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  1. kalenjin shared this story from Quartz.

    The crowd at Donald Trump’s latest campaign rally took up a new chant directed at one of the Democratic party’s most visible new members of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    “AOC sucks, AOC sucks,” the throng in Grand Rapids, Michigan bellowed last night (March28), after Donald Trump Jr., mentioned the New York City representative’s Green New Deal climate change bill. Later on social media, far-right pundits gleefully shared clips.

    Hating on Ocasio-Cortez has become reliable right-wing clickbait. She’s replaced Hillary Clinton and even House speaker Nancy Pelosi as a favorite target.

    As her questioning of witnesses at congressional hearings wins more praise from Democrats and progressives for, say, examining the American politics’ reliance on dark money, the hate is becoming uglier, more misogynistic—and more threatening.

    The Daily Caller published a fake “nude selfie” that purported to show Ocasio-Cortez, members of right-wing groups pretending to be journalists sometimes roam the halls of Congress to film “gotcha” videos of her refusing to answer provocative questions, and her Republican peers have called her everything from “little girl” to stupid.

    Trump himself has made a practice of denigrating women during his public life. He insulted Republican primary opponent Carly Fiorina’s looks, bragged about sexually assaulting women, and was accused of assault by multiple women. Since he became president, women of color have been a particular target, and he has repeatedly badmouthed black women, including congresswomen and the widow of a slain soldier.

    The real-world effect

    Prosecutions for death threats against US politicians spiked in 2018, as Quartz recently wrote. In general, about 75% of those charged for making threats against US politicians have come from the ideological right, based on analysis of cases going back to 1990 by the Prosecution Project.They are almost entirely US citizens, male, and roughly 85% white, and their targets are mostly Democrats.

    Trump’s nasty personal attacks on his political opponents seem to carry particular weight. Since he took office in 2017, four white men have been convicted of threatening to kill Maxine Waters, the California congresswoman Trump has singled out repeatedly, calling her “Low IQ.” Men who called themselves Trump supporters or shared his anti-immigrant views have sent bombs to his political opponents and have killed worshippers at a synagogue. Since Trump was elected, law-enforcement officials have been “extraordinarily concerned that—based on the polarization and hostile nature of our political discourse—we would see an increase in people carrying out acts of violence,” a terrorism expert told Quartz in October.

    Like father, like son

    At he Michigan rally, Trump’s eldest son seemed to delight in the crowd response. “Now, you guys aren’t very nice,” Donald Jr. said, smiling, as the AOC chant rang out.

    Polls show Ocasio-Cortez is most popular among women, and potential voters aged 18 to 34. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, 27% of the women surveyed and 35% of those 18 to 34 say the have a “favorable” opinion of her. (Both overall and in those categories, more respondents said they didn’t know enough about Ocasio-Cortez to judge her.)

    White men don’t like AOC most of all, with 51% of the group saying they have an “unfavorable” opinion of her. Some behavioral experts have said they believe that is mostly because these men are afraid of her.

    “She doesn’t just challenge the patriarchy, she’s challenging the race, class, and gender hierarchies all at once, as well as the capitalist system that requires member of Congress be wealthy before they get there,” says Caroline Heldman, a gender and politics professor at Occidental College, who was quoted in a recent Huffington Post column examining why conservative men hate her so much.

  2. kalenjin shared this story from Calculated Risk.

    Earlier: Housing Starts Decreased to 1.162 Million Annual Rate in February

    Total housing starts in February were below expectations, however starts for December and January were revised up.

    The housing starts report released this morning showed starts were down 8.7% in February compared to January, and starts were down 9.9% year-over-year compared to February 2018.

    Single family starts were down 10.6% year-over-year, and multi-family starts were down 5.4%.

    This first graph shows the month to month comparison for total starts between 2018 (blue) and 2019 (red).

    Starts Housing 2017 and 2018Click on graph for larger image.

    Starts were down 9.9% in February compared to February 2018.

    The weakness in February was primarily in the single family sector.  February starts might have been impacted by the weather.

    Last year, in 2018, starts were strong early in the year, and then fell off in the 2nd half - so the early comparisons are the most difficult.

    Below is an update to the graph comparing multi-family starts and completions. Since it usually takes over a year on average to complete a multi-family project, there is a lag between multi-family starts and completions. Completions are important because that is new supply added to the market, and starts are important because that is future new supply (units under construction is also important for employment).

    These graphs use a 12 month rolling total for NSA starts and completions.

    Multifamily Starts and completionsThe blue line is for multifamily starts and the red line is for multifamily completions.

    The rolling 12 month total for starts (blue line) increased steadily for several years following the great recession - but turned down, and has moved sideways recently.  Completions (red line) had lagged behind - however completions and starts are at about the same level now. 

    As I've been noting for a few years, the significant growth in multi-family starts is behind us - multi-family starts peaked in June 2015 (at 510 thousand SAAR).

    Single family Starts and completionsThe second graph shows single family starts and completions. It usually only takes about 6 months between starting a single family home and completion - so the lines are much closer. The blue line is for single family starts and the red line is for single family completions.

    Note the relatively low level of single family starts and completions.  The "wide bottom" was what I was forecasting following the recession, and now I expect some further increases in single family starts and completions.
  3. kalenjin shared this story from ETFdb:
    ....hmm.....

    The ETF marketplace has been trending towards lower and lower fees for some time now, but it’s never gotten as low as it has this past week. Most watchers figured that a 0% ETF was the next logical step in the fee war, but Salt Financial has passed that marker and gone straight into negative territory. It’s the first ETF that will actually pay you to invest in it but it comes with a catch!

    For a list of all new ETF launches, take a look at our ETF Launch Center.

    Here are the latest new fund launches:

  4. kalenjin shared this story from Quartz.

    Tensions are mounting dangerously between Rwanda and Uganda. The two African countries historically have been closely linked, with each playing a key role in the other’s political development. But all that is now in peril.

    The Ugandan government, led by president Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM), gained power during the Ugandan Bush War (1980-1986) thanks in part to the military assistance of Rwandan refugees who fled their home country when the Tutsi ethnic group was persecuted. Among those refugees was current Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who joined Museveni’s ultimately successful struggle against the government of Milton Obote (1980-1985) and Tito Okello (1985-1986).

     Kagame accused Uganda of providing support and space for anti-Rwanda groups. Uganda has denied all the allegations. Conversely, by providing a refuge for them, Uganda enabled these displaced Rwandan refugees to create what became, in the late 1980s, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). Additionally, it was thanks to Uganda that the RPF’s military wing, the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), escaped total defeat at the hands of the Rwandan government’s military, the Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR), following its failed October 1990 invasion of Rwanda. The retreating RPA, led by (then general) Paul Kagame used Ugandan territory to move west and later occupy Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains—and would later fight to stop the 1994 Rwandan genocide (also referred to as the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi).

    Since the end of the genocide, Rwanda and Uganda (led by the old comrades-in-arms, Kagame and Museveni) have fought together on several occasions. During the First Congo War (1996-1997), they battled against the Rwandan genocide perpetrators who fled into Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) after the genocide and helped to overthrew Zairian leader Mobutu Sese Seko. They again fought together during the early stages of the Second Congo War (1998-2003), before turning on each other in the bloody 1999 fight to take control of the Congolese city of Kisangani, which resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths.

    Since the end of the Second Congo War, relations between the two countries have been inconsistent—although Kagame and Museveni have usually been able to negotiate and reduce tensions.

    Worsening Relations

    On Mar. 5, however, poor relations between the two countries come to a head after the Rwandan foreign minister, Richard Sezibera, held a press conference outlining Rwanda’s concerns with Uganda. He briefly closed the border with Uganda and advised Rwandans residing in Uganda to leave immediately. He accused Uganda of arresting Rwandans, disrupting regional trade and of providing support and space for anti-Rwanda groups. Uganda has denied all the allegations.

    The final accusation is the most problematic, as the minister specifically accused Uganda of supporting groups such as the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Both organisations are perceived by Rwandan officials to be dangerously intent on overthrowing the current RPF government and bringing back the ethnic divisions that haunted Rwanda prior to the genocide.

    Uganda is not the only country to have been accused of supporting these organisations. Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete hosted RNC and FDLR leaders in 2013 and 2014, and Rwanda has also accused Burundi and its president, Pierre Nkurunziza, of sympathising with the FDLR and providing them with public legitimacy.

    These recent diplomatic problems are nothing unusual, but the rhetoric has started to move up a gear. During the annual National Leadership Retreat, also known as “Umwiherero”, Kagame said of the mounting crisis with Uganda:

    You [Uganda] can attempt to destabilise our country, you can do us harm, you can shoot me with a gun and kill me. But there is one thing that is impossible: No one can bring me to my knees. Men and women of my country, you should never accept to be brought to your knees. You are much better than that.

    ‘Bring Rwanda to its knees’

    The phrase “bring me to my knees” is significant—and relates to the concept of “agaciro”. Typically, agaciro—a Kinyarwanda word meaning self-reliance, dignity and self-respect—is used to describe Rwanda’s economic policies. But it also central to how Rwanda engages with the international community and promotes its state interests.

    Seen through the lens of agaciro, Uganda is seriously disrespecting Rwandan dignity by arresting Rwandans and providing assistance to anti-Rwandan government groups that are, at some level, trying to promote genocide ideology.

    For those in the Rwandan government who fought against the genocidal regime in 1994, this is unacceptable and indicates a total lack of respect for Rwandan social development and reconciliation. It will not be tolerated and could lead to a serious escalation of the crisis.

    What does the future hold?

    Easing tensions between the two countries will not be easy without Rwanda believing that Uganda respects its concerns and dignity. When John Magufuli succeeded Kikwete as president of Tanzania in November 2015, he was able to reestablish and strengthen ties with Rwanda by expressing his understanding of Rwanda’s concerns regarding the RNC and FDLR. He understood the importance of agaciro.

    President Museveni could now make similar inroads by expressing his understanding of Rwanda’s concerns—and its desire to be treated with respect. He should start with a gesture of goodwill by removing any known FDLR or RNC associates from the country.

    War is unlikely and there is some hope—Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has met with both leaders and may help to mediate between them. But if nothing is done to ease the current standoff, tensions will remain high, impacting not only regional relations but both countries’ development and integration, too.The Conversation

    Jonathan Beloff, Teaching Fellow, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

    Sign up to theQuartz Africa Weekly Brief here for news and analysis on African business, tech and innovation in your inbox

  5. kalenjin shared this story from Quartz.

    DEA burning ton of weed every two hours

    The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is looking for an Arizona contractor to incinerate marijuana at a rate of 1,000 pounds an hour between March and September, according to a newly issued contracting notice from the DEA’s Houston Division.

    Put another way, 16,000 ounces of bud will be going up in smoke every 60 minutes, which is 32,000 half ounces; 64,000 quarters; 128,000 eighths; or the equivalent of about 896,000 half-gram joints. The weed will be transported from 12 cities in Texas to an incinerator in Tucson.

    Most of the marijuana will be in the form of “tightly compressed ‘bricks’ or ‘bales,’ typically weighing between 40 and 60 pounds. Packaging will include, among other things, cardboard; Saran Wrap; aluminum foil; duct, scotch, and packing tape; plastic evidence bags and wrapping paper (!). The DEA did not respond to a request for further details.

    “The integrity of the destruction process shall be such that the material to be destroyed cannot be redirected or retrieved once it is committed to destruction,” the DEA notice says. The pot must be destroyed “to a point where there are no detectable levels, as measured by standard analytical methods, of byproduct from the destruction process. DEA shall inspect the incinerator to ensure no drug residue remains.”

    There will be DEA personnel present at each burn, as well as closed circuit cameras at the facility recording every step of the process. The DEA “reserves the right to access the video feed as necessary to ensure the proper destruction of its drugs and safety of its representatives.”

    The agency requires that the location have a fence tall enough to prevent onlookers from watching the burn process, and that all employees involved undergo a background check and yearly drug tests.

    The DEA already has a contractor in mind, according to the agency: as the notice says, “This is anticipated to be a sole source award to Tucson Iron & Metal,” which is the only vendor in close enough proximity to the Texas towns of McAllen, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and Eagle Pass, where the confiscated cannabis is presumably stored.

    Similarly, the Atlanta field office of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is looking for an incinerator capable of burning between 1,500 and 5,000 pounds of drugs at a time, eight to 12 times a year, according to a recently issued solicitation. The menu will be slightly more varied, including marijuana, hashish, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, steroids, opiates, and khat.

    Cocaine, heroin, and meth burns must reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered fully destroyed, says the CBP tender. The others only need to reach 1,500 degrees, it advises.

    Although marijuana has been legalized in one form or another in 33 states and Washington, DC, it is still illegal under federal law.

    Read the full text of the DEA contracting notice here:

  6. kalenjin shared this story from DollarCollapse.com.

    As this longest-ever expansion finally runs out of steam, the question on everyone’s mind is, “who will save us this time?” The last big crisis was “fixed” by a combination of lower interest rates globally and massive buying of commodities by China. But with interest rates still at cyclical lows in a big part of […]

    The post Michael Pento: China Can’t Stop What’s Coming appeared first on DollarCollapse.com.

  7. kalenjin shared this story from Visual Capitalist.

    Map: The Countries With the Most Oil Reserves

    There’s little doubt that renewable energy sources will play a strategic role in powering the global economy of the future.

    But for now, crude oil is still the undisputed heavyweight champion of the energy world.

    In 2018, we consumed more oil than any prior year in history – about 99.3 million barrels per day on a global basis. This number is projected to rise again in 2019 to 100.8 million barrels per day.

    The Most Oil Reserves by Country

    Given that oil will continue to be dominant in the energy mix for the short and medium term, which countries hold the most oil reserves?

    Today’s map comes from HowMuch.net and it uses data from the CIA World Factbook to resize countries based on the amount of oil reserves they hold.

    Here’s the data for the top 15 countries below:

    RankCountryOil Reserves (Barrels)
    #1🇻🇪 Venezuela300.9 billion
    #2🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia266.5 billion
    #3🇨🇦 Canada169.7 billion
    #4🇮🇷 Iran158.4 billion
    #5🇮🇶 Iraq142.5 billion
    #6🇰🇼 Kuwait101.5 billion
    #7🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates97.8 billion
    #8🇷🇺 Russia80.0 billion
    #9🇱🇾 Libya48.4 billion
    #10🇳🇬 Nigeria37.1 billion
    #11🇺🇸 United States36.5 billion
    #12🇰🇿 Kazakhstan30.0 billion
    #13🇨🇳 China25.6 billion
    #14🇶🇦 Qatar25.2 billion
    #15🇧🇷 Brazil12.7 billion

    Venezuela tops the list with 300.9 billion barrels of oil in reserve – but even this vast wealth in natural resources has not been enough to save the country from its recent economic and humanitarian crisis.

    Saudi Arabia, a country known for its oil dominance, takes the #2 spot with 266.5 billion barrels of oil. Meanwhile, Canada and the U.S. are found at the #3 (169.7 billion bbls) and the #11 (36.5 billion bbls) spots respectively.

    The Cost of Production

    While having an endowment of billions of barrels of oil within your borders can be a strategic gift from mother nature, it’s worth mentioning that reserves are just one factor in assessing the potential value of this crucial resource.

    In Saudi Arabia, for example, the production cost of oil is roughly $3.00 per barrel, which makes black gold strategic to produce at almost any possible price.

    Other countries are not so lucky:

    CountryProduction cost (bbl)Total cost (bbl)*
    🇬🇧 United Kingdom$17.36$44.33
    🇧🇷 Brazil$9.45$34.99
    🇳🇬 Nigeria$8.81$28.99
    🇻🇪 Venezuela$7.94$27.62
    🇨🇦 Canada$11.56$26.64
    🇺🇸 U.S. shale$5.85$23.35
    🇳🇴 Norway$4.24$21.31
    🇺🇸 U.S. non-shale$5.15$20.99
    🇮🇩 Indonesia$6.87$19.71
    🇷🇺 Russia$2.98$19.21
    🇮🇶 Iraq$2.16$10.57
    🇮🇷 Iran$1.94$9.09
    🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia$3.00$8.98
    *Total cost (bbl) includes production cost (also shown), capital spending, gross taxes, and admin/transport costs.

    Even if a country is blessed with some of the most oil reserves in the world, it may not be able to produce and sell that oil to maximize the potential benefit.

    Countries like Canada and Venezuela are hindered by geology – in these places, the majority of oil is extra heavy crude or bitumen (oil sands), and these types of oil are simply more difficult and costly to extract.

    In other places, obstacles are are self-imposed. In some countries, like Brazil and the U.S., there are higher taxes on oil production, which raises the total cost per barrel.

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    The post Map: The Countries With the Most Oil Reserves appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

  8. kalenjin shared this story from Feed: All Latest.

    During development, cells seem to use statistics to figure out what identities they should take on.
  9. kalenjin shared this story from naked capitalism.

    The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it.
  10. kalenjin shared this story from Visual Capitalist.

    Visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales

    40 Years of Music Industry Sales

    The record industry has seen a lot of change over the years.

    Vinyl gave way to 8-tracks, and cassettes faded away as compact discs took the world by storm, and through it all, the music industry saw its revenue continue to climb. That is, until it was digitally disrupted.

    Looking back at four decades of music industry sales data is a fascinating exercise as it charts not only the rise and fall the record company profits, but seismic shifts in technology and consumer behavior as well.

    The Long Fade Out

    For people of a certain age group, early memories of acquiring new music are inexorably linked to piracy. Going to the store and purchasing a $20 disc wasn’t even a part of the thought process. Napster, the first widely used P2P service, figuratively skipped the needle off the record and ended years of impressive profitability in the recording industry.

    Physical vs. Digital sales

    Napster was shut down in 2002, but the genie was already out of the bottle. Piracy’s effect on the industry was immediate and stark. Music industry sales, which had been experiencing impressive year-over-year growth, began a decline that would continue for 15 years.

    The Ringtone Era

    While acquiring music was as easy opening Limewire on your desktop computer, transferring that new T-Pain track to a flip-phone wasn’t a seamless experience.

    This brief gap in technology – before smartphones hit mass adoption – brought us the ringtone era. Distribution was controlled by mobile carriers, so ringtones were a comfortable gateway for the record industry to get a taste for digital-based revenue. In 2008 alone, they injected over a billion dollars of revenue into an industry that was getting used to gloomy forecasts.

    Paddling Upstream

    Though services like Spotify and Pandora haven’t replaced the money pipeline that CD sales provided, they have reversed the industry’s tailspin. For the first time this millennium, record industry posted an increase in revenue for two consecutive years (and likely a third in 2018).

    It took a while for consumers to warm up to paying for a premium music subscription, but today, there’s a solid basis for optimism. Music streaming is now the most common format for music in the United States, and the RIAA reports that streaming now makes up nearly half of the market.

    Music Streaming Subscriptions

    The End of Physical Format?

    Gone are the days when people would line up at the music shop for a hot new release. In fact, CD sales are down 80% in the past decade. Today, physical format sales only account for 17% of the industry’s revenue.

    There is, however, one bright spot in physical format segment: vinyl. In 2017, vinyl sales hit 25-year high after making a slow and steady comeback.

    Vinyl is written in stone. I think if it’s made it for 120 years now, it’s here forever.

    – Jack White

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    The post Visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales appeared first on Visual Capitalist.