Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Savage Nation

Michael Savage has a great talk show. Here are links to his material.

910KNEW Michael Savage Page

910KNEW Michael Savage Podcast Page

Update (9/11/09)- 910 KNEW has stopped broadcasting Michael Savage. Details and alternative ways to access his podcasts are listed HERE.

ABOUT DR. SAVAGE: Author of the Best selling books "The Savage Nation" (30 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List), "The Enemy Within" and "Liberalism Is A Mental Disorder," Michael Savage is the number one drive time talk show host in the San Francisco and in many other cities around America. The Michael Savage Show is syndicated by Talk Radio Network.Trained as a scientist, he holds Masters degrees in medical botany and medical anthropology, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in Epidemiology and Nutritional Science. He spent decades searching and saving tropical rainforests."I guess people love my show because of my hard edge combined with humor and education," he says. "Those who listen to me say they hear a bit of Plato, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Moses, Jesus, and Frankenstein. I pull many of my life experiences, including that of father, son, husband, brother, ice cream factory worker, busboy, lifeguard, writer, scientist, and my huge library of books." Listeners also hear top-flight guests and, in keeping with the fact that talk hosts attract the audience they deserve, listeners hear literate callers with intelligence, wit, and energy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

How Big is Wal-Mart?

I received this in an email today:

verified on snopes http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/bigwalmart.asp
They actually have even more sales than stated below.

1. At Wal-Mart, Americans spend $36,000,000 every hour of every day.

2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!

3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.

4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.
5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer.

6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.

7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only 15 years.

8. During this same period, 31 supermarket chains sought bankruptcy (including Winn-Dixie).

9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.

10.Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are SuperCenters; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago.

11.This year, 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at a Wal-Mart store. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 billion.)

12. 90% of all Americas live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart.

13. Let Wal-Mart bail out Wall Street.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cerberus Capital Management

I was just reading an article about Chrysler and the bailout and decided to look up the history of the name Cerberus. Cerberus Capital Management owns Chrysler. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus_Capital_Management

Per Wikipedia: Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. is one of the largest private equity investment firms in the United States. The firm is based in New York City, and run by 48-year-old financier Steve Feinberg. Former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle has been a prominent Cerberus spokesperson and runs one of its international units.

Per Wikipedia: Founded in 1992, Cerberus is named for the mythological three-headed dog that guarded the gates of Hades. While many of its peers have bought out companies in order to strip assets and sell on for a profit, Cerberus builds its reputation on identifying firms that are undervalued, and assisting in rejuvenating them by working with current management. Feinberg has stated to his employees that while the Cerberus name seemed like a good idea at the time, he later regretted naming the company after the mythological dog.

Per J.N. Kish: The negative religious tie-in's related to this name are interesting to me. It is pretty obvious to see why Feinberg regrets naming the company after Satan's dog.

Think about it: A huge company with a satanic-related name rises from obscurity, gobbeling up previously-great world wide companies when they are weak and near-bankrupt. Forcing them to "sell their souls" to the holding company. Pulling them into the huge private company known for it's secrecy (see wikipedia article). This shadowy company quickly becomes one of the largest employers in the world, thus controlling the livleyhood of hundreds of thousands of employees from Shanghai to Detroit. Eventually, the products that this company provides, if not already, could touch every person in the world (see the list of companies that they own). This stuff would make a great plot for a Religious Conspiracy Novel or Movie. When thought about this way, the real-life company becomes strangely similar to the unstoppable law firm Al Pacino runs in the Movie: The Devil's_Advocate
In this movie, Al Pacino plays the character of the Devil

Here is a story about how they came up with the name "Cerberus." http://blogs.reuters.com/blog/2007/06/04/cerberus-capital-comes-clean-about-its-name/

Here's a wikipedia article on the name Cerberus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus

According to Businessweek, Cerberus is bigger than Cisco, Coke, Or McDonald's. Here is the article: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_40/b3953110.htm

Here are some more interesting articles about Cerberus:

Cerberus: At the Gates of Hell? http://seekingalpha.com/article/109670-cerberus-at-the-gates-of-hell

GM Bails out Cerberus http://blog.tomevslin.com/2008/12/gm-bails-out-ce.html

Ripoff Report

If you get ripped off, don't be silent. Warn others by posting it on Ripoff Report

We are not lawyers.
We are not a collection agency.
We are Consumer Advocates....the victims' advocate
WE are Civil and Human Rights Activists
We are a Nationwide Consumer Reporting News Agency...by consumers, for consumers
Ripoff ReportPO Box 310, Tempe, Arizona, 85280602-359-4357
Remember...Don't let them get away with it!
Make sure they make the Ripoff Report!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A swiftly rising threat.

Americans should never underestimate the importance of manufacturing strength with respect to national security.

Manufacturing, science, technology, prosperity and security. Each of these walk hand in hand.

I can't help but think that more and more of our leaders have forgotten this valuable lesson.
Rush Limbaugh: How the ChiComs Can Take Us Out

Hot Air: Is China Now More Capitalist Than the US?

Here is a video of what we are up against:
YouTube: Some chinese factory - workers in stamping press

Remember WWII? It was won by superior manufacturing, science and technology.
YouTube: WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Ads for Recruiting Workers

Lawmakers: We need fair competition. Please, help us compete. Stop fighting the very things that have made this country a world leader. Help us continue to prosper.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Great Depression? - What should you do if you really think we are headed there?

Here's the latest from Dave Simonds:

Hello “Dollars and Sense” listeners,
...Earlier this month the government reported that our nation’s unemployment rate jumped from 6.1% to 6.5%, a larger increase than anticipated. The Dow Jones Industrial Average promptly rose more than 250 points that day.
Today, government data showed that our economy contracted in the 3rd quarter at an annual rate of -0.5%, worse than expected. A few minutes later, another report showed that home prices plummeted by the largest annual rate on record, down more than 16% from a year ago. One economist followed up the reports by solemnly observing, “As bad as the 3rd quarter was, the 4th quarter will undoubtedly be worse.” The market was poised for a lower opening but suddenly turned higher after the dour numbers were reported and posted modestly positive gains at the end of the day.
Yes, you are reading this correctly. The market is moving higher AFTER the release of doom-and-gloom economic numbers. This gets right to the heart of what I’ve been discussing constantly in recent weeks, particularly on the “Dollars and Sense” show. The market has already factored in a fairly serious recession, so when the figures are actually released the market gives a collective shrug as if to say, “Yeah, we knew that. So what?” Think of it this way. The S&P had already fallen a jaw-dropping 41% from 9-1-08 through 11-20-08, the largest decline in history over a 3-month period. Don’t you think the market was already anticipating some pretty bad news?

So that gets us to the most important question of the day: where are we heading from here?

Actually, it’s quite simple.

The economy is either heading into The Great Depression Revisited…or we’re not.

Stocks and bonds are either poised to drop considerably lower…or they’re not.

I don’t mean to sound so flippant and cavalier about it, but our future really boils down to such a simplistic outlook. The market has priced in a weakening economy and it has been spot on with its forward looking call, but it has NOT priced in a 1930s-style economy. So I get back to the original thesis: we’re either on a downward spiral that will potentially see stocks drop at least another 30%-50%, or we’ve seen the worst of the Great Bear of ’08 and the market will begin moving higher even as the headlines continue to drip with fear and angst.

Here’s how investors should treat each of those two scenarios.

1) The Great Depression: The Sequel.
Sell all stocks. Invest only in government-backed bonds and gold. That’s it, not even CD’s. In a severe depression the government will not be able to save the banking system, which would include its inability to pay off all insured deposits. It would first have to pay the interest on its own debt to satisfy all the foreign governments that own our bonds. You could keep a little in cash but not much because the dollar will lose much of its value. For more extreme pessimists, load up on non-perishable food items and sell your home immediately. Find a nice apartment to rent for a couple of years and then start looking for a home after prices have dropped another 20%-40%.
(Some of you may chuckle when reading this, but these kinds of doomsday scenarios are getting a lot of traction these days. I know because I get e-mails from radio show listeners convinced we’re heading into an economy worse than the 1930s. I also lurk on various investment-related chat rooms where financial Armageddon is the theme of the day. These are the same chat rooms, by the way, that were chock full of the New Economy rhetoric of 10 years ago that was eventually discredited. There was an article on marketwatch.com today that spoke about the coming 100-year bear market. It’s a little nutty out there, folks.)

2) Deep Recession.
I’ve already pointed out that investors have collectively factored in some of the worst economic news we’ve seen in many decades. The easiest prediction to make right now is that the news will get worse before it gets better. Some economists are predicting unemployment to rise toward 10%, only the 3rd time in history that we would hit double digits in that category. Go to the investment section of any bookstore and you’ll see the growing number of tomes dedicated to the coming crash. There’s no question that stock prices already reflect a worsening economy that most of us are anticipating. Today’s poor numbers are so yesterday!

Based on the evidence we have before us today, while extrapolating for possibilities down the road, I do NOT believe we’re crashing toward the first scenario.

I can’t say with any certainty how bad the recession might become, but I definitely acknowledge the possibility that conditions could deteriorate well into 2009. (Barak Obama may find himself asking, “And why did I want to do this exactly?” However, if conditions improve through the 2nd half of his term, which I expect, then he would likely coast to victory in 2012. But I’m getting WAY ahead of myself.)
As I’ve mentioned before, stocks AND bonds will likely rise in the next upswing since both have been trashed in recent months. Today is a perfect example as both asset classes exhibited positive returns today. We don’t feel the need to add to our stock positions at the present time as there’s still enough risk in the market to remain on high alert, and bonds SHOULD give us the support that they frankly did not give us in September and October. Moderate allocation models are doing well in relative terms here in November and we don’t feel any rush to change that.
This is definitely the most trying time financially that any of us have ever seen, but I continue to strongly believe that most, if not all, the damage is behind us. However, here’s a warning. Another market like this and I may go back to working the graveyard shift at a local gas station, something that I did during my college days in the early 1980s. That stint included a death-defying robbery where I had a gun pointed at my chest, the robber yelling at me while I was unloading the cash register, “You must not want to live, you’re not moving fast enough!” At least that incident only lasted a few seconds. Here’s hoping that this bear market, aka “The Great Wall Street Robbery,” is also close to running its course. (In case you’re wondering, they never caught the guy. But I did get my name in the paper!)
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
David W. Simons, CFPâ

Saturday, November 22, 2008

'Giving Thanks' - Los Angeles Times

Excerpts from a story written by Jennifer James - freelance writer:

He pointed to a little paper cup containing just three kernels of corn beside Grandpa's plate.

"It reminds me of what a tough time the Pilgrims had. In the beginning, three kernels of corn was each person's daily food ration."

"Against all odds, they made a life for themselves in the wilderness.

Later, Governor William Bradford made a decision. Instead of the colonists sharing their crops equally, he assigned a parcel of land to each family and told them they could keep whatever they produced for themselves.

""Then what happened?" asked Sam."

At last the Pilgrims began to prosper.

Governor William Bradford wrote in his book 'Of Plimoth Plantation,' 'This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.'

""Shoot! If you can keep everything you make, of course you're going to work harder. Everybody knows that."

Grandpa answered, "The first seed had been planted for the American Revolution. People were free to practice their religions as they saw fit and were free to keep the fruits of their labor. This had never happened before in the history of mankind. In the words of William Bradford, 'As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation.' "

What an amazing idea. Isn't it interesting how opposite this idea is to the "spread the wealth" concept.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vance Packard

I just found out about this gentleman through a Wikipedia search related to planned obsolescence.

Vance Packard Publications:
  • 1957 The Hidden Persuaders - on the advertising industry - the first of a popular series of books on sociology topics (ISBN 0-671-53149-2)
  • 1959 The Status Seekers - describing American social stratification and behavior
  • 1960 The Waste Makers - criticizes planned obsolescence describing the impact of American productivity, especially on the national character
  • 1962 The Pyramid Climbers - describes the changing impact of American enterprise on managers, the structured lives of corporate executives and the conformity they need to advance in the hierarchy
  • 1972 A Nation of Strangers - about the attrition of communal structure through frequent geographical transfers of corporate executives
  • 1983 Our Endangered Children - discusses growing up in a changing world, warning that American preoccupation with money, power, status, and sex, ignored the needs of future generations
  • 1989 Ultra Rich: How Much Is Too Much? - examines the lives of thirty American multimillionaires and their extravagances.
Several of these titles are very interesting to me because of how timely the concepts are (given the fact that most of his observations and writings occured in the 1960's).

I'm going to start with his book: "The Waste Makers".

The concept of planned obsolescence really aggravates me... I like things built to last.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

6 myths about the Detroit 3


The debate over aid to the Detroit-based automakers is awash with half-truths and misrepresentations that are endlessly repeated by everyone from members of Congress to journalists. Here are six myths about the companies and their vehicles, and the reality in each case.

Myth No. 1
Nobody buys their vehicles.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC sold 8.5 million vehicles in the United States last year and millions more around the world. GM outsold Toyota by about 1.2 million vehicles in the United States last year and holds a U.S. lead over Toyota of about 560,000 so far this year. Globally, GM in 2007 remained the world's largest automaker, selling 9,369,524 vehicles worldwide -- about 3,000 more than Toyota. Ford outsold Honda by about 850,000 and Nissan by more than 1.3 million vehicles in the United States last year. Chrysler sold more vehicles here than Nissan and Hyundai combined in 2007 and so far this year.

Myth No. 2
They build unreliable junk.

The creaky, leaky vehicles of the 1980s and '90s are long gone. Consumer Reports recently found that "Ford's reliability is now on par with good Japanese automakers." The independent J.D. Power Initial Quality Study scored Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Mercury, Pontiac and Lincoln brands' overall quality as high or higher than that of Acura, Audi, BMW, Honda, Nissan, Scion, Volkswagen and Volvo. Power rated the Chevrolet Malibu the highest-quality midsize sedan. Both the Malibu and Ford Fusion scored better than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Myth No. 3
They build gas-guzzlers.

All of the Detroit Three build midsize sedans the Environmental Protection Agency rates at 29-33 miles per gallon on the highway. The most fuel-efficient Chevrolet Malibu gets 33 m.p.g. on the highway, 2 m.p.g. better than the best Honda Accord. The most fuel-efficient Ford Focus has the same highway fuel economy ratings as the most efficient Toyota Corolla. The most fuel-efficient Chevrolet Cobalt has the same city fuel economy and better highway fuel economy than the most efficient non-hybrid Honda Civic. A recent study by Edmunds.com found that the Chevrolet Aveo subcompact is the least expensive car to buy and operate.

Myth No. 4
They already got a $25-billion bailout.

None of that money has been lent out and may not be for more than a year. In addition, it can, by law, be used only to invest in future vehicles and technology, so it has no effect on the shortage of operating cash the companies face because of the economic slowdown that's killing them now.

Myth No. 5
GM, Ford and Chrysler are idiots for investing in pickups and SUVs.

The domestic companies' lineup has been truck-heavy, but Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have all spent billions of dollars on pickups and SUVs because trucks are a large and historically profitable part of the auto industry. The most fuel-efficient full-size pickups from GM, Ford and Chrysler all have higher EPA fuel economy ratings than Toyota and Nissan's full-size pickups.

Myth No. 6
They don't build hybrids.

The Detroit Three got into the hybrid business late, but Ford and GM each now offers more hybrid models than Honda or Nissan, with several more due to hit the road in early 2009.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2008 Presidential Election - County by County Results Map

Excerpt from Rush Limbaugh: "The county by county election map shows this is still a conservative country. » NewsMax: 2008 Presidential Election County by County Results

If you just landed here from Mars, and you looked at that map, you would swear the Republicans won this thing in a landslide, if you didn't know where the population centers are. County and by square mileage, we skunked 'em!"

Here's the problem: Votes are not weighted by "acreage owned".
As I pointed out in an earlier post. This election was a battle between those who have and those who want.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lunch Time at the Ford Factory

How can you tell things are slow in the auto industry?
Watch this video: Lunch Time at the Ford Factory

Spot the Motorcycle

A picture is worth a thousand words.
The Honda rider was traveling at such a "very high speed", his reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. Swedish Police estimate a speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) before the bike hit the slow moving car side-on at an intersection. At that speed, they predicted that the rider's reaction time (once the vehicle came into view) wasn't sufficient enough for him to even apply the brakes. The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them. The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of impact and landed 10 feet from where the collision took place. All three involved (two in car and rider) were killed instantly. This graphic demonstration was placed at the Stockholm Motorcycle Fair by the Swedish Police and Road Safety Department. The sign above the display also noted that the rider had only recently obtained his license.
At 250 KM (155 mph) the operator is traveling at 227 feet per second. With normal reaction time to SEE-DECIDE-REACT of 1.6 seconds the above operator would have traveled over 363 feet while making a decision on what actions to take. In this incident the Swedish police indicate that no actions were taken.

This is very interesting to me. Kind of like different interpretations of art only on an entirely different level of seriousness.

In Sweden, based on the text accompanying the article, the interpretation could be as follows:

Swedish Lesson A: "Based on the "normal reaction time to SEE-DECIDE-REACT of 1.6 seconds", in order to save your life and the lives of the public, when riding your high powered race machine on public streets you must obey traffic laws and DO NOT EXCEED THE SPEED LIMIT.

Swedish Lesson B: "The sign above the display also noted that the rider had only recently obtained his license." This shows that some members of our public are too stupid to own high powered race machines even after passing the state-run training course. Therefore, HIGH POWERED RACE MACHINES MUST BE BANNED from our public streets in order to ensure the safety of our good citizens (like the two that were inside the Volkswagen).

In America, I believe that people would look at this in one of two ways.
First there is the view of many who identify themselves as Liberal: It's the government's role (because government should be smarter than the general population) to prevent and protect the population from stupidity.
American Lesson A: See Swedish lessons A & B.
Then there is the personal protection, personal responsibility viewpoint - Commonly held by Conservatives:
American Lesson B: In order to ensure the safety of you and your family, let this be another example: PROTECT YOURSELF. DO NOT DRIVE A TINY VOLKSWAGEN!
The outcome would have been entirely different if the rider had struck the side of an Armored-Up Hummer.
.The Hummer Owner and Passengers would be safe and may even have avoided a trip to the body shop.
As for the motorcycle rider, who in this case chose to ride at over 2X the speed limit on a public highway, his or her fate can be chalked up in the column labeled "natural selection".
Check out Ghostrider on Youtube and you will see what I mean.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama's post-racial promise - By Shelby Steele

Click the following link for a thought provoking Op-Ed by Shelby Steele.


Shelby Steele is the author of the book "White Guilt" - How blacks and whites together destroyed the promise of the civil rights era.

It's a good read. I recommend it.

More on Shelby Steele: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelby_Steele

From Wikipedia: Steele is a self-described Black conservative.[2] He opposes movements such as affirmative action, which he considers to be unsuccessful liberal campaigns to promote equal opportunity for African-Americans. He contends that blacks have been "twice betrayed": first, by slavery and oppression, and second, by group preferences mandated by the government that discourage self-agency and personal responsibility in blacks.[3]

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama and the Coal Industry

Obama heralds from a state with some of the largest coal reserves in the entire world. However, he appears to be reluctant to tap into these resources for fear of increasing carbon emissions and greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

Here's a video that explains his reluctance: Video of Obama's Bankrupting Coal Industry Remarks

Here's audio and a partial transcript of the same interview: Audio: Obama Tells SF Chronicle He Will Bankrupt Coal Industry

Here's what he said on January 17, 2008:

"Let me sort of describe my overall policy.
What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there.
I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.
So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

Here are 5 year stock charts from three of the largest coal producing companies in the world:
Consol Energy Inc.

Peabody Energy

Arch Coal

Oh, And for good measure, here's the Dow Jones:

Coal and coal fire power plants are a wonderful source of relatively cheap energy. Our competing super power (China) already "uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined. And it has increased coal consumption 14 percent in each of the past two years in the broadest industrialization ever. Every week to 10 days, another coal-fired power plant opens somewhere in China that is big enough to serve all the households in Dallas or San Diego. Source: New York Times

America's population and energy needs increase every year. Looking at these charts, they reflect an increase in energy demand and production, each peaking in June 2008 and then falling off sharply. Did the demand (and the future of the coal business) really decrease that much in June 2008?

Coincidence? Obama was nominated by the Democratic party in June 2008. Campaign Timeline

To a knowlegable coal investor, Obama's nomination would have signaled increased risk that tighter restrictions may be coming and coal demand would fall if Obama were elected. Note that the dow didn't crash until three months later (apparently as a result of freddie and fannie - More on that here.).

I wonder. How much of the economic collapse had to to with politics?

I wonder. What will Obama do to help his home state achieve it's energy and economic needs while keeping his environmentalist supporters happy?

Listening to his statements above, one can draw their own conclusions.

Who he chooses for energy secretary will say a lot: Possible nominees for Obama's energy secretary

It will also be interesting to see what the future holds for FutureGen under the Obama administration: http://www.futuregenalliance.org/

My bet is that the Obama administration will throw a ton of federal dollars at the FutureGen project. If you can figure out a way to make money off of FutureGen, it may be time to get into the game now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ross Perot was right all along.


Now that we know he was right... Why do people continue to ignore his message?

It is not too late. But time IS running out.

Please watch the following presentation: http://perotcharts.com/issues/

WOW! What a string of poor choices Americans have made.

Your new leaders:

It's official. Liberalism has taken over.

We did it Chuck! I'm the most powerful speaker in 40 years!

Blame it on Bush and the Republicans in the House and Senate.
They had their chance and blew it.
They left the door open.
And now the Liberals have control.
It looks like a LOT MORE people WANT something than HAVE something. We all should have voted for Ross Perot when we had the chance. That "sucking sound" has grown into a full fledged flush.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This election is a battle between those who WANT and those who HAVE (or strive to have).

The result of the presidential election will boil down to this: In the battleground states, it's a battle between those who want something (a handout) and those who already have something (or strive to earn something). If more people who want something vote then Obama will win. If more people who have something vote then McCain will win.

It's clear that the majority of people who want something live in the large cities. The large cities are going to vote for Obama. Given this, I believe that Obama will win the popular vote.

However, as every news agency has reported, this election will come down to the results in the "battleground" states. If, in these battle ground states, there are more people who have something than those who want something... And they vote. Then McCain will win.

Prediction: The popular vote could be a landslide. However, the electoral college and the ultimate result will be very close.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Matt Hughes - Biography & Testimony - Leads to William Booth Enlightenment and Commentary

Matt Hughes is the 9-time World Welterweight Champion of the UFC. With a record of 43-7, Matt has traveled the world and has become a household name amongst mixed martial arts fans. He has proven time and time again that ‘a country boy can survive.’ However, it hasn’t always been like that for Hughes. You see, Matt comes from humble beginnings…

Click here for the full article from www.matt-hughes.com

...Matt came across a picture inspired by William Booth called “Who Cares?” Fascinated by the picture, he asked others who they thought they were in the picture and maybe, more importantly, who they thought he was. In the picture, a platform of people are surrounded by a raging sea. While those on the platform remain safe, many are drowning in the tempest surrounding them. Matt came to the conclusion that if he were indeed in the picture, then he was amongst those drowning in the water...

Click here for more information about this painting.

Here is a link to the William Booth article that inspired the painting: Click here to read the article.

It is clear that Booth's vision accurately represents those who are drowning in sin. However, I don't fully agree with his assessment of disdain for all of those on the platform. I see many of those on the platform freely exercising their worldly gifts from God: Love, talent and work. I believe that if you are performing your God-given talent on this earth, then God is pleased. Rick Warren expresses similar beliefs in his book "A Purpose Driven Life". God doesn't call on everyone to save all of those in the water. It is up to those in the water to choose their salvation. Personally, you can lend a hand to one or lead by example for many but, personally, you cannot be expected save them all. Furthermore, if you find yourself thrashing in the water, as many of us are and have been, it is up to You to make the decision and make every effort to WORK for the salvation of Yourself and of those in Your Family.

What are your thoughts? Please enter your comments here:

A message from Ben Stein - A little bit lengthy but worth the read.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

I found this article here: www.squidoo.com/ThinkAmerica

Spread the Wealth

Good experiment in Obamanomics

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read
"Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I
laughed as he had given away his political preference -- just imagine
the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him
that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He
stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to
redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless
guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the
server inside as I've decided he could use the money more. The homeless
guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I
realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn,
but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn
even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in
concept than in practical application.

Who cares what our soldiers think?

The following information was found on: http://www.squidoo.com/ThinkAmerica

The Military Times Presidential Poll
A poll guaranteed not to be appearing in Obama's main stream media.
This poll is one that is not going to get much press. After all, how important can the opinions of our soldiers be, they are the ones currently dying in the War on Terror. Speaks volumes about the lack of leadership Obama appears to bring to the position of Comander-in-Chief

Somehow we missed seeing this in the New York Times, Washington Post or the Rolling Stone.
In case you missed the October 8 issue of the Army Times, here are the results of the Army Times' poll of Military personnel regarding the upcoming election (in percent):

J. S. McCain - B. H. Obama




Air Force-67%-24%








Click here to see the full poll results.
View the Militaary Times Presidential Poll.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Navy Petty Officer Mike Monsoor

See below for an amazing story about an amazingly selfless individual. This story has been circulating via email. There is a video-tribute to Mike Monsoor and some more information about him on snopes.com. Here's the link: www.snopes.com/politics/military/monsoor.asp

There is also more information about him on Wikipedia. Here's the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Monsoor

It seems funny how I read the newspaper and watch the news everyday and only heard a brief blurb about this man. Something like "Medal of Honor for Navy Seal in Iraq". I guess the mainstream media editors don't feel that such a story was worth featuring. Or maybe I just missed it.

This should have been front page news all across the country. Surely they could have made some space between Britney Spears, OJ Simpson and polar bears trapped on icebergs.

The story:

Navy Petty Officer Mike Monsoor

PO2 (EOD2) Mike Monsoor, a Navy EOD Technician, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for jumping on a grenade in Iraq, giving his life to save his fellow SEALs.

During Mike Monsoor's funeral in San Diego , as his coffin was being moved from the hearse to the grave site at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery , SEALs were lined up on both sides of the pallbearers route forming a column of twos, with the coffin moving up the center. As Mike's coffin passed, each SEAL, having removed his gold Trident from his uniform, slapped it down embedding the Trident in the wooden coffin.
The slaps were audible from across the cemetery; by the time the coffin arrived grave side, it looked as though it had a gold inlay from all the Tridents pinned to it. This was a fitting send-off for a warrior hero.

This should be front-page news instead of the crap we see every day.

Since the media won't make this news, I choose to make it news by forwarding it onto you guys. I am proud of our military and the men and women who serve in it. They represent the highest and finest values of this country.

The media never reports this type thing - please forward it to a few of your friends...

God bless the men and women in our Military.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trick or Treat

Star Wars - Wikipedia

I was looking into the term "Squib" to find it's origins. Yes I am a geek. Anyway, it led me to the following Wikipedia page Star Wars - Wikipedia I'll make a long story short: I am mind-boggled by the amount of Star Wars information that exists on Wikipedia. People have taken time to lay out the entire fictitional universe, describe all the characters, planets, places and moons. Unbelievable. I'm a Star Wars fan... But this is over the top. Follow some of the links on the main page to see what I mean. If only people would spend this much time on real world subjects (like learning, finding and listing FACTS about the presidential candidates in order to make an INFORMED choice on Nov 4th). The world would be a better place.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nothing fair about Obama's tax plans

The following opinion was in the Tuesday October 21st edition of the Southern Illinoisan Newspaper - Charen's Corner by Mona Charen. I couldn't agree with her more.


Nothing fair about Obama's tax plans
Monday, October 20, 2008 11:09 PM CDT
God bless him. Joe the plumber, that is, for coaxing from Sen. Obama his true motive for raising taxes. It isn't to fund the government, or deal with the deficit, or to establish a rainy day fund. It's to "spread the wealth around," which the Illinois senator insists is "good for everyone."

Sen. Obama calls this a "tax fairness plan," but what is fair?

Everyone knows that some people work harder than others. We've all witnessed it. If John Q chooses to work 60 hours a week to advance his career, and Henry Y prefers to spend time playing video games, who is to say that Henry deserves some of the extra income John has earned? Is that fairness? I call it completely unfair.

What's that? John and Henry didn't start out in life in the same position? Well, that's true. But there is no such thing as a totally equal society. (Nor is it desirable.) Even in places like Sweden, some are born into loving, wealthy two-parent families and others are born to alcoholic single mothers. Some have good looks and talent, others don't. No society south of Heaven can ever be completely equal. But the essential justice of a society is measured, I believe, not by whether you have equality of condition but by whether you have equal opportunity.

Not only is this more fair in principle, it is also more successful in practice. People do not work for the general good. They work for their own individual ends, which in turn promotes the general welfare. Societies that ask workers to labor for "the people" get poor results. As the joke from the old Soviet Union had it: "They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work." By contrast, the capacity of the American economy to reward effort and initiative is legendary and has lured ambitious people to our shores for more than two centuries. It has also made us the wealthiest society in history.

You don't have to look at socialist countries to know that redistribution of income punishes success and rewards sloth. We've seen it here. Our welfare system was intended to help the poor - but because it was poorly structured, it wound up discouraging work and marriage, thus prolonging poverty rather than alleviating it for many.

Here's another problem for Sen. Obama: He wants to spread the wealth around as if wealth and poverty and "middle-classness" (to use the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's terminology) were fixed categories. They aren't. Economic and social mobility in the United States is the norm, not the exception.

Using data from the Current Population Survey, the National Center for Policy Analysis looked at income quintiles over time. They found that after one year, one-third of those in the bottom quintile had moved up, and one-quarter of those in the top group had moved down. After 10 years, 60 percent of those in the bottom group had moved up to higher quintiles, with 8 percent getting all the way into the top quintile. Correspondingly, 6 percent of those in the top quintile went all the way to the bottom after 10 years, and 54 percent of those at the top had moved to some lower group 10 years later.

Democrats like to talk about "the rich" as if they are a fixed group of individuals, but anecdotal evidence suggests that two-thirds of those on the Forbes 400 list in 1994 were no longer on the list a decade later. And 80 percent of those on the list were self-made.

People tend to begin their work lives at or near the bottom quintile of income. White male 21-year-olds, for example, begin at the 20 percentile in overall white men's income. As they gain experience and skills, they move up. By age 31, they reach the 50th percentile mark. And between the ages of 31 and 59, they average near the 60th percentile mark for all workers. When they get close to retirement age, their incomes tend to fall.

We already have a steeply progressive income tax, with the top 5 percent of earners paying 60 percent of the taxes (in 2006), and the top 25 percent paying 86 percent. Obama wants to perform an experiment by confiscating more of the income of the most productive earners (who create the overwhelming majority of jobs) and distributing it to those who earn less.

It's been done before - with dreadful results. Call it socialism if you like. But don't call it "fairness."

Mona Charen writes for Creators Syndicate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jammed Sig Sauer P226 SCT - Update 1

Here's a link to the original post: Jammed Sig Sauer P226 SCT

Sig Sauer has properly identified the malfunction as a "Squib Load". They have recommended that I contact Hornady to file a warranty claim and that the cost of the repair will be $415.00 (nearly 1/2 of the cost of a new Sig Sauer P226 SCT). I will attempt to do this today.

Here is more information on Squib Loads:
Squib Load - Wikipedia

Images of a textbook squib load in a Sig-Sauer 9mm handgun:

Because I was firing in rapid succession, I didn't notice the squib in my gun until it was too late. Thank God that I was only shooting targets. This goes to show you, even a high end gun with brand new ammo can malfunction without warning. Imagine the bad luck if the squib was the first round fired in a life and death situation. Now I fully understand the case for carrying a backup.

Update 11/12/2008: I received my repaired gun from Hornady. They took care of the repair at no charge. Although it did take several phone calls and emails to make this happen, at least they made good. All is well now.

Update 10/21/2009: It has been nearly a year since my Sig was repaired. Since the repair, have fired well over a thousand rounds without a single problem.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jammed Sig Sauer P226 SCT

Here's a recap:
Pictures of my non-functioning Sig Sauer P226 SCT are below. Friday night, I was rapid-firing Hornady 9mm Luger Hollow Points for the first time when the gun jammed in the position shown below. I removed the magazine and was left to figure out what had happened. I tried and tried to figure out how to take it apart without the slide being able to move back far enough to turn the take down lever. Finally, I discovered the problem. The barrel is bulged out in the middle and won't let the slide retract all the way. I guess, after looking down the barrel, I should be thankful that the thing didn't blow up in my face. Initially, I was mad that the gun had jammed. I'm still mad that my $900 Sig isn't working and can't easily be fixed. It still isn't clear how the ammo fouled in the barrel. Earlier that day, I had shot 100 rounds of regular target rounds with no problems. I'm guessing that one of the rounds got stuck in the barrel and another round hit it and knocked it out. Somewhere along the way, the barrel was deformed, either by the first round or by the second round hitting the first round. I wonder if this has happened to anyone else? I sent an email to Sig customer support tonight for instructions to send the gun in for repairs. I hope that they can fix it with one of their special hammers.

Jammed slide - It won't go back far enough to turn the take down lever.

Jammed slide - view 2

Look at the round groove in the middle of the barrel.

Here's another view of the inside of the barrel

One more view of the barrel

This is the ammo that I was using: Hornady 9mm Luger Hollow Points

I'll keep posting as the repair process progresses.

Update 10/21/2008: It was a squib load.  More info HERE.

Update 11/12/2008: I received my repaired gun from Hornady. They took care of the repair at no charge. Although it did take several phone calls and emails to make this happen, at least they made good. All is well now.

Update 10/21/2009: It has been nearly a year since my Sig was repaired.  Since the repair, have fired well over a thousand rounds without a single problem.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Did Barack "Spread the Wealth" Obama Just Blow the Election?

The audacity of hope for a change (in the polls).
Check out the link to the news article below.
Joe the Plumber is my hero.
Link to US News and World Report Article

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Intrade Prediction Markets


An interesting site. But difficult to participate. Try to fund an account and you will see what I mean. Credit cards typically don't work from inside the U.S. You can wire funds through your bank or fedex/mail a check to Ireland (2-4 business days at least). Fedex charges $30 fee if sending less than $500. If it is hard to get money in, I have to imagine that it would be equally as hard to get money out. After looking into this, I think that I'll just keep my money where it belongs (in my pocket) and watch from the sidelines.

Note: I do not believe that the intrade markets track reality well because the intrade market is not made up of ordinary people. Real people have to commit real funds before you obtain a real market. Wide spread use will not occur without ease of funding. The people that go to the following lengths to risk their money do not represent the normal population. As a result, the intrade markets are skewed to the beliefs of the participating population (traders who are willing to wire funds to Ireland).

Here is further dialogue that explains the lengths some have gone to fund and intrade account. Funding your Intrade account from the USA

Saul Alinsky, Barack Obama, Community Organizing and Lucifer

Last month I heard these rumors and decided to look them up to see if they had any basis in fact.

Fact: Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909, Chicago, Illinois - June 12, 1972, Carmel, California) is generally considered the father of community organizing.

Fact: Thirteen years after Alinsky died, some of his former students hired Barack Obama to a $13,000 a year job as a community organizer in South Chicago.

Fact: In a few years Barack Obama became very proficient in the Alinsky Method of community organizing.

Unverified Rumor: Barack Obama became an instructor and teacher of the Alinsky Method to other community organizers.

Fact: One of Obama's early mentors in the Alinsky method was Mike Kruglik, who had this to say to Ryan Lizza of The New Republic, about Obama:

"He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better."

Analysis from the following editorial:
Source: Investors Business Daily Editorial

Obama has already translated several of Alinsky's rules into battle tactics, including:

• Rule: "Rub raw the resentments of the people; search out controversy and issues." In the mortgage meltdown, for instance, Obama vows to prosecute "predatory lenders" for "abusing" minority borrowers. He's also stoking class resentment by painting Wall Street and other executives as villains.

• Rule: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." In an ad to woo Hispanic voters, Obama demonized Rush Limbaugh by falsely claiming he made racist statements against immigrants.

• Rule: "A mass impression can be lasting and intimidating." This explains why Obama moved his acceptance speech to a football stadium and bussed in 85,000 supporters. Alinsky's son was so impressed, he praised Obama for learning his father's "lesson well."

• Rule: "Multiple issues mean constant action and life" for the cause. This is why Obama never harps on one issue, as Hillary did with health care. His platform is packed with grievances from "economic justice" to "reproductive justice" to "environmental justice."

Obama is following almost to the letter the blueprint for socialist revolution drafted by the father of community organizing.

Fact: Saul Alinsky dedicated his Rules for Radicals book to Lucifer, "the very first radical"

In his own words: "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer."

Who is Lucifer?

And so the story goes: Lucifer was created by God as a perfect angel. He was called Lucifer while he lived in heaven. After he sinned and persistently refused to repent he was thrown out of heaven. When Lucifer was cast out of heaven he lost his name Lucifer and he became known as Satan. The beast is the name that the Bible gives to Satan when he comes to earth visibly and claims to be God. Satan will appear on earth as a glorious, visible being. He will have the appearance of God. He will require the whole world to worship him as their god.

Initial questions that remain:

Just what does Barack Obama have to offer... Other than a carrot of hope that he could make things better?
What type of person would dedicate anything to Lucifer?
Is there any documented evidence that Barack Obama actually read Alinsky's book or quoted anything from it?
Is there any documented evidence that Barack Obama actually taught the Alinsky Method to other community organizers?

If there is evidence out there, please post in the comments section.

If evidence is provided for the initial questions, here are some additional questions that remain:
What type of person would follow the teachings of anyone who dedicated anything to Lucifer?
How does someone follow these teachings all the way to the doorsteps of the White House?

This may sound crazy. Too outrageous to be true. If you don't believe the information provided above, please, look it up for yourself:

Source: Wikipedia - Saul_Alinsky
Source: www.americanthinker.com - obamas_alinsky_jujitsu
Source: www.markbeast.com - lucifer-satan-devil
Source: www.answers.com - Saul Alinsky

Again, if you are aware of the answers to any of the questions above, please post in the comments section. Thank you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How bad is the economic collapse? Where's the bottom?

Dave Simonds (from KMOX "Dollars and Sense") sent out an email yesterday that answers a few of the common questions about the economic collapse:

Hello everyone,

Don’t be intimidated by the length of this e-mail. If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, then scroll down and pick the questions that most pertain to your situation. I sent this same e-mail to my client base, but have deleted certain issues that pertain only to them. However, the general themes remain the same.

“Is this one of the worst bear markets in history? Where does it stack up historically?”

The numbers are staggering. Through today (10-9-08), the S&P 500 was down roughly 39% for the year. That is the worst performance during any given year since 1931. Think about that for a second. The market is behaving as if we were in another depression, taking us down to levels we haven’t seen in more than 7 decades.

Here’s another one that helps put this destruction in perspective. Over the past 200 years, there have only been four cases where U.S. stocks produced zero growth over a 10-year period. That’s pretty rare, right? Well, you can add a fifth as of today. The market (as measured by the S&P 500) is now down about 15% since October, 1998. We are all living in historic times, although it’s not exactly the kind of history any of us care to make.

“So where is the bottom?”

Ah, yes, the eternal question that unfortunately has no answer. Remember, you’re talking to a guy who sent an e-mail last week detailing how bullish he was becoming. The Dow has only dropped another 1,700 points since that e-mail was sent. Granted, I wasn’t predicting a bottom or forecasting that the worst was over. But I did remark how I thought the market would be higher in a few months and I’m going to stick with that…for now.

Virtually every major indicator that we follow started flashing bullish signs last week and I’ve always been wrong in ignoring them. But I’ve had to come to the conclusion that using traditional methods to track this market have proven useless. I wish I could provide some comfort by exuding confidence that the worst is definitely over but, alas, I cannot do that. What I can do is follow the underlying fundamentals of the economy and develop a reasoned prediction of where we’re heading. But the market is trading on fear, panic, and angst. When human emotion takes over, it’s absolutely fruitless to try to predict a bottom.

“Jim Cramer of CNBC made headlines by predicting continued calamity in the market. What’s your reaction to his comments?”

Cramer is a very brilliant, if not eccentric, man. Part of his intelligence lies in the fact that he knows how the medium of television works. Make very provocative, even outrageous, predictions and watch the spotlight fall on you. But remember that Cramer was NOT sounding the “sell, sell, sell” alarm at Dow 14,000, or 13,000, or 12,000, etc. No, he told people to start going to cash as the Dow approached 10k. So he was a mere 4,000 points late in warning people, and his track record of predicting the direction of the broader market is very suspect. We prefer to follow the folks who work quietly behind the scenes, and who correctly flashed the warning signs many months ago. These same folks are now ADDING to the stock market so that’s quite encouraging.

“What about the future? Is there anything we can move to that’s more defensive?”

Unfortunately, even the “safe” stuff has broken down. In past bear markets, like 2000-02, we were able to move assets into bonds (including emerging market bonds that made us money), as well as small-cap stocks and international equities that didn’t fall as far. We were down in 2002 but not nearly as much as the market because of other areas we were able to find that provided some support.

We have no such luxury this time. I heard one market strategist say that if a bear market like this had occurred in past years, gold would probably be at least $1,500 per ounce, if not higher. And yet, it’s BELOW where it was when the market really started to drop off the table in mid-September. If you can’t make money in gold during times of distress like this, then there’s nothing I can offer that gives me any comfort, outside of federally insured money market. Even Treasuries have gotten whacked in the last couple of days. I know of one gentleman (not a client) who moved all of his money into gold and U.S. Treasuries, and he’s DOWN!

So if you really feel compelled to move a portion of your investments to higher ground, then going to cash is the only real solution. Crazy, but true.

“Do you see ANY good news? Any light at the end of the tunnel at all?”

There actually are some bullish signs that are developing. One of the most impressive is the volatility index (VIX) that is hitting levels not seen since Black Monday on October 19, 1987. As we know, that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy cheap stocks. When the VIX rises above 30, it almost always flashes a BUY signal. It’s extremely rare for it to ever get above 40, and when it does it has ALWAYS meant a bottom in the market. Well, it hit 58 on Monday, shot above 60 today, and has remained above 50 for most of the week. Unprecedented.

As I mentioned earlier in this e-mail, the “worry warts” we follow have been adding to equities over the past few days. One example is Ned Davis, the highly regarded strategist who charges a minimum of $40,000 per year for institutions to buy his research. Mr. Davis just moved 25% of his fixed-income position over to equities. These guys won’t necessarily hit the bottom exactly, but you have to figure they see something to their liking.

Lastly, the market always bottoms at maximum pain. I don’t know if we’re there yet, but I can tell you that this is the most pain I’ve personally seen and felt in my career. But don’t take my word for it. I’ve talked to some of the elder statesmen of my business who’ve been around for 40-plus years and they also remark how they’ve never seen anything like this. They’ve had more people cash out than on Black Monday, and that’s saying a ton.

“Promise, last question. What’s going to happen after the elections next month?”

I don’t know, you tell me who’s going to win! I’ve been saying for months that I believe we’ll get a post-election rally but I want to amend that somewhat. Because the average American/investor is so fed up with what’s happening, the mantra of “change” is becoming less of a desire and more of a demand. That helps Obama and hurts McCain. So if the former wins, I do believe we’ll get a post-election rally. Could be a short-lived rally, I don’t know. But my conviction of what happens with a McCain victory is less certain. The market may view it as more of the same (whether that’s fair or not is immaterial) and we may not necessarily see a rally that I would have hoped for a couple of months ago.

But let me clear, this is just a short-term prediction. I believe if Obama gets what he’s campaigning for, namely higher taxes on wealthy individuals while adopting some protectionist legislation in THIS environment, that could be detrimental longer term for the economy and the markets. But I’ll wait to see if those kinds of policies are even enacted before commenting further.

That’s it. I’m off to Chicago tomorrow afternoon to run the marathon this Sunday, so I will not be hosting the show this weekend. I have so much pent-up energy right now, you may see this shocking headline: “St. Louis native shocks the world by beating the Kenyans in world record time!” And then in true Forrest Gump fashion, I’ll just keep running for months on end.


David W. Simons, CFPâ

Vice President

Wealth Management Advisor

Senior Financial Advisor

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Those who tried to warn us.

One of the people who tried to warn us of the errors in the government's economic and housing policies was Peter Wallison.

From the New York Times 1999 (see the article uncovered by Dave Simonds below): Peter Wallison said: ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Peter Wallison should be considered "one of the guys who had it right all along". We should be listening to this guy now, instad of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who appear to be complicit contributors to the problem.

Who is Peter Wallison?

Peter Wallison Biography from www.sec.gov

Here is a good interview with Peter Wallison from September 2008:

Q&A with Peter Wallison on the topic of the economic crisis


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The economic collapse: Where it all started.

Dave Simons (From KMOX “Dollars and Sense”) has uncovered a gem from the archives. Here's a copy of Dave's email that was sent out earlier today:

Good morning “Dollars and Sense” listeners,

This is legitimate, I found it on the archives of the New York Times. Notice the date, around 9 years ago. Pay special attention to one particular expert who was warning of the eventual consequences. Too bad nobody paid attention.

New York Times Article - September 30, 1999

Let me say that I think it’s noble, in theory, to allow more people to have access to The American Dream. IN THEORY. In reality, it just doesn’t work. I’ll never forget walking into a lender’s office as a young married man, very naïve to what it would take to buy my first house. I was politely told to come back when I could muster a 20% down payment. Let’s hope we’re getting back to those days.


P.S. I’ll be sending an e-mail later today on my thoughts of the current status (meltdown?) of the financial markets, with some eye-opening tidbits that puts this bear market near the very top of the worst in history. So does that mean we can only go up from here? Stay tuned.

David W. Simons, CFPâ
Vice President
Wealth Management Advisor
Senior Financial Advisor

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: How to put out a kitchen oil fire.

Pay close attention to the face of the woman at the end of the video.

This is a dramatic video (30-second, very short) about how to deal with a common kitchen fire ... oil in a frying pan.

At Fire Fighting Training school they demonstrate this with a deep fat fryer set on the fire field. An instructor would don a fire suit and using an 8 oz cup at the end of a 10 foot pole toss water onto the grease fire. The results got the attention of the students.

The water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottomwhere it instantly becomes super heated. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out. On the open field,it became a thirty foot high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast. Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room.

Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire.

This is a powerful message----watch the video and don't forget what you see. Tell your whole family about this video. Or better yet, send this to them.

Video: A Kitchen Oil Fire

Saturday Night Live takes up the topic of the ridiculous bailout bill.


Friday, October 3, 2008

What could Michael Crichton, Rush Limbaugh, Charlton Heston and Religion possibly have to do with Global Warming?

Please set aside any predjudice that you may have. Just for one moment. And listen to the following intellectual argument questioning the premise that man is significant enough to either ruin or save this world's climate. This is an audio clip of Charlton Heston reading from Michael Crichton's book "Jurassic Park" for the Rush Limbaugh show.

Audio Clip - Charlton Heston reads Jurassic Park

Here is a further glimpse into Michael Crichton's view of the world:

Michael Crichton Speech: Complexity Theory and Environmental Management

Here, Rush Limbaugh makes a compelling argument that describes the anti global warming movement as a form of religion.

Audio Clip - Global warming is a form of religion.

Everyone can fully understand why humans need to control their own pollution. However, I do not believe that it is within the scope of man to determine and attempt to maintain an "ideal" temperature or climate for this Earth.

Cooking with AP: Polls Radically Change Party Mix to Fabricate an Obama Trend


The data is included in the link above. Here's the just of the story:

After correcting for differences in the samples, almost all of Obama's double-digit pickup disappears, leaving McCain with four- and three-point leads without and with leaners, respectively. Even if one argues that the first poll showed a too-small gap between the two parties in the number of people sampled, substituting the 5-point difference Gallup identified shortly after the GOP convention would still leave McCain with a slight lead.
Either AP isn't supervising its GfK cooks properly, or it's directing them to poison discussions of presidential race, while hoping that no one notices the rancid product it is clearly producing.
AP waitress -- er, reporter -- Liz Sidoti brought out the new poll's results for our consumption yesterday with this exultant intro:
Barack Obama has surged to a seven-point lead over John McCain one month before the presidential election, lifted by voters who think the Democrat is better suited to lead the nation through its sudden financial crisis, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that underscores the mounting concerns of some McCain backers.
Likely voters now back Obama 48-41 percent over McCain, a dramatic shift from an AP-GfK survey that gave the Republican a slight edge nearly three weeks ago, before Wall Street collapsed and sent ripples across worldwide markets.
As you can see above, her celebration is founded on fabrication; thus, her "explanations" are deep-fried in deception.
Just because AP, GfK, and Sidoti are serving us this rotten recipe doesn't mean that readers have to swallow it. So don't.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hold your nose and vote for it???

I have heard two different U.S. Senators in the last two days say on the news that they don't like the Senate Bailout Bill. They say that it contains too much pork. They say that it contains spending and incentives for things that have nothing to do with the "pending economic collapse". Then, after explaining all the things that they don't like about the bill, they say... Well... Since it is for the good of the country, I'm going to have to "Hold my nose and vote for it". HOW RIDICULOUS!

First of all, where is the evidence of the "pending economic collapse"? Sure, the stock market has dropped. Sure, some of the major banks and government run entities have failed. What's next? Where is the proof of what lies ahead if government doesn't spend this 700 billion dollars?

This whole thing stinks! It reminds me of a used car sales tactic. BUY NOW! BUY NOW!

How many people have ever listened to someone say BUY NOW and did not regret the purchase six months later.

I say that it is about time that these poor business models have failed. That is business. The strong survive and the weak perish. It is natural selection. A perfect model of nature. Let it happen! Those who survive will be stronger for it in the end. Don't vote for this bill. Don't pull us all down just to prop up these failed business models for the next ten or twenty years. Don't commit this money just to postpone their ultimate failure. If they don't die out or change their core business practices they are doomed to fail again. There is no avoiding it.

How many times can our government expect to go to the well until it is all dried up?

This is all too simple.

If it smells, STAY AWAY FROM IT!
If you don't like it, VOTE NO!

This link contains more information on the bill:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer

I agree with this guy:


"...a bailout transfers enormous wealth from taxpayers to those who knowingly engaged in risky subprime lending. Thus, the bailout encourages companies to take large, imprudent risks and count on getting bailed out by government. This "moral hazard" generates enormous distortions in an economy's allocation of its financial resources."

"So what should the government do? Eliminate those policies that generated the current mess. This means, at a general level, abandoning the goal of home ownership independent of ability to pay. This means, in particular, getting rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with policies like the Community Reinvestment Act that pressure banks into subprime lending.

The right view of the financial mess is that an enormous fraction of subprime lending should never have occurred in the first place. Someone has to pay for that. That someone should not be, and does not need to be, the U.S. taxpayer."

Understanding $700,000,000,000.00


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Municipal Bonds



Hello “Dollars and Sense” listeners,
Well, all the “fun” of the past couple of weeks has finally caught up to me. I’m at home in bed, missing work due to sickness for the first time in years. I was even going to sneak out later today to play golf but even that had to be cancelled. Oh, the humanity!
My voice isn’t working very well this morning but my fingers are still able to maneuver around the keypad, so I want to take this opportunity to pass along an item that I believe is VERY important to understand. As I’ve watched CNBC around the clock over the past couple of days, something I rarely get a chance to do, it has dawned on me that everyone seems focused only on the stock market. However, the real problem in the financial markets is on the fixed-income side. That’s the area that desperately needs open credit and trading lines, along with the renewed confidence that it’s okay to lend money again. Without a bailout plan, stocks will likely come back a little but probably won’t get hammered. Today is a perfect example as the Dow isn’t down very much this morning even though a presumed agreement of a plan has fallen apart. The talking heads seem absolutely shocked by this which tells me that they just don’t get it.
They should be focusing on the bond market this morning which is getting rocked…again. This has been the most maddening part of this very tumultuous September. Our defensive mechanisms have broken down along with equities this month as the credit markets have locked up. I’ll use just one example to make my point: the municipal bond market.
High quality muni bonds have suffered one of their biggest sell-offs EVER! People look at a AAA-rated, insured muni bond and just shrug their shoulders. “Why should I believe the rating agencies?” they ask. “They slapped Fannie and Freddie bonds with Triple-A status and we saw what happened with them, right? And who cares about insurance anymore? Just look at AIG.” In other words, trust and confidence have completely evaporated and no one wants to lend money anymore. THIS is the real issue, not the movement of stocks.
But here’s the silver lining. This has created one of the most attractive opportunities ever to buy muni bonds. Believe it or not, they actually yield MORE than Treasury bonds…which are taxable! Let me repeat that in a different way. Investors can now get a higher gross yield on a high quality tax-free bond than they can get on a taxable Treasury bond, so the net yield is even higher when you factor in taxes. This is a very rare event and only occurs during times of crises. I don’t know this to be sure, but the last time I remember this happening was in 1994 when Orange County declared bankruptcy. Muni bonds across the country fell dramatically, and that ultimately created one of the best buying opportunities I’ve seen in my career and I believe we’re there once again. The “spreads” in the corporate and municipal markets are extreme and that gap will eventually close. Fear and panic have created a real arbitrage situation for investors.
While the stock side of the equation remains “iffy” in our estimation, the bond area is ripe for opportunistic investors. I’m not talking about risky investments here, and certainly not Treasuries!, but an area like high-quality tax-free municipal bonds. This is not a direct recommendation, but rather a nudge for some of you to at least conduct proper due diligence in an asset class that appears to be fairly under-valued.
Make it a great weekend! (Yes, I do plan to host the show on Sunday).
David W. Simons, CFPâ
Vice President
Wealth Management Advisor
Senior Financial Advisor
Global Private Client Group
1630 South Lindbergh Blvd
Ladue, Missouri 63131
314-997-2367 Direct
800-937-0554 Toll Free
314-262-4290 FAX