Facebook, Day Three

A few interesting reports ‘dealing’ with Facebook’s IPO and performance thus far.

There have been 23 U.S. IPOs over that size since 2007.  Through the first three sessions, only asset-manager Och-Ziff Capital performed as poorly, losing 13% as well, according  to Dealogic. In fact, only seven of the deals ended their first three sessions in the red, the data provider says.

Morgan Stanley  and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.  updated their financial projections for the social network after the company added warnings to its initial-public-offering prospectus about how its user base is increasing more rapidly than the number of ads it delivers. That trend was blamed in part on increased use of Facebook on mobile devices, where it traditionally hasn’t shown ads to viewers.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s chairman said on Tuesday that regulators plan to review allegations that Morgan Stanley shared negative news before Facebook’s initial public offering with institutional investors.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has received a lot of flak for its privacy rules, but Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), for one, thinks they can be looser. Google chief executive Larry Page has hit out at the social network for not allowing the search engine biggie to comb through its data.

U.S. stocks were on track to post two consecutive sessions of gains for the first time this month, after optimism about a coming European Union meeting and better-than-expected housing data sent the blue chips up more than 40 points.

It appears that even giant Facebook makes mistakes when it comes to social media strategy. Its biggest failure, as the Wall Street Journal’s Shayndi Raice reports today, is that Facebook has delayed the launch of a full-fledged mobile app that allows users to play games and take advantage of other popular apps that are available on its desktop version.

The only humor in this post comes from the report that Google accused Facebook of ‘hostage taking’ for not letting the sinister search engine giant have access to their data. The number one ranked internet site is complaining about number two for their own selfish reasons.

The linked excerpts in this post say a lot about what’s wrong with this entire episode. Too bad Facebook users refuse to see Zuckerberg’s kingdom for what it is. Ditto for the number one internet site. The exception to that is the users who joined the dozens of class actions suits filed. We should be a lot further along with technology from where we are. Consumers are just as guilty for the situation by not holding the tech sector’s feet to the fire.

That’s how it is supposed to work. Customer feedback causes vendors to adjust to demand and then supply it. Apparently most people are just fine with the current state of the art.

BTW, Facebook stock is ‘poised’ to take another hit on day three hovering around an 8% loss from the previous day with less than an hour of the trading day to go.

Stanford Matthews

Facebook, Day Two

I’m not a fan of Facebook. Never used it, never will. An earlier post on this blog noted the class action suit users filed against the recent IPO ‘darling’ due to privacy issues related to Facebook recording their internet usage even when they weren’t logged in to the ‘service’. It demonstrates the company’s lack of ethics.

So I wondered if my opinion of the initial public offering being a failure might have been premature when the stock only gained 23 cents on its opening day. After all it was simply day one. Oops, guess not.

“I was stuck for six hours trying to figure out whether I owned this dog or not,” said Mr. Brady. He said he has been in touch with Schwab. Schwab didn’t return a call requesting comment.

Facebook’s offering, one of the biggest U.S. IPOs, was supposed to burnish the reputations of Morgan Stanley, the deal’s lead banker, as an underwriter, and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. as the listing exchange of choice for hot technology companies.

“This has been a train wreck,” said one hedge fund manager, whose fund also decided to sell some of its shares Monday. He said his fund was allotted 500,000 more Facebook shares than he expected.

Is there anything about this deal that was not a disaster?

The following information answers that question:

Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman was the point person on the deal, while Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg weighed in on major decisions throughout the process, people said. At Morgan Stanley, Dan Simkowitz, chairman of global capital markets, was one of the main bankers on the offering. Michael Grimes, global co-head of technology investment banking at Morgan Stanley, also played a key role.

Underwriters did accomplish part of what they set out to do: turn paper into cash for pre-IPO holders.

“It was successful for the liquidating owners, absolutely, because they got all that and then some,” said Peter Sorrentino, a fund manager who helps oversee $14.7 billion at Huntington Asset Advisors in Cincinnati.

Did I mention ethics?

Stanford Matthews

The Ninth Circuit Judicial Resort & Spa

Grassley, Sessions Express Concern Over Cost of 9th Circuit Judicial Conference in Maui

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, released a letter today to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski concerning a planned judicial conference in Maui, Hawaii.  In their letter, the senators note that the taxpayer-funded conference, scheduled for Aug. 13 to Aug. 16, features opportunities for numerous recreational activities not related to any official judicial business, and that the expense of travel and accommodations will be significant.  Grassley and Sessions requested a full reply to their questions no later than June 15.

To view the senators’ letter, please click here. Statements from Grassley and Sessions follow:

“Technology is so advanced that people are earning college degrees online and soldiers serving halfway across the world use Skype with their families at home,” Grassley said. “Likewise, a judicial circuit court should be capable of using technology to share information without requiring a trip to an island paradise.  It’s especially tone-deaf to plan a pricey conference after the GSA debacle. The taxpayers can’t sustain this kind of spending, and they shouldn’t have to.  The court should re-examine whether this is the best use of tax dollars.”

“This conference is further evidence the federal government is in a state of financial chaos,” Sessions said.  “How can anyone in Washington ask for more taxes when this culture of excess continues? Americans struggling to pay their bills are tired of watching the government throw lavish events on the taxpayer dime. They are tired of watching entire sectors of government behave in a fashion totally disconnected from the reality of our perilous financial state. At this time of fiscal crisis, America needs leadership that will restore accountability and ensure a disciplined budget is adopted at last.”

NOTE: As detailed in the senators’ letter, a previous Ninth Circuit conference, also held in Maui, cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million in travel and accommodation expenses alone. To view information about activities scheduled at this year’s conference, including yoga, surfing lessons, and a Catamaran snorkel trip, please click here.

Next, from the Ninth Circuit comes this curious text from Chief Judge Alex Kozinski especially given the info above from Sessions and Grassley. If you’re so inclined send the judge a note on this.

Alex_Kozinski_croppedWelcome to the Internet portal of the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit. This new website provides access to a wealth of information about the federal courts serving nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. By default, you have landed on the home page for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Click on the tabs above for information about district and bankruptcy courts in the circuit; the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit, the courts’ governing body, and the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, an annual educational program for judges, court staff and others; and the Ninth Circuit Library. We encourage you to bookmark this page on your web browser and use it whenever you need information about the federal courts of the West.

We count on your suggestions for further resources we should add to the website, and how we can improve it to better serve the public. Let us know what you think of the changes: Click to send us an email with your feedback and ideas.

Alex Kozinski
Chief Judge
from the Daily Caller:

Other circuits are holding conferences in less luxurious places, or canceling their annual conferences entirely. The Eighth Circuit will convene for a three-day conference in Kansas City, the Seventh Circuit will go to Chicago and the Sixth Circuit will hold its event in Lexington, Ky. Districts covering New England, the Rocky Mountains and the mid-Atlantic have cancelled their conferences.

Click on the Daily Caller link above to read the rest of their report. Don’t miss the links in the info from Sessions and Grassley.

Stanford Matthews

Obama Words: Global Ag, G8, NATO


Is it one more indication of President Obama’s mindset on priorities to open a speech announcing that Bono is in the house? Even though an event described as a Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security may be nothing more than public relations hype by public officials one might expect participants to take it seriously.

Given the next few paragraphs of President Obama’s ‘global ag’ speech it appears this public relations scam is simply more of the same. It further appears that three African nations will be the recipients of $22 billion for what the President referred to as a new initiative to address world hunger and poverty. How is this different than any other claimed attempt by world leaders to elevate the conditions of those on the bottom of the human food chain?

Add to that the next few paragraphs where President Obama toots his own horn, has the audacity to mention the failed Millennium Development project at the UN as well as make claims of success for several ‘programs’ without facts to support it.

President Obama continues with a lengthy speech long on rhetoric and short on facts. He repeats the words ‘moral imperative’ three times in five paragraphs apparently in an attempt to heap guilt on potential donors to pony up to fund another money pit. How often do all the billions of dollars spent unfairly benefit anyone but those in need?

President Obama and newly elected President Hollande of France exchanged remarks for the press in what could be described as a required press conference of little consequence that neither man was necessarily interested in giving.

You could say both men were subtle about expressing their shared socialist preference. As many reports indicated Hollande is the first socialist to be President of France since Mitterand. Obama is the first socialist to be President of the United States since, I don’t know, pick a Democrat.

President Obama’s opening remarks at the G8 were less than inspiring. Once again, it is likely no POL wants to say much about the details of what leaders are saying behind closed doors. But to express progress on issues like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Afghanistan is simply more political rhetoric. How many times can one make public statements about critical situations around the world without admitting nothing has succeeded since the beginning of lengthy struggles.

Simply put, Obama’s foreign policy only made matters worse. While at least two former presidents share the blame that does little to reduce Mr Obama’s failure on these issues.

A president does not have to be an expert on everything to provide effective leadership. Those chosen to be part of the team leading the executive branch should have skill sets matched to the task. With a capable staff a president has the resources to make intelligent decisions to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and all that represents.

The parting words of President Obama at the end of the 2012 G8 Summit sum it up.

So I’m very pleased that we were able to make some important progress here at Camp David.  And we’re going to keep at it.  Tomorrow we begin our NATO summit in my hometown of Chicago where we’ll discuss our plans to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan.  Next week, European leaders will gather to discuss their next steps on the eurozone.  Next month, we’ll all have the chance to continue this collaboration at the G20 in Mexico.  And I look forward to building on this progress in promoting economic recovery in the weeks and months to come.

Thank you very much, everybody.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the great views and the great weather.

The great views and the great weather may be all there is to enjoy with respect to yet another G8 Summit that will probably look the same next year. Even if it’s President Romney next year things will probably look the same. That is unless, of course, world leaders decide to stop being insane in repeating the same steps expecting different results. It could be that they do not want results but the chance to keep doing the same things with no accountability.

Stanford Matthews

(editor’s note: I would have provided links to the White House for Obama’s remarks but if you are that interested it is easy enough to find them on your own. (time saver for me)

Yet Another G8 Summit, Part Two

All one needs to do is view the following titles to understand the political nature of international ‘diplomacy’. Have you ever considered the fact that international politics is no different than national politics? First and foremost international POLS are just as concerned about their futures as other POLS.

Activists Protest G8 Summit
3 Charged with Terrorism Ahead of NATO Summit
NATO Protestors Rally in Chicago
G8 Leaders Want Greece to Remain in Eurozone
G8 Leaders Vow to Promote Economic Growth
G8 Leaders Discuss European Debt Crisis
European Economy, African Food Security to Top G8 Summit

So three were charged with terrorism at the NATO Summit and others protested the G-8 Summit. It is just the natural response of freaks to questionable events regarding those who lead nations. What is more troubling is what the reports suggest was the underlying sentiment of the gatherings.

When a report indicates world leaders ‘vow’ to do something little confidence is generated. Why would you want a failure like Greece to remain in the EU. As a matter of fact why would you want the failed EU to continue. How about all nations stand or fall on their own?

If the G-8 did nothing more than ‘discuss’ the European debt crisis guess what else they are avoiding? The largest GDP in the world, the good ol’ US of A is only steps behind the EU in terms of failure. China has shown signs they may also fall on hard times in their quest to do whatever it is they want to do.

This is most likely the first time in my life where I see nations of the world failing to recognize the problems they are causing. Politics and left versus right are one thing but failing to address economic issues that threaten the viability of every country in the world is an incomprehensible failure they may all be guilty of and that is simply not acceptable.

It doesn’t matter what country you live in if your leaders are ignoring their basic responsibilities to provide the necessary leadership required to meet the needs of people all over the world something needs to change.

What this demonstrates is the very real possibility that none of them believe we can get through this without a major worldwide depression. How wonderful.

Stanford Matthews

Rights and Responsibilities in America: Civics Literacy (127)


(The Founding Fathers who were delegates to the Constitutional Convention are featured in this series of posts starting with number 98. Not every entry after 98 is about the delegates.)

William C. Houston, New Jersey

William Houston was born about 1746 to Margaret and Archibald Houston. He attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) and graduated in 1768 and became master of the college grammar school and then its tutor. In 1771 he was appointed professor of mathematics and natural philosophy.

From 1775 to 1776 Houston was deputy secretary of the Continental Congress. He also saw active military service in 1776 and 1777 when, as captain of the foot militia of Somerset County, he engaged in action around Princeton. During the Revolution, Houston also served in the New Jersey Assembly (1777) and the New Jersey Council of Safety (1778). In 1779 he was once again elected to the Continental Congress, where he worked mainly in the areas of supply and finance. In addition to serving in Congress, Houston remained active in the affairs of the College of New Jersey and also found time to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1781 and won the appointment of clerk of the New Jersey Supreme Court in the same year. Houston resigned from the college in 1783 and concentrated on his Trenton law practice. He represented New Jersey in Congress once again in 1784 and 1785.

Houston represented New Jersey at both the Annapolis and Philadelphia conventions. Though illness forced him to leave after 1 week, he did serve on a committee to consider the distribution of seats in the lower house. Houston did not sign the Constitution, but he signed the report to the New Jersey legislature.

On August 12, 1788, William Houston succumbed to tuberculosis and died in Frankford, PA., leaving his wife Jane, two daughters, and two sons. His body was laid to rest in the Second Presbyterian Churchyard in Philadelphia.