Month: October 2007

Excellent Article: Pursue Them to The Grave


From Stephen Pizzo at

October 29, 2007

Pursue Them
Pursue Them to The Grave

Those us of a certain age have been here and done this before. And many of us wonder how we could possibly allowed ourselves to be sucked into it again. And then it dawned on me this weekend — the one critical thing we did not learn from our disastrous Vietnam experience. It’s not what we did, but what we failed to do. And that one thing is the reason for nearly everything that’s gone so terribly wrong in Iraq and our so-called “war on terror.”

Got your pen? Because we can’t afford to ever for this again. Okay, here it is:


Article: What will World War IV cost?


What will World War IV cost?
How about $32,000 each, $5 gas and a military draft for your kids
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
Last Update: 7:19 PM ET Oct 29, 2007

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — First, let’s clear the air: Someone please tell the White House we’re already fighting World War III. Yes, they’re great at picking buzzwords, but the truth is our global “war on terror” has engaged (or enraged) every nation on the planet.


Article: Pirates of Private Equity; An insanely lucrative investment strategy finally faces public scrutiny


(From In These Times, provided by LexisNexis)

Publication: In These Times

EMPLOYEES KNEW THAT HASTINGS Manufacturing Co., a family-owned auto-parts supplier 30 miles south of Grand Rapids, Mich., was in deep water. Facing financial pressure, 375 employees — two-thirds of whom were in the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) bargaining unit — conceded $ 1 million in benefits to save their company, relinquishing newly negotiated pay raises and agreeing to cover part of their own health care costs.

But according to UAW Local 138 Chief Steward Kim Townsend, who testified before the House Commercial and Administrative Law subcommittee in September, when Hastings’ management declared bankruptcy and was taken over by the private equity firm Anderson Group in December 2005, the slicing didn’t stop there. Sick days were cut in half, an existing two-tier wage system with a top rate of $ 13.49 an hour was maintained and the allotment for bargaining time was limited to two hours a month on company time. For retirees, the consequences were more dire, with pensions and health care coverage all but severed.


Article: Ich bin ein Berliner


As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
— Justice William O. Douglas

Click through to read the article…


Editorial: Another $200 Billion Down Bush’s Bottomless Pit


From the October 25, 2007, New York Times:

Another $200 Billion

President Bush waited until he had vetoed a relatively inexpensive children’s health insurance bill before asking for tens of billions of dollars more for his misadventure in Iraq. The cynicism of that maneuver is only slightly less shameful than the president’s distorted priorities. Despite a pretense of fiscal prudence, Mr. Bush keeps throwing money at his war, regardless of the cost in blood, treasure or children’s health care.


Article: California home foreclosures again set a record


Here’s an eye-popping statistic: 17.9 million vacant homes in the USA.

Using a little back-of-the-envelope math we can multiply 17.9 million by about 2.5 people per house and get 44.8 million people. That’s the number of people who could be housed in those vacant homes. To put it in perspective, that’s room for the entire population of Spain or 1.5 times the population of Canada.

You also might be wondering just how that number — 17.9 million — compares to the total number of homes in the USA. Using our 2.5 people her house estimate, combined with the population of the USA — about 301.14 million — we estimate that about 12.9% all homes in the USA are currently vacant. And that number is rising. What would be interesting would be to see how that number compares to history and to comparable countries and their histories. Anyone want to get on that? And perhaps post the info in the comments to this post? Thanks. Cheers!

California home foreclosures again set a record
The third quarter’s total surpasses 24,000, which is a record. ‘It’s working its way to the Westside,’ an agent says.
By Peter Y. Hong
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 27, 2007

Californians lost their homes to foreclosure in record numbers for a second straight quarter, and the trend is creeping into affluent communities, figures released Friday show.

Foreclosures statewide hit a new high of 24,209, besting the previous record by 39%, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Default notices — the first step toward foreclosure — rose to 72,571 for the three months ended Sept. 30, breaking a record set in 1996.

Separately, the Census Bureau reported that the nation’s homeownership rate fell for a fourth straight quarter, the longest decline since 1981. The agency said foreclosures helped push the number of vacant homes to a record 17.9 million.


Article: Recovering From Injury, Returning to TV, Speaking for the Wounded (Bob Woodruff)


“Every day, now, is a ‘free day.'” I can relate to that. In fact, those are the exact words I’ve been using ever since my mountain biking accident, which resulted in a seriously fractured skull and shattered cheekbone. I still have a good-size indentation in my right temple and large scars on my neck and head. How does it make me feel? I say it again, every day is a free day… thank you. Now on to the NYT story:

From the October 25, 2007, New York Times:

Recovering From Injury, Returning to TV, Speaking for the Wounded

In the summer of 2006, as Israeli and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon were clashing, Bob Woodruff desperately wished to fly there to report for ABC News. Never mind that it had been less than six months since a roadside explosion in Iraq pocked his brain with shrapnel and other debris, almost killing him.

“I couldn’t even remember the word ‘Lebanon,’” Mr. Woodruff, 46, said in an interview this week in his office at ABC News, reflecting on the months after he emerged from a 36-day, medically induced coma. “I couldn’t remember the names ‘Israel’ and ‘Hezbollah.’”


Article: Straitjacket Bush (Bushes Gone Wild)


Straitjacket Bush
The president’s warmongering remarks on the Iranian threat suggest he is psychotic. Really.
Rosa Brooks

October 25, 2007

Forget impeachment.

Liberals, put it behind you. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney shouldn’t be treated like criminals who deserve punishment. They should be treated like psychotics who need treatment.

Because they’ve clearly gone mad. Exhibit A: We’re in the middle of a disastrous war in Iraq, the military and political situation in Afghanistan is steadily worsening, and the administration’s interrogation and detention tactics have inflamed anti-Americanism and fueled extremist movements around the globe. Sane people, confronting such a situation, do their best to tamp down tensions, rebuild shattered alliances, find common ground with hostile parties and give our military a little breathing space. But crazy people? They look around and decide it’s a great time to start another war.


Article (and funny quite): Merrill swings to loss on huge mortgage hit


First, the funny quote, which is basically the caption of the cartoon I posted yesterday: “It turned out our assessment of the potential risk and mitigation strategies were inadequate,” Merrill CEO Stan O’Neal said on a conference call with analysts.

Second, IF is that if this truly is the “bad news” from MER, then it is now behind us and the stock may be a buy. Note the intraday reversal on the chart above, which is an intraday chart image taken at about noon today. Cheers!

Now on to the article:


Article: Suicide Is Not Painless


From the October 21, 2007, New York Times:

Suicide Is Not Painless

IT was one of those stories lost in the newspaper’s inside pages. Last week a man you’ve never heard of — Charles D. Riechers, 47, the second-highest-ranking procurement officer in the United States Air Force — killed himself by running his car’s engine in his suburban Virginia garage.

Mr. Riechers’s suicide occurred just two weeks after his appearance in a front-page exposé in The Washington Post. The Post reported that the Air Force had asked a defense contractor, Commonwealth Research Institute, to give him a job with no known duties while he waited for official clearance for his new Pentagon assignment. Mr. Riechers, a decorated Air Force officer earlier in his career, told The Post: “I really didn’t do anything for C.R.I. I got a paycheck from them.” The question, of course, was whether the contractor might expect favors in return once he arrived at the Pentagon last January.


Google Climax Top


Google, Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG): 2:30 AM NYC time, October 20th: Just a quick post to note the top of Google’s impressive $150+-point run from the August lows. Note Friday’s action: 1) gap up after earnings, 2)…


Market Update: No Surprises Here


The Cubes (NASDAQ: QQQQ): 8:10 PM NYC time, October 19th: Just a quick update on Wednesday’s posting about last week’s bearish engulfing candle / key reversal. Today’s sell off *almost* closed below last week’s key candle, but didn’t (NOTE: Other major indexes, such as the Dow and S&P, *did* confirm to the downside. Volume was elevated due to options expiration. So we’ll have to…


Activist Investor To Sell 10M Shrs In New York Times -CNBC


The following news — a big investor throwing in the towel — *may* mark a bottom for NYT, which is now yielding almost 5%. Cheers!

Oct 17, 2007 09:37:13 (ET)

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Morgan Stanley, representing an activist shareholder, is expected to sell 10 to 10.5 million shares in New York Times Co. (NYT), said CNBC’s David Faber, citing unnamed sources.

Shares of New York Times recently traded down 61 cents, or 3% at $18.30.

-Brett Philbin, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5393,

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 17, 2007 09:37 ET (13:37 GMT)


Key Reversal Last Week, Retest Today


The Cubes (NASDAQ: QQQQ): 11:30 AM NYC time, October 17th: Just a quick post to note the “2” of a potential “1, 2, 3 reversal.” The “1” came last Thursday, when the Cubes — and multiple stock-market indexes — posted bearish engulfing candle on huge volume. The “2” could be today (the “2” is a failed attempt to make a new high). And the “3” — reversal confirmation — would be a…


Equity Cheat Sheet


weak data = Fed ease, stocks rally
consensus data = lower volatility, stocks rally
strong data = economy strengthening, stocks rally
bank loses $4bln = bad news out of the way, stocks rally
oil spikes = great for energy companies, stocks rally
oil drops = great for the consumer, stocks rally
dollar plunges = great for multinationals, stocks rally
dollar spikes = lowers inflation, stocks rally
inflation spikes = will inflate all assets, stocks rally
inflation drops = improves earnings quality, stocks rally

Source: From a friend via email.