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Warning in America

Michael Howard's track record. K&K. Livermore's legacy. One child left behind. King Richardson of N.M. Plus more.

11.5.03

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HOWARD'S ENDS
Re: Daniel McCarthy's No More Mr. Nice Guy:

National ID cards? Curtailing the right against self-incrimination? National police force? Higher taxes and damn what the people want?

This is Mr. Howard's track record -- exactly the sort of thing that had the Founding Fathers reaching for their muskets. God forbid conservatives should look to repression of this kind as the answer to our country's problems. We're supposed to conserve American values, remember? And the protections against unlawful search and self-incrimination are bedrock constitutional guarantees, as is the systems of checks and balances against the abuse of power.

The likes of Howard are not an example -- they are a warning.
-- Martin D. Owens, Jr.
Sacramento, California

SPECIAL K'S
Re: James Bowman's What's Not to Like?

James Bowman crisply exposes Kinsley and Krugman for what they are: agnostic zealots who use all means possible to advance their war against the values represented by George Bush. In doing so they consistently -- and laughably -- overplay their hand.

K&K's brand of logic does not follow the most basic rules, as Bowman points out. Because their arguments do not hold water, they must break rules by plugging the holes with clever deceptions. In the current examples, K&K lie about what constitutes a lie in order to make their point. Unfortunately, this technique fools most of the democrats most of the time.

As usual, Mr. Bowman's review of the same old crap rates two stars.
-- Robert Martins
Alexandria, Virginia

LIVERMORE LABORATORY
I enjoyed the comments in "New Notes on the Trading Life" by Lawrence Henry, published 11/5/2003 in The American Spectator Online. Like his wife, I too am a professional investment manager, and always love stories of the "tuition" payments of day traders in overhead and misguided profit taking.

While I cannot clear up the problems with Mr. Henry's portfolio, I can clear up some facts that may in turn help his performance. In his piece he wrote about the advice of sittin' and attributed it to "Jesse Livermore, author of Confessions of a Stock Operator? Mr. Livermore was not this widely read book's author, nor was this its title.

Jesse Livermore wrote one book, How To Trade in Stocks currently available from Trader's Press with additional material by Livermore's modern disciple and biographer Richard Smitten.

The book Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, originally published in 1923 (editions available from Fraser, Wiley, and Trader's Press), was written by one Edwin Lefèvre, a financial journalist. Folks say the novel is a thinly-disguised biography of Jesse Livermore, and provides great insight into his trading techniques. It doesn't. It is a nice yarn, filled with platitudes about trading strung together to sound profound. But it doesn't shed much light on how Livermore actually traded. Still, every trader reads it because it is such a lark. Livermore himself apparently didn't think much of the book.

During his lifetime Livermore was nearly as famous in financial circles as J.P. Morgan. A great body of apocryphal information surrounded this taciturn, secretive man, who made and lost several fortunes speculating.. Lefèvre's book is a mix of facts that were known about Livermore (he started as a "chalkboard boy" in Boston) and then filled in with fabricated tales of big trades and dubious advice. The book is written in first person, so ever since its appearance folks have assumed Livermore wrote it. But it was more like a penny dreadful or Prophecies of Merlin from 16th century England than an actual biography.

Journalists often called Livermore for comment about what he was doing or what he thought of the market. He wouldn't say anything, so they'd find somebody to quote saying "Livermore is buying (selling)." Gradually "Livermore" attributions grew a life of their own during market moves. Imagine rumors about Alan Greenspan, George Soros, Warren Buffett, and Paul Tudor Jones all rolled into one and you'd get some idea of the zeitgeist of those pre-market crash of 1929 days and Livermore's stature.

For those who are interested in Livermore's real advice, I recommend his own book. And I wish Mr. Henry good reading, and good luck.
-- James N. Ward

Lawrence Henry replies: Thank you, sir! Fascinating stories about Jesse Livermore. It's always nice to hear from the pros, but even the pros have to earn their spurs somehow, eh?

BURIED MEMORIES
Re: Bill Croke's End Games:

Once on a trip through the West in the '60s, my family stopped in Cody to visit the Buffalo Bill Museum. As museums go, I am sure it was very nice; however the memorable part of the trip was leaving my little sister somewhere in the museum. Being a great lover of Indian memorabilia, she dallied too long in front of an exhibit, and when my father loaded his large family of girls into our station wagon he somehow lost count. We discovered our loss about two blocks away. We found her heading into the gift shop -- she hadn't even missed us yet. I often think about this incident -- today that would never happen. People just don't drive off without their kids.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

KING RICHARDSON
Re: The Washington Prowler's In Mint Condition:

Your article has only barely touched on his majesty Bill Richardson's excesses. He also likes to travel the interstate in excess of 100 mph in his limo and use the State Police helicopter "for security purposes" since the local papers took him to task for speeding on the interstate with no reasonable excuse. However, when one is King, one needs no excuse. Welcome to the Land of Mañana. Politics haven't changed much since Statehood.
-- Hugh MacDougall

I've been thinking about how much Richardson reminds me of his predecessor at DoE, Hazel O'Leary. Both conduct themselves as if serving in public office in America is indistinguishable (as to perks and lifestyle) from being part of the Saudi royal family.
-- John Dendahl

Come write the brewing story of dishonesty, national self-promotion at tax-payer expense, and out- right publicity falsification! Claiming to be a Democrat tax-cutter whilst doing just the opposite, Bill Richardson claims to be the humble Latino son of modest New Mexicans. But check out his background, education, banker and Yankee Boston father -- too . A real-live nephew of his Uncle Bill, he just successfully led the raid on the New Mexico permanent trust fund. The state is heading towards historical insolvency, but by the time our locals figure it out, Richardson will be heading toward higher Democrat national office. Get your "Google" working. Thanks for your story.
-- J.W. Burger
La Luz, New Mexico

RIGHT AGAIN
Re: Shawn Macomber's Wrong Answer:

Shawn Macomber has written a great piece. I think I am a new fan of his website too.
-- Floyd

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Re: Thomas E. Stuart letter ("Standing on the Corner") in Reader Mail's Bitter Pill's:

In reading Thomas E. Stuart's editorial, "Standing on the Corner," I was somewhat relieved to see that he had concluded his tirade acknowledging himself a "geezer." Somehow that made his comments a bit more forgivable than had they come from a person of a more progressive generation.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with some of Mr. Stuart's points, but as my grandmother (married 60 years, admittedly not having married a virgin) would say, "It's not so much what you say, but how you say it."

Many of Mr. Stuart's points were lost in his hateful language and simplistic arguments. At the onset, Mr. Stuart makes the common mistake of grouping all single moms under one umbrella without making the significant distinction of those who were divorced or widowed. But this discrepancy would weaken his stance, for all those "attractive single moms" may not be single by choice.

And the generalizing doesn't stop there. His blaming of "women's so-called liberation" for the "abandonment of modesty, self-respect, dignity and common decency by women" trivializes the great strides women have made against this very type of hollow bias. Women who have deep roots in the very profession in which Mr. Stuart toils. Blaming the downfall of society on women wearing slacks or dancing the jitterbug holds as much archaic significance.

But perhaps most telling and disappointing of all, is that Mr. Stuart puts all the responsibility and blame of unwed motherhood onto women alone. Yes, teach your daughters modesty and self-respect, but also teach your sons self-restraint and chivalry. It takes two to jitterbug.

Mr. Stuart would be wise to remember a page out of his state's own history. It was Captain Cook's ships that brought much tragedy and death to Hawaii. But, perhaps, in his view, those female natives deserved VD, having had their mid-drifts exposed and tattoos decorating their bodies.

I'll admit, holding hands is sweet, but might I suggest that there are gifts more precious than "virginity and purity" that can be brought to a marriage. Topping that list: RESPECT.

Comparing women to furniture. Shame on you, Mr. Stuart. You teach our daughters. Dignity indeed.
-- Christopher Michaelis

In response to Thomas Stuart's letter regarding "Extreme Wedlock," I lament with him the decline in morals today. However, I believe it's unfair to saddle women with the responsibility of being the "guardians of the gates" for our "society's morality." It's my belief that the birth control pill and, to some extent, the availability of abortion on demand, are major catalysts for the decline in morals he perceives. With the advent of the pill, women were freed (as men had always been) from the likelihood of pregnancy as a result of sexual activity. I'm not convinced our mothers and grandmothers were significantly more moral; they were just significantly more likely to bear the consequences of sex outside of marriage. In any event, the genie is out of the bottle and I don't see any good way of getting him back in.

Another piece of the puzzle is the ease with which one can obtain a divorce. After divorce, women usually have primary or shared custody of any children from the union. No matter how desirable a single mother may be in every other respect, children from a previous marriage will cause some men to rule out a relationship. I can't say I particularly fault them in this regard. I've experienced this from both sides, having been dismissed as a potential partner because of my children, and not wanting to take on the additional responsibility of helping to rear someone else's children.

Ultimately, I believe each of us can only be responsible for our own morality and for having made our very best effort to demonstrate morality in our lives for our children.
-- Jenny Woodward
Bloomington, Indiana

SOME EXPLAINING TO DO
Re: Brandon Crocker's reply to Robin Zook's letter ("Constitutional Rules") in Reader Mail's Bitter Pills:

Do I sound nasty? Perhaps is it because I have become fed up with our capons in the Senate who have allowed this assault on our liberties since 1992. Perhaps it is because I have become fed up with reading articles that should have been dated 2001. Perhaps it is because I have become fed up with sloppy thinking and spurious rhetoric.

The actions of the Senate Democrats with respect to these judicial nominations is in no way unconstitutional. That is, their actions are in accordance with the rights and prerogatives of the senators under the rules of the Senate, and these rules are within the rights and prerogatives of the Senate under the Constitution. (As were the actions of Sen. Helms.) If they are unconstitutional, why has no one brought suit?

They most certainly are anticonstitutional. That is, they are intended to set aside the constitutional process so that they can wield unlimited power. They use the tools of the Republic in an attempt to destroy the Republic. The Unnationalist Socialists?

The time to chastise the Democrats was when they started this game in 1992 or when they brought it back in 2001. Today, I blame the senators in the putative majority for their failure to defend the Constitution. They can do so without changing the rules. And they can certainly do so without making up ridiculous charges.
-- Nathan Zook
Austin, Texas

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