Thursday, August 31, 2006

As a Native American.........

should I really find the term "low man on the totem pole" to be an offensive stereotype?

Global politics or reality???

The Iranian Ambassador to the UN had just finished giving a speech, and walked out into the lobby where he met President Bush. They shook hands, and as they walked the Iranian said, "You know, I have just one question about what I have seen in America.

President Bush said, "Well, anything I can do to help you, I will."

The Iranian whispered "My son watches this show 'Star Trek' and in it there is Chekhov who is Russian, Scotty who is Scottish, and Sulu who is Chinese, but no Arabs. My son is very upset and doesn't understand why there aren't any Iranians on Star Trek."

President Bush laughed, leaned toward the Iranian ambassador, and whispered back, "It's because it takes place in the future."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New Orleans

The city still needs to clean itself up.

From the debris of corruption, patronage, high taxes, addictions and the mentality of welfare.

And imagine re-electing this mayor. Ignorance?

How Sweet is Georgia?

The state ranks 17th nationally with 7.8% of adults with diabetes.

The state is 22nd nationally with 61% of adults overweight or obese.

Lighten up folks. The best way to lose weight is to keep the fork away from your mouth, stop drinking anything but water, and exercise. Simple.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Over rated.................

Wine, athleticism in professional baseball, "cheap" deals at Wal-mart, AOL/Time Warner, SEC football, Yahoo and FOX News..........that's all for today.

This Ambassador program should be required in Indian Gaming

The "ambassador" program - taking its name from the casino managers charged with approaching gamblers with information about programs many casinos have offered for years - has captured the attention of problem gambling treatment experts normally skeptical of casino efforts to help compulsive gamblers.

Casinos in Nevada and many other states are required by law to post problem gambling hotline numbers, offer self-help pamphlets and educate casino workers about warning signs. Harrah's also allows gamblers to sign up on a "self-exclusion" list that applies to all of its casinos nationwide. These efforts, which acknowledge problem gambling as a legitimate mental health disorder similar to alcoholism, require gamblers to take the first step themselves.

The Harrah's program is different, experts say, because it requires workers such as dealers and cashiers to notify a manager if they believe a person has a gambling problem. The manager then calls the "ambassador" on duty to handle the touchy task of sitting down with the customer.

Competitors say the responsibility to help gamblers already lies with every rank-and-file employee on the casino floor as part of state-mandated training programs.

In reality, problem gambling advocates say, workers are being told about the disease but are rarely taking the initiative to intercept people on the casino floor.

"Frankly, there's a lot of lip service at the corporate level that doesn't get translated down to the employees," said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. "I can't tell you the number of times I've gone into a casino and have found brochures tucked away and employees who don't know what their responsibilities are. There's a difference between having a program and making sure employees are comfortable enough to take action."

Previously, workers didn't feel at ease approaching people who probably needed help, said Andy Donato, a casino supervisor at Harrah's Reno and one of about 700 "ambassadors" who have volunteered for the added responsibility nationwide.

"This program reassures them ¦ that we really believe in this," Donato said.

The program requires employees to take action based on what a person says. Casinos and some treatment experts believe that unless a gambler's behavior is over the top, words are a more definitive indicator of a person's mental state.

There aren't any specific "trigger" phrases - that's left to employees' judgment. Workers receive several hours of training that includes watching instructional videos with interactions between employees and distraught customers.

"We don't want to shoehorn them into a box so that they're thinking, 'If I don't hear this phrase then I don't need to help the person,' " said Harrah's spokesman David Strow.

So far, about two to three such conversations have occurred at each Harrah's property per month. Gamblers don't appear to be resisting efforts to strike up a conversation, though in some cases, ambassadors find that the best time to approach them is not right away but after the person has had time to cool off from his last gambling session.

Some appreciate the information and concern but do not appear to need help, while others have been referred to treatment as a result of the program, Strow said.

Donato said he received input from outside problem gambling and human resources experts on how to approach people in a friendly way without making them feel defensive or combative.

For example, a Harrah's manager might approach a gambler and suggests a "timeout" over a drink or a meal.

"I've been with Harrah's almost 30 years, and over the years you hear all sorts of statements, like, 'My wife is going to kill me when I go home' to 'I'm having a bad day, I never should have come here,' " Donato said. "It's not easy to evaluate without talking to the person directly whether the person is serious."

Henry Lesieur, a staff psychologist at Rhode Island Hospital's gambling treatment program and one of the nation's foremost treatment experts, calls the effort "one of the most thought-out programs I've seen" from a casino company.

Lesieur, who co-authored the first definition of problem gambling included in the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual, said discussing self-help schemes with gamblers in the casino is an "improvement." However, he questions Harrah's commitment to maintaining a growing "watch" list documenting conversations and outcomes involving hundreds, even thousands of gamblers for years to come.

The program also is not going to catch each gambler who tries to re-enter casinos after requesting that they be excluded or refused service from Harrah's properties, he added.

Some problem gambling experts are skeptical that the program will make a difference for gamblers in the throes of addiction.

Robert Hunter, clinical director of the Problem Gambling Center in Las Vegas, said Harrah's may have trouble reasoning with addicts in a gambling environment.

"If someone at a bar has had too many drinks, that's not the time to talk to someone about their drinking," Hunter said. "I see folks who've already crossed the line into addiction. For them, this is not going to be much help. That said, I support any efforts to get people into recovery."

Carol O'Hare, director of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, says the program still represents a "big step" for the industry because it aims to help people before they hit bottom.

Lesieur says the program is a sign that the industry is willing to face its Achilles heel head-on rather than be pummeled by critics.

Strow said the effort resulted from a policy of continuous evaluation and improvement based on new research. It is not a knee-jerk reaction or an admission of inadequacy of past programs, he said.

Lesieur, though, said the program does not go far enough.

The responsibility to be more proactive lies with state governments, not Harrah's, he said.

"Harrah's is in the business of making money," he said. "I don't expect them to have a hard sell. If any education of gambling is to be done, it needs to be done by the state."

Liz Benston can be reached at 259-4077 or at benston@lasvegassun.com. She also writes a weekly gaming column for sister publication In Business Las Vegas.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Prudential-Wachovia-WACKADENTIAL

In the late 1980's I worked at Prudential-Bache, Prudential Securities and whatever else they have called themselves over the years. Bar none, the worst firm I ever worked at. It was by "default" that I was in a Prudential seat as the firm I was working for went bankrupt of all things and Prudential had the money to gobble up what was left.

Here is another little fine they have been hit with. I believe their limited parnership scams in the 1980's cost them billions as well. never forget, these stockbrokers generated $57,000,000 in commissions from 2001 to 2003 alone. The clients then made over $100,000,000 in illicit profits. The brokerage firms pay up to avoid the prosecution of criminal wrong-doing. They pay up and avoid the hassle, then on to the next mess they will engage in to heap havoc on the investing public. The cycle continues unabated. Just follow the money. Enjoy this article.

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) - Prudential Financial agreed on Monday to pay $600 million to settle charges that former workers at its brokerage unit defrauded mutual fund investors by helping clients rapidly trade funds.

The payment -- one of the three largest market timing settlements -- ends civil and criminal probes and allegations by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and several other regulators including New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the SEC said in a statement.
Prudential Equity Group, a subsidiary of the big life insurer that used to be called Prudential Securities, admitted criminal wrongdoing as part of its agreement with the Justice Department, according to a statement from that regulator.
Prudential will pay $270 million to victims of the fraud, a $325 million criminal penalty to the DOJ and a $5 million civil penalty to the Massachusetts Securities Division, the SEC said.
"We take these matters very seriously and deeply regret the conduct of some former employees that led to these problems," Prudential and other firms, have paid more than $3.5 billion in fines and disgorgement since the mutual fund market-timing schemes were uncovered by Spitzer and other regulators.
Prudential's $600 million payment has only been topped by Bank of America, which paid $675 million. Alliance Capital, with is now called AllianceBernstein, paid $600 million.

Monday's deal settles three-year-old civil charges against Prudential.
Federal and state authorities alleged that from 1999 through June 2003, a number of brokers at Prudential Securities deceptively placed thousands of prohibited market timing trades of mutual funds for their clients, who were usually hedge funds, the SEC and the DOJ explained in their statements on Monday.
By placing their trades in multiple accounts, often with multiple identities, the brokers were able to evade efforts by the mutual funds to block the market timing, the regulators said.

Believe it...............

September has historically been the worst month of the year for the stock market.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ford Motor Company

Bill Clinton's old pal, Robert Rubin of Goldman Sachs fame has resigned from the Board of Directors of Ford.

I drive a Ford, in fact, have a couple of them. Sure they were over-priced, what vehicle isn't? Would I want a Jaguar? Not a chance. Would I buy another Ford? Probably not. A good company? Not a clue, never owned a share.

Truth be told, their product line stinks.

Henry R. Silverman

What a guy. As the ex-chief of Cendant, his compensation last year totaled $140,000,000. Last month, when he completed the spin-off of two operating units he received termination benefits of $62,700,000. When he retires in another 18 months he will get another huge payout. Cendant came public in 1997 and the stock reached a high of $4.36 on its first day of trading. Since that time, Mr. Silverman took in more than $500,000,000 from salary, bonuses, perks and stock options.

The stock closed yesterday at $2. Shareholders took it big time. Right in the you-know-where. Truly a pathetic example of greed gone wild.

I guess it's true. Money may not buy you happiness but it sure does allow a person to suffer in comfort.

Massive disconnect............

One of the many areas of much-needed reform in corporate America is to get the interests of common stockholders aligned with the performance of management.

Here's a flagrant example. The options back-dating scandal that is the focus of so much SEC scrutiny seems to have landed at the housing firm of KB Homes. The honcho running the company was awarded compensation of $155,900,000 in 2005. Nice to see the SEC involved there.

Where there's smoke, there is usually fire. I bet this fire reeks.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hot and lethargic? It's still August........

Stock market players don't have any great motivation to jump in. Traders are thinking they will have a chance to pick up shares in the traditionally weak month of September and don't seem to feel any need to commit capital. It is more of the same from this desk.

I am hearing the cocktail parties in the Hamptons are going well and things look quiet going into the Labor Day holiday. Nothing new there.

Todays piece on PIMCO and Bill Gross was an eye-opener. Gross not being able to handle the pressure of increasing volatility in his bond fund and going to his home and hiding out for 9 days was rather comical. A near billionaire heading into seclusion when things get rough? Not the type of behaviour out of someone handling way north of half a trillion dollars that seems right, nor logical.

Maybe he should take a real break. A full-time break.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Required viewing for all of the Middle East........?

Do yourself and those you love a favor and watch this.


http://www.thedashmovie.com/

Putt to the picture...................

His attention to detail is simply hard to fathom. As the most recognized sports "face" on the planet he will no doubt be the first billionaire in the game of golf.

Here are the 5 tenets he works with in his own life. Maybe you can adapt these to your life. These came straight from Tiger when I was fortunate enough to hear him in a very intimate setting with Accenture in LaCosta, California this past spring.

1. Preparation

2. Execution

3. Adaptability

4. Continuous Improvement

5. Winning Breeds Winning.

And here was his best golf tip..........

Look to the hole, take a mental picture......think "putt to the picture"......look again......and putt.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Did you know.............

The new pension bill makes Roth 401(k) plans permanent, which should encourage their adoption. Previously, Roth 401(k)s had been set to expire after 2010, which discouraged employers from offering them.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

So, just where are the customers yachts??

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Wall Street bonuses are on track to exceed last year's totals, including a 20% to 25% surge for equity bankers, according to a forecast issued Monday by compensation-consulting firm Johnson Associates Inc.

Equity units will benefit from higher volumes, valuations and international results. A strong year for proprietary trading is also expected to boost compensation payouts. Last year's big winners in the bonus bonanza, mergers and acquisitions bankers, can expect year-end increases of about 25% as well, Johnson said.

Globally, Goldman Sachs Group, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group, UBS AG and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.were among the industry leaders in equity trading and underwriting in the first half of the year.

The same firms, including Merrill Lynch & Co., led a record first half in M&A advisory, according to Dealogic.

Overall compensation is expect to rise about 15%, with retail bankers bringing up the rear with 5% to 10% increases. Johnson also estimates that employment is up 3% to 5% from the same period last year.

Uncertainty about the global economy, oil prices and inflation are tempering the amount of money big banks are setting aside for compensation.

In 2005, the average bonus on Wall Street was $125,500, up 10% from 2004 -- with top bonuses going to mergers and acquisitions bankers, who saw deal volume rise 28% in 2005. Bankers generally earn base salaries of $150,000 to $300,000, according to estimates.

We'll never forget ......................

“Keep praying. They'll be in there soon. It takes a while to get up those stairs ... It's going to be fine. It's going to be fine.” – Dispatcher to 9/11 victim Melissa Doi, who died on the 83rd floor of the south tower



“Well, a plane just crashed into it this morning, the other one the same thing. OK? Why don't you just try to stay calm, try to stay together. I'm going to try to get this to the radio people to get somebody up to you.” – Unidentified dispatcher to person in the trade center



“We have six men here. Do you want us to find our way down there? ... OK, we're going to try and respond down to the trade center.” – Fire Lt. Raymond Murphy, who died after volunteering his services



“Sir, did you find something and put it over your head? OK, did you see any fire at this time? Sir ... OK, I want you to go on the floor. Kneel on the floor. On the floor. Cover your head with a cloth.” – Unidentified dispatcher



“We got people jumping out of buildings. It is unreal. It is absolutely unreal.” – Unidentified emergency worker



“Ma'am, if you have to break a window, if you have to. If you don't, don't break it. I'm gonna get somebody there to get you, OK? ... I'm not going to be able to call you back, we're very busy right now. Everybody's calling me.” – Unidentified dispatcher



“I'm on the 35th floor. ... Numerous burn injuries are coming down. I'm trying to send them down. ... We're still heading up.” – Fire Capt. Patrick Brown, later killed in the trade center



“There's heavy smoke and flames, and the building management is announcing that everything is all right, and it's not and they're confused.” – 911 operator, relaying call from the 82nd floor of the south tower to another dispatcher



“Is there any towels in the area? Anything that you have handy. Soak them with water. Lie on the floor. OK? Sir, try to calm yourself down.” – Unidentified 911 operator

Call it the way it was..............

It was 1986.......a scant 20 years ago at my old employer, the venerable firm of Drexel Burnham Lambert. It was the high-yield chief himself, Michael Milken who bagged compensation that year of between $600 and $700 million. Who knows how much he paid his brother, Lowell to run the legal end of the show. They both have wound up on the Forbes list of richest Americans.

It still chafes me that the guy demolished the firm and such a great group of people. Another lesson that Wall Street only looks out for itself.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Thank you Dad for teaching me about being a Dad................

"A hundred years from now it won't matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of truck I drove.........but the world will be a better place because I was important in the life of my two boys."

August blahs............

I knew we were close to a short term rise in the market. I took a call this week from a wonderful client. He sounded worried. He said his portfolio had come off the high water mark we set earlier this year. You see, clients generally call when a turn in the market is at hand. More often than not, they want to do the wrong thing at the wrong time.

From my vantage point, I figured the market was going to pull back in the late spring. It did. A nice pullback given the moves in gold, crude oil and interest rates. Markets move up and down on greed and fear, pain and pleasure, supply and demand. Human emotions haven't changed in 10,000 years. Indeed technology advances have brought faster moves, great volatility.

I told this fine client of Chippewa Partners that the market was in a short-term pullback. A normal correction. His account isn't managed on an absolute basis it is managed on a relative basis. I told him this correction would eventually change and the market would go on to higher highs. I called this a normal, necessary pull-back irregardless of what is going on in the hills of the Middle East in an area the size of the Indian reservation I grew up on in western South Dakota.

I know clients get caught up to listening to the babble on CNBC regarding short term market swings that have no bearing on the long term performance of their equity exposure.

You see, stocks solve long term problems, inflation being one. Our posture hasn't changed over the last few months of volatility. We remain long term owners of some great companies.

Boardroom Shenanigans.........

Wall Street shenanigans are alive and well. As well, the boys in the corporate boardrooms who fly off in the corporate jets every weekend to play golf are still up to their old tricks of fleecing the common shareholder.

I don't have a clue when or how shareholders will actually reign in the nonsensical compensation packages afforded many of these captains of industry but it is overdue. The dissconnect between how much shareholders make in stock gains versus how much the top cats make in compensation is truly astounding.

Le's look at one case with a fairly big stock. This fat cat running Pfizer is a fine example. Over the past 5 years the guy pulls over $60,000,000 in compensation and then when "his" Board of Directors can't stomach any more pain they "reward" the dude with an $80,000,000 plus severance package. Meanwhile the stock price tanks 40%.

Not bad work if you can get it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ethnic and Gender Profiling................

The TSA at airports across America should initiate ethnic profiling.

Here are 19 terrorists who were going to kill themselves and many others for their religious beliefs. See any similarities?

Abdula Ahmed Ali, Cossor Ali, Shazad Khuram Ali, Nabeel Hussain, Tanvir Hussain, Umair Hussain, Umar Islam, Waseem Kayani, Assan Abdullah Khan, Waheed Arafat Khan, Osman Adam Khatib, Abdul Muneem Patel, Tayib Rauf, Muhammed Usman Saddique, Assad Sarwar, Ibrahim Savant, Amin Asmin Tariq, Shamin Mohammed Uddin, and Waheed Zaman ...

The oldest person on the list, Shamin Mohammed Uddin, is 35 years old. The youngest, Abdul Muneem Patel, is 17.

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said.........

"I gave instructions that I be informed every time one of our soldiers is killed, even if it is in the middle of the night. When President Nasser leaves instructions that he is to be awakened in the middle of the night if an Egyptian soldier is killed, there will be peace."

I equate this band of brothers who call themselves Hezbollah to the American Klu Klux Klan. The simple reason being that the teachings of the religious disciple Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi allow for the justification of slavery. The only language they understand is one of power and force. The sooner this cancer is eradicated the better off the world. Any questions?

In todays Wall Street Journal in the Opinion section, Brett Stephens has one of the best essays ever in the "Global View" column regarding Mike Wallace's interview Sunday with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad knows the power of the media and played his cards well.

Trouble on the Canadian border............

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.

The unflinching arrogance of the Bush Administration is prompting the exodus of liberal citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists, and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. "He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left. I didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay."

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk"

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves. "A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR.

Liberals have turned to sometimes-ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies. "I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"

In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals, a source close to Cheney said. "We're going to have some Peter, Paul & Mary concerts and might also put some endangered species on postage stamps. The president is very determined to reach out."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Burger King.......cooking investors

Goldman Sachs and Texas Pacific Group collected hundreds of millions of dollars in payments from this company before it went public, including a special dividend of $367,000,000. Miami-based Burger King became a publicly traded company May 18. About $350 million of the $392 million in net proceeds raised in the IPO was used to retire secured debt.

This is another great reason why Chippewa Partners has never involved clients with IPO's. If these companies were so great for the private equity guys why would they sell them to the general public? The beat goes on, buyer beware.

The FED.....right or wrong.........

Inflation, Bernanke, tightening, moderation, slowing production, what's next?

Everything is a great guess. The real estate bubble needed to be slowed down. The Fed did it. The games and gimmicks in the mortgage market needed to be shut off. The Fed did it. The economy needed to slow down. The Fed AND higher crude prices did it.

Or was it was the record levels of household debt that finally came home to roost?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ted Nugent on Deer Hunting..........

He was being interviewed by a British journalist. The journalist asked, "What do you think the last thought is in the head of a deer before you shoot it? Is it, `Are you my friend?` or is it `Are you the one who killed my brother?'"

Nugent replied, "They aren't capable of that kind of thinking. All they care about is, 'What am I going to eat next, who am I going to screw next, and can I run fast enough to get away.' They are very much like the French."

Friday, August 04, 2006

3 Georgia Women in Mexico........

Three Georgia babes go down to Mexico one night to
celebrate college graduation, get drunk, and wake
up in jail, only to find that they are to be executed
in the morning, though none of them can remember
what they did the night before.

The first one, a redhead, is strapped in the electric
chair, and is asked if she has any last words. She
says, I just graduated from Georgia State University and
believe in the almighty power of God to intervene
on the behalf of the innocent." They throw the
switch and nothing happens. They all immediately
fall to the floor on their knees; beg for her
forgiveness, and release her.

The second one, a brunette, is strapped in and gives
her last words.

"I just graduated from the University of Georgia
School of Law and I believe in the power of justice
to intervene on the part of the innocent." They throw
the switch and, again, nothing happens. Again, they
all immediately fall to their knees; beg for her
forgiveness, and release her.

The last one, a blonde, is strapped in and says,

"Well, I just graduated from Georgia Tech with a
degree in Electrical Engineering, and I'll tell ya
right now, y'all ain't gonna electrocute nobody if
you don't plug this thing in!

Native American Advisors CHIPPEWA PARTNERS

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CHIPPEWA PARTNERS, Native American Advisors, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor, founded by Dean Thomas Parisian in 1995. The firm is a manager to an exclusive clientele and is closed to new clients. As a Registered Investment Advisor, our expertise developed over 35 years balances experience, integrity and tremendous work ethic. Dean Parisian is a member at the White Earth Reservation of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, a former NYSE and FINRA arbitrator and trader who began his career with Kidder Peabody and later worked for Drexel Burnham Lambert in LaJolla, CA. His philanthropic interest is in Native American education and he's endowed a significant scholarship for Native Americans at the University of Minnesota. His greatest accomplishment includes raising two sons and 26 years of marriage. The Parisian family enjoys outdoor pursuits at Pamelot, their farm in Tennessee and at the Ghost Ranch, their ranch on the Yellowstone River in Montana. For media requests contact the firm via email: ChippewaPartners (at) gmail dot com, on Twitter: @DeanParisian. Global 404-202-8173