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Welcome to the "Wolf Creek Pass" School of Monetary Policy

I don’t know if you folks remember that hit ditty: a humorous tune about two truckers attempting to manhandle an out-of-control 1948 Peterbilt down the “other side” of Wolf Creek Pass – a death-taunting section of U.S. Highway 160 where the elevation drops a hefty 5,000 feet in a relatively short distance.

The song’s two characters – a truck driver named Earl and his brother, who’s his partner as well as the song’s narrator – are taking a flatbed load of chickens on a speedy trip down this winding, two-lane Colorado highway. After the narrator gives Earl the above-mentioned warning, the ancient semi’s brakes fail.

From there on down, the narrator tells us that the brothers’ trip “just wasn’t real pretty.” The truck careened around hairpins and switchbacks, and then raced at an uncontrolled 110 mph toward a tunnel with “clearance to the 12-foot line” – with chicken crates sadly “stacked to 13-9.”

The drivers and the runaway Peterbilt “went down and around and around and down ’til we run outta ground at the edge of town… and bashed into the side of the feed store – in downtown Pagosa Springs.”

Believe it or not, I started thinking about this funny old country tune the other night – right after I’d read a piece about QE3 and the U.S. Federal Reserve.

As zany as it first sounds, the parallels are striking.

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    It's hard to believe, but it's true. The iPhone turns five years old next week.

    Since its official launch on June 29, 2007, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has sold well over 180 million iPhones. Hands down, it's the most successful mobile phone ever launched.

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    The fact is, more than any other product on the planet, the iPhone is driving a whole new sector called mobile healthcare, or mHealth for short.

    With an iPhone in hand, it will redefine how doctors and other health-care pros work with their patients.

    But here's the big payoff: mHealth promises to save millions of lives as doctors use it to detect and treat diseases much more quickly than they could with old-school devices.

    These radical advances will undoubtedly make lots of early mHealth investors quite rich.

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    Of course, phones and tablets that use Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android operating system also could play a big role in the sector.

    But at this point the iPhone remains the clear leader in this rapidly growing market.

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  • WWDC 2012: Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Unveils MacBooks, iOS 6 While the new laptops Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) unveiled at WWDC 2012 may draw the most attention, it's the upgrades to its two operating systems that in the long run will mean more to the company's bottom line.

    The Worldwide Developers Conference is Apple's annual event aimed at those who write apps for Macs, iPhones and iPads.

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    Of course, all the fancy new bells and whistles come at a price - this fancy new MacBook Pro starts at $2,199.

    Apple also unveiled upgrades to the rest of its MacBook line, which were all blessed with Intel's new "Ivy Bridge" chipset in addition to USB 3.0.

    The popular MacBook Air also got something unexpected: a $100 price cut on both base models. That puts Apple's cheapest laptop at $999, a clear attempt to better compete with "ultrabooks" - the MacBook Air's Windows PC imitators.

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