Thursday, January 31, 2008

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/31/08

+$765.00 +1.96%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/31/08

+$2,470.01 +4.66%

Interesting Story About Patriots Football Guru Ernie Adams

This is a very interesting story about a guy that helps Bill Belichick become the genius coach that he is. He is Belichick's lifelong friend from high school and is a true football scholar.

So, every week, the Patriots get the kind of analysis that only
high-powered hedge funds or, say, NASA can afford. "Nine times out of 10,"
Bissinger says, "Ernie sees something nobody else sees."

That memory and those hours of studying film make him an unparalleled resource for assistant coaches. Want to know what a team does, and why? Want to know what a team has
done on third-and-short in the red zone in the past 10 years on the road? Ask Adams. He'll know.

This article really makes this Ernie Adams seem like the secret weapon that will get the Patriots their undefeated season.

I'm still hoping the Giants keep the game close but I am backing the Pats just so they can shut up those fools on that 1972 Dolphins team. There has been no bigger bunch of full-of-themselves-asses in professional sports as this story attests. I would just love for them to keep that champagne that they pop whenever the last undefeated team loses on ice forever. If the Pats win this game then in 5 years only football historians and Dolphins fans will even remember these annoying losers.

Spears Taken to Hospital in Motorcade

Now this is a waste of taxpayer money.
Hours earlier, shortly after 1 a.m., a motorcade nearly the length of a
football field pulled away from Spears' residence. Along with the ambulance, it
included police on nearly a dozen motorcycles, in two cruisers, and two
helicopters following overhead.

So we have uniformed officers, motorcycle cops, and helicopters trying to keep Spears safe from paparazzi? Are there any crimes in LA that they would rather be investigating instead of guarding this same person over and over? Maybe they were there to protect the EMTs and other bystanders from the stupid-assed stalkerazzi. In any case I really hope that LA County bills Spears for this kind of special treatment. Also they need some laws in place so these vultures don't circle Spears and cause a nuisance.

Weird "Spider" Found on Mercury

Now this is one funny shaped crater that the MESSENGER probe was able to find on Mercury. Scientists are baffled on why those weird channels formed after this impact. Maybe the force of the Suns gravity was pulling on the damaged area (which probably turned molten for a time) formed those lines like that. Or maybe it had something to do with magnetism because it kind of looks like what happens when a magnet spreads out iron filings.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yahoo to Cut 1000 employees; Yang is mum

Now Jerry Yang is trying to ramp up the spending at a time when everything else at the company is lagging.
He intends to spend an extra $300m this year to try to revive the
company, according to estimates by Mark Mahaney at Citi - but he has done
little to date to explain how the money will be spent.

If investors have lost patience, it is easy to see why. Former chief executive
Terry Semel asked for Wall Street's understanding three years ago as he set out
on Project Panama, an expensive fix for Yahoo's search advertising system that
was meant to close the gap with

There are still rumors that MSFT might buy them out. If I were MSFT I would build up Live and wait to see if this turnaround effort bears any fruit. I have a feeling it might be a dismal failure. This is a climate where the price of search advertising has been dropping like a stone and people are going to social networks instead of to the internet portals.

I think Yahoo needs an injection of Web 2.0 ASAP. Maybe Yahoo should float an acquisition of Facebook or something. A bold move like that could really get their stock price back up and pull them into the Web 2.0 world. Also they *really* need to cut back on the stock photos on their pages. It looks pretty bush league for a company that has a 25 billion market cap. In the meantime the stock will languish as Google keeps eating their lunch.

FED cuts rates again BNI has good numbers

I would be willing to bet that if they didn't cut rates or cut them by only a quarter point we would see a 300 point or more drop today.
The bold, half-point reduction approved by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke
and all but one of his colleagues came as President Bush and Congress raced to
enact a separate rescue package -- including tax rebates for individuals and tax
breaks for companies -- to help energize an economy in danger of

Also the recession tell that is Burlington Northern earnings seems to be okay for the moment. They beat earnings estimates by 7 cents a share and beat on the revenue side as well. They also came out with pretty decent estimates with a low single digit growth for the 1st quarter and low double digit EPS growth for the year. There might be some slowing because they did have fewer carloads for the quarter but not as much as you might think if there was a recession on. Could this mean a soft landing for the economy?

Martians Breath Sigh of Relief

It looks like there was a near miss of Mars by a 164 foot astroid earlier. My guess is that Martian Manhunter whacked the thing out of the way.
Astronomers had hoped the fleet of spacecraft orbiting Mars would get a
chance to observe the asteroid plowing into the Martian surface. The subsequent
crater would have roughly equaled the size of the
that formed in northern Arizona 50,000 years ago, with a
0.5-mile diameter. Such an impact would have also allowed scientists to study
the dust cloud from the impact.

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/30/08

-$307.00 -0.78%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/30/08

+$595.98 +1.14%

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Solar Thermal with Molten Salt?

Now this seems like a pretty cool idea in renewable energy. I was recently doing some research on what solar thermal energy companies are out there and came across this article. The idea of storing energy in molten salt kind of sounds like what a Bond villain would do.
The technology solves the problem of solar power’s intermittent
power-generation ability by storing energy in the form of heat in molten salt.
Mirrors reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a central receiver that uses
Rocketdyne’s heat transfer technology, which was originally developed for use in
liquid-fuel rockets. The extremely hot salt is then piped through another heat
exchanger, making steam that in turn powers traditional steam turbines.

This Earth2Tech site is great for reading about new green initiatives and how to make money from them. After I did well in ESLR a while back I watched as these stocks cooled down a bit and and are offering a great reentry point. I really like solar's future if Obama gets in there as well.

Take-Two Jumps after Upgrade

It seems that their turn-around is going along apace.
The analyst said he is "incrementally positive" on the stock and called
Take-Two's recent announcement of a release date for "Grand Theft Auto IV" a
"major plus." The company is launching the latest installment of its most
popular game on April 29.

Handler said the game could ship 6 million units in fiscal
2008, which ends in October, and add $1.25 to the year's adjusted earnings per

I think I will be near the top of that 6 million units because the more I see of GTA4 the more I want to buy that game. Mark my words it will be the game of the year for 2008.

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/29/08

+$190.00 +0.49%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/29/08

+$768.50 +1.49%

Monday, January 28, 2008

VMWare Gets Clubbed After Hours

I think the sheer number of deep pocketed competitors who are offering this product for free is what is getting to VMWare. It is hard to pay a PE of 166 for a company that sells a product that other companies (HP, Sun, MSFT) essentially bundle with their servers. I think VMWare might become the next Netscape if they aren't really careful.

Why Vista Failed

This is a very interesting article on why Vista has disappointed MSFT and why people are not upgrading to it in the numbers that MSFT wants.
Windows XP's end is nowhere soon, either. OEMs can ship Windows XP
through June 30, and possibly later if Microsoft grants another extension.
System builders can ship XP through the end of January 2009. There are plenty of
very good XP applications, too, and not enough native Vista apps. XP will be
competing with Vista for a long time yet, and stalling the Vista conversion

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Could Credit Default Swaps Tank the Market?

They just might according to this observation. So I decided to check out what the hell these CDSs were and they found out that it could be quite scary if they failed.
Credit Default Swaps, or CDS, offer financial firms a quick way to offload
part or all their exposure to debt backed by state and municipal governments,
corporations, or structured debt tied to consumer loans. ‘Wrapping’ is a
technique securities underwriters use to increase the credit ratings of lower
rated debt to make it easier to sell to investors.

So if these CDSs are tied to subprime mortgages and they start to fail then the rug will actually be pulled out from under these derivatives. It is kind of like owning Call Options in a company that suddenly went bankrupt. The options suddenly become worthless pieces of paper but these things are worse because other layers of derivatives are based on these.

Also they may be "wrapped" into bundles of debt as also described in that article and stamped with a AAA rating because they were insured by MBIC and Ambac. Now that those companies might lose that AAA rating the debt they insured might also lose that rating. So essentially the "wrapped" securities could go from AAA to junk overnight. And that would be bad for every holder of one of these wrapped securities and the market as a whole.

Remember there is a $500 trillion dollars worth of these various derivatives floating around. If what they are derived from fails then a recession might turn into a depression real fast.

I think Goldman is Heavily Short this Market

Here is an interesting article that says that Goldman thinks a bailout of the bond insurers won't be much of a benefit.

"New York state insurance regulators are pushing Wall Street banks to
provide as much as $15 billion to strengthen credit-weary financial guarantors,"
James Fotheringham, Monica Gabel and Daniel Zimmerman, equity analysts at
Goldman, wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

"The discussions are preliminary and, like their predecessors
(recall: 'SuperSIV' and The Hope Now Alliance), unlikely to produce meaningful
results," they added.

Well, one meaningful result is that companies and municipalities will be able to issue debt and 2.4 trillion might be at risk of downgrades. It might also save Wamu and Countrywide, and a few other banks from going bankrupt. Perhaps it would allow this market to avoid a massive drop as well. I think this kind of naked self-interest proves that Goldman might be heavily short this market and any significant rally might be bad for their bottom line.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is Wilbur Ross the "Rich Dude" that Bond Insurers Need?

Wilbur Ross was buying those steel companies when they were crap, then he was into auto parts companies when they were almost bankrupt, and now maybe he might pick up those distressed Bond insurers for cents on the dollar.
But I believe what was even bigger than the rate cut for some of these banks
was the possibility that we would not have another round of big losses, this
time from a lack of insurance, because the grave dancing Wilbur Ross indicated
he is choosing a bond insurer -- or bond insurers? -- to save with a big
investment or takeover.

I think he might be after that muni insurance business because it looks like pretty easy money since municipal bond default rates are like 1.93% since 1970. It would be interesting to look under the hood at Ambac and MBIA and see just how much bad debt is on their books and how much they would have to write down. Perhaps, Ross has done this already and likes what he sees. Cramer talks about the prior bailouts failing in his article above but this bailout needs to happen or we might see some big banks going out of business since they could no longer raise debt or keep themselves in AAA status.

Why Rock Star and Guitar Hero Appeals

This is an interesting article on bars starting to have Rock Band nights so people can come and play the game as a member of a fake band. And this guy nailed the appeal that these games seem to have:
"Rock Band" and its "Guitar Hero" forebears are attracting non-gamers
as well, says Brian Crecente, editor of the gaming blog and a judge
at the Spike TV Video Game Awards. He hosted a charity event in Denver where
"Rock Band" was the featured entertainer.

"It's so big because it gives people a chance who do not have musical
talent to play like they have musical talent," Crecente says. "It tricks you
into thinking you're pulling off that amazing solo."

It really does feel like you are playing the song since you are hitting the buttons and the sound comes out just like a regular song. I couldn't play a guitar to save my life but I can still play a song that I love and feel kind of like a real musician.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/22/08

-$643.00 -1.57%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/22/08

-$4,124.01 -8.08%

Ambac Talking to "Credible Parties"

Even though they lost $3.26 billion this past quarter they might get an economic shot in the arm from some well-heeled investor.
The executive said Ambac is "evaluating strategic alternatives with a
number of potential partners," as it seeks to maintain its "AAA" credit
rating with two agencies and regain it after being downgraded by a third.
"We're talking to very credible parties and pools of capital," Callen
said, but declined to be more specific.

I think some rich dude (Warren Buffet, Saudi Wealth Fund, George Soros, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal?) could toss them a few billion to tide them over (or buy them outright for $1.72 billion) so they don't default on that $550 billion in debt and $700 billion in munis and tank the market. This news could be a solid floor that would be put in for a bond insurer that is down 92 percent from its 12-month high of $96.10 which it was trading at last May.

There is nothing like buying a stock at $7.97 a share and just waiting for it to go back up once they clear all of that bad debt off of their books. That is assuming that they don't go bankrupt of course. I mean this industry boasts some serious margins and the Saudis or Buffet can jump in and control this industry for a song. This just might be the property that you need to buy when there is "blood on the streets."

FED cuts rates to 3.5%

It looks like the FED has finally woken up and is doing something about the economy.
The central bank opted to cut the fed funds rate, a key overnight bank
lending rate that affects all kinds of consumer loans, by three-quarters of a
percentage point, or 75 basis points, to 3.50 percent. There are 100 basis
points in one percentage point.

The only problem is if it is too little too late. They needed a .50 cut the last time around and now this make-up-measure may be building up the levees after the town is already flooded. I think the economic numbers this month will really tell and insteresting tale going forward.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mortgage Insurer Bankruptcies to Tank Market?

Now this is some scary news from our old pal Jim Cramer.
The market's problems, he said, hinge on mortgage insurers such as MBIA
MBI), Ambac (ABK), PMI Group (PMI) and MGIC (MTG).

Cramer said those companies are in dire straits because they don't have the money to cover $500 billion worth of bank loans mired in the subprime mess.

These companies, Cramer warned, could go "belly up" in weeks, if not days. If that happens, he predicts, the banks could quickly run out of capital, and the Dow could plunge as much as 2,000 points.

I was looking at MBIA earlier to see what these company did and found this scary proposition. MBIA along with Ambac also insures $700 billion in municipal bonds. Ambac just got downgraded to AA because of liquidity concerns and MBIA may soon follow it. Ambac couldn't come up with $1 billion in equity funding (which is scary by itself) so they got downgraded.

If these guys go to junk or worse yet go bankrupt then municipalities may not be able to raise any further capital beyond their tax bases. So to make up for the shortfall they would have to raise taxes at a time when consumers are already squeezed. So Bush's $150 billion tax stimulus may get offset by your municipality raising your property taxes to make up for a budget shortfall. Also what is worse is they won't be able to borrow out of any shortfall that would be coming down the pike.

My guess is a sovereign wealth fun will come out of the woodwork and buy these companies out for pennies on the dollar and control bond insurance in the US for years to come. If you were afraid of the UAE buying our ports then you should really fear the Saudi's controlling the issuance of our municipal bonds.

Why Do High Protein Diets Work?

It all has to do with ghrelin and how the food you eat suppress it according to this article.
"The interesting findings were that fats suppress ghrelin quite
poorly," Cummings said in a telephone interview. They fared the poorest

"Proteins were the best suppressor of ghrelin in terms of the
combination of the depth and duration of suppression," he said. "That is truly
satisfying because high proteins are essentially common to almost all of the
popular diets."

They also found that eating carbohydrates resulted in a strong
ghrelin suppression at first, but ghrelin levels rebounded with a vengeance,
rising to an even higher level.

Basically, the carbohydrates eventually made people even hungrier
than before they had eaten.

So by eating carbs you end up hungrier after a few hours then by eating the same amount of protein. I know that by eating a high protein diet you end up not being hungry at all for hours at a time. You sometimes have to force yourself to eat. I guess this is because your ghrelin level drops really low so you just don't feel hungry at all. So in the meantime your body will burn off the fat that you have stored up for energy.

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/18/08

+$178.00 +0.44%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/18/08

+$2,230.00 +4.57%

Monday, January 14, 2008

Journal Nature wants FDA to Fess Up About Provenge

I'm glad the prestigious journal Nature is taking up the Provenge cause and asking the FDA for some answers. We have conflicts of interest, leaked letters and all sorts of dirty dealing from the FDA over this and everyone is keeping their mouth shut. This is what Nature says:
Efficacy is key here because in both Dendreon trials presented to FDA,
Provenge failed to meet its primary endpoints. In certain respects, Dendreon
shot itself in the foot by setting an over-optimistic efficacy
expectation/hazard ratio for the trial of 0.585, which no conventional drug or
chemotherapeutic has ever achieved in a comparable setting of late-stage
disease. At the same time, however, Provenge did extend median overall survival
by 4.5 months, and after 3 years, 34% of the men who received the therapy were
still alive, compared with only 11% who received a placebo.

I still don't understand how the FDA can stand in the way of a drug that keeps people alive for an extra 4.5 months and doesn't kill 300 patients a year like the current late stage therapy (Taxotere) does. The drug might even give the patient an extra 23% chance of living as much as 3 years longer. This is terminal prostate cancer we are talking about. I'd take a 23% chance of living 3 years longer any day if I only had a few months to live (and the only other therapy may strait up kill me).

This is one of the few areas where I actually like having a Democratic Congress in charge. You can bet that they want to score points against the FDA just to "get Bush." The next step is for House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) to put this topic on the Committee Agenda for 2008.

Is Food Demand Sustainable?

I looked at this stock last week and it is already up 20 points since then. It seems Jim Cramer agrees with me as well.
To conclude, Cramer reaffirmed his belief in energy and agriculture plays,
saying that Canadian Natural Resources (
CNQ - Cramer's Take
Stockpickr - Rating) was "so right." He added that Mosaic (MOS - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), John Deere (DE - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr
Rating), Agrium (AGU - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) and Monsanto (MON - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr) are still solid stocks.

Too bad these stocks are all trading in the 100s or I would own more then one right now. I'm still wary about the demand growth in India and China hitting a wall when people start to take to the streets to protest high food prices. Perhaps the Chinese government would step in to quell riots by creating artificial price controls. That would be a good way for us to recapture our Trade Surplus again. I like how the Guardian goes to the "Class War Well" again and again:
1 Rising consumption: The appetite of fast-growing nations, such as
China, is rising as economic booms cause a surge in demand for meat and dairy
2 Competition from biofuels: The cars of the rich are now rivalling
the bellies of the poor for corn, cane and edible oils
3 Climate change:
Global warming is putting pressure on water needed to irrigate crops.

Hey I think number 2 is in there to combat number 3. I guess the Guardian would either not have anyone drive cars or use more Fossil Fuels instead of Ethanol even though that causes global warming. It comes down to a choice between starving people and global warming.

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/14/08

+$458.75 +1.06%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/14/08

+$1,452.00 +2.61%

Hillary with Egg on Face after ML King Remarks

What is the Dems problem with shooting themselves in the foot at critical periods. Now Hillary wades into the race issue with some seemingly anti-Martin Luther King comments. Could be the Dean Scream of her campaign?
But then Clinton came back and, far less artfully, said that King's visions
were great, but it took an experienced politician like Lyndon Johnson to get
them enacted. At the very least, Clinton had equated the sometimes crass master
of the legislative backroom with one of America's patron saints. (The real
problem is that Clinton seemed to put LBJ on a pedestal higher than King's.)
That was probably not her intention, but neither was this her best example in
the deeds - not - words crusade she was on. In any case, at that point, things
began to unravel.

All Hillary had to do was to say that it was Martin Luther King's vision which allowed LBJ to pass the Civil Rights Bill. This was an an example of one man being able to push Washington into changing the status quo.

I guess Hillary wants to be an agent of change like LBJ but without Iraq turning into post-American-involvement Vietnam with its 100,000+ people slaughtered. She should have just not compared LBJs role in passing the Civil Rights Bill (which was very important) with ML King who actually became a martyr to see the thing pass. I think dying for the cause should be seen as a bigger accomplishment then simply bullying a bunch of Senators in a cloakroom.

Actually, Hillary should have just avoided the issue all-together since race is one of those issues that the Dems have a hard time dealing with. For instance that Jena 6 thing immediately sucked Obama into its web but the GOP pretty much got a pass on the whole thing. The Race War seems to be one of those battles that the Dems seem to be continuously fighting but never has a real winner.

Friday, January 11, 2008

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/11/08

-$586.75 -1.33%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/11/08

-$1,221.99 -2.15%

Scientists Think they Found the Source of Positrons

It seems that black holes and neutron stars destroying a regular star seem to create one hundred thousand billion billion billion billion positrons (a 1 followed by 41 zeroes) per second. So I guess a Dyson Sphere surrounding a miniature black hole that was destroying another star would provide nearly unlimited energy to a star system after all.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/10/08

-$144.25 -0.33%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/10/08

+$1,174.99 +2.11%

Joy Behar's Anti-Catholic Rant

Why is she allowed to keep her job after she essentially called Saints mentally ill?
I have a theory that you can’t find any saints anymore because of
psychotropic medication. I think that [in] the old days, the saints were hearing
voices and they didn’t have any Thorazine to calm them down," Behar said on
ABC's daily chatfest. "Now that we have all of this medication available to us,
you can’t find a saint anymore."

If she said this about Mohammed she would have to fear for her life. Since Mohammed did hear voices and met with Angels and such Behar would call him mentally ill as well. I guess you are allowed to bash Christians any time you want and get to keep your job. If she said this kind of thing about Jews, Muslims, Hindus or any other religious group she would be off the show within the week.

Strong Pro-Palestinian Words by Bush

Maybe the idea of billions is reparations for Palestinians kicked out of their homes might gain some traction if the world community gets behind it. Maybe a few hundred thousand a family so that they can buy a new home could be drummed up so that this Right of Return issue could be buried once and for all.
"There should be an end to the [Israeli] occupation that began in 1967," he
said. "The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian
people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people."

In comments the White House
said reflected conversations with both sides over the past month, Mr Bush
suggested the world needed to consider "new international mechanisms, including
compensation, to resolve the refugee issue".

Of course the Main Stream Media is trying to bury this story by saying that the Palestinians don't care about Bushs' visit. They need to care because Bush is the only man in the world that can get them a Palestinian State and fix their sorry state as well. Israel will only bow to American pressure and no amount of Hamas blowing stuff up will ever get them closer to what Bush could conceivably get them.

Too bad the MSM wants Bush to fail so badly that any sign of progress on anything Palestinian related is immediately downplayed into a "get-Bush" rant. It must be sad to be on the side that wants America to fail in Iraq and immediately declares the Palestinian Peace Process as hopeless.

John Kerry Flip-flops over to the Obama Camp

Could this be the end of the Obama White House run? The least Kerry could have done is endorsed his old running mate Edwards. I guess Obama just has more street cred with that Boston Patrician Yale-blue blood crowd.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Mosaic Is Growing Like a Weed!

I guess slinging fertilizer in these high corn price days is great for companies like Mosiac. These guys are boasting top and bottom line growth like they were selling virtualization software or something instead of fertilizer. I wonder how much of this price leadership is from the ethanol boom and how much of this is from Chinese and Indian demand? In any case we may see MOS challenge highs later this year if prices remain fairly high.
Mosaic (nyse: MOS - news - people ), a producer of phosphate and potash fertilizers, said its income for the fiscal second quarter of 2008 soared to $394.0 million, or 89 cents per share, compared with $65.9 million, or 15 cents per share in the year ago quarter.

Sales for the second quarter sprouted 45.0% to $2.2 billion from $1.5 billion in the second quarter of 2007.

The Plymouth, Minn.-based company beat the estimates of analyst polled by Thomson Financial, who predicted second-quarter earnings per share of
73 cents on sales of $2.17 billion.

Largest Black Hole Found in constellation Cancer

This thing tips the scale at 18 billion times more massive then our sun. It is also orbited by another smaller black hole as well as powering a quasar. Now that is one interesting system.
This particular quasar has a regularly pulsing light signal with two major
pulses every 12 years. The first two pulses were observed in the year 1994-1995,
and the first one of the next set in 2005. The observations helped astronomers
refine their computer models, predicting the next pulse would come on Sept. 13,

I wonder why this quasar is so regular like this? A massive pulse every 12 years is pretty odd. You would figure something like energy falling into a black hole would more random and chaotic and send out bursts with no pattern. But this quasar seems to shoot the energy out every 12 years. Strange stuff.

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/9/08

+$289.25 +0.66%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/9/08

+$173.00 +0.31%

Great Article on Renewable Energy in 2008

This is a great article that is saying solar stocks are selling off due to valuation concerns but wind, biofuels, and energy efficiency stocks are the ones to watch in 2008. These are the stocks that the article mentions. I think I'll take a look at these international wind companies to see what they look like.:

SunPower (SPWR), Evergreen Solar (ESLR), Suntech (STP), and First Solar (FSLR)
Zoltek (ZOLT), American Superconductor (AMSC), Spain's Gamesa, India's Sulzon, Denmark's Vestas
Verasun's (VSE), Pacific Ethanol (PEIX), Cosan (CZZ), Nova Biosource Fuels (NBF)
Energy Efficiency:
Orion (OESX), Itron (ITRI), Cree (CREE)
Solar Panel Electronics Plays:
Applied Materials (AMAT), Vecco (VECO)

Warner Bros. to Fire 1000

It looks like the writers strike is going to claim some victims from WB and it should get far worse then that if this thing isn't settled soon.
The studio distributed legally mandated warning notices on November 12, five
days after the Writers Guild of America walkout began, stating that recipients
could be subject to layoff after 60 days. The notices represent the first
concrete sign that the strike could trigger massive job cuts across

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

S&P500 Drop Could Be Recession "Tell"

This commentator thinks that the S&P500s peak a few months back and the subsequent drop is indication of a looming recession. This S&P500 "tell" is 8-1 since 1953 so it might be an interesting thing to check out. So this means that we have another 7.4% more to drop before we reach that 16.9% price decline from peak to trough.
(1)The S&P 500 Index is a leading indicator par excellence. Since
the 1950s, the Index has always peaked before the peak of a business cycle, with
the 1980 business cycle being the only exception. The Index has established a
trough prior to the end of a recession without exception.
(2)The median percentage decline of the Index from its peak to trough was 16.9%.

Are We Already in a Recession?

This article makes the case that we are already in a recession as of December of last year.
At the beginning of each year I choose a theme for the forecast issue. This
year, it is "Recession and Recovery." I think we've entered a recession. As I've
been writing for over a year, I think this will be a mild recession, but the
recovery period will be prolonged and slow. My best guess now is that the
recovery will begin in the third quarter of this year. The National Bureau of
Economic Research is the final arbiter of when recessions begin and end.
However, it will be at least a year and more likely 18 months before they give
us a decision. By that time, we will be well on the road to recovery. So, let me
make my case that we are in recession.

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/8/08

-$526.00 -1.18%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/8/08

-$1,019.00 -1.80%

Friday, January 04, 2008

Predictions 2008: Entertainment and Sports

1. The Writers Strike lasts almost until spring when sweeps week ends up forcing the studios to come to a settlement or face millions in losses for the year. American Idol brings people back to network TV but not for very long as ratings drop again right after it ends. A skinny, good looking black woman wins this year's Idol.

2. The Box Office is slightly up from 2007. Top 5 Movies of the Year in Box office order are: Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Batman the Dark Night, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Ironman.

3. Amy Winehouse nearly ODs and actually does "Go To Rehab." Her actual singing career is officially dead by the end of 2008.

4. The Britney Spears train wreck is in the news throughout 2008. She loses custody of her kids and ends up in rehab after wrecking her car. She also rumored to be dating a woman for a while. Her actual singing career is officially dead by the end of 2008.

5. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt break up by the end of 2008. The custody battle for Shiloh dominates the news into 2009. While it is happening Jolie adopts another child from an impoverished country. Several other high profile breakups and the resulting custody fights are the major trend for 2008 and beyond.

6. Perez Hilton, Tila Tequila and other pseudo-celebrities become big stars and VH1 becomes a star vehicle as the writers continue to strike. The pseudo-celebrity band wagon becomes filled with questionable talent because the studios lack the scripts to do anything except for reality dating shows and game shows.

1. The Chinese Olympics are a resounding success and they end up winning the most medals. There are some protests but they are mainly low key. The Chinese government ignores these protests for the most part and are happy that the Olympics were such a big success.

2. The winners of the major sports for 2008 are: NFL: New England Patriots, NBA: Boston Celtics, MLB: Boston Red Sox. Yup, 2008 is Boston's year.

3. The steroid mess dominates the entire 2008 baseball season. Barry Bonds is convicted of lying to the grand jury and is sent to jail by the end of 2008. OJ Simpson is also convicted and is sent to jail for 15 years.

Predictions 2008: World Events and the Economy

I'll put on my Nostradamus floppy hat and make with some 2008 predictions. These come right off the top of my head:

World Events:
1. Obama wins the election and becomes President in 2008

2. The war in Iraq drags on but a plurality of the troops are recalled and the Iraqi military takes over security duties. Many scores are settled but insurgents are dealt serious blows and become a non factor by the end of the year. Chaos continues for a while but starts to settle down by the end of 2008. Iraq becomes a page 3 story.

3. Iran agrees to a nuclear framework that is negotiated mainly by France and agrees to allow inspectors into their facilities. They continue nuclear bomb research in secret. Sarkozy wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

4. Musharraf forced out under international pressure after widely contested election and violent protests. Pakistan remains a smoldering trouble spot as Al-Quida and the Taliban tries to destabilize their government.

5. Obama attempts to put out feelers toward Al-Quida but is widely criticized for the move. There are no terror attacks in the US as Al-Quida turns to Pakistan and also fighting against the Americans in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is still a page 5 story and becomes the so-called forgotten war by the end of 2008.

1. The subprime mess is widely contained but the economy slows noticeably in the first two quarters of 2008. The economy doesn't drop into recession but the market corrects 10% but ends up recovering by the end of the year. Congress bends over backwards to save people about to lose their homes to the tune of billions of dollars. It is a subprime bailout similar to the savings and loan bailout of the 80s.

2. Technology is a laggard for the year but the Google Phone is introduced to the same fanfare as the IPhone. Apple starts to sell movies and HD programming from their IStore.

3. Alternative Energy becomes the big buzzword for 2008 with Congress passing various bills aimed at reducing energy use and increasing subsidies. Solar, Wind, and Farming stocks become 2 and 3 baggers as oil stays stubbornly high. Ethanol Stocks still get rocked on oversupply concerns. However regular Energy Stocks end up outperforming after the correction even though they have their subsidies stripped. More nuclear plants are slated for construction in 2008 as the idea of nuclear power becomes more accepted due to examples set by both France and Japan. The idea of nuclear power becoming "green" begins to take shape.

4. Sovereign Wealth funds become this years Hedge Funds as they put their billions to work while the dollar remains very weak throughout 2008. There are several high profile attempted buyouts and 10% stakes put in by the Saudi's, the Chinese, and the UAE.

5. Health Care recovers very quickly after the correction but the concerns raised by Obama's health care plan causes volatility in the stocks throughout 2008. Dendreon is passed by the FDA on their preliminary data due to pressure by Congress. They start to market their product by mid-2009.

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/4/08

-1,457.30 -3.14%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/4/08

-$2,810.00 -4.69%

Winners and Losers from the Iowa Caucus

I agree with this article that Obama was the big winner in Iowa.
Entrance polling showed Iowa Democrats responded strongly to Obama's message of change - half of Democrats said that the top quality they were looking for in a candidate was his or her ability to bring about change, and of those
respondents, 51 percent voted for Obama. The Illinois Democrat's campaign also
clearly benefited from the surge in Democratic turnout and from the
participation of Iowans who had never before caucused.

I think his theme of change over experience is going to resonate with voters far more then Hillary realizes. He is playing the "Optimistic America" card and he is playing it to the hilt. I listened to his victory speech and he sounded a lot like JFK in his delivery and his hope to make America a better place after the so-called Bush Years.

I think his message will ring true with Americans pinched by the subprime mess, food and gas inflation, and maybe facing a recession. Optimism and hope can be a very strong reason to vote for a guy like Obama. Hillary is starting to look more and more like the candidate of the same old approach. Also the fact that she lost women 35 to 30 to Obama should really trouble her. Maybe the Oprah factor is bigger then people might think.

Britney Spears finally loses it

It looks like they committed her after a police standoff involving her kids. I think this shot of her from A Socialite's Life pretty much sums up her whole downward spiral and this event will hopefully be the "thud" at the bottom. She needs some help ASAP. Otherwise the next gurney we see her on will be on will be headed to the LA County Morgue.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Huckabee WINS IOWA!!!!

Holy crap, the Incredible Huck won Iowa! And here he is with new Secretary of Kicking Asses!

Is There a Farmland Bubble?

This is a very interesting story on how farmland might be forming a bubble in certain states.
This time around, Leuthold sees a more moderate pullback -- 15% to 20% in
three to five years -- because buyers are employing less leverage and interest
rates are lower. His main concern is that the ethanol boom rests on shaky
economic underpinnings. Without government subsidies, ethanol makes no sense, he maintains. And the subsidies could disappear because of a backlash against costs of producing the fuel -- higher supermarket prices and huge demand on water supplies. The measure was opposed by groups representing the world's
undernourished and by competing agricultural interests like the National
Cattlemen's Beef Association. Big Oil dislikes the program, too, and Big Oil has
deep pockets to lobby Congress.

I agree with him up to a point but it is pretty much based on who controls Congress and the White House for the next 4 years. If the Dems control it all I would be willing to bet that they will keep the ethanol subsidies going in the name of a greener economy. I think Big Oil may be persona non grata if the Dems getting into power. I think that undernourished group may put some pressure on the Dems but not more then the Farmers Lobby would.

If the Republicans control it you may still get extreme pressure from those big red state Farmers but Big Oil might win out in the end depending on who wins the nod. In any case renewable energy is here to stay but how much the government will pay to subsidize it is the question.

J. Michels Video Game Index 1/3/08

+$45.30 +0.10%

J. Michels Uranium Index 1/3/08

+$1,145.00 +1.95%

Monsanto's Big Numbers

The more I read about the green economy the more I think companies like Monsanto will be winners going forward. It seems like they are showing us the money as well judging by these really good numbers which blew away analysts by 11 cents a share.
The St. Louis-based company, which manufactures bio-engineered seeds and
agricultural products, smashed Wall Street's expectations with its first quarter
profit report. On Thursday, Monsanto (nyse:
news - people ) said profits surged 184.4% to $256 million, or 46 cents a share,
from $90 million, or 16 cents a share, for the year ago period. Meanwhile, sales
ticked up 36.4% to $2.1 billion, from $1.5 billion. Analysts expected profits of
35 cents a share on sales of $1.87 billion.