business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday's mention in FaceTime about a New York Times piece about climate change, one MNB reader wrote:

On the Climate Change article, what was frightening was the statistic that by 2050, 100 million Americans will experience at last one summer day of 125 degrees temps. Living in Minneapolis, we are unable to comprehend such a number unless it has a negative sign in front of it.

Very few of us can comprehend such a number, and the impact it will have on our lives and infrastructure.

One of the things cited in the Times piece was how scientists are working to genetically engineer non-biting mosquitoes, on the theory that climate change will create a variety of diseases spread by mosquito bites.

MNB reader Andrew Huth wrote:

Messing with the genetic code of any species strikes me as a very dangerous road to go down. We have no idea what the unintended consequences will be. Female mosquitos are more than just an annoyance to humans, they are an integral part of the ecosystem. The idea that we would irreversibly damage the ecological balance of the entire earth so we can address a human need is the height of arrogance, and it is the kind of thinking that could lead to a catastrophe far, far worse than the illnesses caused by mosquito-borne illnesses. There are other ways to address that problem that will not put our blue marble at risk.

You sound like you are channeling Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.

I got some feedback yesterday about my commentary about how advertisers seem to be nervous about Elon Musk's ownership of Twitter, with a number of folks objecting to my characterizing his tenure as a likely s-show.  They thought I was trying to take away his right to free speech, which I wasn't … I'm just not inclined to spend much time on a social media platform owned by a guy who strikes me as having a warped sense of responsibility and an apparent willingness to use social media to spread misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies.

One MNB reader wrote:

You seemed a bit nonplussed by the blowback that followed your open-handed slap at Elon Musk. You probably thought the “eat the rich” readers would applaud any attack on the world’s wealthiest man.

You wrote: “I think there ought to be laws in this country assuring that if anyone posts something online in social media that directly (emphasis mine) encourages violence, or can legitimately be found to have encouraged violence, the people who post that stuff and the social media companies that gave these statements oxygen ought to be culpable.”

Here's the rub, KC: Liberals tend to infer things that they then identify as “direct” statements. “I know what he said, but what he really means is . . .”

As someone who frequently celebrates “nuance” and “gray areas” and dismisses black-and-white pragmatism, one would think you’d be an absolutist when it comes to free speech.

Nonplussed?  Really? Because that's not at all the way I felt.  Frankly, if I weren't willing to be challenged and disagreed with, I wouldn't have made the comments.  All of which I stand by. Expect the shots at Elon Musk to continue, because I think he is a menace.

MNB reader Jeff Gartner observed:

Kevin, I just read the comments about your Twitter remarks. Why don’t people know that the 1st Amendment only applies to government restrictions against free speech and not to individuals or businesses or social media platforms?

BTW, you’re absolutely right about Twitter. Advertisers should be very wary of being there and that’s how Twitter gets its revenues.

Yesterday we cited a Yahoo Finance report that "Thanksgiving dinner essentials like turkey, cranberries and potatoes are more expensive than ever, leaving many Americans to wonder if it'd be cheaper to dine out." Much of the data came from Brad Rubin, Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness Sector Manager of Specialty Crops.

One MNB reader responded:

Who cares what Mark Rubin has to say about the cost of dining out for Thanksgiving dinner. I could care less what he has to say about the cost of a turkey day dinner at a restaurant vs. having a big home cooked Thanksgiving Day dinner at home. Factor in the enjoyment of having family and friends together, sharing a great homemade dinner and a nice bottle or two of your favorite wine, and topped off with homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream. The whole Thanksgiving Day dinner with family is the best. People make choices on how to celebrate eating out or dining at home, me, my choice is at home with family and friends. Besides, left over turkey for hot dinner sandwiches with gravy and cold turkey sandwiches, you cannot get that at a restaurant.

FYI, Safeway/Albertsons ran Butterball Turkeys for $1.37/lb. with a digital coupon this week.

MNB reader Joe Axford wrote:

I call BS on Mr. Rubin, frozen turkey prices in MA/NH right now are 89 cents a pound. Companies like Shaw's and Stop and Shop are likely to run them 49 cents a pound like they do every year, probably starting with their Nov. 18th Thanksgiving ad prices.

From another reader:

I haven't seen many 'meal solutions for $x' out there like we had in the past. I think retailers need to hit this hard and show what you get comparatively to feed your family vs eating out. Intuitively, I think people know this. But a reminder on how much feels very timely right now.

Regarding Albertsons' plan to pay investors a $4 billion dividend in advance of the company's proposed merger with Kroger, one MNB reader wrote:

The only question to ask is would this $4 billion dividend be paid if there was no merger in the works?

Albertsons says yes.

And finally, on another subject, one MNB reader wrote:

Commenting on the Howard Davidson response to the "Office Space" Walmart commercial – WOW…..  I actually felt the opposite in that it made me chuckle and actually WANT to shop at Walmart.  I thought It was so stupid funny.  I was once told that to watch movies or shows like Office Space, the Office or Big Bang Theory that you needed to have a higher humor intelligence!  LOL, maybe Howard just didn’t “get it” or was over thinking it!

And from another reader:

Not sure how the reader can say Office Space is a “longtime favorite” movie….and not understand the Michael Bolton reference!  I mean come on!