America the Beautiful

July 5, 2024
Leyendecker Executive Search

Welcome to This Week’s Leyendecker View

Life is simple but not easy. The problem is we want life to be easy, which makes it complicated.
Shane Parrish

THINKING OUT LOUD

Hope you had a great 4th of July! Happy Independence Day USA!

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Originally written in 1893 by Katherine Lee Bates, with music by Samuel A. Ward of Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, NJ.

The two never met.

Sing it, Elvis, Sing it!

THE ECONOMIC VIEW

The hiring market seems good
Previous reports revised, signal cooling labor market

It’s homebuilding season.
But no one is buying lumber

Car prices may be declining.
But higher rates make ownership costly

Fed Chair wants budget deficit cut quick
The annual US deficit
Is now bigger than the Russian economy

INFLATION, DEFLATION, OR BOTH?

Fed Chair likes recent inflation data.
But may need more time before cutting rates
The Fed is in no hurry

From food inflation to price wars.
The fast food fight for a $5 meal
And there’s a fried chicken sandwich war

Grocery stores are discounting
As consumers tighten their belts
Even “Whole Paycheck” is discounting

THE LABOR VIEW

The demand for software developers
Has totally collapsed

WFH may be here to stay
35% of most jobs do some WFH.
Definitely not good for office real estate

AI is threatening the knowledge economy.
Welcome to the relationship economy

MEANWHILE IN EUROPE

France has a 28-year-old political star
He could shake up all of Europe.

Amsterdam to phase out cruise ships
Too much tourism, too much carbon.

Labour wins in a landslide, Sunak concedes
The inside story of Starmer’s slaughter
The Tories deserved their drubbing
Labour’s plan to change Britain
But will anything really change?

THE GLOBAL GAME

Joke candidates flood Tokyo mayoral race
Dysfunctional politics are everywhere.

Vienna is world’s most livable city
It’s also a hub for Russian spies

G7 to make global climate demands
The G7 is in charge of the earth, right?

THE UKRAINE FIRE

China making lethal drones for Russia
But are they really allies?

NATO to establish a Kyiv post
That’ll make Putin happy, huh?

Is Russia about to attack Southern Ukraine?
They just completed a railway there
Ukraine foils another Russian plot

THE GAZA FIRE

Israel kills Hezbollah commander
A wider war may be coming.
Hezbollah responds with rocket barrage

Iran warns of an “obliterating war”
If Israel launches a Lebanon offensive.

The $230MM Gaza pier was a total bust
It’s now going to be dismantled
Will that cost us another $230MM?

GEARING UP

Who’s ready for killer robots?
A new age, thanks to AI

The best Western weapons maker
Is South Korea

America’s war machine needs rare earth magnets
China controls that market.

THE SLIPPERY SLOPE

China is building bases in Cuba.
According to US satellite photos

China and Russia build an alternative NATO
Belarus has decided to join

Iran has become a global power
Under the Biden administration.

FINANCE

BlackRock to buy data miner Preqin
Better data, or easier to manipulate markets?

The new private equity gold rush
Looks to be in India
Wall Street loves Indian food

Defaults on leverage loans soar in the UK
Is private equity creating a Black Swan?

REAL ESTATE

Starwood capped real estate fund withdrawals
RE funds are now bleeding billions

Walgreens plans major store closures
Do we need brick-and-mortar pharmacies?

Banks try to unload real estate loans
Before losses become problematic.

TECHNOLOGY

Canada enacts digital services tax
Because they don’t innovate enough?

The EU goes after Meta
The French go after Nvidia
Are US regulators asleep, or bought off?

One of today’s best health breakthroughs
Could be the Apple Watch

THE CHAT ON AI

AI is getting better fast.
Can you tell what’s real now?

The goal is to use AI to cut jobs.
Says almost half of AI-using companies

Is AI search a waste of time?
AI chatbots make things up
Yet Amazon plans to invest $100B
Is the gold rush going to lead to a big bust?

OUR GOOD FRIEND, FAILURE

New York legalized weed
The governor now says it’s a disaster.

Luxury goods are made by modern slaves
Do the rich care?

NY’s congestion pricing scheme collapses
Will the free market find a solution?

Student loan borrowers owe $1.6T.
Almost half of them aren’t paying anything

THE NEXT NORMAL

The American Experiment
Is worth fighting for!
The blue-state wealth exodus continues

DEI is in retreat
Meritocracy got a bad rap, but is it coming back?

NYC plans to ban phones from schools
Wowsville!

THE WAR ON CARBON

The vanishing islands that didn’t vanish
Climate change needs a rethink.

EU methane restrictions about to start
Will it restrict their energy supplies?

Nigeria wants to develop more O&G
It’s hard currency, baby, hard currency.
Saudi Arabia announces unconventional discoveries
China wants more O&G, too

THE ENERGY TRANSITION

Google emissions jump 50% over 5 years
Are tech companies causing climate change?
Tech wants to lock up nuclear power
Will they let HAL run the systems?

Shell pauses big biofuel plant construction
Energy transition is being delayed.

Europe’s largest renewable producer scales back
The numbers just don’t work out.

THE EV DREAM—OR DELUSION

China and the US are in hot pursuit.
Of the next big EV breakthroughs
As Tesla sales fall again
India’s Tata Motors sales fall, too
EV graveyards are growing in China

EVs have major quality problems
Too many software bugs.

THE CHINA SYNDROME

Government subsidies and rebates
Have not compelled China’s consumers

Chinese expats in the US
Are being told to spread propaganda

China has access to Nvidia chips
Think they’ll reverse engineer them?

THE WASHING-TONE

SCOTUS has been busy.
They curbed SEC powers
And curbed all bureaucratic agency powers
They support cities dealing with the homeless
They preserve access to abortion pill
And support dramatic circumstances abortion
And block OxyContin settlement
They ban guns for domestic abusers
And Steve Bannon still has to go to jail

Public trust in government since 1964
It’s always great after we win a war.

THE ELECTION DISTRACTION

China supports Gavin Newsom for president
Hmmm…what does that tell us?

Trump is keeping a low profile
And letting the wildfire around Biden burn
Kamala is ready to roll

Biden doles out $500MM in new pork
Gotta buy votes somehow.

MAKING A BETTER YOU

Feeling exhausted?
Here’s how to fight weariness

Yet some animals perform better
With sleep deprivation

12 traits of the emotionally intelligent
And you can learn them.

HOW ABOUT A BREAK

Milk and cookies before bed
Are actually a sleep aid

Commute times across the globe
You want to live in Denmark!

The secret to late-in-life success
For one, don’t give up!

PLANNING VACATION?

The best national parks
Are not even crowded

Top global sea kayaking spots
Oh, yeah!

A Boston art museum did cliff diving
Now Boston trains are getting googly eyes

MUSIC BOX

World music from Tirana, Albania.
Nice classical from Klasic 101.2 FM

Bonus tunes…

Who is up for some country rap?
Shaboozey’s “A Bar Song.”
Lyrics can be fun.

CASTING AROUND THE PODS

Why smart people think stupid things
An interview with author and Harvard professor Steven Pinker.

Bonus…

She studied psychopathy.
It taught her about human nature

VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

Horizon: An American Saga
Costner’s new Western hasn’t resonated

Behold the Toys ‘R’ Us AI commercial
The AI world is just getting started.

The Bear season 3 trailer
The Bear isn’t about nature

FROM THE HEADHUNTER’S KITCHEN

When it’s hot outside
Get yourself a cold noodle salad
And maybe a beerita!

How to make a 3,000-year-old beer
‘Cause we need to try it, right?

The ultimate chopped salad
Get your leafy greens here!

THE RANDOMS

Given that the Democrat party and many in the media had been lying to us about President Biden’s cognitive decline, what else have they been lying to us about?

By the way, Warren Buffett is 93 years old. Every year, he leads a five-hour, or longer, meeting with shareholders. He uses no teleprompter. He answers questions from the audience. And people keep owning Berkshire stock.

It seems funny that so many legacy Western politicians and their political parties are suggesting that democracy is at risk because they could lose an election. Yeah, democracy is at risk if they lose an election. Right?

When you read, listen or watch news, it’s probably best to keep in mind the word hyperbole.

Boeing is a mess, and yet they just announced an acquisition. WTF? They can’t even get astronauts back from space. Maybe Boeing is a bigger mess than we even know.

Apparently Europeans who get twice as much vacation as US workers are still complaining it’s not enough. Yet Greece just proposed a six-day work week. What’s going on in Europe?

The reason AI will never match human intelligence is because AI has no emotions. And we humans don’t learn to improve at something without feeling bad about failing at it first.

Wow! A link from one of my newsletters: “Psychopathy is not a surplus of evil, it’s a deficit of emotion.” Well, there you have it folks, AI a psychopath.

Denver tried a universal basic income (UBI) project. The project proved that UBI was of no better value to people than basic welfare.

Okay, Sam Altman, now how are people going to earn money when your AI systems put them out of jobs?

How shallow would humans be without their pets?

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Will the American Empire Fall?
June 28, 2034

The Power of One
June 21, 2024

© 2024 Leyendecker. All rights reserved