Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jefferson & Currency

"If Americans ever allow banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless." Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Future For Gold

Peter Forth presents a nice summary of the future of the gold market:

Reasons for Gold to fall
1. The stockmarket has been climbing without any improving fundamentals long enough to be due for a significant correction and the gold price has followed the DOW down 51% of the time in the last half of 2009 (gold stocks followed the DOW down 71% of the time).
2. China has indicated that they plan to begin monetary tightening.
3. There is hot money right now in gold that will likely flee now that it has stopped going up.
4. The “dollar carry trade” could unwind, removing many gold hedge fund positions.
5. If the government is unable to print more money than is being lost in the economy due to loan payoffs, defaults and decreased money velocity then our economy will tilt again towards deflation. Even if you believe that the government will eventually be successful in creating enough inflation, it is not impossible that they fall behind the curve for a while if things start to happen quickly, resulting in a temporary loss in gold prices.
6. JP Morgan and the other big banks seem to be able to create nearly infinite amount of short positions to keep the price down and the political will to stop that seems to be largely absent.
7. The amount of paper gold substitutes such as GLD is arguably much greater that the actual amount of real gold available, causing dilution of the investment demand in the same way as when a company issues a large new set of shares.
8. Gold is under a downward sloping trendline and well under its 50 day moving average.
9. Gold stocks (GDX) are under a downward sloping trendline, well under its 100 day moving average and is now lower than its December 2009 lows.
10. Dehedging from gold companies may be almost over now.
11. As we saw in the Fall of 2008, Gold (and certainly not Gold Stocks) do not necessarily benefit and can in fact be substantially harmed by safe haven flows in a panic.

Reasons for Gold to Rise
1. Central banks around the world continue to print money without end in their attempt to keep the financial system solvent. For example in December alone, Freddy and Fanny were given an infinite checkbook by the government.
2. None of the excess that caused the financial crisis appear to have been solved:
o Banks are still massively overleveraged.
o Banks know that if they take on risk they will be bailed out, so they are still taking on huge risks.
o Unemployment is still skyhigh with no indication as to where any new jobs might come from to bring it down again.
o The is a huge overhang of homes that are technically in default but that are being held out of the market by the banks.
o Alt-A loans and Options ARMS are resetting this year and they are bigger than subprime.
3. The government will be unable to substantially raise interest rates for the forseable future, leaving us in a net negative interest rate environment.
4. Companies that hold huge short positions risk a default if counterparties demand physical delivery of their metal. There are some indications that this could occur in 2010 (in fact there are some rumours of this occurring already right now, with huge premiums being offered in return for cash settlement).
5. Central bank selling has turned into net central bank buying.
6. Many large gold companies have cleared large portions of their hedge book, indicating that they expect higher gold prices.
7. Contrarian investing disagrees with most of the articles in the mainstream media say gold is overvalued and going to fall.
8. Gold may be in the process of forming a double bottom at 1075.

The entire article:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Greenspan Has Left The Building

I believe that the score of the Superbowl will be as close as the Bernanke vote yesterday. Bernanke by 10.

"The Senate confirmed Ben Bernanke for another four-year term as Federal Reserve chairman Thursday afternoon, ending speculation that anger over Wall Street bailouts could cost Bernanke his job. New Mexico's two democratic senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall voted for confirmation. Bernanke was confirmed by a 70-30 margin. The Senate earlier voted 77-23 to end debate on Bernanke’s nomination, easily clearing the 60-vote hurdle needed to move to a confirmation vote. Bernanke’s confirmation came only three days before his current term is scheduled to expire. Opponents of Bernanke blame him for not preventing the financial crisis of 2008. “Chairman Bernanke was asleep at the switch while Wall Street became the largest gambling casino in the history of the world and hurtled into insolvency,” said Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt. “His failure to adequately regulate financial institutions should not be rewarded with a reappointment.”
Source: New Mexico Business Weekly

The tide has definitely shifted for Mr. Bernanke. I predict that he won't finish his term. The Great Maestro, Greenspan, exited the building just in time.

"I will predict that this will be the "last high point" in Mr. Bernanke's career."
Random Roving - December 17, 2009

"today he’s probably best described as the 'fall guy'"
Random Roving - September 30, 2008"

"And how about Fed Chairman Bernanke. He’s holding Greenspan’s bag and trying to figure out what to do. He’s standing at the podium trying to explain Greenspan’s sins. Isn’t it ironic that he’s a student of The Great Depression?"
Random Roving - September 30, 2008

"The “mob” has emerged and they’re seeking someone to lynch (ask Martha Stewart, George Bush, Jeff Emmelt, Ben Bernanke, and Brittany Spears)."
Random Roving - March 24, 2009

"This, my friends, illustrates the power of the Federal Reserve and aggressive "money printing". The patient is dying on the table, and doctors Greenspan and Bernanke keep it alive for a little bit longer. How long do we really want the patient on life support? If death is inevitable, lets make peace with the patient and let nature takes its course."
Random Roving - March 27, 2009

Breeding Hatred

"Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Monday he regretted comments comparing people who take public assistance to stray animals, but the incident continued to draw fire. In a phone interview, Bauer said he regretted the remarks "because now it's being used as an analogy, not a metaphor. "Do I regret it? Sure I do. I wouldn't have to be taking this heat otherwise." In a speech at a town hall meeting in the Upstate, Bauer revisited instructions he said his grandmother had given him when he was a small child. Bauer said his grandmother, who was not highly educated, had told him to stop feeding stray animals. "You know why?" he asked. "Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a human ample food supply." Bauer, 40, later said his intent was to explain the government is "breeding a culture of dependency" with its social program, which he said has grown out of control and "amounts to little more than socialism, paid for by hardworking, tax-paying families ... against their wishes."
Source: Politics AP

"Politics will get even uglier."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

Time To Reform, Pause, or Reflect?

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)."
Mark Twain - Notebook, 1904

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fear of The Veil

Am I using the "xeno" word too much lately or is there a trend at work?

Published: January 26, 2010
PARIS — "A French parliamentary panel recommended on Tuesday that lawmakers pass a resolution condemning the wearing of face-covering Muslim veils in public areas, but it stopped short of pressing for the garments to be outlawed in public. A report from the panel said that its members were unable to unanimously agree to call for an outright ban at this stage, even though a large number of panel members favored one. The 32-member panel’s report culminates a six-month inquiry into the wearing of all-enveloping burqas that began after President Nicolas Sarkozy said in June that the cloak was “not welcome” on French territory."
Source: NY Times

"The mob will get even more angry. Beware of the angry white American man carrying the Bible. Xenophobia will continue to increase. Muslims and Mexicans will continue to be the easy targets. Which group or culture is next?"
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ugly Gets Uglier

Four charged in phone scheme at Sen. Landrieu's office
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — "A conservative activist who posed as a pimp to target a community-organizing group with ties to President Obama was among four men arrested for allegedly trying to interfere with a Democratic senator's office telephones. Federal officials have not yet said whether the men were successful, or if their goal was political espionage. Still, the operation's style recalled the famous Watergate break-in, which ballooned into a scandal that consumed Richard Nixon's presidency and led to his resignation." Source: USA Today

"Politics will get even uglier."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

The Next Big Thing?

The iPad has arrived. Is this the next big thing?

A Crescendo in American Anger

The Washington Post reports:
American disapproval of Obama is on the rise
By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer - Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"The state of the union is obstreperous. Dyspepsia is the new equilibrium. All the passion in American politics is oppositional. The American people know what they don't like, which is: everything. That sounds like nihilism, but they're against that, too. Consider the poll last week by The Washington Post and ABC News. People were asked a standard question about how much confidence they had in President Obama to "make the right decisions" for the nation's future. A majority -- 53 percent -- gave the two most dismal of the four possible responses: "just some" and "none at all." The same question had been asked a year earlier; in just 12 months, the "none at all" camp had tripled, from 9 percent to 27 percent. We are at a strange moment: a crescendo in American anger even as the man in the White House hums along in a state of preternatural equanimity. Obama, who will take over prime-time television Wednesday night for his annual address to Congress, has seen such a drastic erosion of popularity that he may get only about 35 or 40 standing ovations instead of the usual 50 or so. The Againstness Epidemic has been years in the making. Individual strains of opposition have been cultivated in the petri dishes of special interest groups, religious fundamentalists, blogs, cable TV shows, talk radio, fringe subcultures (birthers, truthers, tea partiers). They feed into, and are fed by, entrenched industries of disagreeableness (fossil fuel companies, labor unions, the Chamber of Commerce, Rush Limbaugh). We live in a country in which being contrarian now means advocating a mainstream initiative."

The media is always late to the party.

"Obama has a bright future. I hope for his sake that he loses, because he will be the “fall guy” and historically during “inflection points” those presidents have been the recipients of bullets (Lincoln, McKinley, Kennedy, Reagan). The “mob” has emerged and they’re seeking someone to lynch."
Random Roving - June 30, 2008

"The mob will get even more angry."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Super Size Me Sam

Sam Walton pioneered the "supersize me" shopping era. Sam's Club was the ultimate shopping experience for the Supersize Me Era. The shopping carts were massive. The product volume per package was massive. You couldn't walk out of the store without two baskets full of "mega-stuff". And best of all, you left the store "stuffed" after eating all of the samples. Is Sam's Club experiencing the end of the era??

"Walmart Stores Inc. announced Sunday that it is laying off roughly 10 percent of its work force at its Sam's Club warehouse stores, or about 11,000 jobs, news sources said."
Source: Business Courier
I made a post recently on U.S. obesity. Someone sent me this graph. We're #1! 30%??

Darkness & The Devil

“There is no darkness but ignorance. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
William Shakespeare

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bernanke's Tumble

Is the downturn finally starting for Mr. Bernanke?

"He was in charge when we hit the iceberg and he should be held accountable."
John McCain

"Washington has suddenly noticed public rage over economic policies that bailed out big banks but failed to create jobs. And Mr. Bernanke has become a symbol of those policies."
Paul Krugman, NY Times - January 24, 2010

I love the phrases "suddenly noticed" and "symbol of those policies".

And of course we should throw some "fear" into the equation to "organize the sheeple":
"Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, in a recent interview with Mike Allen of Politico warned that the financial markets could react negatively if Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke wasn't confirmed for a second term."
Source: Ryan McCarthy, Huffington Post

"I will predict that this will be the "last high point" in Mr. Bernanke's career."
Random Roving - December 17, 2009

"today he’s probably best described as the 'fall guy'"
Random Roving - September 30, 2008

"And how about Fed Chairman Bernanke. He’s holding Greenspan’s bag and trying to figure out what to do. He’s standing at the podium trying to explain Greenspan’s sins. Isn’t it ironic that he’s a student of The Great Depression?"
Random Roving - September 30, 2008

"The “mob” has emerged and they’re seeking someone to lynch (ask Martha Stewart, George Bush, Jeff Emmelt, Ben Bernanke, and Brittany Spears)."
Random Roving - March 24, 2009

"This, my friends, illustrates the power of the Federal Reserve and aggressive "money printing". The patient is dying on the table, and doctors Greenspan and Bernanke keep it alive for a little bit longer. How long do we really want the patient on life support? If death is inevitable, lets make peace with the patient and let nature takes its course."
Random Roving - March 27, 2009

My Dream Superbowl

What a day of NFL football yesterday. 9.5 hours of stress for me. Congrats Colts! Slow and steady continues to work for the Blue Nation.

How about those Saints! What a game. Brett Favre was incredible despite being hammered all night. They keep finding a way to win. 43 years of disappointment finally came to an end. Mardi Gras is off to an early start.

My phone was buzzing with text messages afterwards. The 11 year old down the street asked the same question....."Mr. B., who are you going to pull for?". I hope for a great like last night. But, how can anyone on the planet NOT pull for the Saints? The franchise and the city deserves this one. I think that the Colts have the advantage, but Brees will have to attack those Colts corners much more aggressively than he did yesterday. It should be a great one!!

"My two favorite NFL teams are 8-0. Go Saints, Go Colts! What a Superbowl that would be."

"Brett Favre won’t be playing for the Jets next season. Saints win the Superbowl in 2010!!! It ain’t all bad…"

"But remember I predict a Super Bowl victory for the Saints next season!"

The Prolonged Bubble Aftermath

BOCA RATON, Fla., Jan 12 (Reuters) - "Renowned Yale University economist Robert Shiller said on Tuesday he sees U.S. housing prices falling further in coming months, fueling more fears about the broader economy. Housing prices have already dropped nearly 30 percent since their peak in early 2006, in a freefall at the center of the global financial crisis. Shiller, pioneer of the benchmark Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller home price index, told Reuters more declines could derail the country's fragile recovery by dragging more financial institutions to the brink of collapse and further discouraging sorely needed lending. Renewed worries about housing are shared by many economists, given the continuing U.S. foreclosure crisis and the number of Americans who now find themselves "under water," with homes that are worth less than their mortgages. The Case-Shiller index, a measure of housing prices in 20 metropolitan areas, showed impressive gains last summer but it rose just 0.4 percent in October from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis. "We saw this big upturn but it seems to be flagging," said Shiller.
When November data is published on Jan. 27, he said the index was likely to post its first overall decline since April, snapping five consecutive months of gains. "I think it's more likely to be a decline than a rise in the next few months," Shiller said. Shiller, 63, spoke in an interview in the palm-fringed retirement and resort community of Boca Raton, north of Miami. He declined to predict a renewed recession or "double-dip" in the overall U.S. economy if real estate prices continue eroding but acknowledged his concerns, despite recent gains in consumer confidence and slower declines in the labor market. "I worry about a double dip and worry about further declines in real estate," he said. "I worry that home prices will resume their fall and then the question is how much further down will they go. We're kind of stretched right now," said Shiller. "There are different estimates of what percentage of homes are under water ... Whatever that number is it can go up dramatically if home prices keep going down. And that would create another default crisis," he added. "This is what has bankers worried right now ... They're expecting a possible future crisis," said Shiller. "People forget that the aftermath of bursting bubbles can be very prolonged ... The last time we had such big bubbles was the Great Depression and that lasted a very long time." He noted that housing prices fell for 15 straight years in Japan after its real estate market collapsed in the 1990s. "Unfortunately, I think it's a model for what might happen," said Shiller."

Source: Reuters

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Extreme Xenophobia

Xenophobia continues at extreme levels.

Loud prayers spark airliner security scare
Suspected nervous flier quizzed after U.S. Airways flight is diverted
"A U.S. Airways jet was diverted to Philadelphia International Airport Thursday after crew members became nervous about a passenger praying loudly. There were initial reports that a man may have been wired with "a device" and the bomb squad, FBI and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials all attended. However, when authorities boarded Flight 3079 from LaGuardia Airport to Louisville, they established there was no bomb on board. A man was escorted off the plane by law enforcement officers while the other passengers also disembarked. Government sources told NBC News the flight was diverted because the passenger who may have been a nervous flier was praying loudly which alarmed members of the flight crew. NBC News also reported that the passenger was holding 'some type of religious item' and that the flight was diverted out of an "abundance of caution."

What We Fear

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no-one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.”
Neil Postman, Social Critic

Saturday, January 23, 2010

You've Seen "Plus Size" Before

It sounds like the fashion industry understands the nature of cycles. I love the phrase "impeccable regularity". The "Fourth Turning" explains the phrase below "you've seen it all before" in beautiful detail.

(CNN) -- "Nearly everything in fashion is cyclical: the clothing, the hair, the accessories, and yes, even the people come in and out of style with impeccable regularity. It's no wonder, then, that plus-size models and their agents are accepting the latest clamor to place larger models in high-fashion editorial spreads -- the first appearing in Glamour magazine in November, the second in V magazine's size issue, on stands Thursday -- with a shrug and a smile. They're hopeful, but if you've been in the business long enough, you've seen it all before."
Entire article:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Confessions and Contractions

There's an interesting trend of male celebrity confessions lately:

"I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behaviour my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect."
Tiger Woods

"I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and a mistake. I truly apologize."
Mark McGuire

"I am Quinn's father. It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me. To all those I have disappointed and hurt these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry."
Former Senator John Edwards

Is there a correlation between the contraction phase and confessions? Are these "spineless jellyfish" taking advantage of the flurry of negative news stories? Maybe they are hoping that Jay and Conan will keep most peoples attention. They might be hoping for the Gary Condit scenario. Remember Condit was the front page news story until 9/11. He was able to quietly disappear from the media.

Either way, "General" Larry Platt summed it up: "Pants on the ground, Pants on the ground, Lookin’ like a fool with you pants on the ground."

Our latest cultural phenom:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Tigers Plan A Protest

Say it isn't so! My Tigers are about to join the collegiate protesting ranks. The financial pain continues for colleges.

BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - "It's being called the largest layoff in LSU history. Hundreds of instructors are in danger of losing their jobs. Tuesday, they're expecting to get a letter that warns they will lose their jobs in the coming year if the university can't come up with another way to trim the $13 million in cuts ordered by Governor Bobby Jindal. So, instructors are gearing up for a protest today. They're inviting students and the general public to show up for a memorial service at the flag pole on campus today from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. They'll be protesting the cuts and wearing all black. They say they're mourning the loss of the university's flag ship status."

Source: KPLC

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Sound of Hooves On The Pavement

The word "change" has returned in the political arena. As I stated before the presidential election, it's a battle between the two mass social mood emotions: "fear" and "anger". Anger won out in that election even though Team Red got very aggressive with fear at the end (e.g. "he's not even a US citizen!", "he's the anti-Christ").

Mass. Voters: It Was Time For Change
Brown Election A Signal To Washington, State Democrats

BOSTON -- "Massachusetts election of its first Republican to the U.S. Senate in more than three decades may have sent political shock waves reverberating through Washington, but Scott Brown's big win may not have been much of a surprise to Bay State voters, many of whom said it simply signals their hunger for change. Brown, 50, a little-known GOP state senator from Wrentham, Mass., staged an epic upset Tuesday when he beat an entrenched Democratic party attorney general, Martha Coakley, to grab the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for 47 years."
Source: WCVB Boston

It wasn't truly an incumbent election, but it was a significant "incumbent position".

"Politicians ratings will continue to fall aligning with a continued decline in mass social mood. Incumbents beware."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

"But hubris has yielded to shock here at the possibility that the next political trend the Bay State might foreshadow is a voter backlash against the Democratic Party. That election, which will be held on Tuesday, was widely seen as a formality. Are we in for another shot heard 'round the world? Perhaps. More likely, listen for the sound of horse hooves on the pavement, and a modern-day version of Paul Revere's historic warning—the backlash is coming."
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Huxley on America

"Huxley had visited America during the Roaring 20’s and his experience provided the character for the novel. He was outraged by America’s out of control materialistic egocentric society. He witnessed youthful superficiality, commercialization, sexual promiscuity, and a self centered culture."
James Quinn

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nigerian Religious Conflict

KANO, Nigeria — "Security forces sealed off a section of the central Nigerian city of Jos after clashes at the weekend between Christians and Muslims left at least 26 dead and more than 300 wounded, according to a local imam. The Nassarawa Gwom district was under a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the wake of the unrest that flared up when Christian youths protested at the building of a mosque in the Christian-dominated neighbourhood. 'So far we have over 300 injured people, most of them from gun shots.' More than 3,000 people were meanwhile sheltering in mosques, churches and police barracks after being displaced from their homes, the Red Cross said. He added: 'The government calls on the people to go about their normal business without fear.'"

"The trend toward more "traditional" might spark some old flames. Keep an eye out for increased religious conflict though."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

This summary from Wikipedia makes it clear that Nigeria is NOT one of the weaker African countries:
"Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the eighth most populous country in the world, and the most populous country in the world in which the majority of the population is black. It is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world, with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009.[5][6][7][8] In the early 2000s, the majority of the population lived off less than US$ 1.25 (PPP) per day. [9] It is the second largest economy in Africa, and is a regional power that is also the hegemon in West Africa."

The State of Pop Culture

"The culture has deteriorated, with the media perpetuating a nihilistic, selfish, materialistic attitude among the citizens. TV and movies have portrayed lives of the dregs and lowlifes of society as desirable and normal. The lives of washed up rock stars, drugged out TV personalities, vapid housewives, and brainless house flippers passes for entertainment in today’s society. Getting rich by any means necessary has been glorified."
James Quinn

Monday, January 18, 2010

An Opportunity For Reflection

"Courage is essential to the human experience, and yet, it is the rarest quality of the human person."
Matthew Kelly - "The Book of Courage"

My Favorite 4th Quarter Photo

This is my favorite photo from the weekend's NFL contests. I wanted Favre to win, but I was really looking forward to a Saints-Cowboys rematch in the Superdome.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Will The Real Christians Please Stand Up

Some of the comments over the past few days from the "Republican Right" are just shocking. Being a non-party carrying member, I'll make an unbiased, direct comment. It is my personal opinion that the people known as the "Republican Right" are the most non-Christian behaving people that I know. If I remember correctly, Jesus was about love and compassion.

“There goes Obama again – he lives to help the downtrodden. The Haiti earthquake was made to order for Obama. Obama will use Haiti to boost credibility with the light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country.”
Rush Limbaugh, The Big Babbling Buffoon

"They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal."
Pat Robertson (one day after the Haitian earthquake)

"The mob will get even more angry. Beware of the angry white American man carrying the Bible. Xenophobia will continue to increase. Muslims and Mexicans will continue to be the easy targets. Which group or culture is next?"
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

A repost from a few months ago:
"The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They're the kind of people who'd stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn't bother to stop because they'd want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club." Dave Barry

Technological Stress

I made a reference to this article a couple of weeks ago. The contributor has a very interesting perspective on the intertwining aspects of technology, mass social mood, and the rapidly changing world. He seems to align with the interpretation of 1999 beginning the "fear and anger" cycle.

"The question is: Will we be able to move beyond this decade of anxiety?The new millennium looked as it was off to an edgy start in 2000 with mass paranoia about the Y2K bug infecting the world’s computers. After that scare fizzled out, an actual disaster struck, driving panic into the hearts of many in the West: The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. The collective mood of the first decade of this millennium has been, in some ways, coloured by the reactions to this unprecedented and savage attack on U.S. terrain. Fear has been the decade’s dominant theme, leading leaders in many countries to use technology to expand their military might, their spy networks and their “security.” With 2010 arriving next month, many are wondering whether the “war on terror” and all that’s gone with it has accomplished much. For one thing, fewer people than ever seem to feel secure."

The entire article:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Scale of Disaster

I'm just exiting a week in the "geo-cave". Wow, what a disaster in Haiti. Prayers go out to the Haitian people. It's amazing how fragile 3rd world countries are on all fronts....financially, infrastructure, health, security, and socio-economically. A shaking of the ground brings all of their buildings crumbling down.

There's many interesting observations to be made. The most impacting on me is the scale of which disasters occur outside of the United States. The table below illustrates how much smaller on a death toll basis our most recent monumental events have been. The 2004 tsunami, in seconds, took 229,866 lives. Think of the impact that Hurricane Katrina had on our country and the death toll was 1836. Image 229,866 people losing their lives in a matter of seconds. It's hard to fathom. I find watching these foreign disasters on tv somehow does not have the same impact because it seems so foreign and far away. Katrina hit close to home for me (no pun intended). September 11 was not only "on our soil", but it had significant visual impact. In addition, it had major geopolitical and religious impact. I can recall the news coverage for the earthquake in China, but 69,197 people lost their lives. Think of the comparison to the Katrina death toll. Who knew that 146,000 people lost their lives in the 2008 Myanmar cyclone?? Not me. 146,000 How about the Pakistan/Kashmir quake...86,000. I don't think that I even remember that. The easy takeaway is that we are blessed to live in the United States. Our natural disasters don't have near the devastating impact. We also are a very generous people.

Who knew that a 6.5 scale earthquake occurred in Eureka, CA last week? Haiti was 7.0. The "0.5" wasn't the difference. It's two different worlds. Twenty two millions dollars of damage in Eureka. I don't even know where Eureka is.

The positives are that many countries are aggressively providing aid. On a "cool" note, I thought that the fundraising of $10 million dollars for Haiti via text messaging was a great use of modern technology. Finally, text messaging does something significant!!

The days ahead for Haiti will be the most challenging. Infection and violence will be the hurdles to overcome. Where do you start on a project like that?

The Golden Price Is Right

I've made so many posts about gold that one friend recently was describing my blog to a friend and he said "it's about gold and other stuff". Well, I guess he was somewhat right. My fascination is with the public's lack of knowledge relating to the entire precious metals group of investments.

The video below sums it up very well. We quickly forget the last cycle and we only know the present. Stocks, stocks, and more stocks. As the last person stated "I don't have a clue".

Friday, January 15, 2010

We Will Kill You

Migrants leave Italian town amid violence
(CNN) -- "The message blaring out of the speakers on the van was stark: 'Any black person who is hiding in Rosarno should get out. If we catch you, we will kill you.' Abdul Rashid Muhammad Mahmoud Iddris got out. He's one of hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of African migrants taken by bus out of the Italian town over the weekend after violent demonstrations shook southern Italy. The unrest was among the worst of its kind in recent Italian history, said a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration. 'We have not witnessed such protests in a long time," said Flavio Di Giacomo. "There were several thousand, but I don't know exactly how many people were involved.' Interior Minister Roberto Maroni got involved Friday, declaring an "immigration emergency" and forming a task force under the authority of regional police to guarantee public order. It was the shooting of an African migrant that sparked two days of protests, Iddris told CNN by telephone from Italy. He said the shooting was unprovoked. Police said they were investigating the circumstances of the shooting. A few hours after the shooting, a group of about 300 immigrants poured into to the street where the incident took place earlier. 'They put on an angry demonstration, hampering the free circulation in the streets, damaging garbage bins, hitting with sticks and rocks numerous passing cars,' according to a police report."
Source: CNN

"Xenophobia continues to rise at an alarming rate."
Random Roving - November 6, 2009

"Now in the early stages of the “down” cycle, you sell “fear”. Fear of muslims. Fear of Mexicans. Fear that our house value will drop in half. Xenophobia is a powerful force in the down cycle and you are fueling it as much as anybody."
Random Roving - October 9, 2007

"Protests and riots will continue to increase across the world. The mob is getting angrier and angrier. Xenophobia will continue to increase. Muslims and Mexicans will continue to be the easy targets. Which group or culture is next?"
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

The Obesity Peak

One of my theories is that many human behavioral and cultural trends are directly tied to the expansion and contraction of the economic system. If credit expands, so do waistlines. As stated in my New Years Day post, I believe that as credit contracts so will many other things....materialism, gluttony, obesity (aka The Supersize Me Era). The Wall Street Journal reported this week that obesity may have peaked. Peak oil and now peak obesity!

One-Third of American Adults Are Obese, but Rate Slows
WASHINGTON—"One-third of American adults are obese, according to new U.S. government figures released Wednesday, but the rate of increase seen in recent decades has slowed. Figures from the National Center for Health Statistics showed 34% of American adults age 20 and older were obese in 2007-08 while 68% were considered overweight or obese. In children ages 2 through 19, 17% were considered obese while 32% were considered overweight. Broadly, the figures are similar to rates seen in 1999-2000. 'Obesity remains high and is a significant public-health problem in the U.S.,' said Cynthia Ogden, one of the main researchers involved in tabulating the data and an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's health-statistics unit. But, she said, the rapid increases in obesity rates seen during the 1980s and 1990s are slowing for most groups." Source: The Wall Street Journal

"Gluttony and obesity will evolve back to more natural levels."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Confidence in the VIX

In my September 16, 2009 post, "The Last Great Exit?", I made the case for a possible market top in the DJIA at 10500. Yesterday, the market closed at 10689 climbing from a month long sideways pattern. The market technicians are hyped up over the drop in the VIX (CBOE Volatility Index).

LONDON (Dow Jones)-- "Stock market volatility has been falling across the globe as fears of economic Armageddon have melted away, suggesting greater stability and potentially higher stock prices ahead. 'The steady decline in the volatility indices in equity markets reflects increasing investor confidence that the worst is behind us and that the rally continuing is a more likely scenario than a correction,' said Stephen Lindsay, a derivatives broker at London broking firm JB Drax. The Vix index, which measures volatility in Standard & Poor's 500 index options and thus, in effect, the broader U.S. stock market, has plummeted from 80.86 points, a high hit in November 2008, to 18.25 after falling steadily since the March 2009 rebound in world stock markets. Its European counterpart, the VStoxx, which measures volatility in Euro Stoxx 50 options, has fallen from a high of 85.5 points to 22.6. The Vix, sometimes dubbed the 'fear index', 'is a measure of risk applied to U.S. equity in the near future' and "reflects market expectations of future volatility,' said Tom Saywell, a derivatives specialist at HSBC Investment Bank. 'The recent new lows indicate the high relative levels of comfort held by the market in the near future and rising confidence that shocks on an economic and corporate basis may be a thing of the past," he added.
But despite the recent falls in the Vix, it's still historically high. 'It spent a large period between 2003 and 2008 in the low teens,' noted one derivatives broker at an independent London firm, who added: 'the status quo of low rates and continued fiscal support, coupled with the perception of economic recovery, has compressed volatility.'"

I still think that it's time for a decent correction. The sheeple's confidence historically has been on the "wrong side". Stay tuned.

The Psychological Commodity

“To me gold is a psychological commodity. It’s not really an industrial commodity. There’s plenty of gold producible, especially at these prices. So it’s really a momentum trade on a global scale rather than anything that has intrinsic value. Part of the reason that you’ve seen the kind of increases in the price of gold is the fact that if you really step back from the world, almost universally and in tandem, the paper currencies of the world have been devalued

Wilbur Ross, CEO, WL Ross & Co. on CNBC

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Breakfast Onion Rings

My buddy DM sent me the list of this years Darwin Awards. This one is my favorite.

"The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti , Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast... The man, frustrated, walked away."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Less Thought About Resource

One of the most perplexing concepts is that on a planet covered by 75% water, we could actually experience shortages. Of course, seawater is not drinkable, so desalination is required. In prior posts I've touched on the concept of resource shortages. The most common topic regarding shortages is oil. The "peak oil" concept continues to gain traction. From my observation, a shortage of water is an unknown concept to most......unless your a Californian. They are realizing that living in a desert is a long term losing battle against nature.
"A three-year drought in California is bringing a decades-long fight over water to a head, forcing tough choices." 60 Minutes

"The two "R's", religion and resources, will keep the Middle East on the front headlines. The "R's" will expand well beyond the Middle East before this is over."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Palin Scores Again

"2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is joining Fox News as a contributor, the news channel announced Monday. The former Alaska governor, whose book, Going Rogue: An American Life, became a bestseller weeks before it was released and remains No. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list, has signed a multi-year deal to offer her political commentary and analysis across all Fox News platforms, including Fox Business Channel, and Fox News Radio. She will also participate in special event political programming for Fox Broadcasting."
Source: Fox News

"The Big Winner Award: Sarah Palin; she rocketed on the scene and will be a huge winner in defeat."
Random Roving, Nov. 4, 2008 - Election Day Morning

Herd Madness

“Men think in herds, go mad in herds, but recover their senses one by one.”
Charles Mackay - Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The National Credit Card

“Washington has charged everything to the nation’s credit card – engaging in tax cuts and spending increases without paying for them. Washington’s imprudent, unethical and even immoral behavior is facilitated by a lack of transparency. While the US government is too big to fail, continuing on our current path will have adverse implications for our economy and international standing. The sooner Washington acts, the better. Our country, children and grandchildren deserve no less.”
David Walker – U.S. Comptroller (1998-2008) - September, 2008

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Is The Pizza Man Even Safe?

A few blocks from my office last weekend, the owner of one of our favorite NY pizza parlors was shot in the stomach as he was walking through an apartment complex. He was carrying all of the store's cash after closing.

The Chicago Times reports, "At 110 robberies as of last week, bank heists are up 25 percent this year compared with the same time in 2005 with 88 robberies. Last year was a record-breaking year with 230 heists. But this year, the FBI is noticing another record: one in four of the robberies are "takeover robberies," in which the bandit pulls out a weapon and takes over the bank rather than quietly presenting a note."

The pirates continue to kidnap ships and tankers in the Gulf of Aden.

"During the contraction phase of the cycle, the "have nots" will seek what they feel entitled to from the "haves". This will likely occur on all scales. As the mass social mood continues to shift down, what protective measures will be taken by governments and individuals to protect themselves?"
Random Roving - November 24, 2008

Friday, January 8, 2010

Proactive Politics

Well it didn't take long at all! It appears that the politicians are being proactive and retiring versus the alternative of being thrown out of office.

WASHINGTON - "Sen. Christopher Dodd, a five-term Democrat whose political stock began falling after the financial meltdown, has decided not to seek re-election in November, sources told NBC News. Word of his retirement comes hours after North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan announced he will not seek re-election." Source: MSNBC

"The Peter Schiff Senate race will be interesting to watch."
Random Roving 1/1/10

"So the political winds have forced Dodd to quit. Does this give Peter Schiff more or less of a chance to replace Dodd as Connecticut’s next Senator?"
Source: Liberty Maven

DENVER — "Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. of Colorado, a first-term Democrat, and spokesman for a band of upstart Democratic governors in historically Republican strongholds in the West, will not seek a second term in office this fall, a Colorado Democrat with knowledge of the governor’s plans said Tuesday. 'He is publically announcing tomorrow that he is dropping out of the race,' said the Democrat, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation, and so spoke on condition of anonymity. Mr. Ritter faced a tough race, with an apparently unified Republican party against him, a somewhat divided Democratic party on his flanks and a state still stumbling economically. But the news still shook Colorado politics, and shifted the dynamic of the fall contest, with no incumbent — for better or worse — to rally behind or to attack." Source: NY Times

"Politicians ratings will continue to fall aligning with a continued decline in mass social mood. Incumbents beware."
Random Roving 1/1/10

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Drumbeat of Triumphalism

The Tiger Woods saga took a new twist this past week when religion was thrown "into the mix". I found this article insightful:

'My God is bigger, badder than your God'
"'My God beats yours.' That's the essential message of triumphalism.
You can hear its marching band tooting along as various commentators parade across the airways and Internet debating which is the one true faith that can rescue Tiger Woods' reputation. The current drum major is Brit Hume, appearing at microphones daily to repeat his call to Tiger to turn to Jesus and Hume's own religion. It's one thing, however to testify to the peace, wisdom, joy and comfort your particular faith has given you. It's another to trash talk others' path to spiritual truth and a life of goodness beyond the so-called good life. No religion or atheist philosophy offers cover for serial adultery. There might be many paths to moral and social restoration for the wayward golfer -- and spiritual restoration as well, if Tiger hungers for that."

The entire article:

"As this cycle continues downward, it will be important to know what you believe in. You will be challenged to stand up for what you believe in whatever that is."
Random Roving - November 6, 2009

"Keep an eye out for increased religious conflict though."
Random Roving - January 1, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Technology Trends

A new year and decade are here. CNN provided a nice summary of 2009's top 10 technology trends:
1) Smartphone craze
2) Facebook grows up
3) Bloggers threaten regime
4) Books go digital
5) Info in an instant
6) App mania
7) Games leave the living room
8) Government gets techie
9) Search engine wars
10) "Smart" electricity use

The entire article:

So what does the next decade hold for us??

"The first 10 years of this millennium have been bewildering. Unbelievably complex. Globally destabilizing. Anxiety provoking. As well as Sept. 11 and the two wars that followed in its fiery aftermath, the shakedown we’ve gone through has been shaped by the wildly expanding power of technology. Many have suffered because of it. But this decade’s explosion of political, economic, cultural and technological change has been a little exciting, too. Even though relocations have downsides, they can have upsides as well. It’s crystal-clear more big surprises are in store as we continue to gaze into our future, as readers will realize as they check out the 20 trend-line pieces The Vancouver Sun begins publishing Thursday. When all is said and done, what can we hope for by the time we reach 2020, the end of the next decade? At the least, let’s work toward the possibility that humans can more creatively and responsibly respond to both the difficulties and opportunities produced by raging change. After all, our lives depend on it."
The Vancouver Sun

The entire article...A really interesting read:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2nd Bout of Hubris

The Burj Dubai might serve as a monument to the Supersize Me Era.

DUBAI, Jan 4 (Reuters) - "Dubai opened the world's tallest structure in a glitzy ceremony meant to put a brave face on crushing debt woes, leading some to wonder whether the Burj Dubai is the emirate's crowning glory or its last hurrah. The $1.5-billion tower will reach 200 storeys into the sky, and although officials have not yet revealed the exact height, it will exceed the next highest structure by some 300 metres (1,000 ft). But concerns about the emirate's $100-billion debt pile, which have made Dubai's stock exchange one of the world's worst performing, overshadow both the ceremony and boasts by the builder, Emaar Properties EMAR.DU, that the Burj heralds a new dawn. 'The worry for Dubai is that the event will be remembered as a second bout of hubris,' said David Butter, regional director for Middle East and North Africa at Economist Intelligence Unit. The first bout was in November, 2008, two months after the collapse of Lehman Bros., when Dubai spent $24 million on the opening ceremony of the Atlantis hotel, an event that did more to highlight a taste for extravagance than assuage fears that the economic crisis was not being taken seriously."

"Robert Prechter's research illustrates that during major credit expansion periods, the tallest buildings "of their time" have been constructed. The Burj Dubai might be a great example of this phenomenom. Euphoria rules at the crest of the tidal wave."
Random Roving - 12/11/08

"It looks like that credit card might have run dry. This one will be one to watch"
Random Roving - 3/11/09

"Wow.....sounds like the used car business might have a surplus in Dubai!"
Random Roving - 6/16/09

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Bear Market Rallies Of 1930 and 2009

From Claus Vogt, Weiss Research Inc:
"In 1930, the market rose roughly 50 percent from its 1929 crash low thus recouping half of the preceding losses. This monster rally led many contemporary economists, politicians and financial market experts to reason that the worst was over. But it was not to be ... The Great Depression had barely started, and the stock market suffered losses of another 85 percent measured from this interim high of 1930.
How does the current rally compare to this frightening potential predecessor? There is a scary similarity between the 1930 rally and 2009's. Well, from the March low the S&P 500 has soared 69 percent in nine months. In doing so it recouped a bit more than 50 percent of its former losses. But it's still 27 percent below its all time high of October 2007. Yes, the market rallied strongly in 2009. But it did the same thing in 1930. History then tells us that the current stock market rally is not sufficient enough to reason that the worst is over."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Next Commodity Boom

"The recent bout of low commodity prices and the continuing weakness of the financial system are setting the stage for another, even bigger commodity boom. For a short while, high commodity prices had been drawing capital into commodity production, but that stopped when prices fell. Now, while government bureaucrats are funneling hundreds of billions to weak banks, sick insurance companies, clueless automakers, and the politically well connected, the capital needed for new mines, pipelines, drilling projects, refineries, and crops has dried up. There will be consequences. When the economy crawls out of the current recession, today’s paucity of investment in commodity infrastructure will leave us with meager supplies and roaring prices."
James Quinn - July 2009
The entire article:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!! 2010 is Here.

It's my favorite time of the year to make predictions. I'm still sticking with all of my prior predictions. I'm interested in the "20-something" year cycles, so one year doesn't really make much of a difference.

"I’m betting on Puplava’s forecast of massive inflation. Buy some Krugerrands and interest in an oil well." Random Roving 10-1-08
This one was a winner and I believe it will be for many years to come.

All four outcomes still seem to be possibilities. I'm still convinced that massive inflation is coming. Massive deflation could be right behind.

I'm going to comment on my January 1, 2008 predictions one by one:

· Oil: $150/barrel before $50/barrel - WRONG. Oil bottomed at $38/barrel. I'll repredict the same for 2010, but the price will likely not see either.

· Gold: $1500/ou before $500/ou - I believe that $1500 is looking good.

· Dow Jones Ind. Avg.: 5000 before 15000 - We're currently in the middle. It still could be time to take the money and run.

· Next ten years will be the toughest we’ve ever experienced in our lifetime - Sticking to my guns on this one. Read the "The Fourth Turning" for the details.

· Next twenty much tougher than last twenty - Sticking to my guns on this one. Read the "The Fourth Turning" for the details.

· Next fifty much tougher than last fifty - Sticking to my guns on this one. Read the "The Fourth Turning" for the details.

· Military draft: within ten years, probably 5 - Sticking to my guns on this one. Read the "The Fourth Turning" for the details.

· Brett Favre won’t be playing for the Jets next season - CORRECT! But I never would have predicted a great season at the helm of the Vikings.

· Paris Hilton’s career tanks - Who really cares. It was a joke anyway.

· Saints win the Superbowl in 2010!!! - This was originally predicted on 10/1/08. This one is looking good despite two recent losses. I'll be considered a genius if this one plays out. Go Saints!!

"I believe that 2009 will be a very challenging year. I don't agree with the gurus that forecast a recession end by the third quarter of next year. Remember that those gurus just informed you that we've been in a recession for the past year. So much for proactive forecasting and timely notification. I think that we're in for a very long haul. A 26 year party requires a long hangover." Random Roving - 12/31/08

I chronicled the 26 year party in a little more detail.

I believe that the "sheeple" were awoken over the past fifteen months. It has become apparent to many that all of the pastures are not guaranteed to be "green" forever. Linear thinking might be giving way to cyclical or chaotic thinking.

My additional predictions for 2010 are:

-The continued printing of money by the Federal Reserve will wreak more havoc across the worldwide markets. Volatility is the new "norm".

-Commodities gone wild: Things will rise rapidly in, fuel, gold, oil, grains, uranium, copper......

-I don't know if it will happen in 2010, but I believe that one of the next "too big to fails" will be JPM Chase. They hold more derivatives than any other company in the world. We've just seen the beginning of the derivative implosion. Remember, Warren called them "weapons of mass destruction".

-Protests and riots will continue to increase across the world. The mob is getting angrier and angrier. College campuses will continue to "heat up". The younger generation is awaking to the fact that their parents squandered their future. "Mom and dad, thanks for the debt burden!"

-Politics will get even uglier. The foundation for the new 3rd party is forming. The Peter Schiff Senate race will be interesting to watch.

-The mob will get even more angry. Beware of the angry white American man carrying the Bible.

-Politicians ratings will continue to fall aligning with a continued decline in mass social mood. Incumbents beware.

-The Heartland Theory will continue to play out for many years to come. The two "R's", religion and resources, will keep the Middle East on the front headlines. The "R's" will expand well beyond the Middle East before this is over.

-The President will continue to "take a beating". Read the "The Fourth Turning" for the details. He's been called a non-US citizen, a Communist, a Fascist, and a Socialist. What is left?

"I don’t think it matters who the next president is. I know that 99% of you will disagree with this statement. I believe that he will be doomed by the economic cycle. The cycle is much greater than a president or a political party. The next president will time it horribly like Carter did, but much worse. He will be the fall guy. He will be worn down by the Middle East like LBJ was with Vietnam. Hopefully he won’t receive the fate of JFK. Yes, that sounds pessimistic, but history is very repetitive." Random Roving - 11/4/08 Election Day

"Was Jimmy Carter really that bad of a president or did he time his economic cycle poorly? Was Bill Clinton really that good of a president or did he time his presidency extremely well? I believe that one was cursed and the other blessed from the “get go”. The next president, whoever he is, is doomed and will likely parallel Carter, JFK, or LBJ. Hopefully for him it will only be as bad as Carter." 6-30-08

-Xenophobia will continue to increase. Muslims and Mexicans will continue to be the easy targets. Which group or culture is next? Will the U.S. fragment and all will say "California, that's your problem!".

-The "patriotic" drums will beat even louder. The love for "our troops" will increase. Nationalism will continue its rise. You will be questioned by the "so called patriots" whether you really love your country.

-The "outer layer of the onions" will continue to struggle. Keep an eye on Iceland, Dubai, California, Honduras, Columbia, Argentina, Mexico, Iran, Pakistan, Detroit, Hungary, and Greece.

-Things built on "sand" will continue to struggle: California, Dubai, Arizona, Florida, and Las Vegas. Golf courses and cities are not naturally aligned with the habitat of a desert.

-The downward trend in social mood will present some very positive developments (yeah! finally!):

---families will move geographically and emotionally closer

---materialism will begin to fade toward more important things: family, God, friends, and true happiness.

---gluttony and obesity will evolve back to more natural levels.

---religion will become smaller, "deeper", and more traditional. The megachurch and megamillionaire ministers might have seen "the peak". Hopefully they saved all of those millions from the book deals. The trend toward more "traditional" might spark some old flames. Keep an eye out for increased religious conflict though. The most hypocritical will be Christian vs Christian. Northern Ireland will be one to watch.

I'm sticking with my same recommendations from last year. They still are valid and wise.
My recommendations for the new year:
-Take care of what is important first
-Prepare for all scenarios
-Think for yourself
-Read a lot from diverse sources
-Be aware of who's Kool-Aid you're drinking
-Turn off the TV
-Enjoy life
-Pray a lot!

"As we move into a new year, the stock market's technically weak rally and the repercussions of the burst real estate will follow along. So stay flexible with your investment strategy because we could be in for another hard fall." Claus Vogt - Weiss Research Inc.

I continue to get feedback that this blog focuses too much on negative topics. I'm not sure if I feel more like Paul Revere or the weatherman. No one calls the weatherman a pessimist when he predicts that a hurricane will hit land in five days. They take his/her advice, prepare, and head to higher ground. Don't shoot the optimistic messenger! He's only trying to "fire a warning shot".