On the theory that all many families will be able to buy each other for the holidays this year is a nice pair of slippers, I bought some DFZ yesterday. The stock was ‘on sale’ at $10 a share – off 12% – on news of a down quarter. The downdraft may not be over; but a smart friend who follows it thinks that, even in a tough environment, it could be $13 a year or two from now, with a smallish (2.8%) but potentially rising dividend along the way. About $4 a share in cash, virtually no debt; selling under 11 times earnings and 1 times sales.


GT: ‘When I learned that dryer sheets, or the lint they produce, are one of the best fire-starters available (because they’re saturated with petroleum byproducts), and that some may be carcinogenic, I stopped using them. From there it was a small step toward avoiding the dryer entirely in favor of clotheslines. Sure, as you noted, the towels are a little stiff, but on the other hand, a lot of clothes come out looking almost professionally pressed.’

Stewart Dean: ‘Time back, I would buy gorgeous true Scotch tartan plaid shirts from Lands’ End . . . and after washing and drying them 4-5 times, the colors would be dull and lifeless. I called Lands’ End to complain and got a wise older lady who said the colors were dying from the heat. Huh! So I got a 10-foot length of 1-inch diameter EMT (electrical metallic tubing) from Home Depot for maybe $3, ran some nylon line through it and hung it from a rafter in our attached garage. I washed my shirts in cold water and drip dried them in the garage. Eight years later, all my flannel plaid and Hawaiian aloha shirts are nearly as bright and colorful as ever. I have a little oscillating fan on a 6 hour timer to speed things up and the 10-foot length accommodates up to 20 shirts.’


Would you give me a break? If you make $250,000 ($200,000 single or married-but-gay), your tax won’t go up, and if you make $350,000, it won’t go up on all $350,000, just on the portion above $250,000. And not by a whole lot, either. So we’re not asking you to leave your family to fight for your country in the jungles of Vietnam (and thank you if you already did that), just – because the nation is in a bit of a crisis – to go back to paying taxes more or less as you did under the wonderfully prosperous Clinton/Gore years. And this notion that, as a result, you, the small businessman earning $350,000, or $800,000, or $2.4 million, won’t hire people for your small business because your tax rate goes back to what it used to be is just nuts. If you need people, because business is good, you’ll hire them to make even more money. If you don’t need them, because business sucks, you wouldn’t hire them even if the tax rate were zero.


For those of us who don’t relish handing control of Congress to John Boehner or Mitch McConnell – and by extension to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin – David Plouffe lays out in this quick video how we confound the pundits.

We can watch the impending train wreck – or, with a whole lot of others, help avert it.


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