How William Danforth, Founder of Ralston-Purina, Changes My Life Everyday

The second and third order world effects that William Danforth has had on our civilization are staggering. Although most of the 300+ million people going to bed at night in the United States have no idea who he was, it is no great tragedy except to the extent that they remain ignorant of ways to learn from his life.

By all accounts, Danforth had an internal yardstick that meant he measured his life not by the acknowledgement, praise, and validation of others, but rather, his own objective analysis of the good he caused. If you help someone else out or do something to make the world a better place, you don’t need a pat on the back from someone else for your action to be great. Sure, there’s a sweetness inherent in receiving sincere appreciation for your good works, but it’s not a necessary condition for you to know that … Read the rest of this article!

William F. Buckley On Big Tobacco and Hypocrisy

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In a 1988 ABC special, columnist William F. Buckley debated Jesse Jackson on drugs (particularly cigarette smoking), and during the debate Buckley said this:

“If we get nothing else out of the hour tonight, I would hope that we emancipate ourselves from the superstition that that which is legal is necessarily honorable. . . It’s perfectly legal to contract syphilis but that does not mean that society is in favor of syphilis.” And then he goes on with the pointed jab: “As a matter of fact, it’s perfectly legal to vote for Jesse Jackson. That doesn’t make it reputable, does it?”

I receive a decent amount of comments from readers (some of it posted here, some of it posted on my Seeking Alpha writings, and some of it sent to me privately) responding to old articles that I have written analyzing the tobacco stocks (Altria, Lorillard, Reynolds American, and … Read the rest of this article!

Why Boardwalk Pipelines Is An Absolute Steal At $13

This week has been no friend to the long-term unit-holders of Boardwalk Pipelines (BWP) who were greeted with a cash distribution reduction of 81% from $0.5325 to $0.10. And because the appeal of midstream natural gas MLPs is generally the immediate income that they provide, the price of the stock fell almost 50% in reaction to the news, from the mid-$20s to just below $13 per share.

With the double whammy of a dividend cut and share price decrease like that, the only way to remain sensible is to channel your inner St. Lawrence, who reportedly said “Turn me over! I’m done on this side!” when the prefects burned him on the coal gridiron. You might as well accept the pain if you want to act intelligently going forward.

As we get ready to analyze what led Boardwalk to this predicament in which it saw wisdom in substantially … Read the rest of this article!

A Single Cash-Generating Business Is The Foundation of Long-Term Wealth Building

According to page 8 of Dr. Thomas Stanley’s research in the book “The Millionaire Next Door”, people that are self-employed make up less than 20% of American workers yet they constitute almost 70% of the people that make up the millionaire class in the United States. To break down this self-employed group even more, three out of four of them are actual business owners with the rest of them being accountants, lawyers, and doctors.

This is not simply a coincidence. There is a reason why someone who runs their own business shows up disproportionately at the top of these wealth-building lists. When you run your own business, you are no longer (1) bound by “time” to make money in the way that someone who sells their labor is, and (2) you are the direct beneficiary of all of the company’s gains; when a business experiences 10% growth, it does not … Read the rest of this article!

What Separates Excellent Investors from Good Investors

From June of 1990, American States Water has been an excellent investment by just about any metric you could identify. The California utility is perhaps one of the most understandable businesses in the world: it is a water utility. It sells a product that customers will die without. The dividend has been going up for 50+ years. Those are wonderful, wonderful, characteristic traits. Since 1990, every $5,000 invested into American States Water would have turned into $69,000, for a total return of 12.35% annually.

The product (water) is basic and stable, it is easy to understand, you keep getting more and more cash, and you even have built wealth in excess of the S&P 500 over that time frame, which is nice. If you have been a holder of the stock, or anticipate becoming a holder of the stock, I anticipate that American States Water will continue to be a … Read the rest of this article!