CNN headline calls spades spades

When CNN’s website carries the headline “Retire rich: 40 stocks to bet on” (June 14, 2007), it’s clear there’s something rotten in the state of fair play. Hypocrisy, it appears, is alive and thriving as the online gambling sector strives for legitimacy.

In the land casino world, counting cards in blackjack – for example – is unacceptable. Legal, yes, but unacceptable. Get caught counting cards and you’re blacklisted from that particular casino. In the business world it’s called “insider information” and can land you in jail.

So where’s the skill in “playing” the stock market? If not a skill game, then it’s got to come down to luck. In other words: Sheer luck; not Sherlock.

The CNN article goes on to list the following “favorites” as prepared by Fortune Magazine with an intro that reads: “Forty stock picks inspired by “the greatest investors of all time: From the deepest values to solid growth, these shares can make retirement dreams come true.” Hmmm, dreams come true. Sounds like a Vegas promo to me.

Personally, I’d leverage my bets in the 12 billion dollar online gambling market. What better odds than betting on passionate geeks sharpening the cutting-edges of technology at sonic speed, plus in an industry that anyone ­- even a stock broker – can see is heading straight through the roof.

These 40 best stock picks include names of companies I’m sure you’ve already heard of, but perhaps don’t know exactly what sort of business they’re involved in. Thus, I’ve taken the liberty to highlight/edit/translate some of the texts accompanying CNN/Fortune’s list of best bets. Oops, I mean “stock performers:”

Abbott Labs (Drugs)
One bit of trouble to keep an eye on: Drug-coated stents by Abbott & other drug makers are currently in the news for potential blood-clot risk they pose.

Johnson & Johnson (More drugs)
Worries (also) about drug-coated stents & competition from generic drugs have weighed on Johnson & Johnson. But its stock is still promising.

Bad for your teeth but said to have once contained cocaine, which is good for your teeth. (reference: Wikipedia)

Altria Group (tobacco)
The international wing of cigarette-maker Philip Morris, the company also expects to launch a profitable new menthol brand, Marlboro Smooth, this year. A killer brand name indeed.

Procter & Gamble (Consumer products)
Proctor & what?! Fortune ranks P&G No.7 on their list. “Seven!” Of all the numbers in the world, which one is it again that’s considered to be the luckiest?

General Mills (Food)
A leading food producer, which, if not administered in moderation, can cause weight gain causing death. The company faces tough competition from other cereal killer-producers like Kellogg.

AIG (Insurance)
Two years after former chairman and CEO, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg (sounds like a WSOP champ to me) resigned amid a series of highly publicized accounting scandals and government investigations, it is clear that AIG was no Enron.

Say, aren’t those the guys behind a lot of the software that enables players, sorry, I mean ‘gaming analysts’ – to access online gambling websites?

Hercules (Chemicals)
Formerly the nation’s largest explosives producer, this century-old firm now uses its muscle to produce specialty chemicals to strengthen products such as paper, paint, and textiles.

Of course the list goes on, but I’d much rather be playing craps.


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