Monday, November 29, 2010

Mayor Who???

JACKASS OF THE MONTH – Our Jackass of the month for November is a favorite of Rink Rats, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: the 41st major of Los Angeles, now in his second term, born Antonio Villar on January 23, 1953. Mayor Villar graduated from UCLA and attended The People’s College of Law an unaccredited law school, he has failed the California Bar Exam four times and is unable to practice law.

In five plus years Tony Villar as mayor has accomplished absolutely nothing. His education, bicycle safety, transportation, film production, tax increase policies have all been disasters. His personal life makes Bill Clinton look like the Dalai Lama. He is an embarrassment to the Hispanic community and the Democratic Party.

Mayor Villar (Villaraigosa) just go away!

THE CASE FOR TARP - The Wall Street bailout program officially ended this month. Herb Allison, who oversaw the program for Treasury, wrote in a HuffPo op-ed: "It was unfair. It was appalling. But it was necessary. We had no other choice. Two years ago, we stood at the brink of an economic catastrophe. Ordinary American families were questioning whether their money was safe in banks. ... And now that the fog of an intense financial panic has lifted, it's clear that the critics and cynics were wrong. TARP has proven remarkably successful at stabilizing the economy and laying the foundation for future growth. ... The question, then, is why does TARP remain unpopular, despite its success? I believe, in great part, it's because a number of myths about the program stubbornly persist. Many people think that TARP cost $700 billion. But Treasury is now confident that the lifetime cost to taxpayers will be less than $50 billion."

GENERAL MOTORS IPO WHAT IT MEANS - GM sold about 478 million shares at $33 each, a price higher than the company and its bankers thought was possible just weeks ago. ... Among foreign buyers will be China's largest car maker, SAIC Motor Corp., which ... will buy about $500 million of shares for a GM stake of close to 1% ... The proceeds will help pay back the U.S. government for the $49.5 billion it spent on its controversial rescue of GM ... The government needs GM shares to rise sharply over the coming years for it to be repaid in full. ... With Wednesday's sale, ... the Treasury lost roughly $4.5 billion on GM shares it acquired at an effective cost of $43.84 apiece. ... If GM's underwriters exercise all their options to sell additional shares, GM's IPO at $18.1 billion in common shares would be the second largest U.S. IPO after Visa's $19.7 billion sale in 2008."

The Detroit automaker that was humbled before Congress and the world as it shuttered 11 plants, closed 1,500 dealerships, jettisoned four brands and dismissed tens of thousands of workers, returns to Wall Street.

TREASURY CELEBRATES (FOR NOW) - A senior administration official last night said Treasury would sell as much as 45 percent of its stake in GM for $33 per share, generating up to $13.6 billion and reducing the government' post-IPO ownership to as low as 33 percent: "We view this as a major milestone. We feel good about it. At the time [of the bailout] many critics believed that GM would never come out of this and if it did it would come out wounded." Asked why Treasury wasn't holding onto more shares on the theory that the IPO could have a big "pop" when it starts trading and continue rising higher in the months ahead: "We have said from the beginning that we wanted to exit this investment as soon as practicable."

In total, the offering is expected to raise $23.1 billion for GM. In order to break even on its initial $50 billion investment, Treasury must now sell its remaining shares at an average of around $50 each. Treasury is expected to sell off the remaining stake over the next two years-after a six-month post-IPO break-and will continue to reduce its already limited involvement in the day-to-day operations of GM. Wall Street underwriters, led by JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, are not exactly making out like bandits on the deal, taking just 0.75 percent of the total value, according to government officials.

The $40.1 billion in repayments would mean the Obama administration has more than recouped its $36.1 billion investment in GM and the federal government would recover all but approximately $9.4 billion of its $49.5 billion overall investment in GM ($13.4 billion of which came under the Bush administration).

BAILOUT RECOVERY NOW AT $250 BILLION - Dow Jones reports: "The U.S. says taxpayers have recovered more than $250 billion from the Wall Street rescue with last week’s delivery of proceeds from the [GM IPO]. The Treasury Department updated its recovery of [TARP] funds with the formal announcement of the delivery of the $11.7 billion in net proceeds from the GM IPO. ... With the GM proceeds, there have been $252 billion in TARP funds returned to taxpayers, Treasury said."

REALITY CHECK - "In richest US county, thousands need handouts" - Leesburg, Va.: "Wendy Latham checked off a wish-list for her family: cereal, diapers for two-year-old Cole, bread, pizza and, in an ideal world, turkey and other fixings for Thanksgiving dinner. ... [S]he is one of hundreds of residents of Loudoun County in Virginia, the richest county in the United States, who have to rely on handouts from a food pantry ... to feed their families. ... The national poverty rate in the United States is 14.3 percent, the highest it's been since 1994."

SAY WHAT: "I think she's very happy in Alaska -- and I hope she'll stay there."
— Barbara Bush, on Sarah Palin

"I think the majority of Americans don't want to put up with the blue bloods. And I say it with all due respect because I love the Bushes."
— Sarah Palin, in response

TOP TALKER - 'NFL's Union Leader Says Lockout 'Near Certainty' Next Season,' by Bloomberg's Curtis Eichelberger: 'The executive director of the National Football League players union said a player lockout next season is a 'near certainty,' and that it would cost the U.S. economy an estimated $5 billion in lost wages, taxes and other revenue if the entire season is canceled. In an interview on 'Political Capital With Al Hunt' airing this weekend on Bloomberg television, union chief DeMaurice Smith said if NFL owners lock out players in order to get concessions in a labor dispute, ... 'The magnitude of the loss would be at the very least about $160 million to $170 million per team-city ... That is a conservative estimate of the economic impact.' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello challenged Smith's numbers, saying they came from union projections rather than a government agency, investment bank or noted economist.'

NOT BAD FOR GOVERNMENT WORK - Speaking of salaries, USA Today's Dennis Cauchon reports that "the number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office"

ECONOMIC STRESS – The top five states for economic stress are: (1) Nevada, (2) California, (3) Florida, (4) Michigan, (5) Arizona. The stress index calculates economic conditions based on unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. This index is for September 2010.

MAFFEI IS TOP PAID - WSJ's Joann S. Lublin reports: "Gregory B. Maffei won the executive-pay sweepstakes during a year when his investors also fared well. Mr. Maffei, the leader of Liberty Media Corp., enjoyed total direct pre-tax compensation of $87.1 million last year, four times his 2008 package and enough to land him atop the rankings in The Wall Street Journal's latest CEO pay survey, which includes all 456 of the biggest U.S. public companies. ... Not far behind Mr. Maffei was Larry Ellison, Oracle's billionaire founder. Long ranked among the best-paid CEOs, he received a $68.6 million package that mainly consisted of options valued at $61.9 million."

FORECLOSURE MESS COULD THREATEN BIG BANKS - AP Business Writer Marcy Gordon: "The disarray stemming from flawed foreclosure documents could threaten major banks with billions of dollars in losses, deepen the disruption in the housing market and hurt the government's effort to keep people in their homes, according to a new report from a congressional watchdog. ... If the irregularities are widespread, the consequences could be severe, the Congressional Oversight Panel said."

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON - European officials, increasingly concerned that the Continent's debt crisis will spread, are warning that any new rescue plans may need to cover Portugal as well as Ireland ... The current situation feels eerily similar to what happened months ago in Greece, where the cost of borrowing rose precipitously. ... Of paramount concern to policy makers in Europe is Spain, which is struggling to close its own deficit of 9 percent of G.D.P. at a time when unemployment is more than 20 percent and the economy is failing to grow. Watch for 2011 to be a very bad year also for US if spending does not decrease dramatically.

BOND MARKET DEFIANCE - Mark Gongloff writes: "Bucking the Federal Reserve's efforts to push interest rates lower, investors are selling off U.S. government debt, driving rates in many cases to their highest levels in more than three months. The Fed's $600 billion program to buy Treasury bonds began late last week and is kicking into high gear this week. ... That should have driven prices up on those bonds and lowered their interest rates, or yields, which move opposite to the price. Instead, yields on almost every Treasury have been rising. The trend is a potential problem for the economy and the Fed. Rates had fallen sharply for months in anticipation of a Fed buying program, and in a short time much of that effect has been lost, spelling an unwelcome rise in borrowing costs throughout the economy."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Woody Allen (75), Jeff Bridges (61), Alex Delvecchio (79), Caroline Kennedy (53), Bo Jackson (48), Edwin Meese III (79), Little Richard (78), Vin Scully (83), Lee Trevino (71), Katarina Witt (45).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/4, it is championship season now in college football. This week the Southwest Conference championship game is a good matchup: #9 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) vs. #13 Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-2) in Dallas, 8:00 PM ET, ABC. The Sooners are 4 point favorites, we pick The Sooners to cover and win. Is Rich Rodriguez fired yet???
Season to date (11-2).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/4, the quarterfinals of D-III have the surprising Alfred Saxons (10-2) @ #1 Mount Union Purple Raiders (12-0), Noon ET, CSN. The Cinderella story ends this week, we pick Mount Union over Alfred.
Season to date (9-3).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 12/2, Houston Oilers (5-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (7-5), 8:00 PM ET, NFL Network, another sleeper Thursday NFL Network matchup. The Eagles are 7.5 favorites take the points and Philadelphia in this one.
Season to date (4-8).

Top Five Worst NHL Teams at a Quarter through the Season
1). New York Islanders: Mike Bossy could still play on this team at 49.
2). Edmonton Oilers: young talent but a few years away.
3). New Jersey Devils: what happened????
4). Florida Panthers: Paul Gallagher, Murray Cawker (St. Lawrence Alumns) what’s going on?
5). Calgary Flames: overrated and over paid.

SPORTS BLINK: if you are in the area this week the CIF Mid Valley Semifinals pit La Serna Lancers at the Bonita High Bearcats on Friday – the dream season continues for The Bearcats.

Next week, our holiday movie picks.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
November 29, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Top Five

lame duck

1: one that is weak or that falls behind in ability or achievement; especially chiefly British : an ailing company
2: an elected official or group continuing to hold political office during the period between the election and the inauguration of a successor

Top Five Lame Ducks:

1). Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House: just get out
2). Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan: just get out
3). Rich Rodriguez, University of Michigan head coach: please just get out
4). Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California: time for Terminator IV
5). Steve Morgan, President University of La Verne: thanks for the memories

Top Five Reasons To Be Thankful

1). Family
2). America
3). Day after turkey sandwiches
4). Democracy
5). NHL Center Ice

Top Five Signs Of Trouble On A Mexican Cruise

1). Smoke in the engine room
2). Out of Dramamine
3). Featured cruise movie is Poseidon Adventure
4). Featured cruise book signing by George W. Bush
5). Only alcohol on board is Two Buck Chuck

Top Five Reasons To Not Go On a Seven Day Auto Trip With Your Better Half

1). One word: questions
2). You cannot drink and drive
3). Snoring
4). Out of Valium
5). No NHL Center Ice

Top Five Newest Countries

1). Kosovo: 2/17/2008
2). Montenegro: 6/3/2006
3). Serbia: 5/21/2006
4). Timor-Leste:5/20/2002
5). Palau: 10/1/1994

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Congressman John (Sun Tan) Boehner (61), Jamie Lee Curtis (52), Joe Gibbs (70), Berry Gordy Jr. (81), Amy Grant (50), Scarlett Johansson (26), Megyn Kelly (40), Senator Mary Landrieu (55), Jim Northrup (71), Mike Scioscia (52), Shannon Sisk …famous educator, Steven Van Zandt (60).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/27, well it is finally here the game; Bo vs. Woody, Class vs. No Class, Good Drivers vs. Bad Drivers, Outstanding Academics vs. The Gong Show, University of Michigan (7-4) @ Ohio State University #9 (10-1), 12:00 PM ET, ABC. Rink Rats is picking The Buckeyes (what is a buckeye?) for two main reasons: one, it will be Rich Rodriguez’s last game as head coach for Big Blue and two, Ohio Slate is the better team. There is always next year.
Season to date (10-2).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/27, the second round of the D-III playoffs has a good central New York matchup: Alfred Saxons (9-2), the Empire 8 conference champs @ #20 Cortland State Red Dragons (10-1), the New Jersey Athletic conference champs, 12:00 PM ET, MSG Network. The Red Dragons will be too much for the Saxon Warriors, we pick Cortland State to move on, 42 – 17.
Season to date (9-2).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 11/25, the annual Turkey Day game in Detroit has the (2-8) Lions entertaining the (8-2) New England Patriots, 12:00 noon ET, CBS. It looks like a mismatch but we like the Lions to win, New England is coming off a tough Sunday night game and the Motowners always play well on Thanksgiving.
Season to date (4-7).

Top Five Reasons The Detroit Lions Are Losers

1). William Clay Ford: owner forever
2). Matt Millen: General Manager 2001 - 2007
3). Marty Mornhinweg: his name and head coach 2001 - 2002
4). Matthew Stafford’s shoulder
5). Stroth’s Beer: 2000 stopped brewing in Detroit

Top Five Reasons Bristol Palin Will Win Dancing With the Stars

1). Sarah Palin
2). Sarah Palin
3). Sarah Palin
4). Sarah Palin
5). Two Buck Chuck

Top Five NHL Teams at a Quarter through the Season

1). Detroit Red Wings: Dan Cleary and Jimmy Howard
2). Los Angeles Kings: the best special teams
3). Vancouver Canucks: excellent depth this season
4). Montreal Canadiens: Jacques Martin head coach, St. Lawrence University alumnus
5). Washington Capitals: best forwards in the league

Top Five Institutions with the Worst Alumni

1). Ohio State University: enough said
2). Plattsburgh State University: poor marketing department
3). Whittier College: Richard M. Nixon
4). Clarkson College: engineers
5). University of Southern California: O.J. Simpson, Donald Segretti and Ron Ziegler

WORDS OF THE MONTHretrograde \RE-truh-greyd\, adjective: having a backward motion or direction; retiring or retreating; exhibiting degeneration or deterioration. “But, contrary to my expectations, the Search Committee took, a decided retrograde motion.”

temer, verb: to be afraid. "Teme al professor.”

Next week, our monthly finance blog and our jackass of the month.

Until next Monday, Adios and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Carmel By The Sea, CA
November 22, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"

As we sort through holiday catalogs, internet email ads, newspaper ads, it is obvious most families have little money to spend on holidays this year. Too bad our local, state and federal governments are not this disciplined in their holiday spending. If we would listen to the Federal Reserve and Mr. Alan (it is time to just get out) Greenspan we should max out our credit cards. Rink Rats suggestion, hang on to your money, you will need it in 2011 when it is really going to get ugly; invest in bonds that have 0% interest, stocks are overvalued, housing will continue to slide, and unemployment will remain very high. One solution, follow Mr. Thorogood – “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”.

Speaking of holidays, anyone want to venture a guess when the adult contemporary station goes all-Christmas in Southern California? It has to be just a matter of days. Several stations around the country have already gone full-blown holidays.

This holiday season instead of buying the latest warfare video game, how about giving to your local food bank, give blood, give your time to a local school or church, and think not of yourself but others.

FED HAS TO ACT BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL - LA Times' report: There were the usual kind words and olive branches extended post-election day. But nothing could hide the fact that the two parties have deep and abiding differences on nearly every issue. ... The composition of the House and Senate may have changed, but not Washington: The place may be more polarized than ever. That could make it exceedingly difficult to accomplish anything of great magnitude between now and the next presidential election in November 2012. The clearest indication of the growing partisan gap was last week's rout of the Blue Dog caucus, a group of moderate and conservative Democrats who urged the party to adopt a more business-friendly and fiscally conservative agenda."

A MONETARY "HAIL MARY"? - WSJ: "Many outside the Fed, and some inside, see the move as a 'Hail Mary' pass by ... Bernanke. He embraced highly unconventional policies during the financial crisis to ward off a financial-system collapse. But a year and a half later, he confronts an economy hobbled by high unemployment, a gridlocked political system and the threat of a Japan-like period of deflation, or a debilitating fall in consumer prices. The Fed left open the possibility of doing more if growth and inflation don't perk up in the months ahead. The $75 billion a month in new purchases of Treasury debt come on top of $35 billion a month the Fed is expected to spend to replace mortgage bonds in its portfolio that are being retired."

ELECTION NIGHT TV - "Broadcast nets behind Fox on election night" - AP: "Fox News Channel came out on top during the one hour of midterm election coverage when the three broadcast networks and the cable news channels competed head-to-head. The Nielsen Co. said Thursday that Fox had 6.94 million viewers during the 10 p.m. hour Tuesday. NBC was second with 6.27 million, followed by CBS with 5.86 million and ABC with 5.53 million. CNN had 2.59 million viewers during that key hour and MSNBC had 2.04 million. ... ABC said the 6.79 million viewer average for its entire 90-minute election telecast beat NBC and CBS. CBS, whose evening news broadcast with Katie Couric is a perennial third-place finisher, touted its defeat of ABC at 10 p.m."

FED BREAKS TABOO - WSJ: "The Federal Reserve will print money to buy nearly as much U.S. Treasury debt in the next eight months as the U.S. government will issue. ... In normal times, this is one of the great taboos of central banking because it is seen as a step toward spiraling inflation and because it risks encouraging reckless government spending. The central bank is betting these aren't normal times. Financial markets last week responded warmly to the Fed move, but outspoken critics of the policy issued full-throated critiques. ... Thomas Hoenig, president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve and the lone dissenter in Wednesday's decision, said in an interview Thursday that he worried the Fed would be too slow to reverse the policy and that would cause new problems. 'Leaving it in there longer than-in hindsight-we will think was appropriate, will create the next series of problems, whatever those are,' he said. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his allies argue that today's economy is too weak and banks too reluctant to lend to generate much inflation."

Dear Rink Rats:

I recently attended a dinner honoring an individual who is retiring after many years as President of an institution. The dinner was well attended with supporters of this individual and the institution. As the evening came to a conclusion, with the long winded speeches coming to an end it was time to acknowledge the individual. My question: is it mandatory to stand and applaud this individual? Is it proper to just sit and applaud? Can you recommend a proper and respectful action?

- Puzzled

Dear Puzzled:

It depends on how many Vice Presidents work under him or her at the institution. The higher the number of Vice Presidents the less we are obligated to stand and applaud. It should be obvious to anyone who has common sense, the efficiency of an organization is determined by the number of upper and middle managers it has. Has this individual administered the institution’s management properly? Only you can decide.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Troy Aikman (44), Traci Attman … a very special lady, Vice President Joe Biden (68), Prince Charles (62), Bo Derek (54), Larry King (77), Carrie Lewis … one of a kind, Stan Musial (90), Gary Player (75), Martin Scorsese (68), Sam Waterson (70).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/20, they don’t get any bigger on the west coast, #6 Stanford Cardinal (9-1) @ California Bears (5-5), 3:30 PM ET, Prime Network. Stanford is 8 point favorites, give the points and pick Stanford and the next Michigan football coach, Jim Harbaugh.
Season to date (9-2).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/20, the road begins to the D-III football championship, the playoffs begin. Our game this week is a battle to settle a score. #17 Cal Lutheran Kingsmen (8-1) travel to #12 Linfield Wildcats (8-1), 3:00 PM ET, Bravo. The Kingsmen beat Linfield in week #1 but the Northwest Conference champ will win this rematch, 35-31.
Season to date (8-2).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 11/21, Detroit Lions (2-7) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-7), 1:00 PM ET, Fox. The Lions are much better than their 2-7 record indicates and the Cowboys are coming off a big win against The Giants. Detroit is 7.0 point underdogs, take the points and pick The Lions to win in Dallas.
Season to date (4-6).

IN MEMORY – A correction to last weeks’ memorial to Sparky Anderson. He was not the only manager to win a World Series title in both leagues: Sparky Anderson - 1975 and 1976 Cincinnati Reds, 1984 Detroit Tigers and Tony LaRussa - 1989 Oakland Athletics, 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. Thank you Mr. H.

SPORTS BLINK – Congratulations to one of our favorites the Bonita High School Bearcats for finishing their regular season (9-1). Now it is on to the CIF playoffs.

NHL - The NHL's three stars for October were the Lightning's Steven Stamkos, Bruins' Tim Thomas and Avs' Chris Stewart. What no Red Wings?

Recipe of the Month: Pomtini

The combination of tart and sweet is a recipe for a party in anyone’s mouth, a great cocktail to celebrate the holidays.

1 ½ oz Vodka (we prefer Ketel One)
1 oz Juice – Pomegranate
1 ½ oz Juice – Grapefruit
½ oz Juice – Lime
½ oz Sugar – Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a mixing cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with orange twist or mint sprig.
“На здоровье (Na zdarov'e)”

Next week, what is a lame duck?

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
November 15, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010


The mid-term elections are now over we begin a new phase of lacking political consensus. When I see the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner (Fake Tan) is the largest House recipient of Wall Street money this past year, much of it from financial institutions bailed out by TARP and the single most important goal of the Republicans in Congress these next two years, per Senator Mitch McConnell, is for President Obama to be a one-term President, I figure it is now wise to concentrate on state politics.

But wait, the teacher union backed Jerry Brown is our new Governor. Hold on to your checkbook, California will now become even more expensive to reside in. Once small business gets a handle on how Governor Moon Beam will run the state, businesses will be heading for Oregon, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. I figure it is now wise to concentrate on local politics.

But wait, when I see that our City Manager in Claremont earning $265,789 per year in salary for a city with a population of 37,780 and when I see the Fire Chief of the City of La Verne, population 33,981, take a salary of $283,865 per year, I have to ask the question should I give a hoot! Stop the madness! From Washington to Sacramento to La Verne do any of these people have a clue? Have you ever visited a government agency or office? Does this behavior and expenditures warrant these salaries and policies?

Oh well, thank God Macy’s will be open at Midnight on Friday after Thanksgiving, I can feel better while I max out my credit card on products made in China, India, Vietnam by companies who used to be in the United States.

FIRST LOOK -- HENDRIK HERTZBERG, lead "Talk of the Town" in the forthcoming New Yorker: "Obama's temperament has become a political liability. In 2008, his calm was a synergistic counterpoint to the joyous excitement of the throngs that packed his rallies. In the tidy, quiet isolation of the White House, his serene rationality has felt to many like detachment, even indifference. For him and for the country, the next two years look awfully bleak. Capitol Hill will be like Hamburger Hill, a noisy wasteland of sanguinary stalemate. There will be no more transformative legislation; it will be all Obama can do simply to protect health-care reform from sabotage. The economy, like the climate, will be left to fend for itself. And the world will watch, wonder, and worry."

GEORGE W. BUSH's memoir, "Decision Points," will be out Tuesday and is getting the most extensive rollout of any book in history, according to publishing sources. The plan was choreographed by Bob Barnett; Dana Perino; David Sherzer, of the Office of George W. Bush; and David Drake, the director of publicity at Crown Publishers. It all starts Monday on NBC with a prime time hour with Matt Lauer. On Tuesday, Bush does a book signing in Dallas, and is featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." (The segments already taped at her studio in Chicago, and WITH HIS MOTHER AND FATHER in Kennebunkport, in a boat and at their compound on Walker's Point.) Also on Tuesday, Bush does Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity radio and TV.

--On Wednesday, 43 appears again with Matt Lauer, this time live on "Today." On Thursday, he does Bill O'Reilly, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, near Dayton, in connection with a Veterans Day Tribute. And on Friday, he does Greta Van Susteren, in connection with the groundbreaking of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, at SMU. On Saturday, a SEPARATE Sean Hannity interview airs. On Sunday, Nov. 14, he does a CBS News "Sunday Morning" segment with Jim Axelrod (with Mrs. Bush), and the president and Jeb Bush appear on CNN with Candy Crowley (so every interview has a unique component.) Then, the president is on "Fox and & Friends" from Monday, Nov. 15, through Wed., Nov. 17. Then on Thu., Nov. 18, he's on JAY LENO.

"DECISION POINTS" ($18.90 on Amazon)

FRANK RICH, "Barack Obama, Phone Home": "You can't win an election without a coherent message. Obama, despite his administration's genuine achievements, didn't have one. The good news ... is that the G.O.P. doesn't have one either. ... The president's travails are not merely a 'communications problem.' They're also a governance problem ... The plot of Obama's presidency has been harder to follow than 'Inception.' ... He can no longer limit interactions with actual working Americans to photo ops on factory floors or outsource them to a 'Middle Class Task Force' led by Joe Biden. ... In the 1946 midterms, the unpopular and error-prone rookie president Harry Truman, buffeted by a different set of economic dislocations, watched his party lose both chambers of Congress ... Two years after this Democratic wipeout, ... Truman roared back ... Surely there are dozens of supporters reassuring Obama with exactly this Truman scenario this weekend. But if he lacks the will to fight, he might as well just take his time and enjoy the sights of Mumbai."

MAUREEN DOWD - "'Blindsided': A President's Story": "In his deftly crafted and utterly selective new memoir, W. is the president we all wished him to be: compassionate, bipartisan, funny, charming, instinctive, independent, able to admit and learn from mistakes ... Heck, after I finished reading it, I was ready to vote for the guy. The book lacks the vindictive or vaporous tone of many political autobiographies. It's peppered with endearing personal stories, like the time W. made a Rose Garden speech supporting a Palestinian state and his mother called afterward to ask sarcastically, 'How's the first Jewish president doing?' But when I look at the sad eyes of President Obama, buried alive with his party beneath the heedless decisions and reckless spending and tax cuts of his predecessor, I snap out of it. ... Yet if W.'s decision-making leaves something to be desired, his story-telling is good. He writes of a visit to Russia, when Putin showed him his black Labrador, Koni. 'Bigger, stronger, and faster than Barney,' Putin bragged. Later, when W. recounted this to Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister, Harper drolly noted, 'You're lucky he only showed you his dog.'"

DRIVING THE WEEK - Obama will face some serious opposition to trade targets at the G-20 meetings on Thursday and Friday. He will also continue to get an earful from world leaders concerned that the Fed is pushing down the dollar to boost U.S. exports at their expense ... SIFMA annual meeting takes place at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan beginning this morning. Top speakers include retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro ... MSNBC's Keith Olbermann returns from his suspension on Tuesday ... Conan O'Brien kicks of his TBS show tonight at 11 p.m. ... Bond markets closed Thursday in honor of Veteran's Day

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Barbara Boxer (70), Bob Gibson (75), Billy Graham (92), Miranda Lambert (27), Al Michaels (65), Chris Noth (56), Gen. David Petraeus (58), Warner Wolf (73), Neil Young (65).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/14, as the season is winding down a key SEC matchup with #22 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-3) visit the Florida Gators (6-3), 7:15 PM, ET ESPN. Can former coach Steve Spurrier pull off the upset in the swamp, Florida is 7 point favorites, we think they are too – pick Florida.
Season to date (9-1).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/14, an Empire 8 rivalry game with the Ithaca College Bombers (6-3) visit the 24th ranked Cortland State Red Dragons (8-1). Cortland State is playoff bound and has too much defense for The Bombers, pick Cortland 24 – 7.
Season to date (7-2).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 11/15, New England Patriots (6-2) visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) in this battle of AFC big boys. Pittsburgh is 3.5 favorites and beginning to get into playoff form, give the points and pick the Steelers.
Season to date (4-5).

IN MEMORY – Sparky Anderson, the only major league baseball manager to win The World Series in each league, passed away this past week. A players’ manager he leaves behind a legacy of great baseball and philanthropy second to none.

SPORTS BLINK – Congratulations to the St. Lawrence University Saints football program for winning the Liberty League conference and earning a place in the D-III college football playoffs. The Saints record is 4-5 but who cares they are in the playoffs.

VETERANS DAY – is Thursday November 11, put up your flag and support our service men and women.

Next week, catalogs and holiday shopping.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
November 8, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Autumn Is Here

You know autumn is here to stay when the sun no longer shines on sections of your garden. The sweater vests have now moved from the storage closet to the dresser. You know autumn is here to stay when hot tea is now the choice in the morning instead of orange juice and the U of M Wolverines are on a losing streak because they are now playing decent teams. You know autumn is here to stay because college administrators who were bragging about their great enrollment numbers two months ago are now panicking because they cannot balance their budgets, oh well lets’ raise the tuition a bit more.

You know autumn is here to stay because your summer tan is now a faded memory and you have to change the on/off timing on your indoor/outdoor lights. Crock pots are now in, barbecues are now out, apple cider tastes better, iced tea has lost its’ taste, Mexican food is out, Chinese food is in, obnoxious fund raising telephone calls from church, college, whatever, are growing, obnoxious political telephone calls have stopped, what to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas is always in the back of your mind, missing the warm sun on your face and the cool wind off the lake or ocean is always in the back of your mind – “how many more months to spring??” Ugh!!!

The 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey's Best Burgers:

1. Five Guys
2. In-N-Out Burger
3. Wendy's
4. Burger King
5. McDonald's

Rink Rats top five all time movies:

5). Slap Shot (1977)
4).The Maltese Falcon (1941)
3). Citizen Kane (1941)
2). The Godfather (1972)
1). Casablanca (1942)

SUNDAY READING - Letter to N.Y. Times Public Editor Arthur S. Brisbane - "Marriage and Achievement: The heavy majority of couples typically featured in the Sunday wedding announcements either attended elite universities, hold corporate management positions or have parents with corporate management positions. It's nice to learn about the nuptials of the privileged, but Times readers would benefit from learning about a more representative sampling of weddings in our diverse city. ... Max Sarinsky, Manhattan."

GDP LOOK AHEAD: DEPENDS ON CITIES/STATES - Reuters' Emily Kaiser reports: "The only question about the rate of U.S. economic growth right now is which adjective fits best: sluggish or slumping. The answer may lie in city halls and governors' mansions. ... The range of forecasts ... is wide, stretching from 1.0 percent to 3.6 percent. State and local government spending is one big wild card. ... State and local governments normally account for a little more than 12 percent of GDP, outpacing the federal government, which has been clocking in just above 8.0 percent since last year (and had been closer to 7.0 percent before the recession). Most states and municipalities have balanced budget rules, which means when revenues fall, something has to go. In September, it was jobs. State and local governments shed 83,000 workers last month, a huge surprise that made the overall employment picture look considerably darker than economists had expected."

POST-ELECTION: OBAMA TO FOCUS ON DEFICIT- AP's Ben Feller reports: "Preparing for political life after a bruising election ... Obama will put greater emphasis on fiscal discipline, a nod to a nation sick of spending and to a Congress poised to become more Republican. ... He is already giving clues about how he will govern in the last two years of his term. Obama will try to make gains on deficit reduction, education and energy. ... While trying to save money, Obama will have to decide whether to bend to Republican and growing Democratic pressure to extend Bush-era tax cuts, even for the wealthy, that expire at year's end. ... Moving to the fore will be a more serious focus on how to balance the federal budget and pay for the programs that keep sinking the country into debt."

PLAYBOOK ODDS FIXING: Republicans net 51 House seats (39 needed for control) - 8 Senate seats (10 needed for control). When people ask us our hot hunch for an upset, we say that Harry Reid could still win - gives you a sense of how bad the C.W. is for Ds. For the past two weeks, Alex "Morning Score" Burns' parlor-game hot hunch has been Rep. Joe Sestak (D) winning in PA SEN.

BOND YIELD GOES NEGATIVE - FT's Aline van Duyn, Michael Mackenzie and Nicole Bullock report in the page 1 splash: "The abnormal state of the credit markets came into focus as the US Treasury sold bonds with negative interest rates for the first time and Goldman Sachs prepared to issue its first 50-year debt deal. Both developments on Monday highlighted the difficult choices facing investors at a time when interest rates are at historical lows and the [Fed] is moving towards more asset purchases aimed at boosting the economy and staving off deflation. Investors who believe the Fed will succeed in its efforts - which would lead to higher inflation - accepted a yield of minus 0.55 per cent on $10bn of Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - or Tips - which compensate holders if the consumer price index rises. At the same time, retail investors looking for higher yields in the current low interest-rate environment were targeted by Goldman, which prepared to sell $250m of 50-year bonds that are expected to pay interest of up to 6.25 per cent."

HISTORY - In fact, divided government is the rule rather than the exception in the US; indeed, the last president to serve an entire term with both a House and a Senate controlled by his own party was Jimmy Carter.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Laura Bush (64), Glenn Frey (62), Art Garfunkel (68), Godzilla (56), Linda Gordon …famous shopper, David Kung …famous economist, Lyle Lovett (54), Jenny McCarthy (38), Maria Shriver (55).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/7, a huge Pac 10 match up with the winner moving on to battle Oregon for the conference title; University of Arizona Wildcats (7-1) and 15th ranked visit the Stanford Cardinal (7-1) and 13th ranked, 8:00 PM ET, ABC. The future Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh led Cardinal are 7.5 point favorites, give the points and take Stanford.
Season to date (8-1).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/7, it is homecoming weekend in La Verne, CA as the winless Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (0-7) visit the University of La Verne Leopards (0-7), 4:00 PM ET, Sci-Fi Channel. Both teams are desperate for a victory, but the Sagehens have the edge with a better quarterback, we pick The Sagehens in a close, high scoring game; 35-31.
Season to date (6-2).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 11/8, it has been awhile but a meaningful game in the AFC West; Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) @ Oakland Raiders (4-4), 4:15 PM ET, CBS. Are The Raiders for real? They are 2.5 point favorites in this historic rivalry, we pick The Raiders.
Season to date (3-5).

RUNWAY FASHION - Fashion Week has come and gone, the runway collections have been shown, a winner has been chosen, and the losers have been sent home. Now all that's left is the reaction, and what a reaction it is.

Like a foul stench of hipsters and toxic waste out of an abandoned Village Venture port-a-john, Gretchen Jones won (spoiler alert!) and, it seems to me, no one is happy about this. In fact, I've heard more than one person say that they're going to quit watching the show. One word….”Mondo”.

IN MEMORY - Boston Globe p. 1, "Theodore Sorensen, JFK's aide and wordsmith, dies," by Bryan Marquard: "Theodore Chaikin Sorensen, whose prose mingled with the thoughts and words of his close friend John F. Kennedy to create some of the most memorable presidential speeches of the 20th century, died yesterday. Mr. Sorensen's wife, Gillian, said he died in a New York City hospital of complications from an Oct. 22 stroke. He was 82. Despite a stroke nine years ago that left him nearly sightless, Mr. Sorensen had continued to be a vibrant link intellectually and philosophically to the Kennedy administration and the Camelot aura that defined the clan, launching the political careers of the president's younger brothers, Robert and Edward. ...

"Through the years, reporters routinely asked Mr. Sorensen if he wrote the line in Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address that arguably is the most famous sentence the president ever spoke: 'Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.' 'Having no satisfactory answer, I long ago started answering the oft-repeated question as to its authorship with the smiling retort: "Ask not,"' Mr. Sorensen wrote in "Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History,' his 2008 memoir. ... Not yet 25 in January 1953 when Kennedy, then a US senator, hired him as an assistant, Mr. Sorensen had arrived in Washington, D.C., a year and a half earlier, fresh from law school and a life lived almost entirely in Lincoln, Neb."

EMAIL - Forty-one years ago last week, a pair of computer scientists tried to send the world's first computer-to-computer message via the internet. The message was to be the word "log." Their connection crashed before they got to "g”, sound familiar.

FINANCE - The most anticipated week of the year on Wall Street is finally here - and many are curious to see where the stock market will head once the midterm elections and this week's Fed meeting are in the books.

The Dow and S&P 500 have just posted their best combined September/October percentage gains since 1998, while the Nasdaq had its best performance for those two months since 1982.

SPORTS BLINK - Not even two generations of Presidents Bush could save the Texas Rangers from getting pushed to the brink by the red hot San Francisco Giants and their young gun pitcher Madison Bumgarner. World Series is 3 -1 Giants.

AND FINALLY – Where are the Notre Dame fans???? Anybody seen them????

Next week, $283K.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
November 1, 2010