Monday, September 26, 2011

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

This summer has been rough with financial markets, economic conditions and governments around the world in turmoil. Poor leadership, management by avoidance, lack of respect for your neighbor are now the given. This constant bad news can get you down. We live and work in a technology driven age, global information available 24/7, but our individual worlds seem to be getting smaller as we seek to hide from all the bad news out there.

The demands placed on society by greed, diminishing natural resources, and the drive to make a profit have created an “anti” attitude that seems to be taking over our political, social and economic principles. Look out for yourself and the heck with your neighbor, co-worker, or fellow citizen: anti-female, anti-gay, anti-human rights, anti-economic rights, anti-environment are preached or quietly encouraged by politicians and social groups. Diversity today is taking a back seat to wealth, power and corruption. The Yellow Brick Road to a better quality of life seems to be crumbling.

How does one battle against all this negativity? You make your own small world a better place and hopefully this creates a wave throughout other peoples lives. Well, I am fortunate to have two close friends that keep this Yellow Brick Road alive and well in my and others’ lives. Their priorities in life are to their families, their friends, and their principles. They think of others first and themselves last. Their lives and careers deal with the realities of modern society, but they are not driven by profits, by who they can impress, they show respect for their fellow co-workers, for the environment and whoever they come in contact with daily. Their careers are about community service and they do not degrade and disrespect people. Yes they disagree with many but their principles are based on fair play and respect for all.

I come in contact with these two individuals daily, my hope and optimism are restored by the way they conduct their lives. I hope and pray for more Carrie and Joes, the Yellow Brick Road would be better off indeed.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Astrid Evans …famous child actress, Jimmy Carter (87), Angie Dickinson (80), Bryant Gumbel (63), Meat Loaf (64), Serena Williams (30).

FINANCE 101 - U.S. Postal Service Business Model flaw “Forever Stamp”.

FIRST LOOK: AMERICA OUT OF WORK - Bloomberg BusinessWeek cover, "America Isn't Working," looks at the skills gap among American workers. From the piece by Drake Bennett: "Even with 14 million Americans looking for work-and at least 2.6 million wanting work but not actively searching-jobs are going unfilled. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the total number of openings at 3.2 million, and despite the flood of applicants, companies sometimes struggle to find candidates that fit. This is the 'skills gap,' and as the jobless rate remains stubbornly high, it's one of the few things policymakers from both parties think they can actually fix."

FACEBOOK IPO PUSHED BACK TO LATE 2012 - "Facebook is preparing to launch its blockbuster initial public offering in the US towards the end of next year, a later public debut by the social networking site than had been widely anticipated ... The IPO, expected to be one of the world's biggest with recent private share sales valuing Facebook at more than $66.5bn, has been expected by April 2012, with persistent speculation that it could even come this year. ... Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, wants to wait until next September or later in order to keep employees focused on product developments rather than a pay-out."

THE WAY TO WIN -- HOW TO RUN A MEETING , by Donald Rumsfeld, in Bloomberg Businessweek's forthcoming "THE HOW TO ISSUE": "Try to start the meeting as scheduled. ... The same thing's true with ending it ... Establishing a reasonably disciplined meeting culture leads to better preparation by the participants. ... Some people prefer very small meetings, but it seems to me that when you're inclusive you're much more likely to hear different perspectives. For example, your general counsel isn't the person who's going to be dealing with you on a specific policy, but he's a person whose perspective can be useful. ... Even before a meeting starts, when I've taken people to brief a President, I've talked to them about the importance of [clarity in] their speech [no jargon or acronyms]. The reason for talking is to be understood. ...”

"If people have a pattern of presenting the obvious, one would talk to them, and if it went on, you probably wouldn't include them. ... When someone comes in and has a proposal, they often begin there. What I've tried to do in both business and government is to encourage people to come in and say, 'Here's the subject matter, and here are my assumptions.' It gives the listeners, the deciders, a chance to see how far the presenters have thought it through. Finally, on standing meetings: I have a stand-up desk, and ... when people come in with a purpose, if it's a subject matter that lends itself to being decided that way, we would have stand-up meetings ... rather than serving coffee and getting comfortable and spending longer than needed."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/1, the first big game from the new Big Ten: #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0) @ #7 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0), 8:00 PM ET, ABC. Surprisingly The Badgers are giving 7 points in this game, we say take the points and go with The Huskers to pull a mild upset in Madison.
Season to date (3-1).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/1, it doesn’t get any better in the Ohio Athletic Conference: #2 Mount Union Purple Raiders (3-0) visit #9 Ohio Northern Polar Bears (2-1), 1:30 PM ET, HGTV. Only in Ohio would a college have a nick name the Polar Bears. The visiting Purple Raiders will win in Ada, Ohio.
Season to date (3-1).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/2, it has been awhile since I said this: the undefeated Detroit Lions (3-0) visit the Dallas Cowboys (1-1), 1:00 PM ET, Fox. As of this writing no line has been set but we don’t care, The Lions will continue their march to football respectability, Lions win in Dallas.
Season to date (3-0).

JACKASS OF THE MONTH – A distinguished nominee this month, Rick Perry. The Governor of Texas, Republican Presidential candidate and next to Darth Vader the most narrow minded person we know. His anti-rhetoric is now boring and dangerous. Texas, one of the worst public education systems in the country and the poorest record for worker’s rights in the nation – all on his watch.

Three debates into the Perry for president campaign, the governor vanished for much of the night during the Florida debate last Thursday, except when Mitt Romney was delivering a critical reading of Perry's book. With his hard-charging campaign stuck in neutral and Romney gaining ground in South Carolina, Perry had trouble getting attention in a stiff debate with more candidates than a Big 12 expansion rumor.

We celebrate this month’s Jackass of the month, Rick Perry, may this award send you to the sidelines.

Next week, NHL preseason picks and new place to wet your whistle.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 26, 2011

#II-22, 75

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Water Hammer

It happens when you do nothing more than quickly shut off a faucet.

BANG! Water hammer. It sounds like a shock wave just went through your pipes!

Well, in fact one just did. Water hammer can damage your plumbing system. The shock wave that created the water hammer is traveling at thousands of feet per second and exerts pressures at hundreds of pounds per inch. So just what is water hammer?

Water Hammer (hydraulic shock) is by far the loudest and most common plumbing noise problem in the home. You hear it in a home having high water flow rates (around 10 feet per second) when a faucet or water valve is shut off quickly.

Older homes have (or should have) what is called an "air chamber" located on each hot and cold water line at or near each faucet or water inlet valve. The purpose of the air chamber is to act like a shock absorber for water when it is flowing at high speed under pressure. Since air compresses (it's a vapor) and water doesn't, the air chamber allows the water a place to temporarily expand into and softens the blow of the water shock wave when the faucet is turned off quickly.

Air chambers are often fabricated on-site by the plumber and installed at the faucet's water supply. They typically consist of a vertical length of capped pipe about 12" long or longer and are the same diameter as the water supply pipe. The problem with these things is that they are sometimes made too short and undersized and eventually fill up with water and you have no more shock absorber. The result? Water hammer!. If you have a water filled air chamber it can be easily fixed by draining and recharging the plumbing system.

A better solution to alleviate the problem is to have a mechanical or engineered water hammer arrestor installed. These mechanical plumbing devices are charged with air or gas and will not fail like typical air chambers.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Jason Alexander (52), Mark Hamill (60), Cheryl Hines (46), Guy LaFleur (60), Tommy Lasorda (84), Bill Murray (61), Ronaldo (35), Mickey Rooney (91), Bruce Springsteen (62), Ava Suffredini …the prettiest niece, Trisha Yearwood (47).

FEAR GROWS IN SAN DIEGO THAT CHARGERS WILL MOVE TO L.A . -- L.A. Times second front, "Afraid they'll charge north: In San Diego, there are still no plans for a new football stadium -- and L.A. beckons," by Tony Perry: "A decade after the Chargers' ownership suggested that the franchise needs a new stadium if it is to remain in San Diego, there is no plan on the table. ... City Council members have busied themselves with projects of immediate concern to their constituents: potholes, library hours, lifeguard staffing and fire protection. The business and political establishment that once could cut a deal over lunch is no more. ... Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, two competing proposals to build a stadium and lure an NFL team seem to be racing along. ... The top target appears to be the Chargers. ...

"San Diego retains two enormous advantages. First, there is no indication the Spanos family wants to sell controlling interest in the Chargers, which would seemingly be a requirement for any stadium builder. And, second, the family has repeatedly said it prefers to remain in San Diego if a replacement for aging Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley can be had. Last week, the Spanos family's spokesman, La Jolla attorney Mark Fabiani, emailed an unequivocal denial to a blogger who wrote that a secret deal had been made to have the Chargers move next year to Los Angeles and shift control to AEG's Philip Anschutz."

DOUBLE DIP RECESSION? - N.Y. Times col. 1, "Rising Fears of Recession: Data on Jobs May Point To Renewed Downturn," News Analysis by David Leonhardt: "If history is a guide, the odds that the American economy is falling into a double-dip recession have risen sharply in recent weeks and may even have reached 50 percent. ... Job growth has slowed to a pace that typically signals the start of a recession. Over the last 50 years, every time that job growth has been as meager as it has been over the last four months, the economy has been headed toward recession, in a recession or in the immediate aftermath of one."

BIG APPLE KING - Congrats to Mariano Rivera, greatest closer in baseball history, who picked up save number 600 in Seattle last week.

WHAT RECESSION - Apple Inc.- CUPERTINO, California—Apple® announced financial results for its fiscal 2011 third quarter ended June 25, 2011. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $28.57 billion and record quarterly net profit of $7.31 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $15.70 billion and net quarterly profit of $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 41.7 percent compared to 39.1 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The Company sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 142 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter, a 183 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 3.95 million Macs during the quarter, a 14 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 7.54 million iPods, a 20 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

INSIDE THE LOST DECADE - WSJ's Conor Dougherty on pg. A1: "The income of the typical American family ... has dropped for the third year in a row and is now roughly where it was in 1996 when adjusted for inflation. The income of a household considered to be at the statistical middle fell 2.3% to an inflation-adjusted $49,445 in 2010, which is 7.1% below its 1999 peak, the Census Bureau said. The poverty rate clicked up again this year. ...

"For a huge swath of American families, the gains of the boom of the 2000s have been wiped out. Earnings of the typical man who works full-time year round fell, and are lower-adjusted for inflation-than in 1978. ... The fraction of Americans living in poverty clicked up to 15.1% of the population, and 22% of children are now living below the poverty line, the biggest percentage since 1993."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/24, a border war this Saturday: #7 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0) visit the #8 Texas A&M Aggies (2-0), 3:30 PM ET, ABC. A&M is giving three points in this one, take the points and go with The Cowboys.
Season to date (2-1).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/24, a huge American Southwest Conference matchup in Abilene, Texas; #3 ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (2-0) visit #8 ranked Hardin-Simmons Cowboys (2-1), 2:00 PM ET, HGTV. The Crusaders are a perennial power in South Texas, go with the purple, gold and white from Belton, Texas..
Season to date (2-1).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/25, a Norris Division matchup, (2-0) Green Bay Packers visit Soldier Field to take on the (1-1) Chicago Bears, 4:15 PM ET, Fox. The Packers are giving 3.5 points in this one, a tough call but we pick The Cheese Heads to win in Chicago.
Season to date (2-0).

WORDS OF THE MONTH

odoriferous \oh-duh-RIF-er-uhs\, adjective:
Yielding or diffusing an odor.
“Wherever I go, I leave behind an odoriferous wake.”

simpatizar, verb
to get on well, to hit it off; to be sympathetic to, to sympathize with
You’ll know the word simp├ítico means that someone is nice. A related word is simpatizar, which you use when people get on well.
“Simpatizamos desde el principio.”
We hit if off or We liked each other from the outset.

Next week, Jack Ass of the Month.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 19, 2011

#II-20, 74

Monday, September 12, 2011

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people.

Strategic planning has been taking up a lot of my time lately. Either through the work place, watching from a far the ongoing struggles of the Obama Administration, or enjoying how institutions of higher education spin through these ever changing times.

My business experience defines strategic planning as the process of developing and maintaining a strategic fit between the organization’s goals and capabilities and its changing marketing opportunities. Defining a clear company mission, setting supporting objectives, designing a sound business portfolio, and coordinating functional strategies, long range planning which allows an individual or organization to exercise control over its future and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. Without an overall strategy, short-term tactics are often misguided.

Sound familiar, the Obama Administration continues to struggle with a sound approach to high unemployment and economic growth. Higher education continues to struggle with the changing landscape of student funding, state of the art facilities, student services and cost structures. Private business has no clue what will happen next month let alone next year in revenue and cost forecasting.

Many managers talk a good game about strategic planning, but all they are doing is satisfying their preconceived policies that are either out dated or out to lunch. The bottom line in strategic planning is leadership, a rare quality to come by these days.

REPUBLICAN POLITICS: After Wednesday night's feisty duel at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, GOP nomination is a two-man race between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney - Michele Bachmann had no plan for getting back in the conversation. The debate was a brawl: The press filing tent, usually abuzz with reporters kibitzing and wandering, was SILENT for the first time this cycle, with everyone typing furiously. Rick Perry is real - not a bubble. He showed huge vulnerabilities with some answers, but will be a ferocious and durable competitor. If I'm Mitt Romney, I wonder if my team should spend millions, IMMEDIATELY, defining this guy before he can define himself. If I'm Rick Perry, I need to work on my answers on Social Security and climate change, but should give the same answer on executions in every debate. If I'm President Obama, I'd rather run against Rick Perry, but realize that either could take my job.

WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET on President Obama's $450 billion "American Jobs Act": "Cutting the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses ... A complete payroll tax holiday for added workers or increased wages ... A 'Returning Heroes' hiring tax credit for veterans ... Preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs, while keeping cops and firefighters on the job ... Modernizing at least 35,000 public schools across the country ... Immediate investments in infrastructure and a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank ... A New 'Project Rebuild,' which will put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities ... Expanding access to high-speed wireless ... As part of an extension of unemployment insurance to prevent 5 million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits, the President's plan includes innovative work-based reforms to prevent layoffs and give states greater flexibility to use UI funds ... A $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers ... Expand the payroll tax cut passed last year to cut workers payroll taxes in half in 2012 - providing a $1,500 tax cut to the typical American family ... Allowing more Americans to refinance their mortgages at today's near 4 percent interest rates."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Lauren Bacall (87), Maria Bartiromo (44), James Gandolfini (50), George Jones (80), Tommy Lee Jones (65), Melvin Laird (89), Dan Marino (50), Thomas Mueller (22), Bill O’Reilly (62), Tavis Smiley (47), Rachel Ward (54).

NO END TO THE MADNESS – University of Antelope Valley (for-profit college) has created a “Smart Hire” program. They will pay employers ($2,000) who hire their graduates. The deal is only valid for the month of September. Employers must hire the graduates for jobs that relate directly to their field of study. This should get their placement rates up. I wonder how Forbes rates this college?

MELTING - "Arctic ice cover hits historic low: scientists" - "The area covered by Arctic sea ice reached it’s lowest point this week since the start of satellite observations in 1972, German researchers announced on Saturday." Rick Perry please take notice.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/17, a big week 3 inter-conference matchup. #1 Oklahoma Sooners (2-0) visit #5 Florida State Seminoles (2-0). Oklahoma is giving 4 points to FSU, stay with Oklahoma, their defense is too good.
Season to date (1-1).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/17, a big central New York inter-conference matchup; #17 ranked Alfred University Saxons host unranked St. Lawrence University Saints. Alfred has another strong team this year, they should have no problem, 35-14.
Season to date (1-1).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/18, San Diego Chargers (1-0) visit the New England Patriots, 4:15 PM ET, CBS. Take the points, take The Pats in this early season test for the Los Angeles bound Chargers.
Season to date (1-0).

DEAR RINK RATS:
I was trying to park my car in a crowded University parking lot. The line of cars trying to get in wrapped around the block, each car in line had to circle around until someone left because no parking spaces were available. When I finally got to drive in, I drove to the only open spot. However, a woman had jumped out of a car that was still on the street and was standing in the spot to save it for her companion. I calmly lowered the window and reminded her that because she did not have a vehicle, she was blocking traffic. She angrily told me that her car was “just around the corner” and threatened to call the cops if we didn’t keep driving. I didn’t raise my voice. I once again calmly asked her to move because she had cut in line. Finally, after she began to go into a tirade (she pointed out she was a member of the Arts & Sciences Department), I gave up and circled for another 10 minutes until another spot opened. Was I out of line for asking her to move? What would you have done in that situation?

UNSURE OF THE RULES, La Verne, California

DEAR UNSURE: You were not out of line in asking the woman to move. She was nervy and wrong to block traffic and take advantage. And if the police had been summoned, they probably would have backed you up (unless she was a blond). What would I have done it that situation? Had I been behind the wheel, two things: one, I would of told her that the Richard Nixon Foundation just endowed her department, and two, I would have very …slowly …continue …parking my car … until she either moved, or I would squashed her like a bug against the wall. This is why I am not an Arts & Sciences faculty member or a blond.

RINK RATS, Claremont, California

Next week, home repair help and the words of the month.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 12, 2011

#II-20, 73

Monday, September 5, 2011

Remember


This Saturday (September 3) in Claremont was a wonderful late summer day. Humidity low, temperature in the 80’s, clear blue sky, very much like that fateful day, September 11, 2001, when America changed and life would never be the same.


This weekend I logged online and found some excellent articles about 9/11, also I viewed “Rising; Rebuilding Ground Zero”, the Steven Spielberg documentary. What struck me most is how much progress has been made not only at Ground Zero but on all the memorials in regards to the 9/11 attacks.




Consider for example this link, which shows the rebuilding of the site and the memorial to the victims of this brutal attack.

If you could take a few moments each day this week to remember all those who have died, been injured and who have rebuilt Ground Zero, The Pentagon and Flight 93.


They deserve our remembrance and respect.




A CRITICAL MONTH - Many investors think the real test for the market begins this week when Wall Street returns to work. As we have talked about for some time now, business leaders and institutional players continue to express their lack of conviction in the market because there is no leadership or cohesive plan from Washington. People are trading on news, and big corporations aren't investing for the long-term because they don't know what the tax, regulatory and economic environment will ultimately look like.

The market finished a very volatile August with a few up days early last week, but Thursday and Friday were down on renewed concerns about the health of the economy. Friday's employment report showed that job growth remains weak. There was essentially no growth in August, and the overall unemployment rate stayed at 9.1%.

The lack of job creation remains a primary concern, and that leads us right to a couple of big events to watch in September. One of them is this week. On Thursday, President Obama is scheduled to speak to Congress to present his plan to rev up the economy and spark job growth. And then two weeks later, everyone will be watching the Federal Reserve's meeting and whether another round of quantitative easing is launched.

September is shaping up to be a critical month in the markets.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Sid Caesar (89), Carly Fiorina (57), Colin Firth (51), Hugh Grant (51), Virginia Madsen (50), Bob Newhart (82), Arnold Palmer (82), Joe Theismann (62), Raquel Welch (72).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/10, Number 16 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-1) @ unranked University of Michigan Wolverines (1-0), 8:00 PM ET, ESPN. The Blue are 4.5 point favorites in Ann Arbor, give the points, we pick The Blue over The Domers. Season to date (0-1).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/10, a big west coast inter-conference matchup; #17 ranked Cal Lutheran Kingsman @ #9 ranked Linfield Wildcats in McMinnville Oregon. RR likes Linfield to win in this Northwest Conference-SCIAC tilt. Season to date (0-1).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/11, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets entertain the Dallas Cowboys in The Game of the first weekend of the NFL season, 8:15 PM ET, NBC. Dallas is a 4.5 point dog, The Jets are overrated, take the points and go with those Cowboys. Season to date (0-0), Last Season (7-15).

FEDWATCH: DAVID LEONHARDT STORY - N.Y. Times "Sunday Review" p. 8, "Dissecting the Mind of the Fed: The discussion is very narrow, and some options are never considered," News Analysis by David Leonhardt, an economics writer for The New York Times, who next month will become the Washington bureau chief: "On one side are people like Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, who defend both what the Fed has done and what it hasn't done. On the other side are the so-called inflation hawks, who say the Fed has been far too aggressive. Rick Perry, the Texas governor and arguably the Republican presidential front-runner, offered a particularly blunt version of this criticism when he recently accused Mr. Bernanke of flirting with treason. ...

"David Levey, a former managing director at Moody's and [a] critic of Fed inaction, points out that banks often have more to lose from inflation than from unemployment. Inflation reduces the future value of the money that their debtors - homeowners, car buyers, small businesses and the like - will repay them. 'The Fed regional banks represent, in essence, the banking community, which tends to be very conservative and hawkish,' Mr. Levey says. 'Creditors don't like inflation - it's good for debtors.' ... Obama ... has chosen to nominate mostly moderates, rather than strong inflation doves."

U.S. OPEN TENNIS – grunting, there is more grunting and strange noises during matches then an Ohio State choir practice. RR likes Djokovic (men) and Wozniacki (women) to win individual crowns.

CEO PAY OFTEN OUTSTRIPS TAX PAYMENTS - WP's Peter Whoriskey: "Of last year's 100 highest-paid corporate executives in the United States, 25 earned more in pay than their company recorded as a tax expense in 2010. Those 25 firms reported average global profits of $1.9 billion. Among the 25 were Verizon, Bank of New York Mellon, General Electric, Boeing and eBay. 'These individual CEOs are being rewarded for presiding over companies that dodge taxes,' said Chuck Collins, one of the study's co-authors and a senior scholar at the Institute of Policy Studies.

"Eighteen of the 25 firms last year operated subsidiaries in countries that the U.S. Government Accountability Office and other groups have identified as tax havens, one of the report's authors said ... Some companies argued that the institute's approach - which focused on what the firms recorded as a tax expense within the 2010 calendar year - presented a skewed picture."

CHENEY'S LAST CAMPAIGN: "WE GOT IT RIGHT" - Video interview with POLITICO: His last campaign is an unyielding defense of his legacy, after years of reveling in what he calls his "Darth Vader image." Dick Cheney says he knew critics and historians would tear apart his new book, but that he wrote it so his seven grandchildren would know why he did what he did. "Not only do [critics] want apologies," he said during an interview in the airy living room of his McLean mansion, with a statuette of a buffalo nearby and a couple of dogs underfoot. "They want the apologies to be on matters they disagreed with you on - on policy. It's not good enough if you say, 'Well, when I was a young man, I had a misspent youth. I got kicked out of Yale twice, arrested twice for driving under the influence,' " he continued. "I had to straighten my life out. It's a pretty big mistake that I admit, and talk about very freely in my book. That's not good enough: It's got to be some policy issue where they disagreed with you. And I'm not apologetic with respect to the policies of the Bush administration. I think we basically got it right."

Eight years in the White House, two wars that still are still dragging on - and zero mistakes? "I didn't say no mistakes," he replied. "But ... from the standpoint of what I wanted to put down, what I knew about, what I was intimately involved in, I think we got it right."

Cheney, 70, may know more of the nation's secrets than any living person: He had four decades of briefings as a member of the House intelligence committee, White House chief of staff under President Gerald Ford, defense secretary during Desert Storm and vice president in the age of terror. He rewarded aides who avoided the press, and rarely talked himself. Now, he's talking - in the pages of "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," written with his older daughter Liz Cheney, and during a book tour that is taking him across the country. Reflecting Cheney's long and varied tenure on the public stage, just 217 of the memoir's 527 pages of text are devoted to the two Bush administrations.

The book was written as Cheney battled what he calls in the book "end-stage heart failure," which at one point left him unconscious for two weeks. Cheney's heart now pumps with the aid of a battery-powered device that is typically used as a bridge to a heart transplant. Cheney said he is considering seeking a transplant, which would be a risky and controversial procedure for someone of his health and age, but hasn't decided. "Right now I'm doing very well with the heart pump - had it for over a year," he said. "It's doing what it's supposed to do, so I haven't made any other decisions." On when he has to decide, he said: "That's between me and my doctors."

Asked if he believes in an afterlife, Cheney said: "I do."

And what does he think of HILLARY CLINTON? "Maybe the brightest person in the current administration - knowledgeable, hardworking, and doing, I think, a reasonably competent job as secretary of state."

LOS ANGELES COUNTY FAIR – when you are finished with your deep fried bananas and corn dogs head to Chases Wine and Beer bar at D and Third Street in La Verne. A cozy little bar with a great patio and fun menu, Chases opened August 4 so if you are attending The Fair, Chases is a great place to unwind after witnessing all the tattoos.

Next week, home repair help and Dear Rink Rats.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 5, 2011

#II-19