But first . . .


Yesterday, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients were announced – America’s highest civilian honor.

That one of them will go, posthumously, to Harvey Milk, and another to Billie Jean King, speaks volumes.

They will be joining folks like Stephen Hawking, Ted Kennedy, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Yunus this year . . . and folks like Rosa Parks from prior years.

The full list speaks to diversity, talent, courage, possibility, and hope.

Is this a great country, or what?

And now . . .


Kaye Brillian: “It was good to see the Washington Post op-ed about how going vegetarian can help the planet. It also does wonders for your health. (It’s our own little healthcare plan.) About four months ago, my husband and I learned about Mike Anderson, who wrote The Rave Diet and Lifestyle. He is desperately trying to tell people about how meat and dairy are killing them, polluting the planet, and costing us billions every year. I would recommend going to his website and getting the book and DVD – very inexpensive. He’s not selling a program, he’s not making big profits, he’s just trying to get the word out. Within 10 days of changing our lifestyle, my husband was off his blood pressure meds completely, I was down from 3 blood pressure pills a day to one. After 3 months, our blood sugar counts are down, I have lost 32 pounds, my husband has lost 25 pounds, and at 60 years old, we have a sex life again!!! We must begin to look at what is causing people and the planet to be ill. The raising and consumption of meat and dairy products is the biggest cause of both. And, it is something we can do as individuals that makes a huge difference.”

☞ May I just add that Kaye and her husband are not from Vermont? They’re from Texas. There may be hope for the planet yet.

Speaking of which:


Mitchell Sereda: “Re your expressed desire for ‘70 mpg and cupholders’ – look no further.

. . . the Euro-only VW Polo, a Rabbit-like hatchback – only smaller – with plenty of room for four adults, a modest hatch that could swallow a weekend’s worth of gear, and a 1.4-liter, turbocharged diesel under the hood. Oh yeah, and a five-speed manual transmission. Here’s the kicker: The Polo gets 60 to 70-plus mpg. And it’s really fun to drive. . . .

☞ One day soon, such efficient cars may be available in America. (For a VW that got 238 mpg, and a Civic lesson, come back Monday.)


Yesterday my friend David noted: “The 1929-30 rally lasted 147 days and was 46%. The rally off the March 6th low this year has been 145 days and is 46%. Here’s the chart.”

Today my friend Chris Brown responds: “It has been rigorously proven that individual investors, due to poor market-timing decisions, consistently underperform benchmarks by 400 to 800 basis points per year when managing their own money, so the vast majority of your readers would be well served to pay no attention to stock market timing.”

I agree, especially 95% of the time when the market is neither preposterously high nor unreasoningly low.

Chris goes on to say, “I think low quality (high debt, poor cash flow) stocks are slightly overvalued here, but there’s nothing wrong with owning some high quality, high cash flow, high dividend blue chips and the investment grade bond issues of those same companies. There’s also no immediate technical reason for the market to fall here. In 1930, the market sold off after hitting a huge wall of overhead resistance. Overhead resistance represents trapped buyers who are desperate to get out at ‘breakeven,’ a universal psychological quirk of investors. Presently, we aren’t anywhere close to overhead resistance. We don’t have to worry about that until the 1100s on the S&P 500. Not only is the technical picture strong for the market here, but also the accommodative (pro-bubble) monetary policy being practiced around the world supports higher stock prices, and, lastly, don’t overlook the power of the legions of portfolio managers who are seeing their jobs threatened by underperforming the indices here due to oversized cash allocations – those guys and gals are having a very stressful month, and can create a self-sustaining reaction (for a while) if this buying stampede continues. Investors will be well served to be moderate in their approach here. (As usual.)”


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