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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


New York endures UN chaos

If you could not hear it, I would urge you to read the transcript of the President's UN speech today. I am sure he will be criticised for being undiplomatic, even blunt, but I would challenge anyone to find a word in the speech that was not true. He simply called a tyrant a tyrant and a thug a thug. He challenged the UN to live up to its principles and its charter. The Orwellian doublespeak that passes for diplomacy at the UN is enough to make one take the position that we should save our dues and tell the UN to pack up and find another country in which to hold its meetings.

Instead, President Bush simply enumerated the ways that the UN could realize its potential to help the world solve its many problems. So the Cuban delegation walked out. I would be disappointed if it didn't and perhaps am concerned that more delegations didn't leave. Perhaps they don't take Mr. Bush seriously.

Contrast that scene with the circus at Columbia University where Iran's President spoke yesterday, revealing himself yet again as a crackpot, at best. It would be funny if the geopolitical situation were not so dangerous. Equally absurd was Columbia U's President, who after insisting that Ahmadinejad be allowed to speak, totally insulted and embarrassed him during his introduction. Fittingly for a US campus, the speaker's most offensive line seemed to be his claim that there were no homosexuals in his country.

To cap the week's nonsense, when Ahmadinejad took his turn to speak at the UN, the US delegation walked out. Beautiful.

Meanwhile, the presence of all these political bigwigs in NYC creates an awful traffic mess, with police escort sirens going off all day, as if the City didn't have enough traffic issues what with the hole on Lex and 41st St. still being repaired. Even the subways had issues this morning, and the police presence down there (to randomly check bags, etc.) is a little disconcerting. So goes the 21st century, amidst the war on terror.

The Presidential candidates have all found it necessary to propose a health plan, and not one has even hinted at any imaginative solution. Maybe they should take a look at the rw musings archives. One thing is for sure - a really comprehensive public plan is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to pay for without rationing service.

On Monday, I sold 100 shares of Shaw Group at 57.38, originally purchased for 10.90 on 9/13/04. Then yesterday morning, I was greeted with the news that PWI was being sold, giving me a chance to wipe out the loss I had in that stock. I sold the 200 shares from my taxable account this morning at 25.75 (a bad market order) that I bought in two pieces - 100 shares on 8/2/06 for 31.46 and 100 on 4/27/07 for 20.09. This afternoon, a better limit order executed to sell 500 shares from my IRA for 26.29, purchased in 4 pieces at an average price of 24.41. The stock paid a monthly dividend so all in all, it wasn't a bad investment. That raises a fair amount of cash, probably putting me on the buy side for a while starting next week. But first, it's off to D.C. for a weekend business meeting.

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