Monday, October 3, 2011

China or Bust

SIREN: CHILLING STORY TO DRIVE DEBATE FOR 2012 AND SUPERCOMMITTEE - "Coke chief criticizes US tax rules" in Financial Times video interview at Clinton Global Initiative: "Coca-Cola now sees the US becoming a less friendly business environment than China, ... citing political gridlock and an antiquated tax structure. ... Muhtar Kent, Coke's chief executive, said 'in many respects' it was easier doing business in China, which he likened to a well-managed company. 'You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other ... They're learning very fast, these countries ... In the west, we're forgetting what really worked 20 years ago. In China and other markets around the world, you see the kind of attention to detail about how business works and how business creates employment.' ...

"Kent argued that US states did not compete enough with each other to attract businesses while Chinese provinces were clamoring to draw investment from international companies. ... Kent's remarks came a month after Coke said it was ramping up its investment in China ... Kent said that US tax burdens and political polarization were creating uncertainty for businesses and hurting investment. 'I believe the US owes itself to create a 21st century tax policy for individuals as well as businesses ... If you talk about an American company doing business in the world today with its Chinese, Russian, European or Japanese counterparts, of course we're disadvantaged ... A Chinese or Swiss company can do whatever it wants with those funds [earned overseas]. When we want to bring them back, we are faced with a very large tax burden. ... When a country is in trouble, you can't have a polarized political process ... There's too much comfort. We need more needles to stick in politicians.'"

FACTS OF LIFE : This is a massive wakeup call for official Washington, which keeps patting itself on the back for solving crises that shouldn't be crises, while ignoring the crumbling of the system's pillars. The Coke CEOs sentiments, which we hear CONSTANTLY and CONSISTENTLY from executives around the country, explain why an independent presidential candidate could have historic support, and why big money is panting after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. This certainly reflects the loss of business confidence in President Obama, which has occurred with startling finality. BUT WISE UP, GOP: These people don't like or trust you, either, dawg. The story of the year ahead: Will/can anyone lead?

TOP TALKER - "ANDY ROONEY TO STEP DOWN " - CBS News release: "Andy Rooney announced on Sunday's 60 MINUTES that it will be his last regular appearance on the broadcast. Rooney, 92, has been featured on 60 MINUTES since 1978. He made the announcement in his regular essay at the end of the program, his 1097th original essay for 60 MINUTES. It was preceded by a segment in which Rooney looks back on his career in an interview with Morley Safer. ... Rooney began his run on 60 MINUTES in July 1978 with an essay about the reporting of automobile fatalities on the Independence Day weekend. He became a regular feature that fall, alternating weeks with the dueling James J. Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander before getting the end slot all to himself in the fall of 1979. ... Rooney lives in New York. He has three daughters and a son."

Andy Rooney's last "60 Minutes" essay: "When I was in high school I had an English teacher who told me I was a good writer ... I've made my living as a writer for 70 years now. It's been pretty good. ... I spent my first 50 years trying to become well known as a writer, and the next 30 trying to avoid being famous. I walk down the street now or go to a football game and people shout 'Hey Andy!' And I hate that. ... This is a moment I have dreaded. I wish I could do this forever. I can't, though. ... A lot of you have sent me wonderful letters and said good things to me when you meet me in the street. I wasn't always gracious about it. It's hard to accept being liked. I don't say this often, but thank you. Although if you do see me in a restaurant, please, just let me eat my dinner."

"CALIFORNIA AND BUST" - Michael Lewis interviews the Governator: "The smart money says the U.S. economy will splinter, with some states thriving, some states not, and all eyes are on California as the nightmare scenario. After a hair-raising visit with former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who explains why the Golden State has cratered, MICHAEL LEWIS goes where the buck literally stops-the local level, where the likes of San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and Vallejo fire chief Paige Meyer are trying to avert even worse catastrophes and rethink what it means to be a society": "He was the rare elected official who believed, with some reason, that he had nothing to lose, and behaved accordingly. When presented with the chance to pursue an agenda that violated his own narrow political self-interest for the sake of the public interest, he tended to leap at it. ...

"In November 2005 he called a special election that sought votes on four reforms: limiting state spending, putting an end to the gerrymandering of legislative districts, limiting public-employee-union spending on elections, and lengthening the time it took for public-school teachers to get tenure. All four propositions addressed, directly or indirectly, the state's large and growing financial mess. All four were defeated; the votes weren't even close. From then until the end of his time in office he was effectively gelded: the legislators now knew that the people who had elected them to behave exactly the way they were already behaving were not going to undermine them when appealed to directly."

(NOT SO) HAPPY TARP ANNIVERSARY - Three years ago today, Congress approved the TARP program, which rescued Wall Street but clearly not the U.S. economy. In fact, the anniversary should provide a nice rallying cry for the "Occupy Wall Street" protest which, while lacking any clear objective, has seized on widespread dissatisfaction with the direction of the nation and shows no sign of closing up shop.

CLIFTON’S REMODEL - The landmark Clifton's on Broadway will be shut down for three to six months, according to Eater LA. The kitchen and the serving line will be redone, and the dining rooms will undergo what you could either call restoration to the 1930's original look or hipsterizing by Andrew Meieran, who also owns The Edison. The bakery will remain open for takeout during the closure.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Karen Ball …famous President of Boulder Youth Body Alliance Board of Directors, Chubby Checker (70), Sam Huff (77), Jesse Jackson (70), Mario Lemieux (46), John Mellencamp (60), Steve Miller (68), John O’Hurley (57), Annika Sorenstam (41), Kate Winslet (36).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/8, 12:00 PM ET, ABC. #3 Oklahoma Sooners (4-0) visit #11 Texas Longhorns (4-0). For only the second time in the last seven years, Oklahoma and Texas arrive at their annual showdown in Dallas with unblemished records. The Sooners have slipped two spots from their preseason No. 1 ranking despite winning all four of their games, while the Longhorns have climbed all the way to No. 11 with four straight wins. That sets up a high-stakes showdown between the Big 12 powerhouses at the heart of the State Fair of Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Sooners are favored by nine points, give the points and take the Sooners in this border war matchup.
Season to date (3-2).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/8, 1:00 PM ET, HGTV. First place is on the line in the New Jersey Athletic Conference when #8 Cortland State Red Dragons (3-1) visit Montclair State Red Hawks (4-0). The Red Hawks have too much offensive weapons in this one, we pick Montclair State.
Season to date (4-1).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/9, the New York Jets (2-2) visit the New England Patriots (3-1), 4:15 PM ET, CBS. The Jets have to win this one or face a long uphill season to get back into the AFC East race. Nobody ever has passed for more yards at the beginning of a season then Tom Brady (University of Michigan). The Jets are in trouble we like the Pats to win in Foxboro, so give the 8.5 points.
Season to date (4-0).

NHL 2011-2012 PRESEASON PICKS – The National hockey League begins a new season this week our playoff picks by conference in their order of finish:

East: Philadelphia, Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, New York Islanders.

West: San Jose, Los Angeles, Detroit, Vancouver, Nashville, Anaheim, Chicago, St. Louis.

Stanley Cup Finals: San Jose v. Boston

Stanley Cup Champs: San Jose Sharks

THE TUBE - 2011 has been a big year for anniversaries in the world of television. In July, commercial television turned 70 years old. This week, color TV turned 60. RCA put together this report in the mid-1950′s to explain the magic of color TV, or as they explained the technology inside color TV cameras: “The tube with a heart of a rainbow.”

KITTY WOODS - Tiger Woods is out of the top 50 in the world ranking for the first time in nearly 15 years.

CHASES WINE BAR – There is a new wine bar in the quiet village of La Verne. Their wine selection is basic, but they have a decent beer selection. Their window label has them as a "Beer/Wine/Appetizers" place. They also have main dishes on the menu. Prices are reasonable - $$.

Chases has a nice atmosphere outside. An open pit fire is central with chairs right up to the pit for those chilly evenings. The inside feels a little unfocused still, a big beautiful bar with a few tables in a big open space. The staff is pleasant but still learning, especially when it comes to operating the satellite televisions. We look forward to them expanding their wine list. The outside definitely has room for live music and it'll be nice when they grow into that.

For now, definitely worth checking out and bringing your friends to: Chases D and 3rd Street in the Village of La Verne. The Rink Rats rating on a scale of 1 to 10, a 6, room for improvement.

Next week, Dear Rink Rats, recipe of the month, and 50/50.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
October 3, 2011

#II-23, 76

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