Tuesday, August 18, 2009 Edition #520

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Today’s Highlights:
1st Flash: CELEBRATING 10 YEARS
2nd Flash:  IT WAS THE SUMMER OF '69


On The World Wide Web

The folks at CNN.com take a look back at the eventful summer of 1969. Journey back in time with them.

We're all guilty of the occasional typo. And sometimes they're just downright funny. Laugh along with some of the best.

Is there a comic lurking within you? Build your own comic strip.

Tip of the Week

The amount of email flowing into an inbox during a typical business day can be staggering. It can be almost impossible to read every message to know which require action, which are merely informational and which are for entertainment purposes only. If your message requires action, say so in bold caps in the subject line to get your reader's attention. Otherwise you risk it getting lost in a flood of unread messages. Those who are conveying information should use FYI: (topic) in the subject line so the reader knows immediately what value that message holds. Make sure your subject line is descriptive enough for the recipient to know exactly what content to expect, yet concise enough to fit into a few words. What newspaper heading would you give this information if it were an article?

Do you really need to send that email? There's no need to copy everybody on each progression of a discussion. Busy managers need to know you've solved a problem, not follow you every step of the way. If you've gone back and forth with an email chain and still not resolved the issue, try picking up the telephone.

For more email etiquette tips, visit netmanners.com.


Quotable

"The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear." - William Jennings Bryan

Today in History

1961 - Construction on the Berlin Wall is completed.

Flash Fact

Silly String, Toss Across, Big Wheels and Nerf Balls were the most popular Christmas gifts in 1969.
Weekly Spotlight:

Check out our new Form Center to find the forms you need to conduct business with GCF Bank and keep your account updated!

Our Current Rates:

For a listing of our current deposit and loan rates, visit www.gcfbank.com/rates.aspx.

1st Flash
CELEBRATING 10 YEARS

Happy 10th Anniversary to GCFlash!

What began as a tool to communicate Y2K efforts has far outlasted any ramifications from what turned out to be a non-event. But we did take the threat seriously, testing every workstation, program and process in our system thoroughly to assure our customers would be able to access their money when the new millennium finally arrived. While the rest of the world was "partying like it was 1999," our IT Director devoted that historic night to standing guard at the bank, prepared to spring into action should calamity arise. You may have even heard his huge sigh of relief at the tic of midnight when it remained business as normal. No matter where in the country you may be reading this from.

Ten years ago:
  • The Euro is established;
  • The Asian economy was showing signs of recovering from a financial meltdown that was predicted to bring on a global economic crisis;
  • The first version of MSN Messenger is released. Apple releases the first iBook;
  • Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France;
  • ExxonMobil Corporation merger is completed, forming the world's largest corporation.

We hope you enjoy the new look we've given GCFlash. As always, we welcome reader suggestions, ideas and feedback. If there's any topic you'd like to see covered in a future edition of GCFlash, let us know. Send your comments to editor@gcfbank.com.

This eNewsletter has evolved pretty far from our first release. But one thing is for sure - time definitely does fly when you're having fun. We look forward to what the next 10 years will bring!

2nd Flash
IT WAS THE SUMMER OF '69

When Charles Dickens penned "It was the worst of times, it was the best of times....," he could have been describing the summer of 1969. It may well have been the most turbulent year in U.S. history.

Woodstock best summed up the culture of the era. The entertainers sang about subjects near and dear to the hearts of young Americans over the course of four days celebrating peace, drugs and rock and roll. The Vietnam War was protested by Country Joe Mcdonald's Fish Cheer (I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixing-To-Die-Rag) and Richie Havens' Freedom. The Band reminded us that we are our brother's keeper in The Weight.

Arlo Guthrie addressed the drug culture in Coming into Los Angeles and Jefferson Airplane with White Rabbit; while Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were riding the Marrakesh Express. Jimi Hendrix brought out the patriot in everyone with his stirring rendition of our Star Spangled Banner.

The festival began August 15, 1969 with an anticipated crowd of 50,000. By that afternoon, Arlo Guthrie informed the crowd that they had shut the New York State Thruway down. It was a virtual parking lot, jammed with traffic from the 400,000 that actually showed up for the event. Many just abandoned their car on the road and trekked the rest of the way so they wouldn't miss any of the festivities.

It was impossible to control such a large crowd so it became self- policing. These young people showed the world that peace, love and good music were all the governance they needed. There were very few incidents of violence. Born was the summer of love.

Not so in California. By year's end, a similar festival would be marred by tragedy.

The rolling Stones were celebrating the end of their American tour with a free concert at a raceway near Altamont Pass, CA. Also performing were some big-name West Coast bands, including Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. The Hell's Angels provided informal security at Dead shows and it seemed a good idea to ask them to do the same here. But the large crowd of 300,000 was a bit more unruly than the small, mellow group that followed the Dead. Small fights began to break out in the crowd. One fan pulled a gun. The Angels stopped him with a knife and took his life. The spirit of peace surrounding Woodstock just four months earlier was forever shattered.

Music became the voice of the generation. It enabled young people to voice their displeasure with a meaningless war in a non-violent form. Protests across the country began that way, but often got ugly. Yet the sheer number of Americans represented by these protests forced the Administration to take their sentiments seriously.

The U.S. began sending arms to aid the French efforts in Southeast Asia in 1950. Thus began our entry into the battlefield, with the first Americans killed in 1959. Peace talks were the major focus throughout 1969, with a moratorium declared on October 15th of that year. But by November 15th, our country's first draft lottery since the end of WWII was instituted.

The official end of the war didn't occur until January of 1973. We lost 58,193 brave Americans in the war effort. As of November 2000, there were still 1,992 soldiers unaccounted for.

Returning soldiers bore the brunt of our nation's frustrations during this atrocity. They were treated like cold-blooded killers. Many still suffer trauma today merely because they risked their lives in honor of their country. Determined not to repeat those mistakes, veterans today return home to a hero's welcome.

In 1969, we were still less than 100 years into the Industrial Revolution that would shape technology. We still didn't understand the effects its waste would have on our environment. Two major events changed all of that.

The scene was Cleveland, OH. Its Cuyahoga River was anything but scenic. The oil-slicked river burst into flames with such intensity that two railroad bridges spanning it were nearly destroyed. Government experts reported that "The lower Cuyahoga has no visible life, not even low forms such as leeches and sludge worms that usually thrive on wastes." Time Magazine printed, "People who fall into the Cuyahoga don't drown. They decay."

On the West Coast, the white sand beaches of Santa Barbara were fouled by an 800 square mile oil slick formed when a pipe burst on an aging Union Oil drilling platform.

In response, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency that began operating in December 1970. Activists proposed an annual "Earth Day" when ordinary citizens would honor the planet. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970.

Senator Ted Kennedy prompted the question "What was he thinking?" when a car he was driving plunged into the waters off Chappaquiddick on Martha's Vineyard. He didn't report the incident until the following day. Nor make an effort to save the life of his passenger, 28-year-old aide Mary Jo Kopechne.

The senseless, brutal murders carried out by the Manson family were far too horrific to be recounted here.

There's a saying related to the drug culture of the day that goes: "If you remember the '60s, you really weren't there." Even if you were, parts of it are best forgotten. And that's alright, as long as we don't forget its lessons.

Financial News The Federal Reserve Board met last week, announcing that the recession appears to be ending. The bank lending rate would remain at the near zero rate for "an extended period" to continue supporting the recovery.

Worldwide, there are signs that the economy may be turning for the better as well. The Hong Kong economy tanked four straight quarters with a dropping world demand for exports. However, the Chinese government reported that this drop was reversed with a 3.3 percent growth in the quarter. In Europe, job cuts are slowing and spending has increased at both the store and in the housing market. The largest segment of Europe's economy, Germany has also shown increased exports and industrial orders.

In the U.S., inflation, or rather deflation, was reported by the Labor Department with the producer price index dropping 0.9% since the prior month, and falling 6.8% over the last twelve months. The measure of wholesale inflation was impacted by a 10.2% drop in heating oil costs, while gas prices went up 3.3%, (before the cash for clunkers programs.) The PPI without food and energy was down .1% in the month but has gone up by 2.6% over the past year. The Consumer Price Index remained level for the month, dropping 1.9% from last year.

Knowing that I just spent 2.49 for gas and 3.54 for milk, in the spirit of looking back in time, on January 1st:

Year 1999 1989 1979 1969
President Bill
Clinton
George
Bush
Jimmie
Carter
Richard
Nixon
Federal spending 1717B 1143B 504B 184B
Federal Debt 5979B 2868B 830B 366B
Unemployment 4.5% 5.5% 6.1% 3.6%
Inflation 2.1% 4.6% 13.3% 5.7%
Median House Income $39,973 $28,906 $16,461 $ 8,389
Stamp $.33 $ .25 $ .15 $ .06
Gallon of regular gas $1.17 $1.12 $ .86 $ .35
Gallon of Milk $3.32 $2.34 $1.62 $ 1.10
Source: Flashback.com


Today’s Market Rates
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 441.55 or 5.03% since 12/31/08)
9,217.94 (+0.90%)
S&P 500
(Up 86.42 or 9.57% since 12/31/08)
989.67 (+1.01%)
Nasdaq
(Up 378.89 or 24.30% since 12/31/08)
1,955.92 (+1.30%)
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 3.526%  
British Sterling 1.6555  
Euro 1.3126  
PURPOSE: GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com.

For more comprehensive information, visit our Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com or call (856) 589-6600 Ext: 337 (Timothy P. Hand)


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