At the Motley Fool investment site, Daniel James looks at Best Buy’s performance and says: “Is the report a signal that there are dark days to come for US electronics retailers? According to some analysts, Best Buy’s holiday results were nothing less than shocking. The results were especially poor in the light of the optimism which surrounded the stock during 2013, a year which saw Best Buy shares skyrocket more than 230% on hopes of a successful turnaround story. These hopes now seem all but eroded.” The sub-story here is the credibility of all the credulous media cheerleaders.
Collin Peterson picked up some OK dough … Corey Mitchell of the Strib says: “Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson reported $165,000 in fundraising during the last three months of 2013, but has yet to announce if he will seek a 13th term in Congress. … Peterson is one of the chief negotiators on the farm bill. He expects to announce his plans after a deal is reached on the $500 billion dollar legislation that governs federal farm and food policies. … Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom is running to unseat Peterson, who represents the conservative-leaning Seventh District in western Minnesota.” Devin Henry has MinnPost coverage here.
At MPR, Brett Neely says: “In his 23 years in the House, Peterson has fashioned a reputation as a straight-talking dealmaker and vote counter who has used his perch as the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee to continue generous federal support his district’s corn and sugar beet growers. … Peterson voted against the Affordable Care in 2010. However, he also opposed later Republican attempts to dismantle the law. Peterson’s voting record has made it hard for Republicans to easily paint him as an out of touch liberal in a conservative district. He frequently breaks with the Democrats on issues such as abortion, gun control and the environment.”
Great … just great … At MPR, Craig Edwards, the weather guy, says: “NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released its outlook for February last week. The medium-range forecast models suggest that the cold will continue into the first part of the next month. We are about to exit the coldest part of the winter season, according to the 30-year climatological records.”
A tough haul ahead for all involved … Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “[The] crash on a Wright County road involving an ambulance carrying a patient and an SUV during a snowstorm has left two medical workers facing long recoveries and another person badly injured, officials said. … Emergency medical technician Tim Day, 43, of Albertville, Minn., and paramedic Brian Nagel, 30, of Greenwood, were among the injured … [Day] faces extensive surgery and ‘has been told to expect up to three months or so living from a wheelchair,’ LaCroix added. Nagel is hospitalized in intensive care and breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.”
PiPress business columnist Ed Lotterman thinks on how companies need to manage “external costs”: “Take a minor issue that is becoming a major one. In the past six months, there have been five major accidents involving rail cars carrying crude oil. … Libertarians and others who favor minimal government argue that the shippers or the cargo or the railroads themselves have an incentive to know hazards and take steps to reduce them …. And if they are asleep at the switch, the insurance companies that sell them coverage should prod them … But this hasn’t happened. So neither the regulatory agencies tasked with railroad safety nor the private companies … have been very active in heading off this problem.”
In the Philadelphia Inquirer, columnist Jeff Gelles says: “Could the uproar over Target’s vast data breach finally force Americans to get serious about consumers’ security? … Target plainly made lots of mistakes in failing to secure its checkout-counter payment terminals and back-end systems. … It’s time for the payment industry to get serious about security — or for Congress or regulators to act if it doesn’t.” That’s usually when onerous “big gummint” regulation kicks in.
At Power Line, Scott Johnson takes a whack at a Strib story: “Today’s Star Tribune features a formulaic story by Randy Furst from the usual heart-tugging angle: “Somali woman living in Willmar can’t get her husband into U.S.” … Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the United States. We know amazingly little about them, probably because we are afraid to ask the relevant questions. We know they are mostly Muslim … but are they loyal residents or citizens of the United States? In the conflict between the United States and the Islamist forces with which we are contending, whose side are they on? The Star Tribune has never looked even an inch below the surface to examine the relevant questions or render the appropriate findings.”
So when you build your dream … snow fort … The AP story out of Hermantown says: “Hermantown police say the man’s son called 911 about 5 p.m. Sunday after his father became buried in the heavy snow. Police officers were first to arrive and were able to find the man under the snow and bring him to safety. … Police say the accident should serve as a warning for others building snow forts.” Or at least remember your steel support beams.