Monthly Archives: September 2012

JON STEWART: Mitt Romney Just Keeps Getting ‘Dumber’

via Business Insider: 

 

Jon Stewart mocked Mitt Romney‘s embattled presidential campaign on The Daily Show last night, debuting a new segment titled “Barack Obama Is The Luckiest Dude On The Planet.”

Pointing out Romney’s recent flip-flops on healthcare and taxes, Stewart asks: “What is happening to Mitt Romney?”

“Whatever his missteps are as a candidate, Barack Obama is surging in the polls because the closer we get to the election, the dumber Mitt Romney appears to be getting.”

Watch the full clip below:

Bill Clinton Has Figured Out How He Could Be President Again

via Business Insider: 

 

Taegan Goddard at Political Wire alerts us to this hilarious part of Bill Clinton‘s interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan last night, in which the former president reveals just how much he’s thought about being president again.

bill clinton cnn

First, Clinton explained to Morgan that having a two-term limit on presidents is better than having none, adding that “maybe someday the rules will be changed so if you can serve two years and lay out and—serve two terms and lay out a term or two, you could run again because for a simple reason, we’re all living so much longer and we’re maintaining the capacity to work and think clearly for a longer period.”

Then Morgan asked if the 42nd U.S. president could ever become prime minister of England.

Clinton’s response says everything:

“There are only two countries I’m eligible to run for the leadership position in: If I move to Ireland and buy a house, I can—I can run for president of Ireland, because of my Irish heritage. 

And because I was born in Arkansas, which is part of the Louisiana Purchase, any person anywhere in the world that was born in a place that ever was part of the French empire, if you move to—if you live in France for six months and speak French, you can run for president.

However, I once polled very well in a French presidential race. And I said, you know, this is great, but that’s the best I’d ever do because once they heard my broken French with a Southern accent, I would drop into single digits within a week and I’d be toast. I just don’t think—that’s what I think. I think the system we have may have some opportunity costs.”

BRUTAL: Democrats Nail Mitt Romney Over His New Campaign Ad

via Business Insider: 

 

In an aggressive effort to quell the damage over his unfortunate “47-percent” comments, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney overhauled his campaign’s ad strategy today, pulling all of his existing media placements in favor of a new ad that makes a straightforward appeal to voters.

But Democrats aren’t letting Romney get off so easily. Just hours after the new Romney ad launched, the Democratic National Committee released their own video response.

The ad, titled “Those People,” uses Romney’s own commercial to slam the Republican candidate as out-of-touch with the American people. And the effect is pretty brutal.

Watch the video below:

 

Everything You Need To Know About The Catalan Secession Movement That’s Throwing Spain Into A New Crisis

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While Spanish voters descend on Madrid in massive protest gatherings, another major headache for the Spanish government is in the works: a secession movement in Spain’s most economically critical region, Catalonia.

Artur Mas CiU Catalonia

Catalonia, Spain’s largest region by output, accounting for 18.7 percent of Spain’s total GDP, is also the most indebted – its total debts of 42 billion euros are worth nearly 4 percent of the entire country’s economic output.

As the country’s most indebted region, Catalonia has already had to request a bailout from the central government – to the tune of just over 5 billion euros.

Meanwhile, Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy is trying to push through unpopular austerity measures and economic reforms that would pave the way for additional aid from troika lenders when necessary, but Artur Mas, the Catalan president, will have none of that.

A spokesman for the Catalan regional government declared after the region requested their 5 billion euro bailout from the central government, “We will not accept political conditions for the aid.”

Then, Catalonia asked for more autonomy in collecting taxes, a proposal Rajoy flatly rejected, further fueling the conflict.

Striking back against the central government today, Mas called for early regional elections in November, and even a discussion on secession from Spain. Via Reuters’ Julien Toyer and Fiona Ortiz:

Artur Mas, the conservative president of Catalonia, announced on Tuesday he would hold early elections in November after Rajoy rejected his call for more tax autonomy.

The vote, likely to be presented politically as a referendum for secession, is a challenge to Rajoy, who’s People’s Party has threatened to take central control over the budgets of regions like Catalonia that fail to meet deficit reduction targets.

Catalonia would face a number of constitutional hurdles to secede, and such an outcome is seen as unlikely any time soon.

Analysts say Mas is using the growing independence sentiment as a threat over Madrid to secure more fiscal autonomy.

And Catalans by and large do not like being a part of Spain. A recent Roubini Global Economics client briefing highlights just how bad sentiment there was last time a referendum on the issue was taken:

In December 2009, an informal referendum on Catalan independence took place, based on the question of whether Catalonia should become an independent state within the EU. Almost 95% of those who voted wanted Catalonia to leave Spain; however, Madrid dismissed the referendum and it had no legal impact, not least because only 30% of the 700,000 eligible voters turned up to vote.

The nationalist CiU party in Catalonia is dangerously close to a majority in the regional parliament.

SocGen’s Ciarán O’Hagan writes in a note this morning that they only need to secure six more seats:

Early elections in Catalonia on 23 November managed to raise worries a notch. The centre right Catalan nationalists, as Convergència i Unió (CiU) have called them, think the results will improve their representation, adding to the pressure for fiscal separatism. In November 2010, they won 62 seats out of a total 135 in the regional parliament, up from 48 seats in 2006. So 68 seats needed for a majority, six more than today.

If they can take control, the standoff between the Spanish central government and Catalonia will likely get even worse, further jeopardizing Spain’s ability to comply with aid request going forward and perhaps ultimately the efficacy of the ECB’s plan to save the euro.

Citi’s Guillaume Menuet writes today that “this announcement appears to be a direct challenge to Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy” and that “it highlights in our view the growing problem that the central government will face when trying to impose a higher degree of control on regions that are net contributors to the country’s budget.”

As Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid opines, “It seems that trying to be a national level European political expert is necessary these days, but maybe Spain is showing that you also need to immerse yourself in regional politics too.”

 

While The Little Guy Rushes In, Here’s More Evidence That Big Investors Are Dumping This Rally

via Business Insider: 

 

Yesterday, we highlighted a note from Deutsche Bank chief equity strategist Binky Chadha pointing out that hedge funds are still underweight stocks while inflows into equity ETFs – a common investment vehicle for retail investors – are surging at record pace.

 

In a note today, BofA equity strategist Savita Subramanian writes that she’s basically seeing the same thing among her client base: No one is really buying stocks right now.

From the note:

Last week (9/17-9/21), during which the S&P 500 was down 0.4%, BofAML clients were small net sellers of US stocks in the amount of $176mn. This was the third consecutive week of net sales, as clients have taken profits after QE3 and the summer rally. Hedge funds led last week’s outflows, and institutional clients were also net sellers. Private clients bought US stocks for the first time in twelve weeks (Chart 1), but this was almost entirely due to ETFs. Excluding ETFs, private clients were also net sellers of US stocks. By market cap, all three size segments saw net sales last week.

Echoing Chadha’s comments yesterday, Subramanian says BofAML private clients are flocking to stock market exposure via ETFs in droves. She writes that “private clients’ net buys of ETFs were the second-largest in the history of our data (since 2008).”

And the stocks the individual investors are buying most, according to Subramanian: tech stocks, which suggests perhaps a more aggressive belief in a cyclical market rally.

 

KRUGMAN: Here’s How Bad The Economy Would Have Been If We’d Followed The Republican Plan

via Business Insider: 

 

No one’s happy about the weak U.S. economy, but one way to keep it in perspective is to compare it with the even weaker Europe economy.

You’ll recall that, a couple of years ago, two things happened:

First, Europe embarked on a path of “austerity”—government spending cuts—to try to shrink its deficits and get its debt problem under control. This was supposed to restore “confidence” to the private sector, which would then result in an economic growth boom that would allow Europe to grow its way out of its problems.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Republicans in Congress (and the Tea Party) suddenly became obsessed with the U.S.’s own deficit—a deficit that the GOP bears at least half of the responsibility for creating—and demanded that the U.S. immediately pursue an austerity path of its own. Specifically, the Republicans pushed the U.S. to the brink of default while holding out for enormous spending cuts. The Republicans scuttled a “grand bargain” proposed by President Obama that would have put together a 10-year plan to gradually reduce the deficit. Then, in a last-minute compromise, the government agreed to postpone immediate spending cuts in favor of the “Fiscal Cliff” that we’re facing on January 1.

In other words, unlike Europe, the U.S. postponed austerity.

So, which path worked better?

Here’s a chart Paul Krugman just published. The U.S. is in red. Europe is in blue.

 

US vs Europe

Paul Krugman, New York Times

 

The U.S. will have to begin to solve its debt and deficit problems soon—hopefully with an intelligent 10- or 20-year plan. But there’s no doubt about which approach has worked better in the short term: The U.S. approach.

Austerity, meanwhile, has been a disaster.

Check Out Kelly Osbourne’s $250K Manicure

via Business Insider: 

 

UPDATE: Kelly Osbourne is sorry if her expensive manicure offended you.

 

After some backlash, the E! red carpet correspondet tweeted Wednesday, “I see that my nail polish has offended some of you, however I see your point, but it was a once in a lifetime experience #MyApologies”

“Please forgive me for not regretting it,” she continued. “It made me feel like a queen!”

***

“Fashion Police” host Kelly Osbourne donned a lavender gown and black clutch to report live for E! on Sunday’s Emmy’s red carpet.

But Osbourne’s most expensive accessory of the night was her $250,000 manicure.

The costly nail job was thanks to a polish made of black diamonds, courtesy of Los Angeles-based jeweler Azature.

The polish contains 267 carats of crushed black diamond powder in each bottle, explaining the quarter-of-a-million-dollar price tag.

Jennifer Lopez is the only other celeb to sport such pricey nails in the past.

Osbourne revealed to E! on the red carpet, “I’ve been so scared to touch anything because its powdered black diamonds… worth $250,000 … I have not touched a thing all day.”

She also tweeted a photo of the bottle of polish, with the caption, “Absolutely sh*ting myself to have that much money on my nails!”

 

Kelly Osbourne Nail Polish

Twitter

 

While only one bottle of the 267-carat nail polish was produced, other $25 versions of the fancy paint went on sale this month at LA store Fred Segal.

Justin Timberlake’s Hip New Myspace Looks Awfully Familiar

via Business Insider: 

 

It’s been more than a year since Chris and Tim Vanderhook bought the floundering Myspace for $35 million from Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp (remember Murdoch paid $580 million for the site in ’05), and we’re finally getting a peek at the brothers’ investment. 

The duo and investor Justin Timberlake debuted the new site last night in Los Angeles delivering a sleek, much-needed makeover to what once was THE go-to social venue.

The design falls somewhere in between a marriage of Pinterest mixed with the new USA Today redesign.

Tour JT’s Myspace makeover >

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Vanderhooks and Timberlake said one of their main focuses with the Myspace makeover is artist integration.

However, with TwitterRicky Gervais‘ new appInstagram (the list goes on and on), will big name celebs sign on?

Timberlake thinks so. He told THR he sees it as a chance to truly marry the world of music and social media.

“I see this … as bridging the gap,” says Timberlake. “It’s just bringing the connection that much closer while still making the artist feel comfortable that they can make their art, lock themselves in a room and torture themselves as they do, and still find a way to comfortably connect with their fan base.”

So, is it worth all of the hullabaloo?

 

Here’s the old MySpace from back in the day.

And, the new Myspace. Say hello to a reformatted homepage devoid of clutter. It practically looks like a desktop background.

Going over the “latest” bar will give you the following stream of updates in a scrolling panel. It really reminds us of …

the Pinterest homepage.

Wait. Let’s see that again.

Yep. One let’s us scroll up and down, while the other allows us to go side from side. 

Granted, that’s the only main similarity. The rest of it feels like an elaborate iPad app. Here’s where you can share your playlists …

What we like: Whereas Facebook allows you to share photos of individual events, this allows you to share both photos and songs from any particular occurrence to help re-create the same experience.

… and your photos.

As it has been for the past few years, the platform will continue to be a home primarily to artists.

And, you’ll be able to access all of an artists’ music. Timberlake is reaching out to musicians he knows to be Beta testers.

Remember the top 8 which highlighted best friends?

Artists will also get the opportunity to promote their top fans and artists, too. Think of it as an artist’s “top 8.” Is this what it may look like?

Take a look at the entire “new” Myspace experience. What do you think?

This 24-Year-Old Chinese Popstar Is Dating A 12-Year-Old Model

via Business Insider: 

 

Zhang Muyi, a Chinese pop singer and his girlfriend, Canadian child model Akama Miki, are the Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez of China.

Zhang Muyi

The only difference is that while Justin and Selena have a two-year age gap, there is a 12-year age difference between Zhang and Akama—he is 24 and she is … 12-years-old.

But despite the age difference being illegal, the couple are not trying to hide their love. In fact, they have made their relationship very public by flirting and posting photos on China’s popular social media site, Weibo.

While the couple have around one million followers, they only follow each other.

 

Zhang Muyi

Weibo/muyi

Zhang posted this photo of the couple on the beach, with the caption “I love you.”

Just after her recent 12th birthday, Akama wrote on Zhang’s Weibo page, “Wait until I’m old enough to marry you, and then I’m going to say ‘I do.”

 

Zhang responded, “I simply can’t wait for these next four birthdays of yours to pass, I’m counting down each one.”

And they don’t care if you think their relationship is odd, or inappropriate.

“There’s nothing we can do about this, nor do we feel the need to prove anything to these people,” Zhang wrote on his page. “All we can do is continue to persevere with our love, our life, and being together.”

The couple first met when Akama was just eight-years-old and Zhang was hired to be her music coach.

After a year of working with Zhang, Akama won the 2009 National New Silk Road Modeling Competition’s Children Pageant.

Four years later, the now-couple recorded a duet titled “Pretty Boy.” Watch the emotionless music video below:

 

Watch out for the couple’s next single “Courageous Love.”

Publicity stunt or true love? You decide.