Paul Krugman: Bull Market Blues (NY Times Column)
In some ways, the stock market's gains reflect economic weaknesses, not strengths.
Chris Dillow: "CAMERON'S FAILURE: AUSTERITY" (Stumbling and Mumbling)
In this sense, the costs of austerity have been far higher than estimated by conventional macroeconomic thinking. This perhaps reinforces an old piece of political wisdom - that if a government doesn't get economic policy right, it'll not get much else right either.
Kate Hutchinson: "Jack & Amanda Palmer: You Got Me Singing review" (The Guardian)
Daughter and dad duet strikes a timely chord.
Ben Child: Are comic book movies actually fascist? (The Guardian)
Die Hard director John McTiernan claims superhero films are 'made by fascists', pointing to Captain America as exhibit A. But the truth is a lot less definitive.
What Do the Wealthiest People Know That Others Don't? (Quora, Slate)
Answer by Ron Rule, CEO of As Seen on TV: That big money is served in small increments. Whether that's return on investments, profits, margins on products you're selling, whatever. People who don't understand this are always trying to double or quintuple their money in as few transactions as possible, while the largest and most successful companies and people in the world win by making "small money" over and over again.
"When did facts go out of fashion?" Lucy Mangan wants the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (Stylist)
I went to the doctor the other day, about a thing. I told him my symptoms and he said, "So, what do you think it is?" "No!" I wanted to cry. "I am not that kind of patient! I am old school! You tell me stuff! I am happy to feel the full weight of your greater knowledge, your years of study, palpating of live tissues and dissection of dead ones, your ongoing training bearing down on my problem and seeking to solve it. Don't ask me to diagnose myself. I'm not even fully conversant with my new microwave's settings yet."
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"Doug's Most Shared Facebook Post" Today
Michelle in AZ
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
THE REPUG PARTY IS OVER!
"…THIS CYCLE OF VIOLENCE."
THE CRAZY MAN WITH A CRAZY PLAN!
THE TWO DOPES.
BURN BABY BURN!
"HE SEEMS LIKE HE'S 100 PERCENT ON THE UP AND UP."
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Getting hotter. Ack.
150 Tech Leaders
How do you get some of the most powerful and prickly people in the tech industry, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Vint "father of the internet" Cerf and the founders of Reddit, Medium, Twitter, and Wikipedia, to agree on a divisive political issue? You convince them that the American innovation at the core of their businesses is in danger. Apparently, Donald Trump's presidential campaign has what it takes.
In an open letter published on Medium Thursday that reads like a who's of who of tech-world luminaries, 150 executives, engineers, researchers, and investors voiced their opposition to Trump, whom they say would threaten economic growth and the free expression of ideas if he becomes president.
"We were aligned with one common point of view: Trump would be a disaster for innovation," Katie Jacobs Stanton, the CMO of Color Genomics (and former vice president of global media at Twitter), told BuzzFeed News. Stanton was one of the organizers behind the open letter, which she says began through emails, and took shape in a Google doc as dozens of people added their support.
The letter's focus on innovation, as opposed to more explicitly political issues helped garner consensus, said Hunter Walk, a partner at Homebrew. "There's a lot of concern in the Valley about some of Trump's statements, and this started to give people a chance to speak with a single voice," he told BuzzFeed News.
Several organizers said that the goal of the letter was not to necessarily dissuade Trump's supporters, but to express the concerns of the tech community, and to help bring this discussion to the surface. They currently have no plans to use the open letter's coalition for future political action.
150 Tech Leaders
Has a 'Devil Head' and Claw-Like Petals
A new species of orchid is in a league of its own - not just because it's relatively rare, but also because scientists say it looks like the devil.
The new species, Telipogon diabolicus, was named for its flowers' heart-shaped gynostemium, which look like a devil's head. The orchid is also described as having "distinctly clawed petals," adding to its demonic appearance, according to the researchers who discovered it.
About 30 of the reddish to dark-violet-maroon orchids - of which only several were flowering adults - were found growing in a small forest at the border between Putumayo and Nariño (regional jurisdictions called "departments") in southern Colombia.
In their report on the species' discovery, the researchers noted that the flower has already been listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, which lists animals and plants threatened with extinction.
Inquiry Released After 13-Year Wait
Newly declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11 released Friday have reignited speculation that some of the hijackers had links to Saudis, including government officials - allegations that were never substantiated by later U.S. investigations into the terrorist attacks.
Congress released the last chapter of the congressional inquiry that has been kept under wraps for more than 13 years, stored in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. Lawmakers and relatives of victims of the attacks, who believe that Saudi links to the attackers were not thoroughly investigated, campaigned for years to get the pages released.
The lightly redacted document names individuals who helped the hijackers get apartments, open bank accounts and connect with local mosques. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals and several were not fluent in English and had little experience living in the West.
Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, the co-chairman of the congressional inquiry, who pushed hard for the last chapter of the inquiry's report to be released, believes the hijackers had an extensive Saudi support system while they were in the United States.
Saudi Arabia itself has urged the release of the chapter since 2002 so the kingdom could respond to any allegations.
Rabbi Backs Out
A prominent New York rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump to Judaism has backed out of delivering the opening prayer at the GOP convention after critics slammed him for appearing to endorse her father.
Haskel Lookstein - former head of the elite Ramaz School and the former rabbi of Kehilath Jeshurun, a tony Modern Orthodox synagogue on the Upper East Side - said he backed out because his planned invocation had become too "political."
"Unfortunately, when my name appeared on a list of speakers at the convention, without the context of the invocation I had been invited to present, the whole matter turned from rabbinic to political, something which was never intended," he wrote in a letter posted Friday on the school's Facebook page.
A graduate of the prep school, Jacob Savage, started a petition on Change.org condemning both Lookstein and Trump.
"To embrace Trump and Trumpism goes against all we've been taught. As graduates of Ramaz, and as current or former members of the Modern Orthodox community, this is a shanda [embarrassment] beyond the pale," he wrote in the petition.
GOP Convention Organizers Begging Sheldon For Help
The Republican National Convention may be struggling to make ends meet after a bevy of companies cut their contributions to next week's events, according to a new report.
Politico reported Thursday night that convention organizers had written to billionaires Sheldon and Miriam Adelson asking for $6 million. The letter, which Politico said it had obtained, reportedly acknowledges the event is facing a budget shortfall because more than two dozen companies have bailed on a cumulative $8.1 million in pledges - because of presumptive nominee Donald Trump
"Over the past couple months, negative publicity around our potential nominee resulted in a considerable number of pledges backing out from their commitments," the letter says, according to Politico. "We would greatly appreciate if you would consider a $6,000,000 contribution to the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee to help us cross the finish line."
The host committee's CEO told CNBC that the letter, provided to by staff after a late-breaking request from Adelson, was not reviewed or authorized by the chairpersons, and that it "mischaracterized certain donations from individuals and corporations."
"Some of what were referred to as pledges were actually expectations based on pledges made to previous conventions, while a handful had been withdrawn from the Host Committee for 2016 Republican National Convention," David Gilbert, CEO of the Cleveland 2016 host committee, said in a statement.
The Federal Trade Commission is closing an investigation of Herbalife. The Cayman Islands company agreed to fully restructure its U.S. business operations and pay a $200 million settlement over allegations that it deceived consumers, but it avoided more serious charges that it was operating as a pyramid scheme.
Under the settlement, Herbalife Ltd. will have to rework its compensation system so that retail sales are rewarded, and scrap incentives that reward distributors for recruiting.
Herbalife, which uses independent distributors to sell its products such as dietary supplements and skin creams, said in February that it was in discussions with the FTC about resolving an investigation into "unfair or deceptive acts or practices."
The settlement amounts to a black eye for hedge fund manager William Ackman, head of Pershing Square Capital Management. He has shorted Herbalife shares, betting that they would fall, and waged a high-profile pubic relations campaign to persuade other investors that the company is vulnerable.
Still, the settlement also represents a setback for Herbalife. Under the agreement, Herbalife must stop paying distributors of its products to recruit other members, an important element of the multi-level marketing company's business model. The FTC called that compensation structure "unfair."
A political mentor of Gov. Chris Christie (R-Feckless) who headed the agency that oversees New York City-area airports admitted Thursday that he used his position to get United Airlines to run direct flights to South Carolina so that he could easily visit his vacation home.
David Samson, the Republican governor's appointee to lead the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pleaded guilty to a bribery charge, acknowledging that he schemed with a lobbyist to delay approvals on a project as a way of pressuring the airline to re-launch the money-losing flight.
The ex-lobbyist, Jamie Fox, was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, but his lawyer said he would fight the charges. Fox, a Democrat, went on to work for Christie as the state's transportation commissioner after ending his work for United.
Samson and Fox "both should have known better. They both did know better," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. "It was an unacceptable abuse of public authority."
Fishman also announced that United would pay a $2.25 million fine for the role its officials played in the scheme.
An Indian businessman who made headlines in 2013 for purchasing one of the world's most expensive shirts made entirely of gold has been beaten to death in western India, according to a report Friday.
Datta Phuge gained fame when he ordered a customised gold shirt worth 12.7 million rupees, around $240,000 dollars at the time.
It was made up of 14,000 pieces of 22-carat gold, weighed 3.32 kilogrammes (7.3 pounds) and was put together by 15 craftsmen over 16 days.
The hefty garment earned Phuge -- a money lender from Pune in Maharashtra state -- the moniker "gold man", a title he cherished.
Police said Phuge, believed to be in his mid-40s, was attacked and killed by 12 assailants brandishing stones and sharp weapons on Thursday night after one of the suspects had invited him for a party, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
Global Concert Tours
The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.
1. Beyonce; $5,840,123; $125.18.
2. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band; $4,645,362; $110.29.
3. Paul McCartney; $3,230,728; $130.21.
4. Rod Stewart; $1,849,824; $113.32.
5. Kenny Chesney; $1,824,294; $70.17.
6. Justin Bieber; $1,653,204; $99.47.
7. Jeff Lynne's ELO; $1,648,038; $109.18.
8. Pearl Jam; $1,438,085; $72.07.
9. Rihanna; $1,247,614; $90.01.
10. Lionel Richie; $1,155,020; $80.51.
11. Iron Maiden; $1,090,807; $66.22.
12. The Who; $935,897; $88.67.
13. Luke Bryan; $934,949; $56.31.
14. Dave Matthews Band; $929,935; $58.68.
15. The Cure; $834,365; $56.17.
16. Mumford & Sons; $806,481; $54.84.
17. Mariah Carey; $754,565; $74.55.
18. Carrie Underwood; $725,657; $67.08.
19. Dixie Chicks; $708,199; $65.44.
20. Journey / Doobie Brothers; $706,344; $58.98.
Global Concert Tours