Banana Counting Monkey

Saturday, January 18, 2003:

Rules For Nations

1:The Leader/Ruling party should never be able to extend their term by any means other than a democratic vote of the people.

"Under Venezuala's old constitution, the president [Hugo Chazez]'s term would have come to an undistinguished end with an election on November 2003. But under his own new constitution, he can rule at least until 2007."

Source: The Economist "The World in 2003"

In the words of one of Dogbert's victims "Isn't that like giving a burglar the keys to my house?"

BCM // 6:37 PM

2002 Review

So, now that I'm a few weeks into 2003, it's time for an assessment of last year, safely away from New Year's drinking and resolutions. Soooo, what was great about last year?

Pity I got lazy near the end of the year-it did cost me. Well, this year, I hit 30 on May 11th, I will pass the CFA level 1, get my DMS, generally kick ass and fergeddabout the names and God willing, find a wife.
BCM // 2:22 PM

Friday, January 17, 2003:

Tax Package

Got my tax package from the CCRA, or as everyone still calls them, Revenue Canada. On the back is the cheerful slogan:
Your Tax Package- More Ways to Serve You!

Yeah, in that Twilight Zone "To Serve Man" kinda way.

BCM // 5:51 AM

Monday, January 13, 2003:

The long term effect of MERs: Screwing the Investor

Detailed in this column by
Jonathan Chevreau

"Instead of pricing coming down, the industry is opting to make it more expensive," says Glorianne Stromberg, a former securities regulator.

Despite poor performance and rising costs, fund redemptions have been far lower than you might expect. There appears to be a bifurcation of investors into two camps: knowledgeable value-oriented investors and oblivious victims.

The first camp, a minority, consists of cost-conscious investors who shop around for active funds with reasonable MERs (like Phillips Hager & North, Saxon Funds or Trimark Fund), or embrace passively managed index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The more populous camp contains investors seemingly oblivious to the impact of high MERs and who trust the supposedly "independent" financial advice they get from integrated manufacturer-distributors and bank "wrap" accounts.

Held separately, actively managed mutual funds in Canada are expensive enough: the average MER in Canada is 2.16%, compared to just 1.44% in the United States, according to Moshe Milevsky in his recently published book, Wealth Logic.

As Rudy Luukko wrote recently in the latter, the median Canadian equity fund has an MER of 2.78% and returned an average annual 0.1% over the three years ended Oct. 31.

That's an incredible figure -- 2.78% is 16 times higher than the 0.17% MER the Barclays i60s ETF charges for equivalent exposure to Canadian blue chip stocks. A median 2.78% MER means half of Canadian equity funds have MERs even higher than 2.78%.

So what? Every 1% paid in fees and charges reduces your end capital 20 years later by 20%, Stromberg says. So a 2.5% MER will eventually cut the end capital you would otherwise have had in half

Mmmm hmmmm. There's a nifty little calculator to check out the effects of different levels of MER on your long term return. Check your funds and see what sacrifices your future lifestyle is making to keep the fund managers in theirs.

BCM // 11:17 AM

She dumped me. Last night, 1030pm. By phone. She "doesn't feel the same strength of feeling" that I do. No sleep last night. Endless churning over in my head that no meditation exercise could still. Christ. Well, if I hadn't taken the Captain's advice before, I sure as hell will have to now. I really did think she was going to be the one, silly little dreams of writing a big screaming post "She said Yes" here when I asked her. All of the little silly dreams of a future now dead running through my head, deflating one by one last night. Biterness, self-blame, blame, choking up, lolniness, rage, blind hope (mercifully brief.).

Loving someone is never enough. After this many lessons, you'd think I'd learn.

BCM // 6:10 AM


Monday Is Bad


SEOUL, South Korea
Provided North Korea stops its nuclear weapons development, the United States is willing to consider energy aid for the communist country, a U.S. envoy said Monday.

The comments by Assistant U.S. Secretary of State James Kelly raised the possibility that the United States was willing to make a deal with North Korea to resolve concerns over its nuclear activities.

"Once we get beyond nuclear weapons, there may be opportunities with the U.S., with private investors, with other countries to help North Korea in the energy area," Kelly said at a news conference in Seoul.

"Fold" "Cave" "collapse" "craven appeasement"

I cannot believe that the US is caving into this blackmail. I am so deeply dissapointed I don't know where to start.

I'm hoping the Vodkapundit can explain how this is all part of the fake out that he was always pointing to regarding Iraq.....

BCM // 5:59 AM

Sunday, January 12, 2003:

Throw 'em a Bone

Last Thursday at work, our local Chompskyite was crowing to a fellow sympathizer (and indirectly, but quite deliberately, me) about Tony Blair's little speech that the U.S should go slow and wait longer (if ever) to invade Iraq.

"Way to go for Blair, standing up to Bush at last, eh?"

I sat there and didn't bother saying anything in return. Inside I was sniggering. The headlines out of the UK the day previously had been of the
orders for British deployment of troops and ships to the Gulf. Blair's statement the following day was nothing but a cheap, meaningless bone thrown to his Labour party supporters, the UN and the other appeasers like my coworker.

Worked perfectly as intended, I'd say.
BCM // 4:49 PM

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