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Saturday, May 16, 2009

 

Nancy vs CIA

As James Mason's character, the high powered attorney Concannon, questioned former nurse Kaitlyn Costello in The Verdict, "which is the LIE?" Mason's lawyer character may have been the "prince of f___ing darkness," (one of Jack Warden's many famous lines), but he was wrong to doubt poor Kaitlyn's veracity. However, I would take my chances cross examining Nancy Pelosi, who is not only a chronic liar, but not a very good one either. When the CIA note taker in 2002 very clearly recorded that the Congressional delegation that included Mrs. Pelosi was told about the extreme interrogation methods that HAD been employed, it strains credulity that there was really any question about the prior use of those methods, however infrequent. Pelosi knows her base is disposed to disbelieve the CIA so her barefaced lies seem to be politically expedient, but they will backfire. The prediction here is she will be out as Speaker by mid-summer. In the meantime, imagine how embarrassing this is for the current administations's CIA leader, Leon Panetta.

Meanwhile, the backtracking by the Obama administration on Guantanamo and other campaign cause celebs used to pound on the outgoing Bush administration is fascinating, if not surprising, to behold. Now, if the administration could only see the light on cap and trade, health insurance, tax policy, card check, school choice, etc. etc.

We shouldn't hope for that much, of course. This administration, and the Dems generally, have become European style Social Democrats (in fact, my suggestion is to actually change the name of the party, which has much more philosophical connection to Marx and Engels than to Thomas Jefferson or Andrew Jackson). Their cynical redistributionist approach has the added value of being politically expedient since we have now reached the point where less than half of the population actually pays income taxes! So, the longstanding Democrat strategy of removing incentives and keeping the poor poor (and Democratic voting) will not change. Americans will need to rediscover their cultural bias toward productivity, economic achievement and self reliance.

But how is that going to happen when schools (dominated by Democratic activist teachers and left wing professors) no longer inculcate those ideals? Do the schools still quote (probably apocryphal, but usefully) John Rolfe ("if you don't work, you don't eat.")? I doubt it. In general, our youth feels that the world owes them a job, certain other economic rights (health care, public transportation, housing, etc.) that former generations believed you had to work and save for. I know there are lots of people out of work right now. Some have a valid reason, whether it's health or age or disability. Too many are able bodied, young and healthy. They all seem to be Democrats and blame the government and Republicans for their lack of health insurance, gasoline they can't afford, and jobs that are not routinely easy to find in the field of their choice, etc. This does not bode well for the future of the country.

In the end, we get the government we deserve, and I am afraid we richly deserve the governments we have now, federal, state, and local. Worse, public service is a horrible life, given the abuse and negative publicity that seems to attach to it, and most people with real talent are avoiding it.

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I am a dedicated reader of obituaries, though not yet for the reason that was famously stated by some ancient comedian ("to make sure my name is not there"), and I do often note the passing of not so famous folks who deserved to be better known. One such who passed away last March 4 was Horton Foote, writer of great plays and screenplays. He won Oscars for adapting "To Kill A Mockingbird" to the big screen, and also for an original screenplay, the wonderful "Tender Mercies." He was also a Pulitzer Prize winner for his stage writing.

I loved both of those movies, which featured perfect performances and direction, but started with great scripts.
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Well the Mets have reacted to Musings' harsh criticism by charging into first place, mostly on the strength of a revived offense. Their defense continues to be sloppy, but if they fix that, this team will be on cruise control. Of course the truest axiom in baseball is that you are never as good as you look when you're winning or as bad as you look when you are losing.

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As expected, we moved to the sell side for a couple of transactions. On May 6, I sold 400 shares of Books a Million (BAMM) at 6.38 (originally purchased for 2.37 on
6/3/03). Then on May 11, we sold 100 shares of Stiefel (SF) for 50.70. These were purchased for 31.33 (split adjusted) on 11/26/07. I expect to be moving back to the buy side Monday.

Comments:
Students who are not citizens or who are recent citizens to Freedonia overwhelm our schools here. English is clearly a second language. This problem is further compounded by a trend toward a child centered educational philosophy. An idea such as “you don’t work you don’t eat” is unheard of. Students expect to be promoted for merely attending class (parents expect the same thing for their offspring). No one is left back and, in truth, should be left back as nothing would be done to address the student’s issues should a student be left back. Move the student on to the high school where the student will fail and then “not get a good job” seems to be the prevailing philosophy.
As with government, we get the educational system we deserve.

As always, Hail Freedonia !
Rufus T. Firefly
 
For those of you who are following Redwave's stock musings, PQ closed Friday at $4.17, a 55% gain over the initial purchase price.
While Redwave's musings always come with a disclaimer "Speaking of disclaimers, here's mine: neither redwavemusings nor its author are investment advisors and the stocks and securities mentioned here are not to be considered recommendations for readers or anyone else, since they may not be suitable (or even reasonable!)." might the Redwaver opine as to whether PQ is currently a buy or sell?

Sincerely,
Egbert J. Susse (accent de goo over the e)
 
I would say that Petroquest is a promising speculative stock. Speculative because of the too high debt to equity ratio for a small company. Promising because the price of oil and gas is extremely likely to trend higher over time and because of PQ's strength in shale oil harvesting. It should be bought on price weakness (i.e. downticks) as Cramer says about his faves. PQ was just recommended by my full service broker's firm.
 
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