The professional future-tellers, the highly respected economists and analysts who have been glamorized in recent years by CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg News all fall in a pretty tight range saying that markets should grow about 8-10% this year, the economy should grow about 3.5% and corporate earnings, about 10%. 

Is it just me or do we all seem more pessimistic than usual these days?  The optimism over the economy back in the early summer, somewhat reinvigorated by the optimistic tones of the two Presidential conventions, now seems to be giving in to a dark and mean time.  Granted, we are amidst an emotional crescendo in the final weeks of a contentious and dirty political race.  But what will be the ultimate cost?  Will optimism return after the election?  If not, what of the economy?

We are in the midst of earnings season once again.  This time, however, analysts’ projections may be catching up to the actual pace of company earnings being reported.  In more cases than in previous quarters, analysts have been a little too optimistic about the actual pace of growth.  But we should not lose sight of the fact that the actual rate of earnings growth is still quite good.

Every year, for the past 20, a group of about 30 faithful Christ Church parishioners go into the hills of West Virginia on a trip to renovate, re-roof, re-floor, re-found, re-wire, and add bathrooms where there were none; but mostly they go to restore the hope that people care.  McDowell County in the southeastern hill country of West Virginia, north of Bluefield, was one of the state’s richest coalfields.