Monday, March 10, 2014

Cool Apps, Good Read, Fine Wine

Smart Thermostat: “Nest” Nest is a thermostat that learns your schedule and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Nest was designed by Tony Fadell, lead creator of the iPod.

Travel Organizing: “TripIt” Tripit is phenomenal for managing all of your itineraries.

Photo Manager: “Adobe Bridge” Take a lot of pictures on your iPhone, Adobe Bridge is super for downloading and organizing pictures.

Calendar App: “CalenGoo” Three or four distinct groups of people need to know where I am and what I’m doing (family, office, teaching, and sports). Working out shared permissions can be a real hassle. CalenGoo allows me to know that when I look at a day six months from now, I really am seeing everything I need to see.

GOOD READ – “Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life” by Graham Nash, Crown, 360 pages, $28. You like the tales of rock n’ roll, Graham Nash has set down his guitar and picked up his pen in reliving his glory years, or at least the parts he remembers. Nash, now 71 (I am getting old), is best known for his work with the Hollies and with Crosby, Stills and Nash (sometimes joined by Neil Young). But he grew up in Salford, possibly the worst slum in the north of England.

Readers still amazed by rock excess will get a fix in this breezy memoir. Mr. Nash’s standards “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” plus “Just a Song Before I Go” (written after a drug dealer bet him he couldn’t compose a song in under an hour), reminds us that rock stars live in a different financial universe then most fans.

Yet like other mortals, rockers grow old and are susceptible to putting on a righteous grump. He calls Neil Young “utterly self-centered” and takes aim at fatter targets, including George W. Bush, the tobacco lobby and rifles with “hundred-round clips”. Nevertheless he has become an American citizen, married for 36 years, and otherwise lives like a member in good standing of the Rotary Club.

GREAT WINE – “Oso Libre Winery”, 7383 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, California, (805) 238-3378.

Oso Libre Ranch meaning “Free Bear” in Spanish, which represents blended family names and the spirit of the early California pioneers.  In 1996, Linda and Chris Behr purchased 90 acres of raw land in the acclaimed Adelaida region of Paso Robles.  Slowly they developed the land and turned it into a sustainable, modern working ranch that you can visit today.  Jeff Freeland and his wife Elizabeth, along with their twin daughters, moved to the area in 2007 to help start the family owned and operated business, Oso Libre Winery.  Oso Libre opened in October 2009 after spending many years slowly learning how to grow vines and make wines.  The key ingredient to our successful Vines, Wines and Angus program is that they enjoy what they do and the lifestyle that comes with it!

Oso Libre produces award winning, artisanal estate wines in limited quantities. The sustainably farmed vineyards are deeply rooted in rugged calcareous (limestone) hills exposed to sunshine and ocean breezes consistently producing rich, complex fruit.  Harvest usually comes late in October or early November, which is at least six weeks longer than in warmer climates. This extended hang time for the grapes rewards the harvest with premium and sophisticated fruit, resulting in exceptional wine. Rink Rats highly recommends you to experience the distinct estate vintages, blends and dessert wines. Oso Libre has exceptional customer service and I encourage you to order online. They also have wonderful beef and a calendar full of great events to visit.

TOO RICH FOR MY BLOOD -- Singapore Overtakes Tokyo as World's Costliest  City: Singapore leapt five spots to top a global ranking of the most expensive cities as a stronger currency and price increases made it costlier to live in the island nation, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. ... Tokyo moved down ... after the yen slid ... Singapore ... has seen home prices surge to records in recent years amid rising wealth and an influx of foreigners. The expansion of the island's private banking industry and the presence of regional hubs for global companies have drawn more top talent, and senior executives in Singapore are earning more than those in Hong Kong.

--The 10 most expensive cities in the world: 1) Singapore ... 2) Paris ... 3) Oslo ... 4) Zurich ... 5) Sydney ... 6) Caracas ... 7) Geneva ... 8) Melbourne ... 9) Tokyo ... 10) Copenhagen

--The 10 cheapest large cities in the world: 131) Mumbai ... 130) Karachi ... 129) New Delhi ... 127-tie) Damascus, Kathmandu ... 126) Algiers ... 124-tie) Bucharest, Panama City ... 123) Jeddah ... 122) Riyadh

GREED IS GOOD - Blowout Haul for Buyout Tycoons, private equity's top moguls took home more than $2.6 billion last year as booming markets allowed their firms to cash out of investments and notch blockbuster gains. Nine founders of four of the world's largest private-equity firms together collected the sum-more than twice as much as they made in the prior year-through dividends and other payouts. The executives each took home more than $160 million ... Leon Black, the 62-year-old co-founder and chief executive of Apollo Global Management LLC, received the biggest individual amount, about $546.3 million ... That is well ahead of the $465.4 million that went to the runner-up, Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group LP. KKR & Co. and Carlyle Group LP round out the quartet of publicly traded private-equity heavyweights.

The three founders of Washington, D.C., based Carlyle- David Rubenstein, William Conway and Daniel D'Aniello -together came away with about $750 million. Henry Kravis and George Roberts, the 70-year-old cousins who co-founded and run KKR (and Claremont-McKenna College Alumni and Board Members), brought home $161.4 million and $165.5 million.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Billy Crystal (66), Dana Delaney (58), Mike Love (73), Mitt Romney (67), Sharon Stone (56), Carrie Underwood (31).

CHINA DECLARES 'WAR' ON POLLUTION - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said pollution is a major problem and the government will 'declare war' on smog by removing high-emission cars from the road and closing coal-fired furnaces. Pollution is 'nature's red-light warning against the model of inefficient and blind development,' Li said today in his work report at the start of this year's National People's Congress in Beijing. 'Fostering a sound ecological environment is vital for people's lives and the future of our nation.

Li's remarks, delivered in China's equivalent of the U.S. president's State of the Union address, reflect government recognition of public displeasure over pollution and its impact on people's health. The weeks before the congress saw pollution stuck at unhealthy levels in much of northern China, prompting one government adviser to say smog had become 'unbearable.

SIX MEGATRENDS IN HEALTH CARE: 1) End of insurance companies as we know them - Effective date: 2025: Insurance companies will either become purveyors of management, analytics, and actuarial services or integrated delivery systems actually employing (or contracting with) hospitals, physicians, and other providers to render patient care ... 2) VIP care for the chronically and mentally ill - 2020: Physicians and hospitals will focus on keeping patients with chronic illnesses healthy and out of the emergency room and hospital ... 
routinely screening for depression and other mental health problems 3) The emergency of digital medicine and closure of hospitals -- 2020: Over 1,000 acute-care hospitals will close ...

4) End of employer-sponsored health insurance - 2025: Fewer than 20% of workers in the private sector will receive traditional employer-sponsored health insurance ... End of health care inflation - 2020: Health care inflation will be GDP+0% ... 6) Transformation of medical education -- 2025: three-year medical schools and shorter residencies ... half of medical school clinical training will be outside of hospitals.

THEY ARE AT THE GATE - Five potential Republican presidential candidates — Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Paul Ryan, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Chris Christie, and Sen. Marco Rubio — addressed activists at a yearly conservative gathering, providing a preview of what's to come in the next presidential race.

COLLEGE CHRONICLESThe president of Bard College, Leon Botstein, says recent changes to the SAT are motivated by the competition that College Board has experienced with its arch rival, the ACT, rather than any serious soul searching.

The changes recently announced by the College Board to its SAT college entrance exam bring to mind the familiar phrase “too little, too late.” The alleged improvements are motivated not by any serious soul searching about the SAT but by the competition the College Board has experienced from its arch rival, the ACT, the other major purveyor of standardized college entrance exams.

The blunt fact is that the SAT has never been a good predictor of academic achievement in college. High school grades adjusted to account for the curriculum and academic programs in the high school from which a student graduates are. The essential mechanism of the SAT, the multiple choice test question, is a bizarre relic of long outdated twentieth century social scientific assumptions and strategies. As every adult recognizes, knowing something or how to do something in real life is never defined by being able to choose a “right” answer from a set of possible answers (some of them intentionally misleading) put forward by faceless test designers who are rarely eminent experts. No scientist, engineer, writer, psychologist, artist, or physician—and certainly no scholar, and therefore no serious university faculty member—pursues his or her vocation by getting right answers from a set of prescribed alternatives that trivialize complexity and ambiguity.

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 3/15, 7:00 PM ET, Bravo; ECAC quarterfinals, #16 Yale Bulldogs (17-9-5) at #6 Quinnipiac Bobcats (22-8-6), can the defending National Champs get by in Hamden, CT. We like Yale with the experience 4 – 3.  Season to date (6-3).


(NCAA Men’s Hockey, Mar. 15) St. Lawrence University Skating Saints (15-17-4) at #17 Colgate University Raiders (17-12-5). A big weekend at Starr Rink between two old rivals. I could never figure out why Hamilton College is in Clinton, New York and Colgate University is in Hamilton, New York???  St. Lawrence in an upset 5 – 2.

(NHL, Mar. 15) Anaheim Ducks (43-14-7) at Los Angeles Kings (37-22-6), The Kings are hot, they win 3 – 2.

(D-III Game of the Week, Mar. 15) Women’s softball; University of La Verne (3-7) at University of Redlands Bulldogs (10-6).  Redlands is undefeated in SCIAC play, too much for the Lady Leos 8 – 4.

2014 Season to date (16-18), ouch!

MARKET WEEK - A Tale of Two Recoveries: Companies are launching initial public offerings at the fastest pace in years, thanks to a surging stock market and investor demand. In the first two months of this year, we note that 42 companies went public in the U.S., tying 2007 for the busiest start to a year for IPOs since 2000. Meanwhile, the booming U.S. stock market and rising home values have also contributed to more economic growth and wealth. The net worth of U.S. households and nonprofit organizations reached an inflation-adjusted record last year, but we note that benefits have been spread unevenly. The rebound has been tilted in ways that limit the upside for the broader U.S. economy, while contributing to a two-tiered recovery, and today we find out if the U.S. labor market's winter slump continued into February.

Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the bear market closing low following the 2008 financial crisis. It was the next morning—March 10, 2009—that late “Squawk Box” and "Squawk on the Street" host Mark Haines famously declared, “I think we’ve seen the bottom.” The gains since then: 151 percent for the Dow, 178 percent for the S&P 500 and 242 percent for the Nasdaq Composite.

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama heads to NYC on Tuesday for DNC and DSCC fundraisers ... President Biden travels to Chile and the Dominican Republic ... Senate Banking has a hearing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. on capital levels for insurers ... Senate Banking has its rescheduled Fed nominations hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ... House Financial Services has a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the Fed's role in credit allocation ... NFIB survey at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday expected to tick down to 94.1 form 94 ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Thursday expected to rise 0.2 percent, 0.1 percent ex-autos … Michigan Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m. on Friday expected to rise to 81.8 from 81.6.

William Clay Ford Sr., 1925-2014 - He was the scion of one of America’s great industrial families. He owned the Detroit Lions, an NFL franchise that for too long has epitomized mediocrity. His philanthropy dispensed prodigious sums, especially for institutions that bore a founding connection to his grandfather — Henry Ford Health Systems and the Henry Ford Greenfield Village and Museum in Dearborn. He had his detractors, of course, chiefly long-suffering Lions fans who heaped every ounce of blame they could on the aging owner because he arguably was the only constant in a half century of missed opportunities, disappointments and an ignominious 0-16 season in 2008.

But that’s only a small part of a much more expansive legacy spanning cornerstones of Metro Detroit. Ford Motor Co. now is running on all cylinders, as are the iconic hospital and history museum named after his grandfather. He moved his beloved Lions back home, installing them in a Ford Field that is an anchor in the redevelopment of Detroit. Win or lose, those are huge.

Next week: Spring Break, The Luck of the Irish, and words of the month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
March 10, 2014

#IV-47, 204

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