Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Consumption vs. Investment

Here are two videos you should see that describes a key economic issue: consume or invest.

WHAT WORKS - Before Washington, California was the national symbol of partisan paralysis and government dysfunction. This was the place where voter initiatives slashed the power of state lawmakers, runaway deficits and gridlocked budgets were the rule of the day, and a circus of a recall election forced a governor out of office ... But in the past month, California has been the stage for a series of celebrations of unlikely legislative success ... The turnaround from just 10 years ago - striking in tone, productivity and, at least on fiscal issues, moderation - is certainly a lesson in the power of one-party rule. Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the Assembly and Senate and the governor, Jerry Brown, is a Democrat. The Republican Party ... has diminished to the point of near irrelevance.

But ... three major changes in California's governance system intended to leach some of the partisanship out of politics ... may also be having their desired effect ... Lawmakers came into office this year representing districts whose lines were drawn by a nonpartisan commission ... This is the first Legislature chosen under an election system where the top two finishers in a nonpartisan primary run against each other, regardless of party affiliations, an effort to prod candidates to appeal to a wider ideological swath of the electorate. And California voters approved last year an initiative to ease stringent term limits, which had produced a Statehouse filled with inexperienced legislators looking over the horizon to the next election. Lawmakers can now serve 12 years in either the Assembly or the Senate.

TWITTER ENTERS HOT IPO MARKET - As Twitter this week begins an eight-city road show to pitch its stock sale to big institutional shareholders like Fidelity, BlackRock and Legg Mason, it will be entering one of the strongest markets for I.P.O.'s in three years, especially in the United States. Despite Facebook's initial stumble in its market debut in May 2012, investors have shown a growing appetite for initial offerings ... Retail investors, in particular the very wealthy, are also seeking exposure to soaring stock of new companies. ...

This year, 169 companies have gone public in the United States, raising $45 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Both figures are at the highest levels since the financial crisis of 2008, though the number of offerings remains below the level set before the financial crisis. And nine companies have raised more than $1 billion in their debuts so far in 2013, the largest number in at least five years.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Kate Capshaw (60), Michael Dukakis (80), Bill Gates (58), Rochelle Hanson …famous public servant and finance expert, Lauren Holly (50), Dennis Miller (60), Gary Player (78), Denis Potvin (60).

FRANKLIN CIDER MILL – I grew up in a small suburban town, Franklin Michigan. The perfect place to grow up: walk to school, skating pond in the back yard, baseball fields three blocks away, corner store, small local library, AND The Franklin Cider Mill.

The Franklin Cider Mill is a one-of-a-kind living piece of history.
1.       They press and bottle apple cider right here at the Mill! Each side of the press can hold up to sixty bushels of apples.
2.      The average yield is approximately three gallons of cider per bushel of apples.
3.      Cider season opens Labor day weekend and usually remains open until the first weekend after Thanksgiving.
4.      The apples are all sorted and washed before going into the grinder.
5.      Usually between eight to twelve hundred bushels of apples are sorted on the second floor of the Mill, there the sorting and feeding of the apples into the grinder.
6.      The donuts sold here are made by an old German recipe brought to this country many years ago.
7.      The cider is NOT filtered, NOT pasteurized, and does NOT contain any form of preservative. It is a pure fruit juice and MUST be kept refrigerated

 If you are in the Detroit area this fall, take in The Franklin Cider Mill, truly one-of-a-kind. Also don’t forget while in Birmingham stop by Leo’s Coney Island hot dogs, THE BEST.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL BCS - Oregon passed Florida State and moved into second place behind Alabama in the BCS standings. ... Alabama's remaining schedule is LSU, Mississippi State, Chattanooga and Auburn before a possible [SEC] championship game. If the Crimson Tide run the table, it'll likely play in a third straight BCS championship game, and fourth in five years. ... Ohio State is still fourth in the standings after its 63-14 victory against Penn State. ... Stanford is fifth in the standings, followed by unbeaten Baylor and Miami.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/2, 8:00 PM ET, ABC: #7 Miami Hurricanes (7-0) at #3 Florida State Seminoles (7-0). Just like the old days, a HUGE Florida in state game, ACC domination is at stake. FSU too much for The Canes 42 – 28.  Season to date (6-2)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/2, 2:00 PM ET, BRAVO: #8 UW-Platteville Pioneers (7-0) visit #7 UW-Whitewater Warhawks (7-0) in this WIAC first place game at Perkins Stadium. Perennial power Whitewater will dominant 28 – 10.  Season to date (6-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 10/31, 8:25 PM ET, NFL: Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-4). Too tough for Miami to bounce back after a Sunday struggle, Bengals 24 Miami 14.  Season to date (7-0)

(NCAA, Nov. 2) Cornell Big Red (1-5) 10 at Princeton Tigers (5-1) 32
(SCIAC Game of the Week, Nov. 2) Chapman Panthers (5-1) 28 at La Verne Leopards (3-2) 30
(NHL, Nov. 2) Toronto Maple Leafs (8-4) 3 at Vancouver Canucks (9-4-1) 5
(NFL Upset of the Week, Nov. 3) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5) 21 at New England Patriots (6-2) 20
Season to date (36-29)

Distaff – Royal Delta
Turf – The Fugue
Sprint – Pointsoffthebench
Mile – Wise Dan
Classic – Will Take Charge


lallygag \LAH-lee-gag, LAL-ee-\, verb:
1. to spend time idly; loaf.
2. to indulge in kisses and caresses; make love; neck.
“Are you coming in, or are you going to lallygag in the hallway?”

trece, adjective, noun
not to budge, to stick to your guns
Seguir or mantenerse en sus trece is an idiomatic phrase which means to refuse to change your position on something, for example:
“Los dos lĂ­deres se mantienen en sus trece.”
The two leaders are refusing to budge.

MARKET WEEK - The Dow and the S&P 500 are riding three-week winning streaks as we head into the final four trading days of October, with investors now focused on the two-day meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers that begins tomorrow. The central bank is not expected to begin trimming its bond-buying program, in part because of concerns about the lingering effects of the government shutdown.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Budget conference begins Wednesday with a meeting that is entirely for show ... Huge week for economic data begins this morning with industrial production at 9:15 a.m. expected to rise 0.4 percent ... Pending home sales at 10 a.m. this morning expected to be flat ... Producer prices at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.2 percent headline, 0.1 percent core ... Retail sales Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. expected to be flat, up 0.4 percent ex-autos ... Case-Shiller home prices at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.6 percent ...

Conference Board consumer confidence Tuesday at 10 a.m. expected to dip to 75.0 from 79.7 .. ADP employment report 8:15 a.m. Wednesday expected to show a gain of 150K ... Consumer prices at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise 0.2 percent headline and core ... No big moves expected in FOMC announcement Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is in NYC today for meetings.

Next week: Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA
October 29, 2013

#IV-28, 185

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Can't Explain

Because my work takes me to different worlds: business and academics. I have many friends, family, students, politicians, bartenders, and associates ask me to explain certain issues and topics. I patiently explain that many times I cannot do this.

I cannot explain the Federal Government shutdown, I cannot explain the ins and outs of our national health-care system, such as it is. I cannot explain President Obama, I am not privy to the inner workings of his intellect.

I cannot explain the Tea Party. I cannot explain why John Boehner has that tan. I cannot explain why Nancy Pelosi has dropped out of the national conversation, though I think it has something to do with her hair style these days. I cannot explain anyone whose last name is Paul.

I cannot explain why the NFL wants to expand to Europe. I cannot explain rap music. I cannot explain why the Detroit Red Wings are in the Atlantic Division.  Just because I am an American does not mean I know everything about the mysterious workings of my native land. I cannot explain Miley Cyrus. I cannot explain why the capital of California is Sacramento. I cannot explain Foothill Boulevard. I cannot explain Professor David Kung.

I cannot explain my nicknames for people. I cannot explain why the University of La Verne cannot have graduation at their football stadium, even though the University of Michigan with the same type of surface does. I cannot explain the City of La Verne City Council. I cannot explain when a University/College faculty member teaches three or more classes a term they become whining children.

I cannot explain why Pizza N’ Such in Claremont, CA has bad ice tea. I cannot explain the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I cannot explain why The NFL Red Zone is the best sports program on television. I cannot explain horticulture. I cannot explain why the Artic Monkeys, Kylie Minogue, and Mr. Bean did not make it bigger in the States.

I can explain something, I like no questions.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Whitey Ford (85), Bobby Knight (73), Shelby Lynne (45), Natalie Merchant (50), Juli Roberts …famous ULV Campus Director.

THE "DEAL": HOUSE GOP GETS NOTHING - "Despite tossing and turning for weeks, Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner ended up extracting exactly no concessions from the Obama administration in the final deal that was heading for a vote Wednesday evening. ... Despite a party-wide pledge to rebrand after the 2012 elections, House Republicans spent more than two weeks in a wrestling match while Democrats held firm. As the Obamacare rollout proved disastrous for much of this month, much of the media and nation's focus remained on a shuttered government and loud protests on the National Mall. Democrats now say they've successfully put Republican majority at stake in 2014, as the GOP's numbers are in the cellar. ...

"Government funding runs dry again Jan. 15, the debt ceiling will be reached Feb. 7 and a budget conference has to report findings by Dec. 13. ... So what do Republicans get out of this fight? Lower spending levels dictated by the sequester, they say, and not a whole lot else. The debt ceiling will be raised with no spending cuts - a complete reversal of Boehner's 2011 promise to match a borrowing limit increase with reforms or cuts equal or greater to the amount of the hike. ... In some corners - that is, among allies of top Republican leaders like Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy - anger is growing with conservatives inside and outside the Capitol. ... The kicker? The budget conference committee that this bill created is expected to go nowhere. Major entitlement reforms look doubtful."

TWO LEADING THEORIES inside the GOP about who lost the shutdown: 1) "Ted Cruz preened his way into a massacre" ... 2) "Leadership wimped out and made everything worse ... According to [this] line of thinking, the party's congressional leadership erred badly by dismissing the 'defund' movement as a fool's errand until it was too late, allowing the party to stumble into a shutdown with no strategy and no clear demands, rather than cooperating with conservatives to force President Barack Obama's hand. If the leaders didn't think defunding Obamacare was achievable, ... then they could have pursued another set of demands using the leverage of the budget and the debt ceiling. By the time House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposed entitlement reform talks in an Oct. 8 Wall Street Journal op-ed, the battle lines were already drawn."

TICK-TOCK -- "Anatomy of a shutdown," by John Bresnahan, Manu Raju, Jake Sherman and Carrie Budoff Brown: "Speaker John Boehner just wanted to sneak out of the White House for a smoke. But President Obama pulled him aside for a grilling. Obama wanted to know why they were in the second day of a government shutdown that the speaker had repeatedly and publicly pledged to avoid. 'John, what happened?' Obama asked ... 'I got overrun, that's what happened,' Boehner said. It may be the most concise explanation of a chaotic, 16-day standoff that prompted the first government shutdown in nearly two decades ... The House Republican conference ran roughshod over Boehner ... He was overtaken by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who swept in near the end to forge a bipartisan agreement, part of an attempt to shield Republicans from further damage and salvage his party's chances of winning back the Senate ... Republicans never believed Obama would hold firm on his refusal to negotiate and Democrats would maintain an unusual level of cohesion - united by a visceral desire to put the tea party in its place and an almost mama grizzly instinct to protect Obamacare. 'It was not a smart play,' McConnell said Thursday of the GOP's Obamacare strategy. 'It had no chance of success.'

"Obama and Reid stuck together, emerging as the political victors . Their hard-ball tactics were designed to 'break the fever' brought on by the tea party, but it also helped drive the country to the edge of default. Republicans cycled through every option possible during the three-week standoff to save face. Their Obamacare demands devolved from repeal and defund to a delay of the individual mandate. They revived the idea of a 'grand bargain' on taxes and government spending but Reid openly laughed when Boehner raised it during a White House meeting. They offered a more narrow proposal to replace the sequester cuts for two years. Then, they went back to Obamacare. Nothing worked. When things were at their worst, some Republican senators urged Vice President Biden to get more involved. But he told each of them it wasn't his call. ...

"By Wednesday, Republicans just needed a way out , agreeing to a bill that looked almost identical to what they rejected three weeks earlier: a debt-limit increase until Feb. 7, an extension of federal funding through Jan. 15 and no binding strings attached. ... McConnell told his colleagues this week that his party should 'never' be put in the same political position again ... Boehner miscalculated: he assumed House Republicans only wanted a show vote. Instead, they wanted so much more, determined to nullify the health care law and use a government shutdown and threat of a debt-limit default to get there. ... In the run-up to the shutdown, Obama was weak politically; his Syria strategy was panned by both parties; Obamacare was suffering poor poll numbers; and Republicans thought they had him on the ropes. Yet Cruz's anti-Obamacare drive played right into Democratic hands. 'The president gets up every day and reads the newspaper and thanks God that Ted Cruz is in the United States Senate,' a Republican senator pointedly told Cruz at a closed-door meeting. ...

"The White House received intelligence from an unlikely source: Boehner's former chief of staff Barry Jackson. A lobbyist who spoke with Jackson passed on a detailed download to top administration officials. Chief among the insights was that Boehner would have to fight right up to the ... deadline. ... Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) teed off on Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), lambasting him for what she considered a failed strategy with no way out. Cruz arrived late, but Ayotte wanted Cruz to hear this, too. She repeated her remarks, this time directing them at Cruz, too. 'He is so incredibly immature,' sniffed one GOP senator ... The lashing humbled Cruz, who began to take a quieter role in the intervening days. But he continued to push forward on strategy that Republicans had essentially left for dead. ... Rep. Paul Ryan ... decided to not engage in the government funding fight - he saw it as noise without any real impact on the larger issue. The Wisconsin Republican thought it would get resolved, and then he and Boehner could negotiate with Obama on a budget deal. As long as he had sequester spending levels, Ryan told colleagues on the House floor, he thought he could complete an entitlement and tax reform deal. The process, as some envisioned, would move through regular order, with legislative targets and an outline for a major rewrite of the U.S. tax code. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/26, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN: #12 UCLA Bruins (5-1) at #3 Oregon Ducks (7-0). Can UCLA bounce back after Stanford, nope – Oregon 38 ULCA 32.  Season to date (6-2)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/26, 2:00 PM ET, HGTC: #13 Wheaton, Ill. Thunder (6-0) visit #23 Illinois Wesleyan Titans (6-0). Number One in the CCIW Conference is up for grabs in Bloomington – The Thunder will electrocute The Titans, 28-24.  Season to date (6-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/27, 1:00 PM ET, Fox: Dallas Cowboys (4-3) at Detroit Lions (4-3). Ford Field will be rocking in this one with Division leads at stake; Detroit 28 Dallas 24.  Season to date (7-0)


(BCS Game of the Week NCAA, Oct. 26) #10 Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-0) 44 at #15 Oklahoma Sooners (6-1) 40

(SCIAC game of the week, Oct. 26) Redlands Bulldogs (3-2) 21 at Chapman Panthers (5-0) 24

(MLB World Series, October 26) Boston Red Sox 5 at St. Louis Cardinals 6

(HNIC NHL, Oct. 26) Pittsburgh Penguins (7-1) 3 at Toronto Maple Leafs (6-3) 4

(NFL Upset of the Week, Oct. 27) Cleveland Browns (3-4) 24 at Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) 20
Season to date (34-26)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL – First BCS Football Poll is out: Florida State moved up to No. 2 in after a wild weekend produced an extensive makeover of the Top 10. Alabama is still No. 1, Oregon is third and Ohio State still fourth, Missouri is fifth.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Economic data is back! Top highlight is the September jobs report on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. Consensus is for a gain of 180K and the jobless rate to remain at 7.3 percent ... Existing home sales this morning at 10:00 a.m. expected to dip to 5.3M from 5.48M ... New home sales Thursday at 10:00 a.m. expected to be little changed at 425K ... University of Michigan consumer sentiment Friday at 9:55 a.m. expected to drop to 74.5 from 77.5.

Next week: words of the month, apple cider and Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA

October 21, 2013

#IV-267 184

Monday, October 14, 2013

Amateur Hour

Who says manufacturing is dead in America? We manufacture debt limit crisis right here at home every few months. Good to know not everything is outsourced and made overseas. Some would think you'd have to get a third world country to find such amateurish governing these past few weeks. I think third world countries are feeling a lot better about themselves thanks to us.

Quick history lesson. The Republicans lost on health care. History lesson over. Currently the GOP-led House of Representatives has failed to agree on a clean spending bill without a resolution to defund the Affordable Care Act (nicknamed 'Obamacare'). The Senate Democrats did something unimaginable to Republicans: They decided to uphold the law and reject that resolution. This shut down our government.

The Republicans say the Affordable Care Act isn't fiscally responsible. They make a good point. Last month we had plenty of money to go to war with Syria, but this month we can't pay our bills. What's weird about that? We're told endlessly that both sides need to come together. Both sides need to compromise. This is called equivalency. Equivalency means both sides are to blame in any given argument and must share the blame.

I applaud the equivalency arguments. In fact, there are many situations where until now we didn't realize both sides were to blame. For example, when your house is burning down and the fire fighters are standing outside about to save you, they may insist you give up your medical insurance before they put out the blaze. If you disagree then you're not negotiating. You've brought this destructive process down upon yourself. This is perfectly reasonable. In fact fire fighters should really be called fire negotiators. They're just problem solving two things at once. Upside: cities will have fires burning everywhere out of control and need to hire more fire negotiators. That's called a jobs program.

Kidnappers have this same equivalency problem. How often are kidnappers just pointing out a problem that's already there? Kidnap victims are not at home and stuck at gunpoint with the kidnappers forced to cover all the costs? Who wouldn't see both sides are to blame here? This crisis is similar to when the Democrats didn't have the votes to stop Medicare D in 2003 and it became law under Bush and they upheld it. Oh.

Last week Speaker John Boehner tearfully argued he just wanted 'fairness' for the American people. So on the eve of the shutdown the GOP passed a new resolution (House Resolution 368) that changed standing rule 22 of the House of Representatives so that no longer could any congressman bring a new bill to the floor, just the majority leader Eric Cantor. Read that sentence again. Until now any Representative has been able to bring a new law to the floor to end a stalemate. But the GOP changed the law a few hours before a shutdown. What's not fair about that? That's very equivalent. That's a new advanced level of rule making called 'tantrum negotiation'. You may have heard of this in legislative circles as the 'I hate Johnny he can't play ' procedure. And if that can't be invoked successfully, one must look up nap time requirements for fair play. I'm surprised the Republicans are not owning the shutdown, or taking credit for it. Perhaps that's because it's not tracking well in the polls. Remember; both parties of our government are responsible because that sounds good to the party that started it. The Republicans have a great opportunity here to join the Olympic dodge ball team. Professional dodging this good should win America something.

So with one global embarrassment down and one to go it's the Republicans with the ball stuck without a plan as we head to international default. Defaulting on our international debts would trigger a rolling default in governments around the world and proof positive that the dollar isn't trustworthy, which is considered collateral for just about every international loan. But remember equivalency! If all these other governments would just drop their health care, and set a good example, maybe we wouldn't have to default. I think we can feel good about the members of the House of Representatives who are cashing their paychecks while furloughing 800,000 government workers. You want people savvy like that to be in charge.

Funny thing is when they go to cash their paychecks after destabilizing the global economy the dollar might collapse and their precious paychecks may be worth only a few cents. But remember it's not their fault. It's really because you didn't want to negotiate.

FED TO THE WORLD: THERE IS A NEW $100 BILL - After nearly a decade under development, the newly designed $100 bill is set to make its debut on Tuesday. The Federal Reserve has spent months shipping the new bills - with a slew of design features meant to deter counterfeiting - to cash offices at the Fed's regional reserve banks. Starting Tuesday, when a bank places an order for new hundreds, they'll receive the crisp pale-blue notes, with larger images, copper-colored lettering and a 3-D security ribbon.

One of the central bank's chief challenges now is making sure everyone, from consumers to bank tellers to law enforcement officials, know that the new $100 bill, which functions as a reserve currency around the world, is legitimate. "Not only do we need to reach the shopkeeper here in the United States, but we've got to reach them in Russia and Nigeria as well," said Sonja Danburg, the program manager for the Fed's U.S. currency education program."

DON'T READ THIS IF YOU'RE A MEMBER OF CONGRESS! Chris Krueger, a well-wired D.C. analyst for Guggenheim Partners, writes in his private guidance this morning: "Halloween the Real Deadline for Trick, Treat, or Default ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has been adamant that Thursday, October 17th is the deadline. This is somewhat true, but a true capital D default is very unlikely to happen on October 18th. The 17th has always been a moving target based off of receipts and modified outflows. ... October has relatively light outflows, but November 1 is a huge date for entitlement benefit payments and interest on the debt ... We don't want to sound optimistic about a post-October 17 world. The short answer is that no one quite knows what would happen - it is a bit of a zero-gravity environment. We continue to believe there is a 40% chance that Washington fails to raise the debt ceiling by October 17. ... At the end of the day, Lew says the deadline is October 17 and that is all that really matters."

MAYOR BLOOMBERG on cover of TIME -- "Bloomberg Unbound: HE'S REMADE NEW YORK. NEXT UP, THE WORLD: Not since the early 20th century have individuals had so much power to unilaterally shape our lives and shift our ideas. And never in history have they been able to exert their will so easily on such a global scale. This is the backdrop upon which Bloomberg is attempting to define his legacy, as a social and political engineer. ... 'I want to do things that nobody else is doing,' he told TIME MAGAZINE on a two-day swing through Europe in late September, where he met with the mayors of London and Paris and chatted with British Prime Minister David Cameron between visits to art galleries and an antique-furniture dealer. Officially he was still serving as mayor of New York City, but in practice he had already begun his next life, a jet-setting blur of wealth, power and ­international recognition. ....

"Bloomberg's money flows out through a complex web of nonprofit foundation work and private entities, often in chunks so small or anonymous that they are difficult to track. He has invested in local government, funding teams of consultants to work for the mayors' offices in New Orleans and Chicago on issues as vital as murder and as mundane as small-business permitting. He has spent more than $100 million to genetically engineer a better mosquito, in the hopes of eliminating malaria, and given $100 million to stamp out polio in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Africa, he has built maternal-health centers. ... Closer to home, he helped shutter coal-fired plants and lobbied Congress with Rupert Murdoch on immigration reform. He's involved in setting fracking policy, supporting Planned Parenthood and passing gay-marriage referendums.

"In local, state and federal elections around the country , he is spending millions more to back candidates who would further gun control and education reform and defeat those who oppose them. And then there is the money he has spent to get himself elected three times in New York City, north of $250 million, more than any single person has ever spent on U.S. elections. That investment in U.S. politics is likely to grow in the coming year. 'I'm not going to play golf like I threatened to do full time,' he says of his plans after leaving city hall on Jan. 1. He also has pledged not to return to managing his old company. ... There is no clear limit on how much Bloomberg is willing to spend on politics. His political adviser and deputy mayor Howard Wolfson ... oversees Bloomberg's political spending without an annual budget. 'What will it take?' Bloomberg will ask people as they pitch him. And if they digress from the hard numbers into storytelling, Bloomberg will cut them off. 'Quit finger painting,' he will say. ... When he first ran for mayor in 2001, he was worth about $4 billion.

"When he leaves office on Dec. 31, he will be worth about $31 billion ... Trust funds have already been established for his daughters and other loved ones, and he is not far from owning as many houses, planes, paintings and sculptures as he needs. The rest he has promised to give away - 'bouncing the check to the undertaker' ... In 2013, Bloomberg plans to spend about $400 million on pet causes ... If his net worth holds steady, or even if it fails to gain a bit of interest over the coming decades, the annual giveaways will have to rise substantially to meet his goal of spending down the fortune in the lifetimes of his daughters, ages 30 and 34. Ask him about the challenge, and Bloomberg will smile. 'That's a nice problem to have."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: a belated birthday wish to Devorah Lieberman …how could I forget POTULV last week, John Dean (75), Alan Jackson (55), Keith Jackson (85), Lindsey Vonn (29).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/19, 8:00 PM ET, ABC: #5 ranked Florida State Seminoles (5-0) visit #3 ranked Clemson Tigers (6-0). This ACC battle could have major bowl implications. Tigers win in OT 42 – 40.  Season to date (6-1)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/19, 2:10 PM, ET, BRAVO: #6 St. Thomas Tommies (4-1) vs. #5 ranked Bethel Royals (5-0). The game of the week in D-III at Royal Stadium in Arden Hills, MN.; we like The Royals to win 24 – 21.  Season to date (5-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/20, 8:30 PM, ET NBC:  Denver Broncos (6-0) at Indianapolis Colts (4-1). Can any team stop the Peyton Manning train, we believe Indy can; Colts 35 Broncos 31.  Season to date (6-0)


(NCAA, Oct. 19) #9 UCLA Bruins (5-0) 35 at #13 Stanford Cardinal 24
(SCIAC game of the week, Oct. 19) La Verne Leopards (3-1) 24 at Redlands Bulldogs (2-2) 21
(MLB Playoff, October 16) Boston Red Sox 2 at Detroit Tigers 4
(NHL, Oct. 19) Toronto Maple Leafs (5-1) 3 at Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-1) 5
(NFL, Oct. 20) Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) 17 at Detroit Lions (4-2) 24
Season to date (33-22)


My friend Larry’s tee shot on the 170 yard par 3 was lousy, but his 50 yard chip was inspired. The ball sailed straight into the hole but then bounced out. Larry got very excited with his Birdie 2. The rules czar in our foursome said, "Not so fast, the ball is still in play." Larry said, "No way, once a ball hits the bottom of the cup, the ball is holed."
What was the correct ruling?

A. Ball is holed! Larry gets his Birdie. Larry is right, a ball is holed the second the entire ball falls below the lip of the cup, which would obviously be the case if the ball hit the bottom of the cup and subsequently bounced out.
B. Ball is not holed. Larry will be putting for par. Larry was incorrect. A ball is not holed just because it fell in the hole. If it bounces out it is still in play.

Roy McAvoy

Dear Mr. McAvoy –
The answer is B. The ball was not holed. The USGA definition of holed applies here. The definition states, “A ball is "holed" when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole.” Accordingly, a ball that bounces out of the hole is clearly not at rest and is still in play.



DRIVING THE WEEK – To all our Canadian friends Happy Thanksgiving today (Monday). Have an Export for moi! Bond market shut for Columbus Day but stocks could register serious displeasure today at the lack of a debt limit deal in Washington. Seems like it might take a sharp, one-day sell-off to push matters to a last minute conclusion ... House returns this evening. Will members have anything from the Senate to either vote on or dismiss? Or will the "last train out of the station" wind up coming out of the House. ... Bank earnings continue this week, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America and others. Expect lots of talk on DC fiasco slamming confidence and cutting into activity.

NFL: Who's undefeated? Denver Broncos and Earnest's Kansas City Chiefs (both 6-0, and both AFC West). ... Who's winless? Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6), New York Giants (0-6) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5).

Next week: words of the month and apple cider.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA

October 14, 2013

#IV-26, 183

Monday, October 7, 2013


This is the time of year in higher education for the annual Homecoming weekend. The season to visit your former campus, listen to obnoxious alumni brag about all their accomplishments, and in the case of this writer enjoy the festivities with current students and friends.

Be it St. Lawrence University, the University of La Verne, Cornell University, the University of Michigan, Albion College, or any College or University this is the one time of year for many alumni to visit and remember one’s college or even high school experiences.

For fellow alumni from my generation the weekend is all about fun and remembrance. To relive the worry free days of frat parties, all-nighters in the Library, long hair, a thirty two inch waste, famous games, road trips, favorite Professors and dining hall food. But today for many recent alumni, these memories do not exist. They only remember the pressure to secure jobs in a down economy, the high amount of debt they incurred and have to pay back, the commute to campus for class, and the lousy football team. Though it is not like this for all recent alumni, but the majority I speak to have no fond memories of study and fun, only bad memories of lousy post education jobs, the pressure to be a success, and an insecure future.

What has happened? Is the world a more serious place? Has higher education changed?

Yes and yes, but even more so we have changed; helicopter parents, technology demands, social networking instead of just hanging out in the library, politically correct administration of higher education, the demand for faculty research at the expense of just plain teaching, and ESPN. Yes, ESPN; college life now is more like a business, corporate strategy run amuck. College football, basketball, hockey are scheduled around ESPN availability for air and advertiser time, not Saturday afternoons at 1:00 PM.

Thanks but no thanks; I’ll take morning parties and library midnight pizza runs. I’ll take Friday afternoon keg parties at Professor Elberty’s house and dances at the Black student Union without security guards at every exit. I’ll take the ‘north country run” without blue light security kiosks at every block. I’ll take administrators who truly listen to your concerns and do not have a pre-rehearsed speech that sounds like they are on “Meet the Press”.

In fact I’ll take a Genesee Cream Ale over a Stella Artois any day…..

OIL - The U.S. is overtaking Russia as the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas, a startling shift that is reshaping markets and eroding the clout of traditional energy-rich nations. U.S. energy output has been surging in recent years, a comeback fueled by shale-rock formations of oil and natural gas that was unimaginable a decade ago. A Wall Street Journal analysis of global data shows that the U.S. is on track to pass Russia as the world's largest producer of oil and gas combined this year -- if it hasn't already.

HOW TO LOSE $35 BILLION FAST - Eike Batista once Brazil's richest man and the eighth wealthiest man on the earth, who is facing one of the largest personal and financial collapses in history. Over the past 18 months, Batista's dreams of vast oils riches, launched upon the back of a drilling program funded by billions of dollars in bond debt, have ended. Batista has spent the last few months shrinking his empire by relinquishing control of his most promising units, renegotiating debt with his banks and creditors, and seeking to avoid the bankruptcy of his most problematic venture, OGX.

THE BIG PICTURE - The cover of The Economist, "No way to run a country," shows the Mount Rushmore face of Thomas Jefferson turning to glare at a squabbling Obama and Boehner -- "America's government shutdown ... The Land of the Free is starting to look ungovernable. Enough is enough ": "Republicans are setting a precedent which ... would make America ungovernable. Voters have seen fit to give their party control of one arm of government-the House of Representatives-while handing the Democrats the White House and the Senate. If a party with such a modest electoral mandate threatens to shut down government unless the other side repeals a law it does not like, apparently settled legislation will always be vulnerable to repeal by the minority. Washington will be permanently paralysed and America condemned to chronic uncertainty. ... Electoral reforms, such as letting independent commissions draw district boundaries, would not suddenly make America governable, but they would help." See the cover. http://goo.gl/WY5ZvR

PALACE INTRIGUE - Bad blood: Four feuding leaders; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid privately told fellow Democratic senators this week what he really thought of Speaker John Boehner. 'He's a coward,' Reid angrily said, referring to Boehner's private push for federal health care contributions for lawmakers and their staff. Boehner later backed legislation to end those subsidies in order to win points with House GOP conservatives. ... Reid's outburst - [at] a Senate Democratic policy luncheon on Tuesday - is the latest example of how the relationship between the nation's top political leaders is now brimming with acrimony, distrust and pettiness ... The bad blood is making it harder for the two sides to trust each other in the increasingly bitter fight to reopen the government and keep the nation fiscally solvent. Boehner, Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have more than a century of congressional service between them, as well as a string of legendary political and legislative wins and losses. Yet there are times when the 'Big Four,' as the party leaders are referred to on Capitol Hill, seem more like long-bickering members of a city council rather than the leaders of a great nation.

Not only has the Reid-Boehner relationship sunk to a new low, but so have the once-collegial ties between Reid and McConnell. Reid and Pelosi both think Boehner is more concerned about saving his own neck as speaker than doing the right thing for the country as he pushes proposals to defund or delay Obamacare, which almost certainly won't happen with President Obama sitting in the White House. ... McConnell and Boehner [claim] Reid helped provoke a shutdown in order to help his party politically next year. McConnell has increasingly suspected that Reid and his closest confidantes have breached Senate protocol by engaging directly in the Democratic effort to defeat him in 2014. But even House GOP leaders privately question whether McConnell is too distracted by his own 2014 reelection campaign to be a full player in the current government-funding fight. ... Asked to respond to Reid's remarks calling the speaker a 'coward,' Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said: 'We have to work together if we're going to get anything done, and all this bullshit - the name-calling, leaking private emails - just makes it harder to do the work the American people sent us here to do.

Perhaps the only two leaders who have a productive bipartisan relationship these days are McConnell and Vice President Biden - but both men are taking a backseat role in the current government funding fight. ... The one man who agreed with [McConnell at the White House meeting on Wed.] was Biden - a former senator who brokered deals with McConnell in the past, who responded to McConnell's outburst by saying that he hoped the Republican would be back next year ... At the end of the session, McConnell walked out with Biden, as Boehner headed to the microphones to bash Democrats and Obama for refusing to negotiate. But Reid dismissed suggestions Thursday that McConnell and Biden may need to take a larger role in the talks, as they did in the 2011 debt debate and the 2012 fiscal cliff fight. 'There's nothing to talk about,' Harry Reid indiscated. 'All we want is the government open, [and to] take care of the debt ceiling. We'll talk about anything they want to talk about [after that]. I outlined everything. There isn't anything we won't talk about.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Jackson Browne (65), Chevy Chase (70), Karen Hasse …famous Health Care Consultant, Robb McIsaac …famous tender of the brew, Oliver North (70), Tony Shalhoub (60), Karla Suffredni …famous Retail Consultant, Desmond Tutu (82).

SPORTS BLINK - NFL TEAMS THAT HAVEN'T LOST (5-0): Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints ...TEAMS THAT HAVEN'T WON: Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4), Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5), New York Giants (0-5), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Ballot Breakdown: Statement loss for Huskies: Washington lost 31-28 on the road [to Stanford] and dropped only one spot to No. 16 in The Associated Press college football poll Sunday. ... That result, along with Ohio State's come-from-behind 40-30 victory at Northwestern, helped the top five teams in the Top 25 hold their places for a fourth straight week. Alabama is No. 1, followed by Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State and Stanford. The Tide received 55 first-place votes and Oregon got the rest. ...

The last time the top five teams went four weeks with no changes was late in the 2004 season, when Southern California was No. 1, followed by Oklahoma, Auburn, California and Utah. There was one catch in '04. One of those weeks Auburn tied Oklahoma for second. ... Missouri (5-0) ... moved into the ranking [#25] for the first time since September 2011. ... Also moving in ... were No. 23 Northern Illinois (5-0) and No. 24 Virginia Tech (5-1). ... Mississippi dropped out of the rankings after a second straight loss in the state of Alabama. ... [The SEC] still has seven ranked teams, which matches a record for one league. The ACC and Big Ten have also done it, but no league has done it more than the SEC. Also out of the rankings this week are Arizona State and Maryland. The Terps' one-week stay ended with a 63-0 loss to No. 6 Florida State. That matched the most-lopsided loss ever by a ranked team.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/12, 12:00 PM ET, ABC: #12 Oklahoma Sooners (5-0) visit the Texas Longhorns (3-2). In what may be Texas Coach Mack Brown’s last chance to save his season and job, he won’t. The Sooners 42 Texas 24.  Season to date (6-0)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/12, 1:00 PM ET, BRAVO: A HUGE E8 Conference tilt – Alfred Saxons (3-1) visit the Ithaca College Bombers (3-1) at Butterfield Stadium. The Bombers will upset the Saxon Warriors 24 to 21.  Season to date (4-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/13, 4:245 PM ET, Fox: New Orleans Saints (5-0) at New England Patriots (4-1). The winner of this one is a top Super Bowl favorite; Pats 32 Saints 30.  Season to date (5-0)


(NCAA, Oct. 12) California Bears (1-4) 17 at #11 UCLA Bruins (4-0) 35
(SCIAC game of the week, Oct. 12) Redlands Bulldogs (1-2) 24 at Cal Lutheran Kingsmen (1-2) 28
(NHL, Oct. 12) Montreal Canadian (1-1) 3 at Vancouver Canucks (2-1) 4
(NFL, Oct. 13) Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) 17 at New York Jets (2-2) 14
Season to date (31-20)

JACKASS OF THE MONTH – This is a no brainer, The United States Congress. 10% of the American People think they are doing a good job, and those 10% live overseas. I miss Tip O’Neil and Everett Dirkson.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Members of Congress return this evening to reengage on the shutdown fight with no real change expected in the GOP's efforts to re-open bits of the government and Democrats unwillingness to do anything but open the whole thing. ... Barring some unexpected change, it looks we will have to get closer to Oct. 17 for any real movement. ... Consumer credit at 3 p.m. today expected to grow by $12 billion. ... NFIB small business survey at 7:30 a.m. expected to remain unchanged at 94.0. ...

FOMC minutes at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday should offer more insight into the decision not to taper ... Treasury budget (if it comes out) at 2 p.m. on Thursday expected to show a $60 billion surplus. ... Univ. Mich. Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m. expected to dip to 77 from 77.5 ... JPMorganChase kicks off bank earnings season on Friday.

Next week: Words of the month and Dear Rink Rats.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA

October 7, 2013
#IV-25, 182