Read this First 8/18/2020

WEST .. It's the SOUTH-WESTern USA having the near record heatwave. I mistakenly wrote SouthEast in yesterday's Rant (as MANY of you pointed out) .. Now, it IS hot in the Southeast, too. But, high 90's hot .. not, 125 Hot .. .. and its California having the rolling blackouts .. and New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona are HOT HOT HOT, too ...and

If THAT is not enough to keep you out of California, there is a proposal there to raise the already silly state income tax from 13.3% to 16.8% and to institute the first ever "wealth tax". They will tax everyone with net worth over $30 million .4% per year. They claim this will raise $7.5 billion annually. WOW.. They don't think the billionaires will leave? I think they can say bye bye to Elon Musk, Page and Brin from Google, Larry Ellison, Zuckerburg and a BUNCH MORE.... and worse, "Silicon Valley" and all the "tech start up" billionaires will split, too... The biggest thing these dopey politicians are missing is that these people don't hold assets in their own names. They hold their wealth in trusts and foundations...

In North Korea: Hide those schnauzers and pitbulls !!! Kim Jong Un has declared: "Pet dogs are a sign of Western decadence and are hereby banned" (Kinda reminds you of the Burgermeister Meisterburger from that Christmas cartoon) .. All dog owners are ordered to turn in their pooches. State spokespeople are saying, "The bulk of North Koreans raise livestock and high ranking officials owning dogs is creating a rift between them and the general public" .. Others are not so sure.. given the current food crisis some are saying the dogs will be used to feed people... and..

In Da Swamp: The DNC had "night one" of their convention last night. .. What happened??" It's being compared to a PBS telethon or a long YouTube video...

Former First Lady Michelle Obama did fairly well. She roasted the President, as you'd expect, calling him not up to the task and saying he has, "a total lack of empathy".. She said, "If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can.. Check out what we did to Chicago.. that place REALLY sux now... umm.. no.. wait.." .. Oddly, she didn't mention Kamala Harris. It would appear she taped her speech before last week. She must have been busy this week or something..Michelle's message, "Go High" is inspirational .. but is an absolute lie. Who has, "Gone High" in Washington, DC? They are all the OPPOSITE of high..Unless you count smoking pot or eating THC Gummies .. and..

Bernie Sanders talked about "how far we have come in 5 years.. " and called the President, "a threat to our democracy". (Umm.. Bern.. we are a REPUBLIC.. there's a big difference).. then Bern crapped on the "Billionaire class" because he can no longer crap on "the rich" because he's made himself a millionaire in Washington rallying for the poor.. speaking of that..

The "Host" of the Zoom call was Eva Longoria Baston who pushed the "theme" .. WE THE PEOPLE.. Yup.. You are JUST LIKE most Americans.. winner of the "good gene pool" ..and you and your Mexican Media husband are worth like $100 million. Yup, THAT is the real America... and..

How lost is NY Governor Cuomo taking shots at the President over COVID?? The President gave Cuomo EVERYTHING he needed. FEMA set up a hospital at the Javitz center.. NO ONE that needed a ventilator didn't get one.. and they sent you a Navy Hospital ship that went unused as you sent Covid patients BACK to nursing homes and KILLED PEOPLE !!.. How can YOU talk about anyone ELSE's mistakes???

As you read here a few months back .. Given Biden's sexual assault accusers you could be fairly sure that neither the RNC nor DNC wants, "personal dealings with women" to be a campaign subject. Neither side gains in that fight.. Adding a little validity to that thesis is the story coming out of Jill Biden's ex-husband. He claims their story of "meeting on a blind date" is crap because he and Jill both met Joe Biden when they worked together on Biden's Senate Campaign in the early 1970's. Of course, the Biden Campaign has "no comment" about the story .. and let's be honest.. given what we know about Biden.. it is ENTIRELY possible Biden met Jill in 1973 on the campaign and TOTALLY forgot about it when they, "met on a blind date in 1975" ...

Tuesday RIPs: RIP to Robert Trump, 71 who died Saturday after a brief illness. ( I know it's Tuesday.. and Tuesday is supposed to be "Trump Free Tuesday" but.. that never meant Robert .. it means his bother ..and by the way.. Attention All Basketball Coaches. 14 Year Old Barron Trump is now 6 foot 4. Given the complexion of his father, I'd give the early lead in recruiting to Clemson or Tennessee) ... and..

Get Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone out there NOW!! .. Giant panda matriarch Mei Xiang is pregnant and could give birth this week at Washington’s National Zoo.. of course .. the Zoo is closed due to Corona .. Maybe they'll have a ZOOM birth ..

SPORTS:

Golf: Hey .. you in the Red shirt. Get off the front nine until Noon. We're overseeding and getting ready for the US oooohooooollllyyyy sheet... You're Tiger Woods !!!..

The "Northern Trust" is the first playoff tournament for the Fedex Cup and its in Boston this weekend. Tiger Woods and his neighbor Justin Thomas "stopped off" at the Westchester Airport on the way to Boston. They went on down to Winged Foot where the US Open is to be played next month. But guys, its MONDAY. That's the day the grounds crew works on the course !!! So, tell me readers.. as tough as you think you are.. If you're the head of the grounds crew.. and "No one is allowed on the course until noon while you do your work" .. Would you have the Bawls to kick Woods off? .. (..and Hey, Tiger .. next time stop at Old Oaks on the way back to the airport. Great food. Get the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp).. Speaking of Tiger...

You'd think the LAST thing you'd do if you were Tiger's kid is decide to play competitive golf!! You could win 5 Majors and 25 tournaments and STILL have an inferiority complex!!! ..

Well, Charlie Woods, Age 11, competed in a US Kids Golf Event in Florida this weekend. Shot -3 over 9 holes and won by FIVE SHOTS. Do the math, Tiger is 44. Six years from now you think Tiger will be playing the Senior Tour??.. NOT !!!! .. He'll be caddying for Charlie at the USA Amateur !! (He'll probably whimp out and use one of those pull carts because his back hurts!!).. .. How funny will it be when Charlie thinks he should hit a "hard 5 iron" and Tiger thinks it should be a "4-iron punch fade".?? Charlie: GEEZ, DAD! You're Old and I'm 3 under through nine.... WTF do YOU know????!!!!!"

NHL: Avalanche, Lightning and Bruins win to take 3-1 series leads. Blues beat the Canucks and tie series 2-2...

Boxing: Now, I want a vote from the Rant Reading public .. Is this Wrong? .. or.. is this "great because they get PAID". HERE.. I'll say this.. It was educational for me. I now know that the "correct" term is Dwarf and that Midget is derogatory.. You learn something new every day !!!

CELEBRIDIOTS:

Actor Ryan Reynolds owns a piece of Gin company, "Aviation Gin" which was just sold to Diageo for $610 million. He sent a note out yesterday: "I'd like to apologize to all the people I told to go f**k themselves over the past two days. I didn't realize what a small percentage of Aviation that I actually owned and I just learned what an "earn out" is and how long it takes to get money..."

Singer/Preacher Kanye West talks of starting a rival to TikTok called, "Jesus Tok" for spiritual and inspirational videos.. umm.. Aren't you running for President, Kanye? Get out there and campaign !!! I don't want my vote wasted !!!

I gotta ask you.. If you were a rich and famous hollywood person would you keep the same bikini for over 7 years? Maria Menounos 2013 ...HERE .. and 2020.. HERE .. or maybe she just gets new ones every year from the tourism chief of Greece so that she can remind the world how hot some Greeks are....and Maria, I'm gonna need to see your ID. They say you're 42. You told me 39 !!!..

Speaking of Greece .. look who else is there.. Rita Ora .. HERE... I guess there are no COVID travel restrictions in their world.. Maybe the heat killed the COVID..

From SeekingAlpha.com

U.S. futures yawn with Republicans’ scaled-back stimulus

U.S. equities futures hug the flatline as Republicans plan to introduce a scaled-back virus relief package that would include a $300/week in supplemental unemployment benefit, additional U.S. Postal Service funding, and aid for small businesses, Bloomberg reports. The legislation would also include protection for employers against lawsuits over COVID-19 infections. S&P and Dow futures are roughly flat while Nasdaq futures +0.28%. 10-year Treasury yield slips almost 2 basis points to 0.68%. Gold gains 0.09% to $2,002.80 per ounce; crude oil up 0.42% to $43.07 per barrel. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng Index closes up 0.08% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.2% after U.S.-China tensions heat up after the Trump administration imposes new restrictions on Huawei focused on cutting access to commercially available chips. In Europe, jewelry maker Pandora (OTCPK:PANDY) (-7%) led losses in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index (+0.24%) after warning that sales may slump as much as 20% this year. Germany’s DAX up 0.37% and the U.K. FTSE 100 up 0.10%.

Oracle in talks to acquire TikTok business, challenging Microsoft

Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) has jumped into the fray to potentially acquire the North American and Australia/New Zealand business of TikTok (BDNCE) - squaring off against rival Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which is thought to be in pole position for the acquisition. Oracle is reportedly working with some of TikTok's existing VC investors, including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, and CNBC says the talks are recent and ongoing. Go Deeper: Compare Oracle’s key stats with those of its peers.

Boeing deepens job cuts

For a second time this year, Boeing (NYSE:BA) is preparing to offer further voluntary buyouts to its employees, extending its workforce cuts beyond the original 10% target unveiled in April, Bloomberg reports, citing an internal message from CEO Dave Calhoun. The “voluntary layoffs” will be offered to workers in the planemaker’s commercial airplanes unit, services division, and corporate operation, Calhoun said in the message. Boeing began laying off 6,700 employees in late May, part of the 10% staff cuts outlined in April. Go Deeper: SA Contributor Dhierin Bechai on the 777X and an uncertain future at Qatar Airways.

Robinhood valuation jumps to $11.2B after $200M funding round

Robinhood’s latest funding round comes from D1 Capital Holdings, boosting its valuation from $8.6B and marking its third major investment in five months. The news comes about a week after the stock-trading app company announced plans to hire hundreds of additional registered financial representatives to serve its growing number of customers. In June the company’s daily average revenue trades exceeded those of publicly traded brokerage firms. Last month, Robinhood got $320M of investment added to an earlier series of funding that was announced in April. And in May, it announced a $280M round of investment. It will use the latest funding to improve its core product and customer experience.

Merck picks site for £1B London research, business site

The U.S.-based pharmaceuticals company Merck (NYSE:MRK) plans to construct the complex, including research labs, on a site opposite King’s Cross rail station. Called MSD in Europe to avoid confusion with Merck of Germany, the company plans to employ 800 people at the 25,000-square-meter facility. Assuming it gets local council planning permission for the project to be called London Discovery Research Center, construction will start late next year with move-in expected during 2025. While the company expects to create ~120 new jobs for scientists and technicians, most staff will come from MSD's smaller existing labs in London and its business hub in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. Research at the U.K. site will focus on diseases of aging, with a particular focus on neuroscience.

Western U.S. power prices hit records as California warns of more outages

Electric prices in the western U.S. soared to record highs as California consumers prepared for more rolling outages after the state grid operator ordered utilities to cut power over the weekend to reduce strain on the system during a record-breaking heat wave. Power prices at the Palo Verde hub in Arizona rose to $350.50/MWH the highest in the 10 years that Refinitiv has been compiling data, Reuters reported. In California, prices at SP-15 in the southern part of the state rose to $270.75/MWh, the highest since August 2018.

Dispute arises at DOJ over speed of Google antitrust case

A bit of a split has appeared at the Justice Dept. in a potential antitrust lawsuit against Google (GOOG, GOOGL), The Wall Street Journal reports - with some staff attorneys concerned that the case is ready, while others are pressing to move forward with a suit as soon as summer's end. Attorney General William Barr is reportedly pressing a more aggressive timeline, while staffers in the parts of the case examining Google's search practices and its online ad business express concerns that the evidence as it stands may not yet be enough to win in court.

What else is happening…

Canada finance minister quits amid charity scandal.Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) TV Plus offers first bundle, with CBS/Showtime (VIAC, VIACA).FOX News (FOX, FOXA) Digital posts highest July multi-platform view.Kirkland Lake (NYSE:KL), Newmont (NYSE:NEM) reach deal for exploration opportunities.Forbearance programs hold credit card delinquencies at bay in July.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan -0.20%. Hong Kong +0.08%. China +0.36%. India +1.27%. In Europe, at midday, London +0.10%. Paris +0.49%. Frankfurt +0.37%. Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.13%. S&P +0.11%. Nasdaq +0.28%. Crude +0.42% to $43.07. Gold +0.86% to $2,015.75. Bitcoin +3.30% to $12,270.5. Ten-year Treasury Yield -9 bps to 0.674%

Today's Economic Calendar

8:30 Housing Starts 8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales


Regards,

Roger “Raj” Searing rajsearing@gmail.com "Raj Searing™”, "Read this First™", "@rajsearing™", "TheRantRoom™" and “TheRantroom.com™” are Trademarks of RRRAJ, LLC. All Rights Reserved-2003.

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