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Friday, March 30, 2007

 

More March Madness

This is the time of year when a lot of sports converge. Baseball is about to begin, and there is hardly a thought in the world more exciting than that. The NCAA's are heading into final four weekend, with great games on tap in both the men's and women's tourneys. The scramble to make hockey and basketball playoffs is on. Of course, that's a bit depressing since my Islanders can't possibly get in unless DePietro can play, and it looks like he can't. And the Knicks stink. Period. But all-in-all it's a great time to be a fan. And we might be teeing it up tomorrow! How good can it get?

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Meanwhile, the same pundits who didn't blink when Janet Reno fired all 93 US attorneys at the behest of the Clintons and Webster Hubble (no relation to the telescope) are besides themselves in a constitutional lather because Gonzales and the Bushies discharged 8 REPUBLICAN US attorneys for conduct unbecoming conservatives, I guess. Barack Obama, in a glorious misreading of our nation's founding blueprint, thinks the administration has shown contempt for the constitution. The question I have is how many stupid things do you have to say before people realize that you're just a media creation?

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One has to feel for the Edwards, regardless of the candidate's position somewhere far left (and south) of the political center. Mrs. Edwards is not just another pretty face, since she is the apparent brains of the campaign. In my mind, her illness only makes it more urgent that the campaign continue and she pursue her role in it. You only go around once, you're a long time dead, and when your time is apparently short, that is no time to get cheated. The idea that people think the Edwards should give up and go into a convalescent shell is repugnant to this blog.

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Why Democrats think that the Republicans involved in the attorneys' firings would be stupid enough to testify under oath is amazing. I think they actually understand that this is an offer the GOP can't accept, and they are cynically using this situation for maximum embarrassment purposes. If the Bushies learned anything from the Scooter Libby incident, it was to listen to their lawyers when they tell them to avoid testifying and failing that, take the Fifth, otherwise risk turning a non-crime into a perjury trial.

Which, by the way recalls the whole Clinton impeachment episode, which, as a conservative, I found somewhat embarrassing. Now I hated Clinton, but the constant impeachment undercurrent for the eight years of that administration was as moronic as the impeachment undercurrent that has lurked around the Bushies since their inauguration. Of course, the Dems succeeded in fending it off with the claim that it was all about sex. But it wasn't all about sex - it was all about perjury. But really, that perjury was about as offensive as Libby's; who really cared? I think it happened because when news of the Monica came out, Republicans were amazed that Clinton simply didn't resign, but they forgot he was beneath embarrassment. The one thing I did wonder about is this - Any CEO in the private sphere would have been canned for harassing an intern. But Clinton, the nation's CEO smirked his way through the whole thing. What an episode! By comparison the Profumo scandal was dignified (search - Christine Keeler). At least he knew when he was having sex!

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The global warming debate continues, amid an astounding preponderance of ignorance on the subject. Only a weatherman could appreciate all these windbags on the subject, including our former Vice President. We still don't know very much about why cooling trends alternate with warming trends (200 B.C. to 500 AD; 900-1300; 1850 to present). We also don't know whether a warm climate is really worse than a cold one for life on earth (in fact, it may be considerably more favorable). What we do know is that actually reducing carbon dioxide emissions will be very bad economic news, no matter how you slice it. We SHOULD be working on cleaner, more efficient energy sources such as nuclear power.

The other thing we know is that when it comes to bold and unusual predictions, the ones with a chance to come true have usually been the optimistic ones, not the pessimistic gl0om and doomers. 35-40 years ago , Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) sold a lot of books predicting we would all have been starving by now. His was typical of the Malthusian prediction gone badly awry. On the other hand, Ronald Reagan optimistically predicted the end of the cold war, anti missile defenses, and nuclear disarmament when everyone thought he was nuts. Even that last prediction may well come true before the end of this century.

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On 3/19, I bought 100 shares of SHLM at 20.89 for the taxable account. On 3/23 , I bought 50 shares of SF @ 44.93 for the IRA. On 3/26, I bought 100 shares of NEM at 43.78 for the taxable account. On 3/28, I sold 100 LDG at 51.35 from the taxable account (originally purchased at 23.32 0n 12/31/01).

Why is there a gold stock on my buy list? Most people think the Fed has been tightening credit by raising the Fed Funds rate the last two years from 1% to 5.25 %. Actually, the Fed has allowed quite a bit of liquidity through its open market operations by selling treasuries. So the Fed has monetized the deficit, enabled the sub-prime mortgage bubble, and cranked in a lot of inflation which has been reflected in housing and in commodity prices, and will be reflected in other areas of the economy over the next couple of years. Not really the best record. That's why we have an inverted yield curve. So gold should be a pretty good hedge against the Fed's inflationary operations.

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