Monday, January 27, 2014

Look For the Union Label Part Deux

A union vote is about to take place on the college campus where this writer teaches the occasional course. Some comments if I may.

Organized labor’s presence in the private sector has shriveled from about 35 percent of the workforce in the 1950s to 6.6 percent today. Public sector and not-for-profit entities are in 2014 labor’s oxygen. To survive and to continue to have political and economic power they must recruit new employees. An example of this is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) attempts to unionize adjunct (part-time) faculty at college and universities throughout the United States.

I will say up front, I believe the efforts of unions the last 100 years to represent the worker in America have been right and justified. There is and will always be a gap between productivity and income. Also management’s disregard for many years in employee safety and quality of life for their employees required union negotiation and representation. More specifically on the college campus I have been associated with for over twenty five years, management has mismanaged the adjunct/university relationship with a total disregard of their value to the institution.

But this is where I begin to differ with my fellow “pro” union colleagues. New management has recognized these issues and through a planned strategy is beginning to manage the differences and inequities. They have a long way to go and need more input from all faculty/ staff and naturally more resources.

Issues between adjuncts and the University are perfect opportunities for us to not only demonstrate leadership but more to the point influence and negotiation. If we perceive something as unfair then find a process to resolve it professionally.  These are the some of the principles I propose to teach our students.

The business model for American colleges and universities is changing drastically. Administrators and especially Board members at many institutions have been slow to recognize this fact and manage their campuses accordingly. To treat all faculty and staff as partners is an important management strategy and mission.

I will vote “no” on unionization, because I find it wrong to support an organization that misrepresents and coerce individuals to join. Second, those coerced into unions are compelled to subsidize with their dues union speech with which they may strenuously disagree. Third, once joining a union you are denied the First Amendment right to petition for redress of grievances in your own voice, having been forced to allow a union to petition for you.

Should the union vote win, I will do whatever I can to support a positive partnership between management and the union representation. But I will not support the “us versus them” attitude that is commonly the result of union representation. Yes, management at colleges and universities have plenty to learn about managing people and resources, but to do so as a team and partnership with faculty and staff is much more advantageous to the University and more importantly to the students we serve.

HOW WASHINGTON BEAT WALL STREET - In 2009, Washington went to war against big Wall Street banks hoping to blow up the kind of high-risk, high-reward strategies that helped spark the financial crisis. Five years later, that war is largely over. And Washington won in a blowout. ... You might not know it given continued demands from Democrats - and even some Republicans - to further bust up the nation's largest banks. And the standard media refrain is that Wall Street titans always win, no big bank bosses went to jail, and the industry will just find new ways to keep the casino open.

Goldman Sachs, the biggest money machine in Wall Street history, is a shell of its former self. Morgan Stanley, Goldman's one-time bitter rival in the swashbuckling world of high-risk trading, is transforming into a staid money management firm with a side business underwriting stocks and offering merger advice. Citigroup and Bank of America sold off many of their classic 'Wall Street' businesses, including proprietary trading desks and private equity and hedge fund stakes ... 'The scope of activities that U.S. banks engage in has been dramatically reduced,' said Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief executive of giant bond fund manager Pimco.

The transformation of Wall Street is so complete that even some of the industry's loudest critics - rarely willing to give an inch - are prepared to declare at least partial victory, albeit with plenty of 'time will tell' caveats and complaints about the industry pushing to underfund its regulators in the latest spending bill working its way through Congress.

“There is no question that many of the highest-risk activities, which happened to be the most profitable activities for Wall Street, are now at least reduced and often totally gone,' said Dennis M. Kelleher, chief executive of Better Markets ... 'They've had to exit hedge funds and private equity funds and they sold off any business with 'proprietary trading' on the door.”

OBAMA TO NAME ADMINISTRATOR OF SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: Maria Contreras-Sweet is the Founder and Chairwoman of the Board of ProAmérica Bank, a Latino owned community bank focusing on small business and non-profits in Los Angeles. Before founding ProAmérica Bank in 2006, she was the President and Co-Founder of Fortius Holdings, LLC, a private equity and venture fund specializing in providing California's small businesses with access to capital. From 1999 to 2003, she served as [California] Secretary of the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency ... the [state's] first Latina cabinet Secretary for California ... Contreras-Sweet was educated at California State University, Los Angeles." Should you be a great Commencement speaker.

WORLD ECONOMY "BOUNCING BACK - From the World Bank report: "Five years after the global financial crisis, the world economy is showing signs of bouncing back this year, pulled along by a recovery in high-income economies ... Developing-country growth is also firming, thanks in part to the recovery in high-income economies as well as moderating, but still strong, growth in China. Growth prospects for 2014 are, however, sensitive to the tapering of monetary stimulus in the United States, which began earlier this month, and to the structural shifts taking place in China's economy."

WELLS EMERGES AS KING OF THE BANKS - WSJ's Dan Fitzpatrick and Shayndi Raice: "J.P. Morgan Chase ... relinquished its position as the U.S. bank with the highest annual profit, capping a year marked by a slew of regulatory and legal issues. The New York bank ceded the spot it held since 2010 to Wells Fargo ... after J.P. Morgan reported fourth-quarter earnings of $5.28 billion, down 7.3 percent from a year earlier. At San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, fourth-quarter earnings rose 10 percent to $5.6 billion and full-year earnings rose 16 percent to $21.8 billion. That was enough to surpass J.P. Morgan's $17.9 billion, a figure that was down 16 percent from 2012, as legal costs cut deeply into the bank's bottom line.

"Wells's ascension is largely symbolic - J.P. Morgan would have remained on top had it not been for $11.1 billion in legal expenses - but it does underline the rapid expansion of a West Coast bank that uses a horse-drawn stagecoach as its corporate icon. Results from both banks showed signs of a healthier U.S. economy as J.P. Morgan and Wells made more loans to businesses and fewer of their consumers defaulted on loans, allowing the lenders to set aside less money for future losses. A recent rise in long-term interest rates should also help banks raise prices on new loans.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Christian Bale (40), Christie Brinkley (60), Bridget Fonda (50), Bill Mumy (60), Rosamund Pike (35), Kerry Washington (37), Oprah Winfrey (60).

ENTERTAINMENT BLINK: LORDE/DAFT PUNK TOP GRAMMYS - Robot-suited Daft Punk won best album and Lorde won best single at the Grammys. Also: Queen Latifah performed a group wedding, including several same-sex couples, featuring a performance by Madonna who was inexplicably dressed up as Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazard.

Oscars - Most nominations by film: 10: "American Hustle," "Gravity" ... 9: "12 Years a Slave" ... 6: "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Nebraska" ... 5: "Her," "The Wolf of Wall Street"
The nine best picture nominees: "American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity," "Her,""Nebraska," "Philomena," "12 Years a Slave," "The Wolf of Wall Street"

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 2/1, 6:30 PM ET, NBCSN: #9 Wisconsin Badgers (14-7-1) at #12 Michigan Wolverines (12-6-2). Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor will be rocking this Saturday with the Badgers in town. Michigan will now begin their post season run, Blue 4 Cheese Heads 2.  Season to date (1-2).

SUPER BOWL TICKET TRACKER - The average resale price of tickets on secondary markets was $3,721, the highest figure in five years of tracking, according to SeatGeek ... Face value of individual Super Bowl tickets ranges from $1,000-$2,600. For high-rollers, one suite on the Commissioner's Level of MetLife Stadium ... is listed for $1.019 million. The same luxury suite for an entire Giants or Jets regular season sells for $350,000. There were more than 12,000 tickets listed on secondary markets as of late Sunday, representing roughly 15 percent of the capacity at MetLife Stadium.

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – The Super Bowl: Sunday 2/2, 6:25 PM ET, Fox: Seattle Seahawks (15-3) vs. Denver Broncos (15-3). In frigid New York, who knew – we like Denver to win in a close one, 27 – 24. Season to date (14-5).


(NCAA Hockey, Feb. 1) #14 Union Dutchmen (18-4-5) @ #15 Clarkson Golden Knights (15-9-2). Clarkson wins in OT 5 – 4.
(NHL, Feb. 2) Chicago Blackhawks (32-10-12) @ San Jose Sharks (34-12-6), Hawks are in a slump, good for San Jose, 3 – 2.
(D-III Game of the Week, Feb. 2) men hoops; Pomona-Pitzer Saghens  (13-5) at Cal Lutheran Kingsmen (14-4). Sagehens earn a tough road win, 67 - 63.
2014 Season to date (7-9)

MARKET WEEK - Traders are bracing for another rough ride in markets this week, as the emerging markets continue to shakeout and the Fed is expected to announce another round of cuts to its easing program. There are also about a quarter of the S&P 500 companies reporting earnings, including Apple Monday, Boeing and Facebook Wednesday, and Exxon Mobil and Google Thursday.

Several major economic reports are also expected, starting with new home sales Monday and durable goods Tuesday, while the first look at fourth-quarter GDP is expected Thursday.

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama deliver's his fifth State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. (his first address to a joint session in 2009 was not technically a State of the Union) ... Big week for the Fed amid the collapse in stock prices and some currencies. FOMC meets Tuesday and Wednesday for the last time under Chairman Ben Bernanke. Despite the impact of the Fed's moves on emerging markets and the crummy December jobs report, the Fed is expected to stay on course for a further $10 billion cut in asset purchases ...

New homes sales this morning at 10:00 a.m. expected to dip to 455K from 464K ... Case-Shiller home prices at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.8% ... Consumer confidence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to tick down to 78 from 78.1 ... FOMC announcement at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday expected to feature a further $10B taper ... University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment at 9:45a Friday expected to rise to 81.0 from 80.4 ... Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen is traveling to Turkey and the UAE this week.

Next week: Quote of the month and the Jack Ass Award for the month of January.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

January 27, 2014

#IV-41, 198

Monday, January 20, 2014

Parched California

Frank Imhof, a Sunol cattleman is checking the weather constantly. If he doesn't get rain soon, "lots of people are going to be out of a job," he says.

He's considering culling nearly 40 percent of his breeding herd and selling calves that are four to five months short of their market weight, because he doesn't have enough grass in his pastures to feed them.

On Friday, amid California's driest year on record, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in the state. As days pass without snow or rain, dairymen, farmers and other livestock producers are finding themselves in the same predicament as Imhof. Without water to irrigate, produce growers fear they will have to leave some fields fallow.

Ranchers and farmers say that as long as the drought continues, the nation's largest agricultural state will remain in turmoil, with repercussions stretching to consumer pocketbooks in the form of higher prices for such basic staples as meat, milk, fruit and vegetables.

"If it doesn't rain in another month there will be ranchers and farmers going out of business," Imhof said.

For most, there is little to no financial relief or government aid to bail them out. Only 35 of California's 400 crops are eligible for farm insurance, said Karen Ross, secretary of the state Department of Food and Agriculture. Almonds, corn, cotton, citrus and avocados are a few of those crops. Livestock operations are not.

No farm bill - And without the passage of a farm bill, most federal disaster relief programs are not available. Federal lawmakers, still wrangling over a dairy price program, are more than a year overdue passing the bill. The 2008 bill, which included everything from farm subsidies to food stamps, expired in autumn 2012, but was extended until Sept. 30, 2013. The legislation typically carries provisions, offering cash remedies to livestock producers - especially cattle - devastated by natural disasters.

"We're hoping that a bill is passed and those programs are retroactive," Ross said. "But California doesn't have the money to duplicate those federal funds."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering low-interest loans of up to $500,000 to growers and ranchers. The agency also administers the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Ranchers and farmers participate by paying $250 a year, and in hard times are eligible to receive a small percentage of their losses.

"It's not designed to make people whole," said Val Dolcini, California's executive director of the USDA's Farm Service Agency. "But it's more than a little something."

Luckily for Imhof, the wheat hay he grows to help feed his 200 head of cattle is insured. Without rain, there is little likelihood of a harvest.

"We've never bought crop insurance before," said Imhof. "But for some reason, when we planted, my wife said, 'We're getting insurance.' I guess God was trying to tell her something. I only wish God would tip me off on a horse at Golden Gate Fields."

He needs the winnings for the $5,000 he spent on hay - 24 tons he had trucked in from El Centro (Imperial County).

Some cattle ranchers are going as far as Utah for their hay, but an additional $85 a ton for freight can make that cost prohibitive, said Darrel Sweet, a Livermore cattleman. For now, he's buying feed and holding off on selling stock. "Hope springs eternal," he said. "When you sell off your breeding heifers it takes three to four years to replace that income. I'll have to think long and hard before I sell them off. The long-term ramifications are too big." But he knows that paying those feed bills isn't sustainable for long.

Unfortunately for the San Joaquin Valley, where much of California's food is grown, tomorrow could get much worse if there is no rain. Even before the drought, the Central Valley had water issues and this only exacerbates the situation.

"Annual crops like melons and vegetables may not get planted," Ross said, adding that if that happens, local produce will be at a premium. "Yolo and San Luis Obispo counties (important agricultural producers) are also running very dry."

Wine grape growers in Sonoma County remained circumspect. "We're concerned, but not at panic stage yet," said Karissa Kruse, a grower and president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission."

Norm Groot, executive director of the Monterey Farm Bureau, said that his county is in better shape than much of California because of its two major reservoirs - lakes Nacimiento and San Antonio. The Salinas Valley is the most agriculturally productive region of California, known as the Salad Bowl of the world. Lettuce, spinach, strawberries, artichokes and wine grapes are among its top crops.

"For now, we're OK," Groot said. "But if the drought persists, we may not be. In four months we'll reevaluate, and at that time decide wether to leave fields fallow, specifically the annual crops like leafy greens and other vegetables."

Stacy Finz is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

JANUARY GARDENING - Start spring planning. Just about the time you put away the Christmas tree, the seed catalogs will start hitting your mailbox. Enjoy the chance to begin your grand plans for warmer weather. Supplement the lists of new products with ideas from garden books and magazines.

Corral your ideas into a garden notebook that will be handy for toting to the garden center come spring. Dedicate pages for notes and photos of favorite ideas. Include pocket folders for articles and notes, and a zip pocket to hold spring receipts and plant labels.

Make online and mail-order purchases early. Supplies of the most popular items tend to start running out in March or so.


disbosom \dis-BOOZ-uhm\, verb:
To reveal; confess.
In the field of private space to relax, drink vodka and philosophize in the kitchen, to denounce officials, disbosom.”  - Mr. Thirty Hour Work Week

aburrido, adjective
bored; boring
The meaning of aburrido changes completely according to whether you use it with ser or estar. When you want to talk about you or somebody else being bored, you use aburrido with estar: “Ramón es muy aburrido.” Ramón is very boring.

UNIVERSITY CHRONICLES – Crowded Out of Ivory Tower, Adjuncts See a Life Less Lofty: New York Times, January 19, 2014 by Rachel Swarns: “His students call him “Prof,” and in the classroom James D. Hoff looks like any other English professor, circulating among the undergraduates and urging them to recite, savor and interrogate the texts of writers as varied as James Baldwin, Stephen Crane and the Beat poets.

He is sandy-haired and bearded, with a passion for modern American poetry, and in many ways he is living his dream. He has published essays on Ezra Pound and Laura Riding and is able to forget his worries amid the joys of helping young people discover the power of literature.

But his anxieties always come back. At night, he sometimes lies sleepless in the dark, wondering how long he will be able to afford the academic life.

He is not a professor. He is an adjunct lecturer, holding an increasingly common and precarious position that offers him no job security, no health benefits and no assured pathway to full-time university employment.

Nearly 18 months after being awarded a Ph.D. in English, Mr. Hoff has yet to find a full-time job. He cobbles together a living, struggling to line up courses to teach at different colleges around the city. If he is lucky, he lands four classes a semester, a full-time workload that pays about $24,000 a year. This semester, only three classes came through.

“Scared,” Mr. Hoff said, describing his emotions when he learned he would have a $3,000 hole in his budget. He is 42 years old, with a wife, a toddler and mounting credit card debt.

From 1993 to 2011, the percentage of faculty members without tenure surged nationally from 57 percent to 70 percent, according to the American Association of University Professors, a research and advocacy group. Of those faculty members, a vast majority are adjunct professors like Mr. Hoff.

At the City University of New York, where Mr. Hoff worked as an adjunct while earning his Ph.D., part-time adjuncts now account for 62 percent of the 18,600 instructors, according to the Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents the faculty and staff at CUNY. Research groups, officials and others point to shrinking endowments and declining state funding as a cause for the reliance on cheaper, part-time staff.

CUNY, which has also experienced soaring enrollment, has provided $10 million to support health benefits for adjuncts, and supports a program to move about 200 adjuncts into full-time jobs. Adjuncts say that much more is needed.

Many assume that adjuncts are working professionals, who teach a course or two on the side. But with the decline in tenure-track positions, a growing number are scholars like Mr. Hoff, who cannot find full-time university work.

They are increasingly restive, prodding universities over late pay and classes that are canceled at the last minute. Adjuncts say they are typically excluded from university governance and decision-making regarding the classes that they teach. And there are smaller indignities that grate, like being denied keys to the supply cabinets or access to offices after hours.

“They feel a lack of dignity, a lack of respect, a lack of visibility,” said Barbara Bowen, the president of the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY, who said her union would demand increased job security for adjuncts in coming contract negotiations.

Adjuncts also struggle to make ends meet. Mr. Hoff, who is teaching this semester at Manhattan College and the Fashion Institute of Technology, recently moved with his family from Manhattan to the Bronx to find a cheaper apartment. He and his wife, who works for an academic journal, cannot afford to buy a home or start a college fund for their 22-month-old daughter.

Every day, Mr. Hoff reviews the recent email updates about new job openings in his inbox. He no longer focuses solely on tenure-track jobs, searching for anything full time, anything permanent, positions at community colleges, or university presses, anything that would allow him to teach and pursue an intellectual life.

Mr. Hoff was the first in his family to go to college. As a young man, he dreamed of becoming a poet and a scholar. He still clings to those aspirations, at least for now.”

“Come talk to me in five years,” he said. “I may feel differently then.”

Editors Note: My opinion on adjunct pay and representation, next week.

20 YEARS AGO TODAY - Coverage of the Northridge quake of Jan. 17, 1994, eventually pegged at 6.7: L.A. Times banner, "33 Die, Many Hurt in 6.6 Quake: L.A. Area Freeways Buckle, Buildings Topple" ... Inside stories were labeled "Disaster Before Dawn" and "Coping With The Quake" ... An Orange County angle: "Scoreboard Crashes Onto Seats in Anaheim Stadium ... The 17.5-ton Sony 'Jumbotron' also destroyed a section of roof as it broke loose and fell to the left-field upper deck."

All four articles on the N.Y. Times front page were about the quake, under the banner, "SEVERE EARTHQUAKE HITS LOS ANGELES; AT LEAST 30 KILLED; FREEWAYS COLLAPSE: Hundreds Injured - Predawn Temblor Levels Buildings and Ignites Dozens of Fires," by Seth Mydans ... "Airborne in Bed: A Building Collapses, Leaving 15 Hurt," by Elizabeth Kolbert ... "Collapsed Freeways Cripple City Where People Live Behind the Wheel," by Bernard Weinraub ... "Lives and Nerves Shattered, but Not Civility," by Jane Gross.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Scott Glenn (75), Wayne Gretzky (53), Mariska Hargitay (50), Ed Helms (40), Jack Nicklaus (74), Tiffani Thiessen (40), Robin Zander (61).

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/25, 9:07 PM ET, Root: #18 North Dakota (12-7-3) visit Magness Arena and # 16 Denver University Pioneers (12-7-5). A big NCHC league game, we like Denver to take a close one 4 – 3. Season to date (0-2).

BRONCOS SLIGHT FAVORITE IN SUPER BOWL -- Oddsmakers had trouble picking the favorite in what figures to be one of the most evenly matched - and heavily bet - Super Bowls ever. ... Denver was favored by 1 point at several books in the early betting, while others had the Broncos as high as a 3-point pick. The move to the Broncos came after some books had initially made the Seahawks as much as a 2-point pick in the game.

Lookahead - Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl pits top 'O,' top 'D, Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos and [mouthy cornerback] Richard Sherman's Seattle Seahawks [yesterday, Sherman made a choke sign toward the S.F. bench] were the NFL's best all season, so it's fitting that they'll meet in the Super Bowl. Nobody scored as many points or gained as many yards as the Broncos. Nobody allowed as few points or gave up as few yards as the Seahawks. And nobody won as many games ...

When the AFC champion Broncos (15-3) play the NFC champion Seahawks (15-3) on Feb. 2 at what could be a chilly MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., it will be the first Super Bowl since 1991 pitting the league's highest-scoring team in the regular season against the team that was scored on the least ... It's also only the second time in the last 20 Super Bowls that the No. 1 seed in each conference reached the NFL championship game. ... Manning, ... 37, ... is the only four-time NFL MVP ... Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson ... is 6 inches shorter, 12 years younger, a skilled scrambler in only his second pro season.


(NCAA Hockey, Jan. 25) #13 Clarkson Golden Knights (15-7-2) @ #12 Cornell University Big Red (9-4-4). Clarkson stays hot, wins 5 – 4.

(NHL, Jan. 25) Anaheim Ducks (37-9-5) @ Los Angeles Kings (29-15-6), the outdoor fad comes to Dodger Stadium. LA Kings win in the Scully Bowl 3 – 2.

(D-III Game of the Week, Jan. 25) men hoops; La Verne Leopards  (5-10) at Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens (11-5). Sagehens too much for the Leos, 70 – 55.

2014 Season to date (6-7)

Next week: Jack Ass of the month and time to vote.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
January 20, 2014

#IV-40, 197

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Two Latin Americas

Editor’s Note: I will have the pleasure in participating in a three week Management Certification program for South American business students. In preparation for this study, I have studied the current political and economic environment in South America.

There are two Latin Americas right now. The first is a bloc of countries—including Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela—that faces the Atlantic Ocean, mistrusts globalization and gives the state a large role in the economy. The second—made up of countries that face the Pacific such as Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia—embraces free trade and free markets.

Because both sets of countries share similar geography, culture and history, this divide makes the continent today something of a controlled experiment in economics. For almost a decade, the economies of the Atlantic countries have grown more quickly, largely thanks to rising global commodity prices. But the years ahead look far better for the Pacific countries. The region as a whole thus faces a decision about (as it were) which way to face: to the Atlantic or the Pacific?

There is good reason to think the Pacific-facing countries have the edge. Much of the continent is "paying the costs of exaggerated protectionism and…irresponsible policy," said Alan Garcia, Peru's former president, at a recent conference in Mexico City. "That is not the Latin America that I see in the future. I see the future in countries like Chile—which has been a good example of how to do things for a while—Colombia, Peru and Mexico."

In 2014, the Pacific Alliance trade bloc (consisting of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile) is slated to grow an average of 4.25%, boosted by high levels of foreign investment and low inflation, according to estimates from Morgan Stanley. MS -0.79%  But the Atlantic group of Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina—all linked in the Mercosur customs union—is projected to grow just 2.5%, with the region's heavyweight, Brazil, slated to grow a meager 1.9%.

The diverging trend lines between the two Latin Americas may last long past 2014. When China's economic growth was at its peak, the rising giant snapped up Venezuelan oil, Argentine soy, Chilean copper and Brazilian iron ore. But as China's economy has slowed, commodity prices have followed suit, hitting the Atlantic economies hardest. Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega used to boast that his country's model of economic development would soon spread throughout the world. But Brazil—with its high taxes, red tape and tariffs—did little to prepare for the day when commodity prices might weaken.

Economists say that countries in the free-trading side of Latin America are better poised to prosper, with higher productivity gains and open economies more likely to attract investment. The Pacific countries, even those like Chile that still rely on commodities such as copper, have also done more to strengthen exports of all kinds. In Mexico, manufactured exports now account for nearly a quarter of annual economic output. (The figure for Brazil: a paltry 4%.) The Pacific economies are more stable too. Countries such as Mexico and Chile enjoy low inflation and bulging foreign reserves.

By contrast, Venezuela and Argentina are starting to resemble economic basket cases, with high inflation and weak government finances. In Venezuela, inflation is running above 50%—on par with war-ravaged Syria. President Nicolás Maduro, the successor to the late populist Hugo Chávez, is doubling down on price controls to try to tame inflation. The fairly predictable result: widespread shortages of everything from new cars to toilet paper. A popular new app uses crowdsourcing to tell residents of Venezuela's capital where lucky shoppers have found, say, meat—allowing others to rush to the store and snap up the precious stuff.

This Latin America's finances are unimpressive too. Among the three worst performing currencies in the region in 2013 were those of Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. Argentina's peso, for instance, fell 32% against the dollar at official rates—and some 47% on the black market.

Argentina has also suffered from heavy-handed regulation. In Buenos Aires, the southern hemisphere's summer months have brought soaring temperatures—and regular blackouts. The government slapped price controls on energy prices back in 2002, hoping to help the poor overcome the 2001 financial collapse. But what was supposed to be a temporary measure became permanent. Electricity companies scared off by the price controls stopped investing in the city's aging electricity grid.

Even Brazil, which has had far more responsible economic management than Venezuela or Argentina, is starting to struggle with rising prices and a boom in credit that is starting to turn. Last year, one Brazilian summed up the Atlantic bloc harshly: "Brazil is becoming Argentina, Argentina is becoming Venezuela, and Venezuela is becoming Zimbabwe."

A key moment in creating the two Latin Americas came in 2005, when Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela (then led by Mr. Chávez) lined up to kill the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas—a free-trade zone stretching from Alaska to Patagonia and promoted by President George W. Bush. Troubled by the FTAA's demise, the Pacific Alliance set out to create its own free-trade area, eliminating tariffs on 90% of goods and setting a timetable to eliminate the rest.

The diplomacy practiced by this half of Latin America differs too: While the Atlantic bloc often views the U.S. with suspicion or outright hostility, the Pacific countries tend to have closer ties to Washington. "We set out to create the Pacific Alliance because we wanted to set ourselves apart from the populists," said Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former Peruvian finance minister. "We wanted a thinking man's axis."

Many of the region's young, the bulk of the population, have cast ballots for politicians such as Mr. Chavez, who offered painless growth by printing money. These youthful voters may have painful lessons ahead of them.

"In the end, the results from the different blocs will resolve the debates," Mr. Kuczynski said, "but bad ideas take a long time to die."

Wall St. Journal,  January 3, 2014; David Luhnow.

Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY

The American Museum of Natural History seeks a Vice President/Controller to lead its financial operations and services, supporting the Museum's broad range of scientific, academic, artistic and operational divisions. The position requires strong leadership, high integrity, deep understanding of accounting standards and tax regulations and the ability to represent the institution on many levels. The Vice President/Controller position reports directly to the Senior Vice President/CFO and is a key member of the senior finance team.

POLITICS – “Record-High 42% of Americans Identify as Independents: Republican identification lowest in at least 25 years," by's Jeffrey M. Jones: "Forty-two percent of Americans ... identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. ... Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008."

JPM PENALTIES TOTAL $20 BILLION - To settle a barrage of government legal actions over the last year, JPMorgan Chase has agreed to penalties that now total $20 billion, a sum that could cover the annual education budget of New York City or finance the Yankees' payroll for 10 years. It is also a figure that most of the nation's banks could not withstand ... But since the financial crisis, JPMorgan has become so large and profitable that it has been able to weather the government's legal blitz, which has touched many parts of the bank's sprawling operations. The latest hit to JPMorgan came on Tuesday, when federal prosecutors imposed a $1.7 billion penalty on the bank for failing to report Bernard L. Madoff's suspicious activities to the authorities.

Yet JPMorgan's shares are up 28 percent over the last 12 months. Wall Street analysts estimate that it will earn as much as $23 billion in profit this year, more than any other lender. And JPMorgan's investment bankers, who on average earned $217,000 in 2012, can look forward to another lush payday as bonus season approaches. 'The fines have been manageable in the context of the bank's earnings capacity,' Jason Goldberg, a bank analyst at Barclays, said. “It makes $25 billion in revenue per quarter and has record capital.”

10 things to look for in 2014 at the movies, 2013 was a tale of two cinemas. Blockbusters like 'The Lone Ranger' and 'After Earth' flopped spectacularly while many in the industry (including Steven Spielberg) bemoaned the increasingly commercial trajectory of the studios. And yet by the end of the year, Hollywood had set a record with nearly $11 billion in revenue, while critics hailed the year's crop -- from 'Gravity' to '12 Years a Slave' to 'Inside Llewyn Davis' -- as one of the best in years. ... Though 2013 contained no major live-action musical, several are coming this year. Clint Eastwood, of all people, directs the screen adaptation of the hit production about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in 'Jersey Boys' (June 20). 'Annie' (Dec. 19), produced by Will Smith and Jay Z, will get a contemporary update with 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' star Quvenzhane Wallis as the titular orphan. ...

The Muppets, too, will be back in 'Muppets Most Wanted' (March 21) ... Jim Henson's furry troupe travels to Europe. ... Naturally, 2014 boasts a boatload of sequels and remakes including 'Godzilla' (May 16), 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1' (Nov. 21), 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' (June 27), 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' (July 11), '22 Jump Street' (June 13), 'The Expendables 3' (Aug. 15) and 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' (June 13). Peter Jackson will finally close out his lifetime with J.R.R. Tolkien with his final 'Hobbit' installment: 'The Hobbit: There and Back Again' (Dec. 17). Other franchise expansions include 'The Lego Movie' (Feb. 7), 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' (Aug. 8) and 'Veronica Mars' (March 14), the cult TV show propelled to the big screen by a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter.

AN APPLE TURNOVER - Apple historically didn't make much of an effort to appeal to businesses, and many business applications were written only for Windows, making Apple devices not as viable for use inside corporations. But now things have changed. We are witnessing an Apple turnover: iPhones replacing BlackBerrys and iPads assuming tasks once reserved for PCs. Innovations in software to the rise of apps—that have made Apple products more appealing to corporate tech managers. Seven years ago last week, the Steve Jobs introduced a gadget, described by the WSJ as "a media-playing cellphone, dubbed the iPhone."

50 YEARS AGO -'64 US report ties smoking to cancer": "On Jan. 11, 1964, AP Science Writer Frank Carey covered the release of U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry's historic report linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer. The report has been called one of the most important documents in U.S. public health history. While not the first to raise the alarm about smoking, it gave momentum to the push for tobacco controls. The surgeon general has periodically issued more smoking reports, and a new one is due out next week. Fifty years after its original publication, the AP is making this story available to its subscribers. ...

Heavy cigarette smoking is the principal cause of cancer of the lungs and the larynx and a health hazard so grave as to call for remedial action, a blue-ribbon science panel concluded today. The nature of that action was not spelled out. However, Surgeon General Luther Terry of the U.S. Public Health Service said his agency will move promptly to recommend specific steps of the kind urged by the science group. Meanwhile, he told a news conference: 'I would advise anyone to discontinue smoking cigarettes.'"

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Muhammad Ali (72), Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (60), Michelle Obama (50).

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/18, 7:07 PM CT, BRAVO; Western Michigan Broncos (11-8-3) at #2 St. Cloud State Huskies (12-3-3). The Great Lakes Tournament Champs Broncos have a key league game against the #2 nationally ranked Huskies. We like St. Cloud to win, 5 – 2. Season to date (0-1).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 1/19, 3:00 PM ET, CBS; New England Patriots (13-4) visit Denver Broncos (14-3) in the AFC Championship game. A battle of Hall of Famer QBs, Pats win 42 – 40.  Season to date (14-4)


(NFL Playoff, Jan 19) San Francisco 49ers (14-4)  17 at Seattle Seahawks (14-3)  21
(NCAA Hockey, Jan. 18) #10 Yale Bulldogs (8-3-4) 3 at St. Lawrence University Saints (8-10-2) 4
(NHL, Jan. 18) Anaheim Ducks (34-8-5) 3 at St. Louis Blues (31-8-5) 4
(D-III Game of the Week, Jan. 18) women hoops; Occidental Tigers (8-6) 45 at Chapman Panthers (10-4) 57
2014 Season to date (4-5)

NHL POWER RANKINGS – through 42 games (1/2 NHL season): (1) Anaheim Ducks, (2) Chicago Black Hawks, (3) St. Louis Blues, (4) San Jose Sharks, (5) Los Angeles Kings.

NHL HOPELESS FIVE – through 42 games (1/2 NHL season): (30) Buffalo Sabres, (29) Edmonton Oilers, (28) Florida Panthers, (27) New York Islanders, (26) Calgary Flames


Our membership is down and we are thinking about recruiting college and university adjunct faculty. What do you think?

Walter Reuther

Dear Walter Reuther,

Just the mere discussion of the union is giving me a headache.  I can't imagine what it would be like if they had a presence on campus.   



ABOUT LAST NIGHT – ”American Hustle" dances away with three Golden Globes -- Continuing its late surge through Hollywood's never-ending awards season, director David O. Russell's con game story 'American Hustle' won a leading three trophies at the Golden Globes - including best musical or comedy - while the slavery tale '12 Years a Slave' avoided a total shutout by taking the evening's very last award, for top drama. While the awards presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. ... at the Beverly Hilton did not radically reshape the race for the Academy Awards, whose nominations are announced Thursday, they did solidify the gathering momentum for 'American Hustle' and the AIDS story 'Dallas Buyers Club,' which was the only other film to win more than one award ...

As is often the case with the Golden Globes, there were a number of unscripted, embarrassing moments in the show hosted by Amy Poehler (who won ... for her show 'Parks and Recreation') and Tina Fey. When actors Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie came on stage to introduce scenes from their film 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' their television prompter showed the next presenters' speeches, forcing a stagehand to hand Robbie a page torn out from a binder. Drew Barrymore started to present ... only to realize that the show was cutting to a commercial. In an attempt to keep the show from running too long, the broadcast's producers gave winners only a few moments to accept their trophies before cuing the band. Among those quickly played off the stage were DiCaprio, Adams, Blanchett, Leto and Jonze.

MARKET WEEK - After a bang-up 2013, the stock market is starting 2014 with a whimper. The uncharacteristic dip is leaving investors in a tough position: Selling now could protect them from further declines but could also mean they would miss out on the gains most experts are still forecasting ... In the year's first seven trading days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.8 percent. That isn't a big dip by stock-market standards, but it marks a clear deviation from the norm. New investment money usually pushes stocks higher at the start of the year. In two-thirds of the years since the Dow ... was launched in 1896, the blue-chip index has risen in January's first seven trading days. In the 20 years through 2013, the gains were even more consistent, occurring 70 percent of the time. Last year, the Dow jumped 2.8 percent in the first seven trading days.

But this year for the first time since 2009, stocks are starting down. Many money managers see that as a sign of unease about the market's direction. ... Investors are increasingly nervous because the Dow hasn't had a significant decline since the summer of 2011. After last year's 27 percent surge, many fret that it has come too far, too fast. They hesitate to put a lot of new money into stocks. And yet they also hesitate to sell.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Congress expected to pass a temporary measure to keep the government open past Wednesday and then approve an omnibus spending bill by the weekend, taking the threat of shutdowns off the table for the year ... Treasury Budget at 2:00 p.m. today expected to show a surplus of $44 billion ... Producer prices at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise 0.4 percent headline, 0.1 percent core ... 

University of Michigan Consumer sentiment Thursday at 9:55 a.m. expected to be unchanged at 83.5 ... President Obama along with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew this afternoon meets with Spanish President Mariano Rajoy Brey ... JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo on Tuesday kick off fourth-quarter bank earning season ... Annual auto show takes place in Detroit.

Next week: words of the month and winter gardening.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
January 13, 2014

#IV-39, 196

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 The Year of the Horse

Editor’s Note: A day late this week, our apologies.

BUZZWORDS THAT YOU SHOULD BAN IN 2014 – “Moving forward”, “Proven alignment”, “Leverage”, “Alpha”, “Transparency”, De-layering”, “Viral”, “Reach out”, “Incentivize”

People who use these buzzwords have no idea what they mean and what context they should be in. Nice excuses for leaders to veer from their strategy and not stay focused on the few key things they truly create and manage.

NEW ERA TO BEGIN - Regulators are set to usher in a new era of tough banking oversight in 2014 that drills to the core of Wall Street's profitable markets and trading businesses, according to a draft ... The so-called Volcker rule will put in place new hurdles for banks that buy and sell securities on behalf of clients, known as market making, and will restrict compensation arrangements that encourage risky trading ... Five U.S. financial regulatory agencies are expected to approve the rule, which bans banks from making bets with their own money and limits their ability to invest in certain trading vehicles, such as hedge funds and private-equity vehicles.

The approval would bring to an end a 2½-year effort to complete the 2010 Dodd-Frank provision. The final language of the Volcker rule could change before Tuesday's vote. Regulators have told firms that they don't expect to strictly enforce the rule's provisions until 2015. ... The rule, which hasn't been publicly released, will require banks to provide 'demonstrable analysis of historical customer demand' for financial assets they buy and sell on behalf of clients. That essentially requires a firm to prove it has engaged in a certain type of trading previously. It is an effort to keep banks from attempting to disguise bets made for a profit - so-called proprietary trading, which would be banned - as permissible market-making activity.

DEBT CEILING - Treasury says it must be raised by late February or early March. The Congressional Budget Office says as late as June. Either way, Congress must raise the borrowing limit and Republicans will demand something in return. Consensus among Beltway insiders and Wall Street executives is that with the focus shifting to the midterm elections and everyone fearful of fallout from a big fight, a deal will get made that offers Republicans something on spending while not pushing the nation to the brink of default. ... It's not at all clear what this deal will look like but M.M. does not believe a fresh debt limit crisis is likely. So don't let fear of default ruin your Christmas or New Year's.

MID-TERM ELECTIONS - The Baucus-to-China move upends conventional wisdom that Republicans have a good shot at taking control of the Senate. The GOP needs six seats and now both Montana and Louisiana seem like less likely pick-ups. Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh will now likely to be able to run for Baucus' seat as the appointed incumbent. And in Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu will now likely take the gavel of the Energy Committee if Wyden moves to Finance. That would give her significant ability to boost Louisiana drilling interests and make her defeat less likely.

On the House side, the Democrats have essentially zero chance of regaining control. They would need a net gain of 17 seats, a near impossibility given the number of competitive districts and the historic tendency of the incumbent president's party to lose seats in the sixth year of the president's term. An improving economy might boost Democrats' a bit. But that would probably just serve to limit GOP gains. The safest bet right now is that Washington at the end of 2014 will look much as it does now.

COMING ATTRACTIONS - Books, TV, movies to watch for in 201 : Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's as-yet-untitled new memoir will focus on American foreign policy using 'a number of dramatic moments' such as the killing of Osama bin Laden and the Arab Spring ... Glenn Greenwald's upcoming book, 'No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State' ... Robert Gates's book 'Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War' ... New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ['s book] will be a 'full and frank look at his public and private life' ... Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis ... is penning a memoir ... of how she went from single mom to gubernatorial candidate. ... Gabriel Sherman[s] 'The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News-and Divided a Country' ... will be out January ... Sen. Elizabeth Warren ... will release a still-untitled autobiography in spring ...

Glenn Beck's next book, tentatively titled 'Controlling Education,' will be the follow-up to his New York Times bestseller, 'Control: Exposing the Truth about Guns.' ... Michael Hastings wrote a novel titled 'The Last Magazine' before he died in a car accident in June ... Michelle Malkin's fifth book, tentatively called 'Who Built That: The Tinkerpreneurs Who Built Everything From the Bottle Cap to Bridges' ... 'Good Morning America' co-host Robin Roberts is set to release a memoir chronicling her battle with myelodysplastic syndrome

THE YEAR AHEAD - "Europe unity tested on WWI centenary," by AFP's Laurent Maillard in Paris : "Commemorations for the 1914-18 Great War are planned through the summer on either side of the Western Front, but with no single event bringing all of the former foes together. ... For the British and French, World War I is vividly etched in the collective imagination as a just and necessary victory, secured at a terrible human cost. ... In Germany and Russia, by contrast, the Great War's memory was all but supplanted by the cataclysm of World War II, two decades later. The centenary also comes as the very idea of a shared European future is under attack, with eurosceptics, nationalists and the far-right gaining ground across the continent as the eurozone heads into a fourth year of economic crisis."
From smartphones to tablet computers and mobile apps, Google and Apple have been competing head-to-head for digital supremacy. The next battlefront: the automobile. Just a few months after Apple launched an initiative to integrate iPhones and other devices running its iOS operating system with dashboard control panels, we report that Google and German auto maker Audi plan to announce next week that they are working together to develop in-car entertainment and information systems, as well as collaborating with other tech and auto companies. The aim: to allow drivers to access features similar to those available on Android-powered smartphones. "The car is becoming the ultimate mobile device," said a research analyst.

"Wall St. ends best year since 1990s with moderate gains," by Reuters' Ryan Vlastelica: "The S&P 500 rose 29.6 percent over the year, its best annual performance since 1997, while the Dow climbed 26.5 percent in its best year since 1995. The Nasdaq jumped 38.3 percent, its best year since 2009. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 finished the final trading day of 2013 at record closing highs."

GOLD FALLS FROM FAVOR -- Commodities Post First Drop in 5 Years as Corn to Gold Tumble: Commodities posted the first annual drop in five years as supply exceeded demand for corn to sugar to nickel and investors lost faith in precious metals as a store of value amid signs that economies are improving. ... Gold marked its first annual drop in 13 years with a 28 percent slide and silver slumped 36 percent.

GENEROUS ZUCK - Chronicle of Philanthropy's Maria Di Mento: "The largest [2013 announced] donation came from Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. The couple ... provided 18 million shares of Facebook stock, valued at more than $990-million, to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. ... [The gift] sets a ... record because it [is] the first time donors that young have made the [year's] biggest contribution."

GET SMART FAST: 2014 DATES TO WATCH - POLITICO's James Hohmann rounds up some of the key moments to watch this year: "Mark your calendars, and buckle up: 2014 is an election year with control of the Senate, House and 36 governorship's at stake. ... The battle for the soul of the GOP will intensify, while the economic recovery faces its own challenges. ... Here are POLITICO's top 14 dates to watch in 2014. ...

Jan. 28 - State of the Union: "Obama becomes more of a lame duck with each annual update to Congress, and, faced with strong Republican opposition, it's likely many of the priorities he outlines will go nowhere. ...

Late March-June - Raising the debt ceiling: "Highlighting ... debt is a winning issue for Republicans, but flirting with economic catastrophe is not. Obama again insists he will not negotiate. Some conservatives think that Republicans must push for concessions, and other Republicans believe that going to the brink will scare major donors and spook independents"

March 31 — Obamacare D-Day
This is the end of the enrollment period for the first year of the new Obamacare exchanges, the last date people can buy insurance to avoid paying a penalty on their 2014 taxes. We’ll finally know how many people signed up for health plans under the law in the first year.
It will be a key messaging opportunity for proponents of the Affordable Care Act to talk about the benefits of reform and for detractors to highlight the problems with the rollout.

HITTING THE JACKPOT - The Las Vegas Strip, synonymous with gambling, isn't the casino capital of the world. That title belongs to Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal. Our story takes a look at the rise of Macau—how it went from a smattering of casinos to a booming gambling destination. We find that while the Chinese territory has been hitting the jackpot for the past few years, the Strip and Atlantic City are struggling to recover from the financial crisis. The Las Vegas Strip's revenue in 2013 was likely down to only about one-seventh that of Macau. We also note that Macau has become the fastest-growing economy in the world, but has yet to achieve the status of Las Vegas in global popular culture.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Jeff Bezos (50), Nicolas Cage (50), Katie Couric (57), George Foreman (65), Stephen Hawking (72), Nancy Lopez (57), Jimmy Page (70), John Rich (40), Frank Sinatra, Jr. (70), Bart Starr (80), Howard Stern (60).

WILL THE ECONOMY BREAK OUT? - Friday's big GDP surprise saw third quarter growth hit 4.1 percent, driven in part by increases in consumer and business spending, very hopeful signs that the economy is gaining traction. And the good data come after some other positive developments. Washington managed to agree on a budget deal to all but erase the threat of a government shutdown next year. And the Fed gave the economy a big vote of confidence by saying it would start cutting back on emergency stimulus.

And instead of freaking out, markets embraced the news and decided the taper was mild enough not to choke off growth. Investors also embraced the many caveats from Ben Bernanke that the central bank would keep rates at effectively zero well into the future and could resume other stimulus if needed.

Job creation rates, consumer balance sheets, house prices and confidence levels all suggest a strong year. We asked on Twitter for some bold predictions for 2014 (more on which below). Justin Wolfers, one of the nation's leading economists, came up with this huge call:
"The economic recovery finally gathers momentum. And unlike others, I haven't said this for each of the past five years." As BI's Joe Weisenthal would say: BOOM. Citi's Peter Orszag followed up Wolfers' Tweet: "Me too, on both counts."

SUPER BOWL ADS ... a record $4M for 30 seconds: Laurence Fishburne, the straight-faced star of the 1999 hit sci-fi film 'The Matrix,' will show up with a humorous twist on the cult classic in a Kia ad ... Wonderful Pistachios ... will feature ... Stephen Colbert in two 15-second ... commercials. ... Dannon and Chobani ... will go toe-to-toe ... Jaguar will appear in its first-ever Super Bowl to tout its new F-Type sports coupe ... Several other first-time advertisers[:] Nestle is using the Super Bowl to promote the national roll-out of its new Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup. Intuit ... will feature its small business contest winner ... Cheerios -- which went out on a limb with a much-discussed interracial family TV ad last spring -- will do with its first-ever Super Bowl ad.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – A great season has come to an end with Florida State University winning the BCS Title game in Pasadena. Final Season totals (13-6)

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/11, 8:00 PM ET, FSW; #8 Michigan Wolverines (10-4-2) at #14 Wisconsin Badgers (11-6-1). Rink Rats College Hockey season now begins, a great first game. We like Michigan to pull the upset in Madison, 4 -2.

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/11, 8:15 PM ET, CBS: Indianapolis Colts (12-5) vs. New England Patriots (12-4). This game will be closer than you think, Pats 35 Colts 31. Season to date (13-4)

(NFL Playoff, Jan 11) New Orleans Saints (12-5)  14 at Seattle Seahawks (13-3)  28
(NFL Playoff, Jan. 12) San Francisco 49ers (13-4)  27 at Carolina Panthers (12-4)  24
(NCAA Hockey, Jan. 11) Harvard Crimson (5-7-2)  2 at #10 Yale Bulldogs (7-3-4)  6
(NHL, Jan. 12) Detroit Red Wings (19-14-10)  2 at Anaheim Ducks (31-8-5)  5
(NFL Upset of the Week, Jan. 12) San Diego Chargers (10-7)  24 at Denver Broncos (13-3)  20
2014 Season Final (1-4)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Welcome to the first jobs week of 2014. Reading on December employment, out Friday at 8:30 a.m., expected to show a gain of 195K with no change to the 7.0 percent jobless rate. However, there is a decent chance unemployment drops below 7 percent for the first time since November of 2008 ... ISM non-manufacturing this morning at 10:00 a.m. expected to dip to 54.5 from 55 ... Factory orders today at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise 1.7 percent ...

FOMC minutes at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday will offer some insight into how close the call was on tapering asset purchases ... ADP private employment at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday expected to show a gain of 200K ... Both Congress and President Obama are back in DC with Dems set to push for an extension of expired emergency jobless benefits ... Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las Vegas.

Next week: Dear Rink Rats and NHL Power Ratings.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

January 7, 2014
#IV-38, 195