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How dishonest are we all? One experiment shows a whopping 90%.

I can’t shake my interest (maybe morbid?) in mortgage REITs, though I’m presently virtually out of them completely. I prefer individual syndications.

Barrons has a piece from three people at Credit Suisse, which begins:

REITs That Can Post 17% Total Returns in a Year

We are changing ratings, target prices, and estimates for a number of stocks in our real-estate-investment-trust coverage universe.

Top picks across our REITs coverage universe include Simon Property Group (ticker: SPG ), Prologis ( PLD ), Boston Properties ( BXP ), Camden Property Trust ( CPT ), DDR ( DDR ) and RLJ Lodging Trust ( RLJ ). Overall, we have 15 Outperform-rated stocks in our coverage (44% of our coverage universe), with a 17% total return forecasted over the next 12 months, including a 3.0% dividend.

We are upgrading Pebblebrook Hotel Trust ( PEB ) to Outperform from Neutral as the stock has materially underperformed its peers since February (down 16% versus down 9% for peers), and now trades at 13% discount to net asset value (NAV). Pebblebrook owns the best hotel portfolios in the sector–further reinforced following our recent trip to Seattle and Portland (16% of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda))–and should continue to post sector-leading revenue per available room (RevPAR)/earnings growth throughout the cycle.

I have not checked any of them out, except to note that they’ve all fallen heavily from their this year’s highs in early January. Hence their high yields.

You can read the entire piece here.

Short Petrobras again? This is one crazy “company.” The Brazilian government owns more than half of it. Not good to have them as your partner. Hence a good short, again?


Don’t do stupid. Here am I lecturing everyone about falling down stairs. And Susan and myself have both fallen up stairs in the last few days! And always on the lowest stair — the first one. the one that’s higher or lower than the others. Don’t do stupid.

Most sunscreens don’t work. Some may be dangerous.  Men’s Journal has a neat piece on “How to spot the sunscreens that don’t work.” Click here.

This is the greatest camera bag ever invented. It’s small, compact, attractive and cheap.


For me, it carries a DSLR (a Nikon D7100) and big lens and a Canon G16, along with spare batteries, iPhone, airline tickets, receipts, maps, a bottle of water and a 7-inch tablet. You can squeeze in an 8″ iPad. The thing weighs nothing and costs almost nothing — $39.99. Click here.

Whatever happened in Baltimore? My conservative friends said whites made the nice neighborhoods, then moved out as the blacks moved in and destroyed them. So the blacks’ job to fix them. Of course, it’s more complicated than that.

Rollling Stone’s Matt Taibbi visited Baltimore and filed a big report, which included:

From Eric Garner to Michael Brown to Akai Gurley to Tamir Rice to Walter Scott and now Freddie Gray, there have now been so many police killings of African-American men and boys in the past calendar year or so that it’s been easy for both the media and the political mainstream to sell us on the idea that the killings are the whole story.

Fix that little in-custody death problem, we’re told, perhaps with the aid of “better training” or body cameras (which Baltimore has already promised to install by the end of the year), and we can comfortably go back to ignoring poverty, race, abuse, all that depressing inner-city stuff. But body cameras won’t fix it. You can’t put body cameras on a system.

As a visit to post-uprising Baltimore confirms, high-profile police murders are only part of the problem. An equally large issue is the obscene quantity of smaller daily outrages and abuses that regularly go unpunished by a complex network of local criminal-justice bureaucracies, many of which are designed to cover up bad police work and keep all our worst behaviors hidden, even from ourselves.

Go to any predominantly minority neighborhood in any major American city and you’ll hear the same stories: decades of being sworn at, thrown against walls, kicked, searched without cause, stripped naked on busy city streets, threatened with visits from child protective services, chased by dogs, and arrested and jailed not merely on false pretenses, but for reasons that often don’t even rise to the level of being stupid.

You should read his entire, well-researched piece. Click here.

Downloading new and updated software? I’m testing new software. I know that every time I add new stuff to my creaking disk drive, it will slow it down, or potentially be damaged. Hence, the first thing I do is to clone my working hard drive. This way if the new stuff messes me up, I can quickly switch back to the tried and true. My cloning device is a $63 gadget from Aluratek:


Stick the disk to clone in one slot and the target disk in the other. Hit the button. Come back 20 minutes later. Bingo you have a cloned disk. To buy this useful gadget, click here.

Next step is to make sure my Norton Internet Security is up to date and I ask it to check my disk thoroughly. Finally, I follow PC World magazine’s ‘s five rules on downloading:

1. Do your research

Read up on the type of program you’re looking for, and on the particular programs you’re considering. Use your favorite search engine to see what people are saying about them. Check out major download sites such as Major Geeks, FileHippo, and Softpedia.

2. Download from the publisher’s site

Yes, I just told you check out the download sites, but you don’t have to stay there. The publisher’s own site will probably have the cleanest, most recent version of the program.

If the publisher’s site sends you to another download site, you can safely assume that it has the preferred version.

3. Scan before installing

Your regular antivirus will scan the file as it downloads, but just to be safe, manually tell your AV program to scan the file again. Then use another malware scanner, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, to get a second opinion.

4. Consider that you may have a false positive

Antivirus programs aren’t perfect. Sometimes they see malware when it doesn’t really exist.

If both scans identify malware, assume it’s real. But if one of them gives it a clean bill of health, try other on-demand scanners, such as SUPERAntiSpyware and the Emsisoft Emergency Kit, to get a better view.

Another consideration: When any of these programs finds malware, it tells you what it found. Use a search tool like Google or Bing to learn more about it. You may find out that it’s cropping up a lot as a false positive.

5. Watch out for PUPs

If your antivirus warns you that a download includes potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), you can safely install it—but only if you’re careful. In fact, you should always  watch out for PUPs when installing software.

The French Tennis Open is on. You can see it on The Tennis Channel, ESPN2, and NBC. For the TV schedule, click here. Watch the women. Some of them are totally incredible. Check out a Croatian called Mirjana Lučić-Baroni. She’s amazing. I think she hits harder than Serena.

 Three drunks and the taxi.
Three drunk guys enter a taxi. The taxi driver knew they were drunk so he started the engine and immediately turned it off. Then he said, “We have reached your destination”.

The first guy gave him the money.

The second guy gave him money.

The third guy slapped the driver.

The driver was shocked. He thought the third drunk knew what he did. He asked “What was that for?”.

The third guy replied, “You got us here very fast. Too fast. Next time not so fast. You nearly killed us!”

Harry Newton who’s going to watch a CNBC documentary this evening at 10 PM called Dishonesty: the Truth About Lies. I saw the author, Dan Ariely on CNBC this morning. What he says about dishonesty is absolutely fascinating, and not encouraging for those of us who (naively) believe that people should be honest, and are. Ariely is a Duke Psychology professor. Ariely talked about his documentary this morning on CNBC and talked about an experiment in which 90% of participants could be turned dishonest by agreeing to fork over bribes. You got to watch this.

Honesty is of huge interest. I had  a partner for 20 years in our publishing business. He was totally honest and totally fair. When we sold the business in 1997, I entered a foreign world of dishonest (and incompetent) money managers. They have my money and “manage” it in strange ways. Their conflicts of interest and dishonesty are hidden from me (their owner). Deliberately so. It’s taken me over ten years to adjust to my new world. It hasn’t been pleasant, nor cheap. And it’s taught me not to fork over my money to people who say they can do a better job managing my money than I can. I’ll be watching and taping this evening. You should, too.