Grixdale
Grixdale

By John Ruberry

Type “Detroit revival” or “Detroit comeback” into your Google search box and you’ll collect a lot of hits and discover glowing yarns about the turnaround of what was once one of America’s greatest cities. Here’s one from Forbes just last week. There is even a Pure Michigan TV commercial about Detroit.

But as John Adams once famously wrote, “Facts are stubborn things.”

Yes, there is a Detroit bounceback underway but it is centered in downtown and the neighborhoods that border it. That’s it.

Then there are the facts.

The fiscal year for Detroit Public Schools ends on June 30. On July 1 there is no money for summer school or physical upkeep, unless the state rushes in for a rescue. Such a rescue should not be confused with a proposed $720 million one that will deal with DPS’ long-term debt.

Adding an exclamation point to the problems of DPS last week was a former school principal who pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks from an allegedly crooked supplier. A dozen other DPS officials, most of them former principals, have also been charged with collecting kickbacks.

Abandoned Detroit school
Abandoned Detroit school

When I visited Detroit last summer I ventured into the neighborhoods outside of its downtown ring. Places like Grixdale. This is a typical 21st century Grixdale block that in 1950 that had twenty homes each with wage earners with fat wallets: Two occupied homes, two abandoned homes, the rest are rubbished filled vacant lots with coarse weeds.

Detroit has some millstones that will impede its recovery. Its commercial property tax rates are the highest in the nation and city services are substandard. Detroiters are burdened with a municipal income tax and possible future Detroit residents who want to dip their toe in the Motor City water by taking a job in the city are subject to a commuter tax. And Detroit is still a very violent city.

Just last week a study was released that discovered that Detroit has the least storefront concentration of any big city.

Look for the Detroit comeback, such as it is, to proceed very slowly.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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We interrupt our coverage of the evil and stupidity of Europe concerning Islam to cover the evil and stupidity Jack Dorsey concerning Twitter.

Of the evil, basically targeting conservatives, banning people like Robert Stacy McCain and lying about it we’ve written about over and over.

Alas the evil has not persuaded the shareholder to revolt to change it.

But now there is the stupid:

TWITTER IS SHUTTING DOWN TWEETDECK FOR WINDOWS: Funny, when I joined Twitter in December of 2008, Tweetdeckwas Twitter for me. Built around multiple columns, with one for people in my Twitter Stream, another people responding to me, and another direct messages, Tweetdeck allowed me to have real time conversations, instead of trying to decipher the firehose of content coming out of my Twitter homepage. (That was back when I wanted to be interactive. After watching endless Twitter flamewars, I’m much happier to simply retweet interesting news and comments, and save my content creation for here and the main PJM site.)

“Twitter’s plan is to push all users to Twitter.com for their advertisement revenue,” as their stock price has cratered in recent months.  That that tends to happen when companies exit their original function to go full-on SJW instead. This despite the fact that “Tweetdeck is insanely popular among Twitter desktop users. They had previously bought the client.”

But this isn’t the first time that a Sillicon Valley corporation flush with cash has bought a product in order to eventually kill it.

And twitter is being kind enough to make sure every Tweetdeck users knows it when they open the app.

stupid twitter

 

 

Before I discovered tweetdeck twitter was of no interest to me, one had to have multiple windows open or constantly be checking items to see what people were saying.  It just wasn’t worth the effort.  With Tweetdeck twitter suddenly became user friendly and starting Tweetdeck became a regular part of my startup sequence for my computer and the ability to see Direct messages at the same time as tweets was VERY useful (although Anthony Weiner might disagree).

The impending end of Tweetdeck means I would need to have a browser dedicated to twitter that I would have to constantly refresh to see what is being tweeted.

Frankly it’s just not worth it and if it’s not worth it to me how much less worth it would it be to people who use multiple social media platforms.

Twitter is hemorrhaging users, so how does twitter react?  Make it harder for users to use twitter.

That’s going to increase the customer base isn’t it?

The shareholders at Twitter might be willing to forgive Jack for being evil, perhaps some of the bigger ones are ultra liberals who want to silence conservatives so they’re onboard with it.

But will they forgive stupid that costs them users across the political spectrum?

We’ll see.

Closing FYI:  After April 15th I won’t be tweeting regularly, If I see an embedded tweet on a site I might retweet it or comment on it via the site it is embedded on.  If you would usually DM me on twitter I suggest emailing me instead at DaTechguy AT Datechguyblog.com because I’m less likely to see it, or call me (not on my cell but on my home number, I rarely carry my cell unless I’m traveling).

Closing thought: Given Trump’s dependence on twitter to bypass the media could this be a tactic to decrease his reach down the home stretch?

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Via Elder of Ziyon let me tell you about a company called Asal technologies

“We have a window of opportunity to demonstrate our skills,” said Murad Tahboub, CEO of Asal Technologies, a Palestinian outsourcing company that works with Comply and a handful of other Israeli-based companies. “The more people know about us … the more comfortable they will be in doing business with us.” This is easier said than done. Comply’s office in Hod Hasharon is only about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Asal Technologies in the West Bank city of Ramallah – but they are worlds apart.

and when it comes down to outsourcing code for Israeli companies there is a real advantage to going local it when not surrounded

 

In the past three years, however, some have turned to Palestinian engineers and programmers. They are cheaper, ambitious, work in the same time zone, and – surprisingly to many Israelis – are similar to them.

“The cultural gap is much smaller than we would think,” said Gai Anbar, chief executive of Comply, an Israeli start-up in this central Israeli town that develops software for global pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Teva.

 

Well of course it is, you live in the same area, generally speak the same language and have many of the same concerns. If you check out their web site and twitter feed it looks like any other tech company, but the most important page is the careers page:

Client project:A large international software company is building new products and technologies and is seeking senior and junior software engineers to join an outsourcing project at ASAL Technologies.

The details:

B.Sc. in computer science, software/computer engineering, or related disciplines.
Strong knowledge in core computer science areas.
Solid object-oriented programming skills and OO design patterns.
Strong theory/algorithms and very good understanding on how to apply advanced knowledge to solve real problems.
Hands-on experience in agile software development, mobile applications, and multiple release cycles.
Strong analytical and organizational skills.
Methodical approaches to solving technical challenges with high attention to detail and data accuracy.
Highly motivated and self-reliant individual with true willingness to learn and work as part of a team.
Strong communication skills (oral and written) with the ability to act proactively.
Extra credit: Experience with mobile application development, cloud services, web scripting languages, Android, and Microsoft platforms/technologies.
Experience with mobile personal assistants is a plus.

The kicker, these jobs are located in Ramallah/Rawabi and the West Bank

Of all the stories of the middle east I suspect this is the one which is of the greatest threat to Hamas & the PA, first of all it destroys the false narrative out there:

Do you have internet?
Yes. We do have internet and electricity. Over the past 60 years, the West Bank had not sustained any outages due to political reasons. Currently ASAL Technologies has two fiber optic cables from two different ISPs to ensure 24/7 internet connectivity. And short term plans are to move the headquarters of ASAL Technologies to Rawabi -the first Palestinian smart city- where the infrastructure of the whole city has been optimized to meet international standards.

It’s an odd question to ask a software company, if they didn’t have internet they couldn’t operate now could they?

But how can you do business amid the violence and oppression?

Does the political situation affect your work?
No. Though it is hard to visualize if one hasn’t visited Palestine, the reality is that the political situation does not affect our ability to conduct business as usual with all of our clients. And to ensure that our employees can always access their workplace, we opened up a new branch in north of Palestine, and future plans are to open up yet another branch in the south.

You mean to say the evil jooes aren’t stopping you from making your business successful? Well put me in the laundry and pre-soak me 15 minutes!

All of these shatters the careful helpless meme built up concerning Israel. That’s bad for the PA, but the real threat to them is this:

If you have a class of Palestinians unshackled from the “death to Jews” mentality and furthermore not dependent on either terror dollars from Iran or handouts from the west for a living the entire dynamic changes.

I’ve said before that there is no limits to what the Arabs can achieve if they abandon their “death to the Jews” mantra and concentrate on making a better life where they are, these guys have the  potential to prove it.

I suspect ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad et/al  doesn’t approve they’d rather teach kids to stab jews. and as for the BDS movement it will have them going Kryten

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I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

This morning I wrote about a business that answered the $15 minimum wage in SF with Robots eliminating many of those positions. Via Lynn on Twitter we see a SF business that has gone in the other direction


since April, along with newly printed menus, every table sports a laminated card explaining just what a “living wage pizza” means.

All workers now earn $15 to $25 an hour as part of an experimental business model that also did away with gratuities and raised prices, making meals at all five locations “sustainably served, really … no tips necessary.”

The Result? A $30 pizza and a 25% drop in sales and the loss of lunch hours for some workers and more:

“The necessity of paying people a living wage in the Bay Area is clear, so it’s hard to argue against it, and it’s something I’m really proud to be able to try doing,” he said. “At the same time, I’m terrified of going out of business after 18 years.”

I predict a chain of robot Pizza shops in the area soon.

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I spoke David & Miriam of Adorote at the Catholic Marketing Trade show

Their web site is here you can find them on twitter here

It’s quite a drive from outside of Mexico City to NJ

Last week there wa a piece at Fox News concerning Seattle and the sudden discovery by some workers that an increased minimum wage has other costs:

Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don’t lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.

Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.

It’s a rational thought in the sense that if you can get $600 pay that you’re taxed on for working 40 hours or work half the time, get $300 that you’re taxed on PLUS $300 in government benefits that you’re not taxed you’ve effectively doubled your wages!

But there is something much more telling in this piece that brings to mind this TV commercial from Met Life.

The punchline of this commercial is that the Peanuts characters aren’t expected to understand why you can’t sell life insurance for five cents.

That sounds an awful lot like this San Francisco store owner who is doing his best to keep from closing thanks to a minimum wage hike ass in the city:

He doesn’t blame San Francisco voters for approving the $15 minimum wage, but he doesn’t think they had all the information needed to make a good decision.

Think about that sentence for a moment. He says flat-out the voters made a bad decision but somehow it’s not their fault for not having the info to make a good decision.

Why doesn’t he? Why isn’t it the responsibility of a voter to make an informed decision on a serious matter? Why, in an age where information and opinion are only a few clicks away, and the arguments of those who predicted exactly his result available to any who wanted to read them does this business owner assume that the same voters who send liberal stalwart Nancy Pelosi to the US congress time and time again should not be held responsible for their own ignorance?

Have we reached the point in America that when it comes to liberal voters, they are no expected to have any more sense than a bunch of cartoon characters? I guess that comes when schools are less interested in teaching business and math to people than analingus

Hey priorities are priorities.

Update:  At PJ Media

Those companies who can afford to not only pay their workers the new wage, but raise prices sufficiently to help pay for the increase. will survive. Those who work in industries where profit margins are small and highly sensitive to labor costs will have trouble. One thing is certain: there will be fewer workers receiving the minimum wage and fewer companies operating to pay them.

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Tom Hagen: Right now we have the unions and we have the gambling and those are the best things to have. But narcotics is a thing of the future. If we don’t get a piece of that action we risk everything we have. Not now, but ten years from now.

The Godfather 1972

At first glance this story is a source of a lot of chuckles

Sports on MSNBC? News Outlet Will Launch Streaming-Video Hub To Test New Shows, Hosts

What? Are we to believe that MSNBC’s particular blend of blind radical liberalism isn’t enough to carry a cable network?

MSNBC is getting ready to debut a new show about sports. And one focused on books. And another that will examine celebrity and popular culture. In all, the NBCUniversal-owned cable-news network has 14 new programs ready to roll.

As you can guess the comments section is all about conservative Schadenfreude.

Is this code for liberalism has jumped the shark and Americans are tired of being preached at by Race- Baitors and heterophobes who think any weather pattern is caused by global warming.

While we are laughing at this a bit I think it’s important to point out that this is a smart move. They are playing the culture game to get some eyeballs which brings to mind some advice Instapundit gave to us on the right.

The political left has a quasi-monopoly in this slice of media. This is a serious effort; it’s time conservatives start competing.”

MSNBC has become a micro niche, by increasing their appeal outside their niche they have the potential to draw people to the network or influence people by their short promo videos.

We ought to be smart enough to do the same even if it takes time.

SearsBy John Ruberry

“‘Vanity of vanities,” saith the Preacher, “vanity of vanities; all is vanity.'”
Ecclesiastes 1-2.

There are many great American business success stories–and the rise of Sears, Roebuck and Company is one of the more compelling tales.

The last few pages of the book on Sears are blank–and the ending is not going to be a happy one.

Richard Sears, like many entrepreneurs, started small. The Minnesota railroad station agent first sold watches to other rail agents in 1886. After moving his business to Chicago and partnering with watch repairer Alvah Curtis Roebuck in the 1890s, the company created the legendary Sears catalog, where one could buy the 19th century version of everything. Because Richard grew up on a farm, he picked items for the catalog that he knew would appeal to farmers and small-town Americans.

In 1908, Sears created the build-it-yourself house kit–over 70,000 Sears homes were constructed. In 1925, Sears opened department stores and after World War II it successfully rode the wave of suburbanization that crosstown rival Montgomery Ward missed.

Willis Tower, center, onetime HQ of Sears
Willis Tower, center, former HQ of Sears, Roebuck and Company

But rural America, which was once Sear’s base market,  didn’t vanish–and it was in the countryside where Walmart founded in 1962. By 1990, Walmart surpassed Sears as America’s largest retailer, and the onetime behemoth has been struggling ever since. Kmart, another troubled retailer, merged with Sears ten years ago–creating Sears Holdings. The union was similar to a marriage between members of two cash-poor aristocratic families whose chief asset was their names.

Last week Fitch downgraded Sears bond-rating to Double-C, which according to Michael Aneiro of Barron’s, is “essentially the sub-basement of the speculative-grade ratings scale.”

Crain’s Chicago Business’ Joe Cahill speculates that the debt load could put the “closed” sign forever on Sears and its family of stores by 2016.

Three years ago, after threatening to move its headquarters out of Illinois, the state legislature gave $150 million in tax breaks to Sears Holdings so it would stay in the Prairie State.

What a waste of money that was.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Chicago-area resident, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Heard about the Market Basket Deal just a few minutes ago (11:20 PM) and here is what comes to mind.

 

Tomorrow I have shopping to do.

The financing of the deal is going to have to be paid for somehow.  It will likely have to come out of a combination of profits & prices so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some slightly higher prices short term.

The biggest danger that has to be resisted by the victorious employees is retaliation against those in their number who didn’t want to strike (with 25K workers that’s gotta be in the hundreds easy).

I suspect there will be a huge promotion at Market Basket sometime in the near future to celebrate, I imagine the grand re-opening event will be rather epic.

The Arthur S family while angry is sitting pretty, they just got a ton of money and I suspect are not liable for any of the losses over the last month as part of the deal.

I think that economics students will be writing about and doing papers on this for decades and centuries to come.

The workers who stuck their necks out will have a bond that will exist long after they leave Market Basket.

I’m wondering how long it will take the side business’ dependent on Market Basket to recover from the closing?

I hope the managers are planning to schedule any of the removed workers today because I suspect many of them started celebrating at 11 PM or so and are likely still sleeping it off as this post goes up at 7 AM EST.

It will be interesting to see how many if any, Market Basket customers don’t come back, will the number of new customers coming in to find out what was so good about the store that it was worth risking your job over make up for it?

After this week there will likely never be another “Market Basket Wars” post unless Arthur T. children don’t learn the lesson from this fight

Finally I must confess that while I’m very happy for the Market Basket Employees I’m particularly happy for me because this will make a big difference to my personal bottom line and with money VERY tight right now that’s important.

 

 

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Ah, Warren Buffett. The Oracle of Omaha, loved by American liberals every time he claims to be paying a lower rate than his secretary (which was debunked, by the way), the guy after whom the Buffett rule is named. Buffett orchestrated Burger King Worldwide Inc.’s acquisition of Tim Hortons Inc. (a coffee-and-doughnut chain), and Burger King will move its Miami, FL, headquarters to lower-tax Canada. BK’s operational headquarters will remain in Miami (emphasis added):

If the deal goes through, Berkshire will end up paying taxes on its income from the preferred securities at the 35% U.S. corporate tax rate, rather than the 14%, after deductions, that an insurance company such as Berkshire would be liable for under the originally envisioned structure.

Mr. Buffett, who helped finance 3G Capital’s buyout of H.J. Heinz Co. last year and has said publicly he would like to team up again, negotiated a deal that would cover the cost of Berkshire’s higher tax bill, the person familiar with his thinking said. He wanted Berkshire to be compensated for the more than $50 million in additional taxes it would pay because of the planned move to Canada.

Buffett managed a deal that not only minimizes the corporate tax rate, it actually compensates Berkshire for the taxes it would pay because of the move.

Sweet.

Of course, his fans still assert that No, Warren Buffett Is Not a Tax Hypocrite on Burger King, since

suggestions of hypocrisy ring false because Buffett has never, ever held himself out as person who pays more taxes than he has to. The whole point of his story about his tax rate vs. his secretary’s is that he was allowed to pay less than he thought he should. He never said he was writing a check to the Treasury to make up the difference.

Back in 2012 I was pointing out that

Until Warren coughs up his personal tax returns, we should dismiss anything he says as hypocritical propaganda.

What I left out is, hypocritical propaganda coming from a firm believer in crony capitalism.

The issue is that of competitiveness. Canada is attracting investors because of its lower corporate tax rates. In the U.S. we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world; the convoluted, Byzantine tax code forces businesses to spend millions of dollars that could otherwise be used for research and development, salaries and manpower, equipment, and investment. Businesses have the obligation to legally maximize their investment. If that means moving overseas, they do.

As one of the commenters in the Wall Street Journal said, “Money goes where it is well treated.”

In the meantime, did anyone find out if Berkshire Hathaway paid up the taxes it owed since 2002?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Randolph Duke: Exactly why do you think the price of pork bellies is going to keep going down, William?
Billy Ray Valentine: Okay, pork belly prices have been dropping all morning, which means that everybody is waiting for it to hit rock bottom, so they can buy low. Which means that the people who own the pork belly contracts are saying, “Hey, we’re losing all our damn money, and Christmas is around the corner, and I ain’t gonna have no money to buy my son the G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip! And my wife ain’t gonna f… my wife ain’t gonna make love to me if I got no money!” So they’re panicking right now, they’re screaming “SELL! SELL!” to get out before the price keeps dropping. They’re panicking out there right now, I can feel it.

Trading Places 1983

The 21st century has been the greatest time in living memory if you are a New England sports fan in general and a Red Sox Fan in particular.

The Bruins & Celtics both won titles and make it to their respective finals, the Patriots have won three super bowls and manged to make it to two more and the Boston Red Sox not only ended 80+ years of frustration with a World series win (and an even more memorable defeat of the Yankees) in 2004 but managed to win two more World Series in spectacular fashion.

Yes if you are a Boston Sports fan there is no better time to be alive and when things go back to normal you’ll talk about this period as your Golden Age!

Right now Hannaford’s board and stockholders much be feeling the same way.

Over the last three weeks their chief rival in the area has self destructed forcing tens of thousands of new customers into the market snatching up whole departments.

That windfall is pretty good but it doesn’t convey the real advantage, not only is the traffic up but they are in the position to improve their profit margins without touching their shelf price.

Let me explain this by first pointing out a simple fact. Most companies set up their supply chains months in advance, if they plan, for example, on selling say 100,000 gallons of Ice cream in July & 120,000 in August they already have the fruit, the sugar and the paper or plastic containers order and ready to be delivered months before the actual production date to be sure they will be on hand when they are needed.

That way when the day comes they are prepared to sell those gallons to the various chains and keep them supplied.

But what happens if suddenly one of those chains is suddenly not buying?

What happens when a Market Basket is not ordering or taking deliveries of your product. What happens when you have 10,000 gallons or more of Ice Cream that simply isn’t being ordered? You have to find a buyer and quick!

Now consider you are Hannafords, you have increased demand but you can’t order as if that’s going to be true forever because you don’t know from one day to the next if Arthur S. Demoulas or one of his shareholders will decide it’s more important to have a viable business than revenge,

So you might slightly increase orders but that’s not good enough because the seller needs to move those 10,000 extra ice cream packages or that huge volume or corn or that fruit that is just getting ripe. They are facing at best the erasure of their entire profit margin or at worst collapse.

They need to sell and sell badly and you don’t need to be William Shatner to know that the Hannaford buyer can pretty much name their own price on that extra product.

Suddenly your cost per unit is down and because your old customer base is used to your price patterns and your new customer base isn’t expecting better you have absolutely no incentive nor need to adjust your retail prices to reflect the better wholesale prices you are getting.

In other words you now have improved margins without having to change a single thing, and even better every single day the Market Basket turmoil is a day that your margins keep that increase.

You’re in the sweet spot, the moment that every business dreams of and as a Hannaford shareholder years from now when things are back to normal you’ll talk of that golden era when you could just sit back and watch increased profits roll in without worrying about doing any of the things Arthur T Demoulas did to make Market Basket a success

Then they’ll raise a cup to Arthur S. Demoulas who made it all possible saying: “Those were the days!”

Update:  added the movie quote

Today is the deadline for Market Basket Employees to return to work or be fired by current management.

Given the situation, (Romano’s 1 room market did more business than Market Basket in Fitchburg this week) something has to give, you have vendors no longer making deliveries, bills not being paid and the chain’s value plummeting daily.

As the 50.5% owners of the company they of course have the right as Jonah Goldberg might put it to piss on the corn flakes of the 49.5% (Assuming you could find any corn flakes on Market Basket’s Shelves these days) but this move is short-sighted for several reasons.

1.  Free Time:

Right now the majority of people protesting in front of Market Basket aren’t fired workers but current employees.  They are working their normal shifts and then when the shifts end going outside to protest.

But what happens when they are replaced and forced on unemployment?

Suddenly from 25,000 workers who have to protest in their spare time around shifts you will suddenly have 25,000 workers who are now on unemployment who can protest and call for boycotts full-time.

That will really work out well won’t it?

2.  New habits

As anyone who has ever gone on a diet knows the secret to a successful diet is acquiring new habits and right now Market Basket customers are getting in the habit of shopping elsewhere:

The chain’s competitors, like Hannaford, benefit in the short term because customers have nowhere else get their groceries, said David Livingston, a supermarket analyst based in Wisconsin. They also have an opportunity to impress those customers for the long term by offering prices and service that will keep them coming back even after the management crisis at Market Basket is resolved, he said.

That’s why internal strife poses such a threat to Market Basket’s future, he said.

“Once people get used to shopping someplace else, it’s sometimes hard to get them to come back,” he said.

and believe me Hannafords will do all it can to reinforce those new habits.

3. The Learning curve:

Hiring all of these new people is only the first step, the next is to get them all up to speed. Since these people are pretty much management level this has disaster written all over it.

A new manager is bound to make mistakes and these will be magnified under the scrutiny of the press.  Furthermore it’s unlikely that workers below that manager who resents their presence will help catch those mistakes.

 If a bagger makes a mistake the fall out consists of a single customer, if a manager or supplier makes a mistake it affects the entire store, if a supplier makes a mistake it affect and entire district.

The only saving grace of course is there are so few customers left those mistakes might not be noticed.

All of those factors are important but there is a single factor that trumps them all.

One might come up with the money to pay the back bills and suppliers to restock the stores one might hold a jobs fair and bring in new managers and drivers but this is the 64,000 question…

What kind of fair will they have to hire new customers?

Those 25,000 workers have families and friends. If Arthur S. Demoulas and his cronies are unwilling to sell the store to his cousin or even unwilling to allow him to come back to work and defuse the situation because of anger and revenge why would they expect anything less from those 25K workers their families and their friends?

They will want revenge as much as Arthur S. and unlike the revenge motive driving the board that is costing them millions every day the customer anger won’t cost as much to the individual already used to tightening a belt.    If Arthur S. Demoulas and company are willing to lose millions just to spite his cousin how much more willing will tens of thousands of angry people be willing to hold a grudge for the cost of a Large 2 topping pizza, particularly when there is Facebook, twitter and all kinds of social media not only to reinforce said anger but to ostracize those who cross the lines?

That’s the real dilemma, this has now become a national and international story (even the BBC is covering it) Protesting Market Basket has now become cool socially acceptable thing to do.  Even types who aren’t angry will stay away because it’s the in thing to do.

In a city like Fitchburg where the only two supermarkets within the city limits are Market Basket locations you might see the business recover to a point, but when the alternatives are less that a 7 min drive to the Lunenburg or Leominster line a lot of people who are angry and holding a grudge will not have a problem with those few extra minutes?

I’ll give the last word to a fellow by the name of Christopher Shannon whose letter to the Lowell Times ends thus:

As a customer, and I am sure I can speak for many other customers as well, I say have your job fairs. Stock your shelves. We will not purchase anything because you can’t fire customers, we quit.

********************************

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Olimometer 2.52

August is here and with a new month comes a new monthly goal.

2013 we made our monthly goal every month but June, in 2014 we’ve made our monthly goal only in January & June.

We need About $7200 to break even for the rest of the year. $10K to eliminate debts.

The July share is $1445

If you think the coverage and commentary we provide here is worth your support please consider hitting DaTipJar below and help keep the bills paid.

Consider the lineup you get In addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit)  on Sunday Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly Fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

Friday I attended the Protest at the Market Basket in Tewksbury that you might have heard of on the NBC nightly news yesterday.

I got to the event at 10 but even during the post rush hour time of the event the The Traffic on 495 was impossible and when I arrived at the event I had to park a 1/2 mile away (off of the map shown on the Save Market Basket Facebook page.

I pretty much started interviewing people as I moved forward.

There were people leaving early because of commitments and new people coming and I kept interviewing them.

I eventually got to the crowd and boy it was BIG

I extended the monopod and to a pan of the crowd:

I saw a Tea Party fellow with a flag and interviewed him.

Followed by a warehouse worker, they have taken the biggest hit from this work action.

There were many speakers:

They stood next to a stuffed Giraffe symbolizing “sticking your neck out” and the podium is the back of a large pickup truck

Which has been their makeshift platform.

The Petition that last speaker mentioned were in a tent next to the truck

There was a wide variety of speakers, here is a sample

I worked my way to the back of the crowd. There is a series of tent at the back where people were set up with water for people. While in that tent I spoke to a fellow from Jeff Kuhner show.

At the end of this interview there was suddenly a surge of people to a truck near K-Mart

It was Pizza from Dominos that had been purchased anonymously

When I got back to the tent it was pointed out that other local business had also supported the protesters

But back to the protest proper, the workers sticking out their necks vary between short term workers like Chris

To long term workers like Ken

Though this is a labor issue the workers have rejected unionizing although some Unions have shown support

(It’s not often you get unions and tea party guys on the same side.)

What has been very conspicuous has been the lack of support from the biggest democrats in the state, the congressional delegation including the senators like Elizabeth Warren have been silent as has Gov Patrick but I found one Democrat primary candidate at the rally.

Mr Devine’s presence highlights the people who have stayed away. There was however a lot of pride in those who backed them including state senators & reps (like my own Steve DiNatale D-Fitchburg) who have been public in this support but as I walked behind the podium again I got the feeling these people & their families would remember who was with them and who was against them.

Near noon they started packing up

And cleaning up

I gave a brief summary of what I saw

and as I was leaving I interviewed one last person who worked at the store where the protest took place.

At this point my wife and I went across the street to the Ray Kroc Memorial Journalistic Filing center McDonalds were I plugged in and put up a quick post. At the location we talked to several of the protesters and customers who with a single exception expressed sympathy with the work action. A few McDonalds workers also mentioned seeing Arthur T on occasion and vouched for the good nature of Mr. Arthur T.

One Hanniford employee who came back seemed to suggest that some of the Market Basket customers who have flocked to the store during the work action have expressed annoyance with the action but the think I found most amazing was being told by protesters was how many people where totally unaware of what is going on even though it’s been all over the news and the protesters where very visible.

That frankly is, in my opinion, Arthur S’ biggest advantage.

In closing I can’t see Mr. S. accepting any offer from Mr. T. If this was about money & success his cousin would still be doing day to day operations. From Arthur S. perspective his side of the family feels cheated, they eventually won in court only to see on of his side of the family switch, then he finally gets the company and there is a workers revolt causing him to retain his Cousin in charge. Then when he finally seemingly gets rid of him, the entire workforce revolts.

I think he’d burn the company to the ground before selling out, if the workers are going to win it’s going to have to mean one of the other shareholders will have to decide it just isn’t worth it.

Let’s hope for the best

Today the latest chapter a unique labor dispute  played out in the parking lot Market Basket store 8 in Tewksbury where 3000+ workers, managers customers and well wishers turned out to express their support for ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas in his bid regain control of the company that he has run for years.

Workers with 40 years and workers with 4 months tenure stood united urging the board of directors meeting at the location to reinstate the CEO who was ousted by his cousin in the latest step of what has been a nasty family battle that has gone on for decades.

Employee after employee talked of the kindness of Arthur T Demoulas,  and how he cared for them and the business he helped build both in person and from a makeshift stage on the back of a large pickup truck.  (Even at this McDonalds where I’m posting this of the women here talked about hi as a regular customer who always treated the people waiting on him well.)   Employees current and former had stories to tell.

I’ll have video and photos later in the day but there is one point I want to make before I start driving home to upload my photos & video.

There is a background story that people here are missing.  The employees here cross racial, ethnic and political lines.  They are a family and have taken note of those who have spoken in support of them and those who have been silent,    (As I was tying this a spanish worker from a Boston store thanked me in broken English  for being at the rally, it’s easy to be picked out when you wear a 12 ft scarf on an 80 degree day).

That dynamic has not gotten a lot of attention now but don’t be surprised if it  has ramifications far beyond New England over the next few years:

Update:  The Board plan?  Stall & stave em out

 

On Wednesday I stopped by Market Basket on Water Street in Fitchburg. There was a large group of off duty associates lining the area asking customers to avoid the store for the week.

By the look of the Parking Lot that request was being honored. There were very few cars and the store itself was almost empty of customers.

The associates on duty were still doing their jobs and taking advantage of the absence of traffic were taking time to clean many areas that traffic or stock would not normally allow.

When I went in a pair of managers talked to me on camera along with an associate.

After the interview I went down the aisles and saw this.

The background voice you hear is my youngest son whose shift had just ended before I showed up.

I was really surprised at the amount of milk in stock. I presume that it was kept in stock as a necessary staple or that it’s delivered by someone else such items delivered & stocked by them remain in supply.

As promised in the video the next stop was the John Fitch Highway location and the aisle situation and the off duty protester situation was pretty much the same. Dairy & soda strong, associates taking advantage of the situation to clean other items running out.

I talked to a manager who was sending an alert to other stores about a shoplifter. Bottom line if you are a thief and think these guys are going to let you go wild because of that dispute, think again, these people are still doing their jobs.

One interesting sign of the boycott for this week have been customers putting receipts from other stores they shopped in to the window in a show of solidarity.

Given that all these customers are paying more on those slips then they would have in the near empty Market Basket that is support indeed.

The biggest showdown will come on Friday. If the board continues on the course it has selected thus far then the various competitors might have sufficient time to take advantage and perhaps price not withstanding, win the loyalty of some of these loyal Market Basket employees, additionally while the bottom line can likely handle a single week of this, it likely can’t handle much more.

A big development in the Demoulas wars. Arthur T Demoulas the man who the employees love has made an offer

The Boston Globe reports that Market Basket’s ousted leader, Arthur T. Demoulas, and his side of the Demoulas family have made an offer to buy out rival family members for control of the company.

“We believe that our offer is a very full and fair one and should meet or exceed a seller’s expectations of the value of the company,” Demoulas said in part of a statement to the Globe.:

The story continues at the Globe


The Demoulas offer marks a dramatic turn in a series of events that began in late June, when a board of directors led by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, fired him and took control of the business. Arthur T.’s termination provoked repeated protests by employees and customers loyal to him. Eight employees were fired and others have refused to do their jobs, leaving Market Basket stores unable to stock their shelves in recent days.

While a lot of people are drawing hope from this offer there is one fly in the ointment, this fight has always been less about money and more about control.

All of this fight, all of this trouble comes from the fight for control. Arthur S’s family thought they won and then one of their family changed sides & they felt cheated, now they have seemingly won a 2nd time and the company they have won threatens to be an empty husk.

So the question is this: What is important to them?

If they (or at least enough of them) decide that this is not worth the headache and want to cash out they will take this offer, not only is it likely the best they will see but it’s the only one that ensures company profitability & a continual return on the investment. After all they only need to sell 50.5% to get a big cash lump AND steady returns forever.

If they decide that control of the company they fought for all these years is really what they care about even if it sinks and burns and they end up selling it for tuppence on the dollar to someone ANYONE but not Arthur T then they will say no and let what comes come.

And all of this trouble comes in the end over the best way to split a fortune large enough for all.

Unbelievable.

If you want to understand how unique the Market Basket protest is listen to this WBUR interview with one of the protesters who has been fired after 41 years at the store

You might note the entire argument of the fired worker concerning the good of the business & the old CEO who made it a success. business.

Then there is this quote from the story emphasis mine:

Some Massachusetts lawmakers have called for a boycott of the company, led by state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, whose district includes the company’s headquarters in Tewksbury. As of Monday, 37 state lawmakers and mayors had agreed to encourage constituents to stop shopping at Market Basket until Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated, said Finegold, who attended Monday’s rally.

“I’ve never seen a rally where workers are not asking for more wages or benefits. All they are asking for is the reinstatement of the person that’s been running this company,” Finegold said. “It’s about keeping the culture of this company they’ve built that’s benefited so many all these years. So many people are paycheck to paycheck. If you can save 10 percent of your food bill, it’s a big deal.”

That’s likely why only 37 lawmakers have come out for the workers in a state where democrats have over 175 members in the house and senate. Why are the rest holding back? Here is a clue.

Fired Market Basket employees yesterday rebuffed offers of legal advice from the Teamsters, saying the solidarity of the Tewksbury grocery chain’s workers — from top executives to store baggers — is stronger than any union.

“It’s not our way of doing things,” said former facilities and operations supervisor Steve Paulenka, among eight senior workers canned this past weekend for their allegedly disruptive roles in organizing an employee push for former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas’ rehiring. “We really take care of ourselves. We don’t need a union.”

I’ve heard this sentiment from every Market Basket person I’ve talked to from managers to baggers they don’t want a union and it was made plain during the protest


When word got out at a Friday rally at Market Basket headquarters that representatives of an unidentified union were passing out cards to protesting employees, it was Trainor who responded: “Really, do you think we need a union?” The crowd responded with a resounding “no.”

“There is no union in this country that’s stronger than this crowd right here,” Trainor said. “So take your cards and go home.”

So basically you have a workforce not complaining about wages, not complaining about working conditions, not calling for a union but instead protesting against business decisions that they believe will hurt long term profitability.

There is one way to describe a protest like that: Pro Capitalist.

That’s why it will never get the approval of the National MSM. If that kind of idea spreads, watch out.

The Market Basket story that I’ve written about over the last year is about to come to a head:

Local media have written heavily on this subject and if you read those pieces they accidentally expose what is a flaw that sometimes manifests in the Capitalist system

The genius of Capitalism is that the profit motive keeps you honest, if you want to make a profit you avoid bad moves that interfere with profit. You might make a mistake but you as a rule won’t take steps that will cut off the source of profit.

But what happens if you don’t give a care if you make a profit?

What happens if you are rich enough that you can do anything you want, go anywhere you want or get anything you want at anytime you want even if you never make another dollar in your life?

Suddenly the profit motive means little or nothing.

And that brings us to the Market Basket Standoff and Arthur S. Demoulas.

Let’s stipulate right up front that as the controlling partner of Market Basket Arthur S. Demoulas can do what he wants with his company but what if the thing he wants more than anything else is its failure?

Say you are a person who is very wealthy and you want revenge on someone who has wronged but, but he,  like you is rich and powerful as you.  If you can t take away his wealth & power  how to do achieve the vengeance you feel you deserve?

You take away something he loves…

…like Market Basket.

So in the quest for revenge you fight like a wolf to take his company, and you win. Now, Market Basket, the company that your enemy loves,  is in your hands, it’s yours to control, the stores, the stock and the people.

But it’s  a hollow victory, you have the company but not the people. even as you exercise controlling authority by word, by actions the company still belongs to your Arthur T. The staff and the customers reamin loyal to him.  A loyalty earned the hard way over the course of years by words and actions.

I suspect that knowledge gnaws at Arthur S. Demoulas.  For all his wealth and influence, he simply can’t purchase the loyalty or the love of his workforce.

Now that situation doesn’t have to be forever.  If he put the same years of effort into winning those workers over that he did in getting the company he might succeed in winning them over and even if he didn’t win their love, he’ might win their grudging respect for his efforts.

That would, ironically be an excellent revenge, the villain of the piece proving himself the hero to the audience at the end of the play.  It would prove a lot of people wrong.

But such a goal requires time, effort and a dedication that is not really compatible with a person driven by anger. It takes a particular temperament to earn the trust and friendship of people who don’t trust you. A temperament that isn’t born of vengeance.

So if you taking his company away was not enough and you still want to hurt your cousin, basking in the support of the workforce that is no longer his legally, what do you do?

You hurt the company he loves and the people who love him.

You can slowly kill the company he spent years building.  You can clash with the people who work for you and make them fear for their jobs, their pensions . In hard times you can make them twist in the wind and can put them in a position to be forced to make a choice between the loyalty to Arthur T who treated them well or face the prospect of finding a new job in the worst economy of their lifetime. You can make the pay through the nose  for the unpardonable crime of loving your enemy.

That’s what I think is driving these decisions, that’s what I think is going to happen.  It shouldn’t happen, it’s the wrong thing to do for the company, the wrong thing to do for himself and his fellow shareholders in the family and if he was operating under the normal profit motive of the capitalist system it wouldn’t happen.

But that argument concerning the wisdom or  profitability will not work, not when the goal is vengeance which will always trump profit and wisdom in an angry man no matter how fleeting the satisfaction it brings.

 

I hope I’m wrong.

This week the story broke that  Costco was  pulling Dinesh D;Sousa’s new  book from its shelves

The wholesale giant Costco has issued an order to remove all copies of Dinesh D’Souza’s bestselling book, “America: Imagine the World Without Her,” from the shelves of its stores nationwide, WND has confirmed.

The book, in this midterm election year, is a strong rebuttal of the progressive ideology behind President Obama’s policies, which have been supported by Costco co-founder and director Jim Sinegal, a major Democrat donor and a speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that nominated the president. A Washington Post political reporter has noted Obama’s “romance” with the nation’s second-largest retailer.

When the news broke Dinesh D’Souza said their move showed the Left Is Terrified’ but Costco insisted that it had nothing to do with politics.

Galanti confirmed to WND the “pull order” was in effect and that D’Souza’s book is in the process of being removed from Costco stores this week, with the goal to have all copies of D’Souza’s book out of Costco stores nationwide and shipped back to the vendor no later than July 15.

He said the decision to pull D’Souza’s book was not political but was based solely on sales, arguing Costco’s national goal is to market books that show up on the New York Times bestseller list.

The book will make the New York Times list July 13.


Although looking at this:

Costco CEO Jim Sinegal, an Obama supporter gave more than $20 million to Democrats during the 2012 election cycle.

it appears shoppers for some reason don’t believe them, this comment from their facebook page  is typical:

Paul Olson My wife I have had a Costco membership for close to 20 years. We have known that Costco was owned & run by people who have contributed heavily to liberals, but continued to shop there regularly. They have a right to their politics like everybody else. However when they make an overtly political attack such as this, we have to take it into account and respond by spending our money elsewhere. Although we have spent thousands of dollars at Costco over the years, its Sams Club from now on.

And those sentiments were echoed by other people on facebook a LOT of people.

Thousands of Costco shoppers took to the wholesaler’s Facebook page threatening to drop their store memberships after the retailer pulled copies of Dinesh D’Souza’s newest anti-Obama book from its shelves, but a company official insists the decision was financial, not political.

And lo and behold Costco made a new decision:

Wholesale retailer Costco announced Tuesday evening that they have reversed a decision to remove conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s bestselling book from stores, following an outcry from thousands of angry customers.

But not for political reasons of course

“We are bringing it back, not for political reasons, but because the book is now selling well,” Galanti told WND. “We didn’t pull the book on July 1 for political reasons, and we are not putting it back in the stores now for political reasons. We are doing this because we sell merchandise and D’Souza’s book is now selling well.”

The real question is this, how is it that a calling and facebook campaign turned things around at Costco while the same type of thing didn’t take place with say Hobby Lobby?  Meagan McArdle explains:

back to Hobby Lobby. Their demographic is women! I have heard cry. And women will be outraged!

Indeed, many women are. But which women?

At least in my circles, everyone in the crafting demographic meets at least one of the following criteria, and often all of them: conservative, Christian, married, older, stay-at-home mom. I’m not saying this is universal; I’m sure there are young, single, progressive crafters out there! But the overlap between the people in my Facebook feed proclaiming a boycott and the people in my Facebook feed whom I know to be frequenters of crafting stores is basically zero. The people with the passion are not the people who will be crafting, in other words.

So I’m pretty skeptical that a significant number of Hobby Lobby’s customers — who weren’t turned off by, say, the no-business-on-the-Sabbath rule — are suddenly going to switch their allegiance to Michaels. 

In other words, this protest in Boston that took place nearly 50 miles away from the nearest Hobby Lobby location likely cost the company nearly 1 customer.  Costco doesn’t have that privilege and there are plenty of other national wholesale stores(Sam’s Club, BJ’s) that will be quite happy to take any customers that Costco doesn’t want.

Bottom line Costco has a perfect right to carry what they want and their customers have the right to react accordingly so my advice is this:   unless you have a niche market or unless you are willing to take grief from part of your customer base, pick your enemies very carefully, because those enemies of yours might have more friends than you think.

None of this btw changes the fact that Dinesh D’Sousa was as guilty as sin.

 

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Robert Heinlein

Ok so you are operating a chain of business owned by your family in the most expensive part of the country to live in the worst economy in 80 years so how do you make sure you continue to do all right?

Well you avoid debt so when (as opposed to if) interest rates go up you don’t have to worry about your bottom line being eaten up.

You make it a point to treat your employees well so that when the economy improves the best workers have no incentive to leave and the rest have no incentive to unionize in one of the most union friendly areas in the nation.

You operate with a close margins making sure that you are the most competitive chain in the area.

Market Basket has done this and the result has been profit.

So if you are the board of that business and your CEO managed to pull that rabbit out of his hat, how to do react?

Well apparently if you’re Market Basket you do this:

“Arthur T. Demoulas, who was not re-elected president and will not retain any management responsibilities moving forward, remains a shareholder of the company,” the statement said. “The board believes this new management team will enable Market Basket to maximize its potential and pave the way for continued success in the future.”

The firings brought the long-running family feud to another head between two factions of the Demoulas family — owners of the 72-store Tewksbury-based chain — after a contentious year. Lawsuits, protests, petitions, stalled store openings and back-and-forth allegations between rival board members and management have marked the transition since the board had a shift in control last June in favor of the CEO’s rival cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.

Far be it for me to tell someone else how to run their business but I’d say moves like that lead to this:

We  Are Market Basket, a group dedicated to support ousted company CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, has announced a protest rally outside the supermarket chain’s colossal Chelsea location.

And Scenes like this:

And stories like this:

McCarthy, manager of Market Basket’s Middleton store, can’t forget what the company’s then-CEO of DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc. asked him next: “Do we need to move her?”

Demoulas’ use of the word “we” spoke to all the reasons McCarthy has stayed with the company for the past 34 years to build his career. Everyone who works for Market Basket is part of one family, McCarthy said.

That’s why the ousting of Arthur T. Demoulas and two other executives by the board of directors on Monday devastated employees, reducing all managers at the Nashua store on Daniel Webster Highway to tears, said Christine Doubleday, the store’s bakery manager.

“I just feel like a family being broken up,” Doubleday, a 20-year employee, whose parents also worked for the company for decades, said as she stood among hundreds of Market Basket workers protesting the firing of the top managers in the parking lot of the Chelsea store on Tuesday. Some of the company’s senior managers have already resigned to show solidarity with the embattled Demoulas and other fired executives. But many workers said they will stay put and help fight to bring back the ousted leaders.

Now family feuds are by a rule nasty and it’s very probable that decisions being  made are based on anger.  It’s also possible that the new management team might surprise everyone and produce even better results than what we’ve already seen.

But personally I can’t see how a policy that produces bad publicity on all the local TV networks, anger among the most experienced employees and uncertainty among the customers is a wise move.  Let me remind top management at Market Basket of some words of warning from 2013

Do the owners of this business really think that this success happened on its own? Do they really think they can borrow money, play with the management, panic their work force and expect the good times to continue to roll on as if there is no other supermarket chain in the area?

What do you they think will happen when the prices go up, when the best and brightest in the stores decide it is no longer worth staying there, when the Unions hungry for fresh meat go to the stores to organize and take advantage of the now spooked workforce? What do they think will happen? Do they really think the fatted calf will still give milk after it’s been slaughtered?

And all of this foolishness to remove a person who has made the nine shareholders millions over a feud.

 

For the sake of the people who work there and shoppers like I hope I’m wrong about the end result of this, and I hope that the management eventually figures it out.

I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it.  I’m going to give the last word to Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle from their 1976 novel Inferno:

“First we must cross the river,”  Benito was saying.  “Do you believe me now when I tell you that you must not attempt to swim it, or even get wet from it, or must you try that too?”

“What happens if I just dive in?”

“Then you will be as you were in the bottle.  Aware and unable to move.  But it will be very cold and very uncomfortable and you will be there for all eternity knowing you put yourself there.”

Market Basket’s board just dived in.

The headline at the New York times suggests that the Obama administration has cut the escape for business’ trying to avoid the costs of Obamacare:

Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day — or $36,500 a year — for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.

But while some might crow over this change here is what it’s going to mean:

1. Pink slips

You don’t have to provide health insurance to people who do not work for you. If the government won’t allow companies to make a cost-effective decision they will cut those costs a different way and the cheapest and fastest is to cut people.

2. Part Timers:

If you can’t afford to lose people the next choice will be to reduce hours or create new part-time positions to replace the full-time ones that required insurance coverage.

3. Hiring Freezes:

If you work for a company on the edge of the Healthcare requirements and in an industry where part-time workers simply won’t do be prepared to do a lot more work with a lot less help. Your employer will not be bringing on any more people to give you a hand so you’re just going to have to do that work yourself.

4. Lawsuits:

An awful lot of companies have waivers from the rules of Obamacare, if your company competes with any of them a lawsuit will certainly be in order to obtain the same benefits that your competition gets.

These are only the things that have occurred to me, be assured that lawyers making $100+ an hour will be working night and day for companies looking to avoid those costs, and will find them.

All of these things will have political costs to Democrats, not just in 2014, but forever so remember my friends on the left, you did this to yourself.

Olimometer 2.52

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Max Bialystock: Max Bialystock is launching himself into little old lady land.

The Producers 1967

One of the strangest things about the spectacle we call the Superbowl is the fuss about the ads.

It’s become a reason to watch a football game that more often than not isn’t that close and for people looking for a novelty to check it out.   (In fairness we’ve had in my opinion the best run of games in the history of the Superbowl the last this last decade).

Because of what the Superbowl draws companies spend a small fortune to have on in the hopes that their “Superbowl” ad will be the one that catapults their product to success. But are those 4 million dollar ads really worth it? A university decided to check it out:

A pair of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire professors did a study of all 538 Super Bowl ads that aired between 2000 and 2009 and found that most of these Super Bowl ads don’t work.

But Forbes maintains they are still worthwhile, why, because of how they effect the stock price.

The real reason that companies are willing to invest in Super Bowl advertising is that despite the dubious results on sales, the announcement of buying airtime on the Super Bowl can bump up their stock price, at least in the short term. That surprising finding was gleaned in a study of publicly traded Super Bowl advertisers by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which found that the stock price of these companies rose shortly after the media began to hype the ads’ upcoming appearance. They also found that any impact on stock prices occurs at the time of the announcement of the ad buy, rather than the day after the ad ran during the Super Bowl. This is partially the reason that companies announce their intentions to run ads weeks before the game, and run teasers on YouTube to hype their spots.

It sounds like the ultimate insider trading deal. Shareholders can make a profit selling shares the day a company hold announces a Superbowl ad deal because apparently there are plenty of idiots that think spending of millions of dollars in a single thirty second ad that is unlikely to work is a sign that a company is a good investment.

And here I had the quaint idea that you might buy stock in a company because they make a good product or provide that either has or should produce a profit for me as a shareholder.

If I was a con artist I’d pay good money for the list of those idiots.

Closing thought:  For the price of a 30 second Superbowl ad a company can have the top spot on DaTechGuy on DaRadio site and 4 minutes of ads every edition of DaTechGuy on DaRadio … for 363 years.

As I’m unlikely to live to 413 might I suggest a purchase 1/10 that size, I have an outside chance at least of making it to 86 or 87.

 

By Gary Goldman

Does The Postal Workers Union Need To “Staple” It Shut?

Does a union whose rank and file is employed by a quasi-government agency, funded by taxpayer money that is losing billions of dollars per year, have the right to object to innovative solutions that may help ease the financial hemorrhaging .

This is also the same agency that missed the opportunity to dominate Next Day mail Service.

The postal workers union is shifting focus from the real issue – losing billions of dollars; to staple employees who will not be earning a union wage, and the loss of union jobs.

News flash to the Postal Workers Union; if the bleeding is not stopped, jobs will be lost, and services will be cut. The USPS has also lost a considerable amount of its market share to emails, stamps on line, and doing business via the internet.

The postal Workers union is not in a position of power. When you have employees that have customer service sensitivity, and an agency that is making money, then you may have the right to question change. Right now, that is not the case.

I can assure you that when you walk into a Staples store to conduct USPS business, you will be greeted by smiling employees, that acknowledge your existence, that are happy to assist you, and appreciate your business

Time has proven that there is no parity between high union wages, well run business’s, and friendly service. The postal workers union needs to embrace the change and see what will evolve. It is ultimately the consumer – tax payer that will decide if this private -public partnership is working. The massive losses and operational inefficiencies cannot continue indefinitely.

If I were a postal worker with managerial and supervisory skills, I just may consider sending my resume over to staples. You never know what opportunities are around the corner. Just ask those fed ex employees who had the vision to look outside the box.

Gary S. Goldman is the owner of  Gary S. Goldman & Associates out of Shearborn Ma. providing business & management consulting services to business.  His weekly radio program Business Politics & Lifestyle with Gary Goldman can be heard each Saturday at 9 AM EST on WCRN AM 830 Worcester MA.

If you would like more information on our guest commentary program you can contact us here

By Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

My friends at New York Latin Culture have been doing a countdown of New Year’s traditions to celebrate the arrival of the new year around the world. Among the traditions, is

wearing yellow underwear at the moment when New Year arrives. According to beliefs, doing so brings wealth and prosperity in the coming year.

Colombians and Venezuelans both like to greet the New Year in yellow undies.

New yellow undies.

Colombia’s economy has been doing well lately

Annual inflation fell to its lowest rate since 1955 last month, even as the economy grew at the fastest pace in the Andean region.

Colombians can find a wide array of any yellow undies they need.

Venezuela’s economy, on the other hand, is a disaster, with the government hiding the numbers while claiming an official annual inflation rate of 54% when the implied annual inflation rate hits 261%. Additionally, shortages of consumer goods in Venezuela

stem from price controls meant to make basic goods available to the poorest parts of society and the government’s controls on foreign currency.

Yellow undies are no exception: Agencia Carabobeña de Noticias (News Agency of Carabobo, ACN) reported that this year, Yellow Underwear is Rare and Costly, with panty prices increasing by 73% and 185% (depending on the shop) since 2012. Bra inflation was worse, with prices increasing by 300% to 500%. Men’s underpants doubled in price (the article doesn’t specify jockeys or boxers). ACN also itemized the rise in prices in the foods traditionally served on New Year’s Eve, with similar results.

Is the underwear shortage and inflation a regional occurrence? El Siglo sent out its reporters, who came back not only saying there was a wide variety of styles and prices available in Maracay (without mentioning actual prices), they even found shoppers who swear by its effectiveness. El Siglo, on the other hand, bills itself as a Bolivarian newspaper, which I interpret as loyal to the ruling party.

In brief: Disastrous economic policy hit the New Year’s bottom line.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2014,
Fausta
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The Oracle: Have they not been given?
4th Doctor: Well, that’s what I’m asking.
The Oracle: Who are you to dare question my word?
4th Doctor: Well, who do I have to be to dare question your word?

Doctor Who Underworld 1978

On occasion when I’ve been out covering stories I’d run into people who worked for something called “Patch”.

I presumed it was something along the lines of the Examiner where I wrote the occasional article being paid about 1/2 cent per hit. (No time really for that now but you never know) and didn’t really think about it one war or the other until I saw this piece by RS McCain yesterday:

excuse me also for thinking Armstrong is one of the most clueless executives in online media.

AOL’s Tim Armstrong reluctantly lets go
of Patch as shareholder pressures mount

Maybe you don’t care about this little media industry story, but it’s fascinating how the failure happened, and how Armstrong was permitted to throw away money on this pet project:

Stacy links to a NYT post titled AOL Chief’s White Whale Finally Slips His Grasp

Mr. Armstrong had a sentimental, and some would say debilitating, attachment to Patch. He helped create it in 2007 while a senior executive at Google. When he got the top job at AOL in 2009, he persuaded the company to buy it. Patch then proceeded to churn through leadership, business models and write-downs on the way to its reduced state.

The board of AOL, handpicked by Mr. Armstrong, authorized him to invest $50 million on the idea in 2010 and after that, it became a black hole for cash. By the end, it had cost an estimated $300 million. (AOL said the figure was more like $200 million.)

John Podhoretz asked the obvious question:

The Obvious answer is that he didn’t spend money advancing conservative media, As long as you avoid that your job is secure with the elite, also he didn’t spend his own money which is a common liberal theme.

Still Armstrong does have a point, there is a local market for local news but it has to be sustainable if you can’t pay the bills then you can’t do it.

I can hear the critics now: “That’s pretty big talk from a guy who won’t buy a snow blower (or a pair of boots) because he doesn’t have the scratch. Who are you to tell a guy as rich as Armstrong how to run a business?

In one respect that’s a fair point, when Mika Brzezinski & others called for a $15 hr minimum wage for flipping burgers I challenged them to open a franchise, pay that wage and make it work. So it’s fair to say: How would YOU make Patch work?

Well I have a couple of ideas, but the first thing that comes to mind is my Magnificent Seven model.

My Magnificent Seven writers are paid via my tip jar. I raised my weekly goal to cover the cost of their single weekly article.

So far the result has been mixed. I’m very pleased with the quality of the writing and I believe they make the blog better by bringing expertise on subject I might not have.

On the other hand there has been no noticeable increase in traffic yet and DaTipJar response has been irregular.  We’ve made the new goal 2 weeks out of 5 and have yet to cover the cost of the Seven in a monthly goal yet, but it’s only been one month.

That’s why my magnificent seven agreements are for 3 months. If it turns out it’s not generating the revenue to support itself, then no matter how much I like it, I can’t continue it. If it turns out it IS then it can continue and perhaps expand.

So for the benefit of Tim Armstrong let me show you how it’s done:

Introducing Da Villagers :

Hilario: The feeling I felt in my chest this morning, when I saw Calvera run away from us, that’s a feeling worth dying for. Have you ever felt something like that?

Vin: Not for a long, long time. I envy you.

The Magnificent Seven 1960

If you haven’t seen the move The Magnificent Seven it’s often forgotten that the some of the villagers fought and died beside them.  So it makes sense to me that if I have a series of hired guns writing for me I should also have some villagers writing too.

So here is the deal. There are quite a few tea party members who focus on local/state issues. I’m making inquiries to find a few who can write.

If I find a suitable one I will bring him/her on as a villager along side of my Magnificent Seven.

The terms will be the same as the seven, 250 words at .02 per word be exclusive to DaTechGuy Blog for at least 3 days, paid at the end of the month with the following exceptions:

1.  Rather than a single day you will be a floating writer with your weekly piece being on any day when there is news to write about

2.  Unlike my Magnificent Seven you are expected to write about local issues and events that would appeal to the people in this local area (central Massachusetts) preferably on a particular city.

3.  Because this is a “patch” like experiment this can’t simply be opinion, It has to be a report on an event, a town meeting or city council meeting you covered, a political event or speech, or a local news story.  I don’t mind (and frankly prefer) a conservative take but it has to be based on local events not on a general idea.

4.  Because of the floating nature I will want the post written and completed in draft rather than just scheduled so I can make sure your post doesn’t step on any others.

This like the Magnificent Seven agreement will be a three-month agreement, but you can change that in two ways:

1.  A local sponsorship:  If you find a local business willing to sponsor your posts here at $50 a month.  You can write here beyond the three months even if DaTipJar fails to cover your cost.  They will get a link on the site and a 15 sec ad on the show.  If the person is willing to pay $100 a month they will get a link on every one of your posts & you will be allowed a 2nd weekly post at the normal rates

2.  Commission:  If you can Sell a single annual ad on this site at $100 a month or more (15 sec ad plus ad rather than sponsor placement) You will get a 25% commission on said ad in addition to your normal payment per piece.  If you sell a more expensive ad we’ll talk.

If I find a suitable person we’ll increase the weekly goal by $5 and see if it works out.  If it doesn’t then it will stop.  If it does the perhaps we will bring in more locals

And THAT is how you do it Mr. Armstrong without risking millions of dollars of other people’s money, slowly and carefully.

No Charge

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Tuesday and we’re raised $97 toward our $340 weekly goal

As of today we’re also $364 shy of the pace needed make the monthly goal

10 $25 Tip jar hits will solve the 1st problem, 15 will solve the second but any hit will move us closer to both goals

Help us move downfield by hitting DaTipJar below.

We are only 59 1/4 new subscribers at $20 a month to cover both the Mortgage and the Magnificent Seven without a daily shake of DaTipJar all year.

The Breaking of the 60 subscriber barrier is a great leap but not as great as the ability to know the Mortgage & Magnificent Seven are going to be pain in full on the 1st instead of on the 30th.

Give yourself a Christmas present that will inform and entertain you 365 days a year in 2014. Subscribe below.




When last we left Tami Erin she was involved in the Hustler Halloween Party

and that involvement has to some degree had the desired effect:  She has passed 6700 twitter followers

tami progress 2

and her website has cracked the top 900,000 mark in Alexa

tami progress

Personally I’d put a twitter button on that web site to increase the number of followers (no charge) but alas the attention has started to wane.  If you do a google search for Tami Erin under news But alas there hasn’t been much in news since that last burst of activity.
tami progress 3
And the news that’s there isn’t good:

Tami Erin, now 39, starred as Pippi when she was just 14, but images from her childhood role as the red-headed character are being used on multiple websites to promote her recent porn flick.

Now, according to TMZ, Columbia Pictures—the studio behind the family-friendly movie—is ordering the images of 14-year-old Erin not be used to promote the X-rated film.

TMZ reports that lawyers for Columbia demanded sites remove the old Pippi pictures, or else the studio would sue.

That’s from Nov 5th and if you look at Ms. Erin’s twitter stream you will see the latest fan tweet is also from Nov 5th.

So already the interest is down and in fact the problem that I mentioned before remains:

Experience, intelligence and chemistry have little or no value. Her only card against other younger women is a 25 year old children’s movie remembered by fewer and fewer people as time goes by. There are already plenty of younger more voluptuous women ready and willing to carry themselves more provocatively than Ms. Erin. It won’t take long for the novelty to fade and then the stray lesbian kiss, topless shot or swing around a pole will not be enough to retain the interest

And therein lies the problem, is there a formula,  an example,  a business model for the almost 40 year old Ms. Erin to follow to establish and maintain a living in her now chosen field? 

Oddly enough there is. Continue reading “Tami Erin & the Magdalene St. Michaels Business Plan Calculated Risk Required (Content warning)”

…they saw the grass of the Hill Country. To these men the grass was proof that their dreams would come true. In country where grass grew like that, cotton would surely grow tall, and cattle fat–and men rich. In country where grass grew like that, they thought, anything would grow.

How could they know about the grass. The grass had grown not over a season but over centuries.

Robert A Caro  The Years of Lyndon Johnson The Path to Power 1982 p 10-11

Last month large scale protests from the employees of Market Basket headed off a board looking to make largescale chances. This month the board held their meeting away from the public eye and made their moves:

The board of Market Basket, split by a bitter family feud among the supermarket chain’s owners, has voted to distribute $250 million to the company’s nine shareholders, according to a person briefed on the board’s action.

9 people splitting 250 mil comes to $27.7 Mil each before taxes but it’s their company and that in itself is not a big deal.

But this is:

The group opposing Arthur T. Demoulas has complained that Market Basket held too much cash and pushed the company to take on debt to pay out more to family members.

and this:

The board voted last week to hire an executive search firm, which indicates the process to secure a new CEO will soon be under way.

this

It also voted to establish a credit facility, which means Market Basket may be looking to take on debt for expansion, something it has never done.

and lastly this

Finally, in further distancing itself from the founders’ principles, it reportedly replaced two of the three trustees who oversee the company’s employee profit-sharing plan, an account of more than $550 million paid out to employees upon their retirement. Too generous a perk perhaps for those not sharing in its benefits.

The papers are talking about the greed involved, about a small group of rich people wanting even more.  Nobody is talking about how foolish this is.

Right now Market Basket’s shareholders are making an excellent profit, but they think they can do better. They have the right to make that conclusion and vote accordingly but I submit and suggest for all the above reasons: Debt, Labor and Experience the retention of Arthur T. Demoulas as the man in charge is not only the right thing for the company, it’s the smart thing to do.

And just as the free market rewards smart moves, it just as quickly punishes foolish ones.

Earth to the MB Board have you not noticed what happened to Detroit? How a successful city decided to borrow and spend to take care of their friends and became a town where you can’t sell a house for a dollar?

Did they not see the national failure of the past five years of borrowing money wholesale and giving it to your friends and supporters? Perhaps they didn’t notice it because of the wise moves by the very leadership they are now rejecting?

The problem here isn’t greed, people are always looking out for their own self interest, the problem here is stupidity in not realizing their moves will produce a result opposite of what they think.

You have a company that is a success, with no debt, a loyal and dedicated workforce that retains talented people for decades, that has managed to be profitable in the worst economy in half a century in a business with a tiny profit margin by offering the lowest prices in the area.

Do the owners of this business really think that this success happened on its own? Do they really think they can borrow money, play with the management, panic their work force and expect the good times to continue to roll on as if there is no other supermarket chain in the area?

What do you they think will happen when the prices go up, when the best and brightest in the stores decide it is no longer worth staying there, when the Unions hungry for fresh meat go to the stores to organize and take advantage of the now spooked workforce? What do they think will happen? Do they really think the fatted calf will still give milk after it’s been slaughtered?

Market basket is nearing its 100th anniversary.  It was founded the year the United States entered World war one.   It took 96 years for the business to reach the level of success it enjoys today. The board members will find it takes a lot less time to throw that success away.

ThisYesterday morning on Morning Joe Mika touted they would be at a protest Aug 29th in Detroit pushed by Rep Keith Ellison: (Emphasis Mine)

“They’re very effective,” says U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “They’ve brought attention to appalling conditions with workers putting in very long hours … and not making enough money to survive. This I think is scandal. .. We believe it’s essential to be paid livable wages. We know the companies can afford it. These are highly profitable businesses. It would be good not just for the family budget but for the national budget.”

Mika seemed to agree that the businesses could afford it although Joe Scarborough was not so impressed.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Lucky for all there is a really simple way for Morning Mika and her entire crowd to prove their point over Joe.  It’s a simple three-step process

1. Acquire a fast food franchise, here is info on McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s a tad more expensive than McD or BK:

2. Hire Workers at $15 dollars an hour, in this economy this should be a piece of cake.

3. Watch the money pour in.

I’m sure a bunch of high-powered and well-connected people like Mika can come up with the franchise fees and an experienced marketing man like Donny Deutsch can make it profitable no matter how many other McDonalds, Burger Kings or Wendy’s paying $9 or less near by.

If this can be done and at a profit then these folks shouldn’t just be doing it to prove a point, they should be JUMPING at the chance to get themselves the easy money from a profitable franchise and help people workers at the same time.

Of course it might be much harder for Mika , Donnie, Mike Barnicle et/al after all the easiest business to run is somebody else’s.

Update: This post was originally scheduled for last night but a last-minute change moved it to this morning & I forgot to change the “This morning” to “yesterday” at the top, fixed.

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Olimometer 2.52

I’d been too busy to notice this before today but this web site has cracked the top 100 on Doug Ross’ list of the top 150 Conservative web sites at 92 just ahead of Conservatives for Palin & just behind Neal Boortz

To paraphrase the old saying. That ranking of 92nd out of the top 150 web sites and 15 tip jar hitters kicking in $20.34 each week will pay my weekly paycheck and the monthly mortgage.

I’m very grateful to all of you who have made that ranking possible and I’m even more grateful to all of you who have kicked in to keep the mortgage paid from February through July.

If you’d like to keep the ball rolling in August, consider hit DaTipJar below.

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I wrote about the Boston Globe being saved from the clutches of those nasty conservatives a few days ago. Red Mass Group expands on why John Henry of the Boston Red Sox is the perfect buyer for the paper:

John Henry on the other hand is a long time Democratic donor and activist. According to his donation records Henry has donated over $1.1M to Democrats and special interest groups, while $1000 went to a lone Republican.

$1,000 Republican
$1,003,250 Democrat
$101,500 special interest
total: $1,105,750

Seemingly the New York Times Corporation may have not fulfilled it’s fiduciary responsibility to get the most money for an asset it was selling. Furthermore, it seems to be based on the politics of the bidders.

The previous high bidder is not taking this sitting down:

“We bid significantly more than Henry,” said John Lynch, the CEO of U-T San Diego, one of the Globe finalists. “At the end of the day, I’m certain our bid was higher and could have been a lot more higher if they had just asked. I’m just stunned. I thought this was a public company that had a fiduciary duty to get the most by its stockholders. … From the beginning, I don’t think they wanted to sell to us.”

Lynch said the Times laid out three qualifiers for the deal: price, capability to close quickly and ability to finance.

“We had the money in the bank, we had the highest price and we rolled over (Friday) and accepted all their terms,” said Lynch.

As recently as 3 p.m. EDT Friday, Lynch said, U-T San Diego had an army of lawyers working to iron out a deal with the Times, and didn’t officially learn it had lost until they received an email at 3:30 a.m. EDT — some two hours after the Globe announced the $70 million deal on Twitter.

Hey what’s elementary economics when there is a neighborhood to protect?

A final thought. The New York Times is the leading proponent of social and economic Liberalism in general and Barack Obama and his economic policies in particular.

If you wonder why democrats in congress and on the White House have been so willing to put their party before the actual economic good of the country then you simply don’t understand liberalism.

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4:52 PM Just heard the Washington Post has been purchased by Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com

In Theory Amazon hasn’t purchased it but in terms of advertising he will basically be paying himself. If he integrates the business and we know Bezos is skilled at this, then again will conservative book buyers decide to spend their money elsewhere if Bezos becomes the liberal angel.

I must admit I have no idea how this will turn out but it’s interesting to note that both the Post and the Globe buyers are successful businessmen who have plenty of money to lose if they wish.

The question becomes are they businessman’s trying to expand to succeed in a new business or Angels who have plenty of money to lose in pushing a viewpoint?

That’s the $64,000 questions or should I say the $250 Million dollar question

Thursday I took a trip to Andover MA to take a look at the Protests that were taking place in Favor of Arthur T Demoulas that I wrote about here and here.

Despite 80-90 degree weather there were HUNDREDS Of people there to express their support for current CEO Arthur T, with a variety of signs and T-Shirts to express said support. I waded into the crowd to get their thoughts:

I started with two young ladies near where I parked on the side of the road:

I crossed the Street and interviewed Jeremy

Then Kelly

I walked down the road a bit looking for more interviews, on the way I talked to a police officer who told me there was absolutely no trouble from the protesters, given the heat that says a lot.

I spoke to Tara

and found out that I was parking where the police didn’t want me to, so I moved the car farther up the road parking in front of a couple of NESN trucks figuring if their spot was OK so was mine.

I had a hard time getting the people in the main protest to talk at first although a few of them had read my two pieces on the subject. But Michelle jumped right in.

She then held the camera for me while I recorded my subscription commentary (Half of which didn’t save drat!) and a general commentary which I’ll finish with.

I then crossed the street and talked to Dora

Then Chuck

Then Ryan

I couldn’t for the life of me find someone from Fitchburg but as my voice was dying I finally found someone from Leominster which is as close as it gets

I’ll finish with my own commentary

Two Quick thoughts.

I’ve seen a lot of protests, I know astroturf when it’s in front of me, this protest wasn’t astroturf, it was more like a tea party protests with people taking care of each other.

Look and listen to that final interview and you will see the secret of why hundreds of non-union workers will protest on behalf of a CEO who is likely is worth more than all of em put together.

I’ll be tying it all together tomorrow with the pictures.

I’ve already written about why I believe for the Market Basket Chain, keeping Arthur T Demoulas is the right thing now lets briefly talk about why it is the smart thing.

We’ve already established that disputes not withstanding Market Basket remains a successful and profitable business that has provided rich rewards for its owners and its employees but I have absolutely no idea how to run a grocery chain, what business do I have saying to the board of directors of Market Basket that Arthur T. Demoulas is better qualified than Arthur S. Demoulas.  What is the overriding argument that even though Arthur T has run the business with a steady profit that Arthur S wouldn’t do better?  What business do I have in signing a petition in support of Arthur T breaking my rule against signing petitions on any type except for nomination papers for candidates for office?

Well there are several things, lets look at them in order:

1. Debt:

“To have the lowest prices you have to have the lowest costs, that’s only Natural”

Ernie Boch Sr

Anyone who has followed the budget crisis in Washington knows that one big chunk of the budget problem is interest on the existing debt, before you spend a single dollar on any problem or cut a single dollar you have to budget for the interest on the existing debt and if you think it’s bad now wait till the artificially low interest rates go back up

The same goes in business, if you want to make a profit you have to keep costs down. What do the prospective new owners have planned?

His (Arthur T’s) attorney said that those opponents have repeatedly pushed for Market Basket to borrow heavily in order to finance payouts to shareholders of more than $1.5 billion. The company is owned by nine shareholders, all members of the Demoulas family.

The profit margin in a supermarket is not huge, it relies on volume

The average supermarket has a profit margin of about 1 percent, according to Stacey Vanek-Smith of National Public Radio. Some experts suggest this figure might be as high as 3 percent. Either way, supermarkets are a volume business. The extremely thin profit margin in the grocery business comes from the large amount of competition due to the low barrier of entry into the market. Thus, a grocery store must make up for its low margin by selling large quantities of product.

What happens if a big chunk of that profit margin is eaten up in interest payments? Well if you lived in Massachusetts over the last 40 years you might have heard a certain car salesman explain this basic economic fact to you:

If those prices go up, shoppers have plenty of other choices. The supermarket business is highly competitive. Within easy driving distance of the Market Baskets nearest to me there are several Hannafords, A Shaws, A BJ’s and a pair of Walmarts and more.

Market Basket shoppers have plenty of other options in the case of a price increase and if management wants to draw a larger share for themselves AND increase debut at the same time that money has to come from somewhere but where?

2. Labor:

George Washington McLintock: Gave? Boy, you’ve got it all wrong. I don’t give jobs I hire men.

Drago: You intend to give this man a full day’s work, don’tcha boy?

Devlin Warren:
You mean you’re still hirin’ me? Well, yes, sir, I certainly deliver a fair day’s work.

George Washington McLintock:
And for that I’ll pay you a fair day’s wage. You won’t give me anything and I won’t give you anything. We both hold up our heads….

McLintock! 1963

One possibility to make up such money comes from labor, but is that the wisest move? Let’s look at a relevant example.

In an Ironic twist Hostess Twinkees are about to re-appear on the shelves of Market Basket stores this week. The Hostess Company went through a series of bankruptcies and last year a last-ditch effort to save the company as it was voted down by one of their unions. The company was liquidated, the employees let go and the jobs that are now being offered pay considerably less:

He could have applied to get his old job back now that the plant is churning out Twinkies, Zingers and Ding Dongs in preparation for a July 15 return to store shelves. But he said the current starting salary of about $11 an hour, with the chance to bump it to $14, is “a slap in the face.”

“When I left, I was making $16.53 an hour, so I just didn’t see the point,” said Mr. Davis, who worked at the plant for almost 22 years.

How did it eventually get to that point? Well one might credibly argue that the Union demanded too much at the time of the strike

Some former Hostess workers who belonged to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters still blame the baker’s union for the company’s demise.

“We might still have our jobs if they didn’t go on strike in November,” says Scott Quenneville, a former Hostess delivery driver and Teamster in Detroit.

While others can reasonably argue the management was mor interested in their own bonus’ or in keeping agreements they had already made.

The former Hostess’ bakery union shouldered $100 million in labor concessions before being asked to take an immediate 8 percent pay cut last year amid tumbling profits. At the same time, Hostess’ acting CEO exempted his $1.5 million salary from the cuts.

In other words you had unions and management at each others throat. If the unions in days gone by had looked long term deals that were not sustainable might not have been pushed, meanwhile if management had treated the workers as a vital part of the business that provided financial rewards for both, the need for a union might not have existed at all.

At Market Basket that problem doesn’t exist. The company is not only making a solid profit but the non-union employees particularly the ones who have advanced in the company over the years, have gotten a share of it as I mentioned yesterday.

The protesting shareholders have been especially outraged by a profit-sharing plan that they believe has enriched rank-and-file employees at the expense of the family. Indeed, Arthur T. Demoulas proudly declares that some employees retire with well over $1 million in their profit-sharing plans.

and more

In one telling episode, one of the funds in which the profit-sharing money is invested suffered a $46 million quarterly loss during the 2008 financial meltdown. Arthur T. Demoulas says he insisted that the company immediately make up the loss to his employees’ accounts. That enraged his cousins, who maintained that no investment comes without risk.

Now that might seem like a big one time chuck of change and it is, but think about it, how much good will does that buy? How much labor trouble did that prevent?

How much is a workforce like that worth? How many problems and expenses did the company not experience because of this? How many smart people who might have gone on to other better jobs in good economic times stayed because they knew they could advance, make a living and perhaps even retire in some comfort if they stayed where they were? How many times do you think a union rep came down to Market Basket and the old Demoulas and tried to recruit saying “We can do better for you” and were laughed at by employees who could say: “Is your union willing to do for us what Arthur T did?” As one employee put it:

“The man has made a lot of money,” said Burke, a Market Basket employee for 41 years. “But he’s done a lot for the people along the way.”

How much would you pay for a workforce who don’t begrudge or complain about a group of 9 shareholders making a combined $214 million dollars in a horrible economy?

3. Experience:

Could Marconi have invented the radio if he hadn’t by pure chance spent years working at the problem? Are these amazing breakthroughs ever achieved except by years and years of unremitting study? Of course not. What I said earlier about accidental discoveries must have been wrong.

Monty Python A book at Bedtime 1973

I’ve never met Arthur S Demoulas or Arthur T. Demoulas at least not knowingly.  I know the two sides of the family apparently don’t get along as sometimes happens in families and if there are personal issues between the cousins I neither know or am qualified to settle these disputes.

But if you ask me which cousin is more qualified to run the business that’s not hard to figure out.  The one who has experience

the Demoulas family member facing removal is the one whose side of the family actually works in the family business.

of many decades:

Arthur T., who has worked at the company for 40 years, argued that he has worked closely with the often contentious board over the years to build one of the largest and most successful supermarket companies in New England, with more than 70 stores and 20,000 employees.

knows the customers:

He warmly greeted every member of the staff and seemed to know many of the customers too.

“How you doing?” he asked a butcher. “And how’s your wife?”

“She’s almost done with chemo,” the man replied. “We’re hanging in there.”

And has not slowed down just because he has a whole lot more money than I do:

Another long-tenured employee, meat manager Steve Burke, 60, said Arthur T. Demoulas has “kept his nose to the grindstone” even after becoming a successful businessman.

Now again I don’t know Arthur S. Demoulas he may be just as dynamic, just as hard working and just as successful in running the business as his cousin, but let me ask a basic question:  Arthur T. Demoulas has demonstrated the ability to produce a profit in the worst economic times in our lifetime in an industry that has a tiny profit margin.  How wise is it to replace an experienced CEO with hands on familiarity with a company who has demonstrated success with someone less experienced in an economic climate where one foot wrong can put you out of business in a hurry?

Conclusion:

Sheldon:   Hello, Penny. I realize you’re currently at the mercy of your primitive biological urges, but as you have an entire lifetime of poor decisions ahead of you, may I interrupt this one?

The Big Bang Theory  The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation 2009

One of the first rules I found from being in business if that there are two constant beliefs among people who have not been involved in it on a daily basis:

1. Your success, if any, came spontaneously.  You just declared your business open and the customers, readers and listeners and advertisers simply couldn’t wait to give you their business.

2. They likely could run your business better than you.

Right now Market Basket’s shareholders are making an excellent profit, but they think they can do better.  They have the right to make that conclusion and vote accordingly but I submit and suggest for all the above reasons: Debt, Labor and Experience the retention of Arthur T. Demoulas as the man in charge is not only the right thing for the company, it’s the smart thing to do.

And just as the free market rewards smart moves, it just as quickly punishes foolish ones.

Postscript:

The world runs on individuals pursing their self interest

Milton Freeman The Phil Donahue Show

You might notice in my 2000+ word argument above I didn’t answer the question I promised yesterday:  How is it in my own self interest if Market Basket keeps Arthur T. Demoulas?  After all I don’t know the man, none of my family works there and every single attempt I’ve made to contact the company for advertising over the years has been completely ignored despite my reach of my readership in the state.  In fact given that the board has the votes to get rid of Arthur it might seem in my best interest to back the other side thus increasing my chances of getting advertising.

Well there are two basic things:

1.  I live in Fitchburg Mass.  The city has come on some very hard times, and although there are other supermarkets only a few minutes away, in Leominster and Lunenburg.  The two Market Basket are the last supermarket still in Fitchburg, Victory Markets, Tom’s Food World, Iandolis, Piggly Wiggly and even Save a Lot have all closed and gone away.

If the board of directors makes a foolish move and puts the company in jeopardy the two Fitchburg locations, will be in jeopardy which means that many fewer entry level jobs for high school and college kids in one of the most depressed area in the state.

2.  As you know I make my living off my readers $305 a week for an awful lot of hours.  What you likely don’t know is I do almost all of the grocery shopping for the house.  While everyone knows I buy all of my meats at Romano’s Market I do my grocery shopping at Market Basket.

Why?  Because even though multiple Walmarts, Adli, Hannafords and Shaws are all within a 5-15 minute drive from my home none of them match Market Basket’s prices and it’s not close.

Let me tell you something.  When you’ve started your own business, empited your retirement accounts to keep the bills paid, when you are drawing your first pay in 5 years and that “check” its 37% of what you used to make with no benefits, no retirement and totally dependent on the mood of your readers and when you  don’t take a dime in food stamps, you learn in a hurry how to maximize your shopping dollars.

So yes I have a bias of self interest here.  Feel free to adjust your opinion of this piece based upon it. in any way you wish.

****************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

I mentioned yesterday that the stats for Monday dictated that the best move for me was to lead with Trayvon Market yesterday.

What a lot of regular national readers might be surprised to hear is my single most popular post yesterday was my post on Market Basket, in fact though a local story it outdrew all my Trayvon posts combined.

Since the blog is my primary income and since it’s tip jar hits that pays the bills $305 weekly paycheck lets see if the local readers can finish the job.

5 readers kicking in $22 fills DaPayCheck for the week and means Thursday, Friday and Saturday are tip jar shaking free.

What could be better than that?

.

I ran into Marty Lamb former legislative & congressional candidate in Massachusetts and he talked with me about the new upcoming Massachusetts Gas Tax designed to go up every year no matter what.

Remember Massachusetts you are doing this to yourself.

Whatever else you might say about Tina Brown, she’s undeniably brilliant at convincing investors to lose money on her projects.

Robert Stacy McCain The Weekly Newsbeast Nov 11th 2010

Trueman-Lodge: We started this place strictly as a cover, but Professor Joe turns a tidy profit.

License to Kill 1989

Reading Glenn’s Links to Althouse on Politico on the possible pay wall pay wall suggests that the lessons of Tina Brown are finally being learned on the left.

For those who have forgotten Tina Brown took over the venerable but unprofitable Newsweek in November of 2010 in its 77th year of publication.

On November 11th 2010 Stacy McCain commented on what this would mean to Ms. Brown’s financial backers:

The investors can expect to lose a crapload of cash in the process. The New Yorker reportedly lost $42 million in three years (1995-97) under Ms. Brown’s editorship. Talk lost an impressive $80 million during its two-year existence. Whatever else you might say about Tina Brown, she’s undeniably brilliant at convincing investors to lose money on her projects.

Six months later on May 17th 2011 the question of profit was brought up to Ms. Brown and she replied profit would be coming within 2 to three years. Forbes was skeptical and in an excellent impersonation of Rush Limbaugh’s 10 year Al Gore’s doomsday clock (At 2 years 261 days and counting) Stacy McCain said this:

Mark your calendars, then: Newsbeast will be in the black by May 2014 at the latest. According to Tina Brown, that is.

Well one year after that in 2012 ABC reported Newsweek/The Daily Beast lost 30 million and by the end of the year after IAC media losses increased nearly 400% Newsweek ceased publication becoming basically a blog.

Which brings us to Politico.

The Story that Politico is going to charge for content got some attention :

POLITICO today announced that it will start testing a metered subscription system in six states and internationally. For at least six months, those readers will be required to pay for content after consuming a set number of pages on the website. POLITICO will test different price points and page limits “to find the sweet spot for our readership.”

The experiment will go into effect next week in the states of Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont, Mississippi, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Interestingly enough there was another story a week before Politico started floating the Pay Wall business concerning its owner Allbritton Communications and the following announcement that it was selling some assets;

Allbritton is exploring the sale of all its television properties, including its Harrisburg-based station.

Allbritton owns eight ABC affiliates across the country, along with the popular website, Politico, which covers government and politics. Allbritton’s flagship TV station is WJLA in Washington, D.C.

Robert Allbritton, chairman and CEO of Allbritton Communications, sent a letter to its TV stations and Politico staff Wednesday.

In the letter, Allbritton, 44, wrote that he is weighing the sale of the stations as part of a strategic move to invest more resources in Politico.

Not that Politico is having a cash problem or NEEDS more assets of course as Mr. Robert Allbritton said in his letter:

POLITICO continues to carry no debt, funds all investment with operating income and will still turn a profit, again, in 2013. That is the textbook definition of a thriving, sustainable new media company.

That’s sounds pretty good, then again the only solid figures we have for Politico and profitably come from 2009 and as Harry Jaffe noted last week:

Questions abound in today’s announcement that Allbritton Communications is planning to sell its TV stations and devote its resources to growing the Politico brand.

Is Politico turning a profit?
What are the television stations worth?
How would Allbritton spend its cash in building Politico, its all-politics all-the-time digital publication?

Allbritton Communications is privately held, so it does not have to report more than it desires to make public.

Ah so according to Harry at the Washingtonian the question of “Is politico making a profit?” is an actual open question internal assertions not withstanding.

Are they actually making money? I have no idea but it’s interesting that they are selling sources of steady revenue and experimenting with a paywall at the same time. Even so they seem to be approaching this with the proper eye:

Outside of Washington, what we will look for with this experiment is whether or not we can bring in more revenue through paying subscribers than we lose as a result of any decline in traffic. This is a fairly straightforward calculation – and one that will instruct our future thinking in this area.

Sounds like a pretty straightforward cost benefit analysys but why outside Washington DC? What about inside?

..it’s highly unlikely we would ever institute a metered system in the D.C. area. The economics wouldn’t work because every company that has put a subscription system in place has seen some decrease in traffic, as you might expect. We want and need that traffic in D.C. because the desire of advertisers to reach our elite audience here is exceptionally strong.

So no Paywall for the Capital elites just for all you rubes who don’t know how to set a up a Proxy server.

Even so this is a far cry from the old model for leftist propaganda sites:

I made this point yesterday in regard to Tina Brown, who lost $80 million during two years as editor of Talk, after losing $40 million during a three-year period as editor of The New Yorker, and who has most recently pushed back the goalposts of projected profitability at the Daily Beast to somewhere between (a) three years and (b) when hell freezes over.

Does it not occur to you, my clever readers, that these are not merely business losses, but are in fact a sort of charitable endeavor to support the propagation of fashionable liberalism?

By considering revenue streams and how money is made Politico has apparently decided the whole: “Hope some rich leftist will pay the bills” isn’t enough to cut it.

As a person whose pay is dependent on his readers 60 x 20 x 12 you know I certainly have no problem with Politico trying to max out revenue in fact it’s refreshing to see an organization of the left openly practicing capitalism.

Maybe it will rub off on their reporting.

One of the basic rules of economics is supply and demand.

If there is an excessive quantity of an item its relative value drops, this applies not just to basic products and services, but to things such as the money supply.

Likewise if you have an item in short supply, it because more valuable and the holder of that valuable item, commodity or service can pick and choose among offers to their advantage.

This is true of jobs. Jobs are a valuable commodity, employers produce tax revenue, pay for infrastructure and allow produces to be produced in an area but most of all they attract the most valuable commodity of all, people.

Now I’ve been led to understand that there has been a shortage of jobs around this country over the last 4 years, but apparently I’ve been mistaken. Because in state after state we see the elected governments deciding they are a commodity that doesn’t need to be attracted.

Massachusetts:

Shrugging off the fiscal caution of recent years, Governor Deval Patrick proposed a $1.9 billion tax increase tonight in his State of the Commonwealth address, saying it was necessary for the state to invest more in education and the state’s transportation network to “accelerate growth and expand opportunity.”

Who knew Massachusetts was doing so well they didn’t need to attract jobs? Who knew that people like my oldest son, about to graduate from College in May after 4 solid years on the deans list, with decades of earning potential ahead of him is so common we can tax him by the mile.

And the good times are not restricted to the bay state.

Maine:

P.A.T. Products, an international distributor of specialty chemicals, plastic and raw materials, has been based in Bangor for 39 years.

Leo Coyle, the company’s founder and president, told the Bangor Daily News he is moving the company’s corporate headquarters to the Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth, N.H., because of that state’s more attractive tax structure and to be closer to his markets.

39 years in Maine, why move now?

“I’m not trying to bash Maine,” he said, adding that it’s a great place to raise children. But during his 40 years living in the state, he said he has become frustrated by what he sees as Maine’s attitude toward business and industry.

“Until the state of Maine gets their act together, there’ll be more and more and more people leaving. I’ve been watching it for 40-plus years. What do I see? I see people saying they can’t take it anymore. I’m not alone,”

Who knew Maine was doing so well they could spare him? Lets be fair, the legislature has done all it can to keep him in Maine, however that legislature has been the newly elected Democrat legislature of…

…New Hampshire:

Lately they have been doing their best to keep companies there in all kinds of ways…

Tobacco Taxes

So the New Hampshire House just passed a bill to tack on another 0.20 cents a pack.

This ‘revenue’ will be extracted from predominantly middle and lower income people, but the left has an excuse.

Boat Taxes

With the lessened taxes: Based on the rates scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2015, the Department states revenue produced per fiscal year would be $1,529,580. Yes, this is the Republican law
With the Democrat tax hike: Based on the current number of vessel registrations, the Department states the fees in effect produce $3,059,160 of revenue per fiscal year.

Fuel Oil:

By vote of 186 to 165 the Democrat controlled New Hampshire House passed a 25% increase in New Hampshire’s fuel oil tax.

A “county income tax

Tomorrow there is a hearing (10am – LOB 301) for HB 330. HB 330 would allow any county delegation in New Hampshire to adopt a ‘County Income tax’ to be administered by the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration

And of course a gas tax

All of us are, or should be, concerned over the necessity of the $1 billion gas tax increase in HB 617. Many of us are looking for an alternative that will address the requirement that we maintain our highways and bridges while avoiding what apparently would be the biggest tax increase in New Hampshire history.

And all of that is after only 5 months of Democrat control!

Who knew that in this short period of time New Hampshire has become such a strong state that they don’t need all those business and people from Maine Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New York to consider relocating in New Hampshire in the future?

And such prosperity isn’t limited to the east. Let’s look west to…

Colorado

Colorado is in such good shape Gov Hickenlooper he can afford to sign this

Colorado’s governor signed bills Wednesday that place new restrictions on firearms, signaling a change for Democrats who have traditionally shied away from gun control in a state with a pioneer tradition of gun ownership and self-reliance

even though it leads to this

Ammunition magazine manufacturer Magpul Industries said it plans to begin leaving Colorado “almost immediately,” and other firms may follow suit in the wake of a new law that limits ammunition magazine capacities.

“Our moving efforts are underway,” Magpul chief operating officer Doug Smith said Wednesday. “Within the next 30 days we will manufacture our first magazine outside the state of Colorado.”

Who knew Colorado was doing so well they could spare businesses like Magpul and Lawrence Tool & Molding…

“We’re basically going to follow Magpul and do our best to continue being a supplier for them,” said Lloyd Lawrence, owner of Denver-based Lawrence Tool & Molding. “It will probably be out of state.”

Lawrence said about 50 to 60 percent of his business comes from supplying magazine parts to Magpul.

and Alfred Manufacturing…

Denver-based Alfred Manufacturing Co., employs 150 residents. It, too, will “relocate part or all of our operations out of state” if Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper enacts the stringent gun-control regime pushed by Biden and company. The company has already put expansion plans on hold.

And of course we can’t leave out the state doing the absolute best of them all, California, which is doing so well it can spare the rich:

With the new year, big earners are confronting a 51.9 percent federal-state income tax hit on earnings over $1 million, the result of a confluence of new tax-the-rich levies imposed by California and Congress in the closing days of 2012. That is officially the highest in the nation.

small businesses

Campbell Soup announced in September that it was closing its 65-year-old plant in Sacramento, which employed 700 workers, and shifting production to North Carolina, Ohio and Texas. Chevron is moving 800 technical positions—in other words, jobs that aren’t physically stationed on California rigs—to Houston.

Non-manufacturing businesses are also moving or expanding operations where labor, land, energy and capital are cheaper. Comcast announced in the fall that it is moving 1,000 call-center jobs out of California because of the “high cost of doing business.” Facebook, eBay EBAY and LegalZoom have opened up Texas offices in the past few years, while PayPal, Yelp and Maxwell Technologies MXWL have pushed into Phoenix.

and of course the average person

Even while California’s Hispanic population has grown by more than 1.5 million since 2005, thanks to high birth rates and foreign immigration, two Hispanics have moved out for every one that has moved in from another state. By contrast, four Hispanics from other states have settled in Texas and Arizona for every three that have left.

It’s not unusual for immigrants or their descendants to move in pursuit of a better life. That’s the history of America. But it is ironic that many of the intended beneficiaries of California’s liberal government are running for the state line—and that progressive policies appear to be what’s driving them away.

It’s gratifying to see that these states and others are so prosperous they can spare not only the jobs, but the workers who these companies employ that fuel economic growth, and in the fashion of true Christian charity they are giving other states a chance to get those jobs they can spare

lawmakers from Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona and South Carolina are now courting Remington away from New York and Magpul away from Colorado.

So if anyone tells you that New England, Colorado, California and all those blue states are doing bad, don’t buy it, they’re just doing so well they simply don’t need the jobs and the revenue they bring and what to share it with their less fortunate Red State neighbors

Now that’s what I call neighborly!

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Olimometer 2.52

I’d like to say I’m doing as good as the state of Massachusetts and able to spare the tip jar hits, but while my total for the week rose 10% that added up to a $2 move from $20 to $22 out of the $300 weekly paycheck I hope to draw.

If you, unlike the GOP think conservative bloggers are worth the investment consider being one of the 14 people who can kick in $20 this week for that weekly $300 paycheck. If you think it’s worth your money and can spare that $20 feel free to hit DaTipJar below.





Got no opinion sir, they’re bad for business

Inherit the Wind 1960

Saw the following tweet last night:

The story went to a facebook page but a quick Google search came up with this:

GEICO

I’m typing this at 11:05 PM Eastern Time so it’s a tad late to be calling GEICO concerning this for comment, but assuming this is not a forgery or a photoshop this will likely have the effect on the company that the safe dropping on Wile E Coyote did in their commercial.

I’d go a step further, due to the nature of the internet it’s not going to matter if this image is a true image or if there is a logical valid business explanation for this. That fact that this is out there means that a lot of people involved in the gun argument are going to see it and react accordingly

The result? That can be explained in a single tweet:

In our balkanized country we will see more and more of this. To those business about to take sides I’d refer them to this Scott Adams cartoon before they choose.

Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme!
Don’t waste my time, Show me!
Don’t talk of June, Don’t talk of fall!
Don’t talk at all! Show me!
Never do I ever want to hear another word.
There isn’t one I haven’t heard.
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream;
Say one more word and I’ll scream!



My Fair Lady 1964 Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner

Yesterday I wrote about the Bakers union and the idea they might be going Galt. I’ve been thinking about this and I have one question for the union and those who think they have given back too much.

I totally understand the idea of: “Why should I take that pay cut? It’s not fair.” I remember the first job I interviewed after the company I worked for folded had a 25% pay cut. By the time I switched over to what I do now the best I saw out there was a 40% pay cut from the last time I had any sense of job security, coincidentally the last full month before the election of Barack Obama.

It seems to me that if the Bakers and the Teamsters believe they are worth more than Hostess was paying them and such a business can be sustained at the wages they were making as long as the execs aren’t making 6 or 7 figure payouts there is a simple way of proving it.

I would imagine a large scale baker has an intimate knowledge of the making of pastries. And a union is simply a big company with the workers as the product. There are plenty of execs in the Union who are experienced in the management skills necessary to run a company. So here is how they can demonstrate it to the world:

1. Become a bidder for the Hostess/Drakes brands:

Presumably the Teamsters and their associated unions that had millions of dollars to spend on political campaigns should be able to make a credible bid for a bankrupt company. If the company is purchased then they can run the company the way they wish, pay the wages they want and charge the prices to support it. They can show Hostess how it’s done with the Hostess & Drakes brands to do it with.

2. Create their own confectionery/bakery company.

I assume Union bakers who have been baking tasty cakes and good bread can come up with their own version of tasty cakes and good bread that people will want to eat.  They are bakers after all this is what they do.   All they have to do is buy the equipment (now being sold at a discount) grab the staff that is now looking for work and sign up the customers now short of bread and cakes and violá.  

Both of these plans give, as Marx would put it, control of the means of production. If they are right, if management has been taking them for a ride all this time then by becoming management they can demonstrate to the entire world how to do it right.

Of course, it’s my experience that the easiest business to run is a business owned by someone else. If the union thinks they can run a snack cake business better they the management they rejected this is the perfect time to do it. If they do, not only will I and a good chunk of America have the pleasure of enjoying tasty cakes and bread (I LIKE tasty cakes and bread) they will find themselves employed and successful which will be much more satisfying and important than any mea culpas they will earn from us folks on the right.

Of course if they can’t, or don’t choose to and somebody else buys the brand names, and equipment and hires non-union workers and pay what they want to pay to make the company show a profit without them, it will simply prove our point.

I suspect this is the only time in creation that the Bakers Union has been compared to Freddy Eynsford-Hill. Their actions will determine if their words about loving those Union Jobs are as empty as his were about Eliza.

The Good news is Michael Graham has found a teenager who had the ambition to start his own business and made it a success:

Talk about a self-starter. Surrounded by kids who won’t even mow their own lawns, he started a multi-million dollar business and ran it himself. Even better, he saw an opening in the marketplace and grabbed it:

The bad news is it was a drug business:

Cops first became aware of a high-grade hydroponic strain of marijuana being sold for $350-$400 an ounce in the Mason school district near Cincinnati last year. An undercover agent began making buys at Mason High School, where the teenager was a student, and uncovered a dealing operation headed by the arrested student.

“The undercover officer uncovered six students or former students working for that individual and trafficking drugs in two school districts,” Fornshell told ABC News. “The group supplied an overwhelming amount of marijuana in the Mason and King school districts,” Fornshell said.

Not only did he make himself rich, he gave jobs to six other unemployed teens!.

Michael Graham may be impressed…

this guy just became one of the most employable people of his generation. I want to hire this guy. He’s smart, he’s ambitious, he’s self-motivated, he’s a leader.

…but I’m not, hasn’t he paid attention to President Obama and Former Obama Administration Official Elizabeth Warren?

So he started a drug empire, good for him, but what paid for the busses that took him and his employees to school, taxes! What paid for the school system where he distributed the drugs, Taxes! And what paid for the infrastructure that allowed his business to spread to two different school districts? Taxes.

Michael Graham may want to give this unnamed minor credit for his business, but lets face it he’s just a kid and President Obama was at Harvard Law and Former Obama Administration Official Elizabeth Warren is a law professor at Harvard. They must know more about how an economy works that we do.

If the Democrat President and The Democrat Candidate for Senator in Massachusetts want to claim credit for the taxes that made this drug empire possible, who is Michael Graham or I to say otherwise?

Raj: Stewart, settle an argument for us: Who would win, Billy the Kid or the White Wizard?

Stewart:
If I tell you that I’m robbing you of the hours of fun you can have from the magical rootin-tootin low price of $24.95.

Raj: I’ll take one.

Howard: Hmmm make it 2

Leonard: I hate all of you and myself, 3.

Stewart: Ok I’ll ring it up…(under his breath) like shooting Nerds in a barrel.

The Big Bang Theory “The Flaming Spittoon Acquisition” 2012

It’s not personal , it’s strictly business

Michael Corleone The Godfather

Because of the large penetration of the comic book market into the film industry these days (the Avengers movie was pardon my language, a comic collectors wet dream) people forget just how small the niche comic book market is.

The idea normally is to try to find either a character or an artist that gives a reason for people to buy the comic, Me I was always a story guy myself, it was rare that story guys moved books. If you can’t find a character, artist or a story plot, there was always the backup plan: Find a gimmick.

That’s why when I heard about the decision to make a “major DC character” gay I snickered when people asked: “Will it be Batman? Will it be Superman?” Maybe Americans don’t know how few Gay people there actually are in the US but the sales crew at DC does and there was no way they were tampering with the franchise.

Then I heard the choice was Alan Scott the Golden age Green Lantern. I laughed out loud NOT because his weakness is wood, but because of my years as the owner of a comic book store allowed me to see this for what it is.

Earth to the general public: There is not a vast comic book customer base for a “gay” character. The single guys who are the vast majority of comic collectors aren’t without a women by choice…

Stuart: Need help finding anything you like?

Amy Farrah Fowler: Yeah, a comic book without a woman whose bosom could be used as a flotation device.

Stuart: Sorry, people who come here like big boobs. Some of them have big boobs.

…but if you make a comic a “gay icon” there will be a large chunk of the gay community that will buy the comic simply because it is the IN thing to do.

In terms of sales as a guy who once owned a comic store let me tell you a comic featuring Alan Scott had as much chance generating the sales needed to be cost-effective as an X rated movie starring the overweight Michael Moore and the 95-year-old Zsa Zsa Gabor.

But suddenly you re-launch Alan Scott as gay and presto, your minor character introduced in 1940 isn’t just a comic, it’s a cause celebre . Suddenly buying the comic is making a statement. If you purchase the new Green Lantern featuring Alan Scott you are an obviously enlightened and not some racist bigot homophobe.

And now that Jim Parsons who plays the most famous comic book geek in TV fiction, has come out he can buy 100,000 copies of each of the various alternate covers of the first issues (each with a different color corresponding to the rainbow flag) and distribute them to schools nationwide as part of the anti-bullying campaign.

While on the other hand consider Alan Scott’s Green Lantern was launched in 1940 and cancelled in 1949 that means just about everyone who would care about making him gay is either long dead or hasn’t opened a comic since the troops came home from Korea.

Bottom line is this comic will sell a bunch of extra copies to people who would never buy a comic book in their lives. They won’t actually READ the comic, it will sit on the shelf somewhere next to their copies of The Satanic Verses and Dreams of my father and DC will keep it up as long as they can.

As long as they don’t fall for their own propaganda thinking “Hey there is a huge market for gay superheroes” they will be able to play this out for quite a while until the next mandatory “buy this to prove you aren’t a bigot” crusade comes out and will laugh all the way to the bank.

Oh and to the few people who will look at the title of this post and have a “Sarah Palin target” conniption fit, get a life.

How can this be?

“As a small business owner, defender of capitalism, and advocate of free speech, I am putting my money where my conservative, free-market principles are. TWITCHY.COM is proud to join companies across the country that advertise with talk show giant Rush Limbaugh and his Excellence In Broadcasting network. Today, we will begin running ads on the RushLimbaugh.com website.

and remember Michelle Malkin is not just a successful reporter, writer and businesswoman but a successful reporter, writer and businesswoman of color.

Perhaps like the Atlantic they will make fun of her over the size of her staff. Perhaps Soledad O’Brien, when she is done with her research on professor Bell will have some profound facts to add (and if they aren’t facts yet, someone will update wikipedia to make them appear so.

BTW her new company if Twitchy which aggregates tweets and related posts. It will be a fine addition to Rush’s lineup of advertisers.

I bet Sleep Train is jealous.

Update: Here is the Sleep train story:

Limbaugh rebuffed Sleep Train’s request that the controversial radio host resume his duties as a paid spokesman for the company.

but but Rush is on his last legs, the left told us so!

Today on Morning Joe both Joe and Mika are absent and the conversation got…interesting.

I’ll deal with Mike Barnicle’s remarks about bloggers in my Under the fedora column at The Conservatory and the Minority Report but lets deal with the idiocy of Donny Deutch.

He commented that he knows a lot of rich people who don’t want to pay higher taxes and share. The idea that if I’m not giving my money to the government to distribute as they see fit I’m not helping anyone or creating jobs.

Let me explain how the world actually works in under 100 seconds

Here is the quote that matters

George Washington McLintock: Gave? Boy, you’ve got it all wrong. I don’t give jobs I hire men.

Drago: You intend to give this man a full day’s work, don’tcha boy?

Devlin Warren:
You mean you’re still hirin’ me? Well, yes, sir, I certainly deliver a fair day’s work.

George Washington McLintock:
And for that I’ll pay you a fair day’s wage. You won’t give me anything and I won’t give you anything. We both hold up our heads….

One of the things I didn’t understand when I opened my first business at 24 was this: Don’t do $10 an hour work when you can do $100 an hour work. If you are the man in charge and you can do work that earns your business $100 dollars an hour you are a fool to be doing stuffing envelope work that you can hire someone to do for $10 an hour.

The cost of that $10 an hour job is a lot more than $10 for the employer and the more the government taxes and regulates that employer the higher the cost of that $10 job (and the $20 & $30 an hour jobs) for that employer.

Eventually it becomes cost prohibitive to make that next hire, or that promotion and in a small business the $20 & $30 an hour people usually start as $10 an hour people who prove they can get the work done.

Most small businesses the ones that don’t have lobbyists at K-street work on very small margins you have people who work 75 hours or more a week and have responsibility to keep everything and everyone afloat. You would think Donnie & company would understand that, but I suspect they actually do, but this is MSNBC and there is a narrative to be supported.