Current Events

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While I’m not a British Subject — a term that’s incorrectly used all the time — I am still a Commonwealth Citizen so I do have a little skin in the game…

That said, while the concept of “Royalty” is kinda quaint and romantic, with each passing generation, it gets sillier and more antiquated.

I’m sorry the old man in the clown suit unintelligibly shouting something about a baby boy was hardly newsworthy… Wait, what? A town crier? That’s what that was? Oh, my mistake.

While I’m all for tradition, there are some things that should just be left in the past. The Town Crier is one of them.

And so is the silly easel behind the palace gates.

To their credit, I am glad that they put out a press release prior to the silly thing being put in place.

Sadly, the press release probably went out after the clown did his thing on the hospital steps.

Anyway, I have serious doubts that this little guy’s image will *ever* appear on the currency of any of the countries among the Commonwealth of Nations.

His father probably won’t be on much of it either.

I’ll go so far as to say that his grandfather probably won’t even make the cut…

Going broader — and relating to currency — the U.S. might want to think about changing up the people on the currency.

Like the Constitution, much of which barely relates to anything relevant today, folks like Alexander Hamilton should probably be shelved.

How many Americans even know who he is?

Or which bill he’s on?

And even though the guy on the dime is relatively contemporary in comparison to the others, it’s almost as if no one knows who he is at all… Crazy — 4 terms as President of the United States less than 100 years ago and over 50% of the population have no idea who you are…

I’ll be honest, though… I’ve always though the profile on the dime was a better likeness of Pope John Paul II.

Anyway, they took the Eagle off of the quarter a few years ago when they started doing the State thing — how they managed that is a mystery — let’s go all out and get some fresh designs in order…

Oh, who am I kidding… Bitcoins are going to replace it all anyway before long…

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Yesterday’s big financial news was about how the DJIA increased it’s previous high mark — set back on October 9, 2007.

Now I’ve always had a pretty large percentage of my “wealth” (it feels silly to use that word) invested so let’s see where I was then and where I am now…

Before even looking into it, I’ll all but positive that I’m not, you know, just now getting myself back to where I was 5+ years ago like the “news” would indicate. I’m light years past it.

Yep, just what I thought…

My 401k balance alone was $65,153 at the end of .

This morning the balance is $148,656.

Enough with the doom and gloom attitude…

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:0(So how could the guy from Connecticut not have anything to say about what happened in Connecticut a few weeks ago?

First, I’ll say this… When something like this happens in your own backyard, well, it hits a lot closer to home.

Don’t get me wrong… When Gabby Giffords was shot, I was, well, disgusted and a little disturbed for a few hours.

Seriously, what is wrong with people?

When the Batman shooting in Colorado occurred earlier in the year, it only stayed on my mind for a few hours. Wacko in a movie theater with a gun. Yeah, I’m not that surprised. Society, meh…

But when I caught the news that an entire classroom of 6-year olds had been shot less than 20 minutes away from where I live, well, I wanted to puke.

It still gives me shivers. Anytime they flash the photos of the kids on television — and with all of the funerals being local, well, there are a lot of photos and a lot of press coverage — it’s a struggle not to cry.

I can’t help but think of my kids in daycare with classrooms of 20 or so children — who would do something like that?

Seriously?

I’ve never have even the slightest inclination to do anything like that to ants on my driveway, even. It frightens me that there are people amongst us that do have those inklings…and probably have a weapon, if not on them, at home.

I mean, I have a hard time setting mouse traps and the remorse that I feel when I “successfully” kill a mouse sometimes makes me think I’ve got a mental issue.

Clearly, I swing in the opposite direction.

But even still, I can’t help but wonder (fearfully); who wouldn’t reconsider after firing a single shot into a little kid?

That’s messed up.

Mental illness is a BS excuse.

I know it’s a tricky diagnosis. I know some people have a short fuse. I know some people can just “flip out” once in awhile.

Am I mentally ill because I get a lump in my throat when I see someone else run over a squirrel with their car? Hunters would probably say yes.

Clearly, I’m anti-gun.

Always have been, always will be.

I can be swayed on some issues but not this one.

A gun is a tool whose sole purpose is to kill.

Protection?

Yeah, go f-yourself. It’s for killing people… with zero effort.

Though I don’t own a gun, have never held a gun, and have never even heard a gun shot, I’m pretty confident that even I’m capable of pulling a trigger.

Looks pretty easy to me. And, clearly, it is too easy.

Mental illness isn’t the problem.

Access to a “tool” that my 3 year old could operate is the problem.

* * * *

Magazine ClipSeeing some of my “friends” on Facebook put up photos criticizing the media’s misuse of the words “magazine” and “clip” lately make me not want to be friends with them.

Does it matter?

In my opinion, neither should be available to the public. EVER.

They clearly think otherwise.

One guy, a close friend in high school with, I kid you not, the exact same upbringing, goes on a hunting trip each year and posts pictures from his tree fort or whatever waiting for a buck to walk by.

I give him a good ribbing about how “Ambushing Bambi” is messed up every time.

He thinks I’m kidding. Like high school pals messing around…

Tough GuyWhen he proudly posts photos of himself, his gun, and his dead deer, I get a little more direct and tell him, “That’s gross, dude” or “You suck” or “Wow, tough guy dressed like a soldier shot Bambi in the back from a football field away.”

“I need to feed my family…” is a response I’ve gotten in the past.

“Dude, you make $60k a year selling vacuum cleaners… Ever heard of a grocery store? Oh, and you’re single.”

I get a rush in the closing seconds of an eBay auction.

He gets a rush shooting things.

That’s bothersome.

Like to the point where I, frankly, don’t ever want to be in the same room with him ever again.

I dunno, it just makes me sick that people can “proudly” defend guns especially just days after something like this… that happened somewhere they’ve driven by.

Gun lovers are among the most obtuse of all individuals.

More guns solve everything… Um, okay?

The Second Amendment argument is my favorite. Ahhh, the right to bear arms.

I live in Connecticut. Our license plates say “Constitution State” right on ’em and, as such, we’re taught a whole lot about the US Constitution.

Most 2nd Amendment defenders probably don’t even know that the “Bill of Rights” is part of the Contsitution. In fact, they probably think John Hancock signed the bottom of it…

He didn’t.

Enough US History trivia from this Connecticut educated Canadian… but here’s how the Second Amendment actually reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

That’s it.

Be sure to read it in your best part-pirate, part-George Washington, part-Winston Churchill accent.

Seems kinda silly and outdated, no?

It’s ludicrous that people think this means you can strap and automatic “assault” weapon to your back because the forefathers (who were apparently holy beings) said so.

Give me a break.

The second amendment should be wiped out.

Don’t give me crap that the first ten are untouchable cause, guess what, the Patriot Act of 2001 neutered most of them… but NOT number two.

Apparently it’s essential that we have access to weapons at Walmart to form our own militia to help fight terrorism.

Seriously???

The Second Amendment and the ample access to weapons of mass destruction (cause that’s what they are) in this country are the only reason regular people have the capacity to carry out an “assault” like the one that happened here in Connecticut.

Really, can it be justified that you can legally buy something called an assault rifle? And hundreds of rounds to go with it?

* * * *

Michael Moore wrote a piece for the Huffington Post that states many of my feelings more eloquently than I ever could.

Yeah, Michael Moore is that fat pig that leans far too left far too often and pretty much always crosses the line but I must confess that I agree with him 90% of the time… up to that line he crosses so effortlessly.

You could say the same about the Huffington Post too, I suppose, but give it a read before labeling it based on the source.

Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns

After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA’s. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere: a basketball coach at a post-game press conference; the Republican Joe Scarborough; a pawn shop owner in Florida; a gun buy-back program in New Jersey; a singing contest show on TV, and the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared Loughner.

So here’s my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

These gun massacres aren’t going to end any time soon.

I’m sorry to say this. But deep down we both know it’s true. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep pushing forward — after all, the momentum is on our side. I know all of us — including me — would love to see the president and Congress enact stronger gun laws. We need a ban on automatic AND semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets. We need better background checks and more mental health services. We need to regulate the ammo, too.

But, friends, I would like to propose that while all of the above will certainly reduce gun deaths (ask Mayor Bloomberg — it is virtually impossible to buy a handgun in New York City and the result is the number of murders per year has gone from 2,200 to under 400), it won’t really bring about an end to these mass slayings and it will not address the core problem we have. Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th.

In fact, let’s be clear about Newtown: the killer had no criminal record so he would never have shown up on a background check. All of the guns he used were legally purchased. None fit the legal description of an “assault” weapon. The killer seemed to have mental problems and his mother had him seek help, but that was worthless. As for security measures, the Sandy Hook school was locked down and buttoned up BEFORE the killer showed up that morning. Drills had been held for just such an incident. A lot of good that did.

And here’s the dirty little fact none of us liberals want to discuss: The killer only ceased his slaughter when he saw that cops were swarming onto the school grounds — i.e, the men with the guns. When he saw the guns a-coming, he stopped the bloodshed and killed himself. Guns on police officers prevented another 20 or 40 or 100 deaths from happening. Guns sometimes work. (Then again, there was an armed deputy sheriff at Columbine High School the day of that massacre and he couldn’t/didn’t stop it.)

I am sorry to offer this reality check on our much-needed march toward a bunch of well-intended, necessary — but ultimately, mostly cosmetic– changes to our gun laws. The sad facts are these: Other countries that have guns (like Canada, which has 7 million guns — mostly hunting guns — in their 12 million households) have a low murder rate. Kids in Japan watch the same violent movies and kids in Australia play the same violent video games (Grand Theft Auto was created by a British company; the UK had 58 gun murders last year in a nation of 63 million people). They simply don’t kill each other at the rate that we do. Why is that? THAT is the question we should be exploring while we are banning and restricting guns: Who are we?

I’d like to try to answer that question.

We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries who didn’t attack us. We’re currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often killing civilians.

This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves. We slaughtered 600,000 of each other in a civil war. We “tamed the Wild West with a six-shooter,” and we rape and beat and kill our women without mercy and at a staggering rate: every three hours a women is murdered in the USA (half the time by an ex or a current); every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.

We belong to an illustrious group of nations that still have the death penalty (North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran). We think nothing of letting tens of thousands of our own citizens die each year because they are uninsured and thus don’t see a doctor until it’s too late.

Why do we do this? One theory is simply “because we can.” There is a level of arrogance in the otherwise friendly American spirit, conning ourselves into believing there’s something exceptional about us that separates us from all those “other” countries (there are indeed many good things about us; the same could also be said of Belgium, New Zealand, France, Germany, etc.). We think we’re #1 in everything when the truth is our students are 17th in science and 25th in math, and we’re 35th in life expectancy. We believe we have the greatest democracy but we have the lowest voting turnout of any western democracy. We’re biggest and the bestest at everything and we demand and take what we want.

And sometimes we have to be violent m*****f*****s to get it. But if one of us goes off-message and shows the utterly psychotic nature and brutal results of violence in a Newtown or an Aurora or a Virginia Tech, then we get all “sad” and “our hearts go out to the families” and presidents promise to take “meaningful action.” Well, maybe this president means it this time. He’d better. An angry mob of millions is not going to let this drop.

While we are discussing and demanding what to do, may I respectfully ask that we stop and take a look at what I believe are the three extenuating factors that may answer the question of why we Americans have more violence than most anyone else:

1. POVERTY. If there’s one thing that separates us from the rest of the developed world, it’s this. 50 million of our people live in poverty. One in five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year. The majority of those who aren’t poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There’s no doubt this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence. (If you don’t believe that, ask yourself this: If your neighbor has a job and is making $50,000/year, what are the chances he’s going to break into your home, shoot you and take your TV? Nil.)

2. FEAR/RACISM. We’re an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike most nations, we’ve never been invaded. (No, 1812 wasn’t an invasion. We started it.) Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes? I get why the Russians might be a little spooked (over 20 million of them died in World War II). But what’s our excuse? Worried that the Indians from the casino may go on the warpath? Concerned that the Canadians seem to be amassing too many Tim Horton’s donut shops on both sides of the border?

No. It’s because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period. The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home invaded, what’s the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the freckled-face kid from down the street — or is it someone who is, if not black, at least poor?

I think it would be worth it to a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-create the middle class we used to have, and b) stop promoting the image of the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you. Calm down, white people, and put away your guns.

3. THE “ME” SOCIETY. I think it’s the every-man-for-himself ethos of this country that has put us in this mess and I believe it’s been our undoing. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You’re not my problem! This is mine!

Clearly, we are no longer our brother’s and sister’s keeper. You get sick and can’t afford the operation? Not my problem. The bank has foreclosed on your home? Not my problem. Can’t afford to go to college? Not my problem.

And yet, it all sooner or later becomes our problem, doesn’t it? Take away too many safety nets and everyone starts to feel the impact. Do you want to live in that kind of society, one where you will then have a legitimate reason to be in fear? I don’t.

I’m not saying it’s perfect anywhere else, but I have noticed, in my travels, that other civilized countries see a national benefit to taking care of each other. Free medical care, free or low-cost college, mental health help. And I wonder — why can’t we do that? I think it’s because in many other countries people see each other not as separate and alone but rather together, on the path of life, with each person existing as an integral part of the whole. And you help them when they’re in need, not punish them because they’ve had some misfortune or bad break. I have to believe one of the reasons gun murders in other countries are so rare is because there’s less of the lone wolf mentality amongst their citizens. Most are raised with a sense of connection, if not outright solidarity. And that makes it harder to kill one another.

Well, there’s some food for thought as we head home for the holidays. Don’t forget to say hi to your conservative brother-in-law for me. Even he will tell you that, if you can’t nail a deer in three shots — and claim you need a clip of 30 rounds — you’re not a hunter my friend, and you have no business owning a gun.

Have a wonderful Christmas or a beautiful December 25th!

I’m not sure what to say.

I agree with him.

I don’t agree with him.

But regardless of which way you lean, guns kill people.

Sure, people kill people too but guns very clearly killed 20 six and seven year olds and 6 of their teachers.

Only in America.

We’re better than this.

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Vote!I do my best not to get too political on here but it’s hard to deny that there’s a pretty important election coming up this week.

From the top all the way down to the local candidates, everyone seems to be stuck on the topic of jobs and the economy… as if a local town councillor has any power on the subject.

And, frankly, I’m not sure the President has much *real* say either…

Whatever.

What I do find hilarious is that every debate I’ve watched (outside of the foreign policy themed one), whether it’s Obama and Romney or just two local folks running for a State House seat, they all meander right back to jobs.

Specifically, manufacturing jobs.

And during their prepared remarks on those government propelled manufacturing jobs they always ramble on about the need for skilled workers and university degrees.

Say what?

Skilled workers (and by skilled, they’re implying 4-year degree skills) and manufacturing jobs?

Really?

Don’t get me wrong, many manufacturing jobs require skill but I don’t know too many machinists, tool & die makers, or assembly folks with university degrees.

The two do NOT go hand in hand.

Manufacturing jobs, by definition, are for “unskilled” workers.

Again, calling them unskilled isn’t really fair… The carpenter that fabricated the window frames during our remodel a couple of years ago has some serious skill.

But it’s certainly not a skill he picked up over four years at Harvard. Had he gone that route, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be a home improvement specialist.

Point is, an over-educated workforce doesn’t lead to more high paying jobs across the country.

It leads to an overqualified workforce where a vast number are perpetually dissatisfied with their current occupation while continuing the current trend we’re on with a complete lack of folks willing to do the “real” hands-on work.

How many university graduates out there want to drive a forklift around a warehouse?

A lot, I’m sure.

It would be kinda cool to try.

How about for 50 hours per week? Um, no thanks…

But we need people willing to do that sort of thing. Lots of people.

Again, there’s a reason there isn’t as much manufacturing going on in this country — it’s like the illegal migrant worker issue — we don’t have the workers available to do some of the jobs… and a big reason is because we all think we’ve got delicate hands and some “mad skillz” worthy of top dollar…

China has had a big target on it during the campaigning. China this and China that. I think a lot of it has to do with jealousy but, the fact is, they’ve got a larger workforce of those “unskilled” workers to man the plants, inject the plastic, pick the berries, and shine the sprockets.

It’s not an education thing. It’s not a government thing. It’s an attitude thing. It’s our own fault that we’re not competitive. And that has resulted in a loss of jobs.

I don’t really care who wins on Tuesday — though, locally, I hope Linda McMahon does not.

I can’t vote anyway (I’m Canadian), but it’s troubling to know that the one issue everyone seems so concerned about is something that the government has essentially zero control over.

Handing out more student loans (resulting in fewer people willing to fill the jobs we’re apparently trying to bring back) and creating more high paying “government-funded” jobs will just dig the country into an even bigger hole than it’s already in.

That said, everyone knows that what the candidates say during a campaign won’t actually happen anyway so… it’s all good.

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Vote!Last night, Bill Clinton rhetorically asked, as I’m sure President Obama will again as well later tonight, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

I know, I know, every presidential candidate asks that same exact question when looking to be elected to office — really, I’d bet there’s an entire chapter about it in the ‘United States Stump Speech Handbook’ if there even is such a thing.

[If there isn’t, I call dibs on the idea.]

During the RNC last week, the Republicans asked the exact same thing.

At first thought, and because they asked first, I sided with Mitt Romney and the Republicans.

While I’m admittedly a negative-minded person anyway and the culture here in New England that surrounds me is pretty negative leaning too, in general, I do think that things are clearly worse than they were in 2008.

Duh?

But then, last night, President Clinton’s charisma alone begged me to take a closer look when posed with the same question.

So I clicked on the archives here and, lo and behold, things are clearly better today than they were four years ago.

My first hunch was completely wrong.

Now I know the argument can be made that my personal finances have very little to do with the question posed but I’d counter that by saying that the Republicans have chosen to make this campaign about the economy this and the economy that.

The economy has a HUGE impact on my finances.

Just looking at my 401k alone, which for the most part just goes along with the Wall Street tide, my balance was $66455 in September of 2008 and it’s $131200 now.

I’ve made minimal contributions since the “economy” tanked and the company match was removed.

That $64745 gain is a direct result of the apparently recovering economy.

Sure, it doesn’t “feel” like we’re better off today but almost $65 grand more in my own personal treasury tells me that we are.

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Um, who cares?

I mean, really, what’s with all the fuss regarding the Obamacare ruling for a health care plan that will probably never ever come to fruition anyway…

I just paid my property taxes this week. They call it a “tax” but I feel as though I’ve been “penalized” for my choice (and number) of vehicles.

I have 4 cars that I pay taxes on.

Not one of them is new nor in the greatest of condition.

We have a ’98 model, ’01 model, ’04 model, and ’05 model in our fleet.

Keep in mind that the tax bill pays no attention to mileage or condition — just year, make, and model.

So you’d think the 14 year old car would have the smallest bill and the 7 year old car would have the highest, right?

We’ll, you’d be wrong.

In order of highest to lowest, by tax bill, it goes ’04, ’98, ’01, ’05.

Yep, I’m taxed higher on the Land Rover and BMW.

You could say it’s because they “cost” more back when they were brand new (when I was also hit with sales tax), but as of right now, they’ve actually got the lowest value.

The most dependable (and newest) car we have is the 2005 Scion xA (release series 2.0, baby!). It’s tax bill was $162.

Point is, I’m “penalized” for having a Land Rover and a BMW.

Okay, okay, okay, some people will obviously just say those cars are worth more and that’s why they’re taxed higher and, while they’d be totally wrong (these aren’t italian super cars — oh wait, those aren’t worth much either), I’ll go with it…

How about this example?

You drive down your local gasoline alley and see that Exxon/Mobil has 87 octane for $3.75. Problem is, it’s on the left hand side of the street and making a left in-or-out on this busy stretch is more painful than a triple root canal.

On the right side, easy-in and easy-out, is a Shell station. The price for 87 octane is $3.80 if you pay cash or debit and $3.85 if you pay by credit. Yeah, it’s a double whammy coming…

Now, built into the price of gas is a hidden local and/or state tax on top of the federal tax. Okay, so it’s not actually hidden but I don’t recall every seeing anyone read that sign on the pump with the fine print.

So, here we go… In my state, it’s a Petroleum Gross Receipts Tax and its percentage based and divided by the gallon. So as the wholesale price of gas rises and falls, so too does the tax.

So if I go to the Shell station on the right side of the road, I pay 5 cents more per gallon (and therefore more tax as it’s a percentage of that number.)

If I don’t have cash on hand and have to use a credit card, it’ll cost me 10 cents more than the Exxon/Mobile station accross the street.

The tax goes up and up and up depending on the gas station and the payment method.

Is that a tax or a penalty?

It’s called a tax but gas pumpers are penalized based on their gas station selection. Keep in mind, it’s not “just” the price of the gas — the tax is directly linked to the price of the gas.

So, again, is it a tax or penalty?

Who cares… It’s still money out of pocket.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Disclaimer: I fully support a universal health care system.

Not necessarily Obamacare (or the tax vs. penalty opt-out debate), but something similar to what every other country not stalling itself in the dark ages has been doing for years.

If folks would stop reading Republican talking points and complaining about their “constitutionality” (I challenge the folks uttering this to define what it actually means) and “free rights”, they’d realize that a healthcare system for EVERYONE would benefit, well, just about EVERYONE.

Government death panels?

C’mon?

Seriously?

Give me a break…

Imagine, no health insurance premiums coming out of your paycheck. Sure, income taxes might go up and a federal sales tax might come into effect but will they exceed what you’re paying for a premium in each paycheck?

I don’t think so.

Not for me, anyway. Not even close.

It’s like Medicare (minus the fees or confusing “coverages” to select from) without having to wait until your 65. I can hardly contemplate why Americans don’t realize this.

I believe it’s a fear of the word “taxes” and that’s 100% due to the political landscape. No politician dare make reference to higher taxes.

“It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty…”

Who cares?!!?!?!?!?

I have no problem with higher taxes when they save me money (no more insurance premiums or co-pays) *and* I get something (FREE healthcare!) out of the deal.

Silence the pundits and lay out the numbers for people.

It’s a total win-win.

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Anthony DavisIf Family Feud had the question “Why should you go to college?”, I’m pretty sure the survey’d say, “To get a good job.”

I mention this because I couldn’t help but notice the negative connotation thrown towards the now-champion University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team.

I can admit that I was suprised to see that their starting line-up was made up of three freshman and two sophomores. That’s pretty impressive.

(I was also horrified at how ugly the best player was but that’s not really important.)

I wasn’t surprised, though, to learn that the school doesn’t expect many (or any) of them back next year since they’ll all be headed to the NBA.

One and done.

So, is that a bad thing?

Based on the Family Feud example above, I say no.

Going to college, even for just one year, got them what most people want out of college — a good job.

(Full disclosure — I dropped out of university after three which happened to be one of the brightest things I ever did. In hindsight, probably should have left after one…)

Now do I think those basketball players deserved a full scholarship on the taxpayer’s tab?

Um, hell no.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Related post: MBAs are Overrated (and kinda stupid too…)

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This is a repost from April 26, 2007. Yeah, almost 5 years ago… Seems history is repeating… Already.

– – – – – – – – – –

Headlines all over the place are touting yesterday’s surge that put the DJIA over 13,000. And then, just a few lines into the articles, every one of them taken from the AP wire, they drop the line, “But appearances can be deceiving, and there may be more reason to worry than rejoice about Wall Street’s latest accomplishment.”

I disagree. While it is odd that it’s taken less than 7 months to go from 12k to 13k (it took like 7 years to go from 11k to 12k), I don’t think it’s realistic to call this a repeat of the dot com era.

Last night, CNBC was essentially calling this bittersweet, dropping in references to the rising energy costs (I still think gas is very affordable), the slumping housing market (it’s not slumping, people are just overpricing their homes), and the sub-prime mortgage issues in the news lately. On those, hey, if you fell for a 5-1 ARM mortgage, it’s not like you didn’t see the day coming when the rate would go up. You gambled and you lost. I like to think the number of people out there with this problem are greatly exaggerated in the media.

I’m also not one to get excited because the Dow hit a nice round number. Honestly, 13k is no more exciting than 12.5k for me. I love how they drop stats like it was the “35th record close since the start of October.” Talk about meaningless filler!? Did you know I just reached a new record for breaths taken since birth? Yep, I just raised it again. One more. And again.

Don’t get me wrong, any day that has a 1% gain is huge — my net worth for next month, should the pattern hold steady, will show that. The number 13k, though, is meaningless. Love it — a meaningless headline.

My real point though is that this is *nothing* like the dot com era. I made a lot of money before it came tumbling down, but I lost my shirt on stocks like Pets.com (what was I thinking?). The past 6 months or so of gains haven’t come from the Amazons, Googles, or Yahoos. It’s been the staples, Boeing, Pepsi, Corning, etc… That’s a big difference. Those aren’t volatile stocks.

And this talk of the economy tanking just doesn’t hold any weight in my wallet. Things are cruising along just fine. And no, the price of gas hasn’t changed the way I live my life. Not one bit.

Neither has this latest milestone.

Can You Dig It?

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