☀️ Seriously? – September 3 2020



Happy Thursday! Our kids are back in full-time school today! I’m trying to think of a word to describe it. Oh yes…

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In Case You Missed It. August 2020 saw more gun sales than any other August on record. According to FBI data released on Tuesday, there was a 57 percent increase in sales compared to August 2019.

Watch: Joe Biden destroyed Trump’s soft on crime argument in one press conference. Watch here.

Coronavirus Update: Total confirmed U.S. cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,114,406 — Total deaths: 185,744 — Total recoveries:  2,231,757

Vaccine: CDC requests states ready COVID-19 vaccine distribution by November 1st.

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • Student loan debt could be wiped away
  • America is spending more than it’s making
  • Mystery shoppers grade our favorite stores


Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 3.08%  0.11% 3.15% 0.11%
15 year 2.72% 0.04% 2.86%  0.04%

The Lead: Seriously, can he do that?

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The Trump administration is considering punishing cities where racial protests have turned violent by pulling federal funding from those places. It’s the President’s latest standoff against cities where peaceful racial demonstrations have turned violent.

The Naughty List

President Trump and Attorney General William Barr are focusing on Seattle, Washington DC, New York City, and Portland as cities where “outrageous acts of violence and destruction have continued unabated,” according to the President. They will publish a list of places they label “anarchist jurisdictions,” which have not taken what they would deem “reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.”

Is this even legal? That’s a big fat TBD. Recall that a federal court blocked the administration’s attempts to withhold funding to what they called “sanctuary cities” in 2017. It is highly likely that this move would play out the same way in the legal system, but whether they can do it or not, they want to say they can do it because we are in the throes of the Presidential campaign.

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Economy: Fed Keeps Digging a Hole

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When you owe more than you’re worth, that is not a sign of financial fitness. The United States is currently in that predicament for the first time since 1946.

The Numbers

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects that the government’s debt will reach 107% of GDP by 2023. That means that we will owe 7% more than we make, or $3.3 trillion.

Meanwhile, Congress argues about trillions of dollars as if it is an easy ask. It is not. Tens of millions of people are out of work; businesses are closing for good, and tax revenue? What tax revenue? If there is no income, there is no tax on said income.

We should keep this in mind while we watch Congress duke it out.

It’s easy to say that we need federal relief, but it is not easy to tell where that relief should come. Queue debate about current government spending on any of the following: military, space, research on animals. No takers on that debate. We’re stressed enough as it is.

Student Loan Debt and Bankruptcy 

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Up until now, student loan debt could not be forgiven, even for bankruptcy. But a Colorado couple has had over $200,000 in student loans forgiven by a federal judge due to their bankruptcy!

The US Court of Appeals found that the couples’ debt could be discharged with their personal bankruptcy.

This puts many cracks in the stranglehold that the student loan industry has had on consumer debt! It is not the law of the land, but it is an important precedent. Education loans are often high-interest financial products that prey upon young people’s eagerness for an education that they can ill afford. The industry has been long in need of regulatory overhauls if you ask me, which you didn’t.

News By The Numbers

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52. That’s how many helium balloons magician David Blane held as he successfully lifted 20,000 feet above the desert. At that altitude he had 60% oxygen to breathe. He let go of the balloons and parachuted back to Earth. Those balloons have now been ingested by sea turtles somewhere in the Pacific. Seriously, I don’t know where they went.

5 million. That is how many shares of TCL Technology Group were accidentally sold by a trader due to what is called a “fat finger” trade. The chairman of the Chinese company donated the amount of the sale back to the company to fix it. A fat finger trade is when someone hits the wrong button and accidentally costs a company millions. You don’t actually have to have fat fingers for this to happen.

4. That’s the number of midwestern states that are seeing a big spike in coronavirus cases. South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas. South Dakota is the worst with a 192% increase in cases. It’s hard to be sure what’s behind this spike in cases. South Dakota still doesn’t have a mask mandate, and Gov. Kristi Noem has said she won’t issue one, nor will she impose a stay-at-home order.

20%. That is how much ratings are down for the National Basketball Association. Game 5 between the Lakers and the Trail Blazers had 2.92 million viewers, compared to last year’s 3.49 million for a series at the same time. It is not clear if this is related to the player-led boycott because ratings were already down this year for, well, so many reasons. You know. You’re living during a pandemic.

All that and dim sum


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A group of Mystery Shoppers is giving restaurants and businesses a grade on COVID safety changes. The restaurant chain that has the best grade so far? Panda Express, the fast-food Chinese chain.

Mystery Shoppers reported that Panda is doing great with safety signs, protective gear for employees, and enforcing social distancing in random reports of patronage. Most locations also have dedicated In and Out doors so you don’t accidentally bump into a stranger.

For grocery stores, the shoppers graded Whole Foods with the highest score and Wells Fargo for financial services. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota last month was not rated. It would get an F, though. Yesterday a person died from COVID due to attending that event, and there are over 260 other cases in 11 states related to the event.

Wear your chinos to the polls

credit: Kokomotribune

Old Navy is offering to pay employees to volunteer as poll workers on Election Day, November 3. The store has said that employees who work at the polls will get paid for a full 8-hour workday.

There is rising concern about understaffed polling places, especially since poll workers are typically senior citizens, an at-risk population during the pandemic. Having them staff ballot boxes and risk exposure is not the best idea right now. It is estimated that 250,000 people are needed to step into these roles this year.

Old Navy has over 5,000 employees in over 1,000 locations. The press release extending this offer to employees does not stipulate that they have to wear chinos or cargos to earn their day’s wage at the poll, but it would be a comfortable choice.

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