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David Stafford
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Student of markets, enjoys following their course.
My book:
Around the World in Several Pieces
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  • Scratching The Surface; Muni Research; Virginia And Maryland

    Though Virginia and Maryland are not exactly "powerhouse" states, like Texas, California, and New York, Virginia and Maryland may pose interesting muni investment regions per se. For a while I've had my eye on Virginia Munis per se. However, upon reflecting upon what makes Virginia Munis attractive, I've been tempted by perhaps similar situations in Maryland. One might at least superficially argue per se, as well, that Maryland, is also geographically much smaller than Virginia, hence perhaps its more like Northern Virginia, without wine, horse and farm country per se, and perhaps this is a good thing in a sense in regards to municipalities always having stable sources of revenues. Needless to say though, these non super populated/commercial regions of Virginia are none the less truly fantastic places as is perhaps attested to in the writings of colonist John Smith, who once remarked concerning Virginia that; "heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitations"(link).


    Haymarket Virginia for ex;(source)


    None the less, perhaps these ponderings deserve at least an initial amount of research so here are some preliminary facts per se, concerning Virginia and Maryland. According to "FRED"; the 2012+1 GDP of Virginia was; 452,585 million dollars(source), while that of Maryland was; 343,383 million dollars(source). These stats put Virginia somewhere inside or just outside the top 10 GDP's in regards to states, and Maryland at least within the top 15.

    Things get interesting however, when we dig a little deeper and compare these two state's populations. Hence, we have Virginia's pop. at about 8.2 million(source), and Maryland's at about 5.93 million(source), hence giving us a per capita GDP figure for Virginia of about; $56,500.00, and a value for Maryland of about; $57,166.00. Hence though there isn't really a noticeable difference, that probably couldn't be attributed to external unaccounted for variables(difference is less than 5%(5% of 57K= ~2850), it does seem that Maryland holds a slight edge in regards to per capita GDP.


    Perhaps hence the next step should be seeing the foundations for these figures, and hence looking into how well these sovereign-sounding states' commercial activity is diversified(or not).



    flag image source;(link)

    (click to enlarge)


    According to various sources(,, and there may be more to the Virginian economy than meets the eye. For example, though its most commercial hustling and bustling region is perhaps found in its northern area next to DC, it also has a few aces up its sleeve per se, tucked away from the traffic and "tumult". For example, though Tobacco, was and perhaps still is a semi-important part of the Virginian economy, chickens, per se, or "livestock" are also becoming key players in the Virginian economic profile per se. Amongst these perhaps not so immediately apparent industries present in Virginia, are some "titanic" players like the shipping hubs in Virginia of Newport News, and Roanoke, not to mention the naval hub at Norfolk(not as busy as ports in California and New York but Norfolk is close, at 4th place overall in regards to US ports(link)). While men and women of the sea are busy bringing in "fish and crabs" from the large coastal fishing areas off of Virginia's coast, IT, Govt. Service, and Govt. workers, are dealing with DC related issues in the state's north. Amidst all of this there is even some aeronautical research conducted in the state per se(At Hampton(as opposed to "Hampton Roads"), as well as some coal mining.



    flag image source(link)


    Cobbling together a few different sources one can perhaps also paint a somewhat more zoomed in perspective on the economy of the suzerain state of Maryland(,,, In doing so one may note a good economy overall perhaps in regards to Maryland's, but one which saw the 49th "best" state-economic growth in the nation last year, so perhaps that's not exactly a glass-raising discovery per se(source). However, with that we also have a stable economy perhaps, and one that is none the less quite interesting. For, from a quick glance at the BLS's employment info in regards to Maryland, one may note that the economy is sort of "simpler" or less diversified per se, at least in terms of employment than is that of Virginia. For Maryland's 4 most notable sort of employment are, Transport/Utilities/Services, Government, Professional Services, and Health and Education related activities. Like Virginia, Maryland also is famouse for it "crabbing" per se, as well as other fish related activities, however, unlike Virginia, its Agricultural sector, seems vastly overshadowed by the likes of the defense industry companies/manufacturing industries that operate out of the state. Hence, there seems to be a sort of heavy leaning towards Government related/Defense related activities that really sort of perhaps propel the state's economy. Not to mention being the headquarter-state of various financial firms, like that ram of a financial firm, T.Rowe price. Hence, Maryland perhaps has a greater sort of government tie in to its economy, than Virginia does, perhaps due to Virginia's extra-agriculture related diversification per se. Surprisingly aswell, Virginia's port at Norfolk, also perhaps overshadows Maryland's port of Baltimore, at least in regards to business, with Norfolk being the 4th busiest port overall in the US, with Baltimore, not really being in the top 10 per se(link).


    Hence before getting into the makeup of the municiple investments and portfolio's offered by these 2 states, and the individual investment vehicles one can use to access/invest in said investments, it seems as though the difference between Virginia and Maryland's economies, may come down to a sort of subjective decision. Maryland seems to have a higher per capita GDP, and a more concentrated in Defense/Govt. economy(with some hospitals and education thrown in for good measure), while Virginia seems to have this sort of economy in North. Virginia in particular, with the agricultural buffer/diversification thrown into its portfolio to perhaps provide some extra bulky beta per se, to offset any potential government instability.


    Hence, perhaps with their queenly names these two states provide an interesting backdrop to the curious Municipal bond admirer. Perhaps in the future, the individual investments one can make into these state's bonds should be looked at more thoroughly, however, perhaps for now, we should have at least a precursory understanding of these two mid-Atlantic territories, and perhaps if we are ever on "Jeopardy", and asked about America's busiest ports, perhaps we now will have at least a somewhat better handle of the shipping traffic into and out of this great land per se. Thanks again for reading, I hope everyone's investing is going great, and that one and all have a great weekend.


    Queens in question;

    Virginia's namesake; Queen Elizabeth 1(source),


    Maryland's namesake; Queen Henrietta Maria(source)

    (click to enlarge)

    Nov 14 2:51 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Weekend Infotainment; Ebola Talk, And Peer-To-Peer Mind Control.

    Though it may veer off from the peculiar scientific trend involving turning human bodily fluids into a source of power, this week has yielded some pretty interesting talks and scientific breakthroughs per se.


    If one wants to hear the personal stories and anecdotes, and insights of the writer of "The Hotzone"; namely Richard Preston, here's an interesting talk he gave recently on the subject of ebola. In it he chronicles some sort of heroic characters who were unfortunately amongst the victims of the this latest bout between humanity and ebola, and its all together perhaps an interesting speech,that touches on interesting subjects relating to genetic study aswell; link.

    source for image(link)


    For some more unique ideas we may turn to none other than sciencedaily who have this article on person to person, un-intrusive nerve control per se. In the study that is mentioned in the linked story it seems that some folks were wired up with sensors per se and then essentially put in such a position where one person sitting across a "campus" per se, from the other person was shown a video game, another person was given a mouse and a blank screen, and the two had their brain-activity connected via the internet. It seems that ~25-80% of the participants could operate in this sort of manner, and actually play the shared game if one will. Supposedly this technology has developed to the point whereby this sort of experiment or experience, can be conducted with "walk-in"s. Perhaps its sort of fascinating how this sort of thing may invoke various manchurian-candidate related ideas, but either way, perhaps we're getting closer to some sort of avatar-esque situation with each passing day.(link)

    image source; (link)


    I hope everyone's having a great weekend. Thanks again for reading.

    Nov 08 9:05 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Interesting Developments Post Ukraine Crisis; China-Russia Chimera

    Though it may have seemed like the Ukraine crisis and its aftershocks per se, on the global gestalt were slowly fading away, leaving Russia, reeling, and attempting to creatively act as protectionist as possible, there seems to be a new phenomenon shaping the future of Russia, and of its ideological and geographical neighbor, China.


    China as well as Russia, had seemingly been in a rough spot as of late. The glut of cash in China, has triggered some interesting economic outcomes in this land of the "dragon" per se. Junk-investments were popping up all over the place, with the liberalization of China's investment market per se, all the whilst the Chinese were looking for international investments, perhaps as they always have been. None the less, the Chinese in general, have been buying up property,companies, land, energy and mineral rights, all around the world at an astounding pace, the only competitor(particularly for minerals) often big enough to out-scale them at times, being if its really worth it..., companies like the massive Glencore etc.


    However, by ostracizing Russia per se, from a Western perspective, using sanctions, elite-asset-confiscation measures etc, we seem to have sort of created a sort of toxic ambiance in Russia, which may have, like some sort of Frankenstein-esque tale, forced Russia into a position whereby, it is now sort of perhaps becoming more of a ward of the ever-expanding, Chinese capital flow per se.

    ________________(toxic-transformation reference(link))

    (click to enlarge)


    For evidence of this, we may turn to a few interesting stories, somehow still emanating, from the increasingly inwardly focused country of Russia(Fines for having "foreign sounding names in ads"; link). Amongst these stories we have for example such newsworthy items perhaps, as that pertaining, to China's famed solar industry expanding into Russia to the tune of a billion dollars(link). All the whilst, perhaps interestingly enough, we now have the Chinese essentially co-opting the Russian economy faster than the Russians can, in the vacuum left by the sanctioning, and hence departing west(link).


    Perhaps the last story is the most telling, for perhaps it is a truly unforeseen outcome of this whole matter, that the Ukraine crisis, would essentially add Russia, and its stable energy-related cash-flows, essentially to the portfolio of the sort of imaginary Chinese portfolio. China, with its more-money than we know what to do with economy as of late, perhaps will see Russia, as "just what it needed". Its as though billions in Chinese cash was just "sitting on the sidelines" and a large portion of the Russian economy per se, was just IPO'd, hence perhaps making China, much stronger per se, economically speaking, giving it the chance to convert capital perhaps put in a precarious position via junky-investments of desperation, now into a menu of potentially energy-cash-flow stabilized, investment products that it could have only perhaps dreamed up in some sort of late night whisky fueled, "what-if" central planning meeting otherwise.

    __________(Expanding Chinese Dragon(link))


    Hence, perhaps the Ukrainian crisis, apart from potentially weakening Russia in the short-mid term, has perhaps given China essentially a heavily armed(Russia building 2 new stealth subs(link)), energy rich, addition to its portfolio. Perhaps this has sort of created a sort of centrally planned, post-soviet super economy of sorts(in the making) in the far east. Perhaps this was unaccounted for, or perhaps it was accounted for, but perhaps it is very ironic, that in this age, of increasing awareness of Chinese capital expansion, worrying in a sense some westerners, that the west in essence greatly facilitated China's snagging of its recent great prize per se, and in a highly fortuitous liquid moment in the countries history. Perhaps in essence the Ukraine crisis has inadvertently or advertently, who can say, created a sort of post-soviet Chimera, of sorts over in the Orient per se, with part of Russia's economy becoming another headed-tail on the body of the Chinese economic juggernaut per se.

    ____________(image source)

    (click to enlarge)


    Either way its perhaps fascinating to imagine, and muse how all of this will turn out. It has perhaps sort of created a dynamic similar to the trade liberlisation policies enacted in Latin America, vis a vis the West, now in regards to Russia's relationship with China. Perhaps its unique almost to see such a juxtaposition manifesting between to relatively mature states per se, but either way, this may potentially be fascinating, in regards to how this new portfolio in China's capital account per se, may give it that extra bit of stability that it was looking for, going forward.


    Either way, hopefully the only co-option one is facing at the moment, involves one's costume, and the eating of copious amounts of candy on this fine Halloween. Hopefully everyone's investments are doing great, and are as stable, if not more stable, as the "Chinese portfolio" may be in the mid-to long term. Thank you again for reading, and happy Halloween.

    Tags: China, Russia
    Oct 31 5:05 AM | Link | Comment!
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