Day: June 15, 2017

Pelosi on the State of Political Discourse: In the 90s, GOP Decided on 'Politics of Personal Destruction' – Mediaite

Politics

Pelosi on the State of Political Discourse: In the 90s, GOP Decided on 'Politics of Personal Destruction' – Mediaite

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today weighed in on the state of political discourse and while she didn’t want to get into it too much, she did talk about Republicans engaging in the “politics of personal destruction” going back to the 90s.

Since the horrific shooting at the GOP baseball team’s practice yesterday––Steve Scalise is still in the hospital––there has been a lot of talk about calming down the over-heated political rhetoric in America.

In comments flagged by NBC News’ Alex Moe, Pelosi talked about the horrible, vile messages she’s received before making this observation:

“Let’s all say let’s examine our conscience, let’s see how we can rid ourselves of our negative attitudes that go to a place that is like this. We’ve had––it didn’t used to be this way. Somewhere in the 90’s Republicans decided on the politics of personal destruction as they went after the Clintons.”

She did add, “I really am almost sad for myself that I have gone down this path with you because I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to have the fullest discussion of it. And it will be for another day. It will be for another day.”

Watch above, via C-SPAN.

[image via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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Clean Energy Is About to Become Cheaper Than Coal – MIT Technology Review

Technology

Clean Energy Is About to Become Cheaper Than Coal – MIT Technology Review

Donald Trump’s desire to bring coal roaring back has always faced a huge barrier in the form of an unstoppable decline in clean energy prices. But now a new report suggests that the falling costs are set to undercut coal sooner than many expected. 

An analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance combines knowledge of planned energy projects with economic forecasting in order to predict what’s going to happen in the power sector over the coming decades. And the prediction is one of plummeting costs for renewables, with estimates suggesting that by 2040 prices will fall by 66 percent for solar, 47 percent for onshore wind, and 71 percent for offshore wind.

What really matters, of course, is how those prices will challenge incumbent energy technologies. Solar, the more expensive of the two major renewables, already rivals coal in cost terms in Germany, Australia, the U.S., Spain, and Italy, according to BNEF. But more striking is the fact that this is also expected to be the case in China and India by 2021.

Those milestones will surely lead to greater adoption of clean energy. And the report predicts that of the $10.2 trillion expected to be invested into power generation between now and 2040, 72 percent will be channeled into renewables.

Coal’s days appear to be numbered. Earlier this week, an analysis by the British oil firm BP showed that global coal demand has declined for the second year running, with consumption falling by 1.7 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. The decline is even more pronounced in the West: coal consumption fell by 8.8 percent in the U.S. during 2016, and as much as 52.5 percent in the U.K.

BNEF predicts that trend will continue, with the bottom falling out of the coal power sector in Europe and the U.S. by 2040—generation is expected to slump by 87 percent and 45 percent, respectively. China will phase out coal more slowly, but forecasts suggest that its use will peak by 2026. It appears that Barack Obama may well have been right when he predicted that the world’s move toward renewables and away from fossil fuels was irreversible.

Is this all enough for us to meet the goals laid out in the Paris climate agreement? Probably not, according to BNEF: it says that these energy trajectories would put us on course for a 4 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2016 levels by 2040. To meet the Paris climate goals, it says, would require a further $5.3 trillion investment over the next quarter of a century.

(Read more: BNEF New Energy Outlook, BP Statistical Review of World Energy, “Trump’s Rollback Paves the Way for a New Climate Leader,” “Obama Says the World’s Move Toward Renewables Is ‘Irreversible’”)

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Man Who Attacked GOP Politicians Was A Bernie Supporter With A Violent History – HuffPost

Politics

Man Who Attacked GOP Politicians Was A Bernie Supporter With A Violent History – HuffPost

WASHINGTON ― The man who opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for an upcoming baseball game on Wednesday was apparently a Bernie Sanders supporter outspoken in his distaste for the GOP, President Donald Trump and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

James Hodgkinson, a home inspector from Belleville, Illinois, died at a hospital in Washington, D.C., following a shootout with Capitol Police at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia.

Hodgkinson’s wife told ABC News that her husband had been living in Alexandria for two months. On Monday, Hodgkinson reportedly canceled his membership at a YMCA located near the scene of Wednesday’s shooting.

Hodgkinson visited the YMCA most mornings, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post. Both outlets reported Hodgkinson would frequently see former Alexandria Mayor William Euille at the gym, and the two would chat about things like politics or where to eat. Hodgkinson appeared to be living out of a gym bag, according to Euille, and would shower at the Y and sit for hours in the lobby on his laptop.

Facebook

James Hodgkinson opened fire on Republicans practicing for an upcoming charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday.

Two Facebook pages apparently belonging to Hodgkinson ― both now inaccessible to the public ― reveal strong political sentiments.

He once posted a petition on Facebook asking the Federal Elections Commission to open an election fraud investigation into Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. He wrote that Clinton was “Really a Republican in a Democratic Pant Suit!!!”

He also posted a photo of Sanders photoshopped into an Uncle Sam costume and joined a Facebook group stating that the “Road to Hell is Paved With Republicans.”

Sanders issued a statement on Wednesday saying he was “sickened” by Hodgkinson’s “despicable” act. 

“Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values,” Sanders said.

Charles Orear, a restaurant manager from St. Louis, told The Washington Post that he and Hodgkinson became friends while working on Sanders’ presidential campaign.

“He was this union tradesman, pretty stocky, and we stayed up talking politics,” Orear told the Post. “He was more on the really progressive side of things.”


James Hodgkinson protests outside the United States Post Office in downtown Belleville, Illinois.

Online court records suggest Hodgkinson had a history of violence. He was arrested in 2006 on suspicion of battery with intent to cause bodily harm. He was also charged with domestic battery, criminal damage of property and reckless discharge of a firearm.

According to a 2006 complaint filed with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and based on statements from Hodgkinson’s neighbors, he and his wife Suzanne became violent when their daughter, who was visiting a neighboring residence, refused to come home.

Among other things, the complaint accuses Hodgkinson of choking his daughter and grabbing her by the hair. The complaint also states that Hodgkinson punched a woman in the residence with a closed fist after she threatened to call the police. That woman’s boyfriend told authorities that when he went to Hodgkinson’s home to confront him, Hodgkinson aimed a shotgun in his face, hit him over the head with the stock and fired a round in his direction.

Police recovered a pocket knife and a 12-gauge shotgun during the 2006 incident, and Hodgkinson and his wife were arrested. The charges were later dismissed. Previously, Hodgkinson had been charged with a DUI and resisting arrest in 1993, the latter charge also eventually dismissed.

In 2012, Hodgkinson wrote several letters to his local newspaper, the Belleville News-Democrat, calling for increased taxes on the wealthy and criticizing Republicans.

Hodgkinson criticized another letter writer by saying he “reminds me of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, but I’m sure he doesn’t bring in the millions of dollars those two do. They speak their lies and hatred and misdirection to anyone who will listen.”

Calling for higher marginal tax rates on the rich, Hodgkinson concluded by saying, “I believe anything near these rates would be fair and balanced. In rebuttal: I have never said ‘life sucks,’ only the policies of the Republicans.”

This article has been updated to clarify the sequence of events described in the 2006 complaint against Hodgkinson.

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Buy Berkshire Hathaway – Cramer's Lightning Round (6/14/17)

Finances

Buy Berkshire Hathaway – Cramer's Lightning Round (6/14/17)

Stocks discussed on the Lightning Round segment of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money Program, Wednesday, June 14.

Bullish Calls

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B): Their assets are great. Buy the stock.

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN): Even though Cramer recommended the stock at $3.50 and it’s $3.15 now, he believes that the management focus on 15 highest-performing countries and their acquisition of LivingSocial is great for the stock.

Coupa Software (NASDAQ:COUP): It’s a great software company but Cramer prefers Salesforce (NYSE:CRM).

Target (NYSE:TGT): “I think that Target is OK. I do prefer TJX (NYSE:TJX), which has come down a lot and to me is a buy.”

Editor’s note: There were no bearish calls on Wednesday’s show.

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Cramer Applauds Janet Yellen – Cramer's Mad Money (6/14/17)

Finances

Cramer Applauds Janet Yellen – Cramer's Mad Money (6/14/17)

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday, June 14.

Cramer applauded Fed chief Janet Yellen who raised interest rates by 0.25% despite inflation behind estimates. She had also made a point of not factoring in the ‘Trump effect’ for which the press criticized her in early 2017. “I didn’t hear a soul come out today and mention how right Yellen’s been and how wrong everyone else has been about factoring in the Trump effect. She’s been right as rain about what was going to happen and she gets zero credit whatsoever for engineering this soft path out of the economic emergency room,” said Cramer.

Yellen’s mission has been to become a non-factor for the markets. Since earnings are over, all the markets worry about now is Washington. Be it the Russian scandal or delay in healthcare policy, there is a lot the market is worried about. This made the 25 bps rate increase a non-event as the move was anticipated by the markets. This was seen by the rotation into bank stocks before the Fed meeting.

The scare of a rate hike slowing housing also didn’t take effect as Home Depot (NYSE:HD) did not go down on the rate hike. “The bottom line is that we may want to make Yellen the story. But she ain’t taking the bait. So we get a ho-hum day with lots of middle-of-the-road chatter from Yellen and then we return to our regularly scheduled second-guessing program, as nobody seems to want to say what needs to be said: thank you so much for being predictable and on your game, Madame Fed chief,” concluded Cramer.

CEO interview – H&R Block (NYSE:HRB)

H&R Block reported stellar earnings and the stock rallied 10%. Cramer interviewed CEO Bill Cobb to know more about the quarter.

Cobb said they delivered more than they promised in this quarter as all their initiatives of cost reduction worked. The company has got very aggressive on the design and revenue and they are at 30% EBITDA margins. They have bought one-third of their shares and raised dividend by 66% since he has been CEO.

He also adds that the partnership with AI system, Watson worked well for them. They monitored systems at each of H&R Block’s brick-and-mortar locations that let customers watch the tax return process through Watson’s eyes. “We had bubbles there and we had various call-outs of deductions and credits you could take. What also was a very pleasant surprise was how much our tax pros got excited,” said Cobb.

Watson is a learning technology that will get better with each year. When they make changes for 70,000 workforce, it’s never easy. Both employees and customers have liked Watson. The company also ran a promotion with Hollywood actor Jon Hamm. “He was a great partner to us. We really wanted to differentiate ourselves from TurboTax. They talk about, you know, getting your taxes done. We talked about, we believe we can get your taxes won, which is to find every deduction and credit and maximize your refund,” he added.

Cobb also commented on Trump’s agenda. “I think when you go back to the ’80s when the Reagan administration did the last real tax reform, it took five years. I think the president wants a tax cut, I think the rate cut can happen. I think the rate cut can happen on the corporate side, which would be great for us because our tax rate is in the mid-30s.” When he spoke with the policymakers, he got a feeling that the tax reform might not arrive as swiftly as many voters expected.

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)

Coca-Cola has shown signs of a turnaround as the stock has picked momentum. Cramer thinks the future is bright for them. Since Muhtar Kent became CEO in 2008, the stock has climbed 40% only compared to competitor Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) which has rallied 95%.

“The reason? A lot has to do with the global shift away from soda, which is Coca-Cola’s bread and butter. Carbonated drinks have become the slowest growing beverage category around, whereas PepsiCo has its Frito-Lay and Gatorade business to diversify away from the weakness in sugary sodas,” said Cramer.

Despite efforts to diversify into healthier alternatives and partnering with Monster Beverage, the sales were stagnant. In December, Kent stepped down and James Quincey took over as CEO. At the CAGNY conference, the company laid out a strategic plan for transformation which included a new approach to carbonated drinks business.

They have release 500 products last year and plan to release 500 in 2017 which involves acquiring strong brands and selling them globally. They have also introduce smaller packages and started to change the way it labels nutritional information. They are also spinning off low-margin bottlers it acquired previously.

“On top of that, the company also talked about embracing a leaner, more agile operating model. We didn’t get too many details here yet, but we know it involves reshaping their local business units and doing a better job of hiring executives and managing their performance. Plus, the new Coca-Cola wants to bet more heavily on digital,” said Cramer.

The company trades at 24 times earnings vs. 22 for Pepsi. Cramer thinks the stock can be bought on a pullback.

CEO interview – Box (NYSE:BOX)

The high growth stocks might be out of flavor at the Wall Street, but they are near their highs. The stock of Box is 12% from its recent highs. Cramer interviewed CEO Aaron Levie to know what lies ahead for the company.

Levie mentioned that the company has introduced the Box drive which allows users to access all their files on their desktop. It’s like a traditional storage solution but has all befits of the cloud including security and compliance. “The reason this is significant is so many large enterprises are still investing billions of dollars collectively every year in traditional storage infrastructure that allows them to deliver desktop access to files in their local networks,” he added.

“So this really is going to be, I think, the final nail in the on-premises storage and content management coffin, and we’re very excited to be bringing this to the market,” said Levie. The company now has 74,000 clients, 64% of which are Fortune 500 companies and $117M in revenue in Q1. He added that they are seeing growth in unexpected places due to their systems being sophisticated.

Viewer calls taken by Cramer

Wix (NASDAQ:WIX): The long-term view is great and it’s a smart company. Hold on to it and buy more when it comes down.

Post Holdings (NYSE:POST): Cramer said Pepsi is a better bet.

Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT): Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) is a better growth stock.

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