Hottest links for Friday September 13th, 2013 (see Thursday‘s edition of hottest links here). Top stories for the day include: France builds another Maginot line; Board decides they know best what the shareholders want; Are pets replacing children now in Japan; All the smart money already made money on the Twitter IPO, but not in the manner in which you are probably thinking; You can now get a DJ class for your child, is it a sign that humanity is on the brink of disaster?; The star soccer player-turned-credit guru is using new ideas to make money; Open letter by John Hempton regarding Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) and latinas; This is one thing which great investors do, do you do it, too? Find out; Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) bond deal is shocking in many ways, here are some of the details. That and much more below.

NOTE: Stay tuned for next week’s program announcement RE hottest links

Hottest Links

Hottest Links: Stories

Democracy (not) at work at ZipRealty

Over the past few days, several people have pinged me about this amended filing made by ZipRealty, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZIPR). Check this out—basically there was a close vote and the board decided that what they wanted passed was best. [Footnoted]

How Wal-Mart’s Waltons Maintain Their Billionaire Fortune

This a great in-depth analysis of how the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) dynasty has preserved their wealth. Check it out, but if you want a spoiler: it has to do with taxes. [Zachary R. Mider, Bloomberg]

Are Pets Replacing Children in Japan?

Japan has a big demographic problem. Over the past two decades, divorces have escalated sharply. The bigger problem though is the low birth rate; is the reason due to too many pets in the country? [Daniel Kim, CFA Institute]

iPath Short Enhanced MSCI EAFE ETN (MFSA) Triggers Early Termination

The iPath Short Enhanced MSCI EAFE Index ETN (NYSEARCA:MFSA) is a no-reset product, and it hit an early termination trigger on Tuesday (9/10/2013) when its intraday indicative value fell to $37.50. [Ron Rowland, Invest With An Edge]

Macy’s Inc: Cheap, But With An Uncertain Future

Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M) showed up in the most recent quantitative value screen as of 9/1/2013 along with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Southern Copper Corp (NYSE:SCCO), Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ:STX). [Wesley R. Gray, Turnkey Analyst]

News In Charts: From Behind The Maginot Line

Markets appear to agree with M. Hollande – the crisis is over, the euro zone economy is out of recession, and equity prices are on the rise. French and Euro Area officialdom has, since the recession, been focused on protecting the Core countries from the bad debts accumulated by the Peripheral economies—which means the focus is now back on France. What does this have to do with the Maginot line? Well, the French built a really strong defensive wall to deter the Germans from invading. Except in WWII the Germans just went around the areas, which the French had thought were impassable for German tanks.  [Fathom Consulting, AlphaNow]

FINRA Finds People Really, Really Want to Be Defrauded

Here is a pretty amazing news release and report from the Investor Education Foundation of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; the themes are basically (1) you can’t fool an honest man but (2) that’s OK because you can’t find one either. [Matt Levine, Bloomberg]

Gold Miners, Precious Metals Funds at One-Month Low Ahead of Fed

Gold is hovering around $1,330 this afternoon and SPDR Gold Trust (ETF) (NYSEARCA:GLD) is down 2.5 percent at $128.46. iShares Silver Trust (ETF) (NYSEARCA:SLV) and Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) are falling by 4.3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively. Direxion Shares Exchange Traded Fund Trust (NYSEARCA:DUST), the three-times leveraged ETF, is surging 13 percent, while its opposite number, Direxion Shares Exchange Traded Fund Trust (NYSEARCA:NUGT), has slumped 13 percent. All eyes are on Ben Bernanke and the most annoying word in the dictionary: Taper. [Brendan Conway, Barron’s]

The Carnival of Dangerous Ideas

I asked a number of my friends to participate in The Carnival of Dangerous Ideas.  I asked them to describe an idea they think is true or likely to be true that has dangerous consequences or implications. Here are their fascinating (and unedited) responses. [Robert Seawright, Pragmatic Capitalism]

Banks Allying With Hedge Funds as Capital Rules Bite

Loic Fery owns a soccer team and is also probably one of the best credit managers around. A really great in-depth profile on Ferry and other hedge fund managers teaming up with banks to profit. [Jeremy Kahn & Liam Vaughan, Bloomberg] Also, check out ValueWalk’s interview with Loic Ferry from a few months ago, it can be found here.

Modeled Human Judgement Beats Human Judgement

The results of these analyses indicate that for this diagnostic task models of the men are generally more valid than the men themselves. Moreover, the finding occurred even when the models were constructed on a small set of cases, and then man and model competed on a completely new set. [Wesley R. Gray, Turnkey Analyst]

Short cuts: Rhoen Klinikum, Hornbach, Vivendi

A look at three different stocks from a value perspective. Seth Klarman is out Vivendi SA-ADR (OTCMKTS:VIVHY) (EPA:VIV) but now might be an opportunity to still buy, here is why. They seem to target the “professional” market, not the retail sector. Clearly this is also the sector where Hornbach-Baumarkt-AG (ETR:HBM) (FRA:HBM) is strongest. [ValueAndOpportunity]

Great Investors ask the Right Questions

There are only two prior instances. This is not the basis for statistical inference or quantitative analysis. It is more like looking at two former case studies. How is the current situation similar to 2000 or 2008?  [Jeff Miller, A Dash of Insight]

How To Get A Piece Of Twitter’s IPO

Investors looking to buy into the much-anticipated IPO of Twitter are going to have some waiting to do before seeing if there will be any shares for them—assuming they should buy. Warning: reading this article could lead to financial losses, depression, and other bad ‘things.’ see full disclaimer in a financial newspaper from 2003. [Matt Krantz, USA TODAY]

Twitter-Owning Funds on the Rise

Will investors avoid the mistakes they made with the Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) IPO? If you watched this space back then, in May 2012, the names are familiar. GSV Capital Corp (NASDAQ:GSVC) is surging nearly 13 percent. Firsthand Technology Value Fund Inc (NASDAQ:SVVC), a similar BDC that reported a 10.4 percent Twitter weighting  is up by 6 percent. So hey, maybe people can make some money from this IPO after all. [Brendan Conway, Barron’s]

Verizon Rant

I’m amazed at the Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) mega bond deal, which came after the big deal with Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD). $50 billion gets raised on incredibly easy terms in just one day.  But people should realize that this is just acquisition debt; it’s junk dressed up. And today we learn that a huge chunk of the paper is ending up in retail accounts. At least they did not buy twitter (yet)! [Bruce Krasting]

Lenovo Screws Up A Good thing

The DOA service was going to take seven or eight days and I wanted the machine faster than that. So, presumably with lower cost to Lenovo Group Limited (ADR) (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) (HKG:0992) they sent someone out to fix my machine. They replaced the motherboard. [John Hempton, Bronte