Coming off three starts as a true freshman, sophomore outside linebacker Ryan Shazier enters his second season firmly entrenched as a starter on the Ohio State football team’s defense.Shazier is one of many young linebackers who will play for the Buckeyes this season. Along with middle linebacker Curtis Grant, Shazier is one of two starting sophomore linebackers, while four of the seven linebackers listed on Monday’s depth chart are freshmen.First-year coach Urban Meyer admitted that Shazier is “real young,” but he has high expectations for him.“I’m biased because I love the guy,” Meyer said. “His God-given skill level is really high, so our expectation level is an all-Big Ten type player, at some point. He has that skill level.”Shazier’s own expectations are even higher.“One of my goals since I was little was to be an All-American,” Shazier said. “I’m just going to work my butt off to be an All-American or one of the top linebackers in the nation, so I’m just going to keep working hard, being a leader and just try to do the best I can.”Shazier made an immediate impact last season once he cracked the starting lineup. He finished the year with 57 total tackles, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a blocked punt. Meyer said his work ethic is a major factor in his success.“He gives everything he’s got,” Meyer said. “He’s so sincere about what he does.”Shazier said he recognizes that his team will be relying on him more than it did last year, and is ready for the added responsibility.“This year’s a lot different than last year,” Shazier said. “I have to be a leader a lot more than last year. I’m just working on my ability to try and be a lot better than I was, and work on my footwork, my technique and helping the young guys out a lot.”In addition to being a starting outside linebacker in the 4-3 defensive scheme, the Buckeyes’ base alignment, defensive coordinator Everett Withers said Shazier will also start in the team’s nickel defensive package, along with senior linebacker Etienne Sabino.Withers said the nickel package will be a very important aspect of the team’s defense this year.“I think we’ll be in (the nickel defense) a fair amount,” Withers said. “The offense, at times, dictates how much nickel you play.”In the base defense, Withers said Grant will be the “quarterback” and lead play-caller of the defense, but with Grant off the field in the nickel package, some of that responsibility might shift to Shazier.Shazier addressed the possibility of having to assume that leadership responsibility.“It’s going to be important for me to make a lot of play calls in the nickel and everything, but we also have Sabino, so he’s going to help me out,” Shazier said. “I feel that my role is going to be about the same (in the nickel) as it is in (the base defense). I’m just going to have (to) come in, help make tackles, help lead the defense and just stop the offense from scoring and stop them from gaining yards and getting the offense in great field position.”While Meyer inherited Shazier as a player on the roster when he was hired at OSU, Shazier had been on Meyer’s radar long before either became a Buckeye. Meyer recruited Shazier, a native of Plantation, Fla., while he was still the head coach at the University of Florida.“I’ve known him for several years now, because I recruited him when I was at Florida,” Meyer said. “You can’t help but like Ryan Shazier.”Shazier said that Meyer’s name was “legendary” while he was still a high school recruit in Florida, but playing for Meyer has opened up his eyes to a different side of the famous coach.“He’s intense when he’s recruiting you, but when it’s on the field, he’s another level, He doesn’t play around,” Shazier said. “He’s really serious, and I really like it about him, but he’s really intense and he’s really going to push us to the next level.”
I’ve worked at three Chili’s restaurants across the United States, and despite seeing first-hand what goes into the food preparation, I’ve remained an ardent patron of the distinctive, southwest-inspired fare. So when I heard a Chili’s franchise was opening up in Multiplaza Escazú west of San José, I did a little dance.On the way to the restaurant, stuck in traffic, I dreamed about what I would order. Definitely Presidente Margarita. Definitely a Mombo Combo, or whatever they were calling it these days. And then my absolute favorite: the Chicken Crispers, with extra honey mustard sauce. It was way too much food, but that’s what to-go bags are for. The Presidente Margarita.Lindsay Fendt Approaching the modern-looking space in Multiplaza Escazú, I was thrown off by how different this Chili’s was from those I remembered. The ones where I had worked were full of tacky trinkets and Texas kitsch (the chain is based in Dallas), but there was none of that here. Instead, the interior was modern looking, with neon lights, slick tile and even personal televisions at certain tables. There was one similarity, though – about 20 people were on the waitlist.My dining companion and I put our name down and headed to the bar, where we ordered a Presidente Margarita to share. The bartender served us up two margaritas in those familiar blue-tipped martini glasses, but our shaker (which normally has the rest of the margarita) never arrived. When we finally got the bartender’s attention to ask about this, he said he had given us all of the drink in our two glasses. Okay. But I distinctly remember getting three drinks out of those shakers.As we looked over the shiny menu, I took note of the old favorites – the Mushroom Swiss Burger, the Monterey Chicken, the fajitas, obviously – and some things I had never seen. Poppers, for one. Also, a couple of traditional Costa Rican favorites, like lomito (a Costa Rican beef cut) and patacones (fried plantains). Entrees cost slightly more than in the States – from $10-$20. Drinks were also pricier (around $14 for a good margarita).We placed our order for our appetizer and entrees at the bar, and the Mombo Combo – now called the Triple Play – was supposed to come with these mysterious poppers, but luckily, the restaurant was out of them. We doubled up on Southwestern Eggrolls, and those arrived exactly how I remembered: supple and piping hot. The boneless buffalo wings were also delicious.We got moved to a real table after finishing the appetizer, we ordered more drinks from our new waiter. Then we waited. And waited. And waited.I watched in mild annoyance as Ticos in Chili’s uniforms moved nonchalantly about the restaurant, not bothering to glance our way. This would not have happened in North Carolina or Massachusetts or Florida; it’s simply not the Chili’s way. Providing efficient and attentive service (not to mention upselling) are vital parts of the business model, and the only way anybody makes decent money. Ticos didn’t seem to understand the concept of turning tables.After more than an hour of waiting for our food, we began discussing whether we should walk out. That’s when the server came back and we explained the situation. Confused, he had a powwow with the bartender and figured out that our order had been lost. The Southwestern Eggrolls.Lindsay Fendt I had never before seen anybody offer free food for an inconvenience in Costa Rica, but when the manager approached, I knew that’s what we would get. He was sincere, kind and apologetic, just as the managers in the States had been (with the customers, anyway). His English was perfect. He could not have been more professional, and we all adored him.Ten minutes later, the food came out, and we again spiraled into disappointment. The Chicken Crispers weren’t what I remembered – they seemed to have been fried in a different, less fluffy batter. My dining partner’s Enchilada Pasta was dry and tasted like nachos – nothing on the old Southwestern Pasta I once served. We ordered a Chocolate Fudge Brownie for dessert, which is normally hot with cold vanilla ice cream. The brownie came out tepid.We finished the meal and sat for 20 minutes, waiting to request the check. When nobody came, we began stacking our plates. Then we stood up, and again, discussed walking out.Finally, hero manager came onto the floor and observed what was going on. He rushed to our table and scooped our plates up. “Let me get that for you,” he said. Then he made a beeline for our waiter, and stood very close to him, whispering instructions. The check soon materialized, along with more apologies. Our entrees and dessert were all free, but it wasn’t quite enough.I left the restaurant feeling like I had walked into my childhood home, and somebody else had moved in. It wasn’t Chili’s as I knew it. I heard a week later that a second Chili’s would open in Plaza Lincoln in Moravia, and I hesitated for a moment about whether I would go there sometime. Then I thought about how new the chain is to Costa Rica, and how well the manager had taken care of us. If more people like him were on board, I knew there was still hope.The restaurant is open Sun.-Wed. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling TEMPE, Ariz. — Impressed by his team’s offseason work, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians canceled the last mini-camp practice, sending his players off on summer vacation a day early.The seven-week break before the team reports for training camp likely will be anything but a break for safety Tyrann Mathieu.One of the more popular Cardinals — if not thee most in many fans’ eyes — Mathieu figures to be busy between rehabbing from an ACL injury and work on a contract extension that may make him the highest-paid player at his position by the time he arrives at University of Phoenix Stadium on July 28. Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu smiles during the team’s mini-camp June 8, 2016. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) 0 Comments Share The latter of which, though, appears to be the furthest thing from Mathieu’s mind.“It’s not something I’m going to miss any sleep about,” he said Wednesday. “This is just moments in my life. I just try to enjoy them, and I don’t try to get too high or too low. But, if something was to happen, I’m sure it will happen.”Mathieu is entering the final year of his rookie contract.The two parties have discussed a new deal. Both sides want to get something done, but there has been no timetable set.There’s also no timetable for when Mathieu will be on the field again.He did not participate in any of the offseason work — organized team activities or the two-day mini-camp — and may be limited the first few days of training camp, according to Arians, who added defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (right ankle surgery) as “the two guys that will be the closest” in terms of being ready to go by training camp.“We should come in (to camp) really, really healthy,” Arians said.Mathieu is nearly six months removed from injuring his right knee at Philadelphia, costing him the remainder of the season.Even with a shortened season, Mathieu was named a Pro Bowler for the first time and earned first-team All-Pro honors after totaling 89 tackles, a team-high 16 passes defensed, five interceptions (one touchdown), 11 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo – / 15 It’s that kind of production that has the Cardinals excited about a long-term relationship with the 24-year-old safety.“Did a lot of cutting, turning and running, so I mean I feel great,” Mathieu said, referring to where he is in the rehab process. “It’s more about me taking it slow.”It’s the second time in three offseasons Mathieu is rehabbing an ACL tear. Back in 2013, as a rookie, he hurt his left knee. That plus a thumb injury limited his sophomore campaign.Mathieu is determined to avoid history repeating itself, even if that means a later start to 2016.“I really don’t have a timeline on when I’ll be back,” he said. “The most important thing is me coming back 100 percent. I think that’s most important.”Despite the injury, Mathieu has made his presence felt here in the offseason, not just visually but vocally out on the field and in meeting rooms as he takes on a larger role within the team.“I’m really just trying to soak in as much as I can from a coach’s perspective, from a team leader perspective, so it’s been fun although I haven’t been able to go out and actually play,” he said. “Just seeing the game from a different point of view this spring, I’ve done it in the past, so really, it was more about me helping the younger guys this offseason, getting those guys up-to-speed and trying to slow the game down for them.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires
01Aug House mental health task force hosts first meeting Tags: CARES Task Force, Mental Health The Michigan House of Representatives bipartisan mental health task force kicked off its research by hosting a panel at the Livingston County EMS Center in Howell on Monday, Rep. Klint Kesto announced.The task force seeks to explore ways to enable Michigan residents facing mental health challenges to live happier, healthier and more independent lives. This comprehensive approach addresses the hurdles people face each day, including veterans with post-traumatic stress injury, victims whose lives are altered by traumatic crimes or prisoners who struggle with underlying mental health disorders.“Today’s panel was an eye-opening experience,” said Rep. Kesto, of Commerce Township, who co-chairs the task force. “I appreciate the comments about how we can make the mental health system better – getting better outcomes and targeting dollars where they can do the most good.”Panelists included Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy, Connie Conklin, executive director of Livingston County Community Mental Health; Judge Carol Sue Reader of the 53rd District Court, Jamie Wright, Veteran Justice Outreach Worker for the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Dave Stanifer; Mental Health Services Director for Woodland Correctional Facility, Judge Michael Hatty of the 44th Circuit Adult Drug Court; Dr. I. David Yanga, chief medical officer for Brighton Center for Recovery, Dr. Stephen Pinals of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital; and Francine Zysk, court administrator for the 53rd District Court.Following the conclusion of the meeting, the task force took part in a tour of the Livingston County Jail to learn about how the county houses inmates with mental health disorders and drug addiction.The task force will hold its next meeting Aug. 17 at Hope Network in Grand Rapids.####Bipartisan task force members convene for their first meeting held in Livingston County. Categories: Kesto News Rep. Klint Kesto, of Commerce Township, (left) and Rep. Hank Vaupel, of Fowlerville, (right) serve as co-chairs of the task force.
Well, it couldn’t get much more blatant, now could it?The gold price developed a slight negative bias right at the beginning of Far East trading on Friday…and that process accelerated a bit once London began to trade.Then at the Comex open, the gold price jumped up…and almost immediately ran into a willing not-for-profit seller…and by 9:45 a.m. JPMorgan et al had bashed the price into submission. From there it recovered a hair, but hit its absolute low of the day at precisely 12:00 noon in New York…and then rallied a bit into the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading.The high tick at 8:31 a.m. Eastern was…$1,678.20 spot…and the low tick at noon was reported by Kitco as $1,652.50 spot.Gold finished the Friday trading session at $1,662.70 spot…down $12.10 on the day. Net volume was around 145,000 contracts.Silver’s price pattern on Friday was virtually a carbon copy of gold’s. The only big difference was that silver’s low price tick [$30.07 spot] came at 10:00 a.m. Eastern…right on the button. From there it traded sideways until around 12:45 p.m. in New York…and then rallied into the 1:30 p.m. Comex close. From that point, and until the close of Friday trading, the silver price traded flat.Silver’s high price tick came shortly before 9:00 a.m. Eastern time…and Kitco recorded that as $30.93 spot.“Da Boyz” took away almost all of Thursday’s gains with yesterday’s shenanigans…and silver closed on Friday at $30.44 spot…down 42 cents. Volume was pretty hefty…around 52,000 contracts.The dollar index opened on Friday morning at 79.79…and traded ruler flat all through Far East and early London trading. Then at 1:00 p.m. GMT, the index did a 36-point face plant in just thirty minutes. The index spent the New York trading session recovering a bit of those loses, but the dollar index still closed down 24 basis points when all was said and done.Of course it’s laughable to even entertain the idea that the precious metals prices were in any way linked to what went on in the currency markets yesterday.Since the gold price got slammed at the open of the New York equity markets on Friday, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the gold stocks got sold off in the first half hour of trading. But then they rallied back to unchanged by around 11:30 a.m. Eastern…and chopped sideways for the rest of the day. The HUI finished down a tiny 0.07%…a fabulous accomplishment considering the circumstance. It was obvious, at least to me, that strong hands with deep pockets were buying everything that fell off the table yesterday.Not surprisingly, the silver shares finished mostly down on the day…and Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down as well…0.48%.(Click on image to enlarge)Here’s Nick’s long-term Silver Sentiment Index so you get a view of the overall.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold…along with a surprising 124 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday. The big short/issuer was Merrill…and the spoils were divided up between JPMorgan  in its proprietary [in house] trading account…Bank of Nova Scotia …and Jefferies with 31 contracts stopped.What started out as a very sleepy delivery month in silver, has turned into anything but! Already this month, there have been 641 contracts posted for delivery, which is a very large number for what has always been a traditional non-delivery month for either gold or silver…and the month is less than half over. The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV.Bullion coins continue to fly out the door at the U.S. Mint. Yesterday they reported selling another 12,000 ounces of gold eagles…and 150,000 silver eagles. Month-to-date…only eight business days…the mint has sold 97,500 ounces of gold eagles…36,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 4,782,000 silver eagles. Based on these sales, the silver/gold ratio stands at just under 36 to 1. I sure hope that you’re getting your share, dear reader…and if not, you should make amends as quickly as you can.It was a monster day over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday. They reported receiving 975,656 troy ounces of silver…and shipped an eye-watering 2,786,866 troy ounces out the door. Amazing! I can hardly wait to read what Ted Butler has to say about this in his weekend review coming out later today. The link to yesterday’s activity is here.There has been evidence presented on the Internet during the past week of shortages appearing in some types of precious metal products, both in North America and in Europe. Well, I got it right from the horse’s mouth…as one of the largest private mints in the U.S. told us late yesterday afternoon that there’s a 10-day wait for delivery on 10-ounce silver bars…and a 30-day wait for 1-ounce silver rounds. It has begun again.As I said a few paragraphs back…I sure as heck hope you’re getting your share.Well, yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report showed the expected declines in the Commercial net short positions in both gold and silver. Ted was hoping/expecting bigger numbers than were posted…but they are what they are. I had very little time to talk to Ted on the phone about this yesterday, as it was very busy at the store.In silver, the Commercial net short position declined by 4,071 contracts, or 20.4 million ounces of paper silver. The Commercial net short position as of the close of Comex trading on Tuesday stood at 206.3 million ounces.The ‘Big 4’ are short 230.4 million ounces of silver…which is about 112% of the Commercial net short position show in the previous paragraph. Ted says that JPMorgan’s short position is about 140 million ounces out of that 230.4 million ounces…28,000 Comex contracts…and it’s my guess that the Bank of Nova Scotia is short at least 50 million ounces as well…so the ‘BIG 2’ are short around 190 million ounces of silver between them.On a net basis, the ‘Big 4’ bullion banks are short 48.6% of the entire Comex futures market in silver…and the ‘BIG 2’ on their own are short about 40% of the entire Comex futures market in silver all by themselves. How’s that for concentration?On a net basis, the ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 11.6 percentage points of the entire Comex silver market. So the ‘Big 8’ in total are short more than 60% of the Comex silver market. But like I said…it’s the BIG 2…or probably just the BIG 1…that really matters.If we could see…and then subtract…all of the spread trades, not just some of them, it’s my guess that these concentration ratios would be substantially more grotesque than they already are.In gold, the Commercial net short position declined by 10,187 contracts, or 1.0 million ounces. Ted was expecting a much bigger number…and would have got it, except for the fact that the ‘5 through 8’ traders actually sold about 7,000 contracts short…instead of covering short positions…and/or going long themselves. Having said all that, the Commercial net short position has now declined to 17.85 million ounces.The ‘Big 4’ bullion banks are short 11.65 million ounces of gold…and the ‘5 through 8’ largest traders are short an additional 5.74 million ounces of the stuff. So between the eight biggest traders, they are short 17.39 million ounces of gold…almost 100% of the Commercial net short position.On a ‘net’ basis…once all the market-neutral spread traders are subtracted out…the ‘Big 4’ are short 32.3% of the entire Comex gold market…and the ‘5 through 8’ traders are short an additional 15.9 percentage points. So the ‘Big 8’ are short a bit over 48% of the entire Comex futures market in gold.Of course, like in silver, if all the unreported spread trades could be subtracted out, it would push these concentration numbers well over 50% for the ‘Big 8’ combined.Here’s Nick Laird’s wonderful “Days of World Production to Cover Short Positions” chart. It shows the short positions of the Big 4 and Big 8 for all the physically traded commodities on the Comex…as shown in the latest COT Report. I just talk about silver and gold…but Nick shows them all…and the obscene and grotesque short positions in all four precious metals are obvious to anyone.(Click on image to enlarge)The links to the long-term interactive COT charts for gold is here…and silver is here. Depending on your browser and computer, they may take a while to load…especially the link for silver.The Bank Participation Report data was as expected in silver…but a bit of a surprise in gold.In silver, less than 4 U.S. banks [probably 3] decreased their net Comex short position from 39,573 contracts in the December BPR, down to 32,236 contracts in January’s BPR.Since Ted Butler says that JPMorgan Chase’s short position is in the 28,000 Comex contract range, that means that there are only 4,236 Comex contracts left to split up between the two other U.S. banks. Using the past as prologue, I’m guessing that virtually all of that…like 95%…is held by HSBC USA…and a tiny non-material amount is held by Citigroup maybe.Continuing in silver…15 non-U.S. banks held a net short position in Comex silver in December of 18,199 contracts…and in the January BPR just released, that short position has been reduced down to 14,913 Comex contracts…and only 14 banks. It’s my firm belief that more than 10,000 contracts of this amount is held by the Bank of Nova Scotia…like maybe 12,000 contracts…leaving 2,913 contracts to split up between the remaining 13 non-U.S. banks, which is about 225 contracts per non-U.S. bank. As you can tell, these positions are immaterial.Remember what I said about the ‘BIG 2’ in silver when I was talking about them in the COT Report further up. What the BPR does, is strip these two bullion banks naked for all to see. That’s how concentrated their positions are…and there is just no way for them to hide on this one day every month when we can compare the COT numbers and the BPR numbers…as they are derived from the same data set.In gold…5 U.S. banks had a net Comex short position of 106,393 contracts in the December BPR. The January report showed that the number of U.S. banks holding short contracts on the Comex had been reduced to 4 banks…and they had reduced their net Comex short position down to 82,204 contracts. It’s a safe bet that it’s the same banks in gold as it is in silver…with the addition of maybe Morgan Stanley…and they wouldn’t have a big position…as the lion’s share would most likely be held by JPMorgan Chase.Continuing in gold…19 non-U.S. banks were net short 44,707 Comex contracts in the December BPR…and are now net short 45,847 Comex gold contracts in January’s BPR. The surprise here is there was a net increase from December to January…which I wasn’t expecting at all. And, once again, I’d bet serious money that well over a third of that short position is held by the Bank of Nova Scotia. That leaves 18 non-U.S. banks net short a bit under 30,000 Comex gold contracts…and if you can divide, the individual positions of these 18 bank is immaterial.The one caveat to these ‘immaterial’ short positions in both silver and gold is that there is massive collusion within the ranks of the smaller trader…and these smaller banks may influence prices if they work together, like Ted Butler’s raptors…and I’m sure that they do it at times.Here’s a graphic representation of the Bank Participation Report for silver going back to 2000. There are five charts in all…and the first two are price and open interest…and the third is the number of U.S. and non-U.S. banks. Charts 4 and 5 require one minute of thinking.In some ways, charts 4 and 5 are identical to the “Days to Cover Comex Short Positions” charts from the COT data above…except they are for U.S. and non-U.S. banks only…and it shows just how dominant they are once they’re stripped out from the crowd. The ‘click to enlarge’ feature works wonders here.(Click on image to enlarge)I have a huge number of stories, quite a few of which I’ve been saving for today’s column…and I wish you luck wading through all of them.Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded–here and there, now and then–are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.” – Lazarus Long [The quote is from a novel by Robert Heinlein. The character Lazarus Long appeared in several of his books. – Ed]Today’s ‘blast from the past’ is instantly recognizable…as is the group that sings it. So turn up your speakers and enjoy. The link is here.Today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is the most famous of arias from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. This version was ripped out of the 1984 Miloš Forman move Amadeus…and if you’ve never seen this flick, you owe it to you to do so. The link is here.Well, it couldn’t get much more blatant, now could it? JPMorgan et al just don’t give a damn whose watching, because there’s no adult supervision to be found anywhere…and the spineless silver and gold mining companies won’t lift a finger on behalf of their shareholders.But one thing is for sure, it shows just how desperate this situation is becoming…especially in silver. The fact that delivery times are now getting stretched out for precious metals just about everywhere on Planet Earth means that there’s big trouble coming in River City…and only the timing is unknown. And the frantic in/out activity at the Comex…plus the goings-on in SLV over the last month, shows how frantic things are getting. It’s my opinion that it’s only a matter of time before the whole things comes unglued.Ted Butler had this to say about it in his closing paragraph to his paying subscribers on Wednesday…”Throw in the probability that the simmering physical shortage will turn into a full boil on a moment’s notice…and the only prudent approach is to hold onto long-term silver positions tightly.” Amen to that, as that’s precisely what I’m doing.Silver is back under its 200-day moving average once again…and gold is sitting right on its 200-day moving average. It appears that the prices of both metals are being held in place…but for what reason…and how long? Beats me.And then the question becomes…are we going higher or lower from there. If you waded through what I had to say in the COT Report and the BPR, you can see that its just a small handful of bullion banks trying to keep the precious metals market from blowing sky high.In my estimation it has now become a death watch…and what part this $1 trillion dollar platinum coin has play in all this, is not known. It may come to nothing, but I have a hunch that we haven’t heard the last of this insanity.My last chart of the day is one of my favourites from Nick. It’s the “Total PMs Pool“…and it’s at another new high…a relentless and most likely unstoppable trend with unlimited fiat currency printing upon us.(Click on image to enlarge)That’s all for this week…and I’ll see you right here on Tuesday. Sponsor Advertisement Canada’s Golden TollboothsThere is a special tollbooth located 8 hours north of Toronto near a gold mine. And every time a mining truck passes by, it must pay a toll: For each 100 ounces of gold carried, 4 of these must be paid to the tollbooth. Over $6,600. Every single time.What’s better, there’s another one of these “golden tollbooths” located 20 miles east … and still another one 100 miles farther. All told, about seventy of these special tollbooths exist in the world today.And one company owns over half of them.Now this company—who has already banked $600 million on a single one of these tollbooth deals—is willing to split the profits with us…Click here to read the full story.
Casey Research’s Jeff Clark was interviewed as one of The Gold Report’s “superstars of resource investing.” Learn his approach to staying current with precious metals trends… despite what the headlines and mainstream media say. Right now, the opportunity’s on in gold and silver. Contrarian investors know that the time to buy is when the mainstream media has completely dismissed a sector—which is precisely what’s happening with precious metals right now. And you can get all the insights Jeff gleans from his painstaking research and put it to work for you in 2014. Get the details and get started today.
Public Announcement from the President of Agora, Inc. Since 1979, there have been five truly world-altering shocks. Bill Bonner’s small, private network of researchers has predicted every single one so far. Today, Bill is warning of a sixth major shock on track to hit right here in the heart of America. Are you, your family, and your money prepared? Find out here. #1 Currency Collapse Survival Blueprint in America? This blueprint outlines the 3 ESSENTIAL steps every American should take right now. The good news is, these steps are easy and fairly straightforward to implement. You can do all of these from home, with very little effort. Click here to learn more. According to this ratio, U.S. energy stocks are 83% more expensive than their historic average. Eventually, this cycle will end with absurdly low prices for oil stocks. We’ll get an amazing opportunity to buy oil stocks at fire sale prices. But right now, oil stocks are expensive and in a downtrend…the opposite of what we look for in a good investment. We’re staying away. • Switching gears, your car may soon drive itself… Self-driving cars might sound like science fiction. But it’s closer to happening than you might think. And Chris Wood, editor of Extraordinary Technology, says self-driving car technology is creating some of the most exciting investing opportunities he’s seen in years… As Chris explained this month, self-driving cars could prevent at least 90% of car accidents, cutting accident costs by $450 billion per year. Here’s Chris: Because drivers cause most wrecks, self-driving cars have the potential to prevent a lot of these accidents and save thousands, if not millions, of lives. Driver error causes about 90% of the 5.5 million car accidents in the U.S. each year. More than 32,000 people die in these wrecks. Virtually all analysts agree that the widespread use of AVs [autonomous vehicles] would mean far fewer accidents and fatalities. The Eno Center for Transportation estimates that if 90% of cars in the U.S. were self-driving, every year it would save 21,700 lives, result in 4.22 million fewer car crashes, and cut total vehicle accident costs by 54%, or $450 billion. Recommended Links – Regards, Justin Spittler Delray Beach, Florida December 22, 2015 We want to hear from you. If you have a question or comment, please send it to email@example.com. We read every email that comes in, and we’ll publish comments, questions, and answers that we think other readers will find useful. — Self-driving cars could also add tens of billions of dollars in lost productivity to the economy. The average American spends almost an hour per day commuting. If your car drove itself, you could use that hour to do work…eat a full meal…or take a snooze on your way home from the office. How much would you pay for an extra hour a day? Companies are racing to develop self-driving car technology. Google, Japanese carmaker Toyota (TM), and electric carmaker Tesla (TSLA) are some of the big names. Recently, Google decided to spin its self-driving car division off into a new, separate company. And in November, Toyota announced plans to build a $1 billion plant in the United States to develop self-driving car technology. The company plans to have self-driving cars on the road by 2020. Self-driving cars will soon be a multibillion-dollar market. Here’s Chris again: These companies are going after a massive pie. Consulting firm Deloitte reports that the U.S. automotive industry generates $760 billion in annual revenue. That’s 4.5% of annual U.S. GDP. Meanwhile, the global ADAS [advanced driver assistance systems] market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% over the next five years, according to Allied Market Research. At that rate, it will reach $60.14 billion by 2020. • When will self-driving cars hit the mainstream? Chris answered that question in new issue of Extraordinary Technology. He also profiled eight companies that could make big profits as the momentum in this trend builds. You can learn all about this mega trend, including how to invest in it, by taking a risk-free trial to Extraordinary Technology. Click here to learn more. Chart of the Day Things are getting worse in the junk bond market… The junk bond market is where companies in poor financial shape borrow money. When the economy slows, these companies are often the first to miss a loan payment. Problems in the junk bond market can serve as an “early warning” of bigger problems in the stock market and economy. Dispatch readers know the junk bond market has been flashing danger signs for months. In recent weeks, these warnings have gotten louder… Last Monday, iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG), the largest U.S. junk bond ETF, fell to its lowest level since 2008. Meanwhile, three large junk bond funds have shut down this month. Two of those funds have blocked investors from pulling out their money. Today’s chart shows the yield on “distressed” bonds. Think of distressed bonds as the junkiest of junk bonds. They are the bonds of companies in horrible financial shape. As you can see, the average yield on distressed bonds rose above 18% last week. The last time distressed bond yields were this high was during the 2008/9 financial crisis. The number of distressed bonds is also growing rapidly. Last week, Bloomberg Business reported that there are more distressed bonds today than at any time since 2009. Yesterday, oil hit an 11-year low. The price of Brent crude oil fell to $35.78, its lowest level since 2004. Brent oil has now fallen 68% since its June 2014 peak. (Brent oil is found in the North Sea region.) If you’ve been reading the Dispatch recently, you know the world has a massive oil surplus. In September, oil stockpiles of developed nations hit an all-time high of nearly 3 billion barrels, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). • Yet major oil producers keep pumping oil… In April, U.S. monthly oil production hit its highest level since the 1970s. Since then, the price of oil has dropped 40%. However, U.S. oil output has remained high. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is also pumping near record amounts of oil. OPEC is a cartel of 12 oil-producing nations. It produces 40% of the world’s oil. Investment bank Goldman Sachs (GS) expects OPEC to pump 32 million barrels per day in 2016, according to Bloomberg Business. That would be a new record. • Low oil prices have hammered major oil stocks… ExxonMobil (XOM), the largest U.S. oil producer, has dropped 24% since oil peaked in June 2014. It’s trading at its lowest level since 2011. Chevron (CVX), the second-largest U.S. producer, has dropped 32%. It’s trading at its lowest level since 2010. Low oil prices have also crushed the stocks of oil services companies. These companies sell “picks and shovels” to the oil industry. Halliburton (HAL), the largest U.S. oil services company, has plummeted 52% since June 2014. • However, U.S. oil stocks are still expensive… Although oil stocks have fallen, they haven’t fallen as much as the price of oil itself. Last week, we showed you that energy stocks are extremely expensive compared to the price of oil. By taking the ratio of XLE (an ETF that tracks major U.S. oil and gas companies) to the price of oil, we can see that energy stocks haven’t been this expensive relative to oil since 1999…
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Two couples who have taken disability discrimination cases through the legal system have told a committee of peers about the barriers they have faced in trying to secure justice.Michèle and Andrew Brenton, and Jeanine and David Blamires, had been asked to give evidence in person to the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee, set up by the House of Lords to examine the impact of the act on disabled people. Andrew Brenton (pictured, giving evidence, watched by his wife) told the committee that it was not possible to secure legal aid for discrimination cases, while the rules on taking civil cases through the courts were “really complicated”.His case against University of Wales Trinity Saint David – which ended with him being awarded £20,000 in compensation – was reported by Disability News Service three months ago.The university had built a library it knew was inaccessible in order to cut costs, and then barred Brenton and other mobility-impaired students from the basement floor for more than four months after he reported concerns about fire safety practices when a lift broke down.He told peers on the committee that the university had hired expensive lawyers to fight the case, and their first action had been to try to “frighten” him by warning he had made a series of mistakes in filing his civil claim, which meant he would eventually have to pay their £65,000 costs.Even though he had been receiving disabled students’ allowance and disability living allowance – at the middle rate care and higher rate mobility – the university’s lawyers also tried to prove that he was not disabled.He said: “It just adds a further layer of harm. It’s very, very, very distressing.”Despite the legal ordeal and his eventual victory, he said the university had only “paid lip service to changing” since his case was concluded.He said: “They say they have changed, they say they have rewritten some of their equality policies.“I have it from an extremely reliable source that students are still being discriminated against.“One of the university’s newest buildings, I have it on authority, is not wheelchair-accessible in the way it should be.“My son [currently a student at the university] is still being discriminated against as regards his neurodiversity and his learning difficulties, so it is still going on.”Jeanine Blamires told the committee that the judicial system itself was a barrier to justice for disabled people.She said: “The judicial process isn’t bound by the Equality Act. It needs to be.“All parts of the court process must come under the Equality Act. Must. So you know that once you hit the court process you are safe from discrimination, and at the moment you’re not.”She highlighted the difficulty of obtaining accessible advocacy, and said there was no funding to support advocacy organisations to take on complex cases.She also claimed that the legal aid system ignored complex civil cases because they were too expensive, while her husband criticised the ombudsman system for its failure to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people who make complaints.