Weekend Digest: The Amazon vs. Walmart, Apple vs. FBI, follow the Sun edition

by Larry Brannan ([email protected]) 94 views 

On this week’s TV edition of Talk Business & Politics, which airs Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on KATV Channel 7 in Central Arkansas and now in Northeast Arkansas on KAIT-NBC, Sundays at 10 a.m.:

• U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs
He’s just returned from a trade mission to Taiwan. What new opportunities could there be for Arkansas exports ranging from pork to poultry to timber? Plus, does he have a Presidential pick now that former Gov. Mike Huckabee has paused his campaign?

• Health care reform
The governor talks health care reform from the private option to his Arkansas Works plan. We’ll look at Asa’s evolution on Medicaid expansion and a preview of what’s on the horizon. KATV’s Elicia Dover and TBP’s Steve Brawner join the program for analysis.

• Presidential politics
Plus, Sen. Marco Rubio makes his first Arkansas appearance of the 2016 presidential cycle. We’ll preview that visit and discuss the week’s top business and political headlines.

Tune in to Talk Business & Politics in Central Arkansas on KATV Channel 7, Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and now in Northeast Arkansas on KAIT-NBC, Sundays at 10 a.m.

Fortune posts, “Walmart pulled out all the stops during the Christmas period to try to keep up with Amazon.com.”

“The world’s largest retailer did everything to gin up e-commerce sales, from starting its Black Friday sales online on the morning of Thanksgiving, to turning Cyber Monday into Cyber Sunday, to having an upgraded mobile app that helped shoppers do things like alert a store they were coming in to pick up an order.”

But the retailer, the second largest e-commerce player in the world, has only modest gains to show for its efforts: global e-commerce sales rose 8% in the fourth quarter that ran from November to January. That was the company’s lowest pace yet. (To be fair, much of the decline was attributable to sluggishness in Britain, China, and Brazil. Walmart doesn’t break out its U.S. figures.)

Why is Walmart’s e-commerce slowing and why is “keeping up with Amazon.com getting harder and harder” for the retail giant?

Get the full post at this link.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t usually worth the risk, some research says, at least strictly in financial terms. Thankfully, plenty of people take the plunge anyway, because they’re drawn to it for other reasons, such as wanting to be their own boss, or wanting to pursue a personal passion,” reports Harvard Business Review.

But that conventional view is misleading, argues a recent paper by Gustavo Manso at the University of California, Berkeley. Instead, he finds that self-employment does pay off financially, but not in the way entrepreneurs might expect. The financial benefit doesn’t usually come from the entrepreneurship itself, but in the form of higher wages when the entrepreneur returns to the workforce.

To learn more about this surprising reveal, go to this link.

There are 50 of them according to Fast Company.  From companies such as Hasbro, ranked 50th, to the #1 most innovative company. (And no, it’s not Amazon.)

There’s a link for each company that takes you to the company’s profile along with listings such as perks for employees, tips for getting a job at the company and the company’s competitive advantage.

Check them out here.

“A federal judge has ordered Apple to create a backdoor into iPhones. Apple is fighting back – and the stakes are high for everyone,” posts Inc.

“Yesterday, (Wed.) a federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock an encrypted iPhone used by Syed Farook, one of the two terrorists who murdered 14 people and injured 22 more in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, late last year. Among the reasons that the law enforcement agency wants to examine data on the smartphone in question is to help determine if the shooters had assistance from others in carrying out the murders; if they did have help, one could reasonably argue, examining the phone’s contents could not only help the FBI bring other terrorists to justice, but also help prevent future attacks, and save the lives of innocent Americans.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook responded by publishing an open letter criticizing the order, in which he stated that while he and his colleagues at Apple have “great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good,” the technology firm would do all that it could to oppose the order, as obeying it, in their mind, “would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”

For more on the FBI’s demands and Cook’s response, connect here.

The New York Times says, “If the Republican Party remains divided for much longer, it will start getting more difficult for a mainstream candidate to win the nomination.

Yet Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John Kasich all have incentives to stay in the race, preventing the party from getting behind one candidate.”

On Super Tuesday, March 1, 25 percent of the delegates to the Republican national convention will be awarded. If the mainstream field hasn’t been narrowed by that point, it will become very hard to avoid serious damage to the candidate who ultimately emerges as the party’s anointed favorite. The top mainstream candidate could easily fall more than 100 delegates short of what he might have earned in a winnowed field.

For more on this story, follow this link.

“The two candidates are articulating the views of groups that feel shut out of the political process,” says The Atlantic.

Sanders and Trump are rising largely because they are amplifying the voices of constituencies that have usually been outshouted in fights for their party’s nomination. For Trump, that key constituency is working-class Republicans; for Sanders, it’s the Millennial generation. By demonstrating—and crystallizing—these groups’ electoral clout, each man is signaling a lasting internal power shift in the party he is seeking to lead.

“In style and substance, John McCain and Mitt Romney, the 2008 and 2012 nominees, more represented the party’s managerial white-collar wing. Trump has decisively broken that pattern with a bristling, insular message that attacks both domestic elites and foreign influences, from Mexican immigrants to Chinese manufacturers.”

“Like Trump, Sanders is now drawing support from many different factions of his party. But his strength is also rooted in astronomical support among a single group: the Millennial generation. Both in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders carried over 80 percent of voters younger than 30, a head-spinning result.”

Go inside this story for more on how these two candidates are spinning their clout successfully to totally different factions in both parties.

POLITICO reports, “For an hour each on Wednesday night, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio took to national television to flash their intellects – detailing policy proposals, navigating constitutional queries and holding forth, in great detail, on how they would endeavor to make America great (again).

A few networks away, Donald Trump preferred to take a pass on all that and let his id do the talking.”

In an hourlong MSNBC interview, Trump weighed in on specifics mostly to dismiss them: He denied ever proposing a 45-percent tariff on Chinese imports and shot down the possibility that he would pick David Petraeus as his vice president, saying, “We can’t, now. He has been so badly hurt.”

On many issues, Trump was his own proposal, promising by dint of his own negotiating genius to deal with pharmaceutical companies, defense contractors, China and Japan.

“Taking voters’ questions for an hour each on CNN town halls, Cruz and Rubio were working far, far harder.”

Just how hard did Cruz and Rubio have to work?  Learn more of what the three candidates had to say to some tough questions, by clicking here.

Real Clear Politics posts, “Conventional wisdom is wrong again. There is not one big populist revolt now sweeping across America. Rather, there are three revolts – one from the right, one from the left and one from angry voters across the board.

The first revolt has been percolating for nearly a decade. It is an insurgency targeted against moral compromise and it is being waged within – and, in some ways, against – the Republican Party. Powered at the grass roots by the Tea Party and on Capitol Hill by the Freedom Caucus, this movement has pulled the Republican Party well to the right of where it was just a few years ago.”

These conservative ideologues are tired of GOP candidates who don’t deliver on campaign promises, especially cutting government. They loathe moderate Republicans who make deals with Democrats, and they view legislative bargaining as betrayal. They see Barack Obama’s Washington as a foreign capital, much like Moscow or Beijing. Shutting down government is not just a tactic they use to get what they want – it is what they want.

What are the other two and which parties are they affecting the most? For the answers plus analysis, go here.

“I’m here in Jones County, Mississippi, to breathe in the historical vapors left by Newton Knight, a poor white farmer who led an extraordinary rebellion during the Civil War. With a company of like-minded white men in southeast Mississippi, he did what many Southerners now regard as unthinkable. He waged guerrilla war against the Confederacy and declared loyalty to the Union.”

In the spring of 1864, the Knight Company overthrew the Confederate authorities in Jones County and raised the United States flag over the county courthouse in Ellisville. The county was known as the Free State of Jones, and some say it actually seceded from the Confederacy. This little-known, counterintuitive episode in American history has now been brought to the screen in Free State of Jones, directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) and starring a grimy, scruffed-up Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight.

Smithsonian.com has more, plus complete historical details on this new film at this link.

“From the Montgomery bus boycott to the March on Washington,” Time has posted 12 remarkable photographs of Dr. King.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the anniversary of King’s birth on Jan. 15, 1929, here are some of the most powerful images of King made by LIFE’s photographers.

Click here for the images.

Inc. posts, “Portugal-based architectural project Houses in Motion has come up with a genius new design to make solar power much more cost-effective.”

Because solar panels work best when they’re directly facing the sun – which happens only for a short period each day – most of the time, a significant amount of solar power falls by the wayside. To help solve this problem, Portugal-based design project Casas em Movimento (Houses in Motion) has come up with a revolutionary design using a rotating house whose photovoltaic roof follows the sun throughout the day, Fast Company reports. The interior of the house even has a section that stays stationary at all times, allowing you change and customize the layout throughout the day depending on how you want to use the space.

For more on this revolutionary “bright” idea, click here.