Wednesday, May 30, 2007

China has a hiccup...............

China’s stocks tumbled the most in three months after the government tripled the tax on securities transactions to cool a rally that’s drawing more than 300,000 new investors a day.
The CSI 300 Index dropped 281.83, or 6.8 percent, to close at 3886.46 in Shanghai, the biggest fluctuation among markets included in global benchmarks. The value of local stocks has more than doubled this year to $2.47 trillion and brokerage accounts topped 100 million for the first time this week.

“The Chinese government is concerned that there’s too many people in the market, and they’re gambling,” said Mark Mobius, who oversees some $30 billion as managing director of Templeton Asset Management Ltd. in Hong Kong. “It’s good for people to not expect that markets go up continuously.”

Stamp duty on share trades was increased to 0.3 percent “to promote the healthy development of the securities market,” the finance ministry said on its Web site. The central bank this month raised interest rates for the second time this year, encouraging people to save rather than invest in stocks, and brokerages were ordered to make investors sign a declaration acknowledging risks when opening accounts.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Graduating Seniors take heed.......

Remember a lesson from the world of the coyote for they will be on earth far longer than man.

If a coyote chases two rabbits, both will escape. To survive they focus on only catching one.

Likewise, as you go forth in the world, stick to what you are good at, play to your strengths and pick your passions wisely.

Yet explore, be audacious and embrace change. Good luck.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lone Ranger..........

The Lone Ranger and Tonto stopped in the desert for the night. After they got their tent all set up, both men fell sound asleep. Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says, "Kemo Sabe, look towards sky, what you see?" The Lone Ranger replies, "I see millions of stars." "What that tell you?" asked Tonto. The Lone Ranger ponders for a minute then says, "Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, it's evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What's it tell you, Tonto?" Tonto is silent for a moment, then says, "Kemo Sabe, you are dumber than buffalo shit. It means someone stole the tent."

IPO's and Penalties.........

When a new client comes to Chippewa Partners we like to examine the preceding 12 months of statements from the clients predecessor custodian of his assets. Invariably clients often seek out our services because they are sick and tired of the abuse they take at the hands of brokerage firms. You see, brokers must serve a couple of masters. One, they have to produce their livelihood at the expense of the client even if market conditions warrant nothing should be done to their portfolio in the way of change, asset allocation or as the brokers call it, to increase the velocity of RTB, return to broker. Second, the broker has to generate commissions and fees to keep the firm happy and to keep the lights on and to keep his seat at the firm.

Now, when we examine client statements we often look for IPO's of closed-end funds and syndicate products to see how long they remain in the clients account, for the simple reason that if syndicate products are sold out of the client's account prior to a 30 or 100 day grace period the broker will have the commissions charged back to him. It is easy to see.

Examine your statements. Look for hidden "churn". If you are tired of the abuse, call us.

As an NASD and NYSE arbitrator for over a decade, I learned one thing.

If you want salesmen to handle your retirement livelihood we wish you good luck, but don't' say we didn't warn you.

Today's Bush Press Conference..........

This is a hoot. He hasn't said one concrete thing to shut our borders down tight. This guy doesn't get it. Hasn't and won't.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Montana Drilling..................

On Monday evening, the Russell Country Sportsmen will be hosting a presentation on energy development and the impact on wildlife and habitat in the state. The speaker is T.O Smith with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, he will discuss the massive level of drilling in Wyoming and it's impacts on habitat and wildlife.

In light of a proposal to develop upwards of 1,600 gas wells on the border of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, attending this talk would be worthwhile.

The meeting is Monday, May 21 at 7:00 pm, Fish Wildlife and Parks headquarters, 4600 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls, MT.


"Roadless areas, in general, represent some of the best fish and wildlife habitat on public lands. The bad news is that there is nothing positive about a road where fish and wildlife habitat are concerned -- absolutely nothing." (B&C Professor, Jack Ward Thomas, Fair Chase, Fall 2005, p.10).

From one of my friends........Thank You!

For a couple of paragraphs, this is an incredible post. Have you ever seriously thought of public speaking? You could give any person I've seen on the news whether it be FOX, heaven forbid CNN, or any of the other channels, a run for their money. Not to mention everything you say packs a whollup! Did I spell that right... probably not, but oh well you get my point.

Your writings always inform me, moving me to laugh, to even cry at times, paint a picture so vivid I can see in front of me, but always, always to THINK! Thanks for sharing and I think Trail of Tears should be mandatory reading in schools. I make it mandatory for my children... and not just because of their Cherokee heritage either. Simply because I believe it's the right thing to do to inform our children of real acts of atrocity that have happened in this land we call America, our home. Acts that we, the immigrants, perpetrated upon those who were here first living their lives peaceably among one another.

Again, great piece, thanks for sharing something great with all of us who read your blog.

Have a great day.

This job paid for my college education.........


Let's be clear...........

Native Americans can tell you what happens when you don't control immigration.

Maybe some tribal chiefs should take center stage in the Halls of Congress and give them a first hand account of how immigration affected them. On second thought, I enjoy the using the wheel, technology and the comforts of my home versus tipi living.

The latest National Geographic piece, by the way, National Geographic should be required reading for every student in America, talks about how the natives helped the pilgrims at Jamestown. Imagine if they had wiped out the colony instead of helping it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Dead Sea............

Sunday was our last day in Israel and it promised to be interesting. All of Israel is interesting. I'm going back. No question. We had a great breakfast at the David Citadel in Jerusalem and headed out of town, leaving the Jordanian Hill Country and headed across the Jordanian Desert for the Dead Sea. As we rolled out of the lush greenery of the hills around Jerusalem and started our descent in elevation we enjoyed the fruits of some nice road building. The Arab shepherds were busy in the barren hills tending their flocks of goats and sheep. Rain is scarce, grass is very very short and frankly, a jackrabbit would have to pack his lunch over alot of the country.

Above the Dead Sea is a must-see fortress called Masada. Click on this link and read about it.

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/History/Early%20History%20-%20Archaeology/Masada%20-%20Desert%20Fortress%20Overlooking%20the%20Dead%20Sea

We took the cable car to the top of Masada. What a view!! I can only imagine the legions of people it took to create this fortress atop such a difficult natural plateau. Being there reminded me of the feelings of awe I had for Swiss mountaineers when they built Cafe Di Midi below Mt. Blanc above Chamonix. The Dead Sea is shrinking fast and probably won't be around in a couple hundred years. Hard to imagine a lake 50 miles long drying up but that is what is happening. Global warming you ask? Nope. Just a shift in the natural world. More people using more run-off. Underground aquifers don't get filled and the cycle is short-changed. Everything cycles and we as the human race are doing a magnificent job in getting in the way of the natural cycle.

Walking into the Dead Sea was hard. The bottom of the lake (it doesnt' seem like a sea to me) is very hard and encrusted with a rather thick layer of crusted salt. It's hard on your feet. What a place to relax and enjoy the feeling of total weightlessness. I've been alot of places but never to space and have no urge to go so this feeling of weightlessness was rather unique on earth. There were many tourists visiting the lake to take advantage of the medicinal healing qualities the lake possesses. I know my skin felt so good after being in the lake. In fact, I felt good for a couple of days after being in that brine. It may have been my massage from a young girl from the Ukraine before I got into the lake but I doubt it. Now, this lake water doesn't feel like water. It feels like clear motor oil. It is more oil than water. Not a bird on, near or over the lake. Not a single bit of plant life or animal life in the lake. Sterile. It is an amazing place being the lowest point below sea level on on earth.

One of the most unique places I have ever seen was in the desert. We happened upon a monestary. Surely one of the most breathtaking views in the Jordanian desert, the majestic Greek Orthodox monastery of St. George. The monastery was constructed out of the mountain where it lies. Work on it began in the 4th Century and was later restored in 1878.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Kidder Peabody's Al Gordon.............

In this Monday's edition of Investors Business Daily in the Leaders and Success piece is featured Al Gordon of Kidder Peabody. He is 105 now. I remember his presence in 1983 when he came to 20 Exchange Place in the bowels of Wall Street to speak to our training class. What an icon of respectability amongst the whores on the Street today.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

NEVER a dull moment in Israel .....here's today

"Israel will defend our citizens. We will actively stop rockets, rocket launchers, those who plan the terror infrastructure," said Israeli government spokeswoman Miri Eisin. She repeated Israel's vow not to be drawn into the Gaza morass, but the heavy airstrike raised questions about the commitment.

The explosion at the Hamas compound sent heavy plumes of gray smoke into the Gaza sky, destroying the structure and several others around it and sending terrified residents scurrying.
After the blast, a large crowd gathered at the site, frantically digging through the rubble and pulling out the wounded. One woman, her white robe covered in blood, was carried away from the area.

Palestinian witnesses and medical officials said one person was killed and 45 in the first airstrike.
Hamas said the target was an administration building of its elite bodyguards unit. The two-story structure is normally filled with Hamas personnel.

In a text message sent to reporters, Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obeida vowed revenge against Israel, possibly by suicide bombing.

"The Zionist enemy are launching an open war against Hamas. Therefore, reprisal options are open, including self-sacrifice operations," he said. "We advise the Zionist settlers to go immediately to the basement of their residence because our rockets will not spare any of them."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Just my 2 cents..........

As a proud Georgian, Newt Gingrich is not presidential. He would not get my vote for the next President of the United States of America.

Rambling thoughts on Israel...........

Where did all the Appaloosa horses come from? Israel has some great horse-flesh.

Mandatory military service serves so much, for so many. America should do it. Today.

Israel, pick up the litter, start litter campaigns, clean up the trash. And cats!

Michael Steinhardt's "Birthright Israel" involvment is good stuff. Smart people doing great work.

The highest birth-rates in the world must be in Israel. An amazingly high per-capita number.

If Israel can bury power lines in cities so can America. Visual pollution is the worst.

The Dead Sea should be "sold" to the world. I thought it would be more commercialized. Everyone should float in the highest salt concentration in the world just once.

Farming has always been a socialistic enterprise. I wonder why the kibbutz system didn't catch on in America besides the simple fact that hard work was involved?

The harbor/waterfront area of Tel Aviv reminded me of San Diego in 1970 or 1980.......demand for water-front drinking establishments far outstripped supply.

If you need to go out dancing in Tel Aviv, try Whiskey a Go Go..........wow!

A bottle of red "YARDEN" goes very nice with lamb.

The United Nations (UN) is indeed the "United Nothing"

Jerusalem.......God's Ground Zero

Jerusalem is a city of contrast, a city in religious strife, a city looking, grinding, praying, believing. To Jews it is Ground Zero for their faith for it is where Abraham went to sacrifice his son, Isaac at God's command. It is the site of David's glory and the Temples still worshipped today. To Christians, it is the site of the Last Supper, His Crucifixion and Resurection. To Muslims it is the place where Mohammed is said to have ascended into Heaven on his horse.

It is an amazing city.

Highlights were the walk down to the Garden of Gethsemane, Mary's Tomb, the Mount of Olives, on to the Western Wall aka the Wailing Wall. It was interesting to say the least. Above the wall, the majestic golden Dome of the Rock, which contains the rock that Mohammad himself was on when swept up to heaven on his steed. For Christians, of which I am one, the Via Dolorosa and Calvary held the most interest. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is magnificent if not intimidating. I was told that about 75 different faiths have a presence in Jerusalem and it seems they are all on top of one another. It is crowded, religious, home to maybe 30,000 people inside the city's Walls and many currents of theology floating about. I guess it is one of the most important places on earth for those who feel a need to "identify" with their beliefs on a physical location. My thinking is that religion, religous behaviour and being religous is more about doing and acting and believing in the way of the Cross to and for eternal salvation than the worship at a physical point where so much which, by tradition says, happened. But what do I know, I'm just a faithful believer.

I know you can feel the Spirit in Jerusalem. In that I am sure.

Helicoptering in Israel.......Day 3

We arrived with passports to a small commercial aviation facility north of Tel Aviv to the town of Herzliya. Again, passports were produced, the questions were asked, the computers whirred to check us out and we entered past armed (not .38's, only Uzi's) guards. We walked to a room and met the two helicopter pilots who were to take us out for a day of touring Israel by air. One of the pilots was younger and handled the meeting. He flew 747-400's for El Al in his real job. The other pilot flew crop dusters for his day job and had been flying helicopters for 40 years through various wars in Israel. I knew we were in good hands. My wife and I had made the decision to ride in separate choppers in case something happened, at least our sons back home in America would have one parent to help them get into adulthood if something went wrong. In my feeble way of thinking, helicopters don't look like they are that good at "gliding" to a landing spot if something should go wrong. The chopper I was in had 3 blades, 2 jet engines and a pilot who I would trust now, to helicopter me to any place on earth. We lifted off under cloudy skies and headed north up the coast.

Israel has nice beaches, plenty of sunshine and a good climate for the legions of Romans who lived here a couple thousand years ago. By chopper it was still easy to see the Crusader arches, aqueducts, crumbling walls and Roman pillars at Caesarea. The handsome aqueducts once conducted fresh water from inland to the coast and just looking at the Roman Amphitheater from the air made me think of the mass executions for entertainment that took place there. We pushed north over the city of Netanya and headed toward Nazareth.

Nazareth is the sacred town where Jesus spent most of his life. The town has over 20 churches and as we choppered in to land, the largest church, the monumental Basilica of the Annunciation, the largest church in the Middle East stood out like the monstrosity that it is. The church marks the spot where the Angel Gabriel is said to have informed the Virgin Mary that God had chosen her to bear His son. Tensions run deep between Muslims and Christians in Nazareth and are never far beneath the surface. Resentment runs deep over a piece of property near the Basilica on which a mosque has been built. Just another reminder that the smoldering cauldron of contempt is alive and well in the hometown of Jesus. I wonder what he would have to say about it all today?

We lit the candle on the jet engines of the limocopters and headed to the Sea of Galilee. Wow, one of the more beautiful lakes I have seen around the world. Breathtaking. It was standing on a hilltop overlooking the Sea of Galilee that Jesus proclaimed to the masses that had gathered near him and said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." A far cry from the phrase I once had on my license plate holder on my Saab in LaJolla that said, "the meek don't want it." In retrospect they do, but seldom are they audacious to get it.

After landing near where the Jordan River runs out of the lake (Sea of Galilee) we hopped into a bus and headed to lunch but first stopped at the Yardenit Baptismal Site. This is where, as tradition says, Jesus met John the Baptist preaching near the waters of the Jordan and was baptized. After his baptism he set out on his missions. The river is very narrow and this site seems to be very commercialized. There were plenty of pilgrims there from all over the world and I saw several people being baptized prior to landing. After a nice lunch watching jet-ski's and water-ski boats on the lake we lifted off again and headed up the east side of the lake towards Capernaum and Ein Tabgha. It was in Capernaum that Jesus found his first followers and here He is said to have preached more sermons and performed more miracles than anywhere else. Tradition also says that at least five of his disciples came from here. Like many famous religious sites in Israel, if not all, you will find a mosque almost on top of a church or many churches. Always it seems, religions fighting for the "right" to worship at the spot, that tradition says, is where something exactly happened. As we flew over Ein Tabgha, the nasty wind blowing so hard had the chopper going up and down to the point I felt a little uneasy, I could see the hilltop below where, as tradition says, Jesus is said to have multiplied five loaves and two fishes into enough food to feed the 5,000 hungry people who come to hear him speak. I don't know how that many could hear a single voice preaching aloud but the solitude of the area I am sure enabled His voice to travel up into the hill.

Heading back to the air field we passed over so much agricultural ground. Deer farms, irrigation systems, hay fields, cherry tomato farms, it was such bounty. Indeed the land of milk and honey. After a great meal in an Arab restaurant we retired early, ready to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem the following morning.

GOP Presidential Debaters.........

What a bunch of hype that debate was last night. Anyone else disgusted with the lack of vision these gentlemen want to bring to America? Going off on gun control was a nice diversion from talking about immigration issues, about the AMT and tax code reform, about doing something, anything about Social Security or Medicaid problems and about securing our open borders against criminal aliens and terrorists. Be glad the Hispanics flooding into America (so far) don't have terroristic intentions or we all would be toast. Listening to these candidates toss out sound-bite after sound-bite makes me think the baby-boomer generation still thinks the government is here to help.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mothers Day in Iraq......America's pain..........

Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007
12:27 AM
Subject: Mother's Day in Iraq

It was Mother's Day Sunday, my first day off in two weeks. Last Sunday a three star general was visiting and the Officers in Charge of each ward were expected to be in the hospital to meet and greet. But today I could sleep in and then tend to my garden. I had mixed potting soil into the sand outside my living area and placed multiple flower seeds. In order to inspire growth I'm watering the garden twice daily but moisture wicks away faster than I can pour it. So far my morning glories and zinnias are sprouting defiantly against the summer heat but the leafy edges are curled and burnt. We've seen 116 degree days already. It feels like standing in front of a giant hair dryer that burns my eyeballs when I bike into the wind. Today's sky is clear and sunny. I think it is going to be a good day. The spring has brought us several "Brown out" days where sand hangs heavy in the air like clouds of grit. My thoughts wander to Mother's Day at home where I know my family is visiting a new baby. My daughter-in-law Amy, my son Jason's wife is a new mom to a second son. I'm wishing I was there to see him. But I'm planning to make some Mother's day phone calls later in the day to their home as well as my own mother and mother-in-law. I find myself scanning the surrounding turf wearily before I kneel to inspect my fledging plants. Yesterday a three foot cobra was captured at one of the security gates. I don't want to meet one that is enjoying the coolness of my garden. My mid-morning is interrupted by my pager that never leaves my side. The message reads "8 Casualties arriving in 20 min to EMT". As I'm throwing on my uniform I get a second page that increased the number to nine casualties. I can't hurry any faster for nine than I can for eight. Within seven minutes I'm into the EMT where trauma teams are being assembled into each trauma bay. By time the first patient is rolled off the Blackhawk helicopter and into the triage tent, we are 100% ready. The wounded are coming to us directly off the battlefield. In the triage tent outside our EMT, clothing is cut off the casualty to make him"trauma naked". Assessment and decision of trauma bay assignment takes less than three minutes by one of our experienced nurses and medic. The first casualty has a mangled right lower leg that has muscle, bone and clothing twisted into a mass. It's an unusually dry amputation up to his groin. A burn had seared his flesh stopping the bleeding. It probably saved his life. The first patient looked almost exactly like the ones that would follow. In all we would use ninety-six units of blood products in this mascal. An IED had exploded and flipped a tank completely over. The nine patients we were expecting turned into eleven. Everything in the EMTclicked smoothly because we've gotten lots of practice. And withpractice, we get better. The EMT doesn't get noisy, just more focused. Emergency release blood comes from lab; the portable x-ray machine moves swiftly between patients and the surgeons prioritize the Operating Room schedule. It is controlled chaos. One of the new docs voiced out loud,"You all know what you're doing down here!" I smiled at the compliment but wished that we didn't have so much trauma for practice. That's a high price to pay for experience. The last casualty was a soldier who probably would have been declared DOA but he came to us with CPR in progress. A medic was tirelessly performing chest compressions while members of the injured soldier'sunit were watching with worried eyes that told us, "Please, don't give up". We didn't. We brought the lifeless body into Trauma bay one and continued the resuscitation. He had been trapped under the tank for fifteen minutes. A gaping wound had transected his chest and brought inside organs to the exterior. We put him on the monitor and it showed that his heart was conducting electrical impulses in the attempt to continue beating. But there was no pulse or blood pressure. Our emergency doctor called for a scalpel and opened the chest wall down to the soldier's heart and held it in his hand. Three of the four chambers of the heart had gaping holes. No amount of resuscitation was going to restore life for this soldier. We had to give up and we did. The commander of the dead soldier and a few unit members were waiting outside of the trauma bay waiting to hear news. The doctor and I took them aside with the chaplain and told them that we had tried everything we knew how to do to save his life. His body was just too damaged to hold life. They shook our hands and thanked us for trying. We were told that his wife was expecting their first baby. We could see the pain contorting their faces yet they wanted to see him to pay their last respects. We walked them behind the screen blocking the trauma bay and allowed them several minutes of privacy. A pall always descends over the EMT when we lose one of our nation's heroes. All I could think of was that the soldier's wife would get a visit on Mother's Day and be told that the father of her baby had been killed. Every Mother's Day would be a reminder. And I hurt for his own mother. She had lost a son. When we heard that the ambulance was going to arrive soon to take the body away, a decision was made that gathered momentum. We would send the soldier off with a silent tribute of our respect for his sacrifice. The EMT staff gathered along the walk-way ramp to our EMT and as his bodypassed we rendered him a salute. It is a small thing done in a moment of time that the soldier couldn't see but will stay in our hearts as a reminder of our mission. We are here to save lives and any loss is one too many.

Day 2.......Haifa

Wednesday we headed to Haifa. The trip north was very interesting. Lots of hi-tech, religion, military, shipping, academics and all near the water. A very pretty town, it is Israel's third largest city with about a half million people living in the area. It is home to the Baha'i Complex which dominates the Mt. Carmel hillside in Haifa which is the world headquarters of the Baha'i Faith.

The Israeli government has made it illegal to solicit or engage in recruiting of religions within the country. I thought that was funny. They don't want any other religion "poaching" on their land, so to speak. You know, a funny thing, most people on earth claim as their religion the one they were born into. I have met very very few who have studied the religions of the world and picked one out and adhered to its tenants. How about you? And speaking of mountains in Israel, like in about every other country on earth, some element of the Roman Catholic church controls all of the highest mountain perches. Nothing new there.

On the way to Haifa we passed through some Arab settlements inhabited by the people known as the Druze. Now to give you some background on the Arab situation in Israel, lets be clear. There are about 1.5 million Arabs in Israel. Many live in Nazareth, Jerusalem and Haifa. Of all the Arabs in Israel, about 78% are Muslim, 12% Christian and 10% Druze and Bedouin. All of them are faced with the paradox of being Arab and also citizens of the state of Israel that since it's inception has been in conflict with the Arab world. The Druze have been a persecuted minority in the Middle East since they broke away from mainstream Islam in the 11th century. For this reason they have tended to inhabit inaccessible mountain ranges where they could hold out for protection against their enemies. Today the religious Druze dress in very different dark blue garb with white hats and sometimes wear some very serious moustaches. They are a striking bunch for sure and seem to dance to the beat of only their drum in Israel. Probably just the way they like it. Embracing change isn't high on their list of priorities I would think. Past the Arab Druze villages we headed north. I could see the hills of Haifa ahead.

Last fall Haifa took about 200 rockets from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the north. Many people died. To see the demolished buildings, to think of the air raid sirens blaring giving residents about 5 minutes to get to cover, to see the damage the ball-bearings that were encapsulated in the rockets did, it was all very sobering. There is alot of hate in the world. Everywhere. I think there is more, much more, attention paid to the issue of land and who controls it today than differences of religous thought. Maybe the world has become greedier.

We headed north to the Haifa yacht basin and enjoyed a gorgeous lunch under some cloudy weather. Weddings are held throughout the week and we enjoyed taking some pictures of a newly-married couple. The groom was, for lack of a better word, an "albino" looking gent with a very pretty, dark-complected bride. I flipped the guy a $20 US bill and told him to take his bride to dinner. I thought he was going to shake my hand off he was so happy. I hope they make a long life together, but wonder what their children may look like. Haifa needs a clean-up too. Industrial waste permeates the river flowing into the sea and no shortage of litter. Maybe when you get rocket attacks day after day for 33 days your priorities change. Mine probably would.

Speaking of fighting. It seems the Israeli's think that a short-lived war is what is always what is needed. Everyone is upset with their current Prime Minister because the Second Lebanese War last fall lasted over 32 days. War is war. I have never been in a war in my life and hope never to see first-hand the carnage of war in America. It was one thing to ride choppers into a controlled training area when I was at West Point with an empty magazine in my M-16 and another to see where the kytusha rockets rained down on a city. Their 6-day War didn't last long but I am afraid that the power shift and economics coming from Iran will prolong future skirmishes. And if one thing is certain in my mind, Israel better never, ever let its guard down with it's neighbors. Today, there is a real committment around the world to wake up and have a good cup of coffee, maybe go to work or play, maybe visit a school, make the world a better place, yet, in some places, like Gaza, these militant Islamic extremists wake up and have their Arabic java and then decide to lob some Qussam rockets into Israel. May God help us all.

Another day Another dead

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070515/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians

Jaffa, Yafo, Old Yafo............

They are all one and the same. One of the oddities of Israel is that everyone is absolutely sure that all of the Jewish (Old Testament) and Christian (New Testament) events occured somewhere in the general vicinity of where they are said to have happened but no one is really sure about EXACTLY where they did occur. Hence, the most common term I heard is "tradition says it happened here." Israel is like a religious Disneyland for believers. It is like Six Flags for three faiths. Jerusalem is like an E-ticket for every sect or congregation in the world. For Jews it is Ground Zero, it's Space Mountain, it just doesn' t get any better.

Jaffa is the place where it all began. It is said that, when God got fed up with his creatures, He brought the Great Flood on the world to wipe it clean and start fresh. It is said that after Noah's Ark landed on Mount Ararat, Noah's youngest son founded the city and named it "Yafo" which is Hebrew for beautiful. It is a very beautiful city and has a distinct flavor all it's own. It is to Tel Aviv as LaJolla is to San Diego. Quaint, sea-side, artsy. When we walked into the Franciscan St. Peter's Church I had a funny moment with a very attractive older Jewish woman standing in the church looking very quizical at a Catholic confessional. She looked at me, looked at the confessional again, pointed to it and said to me, "psychology", smiled and walked away. It caught me as being very funny, maybe you had to be there. The Frank Meizler gallery was nice. Cats abound in Jaffa. Cats are everywhere in Israel. The local fisherman tending to nets in the harbor was fun to watch. Jaffa was nice but it was time to eat and we headed toward the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Time waits for no one and neither does my appetite.

Lunch was at a "Sandwich Factory". Excellent kosher food. I delighted in the hustle and bustle of being in the financial district. Salads are abundant in the daily diet of Israeli's and this place turned out some great ones. The guy working to make my sandwich had spent a few years in New Jersey after his service in the Israeli army and enjoyed our quick conversation. I liked the pulse of Tel Aviv then and admire it more after a week. Fun, full of contrast, accomodating.

American Border Control........

One more thing. Too good not to share. There was a sign at Customs/Immigration in Atlanta yesterday that said, "U.S. Customs and Immigration, keeping our borders open and our nation secure."

That's for sure. Maybe 20,000,000 here illegally. Our borders are open. Is our nation secure? The danger is from within.

Arrival in Israel............

The pilot told me the Boeing 777 would weigh 622,000 pounds at the take-off roll. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_777 I believed him. Flight time was expected to be 11 hours 21 minutes out of Hartsfield-Jackson. You have to love the feeling of so much power at full throttle. The food was surprisingly good, the flight was fairly smooth and sleep was easy. Very un-Delta-like for sure. Maybe it had something to do with flying (and paying for) a first-class ticket! As we approached Israel over the Mediterranean I finally felt a surge of excitement. Touchdown came at about 6:30 pm local time. Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv is a busy place and has probably more machine guns per employee than any other airport except for Baghdad. Clearing customs was a breeze and interesting to see the fingerprint identification machines for those who hold Israeli passports. Maybe something America should do. Or at least do something to attempt to secure our borders.

Israel is intense and diverse. It has over 7 million residents, probably half the number of criminal aliens we have in the US. About 2.5 million live in the greater Tel Aviv area. I like Tel Aviv. No doubt the hardest city I have ever been in to find a parking spot for a car. Unbelievable. Sub-machine gun toting troops are everywhere. As we headed for the beach across the street to catch the sunset the Muslim "call-to-prayer" was sounded from the city of Jaffa to the south a couple of miles. It was the first time I had heard the blaring loudspeakers calling Muslims to pray toward Mecca at sunset. There was a noticeable lack of the smell of salty air on the Mediterranean sea shore, maybe that came from living in San Diego about a dozen years. We walked to the Manta Ray restaurant on the water and enjoyed a wonderful meal before heading back to the David Intercontinental. Being on the 25th floor was nice. Sleep came easy. Tomorrow started my first full day in Israel. I was headed to Jaffa.

Monday, May 14, 2007

He's back in the U.S. of A...................

My flight this morning landed in Atlanta at 5:10 am from Tel Aviv, Israel. Just to get into Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv is difficult. Guards with machine guns everywhere. The questions being asked are direct and to-the-point, "why were you in Israel and what did you do here?". There isn't any of the crap you have to put up with like we do with the TSA in America. Getting back into the United States of which I am a citizen was rather comical. Customs agents weren't on duty so we had wait on the plane until they could come out of their den. The guy who stamped my passport was half asleep and didn't say a word. The next guy who had the job of looking into my bags sent me to the Agricultural Inspector apparently just to keep him busy. I had nothing of interest to him so I proceded to send my bags to baggage claim and walk into the terminal. I had to then go thru a security system in which I could NOT BRING even a bottle of water into America!!! Let's see, I get through one of the most difficult security checks in the world (Israel), fly to America and then have to give up a bottle of water that Delta just happened to give me as a freebie and have to give it up before walking thru a metal detector. Just how and where I could have gotten anything on my person between the plane and the metal detector is beyond me but I state this so you can see the lunacy of how many hundreds of millions we spend on the fight against terror when the real fight is against Islamic extremists all over the world. Old ladies and guys like myself with a bottle of water aren't the problem. The millions of criminal aliens that have poured through our borders are the problem The problem is now political and neither party will address the problem for fear of losing the 2008 Hispanic vote. Michael Savage is right on. May God bless America.

More on a week in Israel after some sleep...............

Monday, May 07, 2007

Too good not to pass on from DailySpeculations.com

The Sage, from Steve Leslie

May 7, 2007

Here is a nonsensical list from the billowing bag bloviating in Omaha.

There were no audio or video recordings allowed of his comments so much of this is hearsay. This is reminiscent of a Skull and Bones meeting or at the very least a Shriners' cabal.
It will take four CEOs ultimately to do the job of one Buffett because of the complexity of his job, and at least three CIOs because of the vast complexity of his job.

Don't try to do what he does; don't piggyback on Berkshire's investing. Don't buy the same stocks. See above.

Forty-six billion in cash looking for a home for the money but finding a whale to land unlikely.
Looking for deals abroad. Evidently U.S. offers little appeal.

These great and powerful comments were made after he paraded into the arena like Julius Caesar upon entering the Roman Coliseum.

Victor Niederhoffer remarks:

The latest emanations from Omaha that is truly pathetic and fin-de-siecle'ish. The Sage says he is truly able to make a large acquisition and is looking for a big one. It's exactly as in The Old Man and The Sea when the little boy says that after 93 days without a catch, the old man is due for a big one, and the old man tries not to make the boy cry. The idea that buying yet another company to add to the 63 the Sage already owns is good is against all experience of conglomerates, practical and theoretical. And the desire of the old man to see the lions again, to make the big one, one that he might have to borrow 30 billion for, makes me want to cry out that imposture and falsity abound.

Israel

My flight leaves tonight for Tel Aviv. Back here in the trading turret next week. It promises to be one of the best trips I've had the pleasure to take around our planet. I'll do my best to settle the differences, walk on water and turn a 6-pack into a keg. For those of you in Mandaree that was meant as light humor with hubris!

I leave you with both a greeting and farewell from Wikipedia.

Shalom (שָׁלוֹם) is a Hebrew word meaning peace or hello. As it does in English, it can refer to either peace between two entities (especially between man and God or between two countries), or to true inner peace, calmness or safety of one individual. It is also used as a greeting to either say hello or farewell, and is found in many other expressions and names.

Shalom.

Nicholas A. Nicolette...............

Mr. Nicolette is the President of the Financial Planning Association.

In an interview in today's Wall Street Journal he says, "The brokerage industry has a clear legal obligation to the brokerage firms interests first. It's called the law of agency. An investment advisor has a clear legal duty to put the clients interests first. It's called a fiduciary duty. There's no denying that the difference is huge. With the help of slick Madison Avenue advertising and lax SEC rules, Wall Street is allowed to promote it's fee-based programs as if these were subject to the same kind of fiduciary standards governing investment advisors (like Chippewa Partners) and attorneys. The fact is they are not. With the term "financial advisor" appearing on brokers business cards, and no longer "registered representative" or "stockbroker" the public has the mistaken impression that the broker is on the same team as the client, not the company."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Delta Airlines............

The local press is abuzz about the "new" DELTA emerging from bankruptcy.

Not a comment from any former common shareholders about the loss of their equity. About how they tried to buy low and sell high. About their belief that the flagship Atlanta-based international carrier wouldn't walk out on their committments. About how the senior management team over the last few years enriched themselves beyond sane comprehension.

The common shareholders got zero. Zilch. Their investment went to zero.

Simply disgusting in so many ways.

Done with AIRTRAN.............forever

The following email from Airtran lays out why I will never fly AIRTRAN again. I had one bag that was 1 inch (ONE) over the allowable size.......63 inches versus the 62. I was charged $65 in a morning "robbery" at the AIRTRAN check-in counter. That specific suitcase met the weight requirement and has taken me all over the world without being hi-jacked like this. In fact, just this week I booked over $1,800 of flights on routes that AIRTRAN flies. I will pay more to fly on competitors jets. Sometimes in life you just have to take a stand against being robbed.

Dear Mr. Parisian,

I am in receipt of your letter dated May 1, 2007. On behalf of AirTran Airways, please accept my apology for any disappointment that you experienced during your recent travel.

All customers traveling on AirTran Airways are restricted to one carry-on item and one personal item. Personal items include handbags, umbrellas, walking sticks, crutches, coats, cameras, reading matter, infant food, briefcases, and laptop computers. No carry-on item may exceed overall dimensions of 55 inches (Height + Length + Width) and must fit under the seat or in the overhead bin.

For each fare-paying customer, AirTran Airways allows two (2) checked pieces free of charge, with size limitations. The maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 62 inches (length + width + height).

Excess baggage is charged at the rate of $50 for each piece checked there after. Oversize and overweight baggage is accepted, subject to some limitations and fees. Overweight baggage is accepted at the following rates per bag: $25 from 51 to 70 pounds and $65 from 71 to 100 pounds. Oversize baggage is accepted up to a maximum size of 80 inches for a fee of $65 per bag.

I am sorry that you were not aware of our baggage policy as it can be found on our website, ticket jackets and on signage at the airport. Our baggage policy is to be maintained system wide. Our Atlanta agents were correct in applying the oversize luggage fee; therefore, I must respectfully decline your request for a refund of that amount.

Your patience and understanding regarding this matter are appreciated.

Sincerely,

Susan M. XXXXXX
AirTran Airways
Customer Relations Specialist

Friday, May 04, 2007

Condi, did you ask Iran about these?

Iranian officials deny importing weapons or militants into neighboring Iraq, but The Washington Post reported Friday that attacks in Iraq involving Iranian-made EFPs reached a record high last month. Quoting Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who oversees day-to-day U.S. military operations in Iraq, the paper said the number of attacks with the projectiles rose to 65 in April, most of them in predominantly Shiite eastern Baghdad. Officials said the projectiles are used almost exclusively by Shiite fighters against U.S. military targets. EFPs were first reported used in Iraq in 2005 against British forces in the south, but have grown increasingly common, primarily in Baghdad. The Post quoted Odierno as saying that before April, the month with the greatest number of projectile attacks was December 2006, with 62. It said the use of projectile weapons has risen over time as other types of bombs have become less effective against added U.S. armor. Overall attacks using roadside bombs doubled in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 and number about 1,200 a month, the Post said. They cause roughly 70 percent of the casualties suffered by U.S. troops, the paper said.

beware Wall Street advertising.........

Today in the Wall Street Journal was a nice article on how the brokers at UBS, formerly what I called the HOUSE OF PAIN, (Paine Webber) blew up a hedge fund that they ran in-house.

It might wind up costing them around $300,000,000. In the adjoining UBS ad they tell readers what a great job they do in investment management. I guess risk control doesn't start at home. It must start with the clients. Beware the brokers folks. They want to separate you from your money as painlessly as possible and without you knowing it. Just ask any broker who just left the business. Or anyone steered into an annuity at a bank.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Shares of USO................

I bought into the ETF story early on. So far so good with the love of my financial life, the equal-weighted RSP, doing what it's supposed to do.

All is not rosy in love nor in the financial markets. I’d like to think I was hood-winked in shares of USO. Contango has pinned me down so far, can backwardation bail me out?

Maybe there’s a quick meal here for me. The fund manager said I should have read the prospectus better.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Listen carefully...........

I don’t mean to be critical, but most people invest through the rear-view mirror. They buy mutual funds after they have gone up substantially. They have bought into what I call the Sesame Street School of investing. They buy into the hottest fund, in the hottest sector, in the hottest country, from the hottest brokerage firm and the one that has the most “stars” next to it in Money magazine. Then what happens? You know the drill. They turn cold. In fairly short order, a perfectly normal market correction comes along. The cycle comes to an end. Investing like that is like enlisting in the Taliban on September 12th, 2001. Yes, you are joining the proudest fighting force in the world that day. Yes, your outfit just pulled off one of the greatest disasters of all time. But you know what? You are toast. Your obituary is written. It is all downhill. I have no wish to drive this message into the ground like a Cruise missile but I want to make one point very clear. Pay attention. At the end of an investor’s life, less than 5% of his total lifetime return will from what his investments did versus other investments. The other 95% will come from how the investor behaved.

You see, I have a firm belief that there is absolutely no relationship between investment performance and investor performance. Stock market success is a function of two things. One, recognition that the markets will go down and sometimes go down, a lot and two, prepare to regard those declines as either non-events or buying opportunities and never as an occasion to sell. With all certainty, I know that the most boring and mediocre stock fund in your portfolio, the one you hold onto during a vicious bear market is infinitely better than the world-class stock fund that you sell out of at the bottom of a temporary decline. The secret to making big money in stocks is to not get scared out of them. Americans, God bless them, are totally unable to distinguish between fluctuation and loss. The bottom line is this, and if you don’t believe me you have the right to be wrong, but don’t forget it, the higher your exposure to stocks as a percentage of your assets the better your overall return, over the long term. In the long run, no one controls our investment fate. We control it and bailing out of markets is like quitting a marathon because you get tired!
You can't win if you aren't geared up to be in the game for the long haul.

Scientific Games............

What's not to like with SGMS ?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Victor.......the legend grows..........

Many know of my following of Victor Niederhoffer's web site. I make no bones about. The single best resource for "meals for a lifetime" bar none. (With all due respects to Dr. Brett Steenbarger and Lazlo Biryini's site as well) Many don't have a clue when I reference Mr. Niederhoffer and I thought I'd share some background on the man and the legend.

Niederhoffer employs proprietary programs that predict short-term moves using multivariate time series analysis. In the five-year period since 2001, Victor Niederhoffer's fund has returned 50% a year(compounded). His worst year in this period was 2004 returning 40%, in 2005 he returned 56.2% (as reported in eFinancial News). On April 6, 2006, the industry group MarHedge awarded Matador Fund Ltd. And Manchester Trading, two funds managed by Niederhoffer the prize for best performance by a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) in the two years 2004 and 2005.

From 2000-2003, Niederhoffer co-wrote with financial writer Laurel Kenner a widely read weekly column on the markets for CNBC MoneyCentral. He and Kenner co-wrote Practical Speculation (John Wiley & Sons, February 2003), called "the best trading book of the young millennium" by Active Trader magazine. Niederhoffer's life story, and the lessons he learned growing up that helped him become a success were told in, the 1997 best-selling book The Education of a Speculator.

On his website Niederhoffer claims to be proudest of having had “a benevolent influence” on people that came in contact with him. At least a dozen employees whom he started out or taught became billionaires or multi-centimillionaires, including Monroe Trout, Toby Crabel, Stu Rose, John Hummer and Roy Niederhoffer (Victor's younger brother), all of whom are famous in money management or M&A.

Victor Niederhoffer is famous for hiring young and extremely bright traders, whom he mentors. He encourages them to develop their own trading strategies, and runs his firm more like a science lab than a traditional trading firm.

Squash
Niederhoffer is one of the greatest hardball squash players in history, and is a member of the squash hall of fame. Niederhoffer who had played racquet sports all his life growing up had never played squash when he entered Harvard University in 1960. One year later he won the national junior title and by the time he graduated, Niederhoffer was the National Intercollegiate squash champion. He won the U.S. Nationals five times (a record exceeded only by Stanley Pearson who won his sixth in 1923). He also won three national doubles titles. In 1975, he defeated one of the greatest players in the history of the game Sharif Khan in the final of the North American Open (the only time that Khan failed to win the title in the 13 year period between 1969 and 1981).

Other Activities
Niederhoffer is also the founder of the NYC Junto, a libertarian group hosted on the first Thursday of every month since 1985. He is a devoted follower of Ayn Rand. The NYC Junto focuses on libertarianism, objectivism and investing and was inspired by the Junto hosted by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia from 1727 to 1757. He has six daughters, Galt (named after Sir Francis Galton), Katie, Rand, Victoria, Artemis and Kira. His son Aubrey (named after the main character from the Aubrey Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'Brian) was born in May 2006.

Danger............

America has many dangers facing it........the biggest from within. Whether it is the Mexican "criminals" here or the military industrial complex the dangers are hidden amongst us.

The posturing of our 2008 presidential candidates is disgusting.

Listen to the lack of vision and clarity from these charlatans. Sound bite after sound bite.

Chavez the oil baron...............

This guy is bad news to democracy, free markets and North America.

The beat goes on in Pine Ridge.............

A former Oglala Sioux Tribe vice president and former treasurer along with another woman are facing charges in federal court of theft from an Indian tribal organization.

Eileen Janis, David D. Rabbit Sr. and Kim Colhoff are charged with stealing money from the tribe in 2003 and 2004.Janis is a former OST vice president and served under Alex White Plume. Since then, she has been an administrative assistant for OST President John Steele.Rabbit is a former OST treasurer. Both were in those positions at the time the crime is alleged to have taken place.Janis, Rabbit and Colhoff are accused of misapplying, stealing or knowingly converting for their own use, money or property in excess of $1,000.

Assistant U.S. attorney Bob Mandel said the specific amount of money will not be released until further court hearings.If convicted, Janis, Rabbit and Colhoff could each face five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

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