Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

The first Labor Day was observed on September 5, 1882 in New York City, by the Central Labor Union of New York, the nation’s first integrated major trade union. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshalls during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date originally chosen by the CLU of NY was selected as the official date. All 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday.

A LABOR DAY THOUGHT WE LIKED, from NPR's Scott Simon: “Having no job does not mean having no work. Your children must still be fed, bathed, and ferried to school … But you have less money for food, gas, and the new shoes your children need for school. … Having no job means that things people talk about these days -- iPads, android phones, 3-D movies, new music, or meeting friends over $4 coffee drinks -- are just beyond reach. You worry about getting dull, having nothing to talk about, and losing friends. … You may blame politicians, brokers and bankers, but in the middle of the night you might turn your eyes to the sky and wonder what you did, didn't do, or should have done. … This Labor Day we might salute the millions of Americans who don't have jobs, but who in many ways work harder than ever.”

L.A. Times lead story: “Ugly reality looms for job seekers: It could be years before the labor market recovers. Many will run out of benefits long before that,” by Alana Semuels: “Major employers including automakers and building contractors were at the core of the meltdown this time around. Even when the economy picks up, these sectors won't quickly rehire all the workers they shed during the downturn. Many small businesses, squeezed by tight credit and slow sales, similarly aren't in a hurry to add employees. Some big corporations are enjoying record profits precisely because they've kept a tight lid on hiring. And state and local governments are looking to ax more teachers, police officers and social workers to balance their budgets.”

LABOR DAY ALSO REPRESENTS – unofficial kick off for the fall political campaigns (same old promises, same old results); hockey season is not too far away; the three plus hour baseball games are almost over (especially for L.A. Dodger and Angel diehards); SC hottest month (September) is now here; U.S. Open Tennis & College Football all weekend; time to tax plan for the end of the year; and of course time to go back to work (ugh)!

BREAKING - LARRY J. SABATO, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics, “Sixty Days to Go: The Crystal Ball's Labor Day Predictions: “Republicans have a good chance to win the House by picking up as many as 47 seats, net [39 needed for control]. This is a 'net' number since the GOP will probably lose several of its own congressional districts in Delaware, Hawaii, and Louisiana. … If anything, we have been conservative in estimating the probable GOP House gains, if the election were being held today.

“In the Senate, we now believe the GOP will do a bit better than our long-time prediction of +7 seats. Republicans have an outside shot at winning full control (+10), but are more likely to end up with +8 (or maybe +9, at which point it will be interesting to see how senators such as Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and others react). GOP leaders themselves did not believe such a result was truly possible just a few months ago. If the Republican wave on November 2 is as large as some polls are suggesting it may be, then the surprise on election night could be a full GOP takeover. Since World War II, the House of Representatives has flipped parties on six occasions (1946, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1994, and 2006). Every time, the Senate flipped too, even when it had not been predicted to do so. These few examples do not create an iron law of politics, but they do suggest an electoral tendency. The seat switches are probably coming in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware (but only if the eventual GOP nominee is Rep. Mike Castle), Indiana, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. We expect Republicans to pick off at least a couple of these states: California, Illinois, Nevada, Washington, and Wisconsin. While it is possible that Republicans will lose one or two of their own open seats, the only 50-50 chance of that right now is in Florida-and it might not happen even there. There can also be unanticipated shockers if a GOP wave develops. While we rate Gov. Joe Manchin (D) the early favorite to fill the late Sen. Robert Byrd's seat, his Republican opponent, John Raese, is a self-funder in a strongly anti-Obama state. The inescapable conclusion is that the Senate is on the bubble, with only a slight lean at Labor Day toward Democratic retention.

“The statehouses will provide the third leg of the Republicans' 2010 victory. We have long suggested the GOP would gain a net +6 governorships. We now believe they will win +8. This boon to the GOP for redistricting will be enhanced by a gain of perhaps 300 to 500 seats in the state legislatures, and the addition of Republican control in 8 to 12 legislative chambers around the country.”

FIRST LOOK - NEW YORK's John Heilemann, “A debate has been raging over why our education system is failing. A new documentary by the director of 'An Inconvenient Truth' throws fuel on the fire: Davis “Guggenheim's new film, 'Waiting for “Superman,”' is set to open in New York and Los Angeles on September 24 … Guggenheim has uncorked a kind of sequel: the 'Inconvenient Truth' of education … 'Superman' ... traces the stories of five children -- all but one of them poor and black or Hispanic -- and their parents as they seek to secure a decent education by gaining admission via lottery to high-performing charter schools. At the same time, the film is a withering indictment of the adults -- in particular, those at the teachers union -- who have let the public-school system rot, and a paean to reformers such as Canada and Michelle Rhee … 'The movie is going to create a sense of outrage, and a sense of urgency,' says Arne Duncan, Barack Obama's secretary of Education. Obama has … unfurled an education agenda that has delighted reformers, upset the unions, and in the process delivered more on his promise of transcending partisan divisions in the service of pragmatism than he has on any other issue. 'The chief obstacle for “An Inconvenient Truth” was the environmentalists, who'd become smug and complacent and had no idea how to tell their own story,' [Guggenheim] says. 'It's the same with the education wonks. They're gonna pick apart this aspect and that aspect of the movie, and they're gonna totally miss the point.'”

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week for Carly Fiorina (56), Hugh Grant (50), Brett Hull (46), Garrison Keillor (68), Mickey Lolich (70), Rachel Ward (53), Rogie Vachon (65).

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED forecasts SUPER BOWL XLV: Steelers 33, Packers 27.

SPORTS BLINK - USA Today cover story, “STADIUM VS. HOME: Can the NFL make being there match what's on TV?” by Sean Leahy: “The average cost to take a family of four to an NFL game was $413 in 2009. … DirecTV sells its season-long Sunday Ticket package - aggressive … to make trips to stadiums more appealing. … The Dallas Cowboys set a new standard with a massive overhead HD video board that was unveiled last year at the team's new $1.2 billion stadium in Arlington, Texas. The New York Jets and Giants opened a shared, $1.6 billion stadium with HD boards this season, and the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Washington Redskins installed giant HD boards this year that cost millions of dollars and will offer fans not just live action and replays but also the RedZone Channel. The Ravens are among several teams wiring their stadium so fans can use Wi-Fi with their cellphones. Meanwhile, some teams are testing mobile units that will allow fans to see replays and other games from their seats. The Patriots are among the teams trying a free smartphone application called YinzCam that fans in club seats can access via a Wi-Fi network. The Miami Dolphins use a handheld unit called FanVision that they distribute to season ticketholders.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/11, Michigan Wolverines @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NBC 12:30 PM ET. Forget the point spread, Big Blue will prevail against the Irish in the annual over hyped game. Season to date (1-0).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 9/9, Minnesota Vikings @ Super Bowl Champions New Orleans Saints, NBC 8:30 PM ET. Point Spread is 4.5 give the points and go with New Orleans to beat the ageless Brett Favre and The Vikings.

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/11, Union College Dutchmen @ Ithaca College Bombers, 1:00 PM ET. After their win over the mighty Saints of St. Lawrence this past weekend look for the 16th ranked Bombers to beat Union 31 – 10.

CONGRATULATIONS – To the Bonita High School Bearcats winning the Smudgepot back from the San Dimas Saints this past Friday night 41-20.

RECORD - Southern CA coldest summer on record – average temp 70 degrees. Forecast for a drier winter.

THE MARKETS - Investors would ordinarily be glad to see August end, given that it was the worst August performance for Wall Street since 2001 and the first losing August since 2005. September, however, is traditionally one of the poorest months of the year for the major stock market indexes, although that was not the case in September 2009.

SIGN OF THE TIMES, NYT 9/5 – Student Loan debt is now greater in the U.S. than credit card debt. “Attendance at for-profit postsecondary schools has grown sharply in recent years. These schools run the gamut, offering anything from two-year vocational programs to four-year degrees, and they include online schools. In some ways, the schools’ growth comes at a relatively high risk to taxpayers. Students at for-profits take out more debt than their peers at traditional schools and default at much higher rates; they also account for about 9 percent of students but receive 24 percent of Stafford federal loans. The Department of Education is proposing a rule change aimed at reducing some of those risks. If the rule change is approved, more than 2,600 postsecondary educational programs could lose access to federal funds. The rule would require certain schools to prove they are preparing students for gainful employment that keeps them paying their loans on time and out of significant debt. The department estimates that up to 307,000 students could find themselves at such programs, though it says that most would then switch to eligible ones.”

Next week: Some recipes for the soul.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 6, 2010

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