Monday, December 29, 2014
Top Five Wealth Gainers (in billions)
1). Jack Ma $29.2 2). Warren Buffett $13.5 3). Bill Gates $10.5
4). Mark Zuckerberg $10.5 5). Patrick Drahi $5.1
Top Five Films
1). Boyhood 2). Birdman 3). Love is Strange
4). The Grand Budapest Hotel 5). Interstellar
Top Five Investment Strategies
1). Payoff debt 2). Invest in a retirement fund
3). Always roll-over IRA 4). Short on commodities
5). Under 40 years of age: 70% equity, 20% fixed, 10% real estate
Over 40 years of age: 70% fixed, 20% equity, 10% real estate
Top Five Jack Asses
1). Michele Backmann 2). Tiger Woods 3). Dick Cheney
4). Ted Cruz 5). Pin Ball Wizard
Top Five Books
1). The Third Plate, Dan Barber 2). China’s Second Continent, Howard French
3). Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty
4). The Dog, Jack Livings 5). The Peripheral, William Gibson
Top Five Internet Hacks
1). Sony 2). Target 3). The Snub’s Facebook
4). JP Morgan Chase 5). Celebgate, Apple’s iCloud
Top Five Political Stories
1). Ferguson 2). Mid Term Election 3). Polarization
4). Health Care 5). Immigration
Top Five Professional Golfers
1). Rory McIIroy 2). Jordan Spieth 3). Lydia Ko
4). Michelle Wie 5). Bernhard Langer
Top Five Television Shows
1). Homeland, Showtime 2). The Good Wife, CBS
3). Sherlock, BBC 4). The Americans, FX
5). Mad Men, AMC
Top Five Albums
1). 1989, Taylor Swift 2). Platinum, Miranda Lambert
3). G I R L , Pharrell Williams 4). Here and Nowhere Else, Cloud Nothings
5). Band of Brothers, Willie Nelson
Top Five Sport Stories
1). Donald Sterling
2). University of Connecticut men and woman national basketball champions
3). Sochi Winter Olympics 4). Derek Jeter retirement
5). Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Championship
Top Five World Stories
1). Ebola 2). ISIS 3). Malaysia Airlines
4). Crimea/Ukraine 5). Ferguson
Top Five Populous States (in millions)
1). California 38.8 2). Texas 26.9 3). Florida 19.9
4). New York 19.7 5). Illinois 12.9
Top Five Hottest Tech Products
1). 1Phone 6 2). Toshiba Chromebook 2
3). Nokia Lumia 830 4). LG G Watch R 5). Philips Hue Beyond
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: LeBron James (30), Gayle King (60), Maggie Smith (80).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Rose Bowl Game: Thursday 1/1, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN: #2 Oregon Ducks (12-1) vs. #3 Florida State Criminals (13-0). The Ducks are too much for the parolees, 32 – 24. Season to date (11-7)
NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 1/4, 4:40 PM ET, Fox: Detroit Lions (11-5) vs. Dallas Cowboys (12-4). Another short playoff season for the Lions; Boys 28 Lions 17. Season to date (12-5)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(NFL, Jan. 3) Arizona Cardinals (11-5) 17 at Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) 21
(NCAA football, Jan. 1) #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) 40 vs. #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) 20
(NCAA hockey, Jan. 3) Union Dutchmen (10-7-1) 2 at #1 Boston University Terriers (11-3-2) 5
(NHL, Jan. 3) Montreal Canadians (22-11-2) 4 at Pittsburgh Penguins (22-8-5) 3
Season to date (79 - 67)
MARKET WEEK/DRIVING THE WEEK – U.S. stock futures were lower heading into the final three trading days of the year after the Dow and S&P 500 closed at record highs on Friday. European markets were mostly lower as the Greek presidential election failed, setting up snap elections.
Indonesian authorities say they presume the missing Air Asia flight 8501 with 162 on board has crashed into the Java Sea. An international search for the Airbus A320 has flagged an oil slick and floating objects in the area, but officials cannot confirm either is connected to the disappearance.
German insurer Allianz (ALV-DE) confirmed it was the lead reinsurer to the missing plane, making it the third major airline accident it has been involved in this year. It also insured Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared in March, and flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine.
Oil prices rose on Monday morning as clashes in Libya stoked worries about supply from the OPEC member. Fighting in the country caused a fire at its main export terminal that led to the loss of 800,000 barrels of crude.
Russia's economy shrank sharply in November as Western sanctions and a slump in oil prices combined to inflict the first contraction in GDP since October 2009. The Economy Ministry said the country’s gross domestic product shrank 0.5 percent last month.
Next week: 2015 The Swami Says
Until Next Monday, Happy New Year!
December 29, 2014
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – 2014 by M. Wuerker
Monday, December 22, 2014
Some Christmas wishes that we hope will come true……
Violence and hatred to stop.
I want to know what my neighbor across the street does for a living.
College football players should get lifetime medical coverage.
Pat Haden should run the NCAA.
Kobe should coach the Lakers. He does anyway.
Hope the Dodgers are also trying to trade their awful TV contract.
The City of La Verne City Council to be impeached.
To know the winners of the opening four races at Santa Anita on December 26.
College Faculty to work in a job from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm every day for a year.
The NHL shoot-out to end…for the Detroit Red Wings sake at least.
All High School graduating seniors who can write a paragraph.
Written thank you notes.
The Snub to find a new hobby.
The Pin Ball Wizard to finally find out I am not a member of the Veritas Society.
Newspapers to not get any smaller.
All of my graduating undergraduate and graduate students to find a job and career that is rewarding and meaningful for their personal goals.
Business associates who manage their business unselfishly.
Egos to end.
First Lieutenant Geoffrey Ball to be safe and secure in his tour of duty.
A safe and healthy 2015 for my family, friends, associates, and President Obama.
Peace and love to all.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - During a meeting two years ago to brainstorm a collaborative project, Ahmet Oğüt and two artist colleagues wanted to find a topic that addressed one of the most urgent current issues in the U.S. They landed on debt -- specifically the mammoth, more-than-trillion-dollar sum held by those who borrowed money for college.
“Day After Debt: A Call for Student Loan Relief" is about the demand for higher education, the related growth in student debt and the pressures that puts on graduates. The exhibit opened last month at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.
The project aims not only to raise awareness about the student debt burden in the U.S., but also to help chip away at it. Each of the six pieces collects money that will be given to Debt Collective, an advocacy group that organizes projects around reducing student debt.
Oğüt’s contribution to the exhibit, called "Anti-Debt Monolith," is a large, solid black box modeled after the mysterious object built by an extraterrestrial species in Stanley Kubrick’s famous film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Oğüt liked the simplicity of the box and the legend behind it, and he designed it to play coin-operated audio recording speaking about the growth of student debt in the past 10 years.
Other pieces include bricks full of shredded American currency and a transparent plastic shopping bag with spending levels tied to ironic and humorous names that praise the person giving money as, "you are a friend" and "you are an angel."
SIX QUESTIONS ABOUT COLLEGE RATINGS: The Obama administration's college ratings proposal is due any day now - and college presidents and higher education lobbyists have some burning questions. For example, what will the rating scale look like? It could have a big effect on how the public perceives the ratings and how much of a hit colleges would take if they rate poorly. Early word is that each institution will get a numerical score for each metric, such as graduation rate, loan default rate and accessibility to low-income students. Another one of the most contentious questions: Will graduates' salaries be considered? The White House has repeatedly indicated that it's an important measure of a college's success, but no one wants to penalize institutions that focus on preparing students for relatively low-paying jobs or that encourage graduates to enter public service.
THE COLLEGE RATINGS ARE COMING: But not any time soon. The Education Department released a draft framework today, detailing a list of things the agency is considering in its analysis of which institutions offer students the biggest bang for their buck. The highly anticipated draft has been delayed twice. And half the metrics - all of which aim to measure accessibility, affordability and outcomes - can't even be measured right now. The plan is to rate more than 4,000 two- and four-year colleges by the start of the next academic year. But it could be at least a few years until the system the administration envisions is in place. And the ratings proposal will have to survive challenges from Congress or perhaps from the next administration. "The question is, will we actually see ratings for the 2015-16 school year," said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University and an expert on college ratings. "I'd be surprised ... to be honest." The department wants more public input on the framework; they're taking comments through Feb. 17.
BATTLE OF THE BULGE - 70 years ago this past week, World War II's Battle of the Bulge began. Per the History Channel, "On December 16 , three German armies (more than a quarter-million troops) launched the deadliest and most desperate battle of the war in the west in the poorly roaded, rugged, heavily forested Ardennes" to Antwerp, Belgium. http://bit.ly/1zkEnwA
On Dec. 20, 1944, the lead article of the N.Y. Times - with the subhead, "OUR MEN CONFIDENT" -- called it "by far the greatest battle in American history." http://nyti.ms/1wE6Dbd
TOM BROKAW in remission, per email - "To my NBC FAMILY, A year ago my future was more uncertain than I cared to acknowledge but now I face the New Year with very encouraging news. The cancer is in remission and I will shortly go on a drug maintenance regimen to keep it there. Last weekend I was reminded of how fortunate we all are ... I was a Presidential delegate to the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the fight which went on for most of December 1944, in one of the worst winters in 20th century Europe. ... Monty Meigs and I went into the forest surrounding Bastogne, where remains of the original 101st Div fox holes still are visible.
"They slept in heavy snow, ... eating cold rations. About 30 vets returned. The oldest was 96 and the youngest 89. One Airborne old timer kept struggling to lift himself out of his wheelchair when the occasion called for a salute. I finally whispered to him, 'Stay seated. No one will give you KP for not standing.' We both had a good laugh. ... I flew home reflecting again on how lucky we are that generation gave us the lives we have today -- how my last year was a challenge but I was meeting it in world-class hospitals with brilliant physicians ... Happy New Year all. T Bone."
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Wesley Clark (70), Annie Lennox (60), Diane Sawyer (69), Sissy Spacek (65), Denzel Washington (60).
SYLLABUS – Claremont Unified School District is now on Winter Break until January 5, 2015. Claremont School District has 7,031 students in seven elementary schools, one intermediate school and two high schools. Student Population: 39% Hispanic, 36% White, 11% Asian, 6% African American, and 8% Other.
RINK RATS SPORTS - Steelers, Packers, Cowboys, Seahawks win, move into playoffs: The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers both qualified for the NFL playoffs with wins Sunday. Next week, they will play for division titles at home. Defending Super Bowl champion Seattle also qualified, routing Arizona 35-6, and moved into a tie for the top spot in the NFC West. The Seahawks (11-4) own the tiebreaker over the Cardinals should they both finish with the same record. ... The Bengals (9-4-1) host Denver (11-3) on Monday night.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – National University Holiday Bowl: Saturday 12/17, 8:00 PM ET, ABC: #24 University of Southern California Trojans (8-4) vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-3). USC will win in San Diego, 38 – 28. Season to date (10-7)
SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – D-III Playoffs, Finals: The Alonzo Stagg Bowl – Congratulations to UW Whitewater Warhawks in their victory 43-34 over Mount Union. A perfect season (15-0). Final Season totals (7-8)
NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/28, 4:25 PM ET, CBS: Detroit Lions (11-4) vs. Green Bay Packers (11-4). A final battle for #2 in the NFC and the Norris Division Championship. The Pack is too tough at home, 24 – 21. Season to date (11-5)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(NFL, Dec. 28) Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) 21 at Atlanta Falcons (6-9) 32
(NCAA hockey, Dec. 29) #5 Michigan Tech Huskies (13-3) 5 at Michigan Wolverines (8-7) 3
(NHL, Dec. 27) San Jose Sharks (19-11-4) 3 at Los Angeles Kings (17-11-6) 4
Season to date (77 - 66)
WORDS OF THE MONTH –
1. Slang. unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall.
2. Slang. audacity; nerve.
"That's chutzpa," Levy said admiringly, "pure, unadulterated chutzpa." "What's chutzpa?" "Yiddish for gall, nerve, arrogance—whatever…" -- Howard Fast, The Immigrants, 1977
Chutzpa came to English from Yiddish in the 1890s. This term is ultimately derived from the Aramaic ḥūṣpā.
verb - to get, to obtain; to take
“Voy a sacar dinero del cajero automático.” I’m going to take some money out of the ATM.
MARKET WEEK – During this holiday-shortened trading week, investors get a bunch of economic reports starting today with November existing home sales. A drop of 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.20 million units is expected, following October’s 1.5 percent increase to 5.26 million.
The stock market will close early Christmas Eve Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET. Financial markets are closed on Christmas Day, opening back up Friday for a full day of trading.
DRIVING THE WEEK – Congress is gone, the President is in Hawaii and outside the tragic events in New York City on Saturday the news cycle should be fairly quiet. Big-city police departments and union leaders around the country are warning the rank and file to wear bulletproof vests and avoid making inflammatory posts on social media in the days after a man ambushed two officers and shot them to death inside their patrol car. The slayings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu ... in Brooklyn heightened fears about the safety of law enforcement officials nationwide, though there is no evidence any threats are imminent.
Next week: 2014 Top Five
Until Next Monday, Happy Festivus.
December 22, 2014
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Peanuts by Charles Schultz
Monday, December 15, 2014
Some random notes of holiday parties I have attending thus far this holiday season.
There is always one holiday party where the dreaded “it’s him” is in attendance. You know the fellow; creepy grin, always a black shirt, dyed hair, AND he is always wrong. No matter what the topic this fellow is never right! How he keeps his job and survives in this world is one of the great mysteries of my life. I always ask him who he likes to win in a game and always bet the opposite. I always win.
Then there is the fellow worker who still believes it is 1966, with the husband who looks like a well-worn rock star. The fashion police would have a field day with this couple.
Another holiday party tradition is always the person who mispronounces your name, even though you have known them for over fifteen years. Also, don’t forget the standard end of conversation sentence: “I will call you for lunch, we will get together.” Oh if I had a dollar for every one of those lines, Warren Buffett here I come.
The Holiday Party food – is it written somewhere that we have to have some unrecognizable party treat that tastes like an oily rag. I would give up Democratic politics for a few corndogs and pizza as the holiday faire.
Finally, why must people who see each other for eight hours every day for 50 weeks a year sit and talk together at a holiday party. What the hell do they have to talk about! How about conversing with people who they never see or come in contact with on a regular basis?
One last holiday party tradition, the annual family get-together: I guess it takes us a year to forget how dysfunctional ones’ family is, because we get right back into it around holiday time. The Uncle with the toupee, the cousin who drives a Mercedes but never has a job, sister’s new boyfriend who always has bad teeth, and the grandparent who now travels exclusively with a dog (or I think it is a dog), ah yes the family holiday party.
Where did I put my psychiatrist’s phone number???
MOVIES TO SEE THIS HOLIDAY –
Interstellar - Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
Birdman - A fading actor (Michael Keaton) best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. As opening night approaches, his attempts to become more altruistic, rebuild his career, and reconnect with friends and family prove more difficult than expected. Lindsay Duncan, Zach Galifianakis, and Edward Norton co-star in this black comedy from Biutiful director Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Whiplash - Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity.
Gone Girl - With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.
TIME Person of the Year, “The Ebola Fighters” -- The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are Time’s 2014 Person of the Year.” http://ti.me/1yxi0oC
See the five covers: http://ti.me/12Krqz5
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - California Gov. Jerry Brown, state legislature study ways to avoid UC, Cal State tuition hikes. Los Angeles Times: http://lat.ms/1BAMpn9
FAMILY DEBT KEEPS DROPPING — U.S. families’ debt burdens have settled at their lowest level in over a decade, putting the economy on a stronger footing relative to global rivals going into 2015. With home values rising, Americans are beginning to borrow more, a development that could help lift spending and juice the U.S. economy. Total U.S. household debt, when measured as a share of disposable income, has fallen from a peak of 135 percent in late 2007 to 108 percent this year through September … That’s the lowest sustained level since early 2003 and far below levels among households in Britain, Canada and Japan.
Americans’ healthier balance sheets, along with falling unemployment and cheaper gasoline, could boost consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic output. Economists say the progress U.S. households have made in reducing their debt burdens — either by paying off debt or just defaulting on loans — is a key reason why the U.S. is now outperforming much of Europe and Japan. While defaults and bankruptcies are painful and hurt consumers’ credit histories, they also speed up the process of repairing household finances.
THE DECLINE OF WORK — Working, in America, is in decline. The share of prime-age men — those 25 to 54 years old — who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s, to 16 percent. More recently, since the turn of the century, the share of women without paying jobs has been rising, too. The United States, which had one of the highest employment rates among developed nations as recently as 2000, has fallen toward the bottom of the list. … Many men, in particular, have decided that low-wage work will not improve their lives, in part because deep changes in American society have made it easier for them to live without working.
These changes include the availability of federal disability benefits; the decline of marriage, which means fewer men provide for children; and the rise of the Internet, which has reduced the isolation of unemployment. At the same time, it has become harder for men to find higher-paying jobs. Foreign competition and technological advances have eliminated many of the jobs in which high school graduates … once could earn $40 an hour, or more.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Chris Evert (60), Jane Fonda (77), Don Johnson (65), Al Kaline (80), Ray Liotta (60), Karrie Webb (40).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – The Bowl season now begins, 39 games to bring the true meaning of the holiday season to your HD flat screen. Saturday 12/20, 3:30 PM ET, ABC: the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, #22 Utah Utes (8-4) vs. Colorado State Marijuanas (10-2). We like the Utes over the Marijuana’s 35 – 28. Season to date (9-7)
SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – D-III Playoffs, Finals: The Alonzo Stagg Bowl - #1 University of Wisconsin Whitewater Warhawks (14-0) vs. #3 Mount Union University Purple Raiders (14-0). It won’t be close Mount Union 42 Warhawks 24. Season to date (7-7)
NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/21, 8:30 PM ET, NBC; Seattle Seahawks (10-4) at Arizona Cardinals (11-3), the battle for the NFC West, Hawks beat the Cardinals 21 – 17. Season to date (10-5)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(NFL, Dec. 21) Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) 17 at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) 28.
(NHL, Dec. 20) Tampa Bay Lightning (19-9-3) 3 at New York Islander (20-10-0) 2
Season to date (76 - 65)
MARKET WEEK - Born in March 2009, today’s bull market is the fourth longest in history -- and it isn’t about to end, despite last week’s shellacking. That’s the word from Wall Street’s top strategists, who expect the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index to rise 10% in 2015.
DRIVING THE WEEK – Senate back to take up the nominations freed up by Sen. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee’s (unsuccessful) gambit to try to slow the cromnibus and get a symbolic vote on Obama’s immigration moves (which failed badly) … President Obama today heads to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey “to deliver remarks expressing gratitude to the troops for their service and sacrifice” … Industrial production today at 9:15 a.m. expected to grow by 0.7% with capacity use at 79.4% … NAHB housing index today at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise to 59 from 58 … Consumer prices on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. expected to drop 0.1% headline and rise 0.1% core … FOMC announcement at 2:00 p.m. expected to feature removal of “considerable time” language in statement on how long rates will stay below zero after QE fully rolls off … Yellen presser at 2:30 p.m. … Index of leading indicators at 10:00 a.m. Thursday expected to rise 0.6%.
Next week: Words of the month and last minute Christmas gift wishes.
Until Next Monday, Happy Hanukkah.
December 15, 2014
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Dilbert by Scot Adams
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
The holiday season is also the eating season; office parties, family gatherings, football games, and general relaxation give way to gaining weight and poor health habits.
Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 novel “Wild” coming to movie theatres this holiday season is a story of a woman coming to the end of her emotional rope who sets off to hike the 1,000 mile Pacific Crest Trail. With all the attention focused on this movie about setting off into nature to cleanse one’s soul. It came to mind another way to “feel good” over the holidays.
The hometown walkabout: many of us are so wrapped up in our jobs, families, social media, and general B.S., how about getting out this holiday season and walking around your hometown. Walk streets you never have walked. Visit neighborhoods, parks, memorials, monuments, shops in your hometown. Get to know where you live. You might be surprised.
Venture out and meet your neighbors, where I live we have many little city parks and neighborhoods that I have never visited. Enjoy the winter weather, walk the streets of your hometown. You never know what you will find. Just ask Cheryl Strayed.
STAR TREK - Speaking of walkabouts our NASA space agency this past week tested out America’s new vehicle for space travel.
The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is a spacecraft intended to carry a crew of up to four astronauts to destinations beyond-low Earth orbit.
Max speed: 20,000 mph (32,187 km/h)
Manufacturers: Astrium, Lockheed Martin
Current FY 2014 Orion Budget $2.7 billion.
Current FY 2014 NASA budget $17.7 billion.
HOLIDAY COOKIES – Peppermint Sugar Cookies
Makes: 52 to 60 servings
Prep 40 mins
Bake 6 mins to 10 mins
Cool 1 mins
Peppermint extract infuses these crisp, buttery cookies with holiday flavor. Choose between slice-and-bake swirls or candy-cane shape cookies.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Red gel paste food coloring
Red decorating sugar (optional)
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat for 2 minutes on medium speed or until mixture is light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add egg and egg yolk; beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Beat in peppermint extract. Gradually add flour mixture beating on low speed just until combined.
Divide dough in half. Knead about 1/2 teaspoon gel paste food coloring into one of the dough portions (add more, if desired, for a deeper red color). Leave the remaining dough portion plain. If necessary, wrap and chill dough for at least 1 hour or until easy to handle.
Form dough into desired shape. For peppermint swirl cookies: Divide each red and plain dough portion in half for a total of four dough portions. Roll a red dough portion into an 8x6-inch rectangle on waxed paper. Pat or roll a plain dough portion into an 8x6-inch rectangle on waxed paper. Use the waxed paper and your hand to carefully invert the red dough rectangle on top of the plain dough rectangle; remove top layer of waxed paper. Starting from a long side, roll up dough using bottom layer of waxed paper to help lift and guide the roll. Pinch dough edges to seal; wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining red and plain doughs. Chill dough rolls for 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice. Unwrap dough rolls; reshape, if necessary. If desired, roll each of the dough rolls in red edible glitter or red coarse decorating sugar. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, slice rolls crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Rotate roll while cutting to prevent flattening. For candy cane cookies: For each cookie, on a lightly floured surface, shape a 1/2-inch ball of plain cookie dough into a 5-inch rope. Repeat with a 1/2-inch ball (1 measuring teaspoon) of red cookie dough. Place the ropes side by side and twist together. Form into a cane shape.
Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven until edges are set (9 to 10 minutes for swirl cookies; 6 to 8 minutes for candy cane cookies). Cool on cookie sheets on wire rack for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - COLLEGES CUT TIES WITH COSBY: Comedian Bill Cosby, facing numerous allegations of sexual assault, resigned from Temple University's Board of Trustees on Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. It's a seat Cosby has held since 1982. The resignation comes after a string of severed relationships with colleges and universities. For example, the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently cut ties with Cosby, who served as an honorary co-chair of UMass Amherst's capital campaign. But one college is still backing the embattled comedian: Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., where two of Cosby's daughters attended college and an endowed professorship is named after both Cosby parents.
ROLLIN' IN THE DOUGH: Football and men's basketball coaches get all the attention for extravagant salaries, but many private college presidents aren't doing too badly, either. Three dozen of them made a million bucks or more in 2012, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports in its annual analysis. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Shirley Ann Jackson tops the list; she brought in more than $7 million. The heads of Quinnipiac and Columbia universities both made more than $3 million, and the University of Pennsylvania president brought in nearly $2.5 million. Charles R. Middleton of Roosevelt University rounds out the top five with $1.7 million. The median salary, though, was a measly $400,000 - though that is up 2.5 percent from 2011. See the full list here: http://bit.ly/1oGj0kR
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Dick Butkus (72), Judi Dench (80), Kirk Douglas (98), Bobby Flay (50), Laurie Hill …Michigan State and Alpena, Tom Kite (65), Bill Nighy (65).
PAY TV - You're Not Watching Sports Without Cable TV: U.S. sports fans are pretty much required to get pay TV, in large part because ESPN, the country's most powerful cable channel, has locked up the rights to the biggest sports leagues and events - or at least a portion of them - usually for a decade or more. A handy chart from MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson ... spells this out quite clearly ... Nathanson figures ESPN will pay $3.8 billion for those games this year, and $5.1 billion by 2017." With the graphic: http://on.recode.net/1ty7Vki
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/13, 3:00 PM ET, CBS: Navy Midshipmen (6-5) vs. Army Black Knights (4-7). Another college football season comes to a regular season end with Navy cruising over the Cadets, 42 – 20. Season to date (8-7)
SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – D-III Playoffs, Semi Finals, Saturday 12/13, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN3: #10 Linfield Wildcats (11-1) at #1 University of Wisconsin Whitewater Warhawks (13-0). A blow out in cheese country, Warhawks 42 Wildcats 14. Season to date (6-7)
NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/14, 1:00 PM ET, CBS: Miami Dolphins (7-6) at New England Patriots (10-3), last gasp for the fish, I don’t think so: Pats 28 Dolphins 17. Season to date (9-5)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(NFL, Dec. 14) Denver Broncos (10-3) 24 at San Diego Chargers (8-5) 27
(NCAA hockey, Dec. 13) #1 North Dakota (12-3-2) 3 at #11 University of Denver Pioneers (9-4) 4
(NHL, Dec. 13) Detroit Red Wings (17-6-5) 3 at Toronto Maple Leafs (14-9-3) 2
Season to date (76 - 62)
MARKET WEEK – The Dow is now within less than 90 points of 18,000 following its 33rd record close of 2014, while the S&P comes off its 48th record finish of the year.
Oil prices fell to a five-year low on Monday, after Morgan Stanley cut its 2015 forecast for Brent crude, citing oversupply. This is not a great time to be an oil producer. Extending a slide that began in June, crude prices have fallen by more than a third, and it's not clear how much lower they're heading. The drop has taken a multibillion-dollar bite out of the world economies that depend heavily on oil production. It's also created a windfall for countries, companies and consumers that use all that oil.
The Mighty Dollar: Currencies across the globe are tumbling against the U.S dollar, resulting in a widening gap between the expanding U.S. economy and struggling countries in Europe and Asia. Our story looks at how a surging greenback and falling commodities prices are delivering a windfall to American shoppers and confounding central bankers who are considering—or have already introduced—drastic measures. The fall in the price of oil, however, is reducing the effectiveness of provisions aimed at raising consumer prices. At the same time, Saudi Arabia now believes oil prices could stabilize at around $60 a barrel, according to people familiar with the situation. Meanwhile, the Bank of Russia acknowledged this morning that the tumbling ruble is posing a risk to financial stability, and President Vladimir Putin told lawmakers that the time has come to push back against the “speculative attack” on the currency. We note also that the euro has fallen to a fresh two-year low against the dollar.
DRIVING THE WEEK – – Congress will likely pass a spending bill to avoid a shutdown on Thursday but there could be some seasick moments between now and then (more below) ... President Obama this morning hosts England's Price William ... Obama Monday afternoon tapes an interview for the Colbert Report at George Washington University ... NFIB small business survey on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. expected to rise to 96.5 from 96.1 ... JOLTS survey on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. expected to show openings up to 4770K from 4735K ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Thursday expected to rise 0.4 percent headline and 0.1 percent ex-autos ... Producer prices at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to dip 0.1 percent headline and rise 0.1 percent core ... University of Michigan sentiment Friday at 9:55 a.m. expected to rise to 89.5 from 88.8 .
Next week: Holiday movies and holiday parties – The Horror
Until Next Monday, Adios.
December 8, 2014
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Zachary Kanin