On Monday, Judicial Watch released more than 35 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton’s erstwhile top State Dept handmaiden Huma Abedin that reveal the type of Clintonian behavior that no longer shocks, to wit, security breaches and special treatment requests for Clinton friends. You can read all about it here. What is hilarious though, and perhaps more of a concern, is this exchange between Abedin and Clinton minion Monica Hanley:
Abedin: Have you been going over her calls with her? So she knows singh is at 8? [India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh]
Hanley: She was in bed for a nap by the time I heard that she had an 8am call. Will go over with her
Abedin: Very imp to do that. She’s often confused
From the “People in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones” category comes the laughably Pecksniffian rich man’s row between hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, head of Pershing Square Capital, and Charlie Munger, who has been Warren Buffet’s fidus Achates/gal Friday for years.
It should be noted that Ackman is a self-inflated weirdo who started crying like a 5-year-old denied a toy while addressing Target shareholders back in 2009 during his high-profile and losing proxy battle against the company. In absurd fashion, he later attributed his breakdown to the poignancy of a JFK quotation (“We will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship“) that he used in his own remarks. Apparently, Ackman is so outrageously egotistical that he believed his quest for Target board seats was comparable to JFK’s intention to “assure the survival and success of liberty.”
The windbaggery started earlier this month when Munger hopped on his exceptionally wobbly high horse and called Ackman’s investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals (ticker VRX), down about 50% this year and recently under fire for jacking up prices on its drugs way beyond industry standards, “deeply immoral.” Continue reading
Finally recognizing that the internet is just a fad and will soon go the way of the eight-track tape, Amazon (ticker AMZN) opened a “brick & mortar” bookstore in Seattle last Tuesday. Although the company’s official line implies that the store is designed to peddle Amazon products like Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet by giving customers a place to try them out, Jezebel Pantzaroff, Professor of Marketing at Northern Indiana Normal School and author of the soon-to-be-published Don’t Name Your Product “Crunky Nude Balls,” had this to say about the surprising move by Jeff Bezos’s loss-producing monstrosity (net loss of $241 million in 2014):
The Fire Phone, cloud computing, delivery by drone, you name it- this company is just a dog’s breakfast of half-baked ideas. It’s like they put a bunch of Philip Dick novels in a blender and just guzzled it down. Amazon Fresh? What the hell are they thinking? Food delivery? I mean, Webvan and HomeGrocer were two of the most spectacular failures of the dot-com bust. And the pilot for Amazon Studio’s new show “Patriot” is about a spy who sings folk songs. C’mon, does he live on the Island of Misfit Toys? Is he friends with the cowboy who rides an ostrich? The jig is up. The company’s operating margin was 1.1% in 2012, 1.0% in 2013, and 0.2% in 2014. So it appears they are going back to the basics. I’ve been told that they will open 1,000 bookstores a year for the next five years and shut down internet operations after the Christmas holidays.
Bodhi Yoho, a tattooed semi-professional gamer who devours comic books, rarely goes outside, and hasn’t read a novel since failing to finish Hunger Games back in 2009, nonetheless works at the new bookstore. He told Bud Fox News that he’s excited to be part of the “new” Amazon: Continue reading
These days, political correctness seems to dominate academia and university life to such a laughable extent that comedian Chris Rock won’t even perform on college campuses. As an aside (and then on to Yahoo), here’s a very recent example of PC run amok, although we at Bud Fox News desperately hope it’s a tall tale: At Pamona College in Claremont, CA, the student government association (“ASPC”) voted against funding Pamona’s participation in a party called “Mudd Goes Madd” that was being planned for all five schools in the Claremont consortium (Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer College) because the party’s name is offensive. According to the Claremont Independent, one of the student hosts for the event released a statement that she received from the ASPC; it included the following passage:
We are disappointed at your choice of the name for the event, as well as your rationale for allowing the name ‘Mudd Goes Madd.’ Your disregard of the concerns of the mental health community and their allies trivializes the issues that we deem extremely important to our community. Further, the exclusion of the mental health community in the discussion of allowing the event name is inappropriate.
Chris Rock won’t be playing Pamona any time soon.
If NYU is anywhere near as sensitive as Pamona, then on September 9, NYU Marketing Professor Scott Galloway, looking and sounding a bit like Bruce Willis, put a bull’s eye on his back (and guaranteed himself a first ballot entry into the Bud Fox News’ Plain Talkers Hall of Fame) when he said the following about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer:
I think Marissa Mayer is the most overpaid CEO in history right now…A CEO who has made some of the worst acquisitions in the history of tech…If she hadn’t announced she was pregnant with twins, she’d be out of a job within six months…She got a reprieve from death row because she’s pregnant with twins. I realize how awful that sounds, but she’s going to go down as the most overpaid CEO in history,..We should put a bullet in the head of the story called Yahoo. It’s time to euthanize this thing.
Charles M. Elson, professor of finance and director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, had this to say about the current Volkswagen scandal in which the company rigged automotive software in at least half a million of its diesel-powered cars to cheat on U.S. pollution tests (and there’s a chance the same ruse was used in Europe where as many as 10 million cars might have the shady software):
The governance of Volkswagen was a breeding ground for scandal. It was an accident waiting to happen.
It takes a real intellectual to point out the obvious, to wit: VW’s “supervisory board,” dominated by Ferdinand Piëch from 2002 until his ouster this past April, was such a joke that shareholders elected Piëch’s fourth wife, a former kindergarten teacher and his former governess, to the board in 2012. Well, even an educator of five-year-olds should know that after getting caught misbehaving as deplorably as VW has, it’s probably best to keep a low profile. So what did the company, founded by the German Nazi government in 1937, do for an encore?
Like a mid-binge drunk figuring that there’s no point in wasting a bottle that’s half-finished, it threw itself a big party, with Lenny Kravitz providing the musical entertainment. As reported by the New York Post: Continue reading
New Jersey State Prison: The likely home to some recent, and future, Rutgers football recruits. (Photo: http://www.wikipedia.com)
Having sold its academic soul to pursue big-time television contract money when it decided to join the Big Ten conference, whose network eases the guilty conscience of each school’s president with as much as $25 million a year, Rutgers, who lost to Penn State on Saturday 28-3, now needs to hire a public relations firm to deal with the ugly aftermath of its decision. According to an article on Forbes.com:
In the last [month], seven players have been arrested. Four, including Barnwell [BFN: felicitous first name of Nadir], are charged with aggravated assault and two face armed robbery charges in connection with home invasions during April and May. The seventh player, wide receiver Leonte Carroo, is accused of slamming a woman’s head into concrete outside the Rutgers football facility. [BFN: In addition, head coach Kyle Flood has been suspended three games and fined $50,000 for improperly contacting a professor about a player’s grade.]
These arrests aren’t the result of scholar-athletes getting a bit carried away after the big game; there’s no drunk in public or public urination here, not even a DUI. On the plus side for damn-the-consequences Rutgers sports fans, the seriousness of the charges shows that the school is making a sincere effort to recruit the type of law breakers who play football and masquerade as students at the most successful college football programs (this list of “most arrested” school teams reads like a perennial top 25).
Recognizing that violent criminals often make great football players but also trying to give second chances to those who have paid their debts to society, Rutgers will fill the seven roster vacancies by creating a Football Apprenticeship Release Timetable program (“FART”) for violent but trusted felons at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. The program, similar to one at Florida State, will allow prisoners to leave confinement for practice and games but not to attend class (since class attendance is optional and actually discouraged at most top football schools). Continue reading
Reported last week, the recent contretemps that resulted in the resignation of United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek raises a question often debated in the sordid aftermath of shameless crony capitalism: Was it a bribe or blackmail?
Back in 2011, United Continental, the largest airline by passenger volume (70% of traffic) at Port Authority-controlled Newark International Airport, sought to renegotiate its lease agreement there (and get approval for a wide-body maintenance hangar) as well as obtain funding from the PA for a $600 million extension of the PATH commuter train from downtown Manhattan to the airport. At a fat-cat dinner in September of that year, PA Chairman David Samson, who was appointed PA potentate by Chris Christie but resigned in March 2014 as US Attorney Paul Fishman’s “Bridgegate” investigation widened (to include topics like United’s dealings with the PA), did what any self-respecting New Jersey autocrat would do:
Halfway through dinner at Novita, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, Port Authority Chairman David Samson surprised the group with a request of his own. He complained that he and his wife had grown weary of the trip to their weekend home in Aiken, South Carolina, because the best flight out of Newark was to Charlotte, North Carolina, 150 miles away. Until 2009, Continental had run direct service from Newark to Columbia, South Carolina, 100 miles closer. In a tone described by one observer as “playful, but not joking,” Samson asked: Could United revive that route? An awkward silence fell over the table.