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

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