Jun 30, 2008

Erasmus on lasting peace

Never, however, will we obtain concord if each man tries to hold stubbornly to his own opinion; nor will there ever be a firm, long-lasting peace if it is not sealed with true and solid reasoning. Nothing will last that is patched up with terror and threats, nor can anything endure which is woven of human tricks and devious counsels.

~ Desiderius Erasmus, Forward to the Third Edition, The Latin New Testament (1522)

Erasmus on arrogance and ignorance

Human wisdom has its own sort of arrogance, but so does human ignorance, and it is no less conceited than the other.

~ Desiderius Erasmus, Forward to the Third Edition, The Latin New Testament (1522)

Erasmus on war and Christianity

If we want to convert the (Muslims) to Christianity, let us first convert ourselves. They will never believe our teachings if they see that nowhere else does the practice most abominated by Christ rage more fiercely than among those who call themselves Christians.

~ Desiderius Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace (1517)

Erasmus on social engineering

Let rulers reflect that in his own eyes every man's cause seems good while hope bends on him a flattering smile; especially when his object is none of the best, his concern for it makes him think it flawless and so leads him astray.

~ Desiderius Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace (1517)

Erasmus on war

If you think a republic is tottering when the worst men in it have most power, in wartime it is the worst scoundrels who seize authority. The men who in peacetime you would haul to the gallows find their chosen careers in war.

~ Desiderius Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace (1517)

Erasmus on war and the priesthood

Priests consecrated to God should have nothing to do with war except to deplore it. If they speak against it with a single voice, if under all circumstances they always deliver the same message, there seems little doubt that their united authority will have some effect.

~ Desiderius Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace (1517)

Erasmus on war

... since wars are so easy to start but so hard to finish, they are never more dangerous than when taken without the enthusiastic support of the entire people.

~ Desiderius Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace (1517)

Erasmus on the cost of war

Hardly any peace is so bad that it isn't preferable to the most justifiable war. Calculate how much a prospective war will cost, both directly and indirectly, and you will see what a poor investment it is.

~ Desiderius Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace (1517)

Washington on despotism

The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of the love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this proposition.

~ George Washington, Farewell Address (1796)

Jun 26, 2008

Thomas Donlan on Peak Oil

We have no idea how much oil is still to be found. What we do know is that the more oil prices rise, the more oil will be produced. Furthermore, the more oil that is produced, the more likely it is that prices will fall.

A quick look around the world finds uneconomic oil in many places. Venezuela has more oil than Saudi Arabia, if you count its ultra heavy crude and tar sands. Canada has more than Saudi Arabia, if you count tar sands. The U.S. has more than Saudi Arabia many times over, if you count its oil shale and coal, which could be converted to gasoline and diesel fuel.

Price is the problem, not geology.

~ Thomas G. Donlan, A World of Wealth (2008), p. 14

Thomas Donlan on nuclear power

The U.S. has 103 nuclear power plants, generating about 20 percent of American electricity needs. But no plants have been ordered since the accident at the Three Mile Island plant in 1979. No accidents have occurred in the U.S. since 1979, and even that accident did not kill or sicken anyone. Dozens of people die every year in U.S. coal-mine accidents, hundreds are injured, and hundreds more suffer before death from black-lung disease, but American utilities have ordered many big coal-fired power plants since 1979.

The explanation is that many people are afraid of nuclear power. They associate nuclear fission with the bombs that so shockingly destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. They don't understand the science and engineering that makes nuclear power generation different from atomic bomb-making, and they have little faith in those who tell them it's safe. The 1979 accident at Three Mile Island, which was dangerous but caused no serious damage to anything but the reactor, took its toll on public trust in nuclear power. The deadly Soviet accident at Chernobyl in 1986 was even more shattering. Unfortunately, some wild estimates of deaths and long-term damage were current in the news at the time and never reduced in the public mind to reflect reality.

~ Thomas G. Donlan, A World of Wealth (2008), p. 14

Thomas Donlan on democracy and the 80-20 Rule

Democratic government has this fundamental problem: In broad terms, 20 percent of the people do most of the productive work and create most of the nation's wealth, but the other 80 percent command a heavy majority of votes. It's a pleasant surprise that democracies foster much investment and productivity growth at all.

~ Thomas G. Donlan, A World of Wealth (2008), p. xxi

Jun 23, 2008

George Carlin on politicians

Politicians have traditionally hidden behind three things: the flag, the Bible, and children.

~ George Carlin, comedian

(video)

Bill Laggner on valuation traps

MBIA, the municipal bond insurer, looks cheap at 11x earnings and 1.4 x book value, but when you look at the balance sheet, which very few people look at today, you see that it’s levered 94 to 1. The statutory capital that they keep on hand is 3.5 basis points of their bond guarantees. Compare that to Citigroup, which has almost 9.5 basis points of reserves. Ten years ago just 14% of MBIA’s business came from structured finance guarantees on asset backed securities. Today that number is 32%. Of course the structured finance world is all based on numerous assumptions, including stable interest rates and low default rates. We would say that those are very generous assumptions.

~ "Value Traps Revisited," Dollarcollapse.com, December 21, 2007

Bill Laggner on cheap and ample credit

Today the faith is clearly in central bankers, that they’ve got things totally under control and have engineered a synchronized global boom. If you’re not participating in this global boom you just don’t get it. It’s not just faith in the Fed but in all the central banks. A good example of this thinking is BusinessWeek’s recent cover story ‘It’s a Low, Low, Low Rate World.’ The idea is that foreign central banks will continue to finance our excesses, they always have and always will, and as a result interest rates will remain low.

~ "Value Traps Revisited," Dollarcollapse.com, December 21, 2007

Milton Friedman on visible and hidden effects of government programs

People hired by government know who is their benefactor. People who lose their jobs or fail to get them because of the government program do not know that that is the source of their problem. The good effects are visible. The bad effects are invisible. The good effects generate votes. The bad effects generate discontent, which is as likely to be directed at private business as at the government.

~ Milton Friedman

Kevin Duffy: The long-term case for optimism and power of ideas

There's a lot going on right now that's really positive. Just as our grandparents lived through the transportation revolution, we're currently living through the computing revolution. When you expand the division of labor, good things happen, and the long-term trend is toward greater division of labor throughout the global economy.

Positive change comes from good ideas percolating up, and the bad ideas failing. Right now, central bankers are treated like rock stars, but we'd be much better off if they were discredited and the economy broke its addiction to cheap credit. Never underestimate human resiliency.

~ Kevin Duffy, Bearing Asset Management, "Setting a Course With Bearing Asset Management," Motley Fool, April 11, 2007, by Matt Koppenheffer

Kevin Duffy on rationalizations for the credit bubble

The rationalizations for this bubble are much different when compared to the Internet bubble. Back then, valuations didn't matter. This time, most of the speculation is in so-called value stocks that have had their earnings inflated by cheap credit, especially the financials.

The brokerages, in particular, have been bailed out continually by the government and seem to be playing the credit bubble aggressively.

... We think that there's a big correction ahead for the brokerages.

~ Kevin Duffy, Bearing Asset Management, "Setting a Course With Bearing Asset Management," Motley Fool, April 11, 2007, by Matt Koppenheffer

Kevin Duffy on the causes of the credit bubble

The bubble has been created by two forces. First, you have the central bank baiting the hook by driving interest rates through the floor and making credit irresistible. Then you have the bankers and borrowers taking the bait, creating the cheap money that fuels the bubble.

~ Kevin Duffy, Bearing Asset Management, "Setting a Course With Bearing Asset Management," Motley Fool, April 11, 2007, by Matt Koppenheffer

Jun 19, 2008

Bloomberg: Analysts mostly missed Bear Stearns implosion

Analysts did a particularly dismal job of perceiving what was going on in their own industry. The majority of the 17 analysts covering Bear Stearns Cos. had rated the stock "sell'' or "hold'' through 2006, when its price increased 42 percent. Most of the analysts who had had a "buy'' on the shares failed to downgrade them before July 2007, when two Bear hedge funds heavily invested in mortgage-backed securities went bankrupt.

~ "Why Paul Miller in Virginia Is Wall Street's Best Stock Picker," Bloomberg, June 19, 2008, by Kambiz Foroohar

Bill Ackman on the bond insurance industry

There's not likely to be a man left standing [in the bond insurance industry.] This thing is over already, the market just doesn't know it yet.

~ Bill Ackman, 42, runs the $6 billion Pershing Square Capital Management hedge fund, "Ackman Foresaw MBIA Drop, Is Short Financial Security," Bloomberg, June 19, 2008, by Christine Richard

Jun 16, 2008

Kevin Duffy on the Fed's inflationary box

The Fed is attempting to thwart a deflating credit bubble with inflation, which to date has only lit a fuse under food and fuel prices. The best the Fed can do is to allow the inevitable deleveraging process to proceed without the meddling.

~ Kevin Duffy, Bearing Asset Management, "They Said What?," Barron's, June 16, 2008, by Robin Blumenthal

Ron Muhlenkamp on speculation about a housing bubble (2005)

We think the real speculation is all the speculation about whether there's a [housing] bubble.

~ Ron Muhlenkamp, The Muhlenkamp Fund, CNBC, June 16, 2005

(Muhlenkamp was bullish on homebuilders.)

Jun 13, 2008

Greenspan on the credit crisis: "The worst is over" (2008)

U.S. financial markets, roiled by the collapse of the subprime-mortgage market, have shown a pronounced turnaround since March. The worst is over for the credit crisis, or will be soon, and there's now a reduced possibility of a deep recession. Housing remains a critical problem and financial markets may not recover fully until home prices stabilize, perhaps by the end of the year.

~ "Greenspan Says Financial Markets Show Pronounced Turnaround," Bloomberg, June 13, 2008

Jun 11, 2008

Bernanke on second half recovery

Despite a recent spike in the nation's unemployment rate, the danger that the economy has fallen into a "substantial downturn" appears to have waned. The Fed's powerful doses of interest rate cuts, the government's $168 billion stimulus package, further progress in the repair of problems in financial and credit markets, a gradual ebbing of the drag from the deep housing slump and still solid demand from abroad for U.S. exports should help the economy over the remainder of this year.

~ "Danger of downturn seems to have faded," Associated Press, June 9, 2008

Bernanke on future credit availability

Once financial conditions become more normal, the extraordinary provision of liquidity by the Federal Reserve will no longer be needed. As (Walter) Bagehot would surely advise, under normal conditions financial institutions should look to private counterparties and not central banks as a source of ongoing funding.

~ Ben Bernanke, Bloomberg, May 13, 2008

HUD's role in the drive to homeownership

Federal policies designed to ensure mortgage loans were affordable for risky borrowers helped push the U.S. mortgage industry toward crisis, analysts said.

Since 1992, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development became the regulator for the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., the federally chartered companies have been obligated to help expand the availability of mortgages, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

But, as consumer groups warned banks were offering mortgages with low initial payments -- called "teaser" rates -- to unqualified buyers, HUD neglected to assess the risks, The Post reported.

"For HUD to be indifferent as to whether these loans were hurting people or helping them is really an abject failure to regulate," Michael Barr, a University of Michigan law professor, told the newspaper.

Between 2004 and 2006, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae helped set lending trends by purchasing $434 billion in securities backed by risky, subprime loans. Now, with 3 million to 4 million mortgage foreclosures expected, Congress is considering a move to find a stronger regulator to oversee the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and may do so before the July 4 recess, the report said.

~ "HUD fails to assess risks", UPI, June 10, 2008

Jun 9, 2008

George Soros on George W. Bush and the war on terror

Bartiromo: Your book is unusually harsh on President Bush. At one point you write: "The Bush Administration and the Nazi and Communist regimes all engaged in the politics of fear." Do you really believe the Administration is a threat to democracy?

Soros: Yes, I really do believe that, and that is why I got involved in politics. By claiming to engage in a war against an unknown enemy that will never disappear...President Bush has appropriated excessive powers for the executive branch...undermining the division of powers that have been the mainstay of our democracy. In addition, he succeeded for a while in making any criticism of his policies appear as if it was unpatriotic. That undermines the first principle of an open society: critical thinking.

~ George Soros, "What Soros Sees Ahead," BusinessWeek, June 26, 2006, interview by Maria Bartiromo

Charley Reese on Barack Obama and gun control

There is not a stupid idea about gun control that Obama hasn't supported either verbally or with his vote.

The Second Amendment was not written for duck hunters. It was written for self-defense and for defense against tyranny. Obama ought to talk to some of the people who survived the civil-rights revolution about how they stayed up all night with their private firearms to protect their families. He ought to research the old Jim Crow laws, which banned blacks from owning certain kinds of firearms.

~ Charley Reese, "Obama Won't Win It All," LewRockwell.com, June 9, 2008

Jun 8, 2008

BW: Ethanol mandates run into the "blend wall" (2007)

The 2005 Energy Bill requires refiners to use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol per year by 2012. Combined with the existing 51 cents-per-gallon tax credit and soaring oil prices, that provision has triggered an ethanol investment boom. Production leapt to 5 billion gallons in 2006, and the industry will have the capacity to make more than 11 billion gallons by 2008.

The problem: That capacity bumps up against the so-called blend wall. Auto fuel that contains more than 10% ethanol is too corrosive to use in existing gas station pumps. Without new pumps, and cars capable of running on high-ethanol fuel, the U.S. can't use more than 8 billion to 10 billion gallons of ethanol a year.

~ BW, "Memo To Congress: First, Do No Harm; Capitol Hill's rush to promote alternative fuel could yield some damaging legislation," January 29, 2007, by John Carey and Eamon Javers

BW: Book critical of Japan's electronics industry "jumping off shelves" (2007)

Fumiaki Sato's latest book sounds like a bit of a snooze: It's titled A Scenario for the Realignment of Japan's Electronics Industry. But the Deutsche Bank analyst's 323-page tome has been jumping off shelves since its release last August. It's now in its fourth printing as electronics companies buy it for their employees, and Sony Corp. has even asked for an English version. Sato's message is dire. "Japan's electronics makers aren't competitive enough to survive for long," he says.

~ BW, "Do or Die; A book calling for the remaking of Japan's electronics industry is a surprise hot seller," May 7, 2007, by Kenji Hall

BW: MBAs flocking to private equity (2007)

Every decade, another faddish career opportunity dazzles the nation's business schools. In the 1980s, MBAs dreamed of Wall Street fortunes, swaggering their way into penthouses and private planes. During the dot-com bubble, it was about vesting swiftly and starting a foundation by age 30.

Today job lust among B-schoolers is fiercest for the gilded, clubby preserve of private equity. "Absolutely, it's become the hot job for MBAs," says Maury Hanigan, president of New York's MBA Scouting Report.

From the Wharton School to the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, it sometimes seems as if private equity is all anyone is talking and thinking about. MBA programs have always had private equity clubs. But B-schools at New York University, Dartmouth, and Columbia all report record memberships in these networking fests. At Wharton, nearly half the student body is a member of the private equity club. Conferences starring such legends as Blackstone Group chief Stephen A. Schwarzman sell out months in advance. And the schools have been falling all over themselves to add classes teaching everything from innovative dealmaking to the art of wielding "influence" within a firm.

Some see this as a leading indicator of yet another bubble. We know where the earlier stampedes to Wall Street and Silicon Valley ended. In five years, when these junior barons want to start their own funds, will the wash of money still be in private equity? Then again, what better school for a lesson in risk?

~ BW, "What B-Schoolers Lust For Now ," January 22, 2007, by Michelle Conlin

WSJ: Did friends of Countrywide get preferential treatment on loans?

Countrywide Financial Corp. makes mortgage loans through a vast network of offices, brokers and call centers. But a few customers have gotten their loans a special way: through Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo.

These borrowers, known internally as "friends of Angelo" or FoA, include two former CEOs of Fannie Mae, the biggest buyer of Countrywide's mortgages, say people familiar with the matter.

One was James Johnson, a longtime Democratic Party power and an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign, who this past week was named to a panel that is vetting running-mate possibilities for the presumed nominee. Another was Franklin Raines, a onetime Clinton administration budget director, who left Fannie Mae amid an accounting scandal in 2004.

There is nothing illegal about a mortgage firm treating some borrowers better than others. But if Fannie Mae officials received special treatment, that could cause a political problem for the government-sponsored, shareholder-owned company.

Its code of conduct, a spokesman said, "requires the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and prohibits acceptance of substantial gifts, including loans with preferential terms, from an organization seeking to do business with the company without prior review and approval by the company." The spokesman said the code has been in effect since the early 1990s.

~ The Wall Street Journal, "Countrywide Friends Got Good Loans," June 7, 2008, by Glenn R. Simpson and James R. Hagerty

Jun 7, 2008

Warren Buffett on the consumer and the economy

Overall, the consumer is never going to sink the economy.

~ Warren Buffett, CNBC, May 7, 2007

Robert McTeer on moral hazard at the Fed

The Fed takes pride in not bailing people or companies or industries out.

~ Robert McTeer, CNBC, March 20, 2007

Jason Trennert: Odds of recession "extraordinarily low" (2007)

I think the chances of recession in this economy are extraordinarily low.

~ Jason Trennert, as appeared on CNBC's "Kudlow & Co.," April 5, 2007

David Dreman: "Safest plays are among the big banks" (2008)

The safest plays are among the big banks. Most of this group have taken large reserves against their losses in the various mortgage areas, hoping that the market would reward them for their candor. Wall Street's response, however, has usually been to punish the reserve-takers with further cuts in their stock prices.

Perhaps investors are spooked by memories of the 1990--91 crisis in the financial sector, when real estate losses were so huge that investors questioned the ability of some commercial banks to survive without additions to their capital bases. At the same time, scores of savings and loans were collapsing from ill-considered forays into junk bond buying and construction lending.

The story is very different today. Yes, losses are towering, yet Tier I capital--the core measure of a bank's financial strength, chiefly shareholders' equity (including that from preferred shares)--is not threatened, as was true 17 years ago. While most large banks had lousy third quarters, the worst may well be over. Bank of America (43, BAC), Wachovia (40,WB), Citigroup (31, C) , KeyCorp (23, KEY) and JPMorgan Chase (45, JPM) are five that should show good appreciation with time. While you wait for a stock market recovery, all pay above-market yields. Bank of America, KeyCorp and Wachovia pay 6% or better.

~ David Dreman, "Seize the Day," Forbes, January 7, 2008

Eugene Kennedy on the future

We not only romanticize the future; we have also made it into a growth industry, a parlor game and a disaster movie all at the same time.

~ Eugene Kennedy

Steve Rivkin on our reliance on predictions

The more unpredictable the world becomes, the more we rely on predictions.

~ Steve Rivkin

Albert Einstein on the future

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

~ Albert Einstein

Alan Kay on prediction and invention

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

~ Alan Kay

George Eliot on forecasting

Prophecy is the most gratuitous form of error.

~ George Eliot

Forbes: Campaign contributions of billionaires

What kind of politicians do billionaires like? Republicans, but only by a slim margin. As of midyear 84 members of The Forbes 400 had given to Republicans, versus 80 to Democrats.

The clear favorites of the monied crowd: John McCain with 46 donors from The 400, Rudolph Giuliani with 45 and Hillary Clinton, also with 45.

~ Forbes, "Where the Smart Money's Going," October 29, 2007

Forbes: Should the U.S. privatize its rivers?

At the same time Iceland is enjoying its biggest salmon catches in 40 years, the U.S. Atlantic salmon population, which once ran from the Housatonic in Connecticut to Maine's Canadian border, has collapsed. Maine's salmon were declared an endangered species in 2000.

Chalk it up to a difference in property rights. In Iceland the right to fish belongs to landlords whose properties include the rivers' banks. These owners maximize their catch of dollars by pooling their rights into syndicates that sell a limited number of permits for stiff fees. Typically only five to ten anglers at a time would be permitted to fish 20 miles of river.

Owners of river access in Iceland do more than restrict output and fix prices; they invest in the asset. They buy out commercial netsmen, build and run hatcheries, build salmon ladders, remove boulders from pools and spawning grounds, and patrol for poachers.

That can't happen here--at least not under present law. Repeated Supreme Court decisions have affirmed the public has a right to fish the nation's rivers, whose surface waters are held "in trust" by the states for the people. States can charge for permits, but politics keep fees low.

"Governments shouldn't be in the business of managing or marketing a river," says Orri Vigfússon. "They might as well be opening up a Chinese restaurant. They should leave fishing to the private sector."

~ Forbes, "Privatize U.S. Rivers?," January 28, 2008, by Richard C. Morais

Orri Vigfússon on privatizing rivers

Governments shouldn't be in the business of managing or marketing a river. They might as well be opening up a Chinese restaurant. They should leave fishing to the private sector.

~ Orri Vigfússon, 65-year old Icelandic businessman, conservationist and world-renowned angler, "Privatize U.S. Rivers?," Forbes, January 28, 2008

(See also "The Leaping Fish," Forbes, January 28, 2008)

Charles Dickens on the French Revolution

It was the best of times, it was the worst of time, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Jun 5, 2008

Citigroup on credit losses

Losses may extend beyond where we've seen historical levels go. We are in uncharted territory.

~ Gary Crittenden, CFO Citigroup, Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2008

Jun 4, 2008

Bernanke on inflation expectations

Maintaining confidence in the Fed's commitment to price stability remains a top priority. We see little indication today of the beginnings of a 1970s-style wage- price spiral.

The overall inflation rate has averaged about 3.5 percent over the past four quarters, significantly higher than we would like but much less than the double-digit rates that inflation reached in the mid-1970s.

~ "Bernanke says rise in price expectations a concern", June 4, 2008 , Bloomberg

International Energy Agency revises sharply downward oil-supply forecast

The oil investments required may be much, much higher than what people assume. This is a dangerous situation.

We are of the opinion that the public isn't aware of the role of the decline rate of existing fields in the energy supply balance, and that this rate will accelerate in the future.

~ Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist, "Energy Watchdog Warns Of Oil-Production Crunch" (front page), WSJ, May 22, 2008

Jun 3, 2008

Dennis Gartman on the Fed's surprise rate cut

I actually applaud them… This was not a shot of adrenaline to the economy. This was more a shot of penicillin to an otherwise disconcerted economy.

~ Dennis Gartman, CNBC, August 20, 2007

Jun 2, 2008

Raymond McKewon: "The nonprime lending industry is... acyclical" (2004)

The nonprime lending industry is to a large degree acyclical - not cyclical or countercyclical.

~ Raymond McKewon, executive vice president and co-founder, Accredited Home Lenders, "Subprime Time," Institutional Investor, December 2004, by Steven Brull

Citigroup banker and hip-hop performer on selling mortgages

Trust me, it's all the same hustle. It's just that mine is legal. Selling mortgages is very emotional. Just like in rap, we're trying to connect with people's hopes and dreams.

~ Terence Bradford, Citigroup banker by day, hip-hop performer by night, "The Rap on Wall Street," Fortune, August 22, 2005

Jun 1, 2008

Ken Fisher: Bullish on megacap stocks

Now that we've had a full-fledged correction that scared the dickens out of everyone, stocks look wonderful. But I've said all that in recent columns. I particularly love megacap stocks--those, by my definition, with market capitalizations of more than $80 billion--and again for reasons I've clearly stated recently.

~ Ken Fisher, "A Stock for Eco-Nuts," Forbes, June 16, 2008

Ken Fisher: "There's plenty of blood... so keep buying"

An old saw says, "You should be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful." Clearly folks are fearful now. So you should be greedy. Another saw: "Buy when there is blood on the streets." There's plenty of blood, or at least depression, on Wall Street. So keep buying.

~ Ken Fisher, "Dear Abby," Forbes, April 21, 2008

Ken Fisher on why the demotion of Abby Cohen is bullish

On Mar. 13 Goldman Sachs demoted market strategist Abby Cohen for having been bullish too long. That day marked the bottom of the back half of what I think is a double-bottom whose first bottom was in January. I see Goldman's move as bullish. That once famous market timer Joe Granville materialized out of nowhere saying that we are beginning a bad bear market. I'd bet against Joe any time. Gloomy people are saying that we are in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. They said the same thing in 1998. Bullish!

~ Ken Fisher, "Dear Abby," Forbes, April 21, 2008