Day: June 5, 2017

Georgia GOP investigates 'physical altercation' at weekend convention – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)


Georgia GOP investigates 'physical altercation' at weekend convention – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

Minority engagement director Leo Smith speaks at Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Atlanta in this file photo from 2014. Hyosub Shin,

The Georgia GOP’s incoming chair said Monday he is investigating reports of a “physical altercation” involving an organizer of last weekend’s state convention who witnesses said shoved the party’s diversity coordinator to the ground at the Augusta event.

John Watson, who was elected to lead the state party on Saturday, said in a statement that he’s investigating because “physical altercation of any kind for any reason at any party event is never acceptable.”

Neither Leo Smith, the Georgia GOP’s minority engagement director, or Gene Callaway, a part-time Doraville police officer who was serving as the party’s sergeant-at-arms, commented about the altercation. Watson said he didn’t witness it.

State GOP officials said they have heard from several witnesses. Here’s what we pieced together based on three accounts from witnesses who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the confrontation:

The incident took place Friday at the Augusta Marriott, where more than 1,500 Republican delegates gathered this weekend to choose a new party chair and hear from GOP candidates.

It started when Callaway, who was serving in a voluntary role that involved helping organize the event’s logistics, asked Smith whether he had “all access passes” for the event as he was walking down a hall. Smith said he did and identified himself as a party executive. When Callaway asked him to hand the passes over, Smith continued walking down the hall.

Callaway followed him to a crowded hotel registration room, where Smith approached Anne Lewis, the Georgia GOP counsel, and asked her to confirm his identity. She did, and the altercation ensued.

At some point, according to the accounts, Callaway shoved Smith and he fell over several chairs and wound up on the floor. Witnesses told us it’s not clear what led to the shove.

Smith and Lewis declined comment. Callaway did not return several calls.

It’s the second recent high-profile incident involving an African-American state GOP official. Michael McNeely, who was the party’s vice-chair, was thrown out of a Donald Trump event in June 2016 at the Fox Theatre. McNeely later said he left after a “discussion about room access” and that he had no ill will toward the event organizers.

Smith was hired by chair John Padgett to coordinate outreach efforts to increase the party’s appeal to minorities, and he’s traveled the state and appeared on local and national media to tout the party’s message.

The incident took place hours before a vote to replace Padgett with incoming chair Watson, who vowed to restore the party’s luster after an embarrassing lawsuit.

That legal complaint filed by a black former Georgia GOP staffer claimed she was racially discriminated by Padgett, a claim he and the party deny. The party’s fundraising has dried up since the lawsuit and the party now carries about $100,000 more debt than cash.

Here's the lowdown on the next new thing that will upend the world economy – Miami Herald


Here's the lowdown on the next new thing that will upend the world economy – Miami Herald

Viagra began life as a treatment for hypertension. Bubble wrap protected greenhouses before it found a home in packaging. Frisbees came from pie tins. The internet was first invented for military purposes.

Some products and services take time to find their significant use.

So it goes for the core technology underpinning bitcoin, the digital currency that operates on a decentralized swarm of computers. Turns out that the blockchain technology has a bunch of other applications. Masses of them. And a real revolution may yet be unfolding.

Simple and elegant, the blockchain system is finding uses in transferring money, paying artists and musicians, proving identity, and protecting health and academic records. And that’s just for starters.

Some experts see upended apple carts and leapfrog growth in the offing, not unlike what happened in the early days of the internet, in areas of the global economy where trust barriers between customers can be partially overcome through the unique and powerful decentralized information-sharing system known as blockchain.

The impact could be “mind-blowingly big because it affects every aspect of the global economy,” said Michael J. Casey, a senior adviser to MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative and co-author of an upcoming book on the implication of blockchain ideas, The Truth Machine.

We have the potential – I’m still going to use a qualifier like that – to get to trillions and trillions of dollars in savings and disruption and refocused activity.

Michael J. Casey, MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative

“We have the potential – I’m still going to use a qualifier like that – to get to trillions and trillions of dollars in savings and disruption and refocused activity,” Casey said.

Blockchain technology emerged with the advent of bitcoin in 2009, when a programmer using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto came up with a novel solution using a network of computers to track transactions in a way that is secure, trustworthy, fast, and transparent.

The technology is used in either public networks, open to the world, or private ones that could connect any type of group such as a manufacturer and its suppliers, a musician and her fans or a real estate market and buyers.

What blockchain does is connect participants to a decentralized record-keeping tool, or ledger, that records all transactions, usually financial, and adds a timestamp and other information. Each block links to another in a continuously growing chain of records. Every time a transaction occurs, it propagates across the global network so all parties host records, and each computer continuously monitors for anomalies. Transactions are encrypted, verified by all parties, and immutable.

Since the entire chain is continually self-updating, thieves and hackers would have to breach all computers that contain the ledger at one swoop to steal money or alter data.

Advocates say blockchain’s radical charm is that it cuts out the middleman and reduces costs. There is no need for a trusted third party to broker deals. All transactions can be audited.

In the bitcoin world, it means buyer and seller transact directly, with no intermediary, like a bank or agency, coming in between.

But start-up companies and technologists are finding vast new uses for it.

Some musicians and artists see services based on blockchain technology as a godsend. New companies like PeerTracks, Mycelia,Ujo Music and Stem all use blockchain technology, working to simplify licensing and liberate musicians from intermediaries – like talent agents, record labels and streaming services – all eager to take a cut of revenue.

In other areas, blockchain is seen as a way to streamline logistical processes, cut out third parties and give a parade of entities transparent access to information.

Global ports are studying distributed ledger technology as a way to kickstart a revolution in the way goods move globally. The technology could consolidate letters of credit, bills of lading and other data into a digital blockchain, giving real time access to customs and port authorities, terminal operators and security departments.

Resiliency of the blockchain system, and the integrity of data, are part of why the technique is making inroads in finance, banking and money transfers.


After I give you 10 bucks, you should have the 10 bucks and I shouldn’t be able to spend it again.

Andre Boysen, chief identity officer at SecureKey

“What blockchain was originally designed for was to solve what’s called the ‘double spend’ problem. After I give you 10 bucks, you should have the 10 bucks and I shouldn’t be able to spend it again,” said Andre Boysen, chief identity officer at SecureKey, a Toronto firm that provides identity and authentication services to the financial industry. Each blockchain transaction is indelibly and uniquely tagged, showing ownership of the underlying bitcoin or item.

Experts are also testing usage of blockchains in areas such as voting and in ensuring identity for individuals and giving them sovereign control over their own identity.

When do you show up and have to prove your identity? The list is so long.

Andre Boysen, chief identity officer at SecureKey

“Think about your own life. When do you show up and have to prove your identity? The list is so long,” Boysen said, noting places such as the airport, banks, bars, in seeking health or academic records or to the state trooper who stops a motorist for an infraction.


The technology’s ability to give owners consent over release of information is a key part of an unfolding battle over identity in both developing and developed worlds.


The United Nations estimates that 1.5 billion people live without state-issued identity papers. That condition gave rise to ID2020, a public-private partnership between the U.N. and companies like Microsoft to explore use of blockchain for a distributed, tamper-proof registry so that those without identity papers (mostly women and children) can prove who they are.

Identities are also under siege in the developed world as internet giants increasingly seek to establish their brands as guardians of identity.

“What you’re starting to see on a lot of webpages right now is, ‘Log in with Facebook,’ ‘Log in with Twitter,’ ‘Log in with Google,’” said David Huseby, research director at Hyperledger, an umbrella project run by the Linux Foundation to advance blockchain technologies across industries.


Scientists say they foresee blockchain technology used to protect and hold encrypted personal information – social security number, birth certificate, driver license, and the like – to be under the control of individuals and not any central agency. Individuals could summon verifiable data for identification purposes at banks or elsewhere, perhaps through a barcode that would appear on a smart phone screen and be read by a scanner.


Some advocates call for a public utility that would safeguard digital identities and verify them through blockchain, ensuring privacy and employing a characteristic, which some call “blinding,” that allows limited disclosure of information, and only with user consent.

In other areas, blockchain technology could give consumers greater confidence in what they buy and overcome the trust barrier that requires middlemen, escrow accounts and title insurance in low-tech areas such as real estate sales and land titling.


Experimentation unfolds around the world. Sweden is in advanced testing to clear away burdensome land titling paperwork. By channeling real estate transactions onto digital public ledgers, the system would allow banks, brokers, buyers and sellers all to track progress until closing, vastly accelerating the process. The Republic of Georgia and Honduras may follow suit.

Dubai in March tapped IBM to help it put all government licensing processes and contracts on blockchain systems to increase the ease of doing business there.


In the journey from field to store, or supplier warehouse to manufacturer, blockchain can carry data along each step of the way, with time stamps, location and other information.

“If I want to buy fair-trade coffee, coffee that is labeled as such in a bag from Brazil, I can now trace where it’s traveled through the system and see that it actually hasn’t been mixed up with unfair trade,” said Casey, the MIT expert.

“There is a company called Everledger that is doing it for diamonds to prove the provenance of diamonds to ensure that they are not blood diamonds,” he added, referring to gems from a war zone and used to finance violence.


Use of blockchain is also roiling banking and accounting firms.

“The Big Four accounting firms are some of the most aggressively exploring cases for this because they are going to have their auditing business turned upside down at some point,” Casey said.

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Qatar's Big Spenders Are Vulnerable to Palace Politics – Bloomberg


Qatar's Big Spenders Are Vulnerable to Palace Politics – Bloomberg

Whenever crisis hits the West, the pint-sized yet deep-pocketed nation of Qatar sails into view with the promise of cash lifeboats. Whether it's the 2008 financial meltdown, President Donald Trump's infrastructure plans or the British EU exit, the promise of Qatari wealth is dangled as a way of keeping government finances and broader investor confidence afloat.

The irony now is that Qatar has its own trouble. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have severed most diplomatic and economic ties to their Gulf neighbor to punish it for its ties with Iran and Islamist groups in the region. The move is unprecedented, analysts say. Fears of a regional choke-hold on a country that's the biggest producer of liquefied natural gas sent Qatari stocks down and oil prices up.

Diplomatic Tension

Share prices have been hit by a stand-off between Qatar and four of its Gulf neighbors

Source: Bloomberg

While the outcome isn't easy to predict — one investor told Bloomberg TV he hoped it would be a “short-term spat” — the stand-off should remind western politicians and companies that Qatari cash is useful but not without hazard. Any kind of domestic political change or escalation of regional tension could affect how Qatar spends or re-allocates its riches, given how intimately bound it is to the personalities and princes managing public and private wealth.

The $335 billion Qatar Investment Authority, the 14th-biggest sovereign fund in the world, is chaired by a Qatari royal. Its assets and holdings cover Hollywood, New York office space, London apartment blocks, German cars, luxury Italian fashion and the Paris Saint-Germain soccer team. Another member of the royal family, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani, is a cornerstone investor in Deutsche Bank AG. Money isn't immune to palace politics: the QIA recently went through its second overhaul in three years.

Sovereign Assets Ranking

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is among the world's largest

Source: Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute

And the broader spat over Qatar's “risky balancing act” — namely that it's an important U.S. ally and regional power-broker that's also accused of funding jihadist groups — could spark opposition from western voters about where it is allowed to spend its money.

A U.S. Congress report in December called on Donald Trump to do more to fight terrorist financing, identifying Qatar as a “particularly permissive” source. French president Emmanuel Macron said during his election campaign that Qatar must do more to block terrorist finance flows and that France would stop offering deal sweeteners to attract its investment. Given that Qatar has promised to invest another 5 billion pounds ($6.5 billion) in the U.K. (presented as a much-needed trade boon by the Brexit cheerleaders) and $10 billion in U.S. infrastructure assets, changing political winds might have big consequences.

Again, this crisis is at an early stage and there's no reason yet to expect asset sales or political shake-ups. The U.S. says it is willing to step in to help resolve differences between the two sides.

Nonetheless, the threat of escalation is there. Financial markets are already pricing in an impact on regional banks and construction projects in Qatar. The 2022 World Cup, due to be hosted in Qatar, is a possible victim of the dispute, reckons Christopher Davidson, author of several books on the Middle East. And as rich as Qatar is, it posted its first budget deficit in 15 years in 2016. Whatever the outcome, this week's drama shows political risk doesn't always begin at home.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the authors of this story:
Lionel Laurent in London at
Elaine He in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
James Boxell at

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De Blasio calls out GOP for playing politics in school control – New York Daily News


De Blasio calls out GOP for playing politics in school control – New York Daily News

ALBANY — The de Blasio administration is accusing state Senate Republicans of engaging in “politics at its absolute worst” when it comes to an expiring law giving the mayor control over the city schools.

The law is set to expire later this month and Team de Blasio is accusing the Senate GOP of once again putting the mayor through the wringer with repeated requests for information they say has already been provided.

“It’s the song and dance that we need to do and it’s getting old,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein.

The city in May sent more than 4,400 pages of city school data that Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, in a letter last week, said did not meet the legal requirement imposed by the state — something the city disputes.

State GOP leader demands de Blasio deliver education funding data

“To say that this is anything more than politics at its absolute worst would be putting it kindly,” Goldstein said. “We have clearly delivered on everything required by law and the additional requests made by the (state Division of Budget).”

With time running out to renew the mayoral control law, de Blasio’s team sent additional data on Wednesday — the same day Flanagan sent a second letter “demanding” the information.

“There are 1.1 million students in New York City whose quality of education rests on this decision, and the current fight is based on whether the information was delivered on the right form,” Goldstein groused.

De Blasio has had poor relations with the Senate Republicans, who have only given him a series of one-year extenders on mayoral control despite predecessor Mike Bloomberg getting much more.

State pols clash over renewing de Blasio’s control of schools

The bitterness stems from the mayor’s 2014 unsuccessful bid to help flip the Senate to Democratic control.

Goldstein argues a multi-year extension of the mayoral control law should be a no-brainer on its merits. She said New York City schools under de Blasio have higher graduation and lower dropout rates, and rising test scores.

“Any further focus on anything but the actual substance is doing a grave disservice to (New York City’s) students,” she said.

Flanagan spokesman Scott Reif said the GOP simply wants to know whether the more than $10 billion in school aid the state sends to New York City is being spent properly to ensure “public and non-public students alike are getting the education they deserve.”

Assembly speaker says mayoral control of schools will stand alone

He accused de Blasio of “dragging his feet” for weeks before providing the Senate with the information required by law.

“The mayor hasn’t been to Albany to make his case and he hasn’t reached out to us a single time to discuss this important issue,” Reif said.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan wants information from the city on how state funds were spent on public schools. But the mayor says the data has already been submitted.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan wants information from the city on how state funds were spent on public schools. But the mayor says the data has already been submitted.

(Mike Groll/AP)

“If he really thought this was ‘politics at its worst,’ you would think he could find the time to pick up the phone and call. Once again, Mayor de Blasio has fallen far short of being the leader parents and students deserve.”

Over the next three weeks, de Blasio’s team says it will “continue pushing hard and rallying a diverse group of advocates who all recognize that mayoral control is the only way to ensure the progress we’ve made in our schools continues.”

John Flanagan: Add charters and de Blasio gets control of schools

Toward that end, the administration released a letter Friday to state leaders from nearly three dozen nonprofit providers that work with after-school programs, calling for a multi-year extension of the mayoral control law.

The Senate GOP is said to want to link the mayoral control issue to efforts to lift the cap on charter schools in New York City, something Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said he will not support.

The Assembly recently passed a bill that would extend the law by another two years, with some saying they could force the Senate to take it or leave it by leaving town at the end of the legislative session without negotiating any changes.

The legislative session is set to end June 21.


Gov. Cuomo for the first time will be involving himself in the effort to flip the House to the Democrats by focusing on key races in New York.

The kickoff of the campaign begins Tuesday with a rally in Washington Square Park.

“New York is on the front lines against Washington’s assault on progressive values,” Cuomo said in a message sent out by the Nassau County Democratic Party Sunday afternoon.

“Join us for a rally to kick off the start of New York State’s coordinated campaign to take back the House district by district.”

Insiders say there are at least six seats in New York that could be in play, which is about a quarter of those needed to flip control of the House.

A Cuomo spokesman had no immediate comment.

bill de blasio
new york public schools
carl heastie
andrew cuomo

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Digital Life: An analog defense to digital sabotage – Kansas City Star


Digital Life: An analog defense to digital sabotage – Kansas City Star

The things we can do these days.

On Tuesday, May 30, the Pentagon proved that a missile defense system could knock an intercontinental-range warhead out of the sky. It was like hitting a bullet with a bullet, marksmanship that could stop the North Koreans from turning Seattle into a heap of radioactive ash.

The next day, Google boasted that its machine-learning models spot spam and phishing messages with near-perfect accuracy — tossing a nearly infinite number of would-be scams into a digital Dumpster.

Take a moment to appreciate the ballistic and digital defenses that come from billions spent on Stanford and MIT graduates. Foil a missile in flight? Really tough. Sort through billions of messages with a real-life B.S. detector? That’s bananas.

Except …

In previous tests, all done in ideal conditions rather than the fog of war, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system hit nine out of 17 dummy warheads in flight. That’s a good batting average in baseball, not so reassuring in the context of World War III.

Google said it protects your email from 99.9 percent of the garbage tossed your way. Forgive me for seeing a glass 0.1 percent empty.

For every 1,000 messages sent to seduce you with the riches of a Nigerian prince or posing as a co-worker asking you to log in on a shared work schedule, one will still get through. Given that the cost of emailing a bogus come-on is about as close to zero as you can get, the incentive to blast them out is almost endless.

What happens when it’s not your dad falling for an online grifter, but someone at the power company or the White House accidentally surrendering a user name and password to someone they shouldn’t?

Of course, we should muster our defenses. A home with a lock on the front door is safer than one without, even if burglars can bust in through a window. A country that has some success with defanging Pyonyang’s fledgling missile program is probably safer than one that throws up its hands in despair. An email account that blocks the first 999 phishing attempts beats one inundated by that spam.

Still, the imperfections of defenses remind us that good-guy technology can’t always protect us from bad-guy technology. Technology is sometimes the soft spot.

Maybe wire technology out of the equation once in a while. Two cyber analysts with The MITRE Corp., consultants to the federal government, suggest that our most critical infrastructure would be safer if it were less techy.

They note that we’ve seen fewer breaches of our physical infrastructure than of our virtual systems. That’s reason to make water plants, the electrical grid and emergency responder communications more mechanical, less electronic.

Key links in our infrastructure might best remain old school. Hold on to copper wires for critical phone calls. Stop ditching pneumatic pumps in our water systems with digital controls, MITRE’s Emily Frye and Quentin Hodgson say.

If Russians could hack into the Democratic National Committee in 2016, who’s to say the Islamic State won’t plant a virus in a dam’s digital controls in 2020?

Missile defenses and spam filters make us safer. Yet sometimes the answer is to put valuables out of reach, to make them more analog, less digital.

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Charles River Laboratories Is A Good Buy – Cramer's Lightning Round (6/2/17)


Charles River Laboratories Is A Good Buy – Cramer's Lightning Round (6/2/17)

Stocks discussed on the Lightning Round segment of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money Program, Friday, June 2.

Bullish Calls

Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU): It has moved up a lot and has limited upside. Cramer blessed it for a 2-3 points trade.

Charles River Laboratories (NYSE:CRL): CEO James Foster always delivers. It’s a buy.

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD): “I think AMD’s fine. I mean, I think that the quarter was good. They gave these projections, they weren’t as great as people thought. I think it’s a good situation.”

Bearish Calls:

Windstream Holdings (NASDAQ:WIN): It’s a sell.

Diamondback Energy (NASDAQ:FANG): “This is not the FANG you should buy.”

Radius Health (NASDAQ:RDUS): Cramer would like to see their results before recommending a buy.

Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD): Cramer doesn’t see a positive catalyst yet.


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Game Plan For The Week – Cramer's Mad Money (6/2/17)


Game Plan For The Week – Cramer's Mad Money (6/2/17)

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money TV Program, Friday, June 2.

Whatever the economic news may be, earnings tell a good story. Even though the jobs report missed estimates on Friday, the market still went higher. “It’s the same story that we’ve seen all year, the same one I’ve been coming with, the same one I’ve been telling you: it’s about profits. The stock market charges ever upward, oblivious of Washington, even as I now worry about an upcoming fight over the debt ceiling,” said Cramer. With that, he discussed his game plan for the week.


Recreational vehicle maker Thor Industries (NYSE:THO) will report on Monday. Cramer has been right on this stock and got it wrong too. He expected the last quarter to be good and advised investors not to sell but the company reported shrinking margins and the stock dropped 10%. “I’m tempted to believe that Thor has course corrected, but you know what? Here on Mad Money, it’s kind of like the NHL. We put companies in the penalty box, so I’m adopting a wait-and-see approach for Thor,” he said.


HD Supply Holdings (NASDAQ:HDS) and Dave & Buster’s (NASDAQ:PLAY) will report earnings.

HD Supply’s earnings will give a good read on the economy. “Last quarter, the read-through was sub-optimal and the stock got hammered. Plus, HD Supply’s commentary caused many a well-researched bull to correctly ratchet back their economic growth expectations, especially for small and medium sized businesses after listening to this company’s conference call. Soon after, though, Jana Partners, the activist hedge fund, said it liked HDS and thought the stock, which is at $41, could go to $60 on a sale. Hey, let’s see if they comment on that,” said Cramer.

He also expects good numbers from Dave and Buster’s and announcement of expansion plans as well.


Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF.B) will report earnings on Wednesday. Cramer will focus on chatter of Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) eyeing Brown-Forman. “I think that would be very out of character for Constellation. It’s been growing by picking off high-end boutique brands, then exploiting them through its fabulous distribution network to blow away the numbers. That said, where there’s smoke, I don’t know, maybe there’s a little fire, if not a conflagration, as this is a family-run two-classes-of-stock business, meaning even if Constellation was interested in buying, it would have to be Brown-Forman wanting to sell. Still, it will be a closely listened to conference call because of that rumor,” added Cramer.


The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM) and Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) will report earnings.

Smucker has been disappointing for a few quarters. “It seems that there’s been endless price wars in their aisles in the supermarket and it’s crimped their earnings power,” said Cramer. He hopes that their organic products will be able to boost their earnings. He recommended buying the stock after earnings.

“Vacations have become Facebook rites of passage and Vail’s been benefiting from this trend for ages,” said Cramer. He thinks Vail Resorts can be bought for a trade.


Rig count numbers will be out on Friday. Crude will be under pressure if the rig numbers jump.

Cramer added that there could be a selloff before the Fed meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. “Remember, most investors and all holders of bank stocks, for heaven’s sake, which have been horrendous, want to see the Fed raise rates as a sign of economic health. We’re in the odd position of worrying that the Fed might not tighten after this weaker labor report that we got this morning. If they do nothing, there will be selling, so why not get out ahead,” he said.

CEO interview – Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW)

Cramer interviewed Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris to find out his take on the DuPont (NYSE:DD) merger and President Trump pulling out of the Paris accord.

Liveris said that he was disappointed with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement but he was optimistic about the growth of renewable energy. “Look at our renewable energy already, with how many jobs it has. The solar, wind and bios. We’re going to keep supporting that. This is advantage America,” he added.

Liveris heads Trump’s manufacturing council and said that trade-offs in moving towards renewable energy is a key contributor to climate change. “Can we keep all of our energy jobs? No. But can we manage the transition? Yes. I think this president, he just wants to manage the transition so coal miners don’t get hurt overtly. There is a base of people out there. Look, we’ve got to respect the fact that he’s the leader of the country. I believe that we’ve got to stay engaged to get the better answers,” he said.

“After 14 years of doing this job, you stay engaged so you can change someone’s mind, so you can get them to the right place, so you can have better outcomes. Maybe that’s too optimistic. I believe you can be optimistic here,” said Liveris. As Dow merges with DuPont, he will remain CEO until the merger closes in August, instead of retiring in June 2017 as planned earlier, and will remain chairman till July 2018.

He believes that the merger with DuPont and then splitting the company into three is a game changer. Dow Chemical continues to create jobs due to the low cost of natural gas and he will voice his ideas to the President on how he can take the country forward.

“America has to stand tall. We will stand tall as a business community. I’m very compelled to represent all my stakeholders across the world, and if I have the privilege of this position; I could get fired, but if I have the privilege of this position, I will definitely keep putting that viewpoint into the White House.”

Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU)

Lululemon rallied 10% after reporting good earnings. “I wavered. More specifically, the stock made me waver. The darned thing is so darned volatile that it’s very hard to game even when you get the darned story right. Look, I’ve liked Lululemon for years, but lately I’ve been trying to pull back from the stories I like if their stocks are capable of being too toxic. The fact is, there are very few investors who are capable of taking that kind of near-term pain to get some level of gain in the future,” said Cramer.

Their last quarter was so bad that Cramer had to stay away from the stock. Although the current gain is missed, the volatility in the stock is still present. The company called last quarter’s problems on account of execution. Those problems were resolved which show that dip was temporary and Lululemon is still a fad.

While all companies make mistakes at some point, it is up to investors to decide if they are willing to accept the volatility. “If you put a gun to my head, I would’ve paid 25 times earnings. And sure enough, that gets you to $57, which is pretty much where it is. But on the trading desk? I probably would’ve said I ain’t playing. Why? Because the risk from being wrong turned out to be much bigger than the reward from being right,” said Cramer.

He added that he is willing to buy the stock under $57.

CEO interview – Exact Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS)

The stock of Exact Sciences is up 187% YTD. Cramer interviewed Kevin Conroy to hear more about the company’s new non-invasive test for colon cancer, Cologuard.

Conroy said that the new test is easy and accurate. The test costs just $500 compared to $1,500-5,000 for a traditional colonoscopy procedure. He added that Medicare is the largest payer for Cologuard.

Conroy mentioned that they are developing a new test to detect pancreatic cancer using the same technology. “The same technology that powers Cologuard, this advanced technology that finds cancer DNA in a stool sample, we’re now showing proof of concept of detecting lung cancer from a simple blood draw, liver cancer from a simple blood draw,” he added.

When Cramer questioned him about the competition in the industry, he said, “It is a competitive environment, but there are two aspects of this environment. There are some people who are developing tests to help guide the right cancer treatment. We’re all about early detection, and our technology is less expensive than some of those other technologies that guide treatment, enabling us, we believe, over the long run, and I want to stress this, over the long run, to be able to offer tests that detect cancer early.”

Cramer said he likes the company.

Viewer calls taken by Cramer

NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE): It’s a growth utility stock that has not stopped going higher. Cramer likes the stock.

American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ:AOBC): The stock is a buy. It’s a well run company with a low multiple.

Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI): It has disappointed. Cramer recommended Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE:MMP) which is also owned by his trust.

Canada Goose (NYSE:GOOS): This company will expand internationally. It’s a buy.


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The GOP and Identity Politics in the Black Community – Black Press USA


The GOP and Identity Politics in the Black Community – Black Press USA

By Raynard Jackson (NNPA Newswire Columnist)

The Republican Party continues to miss the mark when it comes to engaging the Black community.

For those Republicans, who fastidiously claim they don’t believe in “identity politics (IP),” let me give you a piece of advice: Stop It!

Politically speaking, IP is a campaign that is based on the particular needs of a specific group of people that will give them the rationale or incentive to vote for your candidate.

For example, a Republican candidate would campaign in the Black community on issues like entrepreneurship, civil rights, voting rights, etc.; whereas the same candidate might campaign in the Hispanic community on issues like entrepreneurship, immigration, and cultural assimilation.

Far too many Republicans assert that “we are all Americans and all want the same things: jobs, education, safe neighborhoods, etc.” This is all true, but a ridiculously bland message when it comes to outreach in the Black community.

While core messaging should be a constant for all candidates, the way you communicate that message has to be crafted based on the audience you are addressing.

In business, we call this market segmentation. This is most often done with the S-T-P approach; which is segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Once you segment the voters, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc., you then create a targeted campaign to speak directly to each individual group; finally, you position your messaging in a way that will resonate with that group.

McDonald’s is a classic example.

Their objective is to sell their Big Macs to the American people, so their TV commercials are all trying to convince the country to buy their product, but they also are smart enough to use IP or market segmentation to achieve their stated objective—selling more hamburgers.

So, it makes all the sense in the world for McDonald’s to use Black actors when advertising on BET and Hispanic actors when advertising on Univision. This is the commercial application of identity politics.
When have you ever seen men selling women undergarments in Victoria Secrets commercials? That’s right, you haven’t.

Republicans have become so data driven that they no longer have any vision.

It’s not enough for Republicans to reflexively spout out buzz words and phrases like: “We are the big tent party”; “the party of Abraham Lincoln”; “We believe in lower taxes, smaller government, more individual freedom,” yada, yada, yada.

Republicans must first and foremost persuade Blacks that conservatism is not incompatible with civil rights, voting rights, and equal opportunity, but rather these issues are a fundamental part of conservatism.

Republicans must, by their actions, demonstrate that Black businesses tend to flourish when Republicans control the levers of government compared to when Democrats are in power.

I wrote about this, in 2012, in a piece I did for Black Enterprise. Democrats and the Obama Administration have done very little for Black-owned businesses over the last eight years.

Republicans have a huge opportunity to engage directly with the Black community on the specific issue of entrepreneurship. Not only are these Black businessmen fervent supporters of abolishing the capital gains tax, accelerated depreciation (writing off all capital purchases in year one), and lowering the corporate tax rate, but they also want to be relieved of all the onerous regulations imposed on them by Obama’s reign of terror on small and minority businesses.

According to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, “Black buying power is $ 1.2 trillion; which would make Black America the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).” That is equivalent to the size of Mexico.

Two years ago, the Aspen Institute and “The Atlantic” released a poll that was stunning. According to their poll, Blacks represent the largest group in the country that “believes that the American Dream is attainable with hard work.”

So, to those Republicans, who think that Blacks are just waiting for more government programs and more handouts, I say, you’re wrong.

The Black community is open for business and willing to engage with the Republican Party, but when will the party address the issues we are interested in, not the issues that they think we’re interested in?

We need access to capital, our fair share of government contracts, which is mandated by law, a seat at the decision-making table and input in to policies that affect the economy.

And what will the party get in return for doing business with the Black community? The party will see Blacks voting for Republicans in double digits. The party will see a growth in financial contributions from leading businessmen, who currently see absolutely no value in contributing to Republican campaigns or entities. The party will also get fresh perspectives and new ideas from the top thinkers in the Black community; who are also the “real” leaders within our community.

But most importantly, the party find that the Black community is already in sync with its business agenda; the GOP simply needs to extend a sincere invitation.

Come on Republicans. What in the hell do you have to lose?

Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit You can follow Raynard on Twitter @Raynard1223.

PHOTO CAPTION: Republicans must first and foremost persuade Blacks that conservatism is not incompatible with civil rights, voting rights, and equal opportunity.

SEO KEYWORDS: Raynard Jackson, op-ed, commentary, Black Republicans, identity politics, Black Republican commentary

Raynard Jackson, a columnist for the NNPA Newswire, says that Republicans must get better at Black voter outreach.

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