Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Wind

The summer wind came blowin' in from across the sea

It lingered there, to touch your hair and walk with me

All summer long we sang a song and then we strolled that golden sand

Two sweethearts and the summer wind


Like painted kites, those days and nights they went flyin' by

The world was new beneath a blue umbrella sky

Then softer than a piper man, one day it called to you

I lost you, I lost you to the summer wind


The autumn wind, and the winter winds they have come and gone

And still the days, those lonely days, they go on and on

And guess who sighs his lullabies through nights that never end

My fickle friend, the summer wind

The summer wind

Warm summer wind

The summer wind


SINGER: Frank Sinatra

After a ten day break Rink Rats is back for another eight weeks until our August two week break. We begin the summer after a wonderful visit to family and friends.

It should be a very interesting summer: 28 days to Cleveland, 35 days to Philly, and 141 days to Election Day.

Two weeks ago we lost Muhammad Ali, this past week we lost a hockey legend Gordie Howe. My youth was spent watching and following Gordie Howe Number 9, a true sportsman.

SUMMER READING – Three business books to read this summer:

Grit by Angela Duckworth

This book is about the tenacity that underscores most successful ventures and individuals. Grit has a heartwarming message for entrepreneurs and seasoned business people alike: Effort trumps talent. In other words, the more tenacious and hardworking you are, the better your chances of success. This is not a new discovery or revelation. What makes Duckworth’s message compelling is her use of examples and research from an assortment of fields and sciences, ranging from the humanities to business. To be sure, Duckworth, who previously won a MacArthur “Genius” research grant, does not discount the role of talent and luck in determining success for a venture or individual. However, she provides enough reasons (and examples) to encourage and spur hard workers into action. According to the Scientific American, Grit is “a lucid, informative and entertaining review of the latest research on grit and how it can be developed.”

Breaking Rockefeller: Peter B. Doran

In times of oil prices that have roiled the energy markets, what could be a better read than a book about the breakup of Standard Oil? At first glance, the situation today and the one at the turn of last century may seem different. Then, Standard Oil held an 80 percent monopoly of the world’s oil supply. Two upstarts - Royal Dutch company and Shell - joined forces along with the U.S. Department of Justice to bring down the behemoth.

However, the situation today is not too dissimilar in that the hegemony of traditional oil suppliers, such as large multinationals and cartels (such as OPEC), has been challenged by upstarts in the shale industry. Supply has outstripped demand, as it did during the turn of last century.

While not as comprehensive as Daniel Yergin’s The Prize, Breaking Rockefeller is a satisfying read nonetheless because it is a crash course on the politics and economics of oil markets without the attendant jargon. Instead, Doran, who is the vice president for research at the Center for European Policy Analysis, focuses on the people who drove the story forward. These range from Marcus Samuel, a businessman who founded Shell and craved a royal title, to Henri Deterding, who was responsible for expanding Royal Dutch in the Far East, to Rockefeller, who, Doran says, tried underhanded and unscrupulous tactics to deter competitors. In his review of the book, Roger Lowenstein (author of Warren Buffett’s biography) writes that the book “emulates the best oil literature, in which geology and geopolitics go hand in hand.”

Money Changes Everything: William Goetzmann

The central premise of this book is that money made civilization happen. In other words, money came first and civilization (and organization of society) followed. Money, according to Goetzmann, is a “movement” technology, just like automobiles. It has and will evolve over time to change with circumstances. Goetzmann, who is a professor at the Yale School of Management, perambulates through the history and evolution of money to make his point. In the words of the FT reviewer, “he (Goetzmann clearly sees the problems as bumps in the road towards a richer and more advanced civilization. Bubbles, crashes, and bailouts are sidebars in this history: Money Changes Everything is centrally a celebration of progress.

SUMMER BINGE WATCHING - Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing or marathon-viewing, is the practice of watching television for a long time span, usually of a single television show. In a survey conducted by Netflix in February 2014, 73% of people define binge-watching as "watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting." Binge-watching as an observed cultural phenomenon has become popular with the rise of online media services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video with which the viewer can watch television shows and movies on-demand.

Binge Recommendations: House of Cards and Game of Thrones are the same basic show. When you boil it down, each is a collection of morally-ambiguous characters playing a political game of cards.

Other popular binge viewing shows: Orange is the New Black, Billions, The Good Wife and the ESPN documentary O.J. Simpson, Made in Amercia.

But be careful - A Cambridge University statistics professor says binge watching shows is dampening our sex lives. And it's all Netflix's fault. Hulu, and Amazon Prime's. And HBO's.

He explained that in 1990 couples reported having sex five times a month. Now it's down to three times.

By 2030, it could be down to no getting down to it at all.

The point is...this massive connectivity, the constant checking of our phones compared to just a few years ago when TV closed down at 10:30 p.m. or whatever and there was nothing else to do," he said. Sex was great when there wasn't great TV. Now, not so much.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - HOW MUCH FRAUD IS THERE IN HIGHER ED?  The Obama administration is offering its best guess to that sweeping question. As part of the administration's proposal, unveiled last week, to write new rules governing debt relief for student loan borrowers who were deceived or defrauded by their college, the Education Department had to outline its complicated analysis for gauging the plan's potential hit to taxpayers.

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT BUMMER - Sierra water runoff coming up short: The Department of Water Resources now projects that the mountains will produce about three quarters of normal runoff during the months of heaviest snowmelt, shorting the rivers and reservoirs that typically provide a third of California's water - and cementing a fifth year of historic drought for the Golden State. ... The projections arrive alongside forecasts for potentially dry La NiƱa weather next winter.

BAD DAYS FOR CONSERVATIVES CONTINUE - End of conservative Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas may be next to leave: Thomas, a reliable conservative vote on the Supreme Court, is mulling retirement after the presidential election, according to court watchers. Thomas ... has been considering retirement for a while and never planned to stay until he died ... He likes to spend summers in his RV with his wife. ... Should Thomas leave, [conservatives'] slight majority would continue if Donald Trump becomes president. ... Clinton ... would get the chance to flip two Republican seats, giving the liberals a 6-3 majority.

HOME IS WHERE THE MONEY IS  - The U.S. housing market has almost completed the long road back from the mire. Home prices are at near-record highs across the U.S., a sign that the lopsided housing-market recovery of the past five years is gaining some strength. The S&P/Case-Shiller national home-price index has clawed its way back to within 4% of its 2006 peak and U.S. new-home sales in April posted their strongest month in more than eight years. That bodes well for sellers heading into the peak home-selling season in May and June but could pose challenges for buyers, especially first-timers, as overall sales volume and new construction remain well below their pre-crisis peaks. Meanwhile, new tariffs on imports are boosting steel prices in the U.S., offering a lifeline to beleaguered American steelmakers but raising costs for manufacturers of goods ranging from oil pipes to factory equipment to cars.

SOROS IS BACK - After a long hiatus, George Soros has returned to trading, lured by opportunities to profit from what he sees as coming economic troubles. Worried about the outlook for the global economy and concerned that large market shifts may be at hand, the billionaire hedge-fund founder and philanthropist recently directed a series of big, bearish investments, according to people close to the matter. Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages $30 billion for Mr. Soros and his family, sold stocks and bought gold and shares of gold miners, anticipating weakness in various markets.

Investors often view gold as a haven during times of turmoil. The moves are a significant shift for Mr. Soros, who earned fame with a bet against the British pound in 1992, a trade that led to $1 billon of profits. In recent years, the 85-year-old billionaire has focused on public policy and philanthropy. He is also a large contributor to the super PAC backing ... Hillary Clinton and has donated to other groups supporting Democrats.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Marv Albert (75) Brooklyn, NY; Jim Belushi (62) Chicago, IL; Jeff Dillon …famous St. Lawrence graduate; Dan Fouts (65) La Jolla, CA; Michael J. Fox (55) Woodland Hills, CA; Bill Maher (60) Brentwood, CA; Joe Montana (60) Napa, CA; Aaron Sorkin (55) Santa Barbara, CA; Bob Vila (70) Boca Raton, FL.

CALIFORNIA GOLD - Surging California economy vaulted to world's 6th largest in 2015. $2.46 trillion last year. 5.7 percent growth. "In broad ... categories, California's finance and insurance sector was the largest in 2015 at $535 billion, with government at $300 billion and manufacturing at $278 billion. Agriculture, once an economic mainstay, was just $39 billion.

But oh yeah, one thing ... that doesn't take into account our insane cost of living: Once that's factored in, the IMF data finds California drops from sixth to eleventh in the global size of its gross domestic product. That still eclipses other U.S. states, but is some important context for politicians who might be freshening up their talking points.

HOLLYWOODLAND – One of our favorites, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Returning to HBO: Curb Your Enthusiasm last aired an original episode in September 2011, and the nearly five-year gap since has seen neither HBO nor Larry David ready to publicly dismiss the idea of revisiting the show. ... On his decision to revisit his alter ego, David had this to say: 'In the immortal words of Julius Caesar, "I left, I did nothing, I returned.


Major League Baseball Game of the Week: Saturday June 25, 9:20 pm ET, TSN; Boston Red Sox (39-31) vs. Texas Rangers (46-25), Texas is running away with the American League West, Red Sox battling Baltimore in the East. We like “Baston” tonight 6 – 4.

Season to date (49 -34)

MARKET WEEK - Nevada has led the nation in unemployment for 27 months, taking the mantle from Michigan, which had the nation’s worst unemployment rate for 47 months from April 2006 to February 2010.

Here's a breakdown of the states with the highest jobless rate in the country since 1976: http://on.wsj.com/MmE0t9

The prospect of Britons voting to leave the EU this week fueled global market upheaval on last week, with investors rushing for safety and sending the UK currency and stocks to their lowest levels in months. ... The accelerating shift, which came after a trio of opinion polls showed Leave leading by significant margins, was most marked in government bonds, where a series of records were smashed as cash flowed into the relative security of sovereign debt.

German 10-year Bunds traded with interest rates below zero for the first time after Japan's benchmark fell to a new low of minus 0.185 per cent. The UK's 10-year gilt yield recorded a new low, and the 30-year bond dropped below 2 per cent for the first time.

In Switzerland almost the entire market for Swiss government debt had fallen below zero, with 30-year debt offering an annual yield just below zero. The US 10-year Treasury note yield at 1.6 per cent was just above its lowest close since 2012.

DRIVING THE WEEK - U.K. votes Thursday on whether to say in the EU. A win for the Leave side could send markets reeling and throw an unexpected wild card into to the presidential race ... Fed Chair Janet Yellen testifies before Senate Banking at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday and before House Financial Services at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday ... Senate Banking has its bank capital hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ... House Financial Services has a terrorism financing hearing at 10:00 a.m. Thursday

Next week: Back to the future and what is on the iPad.

Until Next Time, Adios.

Claremont, CA

June 21, 2016


CARTOON OF THE WEEK –Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau


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