Monday, February 27, 2012

Garage Sales as Economic Indicators

Forget GDP, forget Consumer Confidence rankings, and forget S & P 500 index, the best indicator for the economy is the number of garage/yard sales you see on a given weekend. As I drove down Bonita Avenue this Saturday, what I saw is a poor  indicator for future economic growth. Many garage and yard sales, with the usual books, old clothing, kitchen utensils and furniture, but many selling current CD’s, DVD’s, and even Easter gifts. Forget what POTUS says, all is not well.

The City of La Verne is your typical small town in America; good caring people, who go to church, pay their taxes and cheer for their local sport teams. But like all small towns they suffer from overpaid public and private bureaucrats whose main economic solution is to move money from one fund to another. Instead of finding efficient forms of management, revenue (taxes) are raised or jobs are sacrificed to bail out these inefficiencies. Cash strapped citizens, have their own financial inefficiencies as well; $100 plus monthly cell bills, HDTVs in every room of the house, underwater mortgages, and student loans up to their eye balls.  Citizens, like corporate and public institutions, are finding different ways to make ends meet.

The same in Claremont, a more upscale town but still garage/yard sales galore. The only difference in Claremont, you have to wear socks to these sales or you will be turned away, should you live east of Claremont (i.e. Upland or Montclair) and try to attend these sales alarms go off and you are politely asked to take your business elsewhere.

Where ever you live, watching Joe, Andrew and Becky every morning on Squawk Box is no way to gauge economic conditions. Count how many garage/yard sales on a given weekend, they even take credit cards.

THE ECONOMIST cover, "Over-regulated America," with image of Uncle Sam eyeing a monstrous pile of paper and holding a blowtorch: "The home of laissez-faire is being suffocated by excessive and badly written regulation ... Consider the Dodd-Frank law of 2010. Its aim was noble: to prevent another financial crisis. ... But Dodd-Frank is far too complex, and becoming more so. At 848 pages, it is 23 times longer than Glass-Steagall, the reform that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929. Worse, every other page demands that regulators fill in further detail. Some of these clarifications are hundreds of pages long."

THE BIG PICTURE - Global marts up in '12-- "Major World Stock Markets, percentage change year to date," Investor's Business Daily: S&P 500 +8.6% ... Nasdaq +13.8% ... Canada +8.6% ... Mexico +11% ... Brazil +20.8% ... UK +9.3% ... France +14.2% ... Germany +20.6% ... South Africa +13.6% .. Russia +24.3 ... China Small Cap +23.1 ... China Big Cap +15.3 ... Hong Kong +16.5% ... Taiwan +13.9% ... South Korea +13.4% ... Japan +10.5% ... India +30% ... Australia +10.8%. (Returns based on benchmark exchange-traded funds.)

IMPROVING ECONOMY SHIFTS PLAYING FIELD - Barring a major unforeseen crisis knocking the economy off track, President Obama now appears likely to be running for re-election against a weakened GOP candidate in a strengthening economy with people feeling increasingly positive about their circumstances. That storyline has been taking shape for weeks and is confirmed by results from the latest POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll of 1,000 likely voters ...

President Obama's job approval rating is up nine percent since November at 53%; Obama now leads Romney by 10 points (53-43); Matched against Santorum, Obama leads by 11 points (53-42); Against a generic Republican untarnished by attacks, Obama leads by 5%; in November, he was tied; Twice the number of Americans (35%) believe the country is on the right track than they did in November (18%). Wrong track numbers have fallen from 75% to 59% since November. ... These numbers remain poor but the trend is very positive for the White House.

CHINESE REFORMS - China could face an economic crisis unless it implements deep reforms, according to a report by the World Bank and a Chinese government think tank, which urges Beijing to scale back its vast state-owned enterprises and make them operate more like commercial firms. The recommendation is contained in "China 2030," a report set to be released today, according to a half-dozen individuals involved in preparing and reviewing it.

LAST DEBATE FOR A MONTH - Hard to believe this past week was probably the last GOP debate for a while. It's not as sad as the end of the Downton Abbey season. But it's a close second.

MAUREEN DOWD, "Ghastly Outdated Party: The Republicans in retrograde, partying like it's 1959": "IT'S finally sinking in. Republicans are getting queasy at the gruesome sight of their party eating itself alive, savaging the brand in ways that will long resonate. 'Republicans being against sex is not good,' the G.O.P. strategist Alex Castellanos told me mournfully. 'Sex is popular.' He said his party is 'coming to grips with a weaker field than we'd all want' and going through the five stages of grief. 'We're at No. 4,' he said. (Depression.) 'We've still got one to go.' (Acceptance.)"

THE PRESIDENT'S WEEK AHEAD: "On Monday, the President and the Vice President will host a meeting with the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room. The First Lady and Dr. Biden will also deliver remarks. On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks at the United Auto Workers conference in Washington, DC. On Wednesday, the President and First Lady will host a dinner at the White House to honor our Armed Forces who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn and to honor their families. ... On Thursday, the President will travel to Nashua, New Hampshire, and deliver remarks on the economy. In the evening, the President will attend campaign events in New York City. On Friday, the President will travel to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to visit with wounded service members."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Mario Andretti (72), Harry Belafonte (85), Ron Howard (58), Jon Bon Jovi (50), Catherine O’Hara (58), Ben Roethlisberger (30), Maria Suffredini ….an Angel, Joanne Woodward (82).

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 3/3, 4:00 PM ET, NESN – University of New Hampshire Wildcats (14-16-3) visit #10 ranked University of Maine Black Bears (19-11-3). This final weekend of the Hockey East regular season has this old rivalry rematch in Orono. Maine is headed for a match up with Boston College in the playoffs, but they first must take care of UNH and they do. Season to date (3-6).
THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Maine 5 UNH 3 (men’s hockey), St. Lawrence 3 Harvard 2 (women’s ECAC playoff semifinal), Arizona 70 Arizona State 58 (men’s hoops).  Season to date (12-10).

NHL POWER RANKINGS – through ¾ point of season: (1). Vancouver Canucks, (2). Detroit Red Wings, (3). New York Rangers, (4). St. Louis Blues, (5). Boston Bruins.

RINK RATS FACTS: Women speak about 7,000 words a day while men average 2,000. For the first time, more than 30 percent of adults in this country have at least a bachelor's degree.


persnickety \per-SNIK-i-tee\, adjective:
1.     Overparticular; fussy.
2    Snobbish or having the aloof attitude of a snob.
3.     Requiring painstaking care
The point here is to make your neighbor understand that his neighbor in Claremont is exceptionally persnickety about territory.”
ganas, noun
to feel like doing
When you want to talk about what you feel like doing, or don’t feel like doing, tener ganas de followed by the infinitive is the phrase you need:
“Tengo ganas de ir al cine.”
I feel like going to the movies.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Germany votes on Greek bailout package today ... Romney seems likely to win narrowly in Michigan and by a wider margin in Arizona on Tuesday. But Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul will fight on at least through Super Tuesday on March 6th and probably beyond ... Top economic data include S&P/Case-Shiller home price index out Tuesday expected to show declines slowing to 0.4 percent from 0.7 percent ... Senate Banking has a housing market hearing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ... Second read on Q4 GDP out Wednesday not expected to change from 2.8 percent (though some say it will bump up to 3.0) ... Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is on the Hill on Wednesday where he gives semi-annual monetary policy testimony to House Financial Services at 10:00 a.m. ... President Obama travels to Nashua, New Hampshire on Thursday and will deliver remarks on the economy followed by evening fund-raisers in NYC

Next week, March Madness and Dear Rink Rats.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
February 27, 2012
#II-44, 97

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20, 1962

50 years ago today two important events occurred that influenced the world from this point forward.

John Glenn became the fifth person in space, the third American in space and the first American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission, circling the globe three times during a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds. Up until this point in space flight history the Russians had dominated the exploration of outer space, first with Sputnik and then with man/woman flight. But with John Glenn and NASA’s first great adventure America would slowly regain the advantage in the “space race” and provide real heroes to America.

Second, 50 years ago this week perhaps the greatest movie of all time was released, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. A novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. The movie, like the novel, was instantly successful, the book won a Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The movie starring Gregory Peck won numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator's father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel's impact by writing, "In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism. Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice. To Kill a Mockingbird is a rare treasure, where the film is good as or even better than the novel; a novel that changed America’s thinking of race relations in the 1960’s.
ROMNEY op-ed in The Detroit News, "Taxpayers should get GM shares' proceeds": "Instead of doing the right thing and standing up to union bosses, Obama rewarded them. A labor union that had contributed millions to Democrats and his election campaign was granted an ownership share of Chrysler and a major stake in GM, two flagships of the industry. The U.S. Department of Treasury - American taxpayers - was asked to become a majority stockholder of GM. ... While a lot of workers and investors got the short end of the stick, Obama's union allies - and his major campaign contributors - reaped reward upon reward, all on the taxpayer's dime. ... American taxpayers have been left on the hook for billions to benefit unions and the union bosses who contributed millions to Barack Obama's election campaign. Such a state of affairs is intolerable, and as president I would not tolerate it. The Obama administration needs to act now to divest itself of its ownership position in GM. The shares need to be sold in a responsible fashion and the proceeds turned over to the nation's taxpayers."
WILL 2012 LOOK LIKE 2011 ALL OVER AGAIN? - Remember, 2011 began with high hopes that got dashed after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the U.S. debt downgrade. Should something similar play out, the current narrative tilting the electoral playing field slightly back in President Obama's direction would be reversed. ... The consensus view: This time should be different, barring unforeseen disaster (and maybe $4 gas?). Immelt and others noted that while Congress may not wind up being any more productive, there is no longer any threat of another downgrade or debt ceiling showdown.

And this past week, one major Washington-created obstacle - a possible failure to extend the payroll tax cut - appeared to vanish as Republican leaders capitulated on their demand that a full-year extension be paid for through spending cuts. Europe remains a serious concern but slow bits of progress keep piling up, making a catastrophic meltdown that ripples across the globe less likely. The housing market remains the biggest drag and question mark. But on the panel M.M. moderated, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former CBO director and chief economic policy advisor to Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, said he was convinced prices had bottomed ...

"It's the fourth time I've predicted the bottom of the housing market, but I think I'm right this time," Holtz-Eakin joked. He also praised President Obama's budget request for $8 billion for a program to help community colleges prepare workers with technical skills that companies say they need but can't find among current applicants. Holtz-Eakin noted that McCain proposed a similar program in 2008.

NEW RISK: $4 GAS -  "Gasoline prices could hit $4 a gallon, a threshold they haven't flirted with since last spring. Already in Southern California the $4 barrier has been met. The average price paid by U.S. drivers for a gallon of regular now stands at $3.52 ... That price represents an increase of 0.04 percent from a week ago and 0.38 percent from a year ago. Experts expect prices to spike another 60 cents or more, with the $4 mark being touched-or exceeded-sometime this summer, probably by Memorial Day weekend ... The last time the U.S. saw $4 gasoline was back in the summer of 2008. ... Historically, $4 a gallon has been the upper limit of what consumers have been willing to pay."

RICHEST STATES - FORTUNE infographic on the richest states in the U.S., measured by "rainy day" reserve funds. North Dakota and Wyoming are among the richest states in terms of per capita reserves while Alaska and Texas have the biggest overall reserve funds.

U.S. OUT FOR 2020 SUMMER OLYMPICS - "With international and U.S. Olympic leaders so far unable to resolve a financial dispute that is blocking any U.S. bid for the games [including L.A. for 2020], it might not happen until 2024. ... Denver, Reno-Lake Tahoe, Nev., 2002 host Salt Lake City and Bozeman, Mont., have expressed early interest in bidding for the 2022 Winter Games."

THE BIG PICTURE - "Congress set to pack it in for the year, "Come January, ... taxes [may] rise substantially. Jobless benefits could expire. And defense programs will be on the chopping block ... So what are the chances Congress will deal with these issues ... between now and November? 'Zero,' Sen. Lindsey Graham said. ... It's only February, but it looks like Congress is ready to pretty much pack it in for the year. Or at least until the November elections, when a lame-duck Congress [will meet] ... '60 Minutes' is exploring a piece on the Senate's dysfunction. ... Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin was asked what else Congress can do this year. He had two words: 'postal reform.'"

COLORADO NEWS ALERT - Denver Post, "Colorado avalanche danger worst in 30 years - inside and outside of ski areas, experts say," by Jason Blevins: "On Friday, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued a statewide 'special statement' urging caution as avalanche conditions remain dangerous and skier-triggered avalanches likely. ... Avalanche researchers have to go back about 30 years to find a sketchier snowpack in Colorado. The close calls are abundant ... The six deaths this season match the state's annual average for avalanche fatalities with more than two months left." Cool graphics

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: David Axelrod (57), Drew Barrymore (37), Chelsea Clinton (32), Tricia Nixon Cox (66), Kristin Davis (47), Phil Esposito (70), Steven Hill (90), Joseph Lieberman (70), Edward James Olmos (65), William Peterson (59), Sidney Poitier (85), Bob Schieffer (75), Justin Verlander (29).
MID WINTER RECIPE – Alton Brown’s Enchilada Lasagna, great for those cold winter nights and  of course you need a bottle of Oso Libre Cabernet Quixotic (2007).

For sauce:

  • 2 dried chipotle chiles, stems and seeds removed, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, freshly ground
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For filling:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded queso fresco or Monterey Jack
  • Nonstick cooking spray
Combine the chiles, garlic, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the chiles are soft. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken until cooked through, approximately 7 to 9 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a medium bowl. Add the onions to the same pan along with a generous pinch of salt, decrease the heat to medium-low and sweat for 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook until the onions are tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the chicken back to the pan and remove from the heat.

Spray a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Place 1/2 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the dish. Dip 4 tortillas into the remaining sauce and lay them into the bottom of the dish. Cut 1 of the tortillas in half to evenly cover the bottom of the dish. Top this with half of the chicken mixture and 1 cup of the cheese. Starting with 4 more tortillas, repeat the layers, ending with the last 4 tortillas on top. Pour remaining sauce over the dish and top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese on top is bubbly.

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 2/25, 7:00 PM ET, Comcast. The #1 ranked Ferris State Bulldogs (22-8-4) entertain #18 ranked Western Michigan Broncos (16-13-5) in Big Rapids, Michigan. Yes hockey fans, #1 ranked in the nation Ferris State, quite an achievement for the men from Michigan. We pick Ferris State to win this one on the second to last week of the regular season. Season to date (3-5).
THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – St. Lawrence 4 Dartmouth 3 (women’s hockey), Ferris State 6 Western Michigan 3 (men’s hockey), La Verne 8 Occidental 3 (men’s baseball).  Season to date (10-9).

SPORTS BLINK - "ESPN's Monday Night Football will have a new two-person commentator team for the first time during the 2012 NFL season with Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden" - Ron Jaworski out of the booth; will appear on other ESPN shows -- ESPN release: "Jaworski has signed a five-year extension with ESPN for a new, expanded multiplatform NFL analyst role that includes appearances on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Matchup, NFL-branded specials, Mike & Mike in the Morning, Pardon the Interruption, and other platforms."

Next week, words of the month and Dear Rink Rats.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
February 20, 2012
#II-43, 96

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Red Carpet

Our 2012 Oscar Picks:

Supporting Actress – Jessica Chastain in “The Help”

Supporting Actor – Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”

Animated Feature – “Puss in Boots”

Leading Actress – Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”

Leading Actor – George Clooney in “The Descendants”

Directing – “Hugo”

Best Picture – “Hugo”

Best Supervisor in an Unsupporting Role – Mr. 30 Hour Work Week

Best Performance by a Hypocrite – Newt Gingrich

The 54th Grammy Awards: RECORD OF THE YEAR - 'Rolling In The Deep' Adele ... ALBUM OF THE YEAR - '21' Adele ... SONG OF THE YEAR - 'Rolling In The Deep' Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth (song writer award) ... BEST NEW ARTIST - Bon Iver ... BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE - Adele 'Someone Like You' ... BEST ROCK ALBUM - Foo Fighters 'Wasting Light' ... BEST POP DUO - Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse 'Body and Soul' ... BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM - Adele '21' ... BEST RAP ALBUM - Kanye West 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' ... BEST POP INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM - Booker T. Jones 'The Road From Memphis' ... BEST DANCE RECORDING - Skrillex 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' ... BEST DANCE/ELECTRONICA ALBUM - Skrillex 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' ... BEST TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM - Tony Bennett & Various Artists 'Duets II' ... BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE - Foo Fighters 'Walk' ... BEST HARD ROCK/METAL PERFORMANCE - Foo Fighters 'White Limo' ... BEST ROCK SONG - Foo Fighters (songwriters) 'Walk' ... BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM - Bon Iver 'Bon Iver'.

MOST-WATCHED PROGRAMS IN U.S. TELEVISION HISTORY: 1. 111.3 Million - Super Bowl XLVI, NBC (Last Night's Game) ... 2. 111.0 Million - Super Bowl XLV, Fox ... 3. 106.5 Million - Super Bowl XLIV, CBS ... 4. 106.0 Million - M.A.S.H. Finale, CBS [1983].

PRIMARY RESULTS: Colorado (100%): Santorum 40.2% 26,372 ... Romney 34.9% 22,875 ... Gingrich 12.8% 8,394 ... Paul 11.8% 7,713 ... Write-In 0.1% 56 ... Perry 0.1% 52 ... Huntsman 0.1% 46 ... Bachmann 0.0% 27.

Minnesota (95.2%; count ended there at 3:04 a.m.): Santorum 44.8% 21,420 ... Paul 27.2% 13,023 ... Romney 16.9% 8,090 ... Gingrich 10.7% 5,128 ... Total Write-Ins 0.3% 140.

Missouri (100%): Santorum 55.2% 138,957 ... Romney 25.3% 63,826 ... Paul 12.2% 30,641 ... Uncommitted 3.9% 9,859 ... Perry 1.0% 2,463 ... Cain 0.9% 2,314 ... Bachmann 0.7% 1,690 ... Huntsman 0.4% 1,045 ... G. Johnson 0.2% 547 ... M. Meehan 0.1% 364 ... K. Drummond 0.1% 162.

WHAT IT MEANS - Santorum slips into "not Romney" pole position, knocking out Newt Gingrich, as the campaign shifts to a long slog toward Super Tuesday on March 6th. Much of the focus will be on Ohio given its general election swing state status, big delegate haul and new status as Newt's Last Stand. ... But will Gingrich and Santorum cancel each other out and hand a solid win to Romney? ... Expect the Romney attack machine to turn the dials up on its Santorum attacks on ear-marks and other issues starting this morning. Will Santorum have the cash to counter across so many expensive media markets over multiple weeks? Not likely. More broadly, the case for the GOP taking out Obama in 2012 looks as weak now as it ever has given an improving economy and a deeply muddled primary featuring a front-runner no one seems keen to rally around.

OFFICIAL OBAMA 2012 PLAYLIST FOR CROWD EVENTS (rallies, ropelines, etc.), to be released today: "Different People" (No Doubt) ... "Got to Get You in My Life" (Earth, Wind & Fire) ... "Green Onions" (Booker T & The MG's) ... "I Got You" (Wilco) ... "Keep on Pushing" (The Impressions) ... "Keep Reachin' Up" (Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators) ... "Love You I Do?" (Jennifer Hudson) ... "No Nostalgia" (AgesAndAges) ... "Raise Up" (Ledisi) ... "Stand Up" (Sugarland) ... "This" (Darius Rucker) ... "We Used To Wait" (Arcade Fire) ... "You've Got the Love" (Florence and the Machine" ... "Your Smiling Face" (James Taylor) ...

... "REO Speedwagon" (Roll with the Change) ... "Everyday America" (Sugarland?) ... "Learn to Live" (Darius Rucker) ... "Let's Stay Together" (Al Green) ... "Mr. Blue Sky" (Electric Light Orchestra) ... "My Town" (Montgomery Gentry) ... "The Best Thing about Me Is You" (Ricky Martin, featuring Joss Stone) ... "You are the Best Thing" (Ray Lamontagne) ... "Keep Marchin'" (Raphael Saadiq) ... "Tonight's The Kind of Night" (Noah and the Whale) ... "We Take Care of Our Own" (Bruce Springsteen) ... "Keep Me In Mind" (Zac Brown Band) ... "The Weight" Aretha Franklin ... "Even Better Than The Real Thing" (U2) ... "Home" (Dierks Bentley).

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Geoff Ball …famous street hockey goaltender, Michael Bloomberg (70), Jim Brown (76), Jaromir Jagr (40), John McEnroe (53), Gretchen Pugliese …famous hockey Mom, Smokey Robinson (72), Rene Russo (58), Cybill Shepherd (62), Jerry Springer (68), Ice-T (54), John Travolta (58), Chuck Yeager (89).

GET WELL – Loyal Rink Rats supporter Jim Douthit is under the weather and we wish him a speedy recovery and all our prayers.

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 2/18, 7:00 PM ET, SLUTV, the annual central New York brawl in Canton; #13 ranked Cornell University Big Red (13-6-6) visit St. Lawrence University (12-15-3). The Skating Saints have won four in a row and will prove a tough team to beat in Appleton Arena. We pick St. Lawrence to win. Season to date (3-4).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – St. Lawrence 5 Cornell 3. Season to date (10-8).

QUEBEC PEE WEE HOCKEY TOURNAMENT – Good luck to the Anaheim Junior Ducks as they travel to Quebec City this week to play in the International Hockey Tournament taking place during the Winter Carnival. Today the Junior Ducks play game #1 vs. the Moncton Wildcats. Game time temperature outside a chilly 7 degrees.

SPORTS BLINK - Major League Baseball teams start reporting for spring training on SUNDAY:: "Tim Lincecum thought about the seismic shifts of baseball's offseason, the ones that saw Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder migrate to the American League. 'I think it's great. I won't have to pitch to them anymore,' San Francisco's two-time Cy Young Award winner joked. Baseball returns this weekend when Seattle Mariners' pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Peoria, Ariz."

--Schedule of spring-training report dates - for pitchers and catchers, and for full squads -- of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs

FORTY YEARS – This week in 1972 Richard Nixon began his trip to China. The economic and political world would never be the same.

GOOD LUCK – To three wonderful women who are about to begin new challenges; BE, LP, and SV. We wish them good fortune, happiness and love.

DRIVING THE WEEK - U.S. markets will get their first chance this morning to react to the Greek vote and riots. Not likely the Obama budget will be much of a market mover as its broad outlines were well known and its mostly discounted as a political statement ... President Obama delivers his budget remarks in Annandale at 11:00 a.m. Expect to hear the phrase "dead on arrival" from Republicans at least a few times before that ... Obama and VP Biden meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Tuesday before the president starts a budget/jobs road trip to Milwaukee (Master Lock) on Wednesday and Seattle on Friday with stops for fundraising Thursday in northern and southern California.

Next week, a mid-winter recipe, words of the month and Dear Rink Rats.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
February 13, 2012

#II-42, 95

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Midwinter Sunday

Sunday February 5 started like any other Sunday, sleep in a bit to 7:00 instead of the usual day, 5:30. Open up the Sunday papers; NY Times, LA Times, and Daily Bulletin. Watch CBS Sunday and Meet The Press.

Then things became different - ESPN SportsCenter has the NFL crew, the Weather Channel is live from of all places Indianapolis. CNBC is live on a Sunday, what gives? It is Super Bowl Sunday.

The annual national party, hype, commercial and yes a football game. Facebook, Twitter are full of picks and commentary, everyone is an expert. The basketball, hockey, and golf telecasts are early to finish before 3:00 PM Pacific time. Only in America does a whole society stop for about three hours.

Office pools, side bets, family challenges, rule the day. The game, pigs in a blanket, nachos, every conceivable snack and beverage all devoured while watching over hyped commercials and athletes. Why all the fuss, no idea - what time is Downton Abbey on tonight?

BEST SUPER BOWL AD: Chrysler's "It's Halftime in America," starring Clint Eastwood

SPORTS BLINK - NFL release: "New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was voted the winner of the Pete Rozelle Trophy, awarded to the Super Bowl XLVI Most Valuable Player. ... Manning hit nine different receiving targets and completed 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards and one touchdown for a passer rating of 103.8. Manning rallied the Giants from a 17-9 third-quarter deficit [to beat the Patriots, 21-17] ... Manning is the first Giants player to win the Rozelle Trophy multiple times; also voted MVP of Super Bowl XLII. Previous Giants Super Bowl MVPs: QB Phil Simms (Super Bowl XXI), running back Ottis Anderson (Super Bowl XXV) and Manning (Super Bowl XLII). He is the fifth player in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowl MVP honors (Joe Montana, three; Tom Brady, Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr, two)."


Oldest Winning Head Coach - 65, Tom Coughlin

Most Consecutive Completions - 16, Tom Brady

Most Consecutive Completions To Start Game - 9, Eli Manning

Most Passing Yards, Career - 1,277, Tom Brady

Most Passes, Career - 197, Tom Brady

Most Completions, Career - 127, Tom Brady

Most Punts Inside 10, Game - 3, Steve Weatherford

Most First Downs Passing, Game, Both Teams - 33 (N.Y.Giants 18, New England 15)


--Eli Manning is the fifth player to win the Super Bowl MVP Award at least twice. Joe Montana won it three times; Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Tom Brady won it twice.

--Ahmad Bradshaw is the fourth player to score the game-winning touchdown in the last minute of a Super Bowl, joining John Taylor (Super Bowl XXIII), Plaxico Burress (Super Bowl XLII) and Santonio Holmes (Super Bowl XLIII).

--The Giants won the Super Bowl for the fourth time, tying Green Bay for the fourth-highest total of Super Bowl wins. Pittsburgh has won six; San Francisco and Dallas have won five. The Giants have now won the NFL Championship eight times; only Green Bay (13) and Chicago (9) have won as many.

--In each of the Giants' four Super Bowl victories, they had trailed at halftime (10-9 to Denver in Super Bowl XXI, 12-10 to Buffalo in Super Bowl XXV, 7-3 to New England in Super Bowl XLII, and 10-9 to New England in Super Bowl XLVI).

--Best Super Bowl Party was at The Pugliese’s; great food, interesting conversation, many Madonna lovers, cheating was prominent with the betting pool.

TWEET STATS - @twitter: "The highest Tweets per second #SuperBowl peak came at the end of the game: 12,233. 2nd highest was during Madonna's performance: 10,245."

Had enough???

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Tom Brokaw (72), Garth Brooks (50), John Hickenlooper (60), Carole King (70), Michael McDonald (60), Robert Wagner (82), John Williams (80).

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 2/11, 7:00 PM MT, FSN – a huge February WCHA contest with #2 ranked University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-9-1) visit Magness Arena and the 13 ranked Denver University Pioneers (15-9-4). Only three weeks to go in the regular season, Minnesota will win a tough one in Pioneer land. Season to date (3-3).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Congratulations to the New York football Giants on their fourth Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots 21 -17. We end our NFL season a hapless 11-11, an off year for Rink Rats but a fun one…see you in September. Season to date (11-11).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Minnesota 5 Denver 2, Michigan State 3 Michigan 2, Detroit 4 Philadelphia 3. Season to date (9-6).

BUSINESS BURST -- "Facebook to files $5 billion IPO: "The company founded by Mark Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room in 2004 picked Morgan Stanley to take the coveted 'lead left' role in what is expected to be the largest IPO ever to emerge from Silicon Valley. ... Facebook declined to comment on the report by IFR, a unit of Thomson Reuters. ... The preliminary IPO filing sets the stage for a May market of the world's largest social network, IFR reported, a coming-out party that will dwarf almost any before that, including Google Inc's $2 billion IPO."

IPO COULD VALUE FACEBOOK AT $100 BILLION - "Facebook Inc. filed for an initial public offering ... that could value the social network between $75 billion and $100 billion, putting the eight-year-old company on track to be one of the biggest U.S. stock-market debuts of all time ... The company listed its offering size at $5 billion in a securities filing, but aims to raise as much as $10 billion when it goes public this spring ... After years of speculation, Facebook for the first time revealed its financial numbers, showing why it's one of the coveted Internet companies. Facebook said it produced $3.71 billion in revenue last year mostly from advertising on the site, with a profit of $1 billion. ... Among U.S. companies, only Visa ,General Motors and AT&T Wireless have held larger offerings than $10 billion."

WILL GM GO FROM BAILOUT TO $10 BILLION PER YEAR? - "Bailed out by the government just three years ago, General Motors ... has set its sights on a once-unthinkable goal: making more than $10 billion a year. It already is headed in that direction. On Feb. 16, GM is likely to report 2011 net income of about $8 billion, its highest ever ... Behind the gain to nearly twice 2010's $4.7 billion are growth in China and strong profits in North America, where GM has shed billions of dollars of costs and lately has been able to command higher prices. GM has loftier ambitions still. It aims over the next several years to raise its profit margin-the portion of revenue left after paying expenses-to 10%, Daniel Ammann, chief financial officer, said in an interview.

"That would be a significant jump from the current margins of about 6% and would be among the highest in the auto industry. It would be a remarkable reversal for a company that needed an infusion of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to stave off collapse in 2009 and later went through a bankruptcy restructuring engineered by the federal government. GM has added 13,000 jobs in the U.S. since bankruptcy ... Such success could make it easier for the federal government to sell some of its remaining 26% stake in GM. Doing so at the current stock price would mean the government would lose more than $10 billion on the GM investment acquired in the bailout."

FLORIDA WRAP: ROMNEY WINS BIG - Florida Primary results with 100 percent of precincts reporting: Mitt Romney, 46.4% (771,842); Newt Gingrich: 31.9 % (531,294); Rick Santorum: 13.4% (222,248); Ron Paul: 7.0% (116,776)

RONALD WILSON REAGAN was born 101 years ago today

Next week, Academy Awards picks and a mid-winter recipe.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
February 6, 2012

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