NO, WE CAN’T ALL JUST GET ALONG

Or so says the Science section of yesterday’s New York Times. For those of us with a strong point of view on one side or the other, reports the Times, some of this seems to be almost hard wired into our little brains. We immediately dismiss anything we don’t want to hear.

Then again, the freshman class of Colorado state legislators is making a good try of it – click here for that story.

David D’Antonio: ‘You seemed to miss the point of the Nation Journal article you quoted. While not as extreme as some of the other commentators, you do many of the same things, to the point that it starts to get repetitive and shrill. I’m tired of seeing Republican-bashing in your column; it doesn’t do much to give me a good feeling about the Democrats.’

☞ I try to be thoughtful and not to attack people personally. But I am surely guilty of repetition.

The only thing worse than my constant bashing of the Republican Leadership, I think, is what I am bashing them for. The bashing isn’t appealing, but neither is the $8 trillion of National Debt Reagan, Bush and Bush will have placed on our shoulders or the effort to ban embryonic stem cell research or to teach Intelligent Design in science class or . . . well, here I go repeating myself again.

Joe Devney: ‘Your column addressed the issue of civil discourse. I’d like to put in a good word for public radio. I get most of my news from the local NPR affiliates, and according to a poll a couple of years ago, that puts me among the best-informed news consumers in America. NPR doesn’t achieve ‘balance’ by parroting the official messages of both the Republicans and Democrats. They give the news context and background. Sometimes, to avoid the ‘food fights,’ they will air interviews with people representing opposing sides on successive days. They also often find more than two sides to a story. And they interview people across the political and economic spectra. For important, complex stories – like the recent Alito hearings – they broadcast the proceedings with minimal commentary. I get to hear the raw material in context, instead of having to rely on the few highlights chosen for me by a corporate news director. One of my favorite radio programs is ‘Forum,’ produced locally by KQED-FM in San Francisco. The host, Michael Krasny, covers a wide variety of topics, and treats all his guests with respect. Before elections, he often hosts a panel of third-party candidates, one of the few places it is possible to hear their views in depth. (And speaking of civil discourse, Krasny’s guests have shown that Libertarians and Greens can be more civil to each other than some Republicans and Democrats. [Yes – but that may be partly because they know they have no chance of winning. – A.T.] So three cheers to NPR and local public stations for working to maintain an informed citizenry.’

☞ Make it four.

NUNSENSE

When I linked to ‘Nunsense’ a week ago, I failed to make it clear what heavenly pleasure awaits on that site. Click here to listen – free – to a sampling. I don’t know what you’ll make of these songs if you’ve never seen the show. But for those who have seen it, I predict wide smiles as you reacquaint with, for example, ‘Just a Coupl’a Sisters’ or ‘I Just Want to Be a Star.’ (‘I don’t care / If I’m ever rich or famous,’ croons Sister Robert Anne – ‘I just want to be a star . . .’)

NTMD

With the stock trading around $11, down from $22 in July, where we started this saga, JP Morgan and another Wall Street firm, Thomas Weisel, somehow persuaded some institutional clients to buy 6.1 million new shares at $10.25 each, it was announced yesterday.

This sale of new shares gives Nitromed another $58.6 million in working capital (after paying $4 million to JP Morgan and Thomas Weisel) to either (a) burn through before crashing or (b) bridge the gap between here and what will ultimately be big profits. My guess is (a), but I sold most of my near-term puts, replacing about half of them with September puts instead.

If NTMD goes straight down from here, swell. If the stock gets a boost from this (it closed up two cents on the day vat $11.50), I would replace the rest of my puts at an even better price.

Remember that the options game is ordinarily a terrible idea for most investors, and that even when it’s not, as here, you must only play with money you can truly afford to lose, because you truly may. But the fundamentals in betting against NTMD seem awfully strong: a one-product company whose one product is targeted at a small niche market and whose generic ingredients are readily available and widely prescribed at about one-sixth the price.

There will be the natural tendency to think that if professionals ponied up $10.25 a share to invest in NTMD, it must be worth more than $10.25. (They are professionals! Investing serious money!) If you think this, you are . . . oh gosh, how to put this? . . . very sweet.

 

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