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Monday, September 25, 2006


Lots To Blog About...

So there may be a flurry of posts...

I thought the Pope handled the controversy about his remarks and quotes from the 14th century really well. The fact is there was nothing to apologize about. His message was on the money, merely decrying religious inspired violence as any Pope should. Frankly, the impulse of Islamic clergy to call for Holy War at the drop of a hat would be getting tiresome, if it didn't have real world ramifications. Naturally, the reaction of Islamists was inappropriate and intellectually incompetent. Their knee jerk is to point to the Crusades, perhaps a regrettable chapter in Western history, but at least Christians seem to have outgrown the 11th century. And of course there were the usual calls to kill the Pope; everyone who speaks his mind about Islam seems to wind up on the condemened list in short order, so no one is surprised by that any more. The more measured reaction was to call for an apology, and to lament that the Pope's regret concerning the way his remarks were received (a carefully chosen sentiment that fell purposely short of an apology) was not a suitable admission of inaccuracy. This shows a worse understanding of Catholic doctrine than the Pope has of Islam's since the Pope starts from the assumption of infallability and can't admit to a mistake of doctrine. He didn't make one anyway.

So there we have it, Islamists again unable and unwilling to deal with the world as it is, overly sensitive to any slight, and reacting disproportionately (can you imagine how a similar reaction by Israeli's would be received?). And worst of all, as usual, no voices of moderation from anywhere in the Islamic community that might represent a responsible contribution to the dialogue. Where are these responsible voices we always hear about, and do they really exist? One really starts to wonder.

Is Bin Ladin dead? I have leaned in that direction for a long time, but the latest rumor of his demise seems to indicate that he was alive until very recently. Dead or alive, I don't think he is in command of terrorist activity in any active sense. Terrorism becomes more and more amoeba - like and harder to extinguish. it makes the John Kerry's of the world look ever more foolish, debating whether we should be more active in Afghanistan than Iraq and worried that we are "creating terrorists" in Iraq. You might as well try to guess how many seraphs dance on the head of a pin.
Equally hilarious is Bill Clinton's assertion that he tried to kill Bin Ladin and that proves the anti-terrorism mettle of his administration. Of course, the incident he references was one of those times he lobbed a few missles in Bin Ladin's direction, presumably to take our minds off one of the many scandals afflicting his own administration.

If our current administration has featured a marked susceptibility to ineptitude, the previous one had a talent for low comedy, probably unrivaled in our history. Let's hope the next President can bring us some fresh air, and that for the first time since 1963, the whole country will be rooting for him/her to succeed. Possible candidates who could bring the country a little closer are John McCain, Bill Richardson, and maybe Rudy Guiliani. People who promise four more years of vitriol include Hilary Clinton, Bill Frist, and John Edwards.

Some predict the D's will take Congress this year, and it is a possibility. To my fellow conservatives, I offer these consoling thoughts. You may think the country can't survive the other side, but it always has. And once in a while, you have to let the other guys in just to remind everyone how awful they are.

On 9/18, I sold 600 more shares of CNRD from my IRA at 3.75 (originally purchased at 1.55 on 4/11/05). On 9/22, I bought 100 shares of SHLM for the taxable account at 23.77. Today, I bought 100 shares of AAON for my IRA at 21.85.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Back Home Again

Sorry for the long delay between posts. It was 8 nights away from home, 5 in St. Lou, and 3 in Richmond.

I hadn't been to St. Louis in over 25 years. Frankly, it was unrecognizable. I remembered a kind of cosmopolitan, busy urban center. Now. it's a homeless shelter. Well, not that bad, but there is no real shopping or commerce, and most of the folks out in daylight look like they have nothing to do. There is some awakening at lunch, then again at 1:30 in the AM, when the kids hit the bars as they do in every city. But mostly, there is no traffic, no action, no pedestrians, no nothing.

Surprisingly, this is a gambling city. There are at least four steamboat casinos, though in varying degrees of seediness. As per normal, a lot of the people gambling have no business doing so as they are broke, disabled, etc. But I did enjoy playing hold 'em in a casino for the first time.

Also, there are three pretty good bar areas. Near Busch Stadium are several bars, two with excellent blues bands (live). Then there is the Landing, with cobblestone streets (not good for my ankle it turns out), and bars on both sides, very busy. Finally, downtown, north of Tucker is another set of more upscale bars catering to the younger yuppies.

To give credit where it's due, the town is really trying. Everyone seeems to know which conventions are in town, and they make every effort to make you feel welcome and important. The hotel staffs are very solicitous. The Metro, which will take you downtown from the airport for only $3.50 is very pleasant, fast and the best transportation to the airport for the able-bodied of any I have seen around the country.

But this town has a long way to go. The people are great, and I hope they get there.


Top 10 List of Esoterica - Cuisines I love

1. Cajun/Creole - Pining for Pascal's Manale
2. Italian - Spicy Seafood Pasta or Veal is the order
3. Spanish - Paella's the best, Jerry, the best
4. Morrocan - The good stuff that's French style, without the arrogance
5. Indian - Bring those spices on
6. American Steakhouse - Filet is my order, thanks
7. American Barbecue - Pulled Pork anyone?
8. Szechuan - Spices even make bean curd taste great
9. Mexican - Chicken Tortilla soup for starters
10. Brazilian Steakhouse - Keep it comin'

Dishonorable mention - Japanese, Thai, Greek, Kosher

On 9/5, I sold 200 shares of PQ at 12.22, originally purschased at 4.93 in my taxable account in July of 2004. Your welcome, Uncle Sam. On 9/6, I sold 200 shares of BAMM out of my IRA at 16.17. 100 were purchased on 1/2/01 for 1.4375; the other 100 were bought on 5/10/02 for 3.65. On 9/15 I bought 50 ITW for the taxable account at 44.50 and 100 PWI for the IRA at 28.34.

The blog does not provide investment advice. nor am I an investment advisor. The transactions are merely recorded here for reader interest and entertainment.

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