Friday, March 20, 2009

Not so Feckless Friday ( at least for me)

On a personal business note; I was fortunate enough this week to be able to turn my very modest online stock trading account from a whopping 48% loser to just 3.2% below its original level during this trading week.

This was accomplished by not selling at the ugly lows of my peculiarly speculative and originally brilliant seeming stock picks, but waiting to catch some updraft and selling at better prices. In almost all cases they were still sold below the level at which they were purchased. My largest holding (by my standards, not the markets) was sold with a total profit of less than $100 dollars, but I did manage to not actually lose money on that position. Unfortunately the stock went 50% higher the next day and I missed a good profit. Stock trading is like golf for me. An intellectually challenging endeavor that constantly fucks with my head.

Anyway...... I proudly presented my wife with the figures to assure her that I had managed to retrieve all but just over 3% of our money back from the market. In addition I pared down our holdings to just 3 stocks representing less than 30% of our account total. If I sound slightly (satire and smirk here) late to the game on divesting myself of stocks, remember that the only other choice was to sell them at lower prices and thus lock in actual monetary losses. By waiting it out I was able to get most of my investment back.

That might not sound like much to you, but in this environment, "you buys your ticket and takes your chances."

With a little luck and some amount of paying attention, I might just be able to break even in another few weeks. Then again the market could go batshit crazy and then who knows what will happen.

Since I'm still unemployed and need to be doing something even potentially profitable, the daily stock trading manages to keep me off the streets and forces me to be more aware of the political and economic climate than most folks. I am constantly interrupting a news broadcast to inform my wife that I had read that day about the issue and that the commentator was either correctly or incorrect stating the facts. At some point she will probably throw something at me or just tell me to shut the fuck up.

While I accomplished this we had the continuing daily soap opera/murder mystery of AIG and the bonuses. It is certainly galling and politically important, but mathematically insignificant when trillions upon trillions are at risk. If you want to inform yourself about how AIG got us into this I recommend this article from The Talking Points memo. I guarantee you will come away knowing much more than the average citizen about systemic financial risks and what we're up against.

I apologize ahead of time for the second linked article; it is 24 pages long and contains charts and graphs. It does however contain a timeline and great reading on what transpired during the final months of the Bush administration and what was done to combat the crisis.

So to summarize; slightly not so Feckless week for me and always Feckless week for politicians and pundits.

Which brings to mind a blog I read this week by now deceased Gene Maudlin, titled
Old Horsetail Snake. Gene was an interesting individual and a great story teller. The one below makes me question what we keep hearing for reasons to bail out more financial institutions.

"A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to:


With the worst premonition he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.

"Dear Dad: It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with you and Mom. I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice. But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercing, tatoos, motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it's not only the passion....Dad, she's pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter.

"We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone.

"We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstacy. In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it. Don't worry, Dad.

"I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself.

"Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.


"Your son, John."

"P.S. Dad, none of this is true. I'm over at Tommy's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than a report card that's in my desk's center drawer. I love you. Call me when it's safe to come home."

Oh, if they were just sandbagging us, wouldn't it be nice?



Thom said...

OMG...I just loved the Dear Dad letter. And aint it the truth. Wodnerful story. Richard I do hope that you take heed after yet again, pointing out something about the Bush Administration that the current Obama Administration did know about this bonus hullabaloo prior to signing the bill into law. It's a disgrace that it all happened. And as I just got done commenting on your prior post about AIG at least he had the balls to say the buck stops with him. But I wish he would be more Presidential and stay off those damn talk shows. Another side note to all of this is his bowling comment. I'm not trying to harp but boy the main stream media sure did let that one slide and if it was his predecessor...well I'll let you be the judge.

Richard said...

Thom: I am not that happy with Obama's Financial people, but wonder how anybody would do right now.

I don't mind the TV appearance, it's OK with me, but I'm not sure it was much more than plain ole PR>

The bowling comment would have been OK with a friend who understood that he isn't insensitive to the needs of the handicapped. That being said, he blew it by spouting it in public, even though he was trying to be self-deprecating while saying it.

At some point we will just have to give the man a break and see what he gets done.

I remain hopeful. He's still better than his predecessor.

As for MSM. They are so totally out to lunch on both sides that it's laughable.

They didn't do much about the Barack the Magic Negro story from the Republicans either.

I'm cool with them letting them go if they do it for both sides.

One of Clinton's problems was too much Political Correctness Crap from his own party.

I'm in favor of productive political action. How about you?

Thom said...

I'm all for productive political action. I'm so tired of all the name calling and finger pointing. I'm willing to give him a chance as well. I have to. I'm stuck with him for 4 years. LOL. But I think you are right about his financial people.