Stock Market Blahs

U.S. Stocks Post Worst Annual Losses Since 2008 - Rough trading Friday pushes S&P 500 into the red for the year; Dow falls 2.2% in 2015


U.S. stocks had their worst annual performance since 2008, closing out a rocky year that tempered investors’ expectations for gains in 2016. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a basket of 30 stocks, lost 2.2% in 2015, while the broader S&P 500 fell 0.7%. The S&P’s loss ended three years of double-digit gains for the index, but was far from the nearly 40% dive it took in 2008, a year of financial crisis.
Comment: About our own investments: I should fire our wealth advisor except that advisor is me! At least I did not pay a 1% wealth advisor fee! More

Cliff Ide, TRS-DOS hacker, passes

NEWDOS 2.1 History


In mid-1978 when Radio Shack introduced TRSDOS 2.0, their first disk operating system for the Model I, it contained many bugs. Some were fixed by TRSDOS 2.1 later that year, but many bugs remained, some quite severe. One of the earliest people to attempt to fix these bugs was Clifford Ide. He analyzed Model I TRSDOS in great detail and developed a set of patches to fix the bugs, increase performance, and add new features. This set of patches, originally known as APRDOS, was not a commercial product but was only available to those who knew someone who already had a copy. ... For whatever reason, Clifford Ide’s name was never used in connection with NEWDOS. The NEWDOS author was identified only as "Sam Jones," a pseudonym used to "keep his privacy and avoid being swamped by phone calls," according to an 80 Micro article. In Harvard Pennington’s book TRS‑80 Disk and Other Mysteries, the NEWDOS principals (Lauletta and Ide) are described not by name but as “two guys in Denver.” In the acknowledgements to the book, Jim Lauletta’s name is listed in full (although not identified with Apparat) but Clifford Ide’s name is abbreviated as C.I. The true identity of “Sam Jones” remained a mystery until 1987, when Apparat finally revealed his real name after a false attribution.
Comment:  Cliff worked for Norwest. The man was a genius!


Vikings Stadium inspired by the Jawa Sandcrawler?

Reading the comments associated with this article ...

Minnesota Vikings say Wells Fargo's new rooftop signs near U.S. Bank Stadium are too big and bright:
... the new USBank stadium looks like Darth Vader took over Noah's ark; now i wish the Wells Fargo towers were prettier. in both cases, it isn't the signage makin' 'em ugly; the building aren't exactly belles of the architectural ball.

So what if the Jawa Sandcrawler gets photo bombed.

#BlackLivesMatter at Mall of America

Comments: Image sources: Twitter feed: 1, 2, 3 Live feed 

  • From my wife: "If they were really concerned about black lives, they would be protesting at Planned Parenthood"
  • Me: an anarchist group

Time to Eliminate the Corporate Income Tax

Here’s What Genuine Tax Reform Looks Like - The goal is to be simple and fair, with minimal damage. Step one would eliminate the corporate tax.


What would a minimally damaging, simple, fair tax code look like? First, the corporate tax should be eliminated. Every dollar of taxes that a corporation seems to pay comes from higher prices to its customers, lower wages to its workers, or lower dividends to its shareholders. Of these groups, wealthy individual shareholders are the least likely to suffer. If taxes eat into profits, investors pay lower prices for less valuable shares, and so earn the same return as before. To the extent that taxes do reduce returns, they also financially hurt nonprofits and your and my pension funds. With no corporate tax, arguments disappear over investment expensing versus depreciation, repatriation of profits, too much tax-deductible debt, R&D deductions, and the vast array of energy deductions and credits.
Comment: Image source. Literally every tax paid by corporations is ultimately passed on to consumers. With no corporate tax, all incentives to tax inversions disappear!

Job # 1 for Restaurants - Food Safety

The new cover of Businessweek is a Chipotle burrito — vomiting


Chipotle management has pledged to enhance its efforts on food safety, with co-CEO Steve Ells pledging to make Chipotle "the safest place to eat."

This effort from Chipotle, as outlined in the Businessweek story and other reports, will most likely see more of the company's food preparation moved to central facilities, while less of its food will be locally sourced in the meantime.

Businessweek reports that Chipotle's pork and beef, for example, are braised at facilities outside Chicago. The company's beans are made in Denver. And so on.

On Tuesday, JPMorgan analyst John Ivankoe downgraded the stock to "Neutral" from "Overweight," citing the seemingly endless series of negative headlines about the company. "The new news flow shows the impact continuing and more importantly a management team that seems to be scrambling for answers," Ivankoe wrote. Earlier this month, Chipotle warned that its fourth-quarter sales would drop sharply in the wake of the E. coli breakout and other negative headlines. This latest cover won't help.
Comment: Many diss McDonalds. We eat there infrequently ... eg this Monday of this week when I had a Dr appointment. We hadn't had lunch as we returned at 12:30 ish and grabbed a couple of burgers from their drive-through. Never got sick at McDonalds! And it is a good stock MCD. CMG on the other hand ($200 off year's high)! Image is screen grab from above article,


Dying in Debt

1 in 5 Americans will die in debt


Many Americans will spend the rest of their lives in debt. Fully 21% of Americans say they don’t think they will be able to pay off their debts -- including their car, credit cards, student loans and mortgages -- in their lifetime, according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults by CreditCards.com.

That’s up from 18% last year. In another study released earlier this year from the public policy research organization the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 13% of workers -- and 9% of retirees -- said they had a “major problem” with debt, and 38% and 22%, respectively, said they had a minor problem with debt.

The number of Americans who say they’ll die in debt may be on the rise for a number of reasons, including the fact that household debt levels are increasing and that people still have unease about the economy, says Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com.
Comment: Image  edited with

Speaking of yield .... Cal-Maine Foods, Inc.

Speaking of yield .... Cal-Maine Foods, Inc.

Excerpt About Cal-Maine Foods:

We are the largest producer and marketer of shell eggs in the United States. In fiscal 2015, we sold approximately 1,063.1 million dozen shell eggs, which we believe represented approximately 23% of domestic shell egg consumption. Our total flock of approximately 33.7 million layers and 8.4 million pullets and breeders is the largest in the U.S. Layers are mature female chickens, pullets are young female chickens usually under 18 weeks of age, and breeders are male and female chickens used to produce fertile eggs to be hatched for egg production flocks.

We operate in a single segment. Our primary business is the production, grading, packaging, marketing and distribution of shell eggs. We sell most of our shell eggs in the southwestern, southeastern, mid-western and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. We market our shell eggs through our extensive distribution network to a diverse group of customers, including national and regional grocery store chains, club stores, foodservice distributors and egg product consumers. Some of our sales are completed through copack agreements - a common practice in the industry whereby production and processing of certain products is outsourced to another producer. The strength of our position is evidenced by the fact that we have the largest market share in the grocery segment for shell eggs, and we sell shell eggs to a majority of the largest food retailers in the U.S.

We are one of the largest producers and marketers of value-added specialty shell eggs in the U.S. Specialty shell eggs include nutritionally enhanced, cage free, organic and brown eggs. They have been a significant segment of the market in recent years. In fiscal 2015, specialty shell eggs and co-pack specialty shell eggs represented 27.2% and 2.8% of our shell egg dollar sales, respectively, and accounted for approximately 19.8% and 2.0%, respectively, of our total shell egg dozen volumes. In fiscal 2014, specialty shell eggs and co-pack specialty shell eggs represented 24.3% and 3.8% of our shell egg dollar sales, respectively, and accounted for approximately 17.2% and 2.7%, respectively, of our total shell egg dozen volumes. Retail prices for specialty eggs are less cyclical than non-specialty shell egg prices and are generally higher due to consumer willingness to pay for the perceived increased benefits from those products. We market our specialty shell eggs under the following brands: Egg-Land's Best®, Land O' Lakes®, Farmhouse®, and 4-Grain®. We are a member of the Egg-Land's Best, Inc. ("EB") cooperative and produce, market and distribute Egg-Land's Best® and Land O' Lakes® branded eggs, along with our associated joint ventures, under exclusive license agreements for a number of states in the southeast, south central, and southwest U.S. as well as the New York City area. We market cage free eggs under our trademarked Farmhouse® brand and distribute them across the southeast and southwest regions of the U.S. We market organic, all natural, cage-free, vegetarian, and omega-3 eggs under our 4-Grain® brand. We also produce, market, and distribute private label specialty shell eggs to several customers.

We are a leader in industry consolidation. Since 1989, we have completed eighteen acquisitions ranging in size from 600,000 layers to 7.5 million layers. Despite a market that has been characterized by increasing consolidation, the shell egg production industry remains highly fragmented. At December 31, 2014, 59 producers, owning at least one million layers, owned approximately 93% of total industry layers and the ten largest producers owned approximately 47% of total industry layers. We believe industry consolidation will continue and we plan to capitalize on opportunities as they arise.
Comment: Quote

"The search for yield will remain insatiable"

The search for yield will remain insatiable: Investment strategist


“The search for yield will remain insatiable,” said Luschini. The growing appetite will allow “investors to step back into some of high dividend paying sectors.” He also thinks investors “can find some pretty plump dividend yields in areas like defensive sectors.” Areas Luschini suggest includes utilities (XLU), telecommunications (IYZ) and consumer staples (XLP).
Comment: See also The Quest for Yield


Kim Jong-Un's failed "Spice Girls diplomacy"

Kim Jong-un 'ordered girl group home over Chinese snub'


A Chinese government official told Yonhap that North Korea initially expected Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, to attend he concert, but was horrified at the offer of only a politburo member. The concert had been billed as a sign of improving relations between the two countires. Beijing decided to downgrade its presence on Thursday, the day that the Moranbong Band arrived in the Chinese capital and the same day that the North Korean leader claimed his scientists had built and deployed a hydrogen bomb
Chinese officials discovered Kim Jong Un worship would be a recurring theme throughout the performance and began making changes that North Korea found unacceptable.


The abrupt cancellation of Moranbong's weeklong "friendship" tour in Beijing could have been the result of a dispute between Beijing and Pyongyang, but analysts said the outcome is unlikely to affect bilateral relations. South Korea's National Intelligence Service told Joo Ho-young, a ruling party lawmaker and chairman of the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee, the Beijing concert was suddenly canceled on Saturday after Chinese officials discovered Kim Jong Un worship would be a recurring theme in the performance. Officials then decided to limit the spectatorship to low-ranking Chinese officials that incited a backlash from the North Koreans, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
South Korea Worries Over Rising Threat From North - Breakdown of inter-Korean talks and cancellation of female pop band’s Beijing shows fuel worries


The failure of recent inter-Korean talks and sudden cancellation of shows in China by a North Korean band close to dictator Kim Jong Un increase the possibility that Pyongyang will revert to military provocations, officials and experts say. On Saturday, North Korea pulled out of cross-border talks after South Korea said it refused the country’s demand to resume a tourism project that once provided Pyongyang with tens of millions of dollars each year. A few hours earlier, North Korea’s relationship with China appeared to sour when a troupe of female performers flew back to the North Korean capital hours before they were due to appear in the first of a series of shows for Chinese officials in Beijing. In 2012, Mr. Kim formed the all-female Moranbong Band, whose high heels and short skirts contrast sharply with North Korea’s familiar dour militarism. The band’s pop performances, often attended by Mr. Kim, feature western hits such as the theme from “Rocky” and upbeat odes to North Korea’s leadership.
Comment: Kinda "leggy" by North Korean standards! They should be on the Today Show!

YouTube Video


The Star Wars Worldview - Monism


How to be a Jedi
  1. Joining the Church of Jediism involves signing up to the group’s online newsletter and completing a ten-part training course
  2. Jedis believe in the Force, “a unifying energy, which everything exists within, around and always returns to.”
  3. They do not believe the Star Wars films to be real. The church says: “Although Jediism was inspired by the beliefs of the fictional Jedi, we do not believe the Star Wars films – they are entirely fictional.“
  4. Meditation is a key tenet of Jediism. The church says: “Our minds are like sponges, which soak up information daily. In order to keep our minds 'clean', we must 'rinse' them of negative Force.”
  5. A belief in God is optional. The group says: “There are no strict rules in Jediism, as we believe in freedom and so joining the Church of Jediism would not pose any restrictions on your life. “
The Apocalyptic Cosmology of Star Wars 


It is well-known, for example, that George Lucas self-consciously constructed the screenplay for the first film under the influence of popular mythologist Joseph Campbell. In an address to the National Arts Club in 1985, Lucas noted that he was entirely without direction until he stumbled upon Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces

...To understand Campbell's view of Star Wars, one must have some sense of his overall philosophy of religion. Campbell had very little formal education in religious studies. He studied Medieval European literature, Romance philology, and modem literature, especially the works of James Joyce and Thomas Mann. His main encounter with religion began through editing the posthumous writings of Indologist Heinrich Zimmer and through working with Swami Nikhilananda translating and editing the Upanishads. On the subject of mythology, he was an autodidact without formal training. When one looks at Campbell's assessment of religions in his published writings, this background is evident. Many of his examples come from modem or medieval literature with little explicit reference to religion. When he does speak of religions, he shows a decided preference for Hinduism's conception of the divine and salvation, and in particular, the traditions of monistic Vedanta. He degrades the western religions, Judaism in particular, for sharply distinguishing God from the world. "The Biblical image of the universe simply won't do any more,4 writes Campbell, and he also claims that in eastern religions the ultimate divine mystery is sought beyond all human categories of thought and feeling, beyond names and forms

Anthropomorphic attributions of human sentiments and thoughts to a mystery beyond thought is--from the point of view of Indian thought--a style of religion for children." One may note that this judgment even preferences non-dualistic Vedanta over the devotional forms of theistic bhakti practiced by most Hindus. In any case, the "proper" religious teaching of identity with the Godhead is not taught in the West, according to Campbell, because it is viewed as heresy or blasphemy; Campbell even claims Jesus was crucified for claiming identity with God. This is the sort of oversimplification of historical and theological matters in which Campbell revels. He generalizes about religions, concluding all that do not preach monism are superstitious and parochial. He reserves particular venom for the Jewish claim to be the chosen people who have received a unique revelation from God. That this denigration of Judaism is tied to Campbell's own anti-Semitism has been well documented
Comment: The "church" site (UK)

What is Monism?
Monism (from the Greek word monos, meaning “single” or “alone”) is the view that everything is ultimately one. Nothing that exists is really distinct from anything else that exists— which is just to say that, in the final analysis, only one thing exists. And that one thing— call it “the universe,” “reality,” “the One,” or whatever you like— cannot be divided or decomposed into more fundamental parts or constituents. If it could, then reality would not be ultimately one. It would be ultimately many.

So the Monist has to say that the apparent diversity we experience in the world is an illusion. The distinctions we make between things are only in our minds, because if those things were really distinct from one another, there would be more than one thing in existence.

Monism is a very radical philosophy. It has generally proven more popular in Eastern philosophies and religions than in Western ones. While it has enjoyed some sophisticated defenders over the course of history, it faces some quite formidable objections.

In the first place, Monism is highly counterintuitive and flies in the face of our immediate sense experience. It asks us to disregard as illusory one of the most basic features of the world as it appears to us. It implies that our experiences of the world are thoroughly unreliable. After all, those experiences present us with a plurality of things: people, cats, dogs, trees, cars, doughnuts, cell phones, and the like.

For the Monist, all these diverse things are either ultimately identical or ultimately unreal. Neither of these options is easy to swallow or to defend. What’s more, it’s tough to live as a consistent Monist. Our everyday thoughts and decisions presuppose real distinctions between things: between your body and my body, between your spouse and my spouse, between your car and my car, between your credit card and my credit card, and so on.

And what goes for physical things such as our bodies must go for non-physical things such as our minds, as well. If Monism is true, your mind must be ultimately identical to my mind; your thoughts must be ultimately identical to my thoughts. But in that case, how could we disagree about anything? For example, how could we have different thoughts about whether or not Monism is true?

Anderson, James N. (2014-01-31). What's Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life's Big Questions (Kindle Locations 966-980). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
Final comments:

  • I am not trying to be some sort of killjoy. I enjoyed the first three of the Star Wars films and admire the quality of the film-making
  • Enjoy the film - reject the worldview presented!


Salesman of the Year

Shares of SWHC and RGR at highs 


Retiree Tax Map - The Lure of the Sunshine State

Kiplinger State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees




  • My wife was raised in Florida (born in Mattoon WI)
  • Kathee graduated from Florida State
  • I met her in Florida and we were married there
  • Our first several years of married life were in Tampa
  • Kathee has a brother who lives north of Tampa and
  • Another brother just changed his domicile to Florida to escape Minnesota taxes
  • I've been retired for 5 months and Kathee is set to retire in May 2016
  • Not paying state income taxes is quite and attraction


Living in a "Microaggression" zone

America's higher education brought low


Melissa Click (image below ... image source) is the University of Missouri academic who shouted "I need some muscle over here" to prevent a photojournalist from informing the public about a public demonstration intended to influence the public. Click's academic credentials include a University of Massachusetts doctoral dissertation titled "It's 'a good thing': The Commodification of Femininity, Affluence, and Whiteness in the Martha Stewart Phenomenon." Her curriculum vitae says she has a graduate certificate in "advanced feminist studies." Advanced. The best kind.

University of Missouri law students, who evidently cut class the day the First Amendment was taught, wrote a social media policy that included this: "Do not comment despairingly [disparagingly?] on others." A grammatically challenged Ithaca College professor produced this cri de coeur regarding the school's president: "There have been a litany of episodes and incidents during [his] tenure here which have led to frustration because, when brought to his attention, the view of the protesters is that he has been unresponsive." Symptomatic of Ithaca's intellectual flavor is another professor, who says agriculture is "capitalist, racialized patriarchy."

The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, an irony-free campus, declared the phrase "politically correct" a microaggression. The master of Yale's Pierson College said his regrettable title reminds distressed students of slavery. Wesleyan University's student government threatened to cut the school newspaper's funding because it published a column critical of campus leftists. Wesleyan created a "safe space," a.k.a. a house, for LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM students (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderf---, Polyamorous, Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism).

A Washington State University professor said she would lower the grade of any student who used the term "illegal immigrants" when referring to immigrants here illegally. Another Washington State professor warned in his syllabus that white students who want "to do well" in his "Introduction to Multicultural Literature" should show their "grasp of history and social relations" by "deferring to the experiences of people of color." Another Washington State teacher, in her syllabus for "Women & Popular Culture," warned that students risk "failure for the semester" if they use "derogatory/oppressive language" such as "referring to women/men as females or males."

The University of Tennessee's Office for Diversity and Inclusion, worried that students might be uncomfortable with gender-specific pronouns ("he," "she," "him," "her"), suggests gender-neutral noises ("ze," "hir," "xe," "xem," "xyr").

The University of California system's sensitivity auditors stipulated that "hostile" and "derogatory" thoughts include "I believe the most qualified person should get the job" and "America is the land of opportunity."

The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point's list of racial microaggressions includes "America is a melting pot" and "There is only one race, the human race."

Some Johns Hopkins University students proclaimed themselves microaggressed by the possibility of a Chick-fil-A restaurant on campus. (Chick-fil-A's chief executive defines marriage as Barack Obama did until 2012.)

Mount Holyoke College canceled its annual production of "The Vagina Monologues" because it is insufficiently inclusive regarding women without vaginas and men who, as the saying goes, "self-identify" as women. "Gender," said a student, "is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions," and the show "is inherently reductionist and exclusive."
This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!


This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.
Comment: A "Microaggression" zone ... in contrast to a "War Zone". Updated w Crybullies cartoon c grrrgrahics. Used w permisson