Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

We owe General McCrystal an apology!

July 15th, 2010

General Stanley McCrystal is an accomplished warrior, a great pick for the job he was charged with. And, as a former Marine, I gotta believe that his allowing the most radical of media access to his inner thoughts and his staff’s was deliberate and not simply careless or stupid. He was just too good an officer for that!

That scenario never would have happened, had either of the Commanders-in-Chief following the attack on the WTC on 9/11 shown the wisdom and courage that a former Missouri clothing salesman once had when in their shoes. President Bush should have made it clear to those hostile tribes that our enemy is anyone who so easily sacrifices innocent lives—including their own. Especially when they use themselves, their women, and their children as weapons of mass destruction. And he should have given his theater commander the go-ahead to act accordingly. Read more…

Current Events, Food for Thought , , , , ,

If it ain’t broke, break it?

June 26th, 2010

Now comes our Congress, eager to feed the public’s lust for punishing the banks for having done our economy so much damage, and ready to impose a new bunch of regulations on that industry so as to protect the consumer from…. From what?

Here’s what the public really needs protection from:

1. Its own ignorance. This is certainly number one! Had the public been at all intelligent or educated about borrowing, they would have known better than to expect either the government or the lenders to protect them against borrowing beyond their means for homes they couldn’t afford. The first issue is financial literacy, which is sadly lacking in our society, our schools—and especially our Congress to begin with! Read more…

Current Events, Food for Thought, Stock Market Shams , , , ,

Shades of the Middle Ages

May 2nd, 2010

Watching and listening to the Congressional inquisitions this past week, I had to believe that the Academy Awards needs to add a new category called Best Congressional Performances. Of course it would be difficult to decide whether the performances should be considered under Comedy or the Drama categories.

The righteous indignation and wrath displayed by the key players was great theater, of course, and played well to those political populists who still don’t understand that it was this very same Congress that forced these institutions go into the sub-prime mortgage business against their wills in the first place! Read more…

Current Events, Food for Thought , , , ,

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

January 16th, 2010

circus_top_hatAs you’ve noticed, occasionally I drift off topic (investing, lest you forget) and indulge myself in writing about things that may touch on my core interest but are only indirectly related to it: current events, the economy, politics, etc.—things about which I have strong feelings and which current events compel me to comment.

As you know, I’m disgusted with the obvious absence of financial literacy, responsibility, and just plain common sense that’s displayed by so many in elected office, from the top of our government institutions to the bottom. And I’ve railed about it time and again, wishing that some able folks would get off their duffs, take the bull by the horns, and give up their comfortable complacency to act instead of just talk.  Read more…

Current Events, Food for Thought, NAIC Veterans' Lounge

It Finally Happened!

January 14th, 2010

magicwandmoneyThe Herald, South Florida’s major newspaper, headlined the unthinkable this past week: Jackson Halts Dialysis of Poor Patients .  One of the nation’s top-rated hospitals, Miami’s Jackson Health System had to adopt a policy that would deprive some 175 indigent patients of critical, life-saving care because it could no longer afford to provide it.

Hardly a decision taken lightly by the hospital administration, the financially strapped institution finally had to draw the line on life. Fortunately for those patients , some of the other area hospitals volunteered to take up the slack for all but about 4o. These would have to seek care in the city’s emergency rooms, where the law requires the hospitals to provide critical care regardless of the financial condition of the patient—or the hospital!

This, to me, is a tragic and stunning case in point that illustrates a simple fact: no matter how humane and compassionate the issue, the ultimate truth is that there simply ain’t no free lunch. As much as we would like to characterize medical care as a right rather than a privilege, without the funds to provide it, it vanishes.

Reminder: Join me on Take Stock with Ellis Traub, This evening (Thursday) at 7:30PM Eastern (6:30PM Central). Call (347) 857-3608 to listen. Dial “1″ to join the conversation. This evening’s topic will be unfunded mandates.

Read more…

Current Events, Food for Thought , , , ,

“Backbone of Our Economy Indeed!

January 11th, 2010

entrepreneursI just wanted to take quick note of a comment that I heard on a talk show as I was surfing the stations while driving. Unfortunately I don’t even remember the fellow’s name or the position he held—not even the station I was listening to.

The purpose of my doing so is not to suggest that this is the position of our government. It’s only to take issue with the remark and suggest that anyone who thinks this way is wrong-headed.

In any case, the offending phrase was that the financial industry is the backbone of our economy!

There are far too many people who don’t really understand what the “backbone of our economy” really is. This parallels the notion that investing in diamonds, bonds, art, etc. is productive when it’s not. The “backbone of our economy” is truly anything that adds value or creates something of value out of something that had less value before. Read more…

Current Events, Food for Thought, Investment Concepts , , , ,

Some Resolutions for 2010

December 31st, 2009

sinking_shipYep, it’s the time of year to set some goals and to figure out how to reach them.

As I mentioned Tuesday, I’m looking for answers to the question: why have we not made more headway in convincing the world they can invest successfully. That’s my sole goal, at the moment—other than heeding the best advice I’ve ever received: “Keep breathin’.”

And my sole resolution is to pursue this course, find out the real reasons why no one is interested in investing, and then do something to correct it.

I realize that this nation has had a series of setbacks during the past year—the past decade, actually. But the good news is that, as a nation, we’re still breathin’.

Sure, we’ve seen some grossly ignorant, political giants smash gaping holes in the hull of our ship of state. And, even as the water swirls around their hips, keep swinging to widen those holes in hopes the water will flow out instead of in.

Our democracy is under siege from within because the average voter believes in magic! Healthcare, all the entitlements—social security, Medicare—all of the admirable, altruistic, do-good projects, from the earmarks that benefit a small town (and buy another term for some Congressman), to the rights-nee-privileges and necessities-nee-luxuries that we all hound our legislators to get for us—will be paid for by a bunny rabbit that pops out of someone’s hat! (No one’s come up with a more plausible scenario to date!)

So, let’s all resolve, in the coming year, to respect those who think differently from us and vow to help them realize their goals. Let’s retreat from the personal castigation and try to help our president be a better president instead of trying to take him down.

We’re way out on a limb. Let’s quit hacking it off the tree!

And if this wasn’t enough of a collection of metaphors for you, I’ll try to come up with some more!

Current Events, Food for Thought, Fundamental Investment Views , , , , , , ,

Are they out there?

December 28th, 2009

The next generationOver this past holiday weekend, my family and I were talking about about “today.” And “attitude.”

The thrust of our conversation was why no one out there seems to have any interest in investing at all! It wasn’t that long ago when NAIC volunteers, looking to build attendance for an annual investors’ fair, could find plenty of folks who wanted to find out what it was all about and learn how they, too, could make a buck in common stocks. Not so today!

I suggested that it might be a generational thing. The world is evolving and our youth are moving into active adulthood. And it’s they who set the attitude for “the world out there.”

I also suggested that the same kind of disinterest shows up in the schools. Few are in it for the education; more are in it for the credentials so they can “get a good job.” (I’ll leave the definition of a “good job” for another day.)

Could it be that those of us who are financially well off have been so successful and intent on not making our kids “go through what we had to go through” that we’ve stripped them of the need, the urgency, the ambition—and the satisfaction—that comes with doing it themselves?

For all these months, I’ve been trying  awfully hard to arouse some interest in making money with one’s money, to no avail! What am I missing?

Any ideas?

Current Events, Food for Thought, Fundamental Investment Views, NAIC Veterans' Lounge , , ,

Your Turn!

December 14th, 2009

listeningFor nearly a year, I’ve been experimenting with content for this blog.

Yes, we’re bound together by an interest in investing. More specifically, we’re interested in “real investing” —not the kind of gambling the securities industry has led us to believe is the real thing for all these years.

Along the way, we’ve added commentary about current events, especially how they affect our economic interests or how they might affect our ability to invest wisely in common stocks. And, I’ve sometimes simply indulged myself, either for humor or for some other issue I’ve felt strongly about and thought might have some value for you—or I’ve just felt the urge to mouth off about.

Please give me some feedback to help guide the way this site develops in the coming year. I want to hit the ground running after the holidays and focus on information and opinion that you feel would be valuable enough to pass on to others.

Please take just a moment to answer this question.

Current Events, Food for Thought , , , , ,

Thinking Bigger: A Case in Point

December 10th, 2009

newspaper-stands1Early last month, I offered a comment the thrust of which was that many industries that “evolve themselves” out of business could survive and flourish were they to abandon their Luddite perspective and broaden the scope of the businesses they’re in.

I cited the railroads who might have done better had they realized they were in the transportation business, as could the oil companies or automotive manufacturers who should actually be in the energy or transporter business, respectively. One of the most obvious of these, and vanishing right in front of our noses, is the newspaper and print media business.

Reminder: Special Broadcast Join me on Take Stock with Ellis Traub, this evening (Thursday) at 7:30PM Eastern (6:30PM Central). Call (347) 857-3608 to listen. This evening IRVING ROTH, distinguished and beloved teacher, talks about his early investing experiences and his investment club.

Read more…

Current Events, Food for Thought

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