Monday, May 14, 2012

Ah La Famiglia

This past week this writer was told by some avid readers of this blog that he tends to be a bit cynical in his weekly observations. Rightly so with bankers continuing to rip off the tax payers and citizens, with politicians spinning from one opinion to another, with administrators holding no accountability in their actions, you can become a tad cynical in your outlook of events.

But this week I pause, though briefly, from my cynicism to comment on the joy and love of being a member of a family. Yes, families can be a pain in the butt, the sometime dysfunction of family can drive you nuts. But when together, be it on birthdays, graduations, illness, sporting events, and even funerals, the feeling of being among those who care about you despite all the mistakes and history is truly something that cannot be expressed in words.

With all the commentary these days on La Famiglia (The Family) from families who are gay or straight, interracial or not, rich or poor, the most important part of all this is that you are together as one, if you live in the same town or across the country. The love, caring, personalities, generations all together sharing life, helping and supporting each other is what makes Family above all else. What a cool feeling to have in ones’ life.

CONGRATULATIONS – A double congratulations to niece Barbara B. on her graduation from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. degree in Political Science. Barbara now heads to Washington D.C. to begin her career in the political consulting field. Also to Tara P. on her graduation from Brownies to Girl Scouts this past week. Tara continues her march to dominate the world.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Madeline Albright (75), David Byrne (60), Bill Dillhoefer …the best practice swing in golf, Craig Ferguson (50), Shelly Lamotte …famous hotel consultant, Brooks Robinson (75), George Strait (60), Mark Zuckerberg (28).

THE BIG PICTURE - "Crisis claims another leader, is Obama next?" "The transatlantic economic crisis has scythed through Europe's leaders. ... President Obama lost a flamboyant, sometimes erratic but ultimately trusted partner in Nicolas Sarkozy after France picked Francois Hollande, its first Socialist president in a decade, to pull it out of the slump. Sarkozy Sunday joined Britain's Gordon Brown, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, Ireland's Brian Cowen, and leaders of Denmark, Spain and Portugal sent packing since Obama took office himself in 2009. Though each election featured unique national factors, those leaders paid for their failure to mitigate the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.

FORTUNE 500 TOP 10 LIST: 1. Exxon Mobil 2. Wal-Mart Stores 3. Chevron 4. ConocoPhillips 5. General Motors 6. General Electric 7. Berkshire Hathaway 8. Fannie Mae 9. Ford Motor 10. Hewlett-Packard."

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS – We are halfway through sports greatest tournament, The Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only non-surprise thus far is the New York Rangers reaching the eastern final; New Jersey, Los Angeles and Phoenix all big surprises. Where are the Red Wings, the Bruins, Vancouver, even Pittsburgh? A very interesting tournament thus far; the Los Angeles Kings by far the best team at this point in the playoffs. This writer had them not making the playoffs, today their speed, size, goaltending, and team play have them as the favorites to win it all.

RINK RATS TMZ.COM – At a graduation this weekend; why was a Mother of a University of Colorado graduate strangely not in attendance? Rink Rats has learned there is more to the story than meets the eye.

WALL STREET WEEK - U.S. stock index futures are pointing lower this morning, as investors digest the political tumult in Greece, as well as the fallout from JPMorgan Chase’s $2 billion trading loss revealed last week. The Dow has posted losses in seven of the past eight sessions, and comes off its biggest weekly drop of 2012.

HEARD ON THE STREET: THE KING STUMBLES - "While J.P. Morgan's painful loss should prove manageable-the bank earned $5.4 billion in the first quarter-it presents a host of issues. For starters, the surprise announcement gives investors already fearful of big banks stocks yet another reason not to buy them: namely, the seeming impossibility of understanding the risks the banks entail. ... That banking king Mr. Dimon could stumble in this way also resurrects the question of whether banking behemoths are too big to manage. Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan may have just shot itself in the foot. If the losses were of a greater magnitude, any distress could quickly ripple out through a host of markets-J.P. Morgan, for instance, is a vital part of the market for tri-party repos. That should stiffen the resolve of regulators such as the Federal Reserve that have proposed measures such as limiting the exposures of big banks to each other."

BASIS TRADE 101 - The basis trade is an arbitrage, basically. There are two different ways the market measures credit risk: by looking at credit spreads - the yield on a certain issuer's bonds, relative to the risk-free rate - or by looking at CDS spreads, which are basically the same thing but set in the derivatives market rather than the cash bond market. ... Bruno Iksil, the London Whale, had a massive long position on corporate CDS in general ... He was selling protection, betting that credit spreads would go down, rather than up. ... In any case, CDS spreads went up - and credit spreads, in the cash market, didn't. Cue a $2 billion loss."

FACEBOOK IPO OVERSUBSCRIBED? - " Facebook Inc's record initial public offering is already oversubscribed, a source familiar with the share listing said, days after the world's largest social network embarked on a cross-country roadshow ... Despite concerns about slowing growth, a lofty valuation and signs the company is having trouble ramping up revenue from mobile advertising, institutional investors have so far indicated demand for more shares than Facebook has available, the source told Reuters. Analysts say the company, which is seeking to raise about $10.6 billion by selling more than 337 million shares at $28 to $35 apiece, may raise that price range if demand turns out to be healthy enough."

SPORTS BLINK - USA Today "NFL 2012 Forecast" magazine ranks the post-draft teams : "The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants are the team to beat in 2012. ... 1. New York Giants: :pumped fresh blood into diminishing backfield with first-round choice David Wilson. 2. Green Bay Packers: Replaced Pro Bowl center Scott Wells with former Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday. 3. New England Patriots 4. San Francisco 49ers 5. Houston Texans 6. Philadelphia Eagles 7. Baltimore Ravens 8. New Orleans Saints 9. Detroit Lions. 10. Atlanta Falcons 11. Denver Broncos 12. Pittsburgh Steelers 13. Dallas Cowboys 14. New York Jets: Must balance brewing quarterback controversy with serious playbook expectations. 15. Chicago Bears 16. Kansas City Chiefs 17. Seattle Seahawks 18. Carolina Panthers 19. San Diego Chargers 20. Tennessee Titans 21. Cincinnati Bengals 22. Buffalo Bills 23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24. Arizona Cardinals 25. Washington Redskins: Added franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III who will require improved blocking and receiver play. 26. Oakland Raiders 27. Miami Dolphins 28. St. Louis Rams 29. Minnesota Vikings 30. Cleveland Browns 31. Jacksonville Jaguars 32. Indianapolis Colts: Razed the roster for complete rebuild, but can they protect top pick Andrew Luck?"

Next week, Dear Rink Rats and the Commencement Season.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
May 14, 2012

#III-3, 108

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