February 20, 2008 Aging Boomers Eat Less Like so many other economic patterns that are emerging, it appears the aging of the population is having n impact on restaurants. Older people eat less and TGI Fridays is responding by offering customers a series of smaller entrees. Reports are coming in that more diners are often ordering appetizers only, sharing entrees or doing without dessert and coffee. Restaurants have been reluctant to react to this reality. Unfortunately, portion size is how a great many people judge the quality of a restaurant. Not only are restaurants afraid that cutting their serving size will hurt their image, but they will have to charge less and they are not sure the numbers will work out. NY Sun 9/4/07 I Didn’t Know That Brit Hume, now an anchor with Fox News used to be assistant to the late columnist Jack Anderson. Investors Business Daily 6/25/07 p. A16 Italian Read During our trip to Italy, I read two books that I can recommend. Den of Thieves by James Stewart, which I’ve wanted to read for about fifteen years, is a riveting account of the insider trading scandals of the early 1980s in general, and the shenanigans of Michael Milliken in particular. It is a timely read since Rudy Guiliani was partially credited with successfully prosecuting the perpetrators and he used his activities here as a stepping stone to his mayoralty run. The book shows that the real work was done by the SEC enforcement staff and not the US Attorney’s office and gives credit to the unknown people who developed the case. The other book was Washington’s Secret War by Thomas Fleming. This new book delineates the hidden history of Valley Forge and the events that led to the Battle of Monmouth and how elements in the Continental Congress wanted to replace General Washington. The book also delves behind the simplified Hollywood version of the Revolution that we learned in school that most Americans were in favor of the Revolution and everyone was very patriotic. Historian, Thomas Fleming, hits the nail on the head showing how few Americans were in favor of war, how many merely sought to profit from the war and the day to day duality of the conduct of the war as well as negotiations for peace that were going on. The parallels to today’s conduct of the Iraq campaign in the War Against Terror and the Congressional Democrats are too obtuse to be missed. I heartily recommend it. My favorite quote was from Henry Laurens, the President of the Continental Congress and pertains to Mrs. Loring who was General Howe’s mistress while he occupied Philadelphia. “When I look back on the precipice on which ….my country ha(s) been tottering all the past winter, I shudder. Had the British General been a man of enterprise, Congress would have been on shipboard (to England) and Sir William Howe in quiet possession of York Town and Albany. He could not be ignorant of our circumstances but our safety lay in Mrs. Lowery (Loring’s) lap.” Is Extreme Media Bias An Established Fact now that even Harvard sees it? A new study by the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy, finds that the media gives far more coverage to Democrats than Republicans. But, given the study’s reception in the mainstream media, it’s doubtful the issue has been put to rest since a Nexis search found only 20 mentions of the report with only a handful highlighting the revelation of extreme bias. This, of course, backs the presumption of many news consumers that bias plays a key role in what media put out and hold back. In this case, a bias in favor of their own industry resulted in the burying of a study that places the industry in a negative light. Why is this important to my newsletter? It is important because the media helps shape your view of the candidates and political parties, helping to determine who you will or will not vote for. The successful candidates determine the legal, financial and tax policy of the country. Among the many findings, it determined Democrats got more coverage than Republicans (49% of the stories vs. 31%). It found the tone of the coverage was more positive for Democrats (35% to 26% for Republicans). 59% of first page stories about Democrats in 11 newspapers had a clear and positive message vs. 11% that carried a negative tone. For top tier candidates, the difference was more apparent: Barak Obama’s coverage was 70% positive and 9% negative and Hillary Clinton’s was 61% positive and 13% negative. In contrast, 26% of the stories on Republican candidates were positive and 40% negative. On TV, evening network newscasts gave 49% of their campaign coverage to the Democrats and 28% to Republicans. As for tone, 39.5% of the Democrat coverage was positive and 17.1% negative; while 18.6% of Republican coverage was positive and 37.2% negative. These findings are in line with prior studies. In the 1968 election, coverage was tilted against Nixon 8-1 on ABC, 10-1 on NBC and 16-1 on CBS. In 1984 Reagan got 730 seconds of positive coverage and 7230 seconds of negative coverage while Mondale’s positive press totaled 1330 seconds as against 1050 seconds of negative. In 1986 a survey of 240 journalists at virtually every major media outlet found that in presidential elections from 1964 to 1976 86% of top journalists voted Democrat, in 1980, 76% and 91% in 1992. Investors Business Daily 11/12/07 p.A1 If you have any questions about the foregoing or any other financial matters, please call us. 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