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

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