Sunday, July 8, 2012

Short but sweet

AAA W in Africa

What’s New Today
Story #1 is a nice story about W.  #2 looks at the evolution of Barack Obama.  In my opinion there is no evolution there so much as a reveal from him on who he actually is.  #3 is an excellent story on how Americans are weak at math. 

Today’s Thoughts

The unemployment rate has been above 8% for 41 consecutive months. In the previous 60 years, the jobless topped 8% in a TOTAL of only 39 months.

I’m looking forward to a President Romney in the White House.   Finally we can have economic news from the MSM that doesn’t begin with the word “unexpectedly.”  

“We all want progress, but if you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”  C.S. Lewis

1.  Do you miss him yet?

I simply love the photo….

…Isn’t it a reminder both that there is more to life than politics and that politics exists to serve those greater things?

I recently ran into a cab driver (I know, I know, could I be any lazier a reporter?), an immigrant from Pakistan, who has been a citizen of the United States for 25 years. He confessed he hated George Bush when he was president, thought he lied to finish his father’s unfinished business and all of the rest of it. He hated him so much, he told me, that he even went to the library and got his book when it came out. And instead of the bitter feelings he expected reading to prompt to prompt, he found himself humbled: “I didn’t even take the time to know what he was doing as president.”

He cited, in particular, the PEPFAR support for Africans.

The cabbie still has some reservations about the Iraq war (both of them), but George W. Bush wound up helping him become a better informed citizen, and a more inquisitive one. And a little more aware of — and appreciative of — good people who step forward and the people they are stepping forward for…

I doubt this will happen with O.  If he had done anything like this, his people would have spread the word far and wide through their media hacks. 

2.  The Evolution of Barack Obama

President Obama’s bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania late last week offered a striking look at the evolution of a president. In 2008, Obama used soaring rhetoric and personal biography to talk about binding together a red-blue nation. His message today is about the urgent need to defeat a stubborn opposition party in order to move the country forward.

Four years ago, Obama used themes of hope and change to suggest that he could bring a new politics to Washington. He was open to the idea that, as he sometimes put it, the solutions to the country’s problems were somewhere between the rhetoric and visions of both parties. His goal, he said, was to help guide the country, through his leadership, to that imagined golden mean while sticking to his principles

Today, the battle-scarred president who has met almost uniform resistance from the Republicans sees the world differently, or so it seems from the way he talked in Ohio and Pennsylvania. At nearly every stop, he made it clear that he sees November in the starkest of terms and that there can be but one winner. He asked supporters to help deliver a victory in November that would carry a message that his vision is superior to that of the Republicans….

Obama thought he could bring the country together but only under his ideals.  He no longer thinks that, but he still think his ideals work.  $5 trillion in increased debt, over 8% unemployment, growth at 1.9%.  His ideals don’t work either.

3.  11 Ways consumers are helpless at Math

You walk into a Starbucks and see two deals for a cup of coffee. The first deal offers 33% extra coffee. The second takes 33% off the regular price. What's the better deal?

"They're about equal!" you'd say, if you're like the students who participated in a new study published in the Journal of Marketing.  And you'd be wrong. The deals appear to be equivalent, but in fact, a 33% discount is the same as a 50 percent increase in quantity. Math time: Let's say the standard coffee is $1 for 3 quarts ($0.33 per quart). The first deal gets you 4 quarts for $1 ($0.25 per quart) and the second gets you 3 quarts for 66 cents ($.22 per quart).

The upshot: Getting something extra "for free" feels better than getting the same for less. The applications of this simple fact are huge. Selling cereal? Don't talk up the discount. Talk how much bigger the box is! Selling a car? Skip the MPG conversion. Talk about all the extra miles.

There are two broad reasons why these kind of tricks work. First: Consumers don't know what the heck anything should cost, so we rely on parts of our brains that aren't strictly quantitative. Second: Although humans spend in numbered dollars, we make decisions based on clues and half-thinking that amount to innumeracy.

Here are 10 more ways consumers are bad at math, with an assist from historian and author William Poundstone.

(2) We're heavily influenced by the first number. You walk into a high-end store, let's say it's Hermès, and you see a $7,000 bag. "Haha, that's so stupid!" you tell your friend. "Seven grand for a bag!" Then you spot an awesome watch for $367. Compared to a Timex, that's wildly over-expensive. But compared to the $7,000 price tag you just put to memory, it's a steal. In this way, stores can massage or "anchor" your expectations for spending.
(3) We're terrified of extremes. We don't like feeling cheap, and we don't like feeling duped. Since we're not sure what things are worth, we shy away from prices that appear too high or too low. Stores can employ our bias for moderation against us. Here's a great story:  

People were offered 2 kinds of beer: premium beer for $2.50 and bargain beer for $1.80. Around 80% chose the more expensive beer. Now a third beer was introduced, a super bargain beer for $1.60 in addition to the previous two. Now 80% bought the $1.80 beer and the rest $2.50 beer. Nobody bought the cheapest option.

Third time around, they removed the $1.60 beer and replaced with a super premium $3.40 beer. Most people chose the $2.50 beer, a small number $1.80 beer and around 10% opted for the most expensive $3.40 beer.

In short: We are all Goldilocks….

I found this to be very interesting.  More to read so click the link. 

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