Podcast 272

Christmas Insanity. Stories we are missing because of all the reporting on Congress, Oil, Australia and … Christmas. Suddenly we have to be told how to ‘deal’ with the Christmas Holiday, by practicing ‘abundance without attachment’. In english, that means we should not criticize commercialism, or judge materialism, but be unattached to money and just enjoy ‘the experience’. (Editor’s Note: I am well acquainted with the concept of practicing non attachment, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the rash of lazy journalism regarding spending money during the ‘holiday season’.) The biggest problem is expectations, being generating because of all the emotional stimuli in commercials and these incessantly cheerful all christmas all the time radio stations. Maybe the bad reporting comes from the fact that this is the worst time of the year to be doing issues or news based media, since people are checking out. Nothing is wrong with materialism, even the love of money. What’s wrong is the media’s obsession with predicting economic performance based on individual sales days like black Friday and Cyber Monday. The whole season becomes an economic bellwether? The truth is, its only since about the 1930’s in the US that Christmas per se, has become this macro holiday, with all its attendant markers for the wider economy. The best Christmas gift so far? The Sony Hackers. Revealing how Hollywood is actually the rapacious capitalist, rather than Wall Street. Anyone want to see if millionaire Senator Elizabeth Warren will take on greedy Hollywood execs? Why is it always Wall Street Banks, or dirty industrial companies. Eew. Do we still value people who actually make things? Or do we care more about the perfumed princes and princesses of Hollywood and the whales, global warming, public-private partnerships to preserve water and other nonsense. MSNBC’s days may be numbered. A new digital service called MSNBC Shift will be testing programming for the ailing progressive mouthpiece no one is listening to. Don’t rule out a completely new approach’ sports or entertainment. While Fox enjoys huge audience numbers, they sit astride a delivery channel (cable television) that may actually have an expiration date. Remember when Global Warming enthusiasts said warming causes tornadoes? The US had fewer tornadoes in the last three years, since they started measuring these things back in the 1950’s. And finally, the dumbest story of the week; “Scientists” say the warmer it is, the less you make. 54 degrees is the optimal temperature for productivity. Sigh. Sponsored by Baklund R & D

Podcast 268

Not 1995! Lots of stories in the news about real estate and consumer culture, and the state of retail. Its starting to feel like the business models that have propelled us from the 90’s aren’t working so well anymore. Now analysts wonder why millennials aren’t buying homes. Zillow theorizes that people are trapped in a high rent situation that prevents them from saving for a home down payment. There’s a greater question though. While we have been subjected to one rosy scenario after another about housing’s comeback — which really hasn’t materialized —  when repairs, taxes, assessments, interest and other costs of home loans over thirty years are considered, do you think owning really that much economical? With millennials burdened by student loans, the specter of higher lifetime social security costs and poor quality employment, is anyone really that surprised they’re not in the home buying mood? Then, when you consider higher spending and debt levels, and the pension commitments for state and local governments, would you say you think taxes will be going down, or up? Potential buyers are also factoring this in, and the cost of the urban utopia created by subsidies, federal spending and higher taxation. Finally, have you priced homes in these urban utopias millennials supposedly want to live in? By the way, a new survey says the one thing people ‘blow’ their budget on these days is eating out, all the more expensive in the ‘urban utopia’, ruled by broke hipsters. When millennials finally do start families, they’ll be looking in the suburbs for housing because its more affordable. Then there’s the retail question. This week congress decided not to tax purchases made on the Internet, much to the chagrin of retailers that have been manhandling their legislators to push for a tax to ‘even the playing field’. More and more there are examples of how retailers want to use law and licensing to fence off competition. Meanwhile their business models suck. Poor service, high prices, snooty attitudes; It’s no wonder people want to buy things on line. Uber’s fight to get into Portland and New York City are just two examples; There taxi drivers try to fence off competition by selling ‘licenses’ rather than providing a service people want. We’re on the cusp of big changes when it comes to consumer culture in America, and it’s a good thing. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and by Depotstar

Podcast 265

China Wins! Weekend updates start with the news that China has overtaken the US as the largest economy in the world. Except it’s not true. According to the IMF, using one measurement of economic magnitude, China has overtaken the US. Of course the US media jumps all over this story despite the fact that the measurement called PPP is controversial for many reasons. In fact China’s economy is considerably smaller and poorer than the US. However, it should be pointed out, when your neighbor is saying ‘things are better now’; if the US continues to have sub par growth (par in this case would be a normal dynamic growth of 4% or more for the same length of time as the recession), China will eventually overtake us. All the more reason to advocate growth policies focused on production, rather than trying to stimulate consumption. Protesters, variously reported as protesting the Ferguson Grand Jury decision and advocating for a higher minimum wage, blocked I35W just outside of the downtown Minneapolis. (Editor’s Note: The confusion in reporting got me talking about minimum wage, but the effect is the same. I don’t understand how making people angry because they sit in traffic for an hour makes them amenable to the cause, whatever that is.) The kinds of people who make more money are the people who develop time and productivity saving innovations, and figure out how to market them. Increasing wages by fiat won’t make anyone’s life better in the long run. Moreover, it’s possible in the short run, some fast food and service industries that employ human beings will automate most of these processes and actually improve service and the quality of their product. Low and middle skilled labor in the next twenty five years will face some grim employment challenges. Protesting this sea-change in the production and labor equation, is spitting into the wind. Black Friday sales are down, provoking all kinds of discussion about ‘what it means for the economy and retailers’. Probably nothing, either way. But, it does provoke a discussion about why some retailers are going out of business, and it isn’t because they’re not offering discounts. Its because they’re not retooling properly for the new consumers who don’t want to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for the best deals, and they want better service. Some stories from the consumer front prove this thesis. For example, a new study says people care more about the WIFI connection than they do the bed, when it comes to choosing a travel hotel. Did the North Koreans really hack Sony Pictures. Not so fast. Investigators now think it was a disgruntled employee. But the real story is how much these Hollywood types are making … but you won’t see any minimum wage protesters on the Sony studio complex. Meanwhile, more TV viewers are streaming their favorite shows, and its happening with radio too as people listen to podcasts and services like Pandora, over the internet. Finally, that all meat diet you’re on may actually be better for your heart than the gluten free bagel diet. New studies show its the carbs that kill your heart. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul, and by Depotstar

Podcast 263

Nashville. Live from a hotel room in Music City. White Line Fever. Over eating on Thanksgiving and not enough sleep finally pushes The Bob Davis Podcasts to splurge for a hotel room in the heart of Tennessee, after a speed run through the Blue Ridge Mountains, across the Smokies. (Editor’s Note: We checked with the General Manager and the expenses have been approved.) The next leg of the trip will be north through Southern Illinois. In the meantime, throughout the holiday news stories have been brewing but our minds have been on other concerns; Family. Football. Eating. Sleeping. As we return to the new work week what stories will be making headlines? It was odd to hear protesters shouting, “No Peace, No Justice and no more Black Fridays” this weekend since the Bob Davis Podcasts advocated boycotting Black Friday weeks before the current spate of protests erupted. But not for the same reasons. Expect all sorts of hype from the National Retailers about what a great year it was in spite of the madness. Early estimates indicate lower numbers this year, but don’t expect to hear that. Black Friday has become nothing more than an excuse for publicly traded retailers to hype their stocks before the end of the fourth quarter. As the new congress prepares to be sworn in (one more election; a run off in Louisiana), get ready for the media to really push the ‘Republicans are Obstructionists’ story line, with full cooperation from the White House. Is that how it will be? Expect changes in Democratic Party leadership, and perhaps some changes on the Republican side too. Meanwhile the ‘shakeup’ at the White House turns out to be cosmetic as President Obama dumps Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, but his inner circle remains untouched as predicted by The Bob Davis Podcasts. With ISIS grabbing headlines (stoning homosexuals and threatening to behead women tend to do that), Russia continues destabilizing the Ukraine. New concerns about Russian pressure of Latvia, Estonia and Finland concern EU leaders. What about that NATO ‘Quick Reaction Force’ announced at the G8 meeting this year? Turns out NATO does not have the equipment or the budget. And you wonder how European countries are able to provide such lavish benefits to their people; They’re not spending it on defense. The United States still stands as the primary defense for Europe, and this could make the Russia Story very big in 2015. New numbers released this weekend say that Minnesota’s voter turn out in the 2014 election cycle hit lows not seen since 1986. And still, Republicans were unable to win state-wide offices. Is it the party? The Candidates? Or the Voters? Finally, another polar vortex dropping temperatures in the Upper Midwest, as The Bob Davis Podcasts makes its way north. Sponsored by Depotstar. [Powerpress]

Podcast 261

Giving Thanks? Is it Thanksgiving or Halloween? Because sometimes it’s hard to tell. In keeping with the snark of the times, some of the things that are the most irritating about the nearly four day “Thanksgiving” “Holiday”. First, the Pilgrims don’t have much to do with it. You can thank that dictator Lincoln for the ‘holiday’, and that dictator Franklin Roosevelt for moving “Thanksgiving” so we could celebrate an orgy of consumption. For God’s sake, don’t blame the Pilgrims. What about the down market behavior? If you watch TV 24/7 you wouldn’t be worrying about beheadings or the plummeting price of commodities, you’d be worried about downmarket behavior that would make Judge Judy happy. Fighting over wide screen TV’s, Barbies, panties and stealing stuff from other people’s carts so you can get the deal. Staying with relatives? The relentless blare of the TV and endless commercials for ED medication, back pain mitigators, cures for baldness, vitamin drinks, charities, car dealers, is slightly more informative than local TV news, featuring 40 minutes of round robin coverage from — you guessed it — the local Wal Mart! Our solemn attitude of gratitude gives way to buying, you know, stuff. Thanksgiving also signals the quickening; The vaunted ‘Holiday Season’ where reality rarely meets expectations and expectations are very, very high. In Podcast 261, a list of ways to mitigate the disaster, especially if you’re a man. (Editors Note: I’m thinking about a cruise next year, that starts the week before Thanksgiving and ends about January 1oth. You know you’re in trouble when you start envying the people on ‘Survivor’.) Sponsored by Depotstar.

Podcast 253

Eyes On The Prize. Organize! Getting you ready for the week ahead, looking deeper than lazy TV hosts and producers, and talk radio. How much more can be said about Jonathon Gruber, the ‘architect’ of Obama Care, and his comments concerning the stupidity of the American voter? We’ve all seen the video. If not, you can watch this CNN package and all the videos fit to distribute, here. While people decry the mainstream media’s vacuous content, they sure do seem to talk about what the media wants everyone to talk about. Seems like Gruber was worth every penny, for supporters of Obama Care. If Republicans want change, they have to start ‘”no excuse” organizing at the precinct level. Another big surprise, apparently, is the fact that President Obama is not ‘cooperating’ with the ‘mandate’ congressional republicans ‘have been given by the voters’. The President has two more years to serve, and if politically active people in Minnesota want to influence politics after January of 2017, they’d better start working on the 2016 election now. Working on getting votes and money out of precincts. Democrats are doubling down on progressive ideas and populist tactics and if 2014 proved anything, it proved getting Republicans out to vote in larger numbers than Democrats, wins elections for Republicans. Now, the exception to that rule is Minnesota, where consultants, state party officials and other ‘Rasputins’ behind the scenes, do not want so called movement candidates. If Minnesota Republicans want victory, they will have to snatch it for themselves. Keep your eyes on the prize. Organize. The Bob Davis Podcasts continues to be ahead of the news headlines these days. Podcast 252 concentrated on the specter of Deflation, predictive of the G-20 conference this weekend where members pledged to dump another 2 Trillion dollars of cotton candy on the problem economies of the world, which now includes most of Europe (and thus the EU), Russia, China, Brazil and you never know, maybe even the US. With the price of oil and other key commodities dropping, watch Russia, not Ferguson, Missouri. A confrontation is brewing between Russia — now friends with China — the US and NATO over the Ukraine. Do we trust the President to be able to handle such a crisis? The Bob Davis Podcasts was the first to suggest boycotting Black Friday — not because we hate retail but because we think the National Retailers have pressed Black Friday numbers as an economic bellwether for too long. Now suddenly come the stories saying the best deals aren’t on Black Friday … they’re right now! And as Farmers are stuck with grain in elevators, electric companies can’t get coal, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul’s much vaunted Toy Train ‘The Northstar’ is sidelined, statists like Jessie Ventura and Tim Pawlenty can blame Grandpa Warren Buffett’s railroad, hauling ever cheapening oil rather than the farmer’s grain, or the power company’s coal. Building the Keystone XL pipeline would ease some of the pressure on Farmers, as well as lower costs for oil producers, but don’t count on it. Will there be enough votes to override a Presidential Veto of a Pipeline bill? And, ice on the Superior this week does not necessarily mean a cold winter, but with temperatures in the single digits in the Upper Midwest, our bodies are struggling to adjust. Sponsored by Baklund R & D

Podcast 251

Boycott Black Friday. Updates for your midweek from The Bob Davis Podcasts. Observations from the most recent speaking engagement at the Liberty Tea Party Patriots meeting in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, caps final discussion of Election 2014. If CNN and MSNBC ratings (getting beat by the Weather Channel) are any indication, most people have moved on, or are ready to move on. We’ll save discussion of what could, should, might happen until after the new congress is sworn in, after January 7th, 2015. Meanwhile it has started again. ‘It’, is the incessant need of the media to dissect and predict the ‘outcome’ of Black Friday sales numbers, and what they mean for the greater ‘economy’, or the indication of the ‘mood of the consumer’. Can we please give it a rest? Every time a retail chain announces it will be open on Thanksgiving day, more coverage ensues. Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. Yes, the Pilgrims prayed, but these days it’s more about Turkey, Football, three bean salad and the cheese ball than anything else. If people want to go shopping, let them, but we should boycott Black Friday, and Black Thursday Night, and Black Saturday and Black Sunday just to stymie the National Retailers Propaganda wing and the news channels crowing. Meanwhile, women no longer want to be thin. They want booty. Big Booty. According to French Sociologists its about economic security. In tough times men are drawn to the hips and buttox of women, and psychologically they want to comply, to the extent that sales of padded panties, botox buttox injections and implants are skyrocketing. Sir Mix A Lot is a prophet! The President has a new executive order initiative; In a deal with China, the US pledges to cut carbon emissions (again) 25 to 30 percent lower than 2005 levels, and China pledges to (wait for it), work on the problem. Question: Does President Obama ever actually get anything in a negotiation? You’ve seen the movie ‘Birds’, right? The Alfred Hitchcock Thriller Classic? Double Crested Cormorants – 800 of them – are holding up demolition of the old Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. Authorities have decided to spend 33 million dollars (forty thousand dollars per bird) to move them. Just blow the bridge. They’ll move. Does news like this make you want to go underground? A developer has turned an old SAC Missile Silo into a luxury ‘doomsday bunker’. Several 1800 square foot apartments, swimming pool, recreation space, and special forces trained armed guards make your ‘Walking Dead Scenario’ sweet! A new lost gospel says Jesus was married, had two kids and was connected to Elite Romans. And finally, the Mormons are finally saying Joseph Smith had as many as forty wives. His first wife only knew about four of them and she was not pleased. Sponsored by Xgovernment Cars and by Depotstar