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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Auction Rate Securities. Auction Rate Preferreds.

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9:00 AM EST Tuesday, July 8, 2008: More gloom and doom for the financial community.

The banking crisis will be much worse

Westport (USA) - The expected losses from the financial crisis will reach $1,600 billion ($1.6 trillion). To-date financial institutions have so far announced only $400 billion. The pessimistic forecast comes from a confidential study by Bridgewater Associates, the second largest hedge fund in the world.

"We are facing an avalanche of bad assets," says the study. "We have big doubts that the financial institutions will be able to have enough new capital in order to cover the losses," the authors write.

All my inheritances from Nigeria: I pray that no one who reads this column is stupid enough to fall for the Nigerian scams. Sample:


All I have to give them a couple of hundred dollars for processing fees (or whatever) and they'll send me zillions of dollars. This scheme works because dumb people actually believe it. The Department of Justice says millions of dollars are lost to 419 scams. Here's the definition:

419 Scam
A fraud, particularly one originating in Nigeria, in which a person is asked for money to help secure the release of a much larger sum and is promised a piece of the larger sum. The classic 419 scam asks the victim to help some hapless relative of a deposed despot get millions of dollars out of the con artist's country. The con artist offers the victim a percentage of this illusive pot of gold, hoping to suck the victim into paying all sorts of fees to get trunks of money out of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Philippines or whatever exotic locale the con artist chooses. In the end, the money is never sent, but the victims are often out thousands of dollars. 419 refers to the relevant section of the Criminal Code of Nigeria.

Robert Mugabe's house in Zimbabwe: 50 elite military guard the house 24/7. They're happy for the work. 85% of the country is unemployed and inflation is running at a million percent a year. The house has 30 bedrooms and sits in 44 acres of landscaped gardens. Underground steel and reinforced concrete bunkers have been built in case his people rebel.

Shades of the White House, only larger.

Simple dining room.

Master bedroom.

Another view of the master bedroom, with master bed.

Simple fireplace. I'm guessing the gold fixtures are gold and the fireplace actually works.

Comfortable sitting room!

Bar on right.

Bathroom with gold faucets and gold hinges on the glass shower doors.

Only my sister could find FoxTown. She flies into Milan. They lose her luggage. She searches, finds FoxTown, 50 km north, just across the border in Switzerland. She rushes to FoxTown, picks up enough clothes for her 10-day ritzy cruise, starting in Venice the next day. Then her luggage turns up. Now she has twice the junk. She's so excited by FoxTown that she calls me from Venice to tell me the entire story of her unbelievable bargains. For more on my sister's exciting discovery, click on the logo:

Oy Veh
Three pious Jews dressed in long black coats with beards are playing golf.

A guy named Mulhaney wanted to play golf and this was the only threesome in which he could play.

So, he joins the Rabbis and plays 18 holes. At the end of the 18 holes, his score was 104.

The Rabbis had shot 69,70 and 72.

So, he says to the Rabbis "How come you guys shoot such good golf?"

The lead Rabbi says, "When you lead a religious life, join and attend the right synagogue, you are rewarded."

Mulhany, a true lover of golf, thinks, "What have I got to lose?" He finds a synagogue near his home, converts to Judaism, joins the synagogue, regularly attends services and leads a holy life.

A year later, he again plays golf with the three Rabbis. He shoots a 104 and they shoot a 69, 70 and 71.

He says to them: "OK, I converted. I joined a synagogue. I live a religious life and I still shoot a 104. "Why?"

"What synagogue did you join?" asks the lead Rabbi.

"Beth El."

"Schmuck, Beth El is for tennis!"

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.

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