Friday, August 16, 2002

I finally learned why that stock augered in. It turns out that management was... How shall I put this? ...less than accurate about potentially catastrophic debt. (A few million here, a few million there...) A few brokerages have already slapped them with downgrades.

But, looking on the bright side, as soon as I forget my price-of-a-new-shotgun-barrel lesson and go back into picking stocks, Datek has a new feature that would have helped on this one. They have a feature they call a "trailing stop". I haven't seen this anywhere else. It's a smart stop order. You set a stop and then if the price goes up, the stop "trails" it upwards. So if you set your stop one dollar below the current price and the price goes up another dollar, your stop price also goes up a dollar. Of course, if your dealing with a volatile stock, then the "T-Stop" may boot you out when there's still some upward movement left on the price, but it sounds pretty cool.

BTW: Don't ask me for stock tips. I stink at this.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

OK... Am I just being bitter?

I just dumped a stock came unglued on me today. (And the little stinker was actually in the black just a few days ago!! Grrrr...) And I'm really ticked because I keep thinking of how that money could have been spent on something of lasting value... Like a new shotgun barrel!

So I'm sitting here towards the end of the trading session and I'm watching and now I'm rooting for it finish swirling down the toilet. Is this petty or what?!

It's not like I'm some big-time trader or something, but this really has me steamed. I can't find any reason for the stock to have done this. I keep checking the news and there's nothing at all. In fact, what news I can find ought to have made the price go up!

Where's it at now... GOOD! It's heading back down. I hope it rots.

HA!! A new low!!

Monday, August 12, 2002

Coming soon to a theater of operations near you:

War With Iraq


George W. Bush as the President

Saddam Hussien as Roadkill

The Saudi Family Singers as One big pain in the rear echelon

And Bill Clinton as The Beaver.

But seriously...

Talk of the upcoming campaign against Iraq is bringing back some familiar comments from people. One of those is "Why didn't George H.W. Bush finish the job in '91?" The old answer, of course, is that we didn't have a consensus on this from our coalition allies. And we didn't. But what hasn't been asked is "why?".

The answer ocurred to me the other day. The same coalition allies who didn't want Saddam overthrown 11 years ago still don't want him overthrown today. And the arguments presented to them then, that he's a danger to them, are even more compelling today. That Saddam didn't have the weapons of mass destruction that Iraq has today. They are more likely today to be hit by Iraq weapons than they were then. So why the opposition?

Their main argument presented then holds the answer. They claimed that a worse regime could result if Saddam were thrown out. "Better the devil you know than the one you don't" they told us. It's what constitutes a "worse regime" that frightened them then and terrifies them now.

Fast forward about two years. The US has conquered Iraq. Saddam is a greasy spot in the sand and his Ba'ath Party loyalists are enjoying the Cuban sunshine. What will the US do next? History gives us a clue. What did we do in Germany and Japan after we conquered them? We set up liberal democracies in both nations. Thus it's reasonable to assume that we'd do the same in a pacified Iraq. We'd start democratic reforms. We'd also force them to adopt a free-market economy.

Now fast forward about 10 more years. Where's Iraq? Probably dominating the economy in the Arab world. Her people would be free to elect their governments, unlike any other Arab nation. They would be prosperous. They would be the envy of the "Arab Street". THAT is what constitutes a "worse regime" to Iraq's neighbors. They fear a free Iraq and its effect on their peoples.

Conquering Iraq-the-terrorist-state would be the first step in the creation of a free, democratic, Iraqi Republic. That new republic would prosper as a result of the reforms forced upon them by the Americans. The despots surrounding Iraq would have their hands full explaining to their people how the conquered Iraqis are more free and richer than they are. The blindingly obvious answer would be that the ruling families, such as the House of Saud, are to blame. They actively keep their people disenfranchised and this chills the economy; even to a point where oil revenue does not help the average citizen person. (Citizen isn't an accurate term since they enjoy none of the benefits of citizenship. They are more like chatel slaves than free citizens!) This, when compared to a free Iraq just over the border, would spell doom for their regimes. Their people would demand the same freedoms that the Iraqis will have one day. This is what they seek to prevent. And it is what they sought to avoid 11 years ago.