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Matthew Rafat

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  • Accuray's Missing Accuracy with Backlog [View article]
    I really enjoyed this article. Thank you for all the details you provided.
    Jan 11 05:33 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Government's Size: The Slow-Motion Crisis [View article]
    I like this article. Readers might be interested in a similar piece here:
    Jan 11 05:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California Legislators Got Drunk on Stock Market Gains [View article]
    @a fat panda:

    Note: the tech bubble's peak was in 2000; hit a low in September 2002; and continued in a tight range until 2007.

    I understand your point. Instead of, "when the tech bubble popped," it should be, "right after the tech bubble popped..."
    Oct 26 01:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California Legislators Got Drunk on Stock Market Gains [View article]
    @a fat panda:

    Note: the tech bubble
    Oct 26 01:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dow 10k: The Higher They Rise, The Harder They Fall [View article]
    Correction/revision to article: Currently, Chinese and Indian culture tend on family and tradition, not unbridled individualism. Such a family-oriented, traditional approach dampens unreasonable or wild materialism."
    Oct 15 05:32 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California Dreamin' Over? [View article]
    Valley Boy: you're putting words in my mouth, so this response will be my final one to you. I'm not saying we shouldn't enforce immigration laws. You have no basis whatsoever for attributing that idea to me.

    I'm saying it's impossible and/or unwise to deport illegal immigrants en masse for several reasons. Among these reasons are the following: 1) mass deportation doesn't appear to help the economy (see AZ); and 2) as I explained above, in order to effectively target persons for deportation, we would have to expand police power considerably and, in the process, we would inevitably target native-born Americans of Latino descent.

    Bottom line: it makes sense to blame the federal government, not immigrants, if you have issues with border enforcement and/or the immigration system. For the past ten years, Congress has come close to reforming our immigration system and, each time, it has failed.
    Oct 9 03:38 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California Dreamin' Over? [View article]
    (Sorry, last comment was published before it was finished.)

    I didn't mean for this post to become about illegal immigration, but I'm happy to have a short discussion about it.

    Valley Boy: two points:

    1. I'm not sure why you focus on illegal immigrants instead of our federal government and your own representatives. If the government wanted to close the border, it could do so. I realize it's not easy to completely close the border, but your anger seems misplaced. You're blaming ambitious, poor people who are coming here to make a better life for themselves--just like previous generations of American immigrants--instead of elected representatives who have failed to reform our convoluted immigration system.

    2. Let's say you're right, and illegal immigrants are the main cause of California's financial crisis. (I don't agree, but we'll assume this premise for the sake of discussion.) Fine. Now what?

    We have millions of illegal immigrants already in California. Do we hire legions of police officers to hunt them down and deport them? If so, how do we identify illegal immigrants without singling out Latino American citizens? How do we effectively identify illegal immigrants without massively expanding police power? Do you want officers to stop people on the street and demand ID? (You know where I'm going with this, don't you? "Show me your papers," etc.)

    What's your solution to the so-called problem of illegal immigration? Mine is to reform the immigration laws and system. If anyone's to blame, it's our own government for passing the buck on this serious issue.

    What is your solution? If we go by Arizona's approach--raiding employers and penalizing them for failing to check Social Security numbers--it may solve nothing. AZ's finances are in terrible shape even after implementing laws to combat illegal immigration. See here:

    Again, do you have a solution that will fix the problem? If not, aren't you just issuing potentially dangerous barbs at a group of people who lack political representation and political power?
    Oct 8 09:03 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • California Dreamin' Over? [View article]
    Valley Boy: I'm not sure why you focus on illegal immigrants instead of our federal government. If the government wanted to close the border, it could do so. For whatever reason, it
    Oct 8 08:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California Dreamin' Over? [View article]
    James: do you have a citation to support your statement? If so, please share. Regardless of how CalPERS manages its money, it relies on California taxpayers to pay government workers' pensions. Even if CalPERS doesn't manage its fund well, taxpayers are ultimately responsible for government workers' benefits. As Warren Buffett said,

    "Whatever pension-cost surprises are in store for shareholders down the road, these jolts will be surpassed many times over by those experienced by taxpayers. Public pension promises are huge and, in many cases, funding is woefully inadequate."

    As I've written before, if a voluntary 401(k) or 403(b) plan is good enough for most engineers, nurses, and lawyers, why isn't it acceptable for government workers, firefighters, and police officers?

    Valley Boy: the children of the same immigrants you bash will be paying our Social Security and Medicare. If we fail to integrate them into the mainstream economy, expect either a reduction in our Social Security and Medicare benefits or higher taxes for the next generation of Americans, including our children.
    Oct 8 02:39 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Notes from the Franklin Templeton Limited Duration Fund's 2009 Shareholder Meeting [View article]
    A pic from inside a Franklin Templeton building:

    Oct 2 01:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Notes from Symantec's Annual Shareholder Meeting [View article]
    I've removed the entire paragraph relating to John on my blog. If wants to remove it, too, that's fine with me.
    Sep 27 03:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Notes from Symantec's Annual Shareholder Meeting [View article]
    Thanks for your comment, James!

    To all my readers: on my blog, I have revised one paragraph--here is the new paragraph:

    "John Chevedden, my main contact, initially asked me to read the proposal almost verbatim. (The sponsoring shareholder was Kenneth Steiner.) I suggested shortening the speech and making it less formal, an approach which seemed more appropriate for a verbal presentation. John Chevedden approved the change, and I delivered the more concise presentation."
    Sep 27 12:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Five Reasons the Market Could Crash This Fall [View article]
    With the S&P above 1000, I agree with the overall bearish sentiment. The market has gone up too much, too soon, on very little positive news. I sold most of my equities yesterday:

    Good luck to all.
    Aug 4 03:30 PM | 23 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Random Thoughts: American Express, Kraft, MGM [View article]
    BAC PL: thank you for your comment. I like your characterization of the credit card chip issue as a "chicken and egg" problem.

    shark1001: I didn't have the time to go through and check all of my stocks. Sometimes, I will own a position and close out all but one share so I may attend the shareholder meeting. As a result, I have lots of "one share" positions. I feel confident in saying that as of today, I don't own more than 20 individual shares of AXP, KFT, or MGM.
    Jul 24 12:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California's Pension, Education Costs: Out of Control [View article]
    For the record, I favor increasing teachers' salaries as long as pension costs are eliminated. Why not replace teachers' pensions with 403b plans (the public-sector equivalent of a 401k)? If a 401k/403b is good enough for a Google/Apple/Target employee, why isn't it good enough for government employees, too?

    The average government workers should not have better retirement benefits than the average non-government worker. Is a secretary or lawyer who works for the government "better" than a secretary who works for Pfizer or Pepsi? I don't think so, especially not when the modern economy is so inter-connected.

    Retirement benefits like lifetime pensions and lifetime medical care are inherently unstable b/c you have to predict how long a worker will live--that's not an easy task. As a result, costs are unpredictable, which makes accurate budget planning difficult. Why not create a budget framework that allows us to definitively ascertain employee costs without worrying about the ticking time bombs of unfunded, unpredictable long-term liabilities?
    Jul 12 03:51 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment