Daily Digest

Daily Digest - November 18

Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 11:47 AM
  • New York Personal Income Tax Collections Fell 21% Last Year
  • Global junk bond default rate rises in October - S&P
  • Life Insurers May Lose $22.6 Billion on Commercial Real Estate
  • S&P cuts ratings on $17 bln worth of U.S. CLOs
  • Silverdome sale price disappoints
  • Pickens Predicts $100 crude in 2010, $300 by 2020
  • Michael Panzner: Commercial Real Estate Is A "Tsunami Unfolding"
  • Ski Homes Feel the Real Estate Chill
  • China, U.S. eye pact to help troubled banks: sources
  • IC and reserve currency An issue to moot
  • National Debt Now Tops $12 Trillion (CBS News)
  • California faces a projected deficit of $21 billion
  • Utah's fictitious '4th Congressional District' gets $1.2 million in stimulus funding (ABC News)
  • VA might have to cut $2.9 billion more by '12
  • Senator: VT will face $88 million budget deficit
  • Charleston Seeks Help With Pensions
  • We Don’t Have Confidence in the U.S. Dollar Now
  • San Francisco heads into $53 million deficit (Video)
  • State college pre-paid tuition program deep in debt (South Carolina)

Economy

New York Personal Income Tax Collections Fell 21% Last Year

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- New York state’s personal income tax collections, its largest source of revenue, fell $4.73 billion, or 21 percent, from a year earlier, according to a report issued today by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The decline is the result of 236,000 lost jobs in the last year, which increased the state’s unemployment rate to 8.9 percent from 5.8 percent a year earlier, according to Labor Department reports.

Global junk bond default rate rises in October -S&P

Through Nov. 11, some 243 issuers have defaulted this year, the most in any one year since S&P began tracking them in 1981. The dollar volume of worldwide defaults has ballooned to $573 billion so far in 2009 from $433 billion in all of 2008 and $8 billion in 2007, the rating agency said in a report.

Life Insurers May Lose $22.6 Billion on Commercial Real Estate

U.S. life insurers, a group led by MetLife Inc. and Prudential Financial Inc., may lose as much as $22.6 billion on investments in commercial real estate through 2011, Fitch Ratings said..... Life insurers held more than $450 billion in commercial loans and mortgage-backed securities at the end of 2008, Fitch said in a related report. The delinquency rate on U.S. CMBS rose to 4.01 percent at the end of October, almost seven times what it was a year ago, Moody’s Investors Service said yesterday.

S&P cuts ratings on $17 bln worth of U.S. CLOs

Defaults and rating downgrades of underlying collateral supporting Collateralized Loan Obligation bonds were the main factors in the CLO downgrades, including some rating cuts to the CCC level, which is deep into junk territory and suggests "substantial risk" of default, S&P said.

Silverdome sale price disappoints (posted by pwanex)

Pontiac -- Nearly 35 years after taxpayers spent $55.7 million building the Pontiac Silverdome and a year after a $20 million sale fell through, city officials have sold the arena once called the most desirable property in Oakland County. The price: $583,000.

Pickens Predicts $100 crude in 2010, $300 by 2020

As reported by bnet.com on Friday, oilman-turned-natural-gas-entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens is talking about oil prices spiking…again. The outspoken Texan predicted in October that oil would reach over $75 a barrel before the end of 2009. Now he’s claiming that 2010 will see even higher oil prices, with crude potentially reaching $100 per barrel. Pickens doesn’t see the buck stopping there either—he thinks that, within a decade, oil could go as high as $300 per barrel.

Michael Panzner: Commercial Real Estate Is A "Tsunami Unfolding"

Michael Panzner is bearish, and you should listen. Why? The 25-year veteran of the global stock, bond, and currency markets was one of the few who called the crisis before it happened, with a book aptly titled "Financial Armageddon."

Ski Homes Feel the Real Estate Chill

Asking prices on properties in some of the country's priciest ski zip codes have seen 15-30 percent price cuts this year. Sellers have learned that even the most tricked-out ski houses with Jacuzzis, heated decks, and hot tubs aren't immune to the real estate slump, say agents. "I never thought I would see the day of million-dollar price reductions," said Colorado real estate agent Karen Barrocas of Colorado Ski Real Estate.

China, U.S. eye pact to help troubled banks: sources (posted by rhare)

Chinese and U.S. regulators are negotiating a pact aimed at encouraging Chinese financial institutions to buy into small and medium-sized banks in the United States, bankers briefed on the plan said on Tuesday. Chinese bankers have complained that it's been difficult for them to set up branches or invest in banks in the world's leading economy, due partly to U.S. regulators' tough supervision and strict approval process for financial deals. But the global financial landscape has been revamped by the credit crisis, and cash-rich Chinese banks are now bigger players on the world scene and are scouting around for investment targets.

IC and Reserve Currency

It is official: the Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank of the country, has invested Rs. 33 billion in Indian Treasury Bills due to high interest rate in India- 5.25 percent- compared to 0.25 percent in the United States. It is a controversial decision. The question is simple. Is it legitimate for the central bank of the country to run after profit in utilizing the country’s reserve which consists largely of convertible currency or gold and, only to some extent, Indian currency?

National Debt Now Tops $12 Trillion (CBS News)

It's another record-high for the U.S. National Debt which today topped the $12-trillion mark. Divided evenly among the U.S. population, it amounts to $38,974.34 for every man, woman and child. Technically, the debt hit the new high yesterday, but it was posted on the Treasury Department website just after 3:00 p.m. ET today. The exact calculation of the debt is a 16-digit tongue-twister and red-ink tsunami: $12,031,299,186,290.07

California faces a projected deficit of $21 billion

The legislative budget analyst's projection, to be released Wednesday, threatens to send Sacramento back into gridlock and force across-the-board cuts to state programs.

Utah's fictitious '4th Congressional District' gets $1.2 million in stimulus funding (ABC News)

Utah's 4th congressional district received more than $1.1 million in stimulus funds, according to President Obama's Recovery.org website. The problem: Utah doesn't have a 4th district. In fact, Utah is one of many states listed on the recovery web site with 'phantom' districts.

VA might have to cut $2.9 billion more by '12

The bleak forecast announced Tuesday at a House Appropriations Committee retreat comes on top of nearly $7 billion in reductions to the state's current two-year budget since last year. "These budget numbers are scary, and they're stark," Del. Clarence E. "Bud" Phillips (D-Dickenson) said. "They're going to have a grave impact on the citizens of the commonwealth."

Senator: VT will face $88 million budget deficit

The economy’s fallen apart, our revenues have plummeted and the state of Vermont’s facing the toughest fiscal challenges in our history,” Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin told more than 50 legislators and a couple dozen lobbyists gathered at the Statehouse for a budget briefing. Shumlin, of Windham County, said that the estimate does not include an additional $22 million needed for the retirement fund the state maintains for teachers, $9 million in retirement funds for state employees and a projected $30 million for growth in caseloads for state health and other human services programs.

Charleston Seeks Help With Pensions

Senate Pensions Chairman Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, estimates that of 53 pension plans across the state, 45 cities' plans are seriously under-funded at 40 percent or less.

We Don’t Have Confidence in the U.S. Dollar Now

We must reform the international monetary system,” Yu Yongding, a former Chinese central bank adviser, said at a forum in Beijing today. “A good monetary system should make us confident. But we don’t have confidence in the U.S. dollar now.

San Francisco heads into $53 million deficit (Video)

Newsom hasn't been seen much since he dropped out of the governor's race two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the controller's office is now working on the 2010-2011 budget and they're already talking about a projected $400 million deficit for San Francisco.

State college pre-paid tuition program deep in debt (South Carolina)

The struggling economy in South Carolina has claimed another victim -- the state Tuition Prepayment Program. State officials say the program that allows parents to pay future college tuition using today's rates is about $60 million in debt.

24 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

" One troubling sign: one-quarter of the $180 billion of apartment-building loans on Fannie’s books were originated near the top of the market in 2007 and those loans account for nearly half of all its commercial-loan delinquencies."

"The support level for the commodity will now be at $1,000, which was the precious metal’s resistance level previously, Faber said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore today."...

“Will it go $2,000, $200,000 or $2 trillion? I don’t know,” Faber said. “But if you have money printing in the world, then the price will over time rise. It will go up more for things that you just can’t increase the supply, and the supply of precious metals is very limited.”

"LAS VEGAS—Las Vegas City Council members are beginning to consider ways to deal with a projected budget shortfall of more than $400 million over the next five years.

City officials say city finance chief Mark Vincent will address the council Wednesday about the state of a deficit that has grown since the last projection in May.

At that time, the shortfall was projected at about $240 million over the next five years."

"WATSONVILLE - The city will close a long list of services during Thanksgiving week, a cost-cutting measure aimed at balancing the city budget.

Watsonville has been dealing with a $4.5 million general fund deficit and most city employees agreed earlier in the year to take 10 percent pay cuts."

"As lawmakers convened Tuesday to start chipping away at a $2 billion budget deficit, the state is preparing to turn to outside lenders for the first time in Arizona history.

The borrowing is needed to give the state enough cash to carry it through ongoing revenue shortfalls, state Treasurer Dean Martin said.

He estimates the state will need to borrow $700 million to see it through the June 30 end of the fiscal year. As of Tuesday, Martin said, the state had exceeded its threshold of $500 million in IOUs and would need to turn to institutional lenders. To date, the state has been borrowing against internal accounts."

"TALLAHASSEE — As lawmakers grapple with a shortfall for the coming fiscal year that could total as much as $2.7 billion, there’s another financial headache looming on the horizon:

The pending expiration of the federal stimulus money that the state used to patch holes in its $66.5 billion spending plan for the current spending year.

In education alone, that could cost the state more than $1.2 billion in education funding in the 2011-12 spending year, blowing a larger hole in an already stretched education budget.

That’s on top of other areas where a far-from-robust economy is still expected to hamper tax revenues, with the result being a shortfall as high as $5.4 billion."

"The state of Minnesota's financial picture looks so bleak that top officials are considering a rare move: Borrowing money to make sure the state can pay its bills next year.

Tom Hanson, commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget, told a legislative subcommittee Thursday that the slow recovery could trigger general fund shortfalls in the spring significant enough to warrant short-term borrowing for the first time in a quarter-century. The state's tax collections are already $223 million lower than officials predicted."

"UC President Mark Yudof says the 10-campus system needs a $913 million increase in state funding next year. He has argued that the fee hikes are necessary to help reduce a half billion dollar budget deficit made worse by recent cuts by the state.

Meanwhile, California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed is recommending asking for an increase of $884 million for 2010-11. The board of regents will be meeting at UCLA over the next couple days.

The finance committee is expected to approve the 32-percent hike in fees today with the board of regents following suit and passing the proposal tomorrow. If it goes through, this would be the first time annual UC tuition surpasses the $10,000 mark."

"Ambac Assurance Corp.’s regulatory surplus climbed to $856 million as of Sept. 30 from $305.6 million at the end of June, the company said today"

"Ambac increased its surplus in part by tearing up credit- default swap contracts on $5 billion of collateralized debt obligations in exchange for $520 million in payments to counter- parties, according to the filing today."

"Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said policy makers may not start to raise rates until early 2012 while facing a “too low for two long” argument that may “weigh heavily” on the central bank."

"Because of increased retirement rates and other factors, the employer contribution rates may have to increase from 12 percent of payroll in 2008 to 18 percent in five years. The retirement fund, which was about 85 percent funded in 2008, is on a downward course to be 60 percent funded in 2013.

Local agencies such as the county and city of Ceres are struggling with budget shortfalls, so they are not looking forward to increasing their contributions for the fiscal year that starts July 1."

"Interesting talk by Chris, about 10 minutes long."

"Cash-strapped New York City homeowners are being hit with hefty property tax increases. And the reason is hard for homeowners to both understand and swallow.

To city homeowners it gives new meaning to the term fuzzy math. Their property values have plummeted but their taxes are going up.

And they are furious."

"The report noted that the four largest investment firms in Manhattan — Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and the investment banking arm of JPMorgan Chase — earned $22.5 billion in the first nine months, in contrast to losses of more than $40.3 billion in 2008, primarily at Merrill."....

"Fueling the gains were extraordinary profits from the firms’ own securities trading accounts as they borrowed at near-zero interest rates and put the money to work in the securities markets. Member firms on the New York Stock Exchange earned a record $35.7 billion for their broker-dealer operations in the first six months, $8.9 billion more that the previous high in 2000, the state comptroller said.

In turn, the profits are contributing to a resurgence of bonuses on Wall Street. Six of the top American bank holding companies set aside $112 billion for salaries and bonuses, including deferred payments, in the first nine months, Mr. DiNapoli reported."

 

..........“They come from Citigroup, they come from Goldman Sachs, ….it is the banks owning the country. It is the greatest bank robbery in American history”, says Celente.

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

I love watching Chris speak.

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18
Tycer wrote:

I love watching Chris speak.

+1

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

You'll definitely want to watch that video with Chris that SaxPlayer found. I was at the event. Not seen in the video, but around the 4 minute mark, when Chris starts talking about Net energy return, you should have seen the expression on the face of the oil company executive. It was classic! She started to taking some notes about that topic...bet she never heard THAT before!!!

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

FHA-Backed Lending Is a ‘Train Wreck,’ Toll Brothers Chief Says

"“Yesterday’s subprime is today’s FHA,” Toll said"

"“It’s a definite train wreck and the flag will go up in the next couple of months: Bail us out. Give us more money.”

The FHA’s losses are greater than the agency can withstand, Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer with government- backed mortgage lender Fannie Mae, said in testimony before Congress in October. The FHA said 456,000 of its loans, or 8.2 percent, were in default as of September. That was up from 5.6 percent in September 2008.

The default rate for loans tracked by the Mortgage Bankers Association was a record 9.24 percent for the three months through June, the most recent period for which data is available. That was up from 6.41 percent a year earlier."

 

Foreclosures Overwhelm Rural Communities

"In Dakota County, Minnesota, where there never used to be any foreclosures, the backlog of vacant, unwanted foreclosed houses sets a new record every month, overwhelming the resources of local government to address the health and safety problems they pose."

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Paul/Grayson Seek To End Fed Currency Swaps

Alan Grayson Seeks To Eliminate Fed-Mandated Currency Swaps Which Bail Out Foreign Central Banks Shorting The Dollar

One month ago, Zero Hedge did an exhaustive examination into the topic of over half a trillion of foreign FX liquidity swaps to central banks issued by the Fed, and how by administering this unprecedented incursion into international monetary policy, Ben Bernanke became the lender of last resort not only to US institutions on the brink, but to all those foreign central banks, and thousands of foreign financial institutions, who were massively short the dollar the last time the bubble popped (ring a bell?). Since we have ended up in the same boat promptly once again, and since the ponzi scheme can only continue so long before all those short the dollar scramble to cover shorts at some point in the future, as Roubini has predicted, it is merely a matter of time before the Fed will need to disburse another trillion or so of FX swaps to bail out all those who are shorting the US middle class into oblivion. We ignore the ethics of bailing out those who have done nothing but piggyback on the dollar carry trade, and in doing so, have decimated the purchasing power of America's working class, which is precisely what Ben Bernanke did. Buying stocks may be patriotic but bailing out those who want your dollar to purchase less tomorrow than it can today, sure does not pass the sniff test (Bernanke, of course, being at the top of that particular food chain).

If this goes through, all the global USD carry-traders will need to buy new underwear. 

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

TOAST

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Bill Still's Latest Video

I learned a few things from this video, thanks Mr. Still.

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Unemployment

This is a link to a time lapse U.S. map showing unemployment rate changes by county over the last two years.  Its fairly stark, especially taking into account that these are just the "official" rates.

http://cohort11.americanobserver.net/latoyaegwuekwe/multimediafinal.html

It makes it look like New England isn't a bad place to be (relatively speaking of course) comparitively.

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Quote of the Day

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations which grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

-Thomas Jefferson

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xrteme weather in Australia...

SA set for record heat and fires risk

 

Adelaide could set a record for November heat today with 43 degrees Celsius forecast.

Weather conditions are expected to be so severe further west that three fire districts have been given a catastrophic rating - Lower Eyre Peninsula, Eastern Eyre Peninsula and the state's West Coast.

Only a week ago, Adelaide and other parts of SA had a spring heatwave.

Now the weather bureau thinks today might eclipse the previous Adelaide record of 42.7 degrees in November 1962.

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

Jeff, the Bill Still video is awesome.  Let's hope people learn this...soon.

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

Aussie Dollar Ready to Storm Past US Dolla

feature photo

Yesterday's episode of the Daily Reckoning left off with the question of whether 5,000 was in sight on the ASX 200. The answer today is that it is just over the horizon. The index closed up 2.3% to 4,695. The more investors thought about the recovery/China/demise of the dollar story, the more they liked buying stocks (especially gold stocks).

But let's not forget about oil. It too is priced in dollars. In fact, the big gold move started because Robert Fisk claimed the Gulf States and China et al. are tired of paying for oil in an unstable currency. You could say that gold moved closer to being money again because of how important oil already is to the real economy.

We'll get back to oil in a moment. But there was a story in today's Age that gave us the willies. "The Aussie dollar is poised to storm past parity with the US dollar, propelled by local interest rate rises and Australia's close ties to the booming Chinese economy, according to currency analysts," reports Chris Zappone.

It doesn't sound too creepy. But there IS a creeping hint of euphoria to the Aussie story at the moment. The dollar...the economy...the fact that summer is just over the horizon...you can feel the animal spirits getting friskier. It was like this in the summer of 2008 as well, right before the bottom fell out.

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

Hey Davos-

   Thanks for bringing the Glenn Beck clip to our attention.  I discovered when I watched it that that was "segment 3' for Nov. 17th.  So I ended up going back and watching the 1st two segments as well.  Beck's discussion with his guest on the two earlier segments is pretty interesting as well; folks may want to check them out too.  

   I have to give Glenn credit, at least he is using his pulpit on MSM to try to wake people up!!

 

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

In a bad mood? Don't worry - according to research, it's good for you. An Australian psychology expert who has been studying emotions has found being grumpy makes us think more clearly. In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible, his experiments showed. While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18
Damnthematrix wrote:

In a bad mood? Don't worry - according to research, it's good for you. An Australian psychology expert who has been studying emotions has found being grumpy makes us think more clearly. In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible, his experiments showed. While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.

I should be a neurosurgeon by now

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18
saxplayer00o1 wrote:

..........“They come from Citigroup, they come from Goldman Sachs, ….it is the banks owning the country. It is the greatest bank robbery in American history”, says Celente.

ROTFLOL! It didn't register with me until I heard it out loud... "bank robbery" now has a whole new meaning :)

Samuel

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Re: Unemployment

The unemployment chart linked to in post #9 by techno.Luddite shows what I seem to sense which is that unemployment etc is not as bas where I work in NH than reported in other areas.

Tom

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The Day The Dollar Died

My gift to all you inflationist/currency crisis believers out there....a story that you will enjoy. Much better than my Crisis Threads. (Hat Tip to Sam Linder BTW)

The Day The Dollar Died

Tom finished up his shift on the docks at the Nestle warehouse in Hampton, Georgia at exactly 11 o’clock at night and decided that because of the scuttlebutt he had been reading on the message boards, it may not be a bad idea to pick up a few cans of food and some toilet paper at the local WalMart Super center. Even though it was a Sunday night, they were always stocked and it was just five minutes out of the way to his home. As he walked inside the store, his mouth dropped. It looked like the day after Thanksgiving sale with every register open and ten plus people deep at 11:30 p.m. “Oh my God!” he gasped as he walked in grabbing the last shopping cart with the wheel that was half locked up.  As he walked as fast as he could to the aisle with the paper goods, he looked at all the shelves then noticed the clerk who looked stunned himself. “How in the SAM HELL does WalMart sell out of Toilet Paper son?” he screamed at the eighteen year old kid. “Sir, I don’t know what is going on. Is the world ending? I’m a little freaked out!” the clerk stammered. Tom realized that he was not to blame and as he calmed down said to the kid “Son, I don’t know what is going on either. It must be an ice storm on the way. Are you folks getting another truck soon?” The clerk said in a very low voice “Sir, I think there are two coming at 2 a.m. I would wait here if I were  you.” With that information Tom slinked outside to his car and called his wife at home just before midnight to tell her he would be staying to wait on the WalMart trucks.

Merry Christmas from the last deflationist on earth.......

 

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Africa population tops 1 B

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8366591.stm

Africa population tops a billion

18 Nov 2009

The number of people in Africa has passed the one billion mark, the UN Population Fund says in a report.

UNPF's Executive Director Thoraya Obeid told the BBC that the annual figures showed the continent's population had doubled in the last 27 years.

"Africa countries are all growing fast... because there is large number of women who have no access to planning their families," she said.

The populations of Nigeria and Uganda were growing the fastest, she said.

"It's an African phenomenon of a large growing population and a large percentage of young people in the population," she told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

In its State of the World Report, the UNPF says the world's population currently stands at about 6.8 billion.

Africa's population is estimated to reach 1.9 billion by 2050, it says.

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

This was a good read....

Société Générale tells clients how to prepare for 'global collapse'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/6599281/Societe-Generale-tells-clients-how-to-prepare-for-global-collapse.html

 

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

Hey Mike-

   Re your "Feeling Grumpy" post, you might also be interested in similar  research by Dr. Martin Seligman.  He conducted experiments years ago that he said showed that pessimists actually had a more accurate world view.  In later books, he came up with a different conclusion.  (But to me, it almost seemed like he preferred a different/"happier" conclusion, and so re-interpreted  his data or re-focused his research to achieve that.  But that's just me.)

  Anyhow, his stuff is really interesting.  Dr. Seligman is also the one who performed experiments  that uncovered and documented the phenomenon of "learned helplessness".

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Re: Daily Digest - November 18

Double post

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32% Inflation in UCLA Tuition Causes Riots(14Arrested,1 tazed)

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