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The Weekly Recap (3/3/19)

Daniel Chase

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The Weekly Recap 3/3/19

I bet you think you’re cooler than a cucumber for dominating last week, don’t you? Come on, don’t be shy. We all know how you went into the week with an open-mind, ready to tackle whatever obstacles you might come across, and then you killed the game. Well, the rest of us had to sit back and watch because we can’t all be a professional like some of you. For many of us, going through the motions of a work week is like taking to the battlefield without any ammunition, nearly impossible. What’s that? You say you have a golden piece of advice for us? You’re saying that the key to a good week is all in the mindset, but that it helps to have some background on prior events from week’s past? Alright, we’ll humor it with this week’s recap. 

Game Called On Account Of Trump 

President Donald Trump is a many of simple pleasures and interests, he loves a nice piece of fish after a long day at the office, and most notably, the man loves a good tariff. Over the past few months, President Trump has imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods, but per recent reports, it would seem that he’s had a change of heart. On Sunday, Trump announced that the U.S. will delay its previously scheduled tariff imposition from March 1 to an undisclosed time in the future. 

“I am pleased to report that the U.S. has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues. As a result of these very productive talks, I will be delaying the U.S. increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1. ”

President Donald Trump

We Got The Wrong Guy?

Everyone who reads or watches the news is well aware of the fact that the United States judicial system is completely and utterly fool-proof. This of course being false, a man named Craig Coley has spent the last thirty-nine years in prison and, on Sunday, it was discovered that he had never been incarcerated in the first place. In 1978, he was convicted of partaking in the murder Rhonda Wicht and her 4-year-old son, Donald. 

Over the weekend, Coley was awarded a $21 million settlement as a result of a federal lawsuit which proved that he was innocent. 

Mr. Coley’s 39-years was the longest prison term overturned in California.  Following his release, he was awarded the largest payout ever from the Victim’s Compensation Government Claim Board which said it “unequivocally accepts that Coley is actually innocent” of the murders. The City believes reaching this settlement will mitigate the long and costly process of unnecessary litigation. While no amount of money can make up for what happened to Mr. Coley, settling this case is the right thing to do for Mr. Coley and our community.  The monetary cost of going to trial would be astronomical and it would be irresponsible for us to move forward in that direction.”

City Manager Eric Levitt 

Netflix & Awards 

Since Netflix (NFLX) began releasing original content back in 2013, the streaming-giant-turned-production-company has won thirty-seven Emmy awards, four Golden Globes, and two Academy Awards. While I 100% agree that Netflix (NFLX) content has earned every single award that they’ve won, these victories are an indication that old Hollywood is fading softly into the distance. 

Last year, box office films earned nearly $12 billion, representing the highest in history, but, as several analysts have pointed it, that was largely due to the recent increase in ticket prices. In fact, according to TechCrunch, the total number of movie tickets sold in America has dropped over 10% in the last two decades even though domestic population levels continue to rise. The reason behind this must be that moviegoers would rather watch award-winning content for $10/month, from the comfort of their own living room, rather than pay $15 per movie and possibly have to sit among crying babies and loud fans of The Avengers. 

“This cash loss exists because Netflix is funding next year’s content against this year’s revenue. Netflix could have chosen to stabilize its 2018 content offering at 2017 levels…The industry and press would do well to focus on Netflix’s cash spend — even when compared to the recognized spend of its traditional peers. Netflix’s amortization figure is a lagging indictor. What’s scary is what’s going out the door: lots and lots of cash.”

Matthew Ball, former Head of Strategy, Amazon Studios 

It’s A Bold Move, Let’s See How It Plays Out

President Donald Trump is headed on a flight to North Korea to meet with everyone’s favorite dictator, Kim Jong Un. According to several sources, Trump will meet with the leader of North Korea in hopes of reopening the discussion surrounding denuclearization. Interestingly enough, this is just one of several events occurring this week featuring President Trump. In addition to Trump’s meeting with Kim, Vice President Mike Pence will meet with South American leaders in Bogota and Colombia. 

“Because of U.S. law today, the general counsel of any U.S. company is not going to recommend going into North Korea because of human rights abuses. The Trump administration needs to talk about human rights if they’re going to achieve what they want to achieve.”

Victor Cha, former Bush administration adviser 

India Could Be The Key

Take a trip to India and you’ll see a country with beautiful people, incredible architecture, a cultural paradise. But if you look closer you’ll see remnants of the harmful caste system still very much at play. Thousands of years ago, Hindus were divided into hierarchical groups based on their karma (work) and dharma (religion). For centuries, the caste system dictated every aspect of an individual’s life, with rural communities at the bottom, and the wealthy at the top. 

Though they are not proud to admit it, India still has lasting effects of this stratifying system, and we can see that based on the country’s economic present, as well as its future. Analysts believe that India possesses great entrepreneurial potential for several reasons, namely because of its massive tech support industry which has assisted consumers with product-related issued for two decades. In his newest book, James Crabtree, argues that India presently faces a triple threat of “inequality and the new super-rich, crony capitalism, and the travails of the industrial economy.” 

“When I lived in in Mumbai, there was a big tech investment wave in the after wave of the Alibaba IPO. There were these great hopes that India would follow the sort of hockey stick growth” seen in China. Yet, the country’s demographics don’t back that up. India has a tiny middle class — 10-20 million using a reasonable definition of the term “middle class.” That group is simply not large enough to support the valuation dreams underpinning some of India’s most-discussed unicorns. Growing users is really easy, but growing revenues is just much more challenging.”

James Crabtree, Financial Times 

Not So Fast, President Trump

As we’ve seen in the media over the past few months, President Donald Trump has pulled out all of the stops to get a wall built along the US-Mexico border. Naturally, members of the Legislative branch of government have expressed stark opposition to President Trump’s decision to declare a national state of emergency along the border. 

On Tuesday, the House successfully voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration, with the passing vote being 245-182, in favor. 

Juul Operator, Juuuuul Operator 

Suffice to say that smoking has lost much of its glitz and glamor, but tobacco addiction remains alive and well, and has recently taken the form of beautifully crafted, USB-looking device called a “Juul.” Juul Labs Inc., a San Francisco-based company, is responsible for the creation of the aptly named  “Juul” e-cigarette. For those unfamiliar with the name of the product, I can almost guarantee you’ve seen someone using one of these devices in the club or sneakily taking a puff in line at the DMV. The Juul has become something of a cultural sensation among the younger crowds because users can justify its healthier nature compared to cigarette smokers. 

The founders of Juul, James Monsees and Adam Bowen, were two Stanford University students who were fed up with a lack of qualitative alternatives to cigarettes. In their original presentation in 2004, Monsees and Bowen claimed that the issue with cigarettes, aside from the obvious harm to one’s health, was that the act of smoking was offensive to others. Many years later, Juul Labs has done its part to develop products designed to help smokers break their habits, while also investing $30 million in youth prevention, deleting its social media, as well as working to enforce stricter age verification for online sales. 

“Underage use is an issue we desperately want to resolve. It doesn’t do us any favors. Any underage consumers using this product are absolutely a negative for our business. We don’t want them. We will never market to them. We never have. And they are stealing life years from adult cigarette consumers at this moment, and that’s a shame.”

James Monsees, co-Founder, Juul Labs 

Oh, So That’s What It Looks Like To Be Thrown Under The Bus

You heard it here second, folks. President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified in front of the House Oversight Committee, and man, did he spill the alleged beans. Amidst his words, Cohen told the members of the Committee that the President told him to pay hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and that he is a racist, as well as other words I’ll refrain from using because this is a kid’s show. 

Israel’s Got Indictment 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or as the kids say “Bibi,” is facing several indictment charges relating to bribery and breach of trust-related offenses following three separate corruption investigations. While I could rant about how politicians are the first on my list to assume foul play is occurring, I’ll avoid that rabbit hole. The announcement of Bibi’s indictment comes months before Israel’s general election, where he is up for reelection after four terms in office. 

According to several sources, Netanyahu’s key opponent in the upcoming elections, former military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, has called for Bibi’s resignation ahead of the April general election. 

“Because of the circumstances which have arisen, sitting in a future government with Benjamin Netanyahu is not something which is on the table. Benjamin Netanyahu — I turn to you this evening. Get over yourself and show national responsibility. Resign from your position. If you prove that you are innocent, you can return to the public realm and again lead your movement.”

Benny Gantz, former military Chief of Staff

One of the first cases being brought against Netanyahu is referred to as Case 1000 which seeks to charge Bibi with breach of trust. According to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Case 1000 suggest that Netanyahu received illegal gifts from suspicious overseas characters totaling approximately $280,000, “including cigars, champagne, jewelry and more.” Mandelblit says that exchanges occurred between 2007 and 2016, and in exchange for these gifts, Netanyahu told his “friends” he would give them illegal tax breaks. 

Diseases A Plenty 

According to recent reports from data calculated by UNICEF on 194 countries from the World Health Organization, global measles cases are up 48.4%. The disease is more prevalent in children and can be fatal if left unchecked. As far as the driving forces for the increase in measles, medical experts saying countries with poor health infrastructure, low awareness, civil disorder, and namely a backlash against vaccinations. I am not sure what person said it was okay to stop vaccinating children, given their is no science to back up these claims, but here we are. 

“These cases haven’t happened overnight. Just as the serious outbreaks we are seeing today took hold in 2018, lack of action today will have disastrous consequences for children tomorrow.”

-Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s executive director

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Politics

Here’s What You Missed (3/21/19)

Daniel Chase

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In many ways, babies are like full-grown adults. For starters, both are types of people, but that’s a rather easy similarity, so let’s move on. Both babies and adults get upset when they don’t get what they want, but whereas babies will let themselves feel their emotions, adults will bottle these up or choose to take their anger out via their car horn in traffic. Secondly, when inebriated, adults act almost identically to that of an infant. Both have trouble walking, getting words out correctly, and keeping whatever they put in their body down. Adults and infants are inherently needy, and want to feel constantly loved and supported. The list is rather exhaustive so I’ll just summarize by saying that some people need to act more maturely, and if they cannot do this, it’s just because it’s in their nature to act like babies. 

I hope all of that made sense, and if it didn’t, here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Europe Doesn’t Trust Google 

] However, we’ve come to learn that behind all the glitz and glamor, some tech companies are always up to no good. On Wednesday, the European Commission slapped Google with a a fine for breaching EU antitrust rules. According to the official press release regarding the matter, Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which hinders any rival of the Company from placing their own ads on these sites. 

In other words, Google has structured the online advertising playing field in their favor. 

“Today the commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts. Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition…”

Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner, European Commission 

The European Commission shared that over the course of the last few years, through AdSense for Search, Google has held market shared above 90% in the national markets for general search, making it near impossible for competitors in online search advertising to sell ad space within Google’s search engine results pages. 

He’s At It Again

Regardless of one’s political affiliations, we can all agree that President Donald Trump has an affinity for making sure he dominates the headlines on a near-daily basis. This time, President Trump is catching heat for accusing John McCain, the late Senator, of misleading the White House about his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Let’s make one thing clear, you’re really not supposed to speak ill of the diseased, no matter who you are. Moving on, it was proven that Trump’s claims regarding McCain’s vote on the ACA, back in the day, were false. Now, Trump is getting flack for both accusing someone who isn’t alive, and for doing so in falsehood. 

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Politics

Here’s What You Missed (3/20/19)

Daniel Chase

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In life you will meet a plethora of people, and, believe it or not, not every person will be someone you enjoy meeting. You’ll come across people with bold opinions, but not enough courage to share them with you, or maybe you’ll speak to someone with a relatively low-stakes opinion but they’ll talk your ear off about it. Of the people I’ve come in contact with, my favorites are the ones who look you dead in the eye, and make you feel like you’re heard when you speak.

These people, though potentially strange to you, will take a vested interest in what you have to say, and there’s no better feeling in the world. In addition to this, when you sense mutual respect in a dynamic, that’s also incredible. What I’m trying to say is that there are billions of people on this planet and, while many are afraid to admit it, some truly want to meet you. 

Get out there and meet some new friends, here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Google Tron

Google on Tuesday announced the unveiling of a video game streaming service called Stadia which will allow users to play the game that they love without the need for purchasing wallet-emptying consoles or computers. In terms of rendering the games for user play, this work will be handled by Google’s cloud platform. Per the details of the official announcement, with Stadia, YouTube watchers will be able to click “Play now” at the end of a video and their game will start within five seconds. Perhaps the craziest part about Stadia is that the “data center is the platform,” meaning that players can start at one platform and continue where they left off on any advice capable of connecting to Google. 

Gamers can use keyboards and mice, or use a specially-designed Stadia controller that will be sold later in the year. According to Google, Stadia will support 4K gaming t 60fps with HDR, with plans to allow for 8K gaming in the near future. The only missing piece of Google’s into the billion-dollar gaming industry is that the Company has yet to sign on game studios to build a gaming library for Stadia. Because the platform won’t require a console, it may very well only work with games designed for Stadia.

“The power and accessibility of streaming will give billions unprecedented opportunities to play video games in the future. We are proud to partner with Google on Stadia, building on what we’ve learned with Project Stream via Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This is only the beginning, and we can’t wait to continue collaborating closely with Google on what’s next for Stadia.”

Yves Guillemot, Chief Executive Officer, Ubisoft

Kamala The Way Up

We’re getting closer and closer to the upcoming 2020 presidential election and the candidates are hot on the trail to convince Americans to vote them into office. According to a new poll conducted by CNN, Sen. Kamala Harris shot up eight points on Tuesday, with her having only gained support in the week after the declaration of her candidacy. The poll also found that voter excitement is shaping up to outpace the level seen for any presidential election since 2000. 40% of respondents said they are “extremely enthusiastic” about voting for president. My hope is that those people actually get out and vote!

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Politics

Here’s What You Missed (3/19/19)

Daniel Chase

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on

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Few people realize that what it means to be a kid, in society, has dramatically changed over the course of the last few years. It’s almost as if we are expecting kids to grow up so fast that we cut their childhoods short. For example, in America, there are pre-schools that parents give arms and legs to attend because, twenty years down the line, students who attended these pre-schools ended up attending Ivy League universities.

We’ve seen, firsthand, with the college scandal all over the news the last couple of weeks, that the majority of these parents cared more about attending elite schools than the kids did. Why can’t we place emphases on things like going outside, having good moral values, treating others with respect? Why do we need children to start thinking about college as soon as they’re born, or ask them what they want to do when they grow up?

Let kids be kids, and here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Welcome To The Space Web

After four years and billions in funding requests, OneWeb launched and deployed the first of six satellites in a planned constellation of hundreds several weeks ago. For those unfamiliar with OneWeb, it is one of few companies, including SpaceX, determined to use thousands of satellites to create a global-internet system for every person on the planet. Per TechCrunch’s profile on the company, OneWeb plans on launching nearly one-thousand satellites to about a 1,100-kilometer low Earth orbit, where these devices “will be able to provide broadband to practically anywhere on Earth.” 

In their pursuit of covering every nook and cranny of the planet with internet, OneWeb has raised nearly $1.5 billion in funding to start mass production of their satellites. Prior to last month’s launch, investors were concerned with the future of the Company and its ability to meet its self-set deadlines. Following the launch, we now know that OneWeb means business. 

“With the recent successful launch of our first six satellites, near-completion of our innovative satellite manufacturing facility with our partner Airbus, progress towards fully securing our ITU priority spectrum position, and the singing of our first customer contracts, OneWeb is moving from the planning and development stage to deployment of our full constellation…”

Adrian Steckel, Chief Executive Officer, OneWeb

Donald Gets Twitter Happy 

Most Americans are aware of the fact that President Donald Trump has a slight inkling towards using Twitter to share his feelings on a multitude of happenings around the White House, or even the country for that matter. Having said that, over the weekend, President Trump broke his personal record for tweets when he birded out twenty-nine different tweets. Contrary to his track record, none of his weekend-tweets were jarring or racist, but more so quantitative and exhaustive. 

“We have a seriously dangerous normalcy bias, where we move on because we desperately want to pretend it’s okay. Trump’s Twitter meltdown today — which shows a deranged and unhinged person — will just be forgotten by Monday afternoon. But the deranged man will still control the nukes…”

Brian Klass, Political Scientist 

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