SCHOOLS

If you ask any expert how to reduce highway fatalities — a worthy goal, for sure — he or she will tell you to make cars safer, reduce speed limits, and ban non-essential driving.  All true.

But public policy generally involves trade-offs:


The CDC’s Latest Demands Will Keep Millions of Kids out of School Unnecessarily

. . . The science is clear: Kids — especially young children — can get and transmit covid-19, but they are less likely to do so than adults. Kids can die from the disease, but the risk of that happening is one in a million; they are about 10 times as likely to die by suicide. Teachers also have lower risk than other occupations and can be kept safe through adherence to universal precautions.

The science is also clear that keeping children out of school is doing real harm: Loss in literacy progress. An exploding mental health crisis. Billions of missed meals. Women dropping out of the workforce. Hundreds of thousands of kids missing school. The effects are compounding daily.

We’re all for stringent controls in schools. There are many that are both effective for adults and kids and don’t keep kids out of school, as some of these new ones from CDC will. At some point, we have to recognize the consequences of keeping millions out of school for a year and treat this like the national emergency it is.


Worth reading the whole thing, especially if you disagree.



TRUMP

Many of you know the famous Harvard Crimson headline: Harvard Beats Yale 29-29.  I was actually at that game and can tell you it left me feeling a lot better than yesterday’s vote in the Senate.

So many Republican senators fit the mold of white jurors refusing to convict a clearly-guilty white murderer.

(And yes: black jurors acquitted O.J., which was also wrong.  But it’s hard to equate an act of jury nullification born of 12 generations of enslavement, debasement, lynching, and voter suppression, on the one hand, to an act of jury nullification born of whatever centuries of oppression Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, et al, feel they and their ancestors have suffered under the thumb of the black man.)

These are the same senators — in spirit — who enabled fascist dictators in Germany and Italy nearly a century ago.  (Have you read Caste?)

We are a minority-rule country.

Republicans have won the popular vote in only 1 of the last 8 elections; the good people of Wyoming have as many senators as the equally good, but 66 times as numerous, people of California — and two more than the equally numerous people of the District of Columbia.

Even with Putin’s extraordinary help, and Comey’s extraordinary bad judgment, Trump lost in 2016 by 3 million votes.  He considered that a landslide, as he insists his 2020 7-million-vote loss was a landslide; and he appointed a third of the Supreme Court.  Two more of the nine seats were appointed by George W. Bush, who also lost the popular vote.  (A sixth, whose wife is a right-wing lobbyist, was appointed by Bush 41.)

Trump was impeached by a majority in the House, including Dick Cheney’s daughter, and lost the Senate vote by an even wider margin — 43 to 57.

Another Trump landslide.

(And a witch hunt, of course.)



PRKR

I sold 25,000 shares at $1.80 a few days ago.

My thinking was:

I had bought so MANY shares at a dime, 14 months ago, shouldn’t I take a little money off the table?

If only to buy it back cheaper if it drops back?

This is in my IRA, so there are no tax issues.

I bought the shares back at $1.55 Friday.

My thinking was:

It will probably go back to $1.80 before the first trial (scheduled to begin May 3), so I could sell them again (wash/rinse/repeat, at $6,250 a cycle).

But even if it does or not — and here we get into “famous last words” territory, so I stress, as always, “only with money you can truly afford to lose” — the risk/reward, whether at $1.55 or $1.80, excites me.

The company-funded analysis I keep linking to shows a “sum of the parts” value of $10.64 a share.  My first thought was to assume it’s way too high — and it may be.  All the lawsuits might be lost or settled for much less than estimated.

But there’s also the chance $10.64 is too low, for three reasons:

(1) The $10.64 estimate is “probability weighted.”  The PRKR analysts have assigned a 62% probability of success.  That may be way high (though the last time a jury was faced with this case they found in PRKR’s favor) but in case they did win these cases in the amounts estimated, PRKR would not win 62% of the estimate, but 100% — which would raise the value from $10.64 to $17.

(2) The estimates may be way high.  But because they assume that no award will be made for accumulated interest and no punitive damages will be assessed (the judge has the right to triple the jury award if he thinks there was willful theft of intellectual property), maybe the estimates will turn out to be too low.  The upside higher than $17.

(3) Nothing in the analysis is included for the value of the company itself.  Could the brains that came up with intellectual property possibly worth $17 a share have the potential to profit from further innovation?  The most striking example: technology it has on the shelf that appears greatly to increase the efficiency of transmission to and from cell towers, one of the biggest drains on phone batteries.  What could a technology that extends battery life (and that reduces both the tendency of phones to overheat and the cost of manufacturing) be worth over the years ahead?  Could that add another $5 a share to what the company might rationally be worth today?

Obviously, this is all pie in the sky for now.  And I’ve allowed nothing for whatever taxes might be subtracted from settlements received — etc.  But if the upside is over $20, and the downside is zero . . . or somewhat less than zero . . . I feel pretty great gambling at $1.55.



CORRECTION

Abe Lincoln would have been 212 this past Friday, not 211 as I first miscalculated.

Two-twelve on two-twelve — what are the odds?


And speaking of Friday’s post . . .

Gray Chang: “I was given Steal this Book in 1973 for my 18th birthday and enjoyed reading about the scams and frauds (although I would not do them myself), like using taped washers in place of dimes in phone booths, or playing back tape-recorded sounds of coins being deposited to fool telephone operators.  It reminds me now of Steve Wozniak’s autobiography, in which he describes his ‘blue box’ scam device for making long-distance phone calls without paying, and how he and Steve Jobs were robbed of one at gunpoint. Another time, when confronted by police, he talked his way out by claiming that the device was an electronic music maker. Also, how he impersonated Henry Kissinger and called the Pope. Another good book!”

 

 

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