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This Crime Data Is Not Real

This Crime Data Is Not Real

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

Headlines in recent weeks blared that crime is down, all based…



This Crime Data Is Not Real

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

Headlines in recent weeks blared that crime is down, all based on a new report from the FBI.

News media picked it up and did the predictable kabuki dance over the greatness of the Biden administration, as if the president has anything to do with it.

Mainly, the point is that all is well.

There's nothing about which to complain.

You're safe and prosperous, so just stop your kvetching.

The report stated the following:

“The FBI’s crime statistics estimates for 2022 show that national violent crime decreased an estimated 1.7 percent in 2022 compared to 2021 estimates: Murder and non-negligent manslaughter recorded a 2022 estimated nationwide decrease of 6.1 percent compared to the previous year. In 2022, the estimated number of offenses in the revised rape category saw an estimated 5.4 percent decrease. Aggravated assault in 2022 decreased an estimated 1.1 percent in 2022. Robbery showed an estimated increase of 1.3 percent nationally.”

Before we examine this reported data, consider that there's no reason to believe that it's even close to the truth.

In all the chaos of the last several years, people have mostly stopped reporting theft and even assault. It’s so routine and everyone knows that the police will not and probably cannot do anything anyway. This truth is easily confirmed by asking any street-level store owner in any big city. Theft is rampant. Cameras are everywhere. But there's nothing they can do about it.

Just a couple of days ago, I was in a CVS Pharmacy and startled that the toothpaste was under lock and key. That’s how terrible things have gotten in formerly civilized places.

One wonders about assaults, too. Based on what you can see in midtown Manhattan on any night, does anyone believe that assaults in this setting are being reported? What precisely would be the point?

To be sure, murders are different. Those data are less subject to reporting problems. But here's another problem: a basic statistical error in how it is presented. It’s a sophomoric point but nonetheless real. Whether something is up or down, getting better or getting worse, entirely depends on the baseline that you choose as your starting date. If you choose the absolute worst peak of a trend, everything else looks good by comparison.

That's precisely what the FBI has done.

It has chosen the worst possible year in order to make our present hellish reality seem great by comparison. Joshua Crawford of the Georgia Center for Opportunity explains:

“Part of the problem with most media analysis is that 2019 didn’t represent a historical baseline of homicide and violent crime rates in America—2014 did. Nationally, violent crime and murder were much more prevalent in 2019 than in 2014. So though U.S. rates have fallen back to pre-pandemic levels, the country is well above normal violent-crime rates. Total violent crime in 2022 was 5 percent higher than in 2014, an increase that represents tens of thousands of additional victims in a single year. The national homicide rate in 2022 was 43 percent higher than in 2014. Since 2015, there have been roughly 30,000 more murders in the U.S. than there would have been if the homicide rate had stayed at the 2014 low.”

Which is to say, this is all terrible news. It's only not as terrible as the most terrible possible reality of 4 years ago. This isn't crime being down; this is crime persisting and even worsening in many respects in many places, especially in blue areas such as San Francisco.

We're all getting pretty fed up with the lying by statistics. Sadly, it often works. It depends fundamentally on the public’s statistical ignorance, which is undoubtedly very high. People can only understand the most rudimentary notions, such as “up” and “down,” without asking more important questions such as “Compared with what?” much less more sophisticated questions such as "Are we talking about an absolute fall or a drop in the rate of increase?"

We experience this constantly with inflation data. For more than two years, we've kept hearing about a fall in the inflation rate. People hear that and think, “Oh, prices are coming back down,” without even realizing that this isn't what it means. It means a falling rate at which prices are going up. Prices are still going up.

Mass statistical ignorance is extremely costly. It allows a ruling class to toss around numbers all the time to sound vaguely sciency but without having any real substance behind the claims. This is what enabled the Biden administration to say daily that the job market is great, that economic growth is strong, that Americans are growing wealthier, and now, that crime is down. It’s all completely gibberish and contradicted by every bit of reality that we observe with our own eyes.

The crime problem is a major one because it directly affects two fundamental points of security that are essential to the good life: security of property and security of person. Both are in deep trouble in America today. It only adds insult to literal injury that our own FBI is tossing around extremely misleading data to suggest that it's all in our heads.

If and when things settle down, and America gets its act together again, there needs to be a mass educational campaign to do remedial classes in math and statistics (and probably logic, too). It was the ignorance of the basics that allowed so many people to be bamboozled during the COVID-19 era. When you don’t really understand the math or data, you have no real choice but to trust the interpretation of the featured experts. This is a huge problem.

During this period of our lives, property became ever less secure, first wrecked by government edict and then threatened by mobs of riots and now under assault from petty thieves and organized shoplifting gangs. Respect for life has declined, too. Generally, the very notions of human dignity and bodily autonomy have declined in moral legitimacy in the public mind.

Foot traffic in our cities has fallen dramatically, and this is partially a result of crime fears. Will murders decline from their highs, too? Certainly. But this isn't because our streets are safer. It's because people are too terrified to go there. This isn't an improvement but evidence of a worsening problem.

That kind of analysis is too deep and rich for sound bites in today’s manipulated public square, where propaganda always seems to prevail over facts. It’s true in economics. It’s true in public health. And now we see that it's true in crime reporting as well. It’s just another sector of life in which the decline in trust is much merited.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/10/2023 - 20:20

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A Third Major Burger King Franchisee Declares Bankruptcy

A Third Major Burger King Franchisee Declares Bankruptcy

By Jonathan Maze of Restaurant Business Online,

Premier Kings, a 172-unit Burger…



A Third Major Burger King Franchisee Declares Bankruptcy

By Jonathan Maze of Restaurant Business Online,

Premier Kings, a 172-unit Burger King franchisee whose owner died in 2022, declared bankruptcy protection, saying that operating losses even after the company closed restaurants forced the issue.

It’s the third time this year that a major Burger King operator has taken such a step, while several others closed restaurants around the country in the aftermath of the chain’s sales and profit challenges.

In this case, Premier Kings’ Chapter 11 filing follows the untimely death of its owner, Patrick Sidhu, whose Popeyes stores were placed into bankruptcy earlier this year for the same reason.

The company put the restaurants up for sale and hired the investment banker Raymond James & Associates to market the restaurants. The company closed several restaurants to “avoid further losses” and stabilize the business to prepare a sale.

But those cost cutting measures didn’t work. The company said that it faced pressure from landlords, vendors and with secured lenders.

Premier Kings generated $223 million in sales in 2022 and had an operating loss of $27 million. Bankruptcy court documents also reported $134.5 million in assets and $123.1 million in liabilities.

The company has deals with a pair of “stalking horse” bidders vying for parts of the company totaling about $34 million. One is for $15.5 million with RRG of Jacksonville for 44 stores in the Savannah, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla., regions. The other is for $18.5 million for the purchase of 31 stores in North Alabama with the Newell-Berg Alliance AL.

A stalking horse bid is used as an opening bid in an auction. There are at least 44 potential bidders for at least some of the restaurants.

Burger King struggled with weak sales coming out of the pandemic while costs for labor and food took off. Two large-scale operators, Meridian Restaurants and Toms King, filed for bankruptcy and were sold. In both cases, however, not all of the stores were sold and numerous locations were shut down.

The company has been steering many stores into the hands of smaller operators it believes are more capable of improving operations at the restaurants and generating stronger sales in the process.

Burger King earlier warned that it expected to spend the rest of the year working with franchisees to close underperforming stores. It also said that most of $10 million of bad debt expense it expects to record in the fourth quarter will come from Burger King U.S.

The company has shown stronger sales this year while traffic last quarter outperformed its competitors. Burger King is investing $400 million into marketing and remodels to lift sales and has focused intently on improving operations and franchisee profits. The company said that franchisee profitability is up in the “double digits” so far this year.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/10/2023 - 13:05

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Best Penny Stocks Today? 3 To Watch Under $3 Now

Best Penny Stocks To Buy? 3 To Watch In The Stock Market Today
The post Best Penny Stocks Today? 3 To Watch Under $3 Now appeared first on Penny Stocks…



Whether you’re looking for your next big investment or want to find a quick hit of volatility, penny stocks are back in focus. Thanks to the stock market sell-off over the last few months, countless companies have come under pressure. As they say, pressure makes diamonds, and that has translated in the stock market in 2023.

Are Penny Stocks Worth It?

Take a look at companies like Carvana (NYSE: CVNA). It sold off until reaching sub-$4 levels. From the ashes rose the phoenix, with CVNA stock ripping to highs of over $50. You can also see this in other companies like popular meme stock GameStop (NYSE: GME). While it’s a far cry from its prices of over $400, it’s still trading significantly higher than where it was prior to the pandemic.

We actually discussed the company when it raised attention from Michael Burry at the time. In the article Penny Stocks To Buy Or Sell In September: GameStop (GME) we discussed the unusual action from The Big Short investor. Shares traded below $4 at the time, and unwitting investors would ultimately see it surge to record levels later on. GME stock presently sits around $13.

Penny Stocks To Buy Now

What are better known as “Household stocks,” are referred to as such because they’ve got well-known names and brands. While it isn’t always the trend that you find household names trading at penny stock levels, the goal is always the same: buy low, sell high, profit, repeat. In many cases, the names don’t matter as much as the stock market action or momentum.

However, if you’re someone looking to invest in penny stocks, then things like household stocks my bring more psychological confidence than anything else. Obviously, that doesn’t mean the beaten-down stocks won’t go lower. But if it’s a matter of putting a well-known company on your list of penny stocks versus a company that is a start-up, some will choose the name.

Needless to say, in this article, we’re looking at some of the most active penny stocks today, regardless of having a household name or not. We look at recent catalysts, news, and sentiment to help give insight into what’s happening in the stock market today for these companies. Once you see the info, you can decide if they’re worth adding to your penny stocks to watch list before next week.

  1. Intrusion, Inc. (NASDAQ: INTZ)
  2. Bakkt Holdings, Inc (NYSE: BKKT)
  3. Talkspace, Inc. (NASDAQ: TALK)

Intrusion, Inc. (INTZ)

Intrusion, Inc. is a cybersecurity company from Plano, Texas. They specialize in preventing cyberattacks through a proprietary threat intelligence database. Their product, Intrusion Shield, is a Zero Trust, reputation-based security solution. It boasts a significant threat intelligence database, driving Intrusion Shield. It integrates with existing infrastructure to block malicious traffic and enhance overall cybersecurity posture.

This database includes data on over 8.5 billion IP addresses, with historical data, known associations, and behavioral patterns. The product, which was first launched commercially in 2021, is designed to prevent zero-day and ransomware attacks by observing traffic and instantly blocking suspicious connections. The company also plans to announce its financial results for the third quarter of 2023 on November 14, 2023, after the market closes. So if it’s on your list, keep that in mind later this month.

Penny Stocks: Strategies for Weathering Economic Recessions

Investors will likely be scrutinizing the performance of Intrusion Shield to gauge its market acceptance and contribution to revenue. The effectiveness of the company’s solutions against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape could significantly influence investor sentiment as well.

Another positive that investors are hanging onto is the above-the-market offering the company announced this week. Heavy insider participation has also brought optimism to INTZ stock. “We are excited to announce that we have entered into an above-market price Securities Purchase Agreement through a Private Offering,” said Tony Scott, CEO of Intrusion. “The Offering also marks an important step for Intrusion as we continue to focus on ensuring we have the funds we need to propel our growth and focus on satisfying our customers’ needs with cost-effective cybersecurity solutions for their enterprise.”

Bakkt Holdings, Inc (BKKT)

Bakkt Holdings, Inc. is a company specializing in cryptocurrency services. They are expanding their global footprint and recently announced several international market entries. It is partnering with existing and new clients, focusing on Latin America, Europe, and Asia. In Latin America, Bakkt is collaborating with Hapi to enhance crypto trading in Mexico, Argentina, and soon Brazil. In Europe, Bakkt plans to launch in Spain and offer services in the UK and EU with 3.0verse.

For the Asia market, Bakkt’s partnership with 3.0verse will extend to Hong Kong and Singapore. The CEO, Gavin Michael, emphasized Bakkt’s regulatory compliance as a strength in their global expansion. Domestically, Bakkt is also expanding its institutional client base, joining EDX Markets’ clearing house and custodial network. Michael highlighted Bakkt’s focus on stable, long-term revenue through subscription-based services, despite recent share price volatility​​.

This expansion could positively influence sentiment around Bakkt. By entering new markets and diversifying its client base, Bakkt could see an increase in business activity. However, global expansion also brings challenges like regulatory compliance and market adaptation. These factors, along with the recent volatility in the BKKT stock price, could bring some pause to an overly bullish stance on its prospects.

Talkspace, Inc. (TALK)

Talkspace, Inc. is a virtual behavioral healthcare company. They specialize in accessible mental healthcare services.

In their Q3 2023 report, Talkspace revealed significant financial improvements. B2B payor revenue grew 132% year-over-year. Total revenue reached $38.6 million, a 32% increase from the previous year. This growth was driven primarily by a 79% increase in B2B revenue, despite a decline in consumer revenue. Gross profit rose to $18.8 million, a 29% increase.

However, gross margin slightly declined due to a shift towards payor revenue. Operating expenses decreased by 30%, contributing to a reduced net loss of $4.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA loss improved significantly by 82%, showing a promising trend toward financial stability.

Penny Stocks To Buy Now? 7 Under $1 To Watch Today

For FY 2023, Talkspace forecasts revenue around $146 million, higher than previous estimates. The company aims to reach break-even Adjusted EBITDA by Q1 2024, with a projected cash balance of approximately $120 million. CEO Dr. Jon Cohen highlighted the momentum in their payor business, driven by demand for quality in-network benefits. CFO Jennifer Fulk emphasized progress towards break-even and improving clinical operations.

The post Best Penny Stocks Today? 3 To Watch Under $3 Now appeared first on Penny Stocks to Buy, Picks, News and Information |

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2nd Look at Local Housing Markets in October

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: 2nd Look at Local Housing Markets in October
A brief excerpt: NOTE: Starting next month, I’ll add some comparisons to 2019 (pre-pandemic)!

This is the second look at several early reporting local m…



Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: 2nd Look at Local Housing Markets in October

A brief excerpt:
NOTE: Starting next month, I’ll add some comparisons to 2019 (pre-pandemic)!

This is the second look at several early reporting local markets in October. I’m tracking about 40 local housing markets in the US. Some of the 40 markets are states, and some are metropolitan areas. I’ll update these tables throughout the month as additional data is released.

Closed sales in October were mostly for contracts signed in August and September. Since 30-year fixed mortgage rates were in the 7.1% in August and 7.2% in September, compared to the high-5% range the previous year, closed sales were down year-over-year in October.
In October, sales in these markets were down 10.3%. In September, these same markets were down 18.8% YoY Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).

This is a much smaller YoY decline NSA than in September for these early reporting markets. However, this is where seasonal adjustments make a difference.

There was one more working day in October 2023 compared to October 2022, the opposite of September when there was one fewer working day in 2023 compared to 2022. So, for October, the seasonally adjusted decline will be larger than the NSA decline.
This early data suggests the October existing home sales report will show another significant YoY decline, perhaps to just above 4 million SAAR (early guess of Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate), and above the cycle low of 3.96 million SAAR last month. This will be the 26th consecutive month with a YoY decline in sales.
Many more local markets to come!
There is much more in the article. You can subscribe at

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