Sunday, March 24, 2013

Green Bay Picture....(Not Shown on C.B.S. TV)

h/t BB

  Those who attended the game said it was extremely emotional to see the entire bowl of the stadium turn red, white and blue.
It took 90 workers two weeks to get all of the colored pages mounted under each seat.

Each piece of card board had eye slits in them so the fans could hold up the colored sheet and watch the proceedings through the eye slits.

Lambeau Field

This is what ESPN failed to show you.  Apparently, they thought their commercials were more important than showing this scene for about 5 seconds.

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16 best quotes from the retiring Gen. James Mattis

h/t BH

16 best quotes from the retiring USMC Gen. James Mattis
16 best quotes from the retiring Gen. James Mattis
Gen. James Mattis / AP
BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
March 18, 2013
Gen. James Mattis, known to his troops as “Mad Dog Mattis,” is retiring after 41 years of military service.
The Marine Corps Times is calling Mattis the “most revered Marine in a generation.
Mattis has been commander of the United States Central Command since 2010 and led the 1st Marine Division into Iraq in 2003.
According to reports, President Barack Obama decided to force the Marine Corps legend out early because he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way, and forced them to answer tough questions regarding Iran.
Mattis was an inspirational leader of men and his powerful words will go down in history.
Here are some of the best words that the “Mad Dog” has had to offer:

1. “I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”

2. “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”

3. “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”

4. “Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.”

5. “Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat.”

6. “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

7. “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”

8. “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”
Gen. Mattis in 2006 / Flickr

9. “There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”

10. “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

11. “There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”(AMEN!)

12. “You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”
Gen. Mattis and Gen. Dempsey / Flickr

13. “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”


14. “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”

15. “Demonstrate to the world there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a U.S. Marine.”

16. “Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit”

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Solar Golden Boy Gone Bankrupt!

Solar Golden Boy Gone Bankrupt!

Brad Hoppman | March 21, 2013

  • Industry leader Suntech goes belly-up …
  • Housing stocks shift into overdrive …
  • Maybe money really does grow on trees …

Brad Hoppman
Suntech was probably the last, best hope for mainstream solar power in our generation.
And just yesterday, they filed for bankruptcy in court.
The massive Chinese company was always a bit of a Cinderella story, and definitely a darling of the media. Founded by Dr. Shi Zhengrong just over a decade ago, Suntech quickly grew to become a titan in the industry.
With such cheap labor and direct access to a wealth of raw materials, some analysts thought it was only a matter of time before Suntech’s panels would start going up all over the world. “If anyone can do it,” the old line of thinking went, “then Suntech can.”
They were even seen as a serious asset by the Chinese government. So much so that they were “allowed” to pay off all their debts to government-sponsored investors and even run their company independently. Consider that China’s the largest communist stronghold outside of the continental United States; they’re almost as confiscatory as we are.
Unfortunately for Suntech, that was not to last.
Because right around the time Dr. Zhengrong started appearing on magazine covers in 2008, Suntech’s business started slipping. Solar panel prices started plummeting, and the Chinese company couldn’t manage a turnaround in time.
Then — just a few days ago — Suntech defaulted on some $541 million in bond payments … making them the first company to do so in all of history. Their bankruptcy followed soon after.
Taken on its own, Suntech’s bankruptcy is hardly a death-knell. Some sources are even putting a positive spin on the story, but I have trouble agreeing with that. We aren’t talking about airlines after all, where the entire business model hinges on routine bankruptcies.
No, when you throw this new fuel on the fire lit by Obama’s Solyndra fiasco, you’ll probably come to a much different conclusion.
The reality is that investors will probably take a good long while before taking solar power seriously again. And while I don’t disagree that solar might be the “fuel of the future,” it’s probably going to stay in that undefinable “future” for many years to come.
Meanwhile, back down here on Earth, the news was a bit more pleasant for homeowners and investors everywhere.
That’s because the U.S. housing market is continuing to pick up strength, propelling markets higher and providing a relieving boost to homeowners devastated in the crash just a few years ago.
Home sales are now sitting at their highest levels in years, with the sale price of homes up over 10% from where it was just a year ago.
And as a result of the strengthening market, KB Home (KBH) jumped to a new 52-week high following better-than-expected first-quarter results.
Revenue and net orders rose 59% and 40%, respectively, from the same period a year ago. KBH is the best-performing homebuilder stock so far this year, jumping more than 40% year-to-date. The company’s goal is to return to profitability by the end of this year, and with numbers like these, it definitely seems possible.
Speaking from my heart and not my wallet for a moment, I’m really delighted to see this new growth in housing.
It’s a concrete reminder that regardless of what happens, life goes on. No matter how big the crash, how devious the banks or how complicated the leverage, life still goes on.
Kids grow up. They go to school and get married. And when they want to have kids of their own, they buy a house. The house becomes a home, and a new family starts within.
Then the kids grow up, and the cycle continues as it has for ages.
High tide comes, low tide comes. Market crashes, inflation, wild profit opportunities — but through it all life goes on, and these new home buyers still have the chance to enjoy all the amenities we’ve been blessed with in our own lives.
It’s a nice reminder … a relief — especially in such turbulent times — to see that Americans are that much-more-resilient than some would like to give us credit for.
Now back to the wallet.
The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB), the most popular ETF to play the housing sector, is up more than 41% over the last year.
The performance of XHB over the past year is quite impressive considering the S&P 500 is up a little more than 11% over the same period.
Meanwhile, as the housing recovery continues to pick up steam, the demand for the materials to build (or rebuild) those structures will continue to increase. One easy way to lay a strong profit foundation in your portfolio is to invest in lumber demand through an ETF.
Timber plays can be some of the greatest plays in your portfolio — providing far more value than you’ll pay with the up-front price.
Tony Sagami just took over our International ETF Trader service last week, and he’s playing this very trend right now with a fund that’s up more than 22% over the past year, about twice the return of the S&P 500 over the same period.
Stay tuned for what I expect will be some great success stories from Tony and his subscribers on this powerful trend, along with many others to come!
Good Luck and Happy Investing,
Brad Hoppman
Uncommon Wisdom Daily

The Media

Friday, March 22, 2013

All Hail Hillary!

h/t JO

All Hail Hillary!

According to The New York Times, it’s official: Former Secretary of State and presumptive 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has flip-flopped on support for same-sex marriage. In the annals of staged campaign events disguising a lack of principle, Clinton’s policy reversal is no President Barack Obama debt ceiling turnaround (it’s “unpatriotic”); but it’s certainly a hall-of-fame pandering effort. To be honest, I had no idea Clinton was ever against same-sex marriage. She clearly had no issues with a no-sex marriage. (Not that I can blame her for that; her husband was having enough for both of them.)
Let’s be honest with each other, kiddies. Clinton’s announcing she is now for something that most Americans already assumed she supported is about as Earth-shattering as Michelle Obama coming out publicly in favor of junk food and the taxpayers’ American Express card. Clinton’s statement didn’t — couldn’t — deliver her any wavering support. And it’s difficult to imagine all that many conservatives saying: “I was pretty mad about that whole Benghazi nightmare. And I remember what a Lady MacBeth she played as a first lady. But if she thinks Steve and Frank can tie the knot, I guess I’m good.”
There is no doubt that same-sex marriage is one of the more bitterly contested issues in the country. While it doesn’t rise to the level of the debate over the government-subsidized genocide of abortion, it’s difficult to imagine many issues on which Americans disagree more sharply. My own attitude is based on my own experience: I’ve been divorced. I’m as useful in marital politics as I would be in outer space. Nonetheless, if Hillary feels a need to goose her base three years before the green flag, she’s welcome to it.
But, in watching her weirdly fireside-style address, I couldn’t keep the following thoughts at bay:
  • This is a campaign speech. Of all the issues pressing down on us as a Nation and a world, you’re yammering about same-sex marriage. Your former boss has shoveled so many IOU’s onto the national debt that it’s the size of a Martian volcano. Any thoughts, Madame Secretary?
  • Your tenure as the Nation’s chief diplomat has coincided with everything from a nuclear-ambitious Iran to a nuclear-accomplished North Korea. The Mideast is tearing at the seams. How will you steer the ship of state off the foreign rocks upon which Barack Obama has foundered it?
  • How about the resurgence of al-Qaida and the islamofascist terrorists who think Obama is about as scary as Winnie the Pooh?
  • Europe’s economy is plunging faster than Ashley Judd’s neckline. Our own is staggering like a punch-drunk prizefighter. Will your Presidency be as filled with monetary hijinks?
  • With apologies to Senator Howard Baker, what did you know about the events of Sept. 11 in Benghazi, Libya; and when did you know it? Your former boss’s Administration concocted no fewer than four different versions of the story, each radically different from the others. While the corporate media has covered up the cover-up and the liberal rank and file have swallowed each tale whole without complaint; you’re now running for President. How can we trust you, since we clearly can’t trust Obama?
There are other questions Clinton will need to answer — unless she plans tocontinue the Obama policy of obfuscation and outright dishonesty. As I mentioned in the wake of her staged policy reversal on same-sex marriage:
Whatever your opinion on the issue in question, have no doubt: Hillary Clinton’s… every move is dictated by raw ambition. For those who oppose it: This is just another example of the soullessness which has defined her career. For those who support it: She is no ally of yours. As always, she will reverse course again the moment she thinks it’s politically expedient to do so.
Reminds me of, well, pretty much every Democrat out there — although none of them can match Clinton’s look in a pantsuit.
–Ben Crystal