Mortgage rates jump on speculation of a tax deal


It was in the middle of July when mortgage rates were at 4%.  Based on yesterday’s mortgage rate survey the benchmark 30 years mortgage jumped six basis points in week over week reporting and came in at 3.960%.  Most know rate movement is cyclical so the increase must be viewed  based on trends not as an isolated incident.

Industry experts attributed the jump to the increase of the yields on the 10-year Treasury bond, which jumped nearly 10 basis points.  The 10-year bond is the primary indices which affect movement on the 30-year mortgage.

 

The markets reacted based on anticipation that a tax deal may be accomplished?  Also, yesterday the Senate passed procedural regulations  known as a budget resolution making it a bit easier for a deal to be reached.   If things work out as projected, it would mark a key win for the Trump administration which has been bogged down since taking office by not being able to tout any legislative victories.

 

In the meantime, homeowners who are purchasing a property or attempting to refinance their existing mortgage are gauging rates to make sure their budgets are not negatively impacted.

Here is a snapshot of this week’s rates:

October 26, 2017

30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 3.94% 3.25% 3.21%
Fees & Points 0.5 0.5 0.4
Margin N/A N/A 2.74

The Freddie Mac rate survey is published every Thursday.  It is an industry standard and used to gauge mortgage movement.

Justin Turner 29 Years to the date


[Chavez Ravine]   Unless you were in a coma, don’t read/view/listen to the news or just can’t stand the game of baseball or you are shaking your head in disbelief that people would waste valuable time to attend/view a game which took nearly 4 hours…………you missed the Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hitting a walk-off (the home team’s last at-bat) hitting a historic home run off Chicago Cubs and well-traveled reliever John Lackey to win the game.

The game is still just a game but the surreal comparison when analyzing Turner’s home run is it just so happened to be 29 years to the date when Kirk Gibson marched into the annals of sports history with his monumental blast which led the Dodgers to their World Series Crown.  Coincidently, that is why Dodger fans are thirsty and hopeful that Turner’s home run is a sign that they may finally claim another World Series trophy.

To keep Turner’s feat into perspective, yes it was a blast but this is just the second round of the playoffs or the NLCS (the National League Champion Series) and the win put the Dodgers up two games to none.  However, they must win four games to claim the seven game series and the defending World Series champs, the Cubs could still rally and knock the Dodgers out?

Here is the extended clip of Justin Turner’s blast which starts with Chris Taylor’s at-bat


Ekersley, shocked to his toes!! Vin Scully

This is the comparison clip and features the full footage of Kirk Gibson’s home start.  The footage starts with Mike Davis’ at-bat

The movie MARSHALL: My review


[Los Angeles, CA] The movie “Marshall” is set for release this weekend.  I was fortunate to be in attendance with some of my BPG (Black Professional Group) colleagues as they hosted an advance screening Wednesday, October 11th.

 

The life of Thurgood Marshall has been chronicled in the annals of contemporary history.  However as iconic as his legal career was and his subsequent place as a justice on the Supreme Court, there is much about him the public does not know.   The two most recent books of his life do a good job in presenting his career; Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary written by Juan Williams (2000) and Showdown, written by Wil Haygood (2015).

 

Marshall” the movie does a good job of showcasing his brilliance of our legal system.  It is not a documentary but more of a bio-pic.  Therefore, it does take creative license in presenting a very entertaining movie.  Certain scenes take me back to “Native Son” as race and sex are center stage.  You have a black chauffeur accused of raping a white woman, whom he worked for.  We have seen this plot before.  As a young attorney Marshall was part of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund so he was summoned to represent the chauffeur who claimed to be falsely accused.

bi·o·pic
ˈbīōˌpik/

noun

informal
noun: biopic; plural noun: biopics; noun: bio-pic; plural noun: bio-pics
  1. a biographical movie.

 

Through twist and turns of dealing with sheer racism and a system which automatically assumed those accused, especially if they were black (African-American) were guilty, Marshall used his gift to motivate and convince the lead attorney they could turn the system to their favor while seeking to exonerate their client.

My grade

If you know about Justice Thurgood Marshall, you will score the film high.  However, if you are not aware of his career or the plight of blacks during that period, you will miss the sensitivities and may provide a lower grade.  My grade comes in at a solid 7, and after some reflection I could see moving it up to an 8 because it covered so much ground.

 

The cast is very contemporary but at the end you are treated to three people who make a cameo appearance which make you appreciate the struggle of working through the legal system in trying to achieve justice.

 

More information.

 

On Tuesday, October 10th the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC also had a special screening.  Those in attendance were treated to a post question and answer conducted by Wil Haygood (The Butler) as he interviewed the director, Reginald Hudlin.    There are many poignant comments during the 32-minute session, including how not one U.S. company was willing to fund the project.  The usual excuse of the film not having a broad audience was the reason Hudlin shared.  How many times have we heard that only to see such movies take on worldwide interest?   Hudlin’s work was eventually realized as Chinese investors stepped forward.

Question and Answer with director

Here is the official trailer

Chadwick BosemanJosh GadKate Hudson

CUBA:  Which U.S. Credit Card to use?


Yes, United States citizens can use their debit/credit card while travelling in Cuba.

 

99% plus of United States citizens traveling to Cuba know that dollars are the primary currency needed to navigate through the country.  While getting businesses to accept dollars can be risky, if not tricky, the common practice is once you land at the airport you venture to the exchange office and convert your dollars into Cuban currency (currently the rate is 1:.87, so you quickly lose 13 cents but your options are limited if non-existent).

 

“We offer both a debit card attached to a checking account and a credit card that is usable in Cuba,”  Officer, Centennial/Stonegate Bank

 

The one legitimate U.S. bank which provides a credit card to use in Cuba is a Mastercard issued by Centennial Bank formerly Stonegate Bank of Florida.   The bank issues a credit card as well as debit card.  They have offices in Arkansas, Alabama and New York.  That is very important because to receive a debit card you must personally go to one of their offices.  The reason is because the debit card is tied to a checking account.  The credit card can be applied for online.

 

One other critical part of the application process is you must submit a supplemental certification that you are authorized to travel to Cuba.   It is assumed if you have properly planned for your trip to Cuba you have the creditworthiness of obtaining the credit card or debit card.

Finally, as most already know the U.S./Cuba relationship is fluid and subject to change without notice, so the best advice is to ask questions and verify with legitimate sources so that you can enjoy your visit.

33,000+ jobs lost in September


Photo courtesy of Getty Images. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

[Washington, DC] To the chagrin and frustration of Donald Trump and his administration, today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment data for September.  The decline was expected but goes against the mantra Trump spouted about the HUGE success workers would see once he was running things.

 

No one can predict natural disasters.  Hurricane season is common for the Caribbean and states which buffer against the Gulf of Mexico.  It’s something you can never get use too, however the magic of those states, territories and countries is why people choose to call it home.   Harvey and Maria packed a punch not seen in years.  The result was pure devastation and many workers were sidelined as whatever job they previously performed disappeared.

Unemployment rate dips to 4.2%

Even though job numbers dipped, there was good news as the unemployment rate slid to 4.2%.  These numbers are important as they affect the psyche of those in the workforce and have a direct impact on consumer confidence.

Trump is known for his bombastic rhetoric and marginalization of anything which places him in a negative context.  Ever since taking over as the president, he coined a new phrase to counter such news as “fake.”  He was warned repeatedly that running government is different from a family held business.    Yet, he boasted tremendous improvement that has never been seen before would occur!  The big difference is accountability and factual public data which will contradict even the most confident-appearing person.  While the clock is ticking, reality is setting in for many and they are pleading for his critics, “just to give him a chance.”

 

As we move into the fall season, October is also projected to be down as the employment effects of hurricane Maria will be announced.

NMAAHC Special Event and Foodie Excursion


[Washington, DC]   The National Museum of African-American History  and Culture (NMAAHC) recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.  As part of the festivities this past weekend they celebrated a special event for Charter Members.  It was a great event that allowed visitors to explore the museum without the usual wall to wall throngs that have been attracted to one of the top venues on the National Mall.

 

 


Some of the exhibits

 

 

In light of Colin Kaepernik’s protest and subsequent support from the NFL, all those who disagree with how and why protest occur is to visit this iconic statue representing Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman.
Guest were treated to Champagne/Wine and gourmet cupcakes
Jesse Owens
Jackie Robinson
circular featuring Barry Bonds
Eddie Robinson

Some of the exhibits


Because it was a night event I left after several hours so I could explore other venues on the mall.  The Washington Monument is directly across the street from the museum and it looked majestic.

 

Since Puerto Rico has been devastated by the recent Hurricane’s, I remembered one of the great visuals about the National World War II memorial is a large stone statue representing each state.  Due to Donald Trump’s comments about Puerto Rico which I determined as pure ignorance, lack of sympathy and just plain stupid I was curious about the crowd which had gathered by the stone.  It was refreshing to see so many out, simply reflecting and being in their quiet space while paying respect to the people of Puerto Rico.

 

From the World War II Memorial, I made the long trek south to the Lincoln Memorial.  The lighting is amazing and the brilliance of the reflection pool gave a new meaning to our history as a country.  As I made my way up the stairs towards where President Lincoln is sitting while overlooking the mall, I paused so I could stop by the plaque marking the spot where Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the iconic March on Washington speech.

From the Lincoln Memorial it was nearing 11:00pm, so I needed to hustle over to the MLK Memorial.  I was told my staff at the NMAAHC that it was probably closed.  Having been there numerous times, I doubted it was closed but you just never know if there had been any changes implemented by the National Park service.  The site was open and just like the other sites I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who had milled inside the venue.

It was a very good trip and I am happy the NMAAHC had the charter event which allowed for another trek of exploration.  Also, those who are familiar with the history of Washington, DC know the city is basically split into four quadrants; Northwest, Northeast, Southwest & Southeast.  For this trek I decided to change it up a bit and selected a Marriott in the Dupont Circle or Northwest section.  This would force me to venture out and reconnect with sites I had not visited in years.  Among others, it was great to spend time in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

 

view from my room

As with any trek, it’s great to experience the communities and culture through food, so listed are some of the food spots I connected with.


Other Sites

Washington DC is full of interesting sites and places to visit.  On another note and to the chagrin of Donald Trump and his supporters who rode into the presidency with high ambitions and a full agenda of what they would accomplish on day one.

“He is a successful businessperson who brings the right skills to get things done.  Plus, he is not a traditional politician and we need someone to disrupt the status-quo,” anonymous Trump supporter

Yet many, especially his most dedicated supporters would be shocked to wake up nearly ten months into his presidency and not be able to point to or claim one legislative accomplishment!   The reason that is important or worthy of caring is due to the bombastic comments and arrogance made of what would happen if elected.  Who can forget his throated comments of what would happen on Day One!.  Have the people been duped?  Has Donald Trump come to realize government is needed and that operations may appear similar to running a business but accountability is much different, especially of things you can get away with at privately closed organizations?

One thing you notice while traveling around the District are t-shirts endearing the terms of President Obama.  No doubt, the District is known as a democratic town and one which has great affinity of Obama.  Still, it’s an interesting parallel when you factor what has occurred since Donald Trump was sworn into office.

The famous mural donning the side wall of Ben’s Chili Bowl was updated approximately six months ago.  Those familiar with the mural will remember Bill Cosby was featured and the update has removed his image.  It was great to see Dick Gregory being honored.


Foodie Excursion

Skewers by Chef Morimoto

For ramen lovers, this is a great dish. Very tasty.

 

Bub and Pop’s is a great restaurant in Dupont Circle.  They have been featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Sliced brisket with fried egg. Order of home fries.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea.  A great place for coffee connoisseurs.  Located on 15th and M it is a great place to chill-out and charge your devices as there are plenty of power outlets and free Wi-Fi is also available.

Peet’s traditional latte

Uprising Muffin Company is located in the historic Shaw District.  Very roomy but get there early as they only make enough muffins for the day and your selection could get sold out.

full of great blueberries
blueberry muffin and basic cup of coffee (very good)

Sweet Home Cafe is a remarkable place and part of the NMAAHC.  Even though it was late or around dinner time, and even though grits are a staple within our household, JB gave me a tip that this was the dish to experience.  Outstanding.

Shrimp and Grits representing the South Carolina tradition of using gulf shrimp and milled grits.

Ben’s Chili Bowl is a “must stop” when going to DC.

The Ali’s
The famous Ben’s Chili Bowl combo. Half smoke, Fries & Lemonade

Busboy’s & Poets is another great spot that is a must stop when travelling to the District.  It’s in the U corridor but the restaurant/bookstore is fantastic and the history pays homage to Langston Hughes who was known as a busboy.  The restaurant is part of the Langston lofts complex which features an apartment complex.  One sad note is as much as I love this place, I was extremely disappointed in the service.  I sat at the bar and couldn’t believe the lack of service, let alone being served their famous chili.  Unfortunately when the waiter finally brought it out, it was cold!

The Diner located in the heart of the Adams Morgan community, it features basic comfort food.

Chicken Biscuit Breakfast

Grille District is located at the Reagan airport inside terminal two.  The pork belly tacos (3) are a must have.