Monday, October 14, 2013

Amateur Hour

Who says manufacturing is dead in America? We manufacture debt limit crisis right here at home every few months. Good to know not everything is outsourced and made overseas. Some would think you'd have to get a third world country to find such amateurish governing these past few weeks. I think third world countries are feeling a lot better about themselves thanks to us.

Quick history lesson. The Republicans lost on health care. History lesson over. Currently the GOP-led House of Representatives has failed to agree on a clean spending bill without a resolution to defund the Affordable Care Act (nicknamed 'Obamacare'). The Senate Democrats did something unimaginable to Republicans: They decided to uphold the law and reject that resolution. This shut down our government.

The Republicans say the Affordable Care Act isn't fiscally responsible. They make a good point. Last month we had plenty of money to go to war with Syria, but this month we can't pay our bills. What's weird about that? We're told endlessly that both sides need to come together. Both sides need to compromise. This is called equivalency. Equivalency means both sides are to blame in any given argument and must share the blame.

I applaud the equivalency arguments. In fact, there are many situations where until now we didn't realize both sides were to blame. For example, when your house is burning down and the fire fighters are standing outside about to save you, they may insist you give up your medical insurance before they put out the blaze. If you disagree then you're not negotiating. You've brought this destructive process down upon yourself. This is perfectly reasonable. In fact fire fighters should really be called fire negotiators. They're just problem solving two things at once. Upside: cities will have fires burning everywhere out of control and need to hire more fire negotiators. That's called a jobs program.

Kidnappers have this same equivalency problem. How often are kidnappers just pointing out a problem that's already there? Kidnap victims are not at home and stuck at gunpoint with the kidnappers forced to cover all the costs? Who wouldn't see both sides are to blame here? This crisis is similar to when the Democrats didn't have the votes to stop Medicare D in 2003 and it became law under Bush and they upheld it. Oh.

Last week Speaker John Boehner tearfully argued he just wanted 'fairness' for the American people. So on the eve of the shutdown the GOP passed a new resolution (House Resolution 368) that changed standing rule 22 of the House of Representatives so that no longer could any congressman bring a new bill to the floor, just the majority leader Eric Cantor. Read that sentence again. Until now any Representative has been able to bring a new law to the floor to end a stalemate. But the GOP changed the law a few hours before a shutdown. What's not fair about that? That's very equivalent. That's a new advanced level of rule making called 'tantrum negotiation'. You may have heard of this in legislative circles as the 'I hate Johnny he can't play ' procedure. And if that can't be invoked successfully, one must look up nap time requirements for fair play. I'm surprised the Republicans are not owning the shutdown, or taking credit for it. Perhaps that's because it's not tracking well in the polls. Remember; both parties of our government are responsible because that sounds good to the party that started it. The Republicans have a great opportunity here to join the Olympic dodge ball team. Professional dodging this good should win America something.

So with one global embarrassment down and one to go it's the Republicans with the ball stuck without a plan as we head to international default. Defaulting on our international debts would trigger a rolling default in governments around the world and proof positive that the dollar isn't trustworthy, which is considered collateral for just about every international loan. But remember equivalency! If all these other governments would just drop their health care, and set a good example, maybe we wouldn't have to default. I think we can feel good about the members of the House of Representatives who are cashing their paychecks while furloughing 800,000 government workers. You want people savvy like that to be in charge.

Funny thing is when they go to cash their paychecks after destabilizing the global economy the dollar might collapse and their precious paychecks may be worth only a few cents. But remember it's not their fault. It's really because you didn't want to negotiate.

FED TO THE WORLD: THERE IS A NEW $100 BILL - After nearly a decade under development, the newly designed $100 bill is set to make its debut on Tuesday. The Federal Reserve has spent months shipping the new bills - with a slew of design features meant to deter counterfeiting - to cash offices at the Fed's regional reserve banks. Starting Tuesday, when a bank places an order for new hundreds, they'll receive the crisp pale-blue notes, with larger images, copper-colored lettering and a 3-D security ribbon.

One of the central bank's chief challenges now is making sure everyone, from consumers to bank tellers to law enforcement officials, know that the new $100 bill, which functions as a reserve currency around the world, is legitimate. "Not only do we need to reach the shopkeeper here in the United States, but we've got to reach them in Russia and Nigeria as well," said Sonja Danburg, the program manager for the Fed's U.S. currency education program."

DON'T READ THIS IF YOU'RE A MEMBER OF CONGRESS! Chris Krueger, a well-wired D.C. analyst for Guggenheim Partners, writes in his private guidance this morning: "Halloween the Real Deadline for Trick, Treat, or Default ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has been adamant that Thursday, October 17th is the deadline. This is somewhat true, but a true capital D default is very unlikely to happen on October 18th. The 17th has always been a moving target based off of receipts and modified outflows. ... October has relatively light outflows, but November 1 is a huge date for entitlement benefit payments and interest on the debt ... We don't want to sound optimistic about a post-October 17 world. The short answer is that no one quite knows what would happen - it is a bit of a zero-gravity environment. We continue to believe there is a 40% chance that Washington fails to raise the debt ceiling by October 17. ... At the end of the day, Lew says the deadline is October 17 and that is all that really matters."

MAYOR BLOOMBERG on cover of TIME -- "Bloomberg Unbound: HE'S REMADE NEW YORK. NEXT UP, THE WORLD: Not since the early 20th century have individuals had so much power to unilaterally shape our lives and shift our ideas. And never in history have they been able to exert their will so easily on such a global scale. This is the backdrop upon which Bloomberg is attempting to define his legacy, as a social and political engineer. ... 'I want to do things that nobody else is doing,' he told TIME MAGAZINE on a two-day swing through Europe in late September, where he met with the mayors of London and Paris and chatted with British Prime Minister David Cameron between visits to art galleries and an antique-furniture dealer. Officially he was still serving as mayor of New York City, but in practice he had already begun his next life, a jet-setting blur of wealth, power and ­international recognition. ....

"Bloomberg's money flows out through a complex web of nonprofit foundation work and private entities, often in chunks so small or anonymous that they are difficult to track. He has invested in local government, funding teams of consultants to work for the mayors' offices in New Orleans and Chicago on issues as vital as murder and as mundane as small-business permitting. He has spent more than $100 million to genetically engineer a better mosquito, in the hopes of eliminating malaria, and given $100 million to stamp out polio in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Africa, he has built maternal-health centers. ... Closer to home, he helped shutter coal-fired plants and lobbied Congress with Rupert Murdoch on immigration reform. He's involved in setting fracking policy, supporting Planned Parenthood and passing gay-marriage referendums.

"In local, state and federal elections around the country , he is spending millions more to back candidates who would further gun control and education reform and defeat those who oppose them. And then there is the money he has spent to get himself elected three times in New York City, north of $250 million, more than any single person has ever spent on U.S. elections. That investment in U.S. politics is likely to grow in the coming year. 'I'm not going to play golf like I threatened to do full time,' he says of his plans after leaving city hall on Jan. 1. He also has pledged not to return to managing his old company. ... There is no clear limit on how much Bloomberg is willing to spend on politics. His political adviser and deputy mayor Howard Wolfson ... oversees Bloomberg's political spending without an annual budget. 'What will it take?' Bloomberg will ask people as they pitch him. And if they digress from the hard numbers into storytelling, Bloomberg will cut them off. 'Quit finger painting,' he will say. ... When he first ran for mayor in 2001, he was worth about $4 billion.

"When he leaves office on Dec. 31, he will be worth about $31 billion ... Trust funds have already been established for his daughters and other loved ones, and he is not far from owning as many houses, planes, paintings and sculptures as he needs. The rest he has promised to give away - 'bouncing the check to the undertaker' ... In 2013, Bloomberg plans to spend about $400 million on pet causes ... If his net worth holds steady, or even if it fails to gain a bit of interest over the coming decades, the annual giveaways will have to rise substantially to meet his goal of spending down the fortune in the lifetimes of his daughters, ages 30 and 34. Ask him about the challenge, and Bloomberg will smile. 'That's a nice problem to have."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: a belated birthday wish to Devorah Lieberman …how could I forget POTULV last week, John Dean (75), Alan Jackson (55), Keith Jackson (85), Lindsey Vonn (29).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/19, 8:00 PM ET, ABC: #5 ranked Florida State Seminoles (5-0) visit #3 ranked Clemson Tigers (6-0). This ACC battle could have major bowl implications. Tigers win in OT 42 – 40.  Season to date (6-1)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/19, 2:10 PM, ET, BRAVO: #6 St. Thomas Tommies (4-1) vs. #5 ranked Bethel Royals (5-0). The game of the week in D-III at Royal Stadium in Arden Hills, MN.; we like The Royals to win 24 – 21.  Season to date (5-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/20, 8:30 PM, ET NBC:  Denver Broncos (6-0) at Indianapolis Colts (4-1). Can any team stop the Peyton Manning train, we believe Indy can; Colts 35 Broncos 31.  Season to date (6-0)


(NCAA, Oct. 19) #9 UCLA Bruins (5-0) 35 at #13 Stanford Cardinal 24
(SCIAC game of the week, Oct. 19) La Verne Leopards (3-1) 24 at Redlands Bulldogs (2-2) 21
(MLB Playoff, October 16) Boston Red Sox 2 at Detroit Tigers 4
(NHL, Oct. 19) Toronto Maple Leafs (5-1) 3 at Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-1) 5
(NFL, Oct. 20) Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) 17 at Detroit Lions (4-2) 24
Season to date (33-22)


My friend Larry’s tee shot on the 170 yard par 3 was lousy, but his 50 yard chip was inspired. The ball sailed straight into the hole but then bounced out. Larry got very excited with his Birdie 2. The rules czar in our foursome said, "Not so fast, the ball is still in play." Larry said, "No way, once a ball hits the bottom of the cup, the ball is holed."
What was the correct ruling?

A. Ball is holed! Larry gets his Birdie. Larry is right, a ball is holed the second the entire ball falls below the lip of the cup, which would obviously be the case if the ball hit the bottom of the cup and subsequently bounced out.
B. Ball is not holed. Larry will be putting for par. Larry was incorrect. A ball is not holed just because it fell in the hole. If it bounces out it is still in play.

Roy McAvoy

Dear Mr. McAvoy –
The answer is B. The ball was not holed. The USGA definition of holed applies here. The definition states, “A ball is "holed" when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole.” Accordingly, a ball that bounces out of the hole is clearly not at rest and is still in play.



DRIVING THE WEEK – To all our Canadian friends Happy Thanksgiving today (Monday). Have an Export for moi! Bond market shut for Columbus Day but stocks could register serious displeasure today at the lack of a debt limit deal in Washington. Seems like it might take a sharp, one-day sell-off to push matters to a last minute conclusion ... House returns this evening. Will members have anything from the Senate to either vote on or dismiss? Or will the "last train out of the station" wind up coming out of the House. ... Bank earnings continue this week, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America and others. Expect lots of talk on DC fiasco slamming confidence and cutting into activity.

NFL: Who's undefeated? Denver Broncos and Earnest's Kansas City Chiefs (both 6-0, and both AFC West). ... Who's winless? Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6), New York Giants (0-6) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5).

Next week: words of the month and apple cider.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA

October 14, 2013

#IV-26, 183

No comments:

Post a Comment