Charleston Democrats Amass Whopping 125 People to Protest Education Issues

According to the Charleston Post & Courier in two lead articles, Tuition tax credit foes hold rally to air views and Stimulus rally supporters gather at Brittlebank Park, an estimated total of 125 people attended both rallies … in total … 50 at one and 75 at the other.

Within the comments a few mentioned that they might have attended the protests and rallies if they had been held at a more convenient time of day rather than their near midday times. The reason for the particular time of each event was stated to be able to make the evening news.

I think making the news with next to no attendance is slightly counterproductive, but what would you expect from a group of people rallying and protesting about educational issues. Duhhh!!!

The issues at hand are South Carolina governor Mark Sanford steadfast refusal to take $700 million in stimulus money earmarked for education and state senator Robert Ford’s introduction of  state school voucher bill, each written about in other articles,  SC Governor, Mark Sanford, Being Hounded Over Stimulus Money and Local Paper Recruits Home-based Political Hack to Attack Black School Voucher Advocate.

Local Paper Recruits Home-based Political Hack to Attack Black School Voucher Advocate

What could be more dangerous to South Carolina Democratic power mongers than a majority population in the state that can actually read, write, and think for themselves?

The question posed above may get to the real root of the problem. If children aren’t subjected to the daily propaganda and brainwashing that they are bombarded with on a daily basis for 12 years in the public school system, what will that do for the naked power grab that the Democratic Party is now involved in and what would it mean for its future?

In an article, “Ford pushes school tax credits” (3/25/2009),the local Charleston, SC newspaper, The Post and Courier, apparently found it prudent to push their own political agenda by recruiting a local Democratic Party propagandist, Phil Noble, Jr., to attack a black Charleston County state senator, Robert Ford, for changing his position to one of support for a state school voucher system and to ensure that the proper amount of caustic party line cynicism was injected into their “news” article. In an attempt to water down his national renown as a propagandist and political hack, Phil Noble was described as a Charleston businessman and president of the S.C. New Democrats”.

Robert Ford is a black state senator from Charleston County’s district 42 who has served his district in that capacity since 1993 and previously served on Charleston City and County Councils beginning in 1974 until his election to the state Senate.

Mr. Noble, in typical demagogic style, doing his best to incite both white and black sentiments was quoted as stating the following regarding Senator Ford’s proposed school voucher bill,

“It will lead to the re-segregation of our schools and lead to worse education, not better,” Noble said. “Howard Rich is nothing but a carpetbagger who is trying to use our school children as lab rats in his radical social experiment.”


By invoking both “carpetbaggers” and “re-segregation”, Mr. Noble’s covered the field of inflammatory prejudices both black and white in one sentence, an extraordinary accomplishment. Bravo, Phil!! Simply amazing!!

Mr. Noble is, without a doubt, one of the most virulent antagonists of a school voucher system. He has gone so far as to publish and support a website, Stop Howard Rich where he “exposes” out of state funds for (Republican) politicians in South Carolina on both state and local levels.

So, what’s new????

What not do the same expose on Democratic candidates … say for example, James Clyburn.

Now … let’s see.

This gets really interesting. According to OpenSecrets.org – Center for Responsive Politics , in his last campaign, Mr. Clyburn received about 70% of his 2008 campaign contributions from PAC’s or political action committees, not exactly grass roots support, with over $200,000 coming from lawyers and law firms. His largest single contributor was Blackstone Group ( $29,900)which is a Wall Street  alternative asset management and financial services company that specializes in private equity, real estate and marketable alternative investment strategies as well as mergers and acquisitions (M&A), restructuring and fund placement advisory services. This isn’t exactly what I would consider home grown South Carolina support, but it is consistent with the fact that Mr. Clyburn’s second largest contributing industrial sector is Securities and Investment ($180,501) followed by Pharmaceuticals/Health Products ($151,228).In fact, according to OpenSecrets.org, during the last election cycle Mr. Clyburn received 74% of his funding from out of state sources which has left him with a war chest totaling more than $1,000,000 in unused funds.In the last two election cycles the majority of Mr. Clyburn’s campaign financing has come from out of state sources.

So, what’s Mr. Noble’s beef … other than practicing a little duplicity? Mr. Noble specializes in getting funding … from any source … for his clients. Mr. Noble’s “business” is a political consulting firm which specializes in answering the question, “Where’s the money?”, and securing it for his clients who are ideologically of his same ilk. As one of his numerous websites proclaims, Phil Noble founded PoliticsOnline, the premier international company providing fundraising and Internet tools for politics … Democratic Party politics. Mr. Noble does own a local business, Phil Noble + Associates, Inc.

As a self proclaimed “New Democrat”, he’s really an old school Democratic Party hack in a fancy new set of clothes, touting that at the age of 9 he “campaigned” for John Kennedy, who’s expertise seems to be blowing smoke screens and slinging mud in a single direction … against anyone opposing his proclaimed “progressive” views.

Robert Ford, by evolving to a position of supporting a school voucher system, has clearly put himself into Mr. Noble’s sights.

While accusing Howard Rich of being a “a carpetbagger who is trying to use our school children as lab rats in his radical social experiment”, he condescendingly refers to Robert Ford as good and honorable man but is on the wrong side of the school choice issue, while simultaneously hammering him for taking money from Howard Rich who is an ardent supporter of school voucher systems. Frankly, I’m surprised Mr. Noble didn’t just go ahead and refer to Mr. Ford as an “Uncle Tom”(“a good and honorable “black” man who is on the wrong side of the issue”), a favorite slanderous moniker for blacks who break with the hardline ideology, since he did in all but name only.

Frankly, I’ve found a new admiration for Robert Ford who has taken the time to investigate how the school choice works in other states. Unlike Mr. Noble and people like him, Mr. Ford isn’t blinded by senseless ideology which precludes thinking outside of a radical and inflexible ideological box.

It’s ironic that Mr. Nobles would refer to any student as a “lab rat” but it might be an appropriate analogy for what they’ve been for the past 40 or so years being forced to stay in a failed public school system.

Thanks, Mr. Noble. Maybe you came up with the right term but just applied it to the wrong group. I think the flourishing of private and parochial schools in South Carolina is anything but a failed experiment and maybe it’s time for those you claim to be representative of actually have a chance to make a choice … if you don’t fear the consequences. A failed public school system can’t get any lower than that and as Mr. Ford puts it,

“If the school’s not doing its job, then we’re supposed to take the money and give it to little Johnny’s mama to go to any school that she wants to send him to, (to) make sure little Johnny grows up to be one of y’all one day.”


Give ’em hell, Robert.

Maybe Mr. Ford has finally realized this senseless fanatical support for public school systems is less about education, or even money, than it is about ideological control and brainwashing … and school vouchers threaten the core of the control and brainwashing process … the public school system … the ultimate “social experiment” as Mr. Noble puts it.

Update(3/29/2009): Apparently, I spoke too soon. Within the “comments” of a follow up article on 3/27/2009, School choice bill takes fire, one of the commentors made the following statement:

Posted by “redreader” on March 27, 2009 at 1:02 p.m.

I’ve noticed that neither the P&C reporter nor any of the commentators have mentioned the influence of New Yorker Howard Rich and his money (and his friends’ cash) that is funneled to politicians who support vouchers, tax credits, whatever you want to call it. Ford has been on the receiving end of a full-court press from these people and their checks. Look it up on the SC.gov website for donations to him. You’ll find a certain address repeatedly listed.

Robert Ford has only ever supported positions that have campaign donations behind them and he’s either too vain or stupid (or both) to realize he’s been made into an Uncle Tom (my emphasis).

Maybe “redreader” is Mr. Phil “incognito” finally venting his true feelings and frustration. I knew I would see this reference to “Uncle Tom” at some point.

Religion: Old-time “Mixed Marriages” in the South … at least Where I Grew Up

By  “ancient” and “archaic” standards, I am the product of a “mixed marriage”. Does that mean I’m half black and half white?

No … NOT HARDLY!!.

Du-uhhh!!! (pronounced with two syllables with a slight upper inflection on the latter)

It means my father was a Methodist and my mother was a Baptist. And, the dilemma should have been, “Where do we go to church on Sunday?”, but it wasn’t. We attended the Methodist Church, of course.

In the South,especially the rural South, there is a church hierarchy: … everything else, … the Baptists and … the Methodists … but you have to be raised a Methodist out in the “boonies” to appreciate this. Otherwise, you either don’t get it … or viciously disagree.

Baptists accept everyone … just about … even Jimmy Carter.  But, Methodists … well, you have to consider yourself slightly up a notch … and then you’re a Methodist. If you look closely, you’ll notice most of the farmers are Baptists … unless they’re really, really big farmers (or those who think they’re really, really big farmers). And … a lot of the store owners … are Baptists. But …, where do you find the bankers, lawyers, doctors …and insurance agents …? At the Methodist Church, of course, … along with the children and descendants of bankers, lawyers and doctors … and insurance agents … and … really, really big farmers.

It’s really sort of interesting if you think about it … and study it.

Methodists are really Episcopalians sort of lost in the wilderness … and used to call themselves the Methodist Episcopal Church (ergo, the AME or African Methodist Episcopal Church) … or … they called themselves Anglicans … in colonial times, you know, before the “big split”. But now, they’re simply “Methodists” … or “United Methodists”. That’s what they changed their name to when the national organization stole all of the church property from the individual congregations … or so my father said. He always emphatically stated he wasn’t a “united” anything … but a plain ole’ Methodist … period. So there.

“Methodism” is really fairly interesting and basically simple. It was a devised “method” of practicing the Anglican form of the Protestant faith. During the early days of John Wesley, the Anglican Church, or Church of England, required all of it’s congregations to be attended by ordained ministers or priests at formal churches which were few and far between in England. At least, that was the excuse for poor attendance.

John Wesley, as a young Anglican minister, promoted the idea of lay ministers to attend lay congregations in the smaller communities that found it difficult or impossible to travel to the specified churches.(In other words, they just didn’t want to go.) He also set up a “method” or way for them the be organized and conduct their business … thus …”Methodism”. John Wesley was “the Missionary” of the Anglican Church. He went and sought out all of the recalcitrants and gave them no excuse for not attending church.

The colony of Georgia had a particular history with John Wesley. During it’s early days, Wesley actually traveled from England to Georgia during the governorship of James Oglethorpe and preached to congregations there … such as the one at Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island. A small Methodist church still exists on the site near the fort where Wesley preached to Frederica’s congregation under the Spanish moss draped oaks. So, don’t tell anyone but … Methodists “KNOW” their denomination “IS” the real “secret” official religion of the state of Georgia … and everyone else are really heretics.

But the Baptists … ahhhh … the “fire and brimstone” Baptists. Now, there’s a history worth telling. Steeped in the traditions of John Calvin, John Knox and other fervent protestants like the Pilgrims, or Congregationalists, that thought the Church of England or Anglicans were still too “papist”, they are descended from the true firebrands of Protestantism. In fact, the first Baptist congregation in America actually migrated from Maine where it originally settled to Charleston, SC. … where it has continued to flourish in the congregation of the First Baptist Church of that city.

This congregation in this church is where the “War Between the States” notion of “brother against brother, cousin against cousin” actually came into being … if you didn’t know it … at least more or less. These people in Charleston came from New England. They had family … cousins up there. Look it up … the same names. These were the original slave owners and abolitionists that were related to each other … and hated each other. The Civil War wasn’t about slavery. It was a damned family feud … between  two related bipolar groups of religeous fanatics!!

What Baptist in the South isn’t familiar with the name Furman, whether it be the university in Greenville, SC or its namesake, Richard Furman, the first and long time minister of First Baptist Church in Charleston. All Baptists who are familiar with their history know that Furman developed the organization of the Baptist Church as it exists in this country today, plus or minus its northern and southern juxtapositions.

Furman devised the plan to organize missionaries to go out among the pioneers and settlers of the South to introduce them to the Baptist faith … and convert them. That active pursuit of conversions and soul saving is the reason that the Baptist faith is so prominent in the South today.

The Baptist mission has been so successful and insidious in that South that, for all intents and purposes, a Methodist is really more of a “high” Baptist than a “low” Episcopalian  … although in some places, especially in some congregations around Charleston, you would think the Methodists are trying to compete with the Episcopalians  … or even Catholics … with kneeling and all.

In studying the genealogy of my paternal ancestors in the South, I know that they were originally Anglican in 17th century Virginia in old Lynhaven Parish on the coast and probably still so in 18th century coastal North Carolina. But, when they moved to Georgia in the immediate post Revolutionary War days, they were swept up in the fervor of the missionaries from Charleston working the frequently desolate and dangerous frontier regions of that newborn state … and became members of the Baptist communities there … whether in Jefferson County near the old capital city of Louisville … or old expansive Dooly County in the former Indian lands of the southwestern part of the state in what later became Baker then Dougherty counties, in the earliest congregations of  old Palmyra Baptist Church with the Mercers (as in Mercer University). Then, somehow, my great-grandfather getting a medical degree converted his branch of the family to Methodism … at least for the most part … along with subsequent Methodist ministers, more physicians … and lawyers … and probably insurance agents … and all, including politicians … and married to the sister of one really, really, really  … really big farmer.

Well, what about the Lutherans, Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons and everyone else.

And the Mennonites …

Okay.

Well, there were … and are … Primitive Baptists. Won’t go there.

Catholics … rare out in the country … if you don’t count “Gone With the Wind”. My college roommate for three years was Catholic and eventually convinced my Baptist mother that they really didn’t have two heads and a tail. They’ve been my second family ever since “then” … (“then” being college …  not my mother’s epiphany).

Seventh Day Adventists … nice people … came from Oklahoma …women don’t wear make-up and they all work hard raising chickens and growing corn.

Mormons … you know, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Well … ask a Baptist minister. He’ll give you the ‘lowdown’ on them.

Lutherans? Sure … protestants … Martin Luther, good guy … right? They’re okay people. Work hard … most of the time. Think they’re Methodists with a red door. Right across the street from the Methodist church. See? Says, Lutheran right on the sign. Sure. One of “us”. A good chunk of my classmates growing up were … Lutherans, all decended from the crowd that originally settled in Newberry, SC.

Mennonites. Whoah!!!

They have a big sign (even if you don’t see it) that says, “Don’t mess with us!” (Imagine the Terminator, aka Arnold, saying that.) “Don’t mess with us!!

… no frills, no buttons, no make-up, black cars, no government “hand outs”, their own schools, big families, lots of kids and work … work … work.

Like I said … the sign, “Don’t mess with us”. (Arnold’s Terminator voice again)

Nice people …really … and great cooks.

Just … don’t mess with ’em.

Okay. This has been my primer on Southern religion where I grew up and what a “mixed marriage” used to mean … and probably more than you wanted to know (or I should have said). And Bill Maher thinks he knows everything about religion? Humph!! Bozo (Maher) …

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Post discourse dialogue:

YOU:

“HEY!!!

Wait a MINUTE!!!!

This is all SOCIAL!!!

This doesn’t have anything to do about religion … or GOD!!!”

ME:

“So …?

Actually, you’re battting .500!

… everything about religion … nothing about GOD.

Exactly.

We all believe in the same GOD … more or less. That’s not the point.”

Recent Terminex Ad: “Roaches Won’t Survive End of World”

I would think that anyone who’s traveled outside their home county and watched ads on a local television during their travels might have noticed that the ads are geared to the local or regional population. In other words, the ads in Richmond, Washington are different from the ads in Los Angeles, California which are different from the ads in Charleston, South Carolina.

They’re targeted toward the ad’s chosen demographic population. In western Washington state you would think the population is made up of only white cowboys, in Los Angeles only Hispanics and in Charleston only blacks since these are the predominent actors in the local commercials in each area. You would think no other ethnicity or individuals with a different social backgrounds lived in the areas. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but what the heck. It’s a definitely noticeable trend.

Now, how many people have seen the recent Terminex ad about roaches? They claim that, because of their specific brand of bug killers, even roaches won’t survive the end of the world … complete with a view of some nuclear bombed out city. Hey … Terminex … this is pretty depressing stuff … not even cockroaches??

With all of the recent bans on pesticides, there are few that are available outside the various incarnations of pyrithrins. Now who has shared my experience that you actually have to use about a half can of Raid to literally drown that old durable cockroach?

This could be specifically a Charleston problem. With much of the downtown area developed on landfills, there have been ample breeding grounds for roaches for a long time. And, if you happen to have the time, just take a look at what comes stampeding out of the local storm sewerage system when there’s a torrential downpour.

Don’t get me wrong. Charleston is a beautiful and historic city with much of the charm of the Old South still present within its city limits. But, like any near Eutopia, it does have its distractions … alligators, various poisonous snakes, wharf rats the size of the Taco Bell dog, sand gnats, cockroaches and the official state insect … the Palmetto Bug … a smaller version of the infamous cockroach.

Cockroaches and their smaller cousin, the Palmetto Bug, have been adapting and mutating to handle and survive any and everything the pest extermination community has developed to throw at them for a long time and will most assuredly continue to do so.

So …

Terminex, I know you thought your ad was humorous in some sort of perverse way but, besides being grossly inaccurate, it’s not even funny. And quite frankly, who gives a wharf rat’s extremely long hairless tail what does or doesn’t survive after the human race is gone?

Wesley Clark’s Sleeze Attack Against John McCain

Sunday, on “Face the Nation” retired Army general, Wesley Clark, made direct assaults against John McCain’s military service and his qualifications to be president. Clark insinuated that commanding a training squadron in peactime wasn’t equal to commanding that same squadron during war; that it didn’t require ordering bombs to be dropped. He also stated that getting shot down while flying in combat didn’t qualify a person to be president.

Let’s not even compare John McCain’s experiences to Barack Obama’s since there’s really no comparison. In many ways, retired General Clark is right. Flying a ground attack fighter through a barrage of SAM missles over North Viet Nam is no more presidential than parking your PT boat in front of a Japanese destroyer and getting it cut in two. Also, being a prisoner of war in North Viet Nam for five and a half years is no more presidential than shacking up with a German spy in a downtown Charleston, SC hotel for several months during World War II. President Kennedy was given a medal for not being able to outmaneuver a destroyer with his agile PT boat. He was put in charge of the PT boat in the South Pacific to get him out of the European theater after living with a woman in Charleston who was found to be a German espionage agent by the FBI.

When taking Air Force ROTC in college, my classmates and I were constantly being barraged with the notion that where else but in the military could a young officer get such leadership experience with the responsibility over numerous personnel and millions of dollars of equipment. Was all of that just a bunch of hogwash? The military builds leaders … at all levels of command. That was the military message. Maybe Wesley Clark should review some of the “propaganda” that the military indoctrinates it’s officer candidates with if his view is so contradictory to the time honored line. According to what I was taught, and based on my experience while on active duty … during peacetime … squadron commanders get a lot of executive experience.

And, Wall Street, as well as corporate America, amply rewards that executive experience. Wesley Clark should know. He’s been a beneficiary.

Let me tell you a story … a factual and true story.

Back in 2006, I became interested in some low priced biotech stocks that were involved in doing research in the area of flu vaccines. I invested in several of these and followed them closely for about a year, buying and selling, trying to get a sense of why they were moving as they did. These were really budget stocks … less than $10 a share … and one fluctuated between $1.20 and $2.00 a share. I actually did quite well with that stock when buying selling it in lots from 3 to 10,000.

Watching these closely and continuing to do research on them, trying to figure why they moved as they did, I began to notice that the financial analysis of these stocks was being done primarily by one company, Rodman and Renshaw. When the stocks were doing terribly and some bad news about them would come out, the analyst would write a glowing and promising review of the stocks and a predictable group of suckers … I mean investors … would rally the stock. I quickly learned to buy on the bad news and sell on the predictable rallies that would occur after the financial analyst would make his report. It became a matter of trying to pick the trough the stock hit before the predictable good news would come out. I actually did fairly well.

Over time, my curiosity about Rodman and Renshaw grew and I decided to research it. I found that Rodman and Renshaw had started filing financial reports with the SEC and reviewed these. To my surprise, Rodman and Renshaw’s stock was virtually worthless with the bulk of the financial transactions involved paying legal fees to maintain it’s public corporate status … less than $100,000 a year.

On further investigation, my findings were quite surprising. Rodman and Renshaw was a New York city firm that dealt, as best I could tellat the time, exclusively with biotech stocks … but not just any biotech stocks. They seemed to specialize in biotech stocks that were in extreme financial distress and in great need of cash to continue their research. Rodman and Renshaw organized biotech “fairs” to match their biotech clients with their investor clients while having their financial analysts write glowing reports which were publically available for market researchers like myself.

Not that long ago, Congress passed a bill called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Another name for this bill is the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002. It was designed to force publicly traded companies to clean up their accounting practices and provide greater transparency for the investing public. One of the sections of this act was specifically aimed at financial analysts, holding them accountable for their assessments of publicly traded corporations and theoretically protecting them from executive pressures to overvalue or falsely valuing the corporations they were analyzing.

Rodman and Renshaw refers to itself as a full service investment bank and a leader or specialist in PIPE and RD transaction markets. PIPE stand for “private investment in public equities” and RD stands for “registered direct placements”. Basically, what this means is that they’re in the business of arranging private funding for these corporations, in essence diluting the real value of the stocks, while they’re being trading on the open market. In other words, it’s like the selling out of K-Mart to private investors during their bankruptcy and receivership without these companies actually having to declare bankruptcy … doing all of this while promoting these stocks to the gullible public who aren’t watching and questioning the financials.

It seems that back in 2006, Rodman and Renshaw got into a little trouble. One of the stocks they were promoting was being followed by a financial analyst at their firm by the name of Matthew N. Murray.

It seems that a stock he was following and had done an analysis on had risen in price on the stock market. In following quarterly review, he maintained his valuation of the stock in spite of its superfluous rise in the market. He was approached by his supervisor and “encouraged” to raise his valuation of the stock which he refused to do stating that his original assessment of the stock was a truer representation of its actual value rather than it’s market price. This was his job … what he was supposed to do.

Murray reported the actions of his supervisor and possibly others to the Senate Finance Committee since the actions of the Rodman and Renshaw executives was a violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. And, he was subsequently fired … also a violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The chairman of Rodman and Renshaw was called to testify before the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Group Investigating Firing at a Brokerage Firm – New York Times

In her New York Times article, Gretchen Morgenson points out that Rodman and Renshaw was a privately held company at the time of the article. It appears that some time in May of 2007 it became a publicly traded company. So, it’s possible that it may have been able to avoid prosecution under Sarbanes- Oxley although that would bring into question why the Senate finance Committee held inquiries and why Mr. Murray made his complaint to them. Evidence presented in Ms. Morgenson’s article would indicate that,for some reason, Rodman and Renshaw were doing their best to try to discredit Mr. Murray …. which wouldn’t be necessary if they weren’t subject to the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley. They would simply thumb their nose at the Senate committee.

While digging a little deeper into the financial history of Rodman and Renshaw, I ran across some interesting facts. A group of investors bought a firm in Colorado that was involved in real estate and land development. They, then sold all of its assets. Next, they bought a defunct firm based in New Jersey that had, years before, been involved in market trading. It’s name was Rodman and Renshaw. So, they bought a name … that sounded respectable. Next, they found a lucrative market to manipulate … primarily biotechnology … with struggling companies who had an extremely long shot of discovering something of worth but at great expense with frequent and heavy losses … sucking up lots of capital.

Rodman & Renshaw

Read the New York Times article and note the date. A nose thumbing is exactly what Rodman and Renshaw did to the Senate Committee. In November of 2006, elections were held in which the Democrats gained control of the committees in both houses of Congress. By the time I had correspondence with Ms. Morgenson in the fall of 2007, the issue was dead … apparently dying as it was probably tabled by the now Democratic controlled Senate Finance Committee.

By the way, if you haven’t taken the time to read the New York Times article, the chairman of the board of Rodman and Renshaw was then and is now retired Army General Wesley Clark.

Frankly, my sleeze-meter went off the register when I was doing the research on Rodman and Renshaw. Watching the interview of Wesley Clark on “Face the Nation” reminded my why.

Addendum: 7/1/2008 – Review of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Section 5 deals with securities analysts. It is the one section of the act which says nothing about a publicly traded company but refers to securities analysts who are employed by brokers or dealers involved in investment banking without specifying whether they are public or privately owned. To me, this implies that any broker or dealer who is involved in investment banking, which Rodman and Renshaw claims to have been doing since 2003, are subject to the provisions in this section.

Section 501 — Treatment of Securities Analysts by Registered Securities Associations and National Securities Exchanges