Archive for 2016

Mega-Regions: What If We Redrew State Boundaries Today?

Courtesy of Mish.

Most state boundaries were drawn during the 17th to 19th centuries. Many of the decisions were arbitrary or political. What might a map of the United States look like if we started fresh today?

Please consider What the U.S. Map Should Really Look Like.

State boundaries matter for all sorts of reasons. The state you live in determined how much your vote counted in the 2016 election. It shapes what kind of benefits your employer might offer you, what taxes you pay, what kind of schools you can attend, and much more.

And yet, most state boundaries were drawn during the 17th to 19th centuries, says Garrett Nelson, a historical geographer at Dartmouth College. “Why should we think that areas which were drawn up for horses and buggies still make sense for interstates and telecommuting?”

Nelson, along with Alasdair Rae of the University of Sheffield, has published new research in the journal PLOS ONE that shows how we might redraw state lines today, if given the opportunity. Their insights have profound implications for how business and political leaders can better organize as a region to work toward policies and projects that help their communities, as well as how Americans should think about the rural-urban divide following the 2016 election.

In the study, the researchers used algorithms to analyze data on the commuting paths of more than 4 million Americans from the U.S. Census. They then created maps of what they call economic “mega-regions” — cities, satellite cities, towns and suburbs that are woven together into the communities where Americans live, work and spend their free time. The researchers argue that these, rather than the current states, are the real units that make up the U.S. economy.

In the map below, each “mega-region” is labeled with a different color. All have one or more cities at their centers — the blue area is centered around Chicago, for example, while the forest green stretch encompasses Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

economic-map-of-usa

To map out these mega-regions, the researchers used the volume of commuter flow between locations as a proxy for the economic connection between two areas.

The researchers then used an algorithm to identify the best boundaries to 50 economic communities. That’s how they created the map below, showing what our 50 states might look like


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How Americans Spent Their Money In The Last 75 Years (In 1 Simple Chart)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Consumer spending makes up a large percentage of the United States economy. We all have bills to pay and mouths to feed, but where do Americans spend their money? Here is a breakdown of how Americans spent their money in the last 75 years…

In the chart above, spending is broken into 12 categories: Reading, alcohol, tobacco, education, personal care, miscellaneous, recreation & entertainment, healthcare, clothing, food, transportation and housing. Each category is further broken down into spending by year, from 1941 to 2014, and each category is given a unique color. The data were collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data is adjusted for inflation and measures median spending of all Americans.

Unsurprisingly, housing expenses have almost always been the largest area of spending in America for over 70 years. The only exception is 1941, when spending on food averaged $8,311, whereas spending on housing came to $7,537. However, in 1941 the government included alcohol in the food spending category, which inflates the food spending data for that year. In the other years, alcohol was given its own category. In every other year measured, spending on housing outpaced every other category.

Another interesting trend is the downward slope of spending on clothing. Americans spent the most on clothing in 1961 for an average of $4,157. In every year measured since 1961, spending on clothing fell, even when accounting for inflation.

At the same time, Americans began spending more on education, transportation and healthcare. Spending on education has increased far more than any other category, jumping from $242 in 1941 to $1,236 in 2014. Education spending increased at a particularly fast rate between 1984 and 1994 and onward. While spending on healthcare increased between 1941 and 2014, overall spending dipped between 1973 and 1984, but then began rising rapidly thereafter.

Between 1941 and 2014 Americans spent money on most of the same things, with a few changes. Housing has persisted as a large area of spending for Americans, as has the food category. However, spending on food and clothing has fallen when adjusting for inflation while spending on education and healthcare has risen quickly.

Source: HowMuch.net





Obama Quietly Signs The “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act” Into Law

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Late on Friday, with the US population embracing the upcoming holidays and oblivious of most news emerging from the administration, Obama quietly signed into law the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes $611 billion for the military in 2017.

In a statement, Obama said that:

Today, I have signed into law S. 2943, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.” This Act authorizes fiscal year 2017 appropriations principally for the Department of Defense and for Department of Energy national security programs, provides vital benefits for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe. It continues many critical authorizations necessary to ensure that we are able to sustain our momentum in countering the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to reassure our European allies, as well as many new authorizations that, among other things, provide the Departments of Defense and Energy more flexibility in countering cyber-attacks and our adversaries’ use of unmanned aerial vehicles.”

Much of the balance of Obama’s statement blamed the GOP for Guantanamo’s continued operation and warned that “unless the Congress changes course, it will be judged harshly by history,” Obama said. Obama also said Congress failed to use the bill to reduce wasteful overhead (like perhaps massive F-35 cost overruns?) or modernize military health care, which he said would exacerbate budget pressures facing the military in the years ahead.

But while the passage of the NDAA – and the funding of the US military – was hardly a surprise, the biggest news is what was buried deep inside the provisions of the Defense Authortization Act.

Recall that as we reported in early June, “a bill to implement the U.S.’ very own de facto Ministry of Truth had been quietly introduced in Congress. As with any legislation attempting to dodge the public spotlight the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016 marks a further curtailment of press freedom and another avenue to stultify avenues of accurate information. Introduced by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Ted Lieu, H.R. 5181 seeks a “whole-government approach without the bureaucratic restrictions” to counter “foreign disinformation and manipulation,” which they believe threaten the world’s “security and stability.”

Also called the


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Peter Cundill’s Thought Process on When to Sell – Tim McElvaine of McElvaine Investment Management

By VWArticles. Originally published at ValueWalk.




In the context of recent financial upheavals and ongoing uncertainty, Peter Cundill’s wise and frequently funny reflections are more important than ever. In a seamlessly assembled narrative drawn from interviews, speeches, and exclusive access to the daily journal Cundill kept for forty-five years, Christopher Risso-Gill outlines Cundill’s investment approach and provides accounts of his investments and the analytical process that led to their selection. A book for everyday investors as much as professional investors and investment gurus, There’s Always Something to Do offers a compelling perspective on global financial markets and on how we can avoid their worst pitfalls and grow our hard-earned capital.

There's Always Something to Do The Peter Cundill Investment Approach

The post Peter Cundill’s Thought Process on When to Sell – Tim McElvaine of McElvaine Investment Management appeared first on ValueWalk.

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A Loser’s Malice: What’s Behind Obama’s Attacks On Putin

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Michael Jabara Carley via Strategic-Culture.org,

Relations between Russian president Vladimir Putin and US president Barack Obama are poisoned and irretrievably damaged. It’s therefore a good thing that Obama is leaving office on 20 January. Bad US-Russian relations are of course nothing new. Since the Anglo-American war against Iraq in 2003, the US-Russian relationship has been headed downhill. For Obama, it appears that everything has gotten personal. The US president often acts like a petulant adolescent, jealous of a high school rival. You know, the kid who does everything better than he does. The lad takes it badly and won’t let it go. He challenges his nemesis to some new contest at every opportunity only to lose again and again. That’s got to be hard on the ego. Between Obama and Putin there have been many such encounters. Nor can it help that western cartoonists so often ridicule Obama as out of his depth in comparison to Putin.

Let’s consider Obama’s remarks at his last press conference on Friday, 16 December. «The Russians can’t change us or significantly weaken us», said Obama: «They are a smaller country. They are a weaker country. Their economy doesn’t produce anything that anybody wants to buy, except oil and gas and arms. They don’t innovate». This was insulting both Putin and his country, but not enough apparently for Obama. «They [the Russians] can impact us if we lose track of who we are. They can impact us if we abandon our values. Mr. Putin can weaken us, just like he’s trying to weaken Europe, if we start buying into notions that it’s okay to intimidate the press, or lock up dissidents, or discriminate against people because of their faith or what they look like».

Western cartoonists so often ridicule Obama as out of his depth in comparison to Putin

What on earth is Mr. Obama talking about? Intimidate the press? The Moscow newspapers and television media are loaded with «liberals». Many Russians call them «fifth columnists». They are «people with ‘more advanced’ worldview[s] who do not tolerate ‘Russian propaganda’ themselves», according to one colleague in Moscow. But Mr. Putin tolerates them and pays them no mind.

«Lock up dissidents… discriminate against people»? What alternate reality does Mr. Obama live in? Doesn’t produce anything people want to buy? The United


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Goldman Sachs’ 2016 Review (Crossword-Style)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

2016 was chock-full of surprises, both in markets and in politics.

As Goldman’s Allison Nathan explains, the year began with a perfect storm of worries that had become all too familiar already in 2015. Oil prices plunged and fears of faltering growth and a sharp depreciation of China’s currency escalated, driving disruptive sell-offs in credit and other risk assets. Confidence in global growth faltered, particularly after an anemic US GDP report for Q1.

But oh, how the world has changed. Today, the price of crude oil is almost exactly double its January low in the wake of announced production cuts by OPEC and key non-OPEC producers (Russia). We expect WTI oil prices to move higher to a peak of $57.50/bbl in 1H17 as the cuts push the oil market into deficit and whittle down the current large inventory surplus. But we also expect shale producers to respond to the higher prices, implying limited upside from there.

The rebound in oil prices led to a remarkable turnaround in credit markets, with HY Metals & Mining and E&Ps returning 49% and 36%, respectively, YTD; default rates normalizing; and spreads no longer pricing recession risk. We expect a further moderate compression of spreads in 2017 given expectations of a generally positive macro environment, gradual improvement in credit fundamentals, and, of course, our somewhat rosier oil outlook.

And fears about China have generally receded into the background as Chinese policymakers continued an ambitious stimulus program that helped stabilize growth. A more dovish tilt by the Fed in response to the tightening of financial conditions caused by the Q1 sell-off also assuaged market fears. But we warn that China risk is not far from the surface.

Capital outflow pressures have resumed amid the renewed strengthening in the US dollar. And policies that re-ignited growth in the short-term have just increased concerns about the future, particularly as credit growth has climbed. These potentially destabilizing trends merit watching next year, despite our mainline view of orderly currency moves and a continued bumpy deceleration in Chinese growth. (Side note: Meeting growth targets will be paramount next year amid China’s leadership transition.)

It was not long after the market left China, oil, and credit concerns in the dust that political uncertainty took center stage—a place where it has solidly remained since. Brazil had its president impeached


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If we try it enough, it will work.

Via Jean-Luc

Brownback wants Trump to emulate what he did in Kansas because it worked so well:

Sam Brownback Calls on Donald Trump to Mimic His Kansas Tax Plan

By RICHARD RUBIN and  WILL CONNORS

Sam Brownback, the Kansas governor whose tax cuts brought him political turmoil, recurring budget holes and sparse evidence of economic success, has a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Do what I did.

In 2013, Mr. Brownback set out to create a lean, business-friendly government in his state that other Republicans could replicate. He now faces a $350 million deficit when the Kansas legislature convenes in January and projections of a larger one in 2018. The state’s economy is flat and his party is fractured…

I think I would want to stick to what actually does work! 





Books for the Trump Years

 

Books for the Trump Years

By

This post first appeared on BillMoyers.com.

These are the times that try men's and women's souls. With inauguration day just weeks away, if you must curl up in a ball in front of a fireplace or elsewhere, why not do it with a book or two that we hope can put the upcoming Trump years in perspective and context? We asked some of our website contributors and past Moyers & Company guests to give us their ideas as to some appropriate material that might help us through the coming months of uncertainty… and incredulity.

Bill Moyers, by the way, recommends Sheldon Wolin's Democracy Incorporated and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: "Together these two books explain how we got to the Age of Trump."

Please add your own recommendations in the comments section.

 

Andrew Bacevich

Can mere books provide a proper azimuth when all of our navigational aids have seemingly failed, leaving the country adrift? In our present circumstance, I am hard-pressed to think of any that can do so. Our culture is badly fractured, our elites manage to combine arrogance and ignorance and old convictions — like belief in a common good — seem dated and obsolete. Faith in democracy has ebbed. In the eyes of some, "the people" have come to stand for anger, ignorance and bigotry.

The imperative of the present moment is to challenge that judgment, to restore a sense of tolerance and a spirit of generosity. I wish I could point to the novel, poem or historical text that might do that, but my imagination is inadequate to the task. Perhaps a preliminary answer can be found in music rather than in literature — for example, in the great compositions of Aaron Copland during his populist period. Sit in a quiet room and listen to "Our Town" (1940), "Lincoln Portrait" (1942), or above all, "Appalachian Spring" (1944).  Then reflect on what America is meant to be and how far we have strayed from the path.

Andrew J. Bacevich is the author most recently of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

 

Kyle Dargan
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Singer George Michael Dead At 53

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

In a year that has claimed the lives of some of the most prolific and visible musical talents of more than one generation, including Prince and David Bowie, it is morbidly fitting that the man who gave us "Last Christmas", George Michael, passed away on Christmas Day, "peacefully at home" according to his publicist.

As the BBC first reported, the star, who launched his career with Wham in the 1980s and later continued his success as a solo performer, is said to have "passed away peacefully at home".

Thames Valley Police said South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire at 13:42 GMT. Police say there were no suspicious circumstances.

The cause of death has not been revealed.

Michael, who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in north London, sold more than 100m albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades.

In a statement, the star's publicist said: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.

"The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."

Michael nearly died from pneumonia in late 2011. He received treatment in a Vienna hospital after which he made a tearful appearance outside his London home.

He said it had been "touch and go" whether he lived. Surgeons had performed a tracheotomy to keep his airways open and he was unconscious for some of his time in hospital.

Michael's 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 had been set to be reissued.

It was due to be accompanied by a new film featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John and the supermodels who starred in the video to his hit single Freedom! '90.

* * *

Together with so many other greats who passed away in 2016, we thank George for the memories.





The ‘Triggered’ 12 Days Of Trumpian Christmas

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

It’s been quite a year…

Source: Ben Garrison





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Americans' Economic Hope Has Collapsed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Which came first, the confidence or the stock market rally?

One thing is for sure, the crash in stocks in December has crushed the hope of Americans that their economic future is going to be better under President Trump.

Overall confidence dipped to 58.1 - a 4-month low, but, U.S. consumers this month were the most downbeat on the economy since November 2016, a third straight drop after expectations reached a 16-year high just three months earlier, as the partial government shutdown wears on toward a fourth week.

...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Triple Breakout Test In Play For S&P 500!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the rally of late about to run out of steam or is a major breakout about to take place in the S&P 500? What happens at current prices should go a long way in determining this question.

This chart looks at the equal weight S&P 500 ETF (RSP) on a daily basis over the past 15-months.

The rally from the lows on Christmas Eve has RSP testing the top of a newly formed falling channel while testing the underneath side of the 2018 trading range and its falling 50-day moving average at (1).

At this time RPS is facing a triple resistance test. Wil...



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Phil's Favorites

Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?

 

Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?

Courtesy of Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds

As the clock ticks down to March 29 2019, all of the political manoeuvring, negotiating, arguing and fighting is coming to a peak. In the two and a half years since the 2016 EU referendum, views on both sides have hardened and agreement still seems as far away as it was the day after the referendum.

With Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement disliked by all sides, and voted down by an unprecedented majority in the House of Commons, everyone is wondering what can and should be done next?

...



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Digital Currencies

Crypto-Bubble: Will Bitcoin Bottom In February Or Has It Already?

Courtesy of Michelle Jones via ValueWalk.com

The new year has been relatively good for the price of bitcoin after a spectacular collapse of the cryptocurrency bubble in 2018. It’s up notably since the middle of December and traded around the psychological level of $4,000... so is this a sign that the crypto market is about to recover?

Of course, it depends on who you ask, but one analyst discovered a pattern which might point to a bottom next month.

A year after the cryptocurrency bubble popped

CCN...



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ValueWalk

D.E. Shaw Investment Calls For Leadership Change At EQT

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Elliott Management has offered to acquire QEP Resources for approximately $2.1 billion, contending the oil and gas explorer’s turnaround efforts have done little to lift the company’s share price. The company responded and said that a thorough review of the proposition is imperative in order to properly act in the best interests of shareholders, “taking into account the company’s other alternatives and current market conditions.” The news came only a month after Travelport Worldwide agreed to sell itself to Siris Capital Group and Elliott’s private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital for $4.4 billion in cash and two months after Athenahealth was bought by Veritas and Evergreen for $5.7 bi...



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Insider Scoop

UBS Says Disney's Streaming Ambition Gives It A 'New Hope'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DIS Despite Some Risks, Analysts Still Expecting Double Digit Growth From Communications Services In Q4 ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

Market Shadows >>