UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES – DST

Joe: ‘You write, For one thing, all this extra daylight is heating up the Earth (it being hotter when the sun is out).’ You are going to get a lot of mail on this one (it’s either not true or not what you meant to write).’

☞ No, you’re wrong. Studies show that since Daylight Saving Time was first instituted, the planet has warmed. And a secret DARPA study I gained access to showed that a three-hour DST was once briefly considered but shelved because of projections the Earth might literally burn up.

Peter K: ‘You write that with more daylight, fewer kids will watch the evening news. Not to worry. Like me, they watch the Daily Show (and Colbert Report) and get more real news that way. This study from Indiana University proves it!’

FORESEEABLE CONSEQUENCES – NINJA LOANS

In case you nod your head knowingly when ‘sub-prime mortgages’ are discussed – but lack a gut feel for what they really are – this enjoyable little column will make you an expert (and even more nervous for our economy).

U.S. ATTORNEYS

Rick Boyd: ‘If only two U.S. Attorneys were removed during the Clinton administration, why are there reports that ALL of them were asked to submit their resignations?’

☞ All were – which is not uncommon when a new President comes in. What’s different about this is that they were already in place (not Clinton appointees being replaced by Bush) and seemingly singled out for political reasons.

Jimmy Lohman: ‘The whole thing is explained clearly and very concisely today by Sidney Blumenthal. I would call this a ‘must read.’

Me, too. One piece:

‘Two academics, Donald C. Shields of the University of Missouri and John F. Cragan of Illinois State University, studied the pattern of U.S. attorneys’ prosecutions under the Bush administration. Their conclusions in their study, “The Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials,” are that “across the nation from 2001 through 2006 the Bush Justice Department investigated Democratic office holders and candidates at a rate more than four times greater (nearly 80 percent to 18 percent) than they investigated Republican office holders and seekers.” They also report, “Data indicate that the offices of the U.S. Attorneys across the nation investigate seven times as many Democratic officials as they investigate Republican officials, a number that exceeds even the racial profiling of African Americans in traffic stops.”

TXCO

Thursday I characterized TXCO’s latest report as ‘some pretty good results, depending on how you looked at them.’ Well, I looked at them a little more closely and saw that management missed Wall Street’s consensus earnings estimate by 25 cents, meaning a loss of 12 cents a share instead of a 13-cent profit. Thus, a few ours later, I added an update, changing my characterization to ‘disappointing but hopeful.’ (The hopeful part is that the company’s oil and gas reserves are reportedly growing.)

Even so, I don’t regret having bought more Wednesday at $8.98. And I am (modestly) heartened by two research reports. The first, issued by BMO Capital Markets right after the news broke Tuesday, maintains its $17-a-share target. (But BMO is one of TXCO’s investment bankers, and so has all sorts of reasons to look on the bright side.) The second, from AG Edwards, is titled ‘Selloff Overdone’ and rates the stock a ‘speculative buy’ with a $19 price objective. (But AG Edwards, too, renders investment banking services for TXCO.)

All that said – and speaking now only to the relatively few readers for whom it actually makes sense to choose individual stocks (because your Gamblers Anonymous sponsor and you have agreed you are incorrigible and that, this being the case, the odds are better than you’d get in Atlantic City) – it’s a nearly-debt-free company with North American oil and gas reserves. I can think of worse speculations.

DESIGNER BABIES

Jonathan Levy: ‘Do you think any significant number of gay people would choose to be straight if they easily could? I ask because of the stories in today’s newspapers about Rev. Albert Mohler Jr. who suggests attempting to change sexual orientation in utero. My initial reaction was to be outraged; but if I could spare my child being Jewish in Nazi Germany or Black in 1950’s Mississippi – especially if I were not myself Jewish or Black – I probably would do it. Would parents be doing their children a favor by turning them straight before they were born?’

☞ Or white or male – or taller? A great philosophical question. I don’t want to change because I have a great life . . . and because it’s so core to who I am, I would effectively cease to exist and simply be someone else. In that sense, I would be killing myself. No interest.

But if we envision a racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and/or homophobic America, then I suppose parents would have to think long and hard – or emigrate to Canada.

#

Note: This may be yesterday’s (Friday’s) column or it may be Monday’s. If there’s an all-new Desperate Housewives Sunday, all bets are off. Not to mention 60 Minutes, which must never be missed, and CBS Sunday Morning, likewise. And Stephanopoulos and Schieffer and Russert. I have three TiVos, so it’s kind of remarkable there is ever a Monday column. Even with these 25-hour days it’s tough to get it all in.

 

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