Monday, December 31, 2012

Things To Ponder At Year End

Happy New Year readers, as we conclude 2012 and head into 2013 we are thankful for living in a great country but at the same time there are many issues confronting us in the year ahead. As pay checks get smaller, expenses are increasing – how we cope with a lagging economy will be a key topic of 2013.

2013 HOT TOPICS – Yearly College and Universities tuition increases will come under more pressure from consumer students and their families. The cliff will approach for the following: (1) student debt, (2) state budgets, (3) national gun control, (4) City of La Verne city council, (5) National Hockey League.

JACK ASS OF 2012 – Defending Champs: RR cannot think of more deserving Jack Asses for 2012 – The 112th United States Congress. They were also Jack Asses in 2011. There is no better example of the inefficiency of leadership in this country as this 112th Congress. From the debacle of fiscal cliff negotiations to total disregard for the Country as a whole, this Congress has proven beyond expectation the Jack Ass of 2012.

CORPORATE BOND BUST AHEAD? - "Investors have been flocking to buy bonds issued by top-rated companies, putting them on pace for a record year of debt raising in the U.S. But some of the biggest fund managers warn that dangers are lurking in what were once seen as the safest investments. Amid the rush of bond deals, which already have topped $1 trillion in value, these managers - from BlackRock ... to Federated Investment Management Co. - are pointing to unusual wrinkles suggesting that now could be one of the most dangerous times in decades to lend to investment-grade companies.

"Interest rates are so low and bond prices so high, they warn, that there is little room left for gains. Some worry that even a small increase in interest rates - a traditional enemy of bond returns - could eat away at bond prices. ... As a result, some of the largest investing houses - including BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, and Federated - are looking for ways to reduce their exposure to U.S. corporate bonds."

2014 WATCH - "Mitch McConnell polls on Ashley Judd's politics," by Manu Raju : "The poll found voters like Judd much less when they learn that she lives in Tennessee and Scotland ... and ... has suggested it is wrong to breed given widespread poverty ... around the world. 'Considering the fact that Judd begins with such strong name ID, the informed voter swing is devastating for her, and the 16-point swing is one of the biggest I have seen in my career,' said Jan R. van Lohuizen, McConnell's longtime pollster [in a memo]. 'Given the ability to move the ballot so substantially by pointing out only a few of her positions, her candidacy does not appear viable.' ... Judd would begin in a favorable position - two polls now show her within striking distance of McConnell - and she could energize Democrats from coast to coast. ....

"Judd, an eighth-generation Kentuckian, ... has been a strident voice against the controversial practice of mountaintop removal mining, which is common in eastern Kentucky and which she's dubbed 'rape' of pristine parts of Appalachia. ... When they hear her remark that 'the era of the coal plant is over,' 49 percent of voters are more likely to vote against her, the survey found. ... After McConnell's team points out that Judd's grandmother called her a "Hollywood liberal," about 40 percent of voters were more inclined to oppose her."

CRISIS MANAGEMENT - Needs for collaboration increase as we get better at preparing for unlikely events: ... Natural and man-made disasters are likely to increase in the years ahead. Companies ... are updating their crisis management plans ... [and investing] in social collaboration tools that allow them to maintain business under any circumstances ...

"Your personal cloud will have a single access point: As businesses move to the cloud, ... you will start seeing one point of access to your data regardless of where it's stored. You will no longer have to login and check five, six or even seven different storage repositories ... One app will connect you with all your social channels - personal, professional. ...

CASUAL FRIDAYS - become Work-from-Home Fridays: The tablet generation has ... redefined the workplace. ... Small- and medium sized companies ... [will] consider virtual offices ... to incentivize ... employees."

GOP SEES RECORD BENCH FOR 2016 -- "Upwards of 15 prominent Republicans are privately contemplating 2016 campaigns for the presidency ... [Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio] both will unveil new policy plans at an awards dinner of the Jack Kemp Foundation [on Dec. 4]: Ryan will begin a new push on a more modern approach to alleviating poverty, focused on education; Rubio will lift the curtain on an economic empowerment message, heavy on college affordability and workforce training. That upcoming duet is one of the clearest signs that this presidential race is beginning as early as any in history. ... Rick Santorum is telling friends he wants to run again. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said publicly that he might, too, and has begun talking to donors ... like he means it. ...

"Top Republican officials are encouraging the never-ending presidential campaign ... 'On every conference call, the message is the same,' one top official said. 'We're going to push out our new generation of leadership. We're not going to sit back and let the extreme voices define what it means to be a conservative.' Republicans are still haunted by the post-election chaos of 2008, when, with John McCain diminished by defeat and few clear future leaders with national juice on the scene, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin filled the void ... This time feels different: ... Many of the most influential voices are calling for substantial rethinking of the conservative approach to politics."

2016 WATCH - "The secretary of 1,000 things: What Hillary Clinton's choices say about her future," by Stephanie McCrummen : "Of all the things that Clinton's friends say about her, opinions bend toward two essential facets of her character. The first is that in the time they have known her - as a student leader in the 1960s, as a first lady, as a U.S. senator or now - Clinton has not really changed except to become more of the person she has always been: a deeply optimistic Methodist who believes that government can advance human progress and a hopeless wonk who knows her yurts from her gers. The second is that while Clinton is a famously shrewd political operator, she is never more energized or relentless as when she is pursuing a cause that she believes will improve people's lives, however incrementally. This has often been Clinton's most polarizing quality. It is what her detractors have at times interpreted as self-righteousness and a precursor to classic big-government liberalism. It is what her admirers have viewed as the doggedly pragmatic, in-the-trenches quality that makes Clinton an almost heroic, if also at times tragic, figure. ...

"At the State Department , Clinton has used her power to create an array of new offices and positions devoted to long-standing causes: for civil society and emerging democracies; for global youth issues; and for the one for which she is most often noted, global women's issues. She is widely credited with changing how the department thinks about women. ... While Clinton's initiatives have not led to major foreign policy shifts, they have resulted in project after project. ... Clinton has cast her choices as a response to a changing world where power and threats are more diffuse, requiring the United States to pay more attention to jobless youths in North Africa and grinding poverty across the globe. ... A more personal explanation for Clinton's choices relates to her own struggle to be understood, ... Another has to do with the faith she has embraced since she was a girl. ... 

The answer to the question of whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016 - whether she will seek the job with the most power to do the most good of all - is another question: whether she can keep herself from it."

REMEMBERING "STORMIN' NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF - "Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who presided over the swift and devastating 1991 military assault on Iraq that transformed the Middle East and reminded America what it was like to win a war, died Thursday of complications from pneumonia. He was 78. The former four-star general, whose burly image towering in camouflage fatigues above his troops came to define both Operation Desert Storm and the nation's renewed sense of military pride, had been living in relatively quiet retirement in Tampa ... Schwarzkopf ... was best known for commanding a 765,000-strong force of allied international troops that drove former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait six months after they'd overrun the tiny Gulf oil sheikdom ... and taken over its oil fields. ...

"Schwarzkopf ... had rehearsed a battle with Iraq only days before the country's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait and began putting it into place, convincing the leadership in Washington that the war could be won with a combination of forceful American air power and an overwhelming array of troops on the ground. In the end, after weeks of pounding by American bombers and missiles, the ground war was over in just 100 hours, with U.S. battle casualties limited to 147 dead and 467 wounded. ... The 6-foot, 3-inch general came home to a hero's welcome, appearing at a ticker-tape parade up Broadway, the Pegasus Parade at the Kentucky Derby in Louisville and an unusual joint session of Congress, where he received a standing ovation. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II awarded him a knighthood."

MEDIAWATCH -- 'Tribune [Co.] leaves bankruptcy after 4 years' -- Possible prelude to sale of the newspapers -- AP/Chicago : 'Tribune Co. emerged from a Chapter 11 restructuring Monday, more than four years after the media company sought bankruptcy protection. The reorganized company is starting with a new board of directors and new ownership that includes senior creditors Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon and Co., and JPMorgan Chase and Co. ... The new board of directors includes Bruce Karsh, Ken Liang, Peter Murphy, Ross Levinsohn, Craig A. Jacobson, Peter Liguori, and Eddy Hartenstein. ... 

The Chicago Tribune reported late Sunday that Liguori, a former TV executive at Discovery and Fox, is expected to be named chief executive of the reorganized Tribune Co. Tribune, which was founded in 1847, publishes some of the best-known newspapers in the United States, including the Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune. It also owns WGN in Chicago and 22 other television stations, as well as the WGN radio station.'

THE 113th CONGRESS- "Fiscal stagnation, political stalemate: For Congress, a new year expected to bring familiar battles and blather," by Christopher Rowland: "Even if this weekend's legislative Hail Mary pass works and a small-scale deal is passed Monday in time to ward off more than $500 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts, any sense of relief will be replaced quickly by continued partisan warfare over financial problems, likely featuring the same dynamics of dysfunction that became so familiar in 2012 and 2011. The preview of coming attractions includes a debate over the government's borrowing limit - a repeat of the 2011 showdown that resulted in a national credit downgrade and the mandated budget cuts being debated today. ... In late March, Congress will face another test, when it must pass a resolution to keep government running or allow it to shut down. Republicans have used the threat of previous government shutdowns as bargaining chips. ...

"Congressional leaders and President Obama will face pressure to make good on their promises of a comprehensive tax overhaul and reductions in spending growth on Social Security and Medicare. Efforts to wrap these ... into a big fiscal deal failed in 2011. ... Former congressional staffers, scholars, and politicians pine for the atmosphere of the 1980s, when major political figures such as the late Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy and former Republican Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker were able to set aside partisan animosity and negotiate deals. ... Many newer members of Congress - particularly those aligned with the Tea Party - won their seats by running against the status quo in Congress, against compromise, against rising deficits, and what they consider excessive spending."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK - Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Doris Kearns Goodwin (70), Bobby Hull (74), January Jones (35), Christine Lagarde (57), Tim Matheson ( 65), Walter Mondale (85), Charlie Rose (71), Malkolm Young (60).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday January 4, The Cotton Bowl; 8:00 PM ET, Fox - #9 Texas A&M Aggies (10-2) vs. #11 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2). The Sooners will dominant this overrated Aggie team. Oklahoma 45 Texas A&M 24.  Season to date (12-6)

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday January 4, 9:30 PM ET, Root; #12 Cornell University Big Red (7-4-2) at #11 Denver University Pioneers (10-6-3). East vs. West in this college battle, Denver 4 Cornell 3.  (Season to date (1-0)

NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND: Saturday, January 5 - AFC: 4:30 PM, Cincinnati at Houston (NBC) ... NFC: 8:00 PM, Minnesota at Green Bay (NBC) ... Sunday, January 6 -- AFC: 1:00 PM, Indianapolis at Baltimore (CBS) ... NFC: 4:30 PM, Seattle at Washington ... (FOX).

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS: Saturday, January 12 -- AFC: 4:30 PM, Baltimore/Indianapolis/Cincinnati at Denver (CBS) ... NFC: 8:00 PM, Green Bay/Washington/Seattle at San Francisco (FOX) ... Sunday, January 13 -- NFC: 1:00 PM, Washington/Seattle/Minnesota at Atlanta (FOX) ... AFC: 4:30 PM, Houston/Baltimore/Indianapolis at New England (CBS). ...

The AFC (CBS, 6:30 p.m.) and NFC (FOX, 3:00 p.m.) Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 20. The 2013 Pro Bowl (NBC, 7 p.m.) will be played on Sunday, January 27 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, ... one week before Super Bowl XLVII takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday, February 3 (CBS, 6:30 p.m.)."

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday January 6, 4:30 PM ET, Fox; Seattle Seahawks (11-5) at Washington Redskins (10-6). The Skins turn around season will come to an end, Seattle 28 Washington 21.   Season to date (10-7)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Oklahoma 45 Texas A&M 24, Denver 4 Cornell 3, Seattle 28 Washington 21, Kim Caldwell 3 Euro boyfriends on her trip.   Season to date (45-23)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Wall Street is finishing up a positive year with a decidedly negative finish. Though the Dow (up 5.9%), the S&P 500 (up 11.5%), and the Nasdaq (up 13.6%) will chalk up a winning year, all three are riding five-session losing streaks and have fallen for six of the past seven sessions. With a fiscal cliff agreement still not in sight, futures are pointing to a lower open this morning. Unlike last Monday's pre-holiday session, today will see a full day of stock trading.

Though anumber of key economic reports will be out this week, none occur before the NewYear's holiday. Investors, as always, will focus on Friday morning's December employment report, currently expected to 150,000 new non-farm jobs andan unemployment rate of 7.8%.

Next week; Winter Wonderland.

Until Next Monday, Happy New Year!

Jackson, MI
December 31, 2012

#III-37, 142

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Rink Rats Christmas

Hello friends,

On this day before Christmas, I have not a moment to write something interesting, smart, or funny (as if I ever do) — lucky for you all, I'm at peace with that.  I am visiting family and so writing seems less important than just hanging out, taking long walks through our festive neighborhood, watching hockey games, eating, eating, and eating.  But I did want to wish you the joy of this special season and a happy, healthy 2013.  2012 certainly brought its challenges, but as this year draws to a close, I can't help but feel very, very blessed. I wish all my friends the best for the holidays and peace and health to you all.


Rink Rats


1).  “Jingle Bell Rock” Bobby Helms        
2). “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”  Brenda Lee
3).  “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”  Bruce Springsteen
4).  “Feliz Navidad”  Jose Feliciano         
5). “Blue Christmas”  Elvis Presley


1).  Candy Cane Cocktail: Festive Christmas cocktails add to the cheery atmosphere. For this drink, combine 2 ounces strawberry vodka, 4 dashes white creme de menthe, 2 ½ ounces cranberry juice, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Combine well and strain into glasses. Use crushed candy cane as a garnish around the rim.

2). The Blizzard: Hot Christmas cocktails are a comforting beverage when it’s cold outside. In a glass coffee mug, stir together 1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey or rum, ½ ounce hazelnut liqueur, and ½ ounce Irish cream liqueur. Top with hot coffee and a dollop of whipped cream.

3). Eggnog Martini: This Christmas cocktail recipe puts a new spin on an old classic. Stir in your favorite brandy with either homemade or store-bought eggnog and ladle into glasses garnished with pumpkin-pie spice. If you’re feeling adventurous, try this homemade eggnog recipe

4). Mulled Wine: Warm Christmas cocktails are a toasty treat. Start by zesting and then juicing a large orange. With the flat side of a knife, bruise two cardamom pods and combine with the zest, juice, 6 whole cloves, 6 allspice berries, 6 whole black peppercorns, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cups of fruity red wine, ½ cup of sugar, and ¼ cup of brandy in a large non-aluminium pot. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the flavors have melded (approximately 30 minutes). Pour through a fine-mesh sieve and serve immediately.

5). White Cosmopolitan: Perfect for a chilly, sophisticated Christmas cocktail. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and then add 1 cup white-cranberry juice, 4 ounces vodka, and 2 ounces Cointreau. Shake to combine well and strain into large martini glasses. Serves 2.


If the festive season is not your season to be jolly there are plenty of great places to leave it all behind. Here are five ways to ensure that Christmas is kept at arm’s length - or even ignored altogether.

1). On a plane
Let’s bash a myth over the head: flights are not cheaper on Christmas Day. It’s just that less people want to travel on this day, so there are more seats available. Depending on which airline you fly (hint: go for Arabian carriers to avoid reindeer antlers and cotton wool beards on cabin crew) you might get a perfunctory Christmas greeting or a Turkey dinner, leaving the world to argue over games of Monopoly far below your feet. Best of all, land anywhere on Christmas Day and you’ll breeze through customs and into town with no queues at all.

2). Morocco
Morocco is the closest and most interesting place to most of western Europe which doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Moving a few degrees south brings you to the very non-festive Sahara, ancient souqs of Marrakesh and Atlas Mountains. There’s a risk someone may try to pull a cracker with you in the larger hotels in Marrakesh, so aim for a riad deep in the old city where you’ll be unlucky to see a Santa. Even better, spend Christmas Day itself exploring the spectacular gorges and Berber villages to the west of the city or surfing the dunes at Erg Chebbi - better than turkey sandwiches in front of the telly.

3). Ruabh Reidh Lighthouse, Gairloch, Scotland
On a far-flung peninsula in the wild north-west highlands of Scotland sits Ruabh Reidh lighthouse, which has been blazing out a warning beacon since 1910. Where better to wait out the festive season with a few close friends and a bottle or two of whisky? The lighthouse today offers rooms in a comfortable B&B with delicious home-cooked food. If there’s enough of you the whole house can be rented, and there are great walks to work up an appetite too.

4). St Petersburg
With festivities observed according to the Orthodox calendar, Russia largely celebrates Christmas Day on January 7. This means December 25 is just another winter day. So in St Petersburg you can tour the Hermitage, tour some of the city’s stunning churches or just keep warm in Prival Komediantov, one of the city’s best and most historic cafes. 

5). New Ireland, Papua New Guinea
As much a place to escape the entire world as it is to run away from tinsel and boring loved ones, New Ireland is a cracking place for an adventure. Once you’ve transported yourself and your bike to Kavieng, via PNG’s capital of Port Moresby there’s not much to do but potter along the Boluminski Highway that runs along the east coast of the island. Every few hours you’ll come to a fishing village, often set around a sandy beach. Here you can rest, stay a night, swim and snorkel. (It’s technically the wet season but you’d be unlucky to get more than a short drenching.)

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Mary Higgins Clark (85), Ten Danson (65), Robert Duvall (82), Carlton Fisk (65), Matt Lauer (55), Stan Lee (90), Annie Lennox (58), Walter Mondale (85), Denzel Washington (58).

REMEMBERING DANIEL INOUYE -- "The Senate lost one of the last of its legends Monday with the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat who arrived a half-century ago as the complete Washington outsider yet grew to become central to the Capitol and even its soul. Inouye's quiet, restrained style led some to underestimate him. But he had a wit and shrewdness, too, combined with a record of genuine heroism and compassion for the underdog, having come of age amid discrimination against Japanese-Americans even as he served bravely in World War II. 'I have never known anyone like Dan Inouye. No one else has,' said Majority Leader Harry Reid in announcing his friend's death on the floor. 'A man who has lived and breathed the Senate.' ... At his death, Inouye was chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and had earlier chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee when it was first formed in the 1970s. ...

"He was one of the last of a generation of World War II veterans that once greatly influenced the chamber. Both he and retired Sen. Robert Dole met at what was then the Percy Jones Army Hospital in Michigan, where they were both young men recovering from serious wounds. A third future senator, the late Philip Hart (D-Mich.), was also a patient and became their friend, and years later Dole would break into tears talking of that time and how much Inouye had meant to him. ... Inouye would beat Dole to Congress, arriving in the House as Hawaii's first congressman after it won statehood in 1959. In 1962, he won election to the Senate. ... Inouye himself had other dreams - to be a surgeon, an ambition shattered by his war wound. And he would sometimes talk to this reporter of how so many of those in his medical class were lost forever in the war. Among them was his friend, Jin Hatsu Chinen, who was killed in an artillery barrage and with whom he had once hoped to open a clinic."

TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR: Barack Obama. "Obama is the first Democratic President since FDR to win more than 50% of the vote in consecutive elections and the first President since 1940 to win re-election with an unemployment rate north of 7.5%. He has stitched together a winning coalition and perhaps a governing one as well. His presidency spells the end of the Reagan realignment that had defined American politics for 30 years. We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America. For finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union, Barack Obama is TIME's 2012 Person of the Year.' See the cover.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/29, The Alamo Bowl;  3:45 PM ET, ESPN: Texas (8-4) vs. Oregon State (9-3). The first big Bowl game for 2012 with two big time conferences going head to head, we like The Beavers of Oregon State to prevail – OSU 35 Texas 24.  Season to date (12-5)

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/29, The Great Lakes Invitational; 3:30 PM ET, FSD: The Michigan State Spartans (5-10-2) vs. #8 ranked Western Michigan Broncos (1-4-1).  A rebuilding year for The Spartans, though you never know whats going to happen at The Joe – Western 5 MSU 2.  (Season to date (0-0)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/30, 5:00 PM ET, NBC: Dallas Cowboys (8-7) vs. Washington Redskins (9-6), the winner goes to The Playoffs. Another Tony Romo choke – Washington 24 Dallas 14.   Season to date (9-7)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Oregon State 35 Texas 24, Western Michigan 5 MSU 2, Washington 24 Dallas 14, Kim Caldwell 3 Euro boyfriends on her trip.   Season to date (43-22)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Wall Street begins an extremely abbreviated trading week today, with U.S. stock markets closing at 1 p.m. ET ahead of tomorrow's Christmas Day holiday. Heading into the final few days of trading for 2012, the S&P 500 has a 13.7 percent gain, on track for its best yearly advance since 2009. Despite a Friday sell-off, the Dow and the S&P 500 still managed to post their fourth weekly gain in five weeks.

The few who do show up for work on Wall Street today may not have much to focus on other than the ongoing "fiscal cliff" drama, with no economic reports on the calendar and no earnings reports due for release. In addition, many of the major Asian and European markets are closed today and tomorrow.

Next week; 2012 Review, 2013 Preview.

Until Next Monday, Feliz Navidad.

Claremont, CA

December 24, 2012
#III-36, 141

Monday, December 17, 2012

Affirmation vs. Information

I was listening to a popular radio sports talk show hosted by Colin Cowherd last week. His topic for the day was how society is much more interested in affirmation verses information. How we only watch, listen or read topics where we already know what we are going to get. We pick our Facebook friends, we only read what is comfortable or listen to the views we want to hear. We hire people who we believe they are like us or will do the right thing.

Yes we do listen and read opposing views but we prefer to be told that we are right and the way that we have always done things and continue to do them is the best way. Why, because it keeps us safe in our own little worlds, we get mad or choose to argue in an effort to convert others for having a different point of view than ourselves. If they don’t see things the way we see or understand them, they must be “wrong.”

This issue is becoming increasingly relevant in the light of recent events in our country: random gun violence, fiscal cliff issues, right vs. left, rich vs. poor, gay vs. straight. In our efforts to grow as human beings and develop our potential, we must increasingly reach out and up to others that don’t just tell us “yes.” Surrounding ourselves only in these environments delays our progression and retards our thoughts.

We must challenge our thought process in our home, our workplace, and above all else in our society by placing ourselves with others that can challenge our decision making and exposing us to different perspectives and opinions. Next time you reach out for information; reach up instead of out or down. Not only will we learn something new, we’ll have gone somewhere different than if we had or decided to do it on our own.

Affirmation makes us feel good and is easy, information is where growth occurs.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Chris Evert (58), Jane Fonda (75), Al Kaline (78), Alyssa Milano (40),  Ray Romano (55), Rita Thakur …famous Dean.

THE TIMES ARE CHANGING - About 70 percent of the instructional faculty at all colleges is off the tenure track, whether as part-timers or full-timers, a proportion that has crept higher over the past decade.

Change has occurred more rapidly on some campuses, particularly at regionally oriented public institutions and mid-tier private universities like Saint Joseph's.

Community colleges have traditionally relied heavily on nontenure-track faculty, with 85 percent of their instructors in 2010 not eligible for tenure, according to the most recent federal data available. But the trend has been increasingly evident at four-year institutions, where nearly 64 percent of the instructional faculty isn't eligible for tenure.

When professors in positions that offer no chance of earning tenure begin to stack the faculty, campus dynamics start to change. Growing numbers of adjuncts make themselves more visible. They push for roles in governance, better pay and working conditions, and recognition for work well done. And they do so at institutions where tenured faculty, although now in the minority, are still the power brokers.

The changing nature of the professoriate affects tenured and tenure-track faculty, too. Having more adjuncts doesn't provide the help they need to run their departments, leaving them with more service work and seats on more committees at the same time that research requirements, for some, have also increased.

At many institutions with graduate programs, a shrinking number of tenured and tenure-track faculty members are left to advise graduate students—a task that typically does not fall to adjuncts. The shift can also affect students. Studies show that they suffer when they are taught by adjuncts, many of whom are good teachers but aren't supported on the job in the ways that their tenured colleagues are. Many adjuncts don't have office space, which means they have no place on campus to meet privately with students.

HOT DOCUMENT: TREASURY FINDS BRETTON WOODS TRANSCRIPT - "A Treasury economist rummaging in the department's library has stumbled on a historical treasure hiding in plain sight: a transcript of the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 that cast the foundations of the modern international monetary system. Historians had never known that a transcript existed for the event held in the heat of World War II, when delegates from 44 allied nations fighting Hitler gathered in the mountains of New Hampshire to create the [IMF] and the World Bank. But there were three copies in archives and libraries around Washington that had never been made public, until now."

2013 PREP - "Inauguration-Record: Obama to match FDR's record of 4 swearing-ins," : "President Obama is poised to match Franklin Roosevelt's record of being sworn in as the nation's leader four times. While FDR served four terms, Obama is getting double swearing-in ceremonies for each of his two terms. He's planning a private oath [with media access] at the White House on Jan. 20, when the Constitution requires that his second term begin. But since presidential inaugurations are not traditionally on Sundays, his public swearing-in is scheduled Jan. 21. In 2009, Obama had a do-over of his oath the day after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts accidentally mixed up the words in the public ceremony. Presidential Inaugural Committee chief executive Steve Kerrigan pointed out the tie at a briefing Wednesday, and the historical distinction was confirmed by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies."

57TH INAUGURAL -- "2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee Launches, Announces Preliminary Schedule of Events for Inaugural Weekend and Inauguration Co-Chairs" - PIC release : "The ... weekend will kick off with a National Day of Service ... [O]n Saturday, January 19th, to honor our shared values and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden and members of the President's Cabinet will participate in service projects in the Washington, DC area. In keeping with tradition for Inauguration Days that fall on a Sunday, the President will participate in a small private swearing-in ceremony on January 20. The President's public swearing-in, the parade and the official Inaugural balls will take place on Monday, January 21.

"The co-chairs for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee are: Ambassador Matthew Barzun, National Finance Chair of President Obama's reelection campaign and former Ambassador to Sweden ... Eva Longoria, Actress, Obama for America Campaign Co-Chair and Founder of the Eva Longoria Foundation ... Jane Stetson, National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee ... Frank White, former member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprises. ...

"PIC announced the following positions: Jim Messina, Chair, Inaugural Parade ... Stephanie Cutter, Chair, PIC Board of Directors ... Jen O'Malley Dillon, Chair, National Day of Service ... Julianna Smoot, Chair, Inaugural Balls and Receptions ... Rufus Gifford, Chair, PIC Finance ... Patrick Gaspard, Chair, National Mall. The staff for the 57th Presidential Inauguration will be led by Stephen J. Kerrigan, who will serve as Chief Executive Officer, and David J. Cusack, who will serve as Executive Director. ... More information on the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee can be found at and on Twitter @obamainaugural."

FISCAL CLIFF UPDATE: PROCEEDING AS EXPECTED - Talks to avoid the cliff continue along a path we laid out here weeks ago: Both sides would start off with fairly ludicrous initial offers (they did), Republicans would ultimately cave on top rates (they have), Democrats would balk at the initial price-tag for those rate increases (they are) and some kind of final deal would emerge to eliminate or delay mostly of the nearly $600 billion cliff. What will the final product look like? Hard to say. But it is not likely to include an increase in the Medicare retirement age, which Democrats (and most voters) hate and won't accept. Means testing and chained CPI for entitlement programs are much more likely fixes, as we have said here before.

And the sweet spot for rate increases remains $500,000. Even some Democrats (Sen. Chuck Schumer among them) balk at $250,000. And the $1 million threshold proposed by House Speaker John Boehner is too high and does not provide enough revenue for the White House. Will there be a deal this week? Certainly possible. Some hurdles remain, but neither side wants to drag a conflict-weary America through dismal, Christmas-week Beltway brinksmanship. Hard to imagine anything we need less as a nation right now. Could well drag congressional approval ratings to less than zero. The deal is there for the taking.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/22, 3:30 PM ET – Las Vegas Bowl; Boise State Broncos (10-2) vs. University of Washington Huskies (7-5). On paper the Broncos have an easy one but Washington has a good offense that could pull an upset, not: Boise State 45 Washington 28.  Season to date (11-5)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Congratulations to the Mt. Union Purple Raiders  for winning the  D-III National Title. The 11th national title for the Ohio school. How about this Rink Rats record this year in D-III, 15 -1 – impressive!  (Season to date (15-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/22. 8:00 PM ET, NBC; Seattle Seahawks (9-5) entertain the San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1). Two hot teams, but the game is in the Northwest, thus the edge to Seattle. Seahawks 17 San Francisco 14.   Season to date (8-7)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Boise State 45 Washington 28, Seattle 17 San Francisco 14,  Season to date (41-22)

DRIVING THE WEEK - The fiscal cliff has quite rightly taken a secondary spot in the headlines and national consciousness to the horrific massacre in Newtown, Conn. But the work towards a deal goes on and should show significant movement toward resolution this week. If it does not, forget that desperately needed break between Christmas and New Year's ... Empire State survey today at 8:30 a.m. EST expected to drop to -10 from -5.2 ... Housing starts at 8:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday expected to dip to 873,000 pace from 894,000 ... Third estimate of third-quarter GDP out Thursday at 8:30 a.m. EST expected to increase to 2.8 percent from 2.7 percent ... Existing home sales at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday expected to rise to 4.9 million from 4.79 million.

Next week; a Rink Rats Christmas.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
December 17, 2012

#III-35, 140

Monday, December 10, 2012

How To Slice Your Charitable Pie

Each year at this time, this writer determines who shall receive his meager donations. I always demand a true charitable asset allocation to the causes I deem worthy.  I prepare a historical pie chart on how I have split donations over the years. Like most Americans my pie chart is heavy towards houses of worship and secondary or higher education, but this year perhaps a more deliberate giving strategy.

Education – where would we be without a quality education, but is my dollar really that important to institutions who continue to overcharge for services and already have huge Endowments from which to draw from.  The only way to justify giving a gift to educational institutions that are relatively well off is they produce people and knowledge that will benefit society.

Houses of Worship – If you offer financial support to your own house of worship, at the very least you have a duty to make sure that your religious community is making fellow members aware of the need to help people who have much less than you do. Not to finance arrest dodging priests or fancy places of worship.

Cultural Institutions – Philanthropy for the arts or for cultural activities is a tough one. To give a gift to maintain art or help disadvantaged children from dying from diarrhea or malaria is a tough choice.

A Child – The joyful part of giving is to be able to say that I can make something better. What better way then, to give to help a child. Be it shoes, a toy, food, safety, health, all are important.

This gift giving season make a difference in your gift – this is the true spirit of giving.

TOP DONATION - "Obama aide Axelrod loses mustache on TV for charity" - AFP: "David Axelrod [had] his trademark mustache [shaved] ... live on ['Morning Joe'] after raising $1 million for epilepsy research. 'We're cutting it off because there are people who have lost a lot more than a mustache to epilepsy,' said Axelrod ... [The 'Today' show dipped in live.] Axelrod, 57, who has had a mustache for 40 years, was saved [when Joe and Mika] stepped aside and let a professional barber with a straight razor do the job.

"One of the first donations ... came from ... Donald Trump ... 'We agree this is a good cause,' Trump said in a phone call to the show. Other donors included actors George Clooney, Tom Hanks and millionaire and basketball team owner Mark Cuban. ... The money goes to the Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)." Axelrod's wife, Susan, is the founding chair. Donate here.

HANUKKAH BEGINS - "Jews around the world ushered in the eight-day Hanukkah festival Saturday evening, lighting the first candles of ceremonial lamps that symbolize triumph over oppression. ... Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on Jews and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods. The holiday lasts eight days because according to tradition, when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight.

"For many Jewish people, the holiday symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. Observant Jews light a candle each night to mark the holiday. Oily foods are eaten to commemorate the oil miracle, hence the ubiquitous fried doughnuts and potato pancakes, known as latkes. In Israel, children play with four-sided spinning tops, or dreidels, decorated with the letters that form the acronym 'A great miracle happened here.' Outside of Israel, the saying is 'A great miracle happened there.' Hanukkah ... means dedication."

113TH CONGRESS - "The 2010 election, with its throw-the-bums-out, antigovernment furor, swept into office a host of people who had no government experience. ... But this year, voters sent many of those people packing. In their place will be a class of career bureaucrats and policy wonks who ... make up what could be characterized as the anti-antigovernment wave. ... The new House will include nine people ... who have already been in Congress. It will also include a former Congressional chief of staff, a decade-long member of a local water board, an assistant secretary for veterans affairs and even a Kennedy. ... The number of House seats that changed hands in 2010 and this year - 96 and 84, respectively - is the highest since the early 1990s, a period of turnover not seen in nearly half a century."

THE LISTS: WORST STOCK TRADES OF 2012 - Time to start tracking the best/worst lists of 2012. Please send any good ones along. Here is one from Quartz's Matt Phillips on the five worst trades: "1. The [JPMorgan] Whale ... 2. The Facebook IPO ... 3. Wall Street goes long Romney ... 4. Giving money to John Paulson ... 5. Knight Capital's $440 million electronic oops."

INSIDE THE NUMBERS - Motley Fool's Morgan Housel has some helpful charts showing what the government spends versus what it takes in:

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Tracy Austin (50), Steve Buscemi (55), Emmanuelle Chriqui (35), Teri Garr (65), Donna Mills (70).

SPORTS BLINK - "Johnny Football" becomes first freshman to win Heisman - Heisman Trophy Trust release: "Johnny Manziel [man-ZEHL'] of Texas A&M ... was selected as the 78th winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy ... The victory for the 6'1", 200-pound Manziel represents the second winner from Texas A&M and the first since 1957 (John David Crow). Manziel is the 33rd quarterback to receive the award, and the first Freshman ... Manziel, of Kerrville, TX, has completed 273 of his 400 passes this year, for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns while throwing only 8 interceptions ... rushed 184 times for 1,181 net yards (6.4 yards per carry) with 19 rushing touchdowns.

"Manziel broke the SEC record with 4,600 yards of total offense (previously held by 2010 Heisman winner Cam Newton) ... [led] Aggies to a 10-2 regular season record and an appearance in the January 4th, 2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma. ... Ballots were mailed to 870 media personnel ... plus 57 Heisman winners and one fan ballot, for a total of 928 electors. ... Manziel polled 2,029 points to capture the award over Manti Te'o [MAN'-ty TAY'-ow] of Notre Dame (1,706 points), and Collin Klein of Kansas State (894 points). The point total is reached by a system of three points for a first place vote, two for a second and one for a third."

PACKERS ICE LIONS: 27-20 loss makes it 22 straight in Wisconsin. It is difficult being a Detroit Lions fan.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/15, 1:00 PM ET, ESPN – The New Mexico Bowl begins the 35 game, over-hyped, ESPN controlled, college bowl season. The University of Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5) vs. The University of Arizona Wildcats (7-5). The Cats are favored by nine and rightly so. Arizona 28 Nevada 17.  Season to date (10-5)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday 12/14, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU – The D-III National Championship game: #1 Mt. Union Purple Raiders (14-0) vs. #4 St. Thomas Tommies (14-0). Mt. Union has been dominant all year and they will continue to do so; Mt. Union 32 St. Thomas 24. Season to date (14-1)

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/15, 8:00 PM ET. NBC – San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) vs. New England Patriots (9-3). Great Sunday night matchup, Patriots are too good in December; New England 20 49ers 10.   Season to date (8-6)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Arizona 28 Nevada 17, Mt. Union 32 St. Thomas 24, New England 20 San Francisco 10, UNLV 88 ULV 35 (12/13 basketball). Season to date (38-21)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Cliff talks continue behind closed doors. The less you hear in public, the better ... Obama is back on the fiscal cliff campaign trail today for an event at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant ... Fed releases rates statement on Wednesday and Chairman Ben Bernanke holds a news conference in which he is likely to continue to urge action to avoid the fiscal cliff while laying out steps the Fed might take to mitigate the damage should Washington fail to reach an agreement ... NFIB survey at 7 a.m. EST on Tuesday expected to dip to 91 from 92.5 ...

International trade at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday expected to show deficit rising to $43 billion from $41.5 billion ... Initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST Thursday expected to remain at 370K ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. EST Thursday expected to rise 0.5 percent, 0.3 percent ex-autos ... Bank of England Governor Mervyn King speaks Monday at the Economic Club of New York ... On Thursday, House Financial Services Committee has a hearing on the Volcker Rule and a House Agriculture subcommittee has a derivatives hearing.

Next week; affirmation not information and a Rink Rats Christmas.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
December 10, 2012

#III-34, 139