Monday, June 25, 2012

2 Days in the Valley


7:00 AM – Tee off Los Serranos Golf Club South Course, Chino Hills; 7,188 yards Par 74. Our foursome includes a friend from Toronto, Canada who has lived in southern California for over thirty years. He is still a devoted Toronto Maple Leafs fan, thus he is depressed 24/7. Our second member is a friend I have known since third grade, Franklin, Michigan – he works for Lexus and hits the golf ball a mile, but he dyes his hair. Our fourth member of our golf troop is an old friend from Ohio, yes Ohio. The only reason he is allowed to play in our group is that he has denounced his citizenship from Ohio, still we do not allow him to drive the golf cart (Ohioans are terrible drivers).

7:01 AM – The first of many obscenities are said by the group as they hit their first shots.

9:15 AM – Nine holes completed everyone still friendly. After nine holes of golf you stop at the “half-way” shack where a tattoo covered woman sells you drinks and sandwiches. Today, no sandwiches, but four cans of Budweiser are ordered along with peanut butter crackers, the guy from Ohio has cashews (figures).

10:05 AM – The first controversy of the round; we cannot agree on who coached the Detroit Red Wings after Ned Harkness. Quickly an iPhone search is made, the answer is found. Of course I win the dollar, Doug Barkley (thank you).

11:30 AM – The round is concluded: Rink Rats (90), Oh Canada (92), Lexus (83), THE Ohio State (95). Yes a “90” the South Course is tough from the Blue tees, if I could only get off the tee.

11:45 AM – Another golf tradition, the “19th hole”. Here is where the scores are tabulated, lies are told, cocktails and sandwiches are ordered, political views examined, and money is transferred –sounds like the Republican National Convention. This is where the day gets complicated: we played a $5.00 Nassau, $2.00 Skins, double for birdies, $.50 points for “greenies”, “sandys”, closest to the pin, long drive, and team high/low for $5.00 a side. Got that – what it means is I am glad I have a M.B.A. degree and a smartphone.

12:30 PM – Tabulations are concluded, funds are disbursed: Rink Rats (Loss $5.00), Oh Canada (Loss $8.50), Lexus (Win $10.50), THE Ohio State (Win $1.50, damn). The golfing day is done – time for a nap.

6:00 PM – Dinner at a favorite place, Matt Denny’s in Arcadia, CA. Owner and bartender is Matt M. I have known Matt for 25 years, a lot of brew under the bridge. Matt, like all good saloon people can always tell a good story. Tonight he tells the story about the massage parlor recently opened next door to his establishment. The clients coming in and out of the business is the story. We won’t get into details but lets’ just say a deep Swedish massage is not the only think going on there. In Arcadia no less – I should pass this on to Rink Rats TMZ.

8:10 PM – It is Saturday night on the drag strip they call the 210 Foothill Freeway; average speed 80 MPH. I wonder how many of these drivers are from Ohio, I drive the speed limit.


9:00 AM – Into the Village of Claremont (Clareville) for breakfast and the farmers’ market. Claremont is an interesting community, a mixture of college town, retirement community, 1960’s survivors, and people who just refuse to live any further east. All these people come together on Sunday mornings, they hang out with “The Mayor” at Starbucks, they sit at 42 Street Bagel and watch the 60 year old men in their bicycle, skin tight, suits, Botox and they listen to terrible music groups performing on Yale Avenue. Lets’ not forget the customary Democrat table at the corner of Yale and Second. Never a Republican table, they are banished to La Verne and San Dimas. Today’s table is promoting some obscure Assembly candidate who is for education and the environment: how refreshing, change in Sacramento is coming.

9:15 AM – Breakfast at the Sunday popular Village Grille, a Claremont institution, people at Walter’s would say they are the Claremont breakfast institution – depends what side of Arrow Highway you live on. Nevertheless, “The Grille” is good, fast and reasonably cheap – take that David Allen.

10:00 AM – A stroll down Second Street to the Farmer’s Market, especially busy now with all the summer produce. I wear sunglasses always here; hopefully they help should I see someone I know. I like to shop incognito.

10:45 AM – My public duties are complete.

11:00 AM – Nothing like a late morning nap – if you have never tried it I highly recommend.

1:15 PM – A check in with the garden. The first tomatoes are ready for picking, sun flowers are beginning to show, we are in full summer mode. Gardening for me is like voting. I dread the thought of it, but when I do it I feel good about myself.

3:00 PM – I need to do some family shopping (birthdays, etc.) so it is off to Pasadena, I only shop in Pasadena – yes call me a snob but I know I am right. My only other shopping is via the internet but todays’ agenda calls for onsite analysis. Back on the 210 raceway, but as always on Sunday traffic resembles mid-week. The 210 (Foothill) Freeway slices through the Inland Empire, opened in 1966 and fully completed in 2002 – running from I-5 to I-10, Sylmar to San Bernardino.

4:00 PM – Colorado and Fair Oaks (Old Town Pasadena) is my starting point, I am a quick shopper why because I see no point in taking my time when I know exactly what I want. Also it is important to visit a few local pubs to quench my shopper’s thirst. A good shopper’s pub is Lucky Baldwin’s on Raymond Avenue – excellent beer selection and no bohemian types like you see in many Old Town Pasadena bars.

4:30 PM – I hit the usual Rink Rat gift spots: Barnes & Noble, The Apple Store, The Body Shop (no I refuse to buy men’s makeup), and Crate & Barrel.

5:00 PM – Shopping complete, yes in less than an hour – I am The Man. Final stop out of town is the second pub of choice while shopping: Smitty’s on Lake Avenue. A classic bar, they mix good drinks, and the bar chips are to die for – David Allen you have met your match!

6:15 PM – Back home to Clareville.

7:00 PM – Arrive in time for Skype student office hours, tonight a distraught student from San Luis Obispo is in panic mode about a Case study. Cooler heads prevail and his fears are eased. Another student calls in from Fontana, a family reunion is making it difficult to get her work in on time, can she have an extra day or so. Lets’ see what would Paul do???? Forget that, I give the student an extra day.

9:00 PM – Office duties are complete time to end the weekend as always, watching the latest HBO series – tonight True Blood. Do vampires really exist? Maybe I should go to the next faculty meeting or stay late at my next meeting with Bankers? My last joke of the weekend, thank you very much, we do it all again next Saturday.
Thank you for spending with me 2 Days in the Valley.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Dan Aykroyd (60), Bruce Johnston (70), Michael Phelps (27), Kellie Pickler (26), Carly Simon (67).

DRIVING THE WEEK - The giant health care ruling could come at around 10:00 a.m. today. If not SCOTUS watchers say, Thursday is the most likely fall back. POTUS will deliver remarks today at Oyster River high School in Durham, New Hampshire followed by an evening fundraising reception in Boston at which the President will be introduced by Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. VP Biden will be on the trail in crucial Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday with speeches in Waterloo and Dubuque. Mitt Romney has an event Tuesday at Carter Machinery Company in Salem, Virginia.

S & P / Case-Shiller home prices Tuesday morning expected to rise 0.3 percent. Consumer confidence Tuesday expected to dip to 63.5 from 64.9. Third estimate of Q1 GDP expected to be unchanged at an anemic 1.9 percent. University of Michigan consumer sentiment on Friday expected to dip to 74.1 from 79.3. E.U. summit with big stales for both the continent and the White House begins on Thursday.

The Obama Administration and many investors want to see some bold, German-supported moves to take the risk of big defaults (Italy, Spain) and global contagion off the table. Early reports suggest such bold moves are not likely. Both Greece's new prime minister and finance minister have said they will not attend due to illness. OECD report on US economy released on Tuesday, House Ways and Means hearing on capital gains takes place Thursday.

Next week, Jack Ass of the Month and summer movies.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
June 25, 2012

#III-9, 114

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Middle Class, "Arrivederci"

This past week, the Fed released its latest Survey of Consumer Finances.
The report included a lot of depressing data about the financial situation of average Americans. But nothing was so shocking and depressing as this:
The median net worth of American families dropped nearly 40% from 2007 to 2010.
(Yes, the situation has improved in the 18 months since 2010, but only modestly. House prices are about where they were back then.)
Most of this decline came from the collapse of the housing market. But we can't just write this one off to the housing bubble. The median net worth of households has now fallen to the same level as it was two decades ago, in 1992.
What does that mean?
It means America just isn't working right now.
Not just Americans. America itself, a country whose economy once worked for almost everyone.
In the old America, if you worked hard, you had a good chance of moving up.
In the old America, the fruits of people's labors accrued to the whole country, not just the top.
In the old America, there was a strong middle class, and their immense collective purchasing power drove the economy for decades.
No longer.
Over the past couple of decades, the American economy has increasingly mostly worked for the richest Americans, at the expense of everyone else. As a result, the disparity between "the 1%" and "the 99%" has hit a level not seen since the 1920s. And there is a widespread and growing sense that life here is not fair or right.
The middle class--the average American families--drive most of the spending in this country. Thus, when the middle class suffers, the whole economy suffers. And, right now, America just isn't working for the middle class.

DEFICIT TO APPROACH $1 TRILLION (AGAIN) - "The federal budget deficit is approaching $1 trillion for a fourth straight year even though the government is collecting more tax revenue than last year. ... Treasury ... said ... that the deficit grew by $124.6 billion in May. That put the deficit through the first eight months of the budget year at $844.5 billion, or 8.9 percent below last year's imbalance for the same period. Still, the Congressional Budget office forecasts that the deficit for the entire 2012 budget year, which ends Sept. 30, will total $1.17 trillion. That's only a slight improvement from the $1.3 trillion deficit recorded in fiscal 2011. And it is certain to keep the federal budget near the center of the presidential campaign. So far this year, government receipts are running 5.3 percent higher than a year ago. A better job market and modest economic growth have led to higher tax revenue"
--Aug. 27-30 - Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida
--Sept. 4-6 - Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina
--Oct. 3 - Presidential debate at University of Denver in Denver
--Oct. 11 - Vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky
--Oct. 16 - Presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York
--Oct. 22 - Presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida
--Nov. 6 - Election Day

INTERESTING READ – David Davis, who writes about sports for the Los Angeles Marathon, the LA Times and other publications – has a new ebook published this week about a fairly unknown chapter in American sports history. It happened in Los Angeles in 1963.
It’s the story of Merry Lepper, who had to disguise herself to compete with her fellow runners in the 1963 Western Hemisphere Marathon in Culver City, no women were allowed to participate. This event was an important race in its day. Lepper was a student then at San Bernardino Valley College.

History tried to forget Lepper. No retrospective stories have been done about her. No tributes, Davis tracked her down in the Arizona desert and offered her the chance to talk about the race, which she finished. In this excerpt from “Marathon Crasher: The life and Times of Merry Lepper, the First American Woman to Run a Marathon,” they meet at the Tucson airport.

“Put another way; Women could legally vote in presidential elections long before they could officially enter a marathon. Merry Lepper sips her tea and begins to speak softly, conjuring a moment in time when running was both a revolutionary blow against the powers-that-were and a lark to be shared with her pal Lyn: two women in their athletic prime, out for a weekend run on a sun-blanched afternoon almost a half-century ago.”

Twenty one years later, Joan Benoit won the first women’s Olympic marathon, in Los Angeles in 1984.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Beth Elmore …famous for scarfs, Mick Fleetwood (65), Nicole Kidman (45), Juli Inkster (51), Paul McCartney (70), Meryl Streep (63), Kathleen Turner (58), Prince William (30), Brian Wilson (70).

WALL STREET WEEK - The Greek election results are in, and although a pro-bailout party victory provided some relief to the financial markets, U.S. stock index futures are now pointing to a slightly lower open. U.S. stocks did have some positive momentum going into the weekend, with the Dow having chalked up triple-digit gains in three of the past four sessions and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rising in seven of the past 10 trading days.

RINK RATS TMZ.COM – After watching the HBO documentary “41” a local lifelong Republican is now seriously considering changing to the Democratic Party. This local resident is dissatisfied that the party of Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, and George H.W. Bush is now the party of Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mr. Thirty Hour Work Week. History is at a crossroad.
SUMMER GARDENING: TOP WEED – Puncture vine (Tribulus terrestris

With its sharp, thorny burs that poke into tires, paws, and bare feet, puncture vine is painfully familiar to gardeners in much of the country. An annual weed often found in dry areas, it forms a dense, low mat 5 to 15 feet in diameter.

For best control of small infestations, hoe or dig plants before they can set seed, cutting below the crown to prevent regrowth. Once you've removed puncture vine growing in lawns, improve the soil with compost and sow grass seed in bare spots to prevent the weeds from reestablishing.

For chemical control, preemergence herbicides containing trifluralin may be used on some lawn grasses and ornamentals in late winter or early spring. For postemergence control in lawns, use a selective herbicide.

Word of the Month:

lummox \LUHM-uhks\, noun:
A clumsy, stupid person.
“Today I told myself that in actual fact anyone who takes an innocuous and random delight in his work is an absolute lummox.”
Spanish Word of the Month:
fuerte, adjective
strong; loud
Fuerte is very common in Spanish. The commonest words in any language tend to have very many meanings, and fuerte is no exception. Today we’re looking at two of its major meanings, strong and loud.
“Es una bebida muy fuerte.”
It’s a very strong drink.

ASK REGGIE – The rules of golf:
Q. Dear Reggie:
Two weeks ago, our foursome had an unusual thing happen and none of us knew quite what to do. In the fairway, I took my second stroke and my ball hit someone else’s ball that was in the fairway, resulting in the other person’s ball landing in the rough, and mine in the fairway. Do I get penalized and do we just leave the balls where they landed or does the other person move their ball back where it was?
Hacker from Claremont, CA.
Dear Hacker from Claremont, CA.:
There is no penalty to anyone. The player whose ball struck the other player’s ball will play her own ball as it lies. The player whose ball was moved must replace it. [Rule 18-5]. I’m sure you will agree that it would be unfair for a player to have to hit from the rough when their original shot landed in the fairway.
Reggie Dunlop
N.H.L. OFF SEASON – After 1,316 regular season and playoff games, the coronation of the Los Angeles Kings may well be the last N.H.L. action hockey fans will see for some time – perhaps until Christmas.
The owners have informed the players’ association that they will not renew the collective bargaining agreement when it expires Sept. 15, and the likelihood of a lockout is high. If they go the lockout route, the owners goal would be to reduce the players’ share of revenue to about 50 percent from 57 percent, as N.B.A. and N.F.L. owners succeeded in doing with lockouts last year.
Under the strong leadership of Donald Fehr, the union says it has no intention of reducing its slice of the pie to make the owners’ slice bigger. Stay tuned.
DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama traveled to Los Cabos last night for his sixth G20 as president. Today, he begins at 9:00 a.m. with a bilateral meeting with President Calderón of Mexico ... Later in the morning, Obama has a bilateral with President Putin of Russia ... Obama remains at the G20 on Tuesday and has a bilateral at around 3:30 p.m. with President Hu Jintao of China. He will also meet with German President Angela Merkel, among others ... He returns to the White House on Tuesday evening ... Obama is in Orlando on Friday to speak at the NALEO annual meeting ... Mitt Romney continues his bus tour today with a stop at 4:00 p.m. in Davenport, Iowa ... Possible we could get health care decision from SCOTUS today which would blow everything else off the top of the news. But the expert money seems to be on June 25th or June 28th.

House Financial Services gets its crack at JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Top regulators will also appear at the hearing on a separate panel ... Senate Finance on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. has a hearing on the fiscal cliff ... On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., House Financial Services has a hearing on market structure ... Senate Banking at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday has a hearing on the IPO process ... Senate Banking has a money market reform hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ... Fed on Tuesday begins a two-day policy meeting ... Euro zone finance ministers meet Thursday in Luxembourg.

Next week, Jack Ass of the Month and summer travel.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
June 18, 2012

#III-8, 113

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stanley Cup LA Style

L.A. Times, cols. 1-5, "L.A.'S NEW ROYALTY: Kings turn tumult into triumph, capturing team's first Stanley Cup," by columnist Bill Plaschke: "The game of small-town Canada has just been heisted by Hollywood. A group of bearded beach bums has just stolen sports' most chilling trophy and stuck it where the sun shines. The first title in franchise history was earned on a monumental Monday in which a team's skittishness became greatness while a city's icy stare melted into tearful slush. Pushed to the edge of collapse, the Kings instead crunched and clinched, defeating the New Jersey Devils, 6-1, to win the Final series, four games to two.
"After 45 years as a court jester, they are now Kings indeed, their coronation occurring at a Staples Center that has never been so loud, their celebration as emotionally raw as the ice under their suddenly shaky skates. As the final seconds ticked off, the crowd of nearly 19,000 fans counted down - 'five, four, three, two, one' - as if this were Times Square on New Year's Eve. At the final horn, silver streamers dropped from the sky while the Kings' madly tossed sticks and helmets littered the ice."
You live long enough you will eventually see your city’s team win. In a city where local newscasters call them the Sacramento Kings, think the blue line is a metro transit light rail, think a puck is a place to get an overpriced meal, where the Mayor of the city could not get any free tickets – it all started on October 11, 2011 in Stockholm Sweden – 102 games later the Los Angeles Kings are the Champions of professional hockey.

Two Southern California teams now lay claim to the world’s oldest professional team trophy (Stanley Cup). What must Rocket Richard and Harold Ballard be thinking today in hockey heaven?  From Vancouver, B.C.  to Cape Bretton Island Nova Scotia, what must “true hockey fans” be thinking: The Cup now sits in Manhattan Beach.

Congratulations Los Angeles, now what about those Lakers?

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Jim Belushi (58), Tonya Carmon …famous quadruplet, Mario Cuomo (80), Phil Mickelson (42), Hannah Storm (50), Pat Summitt (60).

WALL STREET WEEK - U.S. stocks are coming off their best week of 2012, and that momentum seems likely to continue this morning. A request by Spain for billions in aid for its banks has boosted stock markets around the world, and U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a higher open.
AUTO PLANTS IN OVERDRIVE - "Automakers are pushing factories ... to the limit to try to meet burgeoning demand for new vehicles. Some plants are adding third work shifts. Others are piling on worker overtime and six-day weeks. ... Ford ... and Chrysler ... are ... reducing the annual two-week July shutdown at several plants this summer to add thousands of vehicles to their output. ... The automakers' problem now is ... hot demand. Sales for 2012 are estimated at 14.3 million vehicles, ... up from 12.8 million last year."
INSIDE THE CAMPAIGN - "Mitt Romney has his own longtime-pal-cum-alter-ego, a 56-year-old ex-Bain Capital partner named Bob White. White, who is trim with graying brown hair, was one of Romney's original hires when launching the private-equity firm back in the 1980s. He has been at Romney's side in every major endeavor he's undertaken since, from the Olympics to the campaign trail. Over the course of Romney's career, White has served as debate prepper, personnel vetter, designated gut-checker, in-house historian, and diplomatic envoy.

"It was White who found Romney a campaign manager for his run for governor, White who headed his transition to the Massachusetts statehouse, White who has chaired his campaigns for president. ... White's status in Romney world is all the more remarkable given that the former Massachusetts governor is often described as essentially friendless-the one contemporary pol who is even more of a loner than Barack Obama himself"
LATE NIGHT -- Jon Stewart, on Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee: "Sixty years on the throne? Get that woman some fiber."
LINKEDIN PASSWORDS STOLEN - "Many of LinkedIn's 161 million members worldwide ... were also bombarded ... by e-mail from unfamiliar parties urging them to click on links to verify e-mail addresses. ... Wednesday's cyberattack on LinkedIn, which affects as many as 6.5 million users, came on the heels of a discovery that LinkedIn's mobile app on Apple devices tracked users' calendar events and synched them to its server without users' knowledge, a practice that could violate Apple's privacy regulations. ...
EXPLAINING THE UNION DECLINE – “Last Tuesday's failure to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is being widely interpreted as a political defeat for organized labor. ... Unions in general have endured a long decline in power, influence, and popularity. In the 1950s, more than a third of all workers belonged to a union. As recently as the 1970s, a quarter of all workers did. Strikes were common and those in a strategic industry such as railroads or steel could virtually shut down a significant portion of the entire U.S. economy ... The number of strikes has fallen from 200-400 per year in the 1970s to just 19 last year.

"It's hard to remember the last one of any significance ... There are many reasons for the decline of labor unions, but the leading one is simply that those industries most amenable to unionization and where unionization was highest have been among those that have declined most sharply in recent years. Those on the upswing tend not to have many union members. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2003 and 2008, unions lost 138,653 members in auto manufacturing but gained just 4,736 in computer systems design"

RINK RATS TMZ.COM – Could it be that another high ranking administrator has been seen about town with makeup. Are there no “real men” anymore? Why must men over the age of forty feel it necessary to wear makeup and hair color? Women don’t like it. Women like honesty, humor, respect, not Clairol and Cover Girl. Deal with it boys, in the long run you will be better off.
DRIVING THE WEEK - Market react to the Spanish bank rescue will drive the day and the week. Conventional wisdom is a fairly short-lived relief rally and the back into the soup leading up to Greek elections on Sunday ... Jamie Dimon testifies before Senate banking on Wednesday at 10 a.m.. He is not likely to be able to offer full detail on how the trading losses happened, what's been done about them, and exactly how much the bank could lose. That will probably have to wait until the second quarter earnings call next month ... Apple holds its developers conference all week in San Francisco ... FDIC meets Tuesday to discuss Basel III ... Mitt Romney is raising money in Atlanta on Monday and hits swing state Florida on Tuesday for an event at Con-Air Industries ... President Obama and VP Joe Biden both meet with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner this afternoon, with Europe likely to dominate the conversation.
Next week, summer gardening and words of the month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
June 12, 2012

#III-7, 112

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Reading

Time to post our summer reading list, as usual a very eclectic listing but should make for enjoyable reading:

1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”

1926, Ernest Hemingway, “The Sun Also Rises”

1960, Harper Lee, “To Kill A Mockingbird”

1982, Robert Caro, “The Path to Power”

2006, James Green, “Death in the Haymarket”

2008, Alan Furst, “The Spies of Warsaw”

2009, Liaquat Ahamed, “Lords of Finance”

2010, Robert Wells, “New York State Government Politics in a Nutshell”

2010, Maria Bartiromo, “The Weekend That Changed Wall Street”

2011, Pete Hamill, “Tabloid City”

2012, Thomas Mallon, “Watergate”


“I would like to know your opinion on our economic recovery or lack of a recovery. Where should I put my money and should I be worried about the future?”

Bewildered in Claremont”

Dear Bewildered in Claremont:

“Let me give you a few current facts:

  • -          an Asian slowdown brought on by European woes
  • -          India’s economy sputtering to a nine-year low
  • -          a continued economic slowdown in China
  • -          weakness coming out of South Korea and Australia
  • -          a growing banking crisis in Spain
  • -          a deepening of Greece’s economic collapse
  • -          increased economic problems across Africa
  • -          the desperate plea of European bankers for a unified rescue fund
  • -          a U.S. jobs report landing with a thud this past Friday
  • -          renewed calls for QE3
  • -          federal, state and local government refusing to cut spending and taxes
  • -          Universities and Colleges continuing to escalate fees and student borrowing

Wrap all this up and it spells LOOK OUT. Stay liquid with your investments, do not borrow money long term, Mitt Romney can still win in November, and above all else suck up to your boss (don’t lose that job).”

Rink Rats

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Barbara Bush (87), Gina Gershon (50), Paul Giamatti (45), Angelina Jolie (37), Natalie Morales (40), Prince (54), Tom Scali …famous Jeep lover, Nancy Sinatra (72), Jerry Stiller (85), Dick Vitale (73).

AVERAGE CEO PAY HIGHER THAN BEFORE MELTDOWN -  "Profits at big U.S. companies broke records last year, and so did pay for CEOs. The head of a typical public company made $9.6 million in 2011 ... up 6 percent from the year before, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data from Equilar, an executive pay research firm. The figure is the highest since the AP began tracking executive compensation in 2006. ... Companies trimmed cash bonuses but handed out more in stock awards. For shareholder activists who have long decried CEO pay as exorbitant, that was a victory of sorts.
--"10 highest-paid CEOs [in 2011] in AP survey : 1. David Simon, Simon Property Group, $137.2 million, up 458 percent [from 2010] ... 2. Leslie Moonves, CBS, $68.4 million, up 20 percent ... 3. David M. Zaslav, Discovery Communications, $52.4 million, up 23 percent ... 4. Sanjay K. Jha, Motorola Mobility, $47.2 million, up 262 percent ... 5. Philippe P. Dauman, Viacom, $43.1 million, down 49 percent ... 6. David M. Cote, Honeywell International, $35.7 million, up 135 percent ... 7. Robert A. Iger, Walt Disney, $31.4 million, up 12 percent ... 8. Clarence P. Cazalot Jr., Marathon Oil, $29.9 million, up 239 percent ... 9. John P. Daane, Altera, $29.6, million, up 278 percent ... 10. Alan Mulally, Ford Motor, $29.5 million, up 11 percent."
WALL STREET WEEK - U.S. stock investors welcome the month of June, though prospects for profits remain highly uncertain.  The final numbers for May were anything but bullish: the Dow suffered its biggest one-month drop since May of 2010, while the NASDAQ saw its biggest point drop since October of 2008. The U.S. economy in May generated its fewest new jobs in a year, and the unemployment rate ticked up, the strongest signs yet that the labor market and economy as a whole have cooled:  non-farm payroll growth of 69,000 and an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent. April had seen an unexpectedly low 115,000 nonfarm jobs created, though investors will be watching carefully for any revisions.

RINK RATS TMZ.COM – If the election were today, Obama would likely win 247 electoral votes to Romney's 206 (270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency), according to an analysis of polls, ad spending and key developments in states, along with interviews with more than a dozen Republican and Democratic strategists both inside and outside of the two campaigns. Seven states, offering a combined 85 electoral votes, are viewed as too close to give either candidate a meaningful advantage: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.
SPORTS BLINK - NBC release: "NBCUniversal will provide 5,535 hours of coverage for the 2012 London Olympics across NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo,, two specialty channels, and the first-ever 3D platform, an unprecedented level that surpasses the coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by nearly 2,000 hours. ... NBC will broadcast 272.5 hours of coverage, the most ever for an Olympic broadcast network, largely attributable to an increase in daytime coverage. ...
"NBCUniversal is presenting its 13th Olympic Games and seventh consecutive, both the most by any U.S. media company. ABC is second with 10 and four (twice), respectively. London will be NBCUniversal's seventh consecutive Summer Games, having presented each one since Seoul in 1988. ... The 5,535 hours more than double the total amount of coverage of every Summer Games combined prior to Beijing (2,562 hours from 1960 Rome on CBS to 2004 Athens on NBC). The 5,535 hours are the equivalent of 231 days of coverage. NBCUniversal will average 291 hours of coverage per day over London's 19 days (including two days of soccer competition prior to the Opening Ceremony). ...
"NBC will broadcast 272.5 hours of London Olympic coverage over 17 days , the most extensive coverage ever provided by an Olympic broadcast network, and nearly 50 hours more than the 225 hours for Beijing in 2008. ... Coverage will begin on most weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT, immediately following NBC News' TODAY, which is originating from London. On weekends, NBC's daytime coverage will begin as early as 5 a.m. ET/PT. ... MSNBC will carry 155.5 hours of a wide variety of long-form Olympic programming over 19 days. CNBC will serve as the home of Olympic boxing this summer, including the debut of women's boxing. The channel will televise 73 hours of boxing coverage over 16 days -- from elimination bouts to the men's and women's finals. Bravo will act as the home of Olympic tennis this summer ...
" will live stream every event and sport for the first time ever. ... Two apps - one focused on live streaming, one on short-form highlights, schedules, results, columns, and more - will be available for mobile and tablet users. The vast majority of content will only be available to authenticated cable, satellite or telco customers."
WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS – I recently attended a playoff game at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. A few observations: are tattoos mandatory now at all professional sporting events? Also, must the “F” word be part of our vocabulary in every sentence, especially when children are present? It looks like a lot of rocks have been moved by sport fans to come out from for this event.

Where do these people come from? Now I know why I purchase cable packages of sport leagues, so I do not have to attend regularly a sporting event. The LA Kings playoff game resembled a bad afternoon at the DMV, also the knowledge of ice hockey in the arena resembled a Christian Right booth at a Rainbow rally, “empty”.

SIGN OF THE TIMES – Justin Combs, the 18-year old son of hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, will attend UCLA on a $54,000 football scholarship this fall. Sean Combs is worth an estimated $475 million and gave his son a $360,000 Maybach car for his 16th birthday. His son is a 5-foot-9-inch, 170-pound defensive back who graduated from New Rochelle Iona Prep in New York with a 3.75 GPA. Scholarship, really! Higher education at its’ finest.

BASEBALL POWER RANKINGS – We are now a quarter of the way through the Major League Baseball Season, here are Rink Rats top teams thus far –

1.      Los Angeles Dodgers (33-21) – Frank McCourt who?
2.      Texas Rangers (32-22) – Could this finally be their year?
3.      Tampa Bay Rays (31-23) – Best manager in baseball.
4.      Chicago White Sox (31-23) – If only Ken (The Hawk) Harrelson would retire.
5.      Washington Nationals (30-22) – Whooo?
6.      Baltimore Orioles (30-24) – Double Whooo??
7.      Cincinnati Reds (30-23) – Big Red mini machine.

30. Chicago Cubs (18-35) – Hapless.

Most Disappointing Team – Detroit Tigers (25-29) – Could Jim Leyland be on thin ice?

DRIVING THE WEEK - On the data front, markets are super hungry for anything positive following the dismal 69K May jobs number. Doesn't seem likely to happen this week, with little in the way of major numbers on tap. ISM non-manufacturing on Tuesday not likely to change from 53.5. Jobless claims not likely to move down much from 390K. So the biggest game in town is Bernanke's Joint Economic Committee testimony at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. Just how downbeat will he sound? Enough to spark a QE3 stock market rally? Maybe! Maybe not! ... House OGR on Wednesday holds a hearing on "concerns about the integrity" of the BLS jobs report release in light of the recent lock-up changes. Some Republicans privately complain that BLS might somehow by goosing the jobs numbers which is A.) Ridiculous on its face given the crummy numbers and B.) Impossible given safeguards already in place and the professionalism of career BLS staff.

Senate Banking has a hearing Wednesday on Dodd-Frank implementation/JPMorgan trading loss with Treasury's Neal Wolin, the Fed's Dan Tarullo, CFPB's Richard Cordray, OCC's Tom Curry and FDIC's Martin Gruenberg ... House Financial Services has a hearing Wednesday on the Investment Advisor Oversight Act ... Obama is in NYC today for the usual triple-play fund-raiser routine, this time including the "Barack on Broadway" event at the New Amsterdam Theatre featuring Jon Bon Jovi and former President Bill Clinton, among many other bold faced names ... Former FBI director Louis Freeh today is to report on his investigation in the MF Global collapse.

Finally,  should you have local elections this week, VOTE. The most important elections are local.

Next week, Stanley Cup Finals LA style and summer gardening.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
June 4, 2012

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