Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Beach Body

We are off for three weeks after this blog, time to get to that “Summer To Do” list: leaking faucets, clean windows, clean carpets, organize storage, organize my office, today my office resembles an English Literature Professor’s, fifteen student job recommendations to write, golf game needs serious transfusion and my beach body.  If I get to half of these it will be a miracle.

See you on August 28 with our preseason NFL and College Football picks, an update on the real life soap opera of “Trump In Washington”, and of course our usual mayhem.

I regret to inform readers that my beach body, slated for arrival in early June of this year, will be delayed, perhaps indefinitely. A number of factors, all under my direct control, have contributed to this unfortunate setback.

First and foremost, I still love a good hot dog. While I have done an excellent job of including more vegetables in my diet, I have also included more of everything else, like soft drinks. In the past month alone, averaging two-four a day, not good.

My metabolism is slowing down. Metabolic rate is difficult to determine, but what is certainly not slowing down is my intake of pizza. In fact, it is more than likely that one of those cheese-choked blubber-makers is circling inside my fridge at this very moment.

While my recent efforts to increase the intensity of my workouts has been admirable, a look at the numbers indicates that my treadmill speeds have increased only from an average of 3.8 miles per hour to 3.9 miles per hour. Not surprisingly, the impact on my beach body has been negligible. One might argue that it has worked to my detriment, given that my duration on the treadmill has plummeted by an average of fourteen minutes. My Fitbit just sent me a message: “You are kidding, right?”

As you know, motivation can be elusive. There are unseen forces that oppose motivation and seek to douse the flames of inspiration. In my case, that force is napping. I really do like a good nap.

As the summer days pass and the temperatures rise, I have found myself scrambling to re-calibrate my goals. To lose just five pounds instead of twenty, or to unearth just one ab instead of six. Sadly, when measured against the utopian physique I set out to achieve, these thoughts will quickly fade—drowned out, in all likelihood, by the crunch of a Dorito.

In conclusion, with some significant life-style tweaks I could, according to a consultant’s estimate, achieve my beach body by November. Just in time for Thanksgiving. Revealing my actual body before then, may trigger feelings of disappointment and guilt, even shame. Try to focus not on negative emotions but on ways in which I can stay positive and also stay submerged up to my neck for as much of the summer as possible.

Oh well, the White House is having an even worse summer.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Over the past 15 years, 1.5 million more people have left California than have moved here from other states, according to estimates from the California Department of Finance. Remarkably, even in the face of this outflow, California still experiences net gains of college graduates (those with at least a bachelor's degree).

WHAT STUDENTS KNOW ABOUT MONEY - US Bank last week rolled out a study on college students' financial literacy. One of the main findings is that students across the board wish they knew more about how to manage their money.

From the bank: "Credit, in particular, stands out as an area where students continue to need more financial education during their college years: Many students believe common myths. For example, 55% of students do not know that their credit score is not impacted by how much money is in their bank account. There is a gap between white and multicultural students; 84 percent of white students say they know what a credit score is, compared with 77 percent of African-American students, 75 percent of Hispanic students and 68 percent of Asian students. There's a gender gap, too, although male students don't realize it. Females demonstrated more knowledge than males about what a credit score is used for.”

May I suggest Personal Finance BUS 345, thank you.

SYLLABUS - Bill Gates' resume, circa 1974, when he was making about $15,000 a year.

TOYOTA - Toyota says it is nearing a breakthrough in a type of lithium-ion battery system that has vexed researchers for decades. The company also says it plans to unveil a family of electric cars with a jump in currently available driving range, in the early 2020s.

Given the high stakes and risk of embarrassment if something goes wrong, Japanese companies virtually never flag a big tech breakthrough before it is actually produced and delivered to the market. Hence, Toyota's comparatively specific announcement suggests it is reasonably confident that it really has mastered a new battery technology.

AMAZON REACHES $500B - Amazon's market value last week smashed through the half-a-trillion dollar mark for the first time, underscoring the rapid appreciation in the e-commerce giant's share price. The market value has surged by $146.3bn since the end of 2016, rising as high as $502.6bn on the day. In comparison, Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer by revenues, has seen its market capitalization tick up by $23bn in 2017 to $235.4bn.

HOLY SNAP! - A high school in Mountain View, Calif., has a unique dilemma. A $15,000 investment by St. Francis High School five years ago turned into $34 million this past March when Snapchat parent Snap went public. The school has had to weigh competing ideas for what to do with the money. Students speculated they wouldn’t have to pay tuition next year. Parents asked whether annual fundraisers, including a Christmas boutique sale, were still necessary. Some advisers urged school officials to construct a new chapel and science laboratories. It is exceedingly rare to net such a huge return in an initial public offering. In fact, most venture-capital bets fail. “We are blessed,” the head of school said in his first interview about how St. Francis will spend the money. “But we don’t want to become a cautionary tale.”

SUMMER ENTERTAINMENT - Ah, summer. A time to kick back, sit under a fan, and hide from the weather in the shady comfort of the great indoors. Why go to the beach, where there are sunburns to be gotten? Why go to the park, where bugs eagerly await—ready to bite on any bare skin? And for the love of God, why subject oneself to the sweat and grass stains that come with—shudder—playing sports outside in the heat?

No, summer is for binge-watching. It’s the best time to catch up on all the shows you’ve meant to watch but put off in favor of more urgent-sounding things. The ideal summer binge is a show you can idly watch through a haze of second screens, rosé, and half-awakeness. Here, for your enjoyment, are a few shows that fit the bill.

Catastrophe
Three seasons in, this comedy is as hilarious as ever. And Season 4 has one of Carrie Fisher’s very last performances—more than enough reason to catch up. The best part? As a Britcom, each season of the series only contains six episodes. You’ll breeze through it in no time. (Catch up on Hulu.)

GLOW
You might have heard about this show; with its ‘80s focus and drug-toting robot, it’s all the rage on Netflix right now. Come for the zany fashion, stay for Alison Brie’s soulful Audrey Hepburn impression.

Insecure
As Issa Rae’s comedy prepares for its second-season debut next month, make sure you’re caught up on all the laughs, dating woes, and girlfriend drama. Insecure was one of the freshest new shows of 2016, and its second season promises to be just as delightful. (Catch up on HBO.)

TRAVEL APPS - The last thing anyone wants to do is spend more money than necessary when planning a vacation. But luckily, there are plenty of great apps to help you cut your travel costs.

Airfare
Hopper: Hopper shows the best time to buy a ticket and whether a flight you're interested in might change in price. Users can select their destination, and Hopper will show airline schedules months in the future. Each day is color coded by price, with green dates showing cheaper prices and red dates indicating more expensive flights. You can also ask Hopper to "watch" your trip and alert you of any price changes.

Hotels
Hotel Tonight: Hotel Tonight searches nearby hotels for spots that same day, the next day or within a week, making it useful in case of emergencies like a cancelled flight. Hotel Tonight also has a website, its last-minute booking feature works better on the app. However, there are a few drawbacks: Users can't take advantage of any elite memberships and almost all bookings are non-refundable with full cancellation penalties. Hotel Tonight offers the best discounts outside of prime travel seasons.

StayAtHand: StayAtHand works similarly to Hotel Tonight, users can search farther ahead than the next week and can also use their elite hotel memberships. Although it's useful for short term booking and for searching nearby options, StayAtHand only lists rooms within the U.S.

Car Rental and Parking
Turo: Turo is sort of like Airbnb for cars. The app allows users to make make their vehicle available for use when they're away, and it also allows users to rent someone else's car. Similar to Airbnb, there's a wide range of options, with offerings including everything from Hondas to Teslas. Turo's options will generally be a bit cheaper than traditional car rentals.

SpotHero: For anyone tired of paying extravagant prices for hotel parking, SpotHero can help deliver some cheaper options. The app looks at parking in the area and lets users chose the cheapest and closest spot. It also offers cashless parking — users pay through the app and are given a barcode to scan at their parking destination. SpotHero also comes with great customer service, the app will try to find another vendor that will honor the same price if any problems occur.

BRUTAL – Peggy Noonan in the WSJ: "Trump Is Woody Allen Without the Humor: Half his tweets show utter weakness. They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn":"The president's primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive. It's not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling. It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity, skinny.

"He's not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he's whiny, weepy and self-pitying. He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic. He's a drama queen. It was once said, sarcastically, of George H.W. Bush that he reminded everyone of her first husband. Trump must remind people of their first wife. Actually his wife, Melania, is tougher than he is with her stoicism and grace, her self-discipline and desire to show the world respect by presenting herself with dignity."

GOOD READ - "Justin Trudeau: The North Star," by Stephen Rodrick on the cover of Rolling Stone: "He was raised in jet-set privilege but overcame tragedy to become Canada's prime minister. Is he the free world's best hope?" http://rol.st/2h6M1KN

SILICON VALLEY - Think everyone in software works in the Bay Area? Think again. A new study by The App Association shows that 89% of U.S. software developers actually live and work outside of the Bay Area.

Software is the basis for the technologies — and therefore jobs — of the future: self-driving cars, augmented reality, student recruitment, and artificial intelligence, to name a few. The high cost of living in Silicon Valley has driven some workers elsewhere and therefore tech companies are starting to branch out to other cities to capitalize on that migration. For example, big names like Apple and Google now have engineering offices in Seattle, providing competition for talent to local companies Microsoft and Amazon.

This as a healthy sign for Silicon Valley and the software industry. Most key companies are still based in the Bay Area, with outposts elsewhere. But there are others based in hubs like Seattle and Boston. Having more jobs in more places, especially as software becomes more important, should help the U.S. industry to both grow and diversify.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Tony Bennett (91) Brooklyn, NY.; Tom Brady (40) Beacon Hill, MA.; Paula Creamer (31) Orlando, FL.; Martin Sheen (77) Malibu, CA.

WORDS OF THE MONTH –

Vim: noun - lively or energetic spirit; enthusiasm; vitality

ORIGIN - Vim began as an American colloquialism but became standard on both sides of the Atlantic within a generation. It is the accusative singular of the irregular Latin noun vīs (stem vīr-) “power, force.” Latin vīs is related to the Latin noun vir “man (i.e., a male person), husband.” The same Proto-Indo-European root wir-, wīr- in Latin vir appears in English wergild and werewolf. Vim entered English in the mid-19th century.

QUOTES – “Certainly no better selection of a leader could have been made, for Neil was full of the vim of youth, and had a newly acquired fund of scientific knowledge just waiting to be applied.”
-- Caroline Abbot Stanley, The Keeper of the Vineyard, 1913

Cibernauta: noun - internet user

Both Spanish and English share many words derived from Greek or Latin. In the case of el cibernauta, however, while the word cybernaut exists in English, it is not very common, and has a slightly different meaning from the Spanish. Cibernauta is the basic word for anybody who is an internet user, whether proficient or otherwise:

QUOTES – “Los cibernautas de todo el mundo.”
Internet users all round the world

MARKET WEEK - We're getting into the dog days of summer, but that's typically when the stock market cools off.

August has historically been a weak month for equities. The S&P 500 has averaged a 1.4% decline in August over the past two decades, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

Over the past half century, an investor who put $100 into the S&P 500 only for the month of August each year would have $98 today. That same amount invested only in December, another typically slow month for the market and the best for performance, would be worth $204 over the half-century span.

Markets are always subject to seasonal factors that can distort performance, and it's not surprising that the market lags during a low-volume period where traders and investors are often on vacation. But investors should pay particular attention this year as they contend with a stock market whose unusual calm has itself become a source of concern.

Stocks have marched higher this year almost unabated, even as President Donald Trump's agenda has stalled, geopolitical tensions have risen, and the economy has cooled off.

The S&P 500 is up 10% in 2017 and has gone more than a year without a 5% pullback, the longest such stretch in more than two decades, according to LPL Financial. In fact, it has been nine months since the market pulled back even 3%, the firm notes. That's led to worries that stocks are climbing too fast, making them subject to a sharp reversal.

Some say the seasonality in play in August could hasten a retreat in the market.

Still there are also reasons to believe stocks will keep chugging higher. The Federal Reserve has continued to hold rates historically low, keeping that nearly decade-long support for the stock market intact. Earnings are also robust, with companies set to report their best two quarters of growth in six years.

But if the seasonality kicks into gear in 2017, it doesn't paint a particularly bright picture for the market in the months to come. Over the last half century, September has been even worse for the S&P 500 than August.


WHAT’S ON THE iPOD? – five songs we are listening to this week:

1). “Blue Bayou”, 1977 – Linda Ronstadt
2). “Your So Vain”, 1972 – Carly Simon
3). “Whiter Shade of Pale”, 1967 – Procol Harem
4). “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, 1965 – The Byrds
5). “All Day and All of the Night”, 1964 – The Kinks

HERE WE GO AGAIN - It's that time again: NFL training camps.

This week, several teams report to training camp, beginning the grind of the NFL season and in just seven weeks, we'll be kicking off the regular season.

It was an eventful off season, with a hectic draft that saw the Chicago Bears make a controversial trade up to draft a quarterback and the Cleveland Browns continue to stockpile assets. Meanwhile, in free agency, the least likely team to spend big, the New England Patriots, landed some big names, while risers like the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans continued to fortify their rosters with some key acquisitions.

We will have Rink Rats preseason NFL and College Football picks when we come back from our summer break on August 28.

SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS

MLB Game of the Week (Aug. 5) – New York Yankees (57-48) and Cleveland Indians (57-48), both teams playing good baseball, Indians win 6 – 4.

Whitney Stakes (Aug. 5) – Week #3 at the Spa (Saratoga) is highlighted by the 90th Whitney Stakes. This Grade 1 stakes race for Thoroughbred racehorses three years of age and older run at a distance of  1 1⁄8 miles. The current purse is $1,250,000. The Swami likes a sawbuck to win on Keen Ice. Todd Pletcher’s horse Keen Ice beat American Pharaoh in last year’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

Season to Date (46 - 23)

ON THIS DATE - Happy birthday time for one Bugs Bunny, whose formal name is apparently George Washington Bunny and who debuted on this day 77 years ago in an animated short called "The Wild Hare.”

Next Blog: Jack Ass of the Month and The Swami’s preseason football picks.

Summer break time - See you on August 28, Happy Trails.

Claremont, California

August 2, 2017
#VIII-11-353


CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer Camp

As we approach the middle of the summer it is a time to re-charge our attitudes and relax. Be it a day at the beach or lake, an afternoon at a museum, some travel, a family reunion, or just sitting on a patio and catching up on your reading.

Summer is also a time when you can attend a camp: a sports camp, overnight camp, health camp, music camp, you get the point. This summer I have had the continued great pleasure to participate in two academic camps.

The University of La Verne has two wonderful summer programs, wonderful not because I participate, but wonderful because they help students learn: A business camp for high school students to study college level business, and an executive certificate program for international students to study American business.

Both these camps are popular and community based. The REACH Business camp provides local high school students (58) an exposure to business, business education and perhaps most important many of these first generation college students a first exposure to college life. They develop a business venture and develop a plan by studying accounting, finance, web site development, organization management and learn how to work as a team.

Every year I participate in this camp I am amazed at the desire to learn and the joy of beginning a higher education academic career for these students. You read these days about the high costs of college and the poor return on the investment. I disagree, when you see these students’ families and friends attend their graduation with their pride and expectations for the future, you cannot help to feel good about what college offers these students and their families.

The second camp is for students (220) from South America, China, New Zealand, and Europe who want to increase their knowledge about management, accounting, finance, marketing, public administration, and business strategies. What an enthusiastic group of adults. To view their wonder at visiting Southern California (America) for the first time is very special.

SCIENCE 101 - Eclipse fever builds: From coast to coast, towns anticipate celestial event of a lifetime ... Parades, parties and port-a-potties.

The moon's shadow will race across the United States [during the day] on Aug. 21, tracing a 2,800-mile arc from Oregon to South Carolina. It will take about 90 minutes for the eclipse to travel from coast to coast, plunging a roughly 70-mile-wide swath of land into a twilight-like darkness in the process.

Only in this so-called path of totality will the world grow dark enough to see the stars as the moon blots out the sun. The temperature will drop, crickets will begin to chirp and farm animals will lie down and go to sleep. If skies are clear, observers will be able to see the sun's halo-like corona, which is usually obscured by the brightness of the photosphere.

An estimated 12 million Americans are fortunate enough to live in the path of totality. But for the rest of us, viewing the first total solar eclipse to stretch across the continental U.S. since 1918 will take some strategizing.

Hopkinsville, Ky., is calling itself Eclipsville: "We put in a request with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to have 85 National Guard military police, simply to assist with the immense amount of traffic that we anticipate.

BOXERS OR BRIEFS? - Sperm count falling sharply in Western world: Sperm counts in men from America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have dropped by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years ... [Researchers] said the rate of decline is not slowing. Both findings ... pointed to a potential decline in male health and fertility. ... 'This study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world.'"

Researchers said falling sperm counts have ... been linked to various factors such as exposure to certain chemicals and pesticides, smoking, stress and obesity.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Canada is the most educated country in the world; 55% of adults have a college degree.

College Costs: Public vs. Private - Comparative costs on college campuses.

Large, public universities spend more efficiently than do small, private colleges, according to a new study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. At large, public institutions, the administrative staff spends a median of 17 cents for every dollar spent on the instructional staff. At small, private colleges, 64 cents are spent on the administrative staff for every dollar spent on the instructional staff. Here's the analysis.

Following a 400-percent rise over the past 30 years, college tuition is growing at its slowest rate in decades.

MORTGAGES COULD GET EASIER – Two major changes in the mortgage market go into effect this month, and both could help millions more borrowers qualify for a home loan. The changes will also add more risk to the mortgage market.

First, the nation’s three major credit rating agencies ... will drop tax liens and civil judgments from some consumers’ profiles if the information isn’t complete ... In addition to the FICO changes, mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are allowing borrowers to have higher levels of debt and still qualify for a home loan.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Tim Gun (64) New York, NY; Corlan Ortmayer Harrison …she should be ULV’s Alumni Director; Arnold Schwarzenegger (70) Beverly Hills, CA.; Jordan Spieth (24) Austin, TX.; Sandro Suffredini …another famous nephew.

GOOD READ - "The Uninhabitable Earth," by David Wallace-Wells, is now the most-read article in the magazine's history, with 2.5 million readers so far: http://nym.ag/2tdMwYO..

SUMMER TRAVEL – I eat nothing on flights. At super high altitude, your digestive system shuts down completely. Someone said to me it's like being under anesthesia. So when you get off the plane, everything restarts and [your digestive system] has so much more work to do and so it makes you more tired.

Most people overeat because it's a diversion or a way to pass the time; but even the best plane food is over salted and preserved so it can be microwaved. So you have something to eat a couple hours before getting on the plane, but otherwise it's nothing but lots and lots of water.

Dear Rink Rats:

For the last five months I have been talking to a guy I met via a dating app. We live a few states apart and have yet to meet in person, but we communicate regularly.

With my tax refund this year, I’d like to do something for me. He suggested that I visit him. I don’t get any red flags from him, and I’m sure I’d be 100 percent safe while I’m there. However, I’m anxious about taking a trip by myself to visit a guy I’ve developed a massive crush on.

I have thought about offering to pay his way here instead, or simply not going at all. I asked my friends and family for their opinions. Some of them think I should go, while others say I should pay his way here. I need advice from an outsider’s perspective.

Signed,
Confused and Crushing

Dear Confused and Crushing:

Are you nuts…what are you doing on a dating app! How about the local bar, church, or bingo hall to meet Mr. Right? Or how about investing your tax return in a Technology ETF?

But if you must, I vote for having your friend come and visit you the first time you meet. That way your family and friends can meet him, and if your massive crush doesn’t live up to your expectations, you won’t be alone in a strange city and at a disadvantage.

Signed,
Rink Rats

TOP NORTH AMERICAN SPORT FRANCHISES – According to Forbes Magazine the most valuable American franchises: Dallas Cowboys $4.2B, New York Yankees $3.7B, New England Patriots $3.4B, New York Knicks $3.3B, New York Giants $3.1B.

SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS

MLB Game of the Week (July 29) – Colorado Rockies (58-44) vs. Washington Nationals (59-39). Two playoff bound teams clash in the nation’s capital, Rockies win 4 – 3.

Season to Date (45 - 23)

ON THIS DATE - July 24, 1701: Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac established a French settlement at le détroit ("the strait”). Happy 316th Birthday to the City of Detroit.

Next Blog: Jack Ass of the Month, words of the Month and what is on the iPad.

See you on July 31, Adios.

Claremont, California

July 26, 2017
#VIII-10-352


CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Unemployment by Michael Ramirez

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 1967

Fifty years ago this week this writer was growing up in Franklin, Michigan (northwest of Detroit). I was finishing up my Franklin Pony League baseball season with the Cardinals and my summer league hockey schedule at Gordie Howe Hockeyland in St. Clair Shores Michigan. The Detroit Tigers were battling with the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and the Chicago White Sox for the American League title (Red Sox won by a game over the Tigers and the Twinkies).

But what I remember the most about that summer of 1967 began on Sunday July 23. The resulting years after the events in our community of July 23 -27, 1967 influenced where many friends would choose to go to college and eventually where they would live to begin their careers. But more importantly the events influenced social, political, and economic development for the next fifty years in Southwestern Michigan.

In the early hours of Sunday (3:45 a.m.), July 23, 1967, Detroit police officers raided the unlicensed weekend drinking club in the office of the United Community League for Civic Action, above the Economy Printing Company, at 9125 12th Street (now called Rosa Parks Boulevard). They expected a few revelers inside, but instead found a party of 82 African Americans celebrating the return of two local GIs from the Vietnam War. The police decided to arrest everyone present. While they were arranging for transportation, a sizable crowd of onlookers gathered on the street. Later, in a memoir, Walter Scott III, a doorman whose father was running the raided blind pig, took responsibility for starting the riot by inciting the crowd and throwing a bottle at a police officer.

After the police left, the mob began looting an adjacent clothing store. Shortly thereafter, full-scale looting began throughout the neighborhood. State police, Wayne County sheriffs, and the Michigan National Guard were alerted, but because it was Sunday, it took hours for the Police Commissioner Ray Girardin to assemble sufficient manpower. Meanwhile, witnesses described seeing a "carnival atmosphere" on 12th Street. Police—inadequate in number and wrongly believing that the rioting would soon expire—just stood there and watched. Police did not make their first arrest until 7 a.m. To the east, on Chene Street, reports said the pillaging mob boasted a mixed composition. The pastor of Grace Episcopal Church along 12th Street reported that he saw a "gleefulness in throwing stuff and getting stuff out of buildings". The police conducted several sweeps along 12th Street, which proved ineffective because of the unexpectedly large numbers of people outside. The first major fire broke mid-afternoon in a grocery store at the corner of 12th Street and Atkinson. The mob prevented firefighters from extinguishing it and soon more smoke filled the skyline.

The local news media initially avoided reporting on the disturbance so as not to inspire copy-cat violence, but the rioting started to expand to other parts of the city, including looting of retail and grocery stores elsewhere. By Sunday afternoon, news had spread, and people attending events such as a Fox Theater Motown revue and Detroit Tigers baseball game were warned to avoid certain areas of the city. Motown's Martha Reeves was on stage at the Fox, singing "Jimmy Mack," and was assigned to ask people to leave quietly, as there was trouble outside. After the game, Tigers left fielder Willie Horton, a Detroit resident who had grown up not far from 12th Street, drove to the riot area and stood on a car in the middle of the crowd while still in his baseball uniform. Despite Horton's impassioned pleas, he could not calm the mob.

The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a violent public disorder that turned into a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in the history of the United States, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 race riot.

To help end the disturbance, Governor George W. Romney ordered the Michigan Army National Guard into Detroit, and President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. The result was 43 dead, 1,189 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed.

A decline that had already begun would accelerate; Detroit was the nation's fourth biggest city in 1960, but would rank 21st by 2016. The middle class fled, and a proud city fell into poverty, crime and hopelessness.

There are signs of rebirth in Detroit. Capital investment is booming in the downtown Woodward Avenue corridor in the City of Detroit.  But the men and women who lived through the riots are getting older, and most doubt they will live to see Detroit reclaim its former glory, when its very name was synonymous with American know-how and industry.
The picture below was taken on June 23, 1967 of 12th Street looking east; the second picture below was taken on July 11, 2017 of the same corner today looking east.

GOOD READS – “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story” by David Maraniss, and “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff: Both excellent accounts of these last fifty years in the City of Detroit.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Republicans are becoming increasingly cranky about the value of the nation's higher education sector, according to a new poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center. For the first time since the question was asked in 2010, a majority of Republicans polled (58 percent) said that colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country. That's up from 45 percent a year ago. Two years ago, 54 percent of Republicans said colleges and universities had a positive impact on the way things were going compared to 36 percent today. The pollsters found that the downward trend in the view of higher education is reflected by all ages, incomes and ideologies within the GOP.

Overall, however, a majority of the public (55 percent), still says that colleges and universities have a positive effect - a view relatively unchanged from a year ago. That includes the 72 percent of Democrats who say higher education institutions have a positive effect.

SYLLABUS – More and more this summer faculty are receiving numerous emails from publishers and student management firms on the benefits of their services. The full court press is on to provide services for helping in the classroom.

BOONDOGGLE - Google operates a little-known program that harnesses the brain power of university researchers to sway opinion and public policy. Over the past decade, the search-and-advertising giant has helped finance hundreds of research papers to defend against regulatory challenges to its market dominance, paying $5,000 to $400,000 for the work, according to our findings. Paying for favorable academic research isn’t new among food, drug and oil companies. But Google’s program highlights a behind-the-scenes push in Silicon Valley to sway decision makers in Washington. Critics worry such funding, which professors don’t always reveal, could undermine academic credibility. In some years, a former Google employee and a former Google lobbyist said, the company compiled wish lists of academic papers, then searched for willing authors. Conclusions of some Google-backed research: The company hasn’t unfairly quashed competitors, and its consumer-data collection is a fair exchange for its free services.

STARTUPS - For the first time on record, U.S. companies are dying at a faster rate than they're being born, the slow rate of business starts means the U.S. economy is powered by a narrowing segment of companies, people and geographies — making the overall economy less resilient than it was after previous recessions.

When fewer new companies are being born, it's less likely that the companies and jobs that are disappearing will be replaced by better ones. And without competitive pressures from upstarts, big companies are able to grow bigger faster, increasing industry consolidation.

A NAME TO REMEMBER - SAM ALTMAN'S BIG IDEA -- One unexpected result of the election of Donald Trump has been that some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley have been inspired to innovate, and to disrupt, in a whole a new universe: politics.

-- That's what's pushing blogger, coder and wealthy Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman, 32, president of Y Combinator -- the legendary tech incubator which has birthed an estimated 50 firms now valued between $100 million and $1 billion, in addition to giants Airbnb and Dropbox.

“We have massive wealth inequality, little economic growth, a system that works for people born lucky, and a cost of living that is spiraling out of control. Most young people think their lives will be worse than their parents' lives, which should set off alarm bells for us."

-- His movement, outlined in a LA Times piece by Seema Mehta, seeks to address issues including affordable housing, health care, clean energy, jobs and automation, and and the importance of "world class education,'' among other things.

-- Why it matters: Altman and Y Combinator founder Paul Graham are widely viewed as among the Valley's most brilliant innovators, up in the tech pantheon with Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Altman was the first major tech exec after the election to seek answers about the political shift. As he's written about in his blog, Altman has travelled to Trump country and around California to talk directly to Americans about their concerns.

-- Bottom line: He already has an audience of sharp, tech-savvy folks, business people and Millennials - and he's got plenty of money. If Altman is as successful in identifying new ideas, innovations - and people in politics - in the uncanny way he's managed in tech, this one could be very interesting to watch. And disruptive. Stay tuned.

PC SALES - Higher memory and display prices put further pressure on the already slumping computer market, with PC sales down yet again last quarter, according to preliminary numbers. Shipments were down 4.3% from a year ago and represented the lowest quarterly total since 2007, according to the market researcher Gartner.

It's worth noting that Gartner's numbers don't include Chromebook sales, which have been growing, or iPad sales, which haven't.

As for Chromebooks, Gartner says shipments last year grew 38% in 2016, while the overall PC market declined 6%.

HP and Dell on the rise: While most of the market was down, HP posted its fifth straight quarter of year-on-year growth and passed up Lenovo to reclaim the top spot among PC makers globally. Dell also posted a slim year-on-year rise for its fifth straight quarterly gain. Apple's Mac sales were roughly flat.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Will Ferrell (50) Malibu, CA.; Harrison Ford (75) Aspen, CO; Patrick Pugliese …happy 18th birthday, this writer is getting old; . Kat Weaver …famous Biologist and fan of Ted Nugent.

SUMMER TRAVELTipping: A tip (or gratuity) is defined as a sum of money tendered to certain service workers for a service performed.  A tip is seldom required and its amount is usually at the discretion of the patron being served.

It may not be required, but tipping is certainly expected.  I recently got a haircut and added a tip to the price.  I like my hairstylist and gave her a generous tip for her good service, but also to ensure she doesn’t massacre my hair on my next visit. I have some friends that consider tipping offensive.

People tip, even for bad service, because they don’t want to be thought of as cheap or ignorant.

Tipping Guidelines

The Emily Post Institute provides this guide to customary gratuities for various services:

Barber, hairstylist, or pet groomer – 15 to 20% of the bill.
Waiter/ess – 15% of the bill for adequate service, 20% for very good service and no less than 10% for poor service.
Bartender – 15 to 20% of the tab, minimum $1 per alcoholic drink
Pizza delivery person – 15 to 20%, minimum of $2 per pizza
Taxi driver – 15%
Hotel housekeeper – $2 to $5 per night
Furniture delivery person – $3 to $5 per piece
Movers – $10 to $20 each
Tip Jar – Zip, unless you want to

It’s not always clear, but if in doubt, the general rule of thumb looks to be about 15%.

Unless you have an EdD or PhD then all bets are off.

HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA - Every time you hear the Trump administration or Congress fight about rising Affordable Care Act premiums, or what will happen to people with pre-existing conditions, just remember — we're talking about issues that affect 7 percent of the population. That's how many people are in the individual health insurance market, or the "non-group" market.

Here's what the rest of the population looks like — including the much larger employer health insurance marketplace, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Why it matters: This shows how much time we're spending on a relatively small portion of the market. The ACA was supposed to fix the problems of the individual market, which really was dysfunctional for anyone with the slightest health problems. In doing so, it created other problems, including the rising premiums. But when you hear about those sky-high rate hikes because of "Obamacare," chances are, they're not your sky-high rate hikes — unless you happen to be in that market.

Yes, but: The spending limits that have been proposed for Medicaid really do matter, and they affect a larger group — 20 percent of the population. So every minute Washington spends on the smaller group is time that could have been spent talking about Medicaid changes that will affect more people.

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE - Russia is the story of this Trump Presidency. Think about the past month alone: multiple investigations of collusion in full swing ... Trump at odds with virtually every federally elected Republican over Russia sanctions ... Trump-Putin meeting overshadows G-20 ... and now our Syria strategy hinges on Russia cooperation. It's like a Trump-Putin ticket is running the world!

THEY SAID IT - JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, during an earnings call:

"It's almost embarrassing being an American citizen ... and listening to the stupid sh*t we have to deal with in this country... Since the Great Recession, which is now 8 years old, we've been growing [at] 1.5 to 2 percent in spite of the political gridlock... [The] American business sector is powerful and strong. My sense is there would be much stronger growth if there were more intelligent decisions and less gridlock."

HISTORY 101 ONE HUNDRED YEARS - 1917: The Year of the Century: The greatest single event of the 20th century was arguably the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in 1910-11, opening the way to China's modernization. But 1917 was the pivotal year, bringing the Russian Revolution, America's entry into World War I, and the Balfour Declaration reshaping the Middle East. Hard to say now which was more consequential: The communist experiment, the assertion of America as world power, or the entailing of the West in the founding of modern Israel.

EMMYS 2017 - The Full List of Nominations: The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning... See the list of major categories link and for all nominees, including below-the-line categories,   click here.

 Five newbies -- "This Is Us," "Westworld," "The Handmaid's Tale," "The Crown" and "Stranger Things" --   will compete with "Better Call Saul" and "House of Cards" in the drama category.

"Atlanta," "Black-ish," "Master of None," "Modern Family," "Silicon Valley," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "Veep" are vying for best comedy.

Two shows with very different political themes scored multiple nominations. HBO's satirical comedy "Veep" earned 17 nominations, and Hulu’s new dystopian drama "The Handmaid's Tale” earned 11.

"Saturday Night Live" and the HBO drama "Westworld" both earned 22 nominations. "SNL" is now the most Emmy nominated series of all time with 231 over the history of the show.

SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS

MLB Game of the Week (July 22) – St. Louis Cardinals (44-47) at Chicago Cubs (46-45), one of these two teams will make the playoffs, the other will not. Time to sort this out: Cubs 6 Cardinals 3.

Season to Date (44 - 23)

ON THIS DATE – The hottest temperature ever documented on this planet, 134 °F (57 °C), was recorded on this day 104 years ago in Death Valley, Calif.

ON THIS DATE PART DEUX - The U.S. pulled the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills out of circulation on this day 48 years ago.

MARKET WEEK - The Great Unwind: Federal Reserve officials in June readied plans to start slowly shrinking the central bank’s large portfolio of bonds and other assets in the next few months, and signals since have increasingly pointed to a September launch. Battling data, though, has complicated the Fed’s internal debate. Inflation has weakened, justifying some officials’ call for a slower pace of interest-rate increases. But despite the increases so far, financial conditions have eased—new stock-market highs, declining long-term yields and a weaker dollar—strengthening the resolve of those who want to stay on the current path of another quarter-point increase this year and four more next year. Meanwhile, soaring assets and low unemployment mean it’s time to start worrying about a recession.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Senate Banking Committee will hold a nomination hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday for multiple HUD nominees and Chris Campbell, Trump's pick for assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions ... Sen. Tom Cotton speaks at 9 a.m. Wednesday at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on arbitration ... Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika will speak at noon the same day on the future of the OCC's fintech charter at an event hosted by the Exchequer Club ... Senate Banking holds a hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday on GSE reform featuring small lenders.

This week has been dubbed "Made in America Week" by the Trump administration, including a display of products from all 50 states at the White House today. On Wednesday, Trump will issue a proclamation on the importance of making products in America.

Next Blog: Summer Camp and Dear Rink Rats.

See you on July 24, Adios.

Claremont, California
July 17, 2017
#VIII-9-351


CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Summer Travel by Mark Anderson