketing house prices were the new normal and that there had never been, and could never be, a nationwide stall in home sales? Remember?

26 April 2018

Old Guys Finish First

Well, now we know, again, that youth ain't all that neat. Jim Keller is now at Intel. Hardware guru is a fair description. At 58, he's had the time to see and do a bit of work. Be still my heart.

We Save Lives

The constant refrain from the most profitable industry (not counting the FIRE parasites), "we need sky-high prices because we save lives", is, once again, belied. Here's the story.
Those who received pumps (785) survived a median of 67 months, compared with 44 months for patients who did not get them (1,583). The result was especially striking, Dr. D'Angelica said, because patients who got pumps were sicker to begin with.

May be there'll be enough backlash to throw the critters out of the swamp.