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Joe Jamail: On Investing for Lawyers

Several of my lawyer friends have become frustrated from a recent realization: The stock market is a scam. Well, at worst it's a scam. At best, it's a gamble. My friends wonder, "What should I do with my money?"

Billionaire lawyer and King of Torts Joe Jamail has some advice:

Lawyer Joe Jamail, with the bulk of his fortune in bonds and cash, expresses in colorful language a common tenet: Hedge funds are dangerous.

“I’d buy cocaine rather than buy that s---,” he says.

Jamail continues:

I usually don’t invest much in the market directly. I always look for price returns rather than income, because I make enough f------ money out of this sue shop--my law office. Most of my stuff is in bonds.

My dad told me, “Don’t buy any g------ stocks, OK?” He had a chain of grocery stores. He liked that cash coming in.

Best and worst investments?

Best: A law degree, no question about it. Worst: Airline stocks.

Where to park $1 million in cash?

In my mattress.

Read more advice from Jamail and other billionaires here.


The Commute that Killed the Blog: Review of the Great Courses

The blog has died not for want of passion, but for want of time. A move has led me to a new job with a morning commute.

Also, my laptop broke. Sundays were my main blogging days. I'd spend 2-4 hours high on caffeine and sex, writing blog posts for the week. With a commute and without a laptop, something had to give.

I have, however, deeply enjoyed my commute. Self-discipline is the hardest of all forms to master. I wasn't reading as much as I should have been, and now a commute captures me for two hours a day. I can feed my brain Doritos, or I  can learning something.

I've thus been burning through the Great Courses series, and although this may sound like an advertisement, I have no affiliation and earn nothing for my endorsement.

"Memory and the Human Lifespan" was awesome enough that I listened to several of the lectures twice. I'm 50% finished with "Origins of the Human Mind," and it's similarly excellent. On deck is "Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche," which has mixed reviews online.

Robert Greendberg is a Great Courses fan-favorite, and I understood why, while listening to, "Chamber Music of Mozart."  

I spent a few years reading and thinking about consciousness, so I have an understanding of what to expert in a course entitled, "Philosophy of Mind: Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines." It was, again, a fascinating looking at a perplexing subject.

Each course has been awesome, and I eye the catalog like a kid at Christmas.

Here are some tips.

Audio or DVD? Like you, I imagine returning home to watch a 30-minute lecture each night. Instead, I usually watch Sons of Anarchy. The road to a collection of unwatched Great Courses DVDs is paved with good intentions.

I tend to stick with the CDs. I really wanted "Neuroscience of Everyday Life," which was only available on DVD. I'll eventually watch it, but a CD would have been preferable.

The audio downloads work on an mp3 player, and last forever. I listened to the consciousness lectures while riding the stationary bike, two years ago. I can still access the lectures to re-listen to them. Pretty cool.

Wait for the 70% off sale. Every course goes on sale. There's no reason to pay full price. Sometimes, too, the sale price is still too high.

I paid $99.99 (less a 30% off coupon) for "Neuroscience of Everyday Life," which is now on super-sale for $49.99. WIth shipping, the DVD collection cost me $79.99, where as today it would only have costed me $49.99. I'm a little salty about overpaying, and am reminded that some sales are more equal than others.

Get coupons. Google, "Great Courses coupon code." (You should always use a "coupon code" search with whatever you're about to buy.) You'll land on RetailMeNot's page. You'll at least be able to find a working coupon for free shipping ($10 value).

They take longer to ship than suggested. Great Courses claims to same-day ship. In my experience, they take about 1-3 days to ship, and it takes about 7-10 days to receive my package. Since I go through 10-12 lectures a week, and since each course averages 24, I order a new set upon opening part two of the series.

The guarantee is awesome. If you lose or break a CD or DVD, they'll replace it. If a course doesn't do it for you, send it back for a refund.

In an era where scumbag companies try nickel-and-diming you, it's refreshing to find an honest company that adds real value to one's life.

My experiences with the Great Courses has been as positive and edifying as any other business relationship. I highly recommend them to you.


The 1%'s Enforcers Are the 99%

I wish this insight had been my own:

Cool thing about this incident is that the UC-Davis President's job is now in jeopardy and the UC-Davis president has control over the Campus police and so it looks like somebody has to be sacrificed, guess who those somebodies will be, hint, it ain't the President.

There are three more people sitting around today, two cops involved and their chief. They are now finding out and will soon find out for sure that they are simply pawns in a game (just like every other cop in this country) and that when their superiors are in danger they will be tossed to the wind if it protects their owners.....I mean bosses.


Penn State: Timeline of Events

There are a lot of dots to connect:

1969 — Jerry Sandusky starts his coaching career at Penn State University as a defensive line coach.

1977 — Jerry Sandusky founds The Second Mile. It begins as a group foster home dedicated to helping troubled boys and grows into a charity dedicated to helping children with absent or dysfunctional families.

January 1983 — Associated Press voters select Penn State as college football’s national champion for the 1982 season.

January 1987 — Associated Press voters select Penn State as college football’s national champion for the 1986 season.

1994 — Boy known as Victim 7 in the report meets Sandusky through The Second Mile program at about the age of 10.

1994-95 — Boy known as Victim 6 meets Sandusky at a Second Mile picnic at Spring Creek Park when he is 7 or 8 years old.

1995-96 — Boy known as Victim 5, meets Sandusky through The Second Mile when he is 7 or 8, in second or third grade.

1996-97 — Boy known as Victim 4, at the age of 12 or 13, meets Sandusky while he is in his second year participating in The Second Mile program.

1996-98 — Victim 5 is taken to the locker rooms and showers at Penn State by Sandusky when he is 8 to 10 years old.

Jan. 1, 1998 — Victim 4 is listed, along with Sandusky’s wife, as a member of Sandusky’s family party for the 1998 Outback Bowl.

1998 — Victim 6 is taken into the locker rooms and showers when he is 11 years old. When Victim 6 is dropped off at home, his hair is wet from showering with Sandusky. His mother reports the incident to the university police, who investigate.

Detective Ronald Schreffler testifies that he and State College Police Department Detective Ralph Ralston, with the consent of the mother of Victim 6, eavesdrop on two conversations the mother of Victim 6 has with Sandusky. Sandusky says he has showered with other boys and Victim 6’s mother tries to make Sandusky promise never to shower with a boy again but he will not. At the end of the second conversation, after Sandusky is told he cannot see Victim 6 anymore, Schreffler testifies Sandusky says, “I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”

Jerry Lauro, an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, testifies that he and Schreffler interviewed Sandusky, and that Sandusky admits showering naked with Victim 6, admits to hugging Victim 6 while in the shower and admits that it was wrong.

The case is closed after then-Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decides there will be no criminal charge.

June 1999 — Sandusky retires from Penn State but still holds emeritus status.

Dec. 28, 1999 — Victim 4 is listed, along with Sandusky’s wife, as a member of Sandusky’s family party for the 1999 Alamo Bowl.

Summer 2000 — Boy known as Victim 3 meets Sandusky through The Second Mile when he is between seventh and eighth grade.

Fall 2000 — A janitor named James Calhoun observes Sandusky in the showers of the Lasch Football Building with a young boy, known as Victim 8, pinned up against the wall, performing oral sex on the boy. He tells other janitorial staff immediately. Fellow Office of Physical Plant employee Ronald Petrosky cleans the showers at Lasch and sees Sandusky and the boy, who he describes as being between the ages of 11 and 13.

Calhoun tells other physical plant employees what he saw, including Jay Witherite, his immediate supervisor. Witherite tells him to whom he should report the incident. Calhoun was a temporary employee and never makes a report. Victim 8’s identity is unknown.

March 1, 2002 — A Penn State graduate assistant enters the locker room at the Lasch Football Building. In the showers, he sees a naked boy, known as Victim 2, whose age he estimates to be 10 years old, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant tells his father immediately.

March 2, 2002 — In the morning, the graduate assistant calls coach Joe Paterno and goes to Paterno’s home, where he reports what he has seen.

March 3, 2002 — Paterno calls Tim Curley, Penn State athletic director, to his home the next day and reports a version of what the grad assistant had said.

March 2002 — Later in the month the graduate assistant is called to a meeting with Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz. The grad assistant reports what he has seen and Curley and Schultz say they will look into it.

March 27, 2002 (approximate) — The graduate assistant hears from Curley. He is told that Sandusky’s locker room keys are taken away and that the incident has been reported to The Second Mile. The graduate assistant is never questioned by university police and no other entity conducts an investigation until the graduate assistant testifies in grand jury in December 2010.

2005-2006 — Boy known as Victim 1 says that he meets Sandusky through The Second Mile at age 11 or 12.

Spring 2007 — During the 2007 track season, Sandusky begins spending time with Victim 1 weekly, having him stay overnight at his residence in College Township, Pa.

Spring 2008 — Termination of contact with Victim 1 occurs when he is a freshman in a Clinton County high school. After the boy’s mother calls the school to report sexual assault, Sandusky is barred from the school district attended by Victim 1 from that day forward and the matter is reported to authorities as mandated by law.

Early 2009 — An investigation by the Pennsylvania attorney general begins when a Clinton County, Pa., teen boy tells authorities that Sandusky has inappropriately touched him several times over a four-year period.

September 2010 — Sandusky retires from day-to-day involvement with The Second Mile, saying he wants to spend more time with family and handle personal matters.

Nov. 5, 2011 — Sandusky is arrested and released on $100,000 bail after being arraigned on 40 criminal counts.

Nov. 7, 2011 — Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly says Paterno is not a target of the investigation into how the school handled the accusations. But she refuses to say the same for university President Graham Spanier. Curley and Schultz, who have stepped down from their positions, surrender on charges that they failed to alert police to complaints against Sandusky.

Nov. 8, 2011 — Possible ninth victim of Sandusky contacts state police as calls for ouster of Paterno and Spanier grow in state and beyond. Penn State abruptly cancels Paterno’s regular weekly news conference.

Nov. 9, 2011 — Paterno announces he’ll retire at the end of the season then is fired by board of trustees.



Time or Money?

From an unlikely speaker, who spent so much of his time being a tyrant: 

But another way to look at life  is to look at it as  a great  shopping mall, not the usual  kind, where  goods  are  purchased  with money,  but  one where such  things  as  worldly  success,  love  of music, enjoyment  of painting, a  six handicap  golf  game,  a  close  relationship  with  your  daughter,  and  many other  similar things  are  also  for sale.  But the commodity  with which  they are purchased  is not money but is time.  And quite  contrary to the way the capitalist  system  works  with  money  and  goods,  every  one  of  us  is  given exactly  the  same  amount  of time in  each  hour,  in  each  day,  and  in  each year.  It is a limited  amount, and it is  impossible  for anyone to be  so  rich in "time"  that he can enjoy every single one of the things which time  may buy. So  there is  a  choice  to  be made, just  as in  purchasing  goods with  money, although the choice  in the one case is far less obvious than the choice in the other.