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Grinning at the Grumps

Jim Cramer:

Your

Bring on the Grumps was a great dose of good ol' back to reality, get yourself back to work, Monday morning medicine. I needed that more than ever to motivate me when I'm looking at a five-day week that ends on Saturday this time around.

--

Joseph O'Brien

(received 7/6)

James Cramer:

In response to your column

Bring on the Grumps, finally, a piece that says it all! It coincides with my line of thinking that the bond people are overly paranoid and that their sentiment is what has driven rates higher. To me, the

Fed

awarded these "scarecrows" the consolation prize by only lifting Fed rates by 25 basis points. There was no big trophy or the hint of them getting one in the near future.

Part of my reasoning has to do with the things you mentioned and the Fed's continued printing of more and more money. Conditions just don't seem right for a big move, at least not yet. Therefore, I believe that the stock market will move up during earnings season as the bond people try to readjust their positions and more and more semi-annual pension funds pump money into stocks and bonds. So, with those beliefs, it seems logical that interest rates will get closer to 5% than to 7% and the stock market will post higher highs. However, the valuation of stocks seems very very rich and I'd sure hate to see a repeat of '87. But come October, I look for the Y2K hysteria to be in full force and "Wall Street come a tumblin' down."

Bruce Ayers

(received 7/6)

Questioning Medicare

Heather Moore:

Regarding

Columbia/HCA Healthcare Execs Found Guilty in Medicare Fraud Case, while the executives in charge certainly were responsible for some shenanigans, why hasn't anyone begun to question the people in charge of

Medicare

about their systems and controls? It's hard to believe that anyone doing business in the private sector would have allowed these massive frauds to take place for so long. It's pretty scary for us little old taxpayers to watch these bureaucrats and their hired help throw away precious capital like this.

But then again, it's not their money they're handling. It's ours!

--

Craig Kincaid

(7/3)

No Easy Way Out for eBay

Spencer Ante:

In response to your column

eBay's Outage Sends Shudders, but Solutions Aren't Easy, I'd like to comment. The real reason behind the recent outages is the wrong approach to technology. A start-up begins with one or two PCs and while growing, adds more and more PCs to its network.

I don't know how many PC/servers eBay

(eBay) - Get Report

has, but it's got to be a large number. However, these companies have got to realize that neither PCs nor servers associated with their networks are reliable 365 days/24 hours a day. In reality, the only solution is mainframe computers. Look at banks, insurance companies, manufacturers: All of them have mainframes. This technology is very expensive and, psychologically, a tough investment to make. Internet start-ups are reluctant to switch either because of the lack of will or lack of experienced IT head. Sooner or later, the highflying startups have to realize that technology is an investment that really pays off.

--

Gary Levin

(received 7/2)

Spencer Ante:

Your article on

eBay's outage was solid! I have been in the computer business for almost 35 years and some things never change. The lack of backups has cost more than one person his job/career. It is a lesson that never seems to be learned by some. It appears

Alan Fisher

is no rookie in this business.

--

Dale Simmons

(received 7/2)

Greenspan Knows Best

Aaron Task:

About your column

Fed 'Gifts' Spark Huge Rally but Also Sow Seeds of Discontent. Why bother with

Alan Gilespie

? To call this

Fed

spineless is a ridiculous assertion. Can he think of any Fed that has done a better job?

It takes guts and confidence to not leave the tightening bias in place. That would have been the easiest solution. I, like everyone, did not expect the Fed to remove the tightening bias, but I will also assume that "Alan knows best" considering his record. It sounds to me that this public lashing of the best Fed chairman in history only shows that

Gotham

lost a lot of money yesterday by being short.

--

Matt Reinecke

(received 7/1)

An ABRX Explanation

James Cramer:

In response to your column

Cramer Smells a Rat, here's yet another scenario. Many retail investors simply forget to tender their shares. So when the tender expires, there is usually a small percentage of the shares still in former shareholders' hands.

Could it be that one of the brokerage firms or mutual funds mistakenly tendered shares that were already sold? That would cause them to have a short tender position, which is illegal. The mistake could have been made a couple of days before the merger was closed and not discovered till the active trading of the stock had disappeared.

Being put in this position, the brokerage firm or mutual fund would have to take the steps necessary to correct the error. Unfortunately, a short tender would have to be covered regardless of price. The acquiring company is not obligated to buy shares that are not outstanding.

The only reason I think this is a possibility is because of the high percentage of shares tendered during the offering.

I do think it is reasonable that some fund manager is mistakenly buying the stock because he thinks the stock will be in the

Russell 2000

. If anything, it would have been deleted from the Russell. Also, a fund manager trying to prop up his return would be caught immediately.

-- Brian Dooly

(received 7/1)

Pfizer Gets Flexible

Jesse Eisinger:

In response to your column

With Arthritis Drug, Merck Engages Pfizer in Hand-to-Hand Combat, I enjoyed it.

I am a pharmacist and pharmacy and health care business owner in the Tampa Bay area. Many Tampa pharmacies, including ours, serve an older patient population.

Merck's

(MRK) - Get Report

Vioxx

is not moving here. We have not opened the first bottle even though we received the product on May 25, 1999.

Celebrex

is flying off the shelves, and very few patients are having any problems with it. It is forcing us to reduce stock of other NSAIDs used primarily for arthritis treatment. I called three other independent pharmacies. They are having almost the same experience.

This is the slowest or poorest product launch I have yet seen from Merck. We have received some product literature, but Merck salespeople have not yet been seen. It seems to me like this stocking/promotion date is not in sync yet.

Maybe it is too early to tell if this will be a successful product. My parents' physician put them both on Celebrex. They are doing well and will not change unless they have some type of problem or there is a big price difference. In my opinion, once-a-day dosing alone will not make a difference. Celebrex has won the war for now. Maybe it will change for newly diagnosed patients, but I am not going to run out and buy Merck stock because of Vioxx any time soon!

-- Guerry Fritch

(6/30)

Life-Changing Applications

Jim Seymour

In reference to your column

How Application Service Providers Will Change Your Life, I really enjoyed it.

Twenty-five years ago, I told my kids that someday they would pay to watch TV (including commercials) and they thought I was crazy. Same deal with ASPs now. What a money machine! I consider myself fairly conservative, but I pay

America Online

(AOL)

and

TheStreet.com

services without a whimper, at least for now.

The Internet is going to be like the old Tennessee Ernie Ford song

Sixteen Tons

. Just substitute "Internet" for "the company store."

-- Joe Panozzo

(received 6/28)

Jim Seymour

: Your

article on ASPs was great; it's just another reason why the communications equipment companies will remain my top investment theme for years to come.

Buy the arms vendors. Who cares about business-to-business or any other flavor of Internet insanity? They'll all need faster pipes

-- Ashish Shah

(received 6/28)

Fed Matters

James Padinha

: In response to your

Alan Tells It on the Mountain, could it be that the

Fed

is so concerned about a Y2K-generated global slowdown that it wants to tread water for now and not put a lot of energy into slowing down an economy that it fears may take a nose-dive on its own in a few months? That is what it looks like to me!

-- Ron Miller

(received 6/30)

James Padinha

: I'm sticking with your

outlook and logic. I think the Fed will regret its decision to go with a neutral bias. I've already heard one commentator say the decision was taken to appease foreign economies. The prospect for further easing is reduced but not eliminated. Sometimes the outcome of a transaction is deceptive -- not at all what it appears to be.

--

John F. Briganti

(received 6/30)

James Padinha

: I found your

article from the mountain top to be a private pity party. The Fed did its thing -- it raised rates. It could still raise them more and very well may, but for now the bias has shifted back to neutral.

You stood upon the very same mountain and boldly challenged any fool who would oppose you that "Moses" certainly would not shift back to a neutral bias as he led us through the wilderness to the promised land.

Who are we to think we have the inside scoop when "Moses" has led us through the wilderness so divinely thus far? I would hope that you could accept that, even though you've been mostly right in calling this thing very early on. But when it is not quite as vigorous as you had predicted, then we need to replace our leader because obviously he has lost it.

Let's have a little respect. There is only one

Moses

and only one

Greenspan

. Neither has led their people astray.

--

Darin Anderson

(received 6/30)

Overheated Logic

David Gaffen

:

The Fed's Just Getting Warmed Up reads like it was written by a short-seller.

The Fed's return to a neutral bias should be taken for what it is: a response to good data, in addition to some bad. The quarter-point hike is a real step designed to discourage big-ticket spending on credit, but it in no way predicts added hikes.

--

Jay Scott

(received 6/30)

The Fed's Kid Gloves

Jim Griffin

: In response to your column

FOMC Gets It Half Right. Or Is That an Eighth?:

OK, we're gonna tighten. OK, really, we are gonna do it. OK, I mean it, we are gonna tighten. OK, are you all ready? Hey, you in the back, are you paying attention? We are gonna do it this time.

OK, there, tighter. No bias. Boom -- market rallies like children being let out for summer vacation. Everybody passes to the next grade.

Man, the Fed really treats the market with kid gloves. I don't know if we need higher interest rates or if what we have is fine. I do know that despite what seems like a popular opinion -- that the Fed doesn't consider the stock market in its decision when raising rates -- is a lie.

They have to. Nobody has any money in the bank. It's all in credit cards and 401(k)s and whatever else people invest in. I'm not complaining -- I did well today. I'm sure that if they do it again you will have plenty of notice.

So let me leave you with a song by

Syd Barrett

, who probably never heard of the Fed or the workings of Wall Street. Enjoy.

Effervescing Elephant

An Effervescing Elephant
with tiny eyes and great big trunk
once whispered to the tiny ear
the ear of one inferior
that by next June he'd die, oh yeah!
because the tiger would roam.
The little one said: "Oh my goodness I must stay at home!
and every time I hear a growl
I'll know the tiger's on the prowl
and I'll be really safe, you know
the elephant he told me so."
Everyone was nervy, oh yeah!
and the message was spread
to zebra, mongoose and the dirty hippopotamus
who wallowed in the mud and chewed
his spicy hippo-plankton food
and tended to ignore the word
preferring to survey a herd
of stupid water bison, oh yeah!
And all the jungle took fright,
and ran around for all the day and the night
but all in vain, because, you see,
the tiger came and said: "Who me?!
You know, I wouldn't hurt not one of you.
I'd much prefer something to chew
and you're all too scant." oh yeah!
He ate the Elephant

--

Larry DeSimone

(received 6/30)

Ignore the News

Gary B. Smith:

In response to your column

Charted Territory: Anatomy of a Bonehead Move, yes, ignore the news. When it was announced that

DoubleClick

(DCLK)

will stand to lose 43% of its income should

CMGI

(CMGI)

dump the

AltaVista

contract, I bought puts. I was happy as a clam to get them at a decent price, until I saw

David Wetherell

on

CNBC

an hour later saying he will honor the contract. DoubleClick shot up to close near 86!

--

Jeff de la Rosa

(received 6/30)

Magnifying the Fed

Peter Eavis

: In response to your article

Overseas Fragility Magnifies Fed Effect, you are asking the right questions. In a period of worldwide overcapacity, and relatively free trade, the risk of inflation is not the major concern. What is the major concern is continued deflation. Remember, excess capacity causes deflation and depression, not inflation.

--

Dave Noll

(received 6/30)

The Fed's Misfire May Be a Hit

James K. Galbraith

: In response to your column

The Fed's Pre-Emptive Misfire, I have noticed that when "experts" can't or don't want to deal with the facts and/or arguments of an issue, they attack the protagonists. This is what you seem to be doing here.

Presumably, you feel the Fed should do nothing. Your apparent thesis that Alan Greenspan really doesn't want to do anything is belied by the chairman's recent testimony. And his idea that if the less fortunate are squeezed out of the capital markets, lenders will go for more speculate investments does not ring true to me. The Fed always has the power to restrict the money supply. I suggest that this causes lenders, in general, to look for less speculative investments.

--

Peter Irvine

(received 6/29)

James Galbraith

: Your

argument against a pre-emptive strike is wrong. A small rate hike will dampen the flow of credit to businesses and individuals, as well as causing many existing debt-holders to have larger interest expenses. Thus, even a minute change in interest rates will slow expansion to some degree, for there are always people at the margin whose decisions will be affected.

As for what people will do with the money they were going to spend on a new home? Well, most will get a smaller home. Some people will speculate with the money they were going to use on a home, especially middle-class folk at the margin who are risk-takers. But this increase in funds earmarked for speculation will be more than offset by the flight of funds from speculative equities into bonds and savings accounts thus calming the speculative markets.

Have some faith, James. Not everyone is a fool with their money.

--

Seth Hurwitz

(received 6/29)

James K. Galbraith

: You are right

about the Fed! Every time prosperity starts dripping down to middle- and lower-class workers, the

FOMC

responds quickly. They want to protect the profits and privileges of their bank constituents. It seems that they cannot stand the thought of prosperity spreading.

Enough! It is time to eliminate the Fed's natural proclivity to keep the majority of American voters in perpetual poverty and servitude. Perhaps it is time to rethink the enabling legislation for Fed activity or membership.

--

Fred Salley

James K. Galbraith

: I enjoyed your piece

on the Fed, it went straight to the heart of the issue on the Fed's dumb behavior.

Maybe there ought to be a law against a few self-interested folks being on the board who are "rationally challenged." After all, we have outlawed manslaughter!

--

Greg McHugh

(received 6/29)

Entitlement Issues

James Cramer

: In response to your column

Proprietary Research Isn't Shareware, this attitude doesn't shock or surprise me.

Almost 20 years ago, I operated a computer retail business and had an Ivy League university as a customer. I sold lots of hardware, but relatively little software, I'm sure you can figure out why! I had quite a few conversations with professors who honestly thought that "sharing" software was not the same as infringing the copyrights of the textbooks they authored. One unsuspecting professor who ordered several hundred dollars' worth of software called me later and said I cheated him because at the time he didn't know he could get it from one of his colleagues. Perhaps some of those asking you about the Lehman List are their students?

The software industry has resolved many of the "sharing" problems in industry and academia. No university would allow the type of software sharing that went on 20 years ago, and I'm sure the Internet industry will resolve the information entitlement issues you've described in your column.

-- Ed Zerdy

(received 6/29)

Amerindo Fund Suits Tax-Deferred Needs

Joe Bousquin

: In response to your article

Amerindo Technology Fund Warns of Huge Capital Gains, I don't mind. I'm in tax-deferred accounts. I actually seek out funds like

(ATCHX)

Amerindo. You think this publicity will make them change? This is the type of fund people like me would like to get into.

-- Jay Spence

(received 6/29)