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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

AMERICANA / STILL A SERVICE TO HIS COUNTRY

Citizen Vindman
In a remarkable and candid article in “Hive,” an online newsletter by Vanity Fair magazine, writer Eric Lutz recently interviewed Alexander Vindman, a hero to the majority of the American people. 

The Army officer who testified in the 2019-impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump believes “the president’s conduct has “politicized” him and pushed him to continue to sound alarms about democratic backsliding under this administration.

“Authoritarianism is able to take hold not because you have a strong set of leaders who are forcing their way,” he said. “It’s more about the fact that we can give away our democracy.”

“Truth is a victim in this administration,” Vindman added in Lutz’s article. “I think it’s Orwellian—the ultimate goal of this president is to get you to disbelieve what you’ve seen and what you’ve heard. My goal now is to remind people of this.”

The following is another snippet from Eric Lutz’s excellent article:

“...Describing the president as an “unwitting agent” of Putin, retired-U.S. Army Colonel Alexander Vindman said the Kremlin wouldn’t even need to use kompromat against Trump if they had it because he “has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is.” “President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler,” Vindman said. “He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he’ll try to please Putin.”

“In the Army we call this ‘free chicken,’ something you don’t have to work for—it just comes to you,” Vindman added. “This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken.”

To view the entire article click here.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/09/alexander-vindman-confirms-trump-is-100-a-putin-puppet?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=pol&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_mailing=thematic_ballot_091620&utm_medium=email&bxid=5bea118b24c17c6adf1c8b14&cndid=30205950&sourcecode=thematic_ballot&utm_term=Thematic_Ballot_Subscribers

Vindman resigns from U.S. Army:  Click here.
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/07/08/lt-col-alexander-vindman-who-testified-against-trump-announces-retirement-from-the-army/

SUBSCRIBE TO VANITY FAIR: Click here.
https://subscribe.vanityfair.com/subscribe/splits/vanityfair/VYF_FAILSAFE?source=HCL_VYF_LEADERBOARD_FAILSAFE_0&_ga=2.38171488.2118548528.1600273041-1654123806.1600273041


Monday, September 21, 2020

AMERICANA / FEARLESS GIRL


T
o honor the memory of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, someone in New York City placed a lace collar on the statue of the financial district statue called “The Fearless Girl.” 

Fearless Girl is a bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal, commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, an asset management company in Manhattan. The statue was installed in 2017 for International Women’s Day. The four-foot tall statue is located near the New York Stock Exchange Building. 

 Fearless Girl with Senator Elizabeth Warren.



MEDIA MONDAY / TIME TO REVISIT JAMES BALDWIN


In 1965, at a critical juncture in the Civil Rights Movement, James Baldwin’s essay “The White Man’s Guilt” unmasked the myths and lies that sustain racial injustice in America. 

We’re in a comparable moment now, writes Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. in the New York Times bestseller Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons For Our Own, and “it would do us well to listen to James Baldwin tell the story of how we failed when faced with a similar choice, and how we can still muster the faith to begin again.” 

ZOOM with Glaude, Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton, as he explores the contemporary resonances of Baldwin’s powerful and prophetic piece. There will be a brief Q&A at the end of the program; you will be able to type a question and submit it to the event moderator. Free Registration required. 

After registering on Eventbrite, you will receive a confirmation email from Zoom with instructions on how to join the presentation. Organizers ask that you download the Zoom app in advance for the best user experience. 

Wednesday, September 23 6:00 – 7:00 pm

This free event is presented in partnership with The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, The Association of Literary Scholars, Critics & Writers, and The New Republic

 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

SUNDAY REVIEW / CONTENDERS FOR NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS IN FICTION


2020 Longlist National Book Award for Fiction: 

Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers 

Christopher Beha, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts Tin House Books 

Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House 

Randall Kenan, If I Had Two Wings W. W. Norton & Company 

Megha Majumdar, A Burning Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House 

Lydia Millet, A Children’s Bible W. W. Norton & Company 

Deesha Philyaw, Secret Lives of Church Ladies West Virginia University Press  

Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain Grove Press / Grove Atlantic 

Vanessa Veselka,  Great Offshore Grounds Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random 

Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House.


The News
. The National Book Foundation today announced the 2020 ten contenders for the National Book Award for Fiction. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on October 6. Winners in all categories will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18. 

The 2020 Fiction Longlist counts three debuts among the ten titles. Only one writer, Lydia Millet, has been honored by the National Book Awards before; Millet’s novel Sweet Lamb of Heaven was Longlisted for Fiction in 2016. This year’s Longlist includes two writers who have been previously honored by the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 prize, Brit Bennett and Charles Yu. 

 The authors on the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction Longlist have earned recognition from numerous prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. In addition, their writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Elle, New York Magazine, The Paris Review, New York Review of Books, GQ, The Atlantic, McSweeney’s, and more. Three titles on this year’s Longlist are set in the American South. 

---Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half is a multi-generational family saga in which the characters contemplate the consequences of their lineage. Twins Stella and Desiree escaped rural Louisiana as teenagers, but years later Desiree returns with her daughter in this work of crisp social commentary that addresses colorism, gender identity, and more. 

 --The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw draws us into the multifaceted lives of Black women across several generations as they engage in self-discovery and seduction. In Philyaw’s first work of fiction, her characters push the boundaries of thought around morality, Christianity, and their community’s expectations. 

 --Returning to the fictional territory of Tims Creek, North Carolina in which two of his previous works also take place, the short story collection If I Had Two Wings by Randall Kenan explores appetites of all kinds, as well as characters yearning for both metaphorical and literal flight. 

 Two Longlisted titles mine the complexity and poignancy of apocalyptic events. --In Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, Brooklyn couple Amanda and Clay head out on a family vacation to Long Island, but their trip turns uneasy when the homeowners seek refuge following blackouts in New York City. As the world outside moves towards greater unrest, the group faces their perceptions about each other and the very concept of safety. 

 --Civilization’s future is at stake in A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet, who holds a master’s degree in environmental policy. The cast of young characters in Millet’s novel easily fend for themselves as their parents remain indifferent to the devastation of the world around them in allegorical tale that defies rationalizations about climate change. Two debut novels set overseas consider the impact of a lack of support, whether from society or family, in very different settings and time periods. 

 --In Megha Majumdar’s debut A Burning, a Facebook post results in protagonist Jivan being accused of collaborating with a terrorist on social media. With this act at its center, Majumdar lambasts the promise of social mobility through technology in India, capturing the despair felt by all of those betrayed by the promise of digital democracy and failed by their nation’s justice systems. 

 --Set in Glasgow in the 1980s, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart is an epic portrayal of a working-class family haunted by alcoholism. Each of their experiences are portrayed with great care through the eyes of lonely Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, who finds himself at the margins of his own family. 

Two novels interrogate interpersonal relationships and self-concept. 

 --The reveal of a family secret propels The Great Offshore Grounds by Vanessa Veselka. Originally seeking an inheritance, sisters Livy and Cheyenne join forces with their adopted younger brother Essex to find their other mother, Ann, who agreed to let Kirsten raise both daughters, provided Kirsten not reveal the details of who belonged to which mother. Their quest takes them across the country as each character works to define their own freedom. 

 --In The Index of Self-Destructive Acts by Christopher Beha, statistics whiz Sam Waxworth arrives in New York City to write a monthly column for a venerable magazine and soon finds himself entangled in a crumbling family empire. Beha’s novel meticulously explores the relationship between the old guard and new meritocracy as Waxworth unpacks his complicated relationship to his analytics career.  

Everyone embodies a role in Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu and protagonist Willis Wu strives to land the best one available to an Asian-American man: Kung Fu Guy. Yu’s novel takes the concept of allegory and uses the familiar landscape of Hollywood tropes to create a nuanced, heartfelt, and stylistically unique portrait of Asian-American identity. 

Publishers submitted a total of 388 books for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The judges for Fiction are Roxane Gay (Chair), Cristina Henríquez, Laird Hunt, Rebecca Makkai, and Keaton Patterson. Judge’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors and deliberations are strictly confidential. Winners in all categories will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18.



Saturday, September 19, 2020

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS & MORE / HOW TO MAKE OFFICE COFFEE GO FROM GROSS TO GOOD

Thank you, mucho Tom and Chuck!
GUEST BLOG / By Maxine Builder, as posted in MyRecipes.com--Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

No matter where you work, the coffee in the office break room or kitchen is probably bad. One of the best hacks you can learn on the job is how to make better office coffee, since what you're drinking is probably bitter, in part because you don't know how long it's been sitting there in the pot, and filled with coffee grounds or some other unidentified sludge. If you've ever wondered how to make office coffee taste better, you're not alone in your quest. Coffee aficionados around the world have been trying to game out the work-coffee challenge, to varying degrees of success.

But there are some very simple things you can do to make better office coffee and save your coworkers, and, more importantly, yourself, from drinking sludge ever again.

BYOM (Bring Your Own Milk)
In a perfect world, you'd be drinking better coffee, but if you don't have any say in how the coffee in your office gets brewed, try bringing your own milk. Change the things you can control, you know? A milk with higher fat content, like half-and-half, will help mask any bitterness from bad coffee. If you're on that dairy-free kick, try a high-fat non-dairy creamer with coconut cream.

Get a Mug Warmer
Perhaps the problem with your coffee is that it's getting too cold, too quickly, or you're not getting a mug until the office carafe is already cooled down a bit. You can remedy that by investing in a mug warmer for your desk. This gadget costs $10 and will keep your coffee hot for hours on end.

Make a Fresh Pot
Sure, this sounds like a no brainer, but one easy way to get better tasting coffee is to make a fresh pot. The longer coffee sits in the carafe, the more bitter it tastes—so if you coffee that tastes as good as possible, be the good Samaritan for your coworkers and brew a new batch.

Clean the Coffee Maker
Part of the reason office coffee tastes so gross is a tragedy of the commons. If everyone is making coffee, no one person is responsible for the coffee maker, which means that sometimes, your office coffee maker could be filled with mold. Yes, mold. It's disgusting and will absolutely change the taste of your brew. So if bad-tasting coffee is the norm, even after you make a fresh pot, try using vinegar to clean out your office coffee maker.

Come in a few minutes early to work. Fill the water reservoir with equal parts water and white vinegar, and "brew" the solution, according to Good Housekeeping. Stop the brew midway, and let it soak for 30 minutes so that all the nasty bits can come out. Finish brewing and then dump out the solution. Brew another pot of clean water to rinse, and then start making better tasting coffee in a hopefully mold-free coffee maker.

Make Your Own
It seems drastic, but desperate times sometimes for desperate measures. If you really can't stand the taste of office coffee, it might be time to bring your own brewer. A French press is the easiest deskside option for high-quality coffee—and it doesn't have to be too cumbersome on your undoubtedly already cluttered desk. This French press from Bodum, for example, makes just three cups. If you bring your own French press, you'll be in control of everything, from the strength of the coffee to the quality of the beans, so you'll have no one to blame for bad office coffee except for yourself. PICTURED: Bodum Caffettiera 8 cup, 34 oz. $25 @ Target. Also via Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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Editor’s note: Of course, in a pandemic office health standards apply.  Be careful.  And, if you’re lucky to office from home there are other perks to perc-ing coffee a la maison, n’est-ce-pas?

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WEEKLY COFFEE QUIZ--Where in the world is this coffee establishment?  Answer next Saturday in PillartoPost.org Coffee Beans & Beings post.

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LAST WEEK’S COFFEE QUIZ ANSWER. Mario’s Bohemian Café has been at the corner of Columbus and Union Streets since forever.  Located in San Francisco’s historic North Beach neighborhood, Mario’s will add zip to your latte with a shot of Vov, a Euro liqueur made with      
Photo: Krystyna Maliniak.


AMERICANA / WILDFIRE MAP AS OF SEPTEMBER 1


 

Friday, September 18, 2020

THE BREWSPAPER / FIRST NON-ALCOHOLIC OCTOBERFEST BIER

First posted on www.westcoastersd.com.  Craft beer magazine/website of the West.

Following the success of last year’s Sober Oktoberfest and 5K, America’s first exclusively non-alcoholic brewer Athletic Brewing Company is releasing America’s first non-alcoholic Oktoberfest brew. Perhaps no other beer style is as renowned as the Oktoberfest style but until now active adults looking to cut back on alcohol remained thirsty for this autumn seasonal. But the wait is over. In honor of the traditional Oktoberfest beers, this Festbier is brewed with German Vienna and Munich malts, and German Hersbrucker hops.

“Up until now, Oktoberfest beers for drinkers looking to keep their edge without compromising their social life have been missing. Our Oktoberfest should complement the fall seasonal beer category and allow a wider audience to take part in celebrations – even if this year’s Oktoberfest is in the comfort of our homes rather than at an outdoor tented party,” said Athletic Brewing co-founder John Walker. “Autumn is an exciting time for beer connoisseurs – and whether a person prefers alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages shouldn’t prevent them from enjoying the rich, complex flavors of an Oktoberfest beer.”

Athletic Brewing brews more than 15 styles – the largest range of any non-alcoholic brewery. Leveraging Athletic’s proprietary brewing process, their brewers developed a great-tasting, full-flavor Festbier. With just 80 calories and 18 IBUs, the brew has a golden appearance, clean malt flavor notes of bread crust and toast, a delicate sweetness, and a restrained bitterness.

Beginning in late September, beer drinkers can purchase Oktoberfest at athleticbrewing.com and get it conveniently shipped to their house. The beer will also be available at retail, and stores can be found at athleticbrewing.com/where-to-find-us.

Where to find Athletic Brewing Company products.  Click here.  


We are beer lovers at heart. But we also love being healthy, active, and at our best. These conflicting passions created an internal struggle. Why couldn’t these loves live in harmony? Yes, there was non-alcoholic beer – but we’re lovers of great tasting beer. Maybe it just wasn’t possible, but we had to give it a try. A few years and hundreds of recipes later, Athletic Brewing Company was born – the first brewery fully devoted to the production of non-alcoholic craft beer in the United States. Athletic Brewing crafts its innovative recipes using only pure, all-natural ingredients in small batches at our custom breweries on the East and West Coasts. Our intricate process lets you enjoy the refreshing taste of craft beer without the alcohol. So, whether you’ve decided to cut alcohol out of your life for good, for a night, or for just one drink, Athletic Brewing Company provides a flavorful option without compromise.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

THE FOODIST / VERTICAL INDOOR FARM GROWS BIG IN SMALL SPACES; RESTAURANTS LOVE IT

Located on a Town-owned, infill lot in the heart of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this 13,500 square foot greenhouse utilizes a 1/10 acre site to grow an annual amount of produce equivalent to 10 acres of traditional farming. 

Nona Yehia, CEO and co-founder of Vertical Harvest in Jackson Hole, Wyoming began her indoor farming operation with lettuce, microgreens and tomato plants.

Four years later, VH staff numbers 40 persons and grows year-around and includes a public market.  According to Ms. Yehia her Vertical Harvest operation on one-tenth of an acre can cultivate the amount of produce equivalent to ten acres of traditional outdoor farming.

Vertical Harvest will open a second vertical farm operation in Westbrook, Maine. Projected to open in early 2022, Vertical Harvest Westbrook will grow 1,000,000 pounds of year-round produce in a 70,000 square foot hydroponic greenhouse and provide careers for up to 50 underserved community members. Part of a development that also includes a local market and parking garage, the project will break ground in late 2021.

Looking ahead, Vertical Harvest is conducting a feasibility study funded by Fannie Mae and in collaboration with National Affordable Housing Trust in two Chicago neighborhoods. The Greenhouse would provide education, jobs, and year-round nutritious food to the community.

To view CNN article on Vertical Harvest: click here.

For more on Vertical Harvest organization: click here.


Vertical Harvest enables the community to grow produce 365 days a year despite the difficulties posed by the harsh climate.

Located in urban areas, these multi-story greenhouses produce incredibly fresh local food year around, and provide meaningful employment to underserved populations. Vertical Harvest employee picks and prunes hundreds of indoor tomato plants.



Wednesday, September 16, 2020

WORLD DESIGN / SWEDISH GIFT TO MANHATTAN’S DESIGN SCENE


Fotografiska New York is located in Church Missions House, a Renaissance revival landmark built-in 1894. It was renovated recently by architecture firm CetraRuddy.

First opened in December 2019, Fotografiska New York, a center for the exhibition of the visual arts has reopened after being closed by the Covid-19 pandemic for most of 2020.  Fotografiska is the internationally renowned destination for photography, founded in Stockholm in 2010 and expanding globally – first to Tallinn, Estonia, and now to New York City.

The Romanesque Church Mission House was designed by architect Robert Gibson and church interior specialist Edward Stent in the style of medieval guildhalls of Holland’s Amsterdam and Haarlem.

Guided by the principle of inspiring a more conscious world through the power of photography, Fotografiska has built a safe haven of innovation, inclusivity and self expression.
First floor lounge and entry

The museum showcases the greatest photographers, whether they’re emerging artists or already established internationally. The presentation of photography is unparalleled, with over 220 exhibitions to date globally, including Annie Leibovitz, Zanele Muholi, Albert Watson, Ren Hang, Sebastião Salgado, Bettina Rheims, Sally Mann, David LaChapelle, and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Veronika, a 150-seat restaurant designed by the firm of Roman and Williams, was named after the patron saint of photography, is located on the second floor of the New York City’s outpost of Swedish photography museum Fotografiska, which opened last winter. Veronika is presently closed until cleared to open by health officials.

Located at 281 Park Avenue South, the six-floor, 45,000 sq ft. historic landmark is home to an unexpected mix of world-class art, vibrant cultural programming, and exceptional dining experiences. The restaurant, Verōnika, and cocktail lounge, V Bar, are operated by award-winning STARR Restaurants and designed by Roman and Williams (currently closed, re-opening date to be announced in accordance with city and state regulations).

The New York location opened in December 2019 with work from Ellen von Unwerth, Tawny Chatmon, Helene Schmitz, Adi Nes, and Anastasia Taylor-Lind in partnership with TIME Magazine.

Fotografiska is anything but an ordinary museum. There is no permanent collection, and none of the work is for sale. Due to this unique model, Fotografiska is able to respond quickly to ever-changing societal issues, movements and themes, which is reflected in the immersive, representative, and relevant exhibitions.  It is located in the Church Mission House, a Renaissance revival New York City landmark constructed in 1894.  Its recent renovation was by the architectural and interior design firm of CetraRuddy.

Hours: Wednesday thru Sunday, 11 am to 9 pm. 
Website: fotografiska.com/nyc/about
Fotografiska New York Book Center





AMERICANA / HERE’S A STOCK ADVISOR WE TRUST

Editor’s Note: As Edward Jones is the financial advisor of this daily online publication, permission is granted to pillartopost.org [p2p] to republish certain data to our readership.

REPORT: (SEP. 7 – SEP. 11, 2020)

GUEST BLOG / By Nela Richardson, Edward Jones Investment Strategist--Stocks declined for the second straight week, as technology stocks experienced their worst pullback since March. There was no single catalyst for the move lower, which left the Nasdaq about 10% below its all-time high reached just six trading days ago.

However, broad valuation concerns, skepticism about a compromise on a coronavirus stimulus package before the election, and signs of slowing progress in the labor market all contributed to the negative sentiment. We continue to believe a longer-term recovery is under way, but stocks are likely to enter a more volatile period than the one experienced during the summer months. The path forward could be bumpier and the pace of the recovery slower, and as a result, stocks could start to consolidate some of the recent gains.

Stage 3 of the Recovery
Last week stocks fell 2.5%, posting their second consecutive week of losses1. We don’t think that last week's pullback is a sign that the rally has come to an end. But it does highlight our view that we've reached a bumpier stage in the economic recovery, prompting occasional downward swings in stocks even as the overall rally continues.

Despite the unprecedented, unpredictable and unruly path of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've observed a pattern to the economic recovery to date that we believe can be defined by three distinct stages:
Stage 1: A severe recession
Stage 2: A sharp early rebound
Stage 3: A slow recovery back to pre-pandemic levels.

In Stage 1, with lockdown measures firmly in place in April and May, the economy suffered its greatest economic decline since the Great Depression, the unemployment rate skyrocketed to a record high, inflation plummeted, and corporate earnings sank1. In Stage 2, as the country began to gradually reopen in June, the economy displayed a sharp bounce-back in growth, fueled by strong fiscal stimulus, near-zero interest rates, and unleashed consumer demand. Following this initial bounce in economic activity, we think the recovery will transition to Stage 3, defined by a bumpy road back to pre-pandemic levels of growth. Below are four likely characteristics of this next stage in the economic recovery.

1. The pandemic is still in the driver's seat
The path of the economic recovery will be determined to a great extent by the path of the coronavirus. If new outbreaks of COVID-19 stay localized and contained, the economy can continue its phased reopening. On this front we've seen progress from the high infection rates reached this summer. The seven-day average of new cases has fallen from the peak of over 65,000 cases in late July to under 40,000 as of September 92.

At the same time, the number of new cases seems to be stabilizing at a higher rate than what we saw in early June, when the seven-day average for new cases was under 25,0002. With K-12 schools and colleges and universities now reopened, the path of the virus is even harder to predict than when most people were abiding by stay-at-home orders and schools were closed.

A second wave of new infections that intersects with the traditional flu season could slow down the reopening process in the U.S., making Stage 3 of the economic recovery even more choppy.

Stage 3 Outlook: While the path of the virus remains uncertain, we point to continued progress in testing, treatment and vaccinations, which can lessen the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. We expect progress on the medical front to continue, though a timeline to a widespread distribution of a vaccine will likely not occur until 2021, leaving 2020's economic progress still vulnerable to pandemic outbreaks.

2. It may take several years to return to pre-pandemic levels of economic growth.

Recent economic indicators show solid improvement from the dire economic numbers during the lockdown period of Stage 1, but also reflect slowing momentum than seen in Stage 2. For example, the unemployment rate has improved substantially, from nearly 15% in April to 8.4% in August, but now gains may be more incremental3. The number of jobs created in August rose by 1.4 million, but that's lower than the 1.7m in July and 4.8m in June3. According to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, the unemployment rate will not drop below 6% until 2024, still substantially higher than the 3.5% level of unemployment in February.

Stage 3 Outlook: We think the still wounded labor market, with 11 million more people out of work than in February; the continued business closures; and the lower productivity and increased costs (tied to safety protocol and capacity constraints for businesses that can reopen) will likely make the return to pre-pandemic levels of growth take longer in Stage 3.
3. Federal stimulus is likely to be smaller in magnitude.

In Stages 1 and 2 of the economic recovery, the amount of fiscal support from Congress was the highest on record at $3.7 trillion, or 16% of GDP (the highest level since 1945). In contrast, this week a renewed effort to pass a smaller fiscal-relief package to hard-hit businesses and households fell short as the Senate failed to pass the so called "skinny bill" that would have provided $650 billion in economic stimulus.

Aggressive stimulus has been an important driver of the economic recovery. Positive indicators of consumer financial-health measures like high savings rates and low debt levels have held up, even with record levels of job losses, due in large part to direct federal payments to households and enhanced unemployment-insurance benefits. Now that many of these benefits have ended, the risk is that consumer spending, which is two-thirds of the economy, will decline again after having rebounded in Stage 2.

Stage 3 Outlook: It is still possible that a deal will be struck that bridges the gap between the Democrat original proposal for $3 trillion in new spending and Republican $1 trillion plan. However, the ongoing stalemate in new stimulus measures threatens to make the already vulnerable recovery in Stage 3 even less robust.

4. The pullbacks in stocks will likely be more frequent.
The S&P 500 dipped to 2.5% last week as the tech stocks took a breather from the relentless rally seen over the past five months1. Despite the recent pullback, tech stocks have led the remarkable market rebound from the March low, with stocks up 2.7% to date and within 7% of the record high that was reached in August and that surpassed even pre-pandemic levels1. Though expectations for the tech sector are high, they are also backed by strong profits, low debt levels, and durable business models. More broadly, we expect earnings, a key driver of stock returns, to continue to improve in the latter part of 2020 and then rebound in 2021.

Stage 3 Outlook: While we do believe that the worse part of COVID-19's impact on the economy is behind us, we also think that the easy part of the recovery is coming to an end. What’s ahead is a slower pace of growth that is uneven across sectors and regions, making the climb in stock prices bumpier than the smooth rise seen this summer.

Because the economic fundamentals supporting the rally are likely to be less vigorous as we move from Stage 2 of the recovery to Stage 3, we expect occasional pullbacks in the equity rally. Maintaining diversification across asset classes, sectors and geographies can help investors reduce the impact of temporary downward swings on long-term portfolio performance within the broader market climb. Despite the bumpier growth path ahead, focusing on achieving financial goals over time rather than on short-lived market moves can help make the economic journey from recession to recovery a smoother ride for investors.

Sources: 1. Morningstar direct 2. CDC 3. US Bureau of Labor and Statistics.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

SOCIAL CAMERA / PARTYING IN THE EAST HAMPTONS WITH A GREAT INFLUENZER

Who are these masked banditas?  Andrew Warren assumes the soon to be Smithsonian-ized “selfie pose to capture bfs  (left to right): Brooke Korine; Julia Moshy; Ethan D’Spain; Avery Singer and Ally Shapiro.
GUEST PASTICHE / By Holden DeMayo--Guest of a Guest is an interactive (covid conscious) social scene site (guestofaguest.com) featuring New York’s creative crowd from Manhattan to the outer banks of Long Island.  Recently, we hovered in as flies on the wall to the site’s coverage of a recent Labor Day party held out in the Scott/ Zelda Fitzgerald-esque Hamptons.  Click here.


Party host fashion designer (Just Drew) Andrew Warren opened his home in true influenzer style to a covid chic party (to coin 2 phrases) that included a temperature check (to get in) at the door, masks and plenty of outdoor seating.  For more of Warren’s Labor Day splash party (including thank yous to vendors) check out the Brit coverage in the Evening StandardClick here.

You know you’re on the Great Gatsby Century 2 “A” list if your party is covered on both sides of the pond.

Photos here by Manny Ingoa of Guest of a Guest, include partygoer Alexa Greenfield submitting to pandemic protocols of the day: temperature check and host provided Masks by Jill and Ally.  Temperatures by Actress Renee Willet.
Party host and fashion designer Andrew Warren is snapping away this time exposing guest Actor Nora Gjieli amid the outdoor tablescape by Coterie Party. You guessed it, the candlelit hibachi dinner was catered by Ace Catering.

Prior to this snapshot by the host, Ms. Greenfield was captured by an ESPN camera dipping her chicken tender into her soda. Hey, we all have quirks, but the image went up on the Jumbotron at the U.S. Open and soon went viral. Sans mask, she props here with host Warren’s takeaway party favors, including BrightFox (hangover assist) and Morning Recovery shots from More Labs.

Clever dessert arrived in the form of ice cream and candle-ized boozy influenced donuts from Sundae Donuts Montauk Sweets Shop
.










WEST COAST SKIES TURN MARTIAN ORANGE

Sunset off of Sunset Boulevard, Malibu
Downtown San Francisco, 500 block of Jones Street photographed in front of Red Chill Cafe
As if Portland Oregon didn't have enough troubles already, here's noon over the city.
By 7 am the sun should be shining on Sonoma County (CA) wineries
Afternoon sun is a disk but overall San Diego didn't have it as bad as other areas to the North.

Haze from Northwest fires casts a pall over T-Mobile Park in Seattle as the Mariners battled the Oakland A's

Monday, September 14, 2020

AMERICANA / ANOTHER SAD DAY FOR GUN VIOLENCE

 


MEDIA MONDAY / 2 NATIONAL MEDIA COLUMNISTS WHO COUNT

If you’re a media junky going on 24/7 year-round, you need help in helping to put everything into perspective. Here are two nationwide media columnist you can trust.

Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review.
Freelance journalist. He writes CJR’s newsletter: The Media Today. Click here for a recent column.
Twitter: @jon_Allsop

Tom Jones, Poynter.org Senior Media Writer.
Joined the Poynter news organization after more than 30 years as a journalist. @TomWJones
Click here for a recent column.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

SUNDAY REVIEW / WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THAT?


ICON AUTHORS REFLECT ON THE VAGARIES.

 STRUGGLE BLINDLY

It was early 20th century American Author Theodore Dreiser's

belief, throughout his writing career, that one could do little to

significantly alter his future existence. Burdened by his biological and environmental heritage, one could only struggle blindly against the larger manipulator of action and events— chance.

 

FIRST STEP

Author Amy Tan wrote “Chance is the first step you take, luck is what comes afterward.”

 

NADA, PAULO

Author Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes) insists nothing in this world happens by chance.

 

BE PREPARED

Louis Pasteur is on record as saying “chance favors the prepared mind.”

 

NAME OF GAME

“Baseball gives every boy a chance to excel, not just to be good as someone else but to be better than someone else.  This is the nature of man and the name of the game.”  Ted Williams, American baseball player.

 

JUST DO IT

The three C’s of life: Choices, Chances and Changes.  You must make a choice to take a chance or you will never change.  –Zig Zigler, American motivational speaker

 

WAIT YOUR TURN

Abraham Lincoln said “I will study and get ready and someday my chance will come.”

 

BEING HERE

American author Toni Morrison said “your life is already a miracle of chance waiting for you to shape its destiny.”