This Saturday (September 3) in Claremont was a wonderful late summer day. Humidity low, temperature in the 80’s, clear blue sky, very much like that fateful day, September 11, 2001, when America changed and life would never be the same.
A CRITICAL MONTH - Many investors think the real test for the market begins this week when Wall Street returns to work. As we have talked about for some time now, business leaders and institutional players continue to express their lack of conviction in the market because there is no leadership or cohesive plan from Washington. People are trading on news, and big corporations aren't investing for the long-term because they don't know what the tax, regulatory and economic environment will ultimately look like.
The market finished a very volatile August with a few up days early last week, but Thursday and Friday were down on renewed concerns about the health of the economy. Friday's employment report showed that job growth remains weak. There was essentially no growth in August, and the overall unemployment rate stayed at 9.1%.
The lack of job creation remains a primary concern, and that leads us right to a couple of big events to watch in September. One of them is this week. On Thursday, President Obama is scheduled to speak to Congress to present his plan to rev up the economy and spark job growth. And then two weeks later, everyone will be watching the Federal Reserve's meeting and whether another round of quantitative easing is launched.
September is shaping up to be a critical month in the markets.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Sid Caesar (89), Carly Fiorina (57), Colin Firth (51), Hugh Grant (51), Virginia Madsen (50), Bob Newhart (82), Arnold Palmer (82), Joe Theismann (62), Raquel Welch (72).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/10, Number 16 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-1) @ unranked University of Michigan Wolverines (1-0), 8:00 PM ET, ESPN. The Blue are 4.5 point favorites in Ann Arbor, give the points, we pick The Blue over The Domers. Season to date (0-1).
SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/10, a big west coast inter-conference matchup; #17 ranked Cal Lutheran Kingsman @ #9 ranked Linfield Wildcats in McMinnville Oregon. RR likes Linfield to win in this Northwest Conference-SCIAC tilt. Season to date (0-1).
NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/11, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets entertain the Dallas Cowboys in The Game of the first weekend of the NFL season, 8:15 PM ET, NBC. Dallas is a 4.5 point dog, The Jets are overrated, take the points and go with those Cowboys. Season to date (0-0), Last Season (7-15).
FEDWATCH: DAVID LEONHARDT STORY - N.Y. Times "Sunday Review" p. 8, "Dissecting the Mind of the Fed: The discussion is very narrow, and some options are never considered," News Analysis by David Leonhardt, an economics writer for The New York Times, who next month will become the Washington bureau chief: "On one side are people like Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, who defend both what the Fed has done and what it hasn't done. On the other side are the so-called inflation hawks, who say the Fed has been far too aggressive. Rick Perry, the Texas governor and arguably the Republican presidential front-runner, offered a particularly blunt version of this criticism when he recently accused Mr. Bernanke of flirting with treason. ...
"David Levey, a former managing director at Moody's and [a] critic of Fed inaction, points out that banks often have more to lose from inflation than from unemployment. Inflation reduces the future value of the money that their debtors - homeowners, car buyers, small businesses and the like - will repay them. 'The Fed regional banks represent, in essence, the banking community, which tends to be very conservative and hawkish,' Mr. Levey says. 'Creditors don't like inflation - it's good for debtors.' ... Obama ... has chosen to nominate mostly moderates, rather than strong inflation doves."
U.S. OPEN TENNIS – grunting, there is more grunting and strange noises during matches then an Ohio State choir practice. RR likes Djokovic (men) and Wozniacki (women) to win individual crowns.
CEO PAY OFTEN OUTSTRIPS TAX PAYMENTS - WP's Peter Whoriskey: "Of last year's 100 highest-paid corporate executives in the United States, 25 earned more in pay than their company recorded as a tax expense in 2010. Those 25 firms reported average global profits of $1.9 billion. Among the 25 were Verizon, Bank of New York Mellon, General Electric, Boeing and eBay. 'These individual CEOs are being rewarded for presiding over companies that dodge taxes,' said Chuck Collins, one of the study's co-authors and a senior scholar at the Institute of Policy Studies.
"Eighteen of the 25 firms last year operated subsidiaries in countries that the U.S. Government Accountability Office and other groups have identified as tax havens, one of the report's authors said ... Some companies argued that the institute's approach - which focused on what the firms recorded as a tax expense within the 2010 calendar year - presented a skewed picture."
CHENEY'S LAST CAMPAIGN: "WE GOT IT RIGHT" - Video interview with POLITICO: His last campaign is an unyielding defense of his legacy, after years of reveling in what he calls his "Darth Vader image." Dick Cheney says he knew critics and historians would tear apart his new book, but that he wrote it so his seven grandchildren would know why he did what he did. "Not only do [critics] want apologies," he said during an interview in the airy living room of his McLean mansion, with a statuette of a buffalo nearby and a couple of dogs underfoot. "They want the apologies to be on matters they disagreed with you on - on policy. It's not good enough if you say, 'Well, when I was a young man, I had a misspent youth. I got kicked out of Yale twice, arrested twice for driving under the influence,' " he continued. "I had to straighten my life out. It's a pretty big mistake that I admit, and talk about very freely in my book. That's not good enough: It's got to be some policy issue where they disagreed with you. And I'm not apologetic with respect to the policies of the Bush administration. I think we basically got it right."
Eight years in the White House, two wars that still are still dragging on - and zero mistakes? "I didn't say no mistakes," he replied. "But ... from the standpoint of what I wanted to put down, what I knew about, what I was intimately involved in, I think we got it right."
Cheney, 70, may know more of the nation's secrets than any living person: He had four decades of briefings as a member of the House intelligence committee, White House chief of staff under President Gerald Ford, defense secretary during Desert Storm and vice president in the age of terror. He rewarded aides who avoided the press, and rarely talked himself. Now, he's talking - in the pages of "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," written with his older daughter Liz Cheney, and during a book tour that is taking him across the country. Reflecting Cheney's long and varied tenure on the public stage, just 217 of the memoir's 527 pages of text are devoted to the two Bush administrations.
The book was written as Cheney battled what he calls in the book "end-stage heart failure," which at one point left him unconscious for two weeks. Cheney's heart now pumps with the aid of a battery-powered device that is typically used as a bridge to a heart transplant. Cheney said he is considering seeking a transplant, which would be a risky and controversial procedure for someone of his health and age, but hasn't decided. "Right now I'm doing very well with the heart pump - had it for over a year," he said. "It's doing what it's supposed to do, so I haven't made any other decisions." On when he has to decide, he said: "That's between me and my doctors."
Asked if he believes in an afterlife, Cheney said: "I do."
And what does he think of HILLARY CLINTON? "Maybe the brightest person in the current administration - knowledgeable, hardworking, and doing, I think, a reasonably competent job as secretary of state."
LOS ANGELES COUNTY FAIR – when you are finished with your deep fried bananas and corn dogs head to Chases Wine and Beer bar at D and Third Street in La Verne. A cozy little bar with a great patio and fun menu, Chases opened August 4 so if you are attending The Fair, Chases is a great place to unwind after witnessing all the tattoos.
Next week, home repair help and Dear Rink Rats.
Until next Monday, Adios.
September 5, 2011