Saturday, August 4, 2012

OG's Qualifications and Lack of Qualifications

Some readers have asked for greater detail about the Old Geezer (OG). Given the topics of this blog, LB does not view personal details to be relevant. 

Relevant information would include my educational and work background. 

I will summarize areas where I have no qualifications. My knowledge would be generally limited to what can be acquired by a casual and curious reader of news articles in the following:

Lack of Qualifications Include But Are Not Limited to the Following:

1. Any matter relating to technical analysis of securities

2. Science and Math

3. Securities Law

4. Technology Broadly and Liberally Defined

5. I considered buying 100 of Berkshire Hathaway in 1974 at $16 but passed on it since Left Brain was scared of losing money.

6. I bought 100 shares of Apple Computer at $12 in my regular IRA and sold it at $16 due to one of Left Brain's stinking rules.

7. A reader reminded the OG on 8/6/12 that he knew almost nothing about accounting, so this inadequacy was added to the list.

8. A reader was kind enough to point out to the OG on 8/8/12 that he attended only one day of a course in Federal Income Taxation and never came back until taking the final exam which he barely passed with a "D"

My Qualifications for writing this blog include and may be limited to the following:

1. I have never had a course in economics. I would not disagree with the comment made by August von Hayek in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech that economists have "made a mess of things". Washington Post - The Death of 'Rational Man'Efficient Market Hypothesis as Hokum (3/29/10 Post); ERROR CREEP and the INVESTING PROCESS (12/14/11 Post)

2. I have been investing for a long time, so there is a lot of information stored in the OG's mush of a brain which unfortunately is finding inventive ways to hide from the increasingly erratic OG's retrieval system.

I attended public schools in Alabama and Tennessee until the 11th grade when my father enrolled me in a private school called the Peabody Demonstration School (annual tuition $600 which dates me), which is now known at the University School of Nashville, located across a street from Vanderbilt.  Coming from a public school in Huntsville, Alabama, it did not take long for me to realize that I was way out of my league with the other students at that school. Some of them were attending courses at Vanderbilt in science as high school juniors and would later go to places like MIT and Cal Tech. Others would end up at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford. About 10% of the senior class were Merit Scholars. Most of the Merit Scholars in Tennessee from 1969 were in my senior high school class.

I decided to go to Tulane for one primary reason. It was the only school back then that allowed me to avoid calculus. The OG has never been a math whiz and would do just about anything to avoid taking a calculus course. Even at an early age, the OG was fluent in B.S. and could form persuasive arguments about the most mundane and esoteric subjects. Instead of taking math, I was allowed to substitute Philosophy at Tulane and enjoyed reading Plato.  

In my first year, I was not much of a student. I then hunkered down and ended up with three majors. I graduated third in my class with about 163 semester hours, with majors in history, philosophy and political science. I was allowed by the university to take graduate level courses in history and had enough hours in those courses to qualify for a masters degree. I was accepted in the graduate history program at Harvard, but elected to attend law school instead. 

I was elected to the George Washington law review and to their National Moot Court team in 1976. After receiving a law degree, I became a trial attorney and a senior partner in a firm by 1979 located in Washington, D.C. I was about 30 when I argued this case before the 4th Circuit: 666 F.2d 50. Similar type cases included the following: 603 F.2d 791 587 F.2d 671 

When I left Washington, I worked on whatever interested me as a self-employed attorney, sometimes on matters where I would work for my out-of-pocket expenses. An example would be this case: 793 F. 2d 129 (environmental case). I was also involved in a variety of trials and appeals involving "torts" and contracts. One firm in Nashville employed me for years to write briefs. As one can see, there is nothing in this educational and work background that qualifies me as a "financial" person.   

In 1996, I took semi-retirement and started to focus more on my investments. I am now fully retired at age 60.

I view myself as a True Conservative which explains my point of view when discussing politics. I would not be welcomed in the modern Republican party. I was mildly comfortable with Daddy Bush and Ronald Reagan. I will vote for Obama in the upcoming election and Senator Corker for the Senate. 


  1. I assume, like me, Obama is not a warmonger like Romney, and that heavily weighs your decision? I really wish some goon with a spine in the MSM would ask Romney if he will call for a draft to support his war plans. Pass it on.
    I was wrong about NFP headline, but it was rigged. Over 400K jobs were added using seasonal adjustmts and birth/death. The Household Survey was minus 195K.

  2. Obama is less likely to make important decisions based on incomplete and inaccurate information. He is more open minded and has a willingness to learn.

    I also view it to be important to have some kind of check on the reactionary forces that dominate the GOP today. While many disagree with the following statement, I view the reactionary forces to be far more powerful in the U.S. than the liberal ones.

    In this issue of Vanity Fair, there was a very long article discussing how Rove and his rich friends are trying to shape the U.S. more to their liking. The Koch brothers are pouring up to $400 million through PACs and other "conservative" organizations to influence the upcoming election.

    I saw the analysis on the jobs report made by Rosenberg and discussed by his kindred soulmate Alan Abelson in today's Barrons.