I am NOT RETIRED from the Securities Finance industry. I have recently completed several projects (below) and am looking to lend my almost 40 years of expertise to firms via consulting or via full-time positions.
- I designed and crafted an 11-week state-of-the-art virtual training/e education course on the Fundamentals of Repo, consulting with Pierpoint’s Finance Academy. You can learn more about the course here: https://www.pierpoint.info/courses/the-fundamentals-of-repo.
- I continue to share my opinion and expertise with the industry through articles in various periodicals.
- I have been consulting with an electronic trading platform, potentially for Repo.
- I have been consulting for 2 years on a new product for the Repo market, Modified Repo, which could solve many industry issues, from liquidity to balance sheet optimization, to even Firesale Risk.
- I am participating as the Repo expert for the Pierpoint Alpha Community (PAC)- training/networking/brainstorming/question-answering group, Pierpoint Alpha Community (PAC), and subsequent forums.
So, if you need my Securities Financing expertise or access to my vast network of about 9000 clients, contact me at
My Repo Commentary is posted FREE (it’s actually always been free) on my website: 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 am interested in entertaining you and taking your mind off the pressures you are under at work or even remotely. Since its inception in 1982, the Repo Commentary does not represent the views of any of my former employers 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 in entertaining (70-80%) you than boring (20-30%) you with too much market info. You have more than enough stress already! Feel free, as always, to send me information, comments or pictures, to make it better!
Holidays or Events (08/02):
- Day of Azerbaijani cinema (Azerbaijan)
- Our Lady of the Angels (Costa Rica)
- Paratroopers Day (Russia)
- Republic Day (North Macedonia)
- Roma Holocaust Memorial Day (Council of Europe, European Parliament)
- Dinosaurs Day (no not me)
- National CAD Day
- National Coloring Book Day
- National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
- National Night Out
Some Famous People Born on (08/02):
- 1696-Mahmud I, Ottoman sultan
- 1835-Elisha Gray, American businesswoman, co-founded Western Electric
- 1892-Jack Warner, Canadian-born American production manager and producer, co-founded Warner Bros.
- 1905-Myrna Loy, American actress
- 1923-Shimon Peres, Polish-Israeli lawyer, President of Israel
- 1924-James Baldwin, American novelist, poet, and critic
- 1924-Carroll O’Connor, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
- 1932-Lamar Hunt, American businessman, co-founded the AFL and World Championship Tennis
- 1932-Peter O-Toole, British-Irish actor and producer
- 1939-Wes Craven, American director, producer, and screenwriter
- 1964-Mary-Louise Parker, American actress
- 1966-Tim Wakefield, American baseball player and sportscaster
- 1970-Tony Amonte, American hockey player and coach
Daily Weird Facts:
In Russia, there are 9 million more women than men.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”—Helen Keller
Currency and Commodity Markets:
Oil prices closed at:
$74.34/barrel on 10/5/18
$47.66/barrel on 12/23/18
$48.63 on 01/07/19
$73.77/barrel on 4/29
$58.81/barrel on 1/17/20
$35.92/barrel on 3/11
$27.15/barrel on 3/18
$24.90/barrel on 4/01
$31.80/barrel on 4/12
$28.31/barrel on 4/17
$20.03/barrel on 4/27
$35.69/barrel on 5/20
$50.70/barrel on 01/04/21
$66.34/barrel on 03/05
$61.30/barrel on 04/01
$63.68/barrel on 05/13
$72.25/barrel on 06/15
$74.86/barrel on 07/02, just where it was on 10/5/18 at the top of the list. What a roller coaster!
$72.30/barrel on 07/15
$68.03/barrel on 08/13
$68.06/barrel on 09/09
$90.99/barrel on 02/18/22
$97.28/barrel on 07/22/22
$94.47/barrel on 08/02/22
My West Palm Beach gas station is charging $3.94/gallon, down 25 cents in 2 weeks, and below the national average.
One USD versus the Yen was trading at (these are all around Repo Commentary dates). I did decide to trim this running list to just a few dates:
104.80 on 02/07/20
99.23 on 03/11/20
103.55 on 12/16/20
110.63 on 04/01/21
108.61 on 04/28/21
110.05 on 06/15/21
111.44 on 07/02/21
109.94 on 07/15/21
109.59 on 08/13/21
109.92 on 09/10/21
115.15 on 02/18/22
136.03 on 07/21/22
132.15 on 08/01/22
One Euro was trading on:
12/24/18 at $1.1426
12/06/19 at $1.1688
03/11/20 at $1.1937
05/04/20 at $1.0903
12/16/20 at $1.2196
02/04/21 at $1.2625
04/01/21 at $1.1774
04/28/21 at $1.2123
07/02/21 at $1.1822
07/15/21 at $1.1806
08/13/21 at $1.1797
09/10/21 at $1.1820
02/18/22 at $1.1342
07/21/22 at $1.0236
08/01/22 at $1.0201
One British Pound was trading on:
12/24/18 at $1.2655
12/06/19 at $1.3819
02/07/20 at $1.3574
03/24/20 at $1.2231
12/16/20 at $1.3494
02/16/21 at $1.3903
06/15/21 at $1.4083
07/02/21 at $1.3743
07/15/21 at $1.3819
08/13/21 at $1.3866
09/10/21 at $1.385
02/18/22 at $1.3583
07/21/22 at $1.2017
08/01/22 at $1.2222
One USD versus the CAD at:
1.3442 on 12/24/18
1.2530 on 12/06/19
1.2390 on 01/17/20
1.3540 on 03/18/20
1.2752 on 12/16/20
1.2186 on 06/15/21
1.2417 on 07/02/21
1.2539 on 07/15/21
1.2515 on 08/13/21
1.2644 on 09/10/21
1.2737 on 02/18/22
1.2877 on 07/21/22
1.2848 on 08/01/22
With data showing continuing price increases and the Fed’s aggressive action to combat that inflation, precious metals, a historic hedge against inflation, has become a popular topic again. Gold prices:
07/27/20 a record $1,944.71/ounce
01/04/21 a new record $1,948.00
Bitcoin was trading at (around Repo Commentary Dates):
$8,185.21 on 7/25/18
$6,350.00 on 10/5/18
$3,774.97 on 12/24/18
$3,598.90 on 01/16/19
$3,421.10 on 02/06/19
$8,100.00 on 05/16/19
$7,215.79 on 05/17/19
$11,919.30 on 06/25/19
$9,790.37 on 07/24/19
$10,183.90 on 09/10/19
$8,235.46 on 10/02/19
$7,470.41 on 12/06/19
$8,876.87 on 01/17/20
$9,793.18 on 02/07/20
$7,871.60 on 03/11/20
$3,867.00 on 03/13/20
$5,216.64 on 03/18/20
$6,728.03 on 03/24/20
$7,748.29 on 04/27/20
$8,775.36 on 05/04/20 pre halving event
$9,794.46 on 06/04/20 post halving event
$10,849.00 on 07/27/20
$15,160.90 on 11/10/20
$19,411.50 on 11/30/20
$20,665.10 on 12/16/20
$31,592.20 on 01/04/21
$36,607.50 on 02/04/21
$48,526.90 on 02/16/21
$58,093.71 on 02/21/21
$43,170.01 on 02/28/21
$49,207.43 on 03/05/21
$58,979.60 on 04/01/21
$63,237.00 on 04/15/21
$54,886.50 on 04/28/21
$54,242.00 on 05/12/21
$39,804.90 on 06/15/21
$33,039.30 on 07/02/21
$31,280.00 on 07/15/21
$47,796.20 on 08/13/21 ouch what a whipsaw!
$46,574.40 on 09/09/21
$67,582.60 on 11/08/21 not a Commentary date, but the all-time high
$35,070.10 on 01/22/22 not a Commentary date, but relevant to show its volatility
$40,015.10 on 02/18/22
$23,143.10 on 07/22/22
$22,975.30 on 08/02/22
On 3/13/20, just post COVID-19 breakout, Bitcoin had cratered at $3,867. It rallied sharply in the last few weeks before the ‘halving event’ on 5/12/20, its 3rd halving event. It exploded in early 2021, as new corporate investors (including Elon Musk) jumped in. On 4/15/21, it hit a high of $63,237. It made almost exactly a 50% downward correction, falling back to early 2021 levels, wiping out all 2021 gains. All of a sudden, it began climbing higher again in the Fall of 2021, hitting an all-time high of $67,582.10 on 11/08/21. But, volatility wasn’t over and was not for the faint of heart. The SEC signaled it is willing to take a hard line approach towards cryptoasset regulation and what Chair Gary Gensler has called the “Wild West of finance”, by threatening to sue Coinbase over a plan to offer accounts that pay interest on cryptoasset holdings. This has also intensified the debate about the SEC’s jurisdiction over cryptoassets. All of this led to another massive correction of nearly 50% (again), bringing it down to interim low of $35,070.10 on 01/22/22. Now, as I look at the moves since I wrote the last Repo Commentary, it was about $40,015 then and rallied to $47,454 on 03/28/22. Then it started the long road down, cratering at $18,948 on 06/18/22. It is currently struggling to maintain some upward momentum, but it is creating a long period of stable prices, which may lead to a breakout. The SEC is beefing up its crypto enforcement unit and has just charged a number of people for insider trading.
I was just about to delete Brexit section, especially with PM Boris being unceremoniously hustled out of office. But, then CNN and decided to keep going. So, Brexit apparently badly needs fixing, but no Conservative has been brave enough to say it.
Global Financial News:
Recession chatter is dominating the airwaves. Not inflation. Uncertainty about the US economy has continued to smother M&A activity. About $1 trillion in US deals have been made in the year up to late July, per Dealogic, which is a drop of almost 40% from the same period last year. TD Bank is reportedly close to acquiring investment bank Cowen for more than $1 billion. Financial News reports that institutions have driven a whopping 1800% increase in revenue at Fidelity crypto unit. WSJ reports that HSBC will resume paying full dividends. After the latest 75bp Fed rate hike, the CME saw a large jump in SOFR trading there. The Treasury Department has increased the borrowing estimate for the 3 months ending in September (Q3) by about $262 billion to about $444 billion. The change partially reflects that the US Treasury’s calculations in May didn’t assume that the Federal Reserve would reduce its holdings of US Treasuries, because the Fed hadn’t yet announced that decision. The US Public Company Accounting Board has said it will accept nothing less than full, unrestricted access to the audit papers of Chinese companies trading publicly in the country. The PCAOB said that if it doesn’t get that complete access to audit working papers, all of the companies in China that are listed on US exchanges would have a trading prohibition in the US. Economists are debating inflationary impact of Senate re
US Market News:
Still at levels above the magic 30,000, the Dow is still well above its pre-pandemic peak of 29,569. But, it has retreated since the beginning of 2022, when it set a record high. The aggressive monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve to squash alarming inflation (brought about partly by the huge multi-$trillion injections of money into the economy by the US government to combat the economic disaster brought on by the pandemic), the war in the Ukraine, and negative GDP numbers, gave a 3-punch combo to the stock market. Now, it seems that the negative GDP numbers have given rise to a strange belief that the Federal Reserve will now deftly pull off a pivot to stop raising rates and somehow miraculously save the economy from Recession (or Stagflation). This seems to have led to the latest rebound by the Dow and overall stock market. The latest economic figures actually show a technical Recession, the Fed didn’t stop raising rates but actually raised them 75bp last Wednesday (okay, it wasn’t 100bp as expected, but…), and the war in Ukraine continues.
Here are the latest DJIA closes (this is the next list I intend to trim to just important dates):
01/04/22 36,799.65 all-time record high close
2/12/20 29,551.42 pre-pandemic high
S&P 500 has closed on:
10/5/18 at 2,885.58
12/26/18 at 2,467.70
12/06/19 at 3,145.91
02/07/20 at 3,335.27 down 10.51 from new all-time high
03/23/20 at 2,237.40
12/15/20 at 3,647.49
01/13/21 at 3,809.84
02/03/21 at 3,830.17
02/16/21 at 3,923.59
03/05/21 at 3,841.94
03/31/21 at 3,972.89
05/12/21 at 4,063.04
07/01/21 at 4,319.94
07/14/21 at 4,374.30
08/13/21 at 4,468.00
09/09/21 at 4,493.28
01/03/22 at 4,796.56 all-time high
02/17/22 at 4,380.26
07/21/22 at 3,955.47
08/01/22 at 4,118.63
S&P has drifted from its all-time high at the beginning of the year.
Nasdaq closed on (trimmed list):
10/5/18 at 7,788.45
12/26/18 at 6,554.36
12/06/19 at 8,656.07
02/07/20 at 9,555.96 down 16.19 from new all-time high
03/23/20 at 6,860.67
06/04/20 at 9,615.81 don’t look now, but we have set a new record high, above the previous high of 2/07/20!
12/15/20 at 12.505.06
01/13/21 at 13,128.95
02/03/21 at 13,610.54
02/16/21 at 14,047.50 new record high
03/05/21 at 12,920.15
03/31/21 at 13,246.87
05/12/21 at 13,031.68
07/01/21 at 14,522.38
07/14/21 at 14,644.95
08/13/21 at 14,822.90
09/08/21 at 15,286.64
12/27/21 at 15,871.26 all-time high
02/17/22 at 13,716.72
07/21/22 at 12,059.61
08/01/22 at 12,368.98
Nasdaq managed to reach its all-time high before 2021 ended, but has suffered a 20% drop since, as tech has gotten hit hard.
The US Treasury market is focused on Inflation, the Fed’s aggressive tightening policy, and Ukraine and Russia. Two-year yields are now way back to where they were almost exactly four years ago. Yesterday, Bank of America strategist said that if the US economy slows significantly, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury Note could fall to 2% within 6-12 months. In the last 11 days, the 10-year yield has dropped 33bp to 2.58%.
2 YEAR NOTES closed on (trimmed list):
10/5/18 at 2.88%
12/18/18 at 2.65%
12/06/19 at 1.61%
02/06/20 at 1.44%
03/11/20 at 0.50%
03/17/20 at 0.47%
03/23/20 at 0.28%
05/10/20 at 0.16%
07/24/20 at 0.14%
12/15/20 at 0.11% wow really low!
01/04/21 at 0.11%
01/13/21 at 0.14%
02/03/21 at 0.11%
02/16/21 at 0.11%
03/05/21 at 0.14%
03/31/21 at 0.16%
05/12/21 at 0.16%
07/01/21 at 0.25% wow!
07/14/21 at 0.23%
08/13/21 at 0.23% back to 7/14 level, after having fallen 2 weeks ago to 0.17%
09/09/21 at 0.23%
02/17/22 at 1.49% what a dramatic change, as the Fed moved into tightening policy to rein in inflation
07/21/22 at 3.10%
08/01/22 at 2.90%
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)
12/06/19 at 1.64%
02/06/20 at 1.43%
03/11/20 at 0.58%
03/17/20 at 0.54%
03/23/20 at 0.31% wow!
05/10/20 at 0.21%
07/24/20 at 0.17% wow!
11/09/20 at 0.25%
12/15/20 at 0.18% wow!
01/04/21 at 0.16% record low!
01/13/21 at 0.22%
02/16/21 at 0.17%
03/05/21 at 0.32%
03/31/21 at 0.35%
05/12/21 at 0.35%
07/01/21 at 0.47% wow!
07/14/21 at 0.44%
08/13/21 at 0.44% which ignores that it hit 0.33% on 08/02/21
09/09/21 at 0.43%
02/17/22 at 1.70% back to 2019 levels
07/21/22 at 3.07%
08/01/22 at 2.82%
5 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.07%
12/18/18 at 2.65%
12/06/19 at 1.67%
02/07/20 at 1.45%
03/11/20 at 0.66%
03/17/20 at 0.56%
03/23/20 at 0.38%
03/26/20 at 0.51%
03/31/20 at 0.37%
07/24/20 at 0.27% wow!
12/15/20 at 0.37%
01/04/21 at 0.36%
01/13/21 at 0.48%
02/03/21 at 0.46%
02/16/21 at 0.42%
03/05/21 at 0.79%
03/31/21 at 0.92%
05/12/21 at 0.87%
07/01/21 at 0.89% not much increase
07/14/21 at 0.80%
08/13/21 at 0.79% it hit 0.65% on 08/03/21
09/09/21 at 0.79%
02/17/22 at 1.85% also back to 2019 levels
07/21/22 at 3.00%
08/02/22 at 2.66%
7 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.18%
12/18/18 at 2.74%
12/06/19 at 1.78%
02/06/20 at 1.56%
03/11/20 at 0.78%
03/17/20 at 0.91%
03/23/20 at 0.63%
03/26/20 at 0.72%
03/31/20 at 0.55%
07/24/20 at 0.44% record low
11/09/20 at 0.70% back to near pre-COVID level
12/15/20 at 0.64%
01/04/21 at 0.64%
01/13/21 at 0.80%
02/03/21 at 0.81%
02/16/21 at 0.76%
03/05/21 at 1.23%
03/31/21 at 1.40%
05/12/21 at 1.34%
07/01/21 at 1.24%
07/14/21 at 1.11%
08/13/21 at 1.08% hit 0.95% on 08/03/21
09/09/21 at 1.08%
02/17/22 at 1.94% also back to 2019 levels
07/21/22 at 2.99%
08/02/22 at 2.64%
10 YEAR NOTES closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.23%
12/18/18 at 2.82%
09/09/19 at 1.83%
10/01/19 at 1.65%
12/06/19 at 1.84%
02/06/20 at 1.65%
03/11/20 at 0.82% wow!
03/17/20 at 1.02%
03/23/20 at 0.76% and back down again
07/24/20 at 0.59% record low
11/09/20 at 0.96% back to pre-COVID level
12/15/20 at 0.92%
01/04/21 at 0.93%
01/13/21 at 1.10%
02/03/21 at 1.15%
02/16/21 at 1.09%
03/05/21 at 1.56%
03/31/21 at 1.74%
05/12/21 at 1.69%
07/01/21 at 1.48%
07/14/21 at 1.37%
08/13/21 at 1.29% hit 1.19% on 08/03/21
09/09/21 at 1.30%
02/17/22 at 1.97%
07/21/22 at 2.91%
08/01/22 at 2.60%
30 YEAR BONDS closed on:
10/5/18 at 3.40%
12/18/18 at 3.07%
07/24/19 at 2.58%
09/10/19 at 2.11%
12/06/19 at 2.29%
02/06/20 at 2.11%
03/11/20 at 1.30%
03/17/20 at 1.63% way up!
03/23/20 at 1.33% back down
07/24/20 at 1.23% record low
11/09/20 at 1.73% back to pre-COVID level
12/15/20 at 1.65%
01/04/21 at 1.66%
01/13/21 at 1.82%
02/03/21 at 1.92%
02/16/21 at 1.84%
03/05/21 at 2.28%
03/31/21 at 2.41%
05/12/21 at 2.40%
07/01/21 at 2.07% dramatic drop almost below magic 2%
07/14/21 at 1.98%
08/13/21 at 1.94% although it hit 1.83% on 08/04/21
09/09/21 at 1.90%
02/17/22 at 2.31%
07/21/22 at 3.08%
08/02/22 at 2.92%
Repo/Securities Financing News:
BNY Mellon recently announced the first phase of the new user interface for their flagship application, AccessEdge. In Securities Finance Times, CEO Brian Ruane goes into more depth about this and the bank’s growing collateral business. My buddy, Mark Faulkner, in the same issue, discusses Credit Benchmark’s approach to securities lending indemnification (and double indemnification), always a hot topic. EquiLend has launched EquiLend RegTech Solutions, a new division developed to aid clients in meeting global regulatory requirements. The division will be led by Kevin McNulty, former CEO of ISLA. Delta One has announced the launch of an equity finance trading platform.
My friend, Rob Goobie, at HOOPP, announced on LinkedIn that the Global Peer Financing Association (GPFA) has added BMO, taking the GPFA to membership with assets over $10 trillion! Awesome job by Rob and GPFA! As you know, P2P Financing was near and dear to me since 2008 and i’m very happy to see it taking off now and becoming an industry-led official organization to help global members. I just noticed that the upcoming 10/12-10/14 89th Annual Market Structure Conference in Washington, DC, put on by STA (Security Traders Association), is going to feature “Fireside Interviews” as panel presentations. This was an idea I pushed to our industry organizations to include in our conferences years ago. It’s a fireside chat, making the audience feel like they are privileged to be listening in on a private conversation, with a moderator who acts more like a newscaster interviewing people. Apparently, a few of my ideas were ahead of their time.
I mentioned at the top that I’ve been currently consulting on a new product for the Securities Financing market, Modified Repo. It could solve a lot of liquidity issues for broker/dealers, CCPs, seclending agents, mREITs, pension funds, municipalities, money funds, central banks, sovereign wealth funds, corporate credit unions, ETFs, hedge funds, asset managers, and other sectors. If you get a chance, ask me about it.
Upcoming Securities Financing Conferences:
IMN-25th Beneficial Owners’ European Securities Finance & Collateral Management Conference, London, 9/13/22. In person.
RMA-Securities Finance and Collateral Management Conference, Key Biscayne, FL, 10/10-10/13/22 in person. I will be there and looking forward to seeing you all!
Securities Trading Association (STA)-89th annual Market Structure Conference, Washington, DC, 10/12-10/14/22 hybrid, in person and streamed.
Finadium-Rates & Repo Conference 2022, 11/02/22, NYC hybrid, streamed and in-person reception the following week.
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 2.25-2.50% (remember, the Fed has been using a target ‘range’ for a while). When I last wrote, the target rate was still 1.50-1.75%, but then the Fed on 07/27/22 announced a hike of 75bp in the target rate. It wasn’t quite the 100bp that many market participants were expecting, but it was still a big move. It will have a ripple effect on mortgage rates (particularly floating rate mortgages), prices, and consumer demand. It was part of the Fed’s aggressive tightening of monetary policy to combat rampant inflation. The last inflation reading was a historic 9.1%. But, simultaneously, GDP showed two negative consecutive quarters, the definition of a Recession. What is a Federal Reserve to do? Actually, the Fed has 2 main missions: Keep inflation in check (around 2%) and keep the unemployment rate at a low equilibrium level. It is not charged with keeping stocks from collapsing, supporting GDP, or other economic tasks, in its mission. Having been a Fed watcher for my whole career, I know better than assuming one can predict the Fed’s behavior or what is Fedspeak and what is genuine foretelling. So, on Friday, Chairmen Powell threw a curve of Fedspeak in, following the 75bp increase in the Fed Funds target rate by the FOMC, he ‘observed’ that economic growth had slowed (a nod to the GDP figures), and wouldn’t ‘commit’ to another telegraphed 75bp rate hike in September. This has fueled speculation that the Fed will spin on a dime and stop raising rates and go fight lack of economic growth. We used to call this “irrational exuberance”, which like previously, has led to a rebound in the stock market. The Fed generally does not turn on a dime, or more specifically Fed policy does not usually turn on a dime. It is more like a supertanker that slowly changes course. In fact, I would liken it to the 3 decisions of a trader: buy, sell, or do nothing. Once it embarks on say Easing, it usually goes to a Neutral period, before embarking on Tightening. Except for huge economic crisis, like 2008, the Fed rarely moves right from one policy to the opposite policy immediately. Don’t forget, Powell did not retract the Fed officials’ June projection of the Fed Funds rate reaching 3.8% in 2023, which is currently 50bp higher than where the market is pricing it now.
The Federal Reserve posts an Effective Fed Funds Rate (EFFR). 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.
The next FOMC meetings are: 09/21/22, 11/02/22, and 12/14/22. All of the scheduled meetings are two-day meetings. I have listed the 2nd day. However, as we saw on 3/3/20, the FOMC can call emergency meetings at any time, even on weekends, especially during the pandemic crisis we were in.
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. Note that the Fed has the nomenclature backwards, it is actually Repoing securities out of the Reverse Repo Program and taking cash IN from its perspective. As if Repo nomenclature, bid and offer, and acronyms weren’t hard enough for everybody.
The FOMC in July 2021 issued an additional statement regarding “Repurchase Agreement Arrangements”. It announced the establishment of a domestic Standing Repo Facility (SRF) and a repo facility for foreign and international monetary authorities (FIMA Repo Facility). Both facilities are intended to be backstops to the money market.
Earthquakes and Volcanoes:
Here are significant earthquakes for just two days. The South Pacific is getting active, particularly in the Philippines and Fiji. South America is getting active, particularly in Chile. Those areas are on either edge of the Pacific Rim plate.
07/28 5.2 SW of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua
07/28 4.5 Owen Fracture Zone region
07/28 4.5 N of Besao, Philippines
07/28 4.9 NNE of Jamestown, Saint Helena
07/28 6.1 NW of Tocopilla, Chile
07/27 4.8 S of Fiji Islands
07/27 4.7 S of ‘Ohonua, Tonga
07/27 4.7 E of Yujing, Taiwan
07/27 5.0 ENE of Bantay, Philippines
07/27 6.2 ENE of Calama, Chile
07/27 4.9 Luzon, Philippines
07/27 4.9 S of ‘Ohonua, Tonga
07/27 5.5 S of the Fiji Islands
07/27 4.7 WSW of Ternate, Indonesia
Summer Heat waves continue to rage across parts of the United States, setting record highs and have affected over 140 million people. They have also severely tested various power grids, particularly the one in Texas, which is made up of many parts that are 50-years-old. The heat has brought dangerous conditions in the Northwest, south-central US, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic into the Carolinas on Thursday. Well-organized areas of heavy rain and thunderstorms continue to pose a threat for flooding in the eastern Ohio Valley and Four Corners regions today, especially in Kentucky, West Virginia, Colorado and New Mexico. There is a seemingly endless hose of monsoonal and Gulf of Mexico moisture that has created almost a conveyor belt of heavy rain and thunderstorms from the Southwest to the central Appalachians. These valleys and mountains are now quite vulnerable to flash flooding, as well as rising creeks and rivers. Flooding in Kentucky has killed at least 37 people and left at least 30 others missing.
In Florida, we’ve been fortunate that, despite mid-90s temperatures and humidity around 70%, sending heat indices to over 100 degrees, the strong Sahara winds coming off the Atlantic have really cut our precipitation and sheared any major storms from forming.
I welcome another new resource for the Repo Commentary, the World Weather Information Service, started in June 2022, covering 3,447 cities. Since June and July 2022, persistent, record-breaking heat waves have affected parts of Europe, sending temperatures soaring into triple digits, causing wildfires, evacuations, and heart-related deaths. In June, temperatures of 40-43 C (104-109 F) were recorded in parts of Europe, with the most severe temperature anomalies in France. The second heatwave occurred in mid-July and extended north to the United Kingdom, where temperatures surpassed 40 C (104 F) for the first time ever. The highest temperature recorded during this round of heatwaves is 47.0 C in Pinhao, Portugal on 07/14/22. For Fahrenheit users, that’s 47.0 x 9/5 +36=116.6 F. The heatwaves are believed to be part of a permanent climate change in Europe. Climatologists linked the extreme heat to the impact of climate change, and experts predict that changes in the jet stream as a result of climate change will cause heat waves with increasing frequency in Europe. Furthermore, they note that due to the jet stream, the increase in heatwaves for European countries is 3 to 4 times higher than for other countries in northern mid-latitudes, such as the US. Meteorologists blame the June heatwave on a rare interaction between the high pressures that generate atmospheric stability, Tropical Storm Alex, the strong sunshine of the boreal summer and an air mass emanating from North Africa that entered the Iberian Peninsula loaded with suspended dust and sand, which led to a haze over the area. Last year, July 2021, Europe was dealing with devastating floods.
Top US earth scientists from NASA and NOAA announced Thursday that 2021 was among the hottest years on record, the 6th hottest for average global surface temperature, to be precise. That makes the last 8 years the 8 warmest in over 140 years of reliable record-keeping. Temperatures in 2021 were nearly 2 degrees hotter than average temperatures in the late 1800s. But, more importantly, NASA and NOAA both issued warnings for the decades-long trend of upward temperatures. With current carbon-cutting commitments from global nations, the world is on track to warm by some 5 degrees Fahrenheit, which would have extreme, disastrous environmental consequences. We are already seeing some of those consequences, according to both organizations, including extreme fires, severe deluges, destabilized ice sheets, ocean heating, sea level rise, great disruptions to animal life, and vector-borne diseases (creatures that infect us with pathogens, like mosquitoes and ticks). President Biden’s administration has been focusing recently on climate change and even is discussing the radical use of massive windfarms for the Gulf of Mexico to replace the traditional offshore oil rigs there.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season BEGAN June 1st and ends November 30th. On 12/09/21, CSU issued an extended forecast for the 2022 hurricane season, predicting slightly above-average activity with 13-16 named storms, 6-8 hurricanes, and 2-3 major hurricanes. La Nina pattern should keep the area less active, after two consecutive years of higher-than-average named storms. La Nina has the opposite effect from El Nino, which is when Pacific waters are warmed and there tends to be fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic. La Nina tends to cool Pacific waters. In 2021, ocean water temperatures hit a record high average temperature. 2021 was the third most active hurricane season on record for named storms with 21 named storms and 7 hurricanes. 2020 had 30 named storms and 2005 had 28 named storms.
The Pacific Hurricane Season BEGAN 5/1/21 and ends 11/1/21.
In the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Rays 4 games to 3, to win in another exciting (and rare) 7-game series.
In the 2021 pandemic-impacted season, in the World Series, the Atlanta Braves shocked the sports world by beating the favored Houston Astros 4 games to 2.
The 2022 season just hit its midpoint and held the All-Star Game, which the American League won 3-2. It was the least watched MLB All-Star Game ever. Maybe because of the contract negotiation nonsense. Julio Rodriguez, of the Mariners, won the Homerun Derby. He beat Juan Soto of the Nationals, just after news broke that the Nats are considering trading Soto. There was even some more Soto-dissing, as his flight landed at 1:30am before the Home Run Derby, after the Nationals refused to charter a flight, after he turned down another contract offer.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Cooperstown last weekend for 7 people was outstanding! David Ortiz made it into a triumph, with many Twins, Red Sox, and Dominican Republic fans in attendance. There are now 340 members of the MLB Hall of Fame, and only 268 of them were former ballplayers. That is a very small percentage of the 20,161 ballplayers (as of 07/22/22) who have played in the Major Leagues. It is a very exclusive club to earn your way into.
After the creation of a new Competition Committee, commissioner Rob Manfred can finally implement new rules more quickly than in the past, and the indications are that MLB will have big changes prior to 2023. Two of those changes will be the pitch clock (currently being used in the Minor Leagues) and limits on the Infield Shift by fielders.
The trade deadline for MLB is today at 6pm, and has already caused a flurry of activity. My Red Sox were involved, performing the very rare trade of a player, Red Sox longtime catcher Christian Vazquez, to the team in the other dugout, after batting practice and just before the first pitch was thrown. He left the field in a Red Sox batting jersey, then walked over to the other dugout to don his new Astros jersey. The Red Sox are in last place in the AL East, after starting out strong before the All-Star break and then hitting a 7-18 skid. The Red Sox picked up catcher Reese McGuire from the White Sox to take Vazquez’s place. The Red Sox also are finalizing a trade to bring over OF Tommy Pham from the Reds. The Astros added star 1B Trey Mancini. It looks like two-way phenom MVP Shohei Ohtani will remain with the Angels, but the Yankees and Padres made ‘serious’ offers. The Yankees got reliever Scott Effross from the Cubs. Braves designated for assignment star Robinson Cano and obtained an INF from the Nationals. Brewers traded starter Josh Hader to Padres for 2 relievers. Yankees picked up Frankie Montas from the A’s. The Braves and Austin Riley agreed to a 10-year/$212 million contract extension.
The PGA Tour 2020-2021 season was an expanded one, due to COVID-19 related cancellations and postponements, mostly in 2020. Although most touring pros play between 20 and 30 tournaments in the season, the actual season was comprised of an expanded 50 official PGA events.
The upcoming golf tournament schedule has the PGA at
LIV Golf frontman, Greg Norman, claims in an interview that he offered Tiger Woods between $700 million and $800 million to join the rogue tour. Woods declined the offer and has since denounced the Saudi-backed rogue league. Perhaps in response to the LIV, the PGA just announced its 2022-2023 schedule of 44 regular-season tournaments and has increased the purses to a record $428.6 million in prize money.
The 2020 NFL season ended with Super Bowl LV, which was played in Tampa Bay, with the Bucs beating the Chiefs 31-9. It was the first time that a team had played in the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
The 2021 NFL season ended with a dramatic playoff schedule of many close and Overtime games. In the end, the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals (who were the worst team in the NFL only 2 years ago), 23-20. The Rams did not cover the 4 point spread. Rams WR Cooper Kupp was named the MVP of the Super Bowl and the game was played coincidentally in the Rams’ brand new home stadium, which cost $5.2 billion to build. It was only the second time (and in a row) that a team had played in the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
QB Kyler Murray, on Thursday, reportedly agreed to a 5year/$230.5 million extension with the Cardinals. The Browns, perennially involved in the top pick of the Draft and an insatiable appetite for new QBs in the last 7 years, have decided that they do want another QB, but it won’t likely be Jimmy Garapolo. They paid up for QB Deshaun Watson as their No.1 QB, despite the likelihood that he will be suspended for sexual abuse charges for at least part of 2022 season by the NFL. No.2 QB Jacoby Brissett will step up to No.1 for now. They have A.J. McCarron and Josh Rosen working out now for the No.2 position. That would make Joshua Dobbs the No.3, until Watson comes off suspension. Since the 2018 Draft, Josh Rosen has been QB for the Falcons, the Cardinals, the Dolphins, the Bucs, and the 49ers. Reportedly, the Browns are still looking at QB Cam Newton! What is it with their fascination for collecting QBs??? Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has reported to training camp on Thursday, amidst contract questions. The Cowboys’ classic helmets will return for Thanksgiving Day game. The Bills are hoping to make the Super Bowl with QB Josh Allen, or there will be personnel changes. There are rumors, started by his girlfriend, that TE Rob Gronkowski will come out of retirement (again) to play football this season. I hope he knows that the Bucs just signed TE Kyle Rudolph, likely Gronk’s replacement. On Monday, NFL QB Deshaun Watson, now of the Cleveland Browns, found out that he will be suspended only 6 games this season, instead of 12 games, and will not be fined for multiple counts of sexual misconduct.
The 2021 NHL season (which normally would have started in 2020 and wrapped around to 2021) was delayed and started 1/13/21. The regular season is normally 82 games, but was only 56 games this year, once again due to the pandemic. In the end, The Tampa Bay Lightning repeated as Stanley Cup Champions, beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.
The 2021-2022 season began on 10/20/21. It ended with a spectacular playoff schedule. The Tampa Bay Lightning tried to 3-peat as Stanley Cup Champions, but ultimately lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
NHL is now in free agency time, and my Boston Bruins, who did okay in last season’s playoffs, are rumored to be interested in Flames star Matthew Tkachuk. Niederreiter got a 2year deal with the Predators. Kapanen has signed with the Penguins. The Bruins have yet to re-sign their 36-year-old Captain, Bergeron. Other free agents available still are: Kadri, Kessel, Stastny, Klingberg, Subban, Yandle, and Holtby.
In cycling, Aneemiek van Vleuten won the Tour de France Femmes.
In association football, UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 has concluded with England defeating Germany in the Final.
The 2020-2021 NBA season tipped off more than two months later than usual on 12/22/20. The Suns beat the Bucks for the Championship. The 2021-2022 NBA season had a normal 82-game schedule and the Finals were won by the Warriors over my Boston Celtics in an exciting series. The Summer League has just completed, sort of their developmental league and spring training. Kings’ Keegan Murray has been named MVP of Summer League. The Summer League title went to the Portland Blazers.
The NASCAR Cup Series of 2022 has begun. Here is the 2022 schedule and winners:
02/06/22 Busch Clash at LA Memorial Coliseum-Joey Logano
02/17/22 Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1 at Daytona
02/17/22 Bluegreen Vacations Duel 2 at Daytona
02/20/22 DAYTONA 500
02/27/22 Wise Power 400 Fontana,CA
03/06/22 Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas
03/13/22 Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix
03/20/22 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta
03/27/22 EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Austin
04/03/22 Toyota Owners 400-Richmond Raceway
04/09/22 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville
04/17/22 Food City Dirt Race at Bristol
04/24/22 GEICO 500 at Talladega
05/01/22 DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover
05/08/22 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington
05/15/22 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas
05/22/22 NASCAR All-Star Open at Texas
05/22/22 NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas
05/29/22 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
06/05/22 NASCAR Cup Series at WWTR in Illinois
06/12/22 Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway
06/26/22 Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway
07/03/22 Kwik Trip 250 presented by JOCKEY at Road America
07/10/22 Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Atlanta
07/17/22 Ambettor 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
07/24/22 NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono Raceway
07/31/22 Verizon 200 at the Brickyard Indianapolis
08/07/22 FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan
08/14/22 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond
08/21/22 Go Bowling at The Glen, Watkins Glen
08/27/22 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona
09/04/22 PLAYOFFS round of 16: Southern 500 at Darlington
09/11/22 PLAYOFFS: Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas
09/17/22 PLAYOFFS: Bass Pros Shops Night Race at Bristol
09/25/22 PLAYOFFS round of 12: AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas
10/02/22 PLAYOFFS: YellaWood 500 at Talladega
10/09/22 PLAYOFFS: Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte
10/16/22 PLAYOFFS round of 8: South Point 400 at Las Vegas
10/23/22 PLAYOFFS: Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami
10/30/22 PLAYOFFS: Xfinity 500 at Martinsville
11/06/22 PLAYOFFS CHAMPIONSHIP at Phoenix
Formula One integrity is hanging in the balance after failure to publish an Abu Dhabi report. There was a 23-race F1 calendar for 2021. It did not begin until 3/28/21. F1 has announced another 23-race F1 calendar for 2022. Here is the 2022 schedule and here are the winners:
03/20/22-Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
04/24/22-Italy Rolex Gran Premio Dell-Emilia Romagna
05/08/22-United States Crypto.com Miami
05/22/22-Spain Pirelli Gran Premio de Espana
07/10/22-Austria Grosser Preis Von Osterreich
07/31/22-Hungary Magyar Nagydij
09/04/22-Netherlands Heineken Dutch
09/11/22-Italy Pirelli Gran Premio D’Italia
10/23/22-United States Aramco
11/30/22-Abu Dhabi Etihad Airways
IndyCar Racing circuit (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 2022 schedule and the winners:
02/27/22 St. Petersburg
04/10/22 Long Beach
05/14/22 Indy Road Course
05/29/22 Indy 500
06/12/22 Elkhart Lake
07/30/22 Indy Road Course
08/20/22 St. Louis
09/22/22 Laguna Seca
Tourists in Sri Lanka are being warned as Goa taxi protest turns violent. A new industry of yoga retreats has risen for World Cup widows in Brazil. Thailand is set to lose some 1.6 billion Euros in tourism revenue. India is going to cut red tape and finally issue visas on arrival. Qatar Airways has new all-business class flights. There has been a dramatic rise in British travelers visiting Germany. Wait! Did you know that British English spells that ‘travellers’, but American English spells that travelers? It like ‘cancelled’ and ‘canceled’, but not like ‘advertise’ and ‘advertize’. I always liked the way the British call an elevator a ‘lift’. What do you call it when you want to go down? For that matter, the Spanish call it an ‘ascensor’ to ascend, so what do they call it when they want to go down? Have I digressed, or maybe regressed? See, you’re even learning new languages in the Repo Commentary! The London to Glasgow (Scotland) train will host a comedy gig. Croatia’s GBP 444 million Chinese-built bridge on the Adriatic coast has finally opened. It is a stunning 1.5-mile-long structure that allows access to the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik. I’ve been there! It’s awesome! If you live in Great Britain and want the cheapest spot for the 2022 school summer vacation, that would be a sunny beach in Bulgaria. The most expensive spot would be Ibiza. Mont Blanc has become more difficult to climb. During a normal climbing season (summer), 100-120 climbers would summit Mont Blanc every day. This year, the number is down to just about a dozen. The reason is that there have been many more rockfalls and resultant gaping crevices. It is now far more treacherous than in the past. Mont Blanc is not the only global peak that is suffering from less visitors. Mauna Kea, on the big island of Hawaii, is home to a cluster of observatories that provide a unique view of the skies. Concerns there are that too many observatories have been built and there is too much human activity degrading the Mauna Kea as a natural treasure. That may now change, as a new law is designed to help bring the cultural significance of the mountain back into focus. Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia continues to flood on a frustratingly regular basis, as it is sinking. Officials have not developed effective countermeasures yet, per National Geographic. On Monday, there was an emergency landing by a single-engine plane in Raleigh-Durham, NC. The aircraft was missing a landing gear and had to land on a roadway on its belly. And, that’s not the weird part. When emergency crews got to the successfully landed plane, they found it empty. The pilot and co-pilot have disappeared. They don’t know if the jumped before landing or if they just ran off after landing. There is a manhunt for them now.
As of today (08/01/22), globally, over 6.401,337 million people have died from COVID-19. More than 577,818,293 (08/01/22) people have been confirmed infected with COVID-19. The US has the most deaths from COVID-19 of any country in the world, 1,030,150. The COVID-19 pandemic, one of the deadliest in history, triggered severe social and economic disruption around the world, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. Widespread supply shortages, including food shortages, were caused by supply chain disruption. The resultant near-global lockdowns created and unprecedented reduction in pollution. Educational institutions, public areas, and entertainment venues were partially or fully closed, as were businesses and restaurants, and many events were cancelled or postponed. Misinformation circulated through social media and mass media, and political tensions dramatically increased. The pandemic raised issues of racial and geographic discrimination, health equity, and the balance between public health goals and individual rights. Resultant business restrictions and remote working permanently restructured the economy, leading to workers leaving jobs and changing careers, and businesses severely reduced or permanently shuttered. The impact of the lack of skilled workers now in certain industries and at certain levels of workforce hierarchy is still being felt today, expressed in the airline industry’s cancellations of flights, restaurants restricted hours or tables, commercial real estate vacancy increases, etc. due to lack of workers.
President Biden tested positive for COVID-19, shortly after I published the 07/22 Repo Commentary. He tested negative and went back to work, but then tested positive over the weekend.
While you were working, a new psychological term was borne. Prolonged Grief Disorder has been the new diagnosis for being stuck in an endless loop of grief. I don’t know what to say or feel about that. Loss of smell is now considered a warning sign of Alzheimer’s. But, this brings into question, what if you lose your sense of smell because of COVID-19, which has happened to many people? Well, new findings suggest there might be a connection between Covid-related loss of smell and cognitive impairment, but experts say more research is needed. The study tracked 766 adults ages 55 to 95 for a year after their infection. Nearly 90% had a confirmed case of Covid and all completed regular physical, cognitive, and neuropsychiatric tests over the course of one year. Two-thirds of those infected had some type of cognitive impairment at the end of that year. In half of the participants, the impairment was severe.
While you were sleeping, the Murder Hornet or Asian Giant Hornet, got a new, friendlier name. The Entomological Society of America announced on 7/25/22 that the common name for this species is now “northern giant hornet”. It was believed that the name ‘’murder hornet’’ unfairly villainized insects, the foundation of our food web. Insects already have a bad perception, and these giant hornets are not called ‘murder hornets’ in Japan, where they are native. People murder people, hornets don’t murder. It is a kind of anthropomorphism (ascribing human characteristics to non-human entities). The Los Angeles Animal Services will hold its first-ever pet adoption event at Dodger Stadium. Whale sharks are the world’s biggest omnivores, scientists have discovered. Polar bears are flocking to open landfills in the Arctic as climate change diminishes sea ice, according to a new study, and a few annoying TV ads. We are in the midst of Shark Week (along with the real one reported on by the media every day), which is being hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the Discovery Channel. Did you know that Shark Week has been running for a whopping 34 years? Sharks are older than the dinosaurs and even trees. NYC beaches were briefly closed for swimming last week, after multiple shark sightings. A 560-million-year-old tentacled creature may be the animal kingdom’s first known predators. Scientists uncovered a fossilized animal from the Ediacaran period which is likely related to modern jellyfish. Earlier this year, a bold theory that claimed Tyrannosaurus Rex was actually 3 separate species has been stomped on, and a new study refutes that claim. Monarch butterflies, teetering “on the edge of collapse,” have been added to the endangered species list. The migratory majestic monarchs are threatened by habitat loss, pesticide use, herbicide use, and climate change. An extremely rare white humpback whale washed up dead on an Australian beach. The world’s oldest male panda ever in captivity, has died at age 35, after weeks of ‘deteriorating health’ in a Hong Kong zoo. In other panda news, scientists believe they have created a facial recognition computer program for pandas. Scientists have pinpointed the exact moment in evolutionary time when mammals became warm-blooded. They analyzed the ears of 341 living and extinct species and found it to be 233 million years ago, 19 million years later than scientists previously thought. They say it also happened far more quickly than the researchers expected. The closest living relative of extinct “Bigfoot” has been found. The massive, extinct primate was twice as tall as an adult human. This original Bigfoot (Gigantopithecus blacki) was a shaggy, bipedal ape which roamed the forests of Southeast Asia, before going extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago. It stood about 10 feet tall and weighed up to 595lbs. very few fossils of the massive creature have been found, thousands of teeth and only 4 partial jaws. Researchers found that the extinct “Bigfoot” isn’t a close human relative, like chimpanzees and bonobos. Rather, the gene sequences that most resembled this creature, belongs to modern orangutans, and the giant ape’s lineage is thought to have split from its cousin’s around 10-12 million years ago.
Paul Sorvino died on 07/25 at age 83. He was a brilliant actor, famous for rolls in several mafia movies, including GOODFELLAS. He also was an accomplished opera singer and sculptor, a true Renaissance man. Besides GOODFELLAS, he was in a lot of TV shows, like Law & Order. But, why anyone who is reading this Repo Commentary should really care about his passing is because he was also in REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA. Lol. I’m sure it was the other Repo. Allright, I looked it up and the great singer, Sarah Brightman, famous for all of her Andrew Lloyd Webber musical roles. And the great Paris Hilton was in the movie. The movie was about a worldwide epidemic that encouraged a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program similar in nature to a standard car loan. The repossession clause was a killer. Maybe, I should have stopped at Paris Hilton? Another star, Tony Dow, Wally on Leave it to Beaver, has died at age 77, from cancer. His death was actually announced 2 days before he actually died, by his management, when he went into Hospice. Beyonce fans at upset about the reported leak of her ”Renaissance” album. Jennifer Lopez had her 53rd birthday last week, on her honeymoon with Ben Affleck. Her birthday was only days after mine. That and Affleck is a Red Sox fan from Boston, are the only similarities the couple has with me. Rick Astley just celebrated the 35th anniversary of his hit song, “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Brendan Frasier is transforming into a 600-pound man for the movie THE WHALE. Mayim Bialik and Kenn Jennings have finally been named permanent co-hosts of Jeopardy! The 2022 MTV Video Music Awards are coming up. They still have that one? Do they still have VJs? The 2022 Venice Film Festival is coming up. Adele has announced her new dates for her Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace. She controversially cancelled her 24 shows previously scheduled for earlier this year, due to her worries about COVID-19 and her unhappiness with the quality of her show. She has been very apologetic to her fans. Her stint in Vegas will start in November and will feature 8 extra shows, for a total of 32. And you thought there was going to be any math on this blog. Nick Cannon has welcomed his 8th child. He has had children with 5 different mothers. Interestingly, the first 2 children were twins with Mariah Carey and the third set of 2 children were also twins, that time with DJ Abby De La Rosa. Did you know that 17 HARRY POTTER actors have died? Is there something to this witchcraft thing? Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy announced their split with “heavy hearts.” Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas welcomed another child. Khloe Kardashian is expecting a second child with Tristan Thompson. So, I admit I am a Below Deck junkie, watching all the episodes of Below Deck Mediterranean, Below Deck Tahiti, Below Deck Caribbean, and now Below Deck Down Under. So, a chief stewardess on a superyacht said to the DailyMail that it is not like the shows. She said she works 16-hours days, cleaning stuff that is already clean. But, she said she once got an GBP 8,400 tip! I thought the tips were pooled for the whole crew and were given in an envelope, like on the shows? Erika Jayne shoved her male trainer during kickboxing class, after she was served a $50 million racketeering suit for allegedly “conspiring with ex Tom Girardi to steal millions”, related to his alleged Ponzi scheme that has caused a huge scandal on that Real Housewives version. Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe’s son Deacon will make acting debut in season 3 of Netflix’s Never Have I Ever. Hilaria Baldwin raises some eyebrows as she claims that “enemies” have sought to “destroy” her husband Alec Baldwin, less than a year after actor’s fatal accidental shooting on RUST set. Kevin Hart has teamed up with The Children’s Place to open a brand new community learning center and hand out school supplies in Harlem. Seth Meyers has tested positive for COVID-19. The talk show host, 48, has canceled (did you see that?) several Late Night episodes, as the apologizes to his “loyal viewers”. Ratings for the NBC late night show finally have risen. Sorry, not one of his ”loyal viewers”. He’s always been too ‘in your face’ political for my taste. I like more subtle, like David Letterman or clean humor Jay Leno. Gwyneth Paltrow revealed that she had sex with Halley Bieber’s father Stephen Baldwin “in a bathroom”. TMI. PINOCCHIO trailer reveals Ewan MacGregor as narrator Sebastian J. Cricket alongside Tilda Swinton for Guillermo del Toro’s stop-action movie. Did you know that the Britney Spears’ conservatorship case is still making its way through court? Charlie Sheen has a new TV series Ramble On. Kanye West presented A$AP Bari with a $162,000 Mercedes Maybach SUV, after the clothing designer crashed his previous vehicle. Shawn Mendes has cancelled the rest of his Wonder world tour to focus on his mental health. Mama June Shannon, 42, has weighed in on her daughter, Honey Boo Boo, 16, saying that she is “too young” to undergo non-surgical endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty for weight loss. Will Smith is now addressing the famous Oscars slap on Chris Rock in a new video. Frankly, I’m over it. I thought it was a childish action and I’m pleased and surprised that Chris Rock handled it so well. That’s my opinion, and I happen to be a big Will Smith fan. But, this was just over the line. Prosecutors in Spain say they will ask a court to sentence Colombian pop star Shakira to 8 years and 2 months in prison, if she is convicted in her expected trial for tax fraud. She is accused of failing to pay the Spanish Government 14.5 million Euros in taxes between 2012-2014. They also want her fined 24 million Euros. As a promotion for the return of traditional menu items, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) returned to working the drive-thru at a Jack in the Box restaurant. He was fired from Jack in the Box as a teenager for impersonating a clown when he worked the drive-thru. No, there were not shenanigans at the McDonald’s drive-thru I worked in Andover, MA for about 7 years (same place Jay Leno worked).
I’m not a prude, as you well know. However, I have always kept the Repo Commentary as neutral as possible and off of extremely polarizing topics. I have been sensitive to all groups, knowing that my readership includes an enormous diverse bunch of people (we are still using ‘people’, right?). So, I just wonder when the TV censors all quit? It seems that sometime during COVID-19 outbreak that they must have quit or been fired. I grew up with strict censorship on TV, even Prime Time and how much skin you could show, and after Prime Time, which maybe was PG. So, I find myself shaking my head at the outrageously bawdy ads that are now on TV every day! I don’t want to single out specific companies, but I think you’ve seen them enough that it is all public domain, and I’m not saying anything untrue about them. It could have started with Charmin bathroom tissue, and us all encouraged to “enjoy the Go”. I was like, “where did that come from and how are they allowed to say that?” I think the phrase might be more mainstream now than I thought. As, yesterday, I heard an ad with women discussing the word, “p**p”, as part of the commercial. About 9 months ago (I think that’s coincidental) there was an ad about pre-contraception (I don’t know if that’s a word either), featuring a woman in a pink/red room, which apparently was more than a metaphor for a female sex organ, and she was eagerly waiting her date (also probably a metaphor). I think every time that ad comes on, I sit there with my mouth open in shock. Somehow, about 3 months later, a Dr. Shannon Klingman introduced us to her revolutionary product during dinner hours, called Lume, which she created as an antiperspirant or deodorant, I think deodorant, for the ENTIRE body. She then listed those parts of the body that were not the traditional parts for deodorant, like underarms. I’m sure that there are many others I missed or just developed memory loss for, so I’ll just finish with the one I saw last night (granted, past the prime time), which was about a razor that could be used for certain human hairs, which it not only named and made cartoon characters of, but they sang a song about themselves. Is it just me, am I the “Church Lady” from Saturday Night Live, or am I just old and will soon tell kids to “get off of my lawn?” Beyonce is changing one of her new songs, cutting out a word that people have used as a slur. Lizzo removed the same word from lyrics in June.
I need to see JURASSIC WORLD (which is the 6th installment in the Jurassic franchise), OPERATION MINCEMEAT (2021), AVATAR: THE WAY OF THE WATER (2022), UNCHARTED (2022), BULLET TRAIN (2022), and THE GRAY MAN (2022). But, these are the ones that I HAVE seen and my 1-10 rating:
NO TIME TO DIE 8.0
WRATH OF MAN 7.0
THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS 7.0
THE CARD COUNTER 6.5
THE UNFORGIVABLE 6.0
HOUSE OF GUCCI 5.0
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE 4.0
TOPGUN: MAVERICK 8.8
Technology & Space News:
It is not unusual for me to speak about financial technology or even moderate our industry panels on the subject. After all, at the 3 companies I worked for, I started a version of financial technology, albeit maybe crude compared to today’s standards. The next wave of digital change is upon us and forward-looking companies will take this opportunity to create a competitive advantage in the future. I’m still wrapping my head around the word ‘metaverse’.
Have you wondered why Elon Musk is launching thousands of satellites? Sometimes, that keeps ME up at night. Well, his company SpaceX is launching its Starlink project, which aims to provide high-speed Internet services from space, to even remote areas of the Earth. Now, you are starting to remember that pledge he made a while ago. Starlink operates in low orbit. While they can link to Earth faster, being low orbit, they have to cover larger areas, so they need more of them. Experts believe that Starlink has launched 3,000 of them into space since 2018. Those same experts, and a few others who were annoyed that they weren’t included in the first batch, surmise (that’s for my mother, who still reads the Repo Commentary, or so she says) that Starlink will massive amounts of infrastructure, like cables and towers, reach remote areas of the Earth. The company already has 400,000 subscribers in 36 countries. It currently costs more than traditional Internet services. There are some other benefits, like when the Russian forces have advanced in Ukraine, they have closed down Ukrainian internet services and tried to block social media. But, Elon Musk made Starlink available in Ukraine immediately after the invasion started. About 15,000 of Starlink’s sets of dishes and routers have been shipped to the Ukraine. They have helped keep things going, like public services and government, according to Starlink. Also, Ukrainian military forces are using it to communicate on the battlefield. Signals cannot be jammed like ordinary radio signals can, and it only takes 15 minutes to set up the kit.
The detractors point out that putting satellites into low orbit could lead to problems, like hitting other vessels and create fragments of wreckage and more space junk. There have even recently been a number of near misses involving the Starlink satellites, including near misses with China’s space station. Low-Earth orbit space junk could also impair travel into higher orbits, where our navigational satellites and telecoms satellites are situated.
An assault-style weapons ban has passed the House, but will probably fail in the Senate. A Wisconsin activist says he committed voter fraud to expose potential voter fraud. Wait, so you can commit a crime, but then argue it was to expose that it could be done, and be exonerated. Interesting play. Okay, I saw the headline and knew I wasn’t going to like this, Alex Jones’ company has filed for bankruptcy amid the Texas trial to award damages of $150 million to two of the Sandy Hook massacre families. They sued and won a default judgment against Alex Jones’ primary company, Free Speech Systems. Jones had already been found legally responsible in a separate defamation case in Connecticut about claims he made about the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting. Three smaller companies tied to Jones declared bankruptcy earlier this year. In a bizarre legal twist, probably to further delay proceedings in the Connecticut trial, Jones also filed a complaint on Thursday against his own company in Connecticut. At least 16 people are dead after Kentucky’s catastrophic flooding and that death toll is expected to rise. St. Louis is reeling from another round of floodwaters. The Republican National Committee has warned former President Trump that it will stop paying his legal bills, if he runs for President again. A female journalist was told her skirt was too short when she was reporting on an Alabama execution. Kansas is weighing new abortion restrictions. No doubt you’ve heard about people seeking an abortion going across state lines to states that have more less-restrictive laws, since the ruling by the US Supreme Court. There is talk that Canada could also become an option for US abortion-seekers. While Canadian clinics are able to serve American women seeking abortions, experts say the country isn’t an ideal solution. Canada has had abortion decriminalized since 1988, but traveling across the border to seek care in Canadian abortion clinics is generally out of reach for many abortion-seekers in the US, who do not have the resources. In 2014, half of abortion recipients in the US lived below the poverty line. So, traveling to Canada could include plane tickets, gas, lodging, or other expenses. One of those other expenses could be child care, as approximately 6 out of 10 women who have had abortions are already mothers, according to 2019 data from the CDC. US News is reporting that Europe is now looking at abortion reform. Overall, the book banning issue is getting uglier. The Proud Boys, the far-right group with a history of street fighting, showed up at a drag-queen-hosted story hour for families in a library in San Lorenzo, CA. Some other larger conservative political issues have overlapped and spurred book banning debates, like Florida’s recent so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. A judge sentenced Guy Reffitt, a Texas man who brought a pistol and zip ties to the Capitol on January 6 to more than 7 years in prison. Former President Trump endorsed “Eric” in today’s Republican Senate primary in Missouri, but failed to say which rival candidate, both named Eric, he was backing. Several other states have primaries today.
A US drone strike this weekend in Kabul, Afghanistan, reportedly the first such attack, since the US left Afghanistan last year, killed the leader of Al Qaeda, who helped plan the 9/11 attacks. He also played roles in the attack on the destroyer USS Cole in 2000 and the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa that killed hundreds of Americans.
I saw a scary NY Times headline today, “A New Axis”, which looks at the tensions rising in Taiwan, the war in the Ukraine, and seemingly shared interests of China, Russia, and Iran. The three countries, who view the US as an adversary, in the article are being used as a modern-day equivalent to the Axis Powers from WWII. President Biden, himself, has mentioned that the world is breaking into two competing blocs—democracy versus autocracy. Russia, China, and Iran seem to be increasing their cooperation. On Sunday, a makeshift drone explosion hit Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters, wounding 6 people. Meanwhile, one of Ukraine’s richest men, a grain merchant, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities said was a carefully targeted Russian missile strike on his home. On Friday, a prison where at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed, appears to have come from a blast within the building, which is under Russian control. Each side has blamed the other side for the blast. The Russians have refused to let the Red Cross come in and visit the prison to make sure wounded POWs had proper treatment, which violates the Geneva Convention on the rights of POWs. The Ukrainian grain harvest this year is in danger of being half its normal size, because of the war. However, Russia and Ukraine recently reached an agreement that would allow the release of millions of tons of grain held up in Black Sea ports, before they go bad.
Australian Parliament is considering lifting the 25-year-old ban on euthanasia. There is a US proposal to free WNBA Brittney Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan for a notorious Russian arms dealer. A former Marine was freed earlier this year, after 3 years in a Russian prison, in a similar prisoner swap. Remember, up until only a decade ago, the US refused to do prisoner swaps (except for the U-2 guy in the ‘50s).
Meanwhile, there is a situation brewing in China/Taiwan, as China warns the US against intervening in its dealing with Taiwan. The White House is listening to China and apparently not planning to interfere. However, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is putting her President and her party in a pickle, as she agreed to a trip to China and a stop in Taiwan. China has said a stop by her in Taiwan would be considered a provocation by the US. Didn’t the US have ONE foreign policy that the administration, the Cabinet, and Congress would follow?
Newly discovered remains found in the search for Natalee Holloway belong to a Caucasian person of European descent, according preliminary DNA tests, and experts say the profile is a match for the missing teenager who was declared dead in 2012. The 18-year-old disappeared in Aruba on May 30, 2005. She was on her last day of a graduation trip on the Caribbean Island with her high school class of 124 fellow graduates, when she didn’t return to her hotel. Holloway’s body was never found, and seven years later, she was declared dead. But, her family has continued a private investigation, particularly into the lead suspect, a Dutch native , who was later convicted of the abduction and murder of another woman in a Peruvian hotel. The new investigation into the bone fragments will be part of a six-part docuseries which premiered Saturday on the Oxygen TV network, The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway.”
It’s not the 1920s or even the 1820s, but rather the 2020s. Yet here we are discussing the growing trend in the US over the past few years, starting with isolated battles to a much broader effort aimed at books about sexual and racial identity. Book-banning efforts are now widespread in the US. It’s grown from a school issue, to a community issue, and now to a polarizing political issue. Back in the day, some specific parents might hear about a particular book because their child brought a copy home. Now, the many parents can see the material on social media and complain there until it goes viral. Once viral, the complaints spread to other cities, schools, and libraries across the country. Some politicians have used book banning as an issue to argue that inappropriate material is in schools, including books about sexuality, racism, and even history (with an intention to re-write history), typically while pushing their own agenda. Other politicians are seizing on the COVID-19 forced home-schooling to argue that parents, not schools, should control what their children read.
The Brightline train has struck again in Florida. A man was hit and killed this morning in Delray Beach, FL, as he was crossing the tracks. There is no station in Delray Beach, nor was the man crossing at a street crossing. In January 2020, an AP analysis found that Brightline had the worst death rate per mile of any railroad in the country. Investigators found that none of the deaths were the railroad’s fault, determining that many were suicides or drivers/pedestrians trying to beat the crossing gates and trains.
If you’ve been down here to Palm Beach County, you may have noticed a lot of new residential and commercial towers that were just built or are in the process of being built in downtown West Palm Beach, northern Flagler, in The Square (previously Rosemary Square and before that CityPlace), in Palm Beach Gardens near the Mall, and along the railroad tracks. Things are changing dramatically throughout the county, probably most in West Palm Beach. Most of what you remember from CityPlace is gone. Brio, Cantida Laredo, Bruzzi, Blue Martini, Mojitos, Panera, Revolution Bowling, Macy’s, etc. In their place, several tall buildings have gone up, one being built across from Cheescake Factory, which will move into its ground floor when completed. The AMC movie theater will be leaving and replaced by another residential tower. City Cellar restaurant has been joined by newcomer El Camino (ate there Wednesday night and it was fantastic!). it’s in the same spot that used to be Jimmy’s BBQ, Taverna Opa, and FAO Schwartz, if you remember back then. I’m not sure what will happen with Il Belaggio, a fine restaurant by the fountains. The huge space that was once BB Kings, the Palace, Bar Louis, and even Legal Seafood back in the day, and has been empty for 2 or 3 years, is going to be replaced by this residential tower coming. You will notice at least 4 new residential towers just north of The Square, near the Brightline train station. Fun Copper Blues and live stage will be moving to the bowling alley spot, Revolution, where there is a much larger stage and a huge sportsbook-looking room. There are new places over the bridge in Palm Beach too, especially along Poinciana. Here’s a look at new restaurants in 2022 for Palm Beach County:
- Casa Cana-North Tequesta (opened February)
- Lewis Steakhouse (sister to Okeechobee Steakhouse)-Jupiter/Indiantown (opened May)
- Taco Shack-Jupiter/Abacoa (opened July)
- Rembar-Jupiter/Bluffs (opened May)
- AquaGrille-Juno Beach (opened March)
- Mystic Lobster Roll Company-Juno Beach (opened April)
- Double Roads Tavern w stage-Jupiter (relocating)
- HoneyBelle-Palm Beach Gardens/PGA National (opened February)
- Voodoo Bayou-Palm Beach Gardens/Downtown (opened February)
- Cactus Grille and Tequila Bar-Palm Beach Gardens/Donald Ross (opened January)
- Legends Tavern & Grill-Palm Beach Gardens/Donald Ross (opened May)
- Ela (Indian)-Palm Beach Gardens/Donald Ross
- El Camino-West Palm Beach/The Square (opened June)
- Zona Blu-West Palm Beach/Okeechobee (opened April)
- Pig Beach BBQ-West Palm Beach/S.Dixie (opened June)
- Common Grounds Brew and Roastery-West Palm Beach/S.Dixie (opened February)
- Bodega Taqueria y Tequila-West Palm Beach/Clematis (opened February)
- Mockingbird at The Regional-West Palm Beach/The Square (opened February)
- The SoSo-West Palm Beach/S.Dixie (opened April)
- Hive Bakery Café-West Palm Beach/S. Dixie (opened March)
- Sweetgreen-West Palm Beach/The Square (opened January)
- Kosher Chobee-West Palm Beach/Okeechobee (opened June)
- Sicilian Oven-Wellington Mall (opened June)
- Bar 25-Delray Beach/Atlantic Ave.
- The Falcon-Delray Beach/Atlantic Ave (opened May)
- The Gringo-Delray Beach/Atlantic Ave (opened March)
- Akira Back-Delray/Pineapple (opened March)
- The Blue Dog Cookhouse and Bar-Boca Raton (opened April)
- Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza-Boca Raton (opened March)
- Ah-Beetz-Delray Beach (opened May)
- Spadella-Delray Beach (opened November)
I would list all of the restaurants that closed during the pandemic for good, even just the ones that had been open for at least 15 years, but I’m afraid the list might be longer, and depressing.
Jokes and Such:
At one time, probably before I was born, this was considered the No.1 joke in the world:
- “I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again!”
Sorry, just not that funny to me. Now, I have to be careful with some of you and your sensitivities. I’ll try.
- A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The driver says, “ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I ever seen!” The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to the man next to her, “The driver just insulted me!” The man says, “you go up there and tell him off. Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”
- I went to the Zoo the other day. There was only a dog in it. It was shihtzu.
- Okay, now you know how this is going to go. But, I’m keeping it cleanish.
- A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
- A young blonde (sorry) woman fears her husband is having an affair, so she goes to a shop and buys a handgun. The next day she comes home to find her husband in bed with a beautiful redhead. She grabs the gun and hold it to her head. The husband jumps out of bed, begging and pleading with her not to shoot herself. The hysterical blonde tells her husband, “shutup!, You’re next!”
- Just to show you how clean these can be…I said to the gym teacher, “can you teach me to do the splits?” He said, “how flexible are you?” I said, “I can’t make Tuesdays.”
- Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one – and let the other off.
- Two aerials get married. The ceremony was rubbish – but the reception was brilliant.
- “Doc, I can’t stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home. He said: ‘That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome.’ ‘Is it common?’ I asked. ‘It’s not unusual’ he replied.
- I’m on a whiskey diet. I’ve lost three days already.
- A man walks into a bar with a roll of Tarmac under his arm and says: “Pint please… and one for the road.”
- I went to the doctor the other day and said: “Have you got anything for wind?” So he gave me a kite.
- My mother-in law fell down a wishing well. I was amazed, I never knew they worked.
- I saw this bloke chatting up a cheetah. I thought: “He’s trying to pull a fast one.”
- A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One goes to a family in Egypt and is named “Amal”. The other goes to a family in Spain, who name him “Juan”. Years later Juan sends a picture of himself to his mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wished she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds: “They’re twins. If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Amal.” Yeah, I know, you thought I was going to go the wrong direction.
- Two fish in a tank. One says: “How do you drive this thing?”
- I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day – but I couldn’t find any.
- When Susan’s boyfriend proposed she said: “I love the simple things in life, but I don’t want one of them as a husband”.
- My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.
- I rang up 9-1-1 and said: “I want to report a nuisance caller.” The operator said: “Not you again.”
- Alright, it’s been too clean, I know…After watching STAR WARS with my son for the first time today, he looked up at me and asked, “Daddy, why was R2D2 so dirty?” Puzzled I asked him what he meant. He replied, “well, they had to bleep out every word he said.”
- Oh, alright, not relevant AND dirty. A praying mantis is sitting at a bar and asks the bartender for his third drink. The bartender says, “Charlie, you know that will be your third beer and your wife is waiting?” Charlie says, “oh what does it matter, she’s just going to bite my head off anyway.”