Friday, January 22, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: It’s Wonder Woman’s World!

It was a crappy week on Wall Street, but my man John Kasich looks like he might still have a little life.
Let’s get to it.

[R]ecent jitters in the country’s stock market and the government’s ham-handed response to them have contributed to suspicions that the ruling Communist Party may not be as in control of the situation as we all thought. (It’s also quite possible that the real state of the Chinese economy is much worse than official statistics suggest.)
Expected or not, the slowing of Chinese demand for raw materials is dragging down commodity markets and wreaking havoc on developing countries whose economies are closely tied to China’s.
100-yuan note
The bad thing about this is that it will force the Chinese government to devalue their currency again in order to boost exports, which will distort the flows of the world economy even further in the unsustainable direction that it’s already headed.  A better plan--the one the PRC has been trying to implement--is for China to build domestic demand, allow its currency to appreciate, and slowly unwind all those crazy capital and export flows.  But the Chinese government is not one single, monolithic entity, and a lot of major players have a personal stake in the performance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which are not doing well.  Bad loans have been made to prop up the unprofitable, and here we are.  It’s a little like the 2008 housing crisis in that there are massive loans that are unlikely ever to be paid, but the total size of the market is (probably) smaller, while the endemic corruption in the system is (probably) exponentially larger.
I am not sure how this is going to play out long-term, but it would be better for everyone if the U.S. had maintained a more substantial domestic manufacturing base.  As it is, we’re tied at the hip with the Chinese as the global economy buckles in its entirety.
On the plus side--at least for most Americans--this ought to keep the price of oil in the tank for long into the forseeable future.
2.  Suicide Squad

An American Research Group poll conducted over the holiday weekend found Kasich in sole possession of second place in the state with the support of 20 percent of likely GOP primary voters, 7 points behind Trump and 10 points ahead of third-place Marco Rubio. The Ohio governor’s rise—he’s up an average of 6 points since the week before Christmas—comes as he’s more or less moved his entire campaign to New Hampshire and as he’s notched a handful of endorsements from local newspapers…
Wait.  Why is this bad?
A strong, second-place finish in New Hampshire would give Kasich’s campaign some life and some cash, yes, but it won’t change the fact that his unapologetic conservative apostasy on everything from immigration to Medicaid expansion to marriage equality makes it incredibly difficult to imagine him consolidating enough support to pass Trump and Cruz a couple months down the road—which will be the best and perhaps only path left for any of the establishment-minded candidates still in the race after New Hampshire.
Yes, okay.  This explains why I like him.  
Also: brokered convention.  Say it with me.
It’s possible, of course, that Kasich could use a second-place finish in New Hampshire to become the establishment’s chosen candidate, and that scores of Republican lawmakers and governors currently sitting on their hands could jump in and rally around a man who takes great joy in telling conservative voters they are wrong.
Only if those guys are smart.  And serious about winning the General Election.  
They need a candidate that actual Americans will vote for and not just a handful of old, white, nativist lunatics.  This explains why Kasich is the solution, not the problem.
[T]he more likely scenario is that Kasich’s strong finish would give him the reason he needs to soldier on, but not enough of one for the better-funded Rubio or the much-better-funded Bush to drop out.
And this, by itself, explains why no one likes those guys.  Because they are clearly in it for their own personal benefit, especially Bush, who doesn’t have a snowflake’s chance in Hell of actually winning the presidency.  Were both Bush and Rudio to drop out immediately after New Hampshire and endorse Kasich—this is clearly what they should do and what their fathers, especially Bush Sr., would have done in another age—then we’d have an end to this Trump nightmare and a candidate that the GOP could rally around and then actually elect as president.  
But they won’t do it, and here we are.  There are no statesmen; there are politicians.  The people get that.  It’s what has allowed Trump to kick their self-interested asses up one side of this country and down the other.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will open on May 26, 2917, Star Wars' old home. The Pirates movie was to have originally launched in theaters on July 7.
Disney insiders say the decision to push back the release of Star Wars comes after the blockbuster success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the year-end holidays. They say they have now decided to give Episode VIII the same Christmas treatment.
Least surprising thing I’ve ever heard.  Why on Earth would you mess with a formula that so obviously works?
5.  Wonder Woman

Warner Brothers is remaking Captain America!  But with a woman!!!
Linda Carter as Wonder Woman in the 70s-era TV show.
Also: I miss Linda Carter.
If you’re wondering, readership is way up on the blog since the end of last year, but profits are down.  I’m not sure what’s causing that.  Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons both bring in readers like nothing else, butStar Wars in particular has the worst-performing ads by far.  The difference is at least an order of magnitude.
By contrast, Wednesday’s post on weight-lifting and fake boobs did great numbers and did okay in terms of ad-rates…  WTF?  It’s depressing because I hadn’t even planned to write on Wednesday, but then I got the idea and decided to tap it out on my phone.  No big deal, but it seemed kind of silly.  And then eighty people stopped by to read about body-building boobies.  
I guess people are really, really interested in fake boobs.  Or in boobs in general, perhaps.
Anyway, I can’t fathom Google’s ad-rate schemes, but subject matter is important.  Still, it’s probably better in the long-term that I can’t figure it out.  The blog isn’t even making beer-money yet, and if I start chasing ad-revenue, I’ll probably go mad.
That’s all I’ve got.
Happy Friday, folks.  Enjoy the blizzard.

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