Monday, August 28, 2006

CHHH: Take Two and Call Me…

Herbals are becoming big business in America. Much of mainstream society is willing to take a synthetic drug to alter moods, feelings states, and pain control. There are still many Americans who seek out a safer, more natural way to deal with their various ills, at least for the first attempt at remediation. This is where herbal medicines come in.

China Health Holding, Inc. (OTCBB:CHHH) is one of those companies that has capitalized on the herbal market. CHHH is a developer, marketer, and manufacturer of herbal supplements based on all natural Chinese medicines. As this is an expanding market, CHHH recently announced that they had negotiated a deal with Henan Furen Huaiqingtang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Henan Furen Pharmaceuticals Group Co. Ltd. and the shareholders of Henan Furen Huaiqingtang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. CHHH will acquire 60% of the outstanding stock of Henan Furen Huaiqingtang Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. (HFHP). This deal is a boon to CHHH shareholders, as it will open up new markets and manufacturing sites in China as well as giving CHHH the rights to 46 pharmaceutical drugs being used there.

This is good news for Americans, as well, who are sick of dealing with the side-effects of synthetic drugs. The question of whether or not herbals work is another matter entirely. I think it depends on whom you ask. Some people swear by their herbal medicines and others say they found no benefit from them. I believe the same can be said of many synthetic drugs. The important thing is that the alternative drugs remain available to consumers in America and abroad.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

VTSS: No Gray Area

Just about everybody enters into a binding financial contract at some time in their life. We sign financial contracts all of the time without realizing that is what we are doing. If you have ever signed a mortgage, taken out a car loan, or signed a lease you have signed a binding financial contract. You have agreed to adhere to certain requirements in order to receive a loan, or goods or services. Even a credit card application is a financial contract. You are agreeing to use credit, while staying within certain parameters of use, i.e. paying the minimum amount due. It is a fairly easy concept to grasp as long as there is a clear expectation as to what is expected from both parties.

It is very confusing, then, that Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Pink Sheets:VTSS) has announced that they received an acceleration notice from the trustee for Vitesse's $96.7 million aggregate principal amount of 1.5% Convertible Subordinated Debentures due 2024. The trustee is claiming that Vitesse failed to make its SEC filings on time, violating the terms of the Debentures. Vitesse is claiming that the company has not violated the terms of the Debentures, and that there in fact was no requirement for SEC filings in a timely fashion.

There are always two sides to every story or there would be no argument. There is a due date on a credit card bill, and if the payment is late, a fee is added. Listen here, people, this is no late fee on a credit card. We are talking millions of dollars here. Either SEC filings were a requirement of the Debentures, or they were not. How could two business-savvy, intelligent entities have such strikingly different claims? It is a good question. I am sure VTSS investors will be awaiting its answer.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

CFPC: Statistics Don’t Lie…


I have heard it said before that statistics don’t lie, but liars use statistics. An example of this is that one half of all marriages end in divorce. That is true; however, the population used to reach that figure includes individuals who have had three, four, or more divorces. So, one person may contribute five divorces to the overall ratio. This is an unfairly grim forecast to those who are only on a first marriage, especially since every divorce a person has makes them more likely to have another. Therefore, if you are on your first marriage your odds of staying together are much better than fifty percent.

Another example of how statistics can stick you is correlations. A correlation is simply two factors that tend to occur together, or in tandem. Number crunchers can look at these factors together in a population and can find the probability that these factors would co-vary. Correlations can then be used to make predictions…. Or can they? Correlation does NOT equal causation! An example of this is exercise and income. The more exercise you get, the higher your income is. Does being fit CAUSE a higher income? Of course not! The third factor that influences BOTH is higher education. The more you know, the more likely you are to stay fit, and to get a better paying job. Recently a study based on correlations made headline news and it really hit close to home. After looking into it a bit further, I thought the evidence needed some more scrutiny.

Harvard recently conducted a quasi-experimental study (i.e. looked at self-selected groups) in which they found that there was a correlation between heart attack and light to moderate coffee consumption, about two to three cups per day. This flew in the face of other research that has suggested that coffee has some health benefits. In addition, the study indicated that if you were a heavy coffee drinker you were less likely to have a heart attack. That sounds counterintuitive. So coffee is bad for me, but the more I drink the better off I’ll be? Does that make sense? Is the same true for French fries? Let’s add some logic to the equation.

Apparently the individuals who drank coffee moderately also had at least three other factors that put them at high risk for a heart attack. Smoking, French fries, and a sedentary lifestyle are all examples of such factors proven to increase risk of heart attack. So the more of those three factors I indulge in, the higher my chances are of having a heart attack. Aha! That makes more sense. Since the study was done in Costa Rica, it is not surprising that most of the individuals drank some amount of coffee. So what about the heavy coffee drinkers? Shouldn’t they have a higher risk of heart attack if coffee is truly bad for the heart? Good question.

Shortly before this study was released Coffee Pacifica, Inc. (OTCBB:CFPC) announced that they were expanding their wholesale roasted coffee business. They also executed a letter of intent to acquire a coffee roasting company in Denver, Colorado, pending certain requirements are met. It may seem to some that Harvard’s study, which made national news, could halt any expansion for CFPC. The study could be a roadblock; I would say it is more of a bump in the road. In a study based on correlations, your opinion is as good as mine. I’ll drink to that.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

SDGL: Why The Dirty Mind?

Has anybody been troubled lately by an advertisement, commercial, or show they saw on TV, radio, or news? You know the kind I am talking about. The half-naked woman is slithering around seductively with her hair blowing in the wind – to sell a phone book; or the half naked woman is stretching on the floor in a provocative pose – to sell cat food. Have you seen the Sunday night primetime line-up lately? It’s filthy! It doesn’t really matter what channel you are watching. One channel is broadcasting a murder mystery show, complete with graphic images of dead bodies. Another channel is broadcasting smutty cartoons that I wouldn’t want my parents to see – let alone my children. Another is showing some evening soap opera, revolving around misdirected lust and illicit affairs. And other channels are broadcasting some hodgepodge mix of the first three. The Internet is full of the same. Is there any rhyme or reason to this?

Secured Digital Applications, Inc. (OTCBB:SDGL) today announced a 30 percent increase in revenue for the first six months of 2006. The company produces “media content” for the Internet, television, and other displays. A company like this cannot help but expand. In our society staying connected means a lot. I have only one comment for companies like SDGL and others. Our minds are only as clean as what we fill them with. Please remember that when you are filling our airwaves.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

ITRO: The Uncontrollable Market

It is a common belief in America that we can “get things under control” if we really want to. This is the land of opportunity and we can beg for, work for, or otherwise manipulate success. In this country of rugged individualism and free thinking, we don’t like to think that we cannot control our fate. There is still one segment of the population that struggles to do just that, the American farmers.

Small American farms have nearly disappeared in our landscape. They have been taken over by larger corporate farms concentrated in certain areas, and the ever-expanding suburbia. No matter what size the farm, however, they are all affected by one of the last aspects of human society beyond our control: the weather. American producers are expected to show higher prices and lower yields this year due to a drought extending through the nation’s middle section, known as the “grain belt”. The drought is in its second year and all grain crops are expected to be effected, including cotton.

The drought is only one factor that has lead farmers into the red. Higher prices for fertilizer and oil have really hurt farmers. If you think your SUV takes a lot of gas to go down the road, imagine how much farmers are paying to fill up a tractor that is pulling heavy equipment and drive all day, every day, all summer! It costs more to plant and tend to the crops and it costs more to ship them. Guess what we put in those semis that haul the produce to market? Of course, the answer is fuel. From start to finish fuel has altered the American farmers’ economic state.

Finally fertilizer costs have increased as well. Some companies are finding ways to tap in on this highly specialized market. Itronics, Inc. (OTCBB: ITRO) manufactures fertilizer out of recycled photochemicals. Dr. John Whitney, CEO of Itronics, finally forecasted growth for his company. So far the major financial activity has been in investments, three thousand of which came recently from East Coast investors in order to double plant capacity to fulfill demand for the synthetic fertilizer. In light of this information, it seems that perhaps the ethanol gasoline supplement could be the next big thing in the farm market, and just the boost that the market needs.

Monday, August 07, 2006

FRPT: Protecting Our Most Valuable Assets

So far 2,567 American soldiers have died in Iraq, many of these from roadside bombs. We know that these are possibly one of the biggest threats facing our soldiers in Iraq. In 2004, Army Spc. Thomas Wilson, facing deployment in Iraq, asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles”? The surrounding 2,300 troops gathered to listen cheered when the question was asked. It was a question very articulately stated by a soldier facing uncertainty in a battle zone.

That was 2004, two years ago. At that time, the number of armored Humvees being produced had gone from only 15 to 450. That question sunk deep into the American conscience. Why indeed were we spending billions of dollars to fund a war in which our troops were not being fitted with the best technology available? Why were so many men and women saying good bye to their families for the last time, when so many deaths could have been prevented by better preparation? It is now 2006. What has changed?

In a press release July 24, 2006 Force Protection, Inc. (OTCBB:FRPT), announced it has closed on 8.25 million shares of common stock. This generated the company proceeds of over 41 million dollars. Force Protection manufactures the Buffalo and Cougar armored vehicles, which are now being deployed with soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Force Protection CEO, Gordon Milton stated that he was pleased with the financing, noting that this will allow FRPT to meet the expected demand for the vehicles.