Monday, February 21, 2011

Common Sense in Wisconsin

(Found this on FB)
Well, I posted this comment on a wall about 20 minutes ago, and wanted to share with my kids, and it already has been deleted. So, I decided to add it to my wall, where only I can change or delete it. These were my thoughts/comments pertaining to the Walker Budget Repair bill.

I'm not getting into this hugely, but...why is there an argument about a degree? And ongoing credits? I had an associates, then bachelor's, then masters, and eventually will end up with a doctorate. I have to have 100 hours of continuing education every 5 years to be a NP, and an additional 100 hourse of CME to be an ortho NP. It is an expectation of the job. How can I keep up with ever changing medicine if I don't read (on my own time), take courses (on my own time), and study (on my own time)? Who would want someone taking care of them who didn't do this?

I pay $320 every 2 weeks for health and dental premiums, and I work in healthcare. I can pay up to $4500/year of out of pocket expenses (deductibles, co-pays, etc. - this is not including my share of the premiums), and the past 2 years I have had to pay almost that full amount, due to surgeries in the family (almost $12,000 total each year). I don't know any teacher that pays that amount into their health expenses. What other profession allows their employees to retire at age 57, with healthcare premiums paid for?

Any one in healthcare works evenings, weekends, holidays, summers, nights, because they HAVE to. Are teachers required to work a second job? Is is part of their contract? Is summer school a requirement, or can you just take the summer off if you want to. So, you do have to annualize their salary. I have been at my employers for 24 years, and I receive up to 6 weeks paid time off/year (this includes the 7 holidays). Out of 260 days of working (M-F, 52 weeks/year), I must work 230 of them. Teachers contract is for 180 days, plus inservices. I also work a second job. Guess what I do? I TEACH! I teach NP students half-time online. And, as an associate faculty, without bennies, I get paid squat. But, I love it, I do well at it, and someday, maybe I can work full-time and get tenured. We'll see.

Unions were formed many years ago to protect workers. Do the reasons that unions were formed still exist now? Or does current laws, human resources,equal opportunity acts, etc. protect the workers. I have never been part of a union, and I don't see the need for them in today's world. Why would I ever go on strike? I need my job, but my patient's also have an expectation that someone will be there to care for them also. Illness is a 24/7 calling. I count on my hospital board, not the state union, for my salary increases. And these salary increases are based on...BUDGET! Surprise, surprise. Not based on me and another group of healthcare workers threatening to strike or whatever means it takes, to get the salary I want.

I have to say, that I feel the Tomah school teachers must have a different level of pride in their jobs, or some reason I don't understand, as our schools were open last Thursday (unlike LaCrosse, Holmen, West Salem, etc). That tells me the teachers care, and wanted to be there for the students. And my children have spoken fondly of the school 90% of the time they have attended.

Employers across the state of Wisconsin are faced with these budget decisions every day. Our administration has to decide where it's dollars are spent, what is the most effective healthcare plan, retirement, etc., in order for our employees to continue to work and stay afloat. Can expenses get passed on to patients? Nice try - depending on your insurance, and the contracts with the insurance, you may only get paid 65 cents on each dollar you bill. And, some insurances reimburse us for less than what it costs to do business. It may cost us $1000 to do something - some insurances will pay $1000, some $800, some $650. Now remember, I am talking COST, not charge. Administrators are struggling everyday to find the way to cut costs and make healthcare not only affordable, but sustainable. Our rural 25 bed hospital writes off charity care of almost $750,000 each year.

The private sector is expected to balance their budgets every single day. In 1983, the employees at TMH were all asked to take a 10% paycut, in order for the hospital to stay afloat. About 20% of the employees left, to find jobs elsewhere, and the rest stayed, because they believed in the place. 27 years later, our financial situation is much better, but because in the private sector, YOU HAVE TO BALANCE YOUR BUDGET. You can't rob Peter to pay Paul. If changes are not made for our state, how will any state employee actually collect their pension when they retire? The city of San Diego cannot meet their retirement pensions of the employees. How would you like to be those employees? No $$$ left! Worse than Enron, or the same?

The bottom line? If the state's budget isn't balanced, there won't be money for anyone - not for teachers, not for patients who are on Badger Care, not for prison employees, state police, etc. Social Security and Medicare may be nonexistent in 5 - 10 years, because of poor management of money. Who do we count on? Ourselves! Can we plan on the government to care for us? Are we entitled to do things?

This wil be painful - for state employees right now. What is happening to healthcare? That has been on my mind for years - will my job be at stake? Will reimbursement costs change so much that I will have to reduce my salary?

All I can say is this whole economy is very tight. The future is uncertain. We have to do our best, plan as well as we can, and I think, kudos to our governor for trying to balance this budget.

The teachers in Madison show off their spelling skills

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blake Griffin's lame Kia Dunk

Come on-the dude just jumped over the hood!

Latest picture of England's version of "Loch Ness"

The photograph, which shows an object with three humps breaching the surface of the lake, is said to be the best evidence yet of what some claim is a monster lurking beneath the depths.

It was taken on a camera phone by Tom Pickles, 24, while kayaking on the lake as part of a team building exercise with his IT company, CapGemini, last Friday.

Mr Pickles said he saw an animal the size of three cars speed past him on the lake and watched it for about 20 seconds.

He said: “It was petrifying and we paddled back to the shore straight away. At first I thought it was a dog and then saw it was much bigger and moving really quickly at about 10mph.
“Each hump was moving in a rippling motion and it was swimming fast.

“Its skin was like a seal’s but it’s shape was completely abnormal – it’s not like any animal I’ve ever seen before."

This is believed to be the eighth sighting of a long humpbacked creature – known by local residents as "Bownessie" – in the past last five years.

Mr Pickles’ companion Sarah Harrington, 23, said: “It was like an enormous snake.
“I only saw it for a few seconds but all I could think about was that I had to get off the lake.”

The pair were on the last day of a team building residential training course at Fallbarrow Hall, Bowness, Cumbria.

They said they had kayaked 300m out into the lake near Belle Isle when they spotted the beast to the south.

Mr Pickles's picture perfectly matches the description of an earlier sighting from the shores of Wray Castle in 2006 by journalism lecturer Steve Burnip.

He said: “I’m really pleased that someone has finally got a really good picture of it.

“I know what I saw and it shocked me, it had three humps and it’s uncanny the likeness between this and what I saw five years ago.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

The bears new tourist/holiday destination

Crater Lake!

More Joy to the World!

Three months ago, I touted JOYG at 76--saying it was going to 98.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Joy to the World!

My Christmas Play!

Since Joy to the World is from Psalms 98, I'll give 98 as my target for JOYG!


And the chart today!

Since it surpassed my target, I'll give you the next target for this number.


And, once again, another As Advertised!!

Free Money for those who sit!

The Badger State

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Junk bonds at record low yields

Yields on junk bonds hit an all-time low, dropping to 6.837%, according to the Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II Index, breaking through the previous low of 6.863% in December 2004.

As the Federal Reserve continues to hold short-term interest rates near zero, investors have been pouring cash into risky assets in search of higher returns. Through the first six weeks of 2011, they increased their stakes in mutual funds focused on junk bonds by a net $4.6 billion and by $5.4 billion for funds focused on leveraged loans, a related risky asset class, according to Lipper FMI, a unit of Thomson Reuters.

Propped up by 10 consecutive weeks of fund inflows, the average high-yield, or junk, bond now trades at 103.89 cents on the dollar, according to the Merrill index, with an average risk premium of 4.54 percentage points above comparable Treasury bonds, down from 6.22 in early December, according to the Merrill index. Risk premiums are the additional return investors demand to buy these bonds rather than Treasurys, which are considered the safest fixed-income investment.

Junk bonds have enjoyed a two-year bull run, returning 15.2% in 2010 and 57.5% in 2009, according to the Merrill index; they have already gained 3.1% so far this year. As recently as December 2008, the average junk bond traded for 55.4 cents per dollar of face value and yielded 22.1%.
And you want to believe Meredith Whitney that 100's of  muni's are going to default? With rates like that on junk bonds?

So is the entire junk market wrong--or is it just Meredith?

Are you better off?

January 2009
% chg
Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S.
Crude oil, European Brent (barrel)
Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel)
Gold: London (per troy oz.)
Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL
Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL
Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. fob
Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall
Unemployment rate, blacks
Number of unemployed
Number of fed. employees, ex. military (curr = 12/10 prelim)
Real median household income (2008 v 2009)
Number of food stamp recipients (curr = 10/10)
Number of unemployment benefit recipients (curr = 12/10)
Number of long-term unemployed
Poverty rate, individuals (2008 v 2009)
People in poverty in U.S. (2008 v 2009)
U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings
Present Situation Index (curr = 12/10)
Failed banks (curr = 2010 + 2011 to date)
U.S. dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate
U.S. money supply, M1, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)
U.S. money supply, M2, in billions (curr = 12/10 prelim)
National debt, in trillions

(1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; (2) Wall Street Journal; (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; (4) Census Bureau; (5) USDA; (6) U.S. Dept. of Labor; (7) FHFA; (8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller; (9) RealtyTrac; (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ; (11) The Conference Board; (12) FDIC; (13) Federal Reserve; (14) U.S. Treasury

Steve Jobs to visit White House today

And these are the pictures that "prove" he has only six weeks to live.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

DELL and HPQ breakout

Well--they gave DELL away, and it was advertised here when they did:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So what does that say for Dell?

Judging by the chart, it means that the Snooki news on DELL is already discounted in the stock price!

And DELL is planning on using their cash, to make their PC business a bit more exciting.

And DELL has something else in its favor. Mike Hurd isn't working in Texas!


How's the Dell chart look now? Look at Wall Street--hating the stock at 12, and loving it 33% higher.

But how about  HPQ?

Heck it was tipped here:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Buy the Hurd selloff in HPQ

Buy when the herd is selling!!
How's that chart look now?

I know it's boring--but that's this market. You just have to sit to get paid.

Two huge liquid tech stocks, boring as heck, but easy money to be made.

And now, you can buy CSCO. Here at $18.58. Another boring, hugely liquid, tech name, that has been pulverized.

But you can make 20% on this by the time they report earnings next quarter.

But Wall Street, instead, (or maybe that is just the Mets) will throw all their money into Madoff, and his 15% fake annual returns instead of using their heads and taking the free money given away on Wall Street where you can make 20 or 30% every six months in boring liquid stocks.

If you just buy them, when the herd is selling!

But if you need another reason--think about this. If DELL can beat the street, doesn't that mean that the next time CSCO reports, that then, even they can???