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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

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8:30 AM EST, Wednesday, May 16: GlobalSantaFe Corporation is an offshore oil and gas drilling contractor, owning or operating a fleet of 59 marine drilling rigs and providing offshore oil and gas contract drilling services to the oil and gas explorers and producers worldwide. If you believe as I do, that the oceans is where we'll be seeking oil more and more, then GSF makes sense. It also has a low P/E (13.26) and a nice chart:

It makes a nice companion to my previous recommendation of Dril-Quip, which builds drilling and production equipment for deepwater, harsh environment and severe service applications.

Bloomberg poised for third-party campaign: This news electrified my family and friends. Imagine a presidential candidate who didn't have to raise money, who wasn't beholden to industry -- oil, pharmaceutical, insurance etc. -- , and could do what's right, what the country needs. Imagine.

By Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times, May 15, 2007

New York: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is prepared to spend an unprecedented $1 billion of his own $5.5 billion personal fortune for a third-party presidential campaign, personal friends of the mayor tell The Washington Times.

"He has set aside $1 billion to go for it," confided a long-time business adviser to the Republican mayor. "The thinking about where it will come from and do we have it is over, and the answer is yes, we can do it."

Another personal friend and fellow Republican said in recent days that Mr. Bloomberg, who is a social liberal and fiscal conservative, has "lowered the bar" and upped the ante for a final decision on making a run.

The mayor has told close associates he will make a third-party run if he thinks he can influence the national debate and has said he will spend up to $1 billion. Earlier, he told friends he would make a run only if he thought he could win a plurality in a three-way race and would spend $500 million -- or less than 10 percent of his personal fortune.

A $1 billion campaign budget would wipe out many of the common obstacles faced by third-party candidates seeking the White House.

"Bloomberg is H. Ross Perot on steroids," said former Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner. "He could turn the political landscape of this election upside down, spend as much money as he wanted and proceed directly to the general election. He would have resources to hire an army of petition-gatherers in those states where thousands of petitions are required to qualify a third-party presidential candidate to be on the ballot." ...

Talk of Mr. Bloomberg as a third-party candidate comes as Republican voters are deeply divided over their top-three declared candidates -- Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- and are casting longing glances at former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

"Some of the people on McCain's [presidential campaign] staff have been calling me to see if Mike is running because they are ready to leave the McCain campaign, which is a biplane on fire and spiraling down," the Bloomberg adviser said.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, another independent-minded Republican, dined recently with Mr. Bloomberg and suggested on CBS' "Face the Nation" over the weekend that he and Mr. Bloomberg might make an independent run for the presidency.

But in Albany, N.Y., yesterday, Mr. Bloomberg downplayed that suggestion.

"I think he was probably joking," the mayor told reporters. Mr. Hagel "speaks his mind. ... He's not happy with the same things that I'm not happy about."

Republicans who say they are girding for a Bloomberg entry note Mr. Bloomberg has a 68 percent share of his privately owned company, Bloomberg LP. The company is worth $20 billion (and about $30 billion if put on the block for public bidding) and earns $1.5 billion annually in after-tax profits. ...

A New York Daily News poll of the city's voters finds that Mr. Bloomberg, twice elected mayor as a moderate Republican, is far more popular than Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor who leads in most polls for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday he was flattered by that result but downplayed it at his Albany press conference, saying, "The current mayor always has a real advantage."...

Another reason I support the Innocence Project:

Tears flowed from Byron Halsey Tuesday after he was exonerated of a murder conviction in Elizabeth, N.J. Vanessa Potkin, one of his lawyers, offered support.

DNA in Murders Frees Inmate After 19 Years
By Tine Kelley of the New York Times.

ELIZABETH, N.J., May 15 — A man who served 19 years in prison for the sadistic murders of his companion’s two children walked out of the Union County Courthouse flanked by his family members after a judge vacated his convictions on Tuesday.

Prosecutors contended that DNA evidence in the case would probably change the mind of the jury that convicted the man, Byron Halsey, 46. They also said that the DNA evidence pointed instead to Cliff Hall, a neighbor who testified against Mr. Halsey at his 1988 trial and who is currently in prison for three sexual assaults.

Mr. Halsey, who was handcuffed, sat crying silently during the brief proceeding in Union County Superior Court before Judge Stuart L. Peim. ...

Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, the Manhattan legal clinic that revived the case, said: “It’s a miracle that Byron is here with us, because if ever there was a case where there was a risk of executing an innocent man, it was this case. Because the facts of the case were so horrible.”

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Mr. Halsey in the 1985 killings. The crimes were particularly chilling — Tina Urquhart, 7, was raped and strangled, and her brother, Tyrone Urquhart, 8, died after four nails were hammered into his skull with a brick. The children’s bodies were found in the basement of a rooming house in Plainfield where Mr. Halsey lived with their mother.

Mr. Halsey, a factory worker, was convicted in 1988 of two counts of felony murder and other charges, and sentenced to two life terms and 20 years. He was not eligible for the death penalty because he was not found guilty of purposeful and knowing murder, a capital offense, one of his lawyers said.

His release comes at a crucial time in the state’s debate over abolishing the death penalty, which has not been carried out since 1963. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for the most serious crimes. A similar bill was introduced in the Assembly last November. There are nine men now on death row in New Jersey. ...

“It was a minor miracle that he was not sentenced to death,” Mr. Scheck added. “At the trial, a few of the jurors just didn’t believe in capital punishment.”

Mr. Halsey contacted the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, after exhausting his appeals. Advanced DNA techniques that were not available at the time of the trial showed that the evidence had no link to Mr. Halsey. It did, however, show a match with Mr. Hall, whose DNA samples were already in the state’s database because of his convictions in sex crimes that occurred after the Urquhart children were killed. ...

Mr. Scheck noted that in about a quarter of the 201 wrongful convictions that have been overturned with the use of DNA evidence, people had confessed or admitted to crimes they did not commit. Mr. Halsey signed a confession after 30 hours of interrogation, Mr. Scheck said. Mr. Halsey’s lawyers said he had a sixth-grade education and severe learning disabilities.

Dolores Mann, one of his original lawyers, said Mr. Halsey had maintained his innocence from the beginning.

“I’m hoping the case sheds light when the bill goes to the Assembly, so the death penalty will be taken off the books,” she said.

Margaret Urquhart, the victims’ mother, said in a statement: “I knew Byron loved Tyrone and Tina. It didn’t make sense to me that he could have done this. I always had my doubts, but I didn’t know what to do about them. I am thankful that the DNA testing has identified who really did this to my children and that Byron is being released today. I want justice done in this case.”

Another lawyer for Mr. Halsey, Raymond Brown, said his client was looking forward to one thing in particular after being released.

“He said something about taking a bath,” Mr. Brown said. “He hasn’t taken one in 20 years.”

Pillow talk: The MGM Grand Hotel of Las Vegas washes 15,000 pillowcases per day.

Finally, two churches with great humor:

Amazing. Some questions can't be answered by Google. By the way, contemporary wisdom has it that Google indexes less than 2% of what's out on the Web.

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. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty 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 Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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