Wednesday, September 12, 2007

History - Beyond Historical Knowledge Into the Character of the People Behind Major Events

Webster's Dictionary defines history as: "A branch of knowledge that records and explains past events" (Webster's 2001). Historically, history is studied for many reasons. One major reason is to acquire historical knowledge.

One must look at all the historical facts and events recorded from history, to acquire what may be penned as "historical knowledge." This is not just head knowledge and rote memorization, but an understanding of the facts, deaths, purchases, wars, business dealings, and most of all the understanding of the "character" of the people behind these major events.

Whether reading about Lincoln, our sixteenth president of the United States, who persevered as a president and abolished slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation, or the Louisiana Purchase whereby America obtained a huge acreage of land for about the price of a modem day hotel. Also the great depression of the 1920's affected many people mentally and physically--creating a tough decade for all our citizens. These and many other historical events are studied because of knowledge--and knowledge is the power of history.

In 1860 the political conflict was slavery, and Abraham Lincoln was elected as President of the United States. Lincoln's party, the Republicans, stood for the total abolition of slavery in America. "A house divided against itself cannot stand," Lincoln stated.

Furthermore, "This government cannot endure permanently, half slave and have free...I do not expect the house to fall.. .It will become all one thing or another" (Young Republic 25). In 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves in the Confederacy free--by his authority as president and commander in chief.

History accelerated the size of our United States when our third president, Thomas Jefferson, made a deal to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France for fifteen million dollars. This enormous purchase almost doubled the size of our nation and we obtained some of the most excellent and fertile land in the whole world.

Many other U.S. lands were obtained only by blood, sacrifice, and wars. When a man fights for his lands, he often obtains victory. Today we read in our texts about the blood, sweat, and tears that our military leaders undertook to gain such victories. We owe a debt of gratitude to our government and military leaders.

Though it may not be discussed enough, our war hero's are truly the freedom fighters that captured the freedom we so easily enjoy today. Jefferson's "Rough Riders" should be praised for just such a wonderful effort to keep and sustain our freedom. This was a tough bunch of soldiers with a brave commander who was almost unstoppable.

America's economy took a huge dive downward during the Great Depression. The stock market crash of 1929 left citizens standing in line for bread and looking for work like never before in our history. History's records indicate that investors lost everything.

Thousands of banks, businesses, and schools had to close down. A ton of loans were unable to be repaid because of low crop prices. Many usually busy U.S. workers suddenly found themselves without work. Our economy has always impacted our society. The study of our economy is essential to the understanding of our history.

When we study history we learn a great deal about our country and ourselves. Abraham Lincoln continues to come to mind as a mirror to us, because he persevered as president, when others might have quit. Abraham Lincoln showed the American people young and old how to have faith when facing the challenges of life.

Lincoln also was an example of "balance" in his life, having been shot by John Wilkes Booth, at a theater, of all places. He wasn't too intelligent or strong-minded to stop enjoying his life. He took time for the things that were important, and that leaves a strong legacy for all Americans.

To conclude, one must look at all the historical facts and events recorded from history, to acquire what may be penned as "historical knowledge." This is not just head knowledge and rote memorization, but an understanding of the facts, deaths, purchases, wars, business dealings, and most of all the understanding of the "character" of the people behind these major events.

There are many Americans who are devoted to studying the textbooks, newspapers, and magazines of the past. To these brave ones we must give our respect, for they are a picture of the past, but more importantly, they are a picture of our hope for the future. Many great presidents lead this nation to become one of the greatest nations in the world today, and certainly the most powerful.

Abraham Lincoln led our nation out of slavery, and by doing so, he opened up social, political, and economic opportunity for all people and he truly led us back to the Declaration of Independence.

The events of the past have also made their way into the classroom with the almost one hundred year old pledge of allegiance. Our pledge is a constant reminder of the victories that our great leaders obtained from the past: "I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic, for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The United States of America is a free country today, because of sacrifice, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our forefathers who fought to make this country a republic, a free land, a land where anything is possible with the right amount of hard work and solid spiritual foundations.

Don Alexander is a writer and published poet and has two online missions: Sharing his writing and also helping "all to succeed" in online business. Don feels that online home business is the financial answer for the average American today.
"Helping ALL to Succeed"

Wall Street to Main Street: News, Views and Commentary: December 5, 2005

Its Manic Monday, Oil creeps above $60.00 a barrel , Verizon looking for a change in scenery and U.S. Steel gets bump from Barrons.

With the cold chill finally making its way to the Northeast, Oil prices rise to over $60.00 a barrel. With a big snow storm anticipated to arrive in the Northeast tonight through Tuesday morning, this can further boost that number.

U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) received a boost on Sunday from a Barrons article that mentioned the value of the stock may double if it becomes an acquisitions target. The company that may be coming to the table first is Luxembourg's Arcelor (CELR.PA), who was just outbid by Germany's ThyssenKrupp (TKAG.DE) for the acquisition of Canadian steelmaker Dofasco Inc. The question that may be on the minds of not only investors but of the U.S. Government, is should U.S. Steel be owned by a foreign company? U.S. Steel .stock closed at $48.11 on Friday.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) seems to be looking at becoming a media powerhouse as they consider selling or spinning off their domestic directory division, Verizon Information Services. If this should happen it could be a deal worth up to $17 Billion. According to reports the company is looking to be known for more than a wireless phone company, they may be going head to head with cable operators such as Time-Warner (NYSE:TWX) as they expand their business horizons possible including television. The problem with this is that as technology advances the playing field becomes narrower, so Verizon jumping into a new arena can be either the best thing its done in years or a bust. Verizon closed at $31.87 on Friday.

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) may be reaping the rewards of the holiday season as we head into the heart of the shopping season. Affordable prices and quality merchandise just may put them ahead of the pack. Lets not forget Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as their reinventing of the iPod just continues to add to their bottom line. So both stocks seem to be in good positions to do well over the next few weeks. Dell closed at $30.82 while Apple closed at $72.63 on Friday.

Empire Energy Corp (OTCBB:EEGC) recently announced that Anderson & Schwab Australia Limited has determined a business value for Zeehan Zinc Ltd to be between the range of US$83 and US$140 million. Now why is that significant? , Empire owns over a third of Zeehan Zinc and if those figures turn out to be right, then investors in Empire are looking at an interesting situation. Empire closed at $0.135 on Friday.

On the internet software front companies to look at are WebEx Communications (NASDAQ:WEBX) who has an application that allows for on-demand conferencing, and VeriSign (NASDAQ:VRSN) who is expanding their online music download services called Jamster, with their collaboration with Melodeo, Inc to enhance their digital music platform.

To register to receive the Wall Street to Main Street daily updates go to

Louis Victor NAMC Newswire 888-463-9237

Information contained herein is the opinion of Louis Victor and is intended to be used strictly for informational purposes. You should be aware that Mr. Victor attempts to assure himself of the accuracy of the information contained in the analyses he publishes. None of the information contained in this opinion constitutes a recommendation by Mr. Victor, New Age Media Concepts nor the NAMC Newswire that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You must make your own independent decisions regarding any security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy mentioned on the program. The companies that are discussed in this opinion have not approved the statements made in this opinion Louis Victors past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance.

Neither Mr. Victor, New Age Media Concepts nor the NAMC Newswire guarantees any specific outcome or profit, and you should be aware of the real risk of loss in following any strategy or Investments Opinion posted here. This opinion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell securities. The strategy or investments discussed may fluctuate in price or value and you may get back less than you invested. Before acting on any information contained here, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and strongly consider seeking advice from your own financial or investment adviser. Louis Victor, New Age Media Concepts nor the NAMC Newswire are not licensed brokers, broker dealers, market makers, investment bankers, investment advisors, analyst or underwriters.

You should be aware that New Age Media Concepts is often compensated for issuing analyses, recommendations or opinions concerning particular companies. Its opinion is therefore not unbiased and you should consider this factor when evaluating New Age Media Concepts statements regarding a company.

Louis Victor is the Executive Vice President for the firm New Age Media Concepts. His experience comes from over 15 years on Wall Street and over 6 years in the advertising and public relations industry. His daily views features varies companies that may be of interest to investors globally. He has publish several articles in regards to the advertising industry as well as the financial industry.

Commodity Futures and Options Trading - How Efficient Is Your Trading? - Part 1

When you think about it, many events need to be just right to make an efficient and profitable trade. You must pull the trigger. The entry must be good. The exit must be good. The futures market must act as you expect. The orders must be accurate and without errors. The order and quote system must not fail throughout the complete chain. And there are more variables and fixed costs well discuss later. All these things take a slice out of perfection.

Perfection is getting 100% of the move. This is impossible and fantasy since our fixed costs always limit us to less than 100% efficiency. Plus, do to forecasting errors and execution slop, we are lucky to get 50% of a commodity futures contract move on average. Sometimes we get more and sometimes less.

The fixed costs are always there no matter how well we trade. Its like running in the mud. Futures contract commissions effectively take a chop out of the move. Another hit that most traders forget to consider is the bid and offer, or spread. We usually don't notice the spread when buying and selling at the market. The spread is more obvious when were watching the screen while electronically trading a market like the E-mini. Even the pit traders work with the same bid and offer prices as you and me.

Lets say the exact high of the move is now 1300.00 offered for the S&P 500 or E-mini futures contract. If you sell, at the market, you will get a price no better than 1299.75. Why? Because that is the normal E-mini spread; a point lower bid. You would need to place a limit order to sell at 1300.00 to get 1300.00. But there may be a line of orders ahead of you at that price and theres a chance you will not get your order filled.

If the futures market trades at 1300.25 offered, you will most likely get your price of 1300.00. Putting in specific limit orders is an art and you must expect to miss some moves as a result. Is it worth missing a big move for point? Maybe and maybe not. It all depends on how often you trade and the methods you use.

The more you trade for small gains, the more important it is to get these small slivers of price. In contrast, a long-term commodity futures position trader would never see the difference in overall performance, so he should probably go in at the market. He wants to be sure he gets positioned. The biggest risk for a long-term trader is missing a major move.

A short-term futures trader can afford to miss some moves and make it up over time by constantly grabbing the spread. Again, it all depends on your method and trading goals. Capturing the spread can cover day trading expenses. Its the equivalent of stealing the blinds when bluffing in poker. This means winning the pot even though your have an inferior hand. You may need the spreads to cover your expenses if you are a very active futures contract day-trader.

Part Two of Three Next!

There is substantial risk of loss trading futures and options and may not be suitable for all types of investors. Only risk capital should be used.

Thomas Cathey directs the managed futures division of Thomas Capital Management, LLC. Get FREE, the complete 44+ lesson, "Thomas Commodity Trading Course" by visiting: It's brand new... a "street-wise" trading e-course. Get an edge trading futures, day trading e-mini's and selling options and spreads. Also learn how "TimeLine Trading" and rare "Ninja trades" can improve your trading results. For more helpful trading info, visit the main Thomas Capital Management trading website at:

What Is a Hedge Fund Anyway - And Could It Be Right For Me?

There was a recent conversation that we overheard during a break at a seminar on current market trends that we ran in Long Island. With the popularity of hedge funds and hedge fund of funds, it is no surprise that their numbers have been growing at an explosive rate. By the end of 1999, it was estimated that about 4,000 hedge funds existed. In 2005, although just an estimate, that number has doubled to roughly 8,000.

The conversation that we witnessed went something like the following (please note, in the spirit of full disclosure, we point out that our firm is the General Partner of a hedge fund of funds):

Dont you have to invest at least a couple of million bucks in order to be able to join in on the action? asked Rob. Thats the way it used to be, but the vast majority will accept investments much lower than that! said Dave and Mary, the one were invested in has a $250,000 minimum, and many others keep the same standard.

But arent these types of things risky? asked Rob. That depends on how you categorize risk, responded Dave, when Mary and I were looking into investing this money, we found that similar to mutual funds and stocks, risk varies enormously among the different hedge fund strategies, and you can bet that theres a lot of strategies to choose from. Because of our lack of experience, we felt as if we were venturing into unchartered territory, so we wanted to position ourselves to have substantially lower risk with our investment, and thats why Mary and I decided to go with a hedge fund of funds.

Oh no, now Im really confused. Are you serious when you say that theres more than just a handful of optionsyou mean that I can pick a fund to invest in based on the type of strategy it uses, or I can go with that other fund of something or other you mentioned, said Rob. Yes, Mary said, Dave and I chose to invest in a hedge fund of funds because it significantly reduces individual fund and manager risk. As a matter of fact, we heard that the minimums were much higher on the individual manager side, and we even ran into funds that were closed to investments from us. Dave and I were so frustrated with all the decisions that had to be made, so we decided it was best to have someone knowledgeable and qualified to make the decisions for us. Not only do we gain the expertise of the fund of funds manager, but we get to reap the benefits of having multiple individual hedge fund managers working in similar or different styles, each with various strengths, and have that all pooled together within a single investment. Not too bad, huh?

Yes, but I still see a lot of risk in investing in hedge funds or fund of funds in general. Dont you guys worry about losing money? asked Rob.

Dave answered, Yah, of course we do. Nobody wants to lose money. But the way we look at it is that investing is not for the faint of heart. You have to be willing to go through the tough periods and weather the storms in order to do well. Our goal is to try to reduce the volatility in order to make that trip a little smoother. I dont know about you, but Mary and I never had an investment that went straight up.

Of course Rob asked, So you think that I should put money with a fund of funds too?

Mary answered back, quite rationally, No one can make that final decision other than you Rob. There are lots of alternative investments out there that you can get involved in. Whether youre thinking about real estate, hedge funds, or fund of funds, the most important thing is to take a look at your own financial situation and see if the potential investment youre considering can fit into your portfolio. The bottom line for Dave and I was that we had money invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and even a couple of annuities, but we didnt have an alternative investment that would act as a hedge against potential market slides. After a lot of looking into, we decided that a fund of funds would be the most fitting for us and provide the best long-term strategy that we were looking for, so we narrowed our search and chose the one we felt most confident with.

Wow, ok, I guess Ive got some homework to do, smiled back Rob.

Rob continued, So, can we back up here for a minute and discuss what a hedge fund even is exactly?

Well, from the way I understand it, answered Dave, it all started around when I was born in the late forties. It was this guy Jones who started the whole thing.

Mary interrupted, Youre so bad with names Dave! The guys name is Alfred Winslow Jones and he went to Harvard back in the 1920s and received a doctorate from Columbia in the early 1940s before raising some money and forming what later became known as the very first hedge fund.

Dave added, What was so special about this fund that Jones created was the fact that he was hedging his portfolio. From my understanding, what this boils down to is that in addition to buying stock and betting that it goes up (going long), he would try to take advantage of drops in stock prices by placing bets that prices will go down (short selling), and thereby potentially making money regardless of what the market does. He also used leverage (borrowed money) to try to increase gains.

Ok, now you guys are starting to intimidate me, said Rob. You make a really good team by the way. Tell me more.

Mary answered, Basically, Jones said it best. He said that short selling and leverage are speculative tools used for conservative purposes. This guy basically owned this space until an article came out in Fortune magazine in 1966 entitled The Jones that nobody can keep up with The article compared his strategy and returns with some of the best mutual funds out there, and Jones fund outperformed the top mutual fund by such a huge percentage that soon after, many investors were trying to clone this new and unique investment strategy, including the likes of George Soros, Michael Steinhardt, and Warren Buffet.

Don Conrad is president of Conrad Capital Management, an independent registered investment advisor, in Melville, New York. Can be reached by phone: (631) 439-7878 or email:

Don started his career in the late 1970s at a nationally recognized mutual fund company and was recruited after three years by E.F. Hutton Company to work in the consumer retail division. During his thirteen-year tenure there, he spent two years specializing in and trading the 30-year treasury bond. For the last five years, he served as a senior vice president focusing his efforts in the Consulting Services division, maintaining offices in both Long Island and Manhattan.

In 1993, he was recruited by PaineWebber as a Senior Vice President in the consumer retail division. In addition to managing his clients assets, he was asked by senior management to conduct a nationwide tour to train financial consultants in the Consulting Services division. Don also made a video on the use of advanced technology in the financial services industry. This video was distributed to PaineWebber offices internationally.

After almost five years at PaineWebber, Don decided to pursue his dream by starting Conrad Capital Management in order to offer his clients more choices and flexibility.