How ‘Simpsons’ tribute to Charlie Hebdo came together (CNN Money)

January 14, 2015: 2:17 PM ET

A letter in Charlie Hebdo’s latest sold out issue says “Charlie has a lot of new friends,” and it looks like “The Simpsons” are among them.
The longest-running sitcom in history paid tribute to the satirical magazine Sunday with an image of the family’s baby, Maggie, holding a flag with the now-famous slogan “Je Suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie” in English.

Executive producer Al Jean said the idea started last Thursday when one of the show’s original producers, James L. Brooks, suggested making a statement in defense of free speech.
“We looked online and saw the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ posters and thought the ideal person to hold the flag would be Maggie, who doesn’t speak,” Jean said.
Longtime director David Silverman was in charge of crafting the image.
Silverman drew the animation in the spirit of Eugène Delacroix’s famous French painting “Liberty Leading the People” and the iconic poster from the musical “Les Miserables.”

I love these two stocks: Billionaire Ron Baron (

Billionaire buy-and-hold investor Ron Baron told CNBC on Monday he expects big things from Tesla Motors and Manchester United—both of which are $200 million-plus investments at his money management firm.

Both are relatively new holdings for Baron—within the past two years. So far, they’ve been flat, he said. But he predicted on “Squawk Box” that he could make 10 times his money on electric automaker Tesla in the next 10 years because “governments don’t want people to use energy, to use carbon fuels.”

“Right now, it costs about 75 cents the equivalent gallon in electricity. Of course, I think that 75 cents is going down,” he estimated—comparing the cost to gasoline, which averaged $2.20 a gallon in the past three weeks, according to the latest Lundberg survey. Due to falling oil prices, that does represent a 27-cent drop from the previous period and the lowest level since April 2009. Baron shook off questions that lower gas costs would hurt Tesla.

He said he just got a new Tesla. “You’ve driving this car and you pass gas stations and you realize you’re never going in again, except if you have to go to the bathroom.”

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From the open road to the soccer field, Baron said he expects to make four or five times his money on Manchester United over the next four or five years.

The company provides the storied English club a platform to generate revenue from sponsorships, merchandising, product licensing, new media and mobile, broadcasting and matchday sales at the Old Trafford sports venue.

The reasons for his bullish prediction: “[Soccer] is the most popular television program in the world,” and live sports can’t be time shifted like most other programs.

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Baron Capital currently has $26.8 billion in assets under management.

In the family of Baron funds, all of them in operation for at least five years have turned in double digit returns during that time period, expect for the Baron international Growth Fund, which was up just over 8 percent in the past five years.

“We have 450 investments, and the top 10 represent 18 percent of our assets,” Baron said—adding that besides Tesla and ManU, his 36 other investments over $200 million have seen “big increases.”

He attributes his success to a philosophy of seeking out great companies and holding on to them.

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The stock market doubles every 10 years, Baron said—adding he sees no reason for that to stop. That’s about 6.2 percent a year and around 8 percent when dividends are added, he said.

The Baron Capital chairman and CEO formed the investment company that bears his name in 1982. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at around 880 then and now trades at 17,737 as of Friday’s close.

He advises investors to refrain from trying to time the market.

For example, he said the years 2000 to 2008 were the toughest period for the stock market in U.S. history, with the market too high after 1999 and sinking way too low in the depths of the financial crisis during 2009 before rebounding.

“The economy doubles every 10 years. And the stock market and the economy are linked,” Baron said. “Sometimes the market is better, sometimes it’s worse. You can never know. You never can predict that in the short term.”

New Governor for Illinois

Today marks the day for change in the State of Illinois. In just moments, a new governor will be taking the helm in the financially troubled state. Bruce Rauner will become the 42nd in a previously troubled position.

What would we need to see from the new Governor? Specifics. So far Mr. Rauner has been vague on his plans to change the budget and turn the tides of financial woes. It is easy to promise change to rally the troops but real change comes from hard work. Is he up to the task? Only time will tell.

My concern will be that this will be another empty victory. What I’m hearing on the news regarding his political appointments, however, is that Mr. Rauner is actually choosing people that are good for the jobs rather than a result of political favors. How un-Illinois like.

Perhaps this is a new dawn. Perhaps we are on the brink of being a financial power once again in this great country.

Another Chapter Closing: Goodbye 2014!

Goodbye 2014. You sucked.

Not sure about you but I’m glad it’s over. What a hell of year. Perhaps it is just an arbitrary number. Just a page on a calendar. Just a datebook being replaced by another blank datebook. However you think about what a “year” is, 2014 was difficult to say the least.

Some of you may think of a year as just a number but I think about it differently as I’m sure most people do. For me, New Years Eve is a line in the sand. The end of a chapter in a book. The season finale in the TV series called my life (The ratings for that series have been sharply lower this season). Tomorrow starts a new season. With new adventures and new guest actors. Hell there might even be a “Special Guest Star” from a previous season long ago to stop by the set. Who knows what the thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters in my head will come up with next.

As the sands of time tick by, we as humans like to quantify time in terms of arbitrary numbers and life events. I don’t fight that at all. I would like to package up the pain and events of 2014, put them in an imaginary box in my closet and forget about them for awhile. I’m starting a new box and marking it 2015. Perhaps this box will be filled with happier memories. The possibilities are endless.

Honestly, I think the root of celebrating a new year is the thought of a clean slate. A chance to begin again with life in general. Your mistakes of the past are not washed away but they are set aside, boxed up and no longer dragged along with you through this new year. You can reference them at anytime in order to learn from them and not repeat them but they no longer define you.

That’s what its about for me.

So this TV show of my life playing in my head is starting again with the 2015 season premiere tomorrow….. Lets just pray the show isn’t cancelled before I finish my story arc….

Happy New Year Everyone!

Investing in Stocks: Follow your heart!

By the Hypercapitalist

I often get asked about investing in stocks. When do I invest? How do I invest? What stocks should I buy?

A lot of times people over-complicate something that is actually very simple.

Let me tell you what I do and that’s pick a company you’re in love with. Love how it looks. Love how it feels. Fall in love with the branding and products. Learn the ins and outs. Learn about the execs. Did they come from other companies? Or did a lot of them work there way up from the ground floor? (That I envy and respect). What is the companies history? Did it start in somebody’s garage to eventually become a world leader in their market?

Keep in mind that this is for the long haul. Investing in stocks is NOT a get rich quick technique. It’s about building a portfolio that you are proud of. Love as many companies as you like but follow the same approach. Don’t invest cause its trendy or otherwise popular. Be weary of any advice on TV. Its about love! You love Apple or Target? Invest!

The only other advice would be to plan ahead. You wanna invest in a company? Watch the stock for awhile. How does it behave? Does it lose or gain a high percentage on a daily basis or is it more stable? Follow your gut and your heart. Also, make sure to save enough money to handle the trade fees. A lot of online brokers charge $7 a trade. Which is okay if you make it worth it. Don’t buy two shares of a $3/share company. It ain’t smart. Don’t take a loss on your first trade. Save up enough money to put a couple hundred dollars in.

And again make sure you love the company. You are in it for the long haul (a year or more). Through the highs and lows. In sickness and in health. Perhaps when you get a little more experienced, you can bend the rules just a little but be careful. It ain’t the lottery or a casino! Don’t do it to become Americas Next Top Billionaire. Don’t invest ALL of your savings either! Set aside a reasonable (and affordable) portion of your income. If you can’t afford to invest, then don’t. Don’t borrow money to do it. Don’t bankrupt yourself.

Love aside, a quick book on trading basics wouldn’t hurt either but don’t go out to your local bookstore and read everything there is to read. It’s not that complicated.

But rule number one: Have fun! it’s capitalism at its best!

Okay, Enough ranting. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

The Hypercapitalist