Link to my old blog at

I am still trying to figure out how to import all those other entrieswithout doing cutting and pasting. The QuickBlog tool from godaddyreally isn't that good.

Grounded Opens

WARNING: This is a shameless promotion of a friend's new business.

The brother and sister team that owns and operates  Grounded Coffee and Tea have started a website to sell the same organic teas they sell in their cafe at 28 Jane Street, in New York.

Best of luck to you, Mark Greenberg and Jen Greenberg

The new business is called Basic Tea.  The web address is
To see photos  on flickr of Grounded Coffee on Jane Street click here

Portfolio Trade - TIP

I have been buying TIP (iShares Lehman TIPS Bond Exchange Traded Fund) over the last two days.

1. Yield is now over 6%.  I'm getting inflation plus about 2.5%
2. There is no state income tax on  US treasury interest.
3. I want to have longer bond exposure but I don't want to take the inflation risk and these bonds cover that for me and at a higher current yield than fixed rate treasuries.  Based on the prices of TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities)  and , the market is betting that inflation will fall
4. Holding TIPS in a taxable account is a bit complicated because you have to pay tax on the inflation accrual.  These ETF's pay out the inflation accrual as a dividend and thus simplify the tax reporting.
5. It isthe only asset with positive inflation correlation that is going down in price right now.

Financial Pipeline has a nice explanation of TIPS.

No Need for American Military Coup

The April 2006 issue of Harper’s Magazine contains an interesting discussion on the possibility of an American military coup d’etat.  The assembled military thinkers on the panel basically dismiss the idea that a military takeover would be possible right now. They note that the bureaucratic institutions in the country from the police force and courts to Pentagon underlings would not follow orders.  However, the most important point is that it is not necessary for the military to have coup.  They have enough influence over the media, popular opinion and politicians that there is little necessity.  Our military is a justifiably important component of our democratic system.

Edward Luttwak  theoretically envisions, “What about a situation in which the military was ordered to start a war that it did not believe could be won?  Imagine that President Bush orders the American armed forces to effect a landing … and march up to Beijing.”  The theoretical response by our current PR/politically savvy military to protect from such tyrannical order is I think rightly set forth by Professor Andrew Bacevich , “The military would leak (the plan) to the Washington Post and the war would never happen.”

In this way the American military is not engaging in a coup but instead participating in the same lobbying oriented political system in which corporations, non-profits and interest groups participate.  I would not call this a coup at all.  Currently, our military is more trusted and respected than our politicians.  The fact that a non-democratic authoritarian organization (necessary to a military expected to be effective in battle) is participating in the political process actually reinforces our respect of democracy.


Manhattan Blind Date Idea

Most blind dates are a risk.  I have not been on one in quite awhile but thought of this idea at the MOMA (New York's Museum of ModernArt) on Friday.  I imagine it would be nice whether or not yourdate turns out to the person you like.

1. Choose and artist currently on display at the Met. (Let's say you pick Paul Klee).
2. Go to the MOMA website, www.moma.organd look up the artist.  They have a nice little search tool thatlets you search the collection.  Print out the curators notes onone or two pieces. 
3. Over pre-museum drinks go over the information. (I think it might bea good idea to warn your date you might do this.   After aquick drink head over to the MOMA and go directly to thosepaintings. 
At this point if you don't like your date or vice versa, call a politeend to the evening.   At worst, you both learned somethingnew and interesting.  Maybe she even recommends you to afriend.  If you and your date continue to want to get to know oneanother you can wander the rest of the museum.   It's abeautiful  place to talk and walk.

I'm going to try to come up with other good ideas for firstdates.  Nothing is worse than spending 90 minutes over dinner withsomeone you don't like. 

By the way, the Munch Exibition on the sixth floor is great.  I highly recommend it. (on until May 8th)

Treasury Futures

Just covered (bought back) about 1/3 of my short US Treasury bond futures position.  We seem to get technical bounces after moves like this.  No point in getting cute and covering more than that though.  I think it's just a short term bounce.  Nothing has changed in my long term view that the risk reward of being short US Bonds is favorable.

Words of Wisdom

Hope helps us see the future
Courage helps us create it

(heard this from a wise  friend over the weekend)

New York City Police - Looks Like The Movies

I accompanied a friend who had to report identity theft to Manhattan’s 10thPrecinct.  The bank did not pay out the $6000 falsified internetcheck written against his account but he has to make a police.  Itwas amazing, the place actually looked like Hill Street Blues or Lawand Order or whatever TV/Movie image of a New York police my mediaindoctrinated mind would have.  If you had asked me to guess on actually appearance, I would have said, anything except what they show you in the movies. 

It was the same, right down to the detectives and the uniformed cops filling out reports.  The police were all quite friendly with the public and each other.

My favorite moment was when the cop yelled out so the other copscould hear, “ this isn’t identity theft, this is grand larceny”.  The other cops became more interested.  When the amount is over $1000 the crime qualifies as grand larceny.   And that is much more interesting if you are a cop; felonies are cool.


Jim Cramer Beats Up on Conagra Management

Ironically, a few hours after I wrote the previous entry on Conagra (CAG) I turned on Jim Cramer's Mad Money on CNBC and he commented on Conagra.  He was actually talking about Conagra selling it's pork division to Smithfield Foods (SFD).   In talking about this sale, Cramer mentions Conagra as "The worst managed company in the food business".  My first thought is that value stocks are not cheap because they have highly regarded management and everyone loves them.  It is also  can only make the stock cheaper that someone with Cramer's following among retail investors dislikes the company.  However, I also know that he does his homework and research so I must redouble my research into Conagra.  

Disclosure: I own Conagra.

Sticking With Conagra (CAG)

Well I'm keeping my position in Conagra (CAG)  .
I liked the way it bounced back from last week's bad news -that a good technical sign. 

Insider buying:
The CEO also bought 75,000 share and even if that's for show it's agood sign when you see any CEO buying his own stock.  (at the timeof this posting yahoo finance still didn't have the CEO transaction butstill one by an Executive VP).  (Yahoo finance insider transaction for CAG)

From a value point of view, even with the worst earnings, the shares are still well priced at $20.00 a share.

With a market capitalization of $10.8 billion the company is digestible bymany of the large multinational food conglomerates like Nestle orUnilever.  That creates a nice floor to the price of CAG.

I am at full allocation of Conagra in the portfolio.
I also own Unilever and Nestle at half allocations.