Monday, December 3, 2012

The Retreat

1. a. The act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant.
    b. The process of going backward or receding from a position or condition gained.
2. A place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security. See Synonyms at shelter.
3. a. A period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.
    b. A period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, or study: a religious retreat.
4. a. Withdrawal of a military force from a dangerous position or from an enemy attack.
    b. The signal for such withdrawal.
    c. A bugle call or drumbeat signaling the lowering of the flag at sunset, as on a military base.
    d. The military ceremony of lowering the flag.

v. re·treat·ed, re·treat·ing, re·treats
1. To fall or draw back; withdraw or retire. See Synonyms at recede1.
2. To slope backward. Games
To move (a chess piece) back.

Many of us have been on them, retreats: professional retreat, office retreat, trustee retreat, lovers retreat, coaches retreat, family retreat, and on and on. As the definitions above state: a time for withdrawing, for peace and reflection, a time to study and fall back. Really? I have been on retreats and what they usually are can be explained in one word: “boondoggle”, a complete waste of time, money and energy.

In fact most retreats are wine tasting, chasing after that person you secretly have had a crush on for years, golfing, listening to even more of the same B.S. you here in the office or at home.

Why do I mention retreat this time of year, I have heard our distinguished government leaders are thinking about a “top secret retreat” to solve our fiscal cliff. Be careful middle income tax payer, can you feel their hands already reaching into your wallet. How about just listening and managing when you should, instead of camping out in some where the river runs through it area and try to manage your affairs.

EUROPE WATCH: GERMANY WEAKENS -  "Germany's manufacturing sector, the engine of Europe's economic growth, weakened further in October, dragging the eurozone into further decline as private sector activity in the bloc fell at the fastest rate since June 2009. Purchasing managers' indices for Germany suggested manufacturing and services activity dropped unexpectedly to 48.1 in October from 49.2 in September - significantly below the 50 mark, and so indicating a contraction - driven by a sharp fall in the automobile sector and exports to southern Europe. ... The contraction suffered by Europe's largest economy was also reflected in a bigger than forecast drop in German business sentiment."

FISCAL CLIFF NOTES - The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is out with a dire report , "Fiscal Shock: America's Economic Crisis ": "Absent legislative action, large spending cuts and large tax increases will hit the economy at the same time, causing a total fiscal contraction of $500 billion ... Washington's failure to address the pending fiscal cliff is already having an impact, cutting 0.6 percentage points from GDP growth for 2012. ... If the fiscal contraction happens, the economy will almost certainly experience a recession in 2013 and significantly slower growth through 2014. ... By 2014, the fiscal contraction will result in almost 6 million jobs lost, and the unemployment rate could reach more than 11 percent. ... It will take most of the decade for economic activity and employment levels to recover."

RECORD DIVIDEND PAYOUTS AHEAD OF CLIFF - "A record number of US companies have announced special dividends in recent months in order to escape higher taxes on equity income payments. The current tax rate of 15 per cent on dividends, legislated by the Bush tax cuts in 2003, could spike to a top rate of more than 40 per cent next year unless ... Obama and Congress can avoid the fiscal cliff ...

"The dividends have been promised by companies where management insiders hold a high proportion of the shares. ... Since the start of the fourth quarter, a record 103 companies have announced they will pay special dividends before the end of the year, according to Markit. The data firm is forecasting that 123 companies will announce special fourth-quarter dividends, compared to the previous average of just 31."

STUDENT LOAN DEBT RISES - Per New York Fed report: "In the third quarter, non-real estate household debt jumped 2.3 percent to $2.7 trillion. The increase was due to a boost in student loans ($42 billion), auto loans ($18 billion) and credit card balances ($2 billion). ... During the third quarter of 2012, total consumer indebtedness shrank $74 billion to $11.31 trillion, a 0.7 percent decrease from the previous quarter. The reduction in overall debt is attributed to a decrease in mortgage debt ($120 billion) and home equity lines of credit ($16 billion), despite mortgage originations increasing for a fourth consecutive quarter. ... Outstanding student loan debt now stands at $956 billion, an increase of $42 billion since last quarter. However, of the $42 billion, $23 billion is new debt while the remaining $19 billion is attributed to previously defaulted student loans that have been updated on credit reports this quarter" 

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Gregg Allman (65), Johnny Bench (65), Jeff Bridges (63), Dave Brubeck (92), Ellen Burstyn (80), Dick Butkus (70), Sen. Susan Collins (SLU ’74) (60), Tre Cool (40), Gov. Andrew Cuomo (55), Kirk Douglas (SLU ’39) (96), Teri Hatcher (48), Felicity Huffman (50), Jim Messina (65), Donny Osmond (55), Little Richard (80), Janine Turner (50).

SPORTS BLINK - Business Week, "Thursday Night Football Scores Big for the NFL,": "By reserving Thursday games for the NFL Network, the league is forgoing an estimated $1.45 billion a year in revenue it likely could charge other media outlets for rights to those midweek matches. The NFL is betting it can wring out even more revenue over the long term by showing the games on its own. The league had aired eight Thursday night games on the NFL Network late in the season every year since 2006. ... Now, with scheduled match-ups from September to December, the channel airs games in three-quarters of the 17-week NFL season. ...
"The NFL Network and its sister RedZone Network, which continuously flips between live scoring drives of multiple games on Sunday afternoons, generate subscriber fees of 95¢ a month for the league. That comes to $890 million in annual fees from cable, satellite, and telecom video operators, making the NFL Network second only to ESPN among sports networks. In addition, NFL Network's ad sales will exceed $200 million this year, more than double the $99.6 million in 2011.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/8, 3:00 PM ET, CBS: Navy Midshipmen (7-4) vs. Army Black Knights (2-9) in Philadelphia. The 113th version of this classic will have the Midshipmen dominate, Navy 42 Army 21.  Season to date (9-5)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/8, 1:00 PM ET, ESPNU; the National Semifinal in Alliance, Ohio has the home team and #1 ranked Mt. Union Purple Raiders (13-0) entertaining the #2 ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders. What probably is The Game of the weekend in college football we like the Purple Raiders to continue their march to the title; Mt. Union 35 Mary Hardin-Baylor 31. Season to date (13-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/9, 4:25 PM ET, Fox; another due or die game for both clubs – Arizona Cardinals (4-8) visit Seattle Seahawks (7-5). Seattle is too much at home, Seattle 24 Arizona 17.   Season to date (7-6)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Navy 42 Army 21, Mt. Union 35 Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, Seattle 24 Arizona 17, St. Lawrence 4 Clarkson 3 (Sat. 12/8).  Season to date (35-20)

Do you have a holiday appetizer recipe I can prepare for a work related gathering?

Mr. Thirty Hour Work Week

Dear Mr. Thirty Hour Work Week:
Here is a recipe I took from the Barefoot Contessa, one of my favorites, enjoy! Also it will not take too much time out of your intense holiday schedule.

Happy Holidays,
Rink Rats
Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Barefoot Contessa

For the shrimp:

  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 count) shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Heinz chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus lemon zest for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them in one layer. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.
For the sauce, mix the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Top the shrimp with lemon zest and serve with the sauce.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Still all cliff all the time following Sunday's very unsurprising lack of movement on the talk shows (see below) ... President Barack Obama meets with governors on Tuesday at the White House to talk about the fiscal cliff ... Republicans in Congress will also meet with governors and small business owners on the cliff (their meeting schedule seems to always closely track the president's) ... Obama speaks to the Business Roundtable on Wednesday ... On Thursday, the president and the first family will attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse ... FSOC meets on Monday and some expect the first nonbank SIFI designations ... ISM nonmanufacturing survey at 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday expected to drop to 53.5 from 54.2 ...

November jobs number out Friday at 8:30 a.m. expected to look weak due to impact from Hurricane Sandy, with consensus at 90,000 and no change in the 7.9 percent jobless rate. The number won't pack much political punch unless it is extremely poor, which would put more pressure on lawmakers to make some kind of deal to avoid the austerity of the fiscal cliff. ... University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m. on Friday expected to go to 82.0 from 82.7 ... Consumer credit at 3 p.m. EST on Friday expected to expand by $10 billion.

Next week; affirmation not information.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
December 3, 2012

#III-33, 138

No comments:

Post a Comment