Monday, June 30, 2014
Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada) is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally.
Where is the best place to celebrate Canada Day? Ottawa! Hundreds of thousands go to the nation's capital to celebrate Canada Day. There's a big concert, fireworks and plenty of Molson Golden Ale. Canadians love beer. Labatt's and Molson's, the country's two biggest breweries, are among the most recognized brands in Canada.
What Canadian music should I listen to? Canadian artists you're going to hear a lot of on Canada Day include: Neil Young, the Tragically Hip, Stompin’ Tom, Gordon Lightfoot, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Joni Mitchell and, ironically, Bryan Adams. Play Nickelback, Celine Dion or Justin Bieber at your own peril.
What do I talk about with Canadians? Well, Canadians do love hockey (the playoffs just ended, the Los Angeles Kings won btw) and the Blue Jays (the country's remaining baseball team is doing pretty well). But if sports aren’t up your alley, Canadians love to talk politics. Their political parties are the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, Bloc Québécois, and the Green party.
What not to talk about with Canadians: Tim Horton donuts, Seal hunting, Windsor Ontario, Toronto Maple Leafs and Canadian Professional Football.
RAMADAN BEGINS - From Morocco to Jakarta, Muslims mark Ramadan: Across a wide belt that stretches halfway around the globe, the world's estimated 1.6 billion Muslims will mark the beginning of Ramadan this weekend. The holy season is marred by unprecedented turmoil, violence and sectarian hatreds that threaten to rip apart the Middle East, the epicenter of Islam. ... A Muslim holy month of fasting during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from sunrise to sunset.
MEAT & DRINK - Beer and beef are two staples of every Fourth of July picnic, making this week an important one for both industries. Big brewers are offering citrus and margarita-flavored beers in an effort to win back drinkers lured away by cocktails and "craft" beers. The U.S. beer industry, sales during the week of July Fourth are traditionally 30% to 40% higher than average. Meanwhile, surging beef prices come as supermarkets gear up for what is typically the busiest week of the year for beef sales. A prolonged drought in the southern Great Plains has shrunk the nation's cattle supply to six-decade lows and wholesale prices for choice-grade beef—the main variety consumed in the U.S.—surged 11% over the 12 months through May. Many restaurants looking for the best ways to deal with the rising prices, are passing along the costs, while also offering new menus, smaller burgers and more side dishes.
PRIVATE LIVES - Cellphones are more like computers than old-fashioned address books, according to the U.S. Supreme Court—an important distinction that provides them greater protection under the law. In what privacy advocates hailed as a landmark decision, the court unanimously ruled that police must obtain a warrant to search data on mobile devices, providing law-abiding Americans—and criminals—with a safeguard in the digital age. The court has been forced to grapple with the implications of modern technology on constitutional rights, our story notes, alternately siding with law enforcement and the individual. Acknowledging that the ruling would make some police work harder, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his decision, "Privacy comes at a cost." Law-enforcement officials, meanwhile, expressed disappointment. Technology "is making it easier and easier for criminals to do their trade," said one district attorney, while the court "is making it harder for law enforcement to do theirs."
IS THERE A CHINA BUBBLE? - The party line is that there is no bubble and the massive inventory of empty apartment and office complexes across the vast nation will eventually be filled with the 12 to 15 million citizens the government wants to move from farms to urban areas over the coming decades. Zhang Hongli, senior executive vice president of ICBC, China's largest bank, told a group of visiting journalists that ICBC's ratio of non-performing loans, at 0.7 percent, is far below the average of most Western institutions. And he said local governments, which carry heavy debt loads, could just sell property to pay off creditors if they get in trouble.
THE DARKER VIEW - The private view from foreign officials in China and some internal critics is much darker. These people note that local Chinese governments have set up massive off-balance sheet vehicles to finance the nation's massive construction boom (the most common sight in China is a half-finished building) as well as tapped trillions of dollars’ worth of loans from the nation's giant shadow banking industry. These largely opaque liabilities could go bust in potentially disastrous ways. Think of the U.S. real estate collapse on a much larger scale.
And one foreign official noted that local governments actually do not have endless amounts of land to sell or long lists of willing buyers who could snap up property during a financial collapse. And the most common line - that the central government will bail out any big bank or local government - sounds good until you contemplate what the Chinese might do to raise cash to pay off foreign creditors demanding dollars. That could include selling some of its massive pile of $1.3 trillion in U.S. debt with potentially brutal impacts for U.S. borrowing costs. China could in fact engage in the mother of all bailouts, but the results might be very ugly.
JACK ASS OF THE MONTH -
First, John Boehner abused his power by blowing through $2.3 million of taxpayers’ money in a failed attempt to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act. Then he wasted $73 million of our cash on 55 pointless votes to repeal Obamacare. Now, just months after refusing to do his job and permit a vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination ACT (ENDA) because he said it would spark “frivolous lawsuits” (and forcing Obama to issue an Executive Order to create the largest single expansion of LGBT workplace protections in US history), John Boehner is launching a lawsuit against POTUS.
It’s so dumb even some conservative legal scholars say Boehner has no legal grounds for the suit. It’s so ludicrous even Fox News’ Neil Cavuto has laughed in Michele Bachmann’s face about it. But it’s summertime in an election year. Silly season for the GOP and Speaker Boehner needs some kind of moronic gimmick to distract the Tea Party nut jobs who just ended his buddy Eric Cantor’s political career.
The fake IRS scandal has fizzled. Benghazi’s over. And Obamacare’s here to stay. And now he’s suing Obama simply for doing his job. Finally, like some associates (male) we know Speaker Boehner has a fake tan and he dyes his hair.
Speaker John Boehner, for the 3rd time, is Jack Ass of the Month.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION - In a landmark settlement with U.S. authorities expected today, BNP Paribas will pay nearly $9 billion and plead guilty to attempting to conceal $30 billion in transactions with countries blacklisted by Washington. A surprising management failure at the mother ship of France's banking industry led to this crisis. The bank admitted to U.S. officials last summer that it had been processing transactions with Iran and other sanctioned countries—including some even after the U.S. had begun its investigation of BNP in 2009. Bank executives said they had no knowledge of the alleged misconduct before the probe, and instead pointed the finger at a small group of employees at its trade-finance unit that handled oil and commodities deals in countries targeted by sanctions. Also note the bank's efforts to get the French government to put pressure on the Obama administration, including arguments that a disproportionate punishment for BNP could destabilize Europe's banking industry. On Friday, BNP Chief Executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafé sent a message to the bank's 200,000 employees: "Let me put it clearly: we will be severely punished."
COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Top Five best paying college majors:
1). Petroleum Engineering (starting pay: $98,000)
2). Chemical Engineering (starting pay: $67,500)
3). Nuclear Engineering (starting pay: $66,800)
4). Electrical Engineering (starting pay: $63,800)
5). Materials Science and Engineering (starting pay: $60,100)
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Former President George W. Bush (68), Larry David (67), Julie Nixon Eisenhower (66), Nancy Reagan (93), Eva Marie Saint (90).
SUMMER READING – Rink Rats recommends these Business books for the summer:
Moneyball by Michael Lewis: When the odds are stacked against you, you need to change the way the game is played.
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen: It’s an inspiring book for entrepreneurs.
They Call Me Coach by John Wooden: The best coach ever.
Creative Confidence by David and Tom Kelly: You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. It can be developed and learned.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg: It was brave of her to have written that book. She doesn't need to prove anything about how strong she is. A good account of her mistakes, lessons and anecdotes on her career at Facebook.
TOP SUMMER CONCERT TOURS – If Rink Rats could afford the tickets we would go to these concerts this summer:
Arcade Fire “Reflektor” Tour: Arcade Fire, the Canadian indie-rock band that includes a husband-wife tandem, has come out with four critically acclaimed albums, one of which won a Grammy for Album of the Year. They also scored the 2013 film “Her”, resulting in an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score. A suggestion for concertgoers: wear your fancy clothes.
Paul McCartney “Out There” Tour: It’s a rare thing to see an artist with a career spanning over 50 years, who can still kill it onstage. Paul McCartney is one of those artists. While the former Beatle has been resting up from an illness that hit him while on the road, we’re sure that once he’s fully recovered it will have been worth the wait.
Nine Inch Nail & Soundgarden Tour: Soundgarden and NIN were the leaders of grunge music in the 90s. Twenty years later, and they’re still as popular as ever. Formed by Chris Cornell, Soundgarden has sold over 20 million albums worldwide. And how about the Trent Reznor-led NIN? Over 20 million as well. And, the last time that these two bands performed together? You guessed it: 20 years ago.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Tour: When he was starting out, Tom Petty’s goal was to “break some new ground” and “make some little dent in rock.” He and his band have definitely succeeded. Since forming in 1976, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers have been one of the most popular rock bands of all-time, with over 80 million records sold worldwide. Catch them on tour this summer with Steve Winwood performing as the opener.
Jack White “Lazaretto” Tour: After making a name for himself as the leader of the rock duo The White Stripes, Jack White has had tremendous success as a solo artist. Rolling Stone magazine listed him as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all-time, while The New York Times called him “the coolest, weirdest, savviest rock star of our time.” Now, the rock icon will hit the road in support of his amazing new record, Lazaretto.
WORLD CUP WATCH – FIFA: Faking Injuries For Attention If these soccer (football) boys played hockey they all would be in the morgue.
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS:
WORLD CUP – Brazil to beat
Spain in the World Cup Final.
2014 WIMBLEDON –
Serena Williams to win
the Women’s Title, Rafael Nadal to win the Men’s (going out on that limb J )
2014 Season to date (38-33)
MARKET WEEK - Despite an uneven month and a losing week last week, the major U.S. stock averages are nonetheless on track to post gains for both the month of June and the second quarter. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq will both post their sixth straight positive quarters, having not lost ground in a three-month period since the final quarter of 2012.
DRIVING THE WEEK - Lots of critical economic data this week that will give us a sense for just how much the U.S. will bounce back from the brutal first quarter. ISM manufacturing at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday excepted to rise to 55.5 from 55.4 ... Construction spending 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.5 percent ... ADP private sector employment report at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise 205K after 176K ... BLS June non-farm payrolls on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. expected to rise 210K with no change to the 6.3 percent unemployment rate and a 0.2 percent increase in hourly earnings ... ISM non-manufacturing at 10:00 a.m. Thursday expected to dip to 56.1 from 56.3.
Next week: Summer School Finance style and four indicators on why you need a summer vacation.
Until Next Monday, Adeus.
June 30, 2014