Idea storage

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winters Law Office Blog

As you can tell, I not updating this blog anymore. I am, however, maintaining a blog through my website --

In that this blog is part of my web site, it is fairly tightly focused on criminal defense issues. I still have periodic thoughts about other issues that some day I will wish again to blog about. Until then, please visit me at the above address and feel free to send your comments and/or subscribe through the RSS feed.

Thanks and happy holidays!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The General Motors situation

here's an idea ...

Why doesn't G.M. just go into the employment training business. Instead of having a bunch of idle and underutilized workers getting paid good salaries to do next to nothing, why don't they just train the workers to help G.M.A.C. Most people who can learn to work in a factory could also learn to --

1. sweep up an office
2. answer a telephone
3. type
4. close a loan (let's face it, it's not rocket science)

Why have a whole bunch of perfectly capable people sitting around twiddling their thumbs on what is ultimately the U.S. shareholder and taxpayer dollar? Let's get worker's working. It's not economical to produce automobiles in this country. We're a service based economy. Let's face it and move on.

If they let me manage G.M. I'd close every factory tomorrow. Transport the machinery to India, pay off the U.S. workers whatever the government and public opinion will accept, and just call it the end of an era. We'll all be better for it in the long run.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Stock Market and Interest Rates

(Note: this will be the first part in a continuing series)

Below is a graph of S & P 500 Price to Earnings Ratio that I got from www. As you can see, price per earning hit a historic high during the bull run of the late 90's, and is currently still quite high. Some cry apocalypse.

In my mind, it's really the inverseof the p/e ratio that's important to study (i.e., the earnings per price ratio). This is because the inverse of p/e tells you what the return per dollar is based on current earnings, assuming no or even growth. The p/e inverse of stocks in general should correlate with the rate of return on any alternative forms of investment, such as real estate or bonds. Of course, because earnings growth is generally expected for stocks, the inverse of the p/e ratio will tend to be lower than long term interest rates, for which the return remains constant for the life of the investment.

Using statistics gathered from the S & P 500 and posted to the web by Economist Robert Shiller, I graphed the inverse of the S & P 500 against the long term interest rates as tabulated by Mr. Shiller. Clearly, since about 1960, the inverse p/e has been very highly correlated to long-term interest rates. This is likely the result of increasingly conscious efforts by the central bank to control this relationship. I know this isn't anything new but the bottom line is this: the value of assets is dictated by the value of money, which is dictated by interest rates, which are controlled by the central bank. The more an investor can get from a safer investment (e..g, bonds), the less likely she will be to invest in a riskier asset with a higher possibility of return (the stocks). Stock prices will have to be lower for her to buy, and so the prices will come down, driving the e/p up, which is why the interest rates and the e/p of stocks move in tandem. Later we'll add median home values to the mix ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


You might remember my post from a while back about my dream of creating one device to carry with you for all of your functions (e.g., keys, phone, tunes, wallet, license). From the front page of this morning's Wall Street Journal:

Takeshi Natsuno, a Japanese business man is "pushing a new line of cellphones that work like an electronic wallet with cash stored inside ... The first version, introduced in July 2004 [in Japan], can store up to about $450 in cash ... About 22,000 retailers in Japan have installed devices at their cash registers that can recipe the phone's signal."

Somebody needs to notify Wal-Mart about this immediately!

Friday, August 12, 2005

N.H. charges against illegal immigrants dismissed!

I have this through a third party, so new link yet. In case you don't know the story, here's a post I did on it a little while back.

Bottom line is, these trespassing charges against illegal immigrants solely because they were in the town were totally bogus. Thank god Judge Runyon had some common sense. Hopefully these arrests will disappear from memory and don't represent a trend.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Judgment against public defender reversed

Here's an interesting post from "a Public Defender" blawg. According to the story, a man was shot and paralyzed by some cops, who then planted a gun in his hand, getting him convicted for assault. In the aftermath (story doesn't say what happened to the cops, who hopefully were sent to prison), the man successfully sued his public defender for failing to act on knowledge that the officers involved had a pattern of corruption. The award was reversed, however, because of juror misconduct. In fact, apparently one of the jurors had starred in a movie about the scandal and never mentioned it!

The question I have is, who is theoretically most liable for the man's wrongful conviction? Clearly the immediate officers involved but, after that, I think the next most responsible agencies are the police department and the prosecutor. Only if those agencies were non-negligent should a public defender be liable, in my opinion.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Blogging tip

Here's a tip from the blog of legal marketing expert Larry Bodine, quoting a comments made at a conference by legal blog marketer Kevin O'Keefe. The best advice is this: keep your posts short, and quote, link and cite other blogs and cites. This is O'Keefe's advice for getting traffic, which apparently has been successful for him.

He says make each post two paragraphs, with no more than two sentences each! That strikes me as impossibly short, and he even gleefully violates this rule in the post itself. Nevertheless, I can't disagree that brevity is undoubtedly a virtue.