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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

 

Nashville Blues a la Musings

Here I am in Music City and it's raining and cold, but that allows me a short post before dinner. Today's big news was the 75 basis point rate cut by the Fed in hopes of avoiding financial Armegeddon and the reflex short covering rally in the market that helped some of our beleaguered stocks. Otherwise, we have Fred Thompson exiting the race following his South Carolina primary loss, and Huckleberry should soon follow, though he may wait for Super Tuesday. If Rudy loses FL or NY, then the way will be clear for McCain, against whom Romney has no chance, and we will soon see Republicans, as is their wont, unite behind the obvious candidate, though some who hated McCain Feingold, will be holding their collective nose.

On the Dems side, the squabbles between Hillary and Obama get sillier by the day, and ultimately Dems will decide whether to throw in their lot with Hillary or take what many believe to be the sure thing by drafting Al Gore. Edwards is already a non factor being encouraged to stay in by both Hillary and Gore supporters to prevent some kind of Obama rally or Hillary walkover respectively.

So things are already much clearer than they were 9 days ago, though none of the recent results were unexpected. The only thing that has surprised me is the softness of the support for Giuliani.
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A recent WSJ op ed postulated that liberals are less open and madder than conservatives. That may be true, but the more interesting thing to me is the continuing hatred so many have for the President regardless of his policy choices or successes/failures.

I think a lot of it has to do with the way he carries himself and expresses himself. Recently, he was asked about the incident with Iranian ships in the Gulf and his response was along the lines of "Well, if it happens again, we'll (heh) respond accordingly." That little, almost involuntary chuckle is the key to the country's dislike for the President IMO. This was a serious question about a provocative incident, certainly requiring a deadly serious response. One could not picture LBJ or any other president in living memory who could not have communicated the gravity of any future provocation. That plus the famous Bush smirk has not endeared him to political devotees of either stripe.

I think history will judge him more kindly, and it's a shame that these TV tics are so much a part of his persona. In the TV generation though, the soundbite has become all important. JFK was first to understand this, but of all the presidents, W. has been the least able to control his demeanor.

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On 1/14, I bought 50 shares of Ceridion CRDN) at 46.84. This is a new name that I have probably misspelled but I think this is eventually going to be a good price, even if it doesn't look so hot now. On 1/16, for reasons I refuse to explain, I averaged down again in Blockbuster, (BBI) buying 800 shares at 2.80. Today, I bought 100 shares of Bryn Mawr Bank (BMTC) on the opening (22.01? I will have to check at home). Incidentally BBI is a real estate play as far as I'm concerned. One of Jim Cramer's real estate plays that is not working out is Sears, now being restructured by its not so silent partner, Eddie Lampert. Cramer put his confidence in his good buddy but the problem is that the skills that make a great hedge fund trader are not often translatable to operating a big company. All you have to do to know Sears is a mess is to walk into one of its moribund stores.

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