August 2015 - W.C. Varones

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8.24.2015

If you panicked and sold stocks at the open this morning...

8:15 AM 0


... you've got a big dump in your pants!  This is CVS, the drug store, which some idiots blew out at $87 or lower this morning.  Same thing happened with lots of other stocks and even the whole market to a lesser degree.

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8.08.2015

Demon Sheep: the Legend of Carly Fiorina

5:55 AM 0
Those of you outside California probably never saw this ad, which was the talk of the state during the 2010 Senate primaries.



Fiorina got a lot of "WTF?" reactions to the ad, but I thought it made a good use of silliness and hyperbole to make serious points about her opponent's record.
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8.06.2015

Carly Fiorina's business record

6:58 PM 2
After tonight's JV debate, Carly Fiorina is the new black.  I've followed Fiorina's career for years, read books on the Hewlett-Packard board battles, and seen Fiorina speak at a small event.

From what I've gathered, Fiorina was an outstanding saleswoman who talked her way up the corporate ladder.  She exudes confidence and competence.  But her management record is highly questionable.  Here's the stock price performance of HP during her tenure, along with the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and old-tech peers IBM, Microsoft, and Intel for comparison (click the image to enlarge).



Hewlett-Packard underperformed the indexes and its peers from the time of Fiorina's hiring until she was forced out by the board for poor performance. Is this just an issue of short-termism, and was Fiorina's decision to take on billions in debt to acquire Compaq a brilliant long-term strategic move? Hardly. Here are the longer-term results. Hewlett-Packard remains underwater to this day, after its peers have long since rebounded.



Talk to any HP employees who were there during Fiorina's tenure. She was widely disliked, largely due to the mass layoffs and the destruction of the H-P culture. But shareholders fared just as badly.

Yes, she's a great debater, using the same excellent speaking skills that brought her to the top of corporate America. But, Republicans, don't think her mediocre management history won't be an issue if she's on the ticket.



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8.03.2015

Carbon isn't pollution

11:37 AM 3




It's a natural element, and one of the basic building blocks of life on Earth.

And no, you can't "stop" carbon emissions without exterminating every animal on Earth.

Redefining clean, natural air as "pollution" is exactly what Orwell warned us about:
“Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by eactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . . The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for commiting thought-crime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. . . . Has it ever occcured to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?”

― George Orwell, 1984
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