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Monday, July 07, 2008

 

A-Rod and Madonna? Gag me with a spoon!

I would have to put the question of whether A-Rod and Madonna are having an affair on my list of things I could not care less about. Others would include the Olympics, the All Star Game, the Christie Brinkley divorce trial, etc., etc. It's pretty interesting the way pop culture has such a hold on people in a world where much bigger issues are always in play.

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Speaking of bigger issues, it's interesting when you talk to people that so many agree that Israel will be taking action (of the military kind) against Iran's nuclear capability before the end of 2008. When you think about it, it is quite a logical conclusion. It makes sense that the Israeli's would have to move while the Bush Administration is still at least nominally in charge. I suspect they can not even wait for the election, since if Obama wins, the current administration will go into official lame duck status.

One should not underestimate the danger of such a mission for all concerned, but we should also recognize the danger of deferring it.
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The polls are saying that Obama is leading, but one feels that every day's exposure reveals his weaknesses. He is also coming off a lot of the positions he took in the primaries - it is natural to move toward the center for the general election, of course. From my point of view, the newer positions sound a lot more responsible. Question is, and this will come from all sides of the political fence, what does he really believe and what will an Obama administration try to accomplish? As a conservative, I would be concerned that Obama will prove to be the talking head for "handlers" whose political philosophy most closely resembles the MoveOn.Org crowd.

Another interesting question is whether Obama will pick a senior, experienced running mate to act as his version of Cheney. Somehow, I think he is resisting that advice. I don't think he is willing to be marginalized in his own administration, as Bush was in his first term.

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My recovery continues apace, with the major lingering impact being a urinary system that is not quite behaving normally yet. When I described my predicament to my wife (in more detail than she needed to hear, I am sure) she broke out laughing, indicating that the annoyances were similar to what the female of the species endures on a regular basis. If so, that explains about 30 years of mood swings, and I have new found respect for women everywhere. If I had lived like this since puberty, I would have been confined to a padded room ages ago.

But, in truth, I have very little to complain about, a testament to the skill of the surgeon in handling the incredible equipment I described in the previous post. In fact, I even hit some golf balls on the range yesterday (12 days since surgery) and returned to the office for a full day's work today.

Thanks to all those who communicated their best wishes over the last week or so.

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As for the stock market, the less said, the better. Someone asked me about nibbling at undervalued stocks at this juncture, as I do, but I felt it necessary to warn him that a stock undervalued now could be significantly more undervalued a couple of months from now. That's why this is one game you just never go "all in."

On June 30, I bought 200 shares of Carmax (KMX) at 14.70, on the long shot hope that someday, somewhere, someone will buy another used car. On July 2, we averaged down again in Hauppauge Digital (HAUP), buying 1500 shares at 1.26, hoping that someone, somewhere, might buy a high end TV device. Today, we bought 200 shares of Boyd Gaming (BYD) at 10.98, hoping that someone, somewhere might visit a casino. That was a "zero buy." It is also the 9th straight buy transaction (actually, only one sale transaction out of the last 15).

Of course, this is officially a bear market now, and it has the essential element of bear markets (water torture - one down day after another). The little technical rally at the opening today was pitifully weak so it was no surprise to see it fade quickly. We are likely to have a short covering rally soon that could take us up 2 or 3 hundred in a day, but that is likely to be followed by another week of downers that take us to new lows. To break the bear is likely to require a top in oil prices, a bottom in the dollar, and some good news on the geopolitical front. That confluence of events looks to be a ways off right now.

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