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Author Topic: Breaking News
Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 8, 2018, 13:53
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For those of you who do not follow foreign politics closely, I do it for you. The link will take you to an article about Sunday's presidential election in Brazil. A "far-right" candidate won, which was not a surprise. What was a surprise was that he almost gained a majority (46%) in the first round when the media had been predicting he would win about 30%.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/bolsonaro-tsunami-swells-far-party-brazil-congress-200546684.html

Brazilians are clearly getting fed up with the corrupt politicians they have had for the past couple of decades.

Some thug of a socialist, tried to kill Bolsonaro a few weeks back, but failed. The multiple-stab wounds were very serious and I believe the candidate is still in hospital. But it is likely that the socialist's attempt on Bolsonaro's life, helped increase the number of votes he received.

Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 8, 2018, 14:40
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It was a big gain, but he hasn't won yet. There will be a run-off against a socialist who got 29% and whose party lost a lot of seats. We'll see what this means in the end. But it is a nice finger in the eye to leftism. Now we know why Ortega in Nicaragua, Morales in Bolivia, and Maduro in Venezuela don't intend to have genuine elections. They prefer the Castro model, which he inherited from Khrushchev, of a one-party state. Some like to pretend to have a multi-party state. (East Germany early on had seats for everyone, and Romania even had some World War II officials -- who could be blackmailed with potential war crimes accusations -- in their Communist government.)

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 10, 2018, 14:25
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The Dow dropped over 800 points today. There was a time when people would be jumping out of windows on such news. Does anyone care today?

https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/stock-futures-point-to-a-decline-when-the-market-opens

I think the market should drop much further as it is still at never-never land levels. Amazon is trading at at P/E of about 150. This is nuts.

Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 11, 2018, 14:33
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Well, times are hard, and this is leading to a big strike against -- Richard Trumka's AFL-CIO. Even as Trumka complains about corporate abuse of workers, his union of unions is abusing its workers. Will Trumka have to cross a picket line? Would that lead to a lot of conservative Schadenfreude? The link is:

Workers of the world unite to strike against … AFL-CIO?

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 11, 2018, 16:21
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That article on Trumpka is very funny. Another case of the left's rule, "Do as I say, not as I do."

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 15, 2018, 17:03
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Two pieces of news today stuck out.

First, Paul Allen founder of Microsoft died at the age of 65, which is also my age. I did not know the man or follow his career in any detail, but he seemed to be a much kinder person than Bill Gates. Allen did not seem to be building monuments to himself the way Gates does. Reports say he died of complications from lymphoma, a disease which forced him to leave Microsoft in Gates' tender touches. I guess one could say that although he died a relatively young 65, in a way, he got 40 years more than might have been expected by beating lymphoma as a young man.

Second, Sears has declared bankruptcy and is going into Chapter 11. This is something which touches me more personally on a sentimental basis. I worked for Sears as a part-time employee from 1970 until 1974 or 1975. Going through papers recently, I found one of my old pay slips.

When I worked for Sears, it was by far, the largest store in the world. A person could buy just about everything one needed by visiting one of the many Sears stores. And the company sold good quality merchandise. Sears also paid good wages to its employees. One of our neighbors worked for Sears doing something with computers. He later moved to their Chicago headquarters. A close friend of my brother's was the son of the head of the Southwest territory for Sears, which was a big job. Interestingly, the man knew that he had gone as far as he could in the company as, in those days, if an upper manager had a heart attack, he was not likely to be promoted further. Can you imagine that happening today?

I cannot recall why I resigned from the company, but ironically, the week that I did resign I won the Sears SOS award for excellence in sales. I was not at the Saturday morning meeting to receive it, but a friend was there and he took it from the store manager and gave it to me. My mother saved that little gold pin and I believe I have it somewhere in the boxes which I took from her just before she died.

The only thing which is constant is change.

Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 15, 2018, 17:27
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Actually, I was surprised that Sears was still around since I had read some similar story about them a few years ago. At our (now-sold) house, we had a Sears washer and dryer (though the latter was replaced a year or two before we left). My mother bought them so many decades ago I don't recall when it was, but I'm pretty sure it was before we moved to an apartment in 1976). I think the last car battery I had on my previous car may have been from Sears. They were a quite convenient source for a long time.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 16, 2018, 10:02
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It is a sad day.

Paul Allen was definitely the better man. By far. Gates is a creep. Allen was by all accounts I’ve read a pretty good guy.

Sears is (was) an American institution. Their catalog was the equivalent of the bazillion items now offered on Amazon. They were way ahead of their time. For whatever reason, they didn’t or couldn’t adapt to today’s marketplace. Brick-and-mortar stores are all under assault from online retailers. Toys R Us is next (if it hasn’t already gone under….I forget). Walmart has certainly (one would think) been a huge competitor to Sears. Like Sears, they offer everything under the sun, and likely for less.

It’s hard to know what was going on with Sears. But I stopped shopping there several years ago simply because it became so tedious to go through check-out. I remember one time they were trying out tablets as a way of checking out. It must have taken me 5 minute to make a simple purchase. There was certainly something Dilbert-like going on in the management.

Staples is that way as well. It’s just so hard to make it through the check-out line. There are so many things they do now at the check-out counters. Most of it has to do with marketing and signing people up for this or that, not taking your money and moving you out the door as a satisfied customer. I’ve just had it. So I don’t go there anymore. Ever. I do much of my shopping via Amazon and Walmart online.

Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 16, 2018, 10:12
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It's ironic that a company that used to be famous for people buying from catalogues is losing out at a time of people buying on-line. Apparently they went the brick-and-mortar route and then started losing out to Walmart and other firms. And now they aren't able to adjust to on-line purchasing because it's been so long since they relied on their catalogues.

Sears goes back a long way. The Ballad of Cat Ballow includes a reference to "that brand-new firm, Sears & Roebuck". That's hardly a guarantee that they were really around then (1892), but at the least it's probably not very far off.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: Breaking News
on: October 16, 2018, 10:45
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As Mr. Kung noted, Sears was noted for selling quality merchandise. Sears was “safe.” If something went wrong, they had good service/return policies.

I have no idea what went wrong. I suspect Dilbert-like decisions from the upper management. You have to make a lot of bad decisions serially to do what has been done to that company. It wasn’t all that long ago that Sears was profitable and in a good position.

Forbes says Yes, Blame Eddie Lampert For Sears' Bankruptcy, But Don't Forget These Other Contributors. One of their listed failing was:

3. Sears was the wrong store in the wrong place.

As the post-World War II suburban boom created a massive explosion in the retail world, Sears chose to put its ever-expanding store base into regional malls rather than strip centers. This turned out to be a disastrous strategy.

Malls became the place where people bought apparel, shoes and jewelry and hung out. It was at strip centers that people shopped more for hard goods like washing machines and lawn mowers.

Sears was stuck with stores selling products that mall shoppers didn’t want, and what they did want Sears wasn’t very good at. Other retailers took the prime strip center real estate and prospered. Sears never recovered.

It also sounds like a case of being pulled down by Kmart management when Sears was bought by them….in 2002, couple years after Kmart had filed for bankruptcy. There was deep rot in the wood, obviously, because of that.

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