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Once upon a time, Netflix was among the fiercest supporters of net neutrality, and a consistent critic of arbitrary and unnecessary broadband usage caps. So much so that the company effectively became public enemy number one at many of the nation's broadband providers, resulting in a steady stream of bizarre policy and lobbying attacks on the company. Netflix, we were told by a rotating crop of ISP-tied mouthpieces (even by current FCC boss Ajit Pai), was a dirty freeloader, and a nasty

Read more: Techdirt.

We spent a lot of time this week talking about an existential question for people watching Donald Trump's young presidency: What's a crisis and what isn't? We also spend a lot of time trying to parse what's typical for a new administration and what, like Trump himself, is unprecedented.  Those questions were still rattling around in our heads when we got this question from Margot S.: [What are the] limits on Presidential spending if Trump wants another home away from "home" (the White House), or another, or another — do we just keep paying for the services needed at each residence? Trump has spent about half his weekends since the Inauguration at Mar-a-Lago, his residence and exclusive club in Palm Beach, Florida. Those trips include some diplomacy (at times in full view of guests), other meetings and quite a bit of golf. Trump's also made a few stray trips to his other properties, including a night at his new hotel just down the street from the White House and a "mini cabinet meeting" at the Trump National Golf Club outside D.C. Meanwhile, Trump's wife, Melania, is still living at Trump Tower in New York City with their young son, Barron. Trump has started referring to Mar-a-Lago the "Southern White House" instead of the "Winter White House," indicating his trips there will continue. With the White House's "budget blueprint" out, those frequent, expensive trips have raised eyebrows. Trump yesterday took to calling Mar-a-Lago the "Southern WH" (not the "Winter WH") — bc of course he's still gonna go when it gets warm pic.twitter.com/K2JtrgLAZ3 — David Mack (@davidmackau) March 18, 2017 The truth is presidential travel is an expensive necessity, though Trump's trips seem to be more expensive than others. One of the only checks on them has traditionally been bad PR, and that's rarely stopped Trump. But are his travel habits really all that unusual? "We've allowed [presidents] generally to act in the way that they think helps them make the best decisions," said Bowdoin College professor Andrew Rudalevige, who studies presidential authority. "Some presidents have done that pretty much entirely in the White House, others at Camp David. You can think back to presidents [Ronald] Reagan or [George W.] Bush spent a lot of time at their respective ranches in California and in Texas." The president is never really on vacation, which is part of what makes these trips so expensive. Author Scott Farris summed up why in the Washington Post a couple years ago: They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go. Some 200 people accompany a president on vacation — including White House aides, Secret Service agents, military advisers, and experts in communications and transportation — to ensure that, while on vacation, the president can do nearly everything he could accomplish in Washington. While presidents cover their own lodging, food and other expenses while they're on vacation — presumably this isn't an issue when Trump owns the place — but taxpayers foot the bill for the rest of that miniature White House. Some of those costs are part of the executive branch's budget anyway; the president's staff still makes a salary whether they're in Washington or Florida. Other additional costs add up fast: Politico estimated a weekend in Mar-a-Lago costs $3 million. Much of that money goes into Air Force One, which costs about $206,000 an hour, and other aircraft moving the presidential apparatus. Camp David, the traditional presidential retreat just a helicopter ride away from the White House, would be a lot cheaper, but Trump seems to have little interest in using it. So the expense report for a working vacation or a family home is always complicated. But a big thing driving costs for the real estate mogul is location, location location. Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago all but shut down the small local airport, and overtime for local law enforcement costs around $60,000 a day. Even though Palm Beach County is enjoying more tourism thanks to Trump's frequent visits, hosting the president every other weekend threatens to cause a budget crisis. Protecting Melania and Barron Trump is even more expensive. "It is much simpler and cheaper to protect a president staying at a remote ranch rather than in a high-rise in the middle [of] one of the world's most populous and hectic cities," Farris said in an email interview.  Indeed, the Secret Service requested an additional $60 million in funding for next year, the Washington Post reported. Nearly half of that money is for protecting Trump's family in New York City and around the world as his other sons run his real estate empire. The request was reportedly rejected by the White House Office of Management and Budget. So Trump's trips are expensive, though maybe not as unusual as his critics might think. But Margot's question was about limits — are there any checks on this administration's spending on the Trump lifestyle? The short answer is no. Congress approves the budget, of course, but it's unlikely the battles lawmakers pick will be over Mar-a-Lago or Trump Tower.  "I think the basic attitude has been, 'Well, it costs what it costs,'" Rudalevige said. "The president sort of doesn't complain about how much Congress spends on its own staff or its own needs, and Congress approves what the president asks for with regards to executive office spending." The only other check on presidential spending has traditionally been the public. Lavish vacations and other trips, even working ones, aren't a good look for a sitting president. "[President Bill] Clinton did polls on where to vacation and picked Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks, but when the presidential entourage ruined a lot of people's vacations there, he realized a secluded place like Martha's Vineyard causes less bad press. Obama concluded the same," Farris said via email. "Trump is getting grief, in part, because he is racking up these expenses while proposing a budget that cuts a lot of small cost programs." But Trump "does not seem to operate using the normal cycles of political shame," Rudalevige notes. He's long held that all press is good press, and a lavish lifestyle is integral to his brand. There's one other big factor here. Other presidents kicked off to their private homes; Trump is staying at resorts he owns. It's too early to tell, but that could put a constitutional check on the weekends in Mar-a-Lago. Remember the Emoluments clause? "One of the things that animates this discussion is: Is he profiting monetarily from the use of his property? In the way that he's promoting it, or raising membership fees and so on. And I think that is potentially troubling. Whether you're monetizing your vacations — that's sort of an interesting twist that would, again, be different from other presidents."

Read more: Marketplace All Stories

Peter Drucker is considered the founder of modern management; he is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice. I recently (re)discovered his works courtesy of the book recommendations made by Prof Scott Galloway of NYU in our latest MIB interview. Drucker is held… Read More The post Drucker: Six Rules for Presidents appeared first on The Big Picture.

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To vote, or not to vote, that is the only question on the minds of Trump's White House and House Republicans this morning.  If everything proceeds as planned, the Obamacare vote is currently scheduled for 7pm tonight.  That said, the further we press into today without confirmation that Republicans have narrowed the opposition votes from their own party down to 22 or less (as of last night the estimate was 25-30) the more unlikely the vote is to proceed.  As we pointed out

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President Donald Trump’s plans for immigration policy enforcement call on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to hire thousands of new employees, but union reps are saying that’s not going to happen without some changes. Union presidents representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Customs and Border Protection agents voiced their concerns Wednesday, citing an arduous hiring process and low morale as obstacles to Trump’s hiring directives, even as they lauded the president’s dedication to immigration enforcement. “We enthusiastically support the additional officers identified in President Trump’s executive order on interior enforcement. However, we have very little faith in the ability of ICE leadership to most effectively implement these additional officers and support staff,” said Chris Crane, who represents ICE agents, at the hearing held by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “From our perspective, ICE should be making every effort to provide U.S. taxpayers the biggest bang for the buck.” As many as 10,000 more ICE agents and 5,000 CBP agents could be hired under Trump’s plan. The union representatives said an overhaul of how the departments are run is needed before additional agents can be hired. “The workplace in many areas within ICE is toxic,” Crane said. He later added: “We need our piece of the swamp drained.” Crane was specifically concerned about whether the current ICE leadership would be able to “effectively implement” the new 10,000 agents if and when they are hired. According to him, “proposed staffing increases at ICE have simply become a numbers drill at ICE.” Related: College students consider what it would mean to work for Homeland Security The Department of Homeland Security would not comment on the individual allegations made during the hearing, but press secretary Gillian M. Christensen said in a statement to Marketplace, “One of the Department’s most significant priorities is to support these dedicated professionals in their efforts to secure our borders, protect the integrity of the immigration system and safeguard our communities from threats posed by bad actors who are in the country unlawfully.” Here’s what the two unions have to say about the hiring challenges faced by both departments: Morale is low Trump’s commitment to immigration enforcement has lifted the morale among ICE and CBP agents who have felt underappreciated and “publicly demoralized” by the Obama administration, according to Crane. “Many lawmakers, pundits for political parties and the previous administration have consistently made disparaging remarks about ICE employees, their mission and the laws they are sworn to uphold. In fact, these actions continue as ICE officers and their arrest activities are incorrectly portrayed and referenced publicly in the media by political pundits as “gestapo” tactics and other Nazi references and false and hateful accusations,” Crane said. “It’s pretty hard every day to maintain morale when your own government and the media turn on you for enforcing the laws enacted by Congress.” He went on to point out that out of 314 federal agencies surveyed, ICE was dead last in moral in 2014, second from last in 2015 and sixth from last in 2016. The morale issue is not much better at CBP, according to Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council. Judd, who worked under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, said that he has “never seen the morale lower than it has been over the past four years. Please understand, I do not mean that as a political statement, it is simply a fact. The men and women that I represent felt under-resourced and underappreciated.” A U.S. Border Patrol keeps watch along the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona. Spencer Platt/Getty Images Work vehicles distribution One of the ways to improve morale, according to the discussions at the hearing, would be to allow some border patrol agents to take their work vehicles home and be able to go straight into the field at the beginning of their shift. Currently, they are required to use their personal vehicles to drive to their work vehicles, and then drive into the field, and then return for their personal vehicles at the end of their shift. Crane pointed out that at ICE, they have a slightly different issue with their cars — specifically the unmarked cars that were bought for undercover work. “Managers have taken the majority of those vehicles, and they’re their personal take-home rides at taxpayer’s expense. They have no mission need to take them, they don’t respond to things while our officers then don’t have enough vehicles out in the field to perform their mission,” he said. “We literally have people in — you know how big a 13-passenger detention van is? A great big marked [van]. They are out there trying to do undercover work in 13-passenger detention vans with ringers on them when they go in reverse. And so at five in the morning, when you went too far one way and you need to back up, every window is opening up, going ‘Hey, there is ICE!’ because our managers have taken all of our vehicles.” Failed polygraphs and a long hiring process Crane’s colleagues at CBP were also concerned about their hiring abilities. “We need to make sure we are paying attention to the hiring process,” said Anthony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union that represents CBP agents at hundreds of U.S. ports. He pointed out that for CBP, it can take anywhere from 105 to 150 applicants to generate one new employee. “That to me is just incredible.” One of the reasons for this is the polygraph testing that the applicants undergo. “My understanding is that the latest numbers have us failing approximately 70 percent of the applicants,” said Judd of the NBPC. “This failure rate is almost three times higher than other federal agencies, and unfortunately, CBP has been treating prospective job applicants as if they were criminal suspects. We have had police officers who have passed a polygraph for their agency fail our polygraph. We have had military veterans with impeccable service fail our polygraph. We have even had former border patrol agents who left for other law enforcement agencies fail our polygraph upon trying to return.” Additionally, potential applicants often have to travel for one interview to one location and then to another location a few weeks later, accruing expenses for which they are not compensated, Reardon said. Altogether, it can take as many 16 to 18 months to bring someone on board, he said. “How many people in this country can afford to sit around for 16 to 18 months before they can be brought on board?” he added. Related: Policing both sides of the border in Nogales Both sides of the border weigh in on Trump's security plans Lack of pay parity Judd also noted that one of the reasons people leave their job at CBP is because border agents are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Acts, which can cost border agents as much as $5,000 in overtime pay. ICE agents are not exempt from FLSA, and that has led to competition among the agencies. The competition could increase as both agencies look to hire more agents. “In the last two years, border patrol has lost 500 agents to ICE. When ICE starts hiring in earnest, the border patrol will lose several thousand border patrol agents overnight if we do not take corrective action,” Judd said. “As Congress considers making additional investments in border security, I strongly urge you to consider restoring pay parity with ICE.”

Read more: Marketplace All Stories

It didn't take Apple CEO Tim Cook long. He visited India for the first time just short of a year ago. Now comes word that Apple will begin assembling iPhones in Bangalore within a month or two. India is the world's second-largest smartphone market and growing fast. With China just about tapped out on expensive phones, the Indian market could hold the key to Apple's future growth. The potential for the tech company is huge. But the hurdles Apple needs to clear are pretty big, too.  Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Read more: Marketplace All Stories

A video has emerged of Westminster Bridge on Wednesday, March 22 showing the moment a car was driven into pedestrians earlier in the day in the worst attack in London since 2005. Five people were killed and about 40 injured after a car plowed into pedestrians and a suspected Islamist-inspired attacker stabbed a policeman close to Britain's parliament. The dead, in what police called a "marauding terrorist attack," included the assailant and the policeman he stabbed. The other three victims

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Shorting Sweden? Since 7th of March, Bank of Montreal (BMO) has opened 10 significant shorts targeting Swedish companies.(*) Such shorting, concentrated on a single country and executed in a short time-span, is a very rare occurence in MostShorted‘s records. These […] The post Bank of Montreal Shorts Swedish Stocks appeared first on ValueWalk.

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As previewed last night ahead of today's fourth and final ECB TLTRO-II operation which took place earlier this morning, a big take up was expected with market consensus expecting €115bn, and some forecasts as high as €300BN. The final number came almost in the middle, with the ECB reporting it had allotted €233.5 billion among 474 bidders, more than double the amount expected. Following the news, European stocks climbed, led by mining and bank shares, as lenders borrowed more than

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The three biggest smartphone releases of 2017 will undoubtedly be the iPhone 8, Galaxy S8 and Google Pixel XL 2. With the Samsung device anticipated in the next few weeks, it will be something of a wait for the other […] The post Apple iPhone 8 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8 vs. Google Pixel XL 2 appeared first on ValueWalk.

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Ed Dowd (@DowdEdward), former manager of BlackRock's $15 billion Capital Appreciation Fund has a relatively small but influential Twitter following, ranging from Financial industry all-stars to prominent media personalities. Since leaving BlackRock, Dowd has shifted gears - moving to Hawaii to launch his own equity fund from the luxury of his volcano-adjacent compound, while helping his wife develop a rapidly growing business of her own. He's also

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The cost of health care runs well over $1.1 trillion. Social Security is almost $1 trillion. Defense spending is $620 billion. Entitlement programs for our nation’s seniors and low-income individuals and families run $550 billion. (That includes food stamps, disability, […] The post The cost of health care runs well over $1.1 trillion. Social Security is almost $1 trillion. Defense spending is $620 billion appeared first on ValueWalk.

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U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May told British lawmakers that one attacker was responsible for the deadly Westminster terror incident in London on Wednesday, and that the attacker had been investigated by security services in the past.  “It’s still believed that this attacker acted alone,” May told lawmakers in the House of Commons. May said that a British-born man inspired by Islamist ideology, who had been previously investigated by MI-5 is responsible for the attack. "His identity

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Today’s infographic comes to us from Business Insider, and it shows the largest company headquartered in each state, based on headcount data from CapRelo. The Largest Company Headquartered In Each State Employees Versus Revenue In order to be considered one […] The post The Largest Company Headquartered In Each State, By Number Of Employees [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on ValueWalk.

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Last week, 258,000 applied for unemployment benefits last week. While these numbers move around week to week, the latest figures indicate a large spike. Diane Swonk, the CEO of DS Economics, breaks down the causes of this increase, which include bad weather. Next, we'll talk about new research that looks at the connection between the mortality rate and job opportunities. And finally, we'll discuss North Korea's possible involvement in a mega bank heist at the New York Fed.

Read more: Marketplace All Stories

click for ginormous graphic Source: Calculated Risk   During the real estate bust — call it 2006 to 2010 — this was my favorite chart. It stripped out the seasonality (and related adjustments) and revealed what was actually happening in residential real estate. Here is Bill of Calculated Risk: The contracts for February existing home sales were… Read More The post Existing Home Sales (NSA) appeared first on The Big Picture.

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The Santa Maria (CA) Police Department -- like the FBI -- is in the fake news business. Last February, it issued a bogus press release via online service Nixle, falsely stating it had apprehended two suspects. This was picked up by local news sources and redistributed. It wasn't until until December that the ruse was uncovered. The Sun -- which hadn't released a story on the bogus press release -- discovered this fact in a pile of court documents. (h/t Dave Maass) Police allege in the court

Read more: Techdirt.

From the March 23 edition of Bill Blain's Morning Porridge “Offer him full and unfettered cooperation, no.. full and willing cooperation.. Then I will tell you which papers to burn.” There is plenty written elsewhere about yesterday’s Lone Wolf terror attack in London. Hardening electoral sentiment is one danger – that’s their aim. Populism fuels Islamophobia which is the perverse goal of the Jihadis. Many analysts are terrified of the potential effects of attacks in France

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Update: House Intel Chairman Nunes spoke to reporters when he left the briefing at The White House and had some more stunning things to say: *NUNES: BRIEFED PRESIDENT ON CONCERNS OVER INCIDENTAL COLLECTION *NUNES: `PRESIDENT NEEDS TO KNOW' THESE INTEL REPORTS EXIST *NUNES: SOME OF WHAT I'VE SEEN SEEMS TO BE `INAPPROPRIATE' *NUNES: TRUMP, OTHERS IN TRANSITION PUT INTO INTELLIGENCE REPORT *NUNES: QUESTION IS IF TRUMP SHOULD BE IN THESE `NORMAL' REPORTS And the punchline: there are "multiple

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