Thursday, March 30, 2006

Keep the Faith..........

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!" he said to himself.

As he continued walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning to look, he saw a 7 foot grizzly charging towards him.

He ran as fast as he could up the path. Looking over his shoulder he saw that the bear was closing in on him. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear raising his paw to take a swipe at him. At that instant the atheist cried out: "Oh my God..."

Time stopped.

The bear froze.

The forest was silent.

It was then that a bright light shone down upon the man and a voice came out of the sky saying: "You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps, could you make the BEAR a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice.

The light went out.

And the sounds of the forest resumed.

Then the bear lowered his paw, bowed his head and spoke:

"Lord, bless this food which I am about to receive and for which I am truly thankful. Amen."

World Wide Market Declines, from Victor Niederhoffer

There has been much talk in the media these days about declines in world wide markets, especially that the Arab ones might spill over into ours. I took the liberty of looking at the some 350 (depending on how you account for overlapping indexes on the same market) stock markets followed by Bloomberg in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North and Latin America. I find that 340 of them are up year to date, with the average of about 8%. Here are the downs, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Nigeria, Kuwait (-12%), Bahrain , Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, (-35%), Taiwan (-1%), South Korea ( -1.5%), Jamaica. I query to what extent a good first quarter all around is predictive of other quarters, and whether there are any gravitational effects around. and to what extent this backdrop is factored into the public consciousness.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jim Cramer

The King of Boo-yah is doing a real job for GE at CNBC. Ratings are up and it has been fun to watch how the show has been tweeked by his handlers and probably himself.

An entertainer he is. Nothing more. His decade run of 24% per year was accomplished by paying massive commissions to the Street. His wife, a former Steinhardt trader, taught him most of what he used to garner that "first call" by analysts and the hot IPO allocations put him on the map. He earned it, yes. The clients really paid for their performance by allowing him to throw their money (commissions) to the Street. Massive commish.

What's not like? Capitalism at it's finest. What a great planet, even Spitzer had money in there.

One thing Mr. Cramer does allow in his new book, that I agree with wholeheartedly, is that no matter how rich one gets, it surely can't come near the joys of fatherhood and a loving family.

Illegal Immigration

These politicians all casting stones about immigration issues should be jailed. Every single one is to blame. Call it what it is, learned helplessness.

Lack of a 3rd political party to get things done has hampered the effort. One of these years we will have a real party to contend with, the LATINO party.

Hang on, it will get real good from here. The party is in formation now.

Hythiam

Terren Peizer, boy wonder at my old employer, Drexel Burnham Lambert is getting a whole lot richer today. I wonder if he still talks to Michael Milken, another billionaire in Incline Village?

Home Depot

I try to shop Home Depot versus Lowes.......but the 2005 compensation of over $27,000,000 to Mr. Nardelli, the former GE honcho who runs the retailer was over the top. I ALWAYS get a sick feeling at check-out.

Monday, March 20, 2006

a Monday funk.................

Brawling with my internet provider on various issues is a no-win situation.

Maybe Microsoft and WalMart are making a move after Friday's big volume is digested on a rather boring Monday.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Native America Calling.............

I will be on the program; Financial Fitness on Native America Calling that is scheduled for Thursday, March 23rd at 11:00 a.m. (Mountain Standard time).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The media's uncommon sense..............

This morning on every media outlet i have watched or read there is a recurring story of how the former dictator of Iraq thinks the citizens of Iraq should take up arms against United States troops and not each other.

What else do you think he would say?

Another reason to only watch CNBC with the sound turned off.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

If they are going to give it away, these programs are as good as any...........

USDA ANNOUNCES NEARLY $6.7 MILLION TO SPUR RURAL ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN 20 STATES

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2006-Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner today announced nearly $6.7 million in technical assistance grants to assist 31 nonprofit community-based development organizations and low-income communities or federally recognized tribes to improve their ability to develop rural housing, technology, economic development and community facilities in 20 states.

"These grants will provide rural community leaders with the additional resources they need to launch community improvements that will enhance rural life," said Conner. "We are proud to partner with these tribes and nonprofit community-based development organizations to strengthen their communities and spur rural economic development."

The technical assistance grant program was created by Congress in 2000 to assist in the development or increase the capacity of nonprofit organizations, low-income rural communities or federally recognized tribes to undertake projects in the areas of housing, community facilities, and community and economic development in rural areas.

In Wisconsin for example, Northwoods Niijii Enterprise Community, Inc. will use $300,000 in grant funds to provide technical and financial assistance to three Native American Tribes and eight municipalities for capacity building to assist in the successful achievement of the Tribal members' long-term plan for sustainable community development. Assistance will include Native financial literacy training, business and entrepreneurial training and technical assistance in grant writing.

In Kentucky, Christian Appalachian Project, Inc. will use $300,000 to provide technical and financial assistance to 13 nonprofit organizations serving approximately 20 counties in the rural Appalachian areas of eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia. Assistance will be provided in areas of housing, job creation and job training to those in greatest need.

Recipients are required to obtain matching funds that will double the impact of the USDA grants. Funding of individual recipients will be contingent upon meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. A complete list of 2006 recipients can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/newsroom/news.htm.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development has invested over $63 billion since the beginning of the Bush Administration to provide equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. As a result, over 1.1 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.

Native America Calling on March 23...........

I will be on the radio show, Native America Calling on March 23rd regarding the topic of INVESTING.......maybe you will have time to listen.

From your Kidder Peabody pals George, go get 'em!!!!!!

Former Imperial Capital Bank Executive Wins Over $900,000 in 'Glass Ceiling' Gender Discrimination Award According to The Executive Law Group
Wednesday February 15, 9:00 am ET


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- On December 30, 2005, after battling for a year and a half, Bobbi Koehler, a former female executive of Imperial Capital Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITLA Capital Corporation (ITLA), the largest financial institution headquartered in San Diego County, won vindication and an award of over $900,000 on a claim of unlawful gender discrimination based on ITLA's failure to consider her for promotion above the level of First Vice President. The award, which makes final the interim award that issued on November 17, 2005, includes damages of more than $500,000 and attorneys fees and costs of more than $430,000. Issued by an arbitrator from the Orange County office of JAMS Endispute, the Hon. Richard Neal (Ret.), a retired Justice of the California Court of Appeal, the award rejected ITLA's claim that Ms. Koehler's nonpromotion was due to business reasons and not gender discrimination. The award is not subject to appeal. R. Craig Scott, CEO of the Newport Beach-based Executive Law Group, represented Ms. Koehler. Richard A. Paul and Kari D. Searles of the San Diego-based law firm of Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP represented Imperial Capital Bank and ITLA.
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"We are grateful that Justice Neal accepted the underlying theory of Ms. Koehler's case, which was that ITLA, through the actions of its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, George Haligowski, Vice Chairman and Chief Credit Officer, Norval Bruce and other senior executives, established and maintained what his Honor conservatively described in the award as a "corporate bias against promoting women" and held Imperial Capital Bank and ITLA accountable," said attorney Scott. "During her tenure with Imperial Capital Bank, Ms. Koehler was repeatedly passed over for promotion, despite her vocal opposition to its conspicuous 'glass ceiling,' while other male First Vice Presidents (and no females) with lower performance ratings and less management experience were given promotions and less qualified male job candidates were hired to fill more senior open positions for which ITLA gave Ms. Koehler no consideration. As Ms. Koehler found out, ITLA utilizes a 'tap-on-the-shoulder' promotion system, where networking among the male executives in a 'boys club' atmosphere is more important than an employee's performance or relevant job experience. The result: as his Honor observed in the award, although women make up more than half of the workforce of Imperial Capital Bank, their numbers shrink considerably at the higher levels of management without regard to seniority or performance. "One can only wonder how many current and former female associates of the bank had experiences similar to mine, and will now feel that they, too, should come forward," observed Ms. Koehler.

During a 5 1/2 day arbitration hearing before Justice Neal, evidence was introduced that ITLA's "corporate bias against promoting women" is rooted in an even more disturbing form of gender discrimination, which manifested itself in the official tolerance of sexual harassment and alcohol abuse by members of its male-dominated senior management team at business events. As an example, in the award Justice Neal described in detail an instance in which an intoxicated male senior executive perpetrated "outrageous harassment" against a female subordinate during a company event. He was not only accorded what his Honor described as "highly lenient treatment" by CEO George Haligowski, but he was promoted by Mr. Haligowksi to an even more senior management position shortly after the female victim complained to the Bank's Human Resources department. "One would have thought that this sort of misconduct by senior executives in the banking industry went out with the Savings & Loan scandals of the 1980s," said attorney Scott.

In the award, his Honor also noted a pattern of sexually degrading remarks made by other senior ITLA executives, which disparaged the fitness of women per se to hold senior management positions at the Bank. This discriminatory bias is even reflected in the composition of ITLA's board of directors, which has never had a female member.

Almost as disturbing, CEO Haligowski admitted under cross-examination that, although he touts his Harvard education and his curriculum vitae suggests that he holds academic degrees from other prestigious universities, he actually has no undergraduate degree, nor any post-secondary school academic degrees. "I was led to believe that he graduated from an Ivy League school, earned an M.B.A. from Harvard and had completed post-graduate work at other top schools," Ms. Koehler said. "I was shocked to learn that this was not true. What would the shareholders think if they knew? ITLA is a public company and an FDIC-insured financial institution. I can't imagine that something like this doesn't violate the company's Code of Business Conduct and Ethics."

"This award reaffirms that the California and federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination remain vital to ensuring that women have access to workplaces in the banking industry that are free of unlawful gender discrimination," Scott said.

Goldman Sachs ..............

Massive revenue reported over the last 90 days.........nearly $11,000,000,000 in gross revenue. Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns aren't far behind.

Merrill Lynch paying their Chairman over $35,000,000 is overboard as well with the Dow up last year a smidge over 1%.

Is anybody else asking where are the customers yachts?

Gary Rogan comments on NBC...............

There is a new prime-time game show on NBC that is the first purely probabilistic game show that I have ever seen. The rules are simple. You start out with a number of briefcases containing amounts from $0.01 to $1,000,000. Choose a briefcase. Then as each round progresses, you pick a particular briefcase to open to reveal it's contents. You then must either stay with your original briefcase choice or make a "deal" with the "banker" to accept its cash offer in exchange for whatever dollar amount is in your chosen case.

I've watched a few episodes and observed the following: (a) contestants don't recognize that this is a purely probabilistic game that has a simple optimum strategy for which they can prepare in advance (b) as long as there are large numbers on the board they usually continue to play and eventually give up once all the large numbers and the incentive they provide are gone (c) the friends contestants bring, usually help form a consensus to continue longer than indicated by the optimum strategy by encouraging the contestant to be "daring". The family usually has a somewhat more moderating effect because they can use the money, unless some kid becomes the "decision maker", in which case he usually acts like a "friend".

While the game is utterly devoid of any intellectual content outside of the realm of probability, I found it a useful lesson in market-like pricing mechanism in action. It's superficially similar to the "Sultan's Dowry" problem but simpler because no initial discovery is needed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Death in the Nest.............

On the way home this morning from taking my youngest son to school and dropping off a basket for our spring carnival I noticed a pile of feathers on the shoulder of the road near my neighborhood. I had been on the road last night about 9:15 pm and hadn't noticed the feathers and curiousity got the best of me so I turned around and went back to see what type of bird was the owner of said feathers.

I knew immediately when you see feathers on a birds legs all the way down to the talons. For years Great-horned owls have been a fixure in our neighborhood. Often waking me up. Often watching their silent flight at early dawn moving back into a 22 acre of woods across the street that they have called home for years. The bird was probably low in flight and was hit by a car last night.

Great-horned owls are the first birds to breed in the calendar year. Something to do with having great feather protection to ward off late winter cold as well as having an ample food supply for their young while the spring vegetation is not thick and provides better hunting opportunity for the birds to feed their young. The dead owl this morning surely had young in the nest. The lonely hooting which subsides during the early days of raising their young may not be heard for a while. I hope the remaining adult bird can feed the young birds and get them into adulthood.

Death comes to predators as well. Even great predators.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Our focus at Chippewa Partners

“Dad worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and we lived on many Indian reservations across the Great Plains. Growing up, the hills of the Sisseton-Wahpeton tribe on west to the Big Horn Mountains on the Crow Reservation were home to me. It was near Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota I spent my high school years. Only 80 years before, Hotckiss guns were carefully trained on a group of terrified and disarmed Sioux. It wasn’t a battlefield at Wounded Knee, like historians suggest, it was an assassination; as were America’s first freedom fighters; Sitting Bull, Dull Knife and Geronimo. The carnage continues today as the Indian Affairs Trust Office still can not account for two billion dollars of Native American fund transfers. This company was founded to manage serious wealth for those tribes and tribal members who understand that casino gaming alone is not the answer to viable long-term economic success.”

From a conference in New York City; “My Story: From Wounded Knee to Wall Street”

NATIVE AMERICAN FOCUS

Chippewa Partners is the oldest Native American investment management firm, founded in 1995, with 100% Native American ownership. Our scholarship for Native American students speaks clearly of our promotion of Native American economic development and empowerment. Today, for both reservation and urban Native Americans, human capital development is the critical step in building an economic base in Native American communities.

Why should Native Americans do business with Chippewa Partners? We believe that Native American tribes, institutions and individuals should endeavor to cultivate relationships with other Native American businesses that offer high quality, competitive products and services. We know this growth of business enterprise is a positive development for the Native American community.

Native Americans helping Native Americans.

At Chippewa Partners we are committed to the growth of Native American wealth, even for the generations of Native children yet unborn. The American Indian Trust Fund Reform Act places further responsibility on Native American fiduciaries to make sure that Native American assets are invested prudently with investment management firms and not Wall Street brokerage firms.

Our philanthropic interests lie in the area of Native American scholarships. The Chairman of Chippewa Partners, Dean T. Parisian has endowed a significant scholarship at the University of Minnesota specifically for Native American students in the areas of business, economics and finance.

Please consider this unique and important proposal when considering professional investment management services. Chippewa Partners, when managing Native American assets, has a policy of establishing permanent endowment funds that are created with a dedicated percentage of our investment management fees as well as a unique commission recapture program. This is a very unique and valuable program whereby over 70% of all trading commissions are rebated to Native American clients to create scholarships for Native Americans students for that specific tribal organization.

We encourage tribal fiduciaries to examine our 25 years of experience and study. Portfolios are separately managed and customized to meet specific investment objectives. For further information please call us in strict confidence at 770-772-1621 or contact us at ChippewaPartners@aol.com.

First Nations Training......Rapid City

My absence from the office for a couple days in South Dakota was great. It's so refreshing to see a solid attempt to gain a foothold in financial literacy across so many communities and "fronts" in Indian Country. It was impressive.

The trainers were excellent. Spirited, objective and willing to listen.

First Nations is on to something here. It is a great beginning.

I am glad to to have had the opportunity to help. A guru I am not. Just a regular guy who without the loving concern and tough love of his parents would have probably never made it out of Pine Ridge, SD let alone to the canyons of Wall Street.

Native American Focus..............

It was in high school that Dean Parisian realized he wasn't the typical American kid. Today he feels that life on various reservations surrounded by poverty and neglect served him well as a training ground for the challenges of Wall Street. Dean is an enrolled member of the White Earth Reservation and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Being Indian is more than an ethnic label and has influenced his every step, from the rough, often hopeless world of the reservations, to an appointment at West Point, an officer at several major Wall Street firms, and as President of Native American Advisors, Inc., an independent investment management firm. Dean is a seasoned professional and for many years has seen the unfortunate mismanagement of Indian assets. Native American Advisors, Inc. is a money management firm that provides investment counsel and management services to individuals, corporations, retirement plans, Tribal Colleges and tribal funds derived from gaming, trust, and energy resources. The firm's mission is to help preserve the financial resources, integrity, and sovereignty for generations of Tribal members.

Growing up, Parisian had an unusual vantage point to Native American problems. He attended four high schools on three reservations, his father being an investigator with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. During his collegiate years at the University of Minnesota he double-majored in Economics and Education. Postgraduate work included law school before moving to southern California to launch his career. In 1982 he trained on Wall Street with Kidder Peabody, worked several years for Drexel Burnham Lambert, and after moving to Atlanta, worked as a Vice President at both major NYSE brokerage and banking firms.

Helping other Indians has been a priority for Parisian. In the 1980s, he spent years on the Board of the San Diego American Indian Health Center, a provider of medical and dental services to urban Indians. In education, he funded a $25,000 scholarship at the University of Minnesota specifically for Native American students to study business. "We have to help America's indigenous help themselves," he says. Parisian believes that Native Americans must work to assimilate their beliefs and traditions, which are so important, into a global marketplace and unite to craft a national Indian policy. "We can't shut reservation doors and live in an autonomous world," he says.

Surrounded by computer screens and Indian artistry, in an office overlooking a scenic creek north of Atlanta and far removed from the noise on Wall Street, he maintains that "gaining economic, political, and educational power is the way for Indians to move forward. Indians should be doing business with Indians." Included on the Board of Native American Advisors, Inc. is Larry A. Pankey. Mr. Pankey is enrolled at the Ft. Berthold Reservation and member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, Dean says "Larry has made a significant contribution to our team." The firm uses stockbrokers of Native American heritage for trade execution whenever possible, because as Dean says, "the firm's mission is to help promote Indian business enterprise."

As an investment counseling firm, Native American Advisors, Inc. is committed to delivering exceptional service to individuals and institutions, and as Dean said, "a firm that has made a commitment to trust, which means we can and will do as we say." Dean notes the firm is strictly fee-based. He feels this is important to the delivery of impartial investment advice. The firm provides complete investment management services that combine a strong research effort with active money management tactics in pursuit of superior investment performance. In addition, the firm will provide investment seminars nationally, and can be reached at 770-772-1621. The first thing they'll do is listen.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Intel

Intel is a great company. Unfortunately they are a commodity business. With the shares trading on NASDAQ and today's volume being reported as over 200,000,000 shares and moving down less than 1% maybe they should prepare for the coming price war with AMD. Moore's Law appears to be alive and well.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

from Jerry Davis..................

Do a google search for the phrase, "without admitting or denying guilt, SEC". It's eye opening. Maybe someone should tally up all the "Free Pass" fines (tolls) and see how profitable "fraud oversight" is to the SEC.

Quarterly mania.........

Analysts are an amazing bunch. Their single focus is quarterly earnings and revenue growth. Perhpas it has something to do with putting out research notes to justify their measly existence.

I like what GOOGLE managment is doing to combat the mania of quarterly number crunching. Many companies/products/services are not geared to quarterly comparisons to the extent that Wall Street wants, and knowing that some corporate management is actually more concerned with the big picture versus the short term view is refreshing. Another sickness that Wall Street anal-ysts love to cheer is there laughable ratings changes, that is, when they change their "buy-sell" rating on a stock in a research note, written at say, midnight, when not a single investor can act on their recommendation. That is, until the stock opens down afew points and the short sellers go to the bank, (their own trading desk perhaps, tell me that still doesn't take place!!) All in all, Google has it right. All is fair in war.

Check out these sites if you have a minute as well.

www.locatecheck.com
www.thesanitycheck.com

Native American Advisors CHIPPEWA PARTNERS