Sunday, March 29, 2009

OPEN POSTS WEEK NINETEEN

Election season will culminate this Saturday as I figure about 12% of the voters will give it a whirl and spend about ten minutes of their precious time to vote. Since this is a town election I will participate and head to precinct two as early as possible. Don’t expect much change as name recognition and incumbents will rule the day. I suspect Adam’s dumped seat will be taken by Al Rullo. Rest will be the same old.

One interesting slot is FinCom as someone has started a grass roots or is that blog roots campaign for MB to be a write-in. One of our very own posters appears to be the focal point of all this. From what I gather it only will take a handful of votes unless someone organizes a last moment campaign.

The next round of earnings will start to flow around April 10th and continue for a week or so. Losses will be substantial and that represents no surprise. If less than expected you may see a continuing trend upwards in the indexes. Was hoping for a June/July return to immigration numbers and that is ahead of schedule right now as some investors are looking for any shred of positive or less than damaging news to return to the markets.

Baseball is in the air and the Sox get ready to march to a 100+ win season. It’s all about pitching and this year that bullpen is the best I can recall seeing along with a starting staff that is possibly the best in the league. You win with pitching and that they have.

Unfortunately a casualty of the economic downturn is season tickets that my brother-in-law had. Changed jobs and could no longer justify that expensive perk for customers. My interest in attending 30-50 games is just not there along with the incredible expense so I had no interest in them.

Anybody been to Branson, Missouri? Thinking of a late April or Early May trip. Boston to St. Louis for a few days and then to Branson and back to STL.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

OPEN POSTS WEEK EIGHTEEN

This week is one of the signals of spring with the annual Rotary Club Auction.. Now I have no idea why or what they are doing with that rotary but I have not seen much improvement over the years. But the auction does represent some quality bonding family time and an insight into generational differences. We have each circled our selections in the Gazette and this means I have actually spent more than ten minutes on the paper. I’d spend more if they had comics weekly but that only happens every other week with the Bumpkin Column.

My wife - The Lovely Cynthia - will concentrate on her usual targets of dirt from Arruda, Williams Trading Post and Spillane’s - all for our garden. Last year I believe she “won” all three. Think a garden is cheap? LMCAO! I, on the other hand, look for nourishment and will focus on various restaurant certificates. Being a thrifty individual (cheapskate) I usually will not bite (pun intended) unless I can get it 25% off. My daughter has three weddings coming up and will be in the wedding party for each. She has circled tanning and hair salons and will certainly bid on any adult beverages that are offered. I’m sure if Rite Aid had contributed Depends Rocky and I would engage in a wild bidding frenzy until our monthly social security allotment was depleted.

Running can be hazardous to your health and today was an example. I run in the woods. Strictly trails. Today near the end of the run on a clear and wide trail I took a spill - probably toed a rock. Nothing serious as it happens every once in awhile. I have mastered the fall and usually just go right into a roll which I did this time. Trouble is I landed on my left side and my elbow was buried into my ribs. An hour later fairly sore but does not hurt with a deep breath so nothing got cracked which happened once before.

This Monday is a big day for all markets since Gaitner will - finally - outline how the administration will attack the bad paper issue. The last time Mr. G. spoke the markets went south almost 5%. I suspect he will eventually be the first major casualty of the WOW administration especially after the AIG debacle during the week. The Street buys it you may see the indexes do that slow climb up to pre inauguration levels.

Post away.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

OPEN POSTS WEEK SEVENTEEN

From the Enterprise Saturday editorial: “ Massachusetts will have a difficult time recovering from its economic mess because of people like Marian Walsh. And people will never respect the Legislature or Gov. Deval Patrick because of people like Marian Walsh.” Or from the Saturday Herald: “Filling the position is an insult to the taxpayers. Filling it with Walsh is an abomination.”

How can anyone add to that or dispute it? This state is fast becoming the area where Democrats go bad. I am under no illusions that if the party in power were the Republicans it would significantly change but that is something we will never know.

Chub Peabody to Jane Swift. Those two stand out in my memories. Two bookends decades apart whose claim to fame is simply being over whelmed by the office of governor. Now Deval Patrick. I have never seen anyone in the corner office so clueless or out of touch. Problem is he is just symptomatic of the Legislature where divine right seems to rule the day.

I have a friend in the south who is a democratic operative and he had a nice comment on stimulus money. He suggested that most of it go to southern states since they steal slower. I will not post the rest of his comments on how Massachusetts operates.

A nice week for indexes world wide as banks are refusing stimulus (bailout) money, returning it and even cooking books to show a profit. Oh the specter of nationalization has managed to get their attention. If by June or July the indexes have returned to their inauguration day totals it may signal that the bottom was truly reached and recovery may take place within a year or so.

The annual Saint Patrick’s Day festival of gluttonous politicians having their annual bash will take place. The only difference between all those politicians stuffing themselves and Cedar Junction is that some in the slammer are actually not crooks and innocent.

Post away.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

OPEN POSTS WEEK SIXTEEN

America once had tribes and those tribes numbered in the hundreds and with their sub groups the thousands and one stands out - the Cherokee. This tribe recognized the relentless expansion of the Europeans/Americans and that their technology and numbers were far superior to that of The People. They reasoned that the only possible path to survival was to adopt the ways of the invaders as repugnant as that may me. The People created their own written language, adapted the dress and customs of the invaders, lived in towns and built schools as they did everything possible to emulate their soon to be oppressors. The lands were coveted by the invaders and eventually The People were placed on a force march and sent hundreds of miles for their home. A Bataan Death March for the Cherokee.

What happened to the Cherokee is a song written in many histories but a tune played most vocally on our continent. Let’s just bypass the Spanish and concentrate on the Europeans and later the new nation - The United States. Westward expansion is a constant theme in our history for once even Middleboro or the outskirts of Plymouth was considered the frontier. The biggest obstacle to expansion was the native population and that was solved by systematic exploitation and what in their histories is described as a genocide. In our histories we term it the “Indian Wars” but as reflection and revisionism becomes more of our history the truth is being written and recorded and it sadly parallels their interpretation.

President WOW has managed to oversee the worse drop in indexes any incoming president has faced. In the last six weeks alone the DOW has shrunk another 25% and some financial pundits not aligned with either stagnant party have forecast a DOW at 2,000 by year end. There Is only one person to blame. Just one. Not the Republicans, Democrats , Rush or anyone else this is squarely the responsibility of Obama. The credit bubble and housing mess are at the vortex of it all and little has been done. Sure there was a few American Gothic photo ops of Ma and Pa before their three bedroom slab ranch getting some type of assistance but not once has the nuts and bolts of how to handle the banking crisis been detailed. Nothing, really. A few or more than a few who may not even be called wing nuts have suggested this is deliberate - make things so piss poor that the fast track for cradle to grave socialism will be wide open. I just dismiss that for I go for the Occam’s Razor approach of a simple explanation. IMO they are totally baffled about what to do. The problem is simply so difficult that the previous remedies - bailouts, stimulus, more bailouts, more stimulus and capped off with rhetoric just are not working. No details simply because they have no plan hence no details. The financial markets will continue to erode and your investments by year end will be twenty cents on the dollar versus 2007. Remember - I told you so…or, hopefully, I’ll visit the Crow Mart for a double helping.

The casino is big news as usual and at the center is the proposal for slot parlors. I have no problem with that as long as the d├ęcor has the appropriate tackiness. I’d like some velvet paintings of dogs playing poker, 20 pound over weight women stuffed into cocktail dresses, watered down drinks - you get the idea. It’s all about the ambience to me and all about the money to others I.E. - our nearly bankrupt state.

Interesting discussions last week on impact of bloggers upon the casino issue. As with any issue feel free to carry it forward.

OK...too much political babble.

Post away.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

OPEN POSTS WEEK FIFTEEN

The more I watch President WOW the more I suspect a smooth talker long on rhetoric and short on details. IMO the recent bailout was jammed through with little detail. The budget will face closer scrutiny but with control firmly in the hand of Democrats the Republicans will be pictured at shrill know nothing obstructionist. Meantime WOW is pontificating about his latest broken campaign promise and that is removal of troops from Iraq. Of little notice will be the consistent buildup in Afghanistan and that will be far more costly in lives than Iraq. Despite our presence in Afghanistan for the last eight years our influence has shrunk to small enclaves. The Russians have warned us of the fruitlessness of operations in this area.

Barney Frank that paragon of intellect and virtue has pronounced the latest bailout of Citi Group is not a sign of a weak banking condition that could be magnified - first 40 Billion and now another 25 billion - Sure, Barney, just like you told us the Fanny and Freddie were solid.

The ongoing casino drama play is just so tiring. One week one group has the pom poms out and then the next week another group. The only real issue I feel exceptional strong about is how Native Americans are occasionally portrayed. When you speak to Native Americans around the country you begin to realize the extent of animosity that is embedded and I cannot blame them one bit. You hear of the reservation system and in the opinion of many that reservation should be ours.

The Middleboro gin mill is now in its death throes as the economy and roadblocks continue to mount. Since I have replaced my usual dunce cap with my prediction bonnet I will say that casinos are inevitable (sorry, MT) in Massachusetts and the perfect place is as a keystone to urban development.

I cannot express my dismay over how our Great and Honorable General Count and Executive Branch have chosen to approach the economic situation in Massachusetts. Despite all common sense and logic the approach is simply to fall back on the same old - taxes! I am on several sports boards and have made contacts virtually all over the world. It seems a day rarely goes by when I get an email asking WTF is the matter with you people?

SCOTUS…they were in the news locally but what really slipped by was not having illegals using a false SS number or a number belonging to someone else classified as identity theft. I actually read the article twice hoping that my comprehension was the result of decreasing brain cells.


I saw that Gary Russell is getting the big kiss that is in several public sector contracts and that is sick leave/vacation buy back. In too many contracts this is extremely liberal and can amount to as high as a few years of getting money for nothing. Yes…I know…they earned it. A comparison. Are teachers in the same handout? Not for me or where my wife worked. In Attleboro I received 15 sick days a year that were cumulative so after my first 12 years I had the maximum amount in the bank - 180 - less two days that I would contribute to a sick bank for those who had exceeded their sick time allocation. So my total was 162. Unfortunately my last year I had two major surgeries and that vaporized 120+ days. Full pay! Not much of that in the DPS (Dreaded Private Sector). Now if I had finished out the year I'd have close to 180 when I coasted into retirement. What would have been my compensation? Nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. Here is why. Retired teachers on our contract will receive $30 for each unused sick day up to a maximum of 120 days provided they have worked in the system for 15 years. Therefore - zip! Not enough service time. As for my wife she had 39 years in the Weymouth system and had no sick days! Why? Their contract did not allow carry over. Fifteen a year and use 'em or lose 'em and most choose to loose 'em. All depends on town to town contract and administrators are different. This state is in desperate need of pension reform. Another interesting fact is I had 30 years of qualified earnings under social security and 15 years under MTR (Massachusetts Teachers Retirement). My teachers retirement was based on three highest years of earnings and the formula allows approximately 2% for each year of service. I actually had higher earnings in the DPS for at least 10 years versus the MTR yet my teachers pension is higher than my SS! Thirty years versus fifteen years. However, with SS you do get COLA and with MTR you can - at the whim of the governor - get a 3% increase per year capped at first $12,400.

I’ll post odds on the great potential match between Dog and Monkey. Even the non gamblers at CFO will get in on this one. This is probably a win-win situation since I’ll run the book.

Post away….if anyone wishes to do a guest blog I’ll post it.