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)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(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.”
October 7, 2013