Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Another academic year has come to a close. It has been an interesting year, what with the ongoing unionization discussions, business models in constant change, and the continuing saga of entitlement in higher education.

I had the pleasure and honor to work with 339 students this past academic year. Plus this past weekend congratulated 85 former students on earning their college degrees. I am amazed daily at the dedication and strength of students and support staff. The former students working with me as assistants were giving of their time and loyal to helping students. The bureaucracy and politics of higher education also continues to amaze me, with many self-centered, ego driven, without a clue faculty and staff. 

But overall higher education in my opinion is in good shape, there are leaders who “get it” and who have perspective on the future and the challenges on the horizon. Students and student families are our customers, the question should always be: Is higher education serving their needs at a reasonable price?

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – The University of Notre Dame is selling rolls of grass from its football stadium to the public as it prepares to install an artificial surface before the upcoming season. The school announced last Monday it is selling 2-foot-by-5-foot sections of grass from Notre Dame Stadium for $149.95, which includes two-day shipping and a certificate of authenticity. The school says the grass will be removed from the stadium Tuesday and be shipped on Wednesday.

Notre Dame announced last month it was switching to FieldTurf because of problems with the playing surface in recent seasons. The university installed new sod at the stadium four times last year, including twice during the season. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick says the change could allow the stadium to be used for other events.

The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater can claim an achievement this year, three of their teams won national D-III Championships. Whitewater won the D-III championships in football, men’s basketball and baseball. No NCAA member has ever accomplished this triple header.

JACKASS OF THE MONTH – Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins, who after their game 7 loss to the Montreal Canadians showed how classless and immature he is: A true JACKASS. http://youtu.be/wXn2j9crVFM

TOP DOLLARS - 10 highest-paid CEOs of 2013, as calculated by [AP] and Equilar, an executive pay research firm : 1. Anthony Petrello, Nabors Industries, $68.2 million, up 246 percent ... 2. Leslie Moonves, CBS, $65.6 million, up 9 percent ... 3. Richard Adkerson, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, $55.3 million, up 294 percent ... 4. Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor, $39 million, up 510 percent ... 5. Philippe Dauman, Viacom, $37.2 million, up 11 percent ... 6. Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, $36.3 million, up 21 percent ... 7. Robert Iger, Walt Disney, $34.3 million, up 46 percent ... 8. David Zaslav, Discovery Communications, $33.3 million, down 33 percent ... 9. Jeffrey Bewkes, Time Warner, $32.5 million, up 27 percent ... 10. Brian Roberts, Comcast, $31.4 million, up 8 percent." Top 50 http://goo.gl/YpFH0B

JPMORGAN MAKES BIG DETROIT COMMITMENT - JPMorgan Chase & Co. unveiled ... a $100 million, five-year commitment to support and accelerate Detroit's economic recovery and strengthen its communities. This long-term investment is the Firm's largest commitment to a city ... 'We believe in Detroit's future, and we want to see the city recover its economic strength,' JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon will say today during a luncheon with community and government leaders at The Garden Theater in Detroit. ... The investment provides long-term financial and hands-on support for organizations that are working to address the city's most urgent challenges.

THE TAMING OF THE TEA PARTY – After last Tuesday's GOP primary elections, you might be wondering what happened to the so-called tea-party insurgency. Republican Party leaders proclaimed the vote a turning point in their efforts to wing the once high-flying activists. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a pillar of the party establishment, triumphed easily over his challenger in Kentucky, while on the same night Republican voters in Georgia, Idaho and elsewhere elevated candidates with broader appeal over tea-party favorites. Nevertheless, a spokesman for FreedomWorks said that the tea-party movement was continuing to have an impact on the GOP agenda as incumbents embrace priorities of cutting government spending and rolling back the health-care overhaul. Meanwhile, Tom Wolf, a Pennsylvania businessman who spent millions on his Democratic primary campaign, will represent his party in a bid to unseat Republican Gov. Tom Corbett—one of several GOP governors Democrats are targeting in November.

JUDGE JUDY - Russian oligarch faces $4.5 billion Swiss divorce, a Swiss court has ordered a Russian billionaire to pay more than $4.5 billion to his ex-wife in what could become the biggest divorce settlement in history. ... The Geneva Tribunal of First Instance said Dmitry Rybolovlev, an owner of the French soccer club AS Monaco, must pay 4,020,555,987.80 Swiss francs ($4,509,375,184.80) to ex-wife Elena Rybolovleva of Geneva. ... The judgment also granted his ex-wife property worth 130.5 million francs ($146 million) in property in Gstaad ... where the couple owned two swanky chalets. It awarded his ex-wife two other pieces of real estate in the ultra-wealthy area of Geneva known as Cologny, where the couple once lived together.

HP COULD CUT AS MANY AS 16,000 JOBS - Hewlett-Packard will cut as many as 16,000 employees in addition to the 34,000 lay-offs previously indicated, or another 5 per cent of its workforce ... The company has struggled to revamp itself in the post-PC era. Meg Whitman, chief executive, has attempted to push the business further into software services and expanding sectors such as big data, security services, and selling the servers used in cloud computing. ... Revenue fell for the 11th straight quarter, down 1 per cent from the previous year to $27.3bn, slightly below expectations. Earnings per share were 88 cents, in line with analysts' forecasts.

NO SIN CITY - LAS VEGAS, CINCINNATI OUT OF THE RUNNING FOR 2016 GOP CONVENTION: The four cities still in the hunt are Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Cleveland. Officially, Vegas "withdrew" and local officials cited logistical issues related to the availability of an arena. But social conservatives celebrated the news as a victory. Democrats had promised to flood the strip with trackers, and some of the hoped-for money didn't materialize to boost the bid. The RNC site selection committee will now make visits to all four. Watch Dallas, which can probably cobble the most money together. This counts since fundraising is a perennial problem for these affairs and there's less public money on the table than in the past. Ohio and Colorado are both swing states, which gives them a boost. Kansas City also carries symbolism: the last competitive national convention was at the Cow Palace in 1976.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Barbara Bush (89), Dennis Haysbert (60), Bill Moyers (80), Michelle Phillips (70), Prince (56), Boz Scagga (70), Jerry Stiller (87).

LET’S MAKE A DEAL – Steve Ballmer, Detroit Country Day ’73, purchased the Los Angeles Clippers basketball franchise last week for $2 billion. Ballmer, 58, who is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, with an estimated net worth of $20 billion, an applied-mathematics major at Harvard, was the 30th employee hired by Microsoft in 1980. He left the company in 2013 as CEO. 

His bid for the Clippers was three and a half times the amount the team was recently valued at by Forbes. Assuming his purchase is approved by the N.B.A., Mr. Ballmer is likely to enjoy significant personal financial benefits. When an investor purchases a sports team, he can attribute a large part of the purchase price to the player contracts he is acquiring. As those contracts expire, their depreciation can offset income. 

Given how low interest rates are, he could finance part of the purchase of the team relatively inexpensively, and he could later bring in minority shareholders to recoup some of his purchase cost.

15,900% RETURN – Donald Sterling, owner of the L.A. Clippers who recently sold the team, bought the franchise in 1981. Here is how Mr. Sterling’s various investments have done since:

Clippers                                                  +15,900%
Microsoft (since 1986 I.P.O.)            +55,705%
BRE Properties (CA REIT)                +6,529%
S & P 500                                                +3,332%
Gold                                                         +162%


NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Stanley Cup winner – Los Angeles Kings in six over the New York Rangers.

NBA Playoffs: Championship winner – San Antonio Spurs in seven over the Miami Heat.

2014 Season to date (36-31)

VEGAS ODDS – Odds to win World Cup:
Brazil                          3-1
Argentina                   4-1
Germany                    5-1
Spain                           13-1

THE CUP HALF EMPTY - Brazil has won more World Cups than any other nation, and people there say they live in a "country of soccer." Even so, we note that just 48% of Brazilians now say hosting the world's premier sporting event was a good idea, down from 79% in 2008, according to an April 8 poll by Brazil's Datafolha, the most recent. Our story looks at how the Cup has become a symbol of the unfulfilled promise of an economic boom for this South American nation. Its $11.5 billion price tag—the most expensive ever—and a list of unfinished construction projects have become reminders of the shortcomings that many believe keep Brazil poor. Among them are overwhelming bureaucracy, corruption and shortsighted policy-making. And as for the World Cup itself, there's slightly more than two weeks before the start of the event, and workers with hard hats are still laboring into the night. The country has spent a record $3.6 billion to build or remodel 12 stadiums—most of which were behind schedule and over budget. Still, the host nation could probably quiet a lot of the grumbling if it manages to fulfill expectations and lift the trophy on July 13.

BELMONT STAKES – Rink Rats likes the following in the 130th Belmont Stakes:
1). California Chrome,  2). Commissioner,  3). Commanding Curve,  4). General A Rod,  5). Wicked Strong.

MARKET WEEK - U.S. stocks look to start June where they left off in May, with the S&P 500 and the Dow closing out the month at record highs. The quiet trading days of late May could fade fast as markets brace for two major events towering at the end of the week—a rate cut in Europe and the U.S. monthly jobs report.

The European Central Bank European meets Thursday and is widely expected to cut its deposit rate, putting it into negative territory for the first time, and take actions to promote small business lending. The ECB has been signaling that it could take action, including in comments from Mario Draghi, ECB's president, who set the table for a move following the last rate meeting.

DRIVING THE WEEK -  President Obama departs this evening for a European trip beginning in Warsaw, Poland followed by Brussels, Belgium (for the G-7); Paris, France; and Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, where he may encounter his sometime-nemesis, Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian incursion into Ukraine will certainly color the entire trip ... ISM manufacturing at 10:00 a.m. this morning excepted to tick up to 55.5 from 54.9 ...

Construction at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise by 0.7% ... ADP employment Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. expected to rise by 218K ... ISM non-manufacturing at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise to 55.5 from 55.2 ... May employment report Friday at 8:30 a.m. expected to show a gain of 218K with the jobless rate ticking up to 6.4% from 6.3% and hourly earnings rising 0.2%.

REST IN PEACE - THE FINAL TWEET of @DrMayaAngelou, last Friday: "Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."

JUNE 6, 1944 – 70th Anniversary of the invasion of Europe in Normandy France: Remember.

 Next week: Summer business outlook.

Until Next Monday, Adios.
Tucson, AZ.
June 2, 2014

#V-7, 216

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