The Skinny: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Lots of hot geopolitical action today, boys and girls. No time to waste. It’s The Skinny. Let’s hop right in.



Obama has officially asked Congress for permission to go to war with ISIS. The request limits the campaign to three years and limits the commander in chief’s ability to order “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” Ironically, Republicans believe the President’s abilities should be less limited while Democrats think they should be more limited.


Peace talks have apparently reached a positive outcome. Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany sat down overnight. Like, fully overnight. Forever. Eventually, they agreed on a ceasefire that begins Sunday. If this holds, which these things rarely do, it would bring an end to the ten-month old conflict that has left over 5,000 dead.


Welp, the U.S. embassy in Yemen has been emptied. The staff has left amid growing political unrest. While the embassy staff is gone, special forces have remained to continue carrying out anti-terrorism operations. Yemen is key in us and our allies’ fight against one of the world’s most dangerous terror group, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Chapel Hill Shootings

Thousands showed up to remember three Muslim students who were killed in an apartment building near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A lone gunman is the suspect believed guilty of killing Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19, in an execution-like rampage. Police are citing an ongoing parking dispute as the reason for the killing, but are not ruling out some sort of hate crime.



Three tickets matched last night’s $564 million drawing. No one has come forward yet, but one ticket was sold in Princeton, Texas; another in North Carolina; and the third in Puerto Rico.

Missing Plane

Still missing. 341 days.


Dow: 17,862, -7 (-0.04%)  S&P 500: 2,069, -1 (-0.01%)

Pepsi reported above expectations earnings in Q4, but that doesn’t help much. The U.S. dollar is up 20% against foreign currencies in the past 6 months, which has killed Pepsi‘s foreign profits. In Venezuela, for example, the country’s currency (the bolivar) dropped from 84 bolivars per dollar to 186 over the past year, heavily devaluing Pepsi‘s factories, trucks, soda and profits; they suffered a $126 million total loss in Venezuela in 2014.

TripAdvisor, on the other hand, is doing great. Thanks to their newly launched hotel booking service growing 24% in the last quarter, the online travel agent’s stock surged 13% in after hours trading yesterday.

Today we’ve got quarterlies from Commerzbank, Dr. Pepper, and GNC.

Market Snacks


Golf – Tiger released a statement yesterday saying that he is taking a break from professional golf, but that he’ll be back “very soon.” If that sounds like an oxymoron, that’s probably because it is. Essentially he wrote that he won’t play unless his game is “tournament-ready,” so we shall have to wait however long that takes.

NBA – LeBron and the Cavs stayed hot yesterday, beating the Heat for their 14th win in 15 games. After a sluggish start to a hyped season, the Cavs are now just a half-game back from the Bulls for the central division lead.

NHL – Just three games. Here are the highlights.



Reviews have not been great for ’50 Shades’; regardless, the chick-magnet film hits theaters tomorrow. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 44% and Mashable wrote a scathing piece about how there is, shockingly, not enough sex in the film.

Netflix pulled an interesting move yesterday. It was either a slip or a unique tease, but ten episodes of ‘House Of Cards: Season 3’ were available for about 15 minutes on the streaming service before they disappeared. Netflix then posted this jocular tweet.

Rotten Tomatoes


Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.34.13 AM


Super Important Fact

Speaking of ‘House Of Cards,’ here’s a fun White House fact: as of 2013, the White House features 35 bathrooms, 6 levels, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.


Channel your inner Frank Underwood and have a day, folks. Just don’t kill anyone.

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