The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 19

Back, But Sick

Fortunately a nasty cold waited long enough for us to get back from beautiful Hawaii before it struck, but it has left both of us in pretty bad shape, barely able to operate the TV remote control and desirous of little else but sleep.

Hopefully, things will improve in the next few days or so, but, between now and then, not much will appear here.

This would have absolutely miserable to endure on what was a marathon flight home since, for some reason, it is virtually impossible to get from Hawaii to the mainland early enough in the day to get a connecting flight inland as far as Montana. Oh well, it was still worth it.


Me and the Missus are off to Maui for the next week or so to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. As such, there probably won’t be much, if anything, new here for a bit.

We were last on the island of Maui in 1991, so, I imagine a lot has changed since then. Hopefully, all the things that brought us back more than two decades later – warm tropical weather, lazy afternoons on the beach, snorkeling, Backscratchers, luaus, and a complete departure from everyday life as we know it – are all still the same.

Gold and silver prices continue to be range-bound, for gold around $1,300 an ounce and for silver between $19 and $20 an ounce, but with the recent break-out for another safe-haven in Treasuries last week, it’s possible the metals will soon break free of their recent trading ranges as well. Unfortunately for gold bulls, a move to the upside has been made more difficult by the U.S. dollar that is again strengthening, and this appears set to continue amid talk of monetary easing by the European Central Bank that could lead to a weaker euro.

Gold and SilverThe situation in the Ukraine is not improving, but gold traders seem to be getting bored with this story again despite escalating violence and there being no peaceful resolution in sight. Instead, traders pored over a bevy of U.S. economic data last week but, despite clear signs of accelerating inflation in the U.S., this generated little buying interest for gold and silver.

China gold demand has been steady, and U.S. hedge funds made few changes to their gold holdings in the first quarter. Investment banks remain mostly negative about the prospects for precious metals, though less negative than they’ve been over the last six months, as this market seems to be “stuck in neutral” heading into the traditionally slow summer months. The recent elections in India could liven things up if, as expected, the new government relaxes the draconian gold import curbs that have stifled demand there for more than a year.

Precious metals remain stuck in narrow ranges…

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Fed Up

The new documentary Fed Up came to my attention over the weekend, due in part to the appearance of Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at UC San Francisco, on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

The movie adds to the discussion about nutritional guidelines and sugar in American diets that, someday, might become significant enough to lead to important change in what we eat as diet is increasingly blamed for out-of-control obesity rates and related problems.

As someone who was on track for “gain a pound a year each year you’re over 30″ up until about five years ago, I can sympathize with one of the first comments in the clip:

The message that’s been pushed on us is “it’s your fault you’re fat”

There are 600,00 food items in America. Eighty percent of them have added sugar. Your brain lights up on sugar just like it does on cocaine or heroin.

When combined with a corporate culture where profits are more important than health along with regulatory capture in government akin to what we see in just about any other big industry and you end up with one of the greatest public health epidemics in human history.

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