Tuesday, July 29, 2008


My parents would often quote to me "You are your name." If you dirty your name, then what do you have? There are the golden rules. There are the fundamental rules of finance and accounting. There is the goal of low risk for maximum reward even though the greater the risk generally, the greater the reward. There is a happy medium between investors and creditors. PT Barnum said "You can't make everyone happy all of the time." In essence, the good businessman is going to be clean from the get go, & proceed for slower growth instead of trying to raise capital on unfounded opinions and a disregard for their investors and by doing so lose them and your business.
The financials are in turmoil because managers and marketers diverged their interest away from the common ground between the best interest of the stock holders and the creditors. The financial institutions in question collectively lied to all of their investors and told them things that were lies.
Today, finally a major financial, Citigroup (C: on the NYSE) settled a case regarding their fraudulant practices of touting Auction Rate Securities as cash. If I were one of the HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals) who got duped by unscrupulous bankers I would be taking my millions upon billions and leaving to an institution which stands due to their quality individuals who can make true, good and balanced decisions. The meltdown of these securities cost investors BILLION$.
I know that the financials really can't bare too much more on their balance sheets. You can't write off more than the value of the company. And you have to find some way of making your business profitable. However, it's time to do the laundry and I think it's time to hang a bunch of these white collar criminals out to dry. I'm tired and disappointed of everyone not playing it straight or stalling the real answers so they can cover their own keisters while letting their investors hang in the wind! Really good job they've been doing of it too... at the moment, Citigroup has lost $17.4 billion in the last 3 quarters.
Larry Kudlow says that he believes that "Free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity." The prudent investor should always do their own homework and read the entire contract before signing it, but it's nice to know every now and again, there's a cop in the house who is willing to go up against some of the corporations to ensure dirty business finds a quick end on behalf of all parties involved. The board of directors need to have a long talk amongst themselves as to how they are going to clean up their image, and move forward and their stocks upward. A special kudos go to The New York Attorney General and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

On Brett Favre

I am a Green Bay Packers fan living in Chicago. I've kept pretty quiet about Favre's decision to retire. I remember that day last winter while I was sitting at the airport, wearing my #4 jersey when he addressed the press and told them that when he was out with his daughters getting ice cream, they told him that they didn't want him to retire. I jumped out of my seat and shouted "Yeah Brett!" to the amazement of my fellow travelers.
He made that announcement... Then after the playoffs, Brett hung up his jersey. I saw how conflicted he was about his decision from the get go.
It's a dream to wake up in the morning and think to themselves "Hey, I get to wake up and play all day!" Brett is Peter Pan, in that, no matter how old he'll ever be, he can inspire the youth spirit in all of us to go out and do the impossible. He is a model of perseverance, dedication and devotion. It is apparent in all aspects of his life, not just football.
In my mind, he's what 100% is all about!
I won't go into all the records he broke, or name all of his accolades, but you can look them up.
I can honestly say that I think Brett is the best there ever was. If that doesn't earn you the right to choose how to retire on your own terms, then what graces can be offered?
If you can't embrace your heroes, living legends and national treasures then I question your motivations. He is Green Bay's adopted prodigal son and I believe that if it were up for a shareholder vote, the decision would be overwhelmingly in favor of welcoming him home.
Around Chicago, people can relate. They've had the same experience with Michael Jordan. After a career with the Bulls, he retired, then returned as a Wizard. Unfortunately, there wasn't the same magic with the Wizards as he had with the Bulls.
It is a bright light that shines on Brett, so much so that it obscures the talents of his teammates. For example, Mark Tauscher, offensive tackle, has been a human roadblock since 2000. He is one of the secrets to Brett's longevity is heads up football on the offensive line. Tauscher has an irreverent technique which has been successful in keeping sacks to a minimum for most of his 8 years with the Pack!
It's not often a remembered position, there aren't tons of stats in the books, but the success is the teams, not the individual's. And everyone is competing for the same thing at the end of the season, to play together for a few more games!
I should also say that I expect great things from Aaron Rodgers at the helm! He has been patiently practicing for what seems like forever to take a starting snap as a Packer. I believe that his thirst to prove himself on the grid iron is insatiable. He has been a great student. During those brief moments last season when he played, he looked good. Could the Packers play them both this season?

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