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0_21_450_commonsense.jpgzahremar sent me this link to a short essay by Neil Cavuto regarding Apple’s iPhone launch. After reading the swill, one thing is certain, he clearly doesn’t write a single thing, and whichever one of his interns actually wrote this piece has obviously never taken a business class.

Cavuto’s intern’s overarching argument is that while a very respectable number of $500-600 iPhones were activated during the opening weekend, well over 140,000, Apple goofed by not lowering expectations.

Cavuto doesn’t dispute how impressive the number is, indeed:

“Selling 146,000 items at a minimum of 500 bucks a pop ain’t shabby. In fact, it’s stunning. Never in corporate history, have so many electronic devices sold so quickly.”

But he goes on to say:

“But then it didn’t meet that damn expectation, did it?”

The “expectation” he’s referring to was Apple’s officially-unofficial goal of selling 10 million iPhones in the first year and half a million in the first few days. As reported by Dow Jones’ MarketWatch…which is now presumably a subsidiary of News Corp., the stated goal was 10 million iPhones within the first full year of sales. That means 10 million iPhones by the end of June 2008, NOT December 31st, 2007.

It’s called Google, Intern.

Getting to the meat of the argument, Cavuto’s intern’s statement regarding the 146,000 “activated” iPhones is misleading as that number does not necessarily equal the total number of iPhones sold. There are plenty of people, myself included, who want an iPhone but are tied to a contract they can’t afford to break. So why not buy the phone and wait out your contract? I’ve purchased many a product on opening day only to have it sit on my desk at home until I had the time to play with it.

Secondly, Cavuto’s intern doesn’t mention the fact that Apple’s third quarter ended on June 30th…

The day after the iPhone first went on sale.

Thus, not only do we not have a clue as to how many iPhones were actually sold in the first two days, we won’t even have an idea of the overall profit from Apple’s new iPhone division until the end of Q4.

Cavuto’s intern seems miffed that Apple…which, again, is not exactly the humblest of tech companies…didn’t pull the old “under sell, over report” trick that so many other companies do. Apple’s perceived cockiness doesn’t seem to be hurting financially as their reported quarterly profits of over $800 million dollar easily outlines.

This post wasn’t designed as a fanboy manifesto about Apple’s financial status or market strategy, indeed, I’d be in trouble if it were.

This post is about challenging the notion that business pundits should have any credence as far as influencing the markets go.

Fox News is on the cusp of introducing it’s Business Channel and – as of this writing – Rupert Murdoch has officially gained control of what will surely become his legacy, the Wall Street Journal.

As one of the few liberals who both likes and respects what Murdoch has accomplished in his media empire, and one of the only people who thinks News Corp’s acquisition would BENEFIT the Journal, I would like to see people like Cavuto gone from the new business network and kept far, far away from WSJ.

Cavuto has his place, he is a political pundit with business branding, and that’s fine for Fox News Channel. But if Fox Business Channel is going to be any different, if you can approach reporting on the market with a clear lense, then you can compete with the likes of Bloomberg and CNBC on merit and quality…not on spectacle and audacity.

Also, please hire more talented interns.

Photo from FoxNews.com.

Disclosure: The author is employed by Apple, Inc. All of the financial information cited in this post is publicly available via Apple.com. The views of the author do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Apple, Inc., its shareholders, employees, contractors, or Board of Directors, and the author is not representing Apple in any official or unofficial capacity. Please don’t fire/sue me.

People can get very sentimental about their cars. Our vehicles are political statements, indicators of wealth, and status symbols all rolled up into one expensive ball of metal, plastic, and the severed appendages of auto workers.

In recent weeks, various media outlets have reported on the Prius as a symbol of an impending generation of smug liberal yuppies hoping to rub their insincere eco-friendliness in the faces of the general populace. People like Slate’s Emily Bazelon, whom I love, and the Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson, who has an awesome mustache, have each recently waxed poetic on what owning a Prius actually means.

While these are just two examples, I think they are finely written and make interesting points…but I disagree with a key point both of them are inferring in their pieces.

Read the rest of this entry »

What has two thumbs and loves the ladies?Louisiana is famous for its corrupt politics. Since judges are elected there, a defendant could conceivably donate money to the campaign of his own judge, something that could make justice a little tougher to find in the upper echelons of the state’s aristocracy.

It’s elected officials, however, are an entirely different breed of corrupt…a more entertaining breed. First William Jefferson’s freezer full o’ money and now David Vitter’s hooker-tastic evenings…what will come up next? Will Mary Landreau start exposing herself to children at the Smithsonian? Maybe Bobby Jindal will start selling crack hidden in his Bible out of the LoC? Who knows?

Vitter was elected in 2004, so there’s really nothing politically interesting here. This story will have dissipated by 2010 for sure. Mary Landreau will still lose her reelection campaign next year, Jindal will still win the Governor’s seat, and Jefferson will still be a douchebag.

One thing that might be considered redeeming about this entire situation is the ridiculous mentality voters have that American politicians have to be perfect, likable, gee whiz idiots to get elected. A lot of this is media driven, for sure, only in America do politicians get elected based on whether or not you’d like to have a beer with them.

Instead what happens is shrewd, brilliant, competent candidates like Bill Bradley, or even Hillary Clinton, get castigated by people saying “Well I just don’t like him/her”.

That’s ridiculous, you don’t have to like someone to know that they’ll do a great job, Democrats are lucky they have a slew of competent, capable, fantastic candidates in every tier who would make great Presidents. The Republicans? Well, Romney and McCain are the only two I see as being even remotely competent enough to handle running a country.

So, getting back to my original point, who cares that Vitter screwed a hooker? We should instead be caring that he’s a terrible Senator that has accomplished nothing significant while in office. There are some very smart Republicans in the Senate that seem to be doing all the legworkwhile Vitter manages to find the time to cheat on his wife with an overpaid college student.

Fantastic, next.

mccain1.jpgThe blogosphere, at this point, has it in for McCain.

I don’t really know why, perhaps its his oddly fascist-looking campaign website and cryptic, Franco-inspired logo? Or maybe it’s the stale air of a candidate who has done nothing remotely controversial or, frankly, interesting in his campaign thus far. He’s been spending too much money, too quickly, in all the wrong places and his campaign is suffering for it.

That being said, McCain managed to raise a little more than $11 million this quarter. Despite the mismanagement of his campaign, the number is significant. Let’s all have a nice, warm cup of perspective for a moment.

Can McCain win this nomination? While it’s difficult (read: irresponsible) to say for sure, we all know the answer is a big, resounding, no-effin’-way.

But let’s assume he could win; let’s pretend he’s not running against three well-financed and more popular opponents.

McCain has only $2 million in the bank, so a Romney-style TV ad blitz is out of the question for now, and he has no hope of running a real national campaign anytime soon. His only hope is an Edwards style blitz of the early primary states. Edwards has practically been living in Iowa and New Hampshire since he lost in 2004 and has plenty of money on hand to remain a viable contender for the nomination.

McCain, on the other hand, is relying on his charming townhall meetings. This is admittedly where he shines, but the truth is…how many of these can he realistically expect to host while still staying competitive in the Feb 5th states?

Truth is, we still can’t rule him out, no matter how unlikely it looks. Now for that nice glass of perspective I told you about before. McCain’s biggest threats are Giuliani, Romney, and Thompson (of the Fred variety). Both Romney and Giuliani’s respective campaigns are starting to hiccup…between the two Romney looks as though he’s stronger in the long term. Thompson is currently benefiting from a bit of a honeymoon, but I have a feeling voters will harden up to him once competency returns front and center…and once they figure out he’s as excited about being President as I am about being 60 some day…people will wise up.

It is still conceivable then that McCain could do enough townhalls, slap enough palms, and kiss enough babies the old fashioned way to gain momentum and media acceptance…possibly propelling him to the nomination on the virtual national primary on February 5th of next year.

Good luck Johnny boy, don’t let Charlie get to ya.

I wouldn’t be the avid DC/NoVA based political blogger that I am if I didn’t give an obligatory shout out to The Capitolist, the best nonsense page on the intertubes.

Steady Wonkette readers are probably quite familiar with it by now, but for the uninitiated, the site is essentially a slick, simple message board that can only be posted on by computers within the Capitol. What ensues is an interesting experiment in a sort of blind voyeurism…like listening to a conversation through a doorway.

I’ve added the site to the Outer-Loop’s blogroll (I know, I know, it’s about time…) for all to enjoy. Every so often, staffers drop little tidbits of speculation that are pretty entertaining to catch (such as almost uniform agreement regarding John Warner’s impending retirement).

In any case, enjoy folks.

So what. Really, so what. This news is getting way too much publicity, and I wrote my thoughts on why, below. Yeah, it’s cronyism. Yeah, it’s a “miscarriage of justice.” So what? Are they doing it on purpose to make people sick of it faster? Help them ride it out quickly? It’s working with me. +1 on that initiative.

Glen BeckPeople are trying to compare this to the Clinton impeachment 10 years ago. Honestly, that’s a reach. News sources like CNN’s Glen Beck, are comparing a blow-job with leaking national security secrets. Perjury is perjury, but the reasons for it and the backgrounds behind whatever Clinton did a decade ago and what goes on today in the Bush Administration are not the same. Perjury is wrong, but perjury isn’t the issue. Besides, one would expect Bush to learn from Clinton’s mistakes – not improve on them.

I would hit itHillary Clinton cut through the bullshit when she responded, “This (the Libby decision) was clearly an effort to protect the White House. … There isn’t any doubt now, what we know is that Libby was carrying out the implicit or explicit wishes of the vice president, or maybe the president as well, in the further effort to stifle dissent.” It wasn’t just pardoning a friend, or cronyism. It was protecting the Bush Administration. That’s where ordinary becomes extraordinary.

My message for the people is rather than putting all the focus on Scooter Libby, just add it to the punchlist of all the issues where the Bush Administration has Cleveland Steamrolled the law. In the past few weeks alone, there’s Cheney’s 4th branch of government, the denial of subpoenaed documents by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, there’s the denial of subpoenaed documents by Sara Taylor, and now Scooter Libby’s sentence commuting. It’s just another drop in the bucket, but not a very big drop. Stop treating it like a big drop. Ignore the smoke and mirrors.

The President has decided that the punishment handed down to Scooter Libby, a man who was charged with perjury by a Republican appointed U.S. Attorney, found guilty by a jury of his peers, and sentenced by a strict conservative judge appointed by the President himself…was a little harsh.

“I respect the jury’s verdict,” Bush said in a statement. “But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.”

Sure he still has to pay the hefty quarter million dollar fine, especially considering his “trust” has gathered millions this is gonna be a tough year for tax write offs.

I’m gonna deviate from the other left-leaning blogs and not let myself be outraged by this complete and utter lack of respect for the rule of law.  Oh well.

Who wants cake?