Take the Fanjul family, which controls Florida Crystals Inc. and Domino Sugar, owns more than 400,000 acres of sugar cane farms and produces one-third of Florida’s sugar. Yet, the federal government protects them against competitors by imposing U.S. import quotas that maintain sugar prices at artificially high levels. U.S. consumers and businesses have had to pay twice the world price of sugar on average since 1982, according to economist Mark Perry.
Why? The fact that the sugar industry spends millions in lobbying might be one reason.
The U.S. sugar lobby contributes millions of dollars to political campaigns to maintain federal support for the subsidies, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Fanjul family alone spent $715,000 on lobbying in 2008 and has spent an estimated $2.6 million on political campaigns from 1979 to 2006.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
In a speech in 1999, shortly after Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, the Depression-era law that separated investment banking from commercial banking, he warned that “in a world dominated by mega-financial institutions, governments could be reluctant to close those that become troubled for fear of systemic effects on the financial system.”
Sure enough, in 2008, the Fed helped sell Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase, rescued the American International Group and, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, bailed out the financial system.
The crisis has only made the biggest banks even bigger. “They have enormous power,” Mr. Hoenig said. “Just look at their lobbying expenses. I use the word — and it’s a fairly flammable word — oligarchy. These things are huge and powerful, and that’s where the money is. This country through its history has abhorred concentration of financial power, and for good reason.”
Tuesday’s Fed vote will be Mr. Hoenig’s last, because the presidents of the Fed’s regional banks, other than New York, share votes under a rotation system. Mr. Hoenig does not have a vote next year, and he must retire after he turns 65 in September.
As for his future, Mr. Hoenig is certain that he will not follow other Fed veterans who have gone to work on Wall Street. “I can tell you one thing,” he said. “I’ll never work for a too-big-to-fail bank.”
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Physically, siblings tended to differ somewhat, but they were a lot more similar on average when compared to children picked at random from the population. That's also true of cognitive abilities.
"The surprise," says Plomin, "is when you turn to personality."
Turns out that on tests that measure personality — stuff like how extroverted you are, how conscientious — siblings are practically like strangers.
"Children in the same family are more similar than children taken at random from the population," Plomin says, "but not much more."
In fact, in terms of personality, we are similar to our siblings only about 20 percent of the time. Given the fact that we share genes, homes, routines and parents, this makes no sense. What makes children in the same family so different?
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Here, a lot of ITEX franchisees are supporting management.
It isn't a good sign for the proxy fighters.
Disclosure: None. This is not advice of any kind. Do your own research before doing anything.
EDIT: Here is a new presentation from the dissident group. It's good, and shows discrepancies in ITEX accounting. I really doubt that the franchisees will care much about it, but rather, the shareholders.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thanks to sreenr and DCG for the links.
To me, the whole "give praise to the government for fixing the bubble popping" thing would be like me setting your house on fire, then, calling the fire department and helping them put it out with a garden hose... then, I use your checkbook (which I stole before dumping out the contents of 5 gas cans) to pay the water company with. After this, you would thank me for doing such a good job in keeping the fire from spreading to other houses, because I am an arsonist and don't have much experience in putting out fires, additionally, you would thank me for paying your bills for you.
Bottom line, you still don't have a house and I should be in jail.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Seriously, how cool would it be if we had a bunch of people dressed up like Boba Fett running around the world?
Why we didn't put a billion dollar bounty on Osama Bin Laden's head nearly a decade ago escapes me. If broken up into increments that every American would pay, it would equate to a little more than $3 bucks a person. I'd be willing to give up a single beer at my favorite dive bar to have his head on a pike... how about you?
And of course, Ron Paul is way ahead of us on this. :)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
On January 22, 2009, consistent with Rahul Pagidipati’s philosophy of investing in undervalued securities, Mr. Pagidipati contacted the Board of Directors of ITEX to gauge their interest in exploring a variety of strategic alternatives. Mr. Pagidipati believed his background and education could assist the Company. Mr. Pagidipati added that he would like to set up a conference call to discuss any potential future possibilities. Mr. Pagidipati received no response from his email.
On June 18, 2010, Mr. White emailed Mr. Parsad stating “Thank you for sending the agenda. We do not enter into discussions with shareholders about confidential topics” and recommending to us to communicate with the Company’s communications director, Alan Zimmelman. Mr. Parsad responded to Mr. White’s email with the following: “We were extending our hand to the board. We were hoping that if we could agree on some key components of our common vision for ITEX, we would have been agreeable to supporting current management without seeking any board representation. It seems as though you guys are resistant to that idea. I’ll cancel the conference call, and we’ll continue on our current form of contact, either by letter or through Alan. We’ll leave it to the board to decide what type of relationship they want with their largest shareholder group.”
· Return over $5 million in cash to shareholders during calendar 2011 starting with a $1.00 per share special dividend
· List ITEX’s stock on the NASDAQ Capital Market
· Hire a full-time CFO to improve ITEX’s accounting practices
· Expand ITEX’s Board of Directors to five members
· End an ineffective acquisition strategy – organic growth will be the focus
· Refocus the company on franchise-related initiatives
· Actively recruit entrepreneurs with the proper fit to join ITEX’s franchises brokers
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Here, we see someone selling just under $7K in ITEX dollars for $3K.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
In the article, the issue of a new bubble forming is addressed. It is noted that inflation is going to come, rearing it's ugly head someplace, and that it is just a matter of time before we figure it out. The part that is most compelling, is where he talks of this guy named Glenn Reynolds, who wrote a piece on how higher education in the country is in a bubble. And how that is where a lot of inflation has occurred.
Here are some snippets:
A New York Times profile last week described Courtney Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University with nearly $100,000 in student loan debt -- debt that her degree in Religious and Women's Studies did not equip her to repay. Payments on the debt are about $700 per month, equivalent to a respectable house payment, and a major bite on her monthly income of $2,300 as a photographer's assistant earning an hourly wage.
And, unlike a bad mortgage on an underwater house, Munna can't simply walk away from her student loans, which cannot be expunged in a bankruptcy. She's stuck in a financial trap.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
"Our licenses for bebe and Hummer eyewear expired June 30, 2010. Under the license agreements, we may sell existing inventory of those lines in the United States through December 31, 2010. In addition, we may continue to sell our existing inventory of bebe eyewear internationally through December 31, 2011. The loss of these licenses will have a material adverse effect on our revenues. In the fiscal year ended October 31, 2009, and the nine months ended July 31, 2010, these lines represented approximately 45% of our net sales.We are actively taking a number of actions to replace the bebe and Hummer revenues. These include: (i) increasing our marketing and sales efforts of our other eyewear lines; (ii) increasing our efforts to obtain other third party licenses; (iii) increasing our efforts to develop our proprietary Signature lines; and (iv) considering the viability of marketing other fashion accessories. We are also taking actions to reduce operating expenses to offset as much of the loss of revenue as possible. No assurance can be given that we will be successful in these efforts to replace the lost revenues. If we cannot replace a material portion of these revenues over the next twelve months, we will have to implement drastic cost cutting measures in an effort to maintain profitability and positive cash flow."