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  • America the Jobless Ghost Ship Sails Onward [View article]
    As I recall, after the assassination of President Garfield in 1870, competitive exams were introducedfor post office jobs, a kind of IQ test. This means that the post office is full of brilliant test takers who couldn´t get jobs elsewhere for one reason or another.

    Still, great literacy skills come in handy reading addresses.

    What you say about college may be true of many degree subjects, although there is a certain irony that nursing courses are in short supply and are always 100% subscribed, but that the US cannot educate enough doctors to meet the demand and imports many medical graduates from overseas. In one hospital I worked at almost none of the physicians were US born,the largest number being from Vietnam and from an assortment of South and Central American countries.

    So interesting that we may have lost the war in Vietnam, but we got most of their doctors!
    Jul 10, 2011. 08:14 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Our Aggressive Virtual Portfolio Doubles in the First Half; Now Shooting for $100K [View article]
    Not me. I am recuperating from an excursion on my mountain bike as I write this with a glass of unsweet chilled tea in my hand. Best thing since nectar.

    When I get back the use of my legs, it will be time for some laps in the pool, and then I will have to go to the supermercado for supplies as tomorrow there is a general strike here to protest government spending cutbacks and demand a 30% pay raise!

    I just wish I could get away from it all and relax. Still, planning option trades helps keep me sane.
    Jul 10, 2011. 12:57 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I Don't Watch CNBC [View article]
    I personally do not watch CNBC nor do I watch any TV at all when I am at home, and haven´t done so for several years.

    However, right now I am staying in a rented condo where there is satellite TV and have been watching CNN, CNN Latin America, BBC World News, Al Jazeera every now and again. RIght now the TV is off, because I have had enough.

    I think the danger of watching CNBC or ANY TV on a regular basis is that you get overwhelmed with short term data presented with a lack of long term perspective, and ultimately this may skew your thinking.

    The other factor is that if a TV station carries commercials, then the commercials are the true message, and the content is incidental or it is skewed towards delivering an audience to the advertiser. Without tuning in to CNBC, I can confidently predict that it is not telling the true story about how NewsCorp has been run for years as a criminal organization and its executives may face prosecution under US antibribery statutes for paying bribes to British police officers.
    Jul 10, 2011. 12:45 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Our Aggressive Virtual Portfolio Doubles in the First Half; Now Shooting for $100K [View article]
    Yes AAPL was just a random selection because it is swingy and presented some easy round numbers. I was thinking it might be a useful strategy to apply with longer options or LEAPS with the intention of holding for a rather short period of no more than 2 or three weeks to see what happens.

    For example, October is a notoriously volatile month for stocks with the emphasis more on the downside, but once the hurricane season is over and we start to think about turkeys, chestnuts, and chimneys, then the atmosphere tends to cool down in most years.
    Jul 10, 2011. 12:03 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • America the Jobless Ghost Ship Sails Onward [View article]
    No, I am saying that the usual pattern in countries overseas is that CNN sets up a camera point in a large public square where people assemble with signs written in English, (often very professional looking) to appeal to US viewers for support for their supposed prodemocracy movement.

    I am supposing that soon we will be seeing a reversal with US citizens campaigning for democracy and appealing to viewers in China for help via CNN.
    Jul 10, 2011. 10:04 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Our Aggressive Virtual Portfolio Doubles in the First Half; Now Shooting for $100K [View article]
    Not convinced of this, Convo.

    For an example I looked at the AAPL October puts.

    AAPL currently trades around $360.

    You could sell the $400 puts and buy 3 $350 puts for each $400 put sold, however if the stock stayed at around the same level the time component in the ATM puts would erode while the ITM portion of the OTM puts holds up at $50 per share, so eventually you would be forced to sell the position at a loss before the stock is put to you at $400 for a loss of $50 per share.

    The stock would have to fall to about $325 per share to break even on expiration. 3 x 25 = 1 x 75.

    Obviously AAPL may not be the ideal stock for this strategy, and one would not necessarily want to hold the trade to maturity, but can you give a hypothetical example of a suitable stock and how the free lottery ticket would work, and what the maximum downside would be?
    Jul 10, 2011. 09:46 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Not a Short Covering Rally [View article]
    First generation American versus heritage Americans is not really a matter of race as there may be many races in both categories. It is just that once people start to buy into the profit at any cost mentality that is so predominant in the US business world, then their value to customers diminishes.

    For example, the first generation business person might be proud to make the best hamburgers in town, but the second generation entrepreneur looks to make hamburgers as cheaply as possible and sell them as high as posssible, thus adding less value from the consumer point of view.

    I only comment on my car repair guy being Muslim, because he has a newpaper article about pork on the wall of his reception area and because in many circles in the US Muslims are looked down upon due to association with terrorism, etc. whereas actually their religious principles may guide their business practices .

    Islam, as a matter of principle, prohibits all activities which may cause harm either to the traders or the consumers in the market.
    Jul 9, 2011. 09:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Not a Short Covering Rally [View article]
    I agree with some of this, but not with the conclusions. It seems that the business climate is very favorable for large companies with international markets, but that they don´t need to increase their US workforce to increase profits.

    The question that baffles me is this. There are tens of thousands of Americans who can make a better hamburger than McDonalds or a better pizza than Dominos, so why are they not setting up in business for themselves to compete with a better product and a better service. If I was a young American, this is what I would want to do.

    Where are the neighborhood hamburger joints with ambitions to expand to become worldwide franchises?

    I think that if you looked at this issue, you would find that there were many more barriers to entry,, even or such a simple business, than one would think, but these things that are barriers to high school or community college graduates are not barriers for corporations that have attorneys, staff trainers, and quality compliance experts already on staff.

    However, I do see a lot of Mexicans and Hispanics running small businesses to serve their own community, and I patronize their businesses, but the snag for mainstreaming these businesses is that I speak Spanish and it is a matter of complete indifference to me whether I speak to people in English or Spanish, but for most customers that is not the case.

    To tell the truth I prefer to deal with Hispanic businesses, because I find that they are keen to expand their markets and are generally more honest and value for money than US gringo businesses that are full of tricks.

    For example I would NEVER take my car to a repair shop run by a born American, because they subscribe to trade magazines full of hints on how to cheat customers, for example charging a large fee for diagnosing a problem that is quite obvious from the get go, like changing a slipping belt. The MUSLIM guy I have taken my car to for 15 years is 100 per cent reliable. I just tell him to do what he thinks is necessary and tell me how much, no questions. And I know the bill will not be stuffed with pork!
    Jul 9, 2011. 01:00 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What the VIX Is Telling Investors [View article]
    One of the best recent articles on SA.

    @Convo. Making money is definitely good, and there are almost inumerable strategies available. Right now I am short OTM AAPL put spreads in the expectation that the stock will continue to run up into earnings for the next few days, intending to close position before earnings and possibly sell OTM call spreads after earnings.

    By selling call spreads on VXX you are essentially short VIX or long the market. By setting a baited line and selling onto spikes, you are juicing the potential of the transaction, but the biggest danger is that sudden negative news (say a political assassination) drives the VIX quickly upwards outside the limits of your spread.

    The question is really whether the risk to reward of this particular trade offers gains greater than can be had elsehwhere for less or the same risk. Why not sell bull put spreads too at times of antispikes and make it into an iron condor? I t seems to me that the VIX can only revert to a level when fear subsides, and has little potential to spike sharply downwards.

    Or when volatility spikes does this have an inverse effect on the price of VXX puts so that more expensive SP500 puts cause cheaper VXX puts?
    Jul 9, 2011. 10:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Black Hole of Financialization: Zero-Sum Profits vs. Beneficial Wealth Creation [View article]
    Seems to be true. As it happens I am reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire right now and there are many parellels to the US today. If GW Bush had been a great reader before he became president rather than during, he might have avoided extending his empire´s resourcers in fighting pointless overseas wars.

    Incidentally, with all this deficit talk, it is interesting that there is relatively little said about reducing the bloated Legions that account for so much expenditure.
    Jul 8, 2011. 07:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • America the Jobless Ghost Ship Sails Onward [View article]

    And it will only begin when the dollar nosedives and peope take to the streets demanding a total restructuring of our govt system.


    Indeed, sir. It may not be long before CNN is setting up a camera post on the Mall in Washington DC where pro democracy citizens are protesting in front of the cameras with signs written in Chinese pleading for help.
    Jul 8, 2011. 04:58 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Black Hole of Financialization: Zero-Sum Profits vs. Beneficial Wealth Creation [View article]
    My understanding is that credit default swaps are actually insurance, only by another name to avoid regulation. Compare this to women offering something called body rubs to avoid being regulated by the state board of licensed massage therapists. I would assume that now the game has been exposed no sophisticated investor would get sucked into CDS without knowing that the game is rigged. Perhaps there are some tribal chiefs with teepees on oilfields somewhere who have not heard about VDS yet.
    Jul 8, 2011. 04:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Black Hole of Financialization: Zero-Sum Profits vs. Beneficial Wealth Creation [View article]
    “When Goldman wins on a trade, someone else loses the same amount. “

    But is this right? Does the difference between the capital value of Apple when the shares were first issued and its value now represent money lost by other corporations?

    If I eat a hamburger, does that count as a hamburger not eaten by you?

    If your theory is right, then there is no such thing as investment, only gambling.

    I agree that people in the US are removed from the real economy. I thought this spilled over into the Casey Anthony case, where the jury seemed to be obsessed with an abstract idea of reasonable doubt, without wanting to explain in concrete terms what their doubts were and why they were reasonable. They just could have said “we didn´t believe a word of the evidence about the chloroform“ and left it at that, but actually it sounded like after hearing the evidence they did believe that she was guilty, but they were divorced from their own feelings.

    So goes it with the economy. I am here in the Dominican Republic for the summer where people really do live hand to mouth without any safety blankets provided by the government. Any third world country can stand as a model of what US conservatives want to achieve. Is this good or bad, I don´t know. But once they give us our economic freedom, all the restrictive practices like zoning will have to go, because people will be fighting for basic survival.
    Jul 8, 2011. 03:58 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Android Tablets Are No iPad Killers [View article]
    Yes, I am sure this is true, but without saying what the apps are and why you find them essential, you don´t convey much information. Are there apps that make it possible to do things with an iPad that you cant do with a netbook. I had an Android pad and there were thousands of apps, but most of them not particularly useful or just bog standard things like pdf readers or file organizers.

    Sorry about lack of punctuation. Am using Spanish keyboard with certain characters hard to access.
    Jul 8, 2011. 02:07 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Android Tablets Are No iPad Killers [View article]
    I agree, and another factor to take into consideration is that a Netbook like the Toshiba that I am using to write this message via hotel room wifi is a very viable alternative to an Android pad, that can be used as a music player, video player, Skype communicator, etc. etc. AT A VERY FAVORABLE PRICE POINT compared to an Android pad. You dont need apps either, because you can run full web sites, java etc. for example Internet radio. If you can´t type on the keyboard that I am using for this, you can add a USB lightweight keyboard from Walmart for $10 and you have most of the features of a desktop at your disposal.

    I had this little device with me in Haiti after the earthquake and was able to use it to record interviews and rescue scenes and to assist residents to call families overseas via Skype, store photographs, write emails etc, and you can buy one now for under $300.
    Jul 8, 2011. 10:58 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment