Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Detached Modern Jackass

While watching Wife Swap & the Real House Wives of (insert city here) with coworkers during lunch, I tried to inject some meaningful banter while noting that Obama had just caved to the GOP by extending tax-breaks to the top 2% & lowering estate taxes for >$5m (which affect 99.8% of Americans. You can probably guess which ones.).

Instead a coworker impatiently snarked, “ what does this mean for me?” (translation: this is long & boring. Get to the punch line already!)

This was the perfect response to represent our country's current attitude. We have stopped acting like citizens & instead behave as selfish animals. This detached attitude is allowing Earth's destruction to continue, health care inequities to persist, and the largest wealth gap in history to widen without any personal culpability. Where is the anger besides Tea Partiers who flaunt this narcissism?

I'm as guilty as any. We no longer like to read the news, but would rather skim headlines & have extremists like Rush & Olbermann confirm our views. Smartphones & Twitter have sapped our patience for finishing & reflecting on entire articles (has anyone made is this far?). We're creating an army of the "Modern Jackass": one that talks expertly about something he/she knows nothing about.

Politics has become so polarized that I think we have simply withdrawn from these difficult topics. Wife Swap & the Real House Wives doesn't hurt our conscience.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Phantom's Scam Artist Resigns

Finally some good news from Phantom Entertainment: Timothy Roberts has resigned from the board of directors to "pursue new business opportunities". Judging by his employment history, this means creating a new startup to bilk more naive investors. But if the SEC has their say, he will never get that chance as this resignation may mean the SEC is close to charging Mr. Roberts with securities fraud.

The SEC has an open case against Mr. Roberts for the infamous fax scam back in 2004 when Roberts profited over $400,000 in a few short trading days after Infinium Labs stock soared >10,000%. Michael Pickens, who was hired to send out these faxes promoting the now-defunct Phantom console, has since been jailed for other similar penny stock scams.

The stock is down 99.97% to $0.0005 since Timothy Roberts committed the crime.

Although this news may have come 3 years too late, it's the first step in becoming a legitimate company.

Also today, Phantom Entertainment announced a small funding deal that will aid in October's Lapboard launch. Back in April, Ione teamed up with PHEI to manufacture & distribute these gaming keyboards. This puts the launch in the hands of a more competent partner, which is great news considering PHEI's 0.000% batting average.

Could the future actually look promising for Phantom Entertainment? They have funding for the Lapboards, they have a competent manufacturing partner who is driving the launch, they have a pending Alienware order, and they no longer have the dark cloud overhead in the form of Timothy Roberts.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Buying Your Way Into Heaven

Interesting parallel from today's energy policy to 16th century Catholicism from Economist Dennis Gartman:

"CATECHISM CLASS: Raised as good Lutherans back in Ohio, we always understood how the selling of Indulgences helped bring the Catholic Church low in the 16th Century. Indulgences were the pieces of paper sold by the Pope that allowed 'sinners' to pay down their debts they had incurred through sinning. One could sin, buy an Indulgence from the Church, and go about one's life with a sense of having done something worthwhile for the building of more churches AND in curtailing one's time in purgatory or actually buying one's way into heaven. Indeed, we learned that one of the Popes of the age, Leo X, actually sold such large Indulgences, costing such large sums of money, that he was able to finance the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica. Having been to St. Peter's, in retrospect, perhaps this was not such a bad idea given the stunning beauty of the church.

"But the whole notion of Indulgences is being revisited these days by the new religion of global warming, for if we consider what Mr. Gore has recently done by buying carbon offsets from those who plant trees to offset his enormous carbon footprint, or knowing what Sen. Edwards has done by buying offsets to the electricity and energy needed to power his enormous home in Chapel Hill, N. Carolina, we are hard pressed to see where this practice differs from the 16th century selling of Indulgences.

"Parishioners in the 16th century bought their way out of Purgatory and/or Hell; 21st century tree-hugging energy users can buy their conscience clear by buying offsets. We look for arguments from our global warming friends out there."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Time to Double Short the Dow?

The stock market continued its fantastic run in April finishing up 8.6% with the Dow industrials & Russell 3000 reaching all-time highs. Consider that it took seven years to move the 1,000 points from Dow 11,000 to 12,000. By comparison, the index required just over six months to run the next 1,000 points from Dow 12,000 to 13,000.

Turning bearish during this prolonged rally may sound foolish, but the market appears oblivious to the bevy of economic woes. Remember Warren Buffet’s mantra: “be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”

Just take a look at this week’s economic data:

  • Housing starts at 7-year low
  • Existing home sales largest one-month drop in 18 years
  • GDP growth slowest in 4 years
  • US Dollar at all-time low versus the Euro
  • Consumer spending weakest in 6 months
  • Consumer sentiment fallen 3 straight months to 9-month low
We haven’t experienced this much blind optimism since President Bush hung the “Mission Accomplished” banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln 4 years ago. Indices have continued to reach new highs on solid 1st quarter earnings & expectations of a Fed rate cut. But the lack of catalysts in May should hurt the markets while investors take profits.

Evidence is starting to show that Smart Money is beginning to watch from the sidelines. “Sell in May and go away'' is a well-known Wall Street strategy as the month historically struggles. Inflationary pressures & $4 gasoline may keep the streak alive.

Call me crazy, but I entered a large position in the ProShares UltraShort Dow30 ETF (DXD). It is essentially the double inverse of the Dow Index. In other words if the DOW falls 5%, the ETF gains 10%. You can see how risky this position is! I also purchased oil futures (USO) last month with the expectation of a return to $70. And increased my holdings in First Trust’s 9% Yield ETF (FHI).

I still hold roughly half of my portfolio in equities, but all of them are from the cheaper Nasdaq. While the S&P, Russell & DOW all are at or near all-time highs, the Nasdaq still remains 50% off its 2000 highs. So if this rally continues, I should stay even.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Join the Poker Player Alliance

Dear Eric,

This is Mike Sexton, and I want you to get involved to help support the great game of poker. I am sure that it isn't news to you that the federal government passed a law last year to restrict online poker sites from offering real money play. I believe it is possible to change the legal landscape. That's where the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) comes in. I have been personally involved with the Poker Players Alliance, and believe you should too.

The PPA is a grassroots movement, consisting of poker players like us, who would like to change the law. Our goal is simple - to change the ban, and allow us to play poker on-line, on licensed and regulated sites. I believe that poker is a game of skill, and a game that is part of the American fabric, and that licensed and regulated online sites can offer fair and secure online poker. I support the efforts of the Poker Players Alliance and I have arranged to sponsor a free PPA membership for you. Please CLICK HERE to join me and add your voice to millions of other poker players who will be heard by Congress.

Your part in this is simple. Just sign up now for this free offer (if you clicked in the above paragraph, you have joined), and the PPA will be sending you regular newsletters to keep you informed of what you can do to help bring back poker. The PPA is preparing to launch a massive lobbying campaign in support of new legislation that will be introduced shortly in Washington D.C. By joining now, we can send a message to our lawmakers to make sure that they know about our love of online poker and desire to bring it back.

Our mission will not be easy - or cheap. Lobbying for reform is an expensive process, and our efforts will not succeed overnight. The PPA is a not-for-profit organization, and your contributions go directly into lobbying efforts. If you can, please support our shared interest further with a donation.

If you are already a member, do not worry, you can upgrade your membership to a fully paid membership, or better by clicking here. Rest assured that your privacy rights will be secure with PPA. Your personal information will not be shared with anyone. I hope that you will join us in this effort. The time to make it happen is now.

For more information about the PPA and what is happening, visit

Mike Sexton

Friday, April 20, 2007

Phantom's Pump & Dump

Since Tuesday's post, Phantom Entertainment has already dropped more than 64% from its highs. The timing of the press release was fraudulent curious considering the company missed their quarterly filing deadline the very next day. Phantom is now in non-compliance status & has been relegated to the pink sheets. I'll be interested to see how many insiders sold during the rally.