Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
The truth is in the eyes
Cause the eyes don't lie-amen
A report out this week from researchers in New Zealand says Lego mini-figures have become angrier. Moreover, there's a suggestion the change has made children angrier in the process. In the study, which covers the period from 1975 to 2010, those mini-figures all had smiling faces until 1989. In 2003 mini-figures started coming in different colors and shades other than yellow as Lego wanted to tap deeper into growing global prosperity. Perhaps the same kind of research went into the angry face trend-just an honest reflection of the real world.
Face it (no pun intended); people seem upset everywhere in the world. Citizens are taking to the streets in rich and poor countries often with the same argument-go figure!
I am happy to be one of those people that thinks a smile not only sends positive signals to the world but also attracts positive signals and good fortune from the world, but we need to understand that the angry Lego phenomenon presents challenges for the world. The study harped on the impact to children, but it is angry young adults that give up on life that we should be most worried about. They'll make the future into what they think it will be, which means they can't envision a Philip K. Dick book of acid rain, dark clouds, rebellious robots and limited food.
The solution to all of this isn't to go after those angry faces and sad frowns. On the contrary, we must go after those smiling phonies that promise to fix things but only make them worse in pursuit of single-minded agendas. Our so-called elected leaders have really taken all the air out of the room. They keep smiling and we keep getting angrier. Of course this week we couldn't see if the smiles of our guys and gals on Capitol Hill in part as a result of secret hearings to discuss secret surveillance on a secret amount of Americans (the number is well above 100 million). The NSA went to Congress and decided it would be better if only a few people got information on what they were up too.
I don't think anyone is looking for disclosure of stuff that would tip off terrorist or potential terrorists, but we deserve answers.
The idea used to be that someone had to become a suspect and then the NSA and others would connect all the dots around them. Now the premise is to assume any and everyone could be a terrorist and go from there.
I call it electronic stop and frisk, and we're all wearing hoodies.
This explains the latest results from Gallup, not shocking but very shocking all the time. Congress scored the lowest approval rating for any institution polled by Gallup-ever! The military scored a 76% rating, the highest of sixteen polled-not sure what the other 24% were thinking about.
Gallup on Congress 10% approval was the lowest ever for any institution; it peaked at 42% in 1973 and was in the low-40% range in the 1980s. It is a real a shame.
Now everyone and their toys are angry!
A funny thing happened on the way to the market crash-it rallied and rallied hard! Here's the real deal, the Fed is not going to change policy this year unless there is a serious improvement in the economy. There's no inflation (yeah ... right), so-so job growth, and GDP growth that's been stuck in "green shoots" mode for years. After the closing bell a couple strong earnings reports reminded us people are buying guns and great furniture. Both stocks soared in afterhours trading.
* Restoration Hardware (NYSE:RH) beat $0.02 beat on revenue
* Smith & Wesson (SWHC) beat $0.04, beat on revenue (preliminary)
Yesterday scuttlebutt made the rounds the Fed will use its next gathering to calm fears of tapering - ever! I say that just half joking. Once upon a time it was unheard of for the Fed to have $1,000,000,000,000 on its balance sheet, maybe ten years from now it would be unheard of for them to have less than $3,000,000,000,000. The coast is clear for the Fed to stay the course for the remainder of the year although I'd like to see them stop now. That said, remember the market is reacting more to scuttlebutt about possible future action than to the actual action.
This morning's PPI number puts a dollop of pressure on the Fed, but the fact is the way the government measures inflation it gives Ben Bernanke cover to print all the money he wants even if you are crushed each time you buy groceries. I'm not worried about the Fed per se although I know the public is being scared to death and you want to get out of the way of a stampeding crowd. But people that abandon great companies make them cheaper and I'm licking my chops!