Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Speech We Can Learn From

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. […]

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.”

Barack Obamas Speech on Race - New York Times.

Obama gave this speech in the aftermath of the racially offensive sermon of his reverend. Even though the speech is triggered by race it goes beyond that to address the issues facing the US or any country going through election for the people who will shape its future.

So back home, will it be politics as usual or will we see something fresh? Will the issues that effect us and our future be addressed: creating jobs, improving education and health care, and rising to our true potential? Or is it going to be all about misuse of public property, salary increases and divisive politics. I hope the voters can come together and say, “Not this time.”

Monday, March 24, 2008

Behavioral Investing

Snake Bite Effect - When people experience a loss, they feel that they should take less risk with the money they have left because they feel they will continue to be unlucky. This may not be true, if the investment fundamentals and growth potential has not changed.

Behavioral Investing.


I must admit I was bitten in the financial markets recently [Marekets Are Killing Me!]. I noticed when investing in individual stocks, there is the tendency to constantly check on them and how well or bad they are doing. So in volatile markets, like the one experienced in the US recently, this means trading those stocks prematurely with adverse consequences -like I experienced.

So I have been thinking about how to invest for the long term without going directly into individual stock to avoid the constant urge to follow the markets. I did some research on Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). It is a great way to get exposure to the market or sector (say financial) by investing in a single ETF that gives you diversification within the market or sector (it is comprised of a number of stocks in the financial sector) as well as liquidity (you can trade ETFs just like stocks). This makes it easier to focus on long term investing rather than suffer from volatile markets.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rachel Corrie

I never heard of her until now. Rachel Corrie an American peace activist died at the age of 23 while protesting in Gaza 5 years ago. I thought her story was unusual and inspiring. She believed in the plight of the Palestinian people and wanted people to hear the other side of the story. When a person dies in a developed country it’s all over the news. But the extermination of many in less fortunate places pass by unnoticed.

Rachel was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while protesting its use to destroy Palestinian houses in Rafah. The American peace activist in her life and death screams out the agony of the underprivileged, and their hopes and aspirations that the world fails to notice.

We have got to understand that people in third world countries think and care and smile and cry just like us.
We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.

Rachel Corrie, aged ten, recorded at her school’s Fifth Grade Press Conference on World Hunger.



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Gay Taxi

Who said Kuwait wasn't liberal?!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Markets Are Killing Me!

Can you believe what is going on in the US markets?! Well at this point all markets, including Kuwait, are acting up -more like down! But what is happening in the US is especially disturbing. I am a big fan of financial stocks and have always admired Bear Stearn. It is absolutely shocking for me -and a lot many I am sure- what happened to it lately. I remember at some point it was trading close to $160 and that is not even a year ago. Now it got sold to JP Morgan Chase for $2 to save it from bankruptcy!

Think of Enron, Arthur Anderson, MCI Worldcom and many other big names that went under just like that. Those corporations took years, even decades to build, and all is lost in an instant. It’s a reminder of how efficient the market is in cleaning up bad practices and excesses. There is a lesson for companies, and individuals alike, to constantly look within and assess themselves before they are swept away and all that is built is lost..

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Power of Now

I got my hands on The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle after it was recommended to me thinking it was about time management. I got the audio version purchased from the itunes store which is great. It is a good way to fill the gap while you’re waiting for a plane or at the gym..

Anyways it turns out not exactly about time management but great reading (listening) nevertheless. It’s about how to be fully focused on the moment and not let the past or the future get in the way. I know it sounds a little.. well bite me, but I found the insights helpful and practical.

Try to stop the voice in your head. The constant thinking. You don’t need all the thinking - don’t get it wrong this does not mean doing stupid things rather to be conscious and present without constant thinking. Imagine you are engaged in your favorite sport or hobby when you are in the zone and not thinking and everything comes out naturally and smoothly. I think in a nutshell this is the idea behind this book: to try to make every moment of your life similar to this experience.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Words of Wisdom

She also offers some advice for those experiencing hard times.

"I made it. I'm still here and I love who I am. If I never went through the hard times, I would not be able to appreciate the good ones," Dupre writes.

"Cliche, yes, but I know it's true. I have experienced just how hard it can be. I can honestly tell you to never dwell on the past, but build from it and keep moving forward."

Spitzer's 'call girl': I'm no monster -

For a New York Governor and ex Attorney General of the city who made his name fighting crime and greed, to be caught hiring a call girl and lose everything is unbelievable. One thinks how can he risk everything for passing pleasure? But again this is human nature and it will not be the last. Take Bill Clinton and so many others in high places who put everything on the line for such pleasures. Even though what Spitzer engaged in was unwise, here the call girl offers some words of wisdom and good looks to go with it (so not all lost for nothing!).

Monday, March 10, 2008

There Will Be Blood

The film, which is loosely based on Sinclair's book, is a study of frontier capitalism at its rawest. It is set in the badlands of the West—all scrub and rocks—where the people are too poor to buy bread and the only solace lies in the wonder-working power of Pentecostalism. The discovery of oil suddenly pours wealth into the community, but also brings all the usual sins of greed and envy. The local preacher is consumed by the dream of building a huge church.

Lexington | Blood and oil |

A great movie that I highly recommend. It shows the darkest side of capitalism which in search for money destroys everything of value. Also the darkest side of religion that is all about greed and misleading people. Now we know that in religion There Will Be Money!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ahmad Al-Rubai

No words can do this man justice. A true loss to Kuwait. May God bless his soul, help his family and help all those who loved him and were inspired by him. 

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Right to Mixed Education

Separating schoolboys from schoolgirls has long been a staple of private and parochial education. But the idea is now gaining traction in American public schools, in response to both the desire of parents to have more choice in their children’s public education and the separate education crises girls and boys have been widely reported to experience.

Single-Sex Public Education - Children and Youth - Schools - Gender - New York Times.

America is listing to our Islamists' doctrine in education! What’s happening to the world?! Actually single sex education is not a bad idea. A lot of the highest ranked schools and colleges in the US are single sex. From the above article this is a widening trend in the US. Does this mean the Islamists around here are right? That is possible but it’s beside the point. Even when they are right, they have no right to impose on all. Let people decide what is best for them.