MONEY

I don’t know whether ‘something’s happening’ with Syms (SYM), suggested here in February a hair below $8 a share, but it has recently moved up 30%. Should it be acquired for its underlying real estate value, as hoped, some smart folks think the deal would be done at more like $15 or $20 than the current $10.32 – so don’t sell. That said, I have no clue whether anything is actually going on. If not, the stock could certainly fall back to the $6-$8 range it has traded in for so long . . . or lower if the New York real estate market should crack or Syms’s clothing business should tank (Syms sells clothes). So I’m not buying more SYM here; just waiting patiently for what I hope might sooner or later be a good outcome.

Meanwhile, the TXCO suggested on that same day in February is down 7%. It is more of a speculation than SYM (when has oil ever not been more of a speculation than real estate?), but so long as you only invest money you can truly afford to lose, hang on. We might get lucky. (The other, more substantial oil stock suggested here last month, Anadarko Petroleum [APC], is no sure thing either, but is up 7%.)

POLITICS

So now we have the gravitas, the experience, the heroism and the sizzle. (John McCain on John Edwards in the Charlotte Observer, February 26, 2001: ‘He’s got the ambition, the talent and the brains to go very far, to be president of the United States.’) John Kerry is going to be elected President 118 days from now – and a good thing for most of us, too.

Consider:

Does anyone think that John Kerry and John Edwards do not care more deeply about the ‘bottom 97%’ of Americans than George Bush and Dick Cheney do?

The 97% who work hard to get by on anywhere from minimum wage to perhaps $200,000 a year?

The irony is that the top 3% do just great under Democratic administrations, too. The years 1993-2000 were terrific for those who were best off . . . and I don’t begrudge them a penny of it.

But if you’re in the ‘bottom 97%’ (as I have to think most Americans are) . . . or if you care about people in the bottom 97% (because they and their kids are our future) . . . you should give John Kerry and John Edwards a hard look. My view is that the great preponderance of us will be far better off under Kerry/Edwards than we would be if we choose to ride four more years down the current track.

(Conversely, does anyone doubt that George Bush and Dick Cheney have an easier time relating to the Ken Lays and Prince Bandars and Halliburton executives of the world than to your child’s fourth-grade teacher or to the tens of millions with no health insurance or to the two-income family mired in bills and struggling with credit-card debt?)

As to the ‘trial lawyer’ rap, I have a suggestion. After you see Fahrenheit 9/11, rent Erin Brockovich and see whom you are rooting for at the end of the movie. I’m no shill for the trial lawyers, having spent a great deal of time and money pushing for tort reform. The system needs sensible, measured reform. But neither should anyone doubt the positive impact the trial bar has had on our collective health and safety. The trick is finding the right balance – and just as it was Nixon who could go to China, so it just might be a phenomenally successful trial lawyer . . . turned Senator . . . turned Vice President . . . who could help broker some meaningful improvements.

Anyway, I have high hopes for November 2.

Hang on, America. Things are about to get a whole lot better.

‘One thing that Buddhism teaches you is that every moment is an opportunity to change. And we will have a moment in November to make a big change.’ – Ron Reagan

 

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