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


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