Late for Work

I was late for work this morning with a new and unusual excuse. First, let me setup the scenario.

It’s a little stressful around the house right now. Last Tuesday we received nearly 10 inches of rain in about 5 hours. I woke up that morning to find an inch of water in the study. Fortunately, the floor isn’t completely level and the computer gear was on a tiny island. Unfortunately, the closet absorbed a lot of water and all the boxes on the floor. And we’re sure the walls have absorbed water and will have to be replaced.

There was eighteen inches of water in the garage. Shop vac, camping stove, other minor stuff was ruined, but the water was high enough to cover the floorboards of both cars.

So I’ve been talking to the insurance company a lot this week. Homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, townhome group insurance, and two separate auto insurance claims come into play. Last night, a remedial company drilled holes in the water and sprayed anit-mold chemicals and set up two noisy air dryers. The house is noisy and smells funny.

I dropped my car off last week to be repaired; my wife’s car is still pending because the rental car company only seems to make a car available for an hour before saying “oops, sorry, it’s rented already.” And I’m driving a smelly, beatup rental car that reinforces my believe that Enterprise Rent a Car supplies only trashy vehicles.

On top of that, I’m working 65 hours a week, trying to hit an important, expensive deadline.

So this morning, I’m up a little early. I’m going to de-stress and pick up a latte on the way to work and count it as my protein for the morning. And I chill, relaxing in the car, listening to AM 700 talk radio.

After a while, I glance at the clock. It’s 7:00 on the nose.

After a while longer, I glance at the clock. It’s still 7:00 on the nose.

And I realize it’s not 7:00am. It’s 700AM. What I thought was a digital clock was actually the radio station readout. It’s likely to be 700AM all morning.

And that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

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Mechanical Investing for February 2007

Yeah, I know I said the next trade would be February 5, but I had some time at lunch today. Monday is Monday, and it’s close enough to the first of the month. A small tweak; I’m switching from the H52EarnPS to the H52EgPS for some of the stocks, but I don’t expect it’ll make a lot of difference.

The market continues to improve, and yay, I’m beating the market again –

  • Last 4 weeks: +2.5%
  • Last 3 months: +2.5%
  • Last 12 months: +0.5%
  • Year to date: +2.1% (Dow is +0.3% ytd from 12,463)
  • Annualized Return: +15.0%

Holding for another month:

Ticker Bought Now Months Return  
AKS $16.49 $20.08 2 +21.8% AK Steel Holding Corp. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
BAB $97.47 $107.00 2 +9.8% British Airways plc. I still own some airplanes! From the TREPPE screen.
CGB $33.50 $36.19 1 +8.0% CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. From the RSPeg2 screen.
JAS $24.53 $24.75 1 +0.9% Jo-Ann Stores. My wife says they have nice clothes. From the Screamers screen.
MCY $53.85 $52.25 3 -3.0% Mercury General Corp. I’m going to cruise it up and down this’a road. From the LPE_YLD screen.

Selling these:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
KELYA $28.64 $30.04 3 +4.9% Kelly Services Inc. From the H52EarnPS screen.
KMX $54.20 $58.46 1 +7.9% CarMax Inc. From the Screamers screen.
MDR $48.50 $50.39 1 +3.9% McDermott International Inc. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
MRO $88.85 $88.03 1 -0.01% Marathon Oil Corp. Ok, no more oil stocks for me this year. From theTREPPE screen.
SKX $33.95 $35.05 1 +3.2% Skechers USA Inc. Shoes! From the RSPeg2 screen.
SWY $31.20 $35.35 5 +13.3% Safeway Inc. From the H52EarnPS screen.
WM $44.39 $44.42 2 +0.0% Washington Mutual. From the LPE_YLD screen.

New stocks for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
ATI $102.14 $N/A 0 N/A% Allegheny Technologies Inc. Dang, I just sold them last month for a loss, too. From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
BGC $43.78 $N/A 0 N/A% General Cable Corp. Which of course should be abbreviated “BGC.” From the Peg_Minimalist screen.
ENR $84.79 $N/A 0 N/A% Energizer Holdings, Inc. Is this the Energizer Bunny company? Let me go look – yes! From the Screamers screen.
LEA $34.33 $N/A 0 N/A% Lear Corp. And jets, too? Aww, no, they make automobile seats, I think. From the H52EgPS screen.
MKL $484.35 $N/A 0 N/A% Markel CO Holdings Co. Don’t they ever split their stock? They’re an insurance company. From the TREPPE screen.
NAV $43.54 $N/A 0 N/A% Navistar Intl CP. They make heavy truck chassis. From the RSPeg2 screen.
PFE $26.10 $N/A 0 N/A% Pfizer Inc. From the LPE_YLD screen.

6/3 Options:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
.MEHDV $0.5722 $0.85 3 +48.6% MEH Apr 12.5 Calls. Sold!
.RFYFJ $13.00 $4.80 2 -70.1% RIMM Research in Motion June 150 Calls. Not looking good, is it? Will sell in early March.
.QTCGE $13.00 $3.10 2 -76.2% TeleTech Holdings Inc. TTEC July 25 Calls. Yuck. Will sell in early March.

The next trade will be February 26.

Renewed Request for Prayer

After Hayden’s miraculous recovery, she has stalled in her recovery. Her father and grandfather are asking anew for your prayers.

Hello,

There was a meeting with Hospital staff and family on Friday. Four physicians were present. The two most senior were the main pediatrician and the pediatric neurologist. The other two were not very active in the meeting and were young residents.

Hayden has not shown any improvement since early last week. This is very concerning as her progress can only be gauged by clinical observation. There is no way to diagnose brain damage as a precise to diagnose or treatment. Hayden’s age is a large factor in the equation as some healing and rebuilding may come as a product of her young age. There is no way to judge how much if any will occur. We are really shooting blind.

In the meeting the two main doctors had contradicting views for little hope to no hope at all. The opinion I got from the meeting was, at this point, we are still uncertain. One thing certain, time for Hayden is running out. If healing is to come, it should be continuous, No one could refute that. At present, Hayden is not showing improvement and that is not a good sign. We have some time, but not much. Weeks in intensive care have cost the insurance company great sums of money. Although she is not in intensive care now, they will not support her position much longer unless there is evidence to do so. Our only hope is prayer and patients.

The hospital rooms are overloaded and Hayden has been moved to a room with six other beds. It is difficult to even maneuver to hold her hand. Spending the night or rocking her is not an option under the current set of circumstances. We had hopped that contact through holding, speaking to her and rocking her would facilitate interaction. That would be a good sign as interaction would mean brain activity on a higher level. Right now, we suspect her actions are involuntary and reactive to her condition, movement with no meaning. We are praying for interaction of some kind. Without it soon there will be little hope left for her ability to survive.

Please keep praying for Hayden. God is our great physician.

May God bless you all for your Love and Support,

John

Trial Lawyers and Tort Reform

From Overlawyered.com and Point of Law, there are ample reasons to consider that tort reform in America is desparately needed.

Manufacturers are wary of the Legal-Lotto system in the US that can spur class-action lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs that may not have suffered any ill effects or are ever likely to do so, but they’re included in the class action suit anyway. When a settlement is reached, these “plaintiffs” get pennies, the lawyers get millions. Better products are never even introduced because of a fear of lawsuits. Our Civil Court system has demanded a new barometer for products: 100% Perfect Safety under All Intended and Unintended Uses.

In 2002, class action lawsuits siphoned off $233 billion out of the hands of manufacturers and small business, or 2% of the US GDP. This amounts to $809 for every citizen of the US. In 1970, costs amounted to only 1.3%, and in 1950, only 0.5%. The costs are skyrocketing.

Here are some examples of products not currently available in the US but are available elsewhere in the world:

  • Integrated child booster seat in Volvo cars.
  • Silicon coatings on hypodermic needles from Japan that would reduce the pain of injections.
  • A “safe, biodegradable, and effective reinforcing phosphate fiber” as a substitue for asbestos from Monsanto.
  • A portable, suitcase sized dialysis machine from Union Carbide.
  • An alarm for hot tubs that would warn if the cover was lifted from Sunstar.

The costs of asbestos litigation is now expected to reach $200 billion. More than the Northridge, CA earthquake, Hurricane Andrew, and the September 11 terrorist attacks combined. Medical malpractice insurance premiums are causing doctors to quit their practice across the country. Obstetricians seem especially hard hit – at the average of 100 babies a year and a malpractice premium of $200,000 annually, each woman / employer / insurance company / government must pay $2000 just for the insurance alone.

The American Trial Lawyers Association maintain that there is no crisis.

The entire article at the Manhattan Institute is fascinating, morbid reading.

This just in: John Edwards and Ralph Nader made their fortunes as class-action lawyers.