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Sunday, May 05, 2013


Back to Blogging

After some 40 days or more without a post, we are back at it.  Why the break?  Literally too much traveling, work on tax returns, bridge, golf, etc.  Somehow, I just never seemed to get in front of the computer for a solid hour or two of composing.  Not that there wasn't plenty to write about, what with the Boston Marathon bombing, Syrian chemical weapons, North Korean saber rattling, Mets losing, Islanders making the playoffs, the Masters drama, etc., etc.  The world continues to be an interesting place, if not always a rational one.  Assuming my readers are as busy, you probably needed the break too.  I just hope your income tax experience was less expensive than mine.
This morning's news shows picked up the Benghazi story, which, reminiscent of Watergate, Iran Contra, and Whitewater, refuses to die.  It is now admitted by everyone, even Democrats, that the Administration's talking points were a politically motivated lie.  The news shows are in somewhat high dudgeon considering this is a Democratic scandal.  Of course, they're pissed off because UN Rep. Rice came on all the shows and lied about what happened ( and what didn't happen) and the news shows (except Fox) accepted her explanation without question since she was an Obama Dem.  Suddenly, Senate Republicans look better for having scuttled her nomination to head State. 

Of course, she was just the Administration's designated dupe.  She had no idea what happened, and apparently Hillary didn't either.  It doesn't help matters for Dems that Hillary went before Congress saying she took full responsibility though she didn't know what was going on.  That's not so presidential, if you ask me.  My prediction is that Hillary will not run in 2016, regardless of her current poll numbers, which are probably about to take a serious hit.

But the big culprit in all this was Obama and his inner circle cronies, who were told that this was an Al Queda attack, but rejected that explanation (going so far as to line out the CIA report in favor of their ludicrous explanation that it was a spontaneous reaction to an offensive internet posting).  Not only that, when Governor Romney had the correct explanation and the temerity to discuss it publicly, they blasted him for  that action even while they promoted the lie!  And the liberal media piled on!  Recall that this was in the context of what was then a very close election campaign. 

This was truly a disgraceful, even Nixonian, set of tactics by the Obama people.  Though the Benghazi attack was not of the magnitude that should result in impeachment, it does follow a consistent pattern of a group that will do anything to preserve their power.  But this is all too typical of the liberal Dems these days, and their "end justifies the means" approach, which starts from the assumption that only they are fit to make decisions for the rest of us.  Hence the ACA (a clear disaster as it unfolds in spectacular disarray), the gun control bill overreach (instead of getting something helpful done), the continued stall on the Keystone Pipeline, etc. etc. 

Even when they stumble into the correct policy (as Obama has continued virtually the entire Bush security and war on terror moves), they  go through the motions of criticising them to appease the base.  On Syria, Obama drew the line in the sand, then rubbed it out and presumably will mark another one.  Meanwhile, the Israeli's do the dirty work.  But why did Obama do that in the first place?  What is there about chemical weapons use that is so much worse than what the Syrians have done using conventional weaponry?  And why should we support a rebel force that is largely controlled by Hezbollah and Al Queda?

In short when the history books are written, this Administration will be considered an utter failure.  I think history will be kinder to the Bush Administration, which achieved a kind of mediocrity that has been unattainable for our silver tongued but hapless incumbent. 
Counting Crows are back from their international tour and will be appearing in Manhattan at the Hammerstein Ballroom on June 27.  I'm ready.
While I haven't been blogging, I've been in Houston (not as much fun as last time), Washington twice, Albany, etc. etc.  Heading for Washington again Thursday.  I've also played four days of tournament bridge.  But now I need some jazz and a lot more golf.  Hopefully, May will bring that. 

May 21st brings Jane Monheit to Birdland, and I think I will be there two times at least that week.  Probably the 22nd and the 24th (Wednesday and Friday nights).  If you are in the New York area, you should join me.  Her current tour takes her to Jazz Alley in Seattle among other great venues (you can review them on her website).   
It's been over a month since my last post, but that doesn't mean we haven't been buying and selling stocks.  On 3/26, we bought 9,500 shares of  Oncosec Medical (ONCS), the zero buy that I have made an exception to the rule about not doing transactions below a dollar.  We paid 21.45 cents and now we'll wait til this thing hits a dollar (we should only be so lucky) before the next transaction.  On the same day, we bought 15 shares of the SPDR Gold ETF (GLD) despite the free fall in the metal.  We paid 154.46.  On 3/27, we sold 100 shares of Worthington (WOR) at 30.68, a nice gain from the 14.01 we paid for those shares on 7/21/03.  On 3/28, we bought 100 shares of Loews (L) at 43.69, a value buy.  On 4/1, we sold 300 shares of Genie Energy (GNE) at 9.36.  We paid 9.09 for 200 on 10/31/11 and 7.27 for 100 on 11/21/11.  On 4/2, we bought 300 shares of   Great Lakes Docks and Dredging (GLDD) for the IRA at 6.88.  Then on 4/3, we sold 100 shares of Conrad Industries (CNRD), one of our Tulane stocks, for 25.32.  We paid 1.30 on 4/26/05.  On the same day, we bought 50 shares of Cincinatti Bell preferred (CBB.PR.B) for 45.85.  On 4/11, we sold 200 more shares of Genie (GNE) at 11.51, from the block of 11/21/11 when we paid 7.27.  On 4/12, we sold 100 shares of Hartford Insurance Group (HIG) at 27.25, a small gain from the 26.13 we paid on 9/13/10.  On the same day, we paid 20 for 100 shares of Gulf Island Fabrication (GIFI), another Tulane stock.  On 4/18, we made two purchases, 100 shares of Newmont Gold (NEM) at 32.60 and 100 shares of San Diego Power preferred (SDO.PR.A) at 24.25.  Full service broker warns that this preferred issue is callable at 24. On 4/19, we paid 31.36 for 100 shares of Stiefel Financial (SF), a value buy.  We also bought 100 shares of Harsco (HSC) for the IRA at 21.44.  On 4/22, we bought 20 TIPS (TIP) for the IRA at 121.74, and also bought 300 shares of struggling Alcoa (AA) at 8.11.  Finally, on 4/25 we sold 200 shares of Boyd Gaming (BYD) at 10.80.  This stock has had a nice rally and we paid a lot less for recently bought shares, but these were sold at a significant loss.  We paid 38.27 for 100 on 12/7/07 and 17.47 for 100 on 4/16/08.   On 5/3, we did a bunch of selling, since the market has run up prices so much.  We sold 200 shares of IDT at 14.08 booking a loss from the 20.36 we paid on 8/29/11.  We sold 100 Pulte Homes (PHM) for 22.33 versus a purchase price of 7.34 on 12/22/10.  We sold 200 shares of Newpark Resources (NR), a Tulane stock, at 10.78.  We paid 2.62 on 11/30/09.  Finally, we sold 200 more shares of Boyd Gaming at 12.41.  We paid 17.47 for 100 on 4/16/08 and 10.98 for 100 on 7/7/08.     

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