No, I am NOT retired. I will be seeing many of you here in Boca Raton, FL at the RMA Conference in October. It is currently in the upper 80s, very windy, and quite humid, but sunny. My name may pop a few times in the news, prior to the conference. They couldn’t find any Repo expert old enough to know how the Repo market was ‘back in the days’ and who could explain why there has been so much volatility in (something that happens about every decade, according to my good friend and colleague/partner from MS).
Meanwhile, did Summer really go by that fast? I remember speaking to a really smart quant one time in, I don’t know, maybe Newport Beach, CA, and he said that “the velocity of time increases with age.” I don’t know if he was just right or he somehow cursed me, but every season is faster than the last year and every year is faster than the prior ten years! Or, so it seems. I know y’all (I am now a Floridian) in places like Maine or the UP have a brief week or two between Winter and, well Winter.
My Repo Commentary is posted free (it’s actually always been free) on my website: http://www.repocommentary.com. It also pops up on LinkedIn, the Global Investors Group (ISF Magazine) website, and on CentralBanks.com as an op-ed. I’m trying to make it more frequent, but I’ve been swamped.
If you need to reach me, my mobile is still 646-753-1300, my email for work is email@example.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 former 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! I’ll let you in on a secret that I got some of my Redneck Friday photos from a few State Treasurers’ offices. Also, please send me feedback, as I want to make it better all the time. As many of you know, it used to be a daily Repo Commentary back in the 80s and for a long time. But, then again, I used to be younger. I don’t know how I typed this by hand (still do) every single day (and didn’t get fired) and even re-wrote some 200 song lyrics to current market activity.
Holidays or Events (10/3):
¥ Bring Your Bible to School Day
¥ Look at the Leaves Day
¥ National Butterfly and Hummingbird Day
¥ National Boyfriend Day
¥ National Caramel Custard Day
¥ Mean Girls Appreciation Day (a weird social media celebration of the film)
¥ National Poetry Day
¥ National Techies Day
¥ National Virus Appreciation Day
¥ German Unity Day (in Germany)
¥ Morazan Day in Honduras
¥ National Day (independence of Iraq from the UK)
¥ National Foundation Day (South Korea)
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Monday (9/29-10/1) was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (Head of the Year). Next week (10/8-10/9) is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
Some Famous People Born on 10/3 in History:
¥ 85 BC- Gaius Cassius Longinus- Roman politician (died at age 43
¥ 1900-Thomas Wolfe-American novelist
¥ 1925-Gore Vidal-American novelist
¥ 1925-George Wein-American pianist/producer, co-founded Newport Folk Festival
¥ 1938-Eddie Cochran-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor
¥ 1940-Jean Ratelle-Canadian hockey player and coach
¥ 1941-Chubby Checker-American singer-songwriter
¥ 1946-P.P. Arnold-American soul singer
¥ 1947-Ben Cauley-American trumpet player and songwriter
¥ 1947-Fred DeLuca-American businessman, co-founded Subway
¥ 1949-Lindsey Buckingham-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer
¥ 1951-Keb’ Mo-American blues musician and songwriter
¥ 1951-Kathryn D. Sullivan-American geologist and astronaut
¥ 1951-Dave Winfield-MLB player and sportscaster
¥ 1954-Dennis Eckersley-MLB player and sportscaster
¥ 1954-Al Sharpton-American minister, talks show host, political activist
¥ 1954-Stevie Ray Vaughan-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer
¥ 1959-Fred Couples-American golfer
¥ 1959-Jack Wagner-American actor and singer
¥ 1962-Tommy Lee-Greek-American singer-songwriter, drummer, and producer
¥ 1964-Clive Owen-English actor
¥ 1969-Gwen Stefani-American singer-songwriter, actress, fashion designer
¥ 1969-Tetsuya-Japanese singer-songwriter, bass player, and producer
¥ 1970-Jimmy Ray-English singer-songwriter and guitarist
¥ 1971-Wil Cordero-Puerto Rican-American MLB player and coach
¥ 1971-Kevin Richardson-American singer-songwriter and actor
¥ 1973-Neve Campbell-Canadian actress and producer
¥ 1973-Lena Headey-British actress
¥ 1984-Ashlee Simpson-American singer-songwriter and actress
This Day in History (10/3):
¥ 2457 BC- Gaecheonjeol, Hwanung purportedly descended from Heaven, celebrated as South Korea’s National Foundation Day.
• 52 BC-Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls, surrenders to the Romans under Julius Caesar, ending the siege and battle of Alesia.
¥ 42 BC-Triumvirs Mark Antony and Octavian fight a decisive battle with Caesar’s assassins Brutus and Cassius.
¥ 382-Roman Emperor Theodosius I concludes a peace treaty with the Goths and settles them in the Balkans.
¥ 1283-Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, is the first nobleman to be executed by hanging, drawing and quartering.
¥ 1683-Qing dynasty naval commander Shi Lang receives the surrender of the Tungning kingdom on Taiwan after the Battle of Penghu.
¥ 1712-the Treaty of Nis is signed by the Ottoman Empire and Russia at the end of the Russian-Turkish War.
¥ 1789-George Washington declares a Thanksgiving Day for that year.
¥ 1795-Slave rebel leader Tula is executed in Curacao.
¥ 1863-the last Thursday in November is declared as the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day by US President Abraham Lincoln.
¥ 1873-Chief Kintpuash and companions are hanged for their part in the Modoc War of northern California.
¥ 1912-US forces defeat Nicaraguan rebels at the Battle of Coyotepe Hill.
¥ 1918-King Boris III of Bulgaria accedes to the throne.
¥ 1919-Cincinnati Reds pitcher Adolfo Luque becomes the first Latin player to appear in the World Series.
¥ 1929-the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes is renamed as Yugoslavia.
¥ 1932-Iraq gains independence from the United Kingdom.
¥ 1935-Second Italo-Abyssinian War: Italy invades Ethiopia.
¥ 1943-World War II: German forces murder 92 civilians in Lyngiades, Greece.
¥ 1949-WERD, the first black-owned radio station in the US, opens in Atlanta.
¥ 1951-Korean War: the First Battle of Maryang San pits Commonwealth troops against communist Chinese troops.
¥ 1952-the UK successfully tests a nuclear weapon to become the world’s third nuclear power.
¥ 1963-a violent coup in Honduras begins two decades of military rule.
¥ 1978-a Finnish Air Force DC-3 crashes, killing all aboard (12 VIP passengers and 3 crew).
¥ 1981-the hunger strike at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland ends after 7 months and 10 deaths.
¥ 1985-the Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its maiden flight.
¥ 1990-the German Democratic Republic is abolished and becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany.
¥ 1993-an American attack against a warlord in Mogadishu fails. 18 attackers and over 350 Somalis die.
¥ 2008-the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 for the US financial system is signed by President George W. Bush.
¥ 2009-Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgzstan, and Turkey join together in the Turkic Council.
¥ 2013-at least 134 migrants are killed when their boat sinks near the Italian island of Lampedusa.
¥ 2015-42 people are killed and 33 go missing in the Kunduz hospital strike.
Daily Weird Facts:
Actor Frankie Muniz suffers from long term memory loss and doesn’t remember being on Malcolm in the Middle.
“To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.”—Winston Churchill
Currency and Commodity Markets:
Oil prices closed at:
$74.34/barrel on 10/5
$47.66/barrel on 12/23
$48.63 on 01/07
$52.31/barrel on 01/16
$55.26/barrel on 2/3
$55.41/barrel on 2/26
$73.77/barrel on 4/29
$63.28/barrel on 5/17
$54.07/barrel on 6/18
$55.96/barrel on 7/24
$58.31/barrel on 9/10
$53.50/barrel on 10/2
The price of gasoline at my new West Palm Beach station has slowly climbed since Hurricane Dorian to $2.39/gallon, despite the drop in oil prices during the same period. Most of the other stations in the area are 40-70 cents more per gallon.
One USD versus the Yen was trading at (these are all Repo Commentary dates):
112.20 on 12/24
108.60 on 01/07
109.07 on 01/16
103.18 on 02/03
104.86 on 2/25
103.86 on 5/17
102.59 on 6/18
102.43 on 7/24
101.72 on 9/10
102.16 on 10/02
One Euro was trading on:
12/24 at $1.1426
01/07 at $1.1478
01/16 at $1.1396
02/03 at $1.2047
02/25 at $1.1955
05/17 at $1.1761
06/18 at $1.1825
07/24 at $1.1740
09/10 at $1.1623
10/02 at $1.1504
One British Pound was trading on:
12/24 at $1.2655
01/07 at $1.2770
01/16 at $1.2880
02/03 at $1.3758
02/25 at $1.3728
05/17 at $1.3427
06/18 at $1.3157
07/24 at $1.3070
09/10 at $1.2959
10/02 at $1.2882
One USD versus the CAD at:
1.3442 on 12/24
1.3297 on 01/07
1.3255 on 01/16
1.2492 on 2/03
1.2492 on 2/25
1.2800 on 5/17
1.2740 on 6/18
1.2480 on 7/24
1.2520 on 9/10
1.2560 on 10/02
Gold closed on 9/09 at $1504.90/ounce. On 10/02, it closed at $1498.70/ounce.
Bitcoin was trading at (Repo Commentary Dates):
$8,185.21 on 7/25
$6,350 on 10/5
$3,774.97 on 12/24/18
$3,7774.97 on 01/07
$3,598.90 on 01/16
$3,421.10 on 02/06
$3,826.44 on 02/26
$8,100.00 on 05/16
$7,215.79 on 05/17
$9,088.59 on 06/18
$11,919.30 on 06/25
$9,790.37 on 07/24
$10,183.90 on 09/10
$8,235.46 on 10/02
After rebounding dramatically since the beginning of the year, although certainly not to its $19,000 highs, Bitcoin hit a wall at the beginning of the Summer, rallied during the Summer, and recently has tumbled again in the past month.
Global Financial News:
The recent deal with the Trump Administration puts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on course to break free of government conservatorship and allows them to retain earnings. The US unemployment rate just fell to a 50-year low today. The figures run counter to recent economic data that was pointing to the US heading for a recession. The EU is readying its response to tariffs imposed by the US, after the WTO ruled that the US could retaliate against the EU subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus. Advisory firms are being urged to act a “digital safeguards” and train employees and clients on cybersecurity and reviewing software vendors’ security. In an ironic twist, the FSB, who originally pushed for tough industry regulations, is now saying that cutting back banks’ loss reserves/equity/capital that they have to hold, to reduce the likelihood of a government bailout during systemic crisis, would help make the global economy more stable. That comes from Randal Quarles, chairman of the FSB and vice chairman of supervision at the Federal Reserve, saying “We have set our [loss-absorbing capacity] too high.” Fed’s Clarida said monetary policy is “not on a preset course.” Trade groups and financial institutions are calling for action to deal with unnecessary fragmentation that regulations have created, in some cased unintended consequences. The Federal Reserve will discuss changes to bank supervision, including ones that will ease regulations for mid-size and regional banks. Living Will requirements are also expected to change and become based on bank size. EU and Ireland say that the UK must make more concessions to get a Brexit deal, making it appear that British PM Boris Johnson’s proposal is not likely to lead to a deal. CFPB has added members to its advisory boards, reversing former acting Director Mulvaney’s efforts to dismantle some of the boards of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In Pensions & Investments, a new survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies shows that only 17% of employers are “very” confident about their employees’ retirement security. 23% of employers said they were “not too” confident, and 6% were “not at all” confident. Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker said that the use of digital currencies by central banks is “inevitable.” Falling yields on US Treasuries and German Bunds, fueled by strong appetite for ‘save haven’ securities and Easing by the Federal Reserve, suggest the global economy is in trouble and inflation is set to remain low. The pace of the expansion of the US services sector has slowed to a 3-year low in September, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The first 4 IPOs since WeWork’s planned offering collapsed and Peloton shares dropped post-IPO, demonstrate that investors appear to be losing interest in startups going public, per Bloomberg News. Slowing in US manufacturing activity and private-sector hiring, along with a weakening economy and growing trade strife, are making analysts bearish on industrial stocks.
US Market News:
The Dow Jones (global stocks as well), along with other stock indices, were enjoying record or near-record highs in late July 2019 (feeding off of earnings reports, US budget progress, and the Fed switching to easing monetary policy) but then corrected some 10% in August 2019, due to global political unrest and tariff/trade wars. Since August, it has been turbulent, but given the turmoil in the Repo Market, Fed easing, and lower yields/higher issuance in the US Treasury market, one would have expected some reallocation to stocks.
The Dow Jones closed at (Repo Commentary Dates):
26,656.77 on 9/20/18
26,447.05 on 10/5/18
21,792.20 on 12/23/18
21,712.53 on 12/26/18
24,207.16 on 01/16/19
25,063.89 on 2/06/19
26,106.47 on 2/25/19
25,862.68 on 5/16/19
26,465.54 on 6/18/19
27,269.97 on 7/24/19
26,793.09 on 9/10/19
26,229.31 on 10/02/19 down 343.73 points as I write this
S&P 500 also gave up its all-time high on 9/20/18 of 2,930.66, then marched back up to a new high on 7/24/19, only to correct to nearly 2,800 three times in August, before rising again to near the highs, closing on:
10/5/18 at 2,885.58
12/26/18 at 2,467.70
01/07/19 at 2,549.69
01/16/19 at 2,616.10
02/06/19 at 2,706.53
02/25/19 at 2,799.34
05/16/19 at 2,876.32
06/18/19 at 2,917.75
07/24/19 at 3,019.56 new all-time high
09/10/19 at 2,969.04
10/02/19 at 2,906.94 down 33.31 as I write this
Nasdaq too gave up its 8/28/18 high of 8,030.04, closing on:
10/5/18 at 7,788.45
12/26/18 at 6,554.36
01/07/19 at 6,823.47
01/16/19 at 7,034.70
02/06/19 at 7,263.87
02/25/19 at 7,561.87
05/16/19 at 7,898.05
06/18/19 at 7,953.68
07/24/19 at 8,321.50 new all-time high
09/10/19 at 8,043.58
10/02/19 at 7,809.22 down 99.46 as I write this
US Treasury yields have been in free-fall since hitting highs in October 2018.
2 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 2.88%
12/18/18 at 2.65%
01/07/19 at 2.53%
01/16/19 at 2.55%
02/06/19 at 2.52%
02/22/19 at 2.48%
05/16/19 at 2.20%
06/18/19 at 1.86%
07/24/19 at 1.83%
09/09/19 at 1.58%
10/01/19 at 1.56%
3 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 2.99%
12/18/18 at 2.64%
01/07/19 at 2.47% (inverted to 2years)
01/16/19 at 2.53%
02/06/19 at 2.50%
02/22/19 at 2.46%
05/16/19 at 2.15%
06/18/19 at 1.80%
07/24/19 at 1.79%
09/09/19 at 1.52%
10/01/19 at 1.51%
5 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.07%
12/18/18 at 2.65%
01/07/19 at 2.49%
01/16/19 at 2.54%
02/06/19 at 2.51%
02/22/19 at 2.47%
05/16/19 at 2.18%
06/18/19 at 1.83%
07/24/19 at 1.82%
09/09/19 at 1.49%
10/01/19 at 1.51%
7 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.18%
12/18/18 at 2.74%
01/07/19 at 2.60%
01/16/19 at 2.62%
02/06/19 at 2.59%
02/22/19 at 2.55%
05/16/19 at 2.28%
06/18/19 at 1.93%
07/24/19 at 1.93%
09/09/19 at 1.57%
10/01/19 at 1.59%
10 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.23%
12/18/18 at 2.82%
01/07/19 at 2.70%
01/16/19 at 2.73%
02/06/19 at 2.70%
02/22/19 at 2.65%
05/16/19 at 2.40%
06/18/19 at 2.06%
07/24/19 at 2.05%
09/09/19 at 1.83%
10/01/19 at 1.65% dramatic drop in one month!
30 YEAR BONDS closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.40%
12/18/18 at 3.07%
01/07/19 at 2.99%
01/16/19 at 3.07%
02/06/19 at 3.03%
02/22/19 at 3.02%
05/16/19 at 2.84%
06/18/19 at 2.55%
07/24/19 at 2.58%
09/10/19 at 2.11%
10/01/19 at 2.11%
US Treasury yields have virtually disappeared in the last 2 months and market participants got another 25bp rate cut at the 9/18 FOMC meeting, and are expecting yet another cut before year-end. Timing is perfect for record issuance by the US Treasury, so it will pay less interest on its debt, and as it’s mulling over issuing much longer maturities at these cycle low interest rates. But, there is a ‘Catch-22’: the rates are low, so, great for issuance and great for Treasury; but who will buy the securities if they have too low a yield versus other investments?
The NY Times officially declared the Manhattan real estate a “buyers’ market”. Hmmm, the brokers on Million Dollar Listing-NYC had declared that a season ago. Anyway, the volume of sales and the prices of condos and co-ops (I had a cond-op, ugh) fell sharply in Q3, in almost every real estate category in Manhattan. As the NYT points out, some of this was due to the transfer-tax rates for luxury apartments that went into effect in July. Volume of Sales in Q3 was down 14.2% year/year and median sales prices fell 8.2% to $1,025,000. Compass pointed out that in Q3, properties stayed an average of 152 days on the market, the longest since 2012. Back to that transfer-tax rate (also referred to as the ‘mansion tax’), it is a tax on sales above $1 million with staggered percentage tax from 1-3.9%, depending on the sales price of the property. A Michigan real estate agent’s “Scream” themed listing photos have gone viral. REALTOR Magazine reports that single-story ranch homes are becoming more desirable that they once were. Analysts expect lower mortgage rates to buoy buyer demand in the Fall months, as the bright spot in a worrisome economy. A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that some buyers may be better off using a digital mortgage, which reduces discrimination. A new study says that 17% of young homebuyers regret their purchases.
I am guessing that this is the first time for many to actually scroll down to the Repo Market section of the Repo Commentary first, rather than Entertainment or Sports. Well, I guess that’s understandable. We have been experiencing those once-in-a-decade volatile periods in the Securities Finance Market that suddenly put the word “Repo” on the front pages of Bloomberg, WSJ, and NY Times, baffling hundreds of millions of people around the world. I intended to write this Repo Commentary a week ago, but got a deluge of calls from clients, colleagues, and media about the current state of affairs. It’s nice to be needed and the first call when there is trouble in our Securities Financing industry, to an extent.
I had to laugh when Invesco’s Vice Chairman of Investments, Krishna Memani, wrote on LinkedIn, “get a repo trader going and he will regale—and bore—you to death-with stories about the inner workings of the money market. And within 10 minutes, you will be talking about the repo market during the financial crisis as if it happened yesterday.” I think he was specifically directing that at me! Well, “repo” is the lubricant of the money market system, particularly the issuance of US Treasuries and other bonds, and it only comes up in conversation among non-participants when the gears start squeaking or fail to function, like yelling for WD 40. And, the last time the general public heard about “repo” it was during the Financial Crisis. Okay, there, I said it, I proved Mr. Memani right.
I know you’ve seen many articles on the subject of current repo market illiquidity and volatility, I’ve read them too. I think I can summarize them all and add my almost 37 years of experience in the Securities Finance market to lay out the causes and possible solutions.
To look at the WHY, one need look at what has happened since the Financial Crisis.
¥ The regulators, particularly the Federal Reserve, instituted emergency liquidity programs for different sectors of the money market (CP, Corporate Bonds, Broker/Dealers, GSEs, etc.). They eventually unwound those many programs.
¥ They opened up for a brief time the Discount Window to more participants and without the previous stigma attached, for collateral providers to access cash.
¥ They put FNMA and FHLMC into conservatorship.
¥ They began easing Monetary Policy massively for years.
¥ They began Quantitative Easing and built up the Fed’s balance sheet to $4.5 trillion. They added to it by buying more securities every month from the paydowns on their MBS portfolio.
¥ They propped up some broker/dealers, allowed some to fail, and helped others to consolidate/merge.
¥ The Repo Market shrunk in the US from about $7 trillion to $3 trillion, before recent increase to about $3.6 trillion.
¥ Regulators instituted mountains of new reforms, especially the 310 new rules of Dodd-Frank, globally to decrease the likelihood of systemic risk in the financial system and to force, particularly the broker/dealers and GSIB banks to hold more capital/reserves for liquidity.
¥ The market began looking for alternatives to financing through broker/dealers via CCPs, peer-to-peer financing, Sponsored Repo, and electronic trading platforms.
¥ The Fed began its much hailed RRP program, which added over 300 cash providers from the Repo market to finance the Fed’s balance sheet and provide ‘liquidity’ for those cash providers.
¥ The Fed stopped QE and began reducing their balance sheet down to $2.5 trillion.
¥ The US Treasury began ramping up issuance to the tune of about $1 trillion more, which is funneled through the 24 primary broker/dealers and the central banks.
¥ The Fed began tightening monetary policy and tinkering with new measures of repo rates and LIBOR replacement. They also began tinkering with the Interest on Excess Reserves (IOER) from banks and credit unions, to try to create higher reserves.
¥ The Fed did an about face and began easing monetary policy. They also lowered IOER.
That’s not everything that happened, but that gives you the broad strokes. And just in those bullet points, I see many of the contributing factors of the recent dislocation of the repo market. And, by the way, that actually refutes Mr. Memani’s later comment that “Nothing much has happened in the money markets since financial crisis. A lot more happened in those 11 years than happened in the 26 years that I was in the money markets.
I believe the reasons we had dislocations over the last week or so in repo rates, up as high as 10% the first day and 6% the second day, despite the Fed easing the target to 1.75%-2.00% the third day, and coming in with Overnight Open Market Operations (which they used to do daily—Customer RPs, System RPs, Match Sales—which was how we used to determined what they were doing with Monetary Policy, based on whether they were adding reserves or removing reserves and to what extent, but I won’t “bore” you), come down to a major imbalance of bank reserves, behavior not consistent with expectation, illiquidity in the repo market (rather than the highly touted increase in liquidity), concentration risk, a corporate tax date that removed cash from the repo market, humongous new supply of US treasuries being issued, many Repo market participants out of the Federal Reserve direct loop, and a mountain of hundreds of new regulations that broker/dealers (and others) are trying to still absorb and position reserves/capital, personnel, and trading strategies for. As you can see, there are a lot of balls in the air!
I’m not sure why participants and regulators didn’t foresee an imbalance (lack of) bank reserves. The piles of new regulations that regulators gave to the money markets fundamentally required banks to hold more reserves versus balance sheets (which repo is the major contributor to), the low yields may have encouraged banks to use reserves elsewhere in more profitable areas than repo (they are profit-motivated, as they should be), and the Fed lowered the IOER which may have disincented banks from depositing reserves at the Fed. The decrease in the Fed’s balance sheet came at the cost of the market absorbing those securities. The US Treasury issuing phenomenal amounts of securities that have to be taken by the 24 primary dealers (already full up on balance sheets they are trying to reduce) and the central banks/swfs (who already have $14 trillion of US Treasuries, should have been know as a potential clog in the system. Plus, with the Fed lowering rates, the returns on those US Treasuries would be lower for those new owners. And the central banks ownership of US Treasuries is another complicated story, one of ripple effects. They can’t really sell US Treasuries into this market, without having some issue with the US Government, whichever branch. But, yet, many of them need to support their currency, particularly against the US Dollar. So, some of them enter the Repo market to repo the US Treasuries to receive US Dollars to then buy their own currencies with, propping up their currency by kicking the can somewhat down the road, until their GDP rises or oil prices rise (raising their specific GDP). Layer over that macroeconomic soup a topping of trade wars and tariffs, it becomes rather complex to predict. And, that brings me to my last observation, that unintended consequences arose from the hundreds of regulations foisted on the money market, mainly because market behavior is not that predictive. Regulators thought that if they made the system safer, more investors would come in, but yet the repo market didn’t grow that much, but yet supply from the Fed and from the US Treasury increased dramatically. Regulators thought that if the banks had more reserves and capital, they would pass that on to the buyside, but that didn’t take into account their profit motivations and individual bank idiosyncricies. Lastly, the regulators didn’t expect the perfect storm of added supply, taxes withdrawn, cash out of the system, reserves lower, and tools that would work directly only on the 24 primary dealers and the 300 cash providers in RRP. I’ve been remarking for years, since the RRP, that there was not a comparable program for collateral providers/leveraged players in the Repo market. Steve Malekian went further to say, a year ago, that the newly touted liquidity of the Repo market was “only for Platinum accounts.” It was only for select buyside clients.
So, the Fed needs to do something. And, I don’t mean just the Overnight operations with the 24 primary dealers. I can’t even predict what those dealers’ positions are or how the added liquidity would flow to the buyside clients. The extra cash could be used to fund their Swaps desk, the Repo Desk, other outright traders, Platinum accounts, or speculatively with leveraged accounts (as a few savvy broker/dealers have seen that opportunity and gone short to reverse in at higher rates from leveraged accounts and supply balance sheet). The point is that the mound of regulations and the open market operations and the tinkering with the IOER are supposed to impact banks and broker/dealers in such a way to induce certain behavior, but behavior is unique. So, the Fed needs to go back to its ample toolkit (and get people who have been there at least 10 years) to:
¥ Implement more term RPs, to give the market some faith and reduce Fed reputational risk
¥ Purchase securities, either US Treasuries or Agency MBS, increasing the Fed balance sheet (although this may be difficult because there were probably several good reasons why they decreased it.)
¥ Open the Discount Window to more participants, with NO stigma attached (it used to be how one in the market knew who was having a liquidity crisis), and other sectors represented.
¥ Create a collateral provider facility, similar to RRP, or help reduce the hurdles, like CCLF for CCPs and Sponsored Repo type ventures to increase liquidity.
¥ Tinker the IOER rate UP, rather than down, to increase the Reserves at the Fed.
¥ Support/encourage Repo done outside of the 24 primary dealers, helping collateral providers find cash providers, when certain broker/dealers are balance sheet full and capital restrained from the very regulations that the Fed was involved in. I hope that didn’t come out too angry. I think systemic risk reduction is a huge priority and I am worried about firesale risk (although I don’t think moving the sale down the road to 7 days or 30 days changes firesale risk, it just changes the date of the firesale).
Okay, you made it through my diatribe. Sorry for the verbosity or if I ‘bored’ you. The bottom line is that the money markets, particularly the securities finance market (Repo & Securities Lending) is still trying to find its footing, particularly as the Repo market has shrunk, while Treasury supply has increased.
I still 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 ALL 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 dealers’ repo matched book came at a couple of costs, first, the bid/offer spread that went to the dealers, which has been volatile but certainly widened since the Financial Crisis, and second, the defaults of the Financial Crisis, which not only subjected clients to dealer defaults and wider spreads, but in many cases directly impacted clients by making them suddenly the outright traders of repo collateral. Some of that collateral, on top of it, was very illiquid. Not knowing who the other clients were on the other side of the dealers’ repo matched book, and who could potentially bring down those intermediary dealers was costly for many clients. Clearly, with that pipeline of is intermediation becoming severely crimped by post-Financial Crisis regulatory reforms, consolidation and bankruptcies, and the resulting drop of about 60% in balance sheets (which has recovered partially with new entrants to the market and international banks’ increases due to regulatory arbitrage) being used for broker/dealer respective repo matched books, new pathways/pipelines needed to be explored for cash provider and collateral provider clients. My former baby, AVM’s Direct Repo™, was the first of one of such pathways, over 10 years ago. Since then, many other liquidity 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 Agented repo through seclending agents and some prime brokers to buyside clients, direct lending from beneficial owners to hedge funds who are short via their agents, indemnified As Agent repo, buyside to buyside Triparty Repo through two international clearing organizations of their custodial clients, electronic all-to-all repo on a few electronic trading platforms like (Elixium, BNY DBVX, State Street’s Cash Cross), FICC’s sponsored repo and cleared repo products for certain sectors of the buyside into that CCP, dealer to dealer and some clients electronic trading platforms (like GLMX, HQLA, and Tradeweb), other Repo and/or Seclending CCPs (particularly in Europe, like Eurex, LCH, OCC, CME, etc.), total return swaps platforms (like WeMatch.com), and collateralized loan exchanges like AFX/CBOE. There have still been other firms that have created some king of product that mimics a repo, but yet doesn’t show up on dealers’ balance sheets (so helps them), and/or provides better credit counterparties (so helps clients), and can take many forms. I believe this overall evolution will continue and eventually we will see all of these pathways used in some part, including the traditional pathway (to probably a lesser than historical degree) through the broker/dealers and prime brokers. Some of that balance sheet has returned, as I mentioned above, but maybe for only select ‘platinum’ clients and may come at a higher bid/offer spread or in specific, more profitable products/securities, as other market observers/experts have said.
Securities Finance Industry Conferences:
• Deutsche Borse/Clearstream held its annual conference this week in Luxembourg, which I attended last year.
• IMN 25th Beneficial Owners International Securities Finance and Collateral Management Conference was held in Fort Lauderdale, FL on 2/5-2/6. I was chosen as the Chairperson.
• Finadium held a new conference on the Business of Collateral Trading in Frankfurt, Germany on 2/21.
• IMN held its annual Fixed Income Investor Network in Las Vegas on 2/24.
• iMoneyNet held its annual MMExpo in Middleburg, VA 3/4-3/6.
• PASLA/RMA held its 16th annual Conference on Asian Securities Lending in Sydney, Australia 3/5-3/7.
• GIOA held its 15th annual conference in Las Vegas 3/20-3/22.
• Crane Data held its annual Bond Fund Symposium in Philadelphia on 3/25-3/26.
• Finadium held its 3rd annual Investors in Securities Lending Conference in NYC on 5/2-5/3.
• GFOA held its 113th annual conference in Los Angeles on 5/19-5/22.
• Securities Lending Times held its annual Securities Finance Technology Symposium in London on 5/9.
• IMN held its annual Global ABS conference in Barcelona, Spain on 6/11-6/13.
• Worldwide Business Research will hold its annual Fixed Income Leaders USA Summit in Philadelphia, PA on 6/18-6/20.
• ISLA held its Securities Finance and Collateral Management conference in Madrid this week.
• Crane Data held its annual Money Fund Symposium on 6/24-6/26 in Boston.
• Hedge Fund Association held its Rooftop Social in NYC on 6/27.
• Worldwide Business Research will hold its annual Fixed Income & FX Leader Summit in Singapore on 9/17-9/19.
• IHS Markit in conjunction with Opal Group will hold a Securities Finance Forum in NYC on 9/17.
• IMN will hold its annual ABS East conference in Miami Beach, FL on 9/22-9/24.
• IMN will hold its annual European Securities Finance conference in London on 9/25-9/26.
• Crane Data will hold its annual European Money Fund Symposium in Dublin, Ireland on 9/23-24.
• Finadium will hold its 3rd annual Investors in Securities Lending Conference Europe in London on 9/24.
• National Association of State Treasurers will hold its annual conference in Naples, FL on 10/6-10/9.
• Worldwide Business Research will hold its Fixed Income Leaders conference in Barcelona on 10/7-10/9.
• RMA will hold its 37th annual Conference on Securities Finance and Collateral Management in Boca Raton, FL on October 14-17. I will be seeing many of you there/here. I haven’t missed an RMA and I’m not going to start now!
• American Financial Professionals (AFP) will hold its gigantic annual conference in Boston, MA on 10/20-10/23.
• Finadium will hold its Rates & Repo conference in New York on 11/4
• Risk.net will hold its 25th annual Risk USA conference in NYC on November 5-6.
• SIFMA will hold its annual Meeting in Washington, DC on 11/18-11/20.
Federal Reserve News:
The Fed Funds rate, which is still the target rate of Federal Reserve monetary policy and changes to which are made by and announced by the FOMC at regularly scheduled meetings, is currently set at 1.75-2.00% (remember, the Fed has been using a target ‘range’ for a while), after the FOMC lowered it on 7/31/19 and again on 9/18/19. The Effective Fed Funds Rate (EFFR), as reported by the Federal Reserve, was 1.88% on 10/1/19.
The Overnight Bank Funding Rate (OBFR), is also published by the NY Fed to capture the volume-weighted median of overnight federal funds transactions, Eurodollar transactions, and the domestic deposits reported by banks. That rate on 10/1/19 was 1.85%.
The Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) is supposed to be a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by US Treasury securities. It is also reported by the NY Fed on its website. It has been controversial and has been considered as a possible replacement for LIBOR. SOFR includes trades in the Broad General Collateral Rate of Repo plus bilateral Treasury Repo transactions cleared through the DVP services at CCP FICC, ostensibly filtering out issues trading Special. However, critics (and I am one) say that it only picks up the Offered Side of Repo (not a median), that it only picks up the small amount of DVP transactions cleared at FICC and Triparty Repo done at Bank of NY, ignoring the growing amount of bilateral (non-Triparty) repo being done peer-to-peer, dealer-to-dealer, and client-to-dealer, outside of FICC. It is a good representation of where Money Funds (except for a few savvy ones who trade peer-to-peer) are paid on their cash versus US Treasuries in Repo each day by broker/dealers. It almost completely ignores other sectors, particularly buyside clients with collateral. That all being said, the current SOFR reported by the Fed for 10/1/19 was 1.88%.
The next FOMC meetings are: 10/30/19, 12/11/19, 1/29/20.
The Federal Reserve’s Reverse Repo Facility (RRP), which has over 300 approved participants (mostly banks, GSEs, and MMFs) is used as a tool by the Federal Reserve, along with its Fed Funds target-setting monetary policy, and IOER for depository institutions, to help control short-term interest rates. 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 5/15/19, 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. So, if RRP is not extinct, it is certainly now dormant, occasionally coming out of hibernation for year-ends and quarter-ends, when liquidity becomes very strange.
In December 2018, at the FOMC meeting, 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%
12/13/18 to 2.50%
But, then the Federal Reserve paused. Suddenly, on 7/31/19, the Fed eased the Fed Funds target rate to 2.25%, and then did another rate cut by 0.25% to 2.00% on 9/18/19. Technically, that rate is the top end of a 25bp rate spread that the Fed considers its current target rate (1.75%-2.00%). The reversal in monetary policy is expected to continue, with perhaps one more rate cut by the Fed in 2019.
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 reference, the Fed Funds target rate was 5.25% before the Fed cut of 9/18/2007, at or near the beginning of the Financial Crisis.
I personally think the Federal Reserve (and the US Treasury) could use an industry consultant with nearly 37 years of experience in the securities financing market and who has worked extensively in sell-side, buy-side, and vender firms, giving him/her a unique and neutral perspective. I know someone like that.
Earthquakes and Volcanoes:
Globally, the Earth’s crust is still very active, especially along the Pacific Rim and in Chile. These are just the earthquakes over the last 3 days! Latest strong earthquakes (4.5 magnitude and above):
10/2 4.8 81km SE of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
10/2 5.1 196km W of Abepura, Indonesia
10/2 5.0 66km NNE of Xujiaba, China
10/2 4.7 Carlsberg Ridge
10/2 5.2 39km S of San Mateo del Mar, Mexico
10/2 4.7 147km W of Coquimbo, Chile
10/2 4.8 223km E of Yamada, Japan
10/1 5.2 Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
10/1 5.5 91km SSW of Macquarie Island
10/1 4.6 79km NW of San Antonio de los Colores, Argentina
10/1 4.5 241km SE of Amahai, Indonesia
10/1 4.5 46km SSE of Caucete, Argentina
10/1 5.2 Broken Ridge
10/1 4.9 254km NNW of Farallon de Pajaros, Nothern Mariana Islands
10/1 5.3 37km SE of Wairoa, New Zealand
10/1 5.9 Southern East Pacific Rise
9/30 4.5 9km NE of Cruz Grande, Mexico
9/30 4.6 58km ESE of Madang, Papua New Guinea
9/30 5.0 94km ESE of Ol’ga, Russia
9/30 4.6 128km SW of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
9/30 4.7 142km SSE of Lambasa, Fiji
9/30 4.7 140km SSE of Lambasa, Fiji
9/30 4.5 45km N of Arzak, China
9/30 5.6 40km NE of Calama, Chile
9/30 4.7 Kuril Islands
9/30 4.8 158km WNW of Constitucion, Chile
9/30 4.7 42km ESE of General Luna, Philippines
9/30 4.7 50km WSW of Constitucion, Chile
9/30 4.9 121km SW of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
The Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1st and ends November 30th. For 2018, Colorado State University experts had predicted an above average season of 14 named Tropical Storms, of which 7 would become Hurricanes. Both are above the averages of 12 and 6, respectively. But, there were 15 named Tropical Storms, of which 8 were hurricanes, and 2 of them major. So, they underestimated.
Hurricane officials were warning Floridians to prepare in advance of the 2019 storm season. There are several national meteorological services and scientific agencies that forecast how many named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes (above Category 3). TSR, CSU, and The Weather Company were similar numbers, while NCU was higher. CSU has been the most used and they forecast for 2019 a near-average season of 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. We have already had 12 named storms, and have only just reached the historically busiest month. Hurricane Lorenzo is bearing down on Ireland and Great Britain, having spun North and East from the Caribbean. It still has 80mph winds.
The Hurricane names for the 2019 North Atlantic season are:
The Pacific Hurricane Season started 5/1/18 and ends 11/1/18.
Eastern North Pacific currently has no activity to report, after just having 3 tropical cyclones come through. Central North Pacific currently has no activity to report.
As for the weather, starting with the heat, after setting an all-time Florida record high average temperature for May, June and July, respectively, temperatures have moderated slightly, by about 5-10 degrees, bringing down the daily heat indices of 105-110. However, after two months of nearly daily thunderstorms, most counties of Florida (including Palm Beach County) set a 100-year record DRY September, with only 1.39 inches of rain here in PBC. I’m sure you saw that wedding picture from Washington State this weekend, in which it snowed on the bride and groom. A massive snowstorm dumped 4 feet of snow on Montana this weekend. Early snows are being seen in the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies. Temperatures are plummeting into the 20s and 30s. Rain is expected over the Plain States, Texas, and Louisiana, where temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s. New York and New England will see rain, some mix, and snow in northern Maine, where temperatures will range between 30s and 50s. Florida should see a pick up in rain and hopefully a lessening of the last 5 days of 30mph winds. Temperatures should moderate in the mid-to-high 80s. The South has been so hot for months that there is now a ‘flash drought’.
The MLB regular season began 3/28 this year and ended on 9/30 (more than 6 months). The Postseason will now begin with one game Wild Card playoffs in both the AL and the NL, then the Wild Card winner against one of the Division winners in both Leagues, followed by Division Championships, and ultimately, the World Series, of the best of the AL and the NL. The 2018 World Series Champion Red Sox did not start well, suffered injuries to starting pitching and loss of both closers to free agency, and became the tenth team to win a World Series and not make the Playoffs the following year. Not unexpectedly, they fired their 3-year GM Dave Dumbowski. They have a lot of key players who will become free agents after the 2020 season, which poses the question of whether they will keep them to win one more time, or follow owner John Henry’s plan to lower payroll for the team and trade key players for the future. This will likely be as painful an off-season for us Red Sox fans, as it was a regular season. The Red Sox president has admitted it will be “difficult” to keep both Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. I think the majority of you readers are Yankee fans (although I never took a poll), so you’re ecstatic that the Yankees have indeed made the Postseason and are one of the strongest contenders, after having fallen just short in 2018.
The Red Sox were obviously not the only team expected to do well that did not do well in 2019, as is evidenced by the 16% drop in MLB attendance in 2019 over 2018. The end of a sports regular season is always coupled with a list of fired coaches and managers and GMs. Here is 2019’s casualty list (and available positions):
¥ Cubs manager-Joe Maddon
¥ Pirates manager-Clint Hurdle
¥ Angels manager-Brad Ausmus
¥ Royals manager
¥ Giants manager-Bruce Bochy
¥ Padres manager-Andy Green
¥ Red Sox GM-Dave Dombrowski
¥ Mets manager-Mickey Callaway
Looking ahead to the playoffs, the Astros had the best record in the AL, beating out the Yankees and Twins. So, the A’s played the Rays in the one-game Wild Card playoff, while the Astros waited for the winner of that game. The Rays won 5-1, eliminating the A’s from the postseason. The Yankees will play the Twins, who they have owned recently. The Indians and Red Sox fell short of the Wild Card playoffs. Today, the ALDS best of 5 series begin with the Rays at the Astros and the Twins at the Yankees. In the NL, the Dodgers, by far, had the best record, over the Braves. The NL Wild Card Playoff game was between the red hot Nationals and the Brewers, who were just eclipsed by the Cardinals for the NL Central. The Nationals had just beaten the Brewers in and exciting game of the final season. Then, on Tuesday night they repeated with another exciting close win over the Brewers, 4-3, eliminating the Brewers from the postseason. The Nationals will now face the Dodgers, and in fact lost Game 1 of their best of 5 NLDS 6-0 on Thursday night. Game 2 is tonight. Meanwhile, the Braves now play Cardinals, and actually lost Game 1 7-6 on Thursday night, in their best of 5 NLDS. Game 2 is tonight. The Mets, Diamondbacks, and Cubs fell short of the Playoffs. Interestingly, the A’s have as many wins as every National League playoff team except the Dodgers and the Rays have more wins than the Cardinals, Nationals, and Brewers. So, the AL overall has stronger records than the NL it was a small triumph that the Nationals, perennially strong starters and analysts’ favorites, finally made the Playoffs. And they had to beat the Brewers in the last game of the season to make it, which is ironic, since that’s their opponent in the one-game Wild Card Playoff too.
The Giants are planning to move their bullpens behind the outfield wall, reducing foul territory and will change Oracle Park. The Nationals offered Anthony Rendon a massive 7-year/$200 million extension. A Houston businessman has bet $3.5 million on the Astros to win the World Series.
The FedEx Cup finally ended with Rory McIlroy winning the $15 million check. The PGA Tour took a 15-day break after that, then resumed the Fall season, with 11 tournaments. On Wednesday, World No.1 Brooks Koepka revealed that he recently (after the Tour Championship) underwent stem-cell treatment to repair a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee. That’s why he didn’t practice before any non-major tournament last year, because of the pain. This week, the PGA Tour is at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where Koepka will debut for his 2019-2020 season. Koepka was also given the Player of the Year Award for 2018-2019. He made it clear in the press conference that he doesn’t play for awards, he plays for titles. The European Tour unveiled its schedule for 2020 season:
¥ 11/28-12/1/19 Hong Kong Open
¥ 11/28-12/1/19 Alfred Dunhill Championship
¥ 12/5-12/8/19 Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open
¥ 12/19-12/22/19 Australian PGA Championship
¥ 1/9-1/12/20 South African Open
¥ 1/16-1/19 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
¥ 1/23-1/26 Omega Dubai Desert Classic
¥ 1/30-2/2 Saudi International
¥ 2/6-2/9 ISPS Handa Vic Open
¥ 2/20-2/23 WGC-Mexico Championship
¥ 2/27-3/1 Oman Open
¥ 3/5-3/8 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
¥ 3/12-3/15 Magical Kenya
¥ 3/19-3/22 Hero Indian Open
¥ 3/25-3/29 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
¥ 4/9-4/12 The Masters
¥ 4/16-4/19 Maybank Championship
¥ 4/23-4/26 Volvo China Open
¥ 4/30-5/3 Estrella D. Andalucia Masters
¥ 5/9-5/10 GolfSixes Cascals
¥ 5/14-5/17 US PGA Championship
¥ 5/21-5/24 Made in Denmark
¥ 5/28-5/31 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
¥ 6/4-6/7 Trophee Hassan II
¥ 6/11-6/14 Scandinavian Invitation
¥ 6/18-6/21 US Open
¥ 6/25-6/28 BMW International Open
¥ you have to believe that I had no idea this would be so long and that I just wanted to be helpful/informational…
¥ 7/2-7/5 Open de France
¥ 7/2-7/5 WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational
¥ 7/9-7/12 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open
¥ 7/16-7/19 The 149th Open (British Open)
¥ 7/30-8/2 Betfred British Masters
¥ 7/30-8/2 Olympic Men’s Golf Competition
¥ 8/6-8/9 UK event
¥ 8/20-8/23 D+D Real Czech Masters
¥ 8/27-8/30 Omega European Masters
¥ 9/3-9/6 Porsche European Open
¥ at least I can keep this in the Commentary and just update it for the next year…
¥ 9/10-9/13 BMW PGA Championship
¥ 9/17-9/20 KLM Open
¥ 9/25-9/27 The 2020 Ryder Cup
¥ 10/1-10/4 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
¥ 10/8-10/11 Italian Open
¥ 10/15-10/18 Mutuactivos Open de Espana
¥ 10/22-10/25 Portugal Masters
¥ 10/29-11/1 WGC-HSC Champions
¥ 11/5-11/8 Turkish Airlines Open
¥ 11/12-11/15 Nedbank Golf Challenge
¥ 11/19-11/22 DP World Tour Championship
The 99th NFL regular season ended with the New England Patriots beating the Los Angeles Rams in a defensive battle 13-3 in the Super Bowl. The 100th NFL season began 4 games/weeks ago. It has been remarkable for low-scoring defensive battles, a few blowouts, and a remarkable number of starting QB injuries (7)! It has also featured more than the usual number of bad record/bad teams. Currently, there are 6 winless teams and several others that are just flailing. This, so far, has been a season that LACKS parity, maybe because of free agency or weird events. I can’t go on, without mentioning superstar WR Antonio Brown. So, he was one of the 3 stars of the Pittsburgh Steelers, until he became a problem in contract negotiations, and was traded to the Raiders. There, he became a problem in showing up for practice, in wearing his new protective helmet, in fighting with his coaches, and being accused of sexual battery. Even the Raiders, who have historically had their share of bad boys, decided to end their relationship with AB. He was snatched up by the Patriots, who were already full of superstar WRs. He lasted one game and one TD, before more charges against him appeared, and the Pats cut their losses. He is still hoping to be hired by another NFL team this season, while his legal battles continue in court. I was actually shocked that the Patriots picked up AB on waivers, given the charges against him, until one of my wiseguy friends said “hey, aren’t the Patriots the team that had a tight end who killed someone during a bye week in a season?” That shut me up.
So, let me tell you what I think about each team, so far, in 2019, this early in the season. So far, I’ve survived my pool (I really hate to call it a ‘suicide pool’, I wish they had a better term for it, I’m going to call it a ‘survivor pool’). If you have one of those ‘survivor pools’ too, then it hasn’t hurt you to take whatever team is playing the lowly Dolphins, despite this past weekend’s first half against the Chargers. That was only because I picked the Chargers and the Chargers decided not to play a healthy star RB Melvin Gordon. Of course, this week, the Dolphins have a bye, so I need to find another underperformer to lose to a good team. But, the Dolphins haven’t been the only disappointing NFL team in the AFC East. The Jets, with new superstar bizarre holdout Le’Veon Bell (and I love him from the Spartans), are awful. Sorry, they just are. The Bengals, who have usually contended with the Steelers in the AFC North, are 0-4 and just got pummeled Monday night by their rival Steelers, who are now without Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and QB Big Ben. I’m not sure who is still on the Steelers’ roster. Oh, let’s go back to the starting QB issue in the NFL. So, for the 4th year in a row, the NFL decides to institute QB protection rules and penalties that basically limit a defender to tackle a QB only while he has the ball, between the shoulders and the hip, without the helmet, with no arm or hand to the face, only when he has the ball, and without putting his weight on him. So, probably more than half of the sacks in NFL history would have been penalized. And, yet, with such protection for arguably the most important player in the game (don’t get me started on placekickers!), has in 4 weeks, yielded 7 of 32 starting QBs injured, some for the entire season. That’s like high repo rates, despite Fed inter…oh, never mind. So, if you are fans of these teams, many perennial playoff teams, you are no doubt biting your nails down to the core, watching guys you don’t know who are either journeymen or the guy you just drafted from college: Steelers, Saints, Bills, Bears, Panthers, Colts (retired unexpectedly from injuries), Jets, Raiders, and Jaguars. Hmmm, that was 9 teams. The Raiders apparently had another problem on their hands, as longtime rule-violator, Vontaze Burfict, hit a defenseless receiver in the head in the last game, against the Colts, and was ejected. Then, the NFL decided it had had enough and suspended him for the rest of the season without pay. Just to pour salt in Coach Jon Gruden’s wounds, Bears’ all-star LB Khalil Mack, who the Raiders traded for 3 draft picks, says he expected to be a Raider “for a long haul.” He gets to play against his former team, as a Bear, next Sunday, in London. More Gruden news, A. Stephens is hearing rumors that Jon’s brother, Jay, may get fired as coach of the winless Redskins. Reportedly, Patriots’ placekicker, Stephen Gostkowski, who missed a rare 4 kicks in a row (field goals and points after) needs season-ending surgery. The Raiders and Bears will be playing in London this Sunday. Longtime Cardinals owner, Bill Bidwell (ironically one of my nicknames in the Biz), has died at age 88. Bears LB Roquan Smith is back at practice and may be ready to play Week 5 in London. Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill is resuming practice after his shoulder injury. Colts GM is raving about QB Jacoby Brissett, Tom Brady’s former backup. Hmmm, and the Colts are playing the Chiefs…
After just 4 weeks:
AFC East-the Patriots are 4-0, but the Bills have shown some great defense and are 3-1.
AFC North-the Cleveland Browns, expected to excel this year, have managed to be 2-2, tied with the strong offense of the Baltimore Ravens.
AFC South-the Houston Texans, also expected to be stronger, have managed to be 2-2, tied with the Luckless Colts, Foles-less Jaguars, and Titans.
AFC West-the KC Chiefs have gone undefeated 4-0 over the first 4 weeks, but it wasn’t always easy. The rest of the division is at least 2 games behind.
NFC East-the Cowboys have come out roaring at 3-1, ahead of the perennially strong Eagles, and suddenly struggling Redskins.
NFC North-the Packers have been surprisingly strong and the Bears are relying on their defense. The Lions and the Vikings have surprisingly stumbled.
NFC South-the Saints, after losing the other GOAT, QB Drew Brees, have somehow managed to stay atop the division at 3-1.. The Bucs have been surprisingly strong, just beating the Rams in a shootout. The Panthers are hanging on without QB Cam Newton, but the Falcons are underwhelming.
NFC West-the 49ers have become the real deal, rebuilding in just 2 years, now at 3-0. The Seahawks were expected to reign, but stumbled out of the gate, and are now 3-1, tied with the Rams, who have been inconsistent. The Cardinals are in disarray.
The AAF, which was co-founded by Charlie Ebersol, and supported by the NFL as a developmental league, was folded by the NFL just 6 games into the Spring season this year. It is not to be confused with the XFL, which was launched 17 years ago, by Dick Ebersol of NBC, Charlie’s father. The XFL will re-launch in 2020.
In case you are already looking forward to Super Bowl LIV, which will be held here in Miami, tickets and TD club package start at $5000 per person. Other packages start at $10,000 per person.
We have now played 5 weeks of the 15-week regular season. It was really weird starting out without Alabama on top of the AP Top 25 poll, where they perennially start at No.1. But, since Clemson won the BCS National Championship last year, they were No.1 to start the season. However, Alabama is back up there at No.1 again. Some serious excitement already, especially with Monday’s news of California’s Fair Pay to Play Act, which will allow college athletes to be paid for endorsements (profiting off their name, image, and likeness), sell autographs and merchandise, accept endorsement deals, and hire agents, starting in 2023. Maybe the most important/profitable part will be that they can sell their image to appear in a college sports video game. The last licensed college football video game came out in 2013. The last licensed college basketball video game came out in 2009. There are still 14 undefeated teams in the Top 25.
The current AP Top 25 Poll:
4. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
12. Penn State
16. Boise State
20. Arizona State
21. Oklahoma State
22. Wake Forest
25. Michigan State (okay it’s really Texas A&M in this poll)
Week 6 games to watch (especially with *):
*No.18 UCF @ Cincinnati
Utah State @ No.5 LSU
*No.6 Oklahoma @ Kansas
*No.14 Iowa @ No.19 Michigan
*No.21 Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech
Kent State @ No.8 Wisconsin
Purdue @ No.12 Penn State
*No.11 Texas @ West Virginia
*No.7 Auburn @ No.10 Florida
Bowling Green @ No.9 Notre Dame
No.3 Georgia @ Tennessee
No.25 Michigan State @ No.4 Ohio State
Tulsa @ No.24 SMU
Cal @ No.13 Oregon
No.16 Boise State @ UNLV
No.15 Washington @ Stanford
The puck dropped on the regular season, for some of the 31 teams, on 10/3/18. It ended in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on 6/12, when the St. Louis Blues beat my Bruins 4-3 in the Finals. The Blues were in last place in their division in January and wound up winning it all. The Blues gave their superfan, Laila Anderson, a Stanley Cup championship ring. The NHL is finishing up free agency signings. This season began Wednesday 10/2/19 for 8 of the 31 teams. Jets journeyman, Lee Stempniak, has retired. Sharks’ Evander Kane begins the season with a 3-game suspension for abusing and shoving an official. Canucks Sven Baertschi has been waived. The Hurricanes have named new captain, Jordan Staal. Flames signed Tobias Rieder and Zac Rinaldo to one-year deals. Kyle Connor and Jets agreed to 7year/$50 million contract. Avalanche and Mikko Rantanen agree to 6-year/$55.5 million deal. Sidney Crosby’s number will be retired across QMJHL.
The NBA season officially began on 10/3/18 as well. It officially ended with the underdogs, the Toronto Raptors, ousting the favorite Golden State Warriors in six games. This year, the NBA season does not start until 10/22/19. Dwight Howard has been impressive in Lakers camp. Warriors star Klay Thompson won’t return until after All-Star break.
The hype for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo has officially begun. You may have already heard that there will be some new sports added and some sports returning. The Olympic Channel has announced that it will present 300 hours of coverage of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, from January 9 to January 22. In those 13 days, 1,880 athletes will compete in 8 sports across 16 disciplines in 81 medal events. New events will include monobob bobsleigh and ski mountaineering.
US Open winner, Bianca Andreescu, just posted her 16th straight win. No.1 Djokovic is continuing his Tokyo title quest, at the ATP Tokyo, 4 weeks after his US Open. Nadal, Federer, and Murray are at the ATP Beijing China Open, which is also being played now.
Los Angeles could soon be the first major city to ban horse racing. The Breeders Cup will be at Santa Anita Park 11/1 and 11/2.
Last year’s champion, his first, for the NASCAR Cup Series was Joey Logano, who beat Martin Truex Jr. in the final 15 laps of the final race at Homestead. Truex Jr. won the crown in 2017. The 2019 regular season has just completed and the Playoffs are in full gear. Here is the complete schedule of races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup in 2019 and the results:
2/17 Daytona 500, won by Denny Hamlin
2/24 Atlanta, QuickTrip 500, won by Brad Keselowski
3/3 Las Vegas-Joey Logano
3/10 ISM Raceway-Kyle Busch
3/17 Auto Club-Kyle Busch
3/24 Martinsville-Brad Keselowski
3/31 Texas-Denny Hamlin
4/7 Bristol-Kyle Busch
4/13 Richmond-Martin Truex Jr.
4/28 Talladega-Chase Elliott
5/5 Dover-won by Martin Truex Jr.
5/11 Kansas-won by Brad Keselowski
5/18 All-Star Open Charlotte-won by Austin Dillon
5/26 Charlotte, Coca-Cola 600-won by Martin Truex Jr.
6/2 Pocono, Pocono 400-won by Kyle Busch
6/9 Michigan, Firekeepers Casino 400-won by Joey Logano
6/23 Sonoma, Save Mart 350-won by Martin Truex Jr.
6/30 Chicago, Camping World 400-won by Alex Bowman
7/7 Daytona, Coke Zero 400-won by Austin Haley
7/13 Kentucky, Quaker State 400-won by Kurt Busch
7/21 New Hampshire, Foxwoods Resort Casino 301-won by Kevin Harvick
7/28 Pocono, Gander RV 400-Denny Hamlin
8/4 Watkins Glen, GoBowling at The Glen-Chase Elliott
8/11 Michigan, Consumers Energy 400-Kevin Harvick
8/17 Bristol, Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race-Denny Hamlin
9/1 Darlington, Bojangles’ Southern 500-Erik Jones
9/8 Indianapolis, Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard-Kevin Harvick
9/15 Las Vegas playoff-South Point 400-Martin Truex, Jr.
9/21 Richmond playoff-Martin Truex, Jr.
9/29 Charlotte playoff-Chase Elliott
10/6 Dover playoff
10/13 Talladega playoff
10/20 Kansas playoff
10/27 Martinsville playoff
11/3 Texas playoff
11/10 ISM Raceway playoff
11/17 Miami-Homestead final playoff
Formula One began with F1 Car Launch Dates for the various teams from 2/12 through 2/15 for Renault, Racing Point, McLaren, and Ferrari. That was followed by Pre-Season Testing schedule 2/18-2/21 and 2/26-3/1, both in Catalunya, Spain. Here is the 2019 Formula One 21 Race calendar and results (it might be easier to just say which races were not won by Lewis Hamilton):
3/17 Australia Grand Prix in Melbourne-won by V. Bottas
3/31 Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir-won by Lewis Hamilton
4/14 China Grand Prix in Shanghai (this will be the 1000th Grand Prix)-won by Lewis Hamilton
4/28 Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku-won by V. Bottas
5/12 Spain Grand Prix in Barcelona-won by Lewis Hamilton
5/26 Monaco Grand Prix in Monaco-won by Lewis Hamilton
6/9 Canada Grand Prix in Montreal-won by Lewis Hamilton
6/23 France Grand Prix in Le Castellet-won by Lewis Hamilton
6/30 Austria Grand Prix in Spielberg-won by Max Verstappen
7/14 Great Britain Grand Prix in Silverstone-won by Lewis Hamilton
7/28 Germany Grand Prix in Hockenheim-won by Max Verstappen
8/4 Hungary Grand Prix in Budapest-Lewis Hamilton
9/1 Belgium Grand Prix in Spa-Charles Leclerc
9/8 Italy Grand Prix in Monza-Charles Leclerc
9/22 Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore-Sebastian Vettel
9/29 Russia Grand Prix in Sochi-Lewis Hamilton
10/13 Japan Grand Prix in Suzuka
10/27 Mexico Grand Prix in Mexico City
11/3 USA Grand Prix in Austin, TX
11/17 Brazil Grand Prix in Sao Paulo
12/1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Yas Island
Here is the IndyCar Racing circuit and its 2019 calendar and results (Indy cars are generally considered faster than F1 car along straight lines, mostly because their races are on oval tracks, while F1 tracks are more intricate, requiring better brakes and more aerodynamic grip than Indy cars). The season just ended, with Josef Newgarden coming in 8th in the last race, to just edge out Simon Pagenaud for championship:
3/10 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg-Josef Newgarden
3/24 Circuit of the Americas-Colton Herta
4/7 Grand Prix of Alabama-Takuma Sato
4/14 Grand Prix at Long Beach-Alexander Rossi
5/11 Grand Prix of Indianapolis-Simon Pagenaud
5/26 Indianapolis 500-Simon Pagenaud
6/1 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 1-Josef Newgarden
6/1 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 2-Scott Dixon
6/8 Texas Grand Prix-Josef Newgarden
6/23 Road America-Alexander Rossi
7/14 Honda Indy Toronto-Simon Pagenaud
7/20 Iowa 300-Josef Newgarden
7/28 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio-Scott Dixon
8/18 Pocono Grand Prix-Will Power (I love that name!)
8/24 Gateway Grand Prix-Takuma Sato
9/1 Grand Prix of Portland-Will Power (that’s all it takes)
9/22 Grand Prix at Laguna Seca-Colton Herta
Legoland just announced the opening date of its New York resort: July 4, 2020. It will be the largest LegoLand ever built, containing seven themed lands packed with more than 50 rides, attractions, and events over 150 acres. More than 15,000 Lego models will be shipped to the New York location from around the world. A 28-year-old tourist died after climbing over the safety barrier at Grand Canyon Skywalk. For your Wedding Registry at Bed Bath & Beyond, you can now add spa getaways, goat yoga, and shark cage diving. A Delta employee at JFK has been arrested, after a bag containing $258,205 in cash went missing. Saudi Arabia is issuing tourist visas for the first time ever. China just opened the world’s largest airport, Beijing Daxing International Airport. It measures more than 700,000 square meters. Congress is considering a bill that would abolish “unfair and deceptive’”resort fees. Ski.com has an incredible new ‘dream job’ for 12 lucky people to travel the world and check out beaches and ski destinations, and they’ll pay you $2200/month. Virgin Atlantic has now debuted a new plane that has an onboard lounge. Pressure mounts on GM to make a deal, as the autoworker strike there has dragged into its 19th day.
Okay, I’m ready for you Northerners to invade for the RMA conference in October in Boca Raton, and the snowbirds to come down, as I got my flu shot two weeks ago. Government agencies are sounding the alarm over lead paint and want home buyers to take these dangers seriously and address remediation more quickly. Your new favorite Christmas candy is predicted to be new Sweet Cinnamon Kit Kat bars. This week, you can get McDonald’s Big Macs delivered straight to your door for just one cent. There are now 3 FDA-approved medications to treat opioid addiction in the US: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. But, doctors consistently underutilize them. The Mayo Clinic Proceedings review says that of the patients who qualify for the FDA-recommended medications to treat OUD, only 11% actually receive them. For teenage patients, that percentage is frighteningly lower, at 2.4%. Opioid use, particularly among teenagers, has hit epidemic proportions, according to a study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Here are the figures: in 2017, 900 adolescents began misusing opioids daily. Out of more than 750,000 adolescents who misused opioids in 2018, 12.8%, or roughly 99,000 teens reported symptoms of OUD. Specifically for heroin addiction, only 2.4% of adolescents get treatment with these medications, while more than 26% of adults get treatment with these medications. Hepatitis A outbreaks have flared up across the USA. The vaping crisis has now caused over 1,000 adolescents to wind up in hospitals in the US with respiratory problems, as the FDA and CDC search for the cause. Hopefully, you are reading this soon enough to take advantage of various free taco deals today, National Taco Day (Friday).
On Tuesday, a woman decided she needed to climb into the lion enclosure at the Bronx Zoo and face off with a large male lion, even dancing and taunting the baffled animal. Surprisingly, the animal was so stunned, it just stood and stared at her, until authorities were able to lure it away. It must have been the particular dance steps. Authorities have yet to find the woman, however, even though she posted a rap video online. Adult sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium are adopting orphaned babies. Airbnb is now offering experiences to spend time with and learn about animals. An East Alabama woman has been charged with 47 counts of animal cruelty. Two people were injured in a Colorado elk attack. Of course they were filming too close to the wild animal. Scientists recently discovered that tiny tardigrades are notoriously tough and actually could weather extreme conditions, including nuclear attack, freezing cold, boiling heat, and the vacuum and lethal radiation of space. Scientists located the key ingredient in tardigrades’ arsenal of superpowers and identified it as a damage-suppressor protein called Dsup. Researchers have previously noted that when Dsup was added to human cells, they became safeguarded against damage from X-rays. Now, scientists have discovered that Dsup binds to chromosome structures and protects DNA from the harmful effects of radiation. A trail runner at Antelope Island State Park in Utah was gored by a charging bison in a ‘freak attack’, last Friday, and then his date suffered the same fate. Even though it’s making the news a lot lately, attacks by bison are extremely rare. In just that park in Utah, there are about 700 bison and in the last 10 years, about 4 million people have visited the park, with just 5 bison incidents. Bison are prey, not predators, but become aggressive during mating season (July-September) and will usually charge, but sometimes hit, to defend what they feel is a safe space near them. Since 1980, bison have injured more people in Yellowstone National Park than any other animal has. The experts say don’t try to outrun a bison, because they can reach speeds of about 35 mph. Try to go back the way you came. Taking on the controversial issues of today, I report that there are worms (nematodes) that have 3 sexes thriving in an arsenic-laced lake in California. A walrus attacked and sank a Russian tugboat last week. No nationality was determined for the walrus. Now, that the last male Northern White Rhino has died, leaving just 2 females, scientists have created embryos from the eggs of the last living females in a lab. A newly described species of giant pterosaur (I think pterodactyl), Cryodrakon boreas, was recently identified from fossils found in Canada, and has been nicknamed the ‘Cold Dragon of the North Winds.’ The voracious and invasive Lionfish is taking over the Atlantic Ocean, eating through coral reef after coral reef. The monstrous Tibetan Mastiff dogs were bred with Mountain Wolves to be able to survive at super-high altitudes. The Atlantic great white shark has made a comeback since 1997,, when they went under Federal protection, and sharks are being spotted near beaches in the North Atlantic Ocean, just feet from the shoreline. Scientists are now uncovering secrets of an ancient mystery civilization in Saudi Arabia. Experts are skeptical of the claims that a Royal Tortoise lived to the age of 344-years-old.
Since we last spoke, we have lost more celebrities. Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz died at age 44. Legendary TV new pioneer, Cokie Roberts, left us at age 76. The frontman and principal singer of the Cars, Ric Ocasek, stopped singing at age 75. Another famous singer, Eddie Money, was laid to rest at age 70. Legendary oil tycoon T. Boone Pickets passed away at age 91. Movie actress Carol Lynley, died at age 77. Songwriter for Destiny’s Child, Tamar Braxton, Brandy, Monica and others, LaShawn Danield, stopped penning hits at age 42. Today (Friday), Diahann Carroll died at age 84.
Justin Bieber has slammed PETA for criticizing his $35,000 exotic cats. Meanwhile, the Biebs did his first country song with Dan + Shay, “10,000 Hours.” Nicky Hilton says Paris Hilton is a “Great Aunt” to her two kids. There is buzz and praise for Joaquin Phoenix’s approach to JOKER, which diverges from the late Heath Ledger’s portrayal and the portrayal by Jack Nicholson. Country music’s new super group is The Highwomen. 56-year-old Phoebe Cates and husband, Kevin Kline, are still going strong. Grey Anatomy’s breakup is turning bitter. Rachel Lindsay vows to never be a friends with Raven Gates again. Miley Cyrus was spotted kissing Cody Simpson, just two weeks after Kaitlynn Carter split. Queer Eye stars are mourning the sudden death of their beloved French bulldog mascot. Demi Lovato is apologizing after backlash over her trip to Israel. Travis Scott’s rumored mistress is denying involvement in his split with Kylie Jenner. Meanwhile, Khloe Kardashian has “no interest” in reconciling with Tristan Thompson. Actor James Franco has been accused of sexually exploiting female students at his acting school. Prince Harry just publicly reprimanded a British reporter amid ongoing tensions. Joe Giudice has been granted an Italy travel request amid deportation appeal. Josh Duhamel and Miss World America Audra Mari confirm their romance with a steamy public kiss. Fixer Upper fans (and I am one) will rejoice to hear that Chip and Joanna Gaines are opening a hotel. Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, and Jennifer Aniston have made 50 the new 30. Actor Robert De Niro has been hit with a $12 million sex discrimination and harassment lawsuit from former assistant. Cynthia Erivo plays Aretha Franklin in National Geographic Channel’s Genius series. Below Deck Mediterranean had its finale, which was good for Joao, promoted to Captain by Captain Sandy, but not good for Hannah, as the First Steward was told she doesn’t have a passion for yachting. It was a good season. Now, Below Deck Caribbean begins with Captain Lee, but in Thailand. My Chicago series have all begun bloodily: Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD. Model Gigi Hadid and Tyler Cameron officially split after whirlwind 2 months. Jeff Probst is calling out CBS for spoiling Survivor. They must be in their 25th season by now.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME has started its Oscar campaign for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, but nothing for Acting. The box-office was weak this past weekend. Debuting at No.1 was ABOMINABLE, with $20.6 million. No.2 was DOWNTON ABBE, the screen adaptation of the wildly popular TV series, which made another $14.3 million in its second week. HUSTLERS continued to make money, raking in another $11.3 million for No.3, in its 3rd week (total of $80.5 million for a $20 million film). No.4 went to IT: CHAPTER TWO, with $10.2 million in its 4th week. Rounding out the top 5 was AD ASTRA, with $10 million in its second week. Another notable debut in limited theaters was JUDY, about Judy Garland, which was only in 461 theaters but made $2.9 million.
This weekend sees the debut of the latest DC Comics adaptation of JOKER, which has generated a lot of attention and is expected to take a shot at the October opening record. That record is held by last year’s VENOM, which made $80.25 million in its debut. Universal’s ABOMINABLE is expected to take No.2, and Universal’s DOWNTON ABBEY in No.3. Other movies opening this week in theaters: WAR, THE CLIMBERS, ASURAN, MY PEOPLE/MY COUNTRY, EL COYOTE, LUCY IN THE SKY, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME, CHANAKYA, OPEN, ROGER WATERS US + THEM, PAIN AND GLORY, SEMPER FI, MEMORY:THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN, 100% KAADHAL, THE PARTS YOU LOSE, CUCK, LOW TIDE, ROGUE WARFARE, WRINKLES THE CLOWN, BATTLE OF JANGSARI, A UNICORN ADVENTURE, WALLFLOWER, and AMERICAN GHANDI.
Martin Scorcese said that the DC and Marvel comic books films are “not cinema”.
Technology & Space News:
Are they going to come up with a 12-step program for this Amazon Prime? It’s seriously like (for all you youngsters) the old Home Shopping Network or QVC on steroids! You search for something on the Internet, find the best price, and click Buy Now, and it arrives the next day! It’s like Ebay without the auction and wait, no offense to those other companies. I can see how this could be very addictive to other people. HP Inc.’s new CEO has unveiled plans to streamline the computer/printer company, including cutting its workforce by as much as 16% over the next 3 years (about 7,000-9,000 people). In Forbes 400, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos tops the list of richest people in the US. Microsoft is showcasing an Android Surface phone. Bed Bath & Beyond is escalating store closings, as it ramps up its online store. GM has debuted its 2020 Corvette Stingray convertible. Ford has debuted its new throwback 2020 Mustang. The US government wants private Whatsapp texts from Facebook. Sony’s cloud video game service has gotten a price cut. The small city of Catalina Island does not sell Windows or Macintosh or smartphones, and the connectivity can be really spotty for the 4,400 inhabitants. But, Catalina Island is featured for the next year as the new Apple computer operating system update, called macOS Catalina, which will feature wallpaper with a beautiful photo of the island, much to the delight of its inhabitants. Apple historically updates its software each year with the name of a different California landmark. Apple had its big annual event right after I wrote the last Repo Commentary. So, if you missed it, Apple Arcade came out to help you enjoy games, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 and Apple Watch Series 5 arrived in stores in 3rd week of September. The new version (Gen 7) of the most popular iPad, featuring a 10.2-inch Retina Display, Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil Support hit stores about a week later. iPadOS also became available as free software update for iPad Air 2 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th Gen and later, And iPad mini 4 and later. Apple Antara opened its doors to Mexico City on 9/27. Apple-launched China Clean Energy Fund invested in 3 wind farms on 9/24. Apple’s new Mac Pro will be made in Texas. Apple’s Fifth Avenue store has its cube back. An unidentified ring-shaped object just floated by the International Space Station.
An impeachment inquiry has been launched into President Trump. The case of the ex-cop in Dallas who entered the wrong apartment and found a man there who she thought was and intruder, drew on him, and killed him, went to the jury today for sentencing. No doubt, the in-court apology by her to the victim’s brother, who forgave her and then came across the courtroom to give her a long hug, weighed heavily on the jury. 60 Minutes will tell the story this Sunday of the Texas Ranger who convinced serial killer, Samuel Little, to confess to murdering 93 women. Cops are hunting for a Speedo-clad man haunting Kent State sorority. Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, is still in the hospital after collapsing at a function and having emergency heart surgery. It was bound to happen sooner or later, an Oregon burglar was arrested by police, confessing to using a drone for aerial recon (case) potential burglary targets. Strange lights off the Outer Banks have sparked a debate about aliens or military operations. NYPD has stepped up video surveillance in subways. The Supreme Court has taken up a major Louisiana abortion case. Homeland Security is moving all biometric data to Amazon Cloud. 19 members of US Army 82nd Airborne were injured in a parachuting helicopter crash in Mississippi during training.
Terror inquiry has been launched into the killing of 4 police employees by a colleague in Paris on Thursday. Thousands of theater goers are protesting Hong Kong’s new emergency measure of banning face masks in public, particularly during more violent protests and in theaters and public places, amid reports of a teenager being shot with a live round. Ukraine’s President Zelensky, looking at a phased peace deal with Russian-backed rebels in the east, is planning a frontline troop withdrawal. The Iraq PM says there is “no magic solution” to unrest in the country, after days of violent protests. An Antonov-12 transport plane crash-landed near Lviv airport in western Ukraine, killing at least 5 people.
Right across the street from me, at the Palm Beach Outlet Mall, a worker at Bird in the Hand, and in-store restaurant at Whole Foods, owned by the man who owns the food delivery service Go Cravy, was arrested for stealing a company check and attempting to deposit at a nearby TD Bank for $100,000.
I am usually singing a National Anthem, singing in my 6-part harmony group Generation Gap, and/or doing an Elvis Presley gig, each week here in Palm Beach County, FL. I think I have 3 gigs in the month of October and I did finally break down and buy a performance wig, because of the receding grey hair. However, if you were inclined to see much more famous bands or solos in concert than my Generation Gap or Elvis Presley performances, there were many acts which came to Florida this year, perhaps when you were visiting (I should be getting updated schedules for each venue soon for Q4 and 2020):
The Temptations-Fort Lauderdale, January 31
Don McLean-Immokalee, January 31
Michael Bolton-Fort Lauderdale, February 2
The Four Tops and the Temptations-West Palm Beach, February 2
Melissa Manchester-Aventura, February 8
Michael Bolton-West Palm Beach, February 8
The Commodores-Miami, February 9
Patti LaBelle-Fort Myers, February 11
Duran Duran-Miami Beach, February 12
Franki Valli & the Four Seasons, Hollywood, February 14
Andrea Bocelli-Miami, February 14
Dave Mason-Fort Lauderdale, February 15
Little River Band-Fort Myers, February 15
Michael Buble-Sunrise, February 16 (I would like to go)
Alan Parsons Project-Fort Lauderdale, February 18
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes-Bonita Springs, February 20
Art Garfunkel-Fort Lauderdale, February 20
Fleetwood Mac-Sunrise, February 20
Sarah Brightman-Hollywood, February 20
PGA Honda Classic-PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, February 28-March 2
Pink-Sunrise-March 1 (it was fantastic!)
Sara Mclachlan-March 1, West Palm Beach
Paul Anka-Fort Lauderdale-March 4
Elton John-Sunrise, March 16
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band-Sunrise, March 17
Steve Miller Band-Hollywood, March 17
Tony Bennett-Miami, March 21
Palm Beach International Boat Show-West Palm Beach, March 28-March 31
Jackson Browne-West Palm Beach, April 3
Abba The Concert-Miami Beach, April 4
The Rolling Stones-Miami, April 20
Whitesnake-Fort Lauderdale, April 25
Slayer-West Palm Beach, May 11
Rascal Flatts-West Palm Beach, May 23
Ariana Grande-Orlando, May 29
Ozzie Osbourne & Megadeth-Sunrise, May 31
Hootie & the Blowfish-West Palm Beach, June 8
Florence and The Machine-Miami, June 9
Train & Goo Goo Dolls-West Palm Beach, July 6
Hugh Jackman-Sunrise, July 6
Jeff Lynnes’ Electric Light Orchestra-Sunrise, July 9
New Kids on the Block, Salt N Pepa, Naughty by Nature-Sunrise, July 14
Iron Maiden-Sunrise, July 18
Dave Matthews Band-West Palm Beach, July 26
Jennifer Lopez-Miami, July 26
Korn & Alice in Chains-West Palm Beach, July 28
Shawn Mendes-Miami, July 28
Queen & Adam Lambert-Sunrise, August 17
Florida Georgia Line-West Palm Beach, August 29
Peter Frampton-West Palm Beach, September 6
Dane Cook-Fort Lauderdale, September 28