Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fifty Million

I need fifty million dollars. No I don’t need it personally, but an organization I care about does. Yes, many organizations need 50 million dollars and should receive it but I am going to be a bit selfish here.

This organization needs many academic buildings, but I will settle for just one. I personally have been associated and in contact with many organizations, but I have never been associated with one who truly cares so much about the customers they serve. Yes, like all organizations this one has many dysfunctions, politicians, and egocentrics, but like none I know of they strive to provide the best education and learning about life as humanly possible. From the landscapers to the President, from the cooks to the advisors, from the coaches to the faculty, they all CARE.

So Steve Ballmer, how about helping out, yes I was your high school classmate and yes you received a 1600 SAT score, I had a 1250, yes you played football, I played soccer, yes you were a track and field man (I never trusted track and field men), I played baseball, you went to Harvard and had Bill Gates as a roommate, I went to St. Lawrence and my roommate was Winslow LaDue – despite all those differences can you spare 50 million.

Remember when you beat me at Hearts in the student lounge, and you felt bad and said if you ever could repay me, let him know (that never happened but he might buy it). Well, forget about signing a new power forward for the Los Angeles Clippers; write a check for 50 million. By the way make it out to The University of La Verne.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – DEVIL IN DEFAULT RATE DETAILS? The Education Department this past week announced that 13.7 percent of borrowers defaulted on their federal loans for fiscal year 2011 - a drop from last year's default numbers, and that 21 colleges, mostly small for-profit beauty schools, will be barred pending appeal from federal student aid. No major for-profit colleges received sanctions. As it prepared to publish this year's cohort default rates, the department said it will make adjustments for some schools at risk of losing eligibility for federal student aid because of a high default rate. If the school's default rate is due to borrowers whose federal loans were serviced by more than one server - and if the split servicing was responsible for the default - schools might be spared from heavy sanctions. The announcement didn't sit well with some skeptics, who took to Twitter to question why the same courtesy isn't extended to borrowers who default on their loans. From the personal account of Barmak Nassirian, an education policy analyst who is particularly critical of for-profit higher education: "A cynic might think that the disparity in treatment is due to the fact that schools have lawyers and high-powered lobbyists, and students don't!"

Hopkins Study: A study out of Johns Hopkins University makes the case for three-year college degrees. A four-year degree at a public, in-state school cost an average of $35,572 in 2013. A three-year degree would cost about $26,679, making for a 25 percent savings. That one-year adjustment "is the only higher education reform plan that would cut the cost of a college degree while ensuring our higher education system remains the best in the world," said Paul Weinstein, director of the university's graduate program in public management. "Students at public institutions would save on average almost $9,000 over the course of their studies while students at private schools could save as much as $30,000." The study: http://bit.ly/1DlGSAi.

POLITICS 101 - CARLY FIORINA MAY STILL RUN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO - who now chairs the board of Good360.org, isn't ruling out a White House run, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

SNYDER EVER THE STUDENT: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was awarded an associate of arts degree on Monday from Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Mich., where he earned 25 credits as a Lakeview High School student in the 1970s. At the time, Snyder was pursuing the first of his three degrees from the University of Michigan. He earned 37 credits needed for the associate's degree through a reverse transfer agreement with the university. Snyder used the moment to laud the importance of community colleges - and to tout his own work helping high school students interested in earning college credit. For example, Snyder signed legislation in 2012 that expanded dual enrollment opportunities for Michigan students starting in the ninth grade.

JEB BUSH NEARS 2016 DECISION – Rink Rats hears from someone who spoke to Jeb Bush recently that the former Florida governor is likely to make his decision just after the midterms in November. This person said Bush spoke passionately on a range of issues like someone preparing for a national campaign. But this person also said that Bush's wife Columba, who abhors politics, remains a major impediment to a possible campaign.

Like everyone else RR talks to, this person would not lay odds on the likelihood of a Bush campaign, saying it was a very hard situation to read. This person also downplayed the possibility that Mitt Romney would ever run for president again, even if Bush decides against a run, leaving the "establishment lane" fairly wide open.

MORE ON JEB 2016 - CNBC column on concerns about Columba Bush not wanting her husband to run: "Others say the family concerns are overblown and that barring a late change of heart, Bush is almost certain to run. These people say Bush's father, former president George H.W. Bush, strongly urged his son to mount a campaign at a recent gathering at the family's compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. ... People close to the family say Jeb Bush does not want to see New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dominate the moderate lane in 2016. Bush also does not believe Mitt Romney will mount another campaign and believes the nomination of someone like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., would produce an electoral disaster for Republicans akin to the 1964 wipe out of GOP nominee Barry Goldwater.

FASHION WEEK - Paris Fashion Week is a clothing trade show held semi-annually in Paris, France with spring/summer and autumn/winter events held each year. Dates are determined by the French Fashion Federation, this week (Sept. 23 – Oct. 1) is the ready-to-wear Spring 2015 collection.  Currently, Fashion Week is held in the Carrousel du Louvre, as well as at various other venues throughout the city.

Paris Fashion Week is part of the Big 4 fashion weeks internationally, the others being London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week. The schedule begins with New York, followed by London, and then Milan, and ends in Paris.

If Jean Paul Gaultier's "beauty pageant" was the most extravagant show at Paris Fashion Week, Karl Lagerfeld's protest is certainly the most relevant. Leave it to Chanel to turn the runway into a star-studded demonstration, complete with a faux Parisian boulevard, a quilted mega phone and of course, Cara Delevingne as the ringleader. Models held signs that said, "Make fashion not war," "He for she," (which is a nod to Emma Watson's now famous UN speech) and "History is her story." Lagerfeld has yet again proven that he is the master of the fashion show, this time blending two of our favorite things -- fashion and feminism. But let's not forget about the "protesters." Chanel is no stranger to featuring major models, but this army is more impressive than ever. Everyone from Fashion Week sweetheart Kendall Jenner to Georgia May Jagger to Gisele Bundchen (Mrs. Tom Brady, University of Michigan 2000) made appearances.

Now, we're not saying this is the most effective form of protest, but it is certainly the most stylish.

INVERSION AVERSION - U.S. companies have been busy this year acquiring overseas firms in deals that reduce their tax payments. But these so-called corporate inversions might soon face major hurdles. The U.S. Treasury Department has tightened tax rules the past week to deter U.S. companies from moving their legal headquarters to lower-tax countries—part of a White House effort to slow the recent wave of inversions. The Treasury rules,  have made it more difficult to complete these overseas mergers and will also make it harder for companies that invert to use cash piling up abroad—a big draw in recent deals. The new guidelines, which took effect immediately, could affect a number of pending mergers and acquisitions, including Medtronic's proposed acquisition of Irish medical-device maker Covidien and the merger of fruit grower Chiquita Brands International and Fyffes.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Julie Andrews (79), Lorraine Bracco (60), President Jimmy Carter (90), Angie Dickinson (83), Glenn Hall (83), Steve Lesniak …famous wine Sommelier, Jacques Martin (62), Al Sharpton (60), Gwen Stefani (45)

THE SWAMI IN REVIEW – As we head into the Major League Baseball playoffs this week, lets’ review how The Swami picked the season way back in March –

2014 Major League Baseball Picks – American League: East – Baltimore Orioles, Central – Detroit Tigers, West – Anaheim Angels. Wild Card – Tampa Bay Rays, Kansas City Royals. A.L.C.S Detroit over Anaheim

National League: East – Atlanta Braves, Central – St. Louis Cardinals, West – Los Angeles Dodgers. Wild Card – Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds. N.L.C.S St. Louis over Washington.

2014 World Series Champs – St. Louis Cardinals over Detroit Tigers

Not bad picks in the American League, we still like The Cardinals to win it all.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/4, 3:30 PM ET, CBS: #3 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) visit #11 University of Mississippi Rebels (4-0). SEC at its’ very best, conference schedule is brutal, Bama wins 35 – 28.  Season to date (4-1)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/4, 4:00 PM ET, HGTV: #6 Linfield Wildcats (2-0) visit #16 Pacific Lutheran Lutes (2-0). What is a Lute? A huge early Northwest Conference game at Sparks Stadium (see below) in Tacoma, Washington. We like The Lutes to pull the upset, 24 – 20.  Season to date (2-2)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/5, 4:05 PM ET, Fox: Arizona Cardinals (3-0) at Denver Broncos (2-1). Are the Cardinals for real? We will now find out, NOT – Denver 32 Arizona 17.  Season to date (2-2)


(NCAA, Oct. 4) Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0) 35 at Michigan State Spartans (3-1) 42

(NCAA, Oct. 4) Occidental Tigers (1-1) 32 at University of La Verne Leopards (1-1) 45

(MLB, Oct. 5) Baltimore Orioles (96-66) 4 at Detroit Tigers (90-72) 6

(NFL, Oct. 5) Buffalo Bills (2-2) 17 at Detroit Lions (3-1) 28

Season to date (52 - 44)

MARKET WEEK - Gross Withdrawal: The bond king has been deposed. But what of his former kingdom? Following the unexpected departure Friday of Pacific Investment Management Co. co-founder Bill Gross, we find that Pimco suffered roughly $10 billion of withdrawals—a sign of how quickly Mr. Gross's move is reshaping the bond-investing landscape. Meanwhile, a complicated trading strategy known as "dividend arbitrage" generated more than $1 billion a year in revenue for large banks by helping hedge funds and other clients reduce taxes. The banks and funds say it's legal, but the maneuver has drawn criticism from U.S. authorities. Speaking of taxes, we note that European Union regulators are to say Tuesday why they believe that tax deals granted to Apple and Fiat violated EU law. And with regard to the market, E.S. Browning says that we can expect more volatility because stocks are—in Wall Street lingo—"priced for perfection," which means the prices are so high that gains depend on a very favorable investing environment, with strong corporate profits, low interest rates, low inflation and continued global growth.

JACK ASS OF THE MONTH – Our Jack Ass this month is professional golfer, Ryder Cup team member, Phil Mickelson. For throwing team captain Tom Watson under the bus as the reason for the team’s total humiliation at the hands of the European team this past weekend 16 ½ to 11 ½. Phil, you stunk, deal with it. From Tiger Woods womanizing and steroid drug use, to Bubba Watson’s lack of class – it is time United States professional golfers step up to the plate and take responsibility for poor play and above all else poor class.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Vice President Biden on Monday will award job training grants to community colleges in every state ... President Obama Monday evening hosts Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for a private dinner at the White House ... Personal income and spending on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. expected to rise 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively ... Pending home sales at 10:00 a.m. expected to slip 0.5 percent ... Case-Shiller home prices at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to dip 0.1 percent ... Consumer confidence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to dip to 92.2 from 92.4 ... ADP private employment at 8:15 a.m. expected to rise 202K ... ISM manufacturing at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday expected to dip to 58.5 from 59.0 ... September BLS jobs report Friday at 8:30 a.m. expected to show a gain of 213K with unemployment at 6.1 percent and hourly earnings rising 0.2 percent ... Hank Greenberg's suit against the federal government over the AIG bailout begins on Monday in DC. The circus trial is expected to include testimony from bailout-era bigs including Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner along with some Wall Street executives.

Next week: Fall in the garden and NHL preseason picks.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

September 30, 2014
#V-24, 233

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Kanin, The New Yorker

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn in the City

Autumn has arrived; the cider and donuts are the best at the Franklin, Michigan Cider Mill, Laura Verbal has the fall seasonal craft beers on tap at Pizza N’ Such, women and men still wear leopard pattern clothing, the Detroit Lions continue to get our hopes up but as always will greatly disappoint us, Faculty meetings are in full force – egos are the rule, cool crisp mornings and warm sunny afternoons make golf the best this time of year, the City of La Verne continues to have a Farmers’ Market without any “real” Farmers, politicians continue to make promises and excuses, technology continues to shape our lives, and the hypocrisy of professional and big time college sports continues to get even worse, it is a bit too early to get into the new hockey season but NHL Centre Ice has been purchased, undergraduate students are beginning to figure out that Mom and Dad cannot help them any more with their homework, graduate students are beginning to figure out that their financial aid is coming to an end and now it is time to find a job, this is the best time of year to have a late Saturday afternoon pizza and a cold mug of Labatt Blue at The Beach Bar on Michigan’s Clark Lake, and the LA County Fair is finally coming to an end.

 Such is the state of Autumn in the City.

SCOTLAND SAYS EMPHATIC "NO" TO INDEPENDENCE - Scottish voters strongly rejected a referendum to divorce itself from the rest of the United Kingdom, a result that will come as a huge relief to the White House and Wall Street. Washington policy makers feared that a spilt would spark political chaos in the UK, distracting the United States' top ally at a time of major geopolitical uncertainty and a fresh military campaign in the Middle East.

While some on Wall Street stood to gain from Scotland-inspired volatility, many analysts and market players worried about the longer term impact of a splintered UK on the European and global economy. Those worries are now gone. The BBC officially called the election at 12:17 a.m. EST (5:17 a.m. in Scotland). With 30 of 32 councils reporting at 1:10 a.m. EST, "No" had 1,877,252 (55.4 percent) and "Yes" had 1,512,688 (44.6 percent). Fife made it official.

CLAREMONT WATER – Rink Rats will vote “No” on the water ballot come this November. RR will probably be on the losing side but our conscious will be sound. Local governments should not run businesses, yes, some do, the City of Pasadena for one. But they have been doing this for decades. The City of Claremont will have to hire and spend to manage this utility with very little expertise and experience. Does the taxpayer of the city want to pay for all this? The City of Claremont now is in a boom period, tax bases are growing, new visitors are flocking to the City to spend money. Why ruin a good thing with increased City costs and borrowing.

Rink Rats agrees Golden State Water has done a poor job, but to warrant a change in bureaucracy, we say no.

TECHIE WATCH-- How Many Times A Day Do You Check Your Phone? Checky Will Tell You: This very basic app simply shows you how many times per day you've checked your phone, and maps out where that usage occurred. Love the screengrab. http://tcrn.ch/1p207F6

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – UNDERMINING PELL: Even as some policymakers have moved to expand Pell Grants, college financial aid practices are leaving the neediest students with potentially unmanageable costs, a New America Foundation report says today. Hundreds of colleges expect their neediest students to pay a net price amounting to at least half their families' yearly earnings, the report says, and the problem is growing. More private nonprofits are charging higher net prices for low-income students while providing deep discounts to wealthier students, and public colleges are making up for lost government funding by adopting similar tactics. Even private colleges with large endowments are being stingy with need-based aid, opting to use aid to attract top students instead.

Boston becomes first city to require safety measures for college athletes. CBS Sports: http://cbsprt.co/1r2aTzK

MIXED BAG FOR GRADUATE ENROLLMENTS: Graduate schools saw a 1 percent increase in first-time enrollments between fall 2012 and fall 2013, a new report finds, with more than 459,000 students entering graduate certificate, education specialist, master's or doctoral programs in fall 2013. However, the Council of Graduate Schools and Graduate Record Examinations Board report also shows a 0.2 percent decline in total graduate enrollment - following a 2.3 percent decline the previous year - to about 1.7 million students in fall 2013. First-time enrollment of U.S. citizens and permanent residents shrank by 0.9 percent, but temporary residents more than made up for it with an 11.5 percent increase. And while first-time enrollments among Hispanic students saw a boost, other underrepresented groups, as well as white students, moved in the opposite direction.

SYLLABUS – Executive Director of Finance, St. Lawrence University
Reporting directly to the Vice President for Finance & University Treasurer, the Executive Director will support the Vice President by providing strategic leadership to the department of Planning, Analysis & Decision Support. The Executive Director is someone who recognizes that analysis, figures, and forecasts represent the underlying activities in the University's community and works as a partner with University colleagues to prepare and implement budgets, financial projections and analysis that clarify and enable decision-making, and strengthen the University's position as a leader in liberal arts education. The Executive Director provides oversight of: the annual operating budget of $175 million and capital budget cycle; the development of associated financial targets; the assessment of forecast/budget versus actual results; and other financial and/or operational analysis.

The Executive Director for Finance must possess a strong educational background in finance and/or accounting. A bachelor's degree is required, an advanced degree is preferred. A financial professional designation such as a CFA, CMA or CPA is desirable but not required. Candidates will have a minimum of five years' experience, 10 years preferred, in finance, financial planning and analysis, ideally in a sophisticated higher education environment. Experience from commercial service industries, including healthcare, is also welcomed.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Cynthia Denne …famous Health Manager, Michael Douglas (70), Catherine Zeta-Jones (45), Steve Largent (60), Tommy Lasorda (87), Lute Olson (80), Bruce Springsteen (65), Julius Walecki …famous Beach Volleyball player, Barbara Walters (85).

ALIBABA GETS $21.8 BILLION IN IPO - Shares officially start trading last week, but the figures it pulled in last Friday make its initial public offering the biggest ever in the U.S.: The staggering amount made Facebook's $16 billion IPO two years ago look puny by comparison. The offering bolsters the wealth and prominence of Alibaba founder Jack Ma, a former English teacher and already the richest man in China. He was at the stock exchange Friday to ring the opening bell. The IPO is also a windfall for Yahoo and Japan's SoftBank, which have sizable stakes in the company.

Alibaba is the largest e-commerce company in the world and is often described as larger than Amazon and eBay combined, though it isn't well-known among U.S. consumers.

Alibaba opened trading at $92.7 per share - a whopping 36 percent jump from the $68 its investors paid during its IPO Thursday night. And things aren't over yet - Alibaba can still exercise an option to make 15 percent more shares available to institutional investors at the IPO price, which could up its IPO take to $25 billion. That would make its IPO the largest in the world. There are 30 days to exercise that option. Right now, Alibaba has said it will use its new cash to bolster its Chinese businesses - but there's no doubt that the splash it made Friday is making other tech giants a little jumpy.

FORE - World Golf Rankings on Sep 22, 2014...

 # 1    Rory McIlroy,  N. Ireland
 # 2    Adam Scott,  Australia
 # 3    Sergio Garcia,  Spain
 # 4    Henrik Swensen,  Stenson   
 # 5    Jim Furyk, USA  
 # 6    Justin Rose,  England      
 # 7    Bubba Watson,  USA      
 # 8    Jason Day,  Australia  
 # 9    Matt Kuchar,  USA      
 # 10    Ricky Fowler,  USA   
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 9/25, 10:00 PM ET, ESPN: #11 UCLA Bruins (3-0) at #15 Arizona State Sun Devils (3-0). A huge Pac-12 opener for both clubs, ASU in an upset, 24 – 17.  Season to date (3-1)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/27, 1:30 PM ET, BRAVO: #19 Ithaca College Bombers (2-0) visit Alfred Saxons (3-0). A huge E8 Conference matchup at Merrill Field (see below), we like the Saxon Warriors (Roger Auerbach famous Alumnus) 28 – 24.  Season to date (2-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/28, 4:30 PM ET, Fox: Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) at San Francisco 49ers (1-2). 49ers lose their season is in Big Trouble, they don’t 49ers 32 Eagles 24.  Season to date (1-2)


(NCAA, Sept. 27) Arkansas Razorbacks (3-1) 17 at #6 Texas A&M Aggies (4-0) 35

(NCAA, Sept. 27) Cornell University Big Red (0-1) 14 at Bucknell Bisons (3-0) 28

(MLB, Sept. 27) Kansas City Royals (85-71) 4 at Chicago White Sox (72-84) 2

(NFL, Sept, 28) New Orleans Saints (1-2) 35 at Dallas Cowboys (2-1) 28

(Ryder Cup, Sept. 26-28) U.S.A. 10 ½ at Europe 17 1/2

Season to date (49 - 42)

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama will travel to NYC this week to preside over a meeting of the UN Security Council ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew speaks on climate change at 4:00 p.m. today at Brookings ... Existing home sales this morning at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise 1 percent to 5.20M pace ... New home sales Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise to 430K pace from 412K ... Q2 GDP third estimate Friday at 8:30 a.m. expected to rise to a robust 4.6 percent ... Univ. of Michigan consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m. Friday expected to rise to 84.7 from 82.5.

There are 100 days left in the year -- what's one goal you could accomplish? ... To tell your kids: This is the first day of fall. Summer ends at 10:29 Monday night - the autumnal equinox. ... Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (5775), begins at sundown Wednesday. ... Two big anniversaries on Saturday: 50 years since the Warren Commission released its 888-page report concluding that the assassination of President Kennedy was the work one man ... and 20 years since Newt Gingrich and his House Republicans unveiled the Contract with America on the steps of the Capitol, six weeks before the Republican Revolution of 1994.

Next week: Jack Ass of the Month and  Fashion Week.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

September 22, 2014

#V-23, 232


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Demise of the Daily Newspaper

I like newspapers, every morning I receive The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Every weekend I also receive The New York Times and The Claremont Courier. Do I read them all every day, no, but do I enjoy READING them, yes.

Reading newspapers reduces my stress, slows my day down, is easy on my eyes, and provides concise information about the world around me. Can I get this from an iPad, iPhone, Fox News, KNX radio, CNN? Yes I can, but it is not as fun.

Digital First Media, a struggling collection of 76 daily newspapers including The San Jose Mercury News, The Los Angeles Daily News, The Denver Post and The St. Paul Pioneer Press, has put itself up for sale. The company, which is the nation’s second-largest newspaper company as measured by circulation, was expected to be sold at some point because it was owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital. But John Paton, Digital First’s chief executive, said in a statement that it made sense to sell the newspapers now because of the radical changes taking place in the media industry.

The need to consolidate to compete in a digital world is forcing the industry to define its future. Bankruptcy, selling off holdings is now the norm in the industry. Last year, News Corporation put its newspapers into a separate print company. In August, the Tribune Company’s publishing division, which includes well-known newspapers like The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times and underwent years of bankruptcy proceedings, became a separate company. Gannett Company also announced a split last month into a separate print and broadcasting companies.

It is a difficult time to sell newspapers because most of the traditional buyers are not buyers of newspapers anymore. Who are the buyers? Amazon, hedge funds, private equity funds, mainly those corporations looking for vehicles for their digital holdings.

What does the future hold for this industry? In all likelihood, dramatic changes and the end of daily print editions, I am glad I will not be around to see that.

Did you know the average adult uses four different devices or technologies to access news in a given week? In today's media landscape, readers are changing the way they access and interact with newspaper media content. And newspapers continue to innovate and transform, reaching new audiences and discovering new revenue streams.

SCOTCH OR IRISH WHISKEY? – After more than 300 years of being treated like a poor relative by the English, Scotland votes this week on a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom. Our pick – the Scots vote Yes, and head off into the land of “Braveheart”.

POLLS SHOW CLOSE CALL IN SCOTLAND - Thousands of independence supporters took to the streets of Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, on Sunday as polls showed the rival camps running desperately close just five days before a referendum which could bring the break-up of the United Kingdom. ... Separatist and unionist leaders worked across the country to woo undecided voters among the four million Scots and Scotland residents who will vote on their future on Thursday. Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond, who has spearheaded the drive for independence, said he was confident the 'Yes' campaign would win. ...

Alistair Darling, a former British finance minister and leader of the 'Better Together' campaign, warned that if Scots vote to split from the United Kingdom, it would be an irreversible decision that would bring economic doom and gloom. With promises from British political leaders of greater powers for Scotland in the event of a 'No' vote, Scots could have the best of both worlds, Darling said. And Queen Elizabeth, coming out of a Sunday morning church service near her Scottish residence Balmoral, told a well-wisher she hoped Scots would think very carefully about the future.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Student Loan Debt Senior Citizen Style: An estimated two million Americans age 60 and older are in debt from unpaid student loans, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The number of aging Americans with outstanding student loans hs almost tripled from about 700,000 in 2005, whether from long-ago loans for their own educations or more recent borrowing to pay for college degrees for family members.

The debt among older people is up substantially, to $43 billion from $8 billion in 2005. As of July 31, money was being deducted from Social Security payments to almost 140,000 individuals to pay down their outstanding student loans, according to Treasury Department data.

While older debtors account for a small fraction of student loan borrowers, who have accumulated $1 trillion in such debt, the effect of owing a constantly ballooning amount of debt but having a fixed income can be onerous. Many elderly fall below the poverty line when debt is deducted from their Social Security.

LATE-NIGHT BEST: "John Oliver Talks Student Debt and Goes After For-Profit Colleges" http://slate.me/WJlGCU

HOT ONLINE -- "Top Colleges That Enroll Rich, Middle Class and Poor," by NYT Upshot's David Leonhardt: "To see which selective colleges are doing the most, and the least, to [have economically-diverse students,] The Upshot has analyzed data for every college with a four-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent ... by combin[ing] data on enrollment and tuition costs." http://nyti.ms/1p0H90N

 ...The 10 "Most Economically Diverse Colleges": Vassar ... Grinnell ... U.N.C.-Chapel Hill ... Smith ... Amherst ... Harvard ... Pomona ... St. Mary's (Ind.) ... Susquehanna http://nyti.ms/1lPAhs6

RANKINGS WITH A TWIST: Pushing back against college rankings that focus on prestige, the New York Times on Monday published a "college access index" that lauds institutions for their ability to attract underprivileged students. Vassar College took the top spot, followed by Grinnell College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Amherst College. Harvard rounded out the top five. In an article accompanying the new rankings, editor David Leonhardt also called out institutions that don't enroll many low-income students - such as Washington University in St. Louis, where Pell Grant recipients made up just six percent of the recent freshman class.  http://politico.pro/1pJrXFu

- It's no coincidence the access index came out one day before U.S. News & World Report unveils its Best Colleges list - which is always criticized but also highly anticipated. One big change this year: U.S. News is publishing crime data on each school's profile page. But despite requests from victim advocates and even from some members of Congress, those statistics weren't factored into the annual rankings. (U.S. News also published three-year federal loan default rates - but didn't factor that into the rankings, either.) The source for the crime data is the Education Department's Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool [ http://1.usa.gov/1ug0DVF]

It breaks down incidents by type of crime, including forcible and non-forcible sexual offenses. Find all the rankings info here: www.usnews.com/colleges

- Worth noting: A few of the top-ranked national universities and liberal arts colleges are among the 77 being investigated by the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights for Title IX violations. They include Princeton, Harvard, Amherst and Swarthmore.

- Other notables: Pennsylvania State University fell 11 spots. Williams College has topped the list for best liberal arts colleges 12 years in a row. The University of California, Berkeley, is the nation's top public school. And Dartmouth College didn't make the top 10 of best national universities. As far as Colleges of specific interest to this author: St. Lawrence University and The University of Michigan have publicly announced their rankings, but The University of La Verne has been very quite, interesting.

THIS BUD IS FOR YOU - Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is said to be talking to banks about financing what could be a $122 billion deal to buy beer rival SABMiller, which just got rebuffed in its takeover bid for Heineken.

FINANCE 101 - Alibaba is on track to debut this Friday, in what could be the world's largest ever initial public offering.  Many of them are likely to become big winners in an IPO that could raise $25 billion. Yesterday the company raised the deal's price range to $66-$68 per share, up from $60-$66—a strong indication of robust investor demand. Meanwhile, if you do wind up with Alibaba stock, be prepared for a volatile ride.  You will get a clearer sense of what to expect from the IPO if you think of it not as a unique case but rather as part of a class, meaning a broader set of similar companies. This e-commerce behemoth founded by Jack Ma in 1999 should be interesting to watch over the next month or so.

FACEBOOK VALUE TOPS $200B - Facebook's market value exceeded $200 billion to put it among the world's biggest corporations, as investors bet on the company to capitalize on the future of mobile advertising. Facebook shares rose 0.8 percent to $77.89 ... valuing the company at $201.6 billion ... That made it the 22nd-largest company in the world, behind Verizon Communications Inc. and ahead of Toyota Motor Corp. .... The stock's rise has boosted [Mark] Zuckerberg's wealth to $34.5 billion.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Bill Murray (64), Dan Pugliese …how old is he???, Ava Suffredini …famous little Princess, Matt Witt …famous fan of POTULV.


Our son, who is in his 30s, posts online about major events in his life. But my husband and I don’t want to be part of his general audience on social media. We don’t read his blog or follow him on Twitter or Facebook. So, we are often the last to know about important events in his life because social media is his primary means of communicating with us. How should we let him know that we want to hear his news personally and directly from him?

Old School

Dear Old School,

Whenever you are hunting for a loving model of parental behavior, take a gander at “Mommie Dearest,” Christina Crawford’s lurid memoir of growing up with her movie-star mother, Joan — then do the opposite. When Christina had it (as you seem to have) with her mother’s playing their domestic life for the cameras, she screamed, “I am not one of your fans!” Don’t do that.

Instead, propose a weekly Skype session with your son. Adding a techie component to the traditional weekly phone call may appeal to him. But my stronger hope is that you find a way to stop feeling slighted by your son’s use of social media. It is not about you. And it’s not reasonable to expect a preview of every semi-momentous post in advance (“Just rode my bike with friends to the Seal Beach Pier”).

Think of your son as a newfangled memoirist. That’s what his blog and social media posts are aiming for. And read them. What better way to show him that you’re interested in his life? It may even increase the likelihood of greater (and warmer) communication with you. Otherwise, you are sending a message that he may interpret as indifference. And who wants to talk with a mean mommy or daddy?

Also, tell your son to get a freaking life!

Rink Rats

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 9/18, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN: SEC vs. Big 12 - #5 Auburn Tigers (2-0) at #20 Kansas State Wildcats (2-0). SEC too tough, Auburn 32 K State 24.  Season to date (2-1)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/20, 12:00 PM ET, HGTV:  The 42nd annual Admiral’s Cup from Buzzards Bay, Mass. Maine Maritime Mariners (1-0) vs. Massachusetts Maritime Buccaneers (0-1). The Mariners in a romp, 45 – 17. Season to date (2-0)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/21, 4:30 PM, CBS:  Denver Broncos (2-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1). Hawks are unstoppable at home, sorry Peyton, remember the Super Bowl: Seattle 35 Broncos 21. Season to date (0-2)


(NCAA, Sept. 20) California Golden Bears (2-0) 20 at Arizona Wildcats (3-0) 30

(NCAA, Sept. 20) Whitworth Pirates (2-0) 42 at La Verne Leopards (1-0) 21

(MLB, Sept. 20) Detroit Tigers (84-66) 5 at Kansas City Royals (82-67) 4

(NFL, Sept, 20) Green Bay Packers (1-1) 24 at Detroit Lions (1-1) 17
Season to date (46 - 41)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Empire State Survey this morning at 8:30 a.m. expected to rise to 15.9 from 14.7 ... Industrial production at 9:15 a.m. expected to rise 0.3 percent ... Consumer prices at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday expected to be flat headline and up 0.2 percent core ... FOMC announcement at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday expected to include no change in rates and another $15B cut in asset purchases ... Yellen presser at 2:30 p.m. not expected to produce big headlines but you never know ... Scotland votes on independence Thursday with "no" expected to prevail. Should he "yes" side win markets could go nuts for a few days while everyone sorts out what it all means. ... Index of leading indicators at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to rise 0.4 percent ... Congress expected to pass a CR funding the government past Oct. 1 and possibly extending the Ex-Im bank unit either December or June (or perhaps longer) ... Alibaba expected to price its earth-shaking IPO Thursday and start trading Friday.

Next week: Fall is here, and what to do with the water company.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

September 15, 2014

#V-22, 231

Monday, September 8, 2014

A History Buff

I love history, I am a firm believer that to study history you prepare for the future. With the Ken Burns series “The Roosevelts” beginning on PBS this week I thought I would look over Doris Kearns Goodwin wonderful work on “The Bully Pulpit”.

Eight years ago Doris Kearns Goodwin set out to mine one of the richest veins in American history, the progressive movement and its bully-pulpit spokesman, Theodore Roosevelt. But as she examined the period she came to realize that there were two other strands, indispensable but not inevitable, to the story.

One was William Howard Taft, often regarded as a historical afterthought or worse, a discordant coda to the TR era. The other was the muckraking press, celebrated in journalism schools but often relegated to a few respectful asides in general histories. Goodwin put all three at the center of her new history, “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism” and has created a thoroughly engaging work.

Journalists played a role in Roosevelt’s life that has no analogue in American history, accompanying him to Cuba and creating the Rough Rider myth and mystique; fueling his progressive impulses; and performing the role of Greek chorus when he was president and, just as important, ex-president. In inclination, temperament, and habits, he was one of them, and vice versa.

Taft was Roosevelt’s boon companion, in spirit if not in style. An ardent progressive and reformer he was, unlike Roosevelt, introspective, restrained, a man of thought rather than action, all befitting his career — no, more than that, his identity — as lawyer and judge. He trod carefully, but he also trod on the Roosevelt legacy, and the combination shattered the great progressive coalition and ended perhaps the greatest presidential friendship in history.

It was telling, Goodwin says, that at the very time TR was being celebrated in the press upon his return from his post-White House trip to Africa that Taft was being “hammered’’ by the press. But Taft lacked the zip of his predecessor, and his openness to conservative Republicans unnerved the progressives and their own boon companions in the press.

The muckrakers committed no such betrayal. An important figure in this period, and in “The Bully Pulpit,’’ is Samuel S. McClure, editor, entrepreneur, and, above all, visionary prophet of progressivism. He introduced America to Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Arthur Conan Doyle — and to a new kind of journalism, one that investigated as well as illuminated, which was where (and how) Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White came into the story, and into history. “Their disclosures of the corrupt linkages between business, labor, and government educated and aroused the public,’’ Goodwin writes, “spearheading the Progressive movement that would define the early years of the twentieth century.’’

Though Goodwin artfully establishes the influence the muckrakers had on Roosevelt and the influence he had on them, the effort to make this connection the thread that holds together a 910-page book sometimes seems forced. That said, “The Bully Pulpit’’ is, like so many of her books, carefully researched, amiably written, and appealingly presented. The result is an engaging tour of an important passage in American life.

It is true that several of these journalists’ pieces prompted meetings with Roosevelt: Baker on immigration and corruption; Steffens on what he called the “Shame of the Cities’’; and Upton Sinclair on the meatpacking and stockyard disgraces he detailed in “The Jungle.’’

Eventually McClure was summoned to the White House also, and the two men talked until midnight. Later, TR would ask Baker to review his annual message on American corporations; the writer would offer a frank critique: “It was too general, there was too much of the President’s favorite balancing of good and evil.’’

These muckrakers were creatures without precedent in America, and as a result of their work, as Baker argued, “men were questioning the fundamentals of democracy, inquiring whether we truly had self-government in America, or whether it had been corrupted by selfish interests.’’

This was a critique completely congruent with Roosevelt, and yet it was the president, alluding to John Bunyan, who first made the term muckraker a pejorative, saying that the bearers of the muck rake were comparable to “the man who in this life consistently refuses to see aught that is lofty, and fixes his eyes with solemn intentness on that which is vile and debasing.’’

That was one TR misstep. Another came in 1904, when he prematurely and unnecessarily renounced a 1908 re-election campaign. And, from his point of view, he erred, too, in having wanted a Taft presidency more than did Taft, and his later disillusion with Taft propelled Woodrow Wilson into the White House in the fabled four-way contest of 1912.

Roosevelt didn’t understand that a conservative tide was rising, possibly because of fatigue with progressivism and TR himself, possibly because the eclipse of the muckrakers that Roosevelt had himself set in motion. That partially explains the administration of Taft, who had the progressive roots of Roosevelt but not his predecessor’s instincts or turn of mind. “Taft had long considered himself a moderate progressive, aligned almost perfectly with the sentiments and policies of his old friend,’’ Goodwin writes. “In the throes of the brutal campaign, however, he had withdrawn increasingly from more progressive ideas.’’

But that is after their grand split. Beforehand, they were an incomparable pair in American politics. This book reminds us, as Goodwin puts it, that “there was a time, at the height of their careers, when Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft stood shoulder to shoulder as they charted a different role for the U.S. government that would fundamentally enlarge the bounds of economic opportunity and social justice.’’ It is a story worth telling, and one well told.

THE SUMMER in one sentence: Islamic State terrorists seized Mosul and massacred Shiite soldiers in open pits, Russian separatists shot down a civilian jetliner, ... Bashar Assad's forces in Syria came close to encircling Aleppo with the aim of starving the city into submission, a brave American journalist had his throat slit on YouTube by a British jihadist, Russian troops openly invaded Ukraine, and Chinese jets harassed U.S. surveillance planes over international waters.

--And that doesn't include ... Gaza, Ferguson, Afghan elections or U.S. to Iraq.

RINK RATS AT THE MOVIES - The movie industry suffered its worst May-to-Labor Day season since 1997, after adjusting for inflation. U.S. ticket sales dropped 15% compared with last summer. It was a disappointment for an industry that had hoped movies with giant robots, mutants and talking apes would follow up last year's stellar season with another blockbuster summer.

FALL MOVIES - Led by 'Unbroken' (Dec. 25), this year's fall is a battlefield of war stories, including Jolie's (new) husband Brad Pitt on the Western Front in 'Fury' (Oct. 17), a WWII drama about a tank of American soldiers. Clint Eastwood also returns for his second film this year with 'American Sniper' (Dec. 25), starring Bradley Cooper as an elite Navy SEAL marksman. ... In 'The Interview' (also Dec. 25) from Seth Rogen and his directing partner Evan Goldberg, Rogen and James Franco play journalists asked by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un. ... [Other films this fall include:] 'Rosewater,' Jon Stewart's adaptation of Maziar Bahari memoir about being imprisoned for 118 days for reporting for Newsweek on the 2009 Iranian elections. ... Reese Witherspoon drama 'Wild' (Dec. 5) ... 'Gone Girl' (Oct. 3), an adaptation of the best-selling Gillian Flynn novel, starring Ben Affleck.

LOS ANGELES AIR WAVES – KFWB (980) switching to all-sports format as AM radio fights for survival, AM radio, the scratchy medium that long ago aired Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fireside chats, soap operas and the day's most popular music, is trying to avoid becoming static. Across the country, stations are vying to hold on to listeners as AM radio's audience slowly dwindles. ... Last year its share of the national radio audience was 11.5%.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – We honor the five St. Lawrence University alumni who were lost in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers:

Robert J. ‘Bobby”Coll ‘88
Catherine Gorayeb ‘82
Christopher Morrison ‘89
Michel “Mike” Palletier ‘88
Richard H. “Richie” Stewart, Jr. ‘89

Outreach Education - 4,000 Starbucks employees apply for the company's plan with Arizona State University. The Arizona Republic: http://bit.ly/1lyDHPY

Harvard University's School of Public Health receives its largest donation ever. A $350 million gift pledged to Harvard University's School of Public Health is the largest single donation in the university's long history, officials said, and will help bolster research in several key areas including global pandemics. The donation, to be formally announced Monday, comes from a philanthropic foundation established by the family of T.H. Chan, a Hong Kong real estate developer who died in 1986.

In a rarity for Harvard, the school will be renamed the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The only other school within the university to bear an individual's name is the Harvard Kennedy School, named for John F. Kennedy.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Jacqueline Bisset (70), Arnold Palmer (85), Joe Theismann (65).


svelte \SFELT\, adjective:

1. Slender, especially gracefully slender in figure.
2. Suave; blandly urbane.

“When I walk under one of the pathway lamps and look down you can indeed see the silhouette of my body which doesn’t look quite as svelte and hourglassy as I believe it did just an hour ago when I was admiring myself in the mirror”. -- Terry McMillan, How Stella Got Her Groove Back

descansado, adjective

rested, refreshed; restful, quiet
Descansado is the adjective derived from the verb descansar, to rest. As we’ve seen with words such as aburrido, its meaning changes according to whether you use it with ser or estar. In both cases there is a link with the idea of ‘rest’.

“La jornada ha sido de las más descansadas”. It’s been a very relaxing or restful day.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/13, 3:30 PM ET, Fox: #6 Georgia Bulldogs (2-0) visit #24 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1). It is early in the season but this is a huge one for The Gamecocks, lose and their season is history; South Carolina 35 Georgia 32.  Season to date (1-1)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/13, 7:00 PM ET, HGTV:  Redlands Bulldogs (0-0) visit #2 Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (1-1). A tough task for SCIAC power Redlands in Belton, Texas. The Crusaders roll 45 to 17. Season to date (1-0)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/14, 1:00 PM, CBS:  Miami Dolphins (1-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-0). Both surprise winners opening weekend, we like Miami over Buffalo, 24 – 17. Season to date (0-1)


(NCAA, Sept. 13) #12 UCLA Bruins (2-0) 40 at University of Texas Longhorns (1-1) 28

(NCAA, Sept. 13) University of La Verne Leopards (0-0) 28 at George Fox University (0-1) 21

(MLB, Sept. 13) Los Angeles Dodgers (81-62) 3 at San Francisco Giants (78-65) 6

(NFL, Sept, 14) Chicago Bears (0-1) 10 at San Francisco 49ers (1-0) 35

Season to date (44 - 39)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at 8:45 a.m. this morning "will deliver remarks at the Urban Institute on the state of the economy and the need for comprehensive business tax reform" ... Congress returns for a brief pre-election session. Don't look for much to get done. Best Congress will do is pass a CR to keep the lights on through the rest of the year. The rest will all be posturing for November. President Obama's decision to put unilateral immigration policy reform on hold means there will (almost certainly) be no shutdown ... Obama gives a big speech on Wednesday laying out his strategy to defeat ISIS ... Senate Banking Committee holds a big regulatory oversight hearing on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ... House Financial Services has a hearing Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on the credit reporting system ... Obama and Vice President Biden meet this afternoon with Lew in the Oval Office ... Consumer credit at 2:00 p.m. expected to expand by $20B up from $17.3B ... NFIB survey on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. expected to rise to 96.5 from 95.7 ... JOLTS report Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. expected to show job openings up to 4711K from 4671K ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to rise 0.5 percent, 0.2 percent ex-autos ... Univ. Michigan consumer sentiment at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to rise to 83.5 from 82.5 ... Alibaba Group executives hit the road to see investors on their planned $21 billion IPO.

Next week: Dear Rink Rats and Finance 101.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

September 8, 2014

#V-21, 230