Day: June 1, 2017

Sonny Perdue endorses former aide in race for GOP chair – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)


Sonny Perdue endorses former aide in race for GOP chair – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue testifies before a House agriculture committee earlier this month, in support of increased trade with Cuba. AP/Alex Brandon

John Watson was Sonny Perdue’s campaign consultant when the Bonaire Republican upended Georgia politics by becoming, in 2003, the first Republican governor since Reconstruction and was later Perdue’s chief of staff.

So it may not be a surprise that now-Agriculture Secretary Perdue has endorsed Watson, now a lobbyist, in his bid to become the next chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.

“Let(s) remind ourselves that it has been 15 years since Republicans became victorious in Georgia, thanks to passionate believers like you and many others,” Perdue wrote to delegates to this weekend’s GOP convention, where the next chairman will be chosen. “And after that record of successes, organizations tend to get complacent, and I’m afraid we may be in that category.

“I don’t want that to happen. That’s why I am strongly supporting JOHN WATSON as your next Chair, among several fine people who are also offering themselves.”

Those “fine people” are Michael Welsh, the former chairman of the 12th District GOP, Alex Johnson, a DeKalb County attorney, and Michael McNeely, the first vice-chairman of the state GOP.

Read Perdue’s full letter on Watson’s campaign site. Without Watson, Perdue said, there would have been no Perdue governorship.

The chairman’s election is Saturday in Augusta.

Read more on the race for GOP chair:

Sixth District becomes an edgy topic in race for Georgia GOP chair

How Donald Trump has shaped the race to lead Georgia’s GOP

Why a contender for Georgia GOP chair voted in Democratic primaries

Yahoo Is Worth More In Parts – Cramer's Lightning Round (5/31/17)


Yahoo Is Worth More In Parts – Cramer's Lightning Round (5/31/17)

Stocks discussed on the Lightning Round segment of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money Program, Wednesday, May 31.

Bullish Calls

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): “It can still go higher. It’s a sum of the parts situation. It’s really kind of like a mutual fund now, but it’s undervalued versus what its parts are worth. You can hold on to it.”

Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT): It’s a hot sector but Cramer prefers Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX).

Bearish Calls

Lumentum Holdings (NASDAQ:LITE): Optical components stocks are volatile. Book partial profits.

Momo (NASDAQ:MOMO): It’s a Chinese stock that Cramer doesn’t like. He recommends Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) for a play on the Chinese economy.

Mindbody (NASDAQ:MB): The stock has run up a lot. Book partial profits and let the rest run.

GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH): “I’ll tell you, as more states legalize marijuana, I get more and more worried about GW Pharma because a lot of people are going to end up buying it legally in states and they’re not going to be able to think that they can get the pills. There’s a very narrow use right now allowed for GW Pharma, so I am not going to tell you to load the boat up here.”


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70 S&P500 Stocks Are Hitting New Highs – Cramer's Mad Money (5/31/17)


70 S&P500 Stocks Are Hitting New Highs – Cramer's Mad Money (5/31/17)

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday, May 31.

The market is not as dangerous as people think. How does Cramer know this? He looked at the new high list and found that it’s not only the high growth stocks that are taking the market ahead, there are 70 stocks in the S&P500 that are making new highs.

11 out of the 70 stocks are the high growth tech stocks, 23 stocks are utilities that act as bond market equivalents, which means there are 36 other companies that are leading the market.

Some of those include stocks like 3M (NYSE:MMM), Boeing (NYSE:BA) and its suppliers. CSX Corp. (NYSE:CSX) and Carnival (NYSE:CCL) show that not all rails and transports are down. Many defense stocks make the list along with healthcare device makers and toy maker Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS). In retail, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Costco (NASDAQ:COST) have been on the new high list for a while.

Banks and financial stocks are not doing well as they need rate hikes to rally. However, MasterCard (NYSE:MA) and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) are on the list. The market is not great but it’s not as bad as many perceive it to be either.

Cruise stocks

The cruise stocks have been doing well in 2017 with Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) up 34%, Carnival up 23% and Norwegian Cruise Lines (NASDAQ:NCLH) up 18%. The story was different three years ago due to the Ebola outbreak and ship accidents, and the industry faced slack.

Fast forward to 2017, things are much better. The industry is expected to spend $6.8B on new ships that will carry 30,000 additional passengers a year.

“Before the rise of social media, taking a cruise was kind of an old person’s game. But now that millennials feel the need to take selfies from cool locations all over the world, they’re taking cruises like never before,” said Cramer.

Cramer likes Carnival Corp. the most as it has cut costs, delivered on earnings and tapped the Chinese market. As cruises become more popular, Carnival will be able to raise ticket prices. The company has also raised its full year guidance. “This fall, Carnival will be launching its Ocean Medallion program. That’s an interactive platform that’s meant to personalize your cruising experience. And, of course, they’re still cutting costs while replacing old ships with more efficient new ones,” he added. It trades at 15 times earnings.

Royal Caribbean is next as it has been able to cut costs and has a superior product. It delivered $7.21 in earnings which is twice what it earned three years ago. It is investing in new technology and improving customer experience. It trades at 13 times earnings.

Lastly, Norwegian trades at 11 times earnings and the market has ignored it. It had strong earnings and guidance but the stock has not done well since then due to higher strength in the other two cruise liners. “But I think it’s been punished enough. The bookings were very, very strong worldwide on both volume and price, and marketing spending is just fine if it ends up pulling in more customers,” said Cramer.

CEO interview – HP Inc. (NYSE:HPQ)

HP Inc. reported solid earnings along with good guidance and the stock is up 60% from its 2016 lows. The stock was a laggard but has now caught fire. Cramer interviewed President and CEO Dion Weisler to find out what lies ahead.

Weisler said that HP is not a laggard in innovation. A high school intern prompted his team to create the new blockbuster printing device. “I said, ‘Well, hang on a second, what about putting a photo on your wall? And with perfect innocence, this kid said to me, ‘What, stick my phone on the wall?’ And it was kind of at that point that we said, ‘We’ve got to make print relevant. Emergency meeting, everybody. How are we going to do that?’ and that’s when the idea of the Sprocket came up,” he said.

It’s a $129 device that allows people to print photos directly from their phone. “It’s about reducing that glide slope of decline that we’d seen in home-based printing, and I think it’s this kind of innovation that really is required and expected of market leaders,” said Weisler.

He added that innovation was the driving factor behind the company’s performance along with cost cutting. “You’ve got to look at the market, you’ve got to be realistic. Get those costs under control. Then you start to think about, ‘How can we innovate? How can we think through the lens of a customer and deliver sleek, beautiful designs, sprinkles of magic, deliver on a security promise across both printing and personal systems and, you know, do that in a cost envelope that really adds value to customers. And when you do that, it works,” added Weisler.

He also sees a huge opportunity ahead as 3D printing kicks off and it will change the way companies manufacture products. “In the future, we’re going to democratize manufacturing in a way that really hasn’t changed since the assembly line more than 100 years ago.”

CEO interview – Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED)

In the second executive decision segment, Cramer interviewed Consolidated Edison CEO John McAvoy. Their recent quarter was good and their stock yields 3.3%.

McAvoy said that they have a three-pronged approach to growth. They invest heavily in infrastructure, remain conservative with finances and are moving towards clean energy. They are the fifth largest solar energy producer in North America.

He added that customers also want clean energy despite whatever is happening in Washington. The local communities are committed for a cleaner and greener future. They have spent $290M since 2009 on energy efficiency which is a huge advantage for their 320,000 customers.

Consolidated Edison is taking cyber-security seriously. They are actively testing plans for avoiding a disaster.

Viewer calls taken by Cramer

Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB): It has a nice yield and great balance sheet. Buy at $65 as oil goes lower.

Realty Income (NYSE:O): Commercial Property REITs are risky for just 4% yield. EPR Properties (NYSE:EPR) is much better.

Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ:SAVE): Cramer said that Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) is the best of breed.

Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN): It’s a winner.

Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE): Let it come lower to buy more.


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Cleveland GOP donor Mike Gibbons announces bid for U.S. Senate: Ohio Politics Roundup –


Cleveland GOP donor Mike Gibbons announces bid for U.S. Senate: Ohio Politics Roundup –

Mike Gibbons 

Mike Gibbons, a Cleveland-area businessman and wealthy Republican political donor, announced he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2018. He’ll face off against Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in the primary.

Read more in today’s Ohio Politics Roundup.   

Ohio’s Senate race: Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel will face at least one primary challenger in the 2018 Ohio U.S. Senate race: Mike Gibbons.

The Cleveland-area businessman and wealthy Republican political donor announced  Wednesday that he plans to run for the U.S. Senate held by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, reporter Andrew J. Tobias writes.

“Gibbons, who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican political causes but never sought elected office before, said he is concerned about the rising costs of healthcare, and the U.S.’s complicated tax code,” Tobias writes.

“All of my friends think I’m crazy,” Gibbons, 64, said in a phone interview. “I’m largely running because I have five kids and five grandkids, and I don’t like their prospects and the way things are going.”

“Mandel, 39, announced his candidacy in December, and has landed endorsements from a number of key Republicans, including Ohio’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Rob Portman, who last week recorded a video encouraging Republicans to unite around Mandel nearly a year before the 2018 primary,” Tobias writes.

“However, some Ohio Republicans have expressed dissatisfaction with Mandel, who unsuccessfully ran against Brown in 2012. Columbus-area U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, who earlier this month opted not to jump in the race despite raising millions of dollars in preparation for a run, in comments to the Columbus Dispatch referred to Mandel’s “baggage” from the 2012 election, and Gov. John Kasich pointedly has not said whether he will support Mandel,” Tobias writes. “This dynamic has led some to search for another candidate to challenge Mandel — last week, BuzzFeed News reported some Ohio Republican operatives and donors were trying to recruit J.D. Vance, the “Hillbilly Elegy” author who has been making the rounds in county Republican dinners this year.”

In other Ohio 2018 news: Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger has endorsed Republican Rep. Dorothy Pelanda for Ohio Secretary of State, Columbus Dispatch reporter Jim Siegel writes on Twitter.

She’s facing Republican state Sen. Frank LaRose in the GOP primary.

Pelanda stepped down from the GOP Ohio House leadership to run for secretary of state. Rep. Bill Seitz replaced her as majority floor leader, Siegel wrote on Twitter.

Boehner backtracks: Former U.S. House Speaker and Ohio lawmaker John Boehner backpedaled from comments he made last week, when he called President Donald Trump’s term a “compete disaster” aside from foreign policy, Politico reports.

“Let me address this because some people have gotten carried away in their interpretation of what I said,” Boehner said Wednesday during a forum in Colorado. “Listen, Donald Trump is my friend. He was my supporter. I play golf with him and frankly I like the president. I voted for him. I want him and frankly I want the country to succeed. But I’ve seen some people write — I think they’ve gotten a little carried away in their interpretation of what I said. I did not say that the president’s policies were a disaster. I did not say that the president’s agenda was a disaster. What I was referring to was the execution of the president’s agenda and the president’s policies. And frankly I think there have been a number of missteps, unforced errors that the president has made and I think the White House would agree that they’ve had their share of mistakes as the president learns to be the president.”

Pain pill crisis:  “Ohio is suing five drug companies for flooding the state with prescription painkillers that gave rise to the state’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis,” reporter Jackie Borchardt writes. “Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the lawsuit during a Wednesday news conference. Ohio is the second state to sue drug manufacturers, following Mississippi.”

“This lawsuit is about justice, it’s about fairness. It’s about what is right,” DeWine — a Republican who’s running for Ohio governor in 2018 — said during a news conference. “It is just and it is right that the people who played a significant role in creating this mess in the state of Ohio should pay to clean it up.”

Democrats were quick to note that they had suggested such action years ago, and they blasted DeWine’s action as too little too late.

Here’s what you should know about the lawsuit.

“The state is suing: Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Allergan, formerly known as Actavis.

“Between 2011 and 2015, more than 3.8 billion doses of opioid medication were prescribed in Ohio, Borchardt writes. “The complaint alleges the companies overstated the benefits and understated the risks of opioid use, and used brochures and seemingly unrelated third parties and front groups to push information contrary to scientific evidence.”

Is Joe a go? Former Vice President Joe Biden today is expected to unveil a political action committee called American Possibilities, “the most concrete sign yet that he intends to remain active in the Democratic Party and is considering a presidential bid in 2020,” The New York Times reports. And the man he has chosen to help lead the effort will sound familiar to Ohioans: Greg Schultz, who directed the Obama-Biden re-election campaign in Ohio. The Ohio State grad also chaired the Franklin County Democratic Party and was an adviser to former Gov. Ted Strickland.

Stopping fraud: A new bill introduced in the Ohio Senate would “would require that bank employees, accountants, real estate brokers, and financial advisors who suspect elderly fraud to report it to adult protective services,” The Dispatch’s Siegel writes.

“Joel Potts, executive director of the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association, called the bill a reasonable approach that should help detect fraud before it becomes a problem,” Siegel writes.

“Usually we find out way too late, and there’s just not a lot we can do,” Potts said.

T-shirts and campaigns: Fresh Brewed Tees founder Tony Madalone, 32, is running for Cleveland mayor. The entrepreneur started as a college student selling T-shirts on eBay. He grew the business into a successful T-shirt company, with brick-and-mortar stores and licenses with professional sports franchises, reporter Robert Higgs writes.

His business and marketing smarts seem to translate well to politics.

“One look at his online campaign presence and you’ll see slickly produced videos offering testimonials from supporters – business leaders, a pastor, entertainers and sports figures — and statements on issues,” Higgs writes.

“The mindset in the region and with our current administration is that mediocrity is OK, that it’s OK to be average,” he told WKYC. “That’s not how I live. That’s not how the people around me live.” 

“If Madalone can collect the signatures to get on the ballot – he’ll need 3,000 from registered Cleveland voters – he brings to the campaign a background of  marketing savvy and connections to people prominent in popular culture,” Higgs writes. 

Official: Brandon Chrostowski, founder of Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute, an East Side restaurant that helps ex-inmates learn a trade, is moving forward with plans to run for Cleveland mayor,’s Higgs writes.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections accepted more than 3,400 valid signatures on Chrostowski’s nominating petitions for Cleveland mayor.

 “This should put everyone on notice that I have no intention of going away quietly,” Chrostowski said in a statement. “I’m excited to offer Clevelanders something new for a change; a mayor who truly represents the interests of the residents.” 

“Chrostowski joins Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson as the only two candidates who have submitted their petitions to get on the ballot and had signatures validated,” Higgs writes.

“There are many more candidates out there, though,” Higgs writes.

Mayor Frank Jackson has said he wants to run for a fourth term. Madalone has said he’s running. And more than a dozen other candidate have taken out candidacy petitions.

Kasich in Japan:  Ohio Gov. John Kasich is traveling to Japan this week, where he’s expected to meet with Honda executives, Columbus Dispatch reporter Darrell Rowland reports.

“Encouraging more overseas investment in Ohio has been a priority as we look to diversify and build upon the nearly 460,000 new jobs that have been created here over the past six years,” said Kasich’s press secretary, Emmalee Kalmbach. “JobsOhio has attracted significant investment from the Asian market and has asked the governor to go to Japan to help pursue additional business development opportunities.”

Paris Accord: The United States could withdraw from the Paris climate Accord, according to the Associated Press.

The 2015 agreement worked to combat climate change — nearly 200 nations signed the pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Purely from a science stand-point, pulling out of the Paris Agreement means enormous set backs for the fight against climate change, and combating global warming,” meteorologist Kelly Reardon writes.

Get Battleground Briefing, our FREE politics newsletter, delivered to your inbox: Sign up here. Tips or links? Send here. Follow along on Twitter: @_marykilpatrick

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New center will push frontiers of sensing technology – MIT News


New center will push frontiers of sensing technology – MIT News

In anticipation of the official opening of the new MIT.nano building — which will house some of the world’s leading facilities supporting research in nanoscience and nanotechnology — MIT last week officially launched a new “center of excellence” called SENSE.nano, which is dedicated to pushing the frontiers of research in sensing technologies.

Like the new building, which is slated to open a year from now, SENSE.nano is an endeavor that cuts across the divisions of departments, labs, and schools, to encompass research in areas including chemistry, physics, materials science, electronics, computer science, biology, mechanical engineering, and more. Faculty members from many of these areas spoke about their research during a daylong conference on May 25 that marked the official launch of the new center.

Introducing the event, MIT President L. Rafael Reif said that “[MIT.nano] will create opportunities for research and collaboration for more than half our current faculty, and 67 percent of those recently tenured. In fact, we expect that it will serve — and serve to inspire – more than 2,000 people across our campus, from all five MIT schools, and many more from beyond our walls.”

Explaining the impetus for creating this new center, Reif said that MIT is “famous for making — because we have a community of makers — a concentration of brilliant people who are excited to share their experience and their ideas, to teach you to use their tools and to learn what you know, too. On a much bigger scale, this is the same magic we hope for in creating SENSE.nano. As MIT.nano’s first ‘center of excellence,’ SENSE.nano will bring together a wide array of researchers, inventors, and entrepreneurs fascinated by the potential of sensors and sensing systems to transform our world.”

The development of new kinds of connected, inexpensive, and widespread sensing devices, harnessing the power of nanoscale imaging and manufacturing systems, could impact many of the world’s most pressing problems, said Vincent Roche, president of Analog Devices, who gave the opening keynote talk. Such new technology “has the potential to solve problems that have plagued humanity for millennia, including food and water security, health care, and environmental degradation.”

The 200,000-square-foot facility, in addition to more than doubling the amount of clean-room imaging and fabrication space available to MIT researchers, also contains “one of the quietest spaces on the eastern seaboard,” said Brian Anthony, co-leader of the new center of excellence and a principal researcher in the mechanical engineering department, referring to an exceptionally vibration-free environment created on the new building’s basement level, where the most sensitive of instruments, that require a perfectly stable base, will be housed.

To show by example what some of that cross-disciplinary work will look like, several faculty members described the research they are doing now and explained how its scope and capabilities will be greatly enhanced by the new imaging and fabrication tools that will become available when MIT.nano officially opens for research.

Tim Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry, described ongoing work that he and his students have been doing on developing tiny, low-cost sensors that can be incorporated in the packaging of fruits and vegetables. The sensors could detect the buildup of gases that could lead to premature ripening or rotting, as a way to reduce the amount of food wasted during transportation and storage. Polina Anikeeva, the Class of 1942 Career Development Associate Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, talked about developing flexible, stretchable fibers for implantation in brain and spinal cord tissues, which could ultimately lead to ways of restoring motion to those with spinal cord injuries.

Others described large-area sensing systems that could incorporate computation and logic so that only the most relevant data would need to be transmitted, helping to curb a data overload; and sensors built from nanotubes that could be bent, twisted, or stretched while still gathering data. Still others described ways of integrating electronics with photonic devices, which use light instead of electrons to carry and manipulate data. Also presented was work on using fluorescing quantum-dot particles to provide imaging of living tissues without the need for incisions, and building sensors that can continuously monitor buildings, bridges, and other structures to detect signs of likely failure long before disaster strikes.

“The future will be measured in nanometers,” said MIT Professor Vladimir Bulovic, in a panel discussion at the end of the conference, moderated by Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s “On Point.” Bulovic, who is the faculty lead for the MIT.nano building and the Fariborz Maseeh Chair in Emerging Technology, added, “We are right now at the renaissance age of nano.” He noted that devices all around us — and in our pockets — are constantly sensing, recording, and sometimes transmitting data about our surroundings.

“We can access data on how the world around us really functions, and with that data, we can take the next step of influencing the environment” to improve our health, protect our natural environment, and monitor our buildings, structures, and devices to make sure they are working as they should, he said. “The opportunity is vast.”

In his introduction, Reif also hailed the potential of what’s sometimes called “ubiquitous sensing”: “Tomorrow’s optical, mechanical, electrical, chemical, and biological sensors, alone and networked together, offer a huge range of new possibilities in terms of understanding and controlling the world around us. Sensors will change how we protect our soldiers and keep our bridges safe. How we monitor the polar ice caps, and monitor how children learn. Sensors will change how we keep our water clean, our patients healthy, and our energy supply secure. … In short, sensors and sensing systems will be the source of new products, new capabilities — and whole new industries. And we should not be surprised if some of them are deeply disruptive.”

Disruption, of course, can be a two-edged sword. So, Reif said, one of the challenges facing those who innovate in this field, “as technology races to the future, is how to help society navigate its unintended impacts. … If we can make this a first concern, and not an afterthought, I have no doubt that this community will continue to be a major force in making a better world.”

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