by Shane Ormond
On Sep 19, 2019
The Federal Reserve rate-setting committee cut rates by a quarter point yesterday, in an attempt to create a protective cushion for slowing economic growth. (Now all we need is a protective blanket and a protective play center and the global economy is all set.)
by Shane Ormond
On Sep 9, 2019
The director of MIT’s Media Lab stepped down over the weekend, after it emerged he accepted millions of dollars in donations from Jeffrey Epstein and taken steps to hide them (because, ya know, child sex trafficking and stuff).
- President Trump is on the Warpath
- Meat Lobby Suddenly Realizes Fake Meat is a Thing, Panics
- PSA: The Financial Publishing Breakthrough We’ve Been Waiting For
- Zap Your Brain Back to 20 Years Old
President Trump in on a Warpath
Lock up your daughters and top officials in the Department of Homeland Security.
President Trump is having himself a PURGE.
On Sunday afternoon, Kirstjen Nielsen announced her resignation as the secretary of Homeland Security. And she made her announcement in a way that makes it 100% clear this decision was her choice.
Through her boss’s Twitter:
Nielsen’s “resignation” is part of an operation to replace floor Republicans and top security officials with players sympathetic to the president’s beliefs.
Last week, Trump called for leaders who will take his border security policies in a “tougher direction” who would take the influx of migrant families as seriously as he does.
Some folks with a flair for the dramatic have been calling this mass ousting THE PURGE. And so am I. Because it sounds as cool as all heck. (*Puts on sunglasses and skateboards away*)
THE PURGE 3: Homeland Insecurity
THE PURGE began last Thursday with the news that the president had withdrawn his nomination of Ron Vitiello for the position of Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief.
Nielsen’s dignified and 100% voluntary exit was followed by the dismissal of Randolph Alles as Secret Service director.
Meanwhile, reports are circulating that White House policy advisor and nosferatu Stephen Miller is gunning for director of U.S. immigration Francis Cissna’s job.
THE PURGE seems to have totally blindsided members the Republican Party.
Representatives voiced their concerns over Nielsen’s dismissal this morning, with the general consensus being that Nielsen was doing her best but was hamstrung by current U.S. immigration law.
“It’s a mess,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Politico. “Strikes me as just a frustration of not being able to solve a problem. Honestly, it wasn’t Secretary Nielsen’s fault. It wasn’t for lack of effort on her part. I don’t know if there’s anybody who’s going to be able to do more.”
“Nielsen was doing the best she can.” said Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-Louisiana) “She can’t make Congress get off its ice-cold, lazy butt and fix the asylum laws. She can’t build a wall by herself. She can’t make the Central American countries work with us. … Only the president can do that,” “If someone resigns and then the White House staff cuts ‘em to pieces, I just think that’s classless.”
Trump wants to name current U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief Kevin McAleen as acting DHS lead. And it’s not hard to see why.
McAleenan has a reputation as a policy wonk who works well with the Dems. But he’s also very bullish on the president’s immigration policies. If Trump wants any of his immigration policies to stick, McAleenan is his best shot.
What do you think? Is all this reshuffling pointless given current U.S. immigration law? Is this the shot in the arm Trump’s immigration plan needs? Or is this a colossal waste of time and money?
Meat Lobby Suddenly Realizes Fake Meat is a Thing, Panics
Burger King’s Impossible Whopper has put the fear of plant-based proteins in the meat lobbyists.
The Impossible Whopper — in case you missed BK’s April Fools/not-an-April Fools Announcement — is billed as a Whopper just like any other. Except its patty is made from a plant-based burger substitute developed by Impossible Foods. (And presumably healthier because of it.)
Mission Impossible: The impossible burger was developed in a lab to perfectly imitate the taste and look of a burger. Genetically modified yeast is used to produce the exact same protein that gives meat its meaty flavor. The burger even bleeds like the real thing. (Cool but kinda creepy, guys.)
Impossible Foods’ meat substitutes have been getting some juicy press in the last year or so. In that time, it expanded its brand to China and more than tripled production of its flagship product — Impossible ground beef.
But Burger King’s announcement to start selling IF’s not-meat meat is a serious wake-up call for the meat industry. Nobody knows that better than Eric Bohl, the director of public affairs at the Missouri Farm Bureau.
Eric took a trip down to his local BK to compare the Impossible Whopper to the real thing. (Nothing like a two-burger lunch to keep your energy up.)
And he was unpleasantly surprised how good it was.
In an email to fellow lobbyists, Bohl wrote:
“This is not just another disgusting tofu burger that only a dedicated hippie could convince himself to eat.
“If I didn’t know what I was eating, I would have no idea it was not beef. Farmers and ranchers need to take notice and get ready to compete.
“I’ve tasted it with my own mouth, and this fake meat is ready for prime time.”
“If farmers and ranchers think we can mock and dismiss these products as a passing fad, we’re kidding ourselves.”
For now, the Impossible Whopper is being trialed in 59 restaurants in the St Louis area. But if the Missourians eat up their pitch, you can bet your bottom dollar that the King will roll out this creepy science project to the rest of the kingdom.
Impossible foods are one to watch. They’ve been growing like crazy and word is they’re sniffing around the idea of going public this year. We could be watching the birth of a whole new industry here… and the death of another.
Yelp me out here: Would you eat a perfect replica of a hunk of meat? Is no texture or taste enough to make you change your mind? Will bleeding veg be on your menu this Christmas? Click here to send me an email.
From a Whisper to a Hurricane
Before we move on to today’s One Last Thing, I have a quick PSA from one of my colleagues about a major breakthrough in the financial publishing industry.
Aaron Gentzler is the publisher pulling the string at Seven Figure Publishing, and the editor of one of my favorite e-letters, TheRundown.
You might have seen some of his market analysis and commentary here in One Last Thing.
Aaron typically likes to remain behind the scenes. But his research team recently discovered a major breakthrough… and he wants to let as many people know as possible.
“One year ago, I put my company’s two best researchers on the mission of a lifetime,” says Aaron.
“One is a world-renowned 15-year trading veteran who has built a legendary career for himself.
“The other is a genius computer programmer and mathematician. (In fact, he just completed an advanced math curriculum at Stanford.)
“At the time, I didn’t know how this mission would play out… all I knew is that if it were successful, it would be life-changing for thousands of our readers.
“It took over a year of research and development… hundreds of thousands of dollars… and thousands of hours of “boots on the ground” research…
“But now, at last, all of that has paid off.”
This breakthrough, which Aaron’s team is calling “Whisper Trades,” can predict which stocks are about to jump and hand you incredibly high returns on a single trade.
The average winning gain these guys saw in their testing was 1,145%.
Aaron says, in his 13 years in the financial publishing world, nobody has even come close to a trading breakthrough like this one.
Click here and Aaron will show you how Whisper Trading could help you collect extraordinary gains — gains the size of most folks’ annual salary — on nearly every trade you place.
ONE LAST THING
Zap Your Brain Back to 20 Years Old
According to a study at Boston University, zapping seniors with electricity may be the key to keeping their brains active and their memory strong.
(Note: please do not zap yourself or any seniors with electricity. I cannot stress this enough.)
The study found that folks over 60 performed better on memory tests when they were being shocked to the brain by a mild electric current administered by a weird hat.
So much better, in fact, they performed as well as a control group of 20-year-olds on the tests.
The treatment is aimed at improving the “working memory” of seniors. This is the part of the brain involved with short-term memory, processing information, and language.
Scientists call it the scratchpad of the mind. (I call it the “what the f**k was I doing?” part of my mind.)
Working memory is crucial for things like planning, paying bills, buying groceries, and remembering to take medication — all of which can be affected by age.
This is not the first study to show the benefits of electricity on memory. But it’s significant because it’s the first one to be shown to work on seniors.
According to the researchers behind the study, in the future, brain zapping could be administered by appointment to keep the brain young.
This is part of our ongoing coverage of the use of electricity in medicine. I predict we’re going to see some wild stuff in the next few years.
Closing Data for 4/8/19
- U.S. stocks fall as Trump threatens tariffs on the EU.
- Bank of America (BAC) plans to raise its minimum wage to $20 over the next two years.
- Oil prices continue to climb.
Click here to send us your comments and tell us what you think. Do you agree with us? Do you think our ideas are stupid? Bring it on. We can take it.
In yesterday’s issue, I asked readers to pitch the Pinterest IPO to the bros on Wall Street. I got a lot of great answers but Ash proposes something I hadn’t thought of. Pinterest could be the post-social-media social media website investors are clamoring for:
I have been a Facebook hater for a long time. The narcissism that it enables and amplifies grosses me out. So I’m not a social media butterfly mom and neither are my two kids. I am not a Luddite either – far from it. I shared videos through hosting my own website on a home server, pre-Youtube.
My 13-year old uses Pinterest as a replacement for social media apps like Instagram that are blocked on her phone. On Pinterest, she can browse images from Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, etc without having to ‘like’ anybody, follow anyone, or blow sunshine up her friends’ asses on an hourly basis.
On Pinterest, kids can browse images and remain relatively anonymous. It is outward-focused, not self-centered and serves as a way for people to discover other interests based on what they already like.
There is a backlash to the ick of social media brewing. Pinterest is an equally addictive yet non-hostile way of finding new media and perhaps like-minded humans if you so choose. The data may be able to provide insight that Google can’t since the user can spend hours looking at web content without leaving the site.
My view from the battleground of parenting a couple of iGen’ers. — Ash T.
A social media site where I don’t have to blow sunshine up my friends’ asses? Sign me up! This might be an avenue to grow the user base beyond moms. But there’s one small problem.
Pinterest’s new payment model is based on advertising, rather than data (it was actually profitable with this model for the first time last Q4, I think).
But kids don’t buy stuff online. Because they don’t have credit cards. Or jobs. Or the basic restraint needed to own a credit card. Thanks for breaking down Pinterest for us, Ash. (I still don’t think it’s for me though.)
Editor, One Last Thing