Monday, January 23, 2012

Jackasses a Plenty

JACKASS OF THE MONTHJackass definition: n. 1. A male ass or donkey. 2. A foolish or stupid person; a blockhead: "You've acted like an irrational jackass and it's time you stopped" (Margaret Truman).

Frank McCourt, LA Dodger owner, has made our Jackass of the Month award again, and in all likelihood for the last time. But is he the real jackass? With 500 million dollars of debt Mr. McCourt will be selling the Los Angeles Dodgers for what some are estimating $1.5 billion. $1.5 billion for a middle of the road baseball team, where you take your life in your hands when you go to a ball game and their only true commodity of value is a year away from retiring (Vin Scully). Maybe we are the jackasses!

BULLETIN - Iowa GOP declares caucuses a tie - Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs: "Santorum finished ahead by 34 votes ... MISSING DATA: 8 precincts' numbers will never be certified ... PARTY VERDICT: GOP official says, 'It's a split decision' ... Rick Santorum - Final total: 29,839 Change: -168 ... Mitt Romney - Final total: 29,805 Change: -210 ... It's a tie for the ages."

S.C. PRIMARY, 100% of precincts reporting: Newt Gingrich, 243,153 - 40 percent ... Mitt Romney, 167,279 - 28 percent ... Rick Santorum, 102,055 - 17 percent ... Ron Paul, 77,993 - 13 percent ... Herman Cain, 6,324 - 1 percent ... Rick Perry, 2,494 - 0 percent ... Jon Huntsman, 1,161 - 0 percent ... Michele Bachmann, 494 - 0 percent.

BUSINESS BURST -- WSJ, "Kodak Files for Bankruptcy Protection,": "The storied former blue chip said it had secured $950 million in financing from Citigroup Inc. to help keep it afloat during bankruptcy proceedings. ... The filing is a setback for Chief Executive Antonio Perez, who joined the company after running the printer business at Hewlett-Packard Co. Kodak shed more than $7 billion in market value over his tenure, as the executive failed to replicate his former employer's success in printers. Uncertainty over the viability of Mr. Perez's printer strategy raises questions about the fate of Kodak's 19,000 employees. ... Kodak, which filed in bankruptcy court in Manhattan, said it will continue to operate its businesses and hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 next year."

TURN AROUND - General Motors has reclaimed again the top spot as the world's biggest-selling carmaker, dethroning Toyota for the first time since 2007.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Alan Alda (76), Ernest Borgnine (95), Eddie Van Halen (57), Mariska Hargitay (48), Dominik Hasek (47), Abe Helou …distinguished Dean, Patti Noreen …distinguished St. Lawrence Alumnus, Keith Olbermann (53), Tiffani Thiessen (38), Bob Uecker (76), Mayor Antonio Villar (59), Robin Zander (59).

GREEN LEADER - Boston Globe Sunday Magazine preview, "Bill McKibben, the man who crushed the Keystone XL pipeline: How a mild-mannered Vermont journalist derailed that $7 billion oil project, engineered history's largest green protest, and became the environmental movement's most unlikely celebrity," by Barbara Moran: " Tall and stooped, intensely wonky and hopelessly earnest, the 51-year-old McKibben is an unlikely candidate for celebrity. Yet over the past few years he has emerged as the new superstar of the environmental movement. And to many environmentalists - like Al Gore, who in an e-mail praises McKibben for 'his passion, his sincerity and his depth of knowledge' - McKibben offers the brightest hope for their future. ... McKibben and his Keystone protests put a finger in this one particular dike, at least temporarily, and got an environmental cause on the Colbert Report. And that was just the beginning. America, it seems, is about to have a McKibben Moment."

TOP DOGS - "China's remarkable economic momentum , ... coupled with the worldwide expectation that soon it will challenge America's premier global status, justify ranking China just below the United States in the current international hierarchy. ... A sequential ranking of other major powers beyond the top two would be imprecise at best. Any list, however, has to include Russia, Japan, and India, as well as the EU's informal leaders: Great Britain, Germany, and France. Russia ranks high geopolitically largely because of its rich stores of oil and gas and its continued status as a nuclear power second only to the United States .... Brazil and Indonesia have already laid claims to participation in global economic decision making within the G-20 ...

SPORTS BLINK - "The longest winning streak in college sports is over". "Trinity College lost a squash match to Yale 5-4 on Wednesday, snapping a 252-match winning streak that dated back to the 1997-98 season. The Bantams are the 13-time defending national champions and were 8-0 heading into the match. Trinity officials had called this year's team the school's most inexperienced in years. The Bantams lost six starters and five All-Americans from last year's championship squad."

POTUS THE WEEK AHEAD : “On Monday, the President will welcome the six-time Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins to the White House to honor the team and their 2011 Stanley Cup victory. Continuing his tradition of recognizing sports teams for their work off the ice, President Obama will highlight the Boston Bruins Foundation which has raised and donated more than $7 million to various charitable organizations in the six New England states. On Tuesday evening, the President will deliver his State of the Union Address at 9:00 PM EST. The First Lady will attend. Following the President's State of the Union address, he will begin a five-state, three-day swing across the country. On Wednesday, the President will begin his trip with an event in the Cedar Rapids area, followed by an event in the Phoenix area. He will then travel to Las Vegas where he will spend the night. On Thursday, the President will hold events in the Las Vegas area and the Denver area before traveling to Detroit that evening where he will spend the night. On Friday, the President will hold an event in the Detroit area before returning to Washington."

WALL STREET WEEK - Wall Street’s positive momentum bumps squarely into earnings season this week, with nearly a quarter of the S&P 500 set to report over the next five sessions. The Dow and S&P are coming off their biggest weekly gains in four weeks, and both have registered their best three-week starts to any year since 1997. Also on the radar: the ongoing Greek debt restructuring talks, as the country and private creditors try to work towards a crucial deal.

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/28, 7:00 PM ET, HGTV an ECAC central New York rivalry continues: #9 ranked Cornell University Big Red (11-4-4) visit #18 ranked Colgate Raiders (12-9-3) at Starr Rink in Hamilton, New York. Colgate is led by St. Lawrence Alumnus Don Vaughn ’84. Colgate will upset ECAC leader Cornell in this Saturday night tilt. Season to date (1-3).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – The 2012 Pro Bowl will be the NFL's all-star game for the 2011 season. It will take place at 7:00 p.m. EST (2:00 p.m. local time) on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii and will be televised nationally by NBC. It will be the final Pro Bowl on NBC under the current television contract until at least 2023 (ESPN will assume Pro Bowl broadcast rights in the new deal that begins in 2014). We like the NFC to win. Season to date (11-9).

SPORTS-BLINK - New England Patriots open as three point favorites over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. Over/under: 55.5. Sorry TA.

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – NFC 38 AFC 32, Colgate 5 Cornell 3, Redlands 85 La Verne 75 (women hoops). Season to date (5-4).

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama delivers his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, his chance to regain the spotlight, if briefly, from Republicans. Expect an election year address doubling-down on the confrontational approach to Congress on jobs legislation as well as a handful of new initiatives including tax credits for returning jobs to the U.S. and possibly some new efforts to aid underwater home-owners (but probably no massive refinancing package). Obama is also expected to go harder on China on allowing the Yuan to rise and on intellectual property theft, seeking to ensure he is not outflanked on the issue by Romney, who has pledged to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office and impose new tariffs ... Romney releases his tax returns on Tuesday, which will give Obama a contrast when he suggests raising taxes on the wealthy in the SOTU ...

Republicans debate tonight in Tampa at 9:00 p.m. in a high-stakes, broadcast TV battle moderated by NBC's Brian Williams. It's the first prime-time, non-cable debate of the cycle ... They debate again on Thursday in Jacksonville from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on CNN hosted by Wolf Blitzer ... House Oversight subcommittee has a hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday examining how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will exercise this authority under unconfirmed Director Richard Cordray ... FOMC meets this week and will unveil its beefed up communications campaign on Wednesday but probably not any additional easing ... Top data this week include fourth quarter GDP and Reuters/Univ. Michigan consumer sentiment on Friday. ... World Economic Forum begins Wednesday in Davos.

Next week, Digital Detox.

Until Next Monday, Ciao.

Claremont, CA
January 23, 2012

#II-39, 92

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