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Thursday, June 28, 2012

 

Will this Decision be on the Supremes' Greatest Hits?

I am writing this blog as I enjoy my second listening to Counting Crows' newest CD, Underwater Sunshine. Recorded last year, it followed Adam Duritz's self reported creative burnout after the success of Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings. If the existence and release of the album was a surprise, the concept was a bigger one since the album has no original soungs. Given Adam's burnout, the group decided to do cover songs of the groups they have admired and even played with in previous incarnations. The groups covered include Romany Rye, Teenage Fanclub, Coby and Immy, Tender Mercies, Fairport Convention, Pure Prairie League,, Faces, Gram Parsons, Dawes, Sordid Humor, The Byrds, and Big Star. I will be the first to admit that I know less than half of the covered acts and the songs, but the Crows bring their own unique brand of countrified rock to the titles and the overall impact is really entertaining. From Adam's liner notes: "You may or may not know these songs. It wasn't an intentional theme but it did sort of fall out that a lot of the songs on this record aren't well-known. It wasn't something we did on purpose; there's just a lot of great music made every day and there's no way for anyone to hear all of it. I suppose it's inevitable that a lot of it gets missed. The songs on Underwater Sunshine come from old bands and young, they stretch from the early 60's to earlier this year, and they were recorded for major labels, for indies, and, in some cases for just a few friends to hear. Either way, they're all great songs and hopefully they'll be heard by a few more people now. "Anyway, I know you wonder why we didn't just write our own record. Well...mostly because we just wanted to do THIS one. We live in an era of songwriting but (I hate saying this) songwriting isn't all there is to music. Sometimes it's great to play someone else's music and try to make it your own. Sometimes it's great just because it's fun." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tomorrow is the day we have been waiting for with anticipation for months, when the Supremes stop keeping us hanging on and release their decision on PPACA. The assumption among the pundits that the individual mandate will be struck down is so widespread, it has made me believe that that part of the decision might have been leaked. What everyone seems less sure about is how much of the law the Court might leave in place, and what the pols next moves will be. I know I will be disappointed if the Court doesn't not only strike the mandate down but also go further by enunciating a limiting principle concerning the powers of the Congress versus the states. If federalism is to mean anything in the 21st century, this decision will provide the basis for it. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- While the election is going to be played out largely on the U.S. economy, the failures of the Obama administration have been as bad or worse on the foreign policy side. The leaking of intelligence, some of it apparently intentional, by this administration is frightening. Why would anyone trust us again after we have made it known that US and Israeli intelligence were behind the cyber attack that delayed Iranian nuclear efforts (not that everyone didn't assume that, but you never admit to such a thing)? In the meantime, Obama's claim that he could further foreign policy efforts with the Axis of Evil by simply talking to them has been a total failure. The Iranians play us for time and we do nothing. Afghanistan has been a mess. If anything the so-called war of necessity has gone worse than the "War of Choice." Now we have the fiasco that is Russian relations, with our efforts to promote democracy there without offending Putin and the Oligarchs (if they had any hits, maybe CC would cover them). For background, read today's op ed in the WSJ written by former World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov. Really, I just don't see how anyone with an open mind could not see the need for a new President. Even Jimmy Carter had to pile on with his complaint about the administration's human rights violations (referring to the drone attacks). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- For a great weekly jazz experience that's free, sign onto your computer at 9:30 Thursday nights and see the second set at Dizzy's Cola Club, (Jazz at Lincoln Center) live, as it's happening. I watched and listened last week and thoroughly enjoyed Barbara Carroll's quartet featuring the great Ken Peplowski on clarinet. The url is jalc.org. You will see a different headline act each week. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ok, now Jane Monheit is on the CD player, since the Counting Crows record finished. Who has it better than me? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- So far, our formula is preserving our capital in this miserable market, and that's always the first order of business. On June 14, we bought 400 shares of USA Trucking (USAK) at 5.41. This has been a near perfect storm for the small trucking firms that are always scrambling for independent drivers and to fill the trailers. On 6/15, we bought 15 more shares of the SPDR Gold ETF (GLD) for the IRA at 157.75. Yes, I hear all the technicians predicting Prechter like bear markets for gold, but I still want the inflation protection. On 6/18, we sold 100 shares of Quanta (PWR), our wind play, at 22.78. We paid 19.73 on 11/03/08. Making money in this stock is no small achievement. On 6/20, we sold 100 shares of Raven Industries (RAVN) out of the IRA at 70. We paid 20.88 on 2/18/09. A reasonably fast triple there. On 6/22, we bought 100 shares of Kaydon (KDN) at 20.80, a value buy. Then on 6/25, we bought 500 more shares of USA Trucking (USAK), at 4.79. This increasingly looks like a kamikaze mission. We have new readers all the time. Here's the periodic disclaimer. Neither redwavemusings, nor its author is an investment advisor, and the transactions and securities mentioned here are not recommendations and may not be suitable for anyone else (or me for that matter).

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