The CICI we took a flyer on December 23 at 35 cents remains at around 90 cents. I’ve suggested selling two-thirds and holding the rest. The high-yielding NLY suggested here about 15 months ago, is up slightly (plus the now-reduced yield) – I’m selling. Stephen Leeb’s new book predicts oil will be $100-a-barrel ‘at a minimum by the end of the decade and possibly sooner,’ so I’ve bought some TXCO, a speculative little exploration company, around $4.50. There’s a very good chance Leeb will be wrong or that, even if he’s right, this particular oil company will come up dry. But one never knows. (As usual: never invest money you can’t afford to lose.)

The prospect of $100-a-barrel oil has me itching to buy a Toyota Prius, at 50 miles to the gallon. But I drive so little it’s hard to justify trading in my 1996 Saturn. As for Toyota stock, it’s no hidden value. The market, perhaps having a better sense of the importance of fuel efficiency than the Bush administration, already values it at double GM and Ford combined.

Finally, while I’m pretending to know something about stocks, I would suggest you consider a few shares of SYM (‘at Syms, an educated consumer is our best customer’), not because I predict an upswing in clothing sales, but because some smart people think the Manhattan real estate it owns is worth twice what the stock is selling for, and that this might be the year, or at least the decade, in which that value is realized.


You may have seen the photo of John Kerry standing at a podium with Jane Fonda that has been making the rounds. I’m told it is completely valid except for the Jane Fonda part – she was Photoshopped in. More widely circulated has been the – legitimate – photo of John Kerry two or three rows behind Jane Fonda at some kind of anti-war rally. Writes Thomas M. Cleaver (like Kerry, a Vietnam vet who wound up opposing the war):

It was taken TWO AND A HALF YEARS BEFORE Jane Fonda went to North Vietnam. When she went there, John Kerry, as a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against The War, CONDEMNED her actions, as did ALL members of VVAW.


From a New York Times Valentine’s Day editorial: ‘[T]he Bush administration has gone beyond its campaign to destroy women’s reproductive rights and has attacked the privacy rights of all Americans . . .’


This was written before thousands of gay and lesbian couples got married in San Francisco over the weekend. It’s by the straight-talking, if politically incorrect, Bill Maher.

Valentine’s Day, That Great State Holiday
By Bill Maher

NEW RULE: You can’t claim you’re the party of smaller government, and then clamor to make laws about love. If there’s one area I don’t want the US government to add to its list of screw-ups, it’s love. On the occasion of this Valentine’s Day, let’s stop and ask ourselves: What business is it of the state how consenting adults choose to pair off, share expenses, and eventually stop having sex with each other? And why does the Bush administration want a constitutional amendment about weddings? Hey, birthdays are important, too — why not include them in the great document? Let’s make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake – you know, to send the right message to kids.

Republicans are always saying we should privatize things, like schools, prison, Social Security — OK, so how about we privatize privacy? If the government prohibits gay men from tying the knot, what’s their alternative? They can’t all marry Liza Minnelli. Republicans used to be the party that opposed social engineering, but now they push programs to outlaw marriage for some people, and encourage it for others. If you’re straight, there’s a billion-five in the budget to encourage and promote marriage — including seed money to pay an old Jewish woman to call up people at random and say “So why aren’t you married, Mr. Big Shot?”

But when it comes to homosexuals, Republicans sing “I Love You Just the Way You Oughta Be.” They oppose gay marriage because it threatens or mocks — or does something — to the “sanctity of marriage,” as if anything you can do drunk out of your mind in front of an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas could be considered sacred. Half the people who pledge eternal love are doing it because one of them is either knocked-up, rich or desperate, but in George Bush’s mind, marriage is only a beautiful lifetime bond of love and sharing — kind of like what his Dad has with the Saudis. But at least the right wing aren’t hypocrites on this issue — they really believe that homosexuality, because it says so in the Bible, is an “abomination” and a “dysfunction” that’s “curable”: they believe that if a gay man just devotes his life to Jesus, he’ll stop being gay — — because the theory worked out so well with the Catholic priests.

But the greater shame in this story goes to the Democrats, because they don’t believe homosexuality is an “abomination,” and therefore their refusal to endorse gay marriage is a hypocrisy. The right are true believers, but the Democrats are merely pretending that they believe gays are not entitled to the same state-sanctioned misery as the rest of us. The Democrats’ position doesn’t come from the Bible, it’s ripped right from the latest poll, which says that most Americans are against gay marriage.

[Where is the] Democrat who will stand up and go beyond the half measures of “civil union” and “hate the sin, love the sinner,” and say loud and clear: ‘There IS no sin, and homosexuality is NOT an abomination’ — although that Boy George musical Rosie O’Donnell put on comes close. The only thing abominable about being gay is the amount of time you have to put in at the gym.

But that aside, the law in this country should reflect that some people are just born 100 percent outrageously, fabulously, undeniably Fire-Island gay, and that they don’t need reprogramming.

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

Bill Maher is host of “Real Time with Bill Maher.”


Want to help register and educate gay voters? The DNC’s Pride at the Polls program has already signed up 600 volunteers. Click here to make it 601.

Wednesday: Moher on Marriage, Converting Pounds to Dollars, Betting on Bush


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