06/30/19

Dreams

As a kid, I never had ambitious dreams. I did what was offered to me by life, which turned out to be a lot, but I never really had ambitious dreams. I wish I’d been more ambitious.

People tell me I was and am ambitious, but I know I wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I challenged myself and did a lot of hard things as a kid that enabled me to do harder things as a young man and as an adult until I got used to doing hard things as if they weren’t hard, but still I never had ambitious dreams.

I want you to dream better than I ever did.

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06/28/19

Beyond Meat — Show Me The Meat!

OK, maybe the title today should have been “Where’s the beef?” but you get it. What you will not be getting is any real beef.

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A logo is fine — actually I think this logo is lame as Hell — but here’s the faux beef you really want to see.

Beyond Burger™

Please note the lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles — vegetables on vegetables. Think about that.

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06/27/19

Judgment And Going To War

While I recognize that you are engaged in evaluating the debates and probably don’t have time for anything else, I want to slip in a few comments about judgment.

What brings this to the fore in my V8 is the matter of President Trump deciding not to strike Iran in retaliation for having downed a US Air Force drone.

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Here is a picture of the drone, a RQ-4A Global Hawk that is flown by three remote pilots, has the wingspan of a 737, flies at 500 MPH, carries ooooodles of tech gear to listen to and look at our enemies, and typically operates at 65,000 feet altitude.

[Big question — WTF was the Global Hawk doing operating at 22,000 feet over the Straits of Hormuz? That is within the capabilities of Iranian SAMs (surface-to-air missiles) to reach while if they had been at 65,000 feet, the Iranians could not have reached that altitude. Why?] Continue reading

06/27/19

Shopify — The Revolutionary

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Huge fan of Shopify for a number of reasons:

 1. Shopify is a plug-and-play solution to getting you into the eCommerce business. Sign on with Shopify and you are in business as quickly as you can take pictures of your merchandise and put a price on it. Effortless. Streamlined.

 2. As a software product, Shopify fulfills the promise of the Internet as a means of creating “digital real estate” whereon a tech savvy digital business woman (see what your “woke” Big Red Car did there?) can reach the entire world without having to undertake a huge tech effort to get her store open.

This is a huge victory, a fulfillment of an enormous promise.

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06/26/19

Austin — the best place to live in the galaxy

It comes as no surprise to Austinites that US News & World Report has picked Austin By God Texas as the “best place in the galaxy to live” for the third year in a row.

Don’t take my word for it. Here it is.

US News & World Report — best cities report 

USNWR graded cities based on coolness, the handsomeness and beauty of its citizens, their wisdom and charm and just all around goodness. Austin won. Again. And again.

Meanwhile Austin is seeing low unemployment of the 2.2% variety. Jobs are plentiful, but the work force is stretched tight which means wages are headed upward.

Still, when you get down to it, Austin is just a typical college town with a level of live music and hipness that boggles the mind. Plus, we have Whole Foods.

Did I mention 66F Barton Springs? Yes, we have good swimming next to downtown. Cold water. Refreshing like a Big Gulp.

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So, if you live in Chicago or New York or California — I’m leaving a welcome packet for you at the airport. Come on down.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. 2.2% unemployment and Barton Springs — this is you, babe. Trust me.

06/26/19

Leadership And Leadership Training

Gloomy day in the ATX, but then I am in the ATX, so how gloomy can it really be?

So I have been reading a book — 40 pages in, an easy read — by Jerry Collonna called: Reboot – Leadership and the Art of Growing Up.

Jerry is one of those Internet presences one meets and grows fond of. There is wisdom in his writing and there is a good heart in his chest. He comes to the issue of leadership primarily from the perspective of CEO coaching and has a huge following.

He is an emotional, Zen, Buddhist type of guy who will cry at the drop of a hat. I don’t see him doing much hunting or skydiving, but he is a mensch.

I recommend the book as a body of work that one should read, but I am not a fan of the emotional style and desperate nature of how he tells his story.

It is HIS story. It is not my story. It is a good story and it should be in the institutional memory of anybody who is serious about the leadership gig.

Go read the book, but when you do, I want you to know a few other things at the same time.

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06/24/19

Conservative Judges

There are those who say that President Trump’s legacy will be the conservative judges he appointed and had confirmed to the Supreme Court. Maybe so. Here is an interesting insight into that question.

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Recent decisions don’t yet support that legacy, but it is early. There was a recent decision that does indeed show the impact of conservative judges.

It is the Knick v Township of Scott case that dealt with the issue of the administration of claims seeking just compensation for government takings.

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06/23/19

Facebank and Libra

Big Red Car returned from babysitting duties for My Perfect Grand Daughter. We are learning how to boogie board, but don’t tell her mother.

While gone, Facebook announced the impending creation of Libra, an asset-backed cryptocurrency that will transform life as we know it.

I have taken to calling the entire entire enterprise — Facebook, the Libra Association, and Libra — Facebank.

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Bit of cynicism on a Sunday — we can’t trust Facebook with our data, so let’s trust them with our money? OK, had to get that out of the way, let’s march on, shall we?

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06/18/19

True The Vote v IRS

True The Vote, headed by Catherine Englebrecht, in a decade long fight has won an overwhelming victory in its Complaint against the Internal Revenue Service’s “slow playing” its application for IRS tax-exempt status.

A Judge has found that the IRS (Lois Lerner being the main antagonist) engaged in unconstitutional discrimination, conducted itself unethically, and acted in “bad faith” thereby entitling True The Vote to a multiple of its legal fees as a means of punishing the IRS and rewarding True The Vote.

This is huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge as it uncovers the bad acts of the IRS, its coordination with the US Congress in the person of Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer and Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummings, and the involvement of the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration during the Obama administration.

Weaponization of government, anyone? Here is the Texas woman who has been fighting the good fight for a decade, meet Catherine Engelbrecht.

DO NOT MESS WITH TEXAS WOMEN!

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Whoa, really, Big Red Car? You’re going to have to explain that to me.

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06/15/19

War Drums — Acts of War 1980s – 2019

Creating an impediment to free navigation and attacking ships of other nations are historic acts of war inviting retaliation from aggrieved parties. In fact, we have seen this movie before with tragic consequences.

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Back in the day, Iran and Iraq were locked in a war that ultimately incurred 1,000,000+ casualties. Maybe as many as 2MM.

The Iraq v Iran war has been compared to World War I in that two modern armies went at it over a protracted period of time while engaged in static, trench warfare, and human wave attacks. A bit inaccurate as the Iranians used very sound mobile warfare and deep strike air attacks at times.

Massive amounts of soldiers were deployed with the Iraqis striking with six divisions in the first attack. From a troop perspective many campaigns employed forces generally larger than the Allied D-Day operation. Big war.

Professional soldiers have studied this war as it entailed massive tank battles (the Iraqis ended the war with 4,000 tanks — fielding the 4th largest army in the world that they would one day unleash against Kuwait.)

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06/13/19

Things I Have Learned

Your Big Red Car is traveling to Savannah to see My Perfect Grand Child. This is a slightly old pic, but it is a favorite because it captures that Southern girl’s mischievous personality. So, we go for a splendid trip to Forsyth Park and romp in the grass because all of us know how to walk these days. And we do some thinking.

A pal of mine and I exchange emails in which he poses to me: “Tell me some stuff you’ve learned. Not deep stuff, but stuff.” It is a corollary of “Tell me stuff you believe in.”

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06/10/19

A Kiss Is Just A Kiss?

Do you recall the famous scene in Casablanca when Sam sings “As Time Goes By?” It is sung best by Frank Sinatra.

The song starts with a line — “You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss,”

What spawned this thought was a picture of Mayor Pete kissing his husband, Chasten, at a campaign event.

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Before you criticize Mayor Pete for excessive PDA (public display of affection), you will want to remember the famous Al Gore – Tipper Gore kiss at the Democrat National Convention of some time ago. He did not win the presidency, but he left American politics with an iconic moment. Well, until they got divorced.

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Totally impromptu! Haha, right. Al and Tipper did not start the weaponization of political kissing, but they put an exclamation point on it.

President Reagan was a kisser also. Here he is after being sworn in as President. Have to give Nancy high marks both for form (eyes closed), head tilt, but also the hat that did not impede the kiss. Well played. Both actors, they hit their marks right on cue.

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Here’s the beef — Al Gore – Tipper Gore and Ronald Reagan – Nancy Reagan kissed on the lips.  Mayor Pete and Chasten Buttigieg kissed on the cheek.

Come on, fellas, the lips. If you’re in it to win it, you go for the lips. I have given you bi-partisan examples. The lips!

Then, Chasten (potential First Gent), has this to look forward to?

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Notice that the First Lady is careful to kiss Mr. T on the forehead. Because kissing on the lips is reserved for your spouse, you fool!

Kissing, making out, faux intimacy, bit of PDA, the weaponization of the lip lock — is part of electoral politics at the presidential level, no? Who can forget these crazy kids?

Don’t even say it. I know what you and your dirty mind are thinking. No.

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President Trump is a nose kisser and a bi-directional kisser. The nose knows. You would have expected something normal from the Disruptor-in-Chief?

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Here the President is clearly going for the cheek. Cheeky bastard!

The French, who supposedly invented a brand of kissing, often throw a head fake and go for the hand. Here is French PM Macron showing nice form. Like Joe Biden, he likes to get a good sniff in. Modestly creepy, but quite gallant!

First lady steps into spotlight for state visit with France

President Trump, showing PM Macron how the cow eats the cabbage when dealing with a sharp-edged hat, ducks under the brim to hit his target.

But, at the core of this is my complaint — Mayor Pete, Chasten Buttigieg — go for the lips, dudes. 

A kiss is just a kiss or is it? Is it a political statement? Is it the weaponization of affection?

“You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss” unless it’s a political kiss.

But, hey, what the Hell do I know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Come here, you lovely little Mercedes, let me give you a nice kiss!

06/10/19

Qualified Small Business Stock — QSBS

QSBS, baby.

Rained hard last night. We like a good rain in Texas. Keep the temperature down, but I always fear the mosquitoes.

So, speaking of mosquitoes, let’s discuss the QSBS — Qualified Small Business Stock. [Nice segway, eh?]

Stop — DO NOT TAX ADVICE FROM AN EIGHT CYLINDER V8 MUSCLE CAR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Think of this like sitting next to a drunk at a bar who is slurring his words and falls off the stool twice. That good. No more.

Oh, one more thing — if you are an entrepreneur, founder, ground floor stock owner — listen the Hell up. Trust me.

OK, so the QSBS is a great deal if you qualify. It will allow you to exclude up to 100% of your profits in a qualified small business up to $10,000,000 under certain conditions. This is the kind of money we are talking about here.

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06/8/19

Criminalizing Crypto in India

Big Red Car here getting ready for a trip to Sam’s.

So, I’m reading a few things and stumble on an interesting article about India and its attitude toward crypto. This is interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that twenty percent of the world’s population lives in India.

Here is the famous Gateway to India which will likely not become the Gateway to Crypto if a proposed law is approved.

The “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” levies a ten-year prison sentence on any individual who might “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose of, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies.”

This is what is called a broad stroke. Not much left to the imagination. Not subtle.

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06/8/19

CEO Shoptalk — Lancing the Boil

Glorious sunny day in the ATX, y’all. So, what does “lancing the boil” mean, Big Red Car?

[Early stage, pre-MVP hamburger looking at you in the Hill Country.]

Suppose for a second you are a CEO — tough job. You have dealt with one of the List of Horribles, that compendium of distasteful things a CEO does that comes with the job and justifies the equity stake.

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06/6/19

The Age of Freedom – Twenty-two

The average age of the American soldiers who jumped into France or landed at Normandy was twenty-two. That includes everyone including the men running the show. Plenty of those who fought were as young as eighteen.

When good confronted evil, when the flame of freedom flickered, the men sent to make it right were young. They had their entire lives in front of them, but first they had to save the world.

By midnight, the Americans would lose 2,500 KIA, 3,200 WIA, 2,000 MIA, and 26 POW. Many of them were paratroopers who had jumped into the darkness over France slightly after midnight.

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06/5/19

United States Securities and Exchange Commission v Kik (Kin)

Yesterday, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission sued Kik Interactive Inc, a Canadian company, for “…conducting an illegal $100 million securities offering of digital tokens.”

Here is the SEC Press Release.

The issuance of “tokens” has been a supercharged issue in the cryptocurrency world for some time as the issuers contend these tokens are not securities — therefore not subject to the requirements to issue a US SEC Form S-1, Registration and to provide quarterly, annual reports as well as reports of material events — while the SEC says maybe they are.

In any event, the issue has been out there for some time.

Many crypto advocates have suggested it will take a legal confrontation, like this one, for the issue to be resolved. Well, fellas, you got your wish.

The SEC is focused on the implications of what happens or doesn’t happen when a “security” is registered and issued.

Specifically, they contend, “By selling $100 million in securities without registering the offers or sales, we allege that Kik deprived investors of information to which they were legally entitled, and prevented investors from making informed investment decisions.”

Keep that “information” nugget in the front of your brain as you read deeper into this post.

The SEC’s view is that it is the securities issuing regulations and compliance therewith that provides the appropriate protections for investors. The requirements as noted above are:

 1. The issuance of a US SEC Form S-1, Registration Statement — filed with the SEC for comment and revision prior to issuance and thereby providing a platform upon which to make disclosures about the financial health of the issuer, discuss risks and other information a buyer would find of vital interest.

 2. The filing of quarterly reports, annual reports, and reports of “material” events and actions.

This would, in essence, create a public security. It is not end of the world. You cannot even see it from there.

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06/4/19

A Letter to England

Our President is wrapping things up in England on the heels of a state visit. He was invited by the Queen when the Parliament could not find the manners to do so after we had the Prime Minister over for a nice visit.

Queen Elizabeth honored him with a formal reception at her palace, a trooping of the line, a lunch, tea, and a state dinner. Got to exchange ideas with Prince Charles. What a treat!

That is the royal treatment. Thank you, Queen Elizabeth.

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The political establishment was not so appreciative or civil. They insulted our President, a kid from Queens (get it, the Queen, the kid from Queens), who returned the fire.

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