BOTCHED JOKE, BOTCHED WAR

Tuesday, you get to decide which bothers you more.

A REPUBLICAN VIEW

Here is former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas:

How did we go from the big ideas and vision of 1994 to the cheap political point-scoring on meaningless wedge issues of today – from passing welfare reform and limited government to banning horsemeat and same-sex marriage?

The answer is simple: Republican lawmakers forgot the party’s principles, became enamored with power and position, and began putting politics over policy. Now, the Democrats are reaping the rewards of our neglect – and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

FRANK RICH

This interview provides an awfully good overview of how it all happened – including a 2002 quote from a presidential aide that America is an empire now and can ‘create its own reality.’

Who was it who said pride goeth before the fall? (Oh, that’s right – it was God.)

(Well, sort of.)

BECAUSE OF IRAQ

This is the perfect 30-second clip to forward to that colleague or relative who might actually vote Democrat Tuesday . . . if it weren’t for their concern over terrorism.

BECAUSE OF TORTURE

This is the story of a young woman assigned to interrogate Iraqi detainees, who – it has been learned three years later – killed herself.

CENSORING WHAT OUR TROOPS CAN READ

Click here (assuming your Internet access is not being selectively blocked).

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DREDGING

Fortis Bank issued a research report on a Dutch dredging company called Boksalis last week. The lead paragraph is encouraging to those of us who hold Aldabra Warrants (ALBAW). You will recall that Aldabra is a shell that was formed to acquire an existing business – any business – and that the business it is in the final stages of acquiring is . . . a dredging company.

The order backlog of the largest dredging companies is currently at record levels. In addition, our list of to be awarded projects is now EUR 10.5bn. On the other hand, the capacity expansion is relatively modest due to the scarcity of ship engines and yard capacity. We conclude that the dredging industry will operate close to peak utilization rates until at least 2013 (our former estimate was at least 2009). We also expect that the increasing price level for new projects, according to our sources 10-15%, will gradually be visible in the Boskalis P&L. We slightly increased our estimates for 2008e and beyond and delayed the introduction of mid cycle estimates until 2013 (was 2010). Overall, we decided to increase our price target to EUR 65 (was EUR 55) and reiterate our Buy recommendation.

BOREALIS

Stephen Willey: ‘Re the following offer – deal, or no deal?’

Share Exchange Offer
We are prepared to exchange up to 200,000 shares of Roche Bay plc for 400,000 shares of Borealis Exploration Limited. This is a current, today, you give us 2 shares of Borealis and we effectively give you 1 share of Roche Bay plc. The terms will change daily reflecting current pricing on RCHBF and BOREF. Please call or e-mail exec@borealis.com for the particulars of this offer.

This exchange is a great deal for Borealis and for its shareholders. We are working very hard so everybody has full disclosure.

☞ It is a great deal for Borealis and its shareholders – except for any shareholders who are dumb enough to take it. Each Borealis share represents ownership of a share of the Roche Bay subsidiary (because Borealis, which is divided into 5 million shares, owns about 5 million Roche Bay shares). So let’s say you owned 400 BOREF and traded them for 200 RCHBF. All you would own is 200 RCHBF – where before, you owned the equivalent of 400 shares – twice as much! (plus your little piece of all the other Borealis subsidiaries, like the powerful little electric motor, delusionary as they may or may not turn out to be). Why would you do this?

(It’s a great deal for Borealis and the shareholders who don’t take it, because if 400,000 BOREF shares were exchanged for 200,000 RCHBF shares, BOREF would no longer be split 5 million ways but rather 4.6 million. Each share’s proportionate ownership of the subsidiaries would increase a little.)

(Delusionary: not a word, but should be.)

Paul Grand: ‘I’m suspicious that you may be intentionally misleading us by promoting BOREF. I say this because your behavior seems to run against common sense and your own investment advice. You’ve owned a ton of this speculative stock for years. Yet you mention that you picked up more on a recent price drop. Why would you continue to invest in such a highly speculative company of which you already bought a ton of at a much lower price if not to encourage others to buy? Someone in your shoes could potentially profit by investing in a small cap speculative stock (any stock) and then relentlessly promoting the hell out of it (even if you don’t really believe in the company) thereby significantly influencing it price. After a sizable increase, you could then sell the stock at its peak and leave all of your readers eating crow. I’ve always trusted your advice (and have benefited nicely from it) until now. I’m skeptical as this just doesn’t seem to make sense. I hope I’m wrong.’

☞ Good news, Paul – you are. But they are fair questions.

It would be difficult to do what you describe, even if I were of a mind to, because I own too much. Even small sales can drive the price down a lot. Indeed, I’d actually be in a better position if I had bought the shares without sharing the idea. First, I might have paid a bit less (fewer buyers to compete with); second, I would not feel obligated to announce that I had soured on it, if I had (and thus add to the selling pressure).

As to the high degree of risk . . . even though I own ‘tons,’ I have not bet more on this than I can truly afford to lose. For me, the loss of the dream would hurt worse than the loss of the money.


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