Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bend over America, here comes Ben.............

As long as Americans view presidential elections the same way they view American Idol, we deserve what we'll get. Why not just count the campaign money, announce the winner, and dispense with the voting altogether. It doubt it would affect the election outcome.

Here is some honesty for you.  Enjoy the discourse of the Ron and Ben show!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4uL6CSiGrU&feature=player_embedded

Monday, February 27, 2012

Russia today or simply OBAMACARE?

Patient (while handing the doctor an envelope): "Doctor, I can't thank you enough for saving my life."

Doctor (after examining the contents of the envelope): "Well you could try a LITTLE harder."

Common Sense would dictate that..............

that if the SEC seems stymied by the complexity of high-frequency trading (HFT)  and is unable to provide adequate oversite then the logical solution would be to prohibit high-frequency trading.

This next flash crash will be truly epic.  The regulators are clueless.

You make the call, it's YOUR money they get!!!

Poor Farmers Rich Farmers

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Check out 20% of America's income

The United States, the welfare state..............

Goldman Sachs reports................

Our most recent Hedge Fund Trend Monitor report analyzed 674 hedge funds with $1.1 trillion of gross equity positions consisting of $715 billion of long single-stock and ETF equity assets and an estimated $383 billion of short single-stock and ETF positions. We have published our Hedge Fund Trend Monitor quarterly for the past six years and analyzed constituent-level portfolio holdings of US hedge funds since 2001. The current report focuses on hedge fund positions at the start of 1Q 2012 and is based on 13-F filings as of February 15, 2012. We highlight 7 conclusions:

1. The typical hedge fund operates 46% net long versus 36% in 3Q 2011. Aggregate net exposure equals $332 billion. We estimate 17% of short positioning is conducted via ETFs with 13% occurring at the index level.

2. Combining long and short position data, hedge funds have the greatest net portfolio exposure to Information Technology (21%), Consumer Discretionary (20%), and Energy (14%). Hedge funds are not benchmarked but relative to the Russell 3000 universe they are 800 bp overweight Consumer Discretionary (20% vs. 12%) and 750 bp underweight Consumer Staples (3.5% vs. 11.0%). Net exposure rose in every sector in 4Q.

3. Turnover of all hedge fund holdings averaged just 28% during 4Q 2011, an all time low. The top quartile of positions (largest holdings) turned over just 14% while the bottom-quartile (smallest positions) turned over 41%. Since 2001, quarterly turnover of fund positions averaged 35%, peaking in 4Q 2008 at 45% but falling steadily since. Turnover fell in 4Q in all sectors.

4. Hedge fund returns are highly dependent on the performance of a few key stocks. The typical hedge fund has an average of 64% of its long equity assets invested in its 10 largest positions compared with 34% for the typical large-cap mutual fund, 18% for a small-cap mutual fund, 20% for the S&P 500 and just 2% for the Russell 2000 index.

5. Apple (AAPL) matters. One out of five long/short hedge funds has AAPL among its ten largest long positions and approximately 30% of hedge funds own at least one share of AAPL. When it ranks among the top ten holdings, AAPL represents an average of 8% of single-stock long equity exposure. In aggregate, hedge funds own only 4% of AAPL equity cap. The average hedge fund AAPL position equals 1.6%, given 70% of funds own no AAPL.

6. Five stocks have been in our VIP basket since inception in 2007 (18 quarters). AAPL, GOOG, MSFT, QCOM, and CVS have ranked among fundamentally-driven hedge funds’ top 10 holdings for more than 5 years. AAPL (+195%), QCOM (63%) and CVS (12%) outperformed the S&P 500 return of 4% during the same period. MSFT (-4%) and GOOG (-8%) lagged.

7. Turnover for the VIP basket in 4Q 2011 was below the historical average. 12 new constituents entered the VIP basket in 4Q 2011 compared with an average quarterly turnover of 17 stocks since 2001. New constituents include the following: BAC, DLPH, ESRX, HAL, HPQ, LMCA, MCD, PXD, PCLN, STX, TYC, and VIAB. The following stocks are no longer in the basket: AMT, ABX, CHK, CMCSA, CCI, EMC, EXPE, HES, M, ORCL, PG, and WLP. Exhibit 50 on page 17 contains a list of all 50 current constituents in our VIP basket.



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jeremy Grantham speaking his truth............

In his most recent quarterly letter titled appropriately enough "The Longest Quarterly Letter Ever" GMO's Jeremy Grantham literally kills it. Well, maybe not literally but certainly metaphorically.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing cover to cover, but in the meantime here is a choice selection:

Believe in history. In investing Santayana is right: history repeats and repeats, and forget it at your peril. All bubbles break, all investment frenzies pass away. You absolutely must ignore the vested interests of the industry and the inevitable cheerleaders who will assure you that this time it’s a new high plateau or a permanently higher level of productivity, even if that view comes from the Federal Reserve itself. No. Make that, especially if it comes from there. The market is gloriously inefficient and wanders far from fair price but eventually, after breaking your heart and your patience (and, for professionals, those of their clients too), it will go back to fair value. Your task is to survive until that happens.

Try to contain natural optimism. Optimism has probably been a positive survival characteristic. Our species is optimistic, and successful people are probably more optimistic than average. Some societies are also more optimistic than others: the U.S. and Australia are my two picks. I’m sure (but I’m glad I don’t have to prove it) that it has a lot to do with their economic success. The U.S. in particular encourages risk-taking: failed entrepreneurs are valued, not shunned. While 800 internet start-ups in the U.S. rather than Germany’s more modest 80 are likely to lose a lot more money, a few of those 800 turn out to be today’s Amazons and Facebooks. You don’t have to be better; the laws of averages will look after it for you. But optimism comes with a downside, especially for investors: optimists don’t like to hear bad news. Tell a European you think there’s a housing bubble and you’ll have a reasonable discussion. Tell an Australian and you’ll have World War III. Been there, done that! And in a real stock bubble like that of 2000, bearish news in the U.S. will be greeted like news of the bubonic plague; bearish professionals will be fired just to avoid the dissonance of hearing the bear case, and this is an example where the better the case is made, the more unpleasantness it will elicit. Here again it is easier for an individual to stay cool than it is for a professional who is surrounded by hot news all day long (and sometimes irate clients too). Not easy, but easier.

Resist the crowd: cherish numbers only. We can agree that in real life as opposed to theoretical life, this is the hardest advice to take: the enthusiasm of a crowd is hard to resist. Watching neighbors get rich at the end of a bubble while you sit it out patiently is pure torture. The best way to resist is to do your own simple measurements of value, or find a reliable source (and check their calculations from time to time). Then hero-worship the numbers and try to ignore everything else. Ignore especially short-term news: the ebb and flow of economic and political news is irrelevant. Stock values are based on their entire future value of dividends and earnings going out many decades into the future. Shorter-term economic dips have no appreciable long-term effect on individual companies, let alone the broad asset classes that you should concentrate on. Leave those complexities to the professionals, who will on average lose money trying to decipher them

If you can be patient and ignore the crowd, you will likely win. But to imagine you can, and to then adopt a flawed approach that allows you to be seduced or intimidated by the crowd into jumping in late or getting out early is to guarantee a pure disaster. You must know your pain and patience thresholds accurately and not play over your head. If you cannot resist temptation, you absolutely MUST NOT manage your own money. There are no Investors Anonymous meetings to attend.

On the other hand, if you have patience, a decent pain threshold, an ability to withstand herd mentality, perhaps one credit of college level math, and a reputation for common sense, then go for it. In my opinion, you hold enough cards and will beat most professionals (which is sadly, but realistically, a relatively modest hurdle) and may even do very well indeed.

The current U.S. capitalist system appears to contain some potentially fatal flaws. Therefore, we should ask what it would take for our system to evolve in time to save our bacon. Clearly, a better balance with regulations would be a help. This requires reasonably enlightened regulations, which are unlikely to be produced until big money’s influence in Congress, and particularly in elections, decreases. This would necessitate legal changes all the way up to the Supreme Court. It’s a long haul, but a handful of other democratic countries in northern Europe have been successful, and with the stakes so high we have little alternative but to change our ways.

Karl Marx went on and on about the tendency of capitalism to so fixate on growth that in time it would forget the need to put on a friendly face for society and would drive home too clearly and brutally its advantage over labor. Ironically, in some way he and Engels looked forward to globalization and the supranational company because they argued it would make capitalism even more powerful, over reaching, and eventually reckless. It would, they claimed, offer the capitalists more rope to hang themselves with or, rather, to be hung with, in the workers’ revolution. The rope for the job, they suggested with black humor, would be bought from briskly competing capitalists, eager till the end for a good deal. Well, time marches on and it’s going to be hard to have a workers’ revolution with no workers. Organizing robotic machine tools will not be easy. However, Marx and Engels certainly got the part right about globalization and the supranational company increasing the power of capital at the expense of labor. To interfere with Marx’s apocalyptic vision, we need some enlightened governmental moderation of the new globalized Juggernaut (even slightly enlightened would be encouraging) before capitalism gets so cocky that we have some serious social reaction.

Capitalism, by ignoring the finite nature of resources and by neglecting the long-term well-being of the planet and its potentially crucial biodiversity, threatens our existence. Fifty and one-hundred-year horizons are important despite the “tyranny of the discount rate,” and grandchildren do have value. My conclusion is that capitalism does admittedly do a thousand things better than other systems: it only currently fails in two or three. Unfortunately for us all, even a single one of these failings may bring capitalism down and us with it.

Tthe S&P 500 is materially overpriced, with an imputed return on our 7-year forecast of about 1% real, and because the high quality quarter of the S&P is priced to deliver 5.5% real (about a fair return), the 75% balance of the S&P has a slightly negative return. The rest of the world’s equities were (when I sat down to write this in January) on average slightly cheap at close to 7% real, so that non U.S. equities plus U.S. quality stocks offered a slightly higher average return than normal (a normal mix is about 6.1% real). (Today, after a dazzling rally, the forecast for the same global equity mix has dropped by 1.1%, to very slightly expensive.)

The 800-pound gorilla (the one that prefers bond holders to bamboo) is not in the room yet, but you can hear him thumping his chest up in the hills. He will come eventually, and before he does, you should remember that stocks are underrated inflation hedges. The underlying corporations have real assets, employ real people, and sometime even make real things, although a good idea embedded in a small thing (like an iPad) or a service is just as good. Equities have been tested over and over again in different places and in different decades and they have always been found to be very effective hedges. Serious resources – oil and copper in the ground and forestry and farmland – will almost certainly also be good and very probably much better than broad stocks in the short run. Gold may be good too.... But for stocks to work dependably as inflation hedges one has to have a several-year time horizon: in the short term, rising inflation can hurt stocks badly, for as mentioned last quarter, inflation is usually a powerful negative behavioral input. Investors hate jumps in inflation because they sharply raise the levels of uncertainty.

When I read the 120 contradictory bits of advice in the Financial Times alone, I find myself asking the question: who is an expert? To the extent that anyone has profitably specialized in this type of problem, I suppose it is George Soros. There are also, in my opinion, one or two investment management groups that seem to talk sense (which groups will go nameless for weasely competitive reasons). This is the problem: these probable experts are much more worried than the general market. This fact is giving rise to a new, tentative but definitely uncomfortable theory: perhaps the default assumption when dealing with ignorance or lack of confidence and skill is to assume everything will muddle through okay. Certainly we were amazed by this attitude generally displayed by the world (and most competitors) in the build-up to the 2000 and 2008 bubbles. Now we at GMO are calmly sitting around playing equities by the numbers, which are not too bad, and the market in general seems quite relaxed, while those few who look like experts on this crisis are pulling out their hair in fright. As I said, this is just a theory. But it is scary.

... and the punchline ....
The U.S. market was terrible for the last 10 years, gaining a pathetic 0.5% per year overall, after inflation adjustments and even including dividends. Without dividends, the index itself has not gone up a penny in real terms from mid-1997 to end-2011, or 14½ years. This is getting to be a long time! Are we expected to be bullish out of patriotism? You might think so given the flood of optimistic views for the last 10 years (or is it 100?). The industry so much prefers bullishness. It is much, much better for business. So, in general, does the press, and I do sympathize – optimism really does make for more compelling reading. I’ll tell you what. Try taking it out on the army of well-known bulls who blew the trumpets in 1999 and 2007 and waved everyone into the rather bloody breach. (Did you know that trumpeters were killed out of hand in the Middle Ages because of their pernicious role? How about that for a precedent when we get to the next burst bubble?)

Alas, now it's different.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quote of the Day.........

Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Give a man a welfare check, a forty-ounce malt liquor, a crack pipe and some Air Jordans, and the son-of-a-bitch votes Democrat for a lifetime.

Greece, statistics and lies. It's America 2012........

It is all okay. We live in upside down land. My favorite statistic is contracting at a slower rate than before is actually growth.  It is all okay!

Or how about spending more, but not as much as you previously said, so that is cutting spending.

Or adding debt is actually increasing capital.  Sure.

Or booking future sales as profit now is under GAAP rules.  Yup.

Or selling 2% more than the previous month while still being down 20% year over year is a recovery???   Reminds me of the Arab spring!   Things look great until they don't.

Last month my house lost $10k in value but this month it only lost $8k. That means my house actually increased in value by $2k?   What the hell kind of math is that?

How anyone can actually spout this garbage with a straight face is beyond me. What makes me crazy is that governments/politicians/MSM/investors/Americans actually buy it!!!  It is all okay!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Facts please.......not another fax..........

Despite the appearance of wealth creation in the US equity markets, the S&P buys 10% fewer gallons of gas for your car than its average since the MARCH  2009 lows with the last few weeks of action also removing almost 10% of purchasing power even as stocks have soared higher.

TN Cigarette Smokers

What is up with all the people in Cumberland County TN who smoke cigarettes?

Good God Almighty, what a bunch of idiots!   Out of all the hundreds of places that I travel every year there isn't one town/city/village that has such an astronomical per capita smoking population.

The oncology docs are getting fat.  Cumberland County Medical Center has taxpayer dollars taking care of those who smoke for a lifetime and show up with lung cancer. 
Is stupidity in the water or is it a genetic thing?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Regarding the $6 Trillion in fake Treasury bonds

"The individuals involved were planning to buy plutonium from Nigerian sources..."

It's easy to decipher.   Simply revenge for all those Nigerian emails promising unearned wealth if you would just transfer these funds.....

Jon Stumpf, "We are NOT too big to fail"......LOL

The US Federal Reserve has added more than $2 trillion to the base money supply since 2008 – an incredible and unprecedented number that is basically a gift to banks intended to cover their deep losses and spur lending and investment. Instead, as banks continue their enormous deleveraging, almost all of their new money remains at the Fed in the form of excess reserves. Corporations, moreover, are holding the largest amounts of cash, relative to assets and net worth, ever recorded. And yet, despite what pundits claim about strong balance sheets, firms’ debt levels, relative to assets and net worth, also remain near record-high levels. Hoarded cash is king. The velocity of money (the frequency at which money is spent, or GDP relative to base money) continues to plunge to historic lows. No wonder monetary policy has had so little impact. Capital, the engine of economic growth, sits idle – shrugging everywhere.

Please Read about OUR Government. Thank you.

Government Lies?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

From ZEROHEDGE today..........greatest web site on earth.

Here’s the link to a video by William Rochelle of Bloomberg News explaining how the safe harbor in Section 546(e) of the Bankruptcy Code likely will prevent MF Global customers from ever getting their $1.6 billion back -- even when it’s located, as it has been evidently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zVEZ-knlcA&feature=youtu.be

When Bill recorded the video, the bankruptcy trustee hadn’t yet raised the loss estimate from $1.2 billion. In case you’re wondering why Bill is so knowledgeable about bankruptcy law, he was head of bankruptcy litigation at Fulbright & Jaworski in New York before he decided to take up journalism.

What people need to understand is that like the case of WorldCom, the MF Global bankruptcy illustrates the way in which the large Wall Street banks have used their Washington lobbyists to encroach upon the rights of investors. Even if it were proved that John Corzine and his colleagues committed criminal violations of the Uniform Securities Act and state law, there is little chance that the investors in MF Global will ever receive equity and justice. Again, read the WorldCom case.

The problem here is that the existing laws against pillaging customer accounts and other acts of fraud are in conflict with the bankruptcy statute designed to make the world safe for large banks and over-the-counter derivatives. Specifically, the post 2005 bankruptcy laws prohibit trustees from clawing back the $1.6 billion in stolen customer funds. Indeed, the Bankruptcy Court and trustee are precluded from pursuing the banks just as the trustee in the Madoff fraud has likewise been stymied.

In addition to the clients of MF Global who were apparently defrauded, the big losers in this mess are the smaller independent broker dealers who have acted as custodian of client funds. Once institutional customers understand that they have no rights in the event that management of a small broker-dealer absconds with client funds to pay bank margin calls and a broker-dealer fails, the ability of independent dealers to hold customer funds is going to evaporate.

Purely as a matter of due diligence, no fiduciary will ever again be able to use a US-based broker dealer as a custodian. To do so would be reckless and would expose the fiduciary to claims of negligence in the event a loss similar to MF Global occurred.

Until the Congress rectifies the current bankruptcy laws and allows trustees to claw back payments made to secured lenders and other counterparties, there is no reason for any rational personal to allow a broker dealer to hold securities in custody. All of this business will go to the big banks, who will be just as happy to see the smaller dealers thrown into the meat grinder.

Now why, you may be wondering, did the lobbyists from the big banks push Congress to expand the safe harbor for secured parties in the bankruptcy code? As one former Bush II Treasury official told me last night: “The canard the banks used to get 546 amended was that overriding the trustee's normal avoidance powers was said to be necessary to limit systemic risk and ensure access to credit. God forbid the banks be required to do some due diligence. As the bailouts showed, the systemic risk was in fact enhanced by the changes to the bankruptcy code and the illusion of superior claims to collateral, thus increasing leverage.”

The MF Global bankruptcy provides yet more evidence that the 2005 bankruptcy reform legislation passed by Congress is an abomination, but the cancer goes even deeper than the years of Bush II. The big banks who earn the lion's share of their profits in the quantum world of derivatives are literally looting the real economy and real investors, all with the full approval and complicity of the Fed.

Fred Feldkamp, learned securities counsel and expert on RMBS, put the problem in perspective:
"Greenspan proved his total ignorance of the current state of the law when he stupidly eliminated regulatory restraints on fraud saying there was no need for regulation because "fraud is self-regulating." The "Supremes" don't "get it" as of now and Congress precluded just about every other means for controlling fraud between the last 2 years of Clinton and the 8 years of Bush II. It took a decade (1929-1938) before the Supreme Court woke up to the Great Depression's root cause (fraud of the 1910s to 1929). Blaming Obama for this is understandable in one sense, but overly simplistic."

It may be overly simplistic to blame President Obama for the financial mess, but don't think that this president won't throw Jon Corzine to the wolves to make political points. "Jon Corzine is not well-liked in Washington," one veteran republican operative told me over dinner tonight. "Don't be surprised if we see a high profile prosecution of Corzine by the US Attorney to prove Obama is distancing himself from the big banks."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lin-sanity............

Lin-sanity has swept up the NBA over the last week. Now it seems like the phenomenon has gone worldwide.

Friday’s 38 point performance by Harvard grad Jeremy Lin for the New York Knicks against the LA Lakers was his greatest performance yet as a starter, since he burst on to the scene and propelled the team to 4 straight wins.

Lin now has over 200,000 followers on Twitter. He’s got over 800,000 on Weibo – including 200,000 new ones in the 24 hour period after beating the Lakers.

But there’s more to this story than basketball. This isn’t just a modern-day, real-life version of the Hoosiers movie. The Jeremy Lin story is incredibly popular because we can all see a little bit of ourselves in this man’s struggles and now successes.

What can all of us learn from this young man — and how can we apply these same lessons to our own lives when we go back to work on Monday morning?

1. Believe in yourself when no one else does.Lin’s only the 4th graduate from Harvard to make it to the NBA. He’s also one of only a handful of Asian-Americans to make it. He was sent by the Knicks to play for their D-League team 3 weeks ago in Erie, PA. He’d already been cut by two other NBA teams before joining the Knicks this year. You’ve got to believe in yourself, even when no one else does.

2. Seize the opportunity when it comes up.Lin got to start for the Knicks because they had to start him. They had too many injuries. Baron Davis was gone. The other point guards were out. Carmelo Anthony was injured. Amare Stoudemire had to leave the team because of a family death. Lin could have squandered the opportunity and we would have never have noticed. But he made the most of it. You never know when opportunities are going to arise in life. Often, they’re when you least expect them. Make the most of them. Don’t fritter them away.

3. Your family will always be there for you, so be there for them. It wasn’t until a few days ago that Lin got his contract guaranteed by the Knicks for the rest of the season. Before that, he could have been cut at any time. He had to sleep on his brother’s couch on the Lower East Side to get by. His family always believed in him and picked him up when he could have gotten down on himself. That made him continue to believe. If you want your family to believe in you like that, you’ve got to be there for them too when they need it.

4. Find the system that works for your style.Lin isn’t Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. He’s not a pure scorer. He’s a passer and distributor – who can also score very well. It didn’t work for him in Golden State or Houston – where he was before landing at the Knicks. But Mike D’Antoni’s system at the Knicks has been perfect for him to show off his strengths. You’ve got to do your best to understand what your strengths are and then ensure that you’re in a system (a job or organization or industry) that is a good fit for those strengths. Otherwise, people overlook the talents you bring to the table.

5. Don’t overlook talent that might exist around you today on your team. You probably manage people at your own company today. Are you sure you don’t have a Jeremy Lin living among you now? How do you know that “Mike” couldn’t do amazing things if you gave him a new project to run with? How do you know “Sarah” isn’t the right person to take the open job in London that you’ve been talking over with your colleagues? We put people around us in boxes. He’s from Harvard. He’s Asian-American. Not sure he can play. How many assumptions have you made about talent around you? Don’t be like the General Managers in Golden State and Houston, and let talent slip through your fingers. With all their money, scouts, and testing, they didn’t have a clue what they had in their hands. Do you know what your people (or even yourself) is really capable of? Take off the blinders of assumptions you wear when you look at the world.

6. People will love you for being an original, not trying to be someone else. You’ve got to be you. You can’t be some 2nd rate copy of Michael Jordan. There will never be another Michael Jordan. Just be Jeremy Lin — yourself. Whatever that is. That doesn’t mean you don’t work hard — it just means you find what you’re good at and do it. Fans will love you for being you, just like they love Jeremy Lin. Judy Garland said it best:

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.

7. Stay humble. If you one day are lucky enough to have newspapers want to put you on the cover in order to sell more, don’t let it get to your head. It’s been remarkable watching how humble Lin remains through all this media frenzy. It makes his teammates and fans love him that much more.

8. When you make others around you look good, they will love you forever. I didn’t know how good Tyson Chandler was, until I saw him playing with Jeremy Lin. Lin has set Chandler up many times over the last week for easy dunks because he drew the defense and then passed the ball. That’s partly why the Knicks are playing so well. They are all working harder to share the ball with others. And it’s beautiful to watch. And when the media swarms Lin, he tells them how good his teammates are. Do the same with your peers and reports.

9. Never forget about the importance of luck or fate in life. Some people believe in God, some in destiny, some in luck. Whatever you believe in, be grateful for it.

10. Work your butt off. Lin couldn’t have seized his opportunity if he hadn’t worked like crazy for years perfecting his skills. There are no short cuts to hard work. Success is a by product of that. If you’ve got a Tiger Mom who’s always pushed you to work hard, great. If not, let your conscience be your own Tiger Mom! Get up early, stay up late. Nobody gave Lin any free passes. Why should you get any? You can only control what you control and that means you’ve got to work harder than anyone else you know.

I hope the Lin-sanity continues. And I hope we all can apply these lessons to our own work and family life.

There’s a great line from a New York Times article on Lin and his faith which is worth it for all of us to remember (from Romans 5:3-5):

suffering produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.

Clint Eastwood Retake! A much better Halftime in America!

Click on this link for "A Better Halftime in America"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Conservative fighting growth of the state.........

Mr. Victor Niederhoffer has built the JUNTO into what it is today.  Check it out.........

Junto

Saint Valentine.....He would roll in his grave if he knew

The world is awash in commercialism. Nothing wrong with that.  Capitalism has brought us the iPhone, iPad and Facebook.  Is there anything else?  Oh, a couple more things,  high-frequency trading, dark pools and zero-interest rates.  Don't know if I will attempt to go shoulder-to-shoulder with the crowds tonight.  Here is how they handle Valentines day in Iran.

In the first part of the 21st century, the celebration of Valentine's Day in Iran has been harshly criticized by Islamic Teachers who see the celebrations as opposed to Islamic culture. In 2011, the Iranian printing works owners' union issued a directive banning the printing and distribution of any goods promoting the holiday, including cards, gifts and teddy bears. "Printing and producing any goods related to this day including posters, boxes and cards emblazoned with hearts or half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day are banned... Outlets that violate this will be legally dealt with", the union warned.[79][

Tuesday humor.................

While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator(that may be redundant) was tragically hit by a car and died.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
"Welcome to heaven," says St.. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."
"No problem, just let me in," says the Senator.
"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."
"Really?, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Senator.
"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course.
In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.
They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes.
They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, "Now it's time to visit heaven...”
So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."
The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell...
Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls to the ground.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.
"I don't understand," stammers the Senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"
The devil smiles at him and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning,
Today, you voted.."


Vote wisely on November 2, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Frontier Air

On a flight back today from Montana on Frontier it was obvious from several view points the service level is greatly impaired and the company should be sold to somebody who cares.  What a joke.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Dentists are much worse.......

Trust your doctor? A survey finds that some doctors aren't always completely honest with their patients.
More than half admitted describing someone's prognosis in a way they knew was too rosy. Nearly 20 percent said they hadn't fully disclosed a medical mistake for fear of being sued. And 1 in 10 of those surveyed said they'd told a patient something that wasn't true in the past year.
The survey, by Massachusetts researchers and published in this month's Health Affairs, doesn't explain why, or what wasn't true.
"I don't think that physicians set out to be dishonest," said lead researcher Dr. Lisa Iezzoni, a Harvard Medical School professor and director of Massachusetts General Hospital's Mongan Institute for Health Policy. She said the untruths could have been to give people hope.
But it takes open communication for patients to make fully informed decisions about their health care, as opposed to the "doctor-knows-best" paternalism of medicine's past, Iezzoni added.
The survey offers "a reason for patients to be vigilant and to be very clear with their physician about how much they do want to know," she said.
The findings come from a 2009 survey of more than 1,800 physicians nationwide to see if they agree with and follow certain standards medical professionalism issued in 2002. Among the voluntary standards are that doctors should be open and honest about all aspects of patient care, and promptly disclose any mistakes.
A third of those surveyed didn't completely agree that doctors should `fess up about mistakes. That's even though a growing number of medical centers are adopting policies that tell doctors to say "I'm sorry" up front, in part because studies have found patients less likely to sue when that happens.
Not revealing a mistake is "just inexcusable," said Dr. Arthur Caplan, a prominent medical ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. Beyond decency, "your care now has to be different because of what happened."
The vast majority of those surveyed agreed that physicians should fully inform patients of the risks, not just the benefits, of treatment options and never tell a patient something that isn't true _ even though some admitted they hadn't followed that advice at least on rare occasions in the past year.
Perhaps least surprising is that doctors give overly positive prognoses. It's hard to deliver bad news, especially when a patient has run out of options, and until recently doctors have had little training in how to do so. But Iezzoni said patients with the worst outlook especially deserve to know, so they can get their affairs in order, and patient studies have found most want to know.
What else might doctors not tell? There are shades of gray, said Caplan, the ethicist. For example, he's heard doctors agonize over what to tell parents about a very premature baby's chances, knowing the odds are really bad but also knowing they've seen miracles.
Doctors prescribe placebos sometimes, and telling the patient could negate chances of the fake treatment helping, he noted. Sometimes they exaggerate a health finding to shock the patient into shaping up.
And sometimes it's a matter of dribbling out a hard truth to give patients a chance to adjust, Caplan said: "OK, this looks serious but we're going to order some more tests," when the doctor already knows just how grim things are.
Withholding the full story is getting harder, though, Iezzoni said. Not only do more patients Google their conditions so they know what to ask, but some doctors who have embraced electronic medical records allow patients to log in and check their own test results.

Great quote from a world-class performer.......

The day I met Marty LaSalle is the day I met Sarah Schwarz.    Both tremendous strength, focus, balance, agility.   Here is a great quote from Sarah.  It probably applies to you in what you do.

"To me, life in the circus ... you have to be awake, be adaptable to new situations, keep your eyes open. Everything here is a bit riskier. Water doesn't always come out of the tap, and electricity doesn't always come out of the wall. What is really hard is to be good every day."

Check out this nice YouTube piece on Sarah:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rdls7oXh0EE

Here is Marty and his twin brother, great stuff...........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCEhJDDrA08&feature=related

A great Judge in Idaho.............

Four men were jailed and fined thousands of dollars Monday in Custer County after pleading guilty to charges stemming from an investigation into illegal hunting activity in the Yankee Fork drainage.

A fifth man was sentenced in January. Two others were warned.

Jailed and fined were Juan Pasillas-Garcia, 44, of Hailey; Sergio Pasillas-Garcia, 39, and Bernardo Amaya, 38, both of Phoenix; and Martin Pasillas-Garcia, 45, of Torrence, Calif.

Jose Pasillas-Garcia, 30, of Hailey, had his jail sentenced suspended.

The sentences were some of the most severe for wildlife crimes that the state of Idaho has seen in a case that began on October 14, when an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer watched two hunters leave their truck and hike up the mountain.

“I hid in the brush and ended up waiting nine hours for them to return,” Regional Investigator Ryan Hilton said. “It was a long, cold day, but by being out there I was able to hear the shots that we later confirmed illegally killed a six-point bull elk closed season and also took a video of them loading an illegal deer into their truck.”

Hilton was among Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers who had been investigating suspicious activities of two local men, two Arizona residents and one California resident, after receiving tips regarding the groups’ taking over-limits of deer and elk and hunting while the season was closed.

“We set up a camp in the same drainage to track their activities and either dispel or confirm the allegations,” Conservation Officer Andy Smith said.

Dressed like other hunters and carrying rifles of their own, the conservation officers followed the group around the clock for nearly a week listening for gunshots and documenting deer and elk being transported by the hunters.

“We suspected that they were transporting the animals to Hailey at night so we took turns sleeping so one of us could always be watching their camp,” Smith said.

Their persistence paid off. On the morning of October 15, the opening day of elk season, the suspects transported a six-point bull elk off the mountain from the location where Hilton had heard shots the day before.

After the suspects left the area, Smith and Sorensen headed up the mountain.

“We knew our chances were slim, but we had to find where the elk had been killed and verify that it was killed before the season had opened,” Smith said. A few hours later in a soaking rain storm they discovered that the individuals had done what they suspected.

Knowing that the group had an elk that had been killed before the season had opened, officers secured search warrants for the camp and vehicles. Officers from the Jerome and Salmon regions served warrants in the Yankee Fork drainage and on a vehicle near Hailey. The illegal elk and four illegal mule deer bucks were recovered.

From there, the scope of the investigation grew as the officers realized that most of the hunters involved were nonresidents that had been using their brothers’ address in Hailey to claim residency and illegally purchasing resident hunting licenses and tags. Some of the individuals had been doing this since 2001.

The officers issued a combined 49 citations and 21 warnings to seven individuals.

On Monday, February 6, Custer County Magistrate Judge Charles L. Roos sentenced the five men to a total of 2,910 days of jail time. Four of them were ordered to serve 200 days; the fifth had his jail time suspended. The total fines amounted to $25,223. One life time revocation of hunting, fishing, and trapping was handed down with 65 years of hunting, fishing, and trapping split among the other four.

Dick Bove on ZeroHedge...........

In a moment of surprising clarity this morning (or perhaps driven by simple ulterior motives as his favorite bank may well be unprepared to cover even this moderate cash payment from existing reserves, as we warned back in January) perpetual bank optimist Dick Bove had some harsh words for the now finalized bank settlement, which he called the "mortgage deal from hell" - "Those people lucky or smart enough to stop making payments on their homes may get their loan balances reduced. Other beneficiaries of the agreement may be homeowners who have seen the value of their houses drop below the size of their mortgages. They get a freebie that other homeowners who have paid their mortgages down will not get....Homeowners who made large down payments on their homes or made the terrible mistake to pay down the principal on their mortgages do not qualify. Homeowners who made minimal or no down payments will get the windfall benefit of a lower principal repayment or a cash payment." And the true bottom line: "There is no sanctity of contracts in the United States. Only fools meet their financial commitments. The non-payers are the truly enlightened." And that is the summary of modern US society in a nutshell, and explains why despite all the deleveraging, inflation still remains a potent threat as the bulk of a household's mandatory continues to be merely discretionary, with everyone else footing the bill. Finally, as Rick Santelli pointed out subsequently, the banks are paying for this settlement using cash proceeds from previous bank bailouts which have not yet been paid out. So to be even more blunt than Dick and Rick -the US taxpayers bailed out the banks, which are now using the balance of said proceeds to pay a settlement which amounts to the tune of $2,000 per every person foreclosed on in the past 3 years, in order to assure their vote for Obama, while in the process trampling contact law, as no longer will anyone in America honor anything printed and signed.

NO austerity for these Greek partiers!

"Angry union leaders announced a 48-hour general strike for Friday and Saturday." “We are moving to a social uprising," said ADEDY Secretary Genera Iliopoulos."

Think that bloody mess worked for Pepsi?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

JAWS baby, JAWS..............

Shark attacks reached a worldwide, 20-year high in 2011 (12 deaths, all ex-USA).

Florida was down in the number of attacks (11 non-fatal).

Atlas Shrugged.................

"When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruptiong being rewarded and honesty becoming self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed."

El-Erian speaks................

Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-chief investment officer of bond fund giant PIMCO, said investors should be underweight equities while favoring "selected commodities" such as gold and oil, given the fragile global economy and geopolitical risks. Over the long term gold will reward investors who own gold as part of a diversified portfolio. Trying to time purchases and market movements is not recommended – especially for inexperienced investors.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Today in my USPS mail box..................

Just wanted to let you know - today I received my 2012 Social Security Stimulus Package.  It contained two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, a prayer rug, a machine to blow smoke up my ass, 10 discount coupons to KFC and an "Obama Hope & Change" bumper sticker.The directions were in Spanish. Hope you get yours soon.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Better late than never.........

Some things never change.   Most Americans don't know what "Indian time" is.  I deal with it every day if not at least weekly.  My mocs finally arrived today from northern Minnesota! 

I can hear the drums already!

Nike, SELL THESE ONLINE NOW !!!!!!!!

The Nike Air Native Tempo+ N7 is only available through tribal wellness programs that are more specifically identified as health disease prevention programs, urban Indian health center and in Canada First Nation health centers, urban Aboriginal health centers and Aboriginal community wellness programs. They are not sold in stores.

Willow Creek Family Medicine, Roswell, GA

I am still handling bills that continue to flood in from my fathers death last June 9th.

When I get some "spare" time i want to comment on the billing practices of the above named company.

If you are the caretaker of an elderly person I would run, not walk, from having anything to do with this practice.   How much and how many ways can one be billed for a simple signature?  Plenty.

More to come on that.    Come to think of it, the vast majority of doctors don't or won't give a patient their email addresses for fear that you might ask them a question that they would answer and then not get paid for or perhaps leave them open to liability.

Is this something that ObamaCare might cure?    No, I am not serious with that comment.

One coming down, more to go...........

From Bloomberg: "Greece’s Prime Minister Lucas Papademos requested the country’s Finance Ministry to prepare a document on the implications of a Greek default, Panos Beglitis, spokesman for the socialist Pasok Party said. The Prime Minister yesterday told the leaders of the three political parties supporting his interim government that he asked the Ministry “to record accurately and realistically all the consequences of the country’s exit from the euro zone,” Beglitis said today in an interview with Radio 9, according to a transcript of his comments e-mailed from the Athens-based offices of Pasok."

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday........

It's true.  Mr. Romney is the only candidate at this point in the race to run Obama out of office.

It's a nation of Hollywood scriptology,  sound-bite media lashing, advertising for eye-balls instead of truth.    Dr. Ron Paul is radical surgery for the radical debt cancer but he's toast.

You see, today the danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a lazy, uninformed electorate willing to elect him. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Our nation can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a symptom. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.

We could sure use some Super Leadership in America today!!  And some brains in the electorate.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Government Lies?

It's been nearly 30 years to the day since i went to work for the venerable Kidder, Peabody & Co., Inc.  Dave Utter hired me and remains a great friend to this day.   He understood the crapola espoused by  Wall Street ilk and government BS'ers and did his best to impart the truth.  Today, both of us laugh at the BS when we hear it and it seems all we do is laugh at the freak show of lies..   Here is some beautiful refutation of  today's government employment numbers.   If you want some truth, it's not really a stock market anymore, in fact I have always said one thing the market mechanism should be is a government run exchange instead of a for-profit exchange.  The NYSE should  more aptly be called a massive farm of servers and supercomputers that is technically a crime scene.  Co-location is a losing proposition for market participants now because the market is so thin and devoid of real traders, let alone investors (75% is algo, less than 10% is held longer than a day), and because of the magic of order flashing, it's a totally stacked deck. They know how many shares you own and where you bought or sold 'em (ID tracking). They know if you're trading from a ToS account, a prop shop or bulge bracket desk. Bids and asks disappear as soon as you hit them. And they make the spreads look artificially good when they're really a mile wide. Most of the serious trading (if any) from size players is done through dark pools sight unseen. Everyone else is road kill for the whack-a-mole machine!

Lies, BS, Hocus-pocus, Phooey

Before you take that stroll in the Everglades .............


In this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 photo provided by the National Park Service, Everglades National Park wildlife biologists Mark Parry, left, and Skip Snow perform a necropsy on a Burmese Python that was captured and killed in Everglades National Park, Fla. The 15.65-foot-long Python had recently consumed a 76-lb. adult female deer. The reptile was one of the largest ever found in South Florida. (AP Photo/National Park Service)

One bright trader, Kyle Bass says, "Don't sell your gold"

The mainstream media seem willing to sound the all-clear and bring us back from Defcon-3 on the back of what can generously be described by realists willing to look at the actual data as a 'murky' NFP print. The market's reaction seems modestly QE-off (with rates up decently) but the only modest drop in Gold appears to fit with a lack of conviction in the data (especially given the EUR sell-off on Papademos chatter). It seems, as Bloomberg reports, Kyle Bass is right to take the longer-view when he notes today "I'm against selling any of the gold" in UTIMCO's portfolio, pointing out the mounting risks from government deficits in US and Europe, "as every day goes by, I see deflation in the things you own and inflation in the things you need." Summing up the reality of our global situation, one of Bass's colleagues adds "This is a grand experiment and they typically never end well."

Thursday, February 02, 2012

This is the team I am rooting for........

Her income is double his.
Both 1 %'ers!!
Get it done Tom!!! 

Groundhog Day at mid-day............

Beginning just before 10 am, or the moment Ben Bernanke's prepared remarks went off embargo, gold and silver have been on a relentless tear, with Gold passing $1760/ounce and now just $150 from its all time nominal highs. And while risk is on elsewhere, stocks priced in gold are down 0.9% since their highs yesterday and at their lows in real terms, even as they hit new nominal highs, confirming that fear of the coming monetary tsunami will benefit precious metals.

So while the lemmings focus on meaningless nominal gains, their real purchasing power just lost another 1%.

Thank you very much Ben - you are a good man.

Trading in Europe today..............

Mining stocks were the top gainers, with the STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index .SXPP up 2.6 percent, helped by a 10.4 percent jump in mining group Xstrata and a 5.4 percent rise in commodities trader Glencore on talks about an all-share deal that could create a combined group worth more than 50 billion pounds ($79 billion).

"This deal, if confirmed, will bring huge value to shareholders ... and bring them both into line to compete with larger mining companies," Atif Latif, director of trading equities & derivatives at Guardian Stockbrokers, said.

Bernanke on 2/2/12

Punxsutawney Ben, who just saw the printer's shadow, is predicting six more trillion of free money!

Well said...................

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