Monday, November 15, 2004

Musings of Late

Since the last report a few things have happened. The Red Sox won the World Series (read that again and ponder it for a while), we elected (see I am doing the bring the country together thing) a president, Michael Moore is doing Farenheit 911 -1/2 (oh boy), half the original Bush cabinet is going, going, gone and the Cavaliers of HooVA go O for Florida (Sorry TTB I had to rub it in a little). I predict Bush Term II will be a kindler, gentler group but will still be hated by the 48% of the population that did not vote for Shrub. As for as Michael Moore, he is going to learn the harsh lesson of film making which is THE SEQUEL NEVER STACKS UP TO THE ORIGINAL (Spider Man II being the exception). Good luck Michael!

On the things that trully matter in life (college football) it is crunch time (or the playoff time if you are a NFL type) . What have we learned? That the toughest games USC has had this year were against Va. Tech and Cal and USC's ranking is riding as much on last year as this, that Oklahoma is a shaky #2 and Auburn is a BAD TEAM. When you go into Neyland Stadium and punk the home team and then punk the #8 team (Georgia) in your place you deserve respect. As far as I can tell that is much more impressive than what Oklahoma has done this year. Oh yea, they beat Texas, but that is like Michigan beating Ohio State under John Cooper. No matter what, it happens. Otherwise the Big 12 is fairly weak especially the Northern AA Division.

In the Big East (also known as the Lil' E) the best team resides in Kentucky and won't play a league game until next year. That could be considered conjecture but what is not is that West Virgina , the presumed conference big dog, got put on the porch by current ACC team Va. Tech and by future ACC team Boston College.

In the BIG 10 it looks as if Michigan will roll to another title and spot in the Rose Bowl absent a miracle (or some better cars and jobs for the boys in Columbus -ouch!).

In the ACC the conference Poo Bahs got what they wanted which was a bunch of tight games for TV and what they did not expect - no overall strong dominant team (FSU Miami). No one in the conference seems to have an offense that can light it up on a regular basis and anyone can lose to anyone on a given day (See - UNC beats Miami, MD beats FSU and oh lets not forget Duke beats Clemson). That last game item is the subject of an investigation by the Clemson AD to see if pencil or pen was used last year to sign Coach Tommy Bowden's contract extension. I hear Tigers growling and it is not Montecore. If I had to pick a favorite right now I would go with FSU since they posted a 6-2 record and are in the clubhouse. UVA is reeling a little after having very high expectations to begin the year. Losing to FSU and Miami hurts and with games AT Ga. Tech and Va. Tech remaining the road is not easy. Neither spot has been kind to the Hoos over the years and one loss knocks them out. Miami has to play at Wake Forest and hosts Va. Tech to end the season. While the Demon Deacons are near the bottom of the conference they play tough and are DUE to win a close game. One loss and Miami is out. Va. Tech has an advantage relative to it's other conference mates (FSU excepted) by having played in the Orange Pit (I mean Bowl) against Miami a lot. They typically don't win in the OB but this is not a typical Canes team either. Va. Tech gets to host Maryland and UVA at home before going on the road to Miami. Probability says they don't win all three. A loss in one game means they are tied with FSU and with no head to head matchup I will venture to say FSU is ranked higher and goes to the Sugar Bowl.

All in all it has been an enjoyable season!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Redsox - Yankees

First great game last night (Game 6). Props to the Red Sox for doing what no team has ever done before - come back from 0-3 to force a Game 7. It was the first baseball game I have watched all year. Very enjoyable. I always think at this time of year - "Why don't I watch more baseball"? I like sports but then I always realize why. It is called April through August. I am a busy American. I want stuff to matter and baseball's season is way too long and has waaaaay to many games. Give me a 30 game season with some playoffs and I am a fan. The NBA has same issue - who gives a crap in November - March. But I digress. Tonights Game 7 will go down in history no matter how is turns out. Sox win, beat the hated Yankees, go to the World Series blah, blah, blah. No the real story/fun will be in seeing in what magical, mystical, Dickensien way that some oddball thing dashes the Sox fans hopes for year 86 and counting. I thought we had three last night that the gods sent - the slower roller to third that should have been an easy out, the non-called Home Run and the A-Rod Chop. Just think, absent the advent of the Ump Conference Committee two of those three would have robbed the Sox of a run and given the Yankees a run. Make no mistake - I am rooting for the Red Sox because I hate the Yankees but the emotional pain of what the cosmos will inevitably reek tonight is not to be missed. My prediction is Bill Simmons, The Sports Guy goes permanently insane sometime around midnight.

Or, I could be wrong.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Election II - Game Over!

My mind is made up after reading this. I admire the man's faith but this is a little scary.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Bill G. has it right

Bill has it exactly right.

Part II is especially rich although his analogy is off in my opinion. The price of a bag has risen but the time the bag lasts has increased. However, if the same analogy was applied to cars I think it works better. Say I want the world's most basic car. 10 years ago that was a vehicle with four wheels, engine etc and seatbelts. Now it has all that plus airbags and ABS brakes on two wheels. Those adjustments are taken out of the price when figuring inflation however the car doesn't last any longer and my cost of transportation has risen.

Rock on Bill, rock on!

Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Election

As we approach the first of three presidential debates I don't think I have ever been as tired of an election as this one. It is also the most conflicted I have ever been going into an election. While I consider myself an independent and have no affiliation with political parties (I abhor them actually) I will admit to voting Republicanesque most of the time.

That said I have become somewhat more eclectic (smart????) in my advancing years. I now generally adopt a modified libertarian philosophy. Therefore let me lay out my views on the election and some of the bigger issues of the day.

George Bush
I thought I would never see a president reviled as much as Republicans reviled Bill Clinton. I was wrong. The democratic (or a least more liberal leaning side) revulsion for W is the overarching issue these days and threatens to kill Kerry's chances. It started with the election in 2000 which Bush won by the rules and by the recount. I frankly don't have a lot of sympathy for voters that get confused by a ballot. If you are maybe you shouldn't be voting. I agree Bush did not win the popular vote. If you check the constitution it is not a popular vote system. It is a republic. It is the reason Wyoming has two senators just like California. Quit whining about it. It has worked for over two hundred years and several Presidents have been elected that way including Thomas Jefferson. But back to Bush v Kerry. I don't get the sense anyone really likes Kerry as much as they hate W. It has gotten myopic. Bush is responsible for every bad thing ever in the view of these folks. My view, Bush has made some big mistakes but lets be clear, the war in Iraq was not about oil or Haliburton or some other "corporate crony greed" thing. It may have been unwise (ok, stupid), arrogant, not well thought out, a bad move, crippling etc. but malfeasance it was not. Bush has been a great disappointment to me because he has basically not been a conservative at least economically. He never met a program or department he did not like and while taxes can be argued about (and are below) you can't cut taxes, enact half trillion dollar Medicare programs while at the same time you are fighting a war (more on that below as well).

John Kerry
Kerry has flip flopped more times than I can count. I have the sense the guy will say anything to get elected. I always discount politicians who have basically never had a job outside of politics. I think they have no sense of the real world or the cost government imposes on institutions, individuals and businesses. That said, even if he was a little generous on the purple heart reports and even if his service was done with a self serving view to a political future (I tend to think no one is that insane), I will give him points for being in the shooting gallery and performing admirably while Bush was in the National Guard stateside. I do find it ironic that in the elections of the 90s we were told that Clinton's draft dodging status had no bearing on his ability to be President and now we are told that Kerry's service (in the same war) is one of Kerry's biggest advantages. Which is it??? Basically all I can tell about his other policies is that we will spend as much money as Bush, just in other places. The whole campaign is centered around bringing back the "Clinton Economy". Lets put that fallacy to bed. The Clinton Economy were based on deficit reduction, job creation etc. The budget got balanced because Congress and Bush I passed the Pay Go rules, Bush I and Clinton passed some tax increases, a roaring stock market (the cause of many of today's economic problems) created huge capital gains taxes (see California's problems) and because of a real decline in the defense budget after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I will give the Clinton team points for being more realistic about things in general than the Bush II team but another key point in this fallacy is the gridlock produced by the election of a Republican controlled Congress in November 1994. As far as the economy and stock markets (and Hatch!) are concerned gridlock is good.

Lets also put to bed the idea that Presidents (I don't care who) produce jobs. Businesses (rich people or those trying to get rich) create jobs. Govts make it easier or harder (see Europe). Govt can help with schools, research funding for basic science, sensible tax policies etc. but in the end they create nothing and just redistribute wealth in society. That is not all bad. Here is where I leave the Libertarian Camp. I don't believe markets solve everything. Markets are very good at allocating resources but they by no means allocate them by anything other than price. In a democratic society that is not always the correct thing. As I like to quote Paul McCulley - Capitalism is one dollar, one vote -- Democracy is one person, one vote. That is an inherent conflict. We basically had a job bubble in the 90s just like we had a stock market bubble. It was not realistic on either front.

(TO BE CONTINUED....................)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Terry Tate Buffett - Investment Linebacker

If you get a chance, amble over to Terry Tate Buffett's blog (The Investment Linebacker). He will blitz you until you become an unrepentent value investing disciple. None of this relative value crapola for TTB, he is an in your face, absolute value head hunter.


This blog will discuss anything that interests or irritates me - not limited to sports, taxes, current events and trash TV