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

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