Repo Commentary-10/7/2018

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I’ve been keeping busy, not only writing the Repo Commentary, reaching out to clients, and exploring job opportunities (yes, I’ll be back!), but now having consulted on one book and two articles, I am in the midst of writing another book. And, we’ve got two conferences coming up! I intend to see as many of you as I can in Key Biscayne next week (where the RMA conference will be), Tuesday and Wednesday. Please find me! Prepare for moist and very hot, as the Heat Index has barely dipped below 100 degrees the last month or two.

The following month, we have Finadium’s Rates & Repo Conference in downtown Manhattan on 11/5, and I assume I will see all of you there, particularly the buyside clients!

My Repo Commentary is posted on my website: http://www.repocommentary.com. It also pops up on LinkedIn, the Global Investors Group (ISF Magazine) website, and I believe on CentralBanks.com as an op-ed.

If you need to reach me, my cell is still 646-753-1300, my email for work is jeffkidwell82@gmail.com, and you can also hit me up on LinkedIn.

Since its inception in 1982, the Repo Commentary does not represent the views of any of my firms and reflects only my opinion and includes only publicly available information. I make a strong effort to attribute any quotes or thoughts that are not my own, I do not make any marketing spiels, and I really am more interested (70-80%) in entertaining you than boring (20-30%) you with too much market info. Feel free, as always, to send me information or pictures. Also, please send me feedback, as I want to make it better all the time.

Thursday’s Holidays or Events:

• National Taco Day (but not on a Tuesday, so largely unnoticed)
• National Vodka Day (quite noticed)
• Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral Day (also known as Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi-Catholic)
• National Cinnamon Roll Day
• eDay
• Improve Your Office Day
• National Poetry Day
• International Toot Your Flute Day
• National Golf Day (unfortunately I was too busy this week to golf)
• National Ships-in-Bottles Day
• Ten-Four Day
• World Animal Day
• Bring Your Bible to School Day
• Improve Your Office Day
• Day of Peace and Reconciliation (Mozambique)
• Independence Day in Lesotho
• The beginning of World Space Week
Monday is Columbus Day in the US, a celebration of Christopher Columbus’ accidental discovery of the New World in 1492. However, the holiday has been watered down by historians pointing to much earlier Viking expeditions to the New World. Also, the holiday is no longer celebrated with ALL businesses closed, but the US markets are still closed.

Some Famous People Born 10/4 in History:

• 1289-Louis X of France
• 1550-Charles IX of Sweden
• 1626-Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector of Great Britain
• 1822-Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States
• 1895-Buster Keaton, American actor/director/producer
• 1916-Jan Murray, American comedian/actor/game show host
• 1923-Charlton Heston, actor/director/activist
• 1937-Jackie Collins, actor/author
• 1941-Roy Blount Jr., American humorist/journalist
• 1941-Anne Rice, author
• 1943-Jimy Williams, MLB
• 1944-Tony La Russa, MLB
• 1946-Susan Sarandon, actress/activist
• 1949-Armand Assanti, actor/producer
• 1957-Russell Simmons, founded Def Jam Recordings and Phat Farm
• 1959-Chris Lowe, English singer/keyboard player
• 1962-Jon Secada, Cuban-American singer/songwriter
• 1963-A.C. Green, NBA
• 1972-Kurt Thomas, NBA
• 1976-Alicia Silverstone, American actress/producer/author
• 1982-Tony Gwynn, Jr., MLB
• 1988-Derrick Rose, NBA

This Day in History (10/4):

• AD 23-Rebels sack the Chinese capital Chang’an during a peasant rebellion. The later decapitate Emperor Wang Mang.
• 1227-Assassination of Caliph al-Adil of Morocco.
• 1302-the Byzantine-Venetian War comes to an end.
• 1363-Battle of Lake Poyang: in one of the largest naval battles in history, Zhu Yuanzhang’s rebels defeat rival Chen Youliang.
• 1511-Formation of the Holy League of Aragon, the Papal States and Venice against France.
• 1535-the Coverdale Bible is printed, with translations into English by William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale.
• 1597-Governor Gonzalo Mendez de Canco begins to suppress a native uprising against his rule in what is now Georgia.
• 1636-Thirty Years’ War: the Swedish Army defeats the armies of Saxony and the Holy Roman Empire at the Battle of Wittstock.
• 1693-Nine Years’ War: Piedmontese troops are defeated by the French. This is truly historic, because, according to the neowin.net’s “Complete Military History of France”, as I recall that the French were only 3-17-7 in wars. According to this ‘authority’, the French claimed victory in the American Revolution, the French Revolution (since both sides were French), and this Nine Years’ War. Okay, I’ll stop beating up on France, although in 1986, they didn’t let our F-111’s fly over to support Libya…(and you wonder if I’ll remember that you didn’t call me back? LOL)
• 1895-Horace Rawlins wins the first US Open Men’s Golf Championship
• 1904-the IFK Goteborg football club is founded in Sweden
• 1917-WWI: the Battle of Broodseinde is fought between the British and German armies in Flanders.
• 1918-WWI: and explosion kills more than 100 people and destroys a Shell Loading Plant in New Jersey.
• 1927-Gutzon Borgium begins sculpting Mount Rushmore.
• 1936-the British Union of Fascists and various anti-fascist organizations violently clash in the Battle of Cable Street.
• 1941-Norman Rockwell’s Willie Gillis character debuts on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.
• 1957-Sputnik I becomes the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.
• 1958-the current Constitution of France is adopted.
• 1960-an airliner crashes on takeoff from Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing 82 people.
• 1963-Hurricane Flora kills 6,000 people in Cuba and Haiti.
• 1965-Pope Paul VI begins the first papal visit to the Americas.
• 1966-Basutoland becomes independent from the UK and is renamed Lesotho.
• 1967-Omar Ali Saifuddien III of Brunei abdicates in favor of his son.
• 1983-Richard Noble sets a new land speed record of 633.468 mph at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.
• 1985-the Free Software Foundation is founded.
• 1991-the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty is opened for signatures.
• 1992-the Rome General Peace Accords end a 16-year civil war in Mozambique.
• 1992-El Al Flight 1862 crashes into two apartment buildings in Amsterdam, killing 43 including 39 on the ground.
• 1993-tanks bombard the Russian Parliament, while demonstrators against President Yeltsin rally outside.
• 1997-the second largest cash robbery in US history occurs in North Carolina.
• 2001-Siberia Airlines flight 1812 crashes after being struck by an errant Ukrainian missile. 78 people are killed.
• 2003-the Maxim restaurant suicide bombing Israel killed 21 Israelis, both Jews and Arabs.
• 2004-SpaceShipOne wins the Ansari X Prize for private spaceflight.
• 2006-WikiLeaks is launched.
• 2010-the Ajka plant accident-Hungary releases a million cubic metres of liquid alumina sludge, killing 9, injuring 122, and severaly contaminating two major rivers.

Fun Fact of the Day:

The “sleep” (eye discharge) in your eyes when you wake up helps seal your eyes in an airtight fashion when they are closed; prevents tears from spilling onto your cheeks, and helps keep tears that coat your eyes from evaporating. (Trust me, I know, after having a detached retina surgery, cataract surgery, and a torn retina in the other eye surgery, just over the last 2 years).

Daily Affirmation/Thought/Pun/Quote:

“Hope is patience with the lamp lit.”–Tertullian

International and Commodity Markets:

Oil prices on 9/20 closed at $70.35/barrel. Today (10/5) oil closed at $74.34, up another staggering $4/barrel, leading to AAA’s warning below about gasoline prices. EIA Report is threatening another oil price rally and the Iran sanctions loom. The move by Oil is now having an effect on gasoline, as gas jumped at my West Palm Beach gas station from $2.66/gallon last week to $2.77/gallon this week. The USD versus the Yen is trading at $113.77, much higher from where it was on 9/20. The USD was at 1.1524 versus the Euro, much stronger since 9/20. The USD is sharply stronger since 9/20 against the GBP, at $1.3117. The USD is somewhat stronger versus the CAD to $1.2948 since 9/20. Gold closed today at $1204.10/ounce, almost exactly where it was on 9/20. Bitcoin was trading at $8185.21 on 7/25. On 9/20, it closed at $6,395.00. Today, it closed at $6,543.05, still treading water. A provision in the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (replacing NAFTA) creates a major hurdle for Canada to negotiate a trade deal with China. German Economy Minister Altmaier says that US and EU trade barriers must decrease.

Global Financial News:

The CEO of JPMorgan Asset Management, Christopher Willcox, said at the SIFMA Annual Meeting that robo-advisors provide important technology that benefits the end user but that they also have limitations. Another panelist, Michelle Seitz, CEO of Russell Investments, went on to say that even if tech giants like Google and Amazon develop their own robo-advisors for the public, the companies will still be subject to the same fiduciary guidelines and regulations as other financial institutions. Analysts believe that JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and BOA, who are due to release Q3 results in mid-October may show significant gains. The WSJ points out that typically the year after midterm elections historically is the best in the 4-year Presidential cycle for the US stock market. Unemployment rate hit a 49-year low in the US, but growth slows.

US Market News:

The Dow Jones closed at 26,656.77 on 9/20, but closed today at 26,447.05, as it fell 180 points on the day. So, it had made its way all the way back, but then fell. S&P 500 also gave up its all-time high on 9/20 of 2,930.66, closing today down 16 points to 2,885.58. Nasdaq too gave up its 8/28 high of 8,030.04, closing down 91 points today to 7,788.45. US Treasury yields had gotten much higher on 9/20, in advance of the 9/26 FOMC meeting, and continue to blast higher still. Today, 2years closed at 2.88% (a full 7bp higher than on 9/20), 3years closed at 2.99% (a full 10bp higher than on 9/20), 5years closed at 3.07% (9bp higher than on 9/20), 7years closed at 3.18% (a whopping 14bp higher than on 9/20), 10years closed at 3.23% (a whopping 15bp higher than on 9/20), and 30years closed at 3.40% (17bp higher than on 9/20!). (yields have gone dramatically higher), closing yesterday on 2years at 2.81% (up 8bp), 3years at 2.89% (up 11bp), 5years at 2.96 (up 13bp), 7years at 3.04% (up 15bp), 10years at 3.08% (up 14bp), and 30years at 3.23% (up 14bp). According to MarketWatch, the spike in US Treasury yields led to the largest decline in S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite since the summer, pointing out that the 10year Treasury yield at the highest level in 7 years is attracting investors to bonds and out of stocks. Historically, bonds and stocks have moved in an inverse relationship to each other, except for extreme moments. If it’s true that investors are moving out of stocks and into bonds for the attractive yield, that exodus will eventually cause bond prices to go up and yields to go down and normalize. The CBOE Volatility Index shot up more than 30%.

Housing News:

Hamptons’ millionaires reportedly have built luxury panic rooms to hide from MS-13. Rent payments in the US jumped an annual 2.9% in the 3rd quarter, an analysis by RealPage shows, faster then Q2’s 2.5%. The Occupancy rate also grew to 95.8% from 95.4%, with the strongest rental markets in the Sunbelt. According to a recent article in The Real Deal, Manhattan is now a buyer’s market at all price points. The total number of available homes in Manhattan is at the highest for the month since 2011. In Brooklyn and Queens, total inventory for June was the most since 2008. Home prices continue to plummet in Australia, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne. The biggest threat to the housing market there is unemployment.

Repo News:  

It has been interesting watching repo funding rates, Fed Funds, and the SOFR. There has been a lot of volatility in repo rates lately, despite the US Treasury yield curve’s one-way direction (much higher in rates). Part of it is likely the pricing or not pricing of FOMC rate hikes. Part of it is likely the huge supply of US Treasuries which has finally abated. But, still, the intraday volatility is high. You could get a repo quote at 8am and then find another quote in the afternoon 15-20bp different. GSE cash started hitting the market this week and brought funding rates down. It could get down to mid-1.90s before the cash leaves on 9/24. Everyone thinks there will be a Fed tightening of 25bp on 9/26 FOMC, so funding rates will lean higher anyway, with the full impact the day after on 9/27 (since the meeting is at 2:00pm in the afternoon). It will be interesting to hear what they say in the Statement, but also interesting to see what they do to the IOER. At the last tightening in June, they only raised the IOER to 1.95%, up 20bp, not 25bp. So, the question is: will they raise the IOER only 20bp again, or only 15bp, since the 20bp move last time didn’t have the desired effect of lowering the Fed Funds rate? Reportedly, some 100,000 Fed Funds futures contracts have been traded to bet on that question. The dynamic between IOER (where banks and credit unions can invest their cash with the Fed), Repo rates (where all could invest their cash securitized), and Fed Funds (where certain banks and GSEs could invest their cash unsecured) is more important than it every was before. In Specials, the 2year note is trading around 1.50% and looks like its going to be quite active.

I see the Repo and Securities Lending market as having changed in many permanent ways. We traditionally had a credit intermediator, the broker/dealers (originally just the primary broker/dealers) and later prime brokers, who were the pipeline through their respective repo matched books for collateral providers to trade with cash providers, without the two sides ever knowing about each other or facing each other. That lack of knowledge of the other side of the repo matched book came at a couple of costs, first, the bid/offer spread that went to the dealers and second, the defaults of the Financial Crisis and the impact on some of the dealers that then cost their clients. Clearly, with that pipeline becoming severely crimped by post-Financial Crisis regulatory reforms, consolidation and bankruptcies, and the resulting drop of about 60% in balance sheets being used for broker/dealer respective repo matched books, new pathways/pipelines needed to be found for cash provider and collateral provider clients. AVM’s Direct Repo™ was the first of one of such pathways. Since then, other pathways to these markets have been created, including: the Federal Reserve’s RRP program with cash providers, peer-to-peer financing as reported on Treasury OFR’s website between MMFs and Insurance Companies, As Agent repo through seclending agents and now some prime brokers, direct lending from beneficial owner to hedge funds who are short, indemnified As Agent repo, buyside to buyside Triparty Repo through two international clearing organizations, electronic all-to-all repo on a few electronic trading platforms like Elixium and BNY DBVX, FICC’s sponsored repo and cleared repo products to entice certain sectors of the buyside into that CCP, and other Repo and/or Seclending CCPs (several still being worked on, particularly in Europe). I believe this evolution will continue and eventually we will see all of these pathways used, including the traditional pathway (to probably a lesser than historical degree) through the broker/dealers and prime brokers.

Upcoming Repo Industry Conferences: 
 

• National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) will hold its Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ on 9/30-10/3. I’ve been invited to this before.
• SIFMA-will hold its Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on 10/1-10/2.
• Risk Management Association (RMA) will hold the 35th annual RMA Conference on Securities Lending in Key Biscayne, FL on 10/8-10/11. I will be there, I don’t want to break my streak of attending every one of them!
• Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) will hold its annual conference for over 6,000 members in Chicago on 11/4-11/7, discussing 140 topics in 8 different areas of managing liquidity and risk.
• Finadium will hold its 2nd annual Rates & Repo conference in NYC 11/5. I absolutely won’t miss this conference! I know I have dozens of promised drinks and chats with you all while I’m up there, so I have to organize all that.
• Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) is holding its annual Treasury & Finance conference in Chicago on 11/4-11/7.
• RISK USA will hold 24th annual conference in NYC 11/7-11/9. I have chaired/moderated this one before.

Federal Reserve News:

Fed Funds, which trade mostly between some banks and GSEs, opened today at 2.25%.

The next FOMC meetings are: 11/1/18, 12/13/18, 1/30/19, 3/20/19, 5/1/19, 6/19/19, 7/31/19, 9/18/19, 10/30/19, 12/11/19, 1/29/20 (reflecting the Fed’s just announced tentative schedule for 2019).

The Federal Reserve’s Reverse Repo Facility (RRP), which has over 300 approved participants (16 banks, 14 GSEs, 101 money market funds from various fund families), is now set at the rate of 1.75%. The Fed is currently only repoing out US Treasuries from its portfolio and typically only Overnight. Remember when RRP was trading at year-end for $465 billion? Well, on 5/15, there was only $20 million in bids submitted. MMF cash and GSE cash has moved out of the Fed’s RRP and into the Repo market, but it hasn’t really brought down the GC repo rate, which is strange.

If you are wondering about RRP, it is nearly extinct. In July, excluding month-end, volume averaged only $2.8 billion per day. It has just become a mechanism for the Fed to supply collateral when its scarce for money market funds on month-ends and quarter-ends, as dealer balance sheets dry up at those times.

According to FOMC members, the Federal Reserve signaled that it would raise the benchmark Fed Funds rate to 2.50% at the December FOMC meeting, 3.00% in 2019, and 3.50% in 2020. If you are keeping score, the Federal Reserve raised the Fed Funds target rate on these dates so far:

12/15/15 to 0.50%
12/14/16 to 0.75%
3/5/17 to 1.00%
6/14/17 to 1.25%
12/13/17 to 1.50%
3/21/18 to 1.75%
6/13/18 to 2.00%
9/26/18 to 2.25%

Quantitative Easing was ‘tapered off’ in 2013. The Fed still had $4 trillion of debt in 2017 on its books from that QE. In October 2017, it began allowing those holdings to gradually decline. For fun, the Fed Funds target rate was 5.25% before the Fed cut of 9/18/2007.

On 9/20, as expected, the Fed tightened again, raising the Fed Funds target rate by another 25bp to 2.25%, although Fed Funds have been trading a little lower. The Federal Reserve will propose a rule this year to simplify the stress tests for regional banks and to reduce their frequency, per Randal Quarles. The rule would apply to banks with $100 billion-$250 billion in assets.

Earthquakes and Volcanoes:

There is still a devastating aftermath in Indonesia from an earthquake and tsunami. At least 11 people have died after an earthquake rattled Haiti’s northern coast. The latest earthquakes:

10/7/18 5.9 19km NW of Ti Port-de-Paix, Haiti
9/30/18 6.6 260km NNE of Ndoi Island, Fiji
9/28/18 7.5 78km N of Palu, Indonesia
9/16/18 6.5 S of Fiji Islands

Weather:

The Atlantic Hurricane Season began Friday, June 1st. For 2018, Colorado State University experts have predicted that this season will be a busy, above average hurricane season. They have predicted 14 named Tropical Storms, of which 7 will become Hurricanes. Both are above the averages of 12 and 6, respectively. But, remember, last year they were way off. Unfortunately, they were way off the wrong way, with way more storms. They had predicted 11 Tropical Storms, of which 4 would be Hurricanes. Instead, we had 17 Tropical Storms and had 10 Hurricanes. Here are the 2018 Storm names:

Alberto done
Beryl done
Chris done
Debby done
Ernesto done
Florence done
Gordon done
Helene done
Isaac done
Joyce done
Kirk done
Leslie Tropical Storm current
Michael current
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sara
Tony
Valerie
William

Historically, the most active month for hurricanes in the Atlantic is September. Tropical Storm Leslie, with winds of 60 mph, remains in the Atlantic, not currently putting any land in danger. Tropical Storm Michael, with winds of 50 mph, is getting stronger and expected to dump heavy rains over western Cuba, particularly as it is now only moving at 3 mph. The threat to NE US Gulf of Mexico coast is increasing.

The Pacific Hurricane Season started 5/1/18. Currently, in the Eastern North Pacific, we still have Hurricane Sergio, although winds have decreased to 100 mph from 125 mph.

As for the weather, those of you who are visiting Florida next week for the RMA will find that it has cooled off slightly from 95 degrees to 88-90 degrees, but humidity is still rather high. A slow moving storm system is bringing a threat of heavy rainfall and flooding over the Plains states and Tropical Storm Michael is looming for the Gulf of Mexico states to the North by mid-week.

Sports News:

MLB:

The MLB regular season has ended. MLB attendance was down 4% this year, failing to top 70 million. If you want to know what’s wrong with baseball, read further down. If you are an NL Central or NL West fan, it was an exciting finish. Somehow, the Cubs botched winning the Division and wound up in a tiebreaker 163rd game on Monday, losing to the Brewers, who had won 8 games in a row. That forced the Cubs to play in the one-game Wildcard game the following day against the Rockies, who similarly lost in the NL West Divisional 163rd game tiebreaker to the Dodgers, and so had to play in the NL Wildcard game. The Cubs lost in 13 innings, 2-1, so the Rockies moved on, but a tired Rockies they must be, after playing Monday in LA, then Tuesday in Chicago, and now Thursday in the best of 5 NLDS series against the Brewers in Milwaukee. It took extra innings, but the Brewers beat the Rockies in Game 1 3-2. In the other NLDS series, the Dodgers hosted the Braves and blanked them in Game 1 6-0. The whole playoff format is a mess, as the team with the best record since the All Start break and No.10 in MLB, Tampa, is sitting out. But, I’ll go into my consulting for MLB later in this Repo Commentary and my thoughts for the Commissioner. Maybe, I should interview for THAT job!. Over in the AL, it was foregone conclusion, as the Red Sox won 108 games, the best record in the MLB, best record in franchise history of over 100 years, and took the AL East. Likewise, the Astros cruised to an AL West title, with the third-best record, and the Indians easily won the AL Central. The Yankees won 100 games, easily taking the first AL Wild Card spot, the first time that the Red Sox and Yankees in the AL East had ever won 100 games or more each in the same year. The A’s took the other AL Wild Card spot and the Yankees and A’s faced each other Wednesday night for the single-game elimination, with the winner to face the Red Sox. The Yankees won pretty easily, setting up a best of five series, starting in Boston against the Red Sox. The last time the two rivals played was 14 years ago, in the infamous 7-game ALCS, the greatest comeback in history and the reverse of the 86-year Red Sox Bambino Curse. After 2 games, the Yankees and Red Sox are tied 1-1, as the series heads to Yankee Stadium for Game 3. The Astros hosted the Indians for the other ALDS best of five series, and promptly flexed their pitching muscle, going up 2-0 in first 2 games. There were actually 4 playoff games Friday, as the Astros hosted the Indians in game 1 of their ALDS in the afternoon, the Brewers hosted the Rockies in game 2 of their NLDS in the afternoon (and won that one two, so are now up 2-0), the Red Sox hosted the Yankees in game 1 of their ALDS Friday night, and the Dodgers hosted the Braves in game 2 of their NLDS Friday night (and took a 2-0 series lead). Here are some cool stats about MLB playoffs:
• All Red Sox fans from 1975 on should know this one, but there have been 16 times in postseason history when a batter has reached base because of catcher’s interference. It didn’t happen in postseasons from 1985-2008, but has happened 9 times since 2009. The instance I was referring to in 1975 was in the World Series Game 7, when Reds’ Ed Armbrister interfered with catcher Carlton Fisk of the Red Sox in throwing a runner out, which ultimately decided the game in the Reds’ favor.
• Only 4 times has a postseason series MVP come from the losing team.
• Only 3 players in postseason history have hit a HR on their birthday (Willie Aiken, Evan Longoria, Kolten Wong).
• Only 1 pitcher has ever committed a postseason balk on his birthday, Les Straker of the Twins.
• Only 4 times has a postseason game ended with a walkoff sacrifice bunt.
• This is shocking, 19 times runners have stolen home plate (out of 70 attempts!) in postseason history.
• The all-time record for postseason series batting average is Lloyd McClendon in 1992 with .727 in 16 plate appearances.
• Here is another astounding fact, there have been 21 postseason HRs by pitchers.
• The player who saw the most pitches all-time in postseason history was Derek Jeter, with 2,749. The next closest was his teammate, Bernie Williams, with 2,186. Jeter also has the most hits in postseason history with 200, most balls in play with 508, and most strikeouts with 135.
• Speaking of strikeouts, the MLB record for most postseason at-bats without a strikeout is Yogi Berra (90).
• There has only been one triple-play in postseason history and it was turned unassisted by Indians’ Bill Wambsganss in Game 5 of the 1920 World Series against the Dodgers.
• The most Walkoff Wins in a postseason series is 4 in the 1991 World Series between the Twins and the Braves.
• Despite popular belief, the Washington Nationals franchise HAS WON a playoff series, but they were technically the Montreal Expos at the time in 1981.
• Only once has a postseason game been replayed, in 1982, between the Braves and Cardinals in Game 1. Rain halted the game after 4 ½ innings, 3 outs before it would have been official, which would have made the game be suspended and resumed from that point the next day. Instead, the game was called and teams played a new Game 1 the next day. In 2009, MLB changed its rainout rule, so that all games resume from the point at which they are suspended, no matter what inning.

The hapless Orioles, after a record-setting losing season of 47-115, let go of GM Dan Duquette, a former Red Sox cast-off, and manager Buck Showalter, a former Yankees cast-off. The Angels started of the annual bloodbath of managers, by firing longtime (19 years) manager Mike Scioscia. The well-like and successful manager will likely return to baseball at some point. The Cubs announced that they will bring Joe Madden back as manager for 2019, but are not yet discussing a contract extension with him. Cubs’ Addison Russell released a statement following announcement of his 40-game suspension by MLB, for violating MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy. Despite the Twins making the playoffs a year ago, Twins manager Paul Molitor has been fired.

As for baseball awards, AL MVP seems to be locked up by Red Sox Mookie Betts, who led the Majors with a .346 batting average and 10.2 WAR and became the first MLB player ever to go 30/30 (30 HRs and 30 stolen bases) while leading the Majors in batting average, but he has some competition from Red Sox teammate J.D. Martinez (whom he narrowly knocked out of Triple Crown) who led the Majors with 130 RBIs and the AL with 43 HRs while hitting .330, Indians’ Francisco Lindor, Indians’ Jose Ramirez, and Angels’ Mike Trout. NL MVP honors probably come down to Brewers’ Christian Yelich (who also just missed a Triple Crown) with an outside chance for Cubs’ Javier Baez and Rockies’ Nolan Arenado. NL Rookie of the Year seems to be coming down to Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. and Nationals’ Juan Soto. AL Rookie of the Year seems to be coming down to Rays’ Miguel Andujar, Angels’ sensation Shohei Ohtani, Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, and Rays’ Joey Wendle. AL Cy Young appears to be coming down to Rays’ Blake Snell, Astros’ Justin Verlander, Indians’ Corey Kluber, and Red Sox Chris Sale. NL Cy Young seems to be coming down to Mets’ Jacob deGrom, Nats’ Max Scherzer, and Phillies’ Aaron Nola.

Okay, where do I start? America’s pastime is in serious trouble. Granted, it doesn’t have the 20% drop in ratings of Pro Football, but that could be because that causes lifelong/life-shortening debilitating injuries or because it has become a political forum for mega-million-dollar athletes. We are talking baseball. So, let’s start with the National League, why does it feel it needs to continue this charade of having the pitcher bat? Gone are the days when Babe Ruth hit 3 HRs a game that he pitched and we have yet to see the full potential of an Ohtani. Let it go. We don’t need the automatic out during a rally and we certainly don’t need starters getting injured on the basebaths trying to slide. Why do we have a winner-take-all Wild Card one game playoff? Why can’t we just take the six teams in each League who have the best six records and put them in the Playoffs? For that matter, with NHL and NBA having 82 regular season games and NFL having 16, why do we put up with MLB seasons being 162 games long? It’s like a season of attrition…who doesn’t get the most injuries, who can outlast the other guys, who has the most relievers, etc. Relievers, let’s talk about this new uber-category of baseball pitcher. What happened to the old days when coaches developed players in the minor leagues who had 2 really good pitches and taught them a 3rd and a 4th pitch, so they could become an ace starter, like Jon Lester, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Verlander, Sale, etc.? Gone are the days of these premium starters because baseball and coaches now focus on specialty pitchers and relievers, who come into a game for an inning or two only, but can play every day and wear out, and have shortened careers and get paid a lot less money than an ace starter. I remember when “the Monster” Dick Radatz (one of my coaches) pitched for the Red Sox and pitched a complete double-header, both games 9 innings each. That would be unheard of in today’s baseball games. The new fans may not get to see a Roger Clemens or Bob Gibson, but instead a series of 4 or 5 relievers each game (similar to how the A’s, aka “MONEYBALL” team, have operated this year). It’s very sad, which brings me to my last point on this soapbox, which is removing the ‘chance’ of baseball, and relegating it to cybermetrics and tendencies, that are disgorged from iPads in the dugout and MacPros and printed on laminated cards that each position player can stick in his cap or stick in his back pocket, so he knows exactly where to play each batter for each pitch, so he knows every tendency or pattern they have. Even the pitchers now have the same laminated cards, as do the catchers, to determine, well if the batter swings at an inside slider, he is more often likely to swing at an outside curveball next, so they can determine their pitch selections and locations. What does this all do to the game of baseball? It makes it boring. Is it any surprise that only 16 players in MLB hit over .300 this year? They had to hit into tendency shifts and deal with pitchers who had pitch selection cards. Do I have the solutions to these vexing problems with America’s game? Yes, I do, but that’s for another Repo Commentary.

Golf:

The PGA of America announced that 8 events will be hosted at Congressional Golf Club, including the 2031 PGA Championship and 2036 Ryder Cup. The PGA Tour Champions are playing in South Dakota for the first time, as Andy North and Jack Nicklaus host an event at Sanford International. The 42nd Ryder Cup was held at Le Golf National in lle-de-France, France this past weekend. Thoma Bjorn captained Europe and Jim Furyk captained USA. USA got whollopped 17 ½-10 ½. For Europe, Francesco Molinari (who crushed Tiger Woods), Justin Rose, Tyrell Hatton, and Tommy Fleetwood all did really well. For USA, Brooks Koepka was awesome and Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas were okay. USA Captain’s picks Bryson DeChambreau, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and Tony Finau were not very good. Although USA was the defending champions, they had lost the last five matches in Europe; now six matches. Phil Mickelson complained that the Ryder Cup rough was “almost unplayable”. Well, don’t worry about Phil, as he promptly flew half way around the world, across 9 timezones, to be in the Safeway Open, in Napa, CA, and shot an opening round 65. He is trailing leader, Chase Wright, by one stroke, in what is technically the first tournament of the new season. Four months after a horrific car accident, Bud Cauley is back on Tour at the Safeway Open. The University of Iowa’s golf team was disqualified for a rare rules violation and plummeted in the college rankings. The team disqualification was simply because they didn’t have enough players to post a score, as one had withdrawn with an injury and a second was disqualified. Why he was disqualified is a bizarre story of playing a ball, believing it went into a hazard, so playing a provisional, then finding the first ball and your opponent inadvertently playing your provisional, and OMG, I can’t explain it. You can look it up, it’s crazy! Okay, now the bizarre golf news that you have probably seen all over media, including this morning’s Today Show…an errant drive by superstar Brooks Koepka hit a woman bystander in the eye, making her eye ‘explode’ and causing permanent blindness in that eye. The fan is planning a major lawsuit for this life-changing event. (and you thought I couldn’t bring up my eye surgery again in one Repo Commentary!)

Fighting:

Boxing

Wladimir Klitschko, heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua’s recent opponent is trashing Joshua and Deontay Wilder’s punching power in an interview. Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder is coming up. Anthony Joshua has made a new offer to Deontay Wilder for a Wembley Stadium showdown. But, as I said last week in the Repo Commentary, if Anthony Joshua wants to establish himself as one of the great heavyweights, just like his countryman Lennox Lewis, he’s going to have to eventually fight in the US and stop fighting just in his home country. Khan says he is annoyed that Floyd Mayweather has been “ducking” him for years.

MMA:

Conor McGregor returned to the Octagon to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. Khabib, the Russian, is the undefeated (27-0) light heavyweight champion. I rarely watch MMA anymore, not just because of the $80 pay-per-view, but I happened to be at a restaurant showing it and I watched the entire undercard and main card. The main event turned out to be a historic one, even if it did not show the UFC in its best light, and harkened back to the Gulotta/Bowe boxing match melee at MSG (that I was at and in the middle of) and the infamous Tyson/Holyfield boxing match ear brawl in Las Vegas. First the result, Khabib won over Conor with a 4th round naked-rear chokehold that forced the former flamboyant champion from Ireland to tap out. But, once that fight was over, many more fights began, as the Las Vegas venue erupted in several fights. The 18,000 fans went into a frenzy, when Khabib first stood over a recovering Conor, yelling at him and spitting on him, then leapt out of the Octagon to jump on Conor’s coach and also Bellator fighter. As he went out of the ring and began that pandemonium, which led to several fans getting into their own brawls, three of his team jumped Conor in the Octagon, punching him in the stomach and at least twice to the back of the head. UFC cancelled Khabib’s post-fight interview and belt award and immediately reviewed the tapes of the post-fight shenanigans, ultimately paying Conor his $3 million (more for PPV to come) check for the fight, but withholding Khabib’s $2 million check (and PPV to come) for further investigation. That investigation continues as authorities try to determine if there should be criminal charges filed and if UFC should strip Khabib of his prize money and his title.

In the rest of the card, Tony Ferguson defeated Anthony Pettis with a 2nd round TKO (had to be stopped due to broken hand); Dominick Reyes defeated Ovince Saint Preux with unanimous decision, after riding Preux’s back for the last round (which I’ve never seen); Derrick Lewis defeated Alexander Volkiov via 3rd round TKO; Michelle Waterson defeated Felice Herrig in a brutal unanimous decision; Jusseir Formiga defeated Sergio Pettis via unanimous decision; Vincente Luque defeated Jalin Turner in a brutal 1st round barrage of punches for TKO; Aspen Ladd defeated Tonya Evinger in her 1st round barrage of punches for a TKO; and Scott Holtzman defeated Alan Patrick in a 3rd round TKO of raining elbows.

Racing:

The wins just keep piling up for Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes. Does this guy every lose? He just won the Russian Grand Prix, his 8th win of the season, ahead of Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, and Verstappen. There are only 5 more races left this year.

NASCAR is in trouble, with race attendance shrinking (-14.7%), TV ratings plummeting (-20%), and sponsors leaving. Even in this struggling sport with its antiquated business model, you would think the defending Cup Series champion, Martin Truex Jr. or one of the best NASCAR drivers of all time, Jimmie Johnson (7-time champ and 18-season veteran), would be able to find sponsorship. But, the answer is ‘no’. Truex’s team, Furniture Row Racing, said last week that it is shutting down after this season. This follows July’s news that the No.78 Toyota team’s primary sponsor, 5-hour Energy, is leaving NASCAR at the end of the season. And that follows the news from Jimmie Johnson’s sponsor for his career, Lowe’s, that it’s leaving the sport too. Former sponsors that are already out include Target, Home Depot, Sprint, UPS, Subway, Great Clips, GoDaddy. The sport’s executives refuse to realize that the business model, relying heavily on sponsors to exist, and typically spend about $30 million to field a car for a full season, is flawed.

2018 NASCAR Schedule and results:
2/18 Daytona 500-Daytona Intl Speedway-won by Austin Dillon
2/25 Folds of Honor QuikTrip-Atlanta Motor Speedway-Kevin Harvick
3/4 Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube-Las Vegas Motor Speedway-Kevin Harvick
3/11 TicketGuardian 500-ISM Raceway-Kevin Harvick
3/18 Auto Club 400-Auto Club Speedway-Martin Truex Jr.
3/26 STP 500-Martinsville Speedway-Clint Bowyer
4/8 O’Reilly Auto Parts 500-Texas Motor Speedway-Kyle Busch
4/16 Food City 500-Bristol Motor Speedway-Kyle Busch
4/21 Toyota Owners 400-Richmond Raceway-Kyle Busch
4/29 GEICO 500-Talladega Speedway-Joey Logano
5/6 AAA 400 Drive for Autism-Dover International Speedway-Kevin Harvick
5/12 KC Masterpiece 400-Kansas Speedway-Kevin Harvick
5/19 Monster Energy Open-Charlotte Motor Speedway-AJ Allmendinger
5/19 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race-Charlotte-Kevin Harvick
5/27 Coca-Cola 600-Charlotte Motor Speedway-Kyle Busch
6/3 Pocono 400-Pocono Raceway-Martin Truex Jr.
6/10 FireKeepers Casino 400-Michigan International Speedway-Clint Bowyer
6/24 Toyota/Save Mart 350-Sonoma Raceway-won by Martin Truex Jr.
7/1 Overton’s 400-Chicagoland Speedway-won by Kyle Busch.
7/7 Coke Zero Sugar 400–Daytona International Speedway-won by Erik Jones
7/14 Quaker State 400-Kentucky Speedway-won by Martin Truex Jr.
7/22 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301-New Hampshire Motor Speedway-won by Kevin Harvick over Kyle Busch.
7/29 Gander Outdoors 400-Pocono Raceway-won by Kyle Busch over Daniel Suarez.
8/5 GoBowling at the Glen-Watkins Glen International-won by Chase Eilliott over Martin Truex Jr.
8/12 Consumers Energy 400-Michigan International Speedway-won by Kevin Harvick in all 3 stages.
8/18 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race-Bristol Motor Speedway-Kurt Busch’s first win of the season and first in 58 races.
9/1 Bojangles’ Southern 500 in Darlington was won by Brad Keselowski.
9/10 Rain not only plagued golf’s BMW Championship, but also the two NASCAR races at Indianapolis had to be completed a day later, today. The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis was won by Brad Keselowski, giving team Roger Penske their first win in the brickyard.
9/16 South Point 400 in Las Vegas was won by Brad Keselowski, his 3rd win in a row, setting him up well for the upcoming Playoffs.

THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES PLAYOFF BEGAN FOR 16 DRIVERS.
9/21 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond was won by Kyle Busch.
9/29 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte was won by R. Blaney and whittled the field down from 16 to 12.
10/6 Monster Energy NASCAR at Dover
10/13 Alabama 500 at Talladega
10/20 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas City
10/27 First Data 500 at Martinsville
11/3 AAA Texas 500 at Texas
11/10 Can-Am 500 at Phoenix
11/17 Final at Homestead

NCAA Football:

College football season kickoff was on 8/25, and now most of the teams have played for 4 weeks. Ohio State won a crucial Big Ten battle with rival Penn State 27-26, which may have not only ramifications for the Big Ten title but also for the College Football Playoffs. It pushed OSU up to No.3 and knocked PSU down to No.11. Former Clemson RB C.J. Fuller, 22, felt chest pains before death, according to his aunt. Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman (collapsed lung) has been released from the hospital. Alabama’s coach Nick Saban is sounding off on the lack of student attendance at home games. I think I just saw that he is being paid $8.3 million/year, Urban Meyer of Ohio State is being paid $7.6 million/year, and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is being overpaid $7.5 million/year. Kevin Olsen of Charlotte, brother of Panthers’ Greg Olsen, has been found not guilty of rape. 4-star RB Sampson James has decommitted from Ohio State. Late scores from Saturday’s games: in the best game of the day, Texas upset Oklahoma, despite a 21-point Q4 for the Sooners, 48-45; in the second best game of the day, South Carolina beat Missouri 37-36; in the third best game of the day, Miami upset FSU 28-27; No.1 Alabama had no trouble with Arkansas 65-31; No.3 Ohio State had no problem with Indiana 49-26; No.2 Georgia continued to roll, beating Vanderbilt 41-13; North Carolina State upset BC 28-23; Iowa State upset Oklahoma State 48-42; Florida took care of rival LSU; Auburn was upset by Mississippi State 23-9, UCF remained undefeated beating SMU, Maryland was no match for Michigan; Washington survived a scare with UCLA, No.2 Georgia crushed Vanderbilt, my hapless MSU lost to Northwestern 29-19 No.5 Notre Dame solidly beat Virginia Tech, and No.15 Wisconsin finally won beating Nebraska.

As of 9/29, the official AP Poll is:

1. Alabama (5-0)
2. Georgia (5-0)
3. Ohio State (5-0) up from No.4
4. Clemson (5-0) down from No.3
5. LSU (5-0)
6. Notre Dame (5-0) up from No.8
7. Oklahoma (5-0) down from No.6
8. Auburn (4-1) up from No.10
9. West Virginia (4-0) up from No.12
10. Washington (4-1) up from No.11
11. Penn State (4-1) down from No.9
12. UCF (4-0) up from No.13 (and getting a lot more love on the poll this year)
13. Kentucky (5-0) up from No.17
14. Stanford (4-1) down from No.7
15. Michigan (4-1) down from No.14
16. Wisconsin (3-1) down from No.15
17. Miami (4-1) down from No.16
18. Oregon (4-1) up from No.19
19. Texas (4-1) down from No.18
20. Michigan State (3-1) up from No.21
21. Colorado (4-0) up from unranked
22. Florida (4-1) up from unranked
23. North Carolina State (4-0) up from unranked
24. Virginia Tech (3-1) up from unranked
25. Oklahoma State (4-1) up from unranked

NFL:

The 99th NFL regular season is under way. (okay, since I got to this part on Sunday, I have some results which I will type in RED for you. After Sunday’s action, the 2 undefeated teams are still undefeated and there are no longer any winless NFL teams.) QB Terrelle Pryor says he is unhappy with his role in the Jets offense. Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers denies rift with coach Mike McCarthy. Seahawks’ LB Mychal Kendricks has been suspended indefinitely for insider trading. Dolphins to release DT Jordan Phillips. Seahawks (and Trail Blazers) owner Paul Allen announced that his cancer has returned. In case you forgot, WR Dez Bryant is still a free agent and reportedly now wants to sign with his old team, the Cowboys. Speaking of holdouts, RB Le’Veon Bell is expected to report to Steelers during Week 7 bye. Week 5 is upon us tonight (Thursday night, in case I don’t finish typing this until Friday). WR Julian Edelman returns from a 4-game suspension for the Patriots tonight. Actually, he didn’t play the entire 2017 season either, with a torn ACL. The Patriots went on to crush the Colts 38-14 last night and Edelman played a big part at wide receiver and punt returner. Tom Brady threw his 500th career TD pass. Brady is currently on track to earn none of his $5 million in incentives. The Patriots have 2 tough tests ahead, the undefeated Chiefs and the uber-defensive Bears. Here are the Week 5 matchups and the latest Las Vegas odds:

Thursday 10/4 8:20p
Colts (1-3) @ Patriots (2-2), Pats picked by 10.5 PATRIOTS WON EASILY 38-24.

Sunday 10/7 1:00p
Titans (3-1) @ Bills (1-3), Titans by 3.5 HAPLESS TITANS FOUND A WAY TO LOSE 13-12.

Falcons (1-3) @ Steelers (1-2-1), Steelers by 3 STEELERS CRUSHED THE FALCONS 41-17.

Broncos (2-2) @ Jets (1-3), Jets by 1 JETS DEMOLISHED THE BRONCOS 34-16.

Jaguars (3-1) @ Chiefs (4-0), Chiefs by 3 JAGUARS NEVER SHOWED UP AND CHIEFS CRUISED TO 30-14 WIN TO STAY UNDEFEATED.

Packers (2-1-1) @ Lions (1-3), packers by 1 ALTHOUGH CRUSHING THE PACKERS 20-0 AT HALFTIME, THE LIONS HAD TO HOLD ON TO WIN 31-23 IN THE END.

Ravens (3-1) @ Browns (1-2-1), Ravens by 3 RAVENS WERE PATHETIC, BUT BROWNS KICKER MISSED 3 KICKS UNTIL AN OT ONE THAT WON THE GAME FOR BROWNS 12-9. IT WAS THE FIRST WIN FOR THE BROWNS ON A SUNDAY IN 36 GAMES AND FIRST WIN AGAINST A DIVISION RIVAL IN EXACTLY 3 YEARS (ALSO, ODDLY, AN OT WIN OVER THE RAVENS).

Giants (1-3) @ Panthers (2-1), Panthers by 7 GIANTS LED PANTHERS 17-3, AND 31-30 WITH 1:08 TO PLAY, BUT WOUND UP LOSING LATE 33-31 TO A PANTHERS’ RECORD 63-YARD FIELD GOAL.

Dolphins (3-1) @ Bengals (3-1), Bengals by 6.5 BENGALS COME FROM 17-0 DEFICIT AND BEAT DOLPHINS 27-17

Sunday 10/7 4:05p
Raiders (1-3) @ Chargers (2-2), Chargers by 5.5 THE CHARGERS WON 26-10.

Sunday 10/7 4:25p
Cardinals (0-4) @ 49ers (1-3), 49ers by 4 THE CARDINALS SHOCKED THE 49ers 28-18 AND GOT THEIR FIRST WIN.

Vikings (1-2-1) @ Eagles (2-2), Eagles by 3 THE VIKINGS UPSET THE EAGLES 23-21.

Rams (4-0)@ Seahawks (2-2), Rams by 7 THE RAMS HAD A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH THE SEAHAWKS BUT PREVAILED 33-31.

Sunday 10/7 8:20p
Cowboys (2-2) @ Texans (1-3), Texans by 3.5

Monday 10/8 8:15p
Redskins (2-1) @ Saints (3-1), Saints by 6.5

NHL:

The puck dropped on the regular season, for some teams, on 10/3. My Bruins were crushed 7-0 by the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals. Of course, Bruins’ bad boy, Brad Marchand, was ejected in the game. John Tavares scored in his Maple Leafs regular-season debut. Capitals’ Tom Wilson has been suspended for 20 games by the NHL for his hit on Blues’ Oskar Sundquvist. In the first weekend of the regular season, on Saturday, the NHL will invade Sweden for their Global Series game between the Oilers and the Devils. Gary Bettman says the NHL is eyeing an early December vote on Seattle expansion. As Seattle has already renovated and retrofitted to NHL specifications its KeyArena for 2020 and longtime sports executive Tim Leiweke and Hollywood’s Jerry Bruckheimer made their multimillion dollar down payments on the team and more than 30,000 avid fans have gotten in line for season tickets, several names for the new Seattle franchise are being thrown around, including these 13 (in order of Las Vegas odds): Emeralds, Totems, Rainiers, Evergreens, Kraken, Renegades, Sea Lions, Firebirds, Cougars, Eagles, Seals, Whales, and Sockeyes. Sharks’ Joe Thornton has finally shaved that long beard.

NBA:

The NBA season officially began on 10/3 as well and LeBron James made his highly touted debut with the Lakers, but they lost. There are still plenty of trade rumors out there, including one between the Timberwolves and Heat for Jimmy Butler. The Mavericks are betting on a former professional gambler as their “strategic thinker”. ESPN is citing the move as another example of how the NBA is embracing the gambling industry. This is an interesting bridge between sports betting and basketball, featuring an expert on coaches’ strategies and individual on-court officials’ tendencies. Meanwhile, the Mavericks are facing more workplace misconduct allegations reportedly. Celtics’ Kyrie Irving has verbally committed to return to Celtics. LeBron James has beefed up security at his L.A. home. Cavaliers’ JR Smith will reimburse a fan after tossing his cellphone. WNBA president Lisa Borders is resigning to become president of Time’s Up. The NBA is considering removing color restrictions on sneakers, let the craziness begin!

Travel News:

AAA is warning Americans that gasoline prices will likely exceed $3/gallon, hitting 4-year highs. Officials believe that travelers at Newark Airport may have been exposed to measles. An Emirates Air flight attendant just won Miss Scotland 2018 and then went right back to work flying. Lake Tahoe has a new underwater trail that lets you explore over 100 years of history. An “aggressive” American passenger on a KLM flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam prompted the Dutch Air Force to send two F-16 fighter jets to escort the plane to its destination. Delta Air Lines’ Airbus A220 made its first flight. I know that some of you won’t be able to see the photos embedded in the text of the Repo Commentary, but for the others I am including some interesting photos. Here is the US Air Force’s C-5 Galaxy:

Here is the Russian MiG-21, which is still used by several countries 50 years later, and became the most-produced supersonic jet in history:

This is the Chinese Kongjing-2000 Radar Plane:

This one is the Russian Tupolev Tu-160, the largest and heaviest combat aircraft in use today:

Here is the US Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady for high-altitude reconnaissance:

This one is an Antonov An-124, the world’s heaviest aircraft and the largest military transport aircraft in use today:

Health News:

I went and got my annual flu shot 3 weeks ago, so I’m all set to meet and greet all of you when you come down to Key Biscayne for the RMA and when I see you up in NYC next month for the Finadium conference. 6.5 million pounds of beef have been recalled in California, due to possible taint with salmonella Newport, per the USDA. After 20 residents in Pasadena, CA have been sickened with flea-borne typhus, Los Angeles officials confirmed an outbreak in downtown LA as well. A customer of British restaurant chain Pret a Manger reportedly died from an allergic reaction after a food label issue. A 254-pound watermelon has set a new state fair record. La Croix water is being accused in a lawsuit of containing the same ingredient found in cockroach insecticide. People are dying for the perfect selfie. According to a new study, 259 people have died worldwide in taking selfie pictures in recent years (since 2011). 72% of the deaths have been men and drowning was the most common cause of death. The largest number of deaths were in India.

Animal News:

A four-foot rattlesnake was saved on a Jupiter, FL beach, having apparently been swimming in the ocean for hours and extremely tired. The First Lady of the US, Melania Trump, visited The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage in Kenya. Officials are asking for help to identify the murderers who poisoned and killed 5 lions at a South African wildlife park this week. CITES has censured Japan for illegally trading whale products from its controversial “scientific” whaling program. $1.3 million worth of illegal wildlife parts were burned by officials in Myanmar, as opposition grows while trafficking and trade into China escalates. Diane Von Furstenberg’s clothing line plans to cut animal fur from its fashion line. A hunter in Alaska had to be hospitalized, after the bear that he shot and killed tumbled on top of him. Four captive dolphins died in Taiji, Japan this past week. Sunda the elephant at the Topeka Zoo has died. A critically endangered Sumatran tiger, pregnant with 2 cubs, was found dead after escaping from an animal trap in Indonesia. Authorities arrested a man in connection with the death of the tiger. The man reportedly worked as a security guard for an oil palm plantation. There are only about 400 Sumatran tigers still left in existence. A Tasmanian woman who was bitten by a shark in Queensland’s Whitsundays has flown back to Tasmania, after a two-week stay in Australia undergoing reconstructive surgery on her legs. A day after her attacks, a 12-year-old girl was also bitten on the leg in Cid Harbour. 3 sharks were shot and killed near the site of the attacks. Officials also placed drumlins in the area and caught several tiger sharks. A 13-year-old boy attacked by shark a week ago while lobster diving at Beacon’s Beach in Encinitas was released from the hospital on Thursday, having recovered from critical injuries to upper left side of his body. In October, admission is free for kids at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Your intentions may be pure, but wild animals are still wild animals, as a villager in Bageshwar, India was attacked by a leopard as he tried to rescue the injured animal, suffering bits to his hands and legs. Aoshima Island in Japan has become overrun by cats, who now outnumber humans on the island 10-to-1. They were introduced to the island on ships in the area and have grown to a population of greater than 200. This very large alligator was photographed in an unusual place in Louisiana (not a very ‘welcome’ Welcome mat!):

Entertainment News:

I wasn’t sure exactly where to put this…the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Frances Arnold for her work on directed evolution of enzymes and to George Smith and Greg Winter for their work on phage display of peptides and antibodies.
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Arthur Ashkin, Gerard Mourou, and Donna Strickland for their work on laser science. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on cancer immunotherapy was awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” Ellen DeGeneres, in a recent intereview, joined the #MeToo movement, saying that she was sexually assaulted at the age of 15. Comedian Katt Williams has been arrested for alleged assault on a hired driver, during an argument about taking him and his dog from the Portland, OR airport to a performance. Tatum O’Neal reveals she survived multiple sexual assaults when she was young and condemns on social media President Trump’s treatment of Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford. Somewhat related, CBS news anchor Kris Long has resigned after his pro-Kavanaugh online post drew backlash from fans. Kate Hudson is sharing photos of newborn baby daughter Rani on Instagram. After Kanye West gave an unexpected and unplanned pro-Trump rant on last week’s Saturday Night Live, cast member Pete Davidson appeared on this week’s “Weekend Update” skit to slam the rapper’s views and mental health. Kanye West has again deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts. Meanhile, wife, Kim Kardashian, just showed off a racy, barely-there bikini in a new Instagram photo. Actor Scott Wilson, of Walking Dead, has died at age 76. Keira Knightley has slammed Duchess Kate Middleton’s “stylish” post-birth appearance in explicit essay. Did you know that Kate Middleton’s brother James is now a tour guide in Scotland? Duchess Meaghan Markle’s sister was turned away from Kensington Palace, after arriving uninvited. There is another Royal Wedding coming 10/12, for Princess Eugenie. Her parents, Fergie and Prince Andrew have been putting on a very united front, days before the wedding. Steven Seagal stormed out of a live interview, when asked about rape and sexual harassment allegations. Actress Rose McGowan, who triggered Harvey Weinstein’s downfall says the #MeToo movement is “all bullxxxx” and a “lie to make lily-livered Hollywood types feel better.” 102-year-old Dame Olivia de Havilland claims that producer Ryan Murphy and network FX never asked to use her name or likeness in their 8-part series Feud-Bette and Joan. Tom Arnold and Mark Burnett’s alleged altercation about a missing Donald Trump tape from The Apprentice is still under review by LAPD. Bachelor contestant Cristy Caserta is dead at 38, passing out during training course, according to police. Audrey Wells, the screenwriter of UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN and THE HATE U GIVE, has died at 58. Will Vinton, the animator behind the California Raisins, has died. Jamie Doran and wife Amelia Warner are expecting 3rd child together. Iggy Azalea has abruptly cancelled her “Bad Girls” tour. The Queen of Country, Lorretta Lynn, feeling better, has just recorded a new album. Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Stephanie Beatriz married Brad Hoss. Riverdale, based on the Archie comic books/strip, has cast Jughead’s Mom and Sister. Teen model Kala Gerber may have set some kind of modelling record, walking a staggering 25 shows in NYC, Milan, and Paris, including 4 runways in just one day. Gwyneth Paltrow is living it up in Paris on her honeymoon with new husband, Brad Falchuck. Brad Pitt is filming movie ONCE UPON A TIME. Tina Turner says she blames violent ex Ike Turner for her son’s suicide. Denise Richards, recently married, and Camille Grammer filmed over dinner for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, while their feud with show matriarch, Lisa Vanderpump, continues. Friends of Justin Bieber think he’s having an “identity crisis.” Supermodel Gisele Bundchen has revealed that she suffered with depression and also cried when forced to walk a fashion show topless. Kate Moss’ daughter made her modeling debut. Today Show’s Megyn Kelly might be leaving NBC. Tribune Publishing and McClatchy are closing in on a merger. Salon Media’s longtime financial chief has resigned. YES Network, owned by the New York Yankees, has had its best ratings in six seasons. Boy Meets World star Will Friedle revealed that he stopped working on-camera due to anxiety disorder. Michael Jordan made two enormous donations to Hurricane Florence victims.

This week’s box-office was okay, maybe because of the weather. NIGHT SCHOOL with Kevin Hart, debuted at No.1 with $27.3 million (and a budget of $29 million); SMALLFOOT (the animated movie about the bigfoots finding a human) debuted at No.2, with $23 million; THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS and Kevin Black, fell from No.1 to No.3, but still made $12.6 million (putting ahead of its budget of $42 million), in its 2nd week; A SIMPLE FAVOR dropped from No.2 to No.4, with just $6.5 million in its 3rd week; and THE NUN fell from No.3 to No.5, with $5.4 million, it its 4th week (bringing its total to a whopping $109 million win for a $22 million movie!). Just missing the Top 5 was the debut of HELL FEST, which made only $5.1 million in limited release and No.6.

Movies coming out this week is a heavy load of movies: PIPELINE, ’96, ANDHADHUN, BEYOND FEST-CRASH & SPIDER, BLUE MY MIND, NOTA, RETRO NIGHTMARES, SMUT WITHOUT SMUT: BIZARRO, THE HENRIK MANEUVER, A CROOKED SOMEBODY, A STAR IS BORN (remake with Gaga and Bradley Cooper-I want to see this!), AFSAR, BAYOU CAVIAR, BILL COORS: THE WILL TO LIVE, CHICAGO/STEP BROTHERS, CHASING THE BLUES, CRY ME A SAD RIVER, EXES BAGGAGE, HEAVY TRIP, HELLO MRS. MONEY, KNUCKLEBALL, LADY BELLADONNA’S, LIVING IN THE FUTURE’S PAST, LOVEYATRI, PRIVATE LIFE, PROJECT GUTENBERG, RIDE, SHINE, STUDIO 54, THE CHURCH, THE HAPPY PRINCE, VENOM (looks rather creepy), VIKING DESTINY, AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS, THE METROPOLITAN OPERA: AIDA, and BULLITT 50th ANNIVERSARY SHOWING. Early returns are showing VENOM on the way to beating A STAR IS BORN, with an estimated $80 million opening weekend, which would be a record for October.

Technology & Space News:

Renowned stargazer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, says that President Trump’s “Space Force” is not a crazy idea at all. In other President Trump news, his administration has said that all self-driving cars will need to have steering wheels to allow for human intervention. Facebook is now looking to track your exact location via Instagram. The UK cybersecurity agency is backing Apple, Amazon and China hack denials.

Political News:

President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, remained under siege from the media and the Senate, which finally held a confirmation vote for him and approved the nomination. Ivanka and Jared ran the US Army 10-miler.

US News:

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, kicked off by the New York Times (then by the New Yorker) which published the first article that outed Harved Weinstein as a serial assaulter of women. What the movement has taught us is that there are many more victims than anyone thought, that no matter how long it’s been they and what they went through matter and should be heard, and many peoples’ lives were altered forever by these incidents. Ironically, the Senate is expected to vote on Friday whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused by two women of sexual assault, as a new Supreme Court Justice. Two newlywed couples and young parents of two little girls among 20 wedding guests that were killed in an upstate New York limousine crash between two vehicles while traveling to watch their friends get married. 92 California billionaires appear on the new Forbes list of the richest Americans. 400 Americans share a staggering $2.9 trillion in wealth. I mentioned in the last Repo Commentary that, in a surprise move, famed F.A.O. Schwartz would be returning to NYC in Rockefeller Center location. Now, there is news that Toys ‘R’ Us may come back to California in a surprise move for the bankrupt company, as a bankruptcy auction there has just been cancelled. Now, news in the other direction, as Mattress Firm files bankruptcy and plans to close 700 stores. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that there are 1.7 million children in the US with a parent in prison on any given day, out of a prison population of roughly 2.2 million. Officials have found immigration violations at Nevada brothels. A mystery object has washed ashore on a SC beach. There has been a rare death-row slaying at San Quentin Prison in California. The husband of woman accused of killing her child jumped to his death from his hotel. The US service member killed in Afghanistan has now been identified.

International News:

Breaking News: firefighters are tackling a huge blaze near an IKEA store in north London, England. According to Turkish police, a Washington Post writer who fiercely criticized the Saudi government “was tortured, murdered and cut into pieces inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul.” A missing Interpol chief was at the center of a Chinese anti-corruption probe. A television journalist’s murder is shocking Bulgaria. The Vatican is defending the Pope against ‘blasphemous’ cover-up claims about ongoing priests’ investigations into sexual assaults. A victims’ group in Poland has mapped 255 sex cases against clergy.

Florida:

The blue-green algae disaster on the East Coast of Florida and red tide disaster on the West Coast of Florida (stretching 135 miles along the southwest coast) are still on everyone’s minds and noses down here. Dead fish continue to pile up on Southwestern Florida beaches, as cleanup efforts for the red tide have intensified. But, a new development is shocking Floridians, as authorities closed beaches in Martin County and here in Palm Beach County, not for the blue-green algae, but for red tide. Red tide has now made its way to the East Coast of Florida, for the first time in 25 years. Authorities closed the beaches over “health and safety concerns”. For people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, red tide can cause serious illness. For others, it tends to cause throat, eye, and nose irritation. In Florida’s Panhandle, in northwest Florida, crews of county jail inmates are cleaning up piles of dead fish killed by another red tide bloom near Panama City Beach.

My 5-part harmony singing group, Generation Gap, was just voted by InTune Magazine as the Best Harmony Group in the State of Florida, quite an honor! We just performed 3 gigs in the Jupiter/Palm Beach Garden area and I performed for my 40th high school reunion up in Andover, MA this past weekend, in full Elvis regalia. We have many gigs coming up in Palm Beach County and you can check those out on http://www.generationgapflorida.com.

If you are interested in seeing the more famous bands or solos in concert, there are many coming to Florida, perhaps when you will be visiting:

Phil Collins-Sunrise, October 5
Kid Rock and Brantley Gilbert-West Palm Beach, October 13
Nikki Minaj with Future-Miami, October 19
Alice in Chains-Hollywood, October 28
Toto-Pompano Beach-October 28
Marilyn Manson w H090909-Hollywood, October 30
Simple Minds-Miami, November 8
Willie Nelson-Estero, November 12
Elton John-Sunrise, November 23 (I’m there)
Elton John-Miami, November 24
Brian Wilson-Hollywood, December 12
Kansas-Fort Lauderdale, December 15
Cher and Chic-Sunrise, January 19
Fleetwood Mac-Sunrise, February 20
Pink-Sunrise-March 1 (I might have to go)
Paul Anka-Fort Lauderdale-March 4
Elton John-Sunrise, March 16

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