Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Cleaning

As we conclude our month long anniversary blogs, Rink Rats posts some observations and information. In other words time to clean out our database closet and make ready for the upcoming new year of Rink Rats blogs.

POTUS – President Obama has had a rough couple of years on the job, some of the events not of his doing and some out of his control. But, one area of his Presidency that has been under his control and in trouble, is his decision making on many key issues. By seeking consensus, compromise and judging political fallout, the amount of time it takes him to make decisions is troubling. Examples: Guantanamo prisoner status, reaction to BP oil spill, North Africa turmoil, Budget and debt ceiling decisions, and working with Wall Street and Corporate America in dealing with the economy. Yes these issues are complex but on all these issues the decision making process has been nonexistent or slow in there formulation.

To quote a not so famous Business Instructor The President has got himself in a real “pickle” partly due to his lack of strong decision making. Americans see Wall Street and Corporate America making cash again with big profits. But unemployment and recovery is sluggish at best. Oil and commodities (wheat, corn, and sugar) are all at record highs, the dollar is near or at record lows and beginning this summer interest rates will begin to increase – a tough environment to get reelected. How to get out of this pickle, instead of preaching Federal spending encourage the country through strong leadership to invest in people capital. Lead Corporate America to invest in hiring new employees, new training and industries to get the economy moving. Lead Federal, State and Local government to stop the gravy train and reduce public spending. Lead Americans to be responsible in education and environmental issues to reduce our need for oil and consumable resources.

A tall order but with Leadership it can be done and we believe the American people will truly accept.

PAULV – There are new forces in higher education, some exist inside the walls of scholarship and others outside. “American colleges and universities have a history of old forces being pulled by new ones – the GI Bill in the 1950s, the growth of science in the 1960s, the expansion of coeducation in the 1970s, the success of affirmative action in the 1980s, the broadening of international studies in the 1990s, and the campus building boom-virtual and physical-in the last decade. “

“An organization with a confident sense of its future is stronger than one wedded to its past, even a past no longer than five or ten years.” Thus we return to Leadership and this is what confronts new leadership just weeks away from the University of La Verne. What emerging themes will most likely propel the new President? Or will there be any themes? Perhaps to establish a culture of thrift in the midst of economic uncertainty, perhaps to recognize the new forces that exist in higher education and a plan to confront and cultivate them, perhaps to develop a new culture of innovation and defining the form and function of a liberal arts curriculum fit for a generation living in the 21st century.

Truly a tall order but one that can be accomplished by establishing the trust of a shared vision, not a vision belonging exclusively to a board, a president, a faculty, or a particular constituency. Rather the entire University of La Verne community realizing we share a common vision of education, service to the community and this University’s role in fulfilling this vision to our students and the community.

CALIFORNIA DREAMING - L.A. Times second front, "Poll casts a cloud on Brown's tax plan," by Anthony York, in Sacramento: "Public support for Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to solve the budget crisis with a June election is eroding as other officials warn that delaying such a move until late fall, as the governor is considering, could trigger a cash crisis and a fresh round of state-issued IOUs. Anew survey from the independent Public Policy Institute of California shows that 46% of likely California voters back Brown's call for a five-year extension on some sales, income and vehicle taxes to help balance the state's books. Just two months ago, 53% of voters surveyed by PPIC said they would approve of the taxes. The public appetite for a special election also seems to be on the wane."

WHAT DROUGHT - In all the decades that Mammoth Mountain has been a destination for SoCal skiers, this looks to be the winter with the most snowfall. At least since they began keeping records in 1969, with snow falling again last week...the Eastern [Sierra] Resort realized a record snow fall for the season of 637 inches.

HARD LESSONS - The trials of Kaplan Higher Ed and the education of The Washington Post Co.," by Steven Mufson and Jia Lynn Yang: "The Post Co.'s reliance on federal student loan money grew. By the end of 2010, more than 90 percent of revenue at Kaplan's biggest division and nearly a third of The Post Co.'s revenue overall came from the U.S. government. Public money means public accountability, and critics said Kaplan fell short. Two-thirds of Kaplan's students drop out before graduating. In Kaplan's largest unit, nearly one-third default within three years of leaving the school. ...

CHINA HITS TRADE DEFICIT - Xinhua/Beijing: "China saw a trade deficit of $1.02 billion between January and March this year. It's the first quarterly trade deficit in six years, according to figures released Sunday by the General Administration of Customs. China has reported a trade deficit of $1.02 billion from January to March this year. In comparison, the country gained a trade surplus of 13.91 billion US dollars in the first quarter of last year."

It was also predicted this past week that China will pass the United States as the world’s largest economy by 2016 and you think gas is expensive now.

SIREN - USA Today lead story, "Percent working lowest since '83: Aging population, recession in play," by Dennis Cauchon: "Only 45.4% of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3% in 2000. Last year, just 66.8% of men had jobs, the lowest on record."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Carol Burnett (78), Jay Leno (61), Nicklas Lidstrom (41), Tim McGraw (44), Willie Nelson (78), Al Pacino (71), Richard Riordan (81), Jerry Seinfeld (56), Joe Zanetta …. famous good friend.

BOB WOODWARD and BEN BRADLEE AT THE NIXON LIBRARY - James Hohmann, in Yorba Linda: "A crowd of almost 1,000 welcomed Woodward and Bradlee with a standing ovation [last week] ... They spoke in a room designed as a replica of the White House East Room. Bradlee, leaning on a cane, ... marveled at how many people still care about a decades-old conflict ... Woodward is 68, seven years older than Nixon at the time of his resignation. ... Woodward gave the crowd his theory that he sees the term 'Watergate' as shorthand for five different wars waged by Nixon. The first was the administration's campaign against the anti-Vietnam war movement. The second was the war against the press and White House aides suspected of being disloyal. The third was efforts against those seen as abetting the anti-war movement and opposing the president's reelection. ... The fourth war was the cover-up. The fifth was a 'war against history.'"

WISHFUL THINKING? NFL releases 2011 schedule - NFL release: "The NFL announced ... its 17-week, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2011, which kicks off on Thursday night, September 8 in Green Bay and concludes on Sunday, January 1 with 16 division games. The season begins with the NFL's annual Thursday primetime kickoff game. The opener on September 8 on NBC (8:30 PM ET) will feature the past two Super Bowl winners when the defending-champion Green Bay Packers welcome the Super Bowl XLIV- champion New Orleans Saints to Lambeau Field. In a format introduced in 2004, the Super Bowl champion annually hosts the NFL Thursday night season kickoff. The NFL will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on Sunday, September 11, the first Sunday of the regular season. On that day, the New York Giants will travel to Washington to face the Redskins (4:15 PM ET, FOX) followed by the New York Jets hosting the Dallas Cowboys (8:20 PM ET, NBC)."

"The Buffalo Bills will play a game in Canada for the fourth consecutive season when they host the Redskins at the Rogers Centre on Oct. 30 in Toronto. ... The Thanksgiving Day games include the Packers at Detroit, Miami at Dallas and San Francisco at Baltimore, when new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh faces the Ravens and coach John Harbaugh in the first meeting between sibling head coaches in NFL history. The Packers play the Bears in the only game on Christmas Day. There are 13 games scheduled for Dec. 24, including the Giants against the Jets."

WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS - turns 50 on Friday - ESPN release: "ESPN will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the iconic ABC Sports program Wide World of Sports with a multi-platform celebration, highlighted by 70 hours of memorable moments on ESPN Classic. ... Originally envisioned as a fill-in show for one summer, Wide World of Sports debuted April 29, 1961, with a young future legend, Jim McKay, as host. The opening show featured the Drake Relays from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, along with the Penn Relays from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Unexpected popularity led to WWOS becoming a fixture on Saturday afternoons - and eventually an iconic program in sports television history.

ANNIVERSARY QUIZ – this month we will be giving a quiz every week to celebrate our First Year, the first person to pick the correct answer in our comment section will win a special Rink Rats prize:

China bought one-quarter of which U.S. crop in 2009?

(a). Apples (b). Pecans (c). Peaches (d). Pumpkins

Last Week’s Quiz Answer: (d) Mountain West

SUNRISE over Central Park, as captured by Howard Wolfson from the window of the plane as he flew down with Mayor Bloomberg for "Fox News Sunday."

Next week, year two begins.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
April 25, 2011


Monday, April 18, 2011

Rest Stop

We all know what they are, rest stops. You see them off the interstate, but we always streak by them at 80 miles per hour to get to our destination faster, then we can rest. But we never do.

This week Rink Rats takes a rest stop, time to recharge and get a better perspective on life. In this world of I-this and 200 channels one should stop and rest. Many of us think we stop and rest, but do we really?

A rest stop can be a ten minute walk during the work day, a long weekend to visit family, a visit to your local park or garden to take in the beauty, an hour in your local library, simply a rest stop is time to relax and be yourself. No sucking up to your boss, significant other, kids – just suck up to you.

Put the email away, no Facebook, Twitter, Nightly News, office politics, for ten minutes, ten hours, ten days, or ten months – just take the time you need.

So Rink Rats this week is taking a rest stop. We hope you do to.

"A Rest Stop"

Tucson, AZ Botanical Garden

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to E.C. Hasse … the best Dad, Jessica Lange (62), Jack Nicholson (74).

ANNIVERSARY QUIZ – this month we will be giving a quiz every week to celebrate our First Year, the first person to pick the correct answer in our comment section will win a special Rink Rats prize:

Which of these regions saw the strongest growth in the 2010 census?

(a). Great Plains (b). Rural New England (c). Mississippi Delta (d). Mountain West

Last Week’s Quiz Answer: (b) one-third

Next week, our first year anniversary month concludes.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Tucson, AZ
April 18, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear Rink Rats

Our anniversary month continues this week with the best of Dear Rink Rats:


I need your advice; I am getting tired of the rat race of private business. So I am thinking about teaching Business at the Graduate Level. What salary should I expect from this profession? I am currently making $185,000 per year in private business.

--Hopeful Academic

Dear Hopeful Academic

You are in for a shock, according to the most recent faculty salary survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education (2009-2010) here are the salaries for Graduate level teaching:

Private Institution:
Professor - $101,290
Associate Professor - $76,311
Assistant Professor - $63,574
Instructor - $51,195

Public Institution:
Professor - $89,808
Associate Professor - $71,516
Assistant Professor - $60,612
Instructor - $43,772

Harvard has the highest salary for a Professor: $193,800.

You might want to look at becoming a College President:

Private Institution - $582,661
Public Institution - $388,995

Good luck, teaching is a wonderful profession.

--Rink Rats

The following live among us and are voting citizens:


I’ve suspected that my husband has been fooling around, and when confronted with the evidence, he denied everything and said it would never happen again.


Our son writes that he is taking Judo. Why would a boy who was raised in a good Christian home turn against his own?


My wife is mean and short tempered I think she is going through mental pause.


My forty year old son has been paying a psychiatrist $150.00 an hour every week for two and a half years. He must be crazy.

Please keep sending in your letters.

APRIL 15 – Tax filing day is upon us, here is some data to get you in the mood:

THE BILLIONAIRE'S GUIDE TO PAYING NO TAXES - Bloomberg Businessweek cover, "The More You Make, The Less You Pay," by Jesse Drucker: "For the 400 U.S. taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income, the effective federal income tax rate fell from almost 30 percent in 1995 to just under 17 percent in 2007, according to the IRS. And for the approximately 1.4 million people who make up the top 1 percent of taxpayers, the effective federal income tax rate dropped from 29 percent to 23 percent in 2008. It may seem too fantastic to be true, but the top 400 end up paying a lower rate than the next 1,399,600 or so."

NATIONAL DEBT - $14.29 trillion

THE REAL FIGHT – For now no Federal Government shutdown. Rink Rats have also been warning for weeks that failing to raise the debt limit would be a far scarier economic prospect than some temporary furloughs. The rest of the world seemed to catch on this weekend after the budget deal. The late-Friday agreement, in fact, was a disappointment to some on Wall Street because rather than exhausting appetites for a showdown, it instead set up the debt limit as the next big political smackdown with partisan blood lust still thick in the air.

FINANCE THIS WEEK - The debt limit debate, Obama's Wednesday deficit reduction speech and an expected agreement from the Senate's "Gang of Six" on proposed entitlement cuts will eat up most of the oxygen but there is a lot more afoot at the crossroads of Wall Street and Washington: Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen speaks at the Economic Club of New York today in remarks that should signal the central bank's current take on the economy and the likelihood of an end to quantitative easing and (gasp!) rate hikes in the foreseeable future ... Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing Tuesday on implementation of the derivatives portion of Dodd-Frank with testimony from Treasury, the Fed, CFTC and SEC and industry officials. ... G20 meets in Washington this week to talk about global imbalances, among other issues.

... First quarter earnings season kicks off in earnest this morning with results from Alcoa, which is expected to get a nice bounce from rising aluminum prices. Analysts expect Alcoa to earn 27 cents per share, up from a loss of 19 cents last year ... Companies in general are not expected to keep up with last year's blistering pace of 41 percent earnings growth but the numbers should be pretty solid. ... JPMorganChase reports on Wednesday and CEO Jamie Dimon may have more to say about the debt limit issue on the bank's conference call.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Seve Ballesteros (54), Tom Clancy (55), Andy Garcia (55), David Letterman (64), Loretta Lynn (76), Steve Martin (66), Bruce McNall (61).

ANNIVERSARY QUIZ – this month we will be giving a quiz every week to celebrate our First Year, the first person to pick the correct answer in our comment section will win a special Rink Rats prize:

What proportion of American Adults gets less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night?

(a). one fourth (b). one third (c). one half (d). two thirds

Last Week’s Quiz Answer: California Silicon Valley

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAMES OF THE WEEK – Congratulations to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for winning the NCAA D-I hockey championship, next year look out for St. Lawrence University Skating Saints –they will be tough.
Season to date (3-11)

GREEN-JACKET DAY - The Masters finish "was so wild that eight players had at least a share of the lead on the back nine. ... [South Africa's Charl Schwartzel] ... became the first Masters champion in its 75-year history to finish with four straight birdies, giving him a 6-under 66 for the best final round by a winner in 22 years. ... There was a five-way lead at the top at one point, and only the final hour sorted it all out."

Rink Rats 2011 Baseball Picks: American League - East: Boston, Central: Detroit, West: Texas, Pennant: Boston. National League - East: Atlanta, Central: Cincinnati, West: San Francisco, Pennant: Atlanta. World Series Champs - Boston Red Sox.

NHL 2010-11 STANLEY CUP PREVIEW – Another season concludes for the best sport in the world. Back in October Rink Rats predicted the following season winners: Eastern Conference winners: Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Washington; Western Conference winners: Detroit, Vancouver and Los Angeles; Stanley Cup finalists: Washington & Detroit; Stanley Cup Champions – Washington Capitals.

We were correct with Washington, Detroit and Vancouver – we shall see about the Playoffs. Good luck to our favorite teams Red Wings, Kings and Ducks – playoffs begin on Wednesday April 20.

Next week, our first year anniversary month continues.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
April 11, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011


Our fiftieth blog, there have been many events in the world and locally since we began Rink Rats blog but one thing has remained constant, The Keep Smiling Farewell Tour is still going on as it did one year ago. The Tour reached a high point this past week with various lectures and dedications. In fact rumors abound that The Tour has signed on with The Glee Tour to continue on into 2012.

One of the highlights of this past week lectures was the wonderful and warm presentation of Warren Bennis on leadership. Dr. Bennis’s six qualities to be an effective leader were especially noted: Integrity, Dedication, Magnanimity (smiling and saying thank you to employees and all people), Humility, Openness, and Creativity. Too bad certain individuals took this time during Dr. Bennis’s lecture to take a nap.

We have learned a few lessons in these first 50 blogs; writing and editing is not easy, we have much more respect to the writers and editors who do this on a daily basis. Another lesson is that Rink Rats should not bet in Las Vegas, as you have noticed our picks are usually wrong. Finally, we appreciate all the comments and support from our readers and look forward to another year.

HERE WE GO - President Obama has announced his reelection campaign today (Monday) in an electronic message to grassroots supporters, Democratic sources tell POLITICO. Obama launches with a recovering economy and a weak, fractured Republican field, but with chaos in the Middle East that adds unpredictability to an environment that points to likely reelection. Obama's campaign, which could raise $1 billion or more, will be based in Chicago, just a few blocks from the headquarters of his historic 2008 race.

The website is ready, the donation button has been tested, and call sheets to key political supporters are set. Obama organizers have long planned to launch at the beginning of the second quarter so they can show a fundraising juggernaut in their first report to FEC. But they couldn't pull the trigger on the first day of the quarter, April Fools' Day, and then the next two days were weekend days. Obama will be raising money for the campaign in Chicago on April 14, and the campaign had to formally organize before that date.

The campaign manager, Jim Messina, who was a deputy White House chief of staff past the midterms, has been pumping up donors in meetings around the country, pressing them for major commitments. David Axelrod, who returned to Chicago after serving as a White House senior adviser for the first two year, will once again be Obama's strategic guru.

EDUCATION - WashPost A1, "Algebra II movement multiplies: More states require course, citing it as link to students' success," by Peter Whoriskey, in Conway, Ark.: "Of all of the classes offered in high school, Algebra II is the leading predictor of college and work success ... In recent years, 20 states and the District have moved to raise graduation requirements to include Algebra II ... The effort has been led by Achieve, a group organized by governors and business leaders and funded by corporations and their foundations, to improve the skills of the workforce. ... Whether learning Algebra II causes students to fare better in life, or whether it is merely correlated with them doing better - because smart, motivated kids take Algebra II - isn't clear." Sample problems

SPORTS BLINK: WHO WILL CUT THE NET? Men's college basketball National Championship, 9 p.m. ET on CBS, from Reliant Stadium in Houston (tipoff: 9:23 p.m.) -- No. 8 Butler (of Indianapolis; 4,640 total students) v. No. 3 Connecticut

Las Vegas sports books make Connecticut solid favorite in national championship: UConn favored by about four points over Butler, with an over/under of 129 points.

THE BIG IDEA -- Maureen Dowd, "Mad Men And Mad Women: Republicans talk fiscal policy but can't resist social meddling": "Republicans hate social engineering, unless they're doing it. ... [L]o and behold, social issues have roared back. Many in the Tea Party have joined that chain-smoking, cocktail-quaffing Mad Man John Boehner in the martini party to put a retro focus on wedge issues, from gays to abortion. ... Whether it's upholding the Defense of Marriage Act, trying to defund Planned Parenthood, or aiming cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, NPR and even AARP, House Republicans are in a lather that occludes their pledges to monomaniacally work on the economy."

"The snowball of social rage will speed up as we head toward 2012, given that the Iowa caucuses are dominated by social conservatives. Pawlenty, Barbour and Huckabee have already talked about vitiating the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.' Because independent voters considered President Obama too partisan in his debut, they shifted their loyalties - and swept in one of the most ideological and partisan Republican caucuses in history. Now Obama will get back some of the independents because he seems reasonable by comparison. One thing independents like to be independent of is government meddling in their personal lives."

NEW SQUEEZE ON MIDDLE CLASS -- L.A. Times 2-col. lead, "Companies slim down on health plans: 'Narrow network' HMOs cut costs, but at the price of fewer medical options," by Duke Helfand: "Thousands of employers in California and across the country are slashing expensive doctors and hospitals from their insurance rosters in a move to hold down rising healthcare costs ... The savings on insurance premiums - nearly 25% in some cases - are gained when companies switch their health plans to 'narrow network' HMOs that offer fewer choices of medical providers. ... Healthcare experts and consumer advocates warn that eliminating doctors and hospitals from insurance lists could harm patients, particularly those who depend on specific providers to treat chronic or life-threatening conditions."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Governor Jerry Brown (73), Francis Ford Coppola (72), Tony Dorsett (57), Vince Gill (54), Jim “Catfish” Hunter (65), John Madden (75), Rachel Meadow (38), Craig T. Nelson (67), Alden Reimonenq …who?, Omar Sharif (79).

ANNIVERSARY QUIZ – this month we will be giving a quiz every week to celebrate our First Year, the first person to pick the correct answer in our comment section will win a special Rink Rats prize:

A Russian billionaire paid $100 million this past week for a home where?

- Manhattan’s Upper East Side - California’s Silicon Valley
- Palm Beach, Fla. - Bel Air, Calif.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - From a new book, "The Ruins of Detroit,“ by French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. They set out to "document the decline of an American city."

Added news item: Detroit's population has dropped 25% since 2000, "the country’s most startling example of modern urban collapse." NYT

Up and down Detroit’s streets, buildings stand abandoned and in ruin.
French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre set out to document the decline of an American city. Their book “The Ruins of Detroit“, a document of decaying buildings frozen in time, was published in December 2010.

From the photographers’ website: Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension. The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires. This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time : being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things. Photography appeared to us as a modest way to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state.

MLB 2011 -- SI's "Baseball Preview" issues picks Red Sox to win World Series: "After reloading and priming themselves to be the beasts of the AL East, the Boston Red Sox are Sports Illustrated's pick to win the 2011 World Series [going 100-62], defeating the reigning champion San Francisco Giants. DIVISION SERIES: Red Sox over A's ... Twins over Yankees ... Phillies over Rockies ... Giants over Reds ... CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: Red Sox over Twins ... Giants over Phillies."

INSIDE THE NUMBERS - The TARP (QE1) bank program will turn a profit after three financial institutions repay a total of $7.4 billion. With the expected proceeds, taxpayers will have recovered $251 billion. That exceeds the original investment Treasury made through those programs ($245 billion) by nearly $6 billion. Treasury currently estimates that bank programs within TARP will ultimately provide a lifetime profit of approximately $20 billion to taxpayers.

The Dow and the S&P 500, however, did finish with their best first quarter since 1998.

UNIONS - Membership in the United Auto Workers union grew 6 percent in 2010 — adding 20,000 workers to its ranks — breaking a string of annual declines as the auto industry rebounded. The Detroit-based union's membership climbed to 376,612 last year, up from 355,191 at the end of 2009, according to a UAW filing Thursday with the U.S. Labor Department.

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAMES OF THE WEEK – April 7: NCAA semi final – North Dakota Fighting Sioux over The University of Michigan Wolverines, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish over the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. NCAA Champ – North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
Season to date (3-8)

CONGRATULATIONS – to The Detroit Red Wings clinching their 20th straight year of playoff participation (the most of any major professional sport) and for recording 100 regular season points for the 11th consecutive year – very impressive.

Next week, our first year anniversary month continues.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
April 4, 2011