Friday, March 10, 2017
Sign of the Times
As we head into the spring break RR takes a look at both the positive and negative events effecting our world.
U.S. AGE GROUPS - the U.S. has more 26-year-olds than any other age cohort:
The baby boomers came of age in the 1960s and 1970s — years that saw much faster economic growth than we have today. Millennials have been slow to acquire the trappings of adulthood like spouses, houses and children, but it's only a matter of time before they lean in to the sort of large purchases that can power a consumer-led economy.
DEATH RATES - The rate of drug-overdose fatalities is now higher than the rate for death by suicides, car accidents or guns.
Why this matters: Opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015 — more than ever before. Synthetic opioids can be 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin, which puts emergency rooms at risk of running out of antidotes to treat overdoses
Trump country hit hard: States that Trump won like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio were hardest hit by fatal drug overdoses in 2015.
MARCH 7 LOCAL ELECTIONS – The voters have spoken or have they? Local elections were held this past week here are the voter turnouts:
Los Angeles County: 2,030,173 registered voters, 12.3% voter turnout.
City of Claremont: 22,471 registered voters, 37.6% voter turnout.
City of La Verne: 20,728 registered voters, 38.3% turnout.
Voter Registrar of Los Angeles County Registrar, Municipal Elections Results: Check here for latest returns.
NEWSPAPERS - Warren Buffett thinks only two newspapers are certain to survive the industry's hugely difficult climate: The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway told CNBC's "Squawk Box" last week the Times and the Journal have an "assured future" because of their proven internet model. "They have developed an online presence that people will pay for."
"If you look, there are 1,300 daily newspapers left in the United States. (Berkshire Hathaway has) 31 of them. There were 1,700 or 1,800 not too long ago," Buffett said. "Now, you've got the internet. Aside from the ones I mentioned, 1,400 or 1,300 of them haven't figured out a way to make the digital model complement the print model."
Buffett also said The Washington Post — which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — may have a chance to survive.
The Post and the Times — along with most other mainstream media outlets — are common targets of President Donald Trump, who repeatedly can't resist lashing out at their coverage.
HALFTIME - Today is Day 50 of the Trump presidency — halfway to the fabled hundred days.
50 days into his presidency, Donald Trump, when left alone because Jared and Ivanka are observing the Sabbath, still bangs out tweets (with episodic misspellings) making wild accusations based on flimsy or nonexistent evidence. And not a single word you just read is disputable. Let that sink in.
Here's why even you Trump fans and White House officials should worry: The weekend tweet storms have hit the courts, intelligence agencies and the media. One day soon, the president will need the public to trust the very institutions he's trying to discredit.
Meet the 5 Trump Administrations: It should be clear by now that there are five different Trump administrations swirling before our eyes — Trump Entertainment, Trump Cleanup, Trump Crazy, Trump G.O.P. and the Essential Trump.
When I add up all these Trumps I do not get a good team feeling; I get the feeling of a pickup basketball team. It doesn't start with a shared vision of what world we're living in and what are the biggest forces shaping this world. It starts with the conclusions on which Trump bases his facts.
We're living in a world being shaped by vast accelerations in technology, globalization, climate change and population growth, and government's job is to enable more citizens to thrive in such a world and cushion its worst impacts.
It's an age where the best leaders build trust at the top, and between themselves and their people, because trust is what enables teams to move fast and experiment more. It's an age when to make America great requires doing big hard things, and big hard things can only be done together.
DOW - The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared above 21,000 for the first time last Wednesday March 1 in a surge of optimism about the economy. Some analysts credited the conciliatory tone of President Trump's first speech to a joint session of Congress, while others said investors were mostly cheered by the confidence of leading Federal Reserve policy makers, who said that improving data on jobs and inflation show that another interest rate hike might be needed soon to keep the economy from overheating. All three of the main U.S. stock indexes hit the latest in a series of record highs, with the Dow completing its fastest 1,000-point gain ever. U.S. stock futures were mixed early Thursday.
3 stocks — Apple, Goldman Sachs and Boeing — account for 1/3 of the Dow gain between 20,000 (Jan. 25) and 21,000 (Mar. 1).
TESLA STILL DRIVING ON THE EDGE - Tesla is running on fumes. The electric-car and clean-energy company reported fourth-quarter sales of $2.3 billion and an adjusted loss of 69 cents a share recently. But as usual with Tesla, the future matters more than the past. Future prospects rely heavily on Tesla's ability to deliver its mass market Model 3 sedan. Tesla said it expects to deliver about 50,000 of its older Model X and Model S vehicles in the first half of the year and also said it expects "volume production" of the Model 3 in the fall, in addition to its new solar roofing product. The risk is that Tesla is running out of fuel to power its growth. Debt is up, its cash balance is relatively low, and while a new equity boost will increase cash that cash is likely to go quickly. To ramp up production of the Model 3 Tesla needs to boost capital spending. It's unclear whether Tesla has the financial ability to do that. Current faith in Tesla's founder and CEO Elon Musk, however, remains high as evidenced by the company's strong stock price.
GOOD READS - "The End of the Olympics As We Know It," by Rodger Sherman in The Ringer: "The IOC is a parasite: It latches onto hosts, leeches out all the money it can, and leaves a trail of rotting velodromes in its wake. The people at the IOC probably think of the Rio games as a fabulous success." http://bit.ly/2lEmBkq
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Harry Belafonte (90) Boca Raton, FL.; Michael Eisner (75) La Quinta, CA.; Mikhail Gorbachev (86) Paris, France; Rob Reiner (70) Studio City, CA.
THE RETURN OF THE TAMPON TAX: California lawmakers are taking another go at a measure to exempt feminine products from the state sales tax, after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation last year. Brown's reasoning was that the bill would cost California about $300 million, so supporters brought an offset this year, the Mercury News reported - a $1.20 per gallon hike in the excise tax on hard liquor. "Common sense is that liquor is a choice and a luxury and human biology is not," Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia said. "There is no happy hour for menstruation."
I'LL BE BACK? - Schwarzenegger for Senate?: Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - the "Terminator" action hero who made "I'll be back" one of filmdom's most iconic phrases - may be mulling a political comeback, according to several GOP political insiders in California. The prospect of Schwarzenegger's return to elected politics in a 2018 U.S. Senate run - possibly as an Independent - is generating increasing buzz in state Republican circles, fueled by the former governor's seeming ability to get under the skin of President Donald Trump on social media.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - MARCH MADNESS FOR ACADEMICS: Not a big fan of college basketball? STAT, the health and life science news site, launched a different kind of bracket this spring focused on the best innovations coming out of U.S. research institutions, including Harvard, Yale, the University of Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford and UCLA. All of the contestants are accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. The bracket-style contest will have two winners: One chosen by the public and another chosen by the science journalists and editors at STAT.
FORBES' 100 BEST COMPANIES TO WORK FOR: Top 10: "Google, Wegmans Food Markets, Boston Consulting Group, Baird, Edward Jones, Genentech, Ultimate Software, Salesforce, Acuity and Quicken Loans." The full list http://for.tn/2msW4dJ
BOOB TUBE - I just discovered the Canadian sitcom "Schitt's Creek" on Netflix - it's hilarious.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY - Today's the 40th anniversary of astronomers finding the rings around Uranus. Enough said.
AGUA - Bottled water overtakes soda in US: Research and consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corp. says Americans drank an average of 39.3 gallons of bottled water in 2016, and 38.5 gallons of carbonated soft drinks. In 2015, bottled water was at 36.5 gallons while soda was at 39 gallons.
CONGRATS – To colleague Thomas Allison, for his appointment as Vice President of NAACP Pomona Valley, California. I know of no other person so dedicated to his fellow citizens.
COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday 3/10, 7:00 PM ET, FSE: Big East quarter-final Game #1; #13 University of Vermont Catamounts (20-11-5) vs. #17 Boston College Eagles (18-14-4), we like BC in an upset 5 – 4. Season to date (8-9)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(NCAA D-III Men’s Basketball Sectionals, Mar. 11) #1 Whitman College Blues (29-0) vs. Hardin-Simmons University Cowboys (24-6). Whitman College led by Sophomore Joey Hewitt (Peter Hewitt, St. Lawrence ’76) will continue on in the tournament, 68 – 58.
(NHL, March 12) Calgary Flames (37-26-4) at Winnipeg Jets (30-32-6), big game for the Jets in their playoff battle with LA and St. Louis, Jets win 4 – 3.
(NBA, March 12) Golden State Warriors (52-12) at San Antonio Spurs (50-14), Spurs will dominate, 105 – 100.
Season to Date (26 - 15)
MARKET WEEK – Three reason investors are feeling good this Friday March 10:
The promise of corporate tax cuts: No government policy as much of a direct effect on corporate profits as income taxes. With Republicans promising a 15-point decrease in the headline corporate tax rate, investors are betting Washington will soon increase corporate earnings without managers having to lift a finger.
Rising wages: Years of Federal Reserve stimulus has finally gotten the job market hot enough that firms are giving out significant, broad-based wage increases.
The end of an earnings recession: Overall corporate earnings fell for 15 straight months before the trend reversed in the third quarter of 2016. The turnaround coincided with a renewed hope for business-friendly federal policy.
DRIVING THE WEEKEND – College playoffs dominate the coming weekend; conference basketball and hockey tournaments, D-III basketball sectionals, and east coast teams head south and west – Ithaca College comes west to take on SCIAC schools in softball and baseball. Good luck to University of La Verne on their scholarship fund raising gala. Finally, good luck to “Rays the Bar” student business with the opening of their ten week business.
Next Blog: Jack Ass of the Month and Rink Rats Top Five.
Until March 20, Adios
March 10, 2017
CARTOON OF THE WEEK –Manhoff, The New Yorker