The Fire and Fury book

I’ve quickly read Fire and Fury, the book that at least the media is talking about.

The author is clairvoyant in that he can see inside the heads of other people. He writes with 100 percent confidence that Donald Trump wanted to lose the 2016 election and was upset that he won. The author, an American man, is able to get inside the head of a Slovenian woman:

He admired her looks—often, awkwardly for her, in the presence of others. She was, he told people proudly and without irony, a “trophy wife.” And while he may not have quite shared his life with her, he gladly shared the spoils of it. “A happy wife is a happy life,” he said, echoing a popular rich-man truism.

How does he know what was awkward for Melania if he is not clairvoyant? Separately, a Google search for “happy wife happy life” reveals no association with income level.

Trump is accused of a lot of bad behavior, but nearly always without any source cited. This information also comes from clairvoyance?

The author doesn’t seem to have done a lot of research. He writes that “no president before Trump and few politicians ever have come out of the real estate business”. Yet George Washington made his money in real estate (see previous blog post and (“Most of this wealth can be traced to Washington’s success as a land speculator, an enterprise that grew out of his early career as land surveyor.”)).

The author expresses confidence that “Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election” because unnamed “friends” of Trump supposedly believed this.

One source of a lot of stuff in the book is Steve Bannon, but there don’t seem to be any quotes, e.g., “Bannon described Trump as a simple machine. The On switch was full of flattery, the Off switch full of calumny.” What did Bannon actually say?

The author seldom explains where he was and how he got access to the few actual quotes. For example:

“What a fucking idiot,” said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone.

Was the author sitting with Donald Trump on a speaker phone? Sitting with Rupert Murdoch?

Since there aren’t really enough quotes to fill up a book-length manuscript, the author resorts to quoting hearsay:

“Mr. Trump said he’s never once listened to a whole Obama speech,” said one of the young people authoritatively.
“They’re so boring,” said another.

What have we learned from this? Trump actually said that he never listened to a full Barack Obama speech? The unnamed young staffer quoted thought that Trump might have said it? What?

Continuing the theme of the author’s ability to see inside others’ heads… “Jared Kushner at thirty-six prided himself on his ability to get along with older men. … Trump did not enjoy his own inauguration. … Trump found the White House, an old building with only sporadic upkeep and piecemeal renovations—as well as a famous roach and rodent problem—to be vexing and even a little scary. … [after nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court] Trump would shortly not remember when he had ever wanted anyone but Gorsuch.”

How does this guy know what another person does and does not remember?

The author goes back in time to judge Fred Trump:

Jews and Israel were a curious Trump subtext. Trump’s brutish father was an often vocal anti-Semite. In the split in New York real estate between the Jews and non-Jews, the Trumps were clearly on the lesser side. The Jews were white shoe, and Donald Trump, even more than his father, was perceived as a vulgarian

If Fred Trump was a brute, why didn’t his wife sue him under New York family law and live comfortably and brute-free on at least half of the assets Fred Trump had accumulated? In the age of on-demand unilateral and profitable divorce, why would a rational woman remain married to a “brute” from 1936 until the brute’s death in 1999? The author and the publisher (Macmillan) don’t seem able to check facts with Wikipedia, which describes a white-shoe firm as one that excludes Jews.

Donald Trump is a bad husband:

An absentee father for his first four children, Trump was even more absent for his fifth, Barron, his son with Melania. … He was a notorious womanizer, and during the campaign became possibly the world’s most famous masher. While nobody would ever say Trump was sensitive when it came to women, he had many views about how to get along with them, including a theory he discussed with friends about how the more years between an older man and a younger woman, the less the younger woman took an older man’s cheating personally.

Notorious among whom? Which friends? If Donald Trump is so bad, why doesn’t Melania go down to the New York divorce courthouse and cash in? The author says that she doesn’t enjoy the publicity and attention of being First Lady. So if Donald Trump is a bad husband and being First Lady has no value, why wouldn’t an intelligent person such as Melania avail herself of our country’s no-fault divorce laws and become rich and “independent” (cashing checks every month from Donald would be the source of the “independence,” of course!)? These apparent logical contradictions are never addressed.

The author also doesn’t explain how a multi-billionaire who is purportedly a “notorious womanizer” has kept everything so quiet. Trump has been worth an average of roughly $ 3 billion for the past 10 years. If he is able to spend 4 percent of his wealth annually, that’s $ 120 million per year or $ 328,767 per day. Are there women who could be persuaded to have sex in exchange for something that $ 328,767 would buy? If not in New York then somewhere reachable by personal Boeing 757? Before the Hollywood Cleansing made the news, we had data such as “20 women slept with me to get promotion” (The Sun) from a supermarket assistant manager. That’s in one supermarket and he was only the assistant manager. The Trump Organization is listed by Wikipedia as having 22,450 employees, roughly half of whom are presumably women, and Trump was the top manager and final decision-maker. If Trump’s priority were womanizing, as the author suggests, why have we not heard about a sex-for-promotion situation (e.g., from a disgruntled employee who was passed over) within the Trump Organization? A billionaire “notorious womanizer” in the cameraphone era has left no evidence of his fun times? Why wasn’t compromising content being generated on a daily basis for the past 16 years since the Sanyo SCP-5300 was introduced?

There is virtually nothing in the book about the substantive work of the President. If you want to know why the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare was unsuccessful while the corporate tax rate cut did go through, this book won’t be helpful.

Bottom line: The book is spectacularly dull unless perhaps you know these Washington insiders personally and want to know what has been anonymously said about some of them. My opinion of Macmillan was diminished by the readily apparent sloppiness of the work.


Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Why is it easier to call an Uber than to call the police or fire department?

I saw a bike accident (arrived too late to know if it had been a car-bike accident, but probably). People were already gathered around the cyclist, who seemed to be mostly okay.

What if I’d had to call the police?

With the fragments of cell network coverage that are left to those of us who live among the towerphobic Millionaires Who Hate Trump (formerly the “Millionaires for Obama”), I’m not sure that I would have been able to sustain a voice call to 911. If I had called 911 successfully would the Enhanced 911 system have worked to give the operator my location? If not, it might have been challenging to specify a location in Massachusetts due to the lack of street signs for the bigger streets (i.e., most intersections have street signs for just one of the two streets).

It would have been way easier to get an Uber to my precise location since Uber is typically able to function with poor coverage. And certainly it would have been a lot more likely to get a text message out. says “Today most consumers cannot reach 911 by sending a text message from their wireless phone.”

Given that our local governments have invested vastly more in communications infrastructure than Uber has in software and server hardware, why is it easier to get an Uber than police or fire department assistance?

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Wisconsin child support plaintiff sets defendant’s truck on fire?

A reader sent me this video purportedly of a Wisconsin child support plaintiff setting her defendant’s truck on fire (the email introduced the video with “Since Tax Day is coming up, here’s what happens when a man doesn’t pay his pussy tax”).

Readers: What do you think about this video? Searching for related terms in Google News doesn’t result in any coverage from traditional newspapers. How could an event like this not be newsworthy?

[In case you’re wondering how much cash could have been at stake, check out this chapter on Wisconsin family law.]

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Some Fire, Scarecrow?

When I did this snarky little throwaway post a few days ago, I was simply pointing out the irony of a capital management company suffering such a persistent, horrendous decline in value. I didn’t realize there was a more important reason for all this, as today’s Wall Street Journal feature story states: So, errr, the […]
Slope of Hope

Lithium-ion battery that won’t set your airplane on fire

Would you like to carry lead in your airplane or helicopter? Probably not. How about acid? Also, a bad idea, right? Why then would you want a lead-acid battery? The answer to date has been “because every other kind of battery has tended to overheat and set the aircraft on fire.” NiCd batteries were all the rage in the 1970s and the superior energy density resulted in aircraft manufacturers engineering in temperature sensors and cockpit warning lights specific to these batteries. Ultimately they proved impractical for operators, though, and most were ripped out in favor of the older inferior technology of lead-acid.

Boeing was a pioneer in using lithium-ion batteries with the 787 and we all know how that worked out. At NBAA 2015, True Blue Power was all over the show with their newly formulated lithium-ion battery that supposedly won’t overheat anywhere near as fast as batteries with the older chemistry. The battery is stuffed full of fancy electronics to regulate and monitor what is going on within the cells, but you will still need some kind of cockpit indicator light. A battery with roughly 45 amp-hours at 24V will cost about $ 13,000 compared to $ 2,500 for the lead-acid equivalent (or $ 200 for a car battery with 90 amp-hours at 12V?). Supposedly the cost over time will be similar due to reduced expenses associated with annual capacity checks (for a higher-end aircraft the batteries must be removed every year and tested by a mechanic).

If “the third time is the charm” proves to be the case with advanced battery technology, True Blue Power will be adding about 5 percent to the payload of a typical light aircraft.

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Four Bullish Signals Fire for SanDisk SNDK

SanDisk (stock symbol SNDK) shares just triggered four bullish indicators for the stock and I wanted to highlight these for you.

With respect to the recent bullish signals, let’s start with the Weekly Chart:

Two BULLISH Chart Factors Emerge from the Weekly Chart as labeled:

  1. A Lengthy Positive Momentum Divergence
  2. The Break and Cross (close) Above the 50 Week Exponential Moving Average (blue)

When the price of a stock breaks into a trending environment, we typically expect the trend to continue moving in the same direction.

However, all trends must end at some point, and trends usually reverse with lengthy momentum or volume divergences.

We see a positive divergence (identified as a series of lower lows in the price of the stock at the same time a momentum oscillator is forming higher lows, as we see above with the green arrow) developing in SanDisk shares through all of 2015.

We then note two weeks of strong bullish (upward) price action from $ 50.00 per share to the current $ 70.00 per share level.

That brings us to point #2 with the Breakout above the Falling 50 Week EMA.

In a trending environment, share prices tend to “bounce” and rally up off from a rising moving average like we saw during the uptrend from 2013 until late 2014.

When price breaks through a moving average – instead of bouncing away from it – then it is a signal of possible trend reversal.

When we combine the Positive Divergence with the Breakout above the Falling 50 Week EMA, a bullish picture develops.

We can see two additional factors from the Daily Chart of SanDisk (SNDK):

The Daily Chart does a better job of giving us clear buy (or sell) signals along with prices to target with our trades or investments.

The Two Bullish Factors from the Daily Chart are the Following:

3. A Bullish Cross-over of the 20 and 50 Day Exponential Moving Averages
4. A Price Breakout and Close above the Falling 200 day Simple Moving Average (Red)

Notice that during the 2015 downtrend in share prices, not only did price remain beneath the falling 20 (green) and 50 (blue) day Exponential Moving Averages, but these averages remained in a Bearish Orientation (the 20 day EMA remained falling under the 50 day EMA).

We see the first Cross-Over of the 20 day EMA above the 50 day EMA which is a bullish signal.

Finally, we see price gapping above – and closing two days now – above the falling 200 day Simple Moving Average (Red).

Many investors will simply note the relationship of price – “Is it beneath or above?” – to the 200 day Simple Moving Average as they identify a trend in motion.

When price crosses beyond the 200 day SMA, an investor might deem the price trend to reverse and thus shift strategies.


In isolation, we can’t look to any one chart-based factor to tell us that a Trend has – or has not – reversed.

Like any puzzle, we put the pieces together one-by-one and see how the puzzle pieces fit together to provide a message to us.

For now, SanDisk (SNDK) shares are triggering Bullish Signals and will continue to do so AS LONG AS price remains above the current price level near $ 70.00 per share.

A stock can trick or trap investors with false buy signals, so it’s best not to jump the gun.

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Corey Rosenbloom, CMT
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Corey’s book The Complete Trading Course (Wiley Finance) is now available along with the newly released Profiting from the Life Cycle of a Stock Trend presentation (also from Wiley).

There’s always a trade-off between being “too early” and being “too late” to enter a position in a stock that is reversing its trend.

Don’t fret – if SanDisk shares truly have reversed into an uptrend at current levels, we could see future prices travel through the green “bullish pathway” as highlighted on the Weekly Chart which is toward $ 90.00 per share.

For now, monitor the stock price to ensure it remains above BOTH the 200 day SMA and the 50 week EMA which are overlapping near the $ 69.00 and $ 70.00 per share levels.

Afraid to Blog

Fire Metaphor Time

Well, while we await a real post, here’s an interesting little scene caught on camera only because the guy is a serious gamer. Roll forward to about the 4:50 mark. This hapless chap accidentally sets a tiny fire burning in his apartment, and since I suspect he’s been involved in gaming for years, he has […]
Slope of Hope

Mitt Romney explains the fire triangle

Following an in-flight fire on an airplane chartered for his wife, Mitt Romney explains the fire triangle:

“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

From the Los Angeles Times.

[As a former airline first officer, I appreciate the fact that the copilot got mentioned. It is also nice that no dog was strapped to the roof of this aircraft.]

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog