Monday, March 5, 2012

The State of My State

You have the State of the Union, the State of the State, the State of the City, and the State of the University, with all the State of Anything speeches going on you would think we would all be in good hands. Are we?

Well it is time for the State of My State: ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, democrats and republicans, full time and ACTING, fellow citizens, the State of my State stinks.

My fellow citizens continue to not use their turn signals, Grumpy’s food and menu in Victorville has deteriorated to Chili’s like status, I continue to snap hook the golf ball, MBA students continue to have a difficult time grasping the concept of discounted cash flow, if my hair gets any greyer you can begin to call me Newt. “Squawk on the Street” is not the same show as it used to be without Mark Haynes and Erin Burnett, Mr. Bates is stuck in jail with very little hope of getting out, and my season tickets to the Dodgers this year just arrived including a flak jacket and pepper spray. Not a pretty picture my State. But there is nothing wrong with that, I can deal with it.

I find it refreshing in a State of the Any State address you can announce all is not well. Why must we sugar coat the truth? Our country is a great country but we have many problems to solve, California is driving away business and borrowing record amounts of money, the City of Los Angeles has a mayor who would rather be in Washington than Los Angeles, and what has happened to UCLA basketball?

It is okay to have problems and issues that cannot be easily solved by overpaid consultants who are friends of friends, or problems that require compromise and common sense to solve. Why is it today our leaders feel to lead they must say all is well when it is not? Lead by example, lead by grasping the real problems, lead by listening to your citizens, your employees, your equals. Lead to not keep your job, lead by accountability.

I lead my family, my business associates and my students by not passing the buck, by not trying to always look good, I lead through the experience of  life’s failures, as well as life’s successes, I lead by admitting my faults and sharing my decisions equally with those influenced by them. This is the State of My State.

I guess I will go and deal with my problems now (should I hire a consultant?), where is that hair color?

KKR EXECS EARNED NEARLY $100M LAST YEAR - "Henry Kravis and George Roberts (Claremont McKenna College Alumni)  each took home a pay-out of around $94m last year from KKR, the private equity group they helped to found, the latest sign of the riches available to industry executives at a sensitive time in the US presidential election. ... Mr. Kravis and Mr. Roberts together own 25 per cent of KKR, and each received $64.2m in cash dividend payments last year ... The group, which has been listed in New York since 2010, paid a dividend of $0.74 per share in 2011. The two cousins were also paid around $30m each, mostly from the share of investment profits from private equity funds managed by KKR. So-called carried interest is usually taxed as a capital gain, which is levied at a 15 per cent rate, rather than the 35 per cent paid on ordinary income."

PITY THE POOR BANKERS - Bloomberg's Max Abelson has a must on how much suffering is going on in the wake of smaller Wall Street bonuses: "Andrew Schiff ... director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc. ... is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country's top 1 percent by income, doesn't cover his family's private-school tuition, a ... Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex. 'I feel stuck,' Schiff said. 'The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.' The smaller bonus checks that hit accounts across the financial-services industry this month are making it difficult to maintain the lifestyles that Wall Street workers expect, according to interviews with bankers and their accountants, therapists, advisers and headhunters ...

'People who don't have money don't understand the stress,' said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. 'Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?”

R.R. NOTE - Families "who don't have money" know a lot more serious stress than how many private school tuitions they can afford. If you want to know why America hates Wall Street, the above stories go a long way to explaining it.

A NEW MONTH - opens on Wall Street with some negative momentum following Wednesday’s losses, but nonetheless, February was a successful one for the bulls.  The S&P 500 turned in its best February gains since 1998, the Nasdaq since 2000 as it briefly topped the 3,000 mark for the first time in more than 10 years.
ROMNEY TAKES MICHIGAN/ARIZONA - Michigan results with 99.9 percent of precincts reporting: Mitt Romney 409,719 (41%); Rick Santorum: 377,507 (38%); Ron Paul: 115,689 (12%); Newt Gingrich: 64,999 (7%)
ARIZONA - Romney: 215,119 (47%); Santorum: 120,678 (27); Gingrich: 73,478 (16%); Paul: 38,453 (8%)

CURRENT DELEGATE COUNT - Per @cbsnews: Romney 157, Santorum 52, Gingrich 30, Paul 15

TECH BLINK: iPAD THREE THIS  WEEK - "Apple Inc. is hosting a media event this Wednesday, where it is expected to unveil a faster, better-equipped version of its popular iPad tablet to thwart increasing competition from deep-pocketed rivals such as Inc. The invitation-only event will be held at 1 p.m. EST on March 7 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where the company also introduced the last two generations of iPads. ... The invitation featured a partial picture of the touchscreen of a device resembling an iPad. Apple launches are some of the hottest events on the tech calendar, scrutinized by fans, investors, the media and industry insiders alike. The iPad has dominated the nascent tablet computer market, but Amazon's Kindle Fire, which sells at half the cost, has chipped away at the lower end of the market."

TECHWATCH - "Microsoft unveils Windows 8 for public test ," "Microsoft Corp unveils the first widely available test version of Windows 8 on Wednesday, giving the public the first chance to try out the slick, new-look operating system it hopes will restore the company's fading tech supremacy. ... Windows 8 ... features blocks or 'tiles' that can be moved around the screen or tapped to go straight into an application. The tiles update in real time, so you can see if you have emails, voice messages or Facebook notifications at a glance. ... Microsoft has not put a timetable on the final release, but Windows ... has said new versions ... should be ... three years apart, which would put a ... debut around October ... The public will get its first good look at Windows 8 on Wednesday ... at an event in Barcelona."

TOP STORY -- "ANALYSIS-Price of victory may be too high for Putin, Vladimir Putin's emphatic win in Sunday's presidential election has come at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars in spending promises that could sow the seeds of an economic crisis in Russia before his six-year term is out. Putin, who received 64 percent of the vote with nearly all ballots counted, shored up his base by throwing money at everything from nuclear missiles to kindergartens, making the overburdened budget more dependent than ever on oil prices. The 59-year-old premier [is] returning to the Kremlin for a third term."

YOU'RE INVITED: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a rising Democratic star, headlines Playbook Breakfast on Wed., March 7, to talk about policy, politics and what's in store for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Breakfast is downtown: Doors open at 8 a.m.; program starts shortly after. While in D.C., the mayor will push a jobs-creating transportation bill that includes America Fast Forward, which would allow localities to accelerate the construction of road and rail. Hey Mr. Mayor how about running the City of Los Angeles!

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Michael Eisner (70), Alan Greenspan (86), Lester Holt (53), Antonin Scalia (76), Sharon Stone (54), Lynn Swann (60), Shannon Tweed (55), Carrie Underwood (29).

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 3/10, 7:35 ET, FSN a first round CCHA series game at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan has #18 ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (19-16-3) vs. #6 ranked Michigan Wolverines (21-11-4). Red Berenson’s Michigan men are ready for another NCAA title run, they will get a good start by upending The Irish in Ann Arbor.  Season to date (4-6).
THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Cornell 6 Dartmouth 2, Michigan 5 Notre Dame 1, Boston University 4 New Hampshire 3. Season to date (15-10).

DRIVING THE WEEK - GOP race once again seems back on track to wind up where it was always going to wind up, with Mitt Romney as the nominee. Romney picked up big establishment endorsements on Sunday as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn backed him heading into Super Tuesday. ... If Romney wins Ohio, which should favor Rick Santorum given its big blue collar vote, it should pretty well seal it. However, given super PACS and the number of proportional-delegate states, a desultory contest could roll on until April or even later. Polls show a statistical dead-heat in Ohio but the trend is in Romney's direction and barring late shifts it looks like the former Massachusetts governor will probably lock it down which will in turn free up more big GOP names to start calling on Santorum, Ron Paul and Gingrich to drop out or at least stop any slashing attacks on the party's presumptive standard bearer ...

ISM non-manufacturing out at 10:00 a.m. EST this morning. Consensus is a dip to 56.6 from 56.8 ... Senate Banking has a hearing on job creation and capital formation on Tuesday ... Senate Finance has a tax reform hearing on Tuesday and a hearing on President Obama's trade agenda on Wednesday ... Apple is expected to unveil the iPad 3 on Wednesday ... House Energy has a hearing on rising gas prices on Wednesday morning ... Thursday is the deadline for holders to agree to the proposed Greek debt swap (more below) ... ADP employment on Wednesday morning and initial jobless claims on Thursday will help provide color for Friday's BLS jobs report

NICE WALK – If you are looking for a nice place for a peaceful, relaxing walk try the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont. This is a great time of year to take in the serenity of the walking paths and now especially “The Bugs”. Local Rink Rats readers should check it out.

Next week, March Madness and Dear Rink Rats.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
March 5, 2012

#II-45, 98

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