Monday, February 25, 2013


A recent theory going around investment circles is the spreading your bets to protect against a plunge in the U.S. stock market called “Differsification”. In this theory you should regard your portfolio as a set of bets on basic economic conditions and create one bucket for each: expansion, recession, inflation and deflation.

Financial planners have long built portfolios based on historical correlations, or the extent to which various investments have moved up and down together in the past. The theory is that when stocks zig, bonds and other investments will zag; market declines in one asset will be buffered by rising values for others. Unfortunately, markets recently have not followed this historical correlation. For much of 1980s and 1990s, U.S. Treasury bonds and U.S. stock tended to move up and down in price together. During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, Treasury bonds were the only major asset that went up as U.S. stocks crashed. Next time, who knows?

Viewed this way, the challenge you face isn’t figuring out which assets are cheap today. It’s building a portfolio that can prosper regardless of whether economic growth is high or low or whether prices are rising or falling.

In your “expansion” bucket, for the scenario in which the economy grows faster than forecast, you want stocks, real estate and, if you can tolerate the risk, commodities. In your recession bucket, for times when economic growth falters, you want bonds. The inflation bucket, for periods when the cost of living rises faster than expected, hold Treasury inflation-protected securities, or TIPS, and, if you can stand the volatility, commodities. Finally, in your deflation bucket, for times when prices are falling, you want stocks and conventional bonds like U.S. Treasurys.

Instead of constantly sloshing your money around, put some in each bucket and keep it there as lifelong insurance against everyone’s ignorance of the future. Play around the edges every once in a while, if you must. But sticking to basic differsification will give you peace of mind – and probably the last laugh.

THE GREAT HOUSING COMEBACK - 'The Great American Housing Rebound focuses on the Phoenix metro area and finds that home values in that area fell by 55 percent from 2006 to 2011. Now, tempered by painful memories of the bust, the area's buyers, sellers, builders and investors are coming back into the market warily, but they're coming back.

'Housing prices in metropolitan Phoenix climbed 22.9 percent in 2012, the highest in the nation. Phoenix has always been a bellwether of national fortunes and its housing market presaged and magnified the collapse in real estate. Now its recovery could reveal much about the prospects for a nationwide turnaround."

WHY MEDICAL BILLS ARE KILLING US - TIME cover story is an investigation by Steven Brill "into how outrageous pricing and egregious profits are destroying America's health care and creating even deeper budget deficits. Brill spent seven months analyzing bills from hospitals, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American health care ecosystem, following the money to find out exactly how and why we are overspending, where the money is going and how to get it back. What he discovered will radically change the way you think about our medical institutions."

Brill: "With Obamacare we've changed the rules related to who pays for what, but we haven't done much to change the prices we pay. ... When we debate health care policy in America, we seem to jump right to the issue of who should pay the bills, blowing past what should be the first question: Why exactly are the bills are so high? ... Breaking these trillions down into real bills going to real patients cuts through the ideological debate over health care policy.'

CABINET 2.0 -  "Barring any new, damaging information, Chuck Hagel has secured the necessary votes for the Senate to confirm him to be the nation's next defense secretary. A vote ... is expected next week [as early as Wed.]. Hagel cleared the threshold when ... Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said he would vote for [Hagel] after joining other Republicans last week in an unprecedented filibuster ... Hagel is expected to get all 55 Democratic votes and the support of three Republicans -- Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Shelby. Two other Republicans -- ... Susan Collins (St. Lawrence ’72) of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- voted last week to allow the nomination to move ahead and are expected to do the same next week, giving Hagel the requisite 60 votes out of 100 necessary to end a filibuster."

--Statement from former Senator Bob Dole, Bob Dole, released by the White House : "Chuck Hagel has spent his entire life in service to his country. He volunteered to fight in Vietnam and did so bravely, side-by-side with his brother and earning two Purple Hearts. He served as Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration for President Ronald Reagan and was President & Chief Executive Officer of the World USO. He represented the people of Nebraska in the Senate with honor for twelve years and was a coauthor of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Hagel's wisdom and courage make him uniquely qualified to be Secretary of Defense and lead the men and women of our armed forces. Chuck Hagel will be an exceptional leader at an important time."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Chelsea Clinton (33), Daniel Craig (45), Ron Howard (59), Bernadette Peters (65), Maria Suffredini ...famous niece, Chris Webber (40).

TECHWATCH - "Google challenges Apple with high-end laptop: Google unveiled a touchscreen notebook computer Thursday designed for high-end users, throwing down the gauntlet to Apple and its MacBooks. Google said its Chromebook Pixel computers blending tablet and laptop technology, boasting heavyweight Intel chips and screens tailored for rich graphics, were released in the United States and Britain, starting at $1,299. 'People will give up a MacBook Air for this,' Google Chrome senior vice president Sundar Pichai said. A Pixel model featuring built-in connectivity to the Verizon mobile Internet service will hit the US market in April at a price of $1,449. The newly unveiled version can connect online with wireless hot-spot technology or cables. ... Google is hoping enthusiasts will forego price comparisons with competitors such as MacBooks or laptops built on Windows 8 software and focus instead on the Pixel's touchscreen feature and the massive terabyte of Google Drive online data storage included. ... Google custom built Pixel and is producing it with the help of electronics manufacturers in Taiwan."

COLLEGE DEGREE IS THE NEW HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA - "The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job. Consider the 45-person law firm of Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh here in Atlanta, a place that has seen tremendous growth in the college-educated population. Like other employers across the country, the firm hires only people with a bachelor's degree, even for jobs that do not require college-level skills. ...

"Economists have referred to this phenomenon as 'degree inflation,' and it has been steadily infiltrating America's job market. Across industries and geographic areas, many other jobs that didn't used to require a diploma - positions like dental hygienists, cargo agents, clerks and claims adjusters - are increasingly requiring one. ... This up-credentialing is pushing the less educated even further down the food chain, and it helps explain why the unemployment rate for workers with no more than a high school diploma is more than twice that for workers with a bachelor's degree: 8.1 percent versus 3.7 percent."

MEDIAWATCH - "David Gregory re-ups as 'Meet the Press' host, NBC News ... described the new deal as 'a long-term commitment.' 'What a great vote of confidence from NBC,' a pleased-looking Gregory said Thursday. He said his first four years in the moderator's chair have passed quickly. ... The 42-year-old Gregory began as host of the Sunday morning public-affairs program in December 2008 ... Before that, he was Chief White House correspondent during the presidency of George W. Bush. ... Gregory is only the 10th permanent host of 'Meet the Press,' which premiered in 1947 and continues as the longest-running program on network television. Looking beyond the new contract, Gregory said he planned to be hosting the program 'for as long as they'll let me. ... I can't think of a better platform to have for doing what I love to do - the interviews - and as an outlet for my curiosity ... I think this is an impactful, influential program, and I love being associated with it."

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday March 1, 7:05 PM CT, BTN; #10 Denver Pioneers (16-10-5) visit #2 Minnesota Golden Gophers (21-6-5) in a key late season WCHA contest. Both teams have been peaking for the playoffs, we like The Gophers 5 – 2.  (Season to date (7-2)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS:  ice – (WCHA) Minnesota 5 Denver 2, (NHL) LA Kings 4 Detroit Red Wings 2,  hoops -  (Pac 12) UCLA 68 Arizona 65.   Season to date (59-31)

JACK ASS OF THE MONTH – our Jack Ass for this month is Mr. David Kenny and all the folks at The Weather Channel who came up with the idea for Winter Storm names.  Names such as Brutus, Gandolf, Nemo, Q, Ukko and Zeus. Are they kidding? Hurricane names from the National Weather Center is one thing, but Weather Channel names for low pressure moving across the country. Enough please. This advertising gimmick is a bit much. What next, names for wind currents – Tic Tac, Breaking Wind, Baked Beans, Garlic.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Congress is back for a week of sequestration fighting, but as noted above, there is little hope that a deal materializes before Friday. Dynamic after Friday will largely depend on how much impact the cuts have ... President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden deliver remarks to the National Governors Association this morning in the State Dining Room ... Senate Finance Committee votes Tuesday on Jack Lew's Treasury nomination. He is not expected to have a problem. The vote will come as part of the committee's 10 a.m. hearing titled "The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2013 to 2023" ... JPMorgan Chase holds its annual investor day on Tuesday ... Senate Agriculture Committee has a CFTC oversight hearing on Wednesday ... Case-Shiller home prices at 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday expected to rise 0.6 percent ... New homes sales at 10 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise to 380K from 369K ... Consumer confidence at 10 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise to 61.8 from 58.6 ... Second read on Q4 GDP at 8:30 a.m. Thursday expected to be revised up to 0.5 percent from -0.1 percent.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH – “The true definition of madness is repeating the same action, over and over, hoping for a different result.” Albert Einstein

Next week; movie and book reviews.

Until Next Monday, Adios!

Claremont, CA
February 25, 2013

#III-45, 150

Monday, February 18, 2013


A business associate this past week caught me in a moment of what I like to call “time panic”. He said to me; “Why do you continue to teach, when your time is spread so thin?”  Easy answer my banker friend, teaching is my savior. Without teaching my professional life is only half complete. From my first class at Tompkins-Cortland Community College many years ago, to last Wednesday evening in Orange County California I have not regretted one moment in the classroom.

It is not the pay, not the travel, not the academic discipline. But the friendships and associations with so many fine people. I have made and maintained friendships with students from the Xinjiang Province of eastern China, from Stockholm Sweden, Sao Paulo Brazil, Caracas Venezuela, Bangkok Thailand, Lompoc California, Dryden New York, Rancho Cucamonga California and all towns in-between.

These relationships of business, friendship and mutual respect make teaching the professional passion of my career. To connect with another human to help them become a better professional and better citizen is something I cherish. The reward is worth all the time management challenges I may have. As in life there are failures and successes in teaching, most of the challenges are in the egos associated with the profession. But when it comes to students I have no complaints, only thanks for rewarding me with your trust and association.

2012 OSCAR PICKS – Sunday February 24, 7:00 PM ET, ABC

Best Picture – Lincoln
Leading Actor – Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
Leading Actress – Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Supporting Actor – Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Supporting Actress – Amy Adams in “The Master”
Directing – Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln”
Animated Feature – “Frankenweenie”

TECH BLINK: APPLE TARGETED BY TOP HEDGE FUND - "An activist hedge fund has thrown down the gauntlet to Apple, pushing it to consider new ways to return billions of dollars to shareholders after the fall of the iPhone maker's share price by more than a third in recent months. The decision by David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital to sue the world's most valuable company is the latest effort to unlock the huge cash piles being hoarded by large technology groups. ...

"Greenlight on Thursday said it had taken legal action against Apple over proposed changes to its corporate charter that would prohibit it from issuing a new high-yielding class of share, which could pay out billions of dollars from its $137 billion cash pile. ... Apple said it would consider the idea, along with other ways to boost payouts to shareholders. ... 'Apple's management team and board of directors have been in active discussions about returning additional cash to shareholders,' the company said."

INSIDE THE WEST WING: Last Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry attended his first Cabinet meeting. Also seated at the table, representing Commerce, was his brother, Cam, who is the department's legal counsel. Observers believe this was the first brotherly duo at the table since President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

COMCAST BUYS REMAINING NBC STAKE FROM GE - "Comcast Corp., in a bullish bet on traditional entertainment, is buying General Electric Co.'s 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal for $16.7 billion. ... Two years ago Comcast bought an initial 51 percent stake in NBCU, transforming the nation's biggest cable operator into a diversified media company. Now, Comcast is doubling down, despite the uncertainty facing the industry, given the rise of digital outlets like Netflix Inc. and Amazon. ... NBCUniversal's cable channels, including USA, Bravo and MSNBC, continue to generate big profits. Meanwhile the NBC broadcast network has shown signs of a turnaround in recent months. ...

For Philadelphia-based Comcast, the NBC purchase is a wager that it can achieve benefits by owning both distribution and content, a strategy tried and abandoned by other media companies such as Time Warner Inc. ... Shares of Comcast jumped 6.8 percent in after-hours trading following the announcement. Comcast is also buying NBCUniversal's floors in the landmark New York City building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where NBC now broadcasts and which carries the GE sign, as well as CNBC's headquarters in New Jersey, for a total of $1.4 billion. Mr. Roberts declined to comment on whether the Comcast name would replace GE on the Rockefeller Plaza tower."

PANETTA'S FAREWELL - "On what may be his final day in Washington after nearly 50 years of service, Thursday February 14 Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spent time in and out of the Pentagon thanking those who have worked to protect the nation these past four years. At 1000, Panetta was joined by General Dempsey in presenting former Secretary Clinton with the Department's highest awards for public service at a ceremony attended by DOD and State Department workers. This was Panetta's final open-press speech and Clinton's first since she left office. After lunchtime, Panetta made one final trip up the river to CIA to thank his former deputy and acting Director Michael Morell in an all-hands call for agency staff. He quietly went to Section 60 at Arlington one last time to thank those we've lost on the battlefield. Panetta then returned to the Pentagon to see immediate staff and left for Monterey late in the afternoon. He promised his wife, Sylvia, he would be home in time for Valentine's Day dinner. Panetta will remain Secretary of Defense -- and will execute those responsibilities -- until Chuck Hagel takes the oath of office."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Charles Barkley (50), Fred Biletnikoff (70), Jeff Daniels (58), Erma King …famous gardener, Yoko Ono (80), William Peterson (60), Gretchen Pugliese …famous Health Care manager, Seal (50), Cybill Shepherd (63), Vijah Singh (50), Justin Verlander (30).

COLLEGE ENDOWMENT RETURNS 2012 - The value of college endowments fell back to earth in 2012, just a year after soaring an average of 19.2 percent, according to a new survey released last week. The NACUBO-Common Fund Study of Endowments, which looks at data from more than 800 education institutions in North America, found that endowments for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2012, were essentially flat, returning an average of minus-0.3 percent.

Harvard University was, once again, the wealthiest institution, with $30.4-billion in endowment funds. Although the university reported an investment return of 0.05 percent, the total value of Harvard's endowment fell by 4.1 percent as the net result of institutional expenditures and investment fees as well as the slight investment gain and incoming gifts. That negative 4.1 percent amounted to nearly $1.3-billion in 2012, a figure that is greater than the value of all but the 55 largest endowments.

Yale University's $19.3-billion endowment was the second-biggest, with a return of 4.7 percent on its investment. The University of Texas system was third, at nearly $18.3-billion. Stanford University's $17-billion endowment was fourth, and Princeton's was fifth, with just under that amount. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has an endowment valued at $10.1-billion, reported an 8-percent rate of return.

One reason that endowment values dipped is that 57 percent of the institutions increased their expenditures on campus operations, spending an average of 7.1 percent more in 2012 than they did a year earlier. The wealthiest class of institutions spent 15.7 percent more.

DINING OUT – We found a great neighborhood bar and grill, where old school meets new school. The West Point Lounge is that neighborhood place we all long for; good, cheap food in a friendly atmosphere. This family owned, for seventy five years, restaurant  has excellent cheeseburgers, fish and shrimp baskets, and cheap drinks. The entire family can come but we recommend after 8:00 PM to leave the kiddies at home. The bar always has a sports event on, and the bar menu is extensive.

1712 Spring Arbor Road, Jackson Michigan (517-784-3602). On the Rink Rats scale of one to ten (with ten being best), we give The West Point Lounge a solid 8. For our mid-western readers we highly recommend.

NBA POWER RANKINGS – at the All-Star break, who are the best and worst in the National Basketball Association: (1). San Antonio Spurs, (2). Miami Heat, (3). Oklahoma City Thunder, (4). Los Angeles Clippers, (5). Memphis Grizzlies. Bottom Two: (29). Cleveland Cavaliers, (30). Charlotte Bobcats.

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday February 22, 7:30 PM ET, CBS; a big weekend at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan has the #12 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (19-12-1) visit #6 Western Michigan Broncos (18-8-6). Can the Bronocs stingy defense control the Domers high flying offense? Western 5 Irish 4.  (Season to date (6-2)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS:  ice – (CCHA) Western 5 Notre Dame 4, (NHL) Montreal 3 N.Y. Rangers 2, auto – (NASCAR)  Jeff  Gordon to win the Daytona 500, film – (Oscars) best film is “Lincoln”.   Season to date (57-29)

THE HASSE CUP – Congratulations to Carrie L. for winning the 2012 Hasse Cup. The Hasse Cup is a symbol of sports and entertainment expertise. Trophy presentation will be this Thursday evening (February 21) at the Hi Brow Lounge in dynamic Pomona California, the presentation will be in the “Advancement Suite” at the Hi Brow. Master of Ceremonies for this years’ gala, Mr. Robert Earhart. The ceremony will be broadcast live on The Animal Planet Channel at 11:00 PM ET.

RINK RATS SHOUT OUT – this week to Mr. Peter Blair of Rochester, New York. An avid follower of this publication, Mr. Blair, St. Lawrence ’76, native of Ottawa, Ontario Canada. He is an educator, hockey fan, famous investor, and long-time friend.

DRIVING THE WEEKEND - "Tiger Woods Joins Obama on Links for Presidential Golf Vacation, Woods ... joined the president, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Jim Crane, an Obama supporter who owns the exclusive Florida course where they played, ... the Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City, Florida. The White House confirmed that Woods was golfing with Obama hours after Tim Rosaforte, a correspondent for Golf Digest and the Golf Channel, [tweeted] that Woods was awaiting Obama's arrival at the club and that duo's first round together would mark a 'historic day in golf.' Golf Digest, in a report on its website, said that Butch Harmon, who created the club's instructional facility and is Woods' former coach, was also on the tee with Obama and Woods. 'The last tournament you played was fun to watch,' Obama told Woods, Golf Digest reported, citing Harmon. 'It's good to see you play well again.' ... The Floridian National Golf Club, with a course designed by Tom Fazio, is owned by Crane, 59, who also owns the Houston Astros."

Next week; Mid-winter movie pick and Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, Adios!

Claremont, CA
February 18, 2013

#III-44, 149

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 1978

Thirty five years ago today my mother, Barbara Jean Hannaum Hasse, died.

She was forty five years old; she left a husband, four children, two parents, a sister, and many friends. She died of cancer.

I remember the day like it was an hour ago. I was living in Ithaca, New York then. My wife Kathy and I had just returned from spending some days with her in the hospital. Before this day death to me was a distant thing. Yes, I had been to funeral homes viewing my father’s parents and brothers. But now death was real and unknown. The day was a Saturday, my father called and everything in our family changed forever. Trying to recall the days that followed is difficult; it was like a fuzzy dream. My father and grandparents were in shock most of the time, fortunately I and my oldest sister had spouses to lean on and support us.  To this day I feel so sorry for my younger two sisters, who had to bare this on their own watching all the sorrow around them.

As life is we have all moved on, healed and experienced the many ups and downs of life.  I have experienced more death; I have seen family, friends, and business associates all leave us. But this memory of thirty five years ago is still upmost in my mind. The memory of her to this very minute is strong and intact. The sadness of her death has been replaced over time by the love and life she gave all of us. The wonderful memories of family and not the memory of her death becomes the gift over time she has given her husband, children, and friends.

Now when I have friends experience their parent’s death or other family members I can offer them support in the belief that their memory and love will last with them until they die.

Barbara Jean we love you, thank you for my life and thank you for the memories.

FLASH - "New pope will probably be elected by end of March-Vatican. A new pope will probably be elected by the end of March, a Vatican spokesman said this morning, after Pope Benedict left his aides 'incredulous' with his announcement that he would resign because he was too weak to fulfill the duties of his office. Benedict said he would step down on Feb. 28 and would not take part in the conclave to elect a new pope, Father Federico Lombardi told reporters at the Vatican. After resigning, the former pope will move to a summer residence near Rome. After that, he will live in a former monastery within Vatican territory."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Geoff Ball …famous nephew, Jeb Bush (60), Ice-T (55), Michael Jordan (50), Rene Russo (59), Chuck Yeager (90).

NUMBER OF THE DAY: $45 MILLION - That's the eye-popping sum awarded in cash and stock to Jeffries Group CEO Richard Handler, making him the top earning public company boss on Wall Street. Haven't heard of Jeffries? You are not alone. It's hardly a blue-chip household name like Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley. The number is even more astounding when you consider Jeffries 2012 total net income: $282 million. That means Handler is pocketing nearly 16 percent of the entire company's profits.

MAYOR WHO? -  "Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last week shot down speculation in California and Washington about his candidacy for an Obama Cabinet position ... Villaraigosa for months has been the subject of buzz he would be selected to succeed Secretary Ray LaHood at the Transportation Department or as a nominee to head the Department of Commerce. But he said in a statement that he is focused on the last five months of his second term as mayor."

RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT?? -  "YOU LOOK GOOD, HILL: Her website gets a face-lift - for 2016? ... Backers' website glams her up: Just days after becoming a private citizen, Hillary Clinton [launched] a ... new website [] that boldly features her in an attention-grabbing photo. A mass e-mail sent Tuesday by her husband Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea [from the Clinton Foundation] ... urges recipients to 'thank Hillary for making our country and our world, stronger, safer and better. ... Please take a moment to send Hillary your personal note of thanks' ... The website and e-mail show that Clinton already has given great thought to the future ... Visitors to, the remnant of campaigns past [Friends of Hillary], were presented with a link directing them to the new address, ... which was registered Thursday, 24 hours before Clinton left the State Department. ...

"The site ... contains a contact form for visitors to fill out - allowing Clinton to add to her already robust mailing list. Clinton aides downplayed the site's significance, insisting that it is simply a way for fans and the media to reach Clinton now that she is out of office. The mass e-mail was sent by her husband's nonprofit foundation to its subscribers."

$2 TRILLION MORE IN DEFICIT REDUCTION NEEDED - "A slowly improving economy and recently enacted tax increases will help bring down the federal deficit for the next few years, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday, but it will take another $2 trillion in belt-tightening over the next decade to begin to move the federal debt closer to historic levels. ... Douglas Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan agency that advises Congress on budget and economic matters, emphasized the risks of failing to stabilize the debt. 'At this level of debt relative to GDP, our country would be incurring costs and bearing risks of a sort that we have not [had] in our history except for a few years around the end of the second World War,' he said."

SPORTS BLINK - "Fans bet record $98.9M in Nevada on Super Bowl: 183 sports books made $7.2 million on the football action. The San Francisco 49ers started out as a 5-point favorite but the Baltimore Ravens won 34-31. Odds makers say California fans drove the unprecedented handle, flooding Las Vegas and the Lake Tahoe area with wagers on the hometown team, which hadn't been in the Super Bowl since 1995. ... The previous record was set in 2006, when gamblers wagered $94.5 million on the Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Book makers said they took a beating this year on proposition bets, including a long-shot on whether there would be a safety. Ravens punter Sam Koch took a safety for the final score with 4 seconds left. Casinos retained 7.3 percent of the millions wagered, slightly less than the average hold during the past decade, which has fluctuated from lows of negative 2.8 percent to highs of 17 percent.

"The 65 points scored in New Orleans easily exceeded the over/under of 49. ... Casinos paid out at 9-to-1 for the safety. Fans who bet that the 49ers' final score would be on a safety cashed in at 50-to-1. Sports books also paid out big last year when the New York Giants played the New England Patriots and the first score of the game was a safety. ... Nevada sports books have lost only twice on the Super Bowl in the past 20 years, most recently in 2008, when New York beat the Patriots, costing casinos a record $2.6 million."

"Ravens' Super Bowl Win Draws Fewest Viewers Since 2010's Contest, CBS's Super Bowl telecast of the Baltimore Ravens' 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers ... drew a smaller audience than the last two record championship games. The four-hour contest at the Superdome in New Orleans averaged 108.4 million viewers ... The drop ends seven years of rising viewership for the game, annually the most-watched U.S. television event. ... Last year's contest between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots drew a record audience of 111.3 million. The previous year's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers attracted 111 million."

BUSH FAMILY HACKED - "Audacious Hack Exposes Bush Family Pix, E-Mail: Hacker breached AOL account of ex-president's sister, other victims. Included in the hacked material is a confidential October 2012 list of home addresses, cell phone numbers, and e-mails for dozens of Bush family members ... The posted photos and e-mails contain a watermark with the hacker's online alias, 'Guccifer.' Correspondence obtained by the hacker indicates that at least six separate e-mail accounts have been compromised, including the AOL account of Dorothy Bush Koch, daughter of George H.W. Bush and sister of George W. Bush. Other breached accounts belong to Willard Heminway, 79, an old friend of the 41st president who lives in Greenwich, Connecticut; CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, a longtime Bush family friend ... Both Heminway and Nantz corresponded with Bush, 88, about playing golf and visiting the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. The hacked e-mails, sent between 2009 and 2012, include correspondence between Nantz and George W. Bush's scheduler about an October 2010 golf outing in Dallas.

CALIFORNIA DREAMING - "Huge storm blankets Northeast with 2 feet of snow. More than 38 inches of snow fell in Milford in central Connecticut, and an 82-mph wind gust was recorded in nearby Westport. ... Airlines scratched more than 5,300 flights ... Snow piled up so high in some places ... that people couldn't open their doors to get outside. ... The wind-whipped snowstorm mercifully arrived at the start of a weekend, which meant fewer cars on the road and extra time for sanitation crews to clear the mess before commuters in the New York-to-Boston region of roughly 25 million people have to go back to work. ... A little more than 11 inches fell in New York City ... Nearly 22 inches of snow fell in Boston and up to 3 feet was expected ... About 650,000 customers in the Northeast lost power during the height of the snowstorm, most of them in Massachusetts and Rhode Island."

 "The Weather Channel ... bestowed the snowstorm ... with the name Nemo, conjuring the image of the adorable orange fish from the Disney/Pixar film 'Finding Nemo.' ... The common criticism is that it is a [Weather Channel] marketing ploy. The National Weather Service ... has advised its forecasters not to follow the channel's lead, and a spokesman said it had never named winter storms ... (The New York Times advises reporters not to use the names in storm coverage.) But the name game was catching on, as evidenced by the government officials, news media outlets and airlines that published advisories using the name. 'We're ready for Nemo,' the Twitter account for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ... asserted ... 'Twitter needs a hashtag,' said Bryan Norcross, the Weather Channel meteorologist who helped conceive the storm-naming system. The main rationale for naming, he said, is to help raise awareness about the dangers of storms. ... [T]he channel's next names are Orko, Plato and Q."

"The weather service uses names for hurricanes and tropical storms created by the World Meteorological Organization, but not other types of storms. ... Decades ago, storms like this would come with at most a day or two warning. But now because of satellite technology ... and better data and modeling, forecasters are seeing storms several days in advance ... There are days of waiting for a storm with little news to report, sometimes leading to exaggeration. ... The lead-up to the storm has been the atmospheric equivalent of the week before the Oscars or Super Bowl. ... The name Nemo was getting significant use, trending Friday on Twitter. ... CBS News' Major Garrett mused on Twitter: 'I thought only Dairy Queen named Blizzards.”

NHL POWER RANKINGS – a key indicator after ten games, who are the best and worst in the National Hockey League: (1). Chicago Blackhawks, (2). New Jersey Devils, (3). Boston Bruins, (4). Anaheim Ducks, (5). Pittsburgh Penguins. Bottom Two: (29). Washington Capitals, (30). Columbus Blue Jackets.

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday February 15, 7:35 PM ET, CBSSN; a key game in the CCHA at Steve Cady (St. Lawrence ’74) Arena in Oxford, Ohio. #11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (18-11-1) visit #2 Miami Redhawks (18-7-5), the winner of this one has the upperhand the final weeks of the season. Miami 5 Notre Dame 4.  (Season to date (5-2)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – ice - Miami 5 Irish 4, hoops (women) - La Verne 66 Occidental 59,  hoops (men) – Michigan State 71 Michigan 65.  Season to date (55-28)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Obama delivers his State of the Union Address on Tuesday and is expected to argue for new (and recycled) spending initiatives on infrastructure and other items to try and drive faster job growth. These are not likely to pass the House. Obama will again seek to raise pressure on House Republicans to relent on their refusal to consider new revenue through tax reform as part of an alternative to the nearly $1 trillion sequester spending cuts set to hit March 1. ...

After the SOTU, Obama goes on the traditional road trip to sell his policies with stops in Asheville, N.C. on Wednesday, Atlanta on Thursday and Chicago on Friday. ... Treasury Budget at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday expected to show a deficit of $2 billion. ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday expected to grow 0.1 percent. ... University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to rise slightly to 74.8 from 73.8, still a weak figure.

Wall Street is coming off an uneven week that nonetheless saw some notable achievements: the S&P 500 chalked up its 6th straight week of gains, something it had not done in 42 years, while the Nasdaq posted its highest close since November 9, 2000. The Dow, however, did break a five-week string of advances.

Next week; Mid winter movie and restaurant reviews, I hope.

Until Next Monday, Adios!

Claremont, CA
February 11, 2013

#III-43, 148

Monday, February 4, 2013

The State of Rink Rats

January and February we see many “State ofs”: The State of the Union address, The State of the State, The State of the City, The State of Anemia, The State of the University, The State of Confusion, and on and on.

Well I believe it is time for The State of Rink Rats. We have been doing this little blog for almost three years now, week after week, what is its State?

Rink Rats ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, republicans and democrats, is in a fine state. Though our readership is small, it is loyal, though feedback is near zero, we feel our message of information and opinion is being read.  Rink Rats is vehicle by which the author provides, in his opinion, needed information about government, the economy, sports, and some mindless events and topics. Also it provides for the exercise of writing. Be it opinion, memoir, or facts, one must never stop learning or developing new pursuits.

This is the State of Rink Rats. Will we continue, of course, will we change and become better, I certainly hope so.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH – “The superior man blames himself. The inferior man blames others.” – Don Shula

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Alice Cooper (65), Christopher Guest (65), Roxanne Lewis …famous niece, Michael Mann (70), Joe Pesci (70), Mary Steenburgen (60).

AUTO INDUSTRY - "Toyota reclaims global top spot: Toyota has reclaimed its position as the world's largest automaker for the first time in two years, selling a record 9.75m vehicles globally in 2012 as Japan's car industry rebounded strongly. Group sales surged more than 22 per cent last year, helping Japan's leading vehicle maker win back the title it lost to General Motors in 2011 after supply disruptions in Japan and Thailand as well as a recall fiasco in the US. Nissan and Honda each also had a record year."

RETURN TO ISOLATIONALISM - "In Davos, world seeks U.S. engagement: From Syria to Mali, from Iran to the South China Sea, the United States' reluctance to be drawn into conflicts far from its shores was a leitmotiv of geopolitical debate at this year's World Economic Forum ... The absence of top Obama administration officials from the annual brainstorming and networking event in the Swiss mountains symbolized to some a perceived pullback from global leadership ... Leaders of Russia, Germany, Britain, Italy, South Africa, Jordan and many other nations made the journey. U.S. bankers, business leaders and academics were out in force, but the most senior U.S. government officials were a Treasury undersecretary, an assistant secretary of state and the outgoing U.S. Trade Representative. Delegates debated whether and when China would overtake America as the number one economy and global power -- estimates ranging from the early 2020s to never ...

"One minister, shielded by ... anonymity , lamented the dangers of 'a world without American leadership.' Without U.S. involvement, one session was told, Syria would become a 'Somalia on the Mediterranean,' with Middle East states waging a proxy war via sectarian factions, some of which would export militant violence to the neighbors and to Europe. Iran may accelerate its nuclear program to try to break out of isolation, Vali Nasr of Johns Hopkins University said, because Washington is squeezing it with economic sanctions but shunning either direct diplomatic engagement or military action. ... At least 60,000 people have been killed in two years of civil war in Syria, according to the United Nations."

NUMBER OF THE DAY: $7 BILLION - That's what the FEC says was spent on the 2012 election. POLITICO's Tarini Parti: "The total number of dollars spent on the 2012 election exceeded the number of people on this planet. About $7 billion was spent by candidates, parties and outside groups on the 2012 election ... according to a review of campaign finance reports by the Federal Election Commission.

"FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub announced the eye-popping figure at the agency's meeting Thursday. The FEC estimates that candidates spent about $3.2 billion of the total $7 billion, parties spent another $2 billion and other outside political committees made up more than $2.1 billion. The agency processed 11 million pages of documents filed in calendar year 2012 alone."

WEATHER UPDATE: "PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa.  -- An end to winter's bitter cold will come soon, according to Pennsylvania's famous groundhog. ... Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair Saturday in front of thousands but didn't see his shadow. ... The prediction is made during a ceremony overseen by a group called the Inner Circle. Members don top hats and tuxedos for the ceremony on Groundhog Day each year. Bill Deeley, president of the Inner Circle, says that after 'consulting' with Phil, he makes the call."

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday February 8, 7:00 PM ET, HGTV; the #4 ranked Miami of Ohio Redhawks (17-6-5) visit the #6 ranked Western Michigan Broncos (17-6-5) in this key game in Kalamazoo. Both teams are playoff bound and looking for home ice. We like Western to win a close on 4-3.  (Season to date (4-2)

RAVENS WIN BLACKOUT BOWL - There were two games last night, pre-blackout (Ravens dominant) and post-blackout (49ers resurgent). Baltimore had just enough left to hold on to win one of the strangest and most entertaining games in Super Bowl history. Was that holding on the 49ers's final offensive play? Very close. Contact both ways. Whatever the case, the refs did not decide this one. Baltimore deserved the win.

Ravens over 49ers 34-31; Joe Flacco MVP.

THE ADS -  'CLYDESDALE WINS BY A NOSE: Sentimental story beats Tide at very last minute," by Bruce Horovitz : "Anheuser-Busch climbed back into the saddle with the Super Bowl's top commercial - a heart-tugging tale of the bond between a trainer and the Budweiser Clydesdale he raised. ... Procter & Gamble's Tide laundry detergent pulled off a close No. 2, ahead of many Super Bowl regulars, with gentle humor. Its ad had an image of football legend Joe Montana miraculously appearing in a salsa stain on a rabid fan's jersey. The miracle stain causes a media uproar and becomes a relic of worship until the fan's wife - who happens to be a Baltimore Ravens fan - washes the stain out with Tide. The Budweiser winner is about a guy who breeds and raises a Clydesdale horse, only to wistfully watch it leave for the big-time. Then, three years later, at a big-city parade, man and horse re-unite in an emotional embrace. ... For P&G, the road to nearing advertising nirvana has been long, slow but focused. Its ads have continued to improve from pure product demonstrations to humorous slices of life with product as hero. ...

"Chrysler's two-minute spot for Ram pickups , in third place, focused on a celluloid hug for the American farmer, featuring photographic images of farmers and work. For the ad's narrative, the carmaker used a commentary by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, who died in 2009. He extolled the virtues of American farmers, whose hard work, he says, puts them as about as close to God as anyone can get. A second two-minute Chrysler ad for Jeep was a touching salute to the military serving away from home. Chrysler proved a couple of things Sunday night that every Super Bowl marketer would do well to consider: Patriotism still sells. And so do longer tales told well, even in an age of instant YouTube clips.

NFL FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK –  Final Season to date (13-8)

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Western 4 Miami 3, Red Wings 5 LA Kings 3, La Verne women hoops 58 Claremont M-S 52.  Season to date (52-28)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Non-manufacturing ISM on Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST expected to dip to a still-strong 55.0 from 55.7 ... CBO budget and economic outlook on Tuesday at 1 p.m. will include the impact of the fiscal cliff deal ... JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon speaks at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce today ... CFTC has a full day meeting Tuesday on proposals to better protect customer funds held by futures commission merchants and derivatives clearing organizations ... House Financial Services has a hearing Wednesday at 9 a.m. on the role played by the FHA in the mortgage insurance market ... ECB and Bank of England issue rates decisions on Thursday.

Next week; Mid winter movie and restaurant reviews.

Until Next Monday, Adios!

Claremont, CA
February 4, 2013

#III-42, 147