Thursday, May 31, 2007

What Happened to AccuWeather..?

Today was one of those hot humid miserable type days we’ve come to expect during the spring/summer months in Western PA.
I remember looking at the AccuWeather forecast for my town about 2:00 PM this afternoon hoping there would be some late afternoon rain relief, maybe in the form of a “pop up” storm. The weather prediction showed none.About 4:45 PM relief came anyway in the form of a really nasty 90 minute long severe thunderstorm. After about an hour of flashing and banging and periodic downpours I decided to check AccuWeather again. Believe it or not there was no acknowledgement of any sort that the storm was occurring. I looked at my local weather radar and the storm seemed to be centered right over where we live!
Today the famed computerized weather forecasting giant let us all down.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Note About Immigration...

I’ve made no secret about my support for immigration in general. I realize that one of the reasons America is the great country it is because of the blending of various immigrant groups throughout our history and the individual achievements by first and second generation immigrants.
As opposed to many of my countrymen I am not offended when I hear people talking in the language from where they came. I find Spanish to be a beautiful lyrical language with a fascinating cultural background. I love to listen to it and wish I could speak it fluently.Without immigration and lots of it there won’t be enough working people to keep the economy rolling in the next 5 - 20 years as all the baby boomers retire.
Advocates on both sides of the immigration issue hate the 900 + page compromise that has been fashioned in the US Senate and endorsed by the Administration.
All that said let’s reduce that immigration package to what it really is... an attempt to make this issue go away for another 20 years…and from my perspective that might be a good thing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Earth to Paul Wolfowitz...

You are an absolute dope for taking a job where your girlfriend worked in the first place.

Then you make the mistake of getting involved in her compensation.

There is NO vindication for your stupidity in the 21st Century. You obviously do not have the clear judgment to run ANYTHING of consequence.

Quit trying to shift part of the blame to others.

Accept the fact that there are consequences for your actions and GET OUT!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Turning Lead Into Gold...

Lately I’ve devoted an inordinate amount of my time into the thousand year old practice of trying to turn lead into gold. It’s the same pursuit that got many a budding chemist started. Why I even heard that an atomic chemist actually pulled it off about 27 years ago using a process called "transmutation" at a cost of about 20 times what the small amount of gold produced was worth and with the accompanying problem that the precious metal was too radioactive to be handled. How did I get into this madness you might ask? A little over two years ago after listening to the advice of a financial advisor I decided to try to turn copper into gold. If you listen to financial experts long enough you will soon learn that gold itself even in its current favorable environment is a lousy long term investment. The price of an ounce has barely doubled in the past 25 years while most equity markets have quadrupled in value.
In early 2005 I invested in a company called Phelps Dodge which was considered the major American player in the copper business. What resulted for me was nearly two years of 11 % annual dividends and tremendous growth. The amount I invested in Phelps Dodge is worth 3.28 times what I spent just 26 months ago or what investors would like to call a 150 % annualized return.
What I heard recently was that LEAD is the new “copper” and is expected to be for the next several years.
Here’s a few of the reasons:
1. Because of the global warming issue countries are turning away from coal fired plants to produce energy and moving toward nuclear energy…lots of lead will be needed for protection.2. As the huge populous economies of India and China are expanding so are their middle classes. People who used to ride bicycles are purchasing motorbikes and automobiles which need BATTERIES as well as the hybrid vehicles which are now available.3. There are “spot” shortages in the industry. One of the largest mines producing lead in the world is shut down for the next 2 years while it is being “modernized”.
4. At the moment there is not enough lead to meet demand and the price is rising.I have posted the above picture as my desktop background while pondering how to do this investment. It is a picture of a mine in which lead is being extracted.
The thing about lead is that there aren’t lead mines per se. Most lead is a byproduct of mining for something else, mainly zinc, silver or gold but it exists side by side with other metals in most ore as well. The world’s largest producer is a company called BHP Billiton, Ltd which is located in Australia and has various metal mines around the world. BHP, Ltd is currently attempting to merge with one of its biggest competitors a London based Australian company called Rio Tinto and there is a report as I write this that the merger is going to be accomplished.
Not even aware of the merger talk I was considering purchasing some Rio Tinto this past Tuesday and my main hesitation was that it was selling for nearly $290 a share (maybe a little too big for my blood). While I was thinking about it the merger talk started and it jumped $ 36 a share..(nice stuff for a day trader but not my cup of tea).
Anyway, I plan to watch BHP for the next few days and if it drops in price like the dominant company in a merger usually does I may purchase some.

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