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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

 

redwavemusings influence

It's sometimes hard to believe the influence redwavemusings has in the world but two days after our endorsement of Steve Forbes' oil revenue distribution idea for Iraq, Sens. Clinton (D-NY) and Ensign (R-NV) published an op ed piece in Monday's WSJ proposing the same solution (An Oil Trust for Iraq). Just as Forbes did, they modeled their suggestion on the Alaskan Permanent Fund. Kind of scary to see Forbes and Clinton (and me) thinking alike on any issue. Now, if we can somehow get Hillary to see the light on health care... (for the record, Steve's an HSA guy).

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There's been a lot of stuff in the WSJ and other places about the return of autocracy
in Russia, kind of a Thermidorean reaction to the late eighties, I guess. What brought this on, I suppose were the various poisonings and murders of those who might be considered enemies of the Putin government. With all due respect and sensitivity, I can only say that to have just figured this out now, you had to be without the majority of your senses (i.e. senseless). When Forbes correspondent Paul Klebnikoff died under mysterious circumstances, when the Russians totally bungled the Checken situation, including the school terrorist atrocity, when they nationalized the major energy firms, all of these events should have been a tipoff. Of course, as usual, WSJ readers knew the score early because of the op ed pieces by world chess champion, now dissident, Gary Kasparov. He has been warning for years that anti-democratic forces are stifling dissent and freedom in Russia. Frankly, I have some concern for his safety, too.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration, playing practical politics for a change, has never stopped cozying up to Putin and his government, in hopes that Russia would play on our side in the war on terror. However, people should realize that Russia continues to sell arms to Iran and other destabilizers. At some point, we will have to change our tune, at least enough to make our concerns known.

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I kind of look forward to Golf World's fiction issue each year, (well, this is the second "annual issue") but I have to admit that this year's edition was mostly a clunker. But I did think there were two real good entries, "The High Rollaway Club" by Jon Jackson and especially "Last Call" by Roland Merullo. So if you still have your copy of the issue on the side (it carries a Sept. 1 date), wondering when you will get to it, or if they offer it to you on the airplane or you see it at the library, skip the rest of the stories and first try those two.

Unfortunately, the short story is kind of a lost art, and with the internet rapidly obsoleting the printed periodical, it doesn't bode well for any kind of comeback. There was a time when the short story was the most popular mode of fiction for the mass audience. If that seems impossible to believe, go to the library, borrow the Collected Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, open the book and start anywhere.

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I sold 100 shares of BAMM on the opening yesterday at 22.60, out of the IRA. These were purchased in May of 2002 for 3.65. This is a stubborn market - it feels horrible but refuses to do anything but go up. Rallying markets climb a wall of worry and the Street right now is worried about everything - recession, inflation, the weak dollar, failing auto companies, drug companies with no research pipelines, homebuilders with empty lots, exploding Asian demand for energy, terrorism, entitlements we can't afford, etc, etc. If Bush did only one thing right in his entire tenure, it was cutting taxes and assuring that our strong economy would carry us over all these shoals. You'll know it's over when you see the politicians raise income taxes. Then we will have a very bad market. But that is unlikely to occur before 2008 when the market may start discounting higher taxes under a Democratic administration in 2009.

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