Missile Defense: Isn’t It Time to Be More Aggressive?

Missile defense ought to be on everyone’s mind these days as rogue nations like North Korea develop nuclear weapons and missile programs. They don’t have missiles that can reach the United States – yet – but surely that will come next. But China, the real ally and builder of North Korea, already has that technology and has nuclear missiles that at least used to be pointed at the United States.

If our politicians really want to protect the United States, there are three things needed. One, seal our borders so terrorists can’t simply walk across and bring a dirty bomb into the United States. Second, build a powerful missile defense program to provide a strengthened defense system against nuclear missiles. And third, quit providing financial and technological support to nations that have weapons aimed at us or that provide help and support to nations like North Korea. Nations that help our enemies should not be getting our money. Any questions?

For insight into some of the issues around missile defense, see “Countering North Korea’s Missiles: The Missile Defense System the U.S. Should Have” by Baker , June 2006. It argues persuasively that it’s long past time for Congress to support an improved missile defense system for dealing with ICBMs, such as the foolishly abandoned 1991 Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS) missile defense plan. We have the technology. What we need are politicians who care more about defending America than they care about keeping our global “partners” happy.

By | 2006-10-26T07:39:44+00:00 October 26th, 2006|Categories: Politics|Comments Off on Missile Defense: Isn’t It Time to Be More Aggressive?

Racial Tensions in Appleton?

While Appleton has come a long ways over the years and is generally a healthy, vibrant community with a lot of racial harmony, recent events have stirred up some racial tensions between the Hmong and white communities. The problem involves a Hmong man, Chuetoua (“Toua”) Lor, who was accosted by a white man while squirrel hunting. The man called the police and reported that Toua had pointed a gun at him. Toua was arrested and now faces felony charges that could result in 13 years in jail.

Toua is well known in the community as a gentle, cooperative man, a US citizen who has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with whites and others to build this community. He has a wife, kids, a home, a job, is active in his church, and is a true Appletonian. And the many people that know him, myself included, know that he is calm, gentle, lacks a temper, and would never threaten someone else except in pure self-defense.

Sadly, the local media don’t seem interested in Toua’s side of the story or in understanding the impact this case has on the Hmong community. They have unfairly and repeatedly linked this case – a case in which no one was injured in the least – with a massacre of six white hunters in 2004 by an angry Hmong man, Chai Vang. I’m pretty upset with how the press is handling this case, and how they are ignoring important aspects of the story. See my page, “The Challenge of Being Hmong: How a Gentle Hunter Got Arrested.” Also see my reports on the Appleton Blog: “Time for the Media to Cover the Rest of Toua Lor’s Story,” “Giving Up on the Post-Crescent My Apologies to the Post-Crescent,” and The 2006 Hmong Hunter Story: Local Media Stirs Racial Tensions in Wisconsin.”

By | 2017-12-05T06:19:39+00:00 October 14th, 2006|Categories: Hmong, Society|Comments Off on Racial Tensions in Appleton?

Silver Wheaton: The Silver Stock that Doesn’t Mine Silver

Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW) is one of the best ways for investors to take advantage of the bull market in silver. Many people assume it’s a mining stock, but it’s clever business model frees it from the risks of mining while giving it leverage and profitability from silver’s increasing value. It does this by buying the future production of silver mines and miners for whom silver is a byproduct. The miners get an assured price for their production that allows them to expand now, while Silver Wheaton gets their silver. This company owns no mines, but has contracts that allows it to profit from the silver of several major mines. It’s a pure silver play and a real bargain at the moment, in my opinion.

For more on the history and the business model of Silver Wheaton, see the article, “Silver Wheaton: The best silver play in town.”

By | 2016-10-24T05:58:02+00:00 October 11th, 2006|Categories: Investing|Comments Off on Silver Wheaton: The Silver Stock that Doesn’t Mine Silver

Support Your Police – But Also Get a Lawyer Before Talking

I’m a big supporter of law, order, and local police, but a tragic event involving a friend of mine leads me to this tip for all of you: If the police question you about an event where there is any chance that someone might accuse you of wrongdoing, don’t talk until you get a lawyer.
My friend is a US citizen who was born in Laos and speaks English but not terribly well. He was hunting squirrels with a 22-calibre rifle on property open to the public for hunting when a white man accosted him for the second time that day (the first time was allegedly on the white man’s property, but I doubt that), accused him a second time of having trespassed his land, began firing questions at him and accusing him of being a liar, and began moving toward him.

I can’t go into too many details, except to say that the white man later called the police and said my friend pointed a gun at him. The police showed up later at his home and an officer began asking him a series of questions concerning the incident. My friend, always a gentleman and always trying to be nice, was extremely cooperative and answered a series of questions and tried to tell him what happened, but did not know what the issues were, did not know the law, did not know his rights, and did not know how little details in his answers would be used against him. He did not have an interpreter and surely did not understand all the questions he was being asked and also may have explained things in poor English that further confused the situation.

After lengthy questioning, the officer took my friend to the police station and arrested him. Only at the station were his legal rights read to him. Had he had the help of a lawyer during questioning, it is very unlikely that the case would go as far as it has.

He was surprised to find that the confrontation with the white man in the woods would make major headlines suggesting a link to a past massacre of white men by a Hmong hunter, as if he we some kind of crazed criminal out threatening helpless white property owners. A media circus would form on his property that night, with so-called journalists trespassing on his property, refusing to leave when the wife demanded it, repeatedly pressuring family members for statements, ringing their doorbell into the night, and leaving only after the family contacted a lawyer and had him call the TV crew’s superiors telling them to back off or have the police be called again.

The man faces 13 years in prison if convicted of a felony charge of reckless endangerment, when the charges perhaps should not have brought against him in the first place, in my opinion. Had he had a lawyer during questioning, the stress on the family and the harm to the community from racially-charged news stories might have been much less.

By | 2006-10-07T10:38:39+00:00 October 7th, 2006|Categories: Hmong, Society|Comments Off on Support Your Police – But Also Get a Lawyer Before Talking

Get Out of Debt – or Die

I marvel at how Americans are strangling themselves with debt. Here’s a passage from a recent note from the angriest man in economics, Richard Daughty, a.k.a. “The Mogambo Guru”:

We professional economists call this process the Slow, Horrible Spiraling Death Of An Economy By Inflation Syndrome, but more commonly by its acronym, SHSDOAEBI Syndrome. In the early stages, it can be temporarily delayed by using savings to plug the gap between stagnant income levels and rising spending levels, which resulted from prices rising so high, and so fast.

In the later stages, however, after the “Steal the kids’ piggy banks!” and “Intercept birthday cards from their grandparents!” stage, now with no savings remaining, the onset of economic death can be temporarily forestalled, one last time, with increased borrowing. This is Late Stage SHDOAEBI Syndrome.

And we are already in this advanced stage, if you listen to Martin Weiss of the Safe Money Report, who says “According to Federal Reserve data, the typical American family today has a balance of only $3,800 in cash in the bank, has no retirement account whatsoever, owes $90,000 on their mortgage, and owes $2,200 in credit card debt.”

I know what you’re thinking: How do these average Americans get by on so little credit card debt? OK – there must be a typo in that figure – it’s got to be more. But don’t miss the main point here: we’re doomed unless we get out of debt. Get out of debt now, or perish. And as part of your financial plans, you need to invest in things that maintain value when the dollar crashes. Precious metals can help.

How does one get out of debt? The first step is to begin living within your means. Prepare a budget. Stick to it. Eliminate things that aren’t needs. Be disciplined. Get rid of credit cards. Cut back. You’ve got to live your plan and move forward.

By | 2006-10-01T20:14:12+00:00 October 1st, 2006|Categories: Investing|2 Comments

Water is the Next Oil: Veolia Environnement, an Interesting French Company for Investors

Veolia Environnement SA is a large French company dealing with the water supply of many nations. They provide the technology for many water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities. They also provide energy services in Europe. They are the leading European heating systems operator in the housing, health, tertiary and industrial sectors, managing both heating and air-conditioning installations. Stock is available to US investors on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker VE. This stock is a great way to diversify your portfolio. It has done well this year while many US stocks were plunging. Its outlooks are bright, dealing with key environmental areas and vital markets for much of the world. They are proven, profitable, and successful, with significant growth potential. And this foreign stock can help protect your investment when the US dollar weakens due to currency factors.

2017 Update: Veolia is no longer listed on the NYSE, but is available on the OTC market as VEOEF.

By | 2017-11-17T04:27:59+00:00 September 28th, 2006|Categories: Business, Finances, Investing|Comments Off on Water is the Next Oil: Veolia Environnement, an Interesting French Company for Investors

Dangerous Medicine from Pharmacists Who Forget to Shake Well

Here’s a good reason to shake well: the article “Shake Well Before Dispensing” by Dr. Kate Kelly (a pharmacist). This article points out that liquid medicines that require shaking may not have been properly shaken by the pharmacist before putting into your bottle, resulting in possible large variations in the actual dose you receive. Be diligent and make sure your pharmacist SHAKES WELL BEFORE SERVING you your bottle of medicine. And then continue to shake well every time before dispensing the medication.

By | 2017-11-17T04:32:13+00:00 September 17th, 2006|Categories: Health|Comments Off on Dangerous Medicine from Pharmacists Who Forget to Shake Well

Silver Investing: Now Is the Time to Buy the Metal and Mining Stocks

Silver was knocked down to below $11 an ounce recently, apparently dragged down by falling oil and efforts to strengthen the dollar (alleged by some to be pre-election manipulation to keep voters happy). But the fundamentals of silver point to a much higher price potential. Global silver inventories are down. Millions more ounces of silver are being consumed industrially than are being produced, and production of silver from mines is difficult to increase – partly because silver tends to be a byproduct from mining of other metals, and if their demand does not increase dramatically, there is little motivation to ramp up silver production.

A huge reason to expect silver to rocket upward in the near future is the emergence of new hedge funds devoted to silver. Barclays of England brought the SLV exchange traded fund online this year for American investors, and now more such funds are planned for Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Investment demand for silver can be expected to escalate as it finally becomes easy to invest in, and as people recognize it as protection against inflation. But the key dynamic is that silver is rare, being used up steadily for industrial needs. In fact, it is rarer than gold in terms of available physical silver above ground. But it’s an a ridiculously low level of around 1/60th the price of gold, when historically it’s been at 1/16 or higher – a logical price given the relative amounts present in the earth’s crust.

What all this means is that today, this month, perhaps this year, you have a marvelous window of opportunity to invest in silver. Get the real physical metal, get some SLV exchange traded fund in your 401(k), and get some silver stocks such as Sliver Wheaton (SLW) or Silver Standard Resources (SSRI). If you want a speculative junior mining company (for advanced traders only), try Clifton Mining (CFTN.pk) or Sterling Minerals (srlm.ob).

By | 2016-10-24T05:58:02+00:00 September 14th, 2006|Categories: Investing|1 Comment

Celgene’s Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammatory Pipelines: The Reign of Imids

Celgene, one of the best biotech/pharma companies out there, has an incredible business model, amazing drugs, and a very hot pipeline. I recommend it as a key part of your investment portfolio. One reason is that Celgene is developing a whole class of new but related drugs called IMIDS, building on the success of thalidomide and Revlimid in dealing with certain cancers and other diseases. Its price has been held back this summer and is ready to move forward at this excellent buying opportunity.

As reported by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation:

Like thalidomide, IMiDs are immunomodulatory agents (drugs that can modify or regulate the functioning of the immune system). IMiDs appear to have multiple actions, including both anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities.

Details on IMiDs’ Mechanism of Action

IMiDs affect the immune system in several ways. They induce immune responses, enhance activity of immune cells, and inhibit inflammation. IMiDs appear to alter the levels of various cytokines (growth factors or factors that inhibit growth) and affect cells of the immune system. Studies show that IMiDs:

  • Enhance the activation of T cells
  • Enhance the activity of natural killer cells, which help kill cancer cells
  • Enhance production of interleukin 2 (IL-2), a growth factor for T cells
  • Inhibit inflammatory cytokines including
    • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)
    • Interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β)
  • Stimulate the production of interleukin 10 (IL-10), an anti-inflammatory cytokine

In addition, the IMiDs inhibit the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) through inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

Celgene has been down a little in the past few weeks, and frankly seems coiled and ready to spring. Watch for a strong move this week or early next week. By the end of the year, I would not be suprised to see it 30% higher than it is now.

By | 2017-11-17T04:38:24+00:00 September 10th, 2006|Categories: Investing|Comments Off on Celgene’s Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammatory Pipelines: The Reign of Imids

Microsoft Warns of New Critical Flaw in All Versions of Office: Eternal Souls at Risk

Microsoft has admitted to another critical flaw being exploited in “zero day” attacks in all versions of Microsoft Office programs, across all platforms, apparently even more serious than other recently announced critical flaws. The newly found Darn.Me/Curse.Me backdoor trojan program, first spotted causing havoc on Whitehouse computers, allows hackers to take over computers who open documents of any kind, from any source. The program is unusually malicious, typically allowing malicious hackers to steal the identity of users or, in several documented cases, their very soul. The souls of two victims are reportedly suffering eternal damnation already after accidentally opening a document infected with the Curse.Me variant of the trojan. The White House is not acknowledging who the affected parties are, but Federal security experts note that the infection has been reported among members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Pentagon, and the New York Times, and may spread around the globe shortly. Technical support crews have been unable to retrieve the contents of the injected souls.

Microsoft does not have a patch for this vulnerability, and does not have plans in place to provide one, though an improved and more expensive version of Office will be announced soon that can be trusted “for sure this time,” according to a Microsoft spokesman who refused to take the bag off his head during the press conference. “For the present time,” he said, “we encourage users to avoid use of our software. Rather than risk loss of your identity or even your soul by using Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer, or any of our other leading products, it might be wise to take up bowling for the present time. Maybe some reruns on television. Reading is good, too.”

By | 2016-10-24T05:58:02+00:00 September 7th, 2006|Categories: Humor, Satire|Comments Off on Microsoft Warns of New Critical Flaw in All Versions of Office: Eternal Souls at Risk

Free Proofreading of Business Cards: One Easy Way to Help Your Immigrant Friends in 10 Seconds or Less

Chef Tasty - An Interesting Hmong Business Card

While I got a chuckle from the message of this business card that I picked up at an oriental grocery store recently, it made me realize that native English speakers could do a great service to their immigrant friends and acquaintances by simply offering to proofread materials that they might wish to print for their business. Ten seconds of proofreading would have made this business card more effective.

When it comes to offering help to our friends and neighbors with English as a second language, it’s time for more of us to step up and say, “We delivery!” Or words to that effect.

By | 2016-10-24T05:58:02+00:00 September 4th, 2006|Categories: Hmong, Humor|Comments Off on Free Proofreading of Business Cards: One Easy Way to Help Your Immigrant Friends in 10 Seconds or Less