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Archive for October, 2009

Is Verizon Abandoning FiOS HD Television?

Courtesy of rc whalen

Two years ago, Verizon agressivley opened a campaign to get communities in New York to adopt their new FiOS fiber optic service for telephony, Internet and digital television.  In my Village of Croton on Hudson, NY, which is located between Peekskill and Ossining in Westchester County, we  responded in a timely manner and even retained special counsel experienced in these agreements to be sure the village’s interests were well protected and represented.

Our villagetook steps to move to FiOS because VZ had already negotiated franchise agreements with larger municipalities to the south and east of Croton.  Verizon was busy stringing the fiber optic cable throughout the NY area that would carry the FiOS TV, as well as telephone and Interent, so we figured the service offering was real.  VZ even began an agressive direct mail and newspaper stuffer campaign advertising phone, internet and TV as a combined FIOS package to Croton residents, including my family.

Our community bought the VZ campaign hook, line and sinker.  Like my family, many Croton residents dropped cable and satelite satelitte TV dish subscriptions based on what now seem to be false representation by VZ that the television service was about to be launched.  This was a year ago.  Today we have  FiOS phone and internet,which is great BTW, but no TV.  For me this meant going back to Cablevision and wasting time, again, changing providers.   As of today, VZ representatives cannot give me a date for turning on the TV service and they refuse to respond to queries by attorneys for our village seeking to finalize the service contract.

On more than one ocassion over the past 18 months, the Village of Croton has submitted revisions or comments on the TV franchise agreement to VZ, only to have those documents, which VZ appeared eager to have, go without a response.  The Village of Croton regularly renegotiates franchise agreements with Cablevision, which both set a precendent in process and substance for the VZ FiOS TV matter, as well as show that we do conclude such agreements in timely fashion for other corporate applicants.

Both through our attorney and directly through the village’s own contacts within the VZ empire, we have tired to elicit a response fromVZ management, but without success.  Each time we follow up, we get vague answers that do not appear to eliminate the possibility of FiOS…
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Fuld's Last Stand On Auction

Courtesy of Marla Singer

The more observant and aesthetically sensitive ZH reader will have already noticed that Tranche 1 of the Lehman Brothers Collection (hereinafter known as the LBHI Creditors Committee ["LBHI-CC"] Collection) (warning: 50+ MB .pdf) will come under the hammer tomorrow at noon.  The 300+ lots include significant works by Bernar Venet, Willie Cole, Arturo Herrera, Pouran Jinchi, Louis Lozowick, Roy Lichtenstein, Louis [sic] Bourgeouis, Terry Frost, Bernice Abott, Bernard Cathelin and Herbert Brandl.  (No word yet on the various return tiers on the CAOs (Collateralized Art Obligations) that Goldman is underwriting next month.

Your author is pleasantly surprised to observe that liquidators to the House of Fuld, Alvarez & Marsal, have eschewed convicted co-conspirators Christie’s (1766) and Sotheby’s (1744) in preference to a distinguished Philadelphian auctioneer, Freeman’s (1805), invitations to summer at Ron Baron’s East Hampton guest house notwithstanding.  (C’mon, what is a little conspiracy charge, or two, between friends, after all?)

ZH’s intern will be bidding telphonically on the below signed Warhol screenprint depicting Warhol’s “GENERAL FULD” mere days before Fuld’s Last Stand at which he and all of his compatriots were killed by short sellers, Charlie Gasparino, the FSA, the Bank of England, and a host of other Lakota Indian allies.

Lot 405
ANDY WARHOL
(american, 1928-1987)
“GENERAL CUSTER”
from “cowboys and indians”
1986, signed and numbered 122/250 in pencil (there were also 50 artist’s proofs), the full sheet; Gaultney Klineman Art, Inc., New York, publisher. Color screenprint on Lenox Museum Board.
sheet: 36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4cm)
[Feldman & Schellmann II.379].

Estimate $15,000-20,000

Very faint traces of minor rubbing in the sleeve at bottom center that catch light very faintly when examined out of the frame and held to raking light, very faint smudging of the signature lower left, otherwise in very good original condition. Framed in plexi box frame.

ZH representatives will be at the preview parties for Freeman’s “Fine American and European Paintings and Sculpture” auction scheduled for December 6th, 2009 and the “Works from the Lehman Brothers Collection: Part II” auction on February 12th, 2010, where we shall be overconsuming the higher value hors d’ouvres and more expensive liquor.





Fuld’s Last Stand On Auction

Courtesy of Marla Singer

The more observant and aesthetically sensitive ZH reader will have already noticed that Tranche 1 of the Lehman Brothers Collection (hereinafter known as the LBHI Creditors Committee ["LBHI-CC"] Collection) (warning: 50+ MB .pdf) will come under the hammer tomorrow at noon.  The 300+ lots include significant works by Bernar Venet, Willie Cole, Arturo Herrera, Pouran Jinchi, Louis Lozowick, Roy Lichtenstein, Louis Bourgeouis, Terry Frost, Bernice Abott, Bernard Cathelin and Herbert Brandl.  (No word yet on the various return tiers on the CAOs (Collateralized Art Obligations) that Goldman is underwriting next month.

Your author is pleasantly surprised to observe that liquidators to the House of Fuld, Alvarez & Marsal, have eschewed convicted co-conspirators Christie’s (1766) and Sotheby’s (1744) in preference to a distinguished Philadelphian auctioneer, Freeman’s (1805), invitations to summer at Ron Baron’s East Hampton guest house notwithstanding.  (C’mon, what is a little conspiracy charge, or two, between friends, after all?)

ZH’s intern will be bidding telphonically on the below signed Warhol screenprint depicting Warhol’s “GENERAL FULD” mere days before Fuld’s Last Stand at which he and all of his compatriots were killed by short sellers, Charlie Gasparino, the FSA, the Bank of England, and a host of other Lakota Indian allies.

Lot 405
ANDY WARHOL
(american, 1928-1987)
“GENERAL CUSTER”
from “cowboys and indians”
1986, signed and numbered 122/250 in pencil (there were also 50 artist’s proofs), the full sheet; Gaultney Klineman Art, Inc., New York, publisher. Color screenprint on Lenox Museum Board.
sheet: 36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4cm)
[Feldman & Schellmann II.379].

Estimate $15,000-20,000

Very faint traces of minor rubbing in the sleeve at bottom center that catch light very faintly when examined out of the frame and held to raking light, very faint smudging of the signature lower left, otherwise in very good original condition. Framed in plexi box frame.

ZH representatives will be at the preview parties for Freeman’s “Fine American and European Paintings and Sculpture” auction scheduled for December 6th, 2009 and the “Works from the Lehman Brothers Collection: Part II” auction on February 12th, 2010, where we shall be overconsuming the higher value hors d’ouvres and more expensive liquor.





Radio Zero: It's Not The Costume That Scares Me

Courtesy of Marla Singer

Studio Zero’s costume party gets revved up after the rest of the evening’s events start to wind down.  We’ll pipe the feed into Radio Zero live as soon as it gets going.  Join us for dark beats and light silliness into the wee hours and the (always present) possibility of a cameo drop-in from an A-lister.

Listen here: http://cdo.zerohedge.com:8000/listen.pls

Or pick up our West Coast Mirror (with 1000 slots) here: http://72.13.86.66:8000/listen.pls thanks to the mind-blowing generosity of EGI Hosting.

Chat up the DJ (send your .mp3 files) here: radiozh.

Or… join the real Radio Zero nerds on our IRC server at chat.zerohedge.com #radiozh.  If you just can’t be bothered with an IRC client, we’ve provided one for you here. Otherwise, consider getting mIRC.

Shenanigans to begin sometime after 10 ET and before 11ET (maybe).

 





Radio Zero: It’s Not The Costume That Scares Me

Courtesy of Marla Singer

Studio Zero’s costume party gets revved up after the rest of the evenings events start to wind down.  We’ll pipe the feed into Radio Zero live as soon as it gets going.  Join us for dark beats and light silliness into the wee hours and the (always present) possibility of a cameo drop-in from an A-lister.

Listen here: http://cdo.zerohedge.com:8000/listen.pls

Or pick up our West Coast Mirror (with 1000 slots) here: http://72.13.86.66:8000/listen.pls thanks to the mind-blowing generosity of EGI Hosting.

Chat up the DJ (send your .mp3 files) here: radiozh.

Or… join the real Radio Zero nerds on our IRC server at chat.zerohedge.com #radiozh.  If you just can’t be bothered with an IRC client, we’ve provided one for you here. Otherwise, consider getting mIRC.

Shenanigans to begin sometime after 10 ET and before 11ET (maybe).

 





Catching Argentinian Disease?

Catching Argentinian Disease?

Courtesy of John Mauldin at Thoughts from the Frontline

Argentina

I have been in South America this week, speaking nine times in five days, interspersed with lots of meetings. The conversation kept coming back to the prospects for the dollar, but I was just as interested in talking with money managers and business people who had experienced the hyperinflation of Argentina and Brazil. How could such a thing happen? As it turned out, I was reading a rather remarkable book that addressed that question. There are those who believe that the United States is headed for hyperinflation because of our large and growing government fiscal deficit and massive future liabilities (as much as $56 trillion) for Medicare and Social Security.

This week, we will look at the Argentinian experience and ask ourselves whether "it" – hyperinflation – can happen here.

The Ascent of Money

I will be quoting from Niall Ferguson’s recent book, The Ascent of Money. I cannot recommend this book too highly. In fact, I rank it up with my all-time favorite book on economic history, Against the Gods, by the late (and sorely missed) Peter Bernstein. There are very few books I read twice. There are too many books and not enough time. This book I will have to read at least three times, and soon, and I have a lot of underlines and mark-ups in it already.

If there were one book I could require every member of the Congress to read, it would be this one. As I read it, I am struck again and again by how fragile and yet resilient our economic systems are. Fragile in the sense that governmental policy mistakes, no matter how well-intentioned, can destroy the wealth of a nation, and resilient in that it doesn’t happen more often.

In his introduction Ferguson writes, "The first step towards understanding the complexities of the financial institutions and terminology is to find out where they came from. Only understand the origins of an institution or instrument and you will find its present day roles much easier to grasp."

As is often said, those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. If you want to understand what is happening in the economy, what the consequences of our choices could be, then I strongly suggest you get The
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Politicans Are NOT Prostitutes … They Are Pimps

If you happened to have come to the conclusion that politicians are prostitutes, let George challenge your beliefs. – Ilene

Politicans Are NOT Prostitutes … They Are Pimps

pimp and prostituteCourtesy of Washington’s Blog

Many people have called politicians prostitutes.

True, Obama has received more donations from Goldman Sachs and the rest of the financial industry than almost anyone else.

And Summers, Geithner and the rest of Obama’s economic team have made many millions – even recently – from the financial industry.

And Congress has largely been bought and paid for, and two powerful congressmen have said that banks run Congress.

So yes, they have certainly sold their goods to the highest bidders.

Indeed, at least some people trust prostitutes more than elected officials.

But the prostitution analogy is inaccurate.

Specifically, as the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University (Donald J. Boudreaux) points out:

Real whores, after all, personally supply the services their customers seek. Prostitutes do not steal; their customers pay them voluntarily. And their customers pay only with money belonging to these customers.

In contrast, members of Congress routinely truck and barter with other people’s property…

Members of Congress are less like whores than they are like pimps for persons unwillingly conscripted to perform unpleasant services.

Consider, for example, agricultural subsidies. Each year a handful of farmers and agribusinesses receive billions of taxpayer dollars. These are dollars that government forcibly takes from the pockets of taxpayers and then transfers to farmers.

The customers, in this case, are the farmers and agribusinesses. The suppliers of the services performed for these customers are taxpayers, for it’s the taxpayers who possess the ultimate asset — money — that farmers and agribusinesses lust after. And the intermediaries who oblige the suppliers to satisfy the base lusts of the customers are politicians. Just as pimps facilitate their customers’ access to prostitutes’ assets, politicians facilitate their customers’ access to taxpayers’ assets.

We taxpayers have less say in the matter than we like to think. Sure, we can vote. But if even just 50.00001 percent of voters cast their ballots for the candidate proposing higher taxes, the assets of not only our pro-tax citizens, but also those of the remaining 49.00009 percent of us anti-tax citizens are put at the disposal


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Congressman Watt Guts Bill to Audit the Fed

Courtesy of George Washington

Washington’s Blog.

Ron Paul tells Bloomberg that Congressman Watt has just more or less killed the bill to audit the fed:

Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who has called for an end to the Federal Reserve, said legislation he introduced to audit monetary policy has been “gutted” while moving toward a possible vote in the Democratic-controlled House.

The bill, with 308 co-sponsors, has been stripped of provisions that would remove Fed exemptions from audits of transactions with foreign central banks, monetary policy deliberations, transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee and communications between the Board, the reserve banks and staff, Paul said today.

“There’s nothing left, it’s been gutted,” he said in a telephone interview. “This is not a partisan issue. People all over the country want to know what the Fed is up to, and this legislation was supposed to help them do that.”..

Paul, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said Mel Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, has eliminated “just about everything” while preparing the legislation for formal consideration. Watt is chairman of the panel’s domestic monetary policy and technology subcommittee.

Contact Congressman Watt and tell him what you think.

 





Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University: Politicians Are NOT Prostitutes … They Are Pimps

Courtesy of George Washington

Washington’s Blog.

 

Many people have called politicians prostitutes.

True, Obama has received more donations from Goldman Sachs and the rest of the financial industry than almost anyone else.

And Summers, Geithner and the rest of Obama’s economic team have made many millions – even recently – from the financial industry.

And Congress has largely been bought and paid for, and two powerful congressmen have said that banks run Congress.

So yes, they have certainly sold their goods to the highest bidders.

Indeed, at least some people trust prostitutes more than elected officials.

But the prostitution analogy is inaccurate.

Specifically, as the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University (Donald J. Boudreaux) points out:

 

Real whores, after all, personally supply the services their customers seek. Prostitutes do not steal; their customers pay them voluntarily. And their customers pay only with money belonging to these customers.

 

In contrast, members of Congress routinely truck and barter with other people’s property…

 

Members of Congress are less like whores than they are like pimps for persons unwillingly conscripted to perform unpleasant services.

 

Consider, for example, agricultural subsidies. Each year a handful of farmers and agribusinesses receive billions of taxpayer dollars. These are dollars that government forcibly takes from the pockets of taxpayers and then transfers to farmers.

 

The customers, in this case, are the farmers and agribusinesses. The suppliers of

the services performed for these customers are taxpayers, for it’s the taxpayers who possess the ultimate asset — money — that farmers and agribusinesses lust after. And the intermediaries who oblige the suppliers to satisfy the base lusts of the customers are politicians. Just as pimps facilitate their customers’ access to prostitutes’ assets, politicians facilitate their customers’ access to taxpayers’ assets.

 

We taxpayers have less say in the matter than we like to think. Sure, we can vote. But if even just 50.00001 percent of voters cast their ballots for the candidate proposing higher taxes, the assets of not only our pro-tax citizens, but also those of the remaining 49.00009 percent of us anti-tax citizens are put at the disposal of our pimps’ customers. (And note that many of those who vote for higher taxes are not among


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Obama’s Alpha Delusion

Eric writes about the Obama administration’s entry to the clean energy sector.  For more about Eric, intellectual property, and the law, click here to read our interview.  For additional thoughts by Eric on everything, visit his blog.) – Ilene

Obama’s Alpha Delusion

Courtesy of Eric Falkenstein at Falkenblog

From the WSJ:

The Obama administration launched a clean-energy blitz Tuesday, with President Barack Obama sweeping into this Central Florida hamlet to unveil $3.4 billion in stimulus grants for advanced electricity-grid projects

This PR parade relies on the idea that this administration, if not Obama himself, gets into details, and chooses the right cutting edge technologies and methods. Look at Obama above, with his sleeves rolled up, giving pointers to an appreciative bunch of field managers (perhaps the NEA can get to work on some Soviet Realism in this context). In this case, Obama merely has to allocate some of our money to a select list of projects that are aligned with the buzzwords ‘clean energy’, and we get the increasing returns to scale that Paul Krugman won his Nobel Prize for (too bad Ann Krueger didn’t win a Nobel for showing the same ‘infant industry’ argument has been a pretext to protect inefficient industries for over 200 years).

It never occured to any of these guys that there aren’t any magic solutions to our energy problem. They act as if we only tried to develop batteries, we could have ten times the power. See this video from Zocalo, and at the end of the critical discussion about the oil industry an audience member earnestly asks: "can’t we develop energy out of water?" as if the only reason we use oil is because the Rich Uncle Pennybags character from the Monopoly Game is not letting us. The electric car predates the internal combustion engine. My laptop and cell phone routinely run out of energy, highlighting the high reward waiting for the next battery innovation. There has been and continues to be research, and incentives, to increase the efficiencies of batteries.

Obama hates being compared to socialists, so I’ll refrain and compare him to a communist. In the state published hagiography, Divine Stories About the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-Il is presented as someone excellent at golf, pistol shooting, technology,


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Zero Hedge

"Paid To Wait"? Microsoft Tumbles 10%, Destroys 4 Years Of Dividend Gains

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Why but bonds when you can buy stocks that earn a higher dividend? "it's the risk, stupid!" Microsoft is down around 10% this morning, the equivalent of almost 4 years of dividend gains... still wanna get "paid to wait."

...

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Phil's Favorites

Time to Focus on Europe?

Weighing the Week Ahead: Time to Focus on Europe?

Courtesy of Jeff Miller, 

There is plenty of economic data this week and earnings season is in full swing. Despite this, I suspect that news from Europe will dominate the market discussion.

I expect market participants to be watching closely for The Message from Europe.

Prior Theme Recap

In last week’s WTWA I predicted that there would be a focus on the message from corporate earnings reports. That was very accurate for the week as a whole. The big exception was the ECB celebration and commentary on Thu...



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Chart School

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Composite: "Expanded Modestly" in January

Courtesy of Doug Short.

As a resident of the Fifth District, this is a regional manufacturing index I pay close attention to. The Fifth District includes Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, the District of Columbia and most of West Virginia. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is the region's connection to the nation's Central Bank.

The complete data series behind the latest Richmond Fed manufacturing report (available here) dates from November 1993. The chart below illustrates the 21st century behavior of the diffusion index that summarizes the individual components.

The January update shows the manufacturing composite at 6, down from 7 last month. Numbers above zero indicate expanding activity. Today's composite number was spot on the ...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 26th, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: With the Fed fading into shadows, investors look overseas for new catalysts

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart...



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Market Shadows

Are You Trading or Gambling?

ARE YOU TRADING OR GAMBLING?

An interview with John Ehlers of Stock Spotter and Mesa Software

By Ilene

Ilene: John, in our last discussion about trading systems in general and yours in particular (Can trading be reduced to cycles, stresses and vibrations?) you mentioned Monte Carlo simulations and their use in measuring performance. Can you explain more about how you measure the performance of a trading system?

John: Let's start with comparing trading with gambling. The two have several things in common.  In both ...



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Digital Currencies

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services

So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.  

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services 

By 



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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