Monday, July 7, 2014

Random Thoughts

Random thoughts while waiting for FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) to hand out Oscars for the best actor and best face of agony in the World Cup, and then thirty seconds later score a goal with that same injured leg.

But, you got to like the football (soccer) announcers: Ian Darke and Fernando Palomo, they are classic.

I was walking through the Claremont Colleges the other day. How come they have so much money? A walk through those five/six/seven campuses is a walk into another world. How about sending a few million down Bonita Avenue to the University of La Verne; we have a good President (in fact POTULV lives in your neighborhood) struggling and clawing daily to meet the demands of a growing diverse University in a complicated world of higher education finance and competition. Three, four million will do. So you go without a few fountains and iPad/iPhone charging stations, help us out! We will let you win in football….I know the Coach.

Speaking of Claremont, CA the growing Village discussions about Water and who controls it, is proving more interesting each day: Advocates on both sides of the debate; purchase the Golden State Water Company (FLOW – Friends of Locally Owned Water) or work with Golden State Water (CAWA – Claremont Affordable Water Advocates), all have valid arguments. My only question is does Claremont really have the wherewithal to manage a Water Company? It has taken Claremont twenty plus years (and counting) to figure out the Claremont Hills Wilderness Trail.  And there is no revenue collection involved with this management issue.

While we are on the subject of municipal government decision making, I find the debate in the City of La Verne, CA over the proposed Walmart Grocery store an interesting one. Especially in a City that has a weekly Farmers’ Market with no actual farm produce for sale. Yes, I am not a big fan of Walmart; in fact I never shop there. But the arguments against allowing the firm to operate a business closely resemble the illegal immigrant protests in the City of Murrieta: ignorance.

Talk about sustainability; this past July 4th weekend my car never left the garage and I attended a lovely Thursday dinner, went to a 5K race, a pancake breakfast, a Fourth of July parade, saw fireworks, visited a Farmers’ Market, took in a movie, had a Mai Tai at a lovely local inn’s patio, AND took a few of naps.

Nearly everything they serve in a ballpark will kill you if you eat it more than three days in a row.

The last time the Los Angeles Angels were .500 as a major league baseball franchise, they were 1-1 in 1961; they’re almost back at 4,270-4,272.

Think the Lakers and Dodgers will pick up on the importance of team play after what the Los Angeles Kings and San Antonio Spurs accomplished? Not.

If any of my readers know Coach Chris Krich the head football coach of the University of La Verne, well I have a “separated at birth” candidate for Coach Krich: Michael Breed host of the Golf Channel’s The Golf Fix – scary.

NFL training camps open in three weeks. Can anyone beat the Seattle Seahawks?

Well I believe I have my retirement locations determined, after great thought – May through October: Walloon Lake Michigan; November through April: The Tradition Golf Club La Quinta California – Now I just have to come up with $10 million give or take.

I was speaking with a student of mine this past week; this student is from the Hunan Province in central China. He was telling me how he wished there were In N’ Out Burgers in his home town. I told him I wished we (USA) had the Chinese growth rate in our economy. He looked at me a bit puzzled and said, that will never happen, you in America are too spoiled and life is easy. I told him he may be right but spend a day at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

This coming week should be interesting in my little world of academia; I am teaching a Finance class to twenty one South American visiting scholars, most are from Brazil. Will Finance take precedent over the World Cup Semi-Final on Tuesday Brazil vs. Germany? What is class dismissed in Portuguese?  “Classe demitido”

If any of my readers out there know Mr. David Allen of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin please introduce us. I have been following him for years now and wonder how he does not have an ulcer? The restaurants he frequents and reports on in the Inland Empire are anti-Bobby Flay to say the least.

The REACH program by far the best community engagement program at the University of La Verne concluded their three week run this past week. Fifty plus senior high school students to be lived and studied on Campus, mentored with college professors, staff and college students to learn about the demands of higher education, business planning, and above all else life. Not only were they excellent students and people, they received a certificate for their achievements, recognition from the California State Assembly, and to top that received jobs at local McDonald’s restaurants as a reward for their hard work. Funny, at the student presentations or award ceremony I did not see one member of the University’s Admissions Office, Public Relations, or Marketing Departments. Not one picture or article in a (real) local newspaper or story on a local television station. I must be missing something. How many University programs in the country offer this summer program to local students??? Not a worthy story I guess.

Meanwhile in the Sunday edition of the L.A. Times: High school camp hones students' business, entrepreneurial instincts 

A truly great American died this past week, Louis Zamperini (1917-2014), the Olympic runner and World War II hero whose personal story of sacrifice and resilience resonated worldwide. Mr. Zamperini was the subject of Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book “Unbroken”. If you have not read it, this book is a must for every American to read.

Mr. Louis Zamperini is truly one of the Greatest of the Greatest Generation.

BILL CLINTON ATM MACHINE - Bill Clinton has been paid $104.9 million for 542 speeches around the world between January 2001, when he left the White House, and January 2013, when Hillary stepped down as secretary of state ... Although slightly more than half of his appearances were in the United States, the majority of his speaking income, $56.3 million, came from foreign speeches, many of them in China, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom ... Goldman Sachs has hired Bill Clinton for eight speeches over the years totaling $1.35 million, many of them client meetings in such locales as Paris, Phoenix, and the South Carolina beach resort of Kiawah Island.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Susan Ford Bales (57), the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (79), David McCullough (81)Sylvester Stallone (68), Ringo Starr (74), Sela Ward (58).

THREE SCORE YEARS, THE COUNTDOWN – It won’t be long to get these discounts: AMC Theatres movie tickets up to 30% off; Dunkin Donut a free donut; 10% off at Dairy Queen; 10% off at Krispy Kreme; 10% off at the Waffle House; 10% off on groceries the first Wednesday of each month at Albertson’s; stay free on Sunday nights at Motel 6; up to $8 off on haircuts at Super Cuts. Wow, a diet may be in future plans, but what deals!

GOP '16 CONVENTION CHOICES are down to Dallas and Cleveland -- Mistake by the Lake' [Cleveland] seeks political redemption: This Lake Erie city has suffered some bad public relations over the years and has made headlines for all the wrong reasons: poverty, pollution, foreclosure, bizarre crimes and a fleeing population. Yet, thanks to billions of dollars spent burnishing the city's image and its physical face, Cleveland is one of two finalists for the Republican national convention in 2016 and a longshot candidate to host the Democrats, as well. ... Downtown streets that once emptied when the working crowd left for the suburbs now come alive with visitors and residents. ... But Cleveland is second only to its neighbor to the northwest, Detroit, as the nation's poorest big city.

G.M.'S RECALL WOES CONTINUE - General Motors last Monday became consumed once again by the safety crisis it cannot seem to shake, announcing the recall of 8.4 million more vehicles worldwide - most of them for an ignition defect similar to the flaw that the company failed to disclose in other models for more than a decade. The announcement came just hours after Kenneth R. Feinberg, a compensation expert hired by G.M., unveiled a plan to pay victims of accidents involving some of the 2.6 million G.M. vehicles already recalled ... promising swift payments for people who were critically injured and more than $1 million for families of those who died.

The latest recall announcement seemed to deflate whatever good will G.M. had generated with the news of Mr. Feinberg's plan. Trading in G.M. stock, which had risen slightly on Mr. Feinberg's news, was suspended temporarily on the [NYSE] ... while the announcement about the recalls was made. (The stock closed down about 1 percent.) ... The details of the new recall sounded familiar. Keys could inadvertently shift while the cars were running, shutting off the engine and disabling air bags and other important power safety features. The vehicles were older, this time dating as far back as the 1997 model year. There was a toll linked to the recall - seven crashes, eight injuries and three fatalities.'

WORLD CUP WATCH – Viewership Sets U.S. Records with Americans Out: The first two World Cup quarterfinals averaged more than 5 million U.S. television viewers, with Brazil's defeat of Colombia setting a record for American viewership of that stage of the tournament. ... The U.S.'s 2-1 loss to Belgium in the round of 16 on July 1, late afternoon on a Tuesday, drew 21.6 million viewers, 16.5 million on ESPN and 5.1 million on Univision, the second-highest total for a men's soccer telecast in U.S. history. It trailed only the U.S. team's 2-2 tie with Portugal on Sunday, June 22, which averaged 24.7 million viewers -- 18.2 million on ESPN and 6.5 on Univision.


WORLD CUP – Brazil to beat Spain in the World Cup Final.

Tuesday Semi-Final: Brazil 1 Germany 0
Wednesday Semi-Final: Argentina 2 Netherlands 1

2014 Season to date (38-34)

MARKET WEEK - With no major economic numbers set for today, investors will be looking ahead to Wednesday’s release of the minutes from the Fed’s June policy meeting. Following last week’s strong jobs report, there’s mounting speculation that the central bank may need to raise short-term rates sooner than expected, if the economy keeps improving.

DRIVING THE WEEK -  POTUS WEEK AHEAD, per the White House: On Monday, the President will host a group of teachers at the White House for lunch to discuss the Administration's efforts to ensure that every student is taught by an effective educator. The President will be joined by the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. On Tuesday, the President will welcome NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to the White House ... ahead of the NATO summit in Wales this September ... In the evening, the President will travel to Denver ...

On Wednesday, while in Denver, the President will attend a DSCC event. The President will then travel to ... Dallas ... for a DCCC event. In the evening, the President will travel to ... Austin, ... where he will attend a DNC event and remain overnight. On Thursday, while in Austin, ... the President will attend a DNC event and deliver remarks on the economy.

REMEMBERING HOWARD BAKER - Howard H. Baker Jr. (1925 – 2014), a soft-spoken Tennessee lawyer who served three terms in the Senate and became known as 'the great conciliator' in his eight years as the chamber's Republican leader, died on Thursday at his home in Huntsville, Tenn. He was 88. His death was announced on the Senate floor by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who called him 'one of the Senate's most towering figures.' Mr. Baker found his greatest fame in the summer of 1973, when he was the ranking Republican on the special Senate committee that investigated wrongdoing of the Nixon White House in the Watergate affair.

In televised hearings that riveted the nation, he repeatedly asked the question on the minds of millions of Americans: 'What did the president know, and when did he know it?' ... Mr. Baker's public career included four years as ambassador to Japan, a year as White House chief of staff and two tries for the presidency. But he will be remembered as, quintessentially, a man of the Senate, ideally suited to that patience-trying institution because of his lawyer's mind, equanimity and knack for fashioning compromises.

Next week: Summer School Finance style, four indicators on why you need a summer vacation and words of the month.

Until Next Monday, Adeus.

Claremont, CA

July 7, 2014

#V-12, 221


  1. Regarding your comment about Claremont having the "wherewithall" to manage a water company. I'm sure you meant "manage water service." The answer is still a resounding No. I, too agree both sides have relevant arguments. But the City's plan to ramrod this thing through the courts using eminent domain + a big expensive water bond will put us all under water for years.

    1. Thank you for your comments, it is appreciated.

  2. Anonymous--you stay that way because you don't know jack about water issues. Folks, the lords of Claremont are trying to pull the wool over our eyes with the water bond and eminent domain maneuver, plain pure and simple. Think water rates will go down if the City maintains it? Google "Felton Water System" and see the results of such folly. Start telling it like it is!

    1. Thank you for your comments, it is appreciated.