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Everything is going to hell in a handbasket

When interest rates rise, they offer investors an alternative.

They also offer the pundits a chance to punditize, e.g. the latest Bubblevision headline “Rising rates put investors on edge.” (Self-fulfilling?)

This is the ten-year Treasury over the last year. It’s up, but not even a 100 basis points.

This is the U.S. Fed Funds rate which the Fed Reserve adjusts.

The Fed is raising rates because the economy is getting better. That’s good news for stocks.

These are still not “normal” interest rates. They’re low. They’re not preventing my real estate syndications from re-financing.

I’m not concerned. Everyone has got to have something to worry about.

Paul McCartney, a self-made billionaire,  was on 60 Minutes on Sunday. Reported CBS:

He’s a rock star, a music legend with dozens of platinum albums — a Beatle. But even after more than 50 years behind the microphone, Paul McCartney still has self-doubt.

“I think if you care about what you’re doing, if you really want to get it right, then you’ve got to deal with insecurities,” he tells 60 Minutes correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi in the video above. “It’s what makes it right.”

I’m not worrying about rising interest rates and their impact on stocks, especially today, which is awful.

Wait till tomorrow’s ebullient employment numbers.

Triple tax-free muni bonds yielded over 13% in the early 1980s. We’re not there yet. Yes, over 13% tax-free.

A formula for success

Every successful politician has a formula, which goes like this:

The world is going to hell in a handbasket. Vote for me. I can solve the problem. Only I can solve the problem.

If only life were so simple!

Steven Pinker wrote a very detailed book specifically to argue that things are not bad, In fact they’re significantly better — from longevity, to lifting millions out of poverty, to reducing  deaths by famine deaths, to improving world incomes, to daily calorie consumption, to declining violence, to conquering diseases (think polio, smallpox, AIDs, TB, etc.) Things are improving dramatically

As comedian Chris Rock observed, “This is the first society (the USA) where the poor people are fat.”

It works this way: Things are good in our community, but in all other communities, things are awful. That’s the prevailing wisdom. It’s simply not true.

Read the book. You’ll be engrossed. I’m doing a lousy job of summing up its 556 detailed pages. thank you Michael Newton, for turning me onto this book.

Click here.

Apple shines

Yesterday afternoon’s “research” trip to the local Apple store concluded:

+ Buy the new series 4 Apple Watch. Even if you have a Series 3 watch, which I do. The new Watch has a huge number of useful features. You don’t need the cellular version. Too pricey. You can answer an incoming phone call and speak with better clarity and volume than the older Series 3.

+ Don’t buy a new iPhone if you have an iPhone 8. I have the iPhone 8 plus. it seems to be as fast as the new ones. The BIG difference is that the new ones don’t have a physical home button. You swipe up from the bottom. That means you have more screen space for emails, texts, notes etc. It’s nice, but not necessary. Here’s a picture of the big new iPhone I took at the store. Note the absence of the Home button.

The local Apple store was mobbed with people buying iPhones and Apple Watches. Hence my continuing enthusiasm for Apple shares. This is Apple over the last two years:

Apple is going higher. Its P/E is 21 and its dividend yield is 1.26% — better than you’re getting on your check account — which, I bet, is 0.00%.

UPS doesn’t shine

I use them every few days to send my kids unwanted presents. And every time I do, I curse UPS. Their online system is really awful.

This is UPS’s miserable chart over the past two years.

This is my favorite UPS screen. It popped up for me this morning:

Useful stuff

+ Never sign up for a never-end subscription to a magazine or, or worse, Business Insider. You’ll never get off.

+ Never buy a new BMW or a new Mercedes. You’ll lose 50% of its value in the first three years. Better idea, buy a three-year old used car. Cramer turned me onto Carvana, which sells used cars over the Internet and offers a 7-day money-back return guarantee.

Here’s a nice screen shot:

Favorite error message

From our country phone provider, Consolidated:

Aren’t computers wonderful?

I like wine.

Granddaughter Eleanor states her preference.

Lucky Marr’s favorite video. He calls it Gross Impatience. Watch it to the end. It’s hysterical.

Save time when texting messages. Use codes.

BFF – Best Friends Funeral

BTW- Bring the Wheelchair

BYOT – Bring Your Own Teeth

DWI- Driving While Incontinent

HGBM – Had Good Bowel Movement

TOT- Texting on Toilet

Harry Newton, who’s playing tennis at 3 PM and is not looking at today’s awful “action” in the market. My friend Ed is ecstatic. Some of his low-buy limit orders are kicking in. For my taste, it’s a bit early. The market is still cratering.

By the way, my Republican friends, please stop sending me nasty, threatening emails. Remember civility, please.