Monday, July 15, 2013

My Best Day

As I wake,
and open my eyes to the morning glory.
My feelings are awake.
That today will be the best day of my life.

I take a seat,
and think of what to do today,
for I think of it.
That today will be the best day of my life.

I run towards them,
and they give me eyes full of surprises.
So I tell them…
That today will be the best day of my life.

As their baskets drop,
and as they stand hands a kimbo,
they-expecting a ray of hope-
That today will be the best day of my life.

We step on wet dew,
and we pluck the plumb plams,
for I already KNEW.
That today will be the best day of my life.

Oluko George (1986 / Nairobi, Kenya)

ANOTHER SAD 150th ANNIVERSARY - The New York City draft riots (July 13–16, 1863; known at the time as Draft Week) were violent disturbances in New York City that were the culmination of working-class discontent with new laws passed by Congress that year to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War. The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history at the time. 10 percent of the inhabitants of New York City were arrested during these riots.

President Abraham Lincoln diverted several regiments of militia and volunteer troops from following up after the Battle of Gettysburg to control the city. The rioters were overwhelmingly working-class men, primarily ethnic Irish, resenting particularly that wealthier men, who could afford to pay a $300 commutation fee to hire a substitute, were spared the draft.

Initially intended to express anger at the draft, the protests turned into an ugly race riot, with the white rioters, chiefly Irish immigrants, attacking blacks wherever they could be found. At least 100 black people were estimated to have been killed. The conditions in the city were such that Major General John E. Wool, commander of the Department of the East, stated on July 16, "Martial law ought to be proclaimed, but I have not a sufficient force to enforce it." The military did not reach the city until after the first day of rioting, when mobs had already ransacked or destroyed numerous public buildings, two Protestant churches, the homes of various abolitionists or sympathizers, many black homes, and the Colored Orphan Asylum at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue, which was burned to the ground.

The most reliable estimates indicate that at least 2,000 people were injured. Herbert Asbury, the author of the 1928 book Gangs of New York, upon which the 2002 film was based, puts the figure much higher, at 2,000 killed and 8,000 wounded, but this figure is not widely accepted and is considered myth. Total property damage was about $1–5 million ($15 – $75 million in 2011, adjusted for inflation). The city treasury later indemnified one-quarter of the amount. The historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote that the riots were "equivalent to a Confederate victory".

CHINA ECONOMY SLOWING – China’s second-quarter GDP rose 7.5% compared with a year earlier, the second straight quarterly slowdown for the world’s #2 economy.

TOP APPLE APPS – Most downloaded Apple store applications of all time: 1). Facebook, 2). Pandora, 3). Instagram, 4). You Tube.

TOP FIVE $ COLLEGES – The Business Insider recently published the most expensive colleges in America for 2012-2013, these costs include tuition, room and board, and required fees. Ouch!
  1).   New York University $61,977
 2).  Harvey Mudd College $61,760  
  3).   Bard College $61,446
  4).   Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) $60,779
  5).   Sarah Lawrence College $60,656

Notables: Dartmouth College $60,201, The Trojans $59,615, Scripps $59,570, Oberlin $59,474, Pitzer College $59,416, St. Lawrence University $55,835, and University of La Verne $45,010.
The most expensive Law School in the country for 2012-2013 was, yes Mr. Zanetta, Cornell University $53,150 and yes that is tuition only.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Phoebe Cates (50), Brandi Chastain (45), Nelson Mandela (95), Patrick Pugliese …soon to be a St. Francis Knight, Barry Sanders (45), Garry Trudeau (65).

BRING BACK GLASS-STEAGALL - Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) added her star power to a three-year old effort by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Mass.) to bring back the Depression-era law separating investment from consumer banking. The measure is not likely to go far in the Senate but it adds another front on which the industry must fight. Financial firms are already battling legislative efforts to force more capital (Brown-Vitter) and regulatory efforts to toughen capital requirements (FDIC leverage ratio) and limit risk-taking (Volcker rule). Bankers quickly circulated past comments from Warren in which she said Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the financial crisis or stopped more recent losses like the JPMorgan London whale trades.

On a conference call, Warren acknowledged that her bill alone would not replace other efforts to end so-called "too big to fail" banks: "The point of [the] Glass-Steagall [bill] is not to say it's instead of Brown-Vitter," she said. "There are multiple tools in the tool box. ... We think capital standards need to be even higher for the banks. But that's not enough. This is another way to reduce risk in the system." On the notion that her bill is going nowhere fast, Warren said: "Senator McCain says he is fired up and ready to fight and I certainly am as well."

WALL STREET PUSH BACK - From a top industry official: "The most notorious names of the financial crisis - Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Countrywide, Washington Mutual, IndyMac and AIG - were NOT financial holding companies. Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch were free-standing broker/dealers; Countrywide, WaMu and IndyMac were thrifts; and AIG is an insurance company. ... Large financial holding companies became the instruments of stabilization and recovery by absorbing other failing institutions. Bank of America absorbed Countrywide and Merrill Lynch; JPMorganChase absorbed Bear Stearns and WaMu; Wells Fargo absorbed Wachovia."

TOP FIVE BUSINESS FRIENDLY STATES – The week for Top Five reports, CNBC’s best states to do business in:
1).   South Dakota
2).   Texas
3).   North Dakota
4).   Nebraska 
5).   Utah

Now how many of you would really want to live in these states???

FUTURE CARS – In the near future look for these features coming to automobiles:

Collision warning with automatic braking: radar and camera systems that warn you, with beeping sounds, of a possible front-end crash.
Advanced cameras: cameras are showing up on more cars ahead of a government requirement to install backup cameras, which is expected by 2015.
Lane centering: a camera can follow the road and gently nudge a car — using the brakes — to stay in the center of a lane. These systems — dubbed Lane Keep Assist — are available on most Mercedes-Benz vehicles as well as the Ford Fusion, Ford Explorer, Toyota Prius, Lexus GS and Lincoln MKZ.
Adaptive headlights: Audi, Mercedes, Acura, Mazda and others have so-called adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction the car is going to help drivers see around corners as they turn. And many cars now have high-beam lights that sense oncoming traffic and dim automatically.
Stop-start: by 2025, new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will have to average 54.5 miles per gallon of gasoline, up from the current 30.8 mpg. One feature will almost be a must-have: A “stop-start” device that shuts off the engine at a stop light and automatically turns it on when the driver releases the brake.

U.S. AUTOMAKERS SURGE – America’s oldest car company Ford Motor Company and its youngest, Tesla Motors, Inc., both reached 100-week highs this past week, the latest in a long list of signs all pointing to the same thing: the U.S. auto industry is hot.

Ford, founded 110 years ago, closed Friday at $17.11 per share on pace for its best year since 2007. Good news for our friends at Colley Ford, Glendora, California.

Ten-year old Tesla, which makes $69,900 electric sedans, is joining the Nasdaq-100 Index three years after its market debut. General Motors Company, which emerged from bankruptcy four years ago, rejoined the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index last month.

FOREIGN POLICY 101 - The rejection by Egyptians of their Islamist government marks a turning point ... for the entire Middle East. ... Islamism, or any ideology for that matter, is no replacement for competent and responsible leadership. ... the second Egyptian revolution is a bellwether for moderates in the region who should now seek to regain the initiative. The Arab Spring has given voice to Arab peoples eager for dignity, for change, and for inclusion. But this call for tolerance risks being drowned out by an increase in violence, an unwelcome rise in sectarianism, the uncertain role of Islamist political groups, the growth in foreign meddling by regional aggressors, and a deepening economic crisis. ...

If we've learned anything from Egypt and from the transitions in the region, it is that promulgating ideology is no replacement for creating opportunity. We need an urgent and concerted effort to provide education, create jobs, and build aspiration. Young people need to have a sense of purpose, but rampant unemployment and poverty in the region undercuts this message and provides fuel for radicalization. Extremist groups prey on these vulnerabilities. Our response should focus on promoting responsive and inclusive governance, investing in education and healthcare, and creating the conditions for people to be able to build better lives for themselves. These are the pillars for success for moderates in the region. But while building these pillars takes time, Egypt needs our help now. Foreign assistance is a start, but a functioning government that provides needed services for its citizens and fosters economic growth is critical for long-term stability."

SPORTS BLINK: This past week at the White House, President Obama presented a 2012 National Humanities Medal to "Frank Deford [who has written for Sports Illustrated since 1962] for transforming how we think about sports. A dedicated writer and storyteller, Mr. Deford has offered a consistent, compelling voice in print and on radio, reaching beyond scores and statistics to reveal the humanity woven into the games we love."

THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS – MLB All Star game: National League 6 American League 3. British Open Golf: Phil Mickelson -10 under par to win. Season to Date (14-7).

MARKET WEEK – As Wall Street hits July's halfway point, the Dow and S&P 500 are on pace for their largest monthly gains since January, while the Nasdaq Composite could chalk up its best month since January 2012. That follows the second best weekly gains of 2013 for stocks last week. 

The remainder of the month is likely to depend on ongoing Fed comment about the future of quantitative easing as well as earnings season. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to give his semi-annual testimony before Congress Wednesday and Thursday, while the pace of corporate earnings picks up rapidly over the next few weeks.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Republican and Democratic Senators meet this morning to try and avert a crisis in which Majority Leader Harry Reid invokes the "nuclear" option by effectively changing filibuster rules to require just a simple majority to move executive branch nominees. Reid has set votes for Tuesday on several Obama nominees opposed by Republicans including CFPB's Richard Cordray ... Senate Banking has a hearing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday to consider multiple nominations including Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to head the FHFA and Jason Furman to chair the CEA ... Senate Banking has a hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m. on the consumer debt industry ...

Lots more bank earnings this week including Citigroup today, Goldman Sachs on Tuesday, Bank of America on Wednesday and Morgan Stanley on Thursday ... Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offers his semi-annual testimony on monetary policy before House Financial Services on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and Senate Banking on Thursday at 10 a.m.. He will be further pressed on the central bank's timing for slowing down QE.

Next week: Summer School and July in the garden.

Until Next Monday, Adios!

Claremont, CA

July 15, 2013

#IV-13, 170


  1. Always amusing, entertaining, and informative.
    Well worth the read.
    Great stuff, Swami!

    1. Thank you for your comments and reading. It is appreciated.