Saturday, August 31, 2013

Syria:French President Stands By Obama

French President Francois Hollande is intent on punishing the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for his use of chemical weapons against his own people,in defiance of the international community.He is prepared to do this with France's significant miltary assets,which are ranked as sixth in the Global Firepower top ten-just behind the UK and just ahead of Germany.These include the Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter;the Dassault Rafale fighter;and the Dassault-Breguet Super Etendard.
France has an aircraft carrier,the Charles de Gaulle,which can launch a number of fighter aircraft into battle with their bombs and air to ground missiles.Aircraft are also stationed on the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean,and these may be scrambled for any action against Syria.As well,France possesses the Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missile.
Mr.Hollande does not have to get the French Parliament's approval to task the armed forces.He will not send them against Damascus alone,however.He wants to have allies participating in military action,so he is waiting for Washington to get itself organised.
Besides France's air power,its navy has 180 ships,including 22 frigates;9 corvettes;10 submarines;and 4 amphibious asault ships.Total active frontline personnel in the French military number 362,485,plus 419,000 active reserve.The army is not expected to be used against Syria,but it has 571 tanks;6728 armoured fighting vehicles;and 251 self-propelled guns.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Birthday People:August 30-31,2013

August 30-Actress Cameron Diaz is 41.August 31-Actor and Comedian Chris Tucker,41.He is best known for the "Rush Hour" movies.He also starred in his good friend Michael Jackson's video "You Rock My World."*Have a great Labor Day weekend.*Take only photographs;leave only footprints.

Syria:What the President Must Do

A new report coming out of Syria says that the Bashar al-Assad regime dropped an incendiary bomb such as napalm on a school playground,inflicting more horrible injuries on its own people.The focus of the international community,however,remains on its alleged chemical weapons attack of August 21,which killed up to a thousand Syrians.A team of UN inspectors remains in Syria tonight,collecting blood samples from the victims and interviewing them.They are planning to leave on Saturday and deliver their report next week.*At the same time,the US government will be releasing its own report based on the intelligence it has been gathering about the attack-probably on Friday.Reportedly this includes intercepts of conversations about the chemical weapons attack.We don't have the crib notes of Assad to his commanders,said Congressman Mike Rogers,R-Michagan,Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee,but when you put it all together,it is very clear that Assad was responsible.We know how the command and control works in these units.It was clear there was some degree of command and control being exercised.Looking at all the levels and the different pieces,the answer is definitely yes.*Under the War Powers Act,I don't believe there has to be a vote on military action,but you have to have these discussions with Congress.You have to bring the members in.I think the administration is obligated to do that,Congressman Rogers indicated.The president does not have to get Congress' approval for miltary action,added Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,an elder statesman on national security issues,but he is required to consult with Congress,and it would be in his best interest to conslut with Congress,rather than act in a unilateral fashion,the senator advised.*In that spirit,the Obama administration held a 90 minute conference call with members of Congress Thursday evening.Partcipating were Secretary of State John Kerry;Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel;National Security Advisor Susan Rice;and Director of National Intelligence James R.Clapper.According to a member of Congress on the call,the admisitration said it has no doubt the Syrian government was behind the attack,but no decision has been made on military action,and there is no timetable.They have a broad range of options.Both action and inaction on Syria carry risk and consequence,Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reportedly said on the conference call.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ballmer's Departure:Risk and Opportunity

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is to resign upon his successor's appointment.He has headed the tech titan since 2000.*Ballmer and Microsoft have been laggards,said Matthew McCormick,portfolio manager at Bahl and Gaynor Investment Counsel.It opens up so many doors.You're gonna see some capital returned to shareholders,some new thought and leadership.We think there's gonna be more unlocking of value throughout the tech sector.*They need someone from the outside.They need to make a move.We have high expectations Microsoft is gonna do something big.The tech sector has the best opportunity for growth going forward.*Microsoft's shares have lost 43% of their value since Ballmer took over.Rick Sherlund of Nomura Securities said we don't believe there is a successor in waiting.It's a failure of management.*Dan Niles,chief investment officer at Alpha One Capital Partners,said I think you're gonna get a dividend increase and a buyback increase.It's definitely a short term play.It's more about multiple expansion.*CEO changes are tough when you're in a business like this.The only way Ballmer's gone is Bill Gates wants hime gone.Someone from inside would be a bad decision.I think there are good CEOs out there.They need to look outside the box.They need a fresh perspective,Dan Niles observed.*Ballmer's management system created internal divisions,said Kirk Eichenwald of Vanity Fair magazine.The company needs to be busted up.It has so many divisions that have nothing to do with each other.Focus each division on what it does well,and sell off those that don't do well.*Microsoft(MSFT)

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Jobs":Wozniak Dismisses Kutcher Version of Events

The film "Jobs" starring Ashton Kutcher and Lesley Anne Warren was released August 16.*I thought the acting was great,said Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on Bloomberg TV.There were a lot of things wrong with the film.Ashton was too much of this fan thing,as in a great cult leader.Steve Jobs in real life kept trying to make his own computer.He failed with the Apple 3,with the MacIntosh.He was trying to kill the Apple 2 and do very unrealistic things to it.*In portraying the early days of the company,Kutcher was over-glorifying Jobs,dismissing others who were really giving Steve Jobs the goods.I read an early script and we kind of abhorred it.I was in a busy time.I am consulting in another film about Jobs,the Sorkin film,but Kutcher could have called me any time,and he didn't.*Steve Jobs was not that good at making a profit initially-not until he came back after having been fired.He was a visionary.He was always very friendly and nice to me.He was the greatest tech leader of our lives.He did a lot to make our lives better.*I really admire Steve Jobs,but I wasn't entertained by the Kutcher movie.*As for Apple today,the hot products don't happen every year-consider the prolongation of the iPhone.They usually do it by keeping things secret.I wouldn't judge Apple as being out of the innovation field yet.Sometimes Apple has a big surprise,Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak cautioned.*"Jobs" has an IMDb rating of 5.4 out of 10.In sum,Wozniak thought the acting was great,but didn't feel this movie about his colleague and friend Steve Jobs was an accurate version of events.*"Jobs" is currently showing in US theaters.The trailer is available on the IMDb website.*Apple,Inc(AAPL)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Birthday People August 23-24,2013

August 23-Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant is 35.August 24-Actress Anne Archer,65.She won an Academy Award for her performance in "Fatal Attraction"(1987)and had a guest role in "Little House on the Prairie."*Have a great weekend.*"The stories of our time online."

US Circumcision Rate Declines,Report Says

According to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics,the rate of newborn male circumcision in US hospitals has fallen from 64.5% in 1979 to 58.3% in 2010,a little over 6%.This is in spite of the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics regards the ancient practice as clearly beneficial.The decline was most pronounced in the West,where the rate dropped from 63.9% to 40.2%.*Medicaid insurance no longer covers circumcision in 18 states.*Circumcision is a biblical ritual.The New Testament records that Jesus was circumcised on the eigth day after his birth according to the Jewish rite of dedication and naming of male children.Both Jews and Muslims routinely practice circumcision of newborns today as an act of faith.As well,the practice was routine in US hospitals in the 1950s and 60s for the Baby Boomer generation.*The American Academy of Pediatrics issued an opinion in August 2012 to the effect that circumcision has clear health benefits,but parents should make up their own minds,in consultation with their physicians,and that insurance should pay for the minor surgery.Although health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns,the benefits are sufficient to justify access for families choosing it and to warrant third party payment for circumcision of male newborns,the Academy said.*The benefits of circumcision are a reduced rate of HIV,herpes and urinary tract infections for circumcised males,as well as other infections.This is beacause the foreskin's immune system cells are prone to infection,and bacteria also collect under the foreskin.A circumcised newborn also develops thicker skin that better resists small cuts and tears that could become infected.*A Johns Hopkins University study finds that the decline of the circumcision rate has already resulted in an extra two billion dollars in health care costs for the treatment of the various infections.Nonetheless,opponents of circumcision insist the practice is unnatural,painful and unnecessary,and have mounted unsuccessful campaigns both in the US and Europe to outlaw it,offending religious groups in the process.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Baseball Psychodrama:A-Rod Drilled;Gets Revenge Later

Alex Rodriguez,the controversial third baseman for the New York Yankees,was deliberately struck with a second inning pitch by Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster in a Sunday night game at Boston's Fenway Park.The game was nationally televised on ESPN.Apparently,Dempster had taken it upon himself to be the enforcer for the Boston fans who had greeted A-Rod with loud boos in reponse to the embattled slugger's alleged involvement with performance enhancing drugs,or PEDs.*A-Rod just stood there looking stunned when Dempster threw the baseball directly at him,remarkably composed despite the hostile act.Umpire Brian O'Nora warned both ball clubs that any further nonsense would result in the offender being tossed from the game.That wasn't enough for Yankees manager Joe Girardi,who ran out on the field,beside himself with anger at O'Nora for not ejecting Dempster straight off.He screamed in O'Nora's face and promptly got tossed out himself.Several of A-Rod's teammates also ran onto the field to support him.*A-Rod got his revenge by hitting a home run off Dempster in the sixth inning,plus two other hits in the game,leading the Yankees to a 9-6 victory over the Red Sox,their bitter rivals in the American league East division.*After the game,A-Rod said the win was huge.These guys have such a great team.Obviously it was a weird situation there.I didn't scream anything at them.Not everybody hates me.I have some great teammates.I have faith in God and a lot of people praying for me.I've always been booed.The key is for us to win games,and we're doing that.*It was A-Rod's 649th home run of his career.He is fifth in the all time home run list,six behind San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays.Many say there should be an asterisk beside A-Rod's career records because he used PEDs at various points in his career.They also feel A-Rod should be barred from the Hall of Fame.The Yankees star is currently appealing a lengthy suspension from baseball for his alleged involvement with a Florida anti-aging clinic,Biogenesis,that reportedly administered PEDs to athletes.*The Yankees have an outside chance at a post-season slot this year,with many having already written them off.The team and its fans hope that the return of A-Rod to the lineup after being injured most of this season will be the catalyst that propels them to the playoffs.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Birthday People August 16-17,2013

August 16-Pop singer Madonna is 55.August 17-Soccer player Thierry Henry,35.Born in France,he started with Team Monaco and plays for the New York Red Bulls today.Happy weekend.Only you can prevent wildfires.

Profile of Merck's Gardasil Vaccine

Merck and Company's Gardasil(R) vaccine is one of two vaccines that can be given to prevent human papillomavirus,or HPV,a known cause of cancer.HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that infects more than half of sexually active men and women at some point in their lives.HPV can cause cervical cancer in women.Some 12,000 American women get cervical cancer annually;about 4,000 die from it.Worldwide,it is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.HPV is also associated with vaginal and vulvar cancer in women,and anal and oropharyngeal cancer in both men and women.*Gardasil can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if given before exposure to HPV.It can also prevent vagina and vulvar cancer,and anal cancer in both males and females.This 3-dose vaccine is recommended for girls and boys ages 11-12.It is given so young because even one sexual contact can transmit HPV,and response to the vaccine is best at this age.*Gardasil is also recommended for females ages 13-26 and males ages 13-21 who missed or did not complete the vaccination series at ages 11-12.It is also recommended for men through age 26 who have sex with other men or have wealened immune systems from HIV infection,other illnesses or medications.Gardasil may be given to men through age 26 who have not completed the 3-dose series.*Gardasil has been given for about six years now and has been very safe.Some people should not get the vaccine or should wait,such as those with severe allergies to vaccine components;pregnant women;and people who are moderately to severely ill at the scheduled time of vaccination.Your medical professional will assess Gardasil's appropriateness for you.*Research at Penn State Herhsey Medical Center contributed to the development of Gardasil.*Merck and Company Inc(MRK)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Should You Invest in Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors is s Silicon Valley company that produces fully electric vehicles that get high marks for drivability.It was co-founded by leading engineer Elon Musk.Tesla trades as a tech company,forward-looking,according to Ben Kallo,Senior Analyst at RW Baird.They'll eventually have to produce some earnings to back up the steep share price,when they demonstrate they can build a car for the average consumer at a price of about 32,000 dollars.They need a cheaper battery pack.Right now,Tesla produces performance cars that go for about 100,000.*Tesla holds an 8% share of the US luxury car market and showed an 8% improvement in gross margins.I'm at a 118 price target on the stock-meaning it is presently overpriced.It closed at 147.95,up 0.39%,in Monday after hours trading.*Tesla has built a brand with a loyal following that is spreading like wildfire,Mr.Kallo concluded.*Based in Palo Alto,California,Tesla has 31 stores and service centers worldwide,and is on the road in 37 countries.Two models are currently available,the Roadster and the Model S.The Model X utility vehicle will be available in 2014,the company says.*Tesla Motors(TSLA)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Philanthropy Today:Jake Gittlen Memorial Golf Tournament 2013

The Jake Gittlen Memorial Golf Tournament will be held this week from August 14-18 at the Hershey Country Club,Pennsylvania.The tournament began in 1965 as the Blue Ridge Invitational,founded by Jake Gittlen to bring together the Blue Ridge Country Club and public course golfers.When he died of cancer in May 1970,it was renamed in Gittlen's honor by the country club.His son Warren,who had been a Penn State golf team captain,transformed the tournament into a fundraiser for cancer research at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center in his father's memory.*The first Jake Gittlen Memorial was held in September 1970 with 50 players.It was moved to the Hershey Country Club in 1996.Funds raised contributed to the development of the first anti-cancer vaccine,Gardisil,which helps prevent cervical and other cancers.*The tournament has grown from raising 2,500 dollars in 1970 to 850,000 in 2012,for a total of 15,840,000 to date.It is the nation's largest amateur golf fundraiser,with major support from Giant Food Stores.Other corporate sponsors include ABC27;AFLAC;Highmark Blue Shield;Merrill Lynch;Northwestern Mutual;Pepsi;Sysco;Sprint;T-Mobile;and Wells Fargo Advisors,LLC.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Birthday People August 9-10,2013

August 9-Fashion magnate Michael Kors is 54.August 10-Author Suzanne Collins,50.She wrote "The Hunger Games" trilogy and "The Underland Chronicles."*You can help assure the future by clicking an ad and sharing this blog with friends.*Have a great weekend.

Reports Of Suburban Damage As Microburst Hits Rockland County « CBS New York

Reports Of Suburban Damage As Microburst Hits Rockland County « CBS New York

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Should Omnicom Merge With Publicis

Madison Avenue advertising titan Omnicom and France's Publicis have announced their merger,resulting in a firm with a combined worth of just over 35 billion dollars,with more than 130,000 employees.The deal promises to achieve 500 million dollars in cost savings and a combined annual revenue of around 23 billion.The deal could face objections by regulators fearful of the decreased competition in the advertising industry that would result.*Omnicom CEO John Wren will eventually become sole CEO of the combined firm,and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy will be non-executive chairman after a period of being co-CEOs.The new company will be stronger in the emerging markets and better equipped to compete with Google and Facebook in the digital ad realm.Most of the time,Google collaborates with Omnicom,Wren said;sometimes it competes with us.*Omnicom faces a new world.Revenue is slowing down on the difficulty of adjusting to new places where the ads go,Google and Facebook's new way to advertise,according to Julie Roehm,Senior Vice President of Marketing at SAP.The merger makes perfect sense.It's a very good opportunity for them and their customers,taking the inefficiencies to invest them in big data and analytics.Mobile is a huge opportunity.Very few companies have cracked that code.They're going to take traditional creativity and merge it with the digital side.They are representing lots and lots of customers.They want to get ahead of the ball,Ms.Roehm noted.*Omnicom Group Inc(OMC),Publicis Groupe SA(Paris:PUB)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Asia This Day:China,Sri Lanka,Australia

Overall,there is still some risk appetite across the world,said David Gaud,Senior Portfolio Manager at Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management.Europe could become a second growth driver,probably going from -0.6% growth to 2%.That would help China.China is extremely cheap currently.The earnings growth has been revised up from 8-9% to 12-13%.There is a real case for investing in China by the end of this year.*Sri Lanka is opening a 500 million dollar container terminal built by China at Port Colombo today,It is the largest investment ever in the country's harbours.*China's official July Services PMI was at 54.1,up from 53.9 in June,and above the estimate.A reading above 50 signifies growth.The services sector represents 45% of Chinese GDP.*Australia's election is to be held September 7.Polls have the Labour government slightly behind the opposition coalition,although Labour leader Kevin Rudd is preferred as Prime Minister over opposition leader Tony Abbott.*Toyota Motors will return 30% of its 37 billion dollar cash hoard to shareholders in the form of dividends.It will also increase R&D and CapEx spending,heeding the call of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.*Beijing is planning to raze a village just outside the capital in order to build a new airport.*The Edmond de Rothschild Group offers private banking;asset management;private equity;institutional and fund services;and corporate finance advisory services from its offices worldwide.The group draws on the heritage of its founding family,bankers to royal houses,who "walked with kings,while never losing the common touch,"as the saying goes.*Toyota Motor Corporation(TM)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Birthday People August 2-3,2013

August 2*Christian singer Britt Nicole is 28.August 3*NFL football player Tom Brady,35.He is married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

New Study Suggests Dementia-Oral Health Link

A new British study from the University of Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry suggests a link between poor oral health and dementia,including Alzheimer's disease.The study detected a specific bacterium,Porphyromonas gingivalis,in the brains of four out of ten dementia patients.Sim Singhrao,PhD,senior research fellow at the School,said that when the brain is repeatedly exposed to bacteria and/or material from our gums,subsequent immune responses may lead to nerve cell death and possibly memory loss.Seeing your dentist could be vital for brain health.The future of the research aims to discover if P.gingivalis can be a marker,via a simple blood test,to predict the development of Alzheimer's disease in at-risk patients,she noted.Further research is needed to confirm the theory,several other British scientists emphasised.A number of other studies have suggested a link between dementia and inflammation from bacterial infection.