Weekend Digest: The Brexit-Crystal Ball edition

by Larry Brannan (ltbrannan@aol.com) 48 views 

TV PREVIEW
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 in Northeast Arkansas on KAIT-NBC, Sundays at 10 a.m.:

Congressman Rick Crawford
Guns, catfish, Donald Trump – what do these 3 things have in common? They’re part of our conversation with First District Congressman Rick Crawford.

Talk Politics
We’ll talk politics with Political Animals Club President Rex Nelson and KATV’s Janelle Lilley. Topics: everything from casinos to medical marijuana to state executions and more.

Survey Says
New polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College. If the Presidential election were today, who would win Arkansas? Political scientist Dr. Jay Barth analyzes the results.

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

HOW BREXIT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD
Following the week’s dramatic Brexit vote in the U.K., Politico magazine rounds up 17 top economists, foreign policy gurus and historians to look five months and five years into the future.

Sure, there is a lot of hype now, but, in the long run: What does it actually mean? We rounded up some of the best minds and biggest names in foreign policy, history and economics to tell us: What are the consequences of the Brexit vote five months from now and five years from now?

Read their takes at this link.

NATION’S BIGGEST BANKS WOULD ALL WITHSTAND RECESSION FED SAYS
The New York Times posts, “The nation’s biggest banks have all built up big enough buffers to weather a severe recession in decent shape, United States regulators said on Thursday.”

The Federal Reserve looked at how the country’s 33 largest banks would do in a recession with sustained high unemployment and negative interest rates. It found that the big banks would all suffer major losses — $526 billion in total.

Yet even with those losses, regulators said, all of the big banks would remain in relatively good financial health — and well above minimum regulatory requirements — as a result of the big cushions of shareholder money they have stockpiled in the last few years.

More on this story at this link.

THE U.S. SMART HOME MARKET REPORT
Business Insider reports, “The U.S. smart home market has yet to take off. Quirky’s recent announcement that it was filing chapter 11 bankruptcy — and selling off its smart home business — highlights this well.

At its current state, we believe the smart home market is stuck in the ‘chasm’ of the technology adoption curve, in which it is struggling to surpass the early-adopter phase and move to the mass-market phase of adoption.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we analyze current US consumer demand for the smart home and barriers to widespread adoption. We also analyze and determine areas of growth, and ways to overcome barriers.

Here are some key takeaways from the report.

WHY EVERYONE AT THIS COMPANY EATS LUNCH TOGETHER EVERY DAY
Fast Company posts, “For the last two decades this German design firm has had one rule: All employees must meet for lunch.”

There is one sacred rule at Studio 7.5, a small Berlin-based design firm that has developed furniture for Herman Miller for more than 20 years: Employees must gather for a home-cooked lunch at a communal table every day of the week.

Go to this link to find out why, and how it works.

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE: MAP NO. 2
The University of Virginia Center for Politics has a crystal ball. And it’s called Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

Some of our readers may recall that the Crystal Ball published its first 2016 Electoral College map at the end of March. It was somewhat controversial — at least judging by many of the reactions we received…at that time we projected Hillary Clinton at 347 electoral votes and Donald Trump at 191. While Toss-ups are perfectly reasonable at this stage of the campaign, we decided for clarity’s sake to push every close state one way or the other.

Now that the primary season is over, the overall picture is clearer:

Cue map No. 2 at this link.

IS THIS THE SECRET DNC FILE ON HILLARY CLINTON?
The Daily Beast asks, “Why did Hillary pay so little for flights? What was her role in Benghazi? And did she really make Bill’s head bleed?” An alleged data dump on Hillary covers those questions—and more.

If Republican National Committee researchers need any help digging up dirt on Hillary Clinton, they might turn to their Democratic counterparts for help.

On Tuesday, a hacker, or possibly a group, going by the name “Guccifer2” released what he said were hundreds of Democratic National Committee documents that exhaustively catalogue Clinton’s political and policy vulnerabilities on just about every issue that’s touched her career. From Benghazi to her private email server to Monica Lewinsky, it’s all there.

A 113-page Word document, appropriately titled “Hillary Clinton Master Doc,” draws on news articles and attacks levied by her opponents in order to create a kind of point/counterpoint guidebook, showing where the DNC thinks Clinton is likely to get hit by her critics and how she or her surrogates might fight back.

For the full story on these allegations, follow here.

DONALD TRUMP HAD NO CHOICE
To give his campaign $50 million that is, reports The Fix’s Chris Cilizza at The Washington Post.

Donald Trump did something Thursday that you might not think is all that big a deal: He forgave more than $50 million in personal loans to his presidential campaign.

This isn’t new money Trump is donating to the campaign. It’s money that has already been given — and spent. But, that misses how important — and necessary — what Trump did actually is: In forgiving the personal loans, he turned them into contributions. What that means in plain English is that he can’t refund that $50 million to himself out of the campaign’s coffers — now or ever.

Many major Republican donors have been sitting on the sidelines for the seven-plus weeks Trump has been the presumptive nominee. There are lots of reasons for their unwillingness to back Trump more fully, but the biggest one was that they simply didn’t trust that Trump was genuinely committed to the race.

Why spend time and political capital — not to mention money — on a guy who, at any moment, might take the cash you collected and use it not to beat Hillary Clinton but rather to make himself whole again? The idea of helping Trump stay exactly as rich as he was before this campaign began didn’t sit well with major donors, many of whom fundamentally disagree with him on lots of policy matters as well.

How did Trump spin this move, and is Trump “withering on the vine?”

Go to this link for the complete post.

GET READY: THE NEXT ‘CITIZENS UNITED’ IS COMING
Politico magazine reports, “Most Americans last heard from conservative lawyer Jim Bopp six years ago when he crafted a case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that won the Supreme Court’s favor and helped uncork a torrent of cash—some of it secret—that continues pouring into elections.”

But Bopp is back. The Terre Haute, Indiana-based attorney, who was literally laughed at by a judge when he made his first arguments in Citizens United, is now the lead lawyer in the most prominent of a series of lawsuits attempting to further destroy political contribution limits. The case, brought by the Republican Party of Louisiana, addresses restrictions on how state and local political parties use “soft money” contributions to influence federal elections.

Bopp’s clients argue that if independent outside groups such as super PACs are permitted to raise and spend unlimited amounts of such money, there’s no reason why state political parties, acting independently of federal candidates, should be treated differently. Political parties are “disadvantaged” compared with super PACs, Bopp said in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity. “They want to compete, and they want to do this activity without the severe restrictions that they suffer under,” said Bopp.

For the full read, dial-up this link.

NEXT-TO-LAST MEMBER OF THE 1942 DOOLITTLE RAID ON JAPAN PASSES AWAY AT 94
The New York Times reports that David Thatcher, an Army Air Force gunner who was decorated for helping to save the lives of four severely wounded fellow crewmen in the Doolittle Raid on Japan of April 1942, America’s first strike against the Japanese homeland in World War II, died on Wednesday in Missoula, Mont.

His death, announced by his family through the Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula, leaves Richard Cole, age 100, as the last surviving veteran of a legendary chapter in Air Force history. Mr. Cole was a co-pilot alongside Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, the raid’s commander and pilot of its lead plane.

Corporal Thatcher, a 20-year-old from Montana, manned a pair of .50-caliber guns in the raid, retaliating for Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

He rode in the rear of the Mitchell B-25 medium bomber christened the Ruptured Duck, the seventh of 16 planes launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet about 650 miles from Japan.

There’s an Arkansas angle to this storied tale. Thatcher is the father of Jeff Thatcher, the communications director for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. For more on this brave American and the Doolittle Raiders, click here.

STEPH CURRY IS NOW TRADEMARKED
In fact, he filed his trademark applications during the NBA Finals, reports Forbes.

Steph Curry came up short in serving the Bay Area with a second straight championship, and few may know that Chef Curry was busy cooking up some business off the court as the Golden State Warriors were in the midst of a three game losing streak to the Cleveland Cavaliers. On June 16, the same day that the Warriors lost Game 6 to the Cavaliers by a score of 115-101, Curry submitted four trademark applications.

Curry’s new trademark applications are for STEPH CURRY, STEPHEN CURRY, CHEF CURRY and CURRY. As Alexander Montgomery points out, it appears that these are the only existing applications in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database that are owned by Curry, individually.

So what will the enterprising, sharp-shooting Curry do with these trademarks?

Click here to find out.

WHO IS RIDING THE NEXT WAVE OF VIRTUAL REALITY?
Well it’s ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek’ of course, posts Rolling Stone.

Studios are starting to crack the code for what makes a great VR experience.

When it comes to virtual reality, things like visual fidelity and screen resolution matter only so much. It’s all about the immersion factor – the way a well-wrought VR experience rings effortlessly true to our reptile brains. At E3 this year, game critics bailed out during demos of Everest’s high, narrow ledges. The new Resident Evil 7 on VR caused at least one terrified player to freak out, clawing at the headset to get it off, to escape the horrifying world around her. Fortunately, most VR game experiences involve less terror and more fun.

“Sony has the fan faves” like Star Wars and Star Trek, says analyst Joost van Dreunen, chief executive at SuperData Research. “They put the emphasis on content.”

One such title is Red Storm Entertainment’s Star Trek Bridge Crew, which has provoked a fanatical response from everyone that’s tried it. Bridge Crew launches on PSVR, Rift and Vive this fall. “We’ve been doing social VR since 2014. VR has been my passion since I was 19,” explains David Votypka, creative director at Red Storm. “We had this social mindset going in.”

For a great inside look at the latest and greatest in VR, travel to this link at warp speed.

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