Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taxpayers about to be screwed on GM bailout.‏

The Treasury plans to sell its remaining stake in General Motors over the next 15 months, allowing the automaker to shed the stigma of being partly owned by the U.S. government.  Yes because anyone really care if GM is owned by the government.

GM said Wednesday it will spend $5.5 billion to buy back 200 million shares of its stock from the Treasury by the end of this year. The government, in turn, plans to sell its remaining stake of 300 million shares on the open market over the next 12 to 15 months. 

GM will pay $27.50 for each share, about an 8 percent premium over Tuesday's closing price of $25.49. The shares shot up more than 8 percent in premarket trading to $27.57.   So they aren’t really paying a premium if the stock has now risen above the selling price and the taxpayer is getting less money.

The deal almost certainly means that the government will lose billions on a $49.5 billion bailout that saved GM from being auctioned off in pieces during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. GM's buyback will cut the Treasury's stake to 19 percent from 26.5 percent. For it to break even, Treasury would have to sell the remaining 300 million shares for average of about $70. 

"This is fundamentally good for the business," he said at a hastily called news conference Wednesday morning.   Good for business but sh*tty for the taxpayer.

Treasury said it will have recovered more than $28.7 billion of its investment through repayments of loans, sales of stock, dividends, interest and other income after GM buys back the 200 million shares. But that leaves Treasury about $21 billion short of recouping its investment. 

The move was approved by the GM board on Tuesday evening.  I bet that was a tough discussion.

a ban on corporate jet ownership and requirements on manufacturing a certain percentage of GM cars and trucks in the U.S. will be lifted.

So when GM went into bankruptcy they unloaded their healthcare and retirement expenses onto the union.  The Union agreed to future pay cuts for all future hirees.   The Government came in with truck loads of money they were suppose to get back (Wink wink).  Now the expenses are gone.  The money will never be paid back.  Jobs no longer have to be in America.  The executives can fly around on their fancy private jets again.  The stock price will go up to help out Wall Street.  Everyone wins except the taxpayer and the American workers.  What a shock.  GM will point out how well they are doing.  Wouldn’t everyone be doing well if they received 21 Billion Dollars and then never had to pay it back?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The terrible acting continues‏

Washington is pretending they are upset about potentially having to work through the holidays (Wink wink).  The reality is they love working through the holidays.  They do some of their best work when everyone is home with families not paying any attention to what they are doing.  The banks were all deregulated Christmas Eve 1999 when nobody was looking.  The result of that action was the implosion of all the banks in 2007 (followed by the 700 Billion dollar federal bailout). Oops.  Luckily nobody remembers nothing about nothing and nobody is ever held accountable for anything.  They are counting on that still being the case in 2012.  So everyone just get with your families and enjoy some egg nog and cookies and pay no attention to what they are doing down there in Washington.  The less you know the better.  If you were ever let in on their closed door meetings it would surely ruin your holidays.  So look away and mind your business.  You will find out soon enough how they are about to stick it to you.

Monday, December 3, 2012

CEO's being heard loud and clear.‏

Nov 14 Obama met a crowd of CEO’s to talk about the fiscal cliff.

Yesterday Obama met with a new group of CEO’s to talk about the fiscal cliff.

Republicans also met with the CEO’s

All those millions and millions and millions (of dollars) in campaign contributions have paid off.  Corporate America always has a seat at the table.  You can be sure when the new policies are rolled out corporate America will be well taken care of.  They pretend corporate America doesn’t like Obama (Wink, wink).

I didn’t see where Obama met with Homeless people, or unemployed people.  Or Unions.  Just the crème de la crème of corporate America always gets through the white house door.  Obama is always all ears.

So when they announce they are going to RAISE revenue by CUTTING corporate taxes and you scratch your head and wonder how taking in LESS money is going to fix the problem. It isn’t going to fix anything but it will help payback for all those campaign contributions.  It will help reward the CEO’s who sent the jobs overseas and helped create the fiscal problem in the first place.  Then it will encourage them to keep right on doing it.  No jobs will be created (Despite what they tell you).  The debt will continue to get worse at an accelerated rate.  Entitlements will be hacked to pieces as part of the “shared sacrifice”.

Enjoy the show.

1.8 Million in Bonuses to reward FAILURE

Yes it is all the Unions fault.  The Union didn’t agree to take huge pay cuts.  So the company no longer exists.  Lets reward the executives with 1.8 million in bonuses.  Nothing says you did a great job like driving the company face first into the ground.  That kind of accomplishment should be celebrated.  The workers get the blame and the pink slip.  The executives run home with the suitcases full of cash.

Hostess Brands Inc. is asking for a judge’s approval to give its top executives bonuses totaling up to $1.8 million as part of its wind-down plans.

The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos says the incentive pay is needed to retain the 19 corporate officers and ‘‘high-level managers’’ during the liquidation process, which could take about a year. Two of those executives would be eligible for additional rewards depending on how efficiently they carry out the liquidation. The bonuses would be in addition to their regular pay.

The bonuses do not include pay for CEO Gregory Rayburn, who was brought on as a restructuring expert earlier this year. Rayburn is being paid $125,000 a month.

In court Thursday, an attorney for Hostess noted that the company is no longer able to pay retiree benefits, which come to about $1.1 million a month. Hostess stopped contributing to its union pension plans more than a year ago.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Retailers Destroying Thanksgiving

I agree with the workers.  Thanksgiving is a Federal Holiday and every store should be closed.  That should be a law.  These money grubbing retailers should get lost.  There is no reason for stores to be open on Thanksgiving.  People have plenty of time to buy all the "Made in China" garbage that is on their shelves from Black Friday to Christmas eve.  They don’t need to ruin these workers lives even more just to try to be the first to open.  If people want to shop they can shop online.  Anyone who goes out shopping on Thanksgiving ought to be deported out of the country.  Any CEO who decides their workers need to work on Thanksgiving better get their butt into the store too.  Like retail workers aren’t abused enough.  They should be able to stay home with their undesirable family members just like everyone else.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Neutron Jack

Before there was Jeffrey Immelt to despise there was Jack Welch.  Jack Welch led the way to mass layoffs and sending US jobs overseas.  When other companies thought their US employees might have value Jack showed them otherwise.  Lay off as many Americans as possible and don’t ever thing twice about it. 

Now Jack is upset that the unemployment numbers supposedly came down a month before the election.  He is upset people might think all his hard work in creating unemployed might be glossed over for the sake of political gains.  He knows there aren’t anymore jobs this month (then last) and he wants to make sure everyone else knows it too.  It is real important that his legacy stay in tact.  Don’t worry Jack we believe you.

 Welch trimmed GE's workforce by more than 100,000, earning him the nickname he despised "Neutron Jack" a reference to the bomb designed to remove the people but leave the buildings intact.

The conspiracy erupted after former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, a Republican, tweeted his skepticism five minutes after theLabor Department announced that the unemployment rate had fallen to 7.8 percent in September from 8.1 percent the month before.
"Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers," Welch tweeted, referring to the site of Obama campaign headquarters.

Obama making Al Gore Super Rich

Everyone thought the Obama Stimulus was a failure.  That is unless you are Al Gore in which case it was super successful.  Al went from being a little rich to being SUPER rich thanks to Obamas free tax payer money.  What a great deal.

Before a rapt audience, Al Gore flashed slides on a giant screen bearing the logos of 11 clean energy companies he predicted could help slow climate change.
“We can’t wait. ... We have a planetary emergency,” the former vice president told industry leaders and scientists at the 2008 conference. “Here are just a few of the investments that I personally think make sense.”
Today, several of those clean tech firms are thriving, including a solar energy start-up and a Spanish utility company that has dotted rural America with hundreds of wind turbines.
Al Gore is thriving, too.
The man who was within sight of the presidency 12 years ago has transformed himself, becoming perhaps the world’s most renowned crusader on climate change and a highly successful green-tech investor.
Just before leaving public office in 2001, Gore reported assets of less than $2 million; today, his wealth is estimated at $100 million.
He benefited from a powerful resume and a constellation of friends in the investment world and in Washington. And four years ago, his portfolio aligned smoothly with the agenda of an incoming administration and its plan to spend billions in stimulus funds on alternative energy.
Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President Obama’s historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money.
Gore declined to be interviewed  I wonder why?
Eight years after losing the presidential race, with Bush in the final stretch of his administration, Gore was working hard to build support in Washington for his cause. By then a rising green investor, he was keenly focused on shaping policy should a Democrat win in 2008.
Before the election, Gore launched a public campaign known as “Repower America,” aimed at encouraging the public and the next administration to support government investments in clean energy. His Alliance for Climate Protection was running numerous ads, and he delivered speeches laying out his goal that, within 10 years, 100 percent of the nation’s electricity should come from clean energy.
“The future of human civilization is at stake,” Gore said in a 2008 speech, stressing that such projects would create jobs.  So where are the jobs?  Al Gore said NAFTA was going to create jobs too.  He lied about that as well.  He is really good at lying.

Gore’s venture partner, Doerr, had been raising money for Democrats to take back the White House, holding big-check receptions with Silicon Valley investors. He and fellow Kleiner partners and spouses donated more than $800,000 to Democrats, much of it for Obama and state efforts to get out the vote.

five of Gore’s principals, including co-founder David Blood, wrote $130,000 in checks to aid Obama’s bid, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

As Obama was preparing to take office, it was clear his public agenda supporting clean energy aligned with Gore’s personal agenda. Obama held a highly publicized meeting with Gore at transition headquarters in Chicago to talk about energy policy. Later, Obama closely echoed several of Gore’s talking points and his plan for public investment in clean energy. Obama even adopted Gore’s campaign catchphrase for the effort, “Repower America.”
“This is a matter of urgency and national security,” Obama said. “We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country in all 50 states to repower America, to redesign how we use energy and ... make us competitive for decades to come — even as we save the planet.”  How did all that work out?
Gore’s orbit extended deeply into the administration, with several former aides winning senior clean-energy posts. Among them were Carol Browner, a former Gore political operative who became the president’s climate change czar, and Ron Klain, Gore’s former chief of staff who went to work for Vice President Biden overseeing the stimulus.
Those connections were underscored in October 2009, when Jonathan Silver, under consideration to head the $38 billion ­clean-energy loan program, hosted a party to help Gore raise money for the Alliance for Climate Protection.
Silver invited the Department of Energy’s chief financial officer, days before the official was scheduled to meet Silver to discuss the job.
Gore’s investments coincided with the government’s largest investment in clean tech. A full 10 percent, estimated at $80 billion to $90 billion, of the 2009 stimulus package was devoted to clean energy.

Of the 11 companies he mentioned in his 2008 slide show, nine received or directly benefited from stimulus or clean energy funding.

More Obama Green Energy Sucess stories

That Green economy is going gang busters….

Waltham lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware federal court Tuesday, saying it was calling off a major deal with a Chinese auto parts conglomerate that was expected to save the firm, and announcing it would sell its auto-related assets to another US battery maker.

It’s a stunning fall for an alternative energy company once viewed by the administrations of President Barack Obama and Governor Deval Patrick as a key component of a clean-energy driven economy. The US Department of Energy pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into A123, including a nearly $250 million grant to build an automotive battery plants in Michigan.

Obama administration officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“AOne sold the majority of its products at a gross loss, meaning it cost AOne more to make the product than it could sell it for,” said Andrea James, a senior research analyst who followed the A123 for Dougherty & Co. LLC in Minneapolis.. “It does no good to be an industry leader in a money losing business.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Panetta Stonewalled In China

BEIJING — Despite several years of escalating diplomacy and warnings, the U.S. is making little headway in its efforts to tamp down aggressive Chinese cyberattacks against American companies and the government.  Put me in charge.  I will fix the issue in one day.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is wrapping up three days of meetings with military and civilian leaders, said he has brought the issue up at every session and come away with little more than agreements to talk again.
Meanwhile, cybersecurity analysts say the computer-based attacks emanating from China continue unabated, and in fact are expanding and focusing more intently on critical American oil, gas and other energy companies.

"No diplomatic actions have made a difference," said Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer for the Virginia-based cybersecurity firm Mandiant. "They remain aggressive — they're kicked out one day and try to get back in the next day."

Efforts by officials across the U.S. government have not seemed to have any impact, Bejtlich said, adding: "The Chinese don't seem to care. So I don't have any hope that the dialogue is reaching anyone of any note."  They will care when the USA cuts off all trade with China.  They will care when the freighters approach the port of San Diego and are told to turn around and go home.  They will care when corporate America is forced to bring all the factories home in order to sell into the United States.  If today the Chinese don’t care that is only because the US government isn’t trying hard enough.  I could get them to care in about 3 minutes.

But nine months ago senior U.S. intelligence officials for the first time publicly accused China of systematically stealing American high-tech data for its own national economic gain. It was the most forceful and detailed airing of U.S. allegations against Beijing after years of private complaints, and it launched a more open push to combat the attacks.  9 months ago…..I have been accusing China for over 10 years.  The US Government should really read my emails and then maybe they would know what is going on in the world.

Bejtlich and others describe a hierarchy of hackers in China that includes three main groups: those who are employed directly by the government, The same government Bill Gates handed over the source code to Windows in 2003 allowing all this all to happen in the first place.  Is he in handcuffs yet?  those who are affiliated with universities or quasi-government agencies and the so-called patriotic hackers who work on their own but direct their attacks against the U.S. and Western interests.

Walmart VS Amazon

Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will stop carrying Amazon Kindle products in its stores after inventory is depleted and pending orders are filled.

Target announced in May that it would no longer sell Kindle devices.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, competes fiercely with Amazon, which is ambitiously expanding the number of goods and services that it delivers straight to its customers — often through devices such as the Kindle e-reader and the Kindle Fire tablet.

Retailers have been particularly critical of the online marketplace and its contribution to the trend of “showrooming.” They complain that customers often come into their brick-and-mortar stores to see or try out products that they’re interested in buying, only to leave and purchase the goods online, where customers often don’t have to pay sales taxes.

That practice gives online retailers an unfair advantage, David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation, told The Washington Post in July. “You’ve been doing all of the work, and then the online competitor steals the sale,” French said.

It is funny listening to Walmart complain about fairness.  The company that has driven out every mom and pop store across America.  The company which is famous for abusing their own employees and paying sh*t wages.  A company that goes out of its way to create as many products which say Made In China as possible.  A company that is delighted the more unemployed Americans there are.  But now Walmart is crying foul.  Oh No it is not fair……Boo Hoo…..   Yes because Walmart is all about fair.

Apple maps getting trashed.

Apple’s Maps app just isn’t smart. A search performed just a few days ago for a restaurant I was standing no more than 100 feet away from yielded a result in Kansas. I was in New Jersey at the time. While I’m sure Kansas has terrific Chinese food, Google Maps would have known that serving a result 1,100 miles away probably isn’t as smart as serving a result 100 feet away.

A recent search for an address on Broadway in Manhattan would only return a result on West Broadway — an entirely different street. Sometimes, even after I tap the locate button and the app has pinpointed my location, searches for business names or addresses yield results in different towns or even different states when there are closer, far more logical results to be found. It’s just not smart.

Obamas magical green economy that never happened.

2008 Barck Obama promising to invest 150 Billion dollars to create 5 million new Green jobs that CAN’T BE OUTSOURCED.

2012 The 5 million jobs never happened and the jobs that did happen are all going away quickly.  Turns out they could be outsourced after all.

But by the time the last of the devices , worth more than $1.25 million, was hitched to a rail car, Gamesa had all but shut down its factory here and furloughed 92 of the workers who made them.

Similar cutbacks are happening throughout the American wind sector, which includes hundreds of manufacturers, from multinationals that make giant windmills to smaller local manufacturers that supply specialty steel or bolts. In recent months, companies have announced almost 1,700 layoffs.

At its peak in 2008 and 2009, the industry employed about 85,000 people (Not 5 million), according to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s principal trade group.
Many of those jobs have disappeared, as wind companies have been buffeted by weak demand for electricity, stiff competition from cheap natural gas and cheaper options from Asian competitors. Chinese manufacturers, who can often underprice goods because of generous state subsidies (Chinese protectionism), have moved into the American market and have become an issue in the larger trade tensions between the two countries. In July, the United States Commerce Department imposed tariffs on steel turbine towers from China after finding that manufacturers had been selling them for less than the cost of production.  I thought you couldn’t use tariffs.  I thought tariffs were bad.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Rich Got Richer....Again!

The Republicans are correct.  Obama is redistributing all of the wealth and it is going straight to the rich people.  The Republicans should be thrilled.

Avg net worth of richest Americans hits record $4.2 bln

The net worth of the richest Americans grew by 13 percent in the past year to $1.7 trillion.

The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans rose to a record $4.2 billion, up more than 10 percent from a year ago, while the lowest net worth came in at $1.1 billion versus $1.05 billion last year,

"The gap between the very rich and merely rich increased and helped drive up the average net worth of The Forbes 400 members to an all-time record $4.2 billion,"

Collectively, this group's net worth is the equivalent of one-eighth of the entire U.S. economy, 

the 13 percent growth in the wealth of the richest Americans far outpaced that of the economy overall, helping widen the chasm between rich and poor.

Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corp., topped the list for the 19th year in a row, with $66 billion, up $7 billion from a year earlier.  Bill is the only guy I know who can give away all his money (wink, wink) and still have all his money.  Not only have it but increase it by 7 BILLION Dollars.

So if the rich people are the job creators……  Where are all the job?  Oh right they are in China.  I keep forgetting

Monday, July 30, 2012

Apple Struggling in China...who could have predicted that...

Even though everyone says China and India are the emerging markets I keep saying people who make slave wages won’t be buying your expensive products. People said I didn’t know what I was talking about. But here it is…Exactly as I said.

If you make $17.00 a day you will not be buying a $500.00 Ipad. Sorry…but not going to happen. Anyone who is surprised by that isn’t paying attention.

When Apple officially launched its latest iPad in China last week, the big crowds and long lines seen at earlier such events were absent. A trademark dispute had delayed the iPad’s Chinese release but even in March, when the new tablet became available in the country through unauthorised resellers, retailers complained they had to slash prices 30 per cent in the first week because consumers were unenthusiastic. I am unenthusiastic about buying a Rolls Royce because I can’t afford it too. These people can’t afford Ipads. It is great that Apple saves money by only paying $17.00 a day, but those wages won’t afford an Ipad.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said on Tuesday that there was no “obvious economic issue” holding back growth in China. Except that they can’t afford it. But some observers believe that the Chinese addiction to Apple products is fading because consumers are getting spoiled for choice and are becoming more price-sensitive because of the slowing economy.

Samsung, which had already been taking share from Apple in the Chinese smartphone market last year, has kept pushing out new models with equally attractive design and features but lower price tags. Huawei, the Chinese telecom equipment maker that is diversifying into consumer gadgets,offers sleek smartphones at a fraction of the price of the iPhone.

But some analysts see Mr Cook’s comments on India, where the iPhone is struggling to make headway, They don’t make much money in India either. Good for employers. Bad for sellers. They made their bed so now lay in it. as more concerning for Apple’s longer-term growth prospects as US and European smartphone markets become saturated.

In India’s price-sensitive markets, iPhones remain either the reserve of the wealthy or are relegated to the second-hand or black market.
Sunil Kashyap, 27, says the latest model – at nearly Rs39,000 ($706) – is well outside his budget.

“I like Apple; all my friends think it’s cool,” he says. “That’s why I bought an old model from a friend for Rs10,000 because otherwise it’s just too costly.”

The iPhone’s average selling price was $630 during the most recent quarter, according to Canaccord Genuity. Most of the Google-based handsets cost less than $200

US Attack Plan shown to Israel‏

 An Israeli newspaper reported Sunday that the Obama administration's top security official has briefed Israel on U.S. plans for a possible attack on Iran, seeking to reassure it that Washington is prepared to act militarily should diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure Tehran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program. Translation - please don’t attack Iran before the November Election.  We have a plan and there is no need to rush.  So please trust us and do nothing.  Please…Please…Please.

Haaretz said National Security Adviser Tom Donilon laid out the plans before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a dinner at a visit to Israel earlier this month.  See the USA has a plan….  Look at all these papers (maps, weapons systems, troop positions) and relax.  The most important thing is the election. You guys not screwing it up with another war.  Wars are a distraction and Obama needs the time to explain why there are still no jobs 4 years after hope and change.  Please allow him to focus.

The American official also said Donilon shared information on U.S. weapons that could be used for such an attack, and on the U.S. military's ability to reach Iranian nuclear facilities buried deep underground, the newspaper said. It cited another U.S. official involved in the talks with Israel as concluding that "the time for a military operation against Iran has not yet come."  We can discuss again after Obama wins reelection. For now just sit tight.  Please…. nothing screws up a campaign like another expensive war.

The U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment. Haaretz cited Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, as declining to comment on the confidential discussion between Netanyahu and Donilon. The White House also declined comment.

Both Israel and the U.S. think Iran's ultimate aim is to develop weapons technology, and not just produce energy and medical isotopes as Tehran claims. U.S. officials are concerned that Israel might attack Iranian nuclear facilities prematurely (Before the election), and have been trying to convince Israeli leaders they can depend on Washington to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.  Trust the US to stop Iran…..  Sure the last 6 years of trying to stop Iran have been a failure.  Sure the US was unsuccessful stopping North Korea from developing Nuclear Weapons.  In 2001 Bush declared North Korea part of the Axis of Evil and they wouldn’t be allowed to get a Nuclear weapon.  In 2006 they got the nuclear weapon anyway.  Just like Pakistan got one.  Just like India got one.  But this time will be different…… so just trust us.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly said they would not contract out their country's security to another nation.  Translation – We have no confidence in your ability to stop Iran and we are going to do, what we are going to do, no matter what you say.  So make sure you are prepared because once we do it you will be sucked in.  Make sure you are ready.

Facebook deflating‏

The Facebook balloon is flying around the room letting out lots of air as people figure out it is not a cash cow.

Facebook is a great idea and connects lots of people.  It is not a way to make lots of money.  Some money…Maybe!  Lots of money, in the Billions and Billions of dollars…..I don’t see it. 

The rest of the world isn’t seeing it either.  The hype around Facebook today is like the 1999 internet bubble (all over again).  Lots of hooting and hollering and no real reason behind it.  Facebook is like Napster.  Everyone loved it.  Lots of people used it.  But when it was time to make money it didn’t work. 

I love Facebook but I would never pay for it.  It really annoys me when I click on things and it announces to the world Andrew just read XYZ.  If I want people to know what read I would post it myself.  So now I hardly ever clink on anything because that is real annoying.  That gripe has been the knock on the site the entire time.  Privacy!  If I am in control then I like it.  If other people are seeing things I didn’t give permission then I am annoyed.  Facebook is always trying to blur the line on privacy so they can increase their reach in hopes of turning that into $$$.  I think they need to accept that Facebook is a good idea but stop kidding themselves into thinking it is a giant pot of gold.

Facebook Inc. shares on Friday traded at their lowest levels ever as the company continues its struggle to convince investors that it can leverage its immense popularity, especially on mobile devices, into revenue and profits.

In its first quarterly report, Facebook reported its slowest revenue growth in at least a year, a tripling of its costs and expenses, and a decline in some levels of user activity. Also, the company offered few specifics on future results and how it plans to profit from users spending more time on mobile devices, a trend that is less profitable for the social network.
"The lack of guidance and the well-publicized shift to mobile is weighing" on Facebook shares Friday, Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein said. "Additionally, the company provided commentary suggesting higher [third quarter] expenses."
For its part, Facebook remains confident in its prospects, especially in mobile.
"Mobile is a huge opportunity for Facebook," Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on the company's earnings call Thursday. "Over the next five years, we expect 4 billion or 5 billion people to have smartphones. That is more than twice as many people that have computers today." But how do you turn that into revenue????

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Soda Companies RACING to drop HFCS‏

Coke and Pepsi are chasing after the sweet spot: a soda with no calories, no artificial sweeteners and no funny aftertaste.

The world's top soft drink companies hope that's the elusive trifecta that will silence health concerns about soda and reverse the decline in consumption of carbonated drinks. But such a formula could be years away.

That's because the ingredient that makes soda taste good is also what packs on the pounds: high-fructose corn syrup. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame that are used in diet drinks don't have any calories but are seen as processed and fake. Natural sweeteners that come from plants present the most promising alternative, but companies haven't yet figured out how to mask their metallic aftertaste.

There's good reason that soft drink makers are so eager to tweak their formulas. Once a beloved American treat, sodas are now being blamed for the nation's bulging waistlines— two-thirds of the country's adults are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All the negative publicity has some once-faithful soda drinkers cutting back.