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Topics - ScottF

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1
General Comments / Breaking up is hard to do
« on: May 23, 2020, 08:31:29 PM »
This may be covered ground but I don’t recall. Im curious what people think about the government breaking apart large, dominant online companies.

Warren at one point published a plan for her administration to break apart Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Essentially creating a new class of utility/platform and regulating them as such.

So Amazon would no longer own its marketplace (and I assume the IP that went into it) and would by law have to allow other merchants open access to sell on it.

I think there’s a discussion to be had, but I see it being more directly applicable to google than Amazon. Amazon has a death grip on retail, but can’t directly control or index what you see on the internet like google.

Google feels vaguely analogous to the Bell breakup of the 80's, where a monopoly on telephone communication drove regulation. I also don’t know how any of it would be challenged legally, probably something that Seriati or other legal nerds here might have a more informed opinion.

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General Comments / UK's herd immunity experiment
« on: March 17, 2020, 10:52:23 AM »
This should probably be in one of the other existing threads but they seem to be devolving into more political/partisan focused comments.

I'm actually quite excited at the UK's approach. For those who haven't read/heard: The UK is apparently taking a different strategy than the US. They are instructing everyone in the statistically vulnerable category (>60, other complications) to self-isolate. Everyone else, go about your business.

The theory is that the healthcare system is insulated from the most vulnerable requiring a bed and/or respirator, etc. while the majority of citizens will be infected and develop "herd immunity", as we have with other colds and flu.

I like this for two reasons:
  • It might work. Everyone is a professional forecaster right now but nobody really knows if this approach is horrible or practical. It certainly is far less disruptive economically and socially.
  • It serves as a real-time A/B test for the US. We will be able to monitor their infection and mortality rates and compare them to the US approach of "everyone self-isolate" - which isn't happening anyway. Granted, it could take months to determine which approach was more effective.
I hope it's the former, but rarely do you get a chance to see distinctly different models running side by side and determine which is more effective.

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General Comments / Tax Amazon!
« on: March 02, 2020, 12:51:42 PM »
We’ve got one of the most successful companies in the history of the world, and last year they paid well over a billion dollars in state, local and other taxes. Clearly it’s time to drive them out of WA state.

https://www.geekwire.com/2020/tax-amazon-protest-draws-400-companys-hq-dispute-plan-address-homelessness-crisis

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General Comments / What happened to net neutrality?
« on: March 02, 2020, 12:05:07 AM »
I thought by now my ISP would be jacking my rates, slowing my connections speeds and charging me premiums because I have Netflix.

Are these still coming, or did I just imagine it all?

5
General Comments / SOTU
« on: February 05, 2020, 01:12:47 AM »
I didn’t see any of it but from the clips of Nancy dramatically ripping the speech up on camera, and members of the “squad” skipping it or walking out it appears that Trump has indeed broken them. It’s sad in a way. Trump is Sonny Liston with no Ali in sight.

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General Comments / AMZN
« on: January 31, 2020, 10:50:28 AM »
Amazon just blew away earnings numbers and jumped over 10% this morning, surpassing a trillion-dollar valuation.

As an investor who just recently doubled-down, I like this a lot. But I wonder where this goes. My prediction is that within the next 5-10 years, AMZN is forced to break up into at least 3 pieces: retail, merchant services, and AWS (web services). I'm not sure how even doing that stops it from utter domination, but perhaps it slows it a bit and creates room for further competition in those areas.

Should the government get involved at all? I don't see much within AMZN that prohibits competition beyond execution and innovation. They don't own the sales channel or the product(s) or have a proprietary lock on the service model itself.


8
General Comments / Trump suing CNN
« on: October 18, 2019, 04:18:28 PM »

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General Comments / De-listing Chinese companies
« on: September 28, 2019, 10:11:12 AM »
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill earlier this summer to force Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges to submit to regulatory oversight. That includes providing access to audits and other steps now restricted by Chinese law.

Seems to have bi-partisan support. I’m trying to sort out any downside beyond some short term pain for certain foreign investors? I suppose China could still game the system if the audits didn’t have real teeth, similar to SOX compliance that we have to adhere to.

Also seems to me if we're serious about climate change we should be insisting on mandatory audits on emissions standards in order for these companies to be listed on Us markets.

10
General Comments / What effect would actual "gun control" have?
« on: August 11, 2019, 12:08:56 PM »
Let's say the most ardent gun control folks get their wish and a law is passed banning assault weapons. Let's even assume the definition of "assault weapon" is incredibly broad. Lastly, assume that the gun show loophole around background checks is removed, so every single purchased firearm is subject to a background check.

Would that prevent the kinds of shootings we're seeing? Canada had a voluntary registration initiative when I was a kid where all firearms had to be registered with the RCMP. If I recall you had a year to register them, after which they would technically be illegal. Would something like that work in the US?

I've never heard gun control advocates get into any of the logistics of how this would work. I also haven't heard any coherent response when they're told that background checks were non-factors in many/most of the recent shootings. Struggling to figure out where “do something” intersects with doing something that actually works.

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General Comments / Not sure how I feel about this
« on: July 13, 2019, 10:40:19 AM »
https://twitter.com/RealSaavedra/status/1150007832428761088

On one hand, you should have every right to go into someone else's country, tear down their flag and replace it with your home country.

12
General Comments / Dem debates
« on: June 29, 2019, 10:07:44 AM »
I watched as much as I could stomach on both nights and I’m convinced the dems are taking a page from Trumps playbook. That is: message hard to the edges of your base, prove your woke-ness chops to secure the nomination, then soften and backtrack in the general to gather more middle support.

Maybe I’m being charitable? If not, these debates are almost locking in Trump's chances at term 2.

Couple other notes:

1. The entire format is horrible. 10 people is 6 too many. The whole thing should be taken online and given long form treatment to truly get to know the candidates. Think Tulsi doing 2.5 hrs on Joe Rogan and you're getting closer to something worthwhile.
2. Yang (one of the few I genuinely want to hear more from) literally had his mic cut when he tried to comment. Thank God, otherwise it may have reduced the amount of delightful Spandering we got from Beto and Booker.
3. The old guys just can’t keep pace. Sorry Joe, Bernie.

13
General Comments / AOC's latest
« on: June 19, 2019, 12:56:32 PM »
I vacillate between pure appreciation of AOC's ability to exploit social media better than any other democrat, and amused disgust on many of her actual comments. A lot of her "hot takes" make me feel like I'm laughing at a fart joke; kind of gross but also funny.

Her latest on US concentration camps is another example of masterful nonsense. Doesn't even matter what logic/illogic is involved, she's owning the moment time after time. Reminds me of a certain orange someone. Except that almost all of her "thoughts" stop working after 280 characters. She'd be quickly eviscerated in any kind of protracted defense of them.

My question: as hot as she's burning right now, is there a line she could cross that even her media defenders would have to denounce? Normally comparing things to the holocaust either directly or by association is a recipe for media doom. With her current darling status, it all seems good.

14
General Comments / What jihadists really want - Sam Harris
« on: May 03, 2019, 03:08:49 PM »
I found this chilling and incredibly coherent. Worth a listen.


https://samharris.org/podcasts/154-jihadists-really-want-2019/

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General Comments / Andrew Yang
« on: April 18, 2019, 01:17:00 AM »
I've listened t a few long form interviews and I’ve got to say I respect this guy more than any of the existing democrat nominees. I probably disagree more than I agree, but he's the first person with any kind of credibility that has put together a reasonably cogent case for some kind of universal income.

Anyone else paying attention to this guy?

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General Comments / TDS is a real thing
« on: April 06, 2019, 11:38:23 AM »
Refreshing to hear her speak so honestly about the psychological damage Trump's election caused her. I really think this same phenomenon applies to large numbers of the left and is not just a flippant term thrown around by the right. It's certainly a factor in how the media covers Trump.

She states it very clearly in the first two minutes here:

https://youtu.be/Oui0l4ibhSA

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General Comments / Is nationalism bad?
« on: November 11, 2018, 10:45:38 AM »
I’ve been reading about global leaders rebuking “nationalism”, whatever that means. Also “Trump-style” nationalism...clearly a subjective description but what does it mean?

It seems to me that these days nationalism, like populism, is the way opponents describe patriotism and democracy when the outcomes are not to their liking.


19
General Comments / Buffet's unintended tax irony
« on: October 04, 2017, 09:54:58 AM »
I had to read this twice to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. In this article, Warren Buffet says that eliminating estate tax would be a terrible idea because (paraphrasing here) its much better that wealth have a farther reaching effect and not stay within wealthy families generation after generation. I don’t agree, but fine.

But...in the same article when asked about his timing for selling certain assets, he says he will wait to see how tax regulations play out because "I would feel kind of silly if I realized $1 billion worth of gains and paid $350 million in tax on it if I just waited a few months and would have paid $250 million,"

Uh, wut? So as a general rule it’s better to have concentrated wealth re-distributed via tax - got it. But you're making financial decisions specifically to keep as much of your gains *out* of that same system. Cognitive dissonance anyone?

Edit: forgot to include th article.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/03/warren-buffett-thinks-its-a-mistake-to-eliminate-the-estate-tax.html

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General Comments / Best of Enemies - Buckley Jr. vs Vidal
« on: September 28, 2017, 10:05:18 PM »
Apparently this came out a couple years ago but I just discovered it on Netflix. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. Two brilliant minds, diametrically opposed, going toe to toe on national TV without giving a rip about political correctness. Fantastic.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/best_of_enemies_2015/

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General Comments / What's the objective of the NFL kneeling?
« on: September 26, 2017, 01:19:28 AM »
When Rosa Parks refused to leave her seat, it wasn't to raise awareness. She was planting a stake in the ground around a particular injustice, which led to laws changing. What stake are these players planting? Other than consensus on platitudes, what are the actionable changes they seek?

22
Curious why the media wouldn't be talking about this seems kinda important. Hmm.

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

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I am shocked I tell you, shocked. /s

"A report from the University of Washington (UW), found that [...] some companies may have responded by cutting low-wage workers' hours. The study, which was funded in part by the city of Seattle, found that workers clocked 9% fewer hours on average, and earned $125 less each month after the most recent increase."

https://usat.ly/2tiYZdr

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General Comments / Why was Otto in North Korea?
« on: June 15, 2017, 07:59:39 PM »
I've read his "confession" but I have to wonder, why the heck would he really travel there?

25
I'm hoping more left-leaning people call out these bizarre situations where students equate the suppression of ideas (more specifically/exclusively, ideas that they don't like) with victory.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/04/27/ann-coulter-free-speech-alicia-shepard-column/100950568/

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General Comments / Day without a woman - wut?
« on: March 08, 2017, 09:19:17 PM »
Full disclosure, I have a daughter who I love more than the sun and I'd like nothing more than for her to inherit the earth. But what the-everlasting-F.  I can see protests in countries where women are truly oppressed, but the "wage gap" is a bunch of BS because it's been conflated with earning gap, which definitely exists.

27
General Comments / WA state vs Trump immigration hold
« on: February 07, 2017, 10:16:26 AM »
One of WA state's main arguments is that it materially harms the state because tech companies can't recruit/hire people from the affected countries.

1. Does a state have he right to block what the fed believes is a national security concern?
2. Are MSFT, AMZN really hiring a lot of young techies from Somalia and Yemen?

28
http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/widdowson-universities-are-letting-free-speech-crumble-and-they-shouldn't

Never thought standing up for common sense would seem heroic but I have to give Peterson full props for taking the insanity head on. He'll probably be fired but it's important that stuff like this is exposed to sunlight.

29
General Comments / All charges dropped in Freddie Gray case
« on: July 27, 2016, 10:24:01 AM »
So another central example of the BLM madness proves false:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-ci-miller-pretrial-motions-20160727-story.html

Wonder what Marilyn Mosby will have to say this morning. She is being sued by several of the officers are suing her for defamation, which seems entirely reasonable. Will she step down? Be fired?

30
General Comments / Apple's odd stand on privacy
« on: February 18, 2016, 10:07:09 PM »
Tim Cook says that cooperating with the FBI to access the phone of the San Bernardino terrorist would "put all it's users at personal risk". How so? I'm tired of the slippery slope argument.

How about we start with this single policy: "If there's video proof of you mass murdering people, Apple shall work with the FBI to let them access your phone after the fact." Anything outside of this, your privacy is safe. What is the specific right to privacy of dead mass murderers? Slippery slope? Nah.

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General Comments / The "white" Oscars
« on: January 19, 2016, 10:25:29 AM »
http://news.sky.com/story/1625292/calls-for-oscars-boycott-over-white-nominations

It will be interesting to see how Chris Rock, host of the Oscars this year, addresses this. If Spike Lee calls these the "Lilly white Oscars" I wonder how he'll describe the upcoming NBA and NFL drafts.

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