The polls open bright and early tomorrow, and we've got news for you. Fool co-founder David Gardner doesn't think everyone should vote. In fact, he thinks some of you shouldn't vote.

The audacity, you cry!? Has he lost his Foolish mind, you scream!? Be careful. After reading his arguments, you just may agree with him.... The Fools sound off about getting out to vote in our Election Day 2002 special. Feel free to share your comments and opinions, too.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Time to Buy?

It's an exciting day on Wall Street, with the major market indexes up 2% to 3%. What's behind the optimism?

For starters, tech bellwether Microsoft(Nasdaq: MSFT) had a huge burden lifted from its shoulders Friday when U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly allowed the company's antitrust settlement with the Justice Department to stand. Other big tech names -- such as Cisco(Nasdaq: CSCO), Intel(Nasdaq: INTC), and Dell(Nasdaq: DELL) -- are riding along on Mr. Softy's coattails.

The possibility that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this week is also working in the market's favor. Anytime that happens, interest-paying vehicles such as bonds and CDs become less attractive to investors, and stocks more attractive.

According to one headline today, investors are "piling in." This is an exciting time; after all, the S&P 500 has soared over 14% in the last month, alone. Has the bear market ended? Are you feeling you'll be left behind if you don't run with the crowd?

Don't be anxious. Take your time. Read through our 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly. The train won't leave you at the station -- the market will still be there for you when you're ready.

On the other hand, if you are ready, this is as good a time as any. If you're nowhere near retirement age, and you aren't yet putting away at least some of your savings in the stock market, you probably should be. Are we saying stocks are ready to take off? Not at all. Simply put, we still don't believe anyone can time the market with any consistency, so if you're ready to invest, go for it. The timing is less important than making the decision to educate yourself and get started.

If you need some help, we have plenty to offer: The How to Start Investing How-To Guide, or The Motley Fool Stock Advisor, for example.

Investing in the stock market is still the best way we know of to get rich... gradually.

Quote of Note

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs." -- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955), Treasury for the Free World

Bravo for NBC

General Electric's (NYSE: GE) NBC is buying Cablevision's(NYSE: CVC) Bravo, and both companies are applauding today's announced deal.

NBC will pay $1.25 billion for Bravo. The deal will be completed through stock transactions with Cablevision, which houses the innovative film and arts network, and a payment of $250 million to Metro-Goldwin-Mayer(NYSE: MGM) for its 20% ownership of Bravo.

NBC-owned shares currently make up about 16% of Cablevision's outstanding stock. NBC will return its shares, along with around $400 million to $500 million of GE stock.

Cablevision will therefore get a desperately needed infusion of capital, and can limit its tax liabilities with the deal's stock transfer structure. The relationship between NBC and Cablevision has been turbulent at times, and following the deal's closure, NBC will no longer own shares of the media and telecom company or its subsidiaries. That's probably best for everyone involved.

Cablevision's massive debt of around $9 billion and lack of adequate cash flow for capital improvements in 2003 has led to speculation that it would have to sell some of its properties, Bravo being a prime target. This should help the company get the funding it needs, once it sells its GE shares.

NBC benefits from adding another cable channel to its news-only MSNBC and CNBC line-up. A nice addition to the Peacock's stable, Bravo beams into more than 68 million American households with acclaimed shows like Inside the Actor's Studio. While NBC has minority interests in A&E and the History Channel, it'll now have a cable entertainment channel all its own.

Cablevision will improve its financial position, and NBC gets another foothold in the cable TV empire. As the much-parodied James Lipton might ask in a low, meaningful voice, "What's your favorite word?" For both companies, the answer today is, "Bravo."

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Wall Street Gets The Ring

Seven days.

That's all the warning unsuspecting victims get in the creepy horror flick The Ring. In the movie, which was No. 2 at the box office over the weekend, folks who watch a cursed videotape receive a phone call letting them know very bad things are about to happen.

Wall Street has something like this -- it's called insider information. After former ImClone Systems(Nasdaq: IMCL) CEO Sam Waksal tipped off his celebrity buddies over a drug deal gone bad, insider information has been front and center in the media.

In The Ring, the poor souls who come across the video have seven days to get their lives in order. With insider trading, the time is spent buying or selling -- depending on the magnitude and direction of the leaked info. The last thing a victim in the film sees before expiring is a ring. The last thing inside traders see is a jail cell.

But the early success of The Ring and Disney's(NYSE: DIS) spooky sleeper hit of the summer, Signs, has movie studios embracing horror flicks in earnest again. For a while, it looked like Hollywood was only good for as many Freddy Krueger, Mike Meyers, and Jason sequels it could string together. Then came the low-budget TheBlair Witch Project, and then the nearly $300 million box-office payday from The Sixth Sense. So we're now back to celluloid days where story and substance matter more than guts and gore.

According to, more than three-dozen horror films are in the planning stages. While it seems like Chuckie and Leprauchan will be back with more of the same, other fear flicks have far loftier intentions. You know, like shrieking all the way to the bank.

Discussion Board of the Day: Current Events

What other events will have a bearing on your portfolio? Everything? The world never stops turning. News never stops happening. All this and more -- in the Current Events discussion board. Only on

Quick Takes

Anthem's (NYSE: ATH) singing a healthy tune today. The health-care benefits specialist is raising its fiscal targets through the end of 2003. With strong membership growth and claims trending favorably on the pocketbook, the company now expects to earn between $4.05 and $4.10 a share this year. It's looking for profits to rise as high as $4.60 next year.

Pre-Paid Legal (NYSE: PPD) is coming to its own defense, upping its share buyback by another 500,000 shares. Shares of the legal services provider have surrendered nearly a third of their value over the past six months.

The Department of Commerce reports that new factory orders fell by 2% for the month of September. A slowdown in aircraft orders accounts for the bulk of the shortfall, as major carriers continue to scale back operators or hold off on new purchases. Backing out the sluggish transportation industry, new orders for manufactured goods actually inched up 0.6%.

LoJack (Nasdaq: LOJN) owners don't like surprises and moving targets. Shareowners agree. While third-quarter revenue shot up by 26%, the theft-prevention company's earnings came in both lower than last year's showing and lower than Wall Street's expectations. That's a bad ride for the folks who think Grand Theft Auto is more than just a video game.

The company that makes Arm & Hammer baking soda -- Church & Dwight(NYSE: CHD) -- reported earnings of $0.42 a share on revenue of $264 million. While that was $0.03 ahead of analyst estimates, the company is warning that fourth-quarter income will be off by those same three pennies a share. So does that make fiscal 2002 a wash? Maybe, but add some baking soda, and it makes a good gargling solution.

And Finally...

Today on The Fools debate whether you should vote at all.... David Gardner corresponds with Foolish readers about his Letter to Martha.... Rick Munarriz explores some tempting buys in the small-cap retail sector.... In Fool's School, who or what are the Merchant Kings?... Get the lowdown on the telecom industry from our Fool Community.... And the Post of the Day: Pfizer.

Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim