Cheers for the Chairman

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Groovin' on Greenspan

James Cramer

: In my opinion,

Greenspan

is

the best public official in the world. Our economy would be in worse shape than Russia's if not for Greenspan's rescue of US banks. There would be no

Citibank

(C) - Get Report

,

Chase

(CMB)

, or

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

. Who knows what kind of economic system would prevail here? Someone, somewhere should praise

President Clinton

and

Vice President Gore

for fostering our technological revolution. They have been very explicit in promoting technology and the information superhighway.

Thomas Hirsch

(Received 1/28)

Jim, I have lived in South Carolina for almost 25 years.

Senator Hollings

helped keep his state at the bottom of the statistical heap in most vital categories with the same know it all, arrogant attitude he exhibited with Chairman Greenspan. The people suffer for it. He and

Senator Strom Thurmond

can't last forever. Regardless, South Carolina still has some of the most beautiful beaches in the USA!

Thomas Sutton

(Received 1/28)

Passing on Padinha

James Padhina's

column

On Internet Investing clearly misrepresents what Mr.Greenspan said about Net stock prices. I listened to the testimony and I feel that while Padhina may have some valid issues with Net investing, and is entitled to his opinion, his distortion of the testimony should not go without correction.

Bob Schlowsky

(Received 1/29)

I wonder if you folks have the quality control that is necessary. I also wonder if your reporter, James Padinha, actually listened to Mr. Greenspan's comments.

What was noteworthy, and totally missed by Mr. Padinha, were Mr. Greenspan's not too subtle blessing of these stocks. He avoided all the trite bubble comments made by the same pros,

Barton Biggs

and pale imitators that are thinly cloaked permabears. Mr. Greenspan's main comment was that the market was directing investment to this area, which will revolutionize how commerce would be done. This is huge! You guys totally missed it.

Michael Braude

(Received 1/29)

Perdue's Parting Shots

What's all the

commotion about? Lewis Perdue is unduly concerned with firearms being sold via

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

and others. Has he visited www.shotgunnews.com? This is the online version of Shotgun News magazine, the firearms dealer's bible for decades. I've subscribed for years, and no, it isn't a crime to subscribe even if you don't have a Federal Firearms License! I look forward to the online version rather than my thrice monthly printed version. If I ever see something I like, I do what I always do: contact my local dealer and have him or her order it for me! No big deal! No crime committed! Chill out and stop chasing boogey men where no boogey men exist!

Raul Mas

(Received 1/28)

Lewis Perdue

responds:

The

article was not about sales of guns where a licensed party was part of the transaction. The article was about sales taking place where no license was held, either by the buyer, or the seller.

The

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

and the

Attorneys General

of New York and California, all of whom provided me with far more information than

Handgun Control, Inc.

consider unlicensed sales as felonies. It seems many respondent's choose to interpret this differently, a response I find curious.

Am I anti-gun? Hardly.

As the owner of several firearms, both long-guns and hand guns, I am appalled that it is so easy for criminals to obtain guns. I come from several generations of hunters and target shooters who believe in responsibility and safety for the gun owner, operator and everyone around him or her yep, my mother was and my wife is a pretty nifty wing shot. I also believe in trigger locks, keeping firearms locked, out of the hands of children and away from adults without firearms safety training.

Finally, litigation whether you think it is warranted or not is a real threat to a company and in this legal environment, investors and officers of

eBay

(eBay) - Get Report

and

Excite

(XCIT)

would be irresponsible to think they could escape being named in a lawsuit if a gun which was sold through their systems kills or injures someone.

Lewis Perdue

Death Rates Relevance

Herb Greenberg

: If you want to find an opportunity to

shoot a hole in a company's excuses, the baloney about lower death rates in the market that

Service Corp.

(STEI)

operates in is just that.

What do funeral companies know about death rate trends? I suspect that they know almost nothing unless they have hired some consulting life insurance actuaries to study such information.

Go ask a life insurance or actuary if they have seen any evidence of a low death rate trend in that last few months and compare that answer to what Service Corp. used as an excuse.

Rick Olson

(Received 1/28)

Late Misses: Europe Logs On

Nick Watson

: You missed one:

Icon Medialab

. I'm surprised at you! They may not be an ISP, but what they do is integral to the

Web coming to Europe. They're traded in Sweden and are the largest factor in their marketplace. They've been listed in

Fortune

for the last 4 to 5 months as one of the 25 coolest companies. They are the largest of the European counters to

USWeb/CKS

(USWB)

group and a company that

TSC

should be covering. They are among the reasons that folks in Europe will hook up to the web. Without sites, there is little reason to do so.

David Lilienfeld

(Received 1/28)

Action Performance: Hit and Miss

Suzanne Kapner

: Thanks for the

information, I was watching

Action Performance

(ACTN)

, and now will continue to. I really like the straight forward way you write, keep up the good work.

Dennis Hartlaub

(Received 1/26)

Not a great job of reporting by Suzanne Kapner. My sources have been telling me that the distributors ACTN sells to have been seeing strong demand and the lower inventories the company reported today seem to back up that claim. The shorts are now getting squeezed. I held off buying the stock because I heard you folks were preparing an article with a negative slant. Now I'm sorry I missed a good ride.

Donald Rossbach

(Received 1/26)

Nokia Yeasayers

Loved the

Nokia

(NOK.A)

article by your new European writer. Besides the deep insight into the company itself, there is invaluable background to why the Europeans have cleaned up in the mobile phone market. Will somebody in the States now please tell the powers at be that:

  • GSM is the world standard, and it's no use trying to push your Betamax-like system on the rest of us.
  • Your sales are never going to take off if you insist in charging air -time even in your home network area.

Eagerly looking forward to more from Tero.

Kim Robert Rampling

(Received 1/27)

Tero Kuittinen

: Enjoyed the article. However, you didn't mention anything about

Qualcomm

and their advanced CDMA technology. I have used Nokia phones, and most recently, a

Motorola

(MOT)

digital/analog phone via

CellularOne's

NorthEast TDMA network. I was less than pleased with the technology.

Now I'm using

Bell Atlantic's

(BEL)

Digitial Choice-800 plan with

Qualcomm's

QCP-820 phone. This phone and network is the best I've used so far. I average about 1000 minutes per month. I can't believe how much better the reception is.

Also, I love this Qualcomm phone. Now I know that Nokia's GSM Network technology is the standard in Europe right now. However, I've read that a version of CDMA may be chosen as the next generation mobile in Europe. No matter which company gets the nod for a future version of GSM, Qualcomm will benefit via network component sales if it's a version of CDMA.

Dan Cronin

(Received 1/27)

Who's Out First? No Advantage

George Mannes

: I've thought for some time that the buzz about

first-mover advantages was way overdone. Oversimplified, mainly. Your article confirms that point of view.

But I thought you missed some chains of thought that are important. You didn't enumerate second-mover advantages, for one thing. That's also a sort of standard discussion.

The major second-mover advantage is, obviously, being able to look at what the first-mover did and adjust your aim. Now, adjusting your aim means aiming at a different target, which immediately confers first-mover-advantage on you in a redefined market.

Example:

AltaVista

and some others were first-movers in search engines. It turns out though, that search engines were not where it's at. The place to be was a variation on that concept that didn't become clear until after the search engines were out there: portals. So before somebody goes yawping about first-mover advantages and uses

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

to illustrate, they should recognize that Yahoo's real advantage was being a second-mover in the search-engine market. That is what allowed them to invent the portal market and be first movers there.

In short, looking at who's first, and second is only the second most important thing to worry about. The most important thing to worry about is how the target, the business-proposition, is defined. The first one to get it really right wins; but that is not the way first-mover is usually interpreted.

Jim Goodwin

(Received 1/26)

IBM Buy Back

Eric Moskowitz

: There is a value to existing shareholders in

IBM buying back its shares that I believe you are ignoring. As the buy back progresses existing holders own a larger piece of the company than before. Not all bad when you consider that the company is growing and performing at a much higher level than just a couple of years ago.

And, IBM still spends one heck of a lot on R&D and capital projects aimed at the future. I, for one, am glad they like their own stock at least as much as I do. If they would just buy it all back but mine, I'll own the whole place, which I am willing to suffer for just the value of their patents.

Michael P. Manning

(Received 1/24)

Tax Tips for Traders

Tracy Byrnes

: Just finished reading your

article concerning various tax topics for those who want to file their tax returns as professional traders. This area of tax law is not rocket science, but requires careful consideration of various tax issues for each trader. After reviewing the questions your readers posted, I suggest that you include in your answers and disclaimer, a statement that each reader seek the advise of a CPA or tax professional that works in this area. Unfortunately not all CPAs or other professionals deal with professional traders and mistakes are made.

Anthony R. Lanza

(Received 1/24)

Flirting with Disaster Excites Readers

Lewis Perdue's

article (Excite and eBay: Flirting With Disaster?) in the Jan. 22

TheStreet.com

is rife with erroneous information and parrots the extremist agenda of the

Handgun Control Institute

.

Claims that Web sites facilitating the purchase of firearms subsequently involved in a crime or injury would somehow be liable is a stretch and could have a chilling effect on e-commerce. The sale or exchange of firearms between private parties is clearly legal and does not require a federal firearms license. I am sure that the zanies at HCI would love it if that were not the case.

Apparently, Mr. Perdue finds it quite offensive that it is easy to obtain firearms on the Net. Many folks find accessibility to other things on the Net offensive, but thankfully most thinking folks prefer freedom over censorship. Trust me. Censorship and intimidation of Web auction sites are the object of HCI in this article. Mr. Perdue's legal sources "familiar with this area" and obviously referred by HCI are probably the same trial lawyers enticing cities to sue manufacturers for illegal and irresponsible use of firearms, a departure from logic assailed by

George Will

in

today's

Washington Post

.

Mr. Perdue has either fallen victim to or shares the propensity of HCI to dispense misinformation. Unfortunately, in Mr. Perdue's case, this misinformation may falsely foster fear of future legal actions against the companies cited in his article, and investor skepticism regarding their stock.

TheStreet.com

should demand more responsibility from its contributors. But then, I guess Excite and eBay might argue that

TheStreet.com

, or maybe even the portals which convey such erroneous messages, might be liable for any resultant financial consequences. Certainly, Mr. Perdue should not be held responsible for his actions.

Bill Goodnight

(Received 1/24)

Since the guns sold would have to be sent through the mail in most cases, legally they would have to be sent to a person with an FFL. That person is obligated to comply with any waiting period and background check rules. This would include the

National Rifle Association

-backed instant background check now in effect. If buyers or sellers are willing to break the law, it would have nothing to do with where they originated the transaction.

The auctioneers would be no more liable for the misuse of a gun than they would be if someone choked on a Beanie Baby's eye. HCI and the other anti-gunners will try to make an issue out of this, but for the time being, guns are still legal in this country so we can sell to each other as well.

J.G. Emanuele

(Received 1/24)

Illegal is illegal. The

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

and our courts send people to prison who improperly buy and sell firearms. If Lewis knows of an actual sale of this type, he is duty bound to report it, rather than incite another round of Net paranoia.

My information from the BATF is that they are concerned, they being the police, but know of no actual crimes.

It is also possible via the Net to buy and sell the products of robbery, violent crime and illegal drugs.

And sex offenders stalk victims.

And religions that "we" disagree with spread the word.

Lions and tigers and bears...

We better just make the whole thing illegal. Now that is the first good solution that I've heard of to cure the gun problem.

Does "ideaworx" have a meaning? I want to join that club.

James Conlow

(Received 1/24)

What a fine, well-balanced column! Purdue succeeds in perpetuating the absolute myth that one can purchase a gun at a gun show without observing all of the current federal laws. I challenge him to go to a gun show, if he could possibly stand to do so, and actually try to buy a gun from a non-Federal Firearms License dealer and avoid all of the rest of the federal laws. No way! These people are in business -- legitimate business, I might add. They are not about to break the law for the sake of a quick sale.

Thanks also for quoting

Sarah Brady

. A more balanced spokesperson on the issue of guns and gun control one could not choose. I would have been a bit more receptive to this article if Perdue had at least gotten a counterpoint view, say from the NRA. My guess is he never thought of doing that. Left-wing, anti-Constitutional writers seldom do.

Don't bother to put this character's one-sided opinions in any further newsletters you send to me, or take me off your list. Your choice.

Cal Troutman

(Received 1/24)