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  • Precious metals slide as taper set to grow [View news story]
    It's helpful to think of gold as a reflection of the dollar's value. When we hear the price of gold has gone up we should not think in terms of gold's value having increased, rather, the unit of currency used to purchase it has declined in value, therefore it now takes more currency units to obtain the same amount.

    The steady decline in the price of gold over the past year or so is not so much a decline in its value as an increase in the value of the currency unit used to acquire it. In other words, since the dollar has appreciated (or has depreciated less than expected) it now requires less dollars to obtain a given amount of gold.

    When you can remove the dollar from the equation and think in terms of how many barrels of oil, or bushels of wheat can be obtained with one once of gold, throughout history, you find those ratios remarkably constant. The relationships are not perfect, and some variation in price is driven by other forces, but a significant portion of the variation in the dollar-denominated price of gold is explained by this idea.

    That understanding eluded me for a long time, and perhaps I did not do it justice in this short reply, but it is a deep & significant concept-- one I encourage you to explore through better writers than myself.
    Jan 21, 2014. 07:02 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Solar Revolution: Part 3 [View article]
    Solar has been on the verge of a major revolution since Jimmy Carter was president. It's been 5-10 years away from taking off for almost 40 years...

    The problems are not primarily technological, but political. Every new house built in the U.S. should be designed to harness as much solar energy as possible-- take whatever you can get, rely on traditional energy for the rest. Combine solar with geo-thermal, fuel cells or wind, depending on the application, and we could provide most of the energy to the residential market at parity with current sources and do it with zero pollution. What would happen to costs if every home in America was built with solar? You might object and say its too expensive, but there are dozens of ways to finance this type of endeavor, any one of which would cost less than the invasion of Iraq or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

    One of the other comments mentioned how utilities would be forced to write down long-term debt if solar became widely adopted. I think that comment, while accurate, does not go far enough. Big oil, the utilities, auto industry, not to mention the war machine in the US, all stand to lose from a country which makes wide use of solar.

    So long as these powerful interests maintain their influence, rest assured, the game will be rigged against solar... and its adoption will continue to be just around the corner.

    That said, great series of articles. The author did an excellent job-- thorough, thoughtful, insightful.
    Nov 10, 2013. 10:23 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Now Is The Time To Be Fearful [View article]
    Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion, one way or the other, on Obamacare-- yet I'm quite certain that of 100 opinions on the law, 99 have no clue what they're talking about.

    To anyone strongly opposed or in favor I ask, have you read the bill? Having your opinion spoon fed to you by small-minded sociopaths like Mitch McConnell or Eric Cantor-- men who stand ready to burn this country to the ground if it meant they could rule over the ashes-- is not helpful. We are in real trouble here and our leaders are not up to the task.

    Before overweighting the position of those politicians and pundits who speak out so loudly against the bill just remember their goals have nothing to do with your healthcare and everything to do with their power. They are committed to a strategy of obstruction, the merits of the bill are of no importance.

    Recall also that this bill is nearly identical to the one Mitt Romney adopted as Governor of Massachusetts, and had Romney won the election, Obamacare would have simply undergone a re-branding to reflect the name of its rightful author, 'RomneyCare'. 95% of the bill's substance would be left unchanged.

    Look, everyone agrees our healthcare system is flawed. Left unchanged, federal entitlement programs will eventually overwhelm us and bankrupt the nation. Major reform is needed, few dispute this point. Whatever the solution ultimately is, it is likely to be highly controversial. Massive changes are essential to our survival as a nation, and the masses do not take kindly to change of any sort.

    But the criticism overwhelming the airwaves and print media is disingenuous nonsense. There is no honest debate to be had or heard anywhere today on this matter.

    I am working my way through the bills implications and I lean more towards opposing it than supporting it, but there are many positives in it and very few aspects which can not be modified over time. It is hardly the 'poison pill' its made out to be, and, understanding just how desperate our situation will be in the near future, I favor action over inaction.
    Sep 29, 2013. 09:59 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Linn Energy: Many Ponzi-Like MLP Blow-Ups To Follow [View article]
    I should apologize in advance, misread your comment as you plugging your newsletter. Realize now you were quoting from the article.

    Still think you're a bit too hard on the author (really? he should be banned from SA for promoting his newsletter at the end of the article?). Seems a bit harsh, but thats besides the point. I apologize.
    Jul 7, 2013. 02:49 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Linn Energy: Many Ponzi-Like MLP Blow-Ups To Follow [View article]
    James-- You should stop replying to everyone bashing your article. If you're right, who cares what they have to say? If you're wrong, you'll pay the price for your mistake in terms of readership.

    Anyone who disagrees with the author, go long LINN.

    I'm invested in the MLP space and found your article worth the 10 minutes spent reading it. What more should I expect?

    Anyone who makes decisions with their life-savings based solely on another person's opinion (professional or otherwise) deserves the outcome they get. So if you went out and sold all your individual stocks based on this authors opinion, or closed out your position in LINN without carefully reading through its financials, well, you were never going to succeed as an investor in the first place.

    I don't understand why everyone is so sensitive about this article. Diversity of opinion is what makes a market.

    I have followed the sector for some time now with a growing sense that it is becoming more and more ponzi-like, though not uniformly across all MLPS's. MLP's are not a scam, but there are simply too many companies out there that look increasingly vulnerable and I do suspect we will see more blow-ups... more and more companies are funding payouts with excessive new issues and acquisitions of dubious quality, estimates of future earnings are growing more and more optimistic, estimates of future costs less and less realistic. There may still be room to run, and the quality MLP's out there will do just fine (with or without the support of SA authors), but the current pace seems unsustainable. As a rule, things that cant go on forever, don't.

    Quality article, regardless of whether or not one agrees with the author.
    Jul 7, 2013. 02:48 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Linn Energy: Many Ponzi-Like MLP Blow-Ups To Follow [View article]
    Priceless! After bashing the author for shameless self-promotion of his newsletter we are instructed to visit the link to-- wait for it-- her newsletter.

    At least the author offered us something of value in exchange for promoting his newsletter... agree or disagree, valid points were raised in his article.

    It's not like he piggybacked off the work of other authors by using their comment sections to promote his own agenda.
    Jul 7, 2013. 02:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment