Monday, November 26, 2012


Chances are, most people will get hacked at some point in their lifetime. I was recently hacked. The best you can do is delay the inevitable by avoiding suspicious links, even from friends, and manage your passwords. Good password hygiene is like flossing – you know it is important, but it takes effort. How do you possibly come up with different, hard-to-crack  passwords for every single news, social network, e-commerce, banking, corporate and e-mail site and remember them all?

Here are some tips: FORGET THE DISCTIONARY – If your password can be found in a dictionary, you might as well not have one.

NEVER USE THE SAME PASSWORD TWICE – People tend to use the same password across multiple sites, a fact hackers regularly exploit.

COME UP WITH A PASSPHRASE – The longer your password, the longer it will take to crack. A password should be ideally 14 characters or more in length. Consider a passphrase, such as a movie quote, song lyric, or poem, and string together only the first one or two letters of each word in the sentence.

STORE YOUR PASSWORDS SECURELY – Do not store your passwords in your in-box or on your desktop. Store on a USB drive, even better if the drive is encrypted, or store  password hints on  a scrap of paper in your wallet. Keep your most sensitive information off the Internet completely.

IGNORE SECURITY QUESTIONS – Hackers use this information to reset passwords. Enter a password hint that has nothing to do with the question itself.

USE DIFFERENT BROWSERS – Use different  Web browsers for different activities: Google Chrome has  been found the least susceptible to attacks.

Finally treat anything typed online or shared online as public record, Use throwaway email addresses to register for online accounts. Good luck and Happy Cyber Monday!

CHINA SETS CONSERVATIVE NEW LEADERSHIP - Reuters/Beijing: "China's president-in-waiting Xi Jinping won a strong mandate on Thursday to lead the world's second-biggest economy and deal with problems ranging from corruption to economic uncertainty. Xi was appointed head of both the ruling Communist Party and its top military body as the ruling Communist Party unveiled a new leadership line-up consisting of conservatives and respected financial reformers. ... Xi said he understood the people's desire for a better life but warned of severe challenges going forward. ... Xi will be steering China for at least the next five years with a mixed team, including the urbane, English-speaking anointed next premier Li Keqiang and North Korea-trained economist Zhang Dejiang."

CHINA CHANGES IMPACT U.S. RELATIONSHIP - Bloomberg: "China began installing a new economic leadership by indicating that Governor Zhou Xiaochuan will step aside and Vice Premier Wang Qishan, the top finance official, will move to a new role. Commerce Minister Chen Deming and Finance Minister Xie Xuren were absent from the Communist Party central committee named today, suggesting they are likely to exit those jobs. Liu He, a senior government economic adviser, joined for the first time, while Wang may head the party disciplinary body. Mark Williams, a former adviser to the U.K. Treasury on China, sees Zhou stepping down "fairly soon." ...

"[The] change may signal the end of the official career of Zhou, 64, who helped pave the way for the yuan to rise 33 percent against the dollar starting in 2005 and oversaw a loosening of controls on lending and deposit rates this year. His successor will need to manage the currency and inflation to support a growth rebound while lacking the political independence of counterparts such as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke."

CHINA SLOWS; BUT MAY BE AT BOTTOM - "China's economy expanded 7.4 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of slowing annual growth. But in a positive sign for the world's second-largest economy, data released on Thursday showed signs that China was close to the bottom of its downturn. Investment, retail sales and industrial production all accelerated at the end of the quarter, leading Premier Wen Jiabao to declare that the worst was probably over. ...

"Even if the economy improves in the coming months, China is this year on track for its weakest annual growth since 1999 because of slowing domestic investment and limp demand from major export markets, particularly crisis-hit Europe, which has been the largest recipient of Chinese exports for years. ... The latest Chinese figure is well below both last year's 9.3 percent expansion and the nearly 10 percent average growth rate that China has notched up over the last three decades." 

BIGGEST STORY OF THE WEEK - "U.S. Redraws World Oil Map: Shale Boom Puts America on Track to Surpass Saudi Arabia in Production by 2020," : "A shale-oil boom will help the U.S. overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, a shift that could transform not just energy supplies but also U.S. politics and diplomacy. The Paris-based agency, which advises industrialized nations on their energy policies, said the global energy map 'is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States.' The assessment [is] a stark contrast from last year, when Russia and Saudi Arabia were seen vying for the top position ...

"The surge in U.S. oil production ... has given the White House a chance to make peace with Republicans and energy executives, at least on some fronts. Like Republicans, Mr. Obama has said that growing energy extraction in the U.S. can create jobs and boost the economy. Also, the rising use of natural gas in place of coal to generate electricity helps reduce carbon-dioxide emissions without legislation."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Joel Coen (58), Bo Jackson (50), Jay Jones …famous environmentalist, Caroline Kennedy (55), Epatha Merkerson (60), Mandy Patinkin (60), Vin Scully (85), Jon Stewart (50), Lawrence Summers (58).

HARD TO FIX: DECLINING LIVING STANDARDS - "Many of the bedrock assumptions of American culture - about work, progress, fairness and optimism - are being shaken as successive generations worry about the prospect of declining living standards. No question, perhaps, is more central to the country's global standing than whether the economy will perform better on that score in the future. ... The question has helped create a volatile period in American politics, with Democrats gaining large victories in 2006 and 2008, only to have Republicans return the favor in 2010. This year, economic anxiety, especially in industrial battlegrounds like Ohio, is driving the campaign strategies of both President Obama and Mitt Romney.

"The causes of income stagnation are varied and lack the political simplicity of calls to bring down the deficit or avert another Wall Street meltdown. They cannot be quickly remedied through legislation from Washington. The biggest causes, according to interviews with economists over the last several months, are not the issues that dominate the political debate. At the top of the list are the digital revolution, which has allowed machines to replace many forms of human labor, and the modern wave of globalization, which has allowed millions of low-wage workers around the world to begin competing with Americans."

"The new House is on track for a 234-201 Republican majority, a narrowing of their 242-193 advantage today, which includes five vacancies. Democrats will control the Senate 55-45, up from 53-47. A dozen of the 100 senators and at least 81 of the 435 House members, almost one-fifth, will be in their first term, slightly above historic averages. ... [T]here will be 73 women in the House and 20 in the Senate. Both are records. For the first time, more than half of House Democrats - 105 ... -- will not be white males. One [freshman] will be Rep.-elect Joseph Kennedy III, a Massachusetts Democrat whose father was Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., and grandfather was New York Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. When the newest Kennedy takes office, it will end the only two years since 1947 without a member of his family in Congress."

LLOYD BLANKFEIN, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, writing in The Wall Street Journal, "The Business Plan for American Revival: There is a huge amount of investible cash that is now sitting on the sidelines, waiting for sensible reforms ": "Relations between the Obama administration and large segments of the business community have been strained and unproductive. But the election offers an important opportunity to forge a more productive relationship. By electing a divided government, Americans didn't choose two years of squabbling and inaction until the next election-and the country cannot afford that. Both parties will have to compromise to make progress. ... We in the business community have a responsibility to contribute to a better understanding of the urgency of averting a crippling and self-inflicted recession. At the same time, we also need to talk about the significant opportunities that would result from forward-looking change. ...

"With certainty about tax rates, companies will increase their capital expenditures (currently at anemic levels), contributing to a virtuous cycle of jobs and growth. ... A spirit of compromise and reconciliation would do wonders for the economy if government and business resolved together to address the following priorities: Remove the risk of a double-dip recession and give the economy a stimulative jolt. ... Restore confidence in public finances. ... Keep marginal tax rates low. ... Act like we need to compete and win-because we do."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/1, 4:00 PM ET, CBS: #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) vs. #3 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) in the SEC title game and more importantly national semi-final to play Notre Dame in the BCS title game  on January 7, 2013. Alabama all the way 35 – 17.  Season to date (8-5)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/1, 1:00 PM ET, SciFi Channel: #7 Hobart Statesmen (12-0) at #4 St. Thomas Tommies (12-0), round three in the D-III football tourney. Two league champs meet in Minnesota, The Tommies 28 Statesmen 14. Season to date (12-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/2, 1:00 PM ET, Fox: Minnesota Vikings  (6-5) visit Lambeau and the Green Bay Packers (7-4) in another Norris Division tilt. The losers playoff chances will be slim, The Pack 24 Minnesota 17.   Season to date (6-6)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Alabama 35 Georgia 17, St. Thomas 28 Hobart 14, Green Bay 24 Minnesota 17, St. Lawrence 5 Cornell 3 (ECAC Hockey).  Season to date (32-19)

DRIVING THE WEEK - The lame-duck Congress is back in town with fiscal cliff negotiations set to continue with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner leading the charge for the administration in his last big act before heading for the Acela back to life in NYC. No top level discussions are scheduled this week and likely won't be until aides can put together some kind of compromise package. ... President Obama reportedly may hit the road this week to further sell his plan to raise top rates. Perhaps he should take Buffett along? ... On Tuesday, the president hosts President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the White House ... Obama holds a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday ... House Financial Services has a joint subcommittee hearing on Thursday at 10 a.m. on Basel III capital standards ...

House Financial Services subcommittee also has a dollar coin hearing on Thursday at 2 p.m. ... S&P/Case-Shiller home prices at 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday expected to show a September gain of 0.4 percent ... Consumer confidence at 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday expected to rise to 73 from 72.2 ... New home sales at 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday expected to rise slightly to 390K from 389K ... Second quarter GDP at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday expected to get a significant second estimate bump up to 2.8 percent from 2.0 percent on better foreign trade and inventory and construction data.

Next week; Dear Rink Rats and The Retreat.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
November 26, 2012

#III-32, 137

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Sports Edition

Our Rink Rats special Thanksgiving Edition of Sports picks for the holiday weekend. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/24, 12:00 PM ET, ABC; #19 Michigan Wolverines (8-3) visit Ohio State University (11-0).  Another year of the game of the year. Michigan has had offense (quarterback) problems all year, Ohio State is on probation but still a power. Tough to go against OSU in Columbus but we are: Michigan 17 Ohio State (14).   Season to date (8-4)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/24, 12:00 PM ET, CBSN; #11 Salisbury Sea Gulls (11-1) visit #9 Widener Pride (10-0) in this second round D-III playoff game.  Widener 24 Salisbury 17. Season to date (11-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 11/22, 12:30 PM ET, CBS; Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6) in this tradition that began in 1934. The Lions must win to keep their slim playoff chances alive. Detroit 21 Houston 20.   Season to date (6-5)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Michigan 17 Ohio State 14, Widener 24 Salisbury 17, Detroit 21 Houston 20, Country Day 35 Grand Rapids South Christian 24 (Division IV Michigan State High School Football Championship)  Season to date (31-16)

THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS - J. L. Hudson Thanksgiving Parade (Detroit, 1962 ):

TRADITIONS (continued) - Spiced apple rings, cinnamon breakfast rolls, St. Lawrence Thanksgiving Hockey Tournament, Gordie Howe Hockeyland Thanksgiving Hockey Tournament, Turkey Trot, Claremont, CA, Walloon Lake, Michigan – all wonderful Thanksgiving traditions: some long gone, others continuing.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!!!

Until Next Monday, Adios!

Claremont, CA
November 21, 2012

#III-31, 136

Monday, November 19, 2012


I feel lucky, I have my health, yes I am over weight, but I feel good; no aches, pains, illness. Contrary to some people my mind is good and alert. I have a family that cares for me, good friends, a career I enjoy and look forward to every day. Yes I am lucky. We are all lucky in fact. We live in a country that is safe, prosperous, free, where you can express your believes, ideas and opinions openly, where people can disagree and still live together in peace.

Meanwhile love ones’, friends, fellow citizens, and fellow human beings do not have it so lucky. Many are sick, in pain, lonely, poor, without hope, and in constant stress to survive day to day. We should share our lives with those in need. In the time of year of giving thanks, provide an opportunity for those in need to give thanks. Serve, give, help, hug, love, listen, to all those in need this week, be it in Staten Island New York, the South Side of Chicago, the New Jersey shore, South Pomona California, Yunnan province China, the Gaza Strip, your next door neighbor, just share this week. It will make you feel great and want to share all year round.

Turn off the cellular phones, social networking, cable television, and share your luck with others. Reach out to friends who are ill, help a neighbor smile who never smiles, send what you can to hurricane, earthquake victims, pray for those in war and civil disorder, serve a meal to a neighbor who is without work or a home. Adopt a family from Rockaway Long Island, donate clothes to the Salvation Army, tell your sister or brother you love them, share.

There is no better way to give thanks.

Until Next Monday, thank you!

Claremont, CA
November 19, 2012

#III-30, 135

Monday, November 12, 2012

Note Taking

Every day one of my main activities is taking notes: be it for class lectures, blogging, financial interests, meetings, or just random current events. Quietly taking notes on laptops, in old-fashioned notebooks, or just scraps of used paper. One thing I do not do while taking these notes is doodle. Doodles are not my style, I have very little artistic skills.

Twitter posting are becoming modern note taking, random posts of interesting or non-interesting topics. Note taking is becoming a lost art. With the rise of digital technology, a twitter blast or a quick recording into a cellular phone are making note taking obsolete. In teaching or in business meetings note taking is now done by recording to your iPad or cellular phone. To write is old school and it does not allow for multi-tasking.

The attractiveness of note taking is the ability to think before you write, those days are becoming few and far between. Information overload is a curse to modern note taking. The Internet and social media have ushered in a new age of public note taking, “big clouds of notes”.

I defend the intimacy of note taking, my notes are none of your business! My only problem, many times I cannot read my own handwriting.

ROMNEY IS PRESIDENT – of white male America. This election had the largest gender gap in the history of American elections, with President Obama winning the vote of single women by 36 percentage points. This “Mad Men” philosophy has all but ruined the Republican Party.

Until now, Republicans and Fox News have excelled at conjuring alternate realities. But this election they made the mistake of believing their fake world actually existed. More women voted than men. Five women were newly elected to the Senate, and the number of women in the House will increase by at least three. New Hampshire will be the first state to send an all-female delegation to Congress. Live Pink or Dye.

WINNERS: President Obama ... October surprises ... the auto bailout ... the polls ... early advertising ... Nate Silver ... defining your opponent ... Bill Clinton ... Hispanics ... women ... Rob Portman ... 'Saturday Night Live' ... Chris Christie ... Twitter ... Michelle Obama ... takeaways ... Marco Rubio ... the DSCC ... David Axelrod's mustache ... the Mormon church (no one cared) ... David Plouffe ... data mining ... Jim Messina ... Stephanie Cutter ... early voting ... Priorities USA ... Bill Burton ... Paul Ryan.

LOSERS: Mitt Romney ... super PACs ... millionaires and billionaires ... the Bush map ... male Republican candidates musing about rape ... Michael Barone ... the NRSC ... poll deniers ... Gallup ... Clint Eastwood ... the Bain brand ... Tim Pawlenty ... Rasmussen ... Donald Trump ... the Des Moines Register endorsement ... quote approval ... Paul Ryan.

TALE OF THE TAPE -  "NBC gets the bragging rights for being the first to call the election for Obama at 11:12pmET. An Ohio victory put the president over the top. CBS followed at 11:15, then Fox News, CNN and at 11:25pm ABC News," which was coping with a power interruption at its Times Square studio.

OOF! Romney won North Carolina by 2, and lost Michigan by 8, Minnesota by 8, Wisconsin by 7, Nevada by 6, Iowa by 5, New Hampshire by 5, Pennsylvania by 5, Colorado by 4, Virginia by 3 and Ohio by 2.

POPULAR VOTE, per AP: Obama 50% (58,779,121 votes) ... Romney 48% (56,518,209)

--In 2008, Obama got 53% (69,498,215 votes) and McCain got 46% (59,948,240)

--Obama won 25 states plus D.C., for 303 electoral votes, and is leading in Florida, which has 29 EVs. That would be 332. In 2008, Obama got 365.

--Romney won 24 states with 206 EVs. In 2008, McCain got 173.

SWING STATES that Obama won: Colo., Iowa, Nev., N.H., Ohio, Va., Wis., Fl.
SWING STATES that Romney won: N.C.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Traci Attman …famous nice person, Boutros Boutros-Ghali (90), Petula Clark (80), Linda Evans (70), Anne Hathaway (30), Kathleen Jenrich …famous gambler, Diana Krall (48), Carrie Lewis …famous public servant,  Joe Mantegna (65), Chris Noth (58), P.J. O’Rourke (65), Martin Scorsese (70), Richard Simpson …famous architect of strategic planning, Lorene Thomas …famous wedding planner.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/17, 3:05 PM Fox; #18 USC (7-3) at #17 UCLA (8-2). The cross town rivalry is HUGE this year with the ascent of UCLA. UCLA 21 USC 17 – so long Lane Kiffin.  Season to date (7-4)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/17, 1:00 PM Food Network; the D-III playoffs begin, #20 Pacific Lutheran (7-2) at #3 Linfield (9-0). These inter conference rivals meet again, Linfield won in September 31-24. They will win again; Linfield 35 Pacific Lutheran 21. Season to date (10-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 11/18, 1:00 PM Fox; a Norris Division battle, Chicago Bears (7-2) at Detroit Lions (4-5). A playoff game for the Lions, they lose, their season is toast. Detroit 17 Chicago 14.   Season to date (6-4)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – UCLA 21 USC 17, Linfield 35 Pacific Lutheran 21, Detroit Lions 17 Chicago Bears 14, 125 predicted in attendance at the Upland United Methodist Church Thanksgiving dinner.  Season to date (29-14)

FALL GARDENING - When the rain will start and how much will fall is anyone’s guess. For the second year running, meteorologists are reporting La Niña currents in the equatorial Pacific, which more often than not augur a drier-than-normal rainy season for Southern California. Although these La Niñas typically push wet weather north, they don’t always push it north of us. So while New Mexico and Texas suffered crackling drought last year, we (Southern California) received near-record rainfall followed by a remarkably mild summer.

In spite of that freakish fortune, the prudent thing to do in a La Niña year is to plan for unseasonably dry weather. In terms of fall planting, this means sowing wildflower seeds on the late side, from Halloween through Christmas. Planting of seedlings and bulbs can be done earlier, from early October onwards, keeping in mind that when Santa Anas blow in through December, you’ll need to irrigate to prevent the desert winds from wicking every last drop of water from newly installed plants and especially vulnerable stock still sitting in nursery pots.
Theodore Payne and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden are among the native plant nurseries that will be hosting fall planting festivals and sales in October and November. Check their websites but also follow L.A. at Home's Datebook listings for other regional events. 

The benefit of buying wildflower seed from Theodore Payne is the romance of poking around the foundation's seed drawer and the presence of a knowledgeable staff. The Los Angeles seed company Stover also deserves credit for consistently stocking fresh California native wildflower seeds in Home Depot and for offering a far more interesting collection from its online store at
Wherever you get your seeds, here is a useful tip: Mix them with sand or dirt before tossing them, so slips of the hand don’t result in too much seed in one place. As obvious as this sounds, check the expected height of the flowers on the seed packets, planting taller flowers such as elegant clarkia behind shorter stock such as poppies and blue-eyed grass, right. We also recommend planting samples of each type of seeds in pots, so you have examples of young seedlings to help differentiate wildflowers from weeds.

Once wildflowers germinate, they will put out just enough foliage to begin slowly sending down roots. The real spurt won’t begin until after winter solstice. Steadily lengthening days of January and February spur the growth that results in a spring flush of flowers that always has people asking if April is the time to plant poppies.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Fiscal cliff talks will dominate even though a final deal is not likely until late this month at the earliest. The big event is the bipartisan, Congressional leadership meeting at the White House on Friday. Clearly the White House scheduled the business leader meeting (remember when M.M. predicted that?) for just before the Congressional gathering to ratchet up pressure on the GOP from folks who write tons of campaign checks and hire lots of workers ... Senate Banking has a Basel III hearing at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday with one focus likely to be on easing requirements for smaller banks ... FSOC meets Tuesday with money market fund regulation on the agenda ... Obama holds a full-dress press conference on Wednesday in the East Room ... Obama is in NYC on Thursday to tour storm damage.
The so-called fiscal cliff remains at the top of Wall Street’s worry list this week as well, as the S&P 500 comes off its biggest weekly drop on more than five months. Lawmakers on the Sunday talk shows sounded notes of compromise, but investors are fearful of higher tax rates on capital gains and dividends that would make stocks less attractive. Forty years this week the Dow Jones Industrial Average first hit 1,000, last week it closed at 12,815.39.
Next week; Dear Rink Rats and The Retreat.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
November 12, 2012

#III-29, 134

Monday, November 5, 2012

Finally It Is Over

The Presidential campaign officially began in June, 2011 in New Hampshire when Mitt Romney announced his intention to run for the Presidency. But he began to formulate his campaign two years before in 2009.  After a “couple of Cadillacs,” a summer belly-flop abroad, a dismissive swipe at 47 percent of the population and a convention disaster. Mitt Romney is seemingly tied with President Obama. He has a real chance to become President.

The President due to the economy and the fact that he is not the candidate, or politician, he’s cracked up to be, has provided Mitt Romney an opportunity to win this election. I do not buy the economy stupid reason for the close election. Many Americans understand that he does not bear primary responsibility for the high rate of unemployment and the drops in home prices and incomes. In fact, many Americans think the economy is getting better, slowly but progressing.

Race, “Super PACs”, the horrid Republican primary season, Richard Mourdock, all have played some role in making this election close but the primary reason is President Obama himself. The ways he has disappointed, confused and alienated some of the voters who warmed and even thrilled to him four years ago. During his first term, he at times misjudged and mishandled his Republican opposition. He repeatedly failed to sell his policies clearly and forcefully enough. The days of the great speeches are few and far between. His aloofness has even turned off his own Democratic base.

BUT, we still think he will win a second term. Because President Obama is a seriously intelligent, thoughtful leader more in tune and in touch with Americans’ lives than his sheltered opponent, this has been especially noted with the recent Hurricane Sandy response by his Administration. Though his campaign has been dull, he still has fight and, we believe, knows what is right for all Americans.

All these shortcomings that he would carry with him into a second term, President Obama would be wise to address quickly.

"President Obama: Things You Don't Know About Me: Barack Obama, 51, loves 'Homeland,' works out to Stevie Wonder - and dreads the day Malia goes to prom !": "I'm left-handed. I've never missed a parent-teacher conference since becoming president. Apples are my favorite healthy snack. I always have a bowl of them in the Oval Office.  Malia  and I read all of the Harry Potter books tighter.  My first car was my grandfather's car, a 1970s Ford Granada.  When I work out, I like to listen to Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones on my iPod.  Malia entered high school this year. I'm not looking forward to when she's old enough to go to prom.”

--IF ROMNEY LOSES ... "For Republicans, the only thing harder than losing ... might be explaining it. By any reasonable standard, Obama is a seriously vulnerable incumbent: a president overseeing a limping economy, whose party got thumped in the 2010 midterm elections, and whose signature accomplishment of health care reform is highly controversial. ... Here's a POLITICO preview of the top arguments Republicans would use to explain and excuse it: 1) Mitt Romney was a historically bad candidate: If Romney wins on Tuesday, he'll be president of the United States. If he loses, he'll be the fall guy for the entire Republican Party. Republicans weren't overjoyed about nominating Romney in the first place ... Romney has validated many of those fears ... In a campaign still shadowed by the meltdown of the financial services industry, the GOP picked a candidate as close to Wall Street as any in history. ...

--IF OBAMA LOSES ... "It would be a traumatic experience: the death of the dream of liberal realignment embodied in Obama's insurgent 2008 campaign. ... Unlike Republicans, many of whom have no particular love for their nominee, Democrats admire and sympathize with the president, understanding he came into office at a difficult time. If Obama were to lose, Democrats would suddenly be leaderless for the first time in half a decade and would be forced to confront agonizing questions about the viability of their party's agenda - health care reform, most of all. ... 1) Obama threw it away in Denver ... 2) The Bush economy killed him ... 3) It was the second-term vision thing ... Obama's team expected the country to bounce back from the 2008 meltdown far faster than this. Since the V-shaped recession they anticipated failed to materialize, Obama has often seemed at a loss for new ideas and arguments about improving the economy. ... 4) Citizens United, the super PACs and the Koch Brothers did it ... 5) He lost for a noble cause: national health care ... 6) It all comes back to race."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: David Kung … famous Professor, Linda Gordon …famous scholar, Demi Moore (50), Patti Page (85), David Petraeus (60), Johnny Rivers (70), Maria Shriver (57), Bill Walton (60)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/10, 3:00 PM ET, Fox; #11 ranked Oregon State Beavers (7-1) visit #14 ranked Stanford Cardinal (7-2). In this battle to keep up with The Ducks in the Pac 12 North, The Cardinal will rule the roost – Stanford 35 OSU 28.  Season to date (6-4)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/10, 12:00 PM ET, Cartoon Channel; a Central New York traditional rivalry – Ithaca College Bombers (6-3) @ #20 ranked Cortland State Red Dragons (8-1). This Route 13 classic will have the Red Dragons prevail 32 Ithaca 14. Season to date (9-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 11/11, 5:15 PM ET, NBC; Houston Texans (7-1) at Chicago Bears (7-1). Two possible Super Bowl teams square off in Soldiers Field. Chicago 24 Houston 10.   Season to date (6-3)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Stanford 35 Oregon State 28, Cortland State 32 Ithaca 14, The Bears 24 Houston 10, President Obama 52% Governor Romney 48%.  Season to date (26-13)

A BRUNCH ESCAPE – Want a nice escape for brunch? Try Las Brisas in Laguna Beach, California. This legendary Mexican seafood restaurant overlooks the Pacific and the Laguna Beach coastline. In operation since 1938, originally the Victor Hugo Inn, in 1979 it became Las Brisas. Their four course brunch is pricey but outstanding, wonderful seafood and Mexican dishes. After lunch go for a walk along the beach walk, work up a thirst and return to sip on margaritas outside on the patio.

A Rink Rats rating of 1 – 10 with 10 being excellent, we give Las Brisas an 8. Also a great place for people watching, especially the Orange County housewives during the afternoon.

Las Brisas: 361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, CA. 949-497-5434

DRIVING THE WEEK - Obviously there is only one game in town and it takes place tomorrow: Election Day 2012. The likelihood of a drawn-out recount process hinges mainly on Ohio and its 18 electoral votes. If the Buckeye State is within 0.25 percent, a recount is automatic. And candidates can request recounts if the difference is larger. Florida is again a recount possibility, given Romney's narrowing margin. And a handful of other states could also wind up with razor-thin margins, possibly turning Election Day into Election Week or even Election Month. Hopefully, for everyone's sanity, this will not occur. But it certainly could.

Final hectic campaign day today includes Romney visiting Florida and Virginia followed by the final rally of the campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire with Kid Rock at 11 p.m. ... President Obama is in Madison, Wis., Columbus, Ohio, and Des Moines Iowa. All events feature Bruce Springsteen and the Columbus stop also features Jay-Z.

Big econ data this week include ISM non-manufacturing today at 10 a.m. EST, which is expected to dip to 54.5 from 55.1 ... Consumer credit at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday expected to rise by $10.3 billion ... Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m. EST on Friday expected to rise to 82.9 from 82.6.

VOTE – “Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely out of our control.”  Robert F. Kennedy

Next week; Dear Rink Rats and fall gardening.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
November 5, 2012

#III-28, 133