Monday, September 24, 2012

Why Blog

Why do I blog? Good question but an easy answer. I blog because I want to keep learning; I want to learn how to write, learn what is going on the world around me, laugh at the world around me, and communicate with those who read my efforts.

To me blogging is not to share a personal point of view but to take a more general or subjective stance to the world while still remaining, in most cases, personal in nature.

There are four types of blogs:

Distraction blogging: Sometimes our motives are purely self indulgent. “It’s all about me”. We are inherently narcissistic and alarming to the observers of social media. We are driven to blog for selfish reasons by our troubled situation. Our “real life” is bringing us down or trapping us in oppressive obligations.  Have you heard of Twitter and Facebook?

Archive blogging: Sometimes we are motivated by our own expertise and continuing, passionate pursuit of those subject areas. We want to share what we know in ways that help other people. We have found our expertise functions as solutions and effective strategies in many contexts. We build up an archive of our wisdom and watch it get searched long after we wrote the postings. We offer our gifts generously and unilaterally for the good of anyone who can benefit from them.

Conversation blogging: Often our motives are reciprocal. We get by giving. Our sharing comes back around. We are growing, changing, learning and creating in the process of giving. Mutual benefits abound. Everyone involved is affected by our exchanges and collaborative explorations.

Democratic blogging: Our motives may be political and grounded in the realities of particular circumstances. By blogging, changes are occurring in the social dynamics, distribution of power and control of outcomes. We are motivated by our envisioned future and the signs of progress in that direction.

My blog is a combination of all these with a personal touch. As I am well into my third year of blogging, what have I learned this far? That writing is not easy, sharing is not easy, and sometimes I can take things way to seriously. So we move forward, learning, communicating, and laughing. To those who read this effort every week or now and then. I thank you and always welcome your comments and critiques.

"WHY OBAMA IS WINNING," So Far: "Unemployment is over 8 percent. Nearly 60 percent of Americans ... believe the country is on the wrong track. The number of people on food stamps is at a historic high and the median net worth of American families is at a 20-year low. If it was true that winning elections is mostly a matter of numbers - as some political scientists and campaign operatives like to argue - Barack Obama's reelection as president should be close to a mathematical impossibility. ... But 2012 is proving that politics isn't just about numbers ... With Obama holding a narrow but so far sturdy lead over Mitt Romney in polls, many incredulous Republicans sound like the Michael Dukakis character in a 1988 Saturday Night Live skit: 'I can't believe I'm losing to this guy.'

"The phenomenon is the result of three powerful factors, according to interviews with some two dozen political veterans from both parties. ... 1) A Democratic landscape: The state-by-state polls this fall make it clear: The 2008 presidential election was no anomaly. The Upper South and interior West are now competitive terrain and will be in future White House races. That means Democrats have more margin for error than Republicans ... 2) The incumbent's staying power ... Obama ... remains in the minds of many voters a historic figure - not just another embattled incumbent. ... 3) The challenger's flaws."

FIRST LOOK - Sunday's N.Y. Times Magazine, "'A BORN POLITICIAN': Joe Kennedy III is trying to follow in the steps of his father (and grandfather and great-uncles and so on)," by Edith Zimmerman: "When Patrick J. Kennedy relinquished his Rhode Island House seat in early 2011, it marked the first time since 1947 that there was no Kennedy in national elected office. ... Joe Kennedy spent the summer traveling in Massachusetts' newly redrawn Fourth District - the one that Barney Frank has represented since 1981, a year after Kennedy was born. Last winter, after Frank announced his retirement, Kennedy moved into the district and soon began his campaign. During the past few months, he has visited senior citizens at bingo night in Taunton, eaten gluten-free cupcakes at a bakery in Millis, cheered at a tractor pull in Rehoboth and greeted Green Line commuters. Through individual donations and about $200,000 from various PACs, he has taken in nearly $3 million, about six times the total of his nearest opponent. He clinched the Democratic nomination on Sept. 6.

"Part of Kennedy's appeal is that ... he has led a decidedly drama-free life. Joe and his fraternal twin, Matt, grew up in the Boston suburbs and went to the prestigious Buckingham Browne & Nichols school. ... He went to Stanford, where he co-captained the lacrosse team, then to the Peace Corps and then to Harvard Law School. After graduation, he became an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County, in eastern Massachusetts. In mid-January, he resigned from the district attorney's office. A few days later he announced his engagement to his longtime girlfriend, Lauren Anne Birchfield, whom he met at Harvard (they've been together for six years - 'I was on borrowed time,' he told me). A month after that he declared his candidacy. He also adopted a puppy."

HOT CHARTS: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SURPLUSES? - what happened to the Clinton-era budget surpluses: "From 2002-2011, about three-fourths (73 percent) of the $12.7 trillion growth in federal debt was spending and tax legislation, the rest being the product of projection inaccuracies-such as expecting higher growth, increased revenue, or lower spending. ....

The shortfall in tax revenue-caused by legislation such as 2001/2003 tax cuts, the tax relief implemented as part of the stimulus bill in 2009, and the Tax Act of 2010-accounts for about a quarter (24 percent) of the shift from surplus to deficits. However, spending increases over the 10-year period is the main factor contributing to the current deficits. ... 49 percent ... comes from increase in spending [including] the defense budget, Medicare, and the stimulus bill of 2009. 

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Lou Dobbs (67), Michael Douglas (68), Grant Fuhr (50), Joe Greene (66), Joseph Kennedy II (60), Meat Loaf (65), Cheryl Tiegs (65), Catherine Zeta-Jones (43).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/29, 3:30 PM ET ABC: #14 ranked The Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0) visit the #20 ranked Michigan State Spartans (3-1). Big game for the Big Ten since so far this season the critics have been all over the quality of the football; this should be a good one. MSU 28 OSU 24.   Season to date (2-2).

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/29, 1:00 PM ET, Bravo: it is a battle of the New England preppies, Colby White Mules (0-1) entertain the Middlebury Panthers (1-0). The best thing about this game will be the fall scenery in Waterville, Maine. The Panthers hold on to the Preppie of the Year, Middlebury 35 Colby 21.    Season to date (4-0).

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/30, 1:00 PM ET, Fox: San Francisco 49ers (2-1) at New York Jets (2-1). It comes down to what quarterback does not stink as bad as the other one. 49ers 20 Jets 10.  Season to Date (2-1).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – MSU 28 OSU 24, Middlebury 35 Colby 21, SF 20 Jets 10, U.S. to win a close Ryder Cup this weekend over the Euro Trash 15 to 13.   Season to Date (10-5).

DRIVING THE WEEK - Paul Ryan begins the Romney-Ryan ticket's Ohio bus tour today with event in Lima at 3:10 p.m.EDT ... Romney and Ryan meet up in Vandalia, Ohio on Tuesday ... ... Romney has an event in Pueblo, Colo. today around 1:00 p.m. MDT ... President Obama will also be in Ohio this week, heading to Bowling Green and Kent on Wednesday to urge voters to take advantage of early voting, which starts Oct. 2 in the state ... Obama will campaign in Virginia Beach, Va. on Thursday ... Both Romney and Obama address the Clinton Global Initiative in NYC on Tuesday. ... Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner also speaks to CGI on Tuesday ... Senate to join the House in recess until Election Day ... POLITICO's Manu Raju reports a new idea for the lame duck is a spin on the sequester idea that would require a long-awaited overhaul of the tax code.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks at the Peterson Institute on Monday ... IMF on Tuesday releases it latest report on the safety of the global economy with commentary expected on the potential impact of the U.S. fiscal cliff ... S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.8% ... Conference Boar consumer confidence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise to 63.2 from 60.6 ... New homes sales at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday expected to grow 2.2% to a pace of 380K ... Final revision to Q2 GDP at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday expected to be unchanged at 1.7%.

Next week, movie and Jack Ass of the month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 24, 2012

#III-22, 127

Monday, September 17, 2012

Quantitative Easing Trois

Dear Rink Rats:
Who are the highest paid on television?

I Feel Like Getting Depressed

Dear I Feel Like Getting Depressed:

Yes this will get you very depressed, especially in today’s economy and the morons who top this list:

Judge Judy Sheindlin - $45 million 
Simon Cowell - $40 million
David Letterman - $28 million                                 
Matt Lauer - $21.5 million
Judge Joe Brown - $20 million                                 
Bill O’Reilly - $20 million
Kelly Ripa - $20 million                                            
Jon Stewart - $16 million
Jay Leno - $15 million                                               
Ryan Seacrest  - $15 million

Impressive and depressing.

Rink Rats

QE3 - "Fed bets big in new push to rescue U.S. economy, The Federal Reserve launched another aggressive stimulus program on Thursday, saying it would pump $40 billion into the U.S. economy each month until it saw a sustained upturn in the weak jobs market. The central bank's decision to tie its controversial bond buying directly to economic conditions was an unprecedented step that marked a big escalation in its efforts to drive U.S. unemployment lower. Stock prices jumped, while gold hit a six-month high as investors braced for faster inflation. Unlike in its two previous bond-buying sprees, the Fed said it would only purchase mortgage-backed securities, hoping in part to unstick a housing sector that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke called 'a missing piston' in the U.S. recovery.

CHEAT SHEET: WHAT THE FED ANNOUNCED - "The FOMC announced a new purchase program--QE3--of $40 billion per month, all of which will be in agency MBS. It will run side-by-side with the $45B or so per month in long-term Treasuries via Operation Twist scheduled through the end of this year. They hinted they could well come back and add to the QE program after that ... They also extended the forward guidance on low rates to 'at least through mid-2015' ... Here is the key line: 'If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability.' The vote was 11 to 1. There was one dissent: Pres. Lacker, who dissented at the last meeting as well."

BOTTOM LINE - Assuming tame inflation, the Fed is not tightening till we get below 7% unemployment, which the central bank now foresees in late 2014 following its latest action (halfway through Obama II or Romney I) ... All this means that if the economy does what the Fed thinks it will over the next four years the next presidential election will take place in a very different climate.

We tend to believe that recovery will not take place until second quarter of 2016. Too many negatives still in the economy: Europe, Fiscal Cliff, Regulations, Deleveraging, Student Debt, too much to overcome.

THE NEXT BATTLE: APPLE VS GOOGLE - "Steven P. Jobs minced no words when talking about Android, Google's mobile operating system, which he saw as too similar to the iPhone's. He told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, that Android was 'a stolen product' and said, 'I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this.' ... But so far Apple has not gone to war with Google, at least not directly. Instead, Apple has sued the cellphone makers that use Android in their products - like Samsung ... Now, though, the war is drawing closer to Google's doorstep. Google is increasingly making its own hardware, thanks in part to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, or playing an integral part in designing it, as it did with the Nexus 7 tablet. ...

'Apple's desire is to be able to put Google on that hot seat, but they need a path to actually be able to do that, and so far all they've seen is a way to go after actual hardware makers,;' said Charles S. Golvin, a mobile industry analyst at Forrester. Google could end up more squarely in Apple's sights if it doesn't take precautions, Mr. Golvin said. 'What it means for the Android folks is a very careful review, back to the drawing board, including a close examination of Apple's stable of patents to weed out anything that looks risky in terms of violating the Apple portfolio."

IPO WORST EVER? In Facebook's IPO, it "wasn't just NASDAQ's performance that was 'the worst ever.' With Thursday's stock swoon, Facebook's IPO now ranks as 'the worst performer among all large IPOs on record,' according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That's quite a designation for what was supposed to be the apex of Silicon Valley's high-profile social media debuts."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Faith Hill (45), Cheryl Hines (47), Phil Jackson (67), Stephen King (65), Tommy Lasorda (85), Bill Murray (62), Rick Pitino (60), Ronaldo (36), Bruce Springsteen (63), Ava Suffredini …a princess, Trisha Yearwood (48).

INSIDE POTUS' HEAD - Michael Lewis, in the Oct. issue of Vanity Fair, "Obama's Way ": "From the time his wife goes to bed, around 10 at night, until he finally retires, at 1, Barack Obama enjoys the closest thing he experiences to privacy: no one but him really knows exactly where he is or what he's up to. He can't leave his house, of course, but he can watch ESPN, surf his iPad, read books, dial up foreign leaders in different time zones, and any number of other activities that feel almost normal. He can also wrestle his mind back into the state it would need to be if, say, he wanted to write. And so, in a funny way, the president's day actually starts the night before.

"When he awakens at seven , he already has a jump on things. He arrives at the gym on the third floor of the residence, above his bedroom, at 7:30. He works out until 8:30 (cardio one day, weights the next), then showers and dresses in either a blue or gray suit. 'My wife makes fun of how routinized I've become ... It's not my natural state ... Naturally, I'm just a kid from Hawaii. But at some point in my life I overcompensated.' After a quick breakfast and a glance at the newspapers-most of which he's already read on his iPad-he reviews his daily security briefing. When he first became president he often was surprised by the secret news; now he seldom is. 'Maybe once a month. 

--HOW IT HAPPENED -- Reuters/Benghazi, Libya: Ambassador Stevens "and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car ... as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made [video] insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Gunmen had attacked and burned the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi ... Stevens was being driven from the consulate building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire."

"According to the State Department Office of the Historian, five U.S. ambassadors have been killed by terrorists: Adolph Dubs, in Afghanistan, 1979 ... Francis E. Meloy Jr., in Lebanon, 1976 ... Rodger P. Davies, in Cyprus, 1974 ... Cleo A. Noel Jr., in Sudan, 1973 ... John Gordon Mein, in Guatemala, 1968. Two other U.S. ambassadors have died in plane crashes: Arnold L. Raphel, in Pakistan, 1988 ... Laurence A. Steinhardt , in Canada, 1950."

ANNIVERSARY – Congrats to Newman’s Own for thirty years of raising funds for a variety of charities and producing great products.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/22, 8:00 PM ET, ABC: #10 Clemson Tigers (3-0) visit Tallahassee, Florida and the #4 Florida State Seminoles (3-0).  This HUGE early ACC tilt has Florida  State’s #1 ranked defense and #2 ranked offense at home, too much for the Tigers – FSU 42 Clemson 28.    Season to date (1-2).

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/22, 1:00 PM ET, the SciFi Channel: It is a battle of the engineers in beautiful Troy, New York. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Engineers (1-2) visit Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers (2-1). To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. RPI 24 WPI 10.     Season to date (3-0).

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/23, 4:05 PM ET, Fox: Undefeateds’ clash in the desert – Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) visit Arizona Cardinals (2-0). Andy Reid has the Eagles playing good and lucky football in the early going; Eagles 24 Cardinals 14.  Season to Date (2-0).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – FSU 42 Clemson 28, RPI 24 WPI 10, Eagles 24 Cardinals 14, Montreal Alouettes 30 Toronto Argonauts 24.   Season to Date (7-4).

DO YOU KNOW - University of Southern California (USC) official mascot is?

(a).  A Trojan warrior.                      (b).  A Greek God
©.  A Trojan horse                            (d).  A Trojan condom

Answer in @SLU25 twitter.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Obama campaigns in Ohio today and announces the trade case ... The president is in Manassas, Va. on Friday and Milwaukee, Wisc. on Saturday ... Romney speaks in L.A. at 12:15 PDT today ... Paul Ryan campaigns in Iowa today and New Hampshire and Virginia on Tuesday ... House Small Business Committee has a hearing Thursday at 1:00 p.m. on the impact of the sequester spending cuts on small businesses ... Senate Finance and House Ways and Means have a joint hearing on Thursday on the tax treatment of capital gains.
Among the pile of economic data, Philly Fed on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. may give us some clues about the next jobs report ... OWS plans a one-year anniversary set of protests in NYC today beginning at 7:00 a.m. and focused on the NYSE, Zuccotti park and Foley Square. So plan some extra time if you need to get around downtown.

Next week, movie and Jack Ass of the month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 17, 2012

#III-21, 126

Monday, September 10, 2012

And Away They Go

The political season is now officially begun with the conventions thankfully over and Labor Day behind us.

HOW VOTERS GETS NEWS -- "Voters still tuned in to traditional news media: Traditional news sources on TV and in print also remain more trusted than the burgeoning alternative ecosystem of blogs, late-night comedy shows and social media outlets, the USC Annenberg/Los Angeles Times Poll on Politics and the Press found. The survey confirms a few widely suspected divides: Democrats and the young tend to be more trusting of a variety of media, while Republicans and older news consumers are more skeptical. ... The USC/Times poll found that with a welter of new media alternatives available, there was only one source that a majority of registered voters turned to at least daily: local television news.”

"Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said they watched their local TV news that often. That gives local stations considerably more reach than the second-most-common news source: local newspapers ... About 39% of those surveyed said they routinely turned to the local paper. Although younger voters turn increasingly to nontraditional media sources, they make a distinction about trustworthiness. Among those age 18 to 29, almost 1 in 5 said they got news daily or more often from Comedy Central hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. But when asked to rate the trustworthiness of news sources, those young viewers rated the two funny men far lower than ... local newspapers and local TV."

PAUL RYAN: "College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. ... We are a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And in some ways, we are different. There are the songs in his iPod, which I have heard on the campaign bus... (LAUGHTER) ... and I have heard it on many hotel elevators. (LAUGHTER) He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, 'Look, I hope it is not a deal-breaker, Mitt. But my playlist starts with AC/DC and it ends with Zeppelin."

MAUREEN DOWD, "Will They Decipher the Cypher": "The emotion he evokes is pity. Romney slogged and spent his way to the G.O.P. convention his dad craved for himself only to find that his role is not so much leading man as forgotten man. ... When TV cut away to Mitt in the hall [during Christie's speech] to capture what should have been a thrilling moment, he looked as though his jelled skull might burst into flames. ...

"Romney is seen more as maître d' than nominee, ushering the party to a better table in the future. In Politico, conservatives referred to the placeholder Mitt as a transitional figure and 'an ideal segue.' When Mitt awkwardly came out on stage at the end of Ann's speech in what was supposed to be a crescendo, the room went flat. ... Ryan ... brought the zombie convention alive with a zowie speech ... Ryan's deft speech conjured the president's nightmare - that disillusioned voters might decide it's time to try something new."

BEST EMAIL OF THE WEEK - From a St. Lawrence University alumnus following Condoleezza Rice's very presidential sounding address that got a big reaction from the crowd: "Did Condi say no to VP because she would rather be an Augusta member?"

BIDEN on cover of New York mag -  "In filling his V.P. slot with the 42-year-old cheese head chair of the House Budget Committee, ... Romney injected a bracing dose of youth, substantive audacity, political risk, and partisan glamour ... Suddenly, with the spotlight trained on Ryan, ... Biden was bathed in luminescence, too. Suddenly, amazingly, the undercard mattered -- with next month's toe-to-toe between the No. 2's elevated from a sideshow to a marquee event. ... His debate with Palin garnered a larger audience than any of the televised tangles between Obama and John McCain. The task before Biden this time around will be different, though ... With Ryan now providing the ideological and intellectual heft on the GOP ticket, the Democrats intend to spend the next 60 days talking as much about him as about Romney. Yet the vice--presidential debate will be their only opportunity for direct engagement with Ryan...

"Biden will turn 74 in 2016, and his poll numbers have sagged since he took office, but he and his people have been hinting that he might have another presidential bid in him.... [H]is greatest asset, what Obama strategist David Axelrod calls his 'bluntness and ebullience,' is equally his gravest liability; that his old-school m.o. makes him almost uniquely unsuited to this postmodern political-media moment; that in a culture that pines ardently for authenticity and then punishes it cruelly, his utter incapacity for phoniness (and, yes, his grievous inability to control his yap) endows him with enormous charm and guile -- and also renders him a human IED. ...

"What he can't abide is the concept that he has reached the end of the line. In a career riddled with tragedy and disgrace, with episodes of emotional, political, and even physical disaster and defeat, Biden always recovered ... 'My friends are always kidding me about it -- I can't fathom the idea of thinking of retiring,' he declares. 'Hell, man! I can still take ya!'"

THE BUZZ IN CHARLOTTE: Reporters think President Obama's speech was lame - meandering, and sounding like a State of the Union address. People at the after-parties seemed baffled that he didn't lift his game for the big moment. But mostly Republicans watched the Republican convention, and mostly Democrats watched the Democratic convention. So the acceptance speeches weren't as big a moment for talking to swing voters as they were in the past.

BREAKING - "Obama squeaks out Aug. fundraising win over Romney," "President Obama raised more than $114 million in August, while Romney brought in just over $111 million ... It's the first time in four months the Democrats have outraised the Republicans. And it's a sharp increase for the president, who raised $75 million in July. Despite Obama's advantage in August, it's the third straight month Romney has collected more than $100 million, and the figure represents his best one-month fundraising total. And Romney has socked away more money for the general election campaign."

HUGE – Miracles do happen, Carrie L. has changed her political party from Republican to Democrat. Upon learning of the news this morning long-time Republican David Drier of Glendora was quoted, “Who?”

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Heidi Bravo ...famous animal advocate, Harry Connick  Jr. (45), Prince Harry (28), Tommy Lee Jones (66), B. B. King (87), Sam Neill (65), Arnold Palmer (83), Rachel Ward (55).

CONGRATS – To an old friend of Rink Rats on his retirement. Kevin G. after serving on the New York City Fire Department and then representing his fellow fire fighters in union work, we wish him well. Now turning to consulting and of course being a Grandpa we raise our glass to a long and healthy retirement. Let us know when you are in Vegas next!

ECONOMY MUDDLES ALONG - "Government data released Wednesday suggested the economy continued to muddle along at a subdued pace, highlighting the pressure on Ben S. Bernanke ... to come up with bolder policy prescriptions Friday when he delivers a widely anticipated speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo. With the economy looming as the leading issue in the presidential race, Mr. Bernanke faces a delicate decision. Though economic growth remained weak by historical standards, fears that the United States is slipping back into a recession have abated ...

More aggressive steps to stimulate the economy will also draw criticism from Republicans, who have demanded that Mr. Bernanke forswear additional monetary moves for now. The Commerce Department revised upward its estimate of economic growth in the second quarter to an annual rate of 1.7 percent, from an earlier estimate of 1.5 percent. That growth still represents a deceleration from the 2 percent pace in the first quarter. The economy needs to grow at 2.5 percent to 3 percent a year to substantially reduce unemployment, which is at 8.3 percent."

DELINQUENCIES DROP - Per NY Fed release: "In its latest Quarterly Report ... delinquency rates for mortgages (6.3%), credit cards (10.9%), and auto loans (4.2%) decreased from the previous quarter. However, rates for student loans (8.9%) and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) (4.9%) increased from March. Household indebtedness declined to $11.38 trillion, a $53 billion decline from the first quarter of 2012. Outstanding household debt has decreased $1.3 trillion since its peak in Q3 2008. The reduction was led by a decline in real estate-related debt."

MEET CHINA'S NEW RICHES MAN - Per Bloomberg: "China has a new richest man (and he only spends $20 a day) according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. ... Zong Qinghou, head of China's third-largest beverage maker, is the country's richest man after unveiling that his stake in closely held Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. is more than double previously estimated. The 66-year-old soda and juice tycoon owns more than 80 percent of Wahaha , the company's spokesman Shan Qining said in an interview on Sept. 3. That stake elevates Zong's net worth to $21.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is now $13.4 billion wealthier than Robin Li , founder of the nation's biggest search engine.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/15, 8:00 PM ET, ABC: #20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0) visit #10 Michigan State Spartans (2-0). The Spartans are the Big Tens’ last legitimate hope at a BCS title team for 2012, led by Junior Quarterback Andrew Maxwell from Midland, Michigan. Maxwell is making East Lansing fans forget quickly Kirk Cousins. MSU 28 The Domers 10.    Season to date (1-1).

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/15, 12:00 PM ET, The Cooking Channel: #4 Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (1-0) visit #3 Wesley Wolverines (2-0). Texas barbeque travels to Dover, Delaware for this inter-conference matchup. The Crusaders win a tight one 21 to 20 over the Wolverines.     Season to date (2-0).

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/16, 8:00 PM ET, NBC: The Detroit Lions (1-0) visit the San Francisco 49er’s (1-0) in a HUGE early season test for the playoff hungry Lions. But too bad they run into the 49er defense which will easily put the Lions into a cage. San Francisco 32 Detroit 17.  Season to Date (1-0).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Michigan State 28 Notre Dame 10, Mary Hardin 21 Wesley 20, La Verne 28 Whitworth 24, San Francisco 32 Detroit 17   Season to Date (5-2).

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama appears to have widened his lead over Mitt Romney a bit but we will see where the numbers shake out after the dismal Friday jobs report. None of the post-convention numbers matter much anyway. Wait for mid-September tracking before making judgments on the state of play heading down the stretch ... Obama campaigns in Las Vegas on Wednesday and Denver on Thursday ... Romney campaigns in Mansfield, Ohio today as well as in Obama's home town of Chicago (presumably for money) ... VP Biden is in Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday and Wisconsin on Thursday ... Former President Bill Clinton, fresh off his boffo convention speech, campaigns in Miami on Tuesday and Orlando on Wednesday ...

Congress is back in DC this week but is not expected to do much of anything expect pass a CR to keep the government running past Oct. 1. Only question is whether anything gets larded onto the CR such as a delay in the sequester impact ... R.R. spoke with a member of Congress on Friday who said there was no real reason to have members back in the Capitol, beyond the CR, until after Election Day ...

House OGR has a hearing on the JOBS act at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday ... Consumer credit out today at 3:00 p.m. EDT expected to come in at $9.6B ... Main event is end of Fed meeting on Thursday with rate announcement at 12:30 p.m. EDT and Bernanke presser at 2:00 p.m. in which markets expect him to announce a new campaign of assets purchases. Expect Romney to criticize the move after it happens (and Dems to criticize Bernanke if it doesn't) ... Big German court ruling expected Wednesday on whether euro bailout funds are legal.

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

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 10, 2012

#III-20, 125

Monday, September 3, 2012


Some numbers to pay attention to this week –

11.4% is the percentage of American workers in labor unions. This is compared to 18.4% in Germany, 27.5% in Canada, and 32.0% in Poland. Labor Day was first an official holiday in 1887 in the State of Oregon.

8.3% is the current unemployment rate, 0.5% higher than in 2009 when President  Obama took office.

314,226,714 United States citizens and an estimated 270,000,000 privately owned guns held by those citizens.

90% of 294 billion emails sent per day are spam.

Vin Scully has called 3 perfect games, 25 World Series, 12 All Star Games, and 25 no-hitters.

$2.2 trillion cash now been held by U.S. corporations, this amount of cash held has never been higher.

10% world food prices have risen in July alone due to drought parched crop lands in the United States and Eastern Europe.

U.S. Domestic Beer sales (last 52 weeks): 1. Bud Light $5.4B, 2. Bud $2.06B, 3. Coors Light $2.0B, 4. Miller Lite $1.7B.

Fastest growing import beers in U.S. (last 52 weeks): 1. Stella Artois +38.1%, 2. Dos Equis XX +36.3%, 3. Modelo +26.3%.

MITT ROMNEY has finally amassed 1 million Twitter followers. Obama has 19.2 million.

U.S. CITIES STAT: Only three of the 20 largest U.S. cities have Republican mayors. Democrats lead eight of the top 10.

Top 3 Network news ratings: 1. NBC (7.8M), 2. ABC (7.0M), 3. CBS (5.5M).

BAD BEHAVIOR - WHAT HAPPENS IN CHARLOTTE WILL NOT STAY IN CHARLOTTE: "A California delegate to the Democratic National Convention was hospitalized early this morning, after apparently falling unconscious in a hotel lobby following a night of drinking, while another delegate became confrontational with hotel staff and has since left the delegation," the Sacramento Bee's David Siders reports. "The hospitalized man has since been released from the hospital, California Democratic Party spokesman Tenoch Flores said. Flores said two men were involved in an incident early this morning in the lobby of the Blake Hotel, where the California delegation is staying. He declined to identify either man or to say where they are from. 'Oftentimes at conventions, people who have not seen each other for a long time gather and sometimes people have too much to drink,' Flores said. 'That appears to have been the case here, and we're gathering more information.”

HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED: "The first woman who ever spoke at a convention in 1940, Eleanor Roosevelt, never talked about Franklin's polio [and] never talked about him as her husband or as a father," historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said on NBC's "Meet the Press" during a discussion of Ann Romney's Tuesday speech. "She simply said, 'The president cannot be here because there's too much happening in the world at large right now.' They were restless. They wanted him there. And she saved that convention. But it's a whole different change. And it wasn't just Ann Romney. We've changed the whole idea...that we have to present them as human beings."

LET'S BE FRIENDS - Two Presidents find a mutual advantage": "The reconciliation began in earnest late last summer. Patrick Gaspard, the former White House political director, who has moved to the Democratic National Committee, approached Douglas Band, Clinton's closest political adviser and longtime gatekeeper, with some suggestions about how the former President might help with Obama's 2012 reëlection campaign. Band, who, by reputation, has an acute sense for moments of political advantage, tried to explain that you don't just call up Bill Clinton and tell him to raise money and campaign for you. Band recommended that the two Presidents begin by playing golf.

"The next day, Obama phone Clinton and invited him out for a round. Several Clinton associates say that this was the moment they realized that Obama truly wanted to win in 2012. Why else would he spend hours on a golf course being lectured by Clinton?

"The Presidential round was played at Andrews Air Force Base on September 24, 2011, and since then Clinton has become a visible and vigorous champion of Obama's reëlection. ... Now that Obama has turned the campaign into something of a referendum on Clinton's sterling record on the economy, Clinton can hardly complain. That may be part of Obama's strategy, too. Flattered by the attention, Clinton now has an incentive to work hard for Obama, who seems to have learned how to tame the former president."

BEHIND THE CURTAIN - "Mitt Romney privately invited Mr. Eastwood ... to speak after the actor had given him a gravelly, full-throated endorsement at a star-studded fund-raiser at the Sun Valley Resort Lodge in Idaho this summer. ... Thus began an effort by Mr. Romney's campaign over several weeks to inject a Hollywood-style surprise into the highly scripted, tightly controlled convention ... Eastwood's convention cameo was cleared by Mr. Romney's top message mavens, Russ Schriefer and Stuart Stevens, who drew up talking points that Mr. Eastwood included, in his own way. They gave him a time limit and flashed a blinking red light that told him his time was up. He ignored both. The actor's decision to use a chair as a prop was last-minute, and his own. ...

"Eastwood's rambling and off-color appearance just moments before the biggest speech of Mr. Romney's life instantly became a Twitter and cable-news sensation, which drowned out much of the usual postconvention analysis that his campaign had hoped to bask in. It also startled and unsettled Mr. Romney's top advisers and prompted a blame game among them. 'Not me,' an exasperated-looking senior adviser said when asked who was responsible for Mr. Eastwood's speech. ... Ann Romney, who made the rounds of the three network morning shows, hardly pretended that she was happy as she was repeatedly asked about the speech. ... Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin said on MSNBC that he 'cringed' as he sat in the hall during Mr. Eastwood's performance. ...

"Romney advisers so trusted Mr. Eastwood, 82, that unlike with other speakers, they said they did not conduct rehearsals or insist on a script or communicate guidelines for the style or format of his remarks. ... He was scheduled to speak for about five minutes but stayed onstage for more than twice as long, throwing off the schedule for Mr. Romney."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Corbin Bernsen (58), Sid Caesar (90), Chris Christie (50), Jane Curtin (65), Carly Fiorina (58), Al Jardine (70), Paul Volcker (85), Raquel Welch (72).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/8, 10:30 PM ET, Pac12 Network; #17 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0) at UCLA Bruins (1-0). Quarterback Taylor Martinez of Nebraska will be too much for Jim Mora’s new Bruins. Nebraska 35 UCLA 32. Season to date (1-0).

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/8, 8:00 PM ET, HGTV; West meets Midwest in this inter-conference matchup, #18 Redlands Bulldogs (0-0) visit #13 ranked North Central Illinois Cardinals (0-1). The Cardinals will be too much for the SCIAC challenger, North Central 28 Redlands 10. Season to date (1-0).


NFC East – New York Giants

NFC North – Green Bay Packers

NFC South – Atlanta Falcons

NFC West – San Francisco 49ers

Wild Cards – Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions

AFC East – New England Patriots

AFC North – Baltimore Ravens

AFC South – Houston Texans

AFC West – Denver Broncos

Wild Cards – Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers

Super Bowl – New York Giants 32 Baltimore Ravens 20

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/9, 8:00 PM ET, NBC; Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos. Pittsburgh is old, Denver is psyched – Denver 24 Piitsburgh 10. Season to Date (0-0).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Nebraska 35 UCLA 32, North Central Illinois 28 Redlands 10, Denver 24 Pittsburgh 10, Roger Federer (SUI) to win Men’s U.S. Tennis Open, Serena Williams (USA) to win Women’s U.S. Tennis Open. Season to Date (2-0).

BASEBALL POWER RANKINGS – heading into the final month here are the top teams in Major League Baseball:

American League – Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays

National League – Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers.

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

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Tucson, AZ
September 3, 2012

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