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September 1, 2014

For sale: Century-old cards of Ty Cobb, Cy Young

Filed under: marketing, news — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 5:59 pm

BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) — A baseball fan took up smoking a century ago and with it acquired another habit: holding onto little cards that bore the faces of baseball’s earliest greats.

Now, the trove of more than 1,400 tobacco cards featuring a slew of Hall of Famers like Cy Young and Ty Cobb — the legacy of a teenage smoker whose family hung onto a collection that dates to 1909 — is going up for auction.

The cards will be sold by a Maine auction house that is becoming known for selling rare memorabilia, Saco River Auction Co. in Biddeford.

Troy Thibodeau, the company’s manager and auctioneer, said the collection of cards dating from 1909 to 1911 — an era when the Yankees were the Highlanders, the Dodgers were the Superbas and the Braves were the Doves — belongs to the grandchildren of a Brooklyn, New York-born man who began smoking when he was 19.

“Every time he got a card, he threw it in a box,” Thibodeau said.

The collection has been dubbed the “Portland trove” because some of the collector’s descendants ended up in Maine’s largest city. The family doesn’t want to be identified, Thibodeau said.

Due to be auctioned individually and in small lots starting in January, the collection includes about 10 cards depicting Young and a dozen depicting Cobb, along with other Hall of Famers like Chief Bender, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson.

Smaller than modern baseball cards, these cards known as “T206″ cards to collectors feature color lithographs on the front and a tobacco advertisement on the back.

“They’re not like your normal baseball card where there’s a stock piece of photography that’s printed on millions and millions of cards. These are truly pieces of art. They’re colorful, they’re bright, they’re folky, they’re Americana,” Thibodeau said.

The collector preferred a cigarette brand from Havana called El Principe De Gales. But there are cards featuring logos from other cigarette brands of the era like American Beauty, Sweet Caporal, Sovereign and Piedmont.

Such a large collection is unusual but not unprecedented. Large collections come up for sale every year or two, collectors say. Part of what makes this one special is that the cards are in great shape.

Scott Hileman from New Jersey-based SportsCard Guaranty, who graded the cards, said they’re all among the type of cards used to market brands that were part of American Tobacco Co. for three years, from 1909 to 1911. He described the trove as “incredible.”

Missing are two of the rarest cards: Those depicting pitcher Eddie Plank and shortstop Honus Wagner. The priciest baseball card ever sold was a 1909 Honus Wagner, which went for $2.8 million.

Nonetheless, the collection is valuable with the potential for some of the single cards to reach into five figures, Thibodeau said.

Saco River is making a name for itself despite being a small auction house.

Last year, a collector from Massachusetts paid $92,000 for an 1865 baseball card depicting the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur baseball club. In 2012, the auction house sold a rare 1888 card of Hall of Famer Michael “King” Kelly for $72,000.

“If you love baseball, this is the beginning of it. This is where stars were made and heroes were born. It’s history,” Thibodeau said.




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August 31, 2014

Police clash with protesters marching on Pakistan PM

Filed under: debt, money — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 3:27 am

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN—Pakistani police charged with batons and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of protesters marching toward the prime minister’s official residence and the adjacent parliament building in Islamabad on Saturday, blanketing the route with clouds of white smoke and scattering demonstrators. Nearly 125 people were injured in the clashes between police and protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Scores of protesters, mainly women carrying hammers and iron rods, broke down a fence outside the parliament building, enabling hundreds of people to enter the lawns and parking area, according to Pakistani television reports and a photographer on hand for The Associated Press.

Islamabad police chief Khalid Khattak said the protesters were armed with big hammers, wire cutters and axes, and even had a crane.

Defence Minister Khwaja Mohammad Asif said police later managed to clear most of the protesters from the parliament building’s parking area and lawns.

“Now only women and children are there, and they can take shelter there as long as they want.”

Nearly 125 people — including women, children and police officers — were admitted to two government hospitals in the Pakistani capital, medics and police said. The injured had wounds from tear gas shells, batons and rubber bullets, said Dr. Tanvir Malik and another doctor who identified herself only as Ms. Abida.

The protest leaders — cricket-legend-turned politician Imran Khan and anti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri — had called on supporters staging a sit-in for days outside the parliament building to march on the prime minister’s residence and the legislative chamber. About 20,000 police in riot gear were deployed to block the procession.

In speeches, Khan and Qadri called for protesters to remain peaceful and urged security forces to restrain from using force. Protests demanding Sharif’s resignation were also taking place in Lahore, Karachi and other Pakistani cities, according to TV reports.

Khan described the police action against the crowd as illegal.

“Now we will show this government, we will call for countrywide agitation and we will jam the whole of Pakistan,” Khan said.

Sharif’s spokesman Asif Kirmani said the government had to use force after protesters tried to attack the centre of state power in the capital. It was not clear whether Sharif was at the residence on Saturday.

“A state can’t be left at the mercy of some thousand people,” Kirmani said in an interview with Geo News TV.

Asma Jehangir, a human-rights activist and political commentator, urged the government to take necessary measures to protect women and children in the protest, but criticized protest leaders for claiming that the demonstration would remain peaceful.

“It is like if you say ‘a peaceful robbery’ ” she said.

Khan and Qadri, a dual Pakistani-Canadian citizen with a wide following, allege that Sharif won the 2013 election due to massive voter fraud and should step down. They also have demanded reforms in Pakistan’s electoral system to prevent future voter fraud.

Backed by Parliament and many political parties, Sharif has said he will not step down. Government negotiators have tried to convince Qadri and Khan to end their protest.

The protests began with a march from the eastern city of Lahore on the country’s Independence Day, Aug. 14, that reached Islamabad a day later. Khan and Qadri had called for millions of protesters to join, but crowds have not been more than tens of thousands. The protesters’ presence and heightened security measures have affected life and badly harmed business in the capital.

The protesters initially camped at another thoroughfare, but moved outside the parliament on Aug. 19. Until Saturday, the rallies had remained festive, with families picnicking and men and women dancing to drums and national songs.

Riot police initially showed restraint during Saturday’s march, but when the crowd started removing shipping containers used as barricades, they fired salvos of tear gas canisters that forced the crowds back. TV footage showed protesters, including women and children, scattering in retreat. Some fell to the ground and many protesters, including several children, were shown in TV reports being treated for the effects of tear gas.


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August 26, 2014

Quinn vetoes statewide ride-share legislation

Filed under: economics, house — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 6:23 am

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday vetoed legislation that would have established statewide regulations on ride-sharing services that compete with taxis, saying he didn’t want to put in place a “one-size-fits-all approach” on an industry best regulated at the local level.

The re-election seeking governor’s move drew up a thumbs-up from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Uber, Lyft, and even Republican governor challenger Bruce Rauner, who had called on Quinn to block the bill.

But the veto was criticized by taxi drivers and the legislation’s sponsors, one of whom called it a victory for ride-share companies that serve posher Chicago neighborhoods while mostly ignoring residents in working class areas of the city.

In ride-share services, drivers use their private vehicles to give rides to people who request them via online apps. The measure would have set standards for vehicle safety, including requirements for insurance coverage, and rules that would have made the dispatchers of the vehicles liable for damages in accidents while the drivers are using their personal cars for ride sharing. It would have allowed car insurers to deny coverage to ride-share drivers at the times when they were using their vehicles for ride-share work.

“To rush into a whole new system of statewide regulations before the need for one is clear would stifle innovation. It would also be a disservice to consumers,” Quinn wrote in an email to campaign supporters.

Sponsoring Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, said he will consider seeking a vote to override Quinn during the General Assembly’s post-election session.

“I disagree with the contention that this should be decided only locally, as these services stretch across city and county lines and the bills would provide important baseline protections that local governments could build upon,” Zalewski said in a statement.

Sponsoring Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, contended that ride-sharing drivers “cherry pick who to pick up.”

“They don’t go to the Southeast Side, The Bush in the 10th Ward of the city of Chicago. They don’t come to Gage Park on the Southwest Side of Chicago, to Little Village. They just stay to Wicker Park, Wrigleyville,” said Sandoval at a news conference with taxi industry supporters at the Thompson Center no fax payday loans.

But Chris Taylor, general manager of ride-share company Uber Chicago, said Quinn’s veto shows his commitment to keeping transportation options affordable in Illinois. And Taylor countered that the veto will be a boon for residents of underserved neighborhoods, which he said ride-share drivers do a better job of serving than taxis.

“The people of Illinois overwhelmingly support ride sharing — this veto is a victory for them against the influence of Big Taxi,” Taylor said in a statement.

Many taxi medallions in Chicago are owned by a handful of wealthy individuals. But cab driver Javad Rahmaniasl said he and his wife own just two medallions between them, and that they and thousands of small operators like them are seeing their most important investments go down the tubes as medallions fall in value because of the relatively lax rules imposed on the ride-share industry. “We don’t have any pensions, retirement, anything else,” he said.

The Chicago City Council passed its own ride-share regulations in May, a package endorsed by Emanuel that requires driver training, background checks and vehicle inspections, and tougher licensing and insurance requirements. It also prohibits ride-share drivers from picking up passengers at the airports and McCormick Place. The ordinance will take effect next week, according to the mayor’s office.

Cab drivers say the city rules don’t go nearly far enough to level the regulatory playing field, while Emanuel has hailed the Chicago ordinance as an important step.

Emanuel sent out a statement thanking Quinn for the Monday veto, saying now “new transportation options can flourish in Chicago while consumers are ensured a safe and reliable experience.”

The ride-sharing legislation got 80 votes in the House and 46 in the Senate, both enough to override the governor’s veto. Those numbers could be fluid, however, given that issue has attracted a who’s who of Springfield lobbyists. 


August 21, 2014

China Manufacturing Gauge Drops as Growth Pickup Stalls: Economy - Bloomberg

Filed under: lenders, technology — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 9:51 am

A Chinese manufacturing gauge fell more than analysts estimated in August as a credit slowdown and property slump add to risks the world

August 18, 2014

London Home Asking Prices Plunge Most in More Than Six Years - Bloomberg

Filed under: debt, loans — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 3:27 am

London home sellers cut asking prices by the most in more than six years this month, adding to signs that the property market in the U.K. capital is coming off the boil.

London values fell 5.9 percent from the previous month to an average 552,783 pounds ($922,300), the biggest drop since December 2007, property website Rightmove Plc said today. Nationally, prices declined 2.9 percent, a record for an August.

While property demand usually weakens during the summer, Rightmove said the slump this year was steeper than it expected. Tougher new mortgage rules introduced by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, as well as anticipation of higher interest rates, are putting pressure on the market after a surge in values raised concerns that a bubble may develop.

August 16, 2014

US factory output surges in July

Filed under: lenders, management — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 12:31 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output rose for the sixth consecutive month in July, led by a jump in the production of motor vehicles, furniture, textiles and metals.

Manufacturing production rose 1 percent in July compared with the prior month, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Factory output in June was revised slightly higher to a 0.3 percent increase. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has risen 4.9 percent.

Demand for autos surged 10.1 percent last month, the largest increase since July 2009. The broader increase in manufacturing points to stronger growth across the economy, suggesting that manufacturers expect the pace of business investment and consumer spending to improve in the coming months.

Overall industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, rose 0.4 percent in July, dragged down by a 3.4 percent drop in production at utilities.

Several other reports suggest that factory production improved this summer.

Manufacturers added 28,000 workers last month, according to the government’s jobs report. That builds on the 23,000 employees that factories added in June, a sign that companies expect demand to continue its upward swing.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported that its manufacturing index climbed to 57.1 in July. That’s the highest level since April 2011 and up from 55.3 in June.

Anything above 50 signals that manufacturing activity is growing.

The increase in the index led Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, to conclude that “manufacturing payrolls may soon start to rise by close to 50,000 a month.”

Factory orders rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent in June compared with the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Orders had fallen 0.6 percent in May after three straight monthly gains.

An 8.4 percent jump in demand for commercial aircraft drove much of the gain, yet orders also picked up for machinery, iron, steel, computers and electronics.

Rising factory output should help the current economic expansion to continue.

The U.S. economy shrank at a 2.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter, although it bounced back at an annual clip of 4 percent in the second quarter

Most analysts expect the economy to expand at a roughly 3 percent rate in the second half the year.


August 11, 2014

Mayors’ report tracks growing wage gap, but sees St. Louis as ‘balanced’

Filed under: finance, mortgage — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 3:43 pm

The income gap between the rich Americans and middle and low-income households continues to widen, according to a new report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, released this morning.

From 1975 to 2012, the highest-earning 20 percent of households saw their share of income rise from 43.6 percent to 51 percent, the report finds. Most of this gains was seen among those in the highest 5 percent of income.

In 2012, low-income households saw their share drop to 3.2 percent while the high earners saw their share jump to 51 percent. 

The findings, which echo those by other groups, point to a need for public policy action, the report says.

The report looks at the distribution of income in metropolitan areas. St. Louis emerged as one of the most-balanced of large metros — with a nearly equal number of households earning less than $35,000 a year as households earning more than $75,000.

Median income in the St. Louis area was about $53,000 a year in 2013 — 96th in the nation. It’s projected to grow to $60,000 in 2017, an annual rate of 3.1 percent.

Other large metros with “a very equal distribution,” according to the report: Phoenix, Riverside, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Charlotte and Providence.

The Washington, D.C. area had the highest percentage of households earnings more than $75,000 (57.5 percent) and the lowest percentage of those making less than $35,000 (17 percent).

At the other end of the spectrum, Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas had the highest percentage of low-income households (55.1 percent) and the second-lowest percentage of those making more than $75,000 (16.5 percent)


August 3, 2014

Blue Jays: Dickey,

Filed under: legal, lenders — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 1:03 pm

HOUSTON—One of the Blue Jays’ biggest weaknesses this season has been their struggles against left-handed pitching. Heading into Saturday’s game against the Astros they were hitting a collective .242 against southpaws, the second-lowest mark in the American League.

It’s the reason general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently acquired Nolan Reimold off the waiver wire and Danny Valencia via trade. It’s also why Reimold, Valencia and lefty-crushing Steve Tolleson were hitting in the middle of the Jays’ lineup Saturday against Houston’s left-handed starter, Brett Oberholtzer.

But the gambit failed and the Jays’ struggles continued as they managed just a pair of runs on six hits against Oberholtzer, who paced Houston to an 8-2 victory.

The winning run scored in frustrating fashion for the Jays, as Astros all-star second baseman Jose Altuve, who leads the majors in hits, notched a single and scored on a calamity of errors: first, an errant pickoff attempt by R.A. Dickey, followed by a senseless throw to third by Valencia, which skittered away from Tolleson, allowing the speedy Altuve to scamper home.

Despite the error-riddled play, the run was earned when, two plays later, Houston’s Chris Carter skied his 22nd homer of the season to deep left field to give Houston a 4-2 lead.

The Jays came close to tying the game in the eighth when, with two outs and left-handed reliever Tony Sipp on the mound, Juan Francisco, who was pinch-hitting for Valencia, sent what should have been a game-tying, two-run homer to right field, only to have it pulled out of the air by a leaping Robbie Grossman at the wall.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Astros blew it open as the Jays bullpen continued to struggle. With reliever Brett Cecil on the mound, Jason Castro drove a two-run blast to left field and Jon Singleton hit an inside-the-park home run after slamming Cecil’s pitch off the wall in centre field and Anthony Gose slipped on the warning track while trying to retrieve it. Singleton was initially called out at the plate after the Jays relayed a throw home, but the play was overturned upon video review.

While Dickey wasn’t great — allowing five runs on nine hits — it’s tough to win when you only score a couple runs and your bullpen allows the game to run away.

The Astros opened the roof at Minute Maid Park for the first time since April and the first time this late in the summer in more than a decade, leading many conspiracy theorists to wonder if it had less to do with the unusually cool Texas night than it did with Dickey being on the mound. The knuckleballer’s penchant for pitching in climate-controlled domed stadiums is well known, though his Rogers Centre numbers tell an uneven story.

Chances are it was just a coincidence. The team’s roof policy, which was updated this season, states that when the temperature is below 30C, which is rare through most of the summer here, and there’s no threat of rain or wind gusts, they will open the roof. It really was a pleasant night weather-wise, with temperatures around 27C with a slight breeze. But retracting the roof to try to gain an advantage against Dickey would be just the kind of thing the Astros’ analytics-focused front office — home to baseball’s only “Department of Decision Sciences” — would do.

The Jays took an early lead when Jose Reyes, who’s hitting .313 over the last month, drove a leadoff double off the left-field’s short-porch scoreboard — which stands just 315 feet from home plate — and scored two plays later on a sac fly.

But the Astros answered back in the bottom half of the opening frame, taking a 2-1 lead on four hits, including a leadoff double by Altuve.

The Jays tied it up in the third when Gose worked a leadoff walk and scored when Jose Bautista, who sits fifth in the AL in on-base-plus-slugging percentage, doubled him home.


July 29, 2014

UPS 2Q profit drops 58 percent

Filed under: loans, term — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 4:31 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) on Tuesday reported net income that declined by 58 percent in its second quarter, and missed analysts’ expectations.

The Atlanta-based company said profit declined to $454 million, or 49 cents per share, from $1.07 billion, or $1.13 per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were $1.21 per share. The average per-share estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for profit of $1.24.

The company said revenue climbed 5.6 percent to $14.27 billion from $13.51 billion in the same quarter a year ago, and beat Wall Street forecasts. Analysts expected $14.07 billion, according to Zacks.

United Parcel Service shares have fallen $2.42, or 2.3 percent, to $102.66 since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed 7.1 percent. However, the stock has risen $15.85, or 18 percent, in the last 12 months.


This story was generated automatically by Automated Insights ( using data from Zacks Investment Research. Full UPS report:


Keywords:UPS,Earnings Report


July 28, 2014


Filed under: lenders, management — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 1:35 am

On a Chinese hospital ship off Hawaii, crew members demonstrate traditional massage techniques to U.S. sailors. The mood is one of collegiality, even after China opted out of Japan-led humanitarian drills at the world

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