Even in the face of continuing bad news, the American consumer is starting to feel better. The severity of this recession was due - in part - to a crisis of perception. People were terrified and their behavior showed it. Now they are starting to perk up and it shows in their spending. It's a good sign, similar to a sickly patient who starts complaining about noises in the hallway. It's a little thing, but you know they are starting to heal.