Stocks Post Biggest Rebound in 2009 Since Great Depression

Before everyone starts leaping and jumping for joy, it is a good idea to put everything in perspective.  Since March 2009, stocks have made a remarkable recovery.    The bottom had also fallen out of the stock market, so much recovery was needed. 

Several people have said they have broken even to where they were before the crash.  I offer up scenerios.  Those people either weren’t invested heavily in equities or they fed their accounts a lot this past year.  For those who have static accounts, the recovery doesn’t come near to breaking even. 

According to USA Today:

Once it was clear a collapse wasn’t going to happen, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index roared back 64.8% from its early March low. For the full year, the index rose 23.5%, or 211.85 points, it’s best showing since 2003.

 The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1,651.66, or 18.8% for the year. From its March 9 close, the Dow jumped 59.3%. Powered by the recovery in high-tech stocks, the Nasdaq ended 2009 with a gain of 696.12, or 43.9%. Tthe Nasdaq has surged 78.9% from its March low.


Up until March of last year, many people were fearful of opening their statements.  If one lost 40% in the crash, and many of us did, it will take a lot more than 40% increase to bring you back even.  That’s the math of percentages.  I have a 401k that increased by 33.6% but I am not even close to being back to the fall 2007 high water mark.  Not even close.

Read More

Gov. Kaine Critical of Snow Removal

As reported in News & Messenger:

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was not completely satisfied with the way Virginia’s transportation agency handled snow removal efforts after last month’s historic snowstorm.

At issue was some of the work that the Virginia Department of Transportation outsources to private contractors, he told Charlottesville TV station WVIR. He described the overall snow removal job done by VDOT as “an OK job.”

“We were not completely satisfied with the work that was being done by the private contractor. Without going into it too much, on Saturday [during the snowstorm] basically I asked VDOT to take over a good bit of that work and when that happened things started to go a lot better,” the governor told WVIR.

Kaine said he wasn’t happy with the lack of preparation for the storm or with the lack of urgency plow crews had when it came to clearing the snow from neighborhood streets.

The governor also used this opportunity to blast Republican counterparts in the state, saying that their unwillingness to raise taxes to pay for improvements in transportation led to the plow crew’s slower response time.

While many roads around the Woodbridge and Stafford areas were treated with salt and sand following the storm, others went up to three days following the storm without seeing a plow.

I feel vindicated.  For years I have watched the snowplows clean the main streets over and over while ignoring the harder to clean side streets.  The drivers of the plows are the contract workers, not state employees.  Governor Kaine should have called me.  I would have told him. 

Snow removal is expensive and difficult work.  It requires readiness.  Hopefully the new administration will heed the words of Governor Kaine and stay ready and alert for the next snow fall.  There are still places on Route 50 that have piles of snow on them.  Hitting one would be like hitting a deer. 

Who has some snow horror stories, now the big blow snow is finally over?  And while discussing the weather, how is the temperature out there?  When is this wind going to die down?  I cannot seem to get warm.  This cold snap should drive the energy bills up.   What is the fuel of choice?  I have both gas and a heat pump.  Since the price of natural gas has gotten so reasonable, I am wondering if it is ever cheaper to go all case and forget the heat pump.  How much is a cord of wood these days?

Congressman Gerry Connolly Backs 287(g) Program

The following letter from Congressman Gerry Connolly should put to rest any fears that Rep. Connolly is soft on crime. He has fought hard for funding for this program and other law enforcement in Prince William, Fairfax and for the state of Virginia. See his letter to the editor printed in the Manassas News & Messenger  in its entirety:

The Dec. 30 News & Messenger editorial opposing legislation in Congress to eliminate the federal 287(g) program that trains and deputizes local law enforcement officials to help identify and remove undocumented immigrants who commit crimes is right on the mark.

The current draft legislation would kill the 287(g) program in use in Prince William County and dozens of other jurisdictions across the nation. I will not support any termination of this vital program.

While there have been some excesses in the program, overall communities enrolled in 287(g) have had success in removing criminal aliens from our midst and targeting gangs, drugs and human smuggling.  Given these facts, I believe 287(g) should be improved, not eliminated.

Read More