CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

Try to find 20 minutes to watch this compelling presentation to members of the House Democratic Caucus. In it, Lawrence Lessig calls for public financing of campaigns and a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United – both needed to restore government by the people, for the people. He holds neither to be impossible. (Thanks, Eric Haglund, for the link.)

LIFE AFTER DEATH – II

Karen Tiede: “You don’t even have to die to donate: Register as a bone marrow donor, and save a life before you die. They will only take you until you’re 60, so don’t linger! MASSIVE need for other-than-Caucasian donors. Here’s the FAQ.”

Mark C.: “There’s another option that remains largely ignored: donating one’s body to medical science. My mom had joked about it for years and then discovered that she could do it – and did – to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The university department that handles these donations is available 24/7. In my case, it required a single phone call after she passed; cremated remains were returned to the family a year or so later. I’d recommend contacting your nearest medical school directly for more information. A donation needs to be set up in advance, obviously. Any objection coming from a family will most certainly result in a donation being declined. The above was my experience. Policies and laws will likely differ among institutions. My mom would not have been able to be an organ donor but still qualified for whole-body donation. I don’t know specifically how her body was utilized. I assume student instruction, which can mean much more than basic anatomy class. I know this is a hard topic, but the squeamishness factor needs to come down many notches.”

SELL KERX, VVUS, SUPG/ASTX

Fifteen months ago, I posted:

A NEW SPECULATIVE BASKET

Needless to say, you could lose every penny. But let’s say you put $1,400 into each of ALXA ($1); KERX ($5.25), NPSP ($6.65), EMIS ($1.70, up 35% since suggested this past summer), OSIR ($7.35), VVUS ($7.25), and SUPG ($2.75). That’s $10,000 with the seven $8 commissions a deep discount broker would charge. A year from now, my guru’s guess is that you’d be ahead of where’d you have been in a savings bank. And even if you just broke even, you could take $3,000 in losses on the losers, lowering your taxable income by that much; and then wait until 2012 to take your (by then lightly taxed) long-term capital gains on the winners. Only with money you can truly afford to lose!

☞ As of last night, you would have taken a 25% loss on ALXA, a 40% loss on KERX, a 13% gain on NPSP, an 86% loss on EMIS, a 23% loss on OSIR, a 64% gain on VVUS, and a 3% loss on SUPG (which has changed its symbol to ASTX). You would have had about $2,500 in losses and $1,000 in gains. Not a great way to get rich, at least so far: your initial $10,000 would have shrunk to $8,500. But this is why it’s important to speculate only with money you can truly afford to lose.

Guru had actually suggested selling ALXA when it was up 40%, so you might not have taken the 25% loss on that one; but that same day he might also have shaken you out of VVUS, so you might not have had that 64% gain, either.

He thinks KERX may approach 4 in the coming weeks, in anticipation of good news; but he would sell into that strength, having lost his enthusiasm for the company’s prospects. (I sold half mine Friday a little over $3 and have an order in to sell the rest at $3.40.)

He expects SUPG (now ASTX) not to fare well at a February 8 meeting of the FDA, and so would sell this week. I did, yesterday.

He’s less sure how VVUS will fare over the long run, but sees enough risk to suggest selling now, so I did.

 

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