http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/gamma%20imbalance%20turned%20towards%20puts%20yesterday%20%28%249bn%20per%201%25%20currently%29%2C%20and%20this%20will%20likely%20push%20realized%20volatility%20higher%20near%20term.%20Post%20expiry%2C%20clients%20are%20likely%20to%20roll%20put%20strikes%20higher%2C%20which%20will%20also%20be%20supportive%20of%20higher%20volatility.%20Yesterday%E2%80%99s%20large%20move%20on%20the%20VIX%20indicates%20short%20gamma%20exposure%20of%20dealers%20on%20VIX%20products en Mauldin: Americans Don't Grasp The Magnitude Of The Looming Pension Tsunami http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/mauldin-americans-dont-grasp-magnitude-looming-pension-tsunami <p><a href="http://www.mauldineconomics.com/editorial/americans-dont-grasp-the-magnitude-of-the-looming-pension-tsunami-that-may/zhb"><em>Authored by John Mauldin via MauldinEconomics.com,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Total unfunded liabilities in state and local pensions have roughly&nbsp;<em>quintupled</em>&nbsp;in the last decade.</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_debt.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_debt_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 336px;" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><a href="http://www.mauldineconomics.com/go/v37d5p/zhb" target="_blank">You read that right&mdash;not doubled, tripled, or quadrupled&mdash;quintupled.</a> That&rsquo;s nice when it happens on a slot machine, not so nice when it&rsquo;s money you owe.</p> <p><strong>You will also notice in the chart that much of that change happened in 2008.</strong></p> <p>Why was that?</p> <p><a href="http://www.mauldineconomics.com/go/v37d5s/zhb" target="_blank">That&#39;s when the Fed took interest rates down to nearly zero, meaning it suddenly took more cash to fund future payments.</a></p> <p>According to a 2014 Pew study, only 15 states follow policies that have funded at least 100% of their pension needs. And that estimate is based on the aggressive assumptions of pension funds that they will get their predicted rate of returns (the &ldquo;discount rate&rdquo;).</p> <p><strong>Kentucky, for instance, has unfunded pension liabilities of $40 billion or more. This month the state budget director notified local governments that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mauldineconomics.com/go/v37d5w/zhb" target="_blank">pension costs could jump 50&ndash;60% next year</a>.</strong></p> <p>That&rsquo;s due to a proposed reduction in the system&rsquo;s assumed rate of return from 7.5% to 6.25%&mdash;a step in the right direction but not nearly enough.</p> <h3><u><strong>Think About This as an Investor: How Can You Guarantee 6&ndash;7% Returns These Days?</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>Do you know a way to&nbsp;<em>guarantee</em>&nbsp;yourself even 6.25% average annual returns for the next 10&ndash;20 years? Of course you don&rsquo;t. Yes, some strategies have a good shot at doing it, but there&rsquo;s no guarantee.</strong></p> <p>And if you believe Jeremy Grantham&rsquo;s seven-year forecasts (I do: His 2009 growth forecast was spot on), then those pension funds have very little hope of getting their average 7% predicted rate of return, at least for the next seven years.</p> <p><img src="http://ggc-mauldin-images.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/editorial/170919_OP_Pension_image2gray.png" style="height: 442px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p><u><strong>Now, here is the truth about pension liabilities. </strong></u>Let&rsquo;s assume you have $1 billion in funding today. If you assume a 7% compound return&mdash;about the average for most pension funds&mdash;then that means in 30 years that $1 million will have grown to $8 billion (approximately).</p> <p>Now, what if it&rsquo;s a 4% return? Using the Rule of 72, the $1 billion grows to around $3.5 billion, or less than half the future assets in 30 years if you assume 7%.</p> <p>Remember that every dollar that is not funded today means that somewhere between four dollars and eight dollars will not be there in 30 years when somebody who is on a pension is expecting to get it.</p> <p><strong>Worse, without proper funding, as the fund starts going negative, the funding ratio actually gets worse, sending it into a death spiral. <a href="http://www.mauldineconomics.com/go/v37d62/zhb" target="_blank">The only way to bring it out of the spiral is huge cuts to other needed services or with massive tax cuts to pension benefits.</a></strong></p> <h3><u><strong>The Situation Is Dire Even in the Best-Case Scenario. But What If&hellip;</strong></u></h3> <p><strong>The State of Kentucky&rsquo;s unusually frank<a href="http://www.mauldineconomics.com/go/v37d65/zhb" target="_blank">&nbsp;report</a>&nbsp;regarding the state&rsquo;s public pension liability sums up that state&rsquo;s plight in one chart:</strong></p> <p><img src="http://ggc-mauldin-images.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/editorial/170919_OP_Pension_image3gray.png" style="height: 473px; width: 600px;" /></p> <p>The news for Kentucky retirees is quite dire, especially considering what returns on investments are realistically likely to be. But there&rsquo;s a make or break point somewhere.</p> <p>What if<strong> pension plans must either hit that 6% average annual return for 2018&ndash;2028 or declare bankruptcy and lose it all?</strong></p> <p>That&rsquo;s a much greater problem, and it&rsquo;s a rough equivalent of what state pension trustees have to do. Failing to generate the target returns doesn&rsquo;t reduce the liability. It just means taxpayers must make up the difference.</p> <p>But wait, it gets worse.</p> <p>The graph we showed earlier stated that unfunded pension liabilities for state and local governments were $2 trillion. But that assumes an average 7% compound return. What if we assume 4% compound returns?</p> <p><strong>Now the admitted unfunded pension liability is $4 trillion.</strong></p> <p>But what if we have a recession and the stock market goes down by the past average of more than 40%? <strong>Now you have an unfunded liability in the range of $7&ndash;8 trillion.</strong></p> <p>We throw the words&nbsp;<em>a trillion dollars</em>&nbsp;around, not realizing how much that actually is. Combined state and local revenues for the US total around $2.6 trillion.</p> <p>After the next recession (whenever that is), the unfunded pension liabilities for state and local governments will be roughly three times the revenue they are collecting today, and that&rsquo;s before a recession reduces their revenues.</p> <p><em><strong>Can you see the taxpayer stuck between a rock and a hard place? Two immovable objects meeting? The math just doesn&rsquo;t work.</strong></em></p> <p>We are starting to see cities filing for bankruptcy.<strong> That small ripple will be a tsunami within 7&ndash;10 years.</strong></p> <h3><u><strong>It Goes Beyond a Financial Crisis. It&rsquo;s a Social, Political Catastrophe </strong></u></h3> <p>Many state and local governments have actually 100% funded their pension plans. Some states and local governments have even overfunded them.</p> <p>What that really means is that the unfunded liabilities are more concentrated, and they show up in unlikely places. You think Texas is doing well? Look at some of our cities and weep.</p> <p>Look, too, at other seemingly semi-prosperous cities all over the country. Do you think the suburbs of Dallas will want to see their taxes increased to help out the city? If you do, I may have a bridge to sell you &ndash; unless you would rather have oceanfront properties in Arizona.</p> <p><strong>This issue is going to set neighbor against neighbor and retirees against taxpayers. It will become one of the most heated battles of my lifetime. It will make the Trump-Clinton campaigns look like a school kids&rsquo; tiddlywinks smackdown.</strong></p> <p>I was heavily involved in politics at both the national and local levels in the 80s and 90s and much of the 2000s. Trust me, local politics is far nastier and more vicious. <a href="http://www.mauldineconomics.com/go/v37d68/zhb" target="_blank">And there is nothing more local than police and fire fighters and teachers seeing their pensions cut because the money isn&#39;t there.</a> Tax increases of up to 100% are going to become commonplace.</p> <p><em><strong>But even these new revenues won&rsquo;t be enough&hellip; because we will be acting with too little, too late.</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="259" height="166" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170920_pensions.jpg?1505939745" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/mauldin-americans-dont-grasp-magnitude-looming-pension-tsunami#comments Business Canada Pension Plan Economy Finance Financial crisis of 2007–2008 Jeremy Grantham Labor Money Pension Pensions crisis Personal finance Recession Social Issues Social law US Federal Reserve Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603875 at http://www.zerohedge.com WSJ Turns On Antifa: Violent, Black-Clad Protesters Are "Dividing The Left" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/wsj-turns-antifa-violent-black-clad-protesters-are-dividing-left <p>Since Bay Area TV anchor Frank Somerville<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-28/bay-area-tv-anchor-unveils-truth-i-experienced-hate-first-hand-today-people-dressed-"> published an honest description</a> of &quot;the hate&quot; he experienced from &quot;violent, clad in black&quot; protesters while trying to document a right-wing rally in Berkeley, the liberal media has decidedly turned against AntiFa &ndash; the loosely organized band of black-clad thugs who show up to &ldquo;counter-protest&rdquo; at conservative events and demonstrations around the country<strong>. WSJ&#39;s report describes the group as the left-wing equivalent of the fascists and white supremacists that AntiFa claims to oppose - characterization that the media has so far been reluctant to embrace. </strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20antifa.JPG"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20antifa_0_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 253px;" /></a></p> <p>This week, <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-antifa-violence-has-split-the-left-1505833640">The Wall Street Journal</a> has jumped on the bandwagon, publishing a deeply researched history of the group, and interviewing other leftist organizers who&rsquo;ve criticized the group for being too violent and damaging the credibility of the left.&nbsp;</p> <p>In one scene, <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-antifa-violence-has-split-the-left-1505833640">WSJ </a>recollects how Antifa protesters viciously attacked a small crowd of right-wing demonstrators who showed up last month&rsquo;s &ldquo;No to Marxism&rdquo; rally in Berkeley, even though the rally had been canceled. Using clubs and wooden shields emblazoned with &ldquo;no hate,&rdquo; groups of around half a dozen beat and chased their outnumbered &ldquo;adversaries&rdquo; out of the park.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20wsj.JPG"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20wsj_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 114px;" /></a></p> <p>As one long-time liberal activist in Massachusetts noted, Antifa&rsquo;s tactics are dividing the resurgent leftist movement that has coalesced around opposition to President Donald Trump.<br />AntiFa &ldquo;doesn&rsquo;t represent us,&rdquo; she told <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-antifa-violence-has-split-the-left-1505833640">WSJ</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The antifa tactics are testing the liberal movement that has galvanized in opposition to Mr. Trump&mdash;creating a rift among its leaders, organizers and demonstrators about whether to denounce a radical fringe, some of whose antidiscrimination objectives, if not tactics, they share.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>James Hannon, a psychotherapist and seasoned liberal organizer in Massachusetts who marched at a recent Boston rally against racism, said elements of the antifa movement that use confrontational tactics allow others to blur the line between leftist groups and the hate groups against which they protest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The social justice, the peace movement, the left or just progressives really have to start calling out the antifa and say, `Hey, hey, hey, you don&rsquo;t represent us,&rsquo; &rdquo; said Mr. Hannon, 67 years old. &ldquo;&rsquo;We&rsquo;re surrendering a moral high ground.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>As <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-14/unhinged-antifa-leader-embraces-violence-claims-nazis-have-infiltrated-police">we reported last week</a>, one leader of an AntiFa group based in Washington DC explained in an editorial published by the Hill that violence is a core tenant of the group&rsquo;s philosophy. He also explained his bizarre belief that Nazis and fascists have infiltrated the highest levels of US police departments and the military.</p> <p>One WSJ reporter described being threatened by an AntiFa protester while attempting to peacefully document the rally.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Protesters in dark get-ups set off smoke bombs, toppled police barricades and smashed the cameras of some journalists and bystanders. &ldquo;You do it again, I&rsquo;ll break your phone,&rdquo; a man in a Spider-Man mask told a Wall Street Journal reporter who was taking photographs.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Even Berkeley&rsquo;s major condemned the black-clad protesters following last month&rsquo;s rally.</p> <p>Mayor Arreguin of Berkeley disagreed: &ldquo;We saw a large group of black-clad extremists who really turned a peaceful protest on its head.&rdquo;</p> <p>A Green Party organizer who spoke with WSJ said she opposes AntiFa&rsquo;s willingness to resort to violence, and its anti-democratic messaging.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;At a March antiracism rally in Minneapolis, she said, activists chanted &ldquo;punch a Nazi in the face&rdquo; and lighted on fire a scarecrow dressed as a white nationalist. &ldquo;The people who end up taking the rap for it are black organizers,&rdquo; said Ms. Pree-Stinson, 36, who described herself as a black Latina.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In Boston, masked counterprotesters distributed fliers titled &ldquo;WHY ANTIFA?&rdquo; The leaflets criticized the &ldquo;liberal&rdquo; approach of believing that elections, courts, the Constitution, a free press and other institutions would &ldquo;prevent things from going too far.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They called for &ldquo;uncompromising militancy&rdquo; against fascists and said antifa &ldquo;must force their hate out of public spaces by any means necessary.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>By our count, WSJ is the fifth mainstream media organization to publish a story criticizing the group, which came to national prominence after its involvements with rioting at President Donald Trump&rsquo;s inauguration.</p> <p>Here&#39;s a collection of some of the other headlines...</p> <p><u><strong>Bloomberg:</strong></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20bloomberg.JPG"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20bloomberg_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 234px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>The Washington Post:</strong></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20washingtonposthed.JPG"><u><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20washingtonposthed_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 161px;" /></strong></u></a></p> <p><u><strong>The Atlantic:</strong></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20atlantic.JPG"><u><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20atlantic_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 75px;" /></strong></u></a></p> <p><u><strong>The LA Times:</strong></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20latimes.JPG"><u><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/09/18/2017.09.20latimes_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 90px;" /></strong></u></a></p> <p>A Whitehouse.gov survey published last month demanding that the White House label AntiFa a terrorist group received the 100,000 signatures needed to demand a response. Meanwhile, last month, the media reported that the Department of Homeland Security described AntiFa as a purveyor of &quot;domestic terrorism&quot; in internal communications.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="649" height="329" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017.09.20antifa.JPG?1505914968" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/wsj-turns-antifa-violent-black-clad-protesters-are-dividing-left#comments Anarchism in the United States Anti-fascism Anti-fascism in the United States Anti-racism Antifa Berkeley protests Department of Homeland Security Donald Trump Green Party headlines Politics Politics Politics of the United States Terrorism in the United States US police Wall Street Journal White House White House WSJ Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603837 at http://www.zerohedge.com "Pizza Price Parity": Where Is Pizza Most And Least Expensive In America? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/pizza-price-parity-where-pizza-most-and-least-expensive-america <p><a href="https://priceonomics.com/where-is-pizza-the-most-expensive-and-cheapest-in/"><em>Via Priceonomics.com,</em></a></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Between 2007 - 2010, a USDA <a href="https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/DBrief/11_consumption_of_pizza_0710.pdf"><span class="s2">study</span></a> estimated that 1 in 8 Americans ate some form of pizza on any given day. </strong>That number climbs to about 1 in 4 for males and 1 in 5 for females when looking specifically at Americans age 12 to 19. There&rsquo;s no escaping it; pizza is engrained in our diets.</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">Pizza is not only a pillar of the American diet, but also of our culture. </span></strong></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Through saturation of TV, movies, and now the internet, it has entered the zeitgeist. How do you make characters as strange as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles more relatable? Make them <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54au0Ve5I50"><span class="s2">love pizza</span></a>. Right now, you can search on Amazon to find pizza <a href="https://www.amazon.com/XMiniLife-Digital-Print-Hoodie-Sweatshirt/dp/B016Y2VAU6/ref=sr_1_13?s=apparel&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1504974936&amp;sr=1-13&amp;nodeID=7141123011&amp;psd=1&amp;keywords=pizza"><span class="s2">sweatshirts</span></a>, pizza <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Floatie-Kings-Inflatable-Holders-Inflatables/dp/B01EU7EOHS/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1504974993&amp;sr=1-1-spons&amp;keywords=pizza&amp;psc=1"><span class="s2">pool toys</span></a>, and pizza <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Demeter-Pizza-Cologne-Spray-Ounce/dp/B003HUQN3I/ref=sr_1_6_s_it?s=beauty&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1504975120&amp;sr=1-6&amp;keywords=pizza"><span class="s2">cologne</span></a>. Even new disruptive and trendy technological innovations need their connection to pizza. That&rsquo;s why there&rsquo;s a pizza <a href="http://www.newsbtc.com/2015/02/18/great-night-go-beercoin-pizzacoin/"><span class="s2">cryptocurrency</span></a> and <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/16/dominos-has-delivered-the-worlds-first-ever-pizza-by-drone-to-a-new-zealand-couple.html"><span class="s2">drone</span></a> pizza delivery. </span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>We noticed that pizza prices and availability can vary dramatically across the United States</strong>. We analyzed data from Priceonomics customer, <a href="http://datafiniti.co/price-slice-pizza-across-america/">Datafiniti</a>, a data company that has digitized menus across America. Which states and cities have the most pizzerias? How much can you expect to pay for pizza across the country?</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Starting with this business data, we searched for restaurants serving pizza. This data set gave us thousands of different listings to comb through for more detailed location and menu information. To control for differences in price because of toppings and sizes, we needed a standardized item for evaluation, so we found the price of a large plain pizza in each restaurant record. This baseline allowed us to compare prices across cities and states more accurately.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>So, where can you find the most places serving pizza? </strong>Accounting for population, you can find the most pizza places concentrated in the Northeast, particularly Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. At the city level, the trend is not as clear, with Orlando, FL, Buffalo, NY, and Minneapolis, MN taking the top three spots.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">How much will you pay for a large cheese pie? Median prices range from $7.25 to as much as $15. Despite only looking at plain cheese pizza, there are subtle stylistic differences that likely lead to price variation. The neighborhood family-friendly pizza place and the typical franchise have much lower prices than artisanal wood-fire pizzerias. Other regional differences, like Chicago deep dish, lead to higher prices as well.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">And the cities with the most expensive cheese pizzas in America? Buffalo, NY, Nashville, TN, and San Francisco, CA take the top three spots.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Despite those geographical differences, there is one universal truth: no matter where you are, you&rsquo;ll be able to find pizza.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>To start our investigation, we will want to see how pizza places are distributed across the country.</strong> To account for differences in population, our metric of interest will not be absolute number of restaurants, but instead number of restaurants per 100K residents. Controlling for populations makes sure some states, like California, do not dominate the top of our charts.</span></p> <p class="p1"><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_pizza1.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_pizza1_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 516px;" /></a></p> <p class="p1"><em><span class="s1">Data source: <a href="http://datafiniti.co/price-slice-pizza-across-america/">Datafiniti</a></span></em></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>The state with the most restaurants serving pizza is Connecticut, with 13.2 restaurants per capita.</strong> Smaller northeastern states with large Italian populations dominate the list, including Massachusetts (11.7), Rhode Island (11.6), and New Jersey (9.6).</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">New York and Illinois, two states that are known for their distinct styles of pizza, are in the second tier of states, along with areas of West, the upper Midwest, and Florida.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>States in the Deep South have the fewest number of pizza places per capita.</strong> We expect this result as these states don&rsquo;t have distinctive pizza styles. Hawaii, despite having an eponymous pizza (the Hawaiian, which features pineapple and ham), is also in this group.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">So looking at these states, <strong><em>what is the cost of the average large plain cheese pie?</em></strong></span></p> <p class="p1"><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_pizza2.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_pizza2_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 418px;" /></a></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><em><span class="s1">Data source:&nbsp;<a href="http://datafiniti.co/price-slice-pizza-across-america/">Datafiniti</a></span></em></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>North Dakota and Wyoming have the most highest median prices.</strong> While there is no distinct regional trend, there are some possible explanations for what we see. These states have fewer pizzerias, which tend to be more upscale, artisanal sit-down restaurants. So in cases where you can find pizza, it&rsquo;s just a more expensive variety. Maine and Alaska have the cheapest pizza options. While that&rsquo;s not exactly the attribute you want your pizza to be known for, it is a great thing for pizza lovers in these states.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Now we will go one level deeper and take a look at America&rsquo;s cities.<strong> Where can we find the most pizza restaurants per capita? </strong>When working with this data, we limited our comparison to the 50 cities with the greatest absolute number of pizza places.</span></p> <p class="p1"><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_pizza3.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_pizza3.png" style="width: 600px; height: 746px;" /></a></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><em><span class="s1">Data source:&nbsp;<a href="http://datafiniti.co/price-slice-pizza-across-america/">Datafiniti</a></span></em></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Orlando, FL sits at the top of our list with 21.6 restaurants per 100K residents. </strong>While Orlando is not known for any pizza tradition, a few things could be causing the abundance of pizza. Florida, in general, is known for tourism, Orlando especially. Pizza is guaranteed to interest tourists no matter where they&rsquo;re from and it&rsquo;s a great option for families when traveling. Ft. Lauderdale likely has a similar story.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Number two is a city from New York that is not NYC; it&rsquo;s Buffalo (20.2). </strong>This mid-sized city has a sizable Italian community and its own <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/columnist/greatamericanbites/2016/09/22/bocce-club-pizza-buffalo-new-york/90695016/"><span class="s2">style of pizza</span></a>. It&rsquo;s a medium-thick crust round pie that is somewhere between New York and Chicago pizza styles.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1">Our third place city, Minneapolis (21.1), may seem like the odd-man-out at first, but the Midwest also has its own <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/why-your-next-homemade-pizza-should-hail-from-the-midwest-not-new-york/2016/02/22/0f1659c4-d505-11e5-be55-2cc3c1e4b76b_story.html?utm_term=.a41ecd3961c4"><span class="s2">distinct pie</span></a>. Its square shape and medium-thick crust is similar to the traditional Neapolitan pie that families would bake at home. You&rsquo;re likely to see this shape of pizza across the Rust Belt, as far east as Detroit.</span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Now that we know where to find pizza, we should learn more about prices.</strong> Again we will look at the median price of a large plain pizza to compare our cities.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_pizza4.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_pizza4_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 232px;" /></a></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><em><span class="s1">Data source:&nbsp;<a href="http://datafiniti.co/price-slice-pizza-across-america/">Datafiniti</a></span></em></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>The city with the highest median price is Buffalo, NY at $14.79 for a large plain pie.</strong> In general, large metropolitan areas or mid-sized eastern cities compose the most expensive cities for pizza. Most likely their prices are just a product of the higher cost of living.<span class="Apple-converted-space">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>At $5.99, Lexington, KY has the least expensive median price. </strong>Overall these cities are smaller and more often in the center of the country. Two of the cities with the most pizzerias, Orlando and Minneapolis, are also on our list for least expensive plain pies. That&rsquo;s great news if you are a pizza lover in either of these cities. While we would need much more data to verify this idea, it could be possible that the high number of restaurants leads to greater competition and therefore better prices for customers.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="731" height="468" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170920_pizza.jpg?1505938920" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/pizza-price-parity-where-pizza-most-and-least-expensive-america#comments Chicago-style pizza Detroit Florida Food and drink Hospitality Illinois Italian cuisine Italian-American cuisine Mediterranean cuisine Midwest Pizza Pizza Hut Pizza in the United States Popular culture USDA World cuisine Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:55:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603872 at http://www.zerohedge.com Of Penguins And A Nuclear Iran: Will Trump Scrap "The Deal"? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/penguins-and-nuclear-iran-will-trump-scrap-deal <p><em>Netanyahu: "Penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white."<br /></em></p> <p><em>Trump: "I have decided...I'll let you know."<br /></em></p> <p><em>Rouhani: "</em><em>Iran's defense capacities are only a deterrent."</em></p> <p>President Trump has been notoriously hard to read when it comes to high stakes foreign policy issues. On Wednesday he told the media,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/trump-i-have-decided-what-do-about-iran-russia-vows-defend-nuclear-deal">"I have decided"</a> concerning whether he'll scrap the Iran nuclear deal, though not actually indicating what he's decided.&nbsp;<strong>But will the US really unilaterally pull out? </strong>Like with Trump's backing off of <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-19/seismic-shift-syria-trump-ends-covert-obama-era-cia-program-which-sent-arms-jihadist">regime change in Syria</a> even after bombing the country last April,<strong> will Trump's bark be harsher than his bite on the Iran nuclear deal?"</strong></p> <p>In his UN General Assembly speech on Tuesday&nbsp;Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had little to say on the Palestinian issue but as was expected blasted the Iran nuclear deal. President Trump, speaking earlier that morning, reiterated his words that the UN-backed deal is "an embarrassment" while echoing Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric, calling out Iran as a "rogue nation" along with North Korea and Venezuela. Multiple observers reported a visibly elated Netanyahu, who in his address seized on the momentum to say of Trump's speech that, "none were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today," and added, “together we can seize the opportunities for peace, and together we can confront the great dangers of Iran.”</p> <p>Trump hinted as he's done many times before that the six nation brokered deal negotiated under Obama, would be nixed. Trump said of Iran, “We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” and continued further with, &nbsp;“I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/09/05/bibi%20penguins.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/09/05/bibi%20penguins_0.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 430px;" /></a><br /><em>Spoof image of the Israeli Prime Minister's presentation at the UN which went viral inside both Iran and Israel soon after he made reference to penguins in the speech: "You laugh, but penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong."&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/HilikBar/status/910242925749182464" target="_blank">Via Twitter</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Trump went so far as to invoke rhetoric which sounded like a call for regime change: “The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most,” he said. “This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters and imprison political reformers.”</p> <p>The president added further that, “It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing ‘death to America,’ destruction to Israel, and ruin to many nations and leaders in this room.” Trump issued a litany of other nefarious Iranian actions in the region including support for Hezbollah, enabling Assad's survival, and fueling the crisis in Yemen.</p> <p>But despite the bellicose rhetoric, common among all presidents of the past decades regarding Iran,&nbsp;<strong>it doesn't appear that much immediate action will be taken to revoke the deal.&nbsp;</strong>US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told CBS early on Wednesday that Trump’s words were&nbsp;<strong>"not a clear signal that he wants to withdraw,&nbsp;but it is a clear signal he is not happy with the deal, and that the United States is not safer because of it.”</strong>&nbsp;Like with Syria of late, it may be that Trump's bark on Iran is much harsher than his bite.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Israeli Prime Minister for his part, and in usual fashion during his typically colorful UN speeches, used over the top and at times comedic language&nbsp;<a href="https://www.timesofisrael.com/full-text-of-prime-minister-benjamin-netanyahus-un-speech/" target="_blank">to present a scenario of Iran-sponsored doom and gloom</a>&nbsp;in the region should the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal be maintained. After highlighting UN "absurdities" when it comes to Israel, which he defined as its generally pro-Palestinian stance and softness on Syria when it comes to the Golan, Netanyahu painted a picture of the world that has already embraced Israel's "exceptional" abilities from fighting terrorism to technological innovation. But he then implied that&nbsp;<strong>the Iran deal ought to be a "black and white"</strong>&nbsp;while employing some interesting imagery:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>After 70 years, the world is embracing Israel, and Israel is embracing the world. One year. Six continents. Now, it’s true. I haven’t yet visited Antarctica, but one day I want to go there too because I’ve heard that penguins are also enthusiastic supporters of Israel.&nbsp;<strong>You laugh, but penguins have no difficulty recognizing that some things are black and white, are right and wrong.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Though Israel's stance has always been firmly against any deal perceived as soft on Iran,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israeli-and-world-politicians-respond-to-Netanyahus-UN-speech-505567" target="_blank">some Israeli officials</a>&nbsp;see Netanyahu's recent rhetoric as going too far while in actuality lacking any coherent or substantive policy vision. However, one particular item which did catch the attention of both allies and enemies was the odd penguin reference. An image spoof of Netanyahu's 2012 UN speech wherein he held up a cartoon-like bomb began going viral on social media Tuesday in both Israel and Iran.&nbsp;</p> <p>Netanyahu maintained Israel's position that the nuclear deal “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, but actually paves it” while calling perceived Iranian nuclear ambitions a “dark shadow” which Iran's rulers will use "to destroy my country”. He challenged the international brokers of the deal with, “Change it, or cancel it. Fix it, or nix it... Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions, until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability.”</p> <p>But it is likely that President Trump is attempting to walk a fine line (despite his hawkish tone) between satisfying the aggressive lobbying attempts of Netanyahu along with the generally pro-Israel conservative base in America on the one hand, while being unwilling to unilaterally pull out of the deal on the other. The international powers backing the deal include the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and Germany - all of which are set to meet separately on the sidelines of the General Assembly to assess progress. Recent nuclear inspections found no evidence of Iranian violations of the agreement. It is further likely that&nbsp;<strong>the White House sees North Korea as the greater pressing issue, and collapsing the Iran deal would signal to North Korea that any possible future negotiations with the US would prove futile.</strong></p> <p>Tehran has repeatedly affirmed its position that the existing terms of the JCPOA are non-negotiable, especially after Congress passed controversial legislation requiring Iran to limit missile testing and other activities which are not actually stipulated as part of the original deal.&nbsp;Iranian President Rouhani warned early this week that US abandonment of the deal&nbsp;<strong>would come at a "high cost" to Washington.</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Wednesday Rouhani reacted fiercely to Trump's Tuesday speech in his own address to the UN, calling Trump a <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/irans-rouhani-responds-trumps-ugly-ignorant-words">"rogue newcomer" bringing "ugly, ignorant words"</a>.&nbsp;Furthermore, the timing of the General Assembly meeting is sensitive - Trump must tell Congress by October 15 whether or not he plans to abide by the deal. No matter if Trump's intentions have at any point been more cautious and based in realpolitik, we are in for a whole new round of barbs traded between world leaders, and this alone could shift Trump's thinking, assuming this is still possible. At least by mid-October we will all know the deal's fate.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1200" height="724" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/bibi%20penguins%20teaser.jpg?1505946712" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/penguins-and-nuclear-iran-will-trump-scrap-deal#comments Benjamin Netanyahu China Congress Donald Trump Foreign relations of Iran France General Assembly Germany Government Hassan Rouhani Hizballah Iran Iran Iran–United States relations Islamic Consultative Assembly Israel Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action None North Korea Nuclear energy in Iran Nuclear program of Iran Politics Politics of Iran Twitter Twitter UN General Assembly United Kingdom United Nations White House White House Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:36:48 +0000 Tyler Durden 603882 at http://www.zerohedge.com Could Kurdish Independence Spark An Oil War? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/could-kurdish-independence-spark-oil-war <p><a href="http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Could-Kurdish-Independence-Spark-An-Oil-War.html"><em>Authored by Zainab Calucuttawala via OilPrice.com,</em></a></p> <p>As the date of the Kurdish independence referendum approaches, oil industry moguls should be <strong>concerned about an oil production war between Iran and headless Iraq</strong>.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_kurd.jpg" style="width: 583px; height: 255px;" /></p> <p>The Kurds are expected to vote on their political status in late September.<strong> A vote in the affirmative would mean that Iraq would lose a chunk of its northern areas, which includes the crucial Kirkuk oilfield and its surrounding reserves.</strong></p> <p><strong>The latest news from the election committee shows that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is doing the most it can to increase international participation in the election.</strong> On Monday, authorities <a href="http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/180920172">announced</a> that they had removed a key requirement for diaspora voters participating in the elections. Kurds participating in the e-voting platform will no longer be required to present a ration card to be able to cast their vote through September 25<sup>th</sup>. Iraqis who have been living abroad for several years, even decades, no longer hold a valid version of the United Nations-conferred identification. The new provision just requires that voters prove their current Iraqi citizenship via relevant documentation.</p> <p>In roughly one week, the election authority will count votes and announce the political and territorial future of Iraq. <strong>It has been a rocky 100 years for the country since the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement divided Asia Minor on an imperialist paradigm, without regard for cultural variations within the territory.</strong></p> <p>Believe it or not, soon after Sykes-Picot, Iraq became a kingdom ruled under a Hashemite monarch related to the current king of Jordan. In 1958, the Iraqi army overthrew the monarchy in a development known as the July 14 Revolution, which brought the rebel leader Abd al-Karim Qasim to power and pulled Iraq closer to the Soviet Union.</p> <p>Decades of Ba&rsquo;athist leadership later, the U.S. government toppled Saddam Hussein&rsquo;s regime in Baghdad, based on a diplomatic campaign that insisted the Iraqi military had been hiding weapons of mass destruction. Since then, reconstruction has been the name of the game in Iraq, but the past few years of conflict with the deadly Islamic State has made it difficult for Baghdad to focus on creating a prosperous future for its citizens.</p> <p><strong>In the meantime, the failure of the Iraqi Army to effectively guard the northern territories from the ISIS threat formed a stronger Kurdish Peshmerga army, proud of its heritage and happily willing to sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears for the land they call their own. With Kirkuk firmly in the grips of the KRG, and with ISIS at bay, the Kurds are swinging for their full sovereignty on domestic and foreign issues.</strong></p> <p>Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi considers the vote unconstitutional and illegitimate &ndash; and it very well may be. The fact that voting requirements are changing this late in the game would make any election observer at least raise an eyebrow.</p> <p><strong>Official figures say Kirkuk represents 10 percent of Iraq&rsquo;s total production capacity, which means Baghdad may soon lose its position as the second largest OPEC producer to Iran, should Kurdistan separate.</strong> New extraction projects across the country will gradually raise Iraq&rsquo;s output profile, but similar efforts are underway in Iran as well. Analysts fear that an oil output war may ensue between Iraq and Kurdistan post-separation, but the larger petroleum conflict may arise between Iran and Iraq&mdash;two countries with similar levels of output fighting&mdash;to rebuild their oil industry after years of international ostracism and domestic warfare, respectively.</p> <p><strong>To be fair, it is not clear whether the KRG would inherit Iraq&rsquo;s OPEC membership if it becomes its own entity.</strong> De facto OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and its allies strongly disapprove of any move towards an independent Kurdistan, so it is unlikely that a membership invite will be forthcoming. The United States and the United Kingdom are also pushing for Iraq to keep its territorial integrity in order to focus on the country&rsquo;s economic growth. Without the support of key Arab and non-Arab allies, it will be hard for the Kurds to make use of any political capital in international circles.</p> <p>An outline of the challenges related to a separate Kurdistan does not mean the division should not happen at all or even that it should not happen now. <strong>There will always be reasons to delay the independence vote. It is a question of oil profits after all. Now or later, this referendum will never be allowed to take place without objection.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="583" height="255" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170920_kurd.jpg?1505938428" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/could-kurdish-independence-spark-oil-war#comments Asia Geography of Asia Geography of Iraq Geography of Kurdistan Iran Iraq Iraqi Army Iraqi Kurdistan Iraqi military Kirkuk Kurdish Peshmerga army Kurdistan independence movement Kurdistan Regional Government Kurdistan Regional Government Kurds Middle East Mustafa Barzani OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Politics Politics of Iraq Saudi Arabia United Kingdom United Nations US government War Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603870 at http://www.zerohedge.com Prosecutors Unveil Full Details Of Anthony Weiner's Pedophilia http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/prosecutors-unveil-full-details-anthony-weiners-pedophilia <p>Earlier today <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/prosecutors-seeking-2-year-prison-sentence-anthony-weiner">we reported that as part of the government's sentencing memorandum </a>(published at the bottom), federal prosecutors asked that disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, and the man Hillary Clinton has quietly added to what has become a virtually infinite list of reasons why she lost the presidential election, be sentenced to about two years in prison for engaging in sexting with an underage, 15-year-old girl. Prosecutors filed paper in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday in advance of Weiner’s sentencing. In the document, prosecutors asked that the judge use the sentencing as an opportunity to send a message to other perverted politicians:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Government respectfully submits this memorandum in connection with the sentencing of Anthony Weiner, which is scheduled for September 25, 2017, <strong>following his guilty plea to transferring obscene material to a minor</strong>. Although the defendant’s self-destructive path from United States Congressman to felon is indisputably sad, his crime is serious and his demonstrated need for deterrence is real. <strong>The non-custodial sentence that Weiner proposes is simply inadequate; his crime deserves time in prison. </strong>For the reasons set forth below, the Government respectfully requests that Court sentence Weiner to a term of imprisonment within the range of 21 to 27 months.</p> </blockquote> <p>Weiner's sentencing will take place almost exactly a year after the New York Post published a story about him sexting with another woman who wasn’t his wife. Weiner said he would plead guilty in May after prosecutors brought charges following revelations that he also sexted with the 15-year-old, whom he met over Twitter. Both the girl and her father told the Daily Mail that Weiner knew she was underaged when they were corresponding.</p> <p>And just to make sure that Weiner does end up in jail, the US Attorney for the district of New York, Joon Kim, laid out in vivid - and gruesome detail - the circumstances of his pedophilia. As taken from the prosecutor memorandum:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>In the evening of January 23, 2016, a 15-year-old girl (the “Minor Victim”) initiated contact with the defendant by sending him a direct message on Twitter. Over the next several hours, the Minor Victim and Weiner exchanged a series of messages, ranging from the mundane to the provocative. Early in the exchange, <strong>the Minor Victim revealed to Weiner that she was in high school. </strong>Despite knowing he was communicating with a high school student, Weiner participated in increasingly suggestive exchanges, telling the Minor Victim, among other things, that he thought she was “kinda sorta gorgeous.” Their communications continued the next morning on Facebook messenger, then moved to Kik, and at some later point, Confide and Snapchat. The latter three all are messaging and photo-sharing applications that delete messages and images once viewed. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As January turned to February, their intermittent exchanges grew more lascivious. This was despite the fact that there could be no reasonable doubt in Weiner’s mind that he was chatting with a minor – in addition to having revealed that she was a high school student, the Minor Victim told Weiner that she was getting her learner’s permit. She explained in Facebook chats that she has “parents that wouldn’t approve of some of the things” she does, and that she likes “older guys,” “[b]ut that’s illegal.” The defendant correctly observed, “You are young,” in one Kik message. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Against that backdrop, between February 17 and 23, 2016, Weiner and the Minor Victim participated in three video chat sessions on Skype. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is no dispute that the Minor Victim repeatedly suggested that she and the defendant participate in video chats on Skype. Those suggestions were not, however, one-sided. For example, Twitter records reveal that during their first exchanges the night of January 23, 2016, at some point after the Minor Victim had suggested that they Skype, the defendant said “Leave the complex stuff for Skype.” That night as well, after a suggestive exchange, the defendant said “Maybe Skype someday.” Thus, although it was the Minor Victim who initially sought out Weiner, as the Government readily concedes, Weiner immediately responded to the Minor Victim’s overture and willingly participated in the offense conduct thereafter. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was then that the Minor Victim made clear that she was not just a minor – she was, in fact, only 15 years old. <strong>That did not stop Weiner. During the latter two Skype sessions, on February 18 and 23, 2016, and in a Snapchat communication on March 9, 2016, the defendant used graphic and obscene language to ask the Minor Victim to display her naked body and touch herself, which she did. </strong>He also sent an obscene message to the Minor Victim on Confide, describing what he would do to her, if she were 18. Part and parcel of these disturbing – and criminal – exchanges<strong>, the defendant also sent the Minor Victim adult pornography</strong>. In approximately March 2016, after several months of intermittent exchanges, communications between the defendant and Minor Victim largely stopped. The Minor Victim made efforts to re-engage, but was met with limited responsiveness. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The instant conduct was revealed to the public and law enforcement in September 2016, when the Daily Mail published the Minor Victim’s account of her communications with Weiner after she participated in a paid interview.</p> </blockquote> <p>And some further commentary from the proscuting attorney:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>This is not merely a “sexting” case. The defendant did far more than exchange typed words on a lifeless cellphone screen with a faceless stranger. With full knowledge that he was communicating with a real 15-year-old girl, the defendant asked her to engage in sexually explicit conduct via Skype and Snapchat, where her body was on display, and where she was asked to sexually perform for him. That offense – transmitting obscenity to a minor to induce her to engage in sexually explicit conduct by video chat and photo – is far from mere “sexting.” Weiner’s criminal conduct was very serious, and the sentence imposed should reflect that seriousness. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The defendant claims that he “responded to the victim’s request for sexually explicit messages not because she was a teenager, but in spite of it.” While the Government does not contend that Weiner engaged in inappropriate sexual exchanges with other minors or that he is a pedophile, his professed ambivalence towards the Minor Victim’s age is belied by the defendant’s own statements to the court-appointed evaluator during his evaluation. Moreover, the defendant has acknowledged an interest in legal, adult, teen-themed pornography. In the context of this admitted interest, his insistence that he deserves a lighter sentence because the Minor Victim’s age meant nothing to him <strong>rings hollow. </strong>Even if the Court were to credit Weiner’s claim of ambivalence to the Minor Victim’s age, that purported ambivalence is part of the problem. That his victim was a minor – and therefore his conduct a serious crime – did not deter Weiner from forging ahead. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The defendant’s submission repeatedly makes note of the 15-year-old Minor Victim’s various motives for communicating with Weiner and her profit from sharing those communications with the media. While careful not to cast blame on the Minor Victim outright or disclaim ultimate responsibility for his crime, he relies, in part, on the circumstances of their communications in arguing for a sentence of probation. That argument should be rejected, and Weiner should be sentenced for what he did – not what motived the Minor Victim. <strong>Weiner, a grown man, a father, and a former lawmaker, willfully and knowingly asked a 15-year-old girl to display her body and engage in sexually explicit conduct for him online. Such conduct warrants a meaningful sentence of incarceration.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Defense lawyers had portrayed the girl as an aggressor, saying she wanted to generate material for a book and possibly influence the presidential election. </strong>Prosecutors responded that Weiner should be sentenced for what he did, and his victim's motives should not influence his punishment. A defense lawyer declined to comment Wednesday.</p> <p>Weiner, 53, said in a submission last week that he's undergoing treatment and is profoundly sorry for subjecting the North Carolina high school student to what his lawyers called his "deep sickness."</p> <p>In a plea bargain, Weiner agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months. Prosecutors said the sentence should fall within that span, and they noted that Probation Office authorities had recommended a 27-month prison term.</p> <p>He will be sentenced to prison next Monday. </p> <p><em>The full sentencing guildeline filed by prosecutors is below.</em></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/359455485/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-VwPCONLam13baIsvRmuC&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="664" height="441" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/160921-weiner-sex-scandal-part-3-feature%20%281%29.jpg?1505944115" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/prosecutors-unveil-full-details-anthony-weiners-pedophilia#comments Anthony Weiner Anthony Weiner sexting scandals B+ Human sexuality KIM Law Manhattan Federal Court New York Post Probation Office Sentence Sexting Surname Twitter Twitter UN Court Weiner Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:04:15 +0000 Tyler Durden 603881 at http://www.zerohedge.com Report: Tesla And AMD Developing Custom AI Chip For Self-Driving Technology http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/amd-spikes-after-hours-reported-chip-deal-tesla-self-driving-ai-amd-tsla-nvda <p style="list-style: none; 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white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #1e439a; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; text-decoration: underline; word-spacing: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-stretch: inherit; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user237925/imageroot/2017/09/20/tesla-model-s-autopilot_0.jpg" width="500" height="305" style="margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;" /><br /></span></span></p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Shares of AMD ($AMD) spiked over 6 percent in after hours trade following a<span>&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/20/tesla-building-an-ai-chip-for-its-cars-with-amd-globalfoundries.html" target="_blank" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;" rel="noopener noreferrer">CNBC report</a><span>&nbsp;</span>that carmaker Tesla has teamed up with the chip maker develop a custom A.I. processor for&nbsp;self-driving technology.</p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><img src="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/09/amd3.png" width="655" height="455" style="list-style: none; margin: 5px auto; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.4s ease-in-out; border-image: none; height: auto; clear: both; vertical-align: middle; display: block; max-width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; opacity: 1;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-11487 tie-appear" /></p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">The carmaker has received the first batch of samples from the chipmaker, a source told CNBC.</p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">The new relationship with AMD likely signals a shift away from Nvidia, which is currently providing a small processing chip for Tesla’s current version of their self-driving system.</p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Via&nbsp;<em style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; box-sizing: border-box;"><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/20/tesla-building-an-ai-chip-for-its-cars-with-amd-globalfoundries.html" target="_blank" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;" rel="noopener noreferrer">CNBC</a>:</em></p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 30px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Current Tesla vehicles use&nbsp;Nvidia&nbsp;graphics processing units as part of the Autopilot self-driving hardware. Previously Tesla used chips from Mobileye, but the two companies&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/16/tesla-says-mobileye-balked-after-learning-carmaker-to-make-own-cameras.html" target="_blank" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;" rel="noopener noreferrer">parted ways</a>&nbsp;last year after an accident involving a Mobileye-powered Tesla. Earlier this year&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/13/intel-ceo-brian-krzanich-on-mobileye-acquisition.html" target="_blank" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;" rel="noopener noreferrer">Intel acquired Mobileye</a>&nbsp;for more than $15 billion.</p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 30px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Notably Tesla is not working with&nbsp;Intel, which has enjoyed&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/18/alphabets-waymo-self-driving-cars-use-intel-chips.html" target="_blank" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;" rel="noopener noreferrer">a long working relationship</a>&nbsp;with&nbsp;Alphabet’s&nbsp;Waymo car group.</p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Shares of Nvidia ($NVDA) dropped after hours;</p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;"><a href="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/09/nvidfell.png" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;"><img src="http://ibankcoin.com/zeropointnow/files/2017/09/nvidfell.png" width="656" height="446" style="list-style: none; margin: 5px auto; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.4s ease-in-out; border-image: none; height: auto; clear: both; vertical-align: middle; display: block; max-width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; opacity: 1;" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-11488 tie-appear" /></a></p> <p style="list-style: none; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #333333; text-transform: none; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">CNBC also reports that “Alphabet has already built two generations of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/17/google-introduced-the-second-version-of-its-tpu-for-ai.html" target="_blank" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;" rel="noopener noreferrer">an AI chip that can work as a GPU alternative</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/quotes/?symbol=MSFT" target="_blank" class="inline_quotes" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;">Microsoft</a>&nbsp;is working on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/24/microsoft-creating-ai-chip-for-hololens.html" target="_blank" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;" rel="noopener noreferrer">its own AI chip for the HoloLens</a>. And&nbsp;Apple&nbsp;has&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/12/apple-unveils-a11-bionic-neural-engine-ai-chip-in-iphone-x.html" target="_blank" style="list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; transition: 0.2s ease-in-out; border-image: none; color: #00a3cc; text-decoration: none; box-sizing: border-box;" rel="noopener noreferrer">incorporated an AI chip</a>&nbsp;into its top-of-the-line iPhone X.”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://finance.yahoo.com/video/tesla-working-amd-chip-self-200800727.html?format=embed" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; text-align: center; color: #000000; text-transform: none; line-height: inherit; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; word-spacing: 0px; 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padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; text-align: center; color: #1e439a; text-transform: none; line-height: 1.2; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: lucida_granderegular, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none; word-spacing: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-stretch: inherit; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-numeric: inherit;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit; text-decoration-line: underline;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; color: #0066cc; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;"><span style="font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;">You<strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; border-image: none; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;">Tube channel</strong></span></span></span></span></a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/amd-spikes-after-hours-reported-chip-deal-tesla-self-driving-ai-amd-tsla-nvda#comments A.I. processor Advanced Micro Devices After Hours AI chip Apple ATI Technologies Autonomous cars Computer hardware Computing Fabless semiconductor companies Graphics processing unit Intel Mobileye Nvidia self-driving technology Technology Technology Tesla Autopilot Twitter Twitter Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:01:59 +0000 ZeroPointNow 603880 at http://www.zerohedge.com How Did Toys "R" Us Implode So Fast? The CEO Explains http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/how-did-toys-r-us-implode-so-fast-ceo-explains <p>Reviewing first day motions from a company's chapter 11 docket, and more specifically the CEO's declaration, can be a great way to learn exactly what happened in the days/weeks leading up to a bankruptcy filing.&nbsp; The company spends millions of dollars every month on expensive lawyers (Kirkland &amp; Ellis in the case of Toys "R" Us), investment bankers (Lazard), turnaround advisors (Alvarez &amp; Marsal), claims administrators, etc., who all spend many sleepless nights in the days leading up to a filing trying to make sure the first day motions are as informative as possible.</p> <p>With those high expectations, <strong>you can imagine our surprise when we opened the Toys "R" Us CEO's declaration to find this "preliminary statement":</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/09/20/2017.09.20 - Toy 1.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/09/20/2017.09.20%20-%20Toy%201_0.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 266px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yes, Kirkland &amp; Ellis was paid $800 an hour (ish) to type up the Toys "R" Us jingle in a court filing.&nbsp; Bravo!</p> <p>In any event, once you get beyond the amateur-hour antics, CEO David Brandon explains why Toys "R" Us was forced to file for bankruptcy in such a hurry.&nbsp; While debt service on a excessively levered capital structure was a big part of it, Brandon explains that <strong>media speculation over a potential bankruptcy filing led to a rapid tightening of trade terms just as the company was trying to build inventory ahead of the holiday season.</strong>&nbsp; Here are the details:</p> <p>1.&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Debt </strong></span>- Apparently spending the majority of your FCF on debt service while ignoring capital improvements and store remodels is a bad long-term business strategy for a bricks-and-mortar retailer.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Toys “R” Us, however, has been operating for more than a decade with significant leverage, necessitating the use of <strong>substantial amounts of cash each year (approximately $400 million) to service the more than $5.0 billion of funded indebtedness.</strong>&nbsp; But these substantial debt service obligations<strong> impair the Company’s ability to invest in its business and future.</strong>&nbsp; As a result, the Company has fallen behind some of its primary competitors on various fronts, including with regard to general upkeep and the condition of our stores, our inability to provide expedited shipping options, and our lack of a subscription-based delivery service.</p> </blockquote> <p>2. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Vendors </strong></span>- Media speculation of an imminent bankruptcy filing starting on September 6th caused<strong> 40% of vendors to restrict shipments and demand "cash on delivery" </strong>for new inventory purchases which would have required $1 billion incremental liquidity.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>More recently, the Company’s need for a comprehensive solution to its capital structure issues caused <strong>widespread “bankruptcy” speculation in the media, </strong>leading to a severe constriction in the Company’s trade terms.&nbsp; More specifically, in late July the Company hired Kirkland &amp; Ellis LLP and Alvarez &amp; Marsal North America, LLC, complementing its retention of Lazard, to consider restructuring and capital structure solutions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A news story published on September 6, 2017, reporting that the Debtors were considering a chapter 11 filing, started a dangerous game of dominos: within a week of its publication, nearly 40 percent of the Company’s domestic and international product vendors refused to ship product without cash on delivery,</strong> cash in advance, or, in some cases, payment of all outstanding obligations.&nbsp; Further, many of the credit insurers and factoring parties that support critical Toys “R” Us vendors withdrew support.&nbsp; Given the Company’s historic average of 60-day trade terms, <strong>payment of cash on delivery would require the Debtors to immediately obtain a significant amount—over $1.0 billion—of new liquidity.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>3.&nbsp; <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Holiday Inventory Build</strong></span> - Finally, this all came at the exact moment that the company was trying to build inventory for the holiday selling season.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The timing of all of this could not have been worse, as the Company is in the process of building holiday inventory.&nbsp; While birthdays, new game releases, and other special events drive year-round sales, the holiday season is the most important for annual results.&nbsp;<strong> In the fourth quarter (the weeks prior to Christmas), the Company generates approximately 40% of its annual revenue.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To prepare for the holiday season, Toys “R” Us significantly increases inventory in September to fill store shelves with the selection and variety of products our customers expect.&nbsp; Accordingly, I believe it is critical that the Company reopen its supply chain immediately to ensure a successful holiday season.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/09/20/ToysRUs_0.JPG" alt="Toy" width="600" height="332" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Given that, it's somewhat ironic that <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-20/toys-r-us-lives-on-because-mattel-and-hasbro-can-t-let-it-die">Bloomberg</a> notes this morning how important Toys "R" Us is to vendors and how Mattel and Hasbro couldn't possibly allow the company to liquidate.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Rest easy, kids. Toys “R” Us Inc. isn’t going anywhere, at least not if the makers of Barbie and Transformers have their way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet, the company, which operates about 1,600 stores globally, will likely survive because manufacturers such as Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc. and closely held MGA Entertainment Inc. need the last remaining toy chain. These vendors are eager for whatever remaining leverage they have against the might of Amazon and Wal-Mart, the bane of all companies focused on a single category of shopping.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Oh my God, they are very important, and people don’t understand,”</strong> Isaac Larian, founder and chief executive officer of MGA, said of the toy chain.<strong> “That’s the only place where kids can go and just buy toys. There is no toy business without Toys ‘R’ Us.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In many respects, suppliers have been propping up Toys “R” Us for years, according to Moody’s Corp. analyst Charlie O’Shea; they give the chain exclusive products during the holidays and funds for promotions to help it compete with the general merchandisers. The manufacturers offer this support because they want a place to sell toys at full price, year round. Major brands have also been funding an overhaul of Toys “R” Us stores by adding more featured areas for top brands such as Mattel’s American Girl dolls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the toy business, the incentive is particularly powerful. <strong>Last year, Toys “R” Us accounted for 11 percent of sales at Mattel and 9 percent at Hasbro -- the second most at both companies after Wal-Mart.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, many have speculated this week over how/why TOY bonds traded off 75 points on the company's filing?&nbsp; How could they be so wrong?&nbsp; While the timing of the filing was probably somewhat of a surprise, we can't help but wonder whether this simplistic org structure might have contributed in some small way?</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/09/20/2017.09.20 - Toy Org Structure.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/09/20/2017.09.20%20-%20Toy%20Org%20Structure_0.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 451px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="756" height="418" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/ToysRUs_0.JPG?1505909005" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/how-did-toys-r-us-implode-so-fast-ceo-explains#comments Babycare Barbie Business Economy Economy of the United States ETC Investment Lazard Li & Fung Mattel Toys "R" Us Wayne, New Jersey Wed, 20 Sep 2017 21:44:09 +0000 Tyler Durden 603832 at http://www.zerohedge.com Sharyl Attkisson Rages "Looks Like Obama Spied On Trump, Just Like He Did To Me" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/sharyl-attkisson-rages-looks-obama-spied-trump-just-he-did-me <p><a href="http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/351495-it-looks-like-obama-did-spy-on-trump-just-as-he-did-to-me"><em>Authored by Sharyl Attkisson op-ed via TheHill.com,</em></a></p> <p>Many in the media are diving deeply into minutiae <strong>in order to discredit any notion that President Trump might have been onto something in March when he fired off a series of tweets claiming President Obama had &ldquo;tapped&rdquo; &ldquo;wires&rdquo; in Trump Tower just before the election.</strong></p> <p>According to media reports this week, <strong>the FBI did indeed &ldquo;wiretap&rdquo; the former head of Trump&rsquo;s campaign, Paul Manafort, both before and after Trump was elected</strong>.</p> <p>If Trump officials - or Trump himself - communicated with Manafort during the wiretaps, they would have been recorded, too.</p> <p><u><strong>But we&rsquo;re missing the bigger story.</strong></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_Attkisson.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/09/18/20170920_Attkisson_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 382px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>If these reports are accurate, it means U.S. intelligence agencies secretly surveilled at least a half dozen Trump associates. And those are just the ones we know about.</strong></p> <p>Besides Manafort, the officials include former Trump advisers Carter Page and Michael Flynn. Last week, we discovered multiple Trump &ldquo;transition officials&rdquo; were &ldquo;incidentally&rdquo; captured during government surveillance of a foreign official. We know this because former Obama adviser <strong>Susan Rice reportedly <a href="http://www.ktxs.com/news/politics/rice-told-house-investigators-why-she-unmasked-senior-trump-officials/620226589">admitted</a> &ldquo;unmasking,&rdquo; or asking to know the identities of, the officials.</strong> Spying on U.S. citizens is considered so sensitive, their names are supposed to be hidden or &ldquo;masked,&rdquo; even inside the government, to protect their privacy.</p> <p>In May, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates<strong> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/05/08/full-transcript-sally-yates-and-james-clapper-testify-on-russian-election-interference/">acknowledged</a> they, too, reviewed communications of political figures, secretly collected under President Obama</strong>.</p> <p><strong><em>Barely an eyebrow was raised in the media.</em></strong></p> <h3><u><strong>Weaponization of Intel Agencies?</strong></u></h3> <p>Nobody wants our intel agencies to be used like the Stasi in East Germany; the secret police spying on its own citizens for political purposes. The prospect of our own NSA, CIA and FBI becoming politically weaponized has been shrouded by untruths, accusations and justifications.</p> <p><strong>You&rsquo;ll recall DNI Clapper falsely assured Congress in 2013 that the&nbsp;NSA was not collecting &ldquo;any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Intel agencies secretly <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-spy-net-on-israel-snares-congress-1451425210">monitored</a> conversations of members of Congress while the Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.</p> <p><strong>In 2014, the CIA got caught spying on Senate Intelligence committee staffers,</strong> though CIA Director John Brennan had explicitly denied that.</p> <p>There were also <strong>wiretaps on then-Congressman <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/10/dennis-kucinich-im-no-fan-trumps-but-hes-got-point-about-wiretapping.html">Dennis Kucinich</a> (D-Ohio) in 2011 under Obama.</strong></p> <p>The same happened under President George W. Bush<strong> to former Congresswoman <a href="https://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/14/jane-harmon-and-israeli-spying/%20https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/03/10/kucinich_i_was_wiretapped_as_a_congressman_they_can_certainly_tap_a_presidential_candidate.html">Jane Harman</a> (D-Calif.).</strong></p> <p><strong>Journalists have been targeted, too.</strong> This internal <a href="https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/12/1210665_obama-leak-investigations-internal-use-only-pls-do-not.html">email</a> exposed by WikiLeaks should give everyone chills. It did me.</p> <p>Dated Sept. 21, 2010, the &ldquo;global intelligence&rdquo; firm Stratfor wrote:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>[John] Brennan [then an Obama Homeland Security adviser] is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Note -- There is specific tasker from the WH to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked. The Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode...</em></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The government subsequently got caught monitoring journalists at Fox News, the Associated Press, and, as I allege in a federal lawsuit, my computers while I worked as an investigative correspondent at CBS News.</strong> On Aug. 7, 2013, CBS News publicly <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cbs-news-confirms-sharyl-attkissons-computer-hacked">announced</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&hellip;correspondent Sharyl Attkisson&rsquo;s computer was hacked by &lsquo;an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions,&rsquo; confirming Attkisson&rsquo;s previous revelation of the hacking.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Then, as now, instead of getting the bigger story,<strong> some in the news media and quasi-news media published false and misleading narratives pushed by government interests.</strong> They implied the computer intrusions were the stuff of vivid imagination, conveniently dismissed forensic evidence from three independent examinations that they didn&rsquo;t review. All seemed happy enough to let news of the government&rsquo;s alleged unlawful behavior fade away, rather than get to the <a href="https://sharylattkisson.com/2017/08/01/new-attkisson-v-doj-the-computer-intrusion-lawsuit-against-the-federal-govt/">bottom</a> of it.</p> <p>I have spent more than two years litigating against the Department of Justice for the computer intrusions. Forensics have revealed dates, times and methods of some of the illegal activities. The software used was proprietary to a federal intel agency. The intruders deployed a keystroke monitoring program, accessed the CBS News corporate computer system, listened in on my conversations by activating the computer&rsquo;s microphone and used Skype to exfiltrate files.</p> <p><strong>We survived the government&rsquo;s latest attempt to dismiss my lawsuit. There&rsquo;s another hearing Friday.</strong> To date, the Trump Department of Justice &mdash; like the Obama Department of Justice &mdash; is fighting me in <a href="https://sharylattkisson.com/2017/04/02/attkisson-v-eric-holder-department-of-justice-et-al/">court</a> and working to keep hidden the identities of those who accessed a government internet protocol address found in my computers.</p> <p><strong>Evidence continues to build.</strong> I recently filed new information unearthed through forensic exams. As one expert told the court, it was &ldquo;not a mistake; it is not a random event; and it is not technically possible for these IP addresses to simply appear on her computer systems without activity by someone using them as part of the cyber-attack.&rdquo;<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <h3><u><strong>Patterns</strong></u></h3> <p>It&rsquo;s difficult not to see patterns in the government&rsquo;s behavior, <strong>unless you&rsquo;re wearing blinders.</strong></p> <ul> <li>The&nbsp;intelligence community secretly <a href="https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/DNI%20Clapper%20Section%20702%20Declassification%20Cover%20Letter.pdf" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">expanded</a> its authority in 2011 so it can monitor innocent U.S. citizens like you and me for doing nothing more than mentioning a target&rsquo;s name a single time.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>In January 2016, a top secret inspector general report found the&nbsp;NSA violated the very laws designed to prevent abuse.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>In 2016, Obama officials searched through intelligence on U.S. citizens a record <a href="https://icontherecord.tumblr.com/transparency/odni_transparencyreport_cy2016" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">30,000 times</a>, up from 9,500 in 2013.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Two weeks before the election, at a secret hearing before the FISA court overseeing government surveillance, NSA officials confessed they&rsquo;d violated privacy safeguards &ldquo;with much greater frequency&rdquo; than they&rsquo;d admitted. The judge accused them of &ldquo;institutional lack of candor&rsquo;&rdquo; and said, &ldquo;this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.&rdquo;</li> </ul> <p>Officials involved in the surveillance and unmasking of U.S. citizens have said their actions were legal and not politically motivated. And there are certainly legitimate areas of inquiry to be made by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. But look at the patterns. It seems that government monitoring of journalists, members of Congress and political enemies &mdash; under multiple administrations &mdash; has become more common than anyone would have imagined two decades ago. So has the unmasking of sensitive and highly protected names by political officials.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Those deflecting with minutiae are missing the point. To me, they sound like the ones who aren&rsquo;t thinking.</strong></em></u></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Sharyl Attkisson (<a href="https://twitter.com/SharylAttkisson"><em>@SharylAttkisson</em></a>) is an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of the New York Times bestsellers &ldquo;The Smear&rdquo; and &ldquo;Stonewalled,&rdquo; and host of Sinclair&rsquo;s Sunday TV program &ldquo;Full Measure.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="648" height="413" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20170920_Attkisson.jpg?1505921966" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/sharyl-attkisson-rages-looks-obama-spied-trump-just-he-did-me#comments Carter Page Central Intelligence Agency Central Intelligence Agency Congress Dennis Kucinich Department of Justice Department of Justice Director of National Intelligence Donald Trump FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Fox News Germany Government IP Iran James Clapper Kucinich Meltdown national intelligence New York Times Obama Administration Obama administration Paul Manafort Politics President Obama Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Senate Intelligence Committee Trump Tower Trump Tower wiretapping allegations U.S. intelligence UN Court United States Wed, 20 Sep 2017 21:35:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603849 at http://www.zerohedge.com Caught On Video: Maxine Waters Uses Funeral Speech To Push Trump Impeachment http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/caught-video-maxine-waters-uses-funeral-speech-push-trump-impeachment <p>What was supposed to be a remembrance ceremony for this man, comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, yesterday <strong>turned mildly bizarre</strong>, which is a recurring theme as it were, <strong>when California congresswoman Maxine Waters took the stage.</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/09/20/2017.09.20%20-%20Dick%20Gregory_0.JPG" alt="Gregory" width="600" height="331" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rather than focus on the lifetime accomplishments of Gregory or fond personal memories, you know all the stuff you would usually include in a eulogy, <strong>Waters decided a funeral ceremony was the perfect place to once again call Donald Trump a racist and demand his immediate impeachment.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>“I’m cleaning out the White House.&nbsp; <strong>We’re going to sanitize the White House.</strong> We’re not going to take what is happening in this country."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Haven’t you taken enough?”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“And then comes along this person [Trump]...This person who does not respect you. This dishonorable human being who cheats everybody! This dishonorable human being who will lie at the drop of a hat.<strong> This dishonorable human being who has the alt-right, and the KKK and everybody else inside his Cabinet! </strong>This dishonorable human being who can criticize everybody but (Vladimir) Putin and Russia."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Not only are we going to clean out the White House.<strong> We’re going to take back the house that slaves built!"</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“And I know my colleagues get very upset. Some get afraid when I say ‘impeachment'...when I get through with Donald Trump, he’s going to wish he had been impeached!”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“I’m gonna say ‘Impeach 45 everyday,’ ‘Impeach 45 everyday,’ ‘Impeach 45 everyday.'”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CIWpWaG0drs" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, if almost anyone other than Waters used the word "sanitize" in a racially-charged monologue describing what she would like to do to someone of another race, it would undoubtedly be front-page news for every political paper in the country...that said, somehow we suspect CNN will 'miss' this one.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="540" height="339" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/Maxine%20Waters_1.JPG?1505918347" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-20/caught-video-maxine-waters-uses-funeral-speech-push-trump-impeachment#comments African-American women in politics California Donald Trump Donald Trump Human Interest Ku Klux Klan Maxine Waters Maxine Waters Politics of the United States United States Vladimir Putin White House White House Wed, 20 Sep 2017 21:15:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 603845 at http://www.zerohedge.com