Monday, January 24, 2011

Obama II

Though the U.S. stock market ended last week in mixed fashion, the Dow is now riding an eight-week winning streak - a period in which it's gained 7%. Interestingly, it hasn't had a triple-digit gain since December 1 and 2 - the first week in that streak.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Obama's State of the Union Address (and the bipartisan seating arrangements) on Tuesday will dominate the first half of the week. The president is expected to kick off a reelection run to the center with a call for toned down rhetoric and a focus on deficit reduction and corporate tax cuts along with targeted "investments" in clean tech and infrastructure (among other things) to help generate jobs. Few specific policy proposals or deficit reduction commitments expected ... CEOs and top bankers gather in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum schmooze-fest with the European debt crisis and rising fears over global commodity prices likely to be two main topics, along with more positive signs of economic recovery ... House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday morning unveils the latest SIGTARP report (likely to once again hammer Treasury on HAMP and AIG accounting) and holds a hearing to discuss it with testimony from Treasury's Tim Massad, who runs TARP day-to-day. Look for SIGTARP findings to start leaking today or tomorrow.

ECONOMY THIS WEEK - Fed wraps up a two-day meeting Wednesday and is expected to maintain its program of buying around $75 billion worth of Treasury bonds a month (with a goal of $600 billion total) while also acknowledging that the economy is slowly getting better ... Big economic number comes Friday when the Commerce Department reports fourth quarter GDP. The consensus estimate is for 3.5 percent growth driven by increased consumer spending, up from a 2.6 percent rate in the third quarter.

THE NEW POTUS - New York Times Magazine article by Peter Baker, "The White House Looks for Work: Inside Obama's struggle to bring down unemployment": "Three days before Christmas, President Obama gathered his economic team in the West Wing's Roosevelt Room to review themes for his State of the Union address ... [H]e was looking for bold ways to bring down unemployment. The ideas presented to him, though, seemed familiar and uninspired. 'You know, guys,' he said, according to someone in the room, 'I've told you before, I want you to come to me with ideas that EXCITE me.' Nothing he was hearing excited him. Obama's frustration could set the tone for the remainder of his term. For all the trials of war and terrorism, the economy has come to define his presidency. ...

"Obama has been casting about for ideas. He held two unpublicized meetings last month with outside economists, a group of liberals one day and a group of conservatives the next, soliciting suggestions while deflecting criticism. (He was 'a bit defensive,' one participant told me.) He likewise met with labor leaders and convened a four-hour meeting with chief executives from Google, General Electric, Honeywell, Boeing and other corporations. Obama was so intent on the conversation that he canceled a lunch break and asked the executives to bring their chicken, fish and pasta back from a buffet so they could keep talking. Some of those who met with him repeated the common complaint that he has yet to articulate a coherent strategy. ...

“The [economic] team never embraced the no-drama-Obama ethos. Over the last two months, I interviewed nearly all of the team's main figures, past and present, and when we talked about their relations with one another, it was like picking through the wreckage of a messy divorce. With Geithner as its anchor, a new economic team is being built around Bill Clinton-era figures like William Daley, Gene Sperling and Jack Lew, a group assembled to joust with Republicans instead of one another. Rather than responding to crises or putting into motion grand macroeconomic theories, they will focus on pushing the recovery into higher gear while at the same time figuring out how to reduce the deficit - two goals that some see as incompatible in the short term. And along the way, they need to convince Americans that the president is focused on jobs, jobs, jobs. ...

"Obama plans to use the State of the Union to present himself as a fiscal conservative. But it will be a delicate balance for someone who believes government spending helped turn the economy around; he hopes to make the case that he can rein in the deficit but that the deepest cuts should wait until after the recovery gathers momentum. 'We have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,' [OMB Director] Lew said. 'I deeply believe that this would be the wrong time to hit the brakes.' The burden clearly weighs on Obama as he searches for that magic combination. He has made a point of talking more lately about jobs and associating himself with the burdens of employers and employees alike. He announced [economic adviser] Sperling's appointment this month not at the White House but at a factory in Maryland, where he expressed sympathy for the stresses of running a business in hard times." Peter Baker is a White House correspondent for The Times and a contributing writer for the magazine.

REMEMBERING "SARGE" SHRIVER - Jonathan Martin: "R. Sargent Shriver - the first Peace Corps director, one-time vice-presidential nominee, and most famous Kennedy in-law - died Tuesday in his native Maryland. He was 95 ... While he never held elected office, the idealistic Shriver had one the most of distinguished records of public service of any American from the World War II generation. ... A devout Catholic who attended Mass most every day when he was alive, the elder Shriver thought his failure at winning elected office ... was a sign from above that he was meant to do a different sort of public service. ... The Shrivers had five children -- four boys and one girl, Maria Shriver ... The eldest, Robert Sargent 'Bobby' Shriver III, is a member of the Santa Monica, Calif., city council. Shriver is survived by all of his children and 19 grandchildren."

JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY, age 43, was inaugurated the 35th president, 50 years ago this past week: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Chris Chelios (49), Former VP Dick Cheney (70), Wayne Gretzky (50), Gene Hackman (80), Mariska Hargitay (47), Dominik Hasek (46), Dean Abe Helou …distinguished educator, Norah ODonnell (37), Keith Olbermann (52), Tom Sellick (66), Curtis Strange (56), Oprah Winfrey (57).

Season to date (7-14)


Packers Favored in Closest Super Bowl Point Spread in 27 Years - The Green Bay Packers are 2 1/2- point favorites over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers, the narrowest spread for the championship game in 27 years. The Packers will be seeking a record 13th National Football League championship when the teams meet Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. ... 'Most of it is public opinion,' said Andrew Patterson, an oddsmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants. 'The Packers have been the hot team in Vegas for several weeks and this is the continuation of it.' The last Super Bowl to have a point spread of less than three points was played after the 1983 season, when the Washington Redskins were 2 1/2-point favorites over Oakland and lost to the Raiders 38-9. In the Super Bowl's 44-year history, only two other games had point spreads of less than a field goal. The 1981 San Francisco 49ers were favored by one point over Cincinnati and beat the Bengals 26-21. Nine years earlier, the Miami Dolphins were one-point favorites and completed an undefeated season with a 14-7 win over Washington. The favorite of Las Vegas oddsmakers has won 32 of 44 Super Bowls -- a 73 percent success rate."

--Rink Rats Super Bowl pick will be next week.

--The 2011 Pro Bowl (FOX, 7:00 PM ET) will be played on Sunday, January 30 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, one week before Super Bowl XLV takes place at Cowboys Stadium in North Texas on Sunday, February 6 (FOX, 6:30 PM ET).

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/29, the #20 ranked Princeton Tigers (11-6-1) travel to the north country to face the St. Lawrence University Skating Saints (7-12-4). On paper Princeton should win, but the Saints need a victory to get back in the ECAC playoff picture. Appleton Arena will be rocking with the students now back from holiday break, we pick St. Lawrence. Season to date (1-2).

JACKASS OF THE MONTH – In remarks on the House floor last week, Democratic Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen likened the Republican attack on health care reform to the propagation of false rhetoric in Nazi Germany. Cohen, who spoke to a largely empty chamber, was arguing on behalf of health care reform law during floor debate over the GOP’s bill to repeal it.

“They don’t like the truth so they summarily dismiss it,” said Cohen, who is Jewish. “They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like (Nazi propagandist Joseph) Goebbels. “ In his remarks, Cohen warned against the repetition of false information – using the Holocaust to exemplify his point. For this classless behavior we welcome Rep. Cohen to the JACKASS Club for January.

Keith Olbermann, a Jackass alumnus was shown the door this week by MSNBC, back to the sports desk for Keith.

Next week, winter in Canton, New York.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
January 24, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment