President Obama comes to Cleveland today. He’s a busy guy, clearly, but what if he and all the political muscle he’s bringing to town had the opportunity to spend the rest of the day here on the north coast? Here’s what I would suggest they do with the rest of their wintry late-February day here in CTown …
1:30 PM – What’s a trip to Cleveland without a visit to one of Michael Symon’s restaurants? Since they’re going to be right downtown and also because I am planning a busy day for the President and his entourage, we’re going to send them right over to East 4th for a lunch at Lola. You gotta get the beef-cheek pierogi appetizer there (especially since I feel bad for not sending him to Sokolowski’s). And then follow that up with the turkey pastrami sandwich, which is out of this world.
3:00 PM – It’s off to the Great Lakes Science Center for the leader of the free world, where he will take in a movie in the Omnimax Theater, which features one of the most sophisticated and powerful motion-picture projection systems in the world, and is one of the true-hidden gems in this underrated city.
4:15 PM – Since we’re right there, we have to have Mr. Obama stop by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for an hour before it closes. Just to say you did it. And especially since this exhibit only runs for another 5 days!!
6:00 PM – Dinner time. And an opportunity to show off one of Cleveland’s world class steakhouses. If time wasn’t an issue, we’d send him to Red in Beachwood. But, alas, it is. The Buckeyes play Illinois tonight at 7 PM! So we’re going to send him to XO Prime Steaks over in the Warehouse District. Get the Kobe beef Strip Steak!!!
8:00 PM – Being the President is a hard job. And there’s no better way to end a hard day than by having a couple of cocktails with your closest friends and advisors while watching sports. None of the Cleveland teams are action tonight, but both the Buckeye basketball team and the Blue Jackets have big games tonight. So we’re going to send Obama over to West 6th, where he can take in both games and have a couple of cold ones in a great atmosphere at The Barley House.
10:00 PM – The President never has to worry about driving home, so what’s the problem with a little night capper? We’ve sent him to East 4th, the Warehouse District, and West 6th … so it only makes sense to end the night in Tremont, at the Flying Monkey, a favorite spot of the Daily Dish. And if he gets hungry late night, don’t be worried that The Flying Monkey doesn’t have a kitchen. Because there’s an outstanding Thai restaurant right next door called Ty Fun that will deliver amazing Thai food right to your bar stool! Get the #14! (not that I know)
One last request Mr. President. If you end up carrying out this agenda, I’d be more than happy to serve as a tour guide.
Not that I like any of these places …
Quote of the Day …
“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive, and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.” ~ Vince Lombardi
The big news for the day locally is that President Obama is coming to town today with some of his top lieutenants to conduct a small business forum at Cleveland State University. Obama has caught a lot of grief about not being business-friendly, and today’s forum in Cleveland will be followed by eight scheduled roundtables called “Startup America: Reducing Barriers”, where the administration plans to solicit ideas from entrepreneurs on how to best reduce regulations that hold back startup companies.
In the morning’s big economic news, the Case-Shiller home price index was released at 9 AM. The Index showed home prices fell in Dec from Nov in all but one of the 20 cities tracked by the report. The only market to see a gain was Washington. Eleven of those markets hit their lowest point since the housing bust, in 2006 and 2007: Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Tampa, Fla.
Looking back at last week, we had a lot of economic news come in. The most significant reports on growth, retail sales and industrial production, both fell short of expectations. It was not enough to stem the stock surge. The Dow rose another 300 points last week, and in the last six months, the DJIA has climbed from 10,000 to 12,391, where it opened this morning.
We also got inflationary data last week and while food and energy prices have been rising globally, overall inflation levels have generally stayed low, which helped stop the rising tide of mortgage rates. The big monthly US inflation reports released this past week revealed that core inflation remained low in January, but that it has moved higher over recent months. January CPI was a tame 1.6% higher than one year ago. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was only 1.0% higher than one year ago.
The minutes from the January 26 Fed meeting were also released last Wednesday and contained no major surprises. The minutes revealed that disagreement was growing among Fed officials about the benefits of continuing the quantitative easing program which is scheduled to end in June. However, there was general agreement that the hurdle for altering the program remains very high, and investors continue to expect the Fed to complete the $600 billion in purchases of Treasury securities as originally planned. The Fed raised its forecast for 2011 GDP growth to 3.65% from their prior estimate of 3.30% in November.
This week, existing home sales will be released on Wedns, and new home sales will come out on Thursday. Durable good orders (an important indicator of economic growth) will also be released on Thurs. Revised figures for fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will come out on Friday. Consumer confidence (later this morning) and consumer sentiment (released Friday) will round out the economic calendar for the week. In addition, there will be Treasury auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, which might have a significant impact on mortgage rates.
~ Obama Bringing Cabinet Officials, Top Level Aides to Cleveland Today for Small Business Forum
~ Home Prices Hit Post-Bust Lows in Most Big Cities
~ Wal-Mart Sees Another Drop in Revenue; Shares Slip
~ Home Depot Tops Estimates; Raises Outlook
~ Farmers Can’t Meet Demand as Corn Stocks Drop to 1974 Low
~ Libyan Crisis Batters World Stocks as Oil Prices Surge