Dow up 7.3% for year

Four in a Row: Dow Gains 7.3% in 2012

Comment: Stock predictions for 2013. Image is capture from Yahoo Finance late this afternoon. I would be pleased with 5% stock growth (along with a 3% average on dividend stocks)

Congress doing what Congress does best

Comment: Image source: What Americans think of Congress’s procrastination — in one chart. I used Paint Shop Pro to modify.

Usa Graphite Inc. (USGT) Penny Stock scam

The Scam works by moving the price. Investor would be buying worthlessness.


Yahoo finance page. No employees and no significant operations!


The 1%

Baby, You're a Rich Man

Overall, the top 1% of U.S. households have a net worth above $6.8 million or at least $521,000 in income, according to data from the Federal Reserve and the Tax Policy Center in Washington. The cutoffs for the top 5% are $1.9 million in net worth, or $209,000 in income.

Needless to say, these national figures obscure large geographic differences. A prince of income in Danville, Va., is a relative pauper in New York City. 

In Danville, the threshold for the top 1% of earners kicked in at $179,000, while it took $588,000 to reach the top 1% in New York City and northern New Jersey, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of U.S. Census Bureau data from 2007 to 2009 collected by the University of Minnesota Population Center.

The income threshold for the top 1% falls midway between Danville and New York in places like Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Atlanta; Rochester, N.Y.; Miami; San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and Peoria, Ill.
Comment: Image source. Interesting article. Read for definition of the "ultra rich". I don't think we have any relatives who are 1% but probably 2 who are in the 5%

On Mass Killers and the "Cult of Death"

What I learned at the Red Lake school shooting

On the N.R.A. and the 2nd Amendment

Despite some unbelievable comments, postings and opinions to the contrary, the NRA did not commit the Sandy Hook massacre and is not a terrorist organization equal to Al-Qaida. The NRA does much good in regards to firearms in this country, sponsoring responsible shooting events, safety training and education for thousands every year, including children.

The NRA is not composed of cowardly white rural males who drive pickup trucks and use poor English. People from all walks of life have benefited from being taught the principles of safe and responsible firearm use by the NRA.

The Second Amendment is not about hunting. It is about the history-changing idea that common people should be able to possess arms to preserve their safety and freedom. Prior to that idea's establishment, on the penalty of death, only the king's soldiers could possess arms.

The poor were at the mercy of tyrants who could take their sons for war, their daughters for pleasure, and their land and lives with impunity.

Those dark days seem to be ancient history. But as a young, intelligent and very liberal friend of mine pointed out, history tends to be pretty dynamic, and I cannot foresee the future. We have ample modern examples of what the inability to provide for personal defense results in -- from the Warsaw Ghetto to the misery of our poor neighbors to the south living among drug gangs. I am therefore loath to surrender a right that was paid for in blood by my forefathers.
On the Cult of Death

But unfortunately, right now, even as you are reading this essay, at least several people in this country are plotting new attacks. They may or may not have already assembled their guns, or picked out the person they will kill to get them. They may have decided on and researched their target.

We don't know who they are. But we know what they are -- members of a new cult of death that worships the monsters who came before them and has but one goal: to exceed the body count or the horror of the latest massacre and thus be remembered as the worst of them all.

They can recite from rote the statistics of past horrors: the names of the victims at Columbine and what wounds they suffered; what weapons the Red Lake shooter used, and how he shot through a reinforced glass panel; what the term "Trenchcoat Mafia" refers to; who "Reb" and "Vodka" were; how many times the Norway killer had to reload.

They have desensitized themselves and trained by playing violent video games, by visiting jihadist beheading sites and by watching over and over again such disgusting "productions" as "Elephant" and "Zero Day" -- essentially training videos on how to commit school shootings and glorifications of them.

Comment: Good Op-Ed piece by retired FBI agent.

U of M: 19,000 employees, nearly one for every 3½ students

Deans List: Hiring Spree Fattens College Bureaucracy—And Tuition

When Eric Kaler became president of the University of Minnesota last year, he pledged to curb soaring tuition by cutting administrative overhead. But he hit a snag: No one could tell him exactly what it cost to manage the school.

Like many public colleges, the University of Minnesota went on a spending spree over the past decade, paid for by a steady stream of state money and rising tuition. Officials didn't keep close tabs on their payroll as it swelled beyond 19,000 employees, nearly one for every 3½ students. "The more questions I asked, the less happy I was," Dr. Kaler said.

Many of the newly hired, it turns out, were doing little teaching. A Wall Street Journal analysis of University of Minnesota salary and employment records from 2001 through last spring shows that the system added more than 1,000 administrators over that period. Their ranks grew 37%, more than twice as fast as the teaching corps and nearly twice as fast as the student body.
Comment: My middle son is a University of Minnesota graduate.


How Lawsuits Doomed Blitz U.S.A.

Comment: Facebook page.

"Dairy Cliff ": a "media scare story"

Does Anyone Care About the 'Dairy Cliff'?

The futures market does not seem to be all that worried about the possibility of milk prices doubling. The question is: Do the futures traders know something we don't?

Milk now costs an average of $3.65 a gallon. But the price of milk could shoot up if Congress doesn't act to pass a bill preventing a reversion to the 1949 farm law that would mandate government price supports at much higher levels. Although it's not clear how high the price could go, some say it could rise to between $6 and $8 a gallon.

The milk futures market doesn't seem to be forecasting anything like that kind of increase. The January contract for Class III milk is trading at $18.08 at pixel time, which is lower than it was trading back anytime in October or November. This is higher than what January Class III milk usually trades but certainly doesn't reflect a doubling of the price of a gallon of milk.

So what's going on? Why aren't the futures reflecting the threat of higher prices? Is the "Dairy Cliff" a figment of our imagination?

One possibility is that milk futures traders don't believe that milk prices will rise that much. One trader I spoke to said that the Dairy Cliff was really a "media scare story" that didn't reflect reality. He pointed out that prices won't necessarily double right away because the Department of Agriculture will have some room to avoid forcing the price increases on the market, leaving room for Congress to act in the new year.

"We'll go off the Dairy Cliff but Congress will fix it, just like they'll fix the fiscal cliff," he said.

This attitude is a bit troubling, however. The Farm Bill did not just expire recently. It expired months ago. If Congress could not bring itself to act in the past few months, why should anyone have confidence that it will suddenly be able to reach agreement next year?

What's more, this approach seems to be based on the idea that letting milk prices double would be monumentally stupid. There's no doubt that this is true. But stupidity is not always a bar against government action or inaction. Confidence that government wouldn't let catastrophe strike supported the price of Lehman shares until the company went bankrupt. Many people believed we'd have resolved the fiscal cliff by now.

To rework an old adage, Congress can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent
Comment: Image credit 

More "Kick the Can"?

Fiscal Deal Would Do Little To Shrink U.S. Deficit

The last-minute tax and spending deal being discussed in the Senate would do little to reduce the deficit, and could actually expand it, leaving difficult choices about Medicare, Social Security, and the country's borrowing limit until next year. .

.. This weekend, with talks moving closer to the deadline, the only item being discussed that would reduce the deficit is a White House proposal to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for upper-income households. White House officials believe raising tax rates on income above $250,000, combined with changes in capital-gains, dividend, and estate-tax rules, would raise roughly $950 billion over 10 years, a level that is short of their $1.2 trillion goal. That means the White House is likely to try and pursue more tax increases as part of any subsequent budget debate in 2013.

According to its own budget estimates, that tax change would raise only between $50 billion and $60 billion in new revenue in its first year, less than 10% of the projected budget deficit.
Comment: The Washington way! “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” ― Mark Twain

Saturday humor

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2012

grif.net - Old Cemeteries

Comment: Three that caught my attention. Bored Panda is always interesting. grif.net is authored by a pastor (I think in Wyoming).

The original


Retailers on the Wane

The New Year Has New Urgency for Best Buy, RadioShack, J.C. Penney and Sears

These unlucky retailers are going into the New Year with extra woes: slipping sales, questionable strategies and tight finances—which is why they are the ones to watch, and not in a good way.
Comments (an average Joe's perspective on retail):
  • Best Buy: We were there 2 years ago (I think January 2010) and bought a new printer. Best Buy's problem is: Amazon and the recent recession. My kids are bugging me to buy and HD TV but I am holding off until the giant tube dies! A guy at church is on the Geek Squad. I am rooting for him! 
  • Sears: I don't believe we have shopped at Sears for more than a decade. It used to be my go-to place for auto repairs, tires, et cetera. Replacement go to places: Batteries Plus, Warners' Stellian (appliances), any tire store, any place other than Sears for clothing.
  • Radio Shack: The last time we were in a Radio Shack was several years ago on vacation when we needed a cell phone connector of some kind.
  • J C Penney: Kathee wanted to have new window treatments in the L/R, Kitchen and dinning room. We called in Ethan Allen. After I got the quote, I called J C Penney and their price was about 40% of Ethan Allen.

From an investing perspective I wouldn't touch these companies with a ten-foot pole: SHLD, JCP, BBY, RSH.

David Gregory's "Statement"

Free David Gregory

How perfect can you get? Mr. Gregory interrogates Mr. LaPierre on the subject of whether to ban a magazine that it is illegal for Mr. Gregory to display but apparently easy enough to acquire in time for a Sunday morning broadcast. So here we have a possible indictment that would be entirely nonsensical of a journalist who was trying to embarrass an NRA official over an ammunition ban whose impact would be entirely symbolic.
Comment: Image source.


Internet poker: new ways to fund the welfare state

D.C. Plays Fizzbin With Online Poker - How to make the poor pay for the welfare state: online gambling.

Sometimes only a Star Trek metaphor will do. Remember the episode about a primitive people who developed a planet-girdling civilization based on the principles of the Chicago gangs? Many modern economic anthropologists would tell you that the state begins as organized crime, dividing up rackets and controlling turf.

Case in point: anything having to do with Internet poker.

It starts with the enterprising activities of the Justice Department. Seizing on a 2006 law making it illegal to process U.S. payments for online gambling, federal prosecutors last year brought charges against three offshore poker websites. While admitting no wrongdoing, the sites quickly settled and agreed to hand over substantial sums of money to the department.

Some of these funds were supposed to reimburse the "victims," U.S. poker players who had money in their accounts when the sites were shut down. But so cumbersome and legalistic is the process created by Justice that many lawyers say they don't expect their clients to find it worth the trouble or legal fees. Justice may end up keeping much of the loot itself under asset-forfeiture rules.

Don't expect a hue and cry from gambling interests, however. Bigger stakes are up for grabs, not unlike the turf war Captain Kirk found when he beamed down to the gangster planet Sigma Iotia II.

Having cleared the online poker marketplace of its incumbents, Justice decided that under the 1961 Wire Act most Internet gambling isn't illegal after all. This new "interpretation," which came at the behest of Illinois and New York, has inspired a new light in the eyes of state officials looking for ways to fund the welfare state. Dancing in their heads are visions of new state-sponsored gambling empires built on online poker, online slot machines and online lottery-ticket sales, with politicians collecting most of the vig.
Comment: I missed that episode but I was never really a Star Trek fan. On Fizzbin. Fizzbin image source.  On Chicago Mobs of the Twenties. And Star Trek Season 2 » Episode #17 - A Piece of the Action

2013 S&P 500 Predictions

Comments: Obviously I do not have the expertise, acumen or gravitas as the others! My prediction is simple 5% growth and presumes that the fiscal cliff is resolved.


Character actors Klugman and Durning pass

Comment: Both passed on Christmas Eve. Images above: Jack Klugman from 12 Angry Men and Charles Durning from Tootsie.


Made in China by forced labor

Halloween decorations carry haunting message of forced labor

Keith, a 42-year-old vehicle donation manager at a southeast Portland Goodwill, at one point considered donating the unopened $29.99 Kmart graveyard kit. It was one of those accumulated items you never need and easily forget. But on a Sunday afternoon in October, Keith pulled the orange and black box from storage. She intended to decorate her home in Damascus for her daughter's fifth birthday, just days before Halloween.

She ripped open the box and threw aside the cellophane. That's when Keith found it.

Scribbled onto paper and folded into eighths, the letter was tucked between two Styrofoam headstones.
Comment: Read the full letter. "Made in China" image source.

ABT-W and ABBV-W trading "when issued"

Abbott Spinoff AbbVie Begins Trading to Determine Value

Abbott Laboratories’ (ABT) spinoff began trading on a “when issued” basis, with investors valuing the new Abbott at $47.9 billion and the new drug company AbbVie Inc. at $55.3 billion.

The when-issued trading will set stock prices and values for the two companies when they officially split on Jan 1. Abbott when-issued shares, which are trading under the ticker ABT-W (ABT-W), began trading at $29.05 and rose 4.3 percent to $30.30 at 4 p.m. New York time. AbbVie when-issued shares, trading under the ticker ABBV-W (ABBV-W), opened at $37 and fell 5.4 percent to $35.

The secondary market for the when-issued shares is in parallel with regular Abbott stock, which fell less than 1 percent to $65.33. The Dec. 31 closing values of the when-issued shares will set the opening prices for the split companies when the break-up is complete and the two different stocks begin trading on Jan. 2.

Abbott is dividing the Abbott Park, Illinois-based company because the drug unit and other operations have grown into two distinct business lines, Chief Executive Officer Miles White has said. The split will enable investors to better value the two businesses, he said when the decision was announced last year. Stock for AbbVie, the drugmaker, will trade under the ticker ABBV while Abbott will keep its current ticker, ABT.
Investopedia explains 'When Issued - WI'

Securities trade on a when issued basis when they have been announced, but not yet issued. The transaction is settled only after the security has been issued. A when-issued market exists where when issued instruments are traded. When issued markets can provide an indication regarding the level of interest that a new issue will attract. When issued transactions are dependent upon the actual security being issued and the exchange or National Association of Securities Dealers ruling that the transactions will be settled.
Comment: When Issued Images from bloomberg.com ABBV-W and ABT-W. ABT screen capture from Yahoo finance: ABT. My earlier prediction about their prices wasn't even close

Wells Fargo named a Top 25 Dividend Giant

Why Wells Fargo is a Top 25 Dividend Giant

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) has been named as a Top 25 ”Dividend Giant” by ETF Channel, with a whopping $2.1B worth of stock held by ETFs, and above-average ”DividendRank” statistics including a strong 2.56% yield, according to the most recent Dividend Channel ”DividendRank” report. The report noted a strong quarterly dividend history at Wells Fargo & Co., and favorable long-term multi-year growth rates in key fundamental data points.
Comment: I generally look for dividends above 3%. But reliability counts.

Remembering Kathee's Parents

Comment: Location: Phlox, Wisconsin Date: June 30th, 2012

Ditch the Penny!


How the Wachovia - Citi deal unraveled

Filings outline demise of Citi-Wachovia deal


The gone-sour deal to sell Wachovia Corp.’s banking operations to Citigroup Inc. began with a 5 a.m. phone call Wachovia’s Bob Steel made to Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit on Sept. 26.

The deal was sealed 71 hours later at 4 a.m. Sept. 29 when federal regulators told Citigroup its $2.16 billion offer had been accepted.

It was dead 92 hours later when Steel called Pandit at 2:15 a.m. Oct. 3 to say he was taking a $15.1 billion offer from Wells Fargo & Co.

Comment: Interesting stuff. 12/30/12 will be the 4 anniversary of Wells Fargo's acquisition of Wachovia

Merry Christmas - Wise Men still seek Him

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. (Matthew 2:1-2)

  • We thank God for His grace and mercy for our family this year - not that we are surprised.
  • I daily reflect upon the truth of Romans 9:15, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion"
  • In my 63rd year, I am cognizant of my own mortality and that every day is a gift. My responsibility is to gift my life back to my Lord and Savior: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Highlights of this year:
    • My daughter married on Labor day and we welcome a fine son-in-law into our family
    • We received news that we are to be grandparents (my 2nd son who was married 2 years ago) this coming July.
    • We had a great vacation with my sister and mother to San Antonio in May
    • The year commenced with my being arrested . This hung over me like a black cloud until it was finally resolved in June.
    • After I had a nasty intestinal infection in 2011 (that took almost 8 months to resolve!), I again was sick this year until the weird procedure this month that cured me. I have too many people to thank with regard to this:
      • My manager Denise who was patient with me.
      • My Liberty Mutual case worker, Erin, who worked all the details on my short-term disability.
      • Nila S my infectious disease Doctor.
      • Dave S my Gastroenterologist
      • Methodist Hospital and the staff who cared for me (link and link)
      • My wife!!! and family (who prayed for me and encouraged me)
    • Our 38th anniversary (to be celebrated this week)
    • Kathee and I continue to serve in our church and minister in one of the young adult Bible fellowships
    • I am completing my 19th year with Wells Fargo and am thankful for the material provisions that God enables through my employment.
Comment: The Christmas card image is from my sister-in-law's antique Christmas Card collection


On "What is an assault weapon?"

Comments: articles. Feel free to add comments.

Comments: Things I think would be valuable
  • Ban clips with capacity GT 10
  • Criminal background checks required for gun show purchases

Legally married?

48 years later, California couple learns marriage wasn't legal

In 1964 Norma and Bob Clark had a wonderful wedding in Northern California. Everything was perfect.

Nearly five decades later, the happily married couple, now in their seventies, live in Redlands.

But while getting paperwork in order in case one of them passed away, they made a somewhat disturbing discovery -- they were never legally married, because they had no marriage license.

"I couldn't find it, and couldn't find it for a reason, because it wasn't there," Norma Clark said.

When couples get a marriage license, the person who then marries them must return the license to their county record office, where it becomes a marriage certificate.

The pastor who married the Clark's apparently never did that. Bob Clark went to the San Bernardino County Hall of Records to try to fix everything. The couple first told the story to the Redlands Daily Facts. "I just went in there thinking I could just do it, and she said, 'No, no, you have to have witnesses,'" Clark said.
Comment: Our 38th anniversary is next week (wedding date was 12/28/1974). I asked Kathee if we have a copy of our Marriage License. Kathee thinks so but doesn't know where it is. I did a document search of Hillsborough County FL today. I found documentation of our first mortgage (image below) ... but not the marriage license.

Obama's "I", "me", "my" problem

Today We Are Gathered … To Hear More About Me

Someone needs to tell Barack Obama—it must get particularly confusing this time of year—that his own birth is not Year One, the date around which all other events are understood. His much-noted, self-referential tic was on cringe-worthy display Friday when the president gave his eulogy for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who served in Congress for half a century representing Obama’s birth state of Hawaii.

... Obama acknowledges that as a young person he was unaware of politics, and thus Inouye. But then something important happened that made young Obama pay attention to the first man to be elected to Congress from Hawaii after it joined the union. When Obama was 11 years old he went on vacation with his family, and those paying their respects to Inouye got to hear a long description of this amazing trip, from Seattle to Kansas, from Disneyland to Yellowstone. They heard of the young Obama’s happiness whenever the motel had a pool or an ice machine. And finally, as the people must have been twitching in the pews wondering where this was all going, we get back to the late senator.

It turns out the Watergate hearings were taking place at that time, too, and Obama’s mother watched them in their various hotel rooms. It surprised young Obama to see that a man of Japanese descent was a senator. Little did most people know that the most important thing to come out of the Watergate hearings was that Obama, with his mixed-race background, saw in Inouye a hint of “what might be possible in my own life.” That Obama in some way may have been inspired to a political career by a man who overcame prejudice and later became Obama’s colleague is a fine point to make. But it is an incidental one to the life being celebrated.
Comment: More from American Thinker. AND Obama Uses Funeral Service to Talk About Himself

President Barack Obama used the funeral for Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye to talk about himself. In the short 1,600 word speech, Obama used the word "my" 21 times, "me" 12 times, and "I" 30 times.
Comment: I frankly cannot listen to him. I can read one of his speeches but I cannot watch / listen to him deliver one. I see in him, manipulation and self-absorption. Image source. (I've seen preachers do his too by the way. Thankfully not at my church)

The Slippery Slope of Government Intervention

Gun Control: The Slipperiest Slope

... there remains something inherently different about the gun control debate. Unlike campaigns to limit activities such as smoking in public areas, the gun control effort is not framed at all as an end, only as a means to avoid gun violence. And the line over what is “sensible” will be drawn not based on its own sensibility, but rather on whether the goal appears to have been achieved.

Unfortunately, violence is inevitable and gun control measures are unlikely to have any visible effect on the crimes we endure. If we would, Heaven forbid, see a lunatic slaughter “only” 3 or 4 children with a lesser powerful weapon after a ban, wouldn’t we insist that this proves that the current law is “not enough” and demand that those weapons be banned too? When that ban doesn’t seem to work, won’t we automatically demand additional restrictions?

This quandary symbolizes one of the underlying dynamics of American politics: Liberals benefit from their failures and conservatives suffer from their successes.

When conservative policies work to achieve their goals, people no longer see their use and liberals can successfully demagogue them for their imperfections. For instance, the fact that George W. Bush’s post-9/11 national security policies helped prevent a subsequent major terrorist attack on US soil allowed them to be painted as paranoid and counterproductive; Barack Obama thus successfully ran on the promise to close Gitmo and end enhanced interrogation techniques. New York City liberals can now hound the police department for aggressive policies such as stop-and-frisk because they’ve been so successful in reducing crime that many locals don’t fear its demise. Similarly, Republican arguments for lower taxes to boost economic growth fall on deaf ears once they actually work and people no longer see the need to cut pet programs to spur even more growth.

On the flipside, Democratic failures feed off themselves. When, for instance, we see record poverty after decades and trillions of dollars of liberal anti-poverty programs, reforming those programs are seen as cruel. Instead, we are forced to spend yet more to purportedly combat poverty. When corrupt and mismanaged public school systems perform dismally, no politician would dare suggest bringing their bloated spending per pupil in line with successful peers and boosting efficiency. Instead, we see an incessant cycle of additional “investment” and failure. Similarly, when tax hikes fall short of revenue goals because they hinder economic development and chase away wealthy residents, the solution is always to raise taxes even more to raise the necessary cash.

At the heart wrenching Newtown vigil on Sunday, President Obama told us that gun control’s limited effectiveness “can’t be an excuse for inaction.” The irony is that this ineffectiveness may end up being the most useful excuse for liberals to continue their cycle of action.
Comment: Image source.

Canada: OPEC of Maple Syrup

In $18 Million Theft, Victim Was a Canadian Maple Syrup Cartel

Depending on the year, the province can produce more than three-quarters of the world’s supply. And its marketing organization appears to have taken some tips from the producers of another valuable liquid commodity when it comes to exploiting market dominance.

“It’s like OPEC,” said Simon TrĂ©panier, acting general manager of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. “We’re not producing all the maple syrup in the world. But by producing 70 to 78 percent, we have the ability to adjust the quantity that is in the marketplace.”

Since 1999, Quebec’s maple syrup industry has used a marketing system found in other Canadian agricultural sectors, particularly dairy and poultry. Put simply, the supply management system sets strict quotas for producers and, in the case of maple syrup, requires them to sell their product through the federation.
Comment: Image capture from Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers
More on:
Final comment: We're spoiled. We only use real maple syrup on pancakes - a Saturday tradition.


Coup d'Boehner?


Several conservative House Republican members are contemplating a plan to unseat Speaker John Boehner from his position on January 3, Breitbart News has exclusively learned. Staffers have compiled a detailed action plan that, if executed, could make this a reality.

The Republicans, both conservatives and more establishment members alike, are emboldened after the failure of Boehner’s fiscal cliff “Plan B” on Thursday evening. Dissatisfaction with Boehner is growing in the House Republican conference, but until now there hasn’t been a clear path forward.

Those members and staffers requested anonymity from Breitbart News at this time to prevent retaliation from Boehner similar to what happened to those four members who were purged from their powerful committee assignments a few weeks ago. Their expressed concern is that if Boehner knew who they were, his adverse reaction toward them would be much more brutal than losing committee assignments, such as a primary challenge in 2014 by a leadership-sponsored candidate.
Comments: Anonymity means "chickens". Ousting Boehner would be a big mistake! Hey Republicans ... taxes are going to go up on everyone if we dive over the cliff. The President offered a $ 400K threshold. Time to deal!

NRA's Wayne LaPierre on Gun Control: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun"

Text of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s Speech
Common: Worth a read .. the whole thing!

Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are theirsafest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

How have our nation’s priorities gotten so far out of order? Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses — even sports stadiums — are all protected by armed security.

We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers.

Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it.

That must change now! The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them.

They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?

How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame — from a national media machine thatrewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave — while provoking others to try to make their mark? A dozen more killers? A hundred? More?

How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?

... Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?

Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like “American Psycho” and “Natural Born Killers” that are aired like propaganda loops on “Splatterdays” and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it “entertainment.” But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?

... Worse, [the media] perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban — or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people — will protect us where 20,000 others have failed!

As brave, heroic and self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms, and as prompt, professional and well-trained as those police were when they responded, they were unable — through no fault of their own — to stop it.

As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It is now time for us to assume responsibility for their safety at school. The only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Comment: Not popular ... but common sense!

"What happens in Vegas" revealed to Madison

Suzy Favor Hamilton admits working as escort

Madison resident and former Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton confirmed Thursday that until recently, she had been working as a high-priced escort in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The news of Favor Hamilton’s secret life was broken Thursday by the website The Smoking Gun. In an email, the 44-year-old former University of Wisconsin middle-distance runner confirmed that the story was true save for one detail.

According to The Smoking Gun, Favor Hamilton went by the name of “Kelly” and charged $600 an hour for services that the website reported included a variety of sexual acts.
Comment: Screen clip image source. Not just Madison .... ABC News

Meanwhile ... Congress is on vacation

Comment: Harry Reid ... ? Never saw your plan! Nice job!

The Chinese Want Gun Control -- in America

Innocent blood demands no delay for U.S. gun control

Their blood and tears demand no delay for the U.S. gun control.
Comment: HT The Chinese Want Gun Control -- in America


Fiscal Cliff Negotiations as Kabuki theater?

UH OH: The Current Fiscal Cliff Situation Is The “Worst-Case Scenario”
If Wall Street finally begins to believe that this isn't just kabuki theater--that our leaders really are incompetent and might drive the country off the cliff--the stock market might drop in anticipation of a coming recession. And this, Valliere says, might suddenly wake up the politicians, who would then begin to worry about getting fired because of the crappy economy.
Comment: My conclusion is that our leaders really are incompetent. Consider Bowles: State of Fiscal Cliff Talks Is ‘Pitiful’
“When you think that for better or worse, America will spend over $40 trillion in the next 10 years and these guys can’t find $200 billion to close their divide and prevent an economic collapse, it is pitiful,” Mr. Bowles said in an email to the Wall Street Journal.
What's Kabuki theater? Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.

On the Art of Conversation

The One Conversational Tool That Will Make You Better at Absolutely Everything
Ask yourself: If you could interview like Walter Cronkite, would you get more value from your meetings? Would your mentors become more valuable? Would your chance encounters with executives in elevators and thought leaders in conferences yield action items and relationships? ...

Good questions can move your business, organization, or career forward. They squeeze incremental value from interactions, the drops of which add up to reservoirs of insight. Of all the skills innovators can learn from journalists, the art of the expert Q&A is the most useful.
Comment: Good read on open-ended questions.