It's rare that I'm happy enough with a company I work with that I think of offering them an endorsement on these pages.
As a professional trader, the quality of my clearing firm, perhaps even more in the area of technical support than in the area of customer service (though the latter is also quite important), is a major factor in my ability to make a living -- or at least my ability to make a fair attempt at making a living.
I signed on with Advantage Futures after doing some online research (my career having been more in options trading than futures trading so I had some homework to do), with a particular focus on finding an FCM where I could use the particular trading software that I want to use. Since the software is server-based with the servers managed by the clearing firm, I was limited to the handful of firms that have that capability, but that's fine because those firms are likely to be better in other areas as well given the infrastructure needed to support customers like me.
For traders with less demanding technology needs, Advantage has plenty of other software solutions, along with very fast access to all the major US futures markets, and some key foreign markets as well.
When I've had technology issues, they've responded quickly and professionally, including through their 24-hour tech help desk -- a fairly remarkable feature for an FCM.
Their commissions are better than average, and damn cheap for the quality of their tech infrastructure. (To be clear, if you are going to host your trading software on one of their servers, there is an additional modest charge for use of the shared server, but unless you need a dedicated server it is still much cheaper than a dedicated solution.)
If you're looking for a futures broker, I can (and do) offer my reccomendation (which was not requested by Advantage) to Advantage Futures.
My customer service representative, in the Professional Traders Group at Advantage is Jason Yoo, whom you can reach directly if you're looking to open a futures clearing account, at (312) 800-7079 or by e-mail at jyoo(at)advantagefutures(dot)com
[UPDATE: I am no longer with Advantage, but that's because I've changed my business model. If I still needed the services and technology that Advantage provides, I would still be a client, and would look to them first if I were to return to my prior business model.]
As I await the arrival of my tickets to see The Who in concert in a few months, it is tempting in this election season, to consider a 2012 version of the gauzy wisdom of "Won't Get Fooled Again" -- to wonder whether a majority of this nation still believes, or even wants to believe, the "same as the old boss" campaign rhetoric of President Barack Obama, despite his persistent record of hyper-partisanship and failure, both foreign and domestic.
But sticking with the words of Pete Townshend (a great lyricist if not the equal of Ray Davies of The Kinks), a better question as we ponder what is accurately if too frequently called "the most important election of our lifetimes," is "Who Are You?"
Who are you, Mr. or Mrs. Likely Voter? And what does America mean to you?
Are you a "Progressive" who believes, as Barack Obama does, that our Constitution, our society's rulebook (even if apparently officiated by replacement referees these days), is "political witchcraft" (Woodrow Wilson) designed to create a "supremacy for the rich and powerful" (Howard Zinn) which should only be supported by a president "as he understands it" (Franklin Roosevelt)?
Or are you a proud American who believes, as I do, that the Constitution "is the only safeguard of our liberties" (Abraham Lincoln), that freedom is being taken from us "by gradual and silent encroachments" (John Marshall), that "the Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens" (John Marshall again) and that an important defense against "abuses of Constitutional power" is to "inform (Americans') discretion by education" (Thomas Jefferson)?
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
On Sunday morning on my radio show, I did a "lightning round" segment in which I asked callers to tell me in 30 seconds what their major issue in the election was and which candidate they were therefore voting for, and I asked a few callers follow-up questions (also giving them 30 seconds to answer those.)
I had three calls in a row (plus probably others whom I didn't ask about 2008) from people who are voting for Mitt Romney but who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Among these people (including one who self-identified as "a gay guy") the overarching issues were the economy and a broader dissatisfaction with his (lack of) leadership.
I simply do not see Obama winning Colorado. And despite current polls I continue to believe that Romney will win Ohio and/or Wisconsin and win the election.
Seriously, who beside a union leader or radical leftist or radical feminist or college student, the combination of which represents a tiny percentage of the electorate, will look at his or her ballot and see "Barack Obama" and say "I want to do that again"?
In short, I think the polls are, to use a George W. Bush-ism, misunderestimating the turnout of Republicans and dissatisfied Independents -- and misoverestimating turnout among Democrats.
You can listen to the hour (my show was only an hour because of the Broncos game) here. It's actually only about 40 minutes without the news and ads. The topic I'm describing here starts 11 minutes in.
So let's get this straight: President Obama has canceled campaign events, including in my home state of Colorado, to "monitor" Hurricane Sandy.
To be sure, Sandy is a monster and has the potential to cause serious damage and potentially loss of life. And, I am most grateful that Obama will stay away from Colorado where his primary functions are speaking to naive college students and fouling traffic.
But Sandy is not a conscious creature, not a terrorist, not something that the federal government can help by, for example, using an armed drone to eliminate potential further harm to American life and property.
And yet, when there was just such a situation, Obama went to Las Vegas.
And now we're supposed to believe he's oh-so-concerned?
Color me cynical: In my view it must be that he didn't expect to raise very much money in Colorado.
I'm not saying Obama is wrong to cancel campaign events. I'm saying that he was very wrong to go to Vegas right after Americans were murdered...and right after his administration appears to have done absolutely nothing to try to save them.
Hurricane Sandy reminds Americans of Obama's real priorities and how he behaved when a true Commander in Chief was needed. Instead we see someone just looking to declare states of emergency, yet again trying to buy people's votes with other people's money, and making only the easiest decisions.
H/T Craig Silverman
Congratulations and thanks to Denver's 9News reporter Kyle Clark, who asked President Barack Obama the hardest questions I've ever heard him asked.
Kyle Clark's first question to Obama: "Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we'll all find out after the election?"
Seriously, why don't more reporters have both the courage and the decency to ask the questions that need to be asked. Clark didn't stop there, asking more hard questions which clearly had Obama, so used to sycophants, wondering how he ever got booked on a news channel with a real reporter.
Obama's answers regarding Benghazi were a complete dodge of the most important questions he's ever been asked.
His answers regarding Abound Solar (another hard-hitting question) were more leftist utopian platitudes about "wind, solar, and biomass." And his answer about why he called Romney a "bullshitter" was, ironically enough, made of a certain type of rhetorical animal refuse.
Link here, video below:
Again, I say thanks and congratulations to Kyle Clark.
Please come in, have a seat. May I call you Debbie?
So what's troubling you today?
Yes. Yes, I understand. I hear this story from women all too frequently these days.
While he was wooing you he seemed like such a good listener, as if he really cared. He knew all the right things to say. It was enough to make a girl swoon.
I know: His vows seemed so sincere. He seemed like he'd be such a good partner.
And it turned out that all he cared about was your "lady parts."
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
A newly-released poll from Rasmussen Reports shows Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama by four points in my home state, and a critical election state, of Colorado, with Romney reaching 50 percent here for the first time.
I realize it's a truism at this point, but this election remains all about Ohio, as Romney is likely to do well enough in enough of the other swing states to win the presidency if he can take the Buckeye State. The RealClearPolitics average in Ohio shows Obama with a small but stubborn lead.
Although I believe that enthusiasm is with Romney, it is also clear that unions and the Obama campaign have a massive and well-organized ground game aimed to get out the vote in these key states. The GOP operation is far better than it was in 2008, but especially given the left's willingness to do anything and everything to win, Romney needs to find a way to win Ohio by a larger margin than unions can close through actual GOTV or through fraud.
H/T Rusty S.
I don't know who created this, but I thank him or her for the laugh...
THIS would be laugh-out-loud funny if it weren't likely to lead to bloodshed and death.
In the meantime, can you imagine the difference in the behavior of American "mainstream" media if the American right were in fact as mean and nasty and violent as they always say we are? And I don't mean that conservatives are non-violent compared to the Taliban, which goes without saying. We're also non-violent when compared to American liberals, whether you're talking about Bill Ayers or SEIU thugs.
And then there are these people...
No wonder Candy Crowley isn't afraid of trying to throw the match for Obama...
Should I be sad that I'm getting old or happy that I get one day of wonderful attention from my wife and kids, perhaps the best part being my kids' home-made birthday cards?
I think I'll go with the latter.
I really am torn on my birthday: On the one hand, it's nice to be treated especially well for a few hours. On the other hand, it's hard to think of the occasion as particularly special, not least as it means I've moved one year closer to my eventual (but hopefully still distant) demise.
I'm glad that my wife and I have reached a sort-of agreement to keep our birthdays, gifts, etc., low-key and low-cost.
I'm sure the highlight of the day will be hearing my 6-year old daughter sing after three days of after-school "choir camp." She simply loves singing, and I love hearing her. Here's a lullaby, or rather a Lili-by, which she recorded of herself on her iPad about 10 months ago. If you listen to it, I'm sure you'll agree that my best birthday present will be seeing and hearing her up on stage, singing with her first grade friends classmates.
Indeed, that reminds me of the really good thing about getting older: I get to watch my kids develop into (hopefully) quality, smart, funny, ethical, productive, fun human beings.
By the way, here's a trivia question for you: How many (randomly selected) people do you have to have in a room to have a 50% chance that two (or more) of those people share a birthday (month/day, not year)? And how about to have a 99% chance?
The answers are perhaps surprisingly low:
You need 23 people in a room to have a 50% chance that two share a birthday, and 57 in a room to reach a 99% chance.
For those of you who want to dig into the nuts and bolts of the math, see this link.
Happy Birthday also to Brett Favre, David Lee Roth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., among many others, and I hope you'll all offer a thought or prayer in memory of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was brutally murdered in Pakistan a decade ago for being (like me) an American Jew. Daniel Pearl would have been 49 years old today.