DOJ Expected to File Antitrust Action vs. Google

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Headline Wealth

The Justice Department is expected to bring an antitrust action against Google in coming weeks, focusing on its dominance in online search and whether it was used to stifle competition and hurt consumers, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press Thursday.

The department also is examining Google’s online advertising practices, said the person, who could not discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Antitrust officials at the department briefed state attorneys general Thursday on the planned action against Google, seeking support from states across the country that share concerns about Google’s conduct.

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Female Athletes Sue Connecticut for Letting Boys Compete Against Them

‘Forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX…’

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Three high-school girls and their mothers, with legal assistance from the Alliance Defending Freedom, sued Connecticut‘s public schools on Wednesday for letting boys compete in female athletics.

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Nonmonetary Cause Of Lower Prices

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Over the past several weeks, we have debunked the idea that purchasing power—i.e. what a dollar can buy—is intrinsic to the currency itself. We have discussed a large non-monetary force that drives up prices. Governments at every level force producers to add useless ingredients, via regulation, taxation, labor law, environmentalism, etc. These are ingredients that the consumer does not value, and often does not even know are included in the production process. However, these useless ingredients can get quite expensive, especially in industries that are heavily regulated such as health care.

What Force Pushes Prices Down?

There is another non-monetary force, and this one is pushing prices down. Producers are constantly finding useless ingredients that they can remove. In the research for his Forbes article on falling wages, Keith discovered that dairy producers found ways to eliminate 90% of the ingredients that go into producing milk between 1965 and 2012. For example, they reduced by two thirds the labor hours that support each cow.

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Stores Try to Survive ‘Retail Apocalypse’

By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

Stores are trying to step up their game online and in person for the critical holiday season, from dangling more discounts to livening up their stores. And Amazon, which is expanding into more areas, has opened its online store of Black Friday discounts.

Department store chain Kohl’s is hoping to woo new customers by emphasizing the exact amount people can save by stacking coupons and other deals. It’s also opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than last year. “Retail is changing. And there is market share to gain,” said CEO-elect Michelle Gass.

International Robot Duel

By Kyree Leary – Re-Blogged From Futurism

In Brief

A giant robot duel between two teams of engineers, from the U.S. and Japan, has finally been set for October 17. However, the fight already happened to allow for repairs, meaning what’s presented on Twitch will probably be an edited version.

Transform and Duke It Out

Two years ago, a team of U.S. engineers going by the name MegaBots Inc. challenged their Japan counterparts, Suidobashi Heavy Industry, to a duel involving giant robots. After a lot of work and some back-and-forth between the two teams, the long-awaited duel will finally take place on Tuesday, October 17. It was initially set for sometime in August, but delayed for unknown reasons. We suspect it’s because robots take a long time to build and test.

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Amazon Is Subduing Inflation

By Edward Yardeni – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

“World’s Greatest Price Wrecker” is a moniker that seems appropriate for Amazon, especially after the price cuts it announced earlier this week at its new subsidiary, Whole Foods.

However, the phrase actually dates back to the 1930s.

It was used in ads by Michael J. Cullen, who’s widely credited with having had the idea for supermarkets. During an era of mom-and-pop enterprises, the suggestion of “monstrous” stores, with plenty of parking, separate departments, self-service, discount pricing, and high-volume sales was revolutionary.

When Cullen’s idea was ignored by his then-employer Kroger Grocery & Baking Co., he struck out and opened King Kullen on Long Island. Ads for the new enterprise cried out: “King Kullen: World’s Greatest Price Wrecker.” King Kullen continues today as a family-controlled operation on Long Island with 32 locations.

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Technology Disrupts White Collar Workers

By David McWilliams – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

– Every era, every century, every generation has its massive technological disruption
– Taxi drivers being “disrupted” by technology of Uber
– History shows how “middle men” frequently made redundant
– Skill set of many professionals today can be replicated by machines and technology
– Technology may make lawyers, accountants, architects and doctors redundant
– We risk “cannabalising ourselves” with internet and emerging technologies

Jean-Luc Picard “assimilated” by the Borg in Star Trek

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Supermarket Meltdown as Global Deep-Discounters Promise Price War in Stagnating US Market

By Wolf Richter – Re-Blogged From Wolf Street

Aldi’s $5 billion bet at a brutal time.

Today, Albertson’s explained in an amended S-4 filing for a debt exchange offering just how tough things have gotten for traditional supermarket chains.

As is so often the case, there is a private equity angle to it. Albertson’s was acquired in a 2005 LBO by a group of PE firms led by Cerberus. In January 2015, it acquired Safeway to eliminate some competition. It then wanted to sell its shares to the public. But in October 2015, as brick-and-mortar retail began to melt down, it scrapped its IPO.

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Havin’ Some Fun

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The last two weekends for me have been busy with fun.

Last Saturday, I went into my first Ballroom Dance competition with my daughter, who also is my instructor. I danced in four heats / categories at the Seacoast Classic, doing the quickstep, and got four first place ribbons – in one heat, I even had an opponent.

My daughter, Maria T, says that the judges don’t have to award a first – they could have given a second – so I guess I didn’t stink.

For anyone who’s nearby and interested, Maria T’s studio is Paper Moon Dance Center, at 33 Depot St, Merrimack, NH (http://papermoondance.com/).

This weekend, I competed in my other hobby, Barbershop Singing. On Friday night, I sang in a quartet (Hot Topic) in a first round Contest, known as the Patriot Division, which covers Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Having been together for only 9 weeks, our goal was just to qualify for the second round, which covers all of New England and the maritime provinces of Canada. Happily, we met our goal, with a few points to spare. It will be off to Portland (ME) in October.

On Saturday, I also sang with a small chorus from Beverly, which didn’t qualify. I guess you can’t have everything.

For anyone interested in just what Barbershop Singing and the Barbershop Harmony Society are, check it out on YouTube, for example here, here, and here. (That’s NOT me.)

Singing and dancing are great activities, and my wife, Maria G, likes them, especially since they generally keep me from getting into too much trouble.

Who Exactly Is Government Helping?

By Doug Bandow – ReBlogged From FEE: The Foundation for Economic Education

Almost everyone believes that government is an essential institution, necessary to protect us from those threats we cannot counter on our own. But even if we accept that justification, it rarely describes what American government actually does, whether at the local, state, or federal level.

What exactly is the government protecting — and from whom?

Local Protection from Food Trucks

Late last year, Rachel Kennedy wanted to bring a Cuban food truck to North Kansas City, Missouri, a town of four square miles and 4,500 people. That shouldn’t have been controversial. The city agreed to allow the trucks to operate during lunchtime, and several other operators came, too. There was no reason to restrict the trucks to lunchtime, but never mind. At least for one meal a day, consumers enjoyed more choices at less cost. What could possibly go wrong?

The restaurant owners might lobby to expel the food trucks, that’s what. Choice and competition are good, except when you are an incumbent provider. Monte Martello, a local Dairy Queen operator, complained, “They bring the truck in, they compete against us for four hours, and then they drive away.” Outrageous!

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Nevada Passes Universal School Choice

Vouchers for everyone!

By Max Borders – Re-Blogged From the Foundation for Economic Education

Nevada is changing everything. According to the NRO,

Nevada governor Brian Sandoval [recently] signed into law the nation’s first universal school-choice program. That in and of itself is groundbreaking: The state has created an option open to every single public-school student.

Even better, this option improves upon the traditional voucher model, coming in the form of an education savings account (ESA) that parents control and can use to fully customize their children’s education.

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