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Thursday, August 31, 2006


The Independent Joe Lieberman

We had a discussion today about whether to contribute any PAC money to Senator Lieberman. It was clear that hard nosed D's bear the Senator ill will for staying in the race as an Independent. I think this is pretty short sighted and unreasonable. It's one thing for the Dems to endorse the primary winner as most have. It's another to say that the Senator is out of line to try to keep his seat and should not run in the general. The fact is that I expect him to be re-elected. More to the point, why should the primary, in which R's and I's can not vote, determine the seat in one party states like CT? Have northeastern blue states turned into 21st century versions of the old solid south?

A minority of eligible CT voters chose Lamont in the primary. Now let everybody get their vote. The D's are the first to throw around the "disenfranchised" charge all the time. Sidelining Joe would truly disenfranchise the many CT voters who were not eligible to vote in the primary.

What are the D's afraid of anyway? It's not as if the Senator is going to throw the election to a Republican.

The real worry the D's have is that, having all but expelled Senator Joe from the party, he may line up with the Republican caucus. I doubt it. It's a stretch to conceive of Joe crossing the aisle. As for sitting out the caucuses, as Jeffords has, I don't think there's much percentage in being a loner, and Lieberman is a politician, not merely an idealist.

One possibility, though, is that if he perceives the D's trying to unfairly sabotage his run, he may take the most politically expedient route and line up with whatever party ends up in the majority. From that position, he will be able to accomplish the most for CT.


Top Ten List of Esoterica


1. Jimi Hendrix - Technique, Skill, Soul and Originality - he had it all
2. Wes Montgomery - First jazz guitar superstar
3. Pat Martino - Clean technique at warp speed, Wes' descendent
4. Mark Knopfler - Mr. Dire Straits, Best rock guitar of his era
5. Eric Clapton - Brought true blues to rock
6. Barney Kessel - The Be-Boppers guitar of choice
7. Charley Christian - Jazz Guitar pioneer
8. Tom Scholz and Barry Goudreau - Boston's double lead
9. Peter White - the Soft Jazz guitar man
10. Les Paul - 90+ and still working

Honorable mention - Neil Young, George Benson, Ritchie Havens, Paul McCartney

On 8/28, I bought 100 shares of PWI for my IRA at 30.65. I sold 200 shares of PLFE out of my taxable account at 22.85. 166 of those were purchased on 5/22/2000 at 14.75, 34 were purchased on 11/8/2000 at 14.125. On 8/30, I sold 600 shares of CNRD from my IRA at 3.95. 100 of those were purchased at 2.12 on 3/21/05 and 500 at 1.55 on 4/11/05.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Back from Vacation

Somehow it doesn't seem right to just jump from the golf course and the beach right back into depressing geopolitics or the silliness of the campaigns piting Dummycrats against each other and against Republobates. It's too easy to wow the public by predicting a US upset victory in the Ryder Cup, despite qualifying four rookies. So instead, I thought I would begin a new feature based on Stan Isaacs' old annual column - his top ten lists of esoterica.

Stan was a Newsday sports columnist and editor, now in well deserved retirement. His lists of esoterica would include things like his favorite ice creams, TV shows, etc. It was always fun and usually attracted some pretty clever lists from "alert" readers. So while whiling away the hours baking on the beaches of Fenwick Island, between horseshoe games and the arrival of happy hour(s), it's fun to think about what might be your ten favorite whatever's (not necessarity best, just favorite). For example, I'm reading a book about all the great jazz players and that leads to the question - what's the top ten list of American composers? Ah, a good one!

1. George Gershwin - No brainer
2. Duke Ellington - Versatile genius
3. Hoagy Carmichael - Much more than Stardust, Georgia
4. Richard Rogers - Even better with Hart than Hammerstein
5. Harold Arlen - Over the Rainbow and more
6. Leonard Bernstein - On the Town, West Side Story
7. Thelonius Monk - A unique songbook
8. Cole Porter - Big part of the Sinatra book
9. Bob Dylan - Bet you thought I'd forget
10. Irving Berlin - Overrated, but too many great ones to leave out

Honorable mention - Sammy Cahn, Frank Loesser, Carole King, Smokey Robinson

And how about this one - Favorite Third Basemen:

1. Brooks Robinson
2. Ken Boyer
3. Ed Matthews
4. David Wright
5. Mike Schmidt
6. Harmon Killebrew
7. Howard Johnson
8. Frank Malzone (great name!)
9. Richie Allen (started as a 3rd baseman)
10. Pete Rose (played everywhere)
List subject to revision - comments welcome
More to come

On 8/14, I bought 2200 shares of CDIC for my IRA at 0.93. On the same day, I sold 600 shares of CNRD out of my IRA at 3.75. These shares were purchased on 3/21/05 at 2.22. On 8/21, I sold 200 shares of BAMM from my IRA at 15.65. The shares were purchased on 1/2/01 at 1.4375.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Dog Days Musings

Supposedly, a cease fire takes effect Monday - we'll see if it does, and more to the point, whether it takes. This has not been such an easy go for the Israeli's. It was a lot easier to clobber Arab national armies than guerrila terrorists. However, I suspect they have done much more damage to Hezbollah than observers have said, and that's one reason the bad guys are agreeing to an intermission. They have also used up about a third of their rockets and are hoping to replenish that supply from Iran. My guess is that hostilities might resume when Israel's spies see arms shipments resume from Syria and Iran.

It might have been better to keep going on the campaign to eliminate Hezollah, but it could be the Israeli's can also use the time to rethink tactics and get some better intelligence about locations of rocket launching sites and guerrila defenses.

I guess you could say that my view is that this cease fire will be quite temporary.

The plot to disrupt air travel by the British Islamo-fascists and their Pakistani and Al Queda friends was itself disrupted, but if the secondary goal of these creatures is terror, they accomplished that to the extent that they have rendered air travel even less convenient then it already was. By the way, the objection by American Muslim groups to the above term, used by President Bush, is nothing more than a protest against accuracy. We really did not need yet another demonstration by western Islamists of their equivocation regarding their terrorist co-religionists.

Also demonstrating a tin political ear are those Democrat leaders lining up with Lamont following his primary win over Senator Lieberman, perhaps the most responsible member of his party. Democrats seem to have a desire to follow each other over the cliff. This November should represent the ineptitude sweepstakes as both parties fall all over themselves, seemingly trying to lose. Normally, with Lieberman staying in the race as an independent, splitting the Dems vote, one would think that the GOP might pick up a seat but Connecticut has become so blue, and the GOP entry is so weak, that is a long shot. The prediction here is that Lieberman bucks the party and retains his seat. Then the intriguing question is which caucus he lines up with, D's or R's. The smart move would be to line up with whoever the majority is and see if he can get a committee chairmanship.

The Fed paused, and you would think that this is big news as Bernanke was criticised for giving up to inflation, or it was too late, or whatever. In reality, the pause is a neutral event. The Fed has not loosened, it just let up on the tightening. The problem continues to be that the Fed's interest rate actions have a delayed impact, and the economic indicators they are studying are lagging indicators. As this blog stated long ago, commodity prices forecast inevitable inflation quite a while ago, and that is what we are seeing in the numbers. The impact of Fed tightening is starting to impact the economy, and we will see moderating inflation eventually. Basically, the Fed will continue to overshoot, lurching one way and then another as long as the M/O is to wet their collective finger and stick it in the air, rather than take their cue from commodity futures.

It's really a problem to be so dependent on the great gut instincts and analytical abilities of Greenspan, et al. It would be so much better to have mechanical approaches in place to maintain steady commodity pricing. Of course, it would help even more if congress and the administration could restrain their wasteful spending instincts so there would not be so much debt for the Fed to monetize. To paraphrae the Harptones, "That is my dream."

On August 2, I bought 100 shares of PWI at 31.46, a new position. On August 7th, I added 100 shares of SHLM at 21.63. Then, yesterday, I added 200 shares to my XLNX position at the bargain price of 19.80.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Never Said it Would Be Easy

If you think things are a mess and you are depressed about the bloodshed in the Middle East, reread the Blog entry from July 16. The escalation of this conflict was quite predictable, and when you are involved in one of these unconventional wars against terrorist guerrila's, they never go quickly. And they really get messy. The terrorists purposely put civilians in harm's way, knowing that when they get killed, their opponents will be blamed for somehow not fighting the war safely enough. What a crok! What happened to "war is hell" and all that. The fact is to pursue victory in war, you must be ruthless, heartless, and methodically savage. Apologies are really extraneous and unnecessary. It's why we haven't done particularly well since Vietnam, somehow we have to meet this civilized standard. The media really does the good guys a disservice by playing up the civilian deaths as atrocities or mistakes.

Frankly, my view is that we are fighting a ruthless, facist enemy that targets civilians, and I don't think either Israelis or Americans should lose any sleep over the sad but unavoidable civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred. Actually, the Israeli's have warned Lebanese civilians to leave the battle zones. That's as much consideration as they could ever expect.

It is a little embarrassing to hear Secretary Rice call for a quick cease fire. The right move now is to let the Israeli attempt to destroy Hezbollah play out. If they are unable to complete the mission on their own, I would favor redeploying some of our troops from Iraq or Afghanistan to help them. This should not be ended while the terrorists remain a viable force.


On July 28, I bought 400 shares of NR at 5.81 for my IRA. Then, on 7/31, I sold 300 shares of NG out of the taxable account for 16.72, halving my position. These shares had gone long term, since I bought them for 8.30 in April of 2005. There was a hostile takeover offer at 14.50 on the table, and obviously, the market has priced in a competing bid that has not yet materialized. I'll sit on the short term gains to see whether anything else happens.

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