Monday, October 29, 2012

Tricks or Treats

Some tricks or treats for this Halloween 2012 –

Trick: To walk through a Vons grocery without someone asking, “Are you finding everything?”

Treat: In the ninth week of a finance class seeing the look in a students’ eye when they understand WACC and a Capital Budget.

Trick: The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown – welcome to the election of 2012.

Treat: Booking a flight across country with the same price as a year ago.

Trick: Watching grown men and women dress up for Halloween and look like total idiots.

Treat: There is no metaphysics on earth like chocolates.

Trick: Ben Bernanke and his plan to keep inflation down.

Treat: Carving a pumpkin to look like you actually planned.

“The witches fly
Across the sky,
The owls go, “Who? Who? Who?”
The black cats yowl
And green ghosts howl,
“Happy Halloween to you!”

WHY WE VOTE ON TUESDAY? – The story starts all the way back with the Founding Fathers. "The Constitutional Convention just met for a very brief time during the summer of 1787," Senate Historian Don Ritchie says. "By the time they got finished they were exhausted and they hadn't made up their minds on a lot of things."

They were pooped. So they left the question of when federal elections should be held undecided. Without that laid out, states were left to set their own voting dates, which meant several decades of electoral chaos. Ritchie describes it as a "crazy quilt of elections" held at all different times, all over the country.

Finally, in 1845, Congress decided to get things under control. Ritchie says lawmakers reasoned that Monday was out because (this is where the buggies come in) people would have to travel to the polls in their buggies on Sunday, the Sabbath. And in a mostly farming society, Wednesday wouldn't work because that was often market day.

So, Tuesday was the day, and that seemed to work great for 19th century voters. "In the 1840s, elections were a big to-do — there was a lot of hoopla, there were parades," Ritchie says. "Whole families would come on wagons from the farms; people would get dressed up for the occasion."

Though the America of buggies and markets has long since given way to minivans and supermarkets, Tuesday remains the day we vote.

OBAMA/ROMNEY NEAR $2 BILLION TOTAL - "Obama and his allies have broken the billion-dollar barrier. Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and their joint fundraising group Obama Victory Fund have combined to raise $1,009,000,000 since the beginning of 2011, according to a POLITICO analysis ... A $90 million October put Team Obama over the top. ... Obama, who has railed against the influx of big money from conservative megadonors, quickly attributed the success to small donors, noting that since April 2011, 4.2 million people have donated. ...

"Meanwhile, Mitt Romney isn't that far behind the president. The committees in the Romney operation - Romney for President, Romney Victory and the Republican National Committee - have raised $921 million since the beginning of 2011. Romney wasn't involved in raising RNC funds prior to locking up the GOP presidential nomination in April, but cash raised by the RNC prior to then went to party building expected to help his campaign." 

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Richard Dreyfuss (65), Lyle Lovett (55), Jenny McCarthy (40), Gary Player (77).

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK -- N.Y. Times 3-col. lead, "Billions Amassed in the Shadows By the Family of China's Premier" (two strip pages; 4,600 words), by David Barboza in Beijing: "Many relatives of [outgoing Prime Minister] Wen Jiabao [the country's top economic official], including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister's relatives, some of whom have a knack for aggressive deal-making, including his wife, have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion. In many cases, the names of the relatives have been hidden behind layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, work colleagues and business partners. ... [T]he family's ventures sometimes received financial backing from state-owned companies ... As prime minister in an economy that remains heavily state-driven, Mr. Wen ... has broad authority over the major industries where his relatives have made their fortunes. ...

"Their ownership stakes are often veiled by an intricate web of holdings as many as five steps removed ... In the case of Mr. Wen's mother, The Times calculated her stake in Ping An [Insurance] ... by examining public records and government-issued identity cards, and by following the ownership trail to three Chinese investment entities. ... The apparent efforts to conceal the wealth reflect the highly charged politics surrounding the country's ruling elite, many of whom are also enormously wealthy but reluctant to draw attention to their riches. When Bloomberg News reported in June that the extended family of Vice President Xi Jinping, set to become China's next president, had amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in assets, the Chinese government blocked access inside the country to the Bloomberg Web site. ...

"The review of the corporate and regulatory records , which covers 1992 to 2012, found no holdings in Mr. Wen's name. ... For much of his tenure, Wen Jiabao has been at the center of rumors and conjecture about efforts by his relatives to profit from his position. Yet until the review by The Times, there has been no detailed accounting of the family's riches. ... As prime minister, Mr. Wen has staked out a position as a populist and a reformer, someone whom the state-run media has nicknamed 'the People's Premier' and 'Grandpa Wen' because of his frequent outings to meet ordinary people, especially in moments of crisis like natural disasters. ... 'Wen is disgusted with his family's activities, but is either unable or unwilling to curtail them,' a Chinese-born executive working at an American company in Shanghai told American diplomats, according to [a] 2007 cable [disclosed by Wikileaks]."

--THE CONTEXT - Financial Times: "Although [Wen] is set to retire after next month's congress, he has been one of the most important proponents of political reform in the party and is likely to seek to retain influence in driving that agenda after he steps down."

SPORTS BLINK - S.F. GIANTS WIN 2ND WORLD SERIES IN 3 YEARS - S.F. Chronicle: "GIANTS SWEEP!" Our Tigers had a great season, just ran into a hot San Francisco club. Lets’ hope Jim Leyland, 67 (manager of Detroit), comes back for another season and the Detroiters give it another solid try next year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/3, 8:00 PM ET, CBS: #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) visit #5 Louisana State University Tigers (7-1). Another HUGE SEC contest, Lou Saban’s Tide will be too much – Alabama 17 LSU 10. Season to date (5-4)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/3, 1:00 PM ET, SciFi Channel: Since 1906 this central Michigan classic has been played – (7-1) Adrian Bulldogs visit (6-2) Albion Britons. This battle for first place in the MIAA in Olivet, Michigan at Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium will be epic. Adrian 32 Albion 28.  Season to date (8-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 11/4, 4:25 PM ET, CBS has the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) visiting the New York football Giants (6-2). A must for the Steelers, but remember Eli Manning. Giants 21 Pittsburgh 14.  Season to date (6-2)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – A horrible week for The Swami last week, time to get back on track: Bama 17 LSU 10, Adrian 32 Albion 28, Giants 21 Pitt 14, Cal Lutheran 35 ULV 24. Season to date (23-12)

JACKASS OF THE MONTH – Without question, Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League. As Don Cherry says: “This puke has to go!” Three work stoppages during his time as Commissioner, the sport is now a distant fourth behind the other major North America professional sports: NFL, NBA, MLB. When is hockey going to figure out this guy is totally worthless.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Sandy's impact will dominate the beginning of the week. President Obama has cancelled campaign events to monitor and the storm and direct response from the White House ... Romney still plans to campaign in Iowa and Ohio today ... Paul Ryan plans to campaign in Florida ... Vice President Joe Biden still has campaign events planned with former President Bill Clinton ... But Sandy could upend any and all existing campaign plans depending on the severity of its impact. No one wants to be seen out stumping for votes while people are suffering through a natural disaster.

Big economic number comes Friday with the October jobs report. It's expected to be in line with recent months and show a net gain of around 125,000 in the employer survey. The big wild card is whether the household survey reverses last month's big drop to 7.8 percent and hits 8.0 percent again, which would be very tough for Obama going into Election Day. If the percentage remains below 8.0 percent, the number probably won't make any difference politically unless it's another big drop, which seems highly unlikely.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH – “Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open.”  James Dewar

Next week; Campaign final thoughts and a place for brunch.

Until Next Monday, Adios.
Claremont, CA
October 29, 2012

#III-27, 132

Monday, October 22, 2012

University Taglines

To be or not to be? A college on the East Coast uses "The Place to Be!" as its tagline. And why not? Everyone has to be somewhere. But unless the school wishes to target modern-day Hamlets who haven't decided whether to be or not, it has zero impact.

Another popular tagline is "Start Here, Go Anywhere." It's too popular, in fact. Dozens of schools use that same slogan or a close derivation. When an institution's tagline is so generic as to be interchangeable among schools, it's a sure sign that coherent strategy has "gone elsewhere."

Why do so many colleges use contrived and inept taglines? More importantly, what is the proper function of a tagline, and what do schools risk in deploying meaningless or absurd slogans? defines a tagline as "a slogan or phrase that conveys the most important … [feature] or benefit that the advertiser wishes to convey." However, emphasizing features in taglines is the hallmark of an amateur. Experts stress benefits instead.

An example of a feature-oriented tagline: "A Tradition of Leadership." A benefit-oriented tagline: "Where You're a Name, Not a Number." Features are inward-looking and self-oriented. Benefits are outward-looking and focused on the target audience's interests.

Sweet Briar College (Va.), a school for women, uses the tagline, "Think Is for Girls." They even render the word "Think" in pink to emphasize the pun. As taglines, puns are usually problematic. But Sweet Briar's slogan is brilliant. Sweet Briar's tagline is obviously a twist on the old clichè that "pink is for girls." This combination of the familiar with the unexpected makes it memorable. Unmemorable taglines are a waste of potential. The best taglines capture the imagination and can go viral ("Got milk?").

Marketing is strategic. Its purpose is to create a preference in the mind of the prospect and to motivate action based on that preference. Both coherent strategy and artful tactics are necessary. For tagline purposes, this means that a phrase or slogan should not be chosen because it "sounds good" to the administration. It should be selected based on its potential to engage and motivate the target audience. And it should be deployed how and where it will do the most good.

Some sample University taglines:

Knowledge is good – Faber College
Seize the moment, feel the momentum – SUNY Cortland
Only one Alma – Alma College
Invent the future – Virginia Tech
Women of influence – Russell Sage College
Do something great – THE Ohio State University
Do it with your head – University of Richmond
Get a life – University of Houston (City Campus)
The opportunity place – Bob Jones University
Uncommon journeys – Lewis & Clark College
Greed is good – University of Phoenix

Now if Colleges & Universities can only promise what they preach.

THE BEGINNING: 'Newsweek plans to end its print publication after 80 years and will shift to an all-digital format starting in early 2013. Job cuts are expected. Newsweek's last U.S. print edition will be its Dec. 31 issue. ... Barry Diller, the head of the company that owns Newsweek, announced in July that the publication was examining its future as a weekly print magazine. Diller said then that the brand was good around the world, but that producing a weekly news magazine in print form wasn't easy. The announcement of the change was made by Tina Brown, editor-in-chief and founder of The Newsweek Daily Beast Co., on The Daily Beast website. ... Brown said that the online publication will be called Newsweek Global and will be a single, worldwide edition that requires a paid subscription. It will be available for tablets and online reading, with certain content available on The Daily Beast website.'

THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION : "There are 80 million Americans in the Millennial generation ... just as many Millennials as Boomers and twice as many of these 16-32 year-olds as there are Gen Xers. And although they were born after Reagan took office, 90% of Millennials will be old enough to vote on Election Day and over 60% say that they are extremely or somewhat likely to vote. That's almost 50 million votes up for grabs. Leading up to the 2012 election. Millennials ... are very aware of what's going on in politics. And they are involved and influential. ... When it comes to political comedies, they don't watch to get informed; they watch because they are informed. ... What a candidate thinks is funny tells Millennials who they really are. ... Politicians must leverage humor to connect with Millennials: this generation needs humor, and they're saying it will shape their votes."

--Comedy Central's "5 Rules to Win the Millennial Vote through Humor ": "Avoid political hack. Save the joke writers for AARP night. You can't force funny with young voters. Millennials want a candidate with a genuine sense of humor. ... Don't make light of serious issues, as fun as that is. As much as Millennials love a good laugh, they are fiercely compassionate. They want candidates with solutions, not wisecracks. ... It's ok for a candidate to make fun of himself. Humor humanizes, and a well-timed joke at one's own expense shows personality and self-awareness. Just don't make fun of your opponent, that's the job of professional comedians. ... Stay up late. Do an interview with a respected late night comedian. They're a great way to connect with the electorate. Not only will you have a professional host to keep things from stalling, but you'll be allowed to lighten up."

BIGGEST DONORS -- DEMOCRATS: "No. 1: Jeffrey Katzenberg, 61, Hollywood film producer and chief executive of DreamWorks Animation. Total: $2.566 million ... No. 2: Irwin Jacobs, 78, the founder and former chairman of Qualcomm. Total: $2.122 million ... No. 3 (tie): Fred Eychaner, founder of Chicago-based alternative-newspaper publisher Newsweb Corp. Total: $2.066 million ... No. 3 (tie): Jon Stryker, 54, a Michigan philanthropist.Total: $2.066 million ... No. 5: Steve Mostyn, 41, a Houston-based personal injury attorney. Total: $2.003 million."

BIGGEST DONORS - REPUBLICANS : "No. 1: Sheldon Adelson, 79, owner of the Las Vegas Sands casino empire. Total: $34.2 million ... No. 2: Harold Simmons, 81, owner of Contran Corp., a Dallas-based conglomerate worth an estimated $9 billion that specializes in metals and chemical production and waste management.Total: $16 million ... No. 3: Bob J. Perry, 80, head of a Houston real estate empire worth an estimated $650 million. Total: $15.3 million ... No. 4: Robert Rowling, 58, head of Dallas-based TRT Holdings. Total: $4.1 million ... No. 5: William Koch, 72, an industrialist whose South Florida-based energy and mining conglomerate is worth an estimated $4 billion. Total: $3 million."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Hillary Rodman Clinton (65), Doug Flutie (50), Annette Funicello (70), Jeff Goldblum (60), Kevin Kline (65), Bobby Knight (72), Brad Paisley (40), Juli Roberts …famous campus director, Julia Roberts (45).

TOP FIVE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN MOVIES – Rink Rats has gone into their movie vaults to select their top five political campaign movies. Try renting these in the next few weeks:

1).  The Candidate (1972)
2).  The War Room (1993)
3).  The Last Hurrah (1956)
4).  Primary Colors ((1998)
5).  Bulworth (1998)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/27, 3:30 PM ET, CBS: #10 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) visit Jacksonville to take on #2 Florida Gators (7-0).  Another weekend, another SEC battle; Florida will be tested but will prevail, too much offense. Florida 38 Georgia 24. Season to date (5-3)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/27, 4:30 PM ET, Nickoledon: #22 Willamette Bearcats (5-1) visit NWC foe #3 Linfield Wildcats (6-0). A HUGE pacific northwest game, this is a special year for Linfield and it will continue. Linfield 24 Willamette 21. Season to date (7-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/28, 4:25 PM ET, Fox: The New York football Giants (5-2) at Dallas Cowboys (3-3). The Giants can put some distant between them and their NFC East rivals with a win, but we pick an upset: Dallas 28 New York Giants 24. Season to date (6-1)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Florida 38 Georgia 24, Linfield 24 Willamette 21, Dallas 28 Giants 24, ULV over budget for Homecoming weekend, over $35,000. Season to date (21-10)

REMEMBERING GEORGE McGOVERN - The family's announcement: "At approximately 5:15 am Sunday morning, our wonderful father, George McGovern passed away peacefully at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD, surrounded by our family and life-long friends. We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer. George McGovern died at the age of 90. Services will be held in Sioux Falls. Details will be announced shortly. In lieu of flowers, our family is requesting that donations be made to support Feeding South Dakota at

"Though routed by Richard Nixon, McGovern's 1972 campaign influenced the Democratic Party in the decades that followed and greatly changed the party's rules over how future presidential candidates and party leaders were chosen. He devoted much of his last three decades to anti-hunger issues, teaming with former senator Bob Dole, a Republican and one-time adversary in the Senate, to establish school-lunch programs in some of the world's poorest nations.

'In the storied history of American politics, I believe no other presidential candidate ever had such an enduring impact in defeat,' former president Bill Clinton said while was speaking in 2006 at the opening of the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell."

SALUTING FORMER REP. SAM GIBBONS, a Democrat and former Ways and Means chair who served in the House from 1963 to 1997- "The memorial service for Sam Gibbons was held in a church where, in his last days, the statesman sat in a wheelchair by the organ, singing with all the gusto he could find. It was his church, Palma Ceia Presbyterian, named for the neighborhood that Gibbons helped Tampa incorporate into its boundaries. ... Gibbons was a World War II hero who parachuted behind enemy lines on D-day, a state legislator who helped Tampa grow, a congressman who started the nation's preschool Head Start program, and a grandfather whose seven grandchildren called him 'Papa.' ... He died on Oct. 10 at age 92. ...

"Gibbons' conversations with NBC's Tom Brokaw [helped] inspire ... the news anchor to write 'The Greatest Generation.'"

NHL AT THE BRINK - And so it comes down to this: a week, maybe less, to not just save a season but a game's reputation; to save the reputation of its players and owners and to disprove the widely held notion -- one that grows by the day -- that hockey will just never get it right. Less than a week to prove that hockey isn't the crazy, drooling uncle of sport that deserves to be locked in the attic.

Next week; Trick or Treat and The Halloween party and Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
October 22, 2012

#III-26, 131

Monday, October 15, 2012

Finance 101

U.S. growth. The U.S. economic recovery is likely to persist at a reduced 2.0%−3.0% trend real GDP growth rate, given the continuing headwinds involving housing, consumer balance-sheet repair, and the transition toward fiscal austerity in Europe and, eventually, the United States. Future U.S. economic growth should prove more uneven than expected, given the downside risks of a full-blown European sovereign debt/banking crisis, a housing-related Chinese slowdown, and the (unresolved) process for addressing U.S. fiscal imbalances. These and other (unanticipated) risks are likely to lead to periodic bouts of risk aversion and economic slowdowns in 2013, 2014 and beyond, followed by economic rebounds.

U.S. inflation. Trend inflationary pressures are currently modest, with the risk of returning to the high inflationary regime of the 1970s and early 1980s over the next several years estimated to be less than 10%. Over the next ten years, we project a median inflation rate averaging about 2.0%–2.5% per year for the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Monetary policy. The target federal funds rate is likely to remain near 0% through at least mid-2013, with a bias toward the Federal Reserve’s remaining on hold into 2014. The return on cash will likely average less than 2.0% over the next ten years through 2021, with real (inflation-adjusted) short-term interest rates remaining negative for some time.
U.S. Treasury yields. Consistent with the current steepness of the Treasury yield curve, our ten-year projections generally exhibit a gradual rising-rate bias, although dispersion around this median path remains considerable. Based in part on our inflation outlook, the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond is expected to eventually move from its current range of 1.5%−2.5% toward the 3.5%−4.5% range over the next decade, a central tendency near its historical long-run average.
Bond market returns. The expected long-run median return of the broad taxable U.S. fixed income market is near current benchmark yields and thus most closely resembles the historical bond returns of the 1950s and 1960s. Despite the modest secular bias toward rising U.S. interest rates, we caution investors against maintaining a secular short-duration bias in their fixed income portfolios. In our simulations, shorter-maturity Treasury yields tend to rise more than the yields on longer-maturity Treasury bonds. This so-called bear-flattening bias produces expected median returns that are similar for all Treasury bond portfolios, regardless of their maturity or duration. It is important to note that the diversification benefits of fixed income in a balanced portfolio remain under most scenarios; the bottom decile of expected U.S. bond returns through 2021 is positive, and is higher than the bottom-decile expected returns on equities.
Stock market returns. Centered in the 6%−9% return range, the long-term median nominal return for global equity markets is modestly below the historical averages. But after adjusting for potential future inflation, we estimate an approximately 50% likelihood that global equities over the next decade will realize their post-1926 real return average. This generally formative outlook for the global equity risk premium may surprise some readers, given the economic outlook and low-rate environment. However, our long-held view is that market valuations generally correlate with future stock returns, and that consensus economic growth expectations and initial dividend yields do not. As a result, the expected long-run return on emerging-market equities is statistically identical to that on developed-market equities, and in fact tends to be lower when adjusted for emerging markets’ higher expected volatility. The expected distribution of correlations among major equity markets continues to underscore the strategic benefits of international diversification.
FISCAL CLIFF. If the federal government continues to not address deficit issues, the economy will slow even further into a recession.
What does all this mean? Stay liquid, review your portfolios every six months, equity financing of home loans is still positive but the housing market will continue to be down, keep debt low (below 20% of your assets). The job market will continue to be poor until 2015/2016. Whoever is President, lots’ of luck.

VP DEBATE WRAP: LOTS OF HEAT; NO GAME CHANGE - It was a spirited brawl in Kentucky last night, but it's hard to see how it changes the shape of the campaign very much if at all. Democrats were thrilled with Vice President Joe Biden's fierce defense of the administration's economic record - especially on the auto bailout - and plans for Social Security and Medicare. GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan scored some points hitting the administration's Libya terrorist attack response. But he mostly played small ball and avoided any big mistakes.

Biden got slammed on the right (not unfairly) for his constant laughing and smiling during Ryan's comments. Ryan got derided on the left (not unfairly) for his smirk and limited ability to refute some of Biden's attacks, such as on requesting stimulus funds for a constituent while also slamming the stimulus. Republicans declared Ryan the clear winner. Democrats said it was Biden in a walk. A multitude of largely worthless instant polls produced a muddle of conflicting results that can be instantly dismissed as telling us nothing.

One possible impact: Biden's interruptions and persistent, derisive laughter turning off any undecideds who happened to tune in.

PANETTA WARNS OF 'CYBER-PEARL HARBOR' -  "Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta warned Thursday that the United States was facing the possibility of a 'cyber-Pearl Harbor' and was increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation's power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government. In a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, Mr. Panetta ... said he was reacting to increasing aggressiveness and technological advances by the nation's adversaries, which officials identified as China, Russia, Iran and militant groups.

"'An aggressor nation or extremist group could use these kinds of cyber tools to gain control of critical switches,' Mr. Panetta said. 'They could derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.' Defense officials insisted that Mr. Panetta's words were not hyperbole, and that he was responding to a recent wave of cyberattacks on large American financial institutions."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Paul Abbondante …famous Finance Professor, Sue Bird (32), Amy Carter (45), Eminem (40), Lee Iacocca (88), Judy Sheindlin (70), Lindsey Vonn (28), Bob Weir (65).


Cimmerian \si-MEER-ee-uhn\, adjective:
1. Very dark; gloomy; deep.
2. Classical Mythology. Of, pertaining to, or suggestive of a western people believed to dwell in perpetual darkness.
“I was ripe for death, and along a road full of dangers, weakness led me to the boundaries of the world and the Cimmerian land of darkness and whirlwinds.”
-- Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell
pensar, verb
to think about, to think over
“Pensándolo bien, he decidido no dimitir.”
On reflection, I’ve decided not to resign.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/20, 7:00 PM ET, ABC: #4 Kansas State Wildcats (6-0) at #13 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1). This Big 12 matchup will show that The Wildcats belong in the BCS and the Mountaineers do not. Kansas State 32 West Virginia 24.  Season to date (4-3).

NCAA BCS TOP FIVE: (1). Alabama, (2). Florida, (3). Oregon, (4). Kansas State, (5). Notre Dame.

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/20, 2:00 PM ET, The Food Network: The Cheese Bowl game – Concordia (Wis.) Falcons (3-3) visit Lakeland Muskies (2-4). The records go out the door when it is the Cheese Bowl. The Falcons will carve out a victory; Concordia 40 Lakeland 24.     Season to date (6-1).

D-III TOP FIVE: (1). Mount Union, (2). Mary Hardin Baylor, (3). Linfield, (4). St. Thomas, (5). UW-Whitewater

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/21, 4:24 PM ET, CBS: New York Jets (3-3) at New England Patriots (3-3). A battle for first place in the AFC East, Pats 35 Jets 10. Season to Date (5-1).

NFL POWER RANKINGS: (1). Houston, (2). Atlanta, (3). San Francisco, (4). Baltimore, (5). New England

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – KSU 32 WVU 24, Concordia 40 Lakeland 24, Patriots 35 Jets 10, La Verne 38 Pomona-Pitzer 21.    Season to Date (17-10).

DRIVING THE WEEK - The second presidential debate, a town hall format Tuesday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., is the centerpiece of the week and a critical opportunity for President Obama to reverse some of the damage from his weak performance in the first meeting. Obama has been holed up in Williamsburg, Va., in debate prep and aides promise a much sharper, more engaged president eager to draw sharp contrasts with Mitt Romney and lay out a more specific agenda for a second term. The debate will cover both foreign and domestic policy and Romney is likely to keep up the sharp attack on the administration's handling of the Benghazi attack. The format, featuring audience questions, could make it hard to get really aggressive.

GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan campaigns in Waukesha, Wis., and Cincinnati, Ohio, today ... Bruce Springsteen is on the road for Obama this week with stops Thursday in Parma, Ohio, with former President Bill Clinton and later in the day with Vice President Joe Biden in Ames, Iowa ... After the debate, Obama campaigns Wednesday in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and Athens, Ohio, where he will "lay out the real and achievable solutions he has" for a second term ...

Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. EDT today expected to rise 0.8 percent overall and 0.6 percent ex-autos ... Consumer prices on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. EDT expected to rise 0.5 percent headline and 0.2 percent core ... Initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday expected to reverse last week's fluky drop to 339K and jump back up to 365K ... Philly Fed on Thursday excepted to rise to 0.2 from September's -1.9 ... Existing home sales at 10 a.m. EDT on Friday expected to dip to 4.75 million from 4.87 million ... Bank earnings season continues with Citigroup today, Goldman Sachs on Tuesday, Bank of America on Wednesday and Blackstone and Morgan Stanley on Thursday.

Next week; Trick or Treat?

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
October 15, 2012

#III-25, 130

Monday, October 8, 2012


Article Two of the United States Constitution created the election for the President of the United States, to be held every four years. Thus began in 1788 with George Washington and to current 2008 Barack Obama, 57 times this nation has elected 44 different Presidents and 47 Vice Presidents.

The troubling issue about our elections is that the highest election turnout ever was in 1960, 63.1% of the voting population. Recently it has been: 2008 – 56.8%, 2004 – 55.3%, and 2000 – 51.3%. A little more than half of our citizens vote. Truly amazing when you think about it. Why? Apathy, anger, no meaning, who knows. But in these times when the nation is so divided every vote is so important. Is the nation really split evenly between Democrats and Republicans? Or is that what MSNBC and Fox News want you to believe.

Perhaps this 58th time we as American citizens go to the polls and participate in the rights we have fought for in wars, protests, and laws. Please VOTE!

DEBATE REACT: BIG WIN FOR ROMNEY - Very strong night for GOP nominee Mitt Romney who appeared far sharper and more engaged than President Barack Obama in the first debate of the season and the opening of Act III of Campaign 2012. Romney continued to pivot back to the middle on health care and away from his 20 percent across-the-board tax cut proposal even though it remains his official policy. But beyond wonky specifics, Romney's crisp performance and persistent attacks on Obama's economic record clearly earned him a strong second look from persuadable voters, the only thing that really mattered in the debate from a purely political perspective.

OBAMA STRUGGLES - The president at times struggled to explain his policy positions, especially on health care, and looked down a lot more than he should have. He also inexplicably failed to rip Romney over the "47 percent" comments and got snippy with moderator Jim Lehrer, who had a tough night. It was a perplexingly soft effort by a president who mostly seemed annoyed by the whole operation.

N.Y. POST wood, with Obama pic: "CHOKE'S ON HIM! Lefty pals 'gag' on O's debate disaster ... Jay Leno: 'The only people who thought Obama won were the replacement refs.'"

--"Nielsen: 67M viewers for 1st presidential debate" -- AP: "67.2 million people watched the first debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, the largest TV audience for a presidential debate since 1992. ... Nielsen says you have to go back to the second debate involving Bill Clinton, George Bush and Ross Perot in 1992 for a more popular presidential debate. ... Joe Biden and Sarah Palin attracted 69.9 million viewers. Nielsen says 11.25 million people watched the debate on ABC, 11.07 million watched on NBC, 10.58 million on CBS, 10.44 million on Fox News Channel, 6.88 million on the Fox broadcast network, 6.05 million on CNN, 4.73 million on MSNBC and 2.58 million on Univision."


I have an uncommon first name, and it is often mispronounced or misheard. (It rhymes with a female body part). When clients I am meeting for the first time mispronounce it and continue talking, I never know when to correct them. If I do it immediately, I risk seeming rude for interrupting them. But if I wait, they often feel sheepish for rambling on using the wrong name. Thoughts?

Cautious, Chicago, Ill.

Dear Cautious:

Make a strong offense your best defense. Introduce yourself preemptively to everyone you meet for the first time – before they start talking. Stick your hand and say: “Hi, I’m Delores.” (You can even add: “It rhymes with …, well maybe not.”) This should cut down on the number of manglings. Good luck.

Rink Rats, Claremont, CA.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Matt Damon (42), Lori Gordien …debt & credit expert, Dick Gregory (80), Karen Hasse …how old?, Jesse Jackson (71), Christie Kerr (35), Devorah Lieberman …famous University President, Rob McIsaac …famous cousin, Roger Moore (85), John O’Hurley (58), Kelly Preston (50), Jerry Rice (50), Karla Suffredini …famous for being two places at once, Chris Wallace (65).

MINDLESS REPORT: Facebook announces on "Today" that it has passed 1 billion users, one-seventh of the world's population. The billionth friend, not yet identified by Facebook, joined Sept. 14. The median age of new users that week was about 22.

THE BIG IDEA: STOCK MARKET SOARS; MANY IGNORE IT -  "The stock market is reaching toward new highs on the fourth anniversary of the financial crisis, but many people refuse to be lured back. Even as stock indexes have doubled in value since the market low in March 2009, investors have yanked a net $138 billion from mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that invest in U.S. stocks, according to the Investment Company Institute ...

Investors over the same period put $1 trillion into bond funds, a traditionally lower yielding but safer investment. It marks the first time since 1981 that investors have pulled money from U.S.-stock funds for more than a year at a time. Crumbling confidence in stocks reflects a broader loss of trust in the stock market and in the idea that the prudent investor could expect a comfortable retirement and even a measure of wealth."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/13, 12:00 PM ET, ABC: #15 ranked Texas Longhorns (4-1) at #13 ranked Oklahoma Sooners (3-1). This traditional Big 12 rivalry is a toss-up, we like Oklahoma 17 Texas 14. Season to date (3-3).

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/13, 1:00 PM ET, Bravo: Mount Ida Mustangs (4-1) visit Hussan Eagles (1-4) in this ECFC conference matchup in Bangor, Maine. The mustangs have a good club this year we like Mount Ida 45 Hussan 21.    Season to date (5-1).

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/14, 8:20 PM ET, NBC: Green Bay Packers (2-3) at Houston Texans (4-0). A must win game for the Pack, if not a win their playoff hopes may be history. Green Bay 21 Houston 17. Season to Date (4-1).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Oklahoma 17 Texas 14, Mount Ida 45 Hussan 21, The Pack 21 Houston 17, La Verne 21 Redlands 17.    Season to Date (14-9).


The Southern Fall Staple: Bourbon and Spicy Ginger Soda

We checked in with award-winning chef Hugh Acheson of 5&10 and the National in Athens, Georgia, for a recommendation on a tailgating cocktail, and he came up with a winner—a slightly more refined take on the classic bourbon and ginger ale, swapping store-bought ginger ale for homemade ginger syrup. “The popular standard of Maker’s Mark and Blenheim is a ubiquitous Athens favorite,” he says. “But the fresh ginger is refreshingly spicy.” Don’t let the syrup scare you. Acheson keeps the recipe simple, and unlike most craft cocktails, this drink will travel. Make the ginger syrup a day ahead for an easy tote to the tailgate. Add a generous pour of bourbon over ice, a little soda water, and some fresh fruit, and you’re ready to go.

Ginger Syrup
½ cup sugar (fine turbinado)
½ cup water
¼ lb. fresh ginger root (peeled and finely grated)

In a small saucepot bring the sugar, water, and ginger to a boil. Turn off the heat, and allow to steep and cool for one hour. Strain off the ginger pieces, and reserve the syrup.

To Serve
(makes 1)
Large ice cubes
3 oz. Maker's Mark (or your favorite bourbon)
1 tbsp. ginger syrup
2 slices fresh ripe peach (Try pear if peaches are out of season.)
2 oz. soda water

Fill a 10 oz. highball glass with ice. Add bourbon and ginger syrup, and stir. Add peach slices (or pear), and pour soda water to the top of the glass. Stir gently. Make sure you have a limo or a driver.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Romney speaks on foreign policy at 11:20 a.m. at VMI and has an event in Newport News at 5:20 p.m. ... Paul Ryan campaigns in Swanton, Ohio, at 11:30 a.m. and Rochester, Mich., at 7:20 p.m. ... Romney is in Ohio on Tuesday with N.J. Gov. Chris Christie ... President Obama has a trio of fundraisers in the Bay Area including a concert at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium featuring John Legend and Michael Franti ... Dr. Jill Biden campaigns in Pennsylvania ... Bill Clinton campaigns for Obama on Tuesday in Las Vegas ...

Marquee campaign event comes Thursday with the VP debate between Ryan and Joe Biden. These under-card matchups usually don't mean much but in such a close race a bad performance (or a really good one) by either could have an impact. Also, Biden will presumably go hard after what the Obama campaign describes as misrepresentations (or big policy shifts) in Romney's widely praised debate performance last week. ...

FDIC meets Tuesday to finalize rule on stress tests for state chartered banks with $10 billion or more in assets ... Second quarter earnings season, which is expected to be very weak, starts on Tuesday with Alcoa. JPMorgan and Wells Fargo reporting on Friday. Can the bad numbers overcome Fed-fuelled stock market gains?

Wall Street comes off a bumpy, uneven week that nonetheless wound up on the plus side, with the Dow now sitting at its highest level since December 2007.
Next week; 2014 economic outlook and words of the month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
October 8, 2012

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