Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rink Rats State of the Union

We are a day late this week due to the MLK holiday. We participated in a variety of community services this past week: giving blood, helping the residents of a retirement community, aiding in tax return planning, and supporting our fellow citizens who need help. I urge all to give back to your community all year in any way you can.

This is the time of year for the “State of”, a time to assess your accomplishments of the prior year and determining your goals for the coming one.

The “State of” can be many things to many people: an acknowledgement of success, a realization of failure, or for some, a denial of the facts.

Here is the “State of” according to Rink Rats –

The State of Rink Rats is good; we have now written 249 editions and we are now read from South America to Sweden.

The State of Claremont, California is also good, real estate values are increasing, there is new development, and the Village area is developing into a place to be seen. The decision of who should control the city’s water is an issue of future concern. Where as usual in matters of political and economic control the lawyers are the ones’ to profit and the citizens the ones’ to pick up the tab.

No better example than in the City of La Verne, California – City government continues to dictate policy to the University of La Verne in the matters of parking and real estate development. Who determines these policies and why will be an ongoing narrative by this blog for the coming year.

The State of California is good, but high taxes and the immigration issue will determine how good California is for many years to come.

As we have seen recently the State of the Union is one of stalemate and lack of leadership from both sides of the political aisle. How POTUS handles this stalemate over the next two years will determine what party controls the White House in 2017.

The State of Higher Education in America continues to be a need for developing a strong partnership between government, students/parents, faculty/staff and management. The business model is good for those with vast endowments, the majority of higher education institutions though must find a new model of revenue growth without the further burdening of family incomes/debts.  Look for more pressure put on higher education management by students and employees to cut overhead and make college a cost effective investment not a quality of  life burdening experience.

Finally the State of the World is one of the relationship and the reaction to militants by the established countries of the world. Both internal and external militancy, be it armed resistance to cyber intrusion. How this plays out will drive everyone’s “State of” for the coming year(s).  

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Education will play a starring role in President Barack Obama's State of the Union address tonight. He'll push for a sweeping tax proposal that aims to make higher education more affordable, especially for low-income students, though wealthier families might take a hit. His proposal would extend and expand the American Opportunity Tax Credit, simplify taxes for Pell grant recipients and get rid of tax cuts for 529 savings plans for wealthier families. It would change the student loan interest deduction so it's not available to new borrowers, although borrowers with existing loans could keep using it. And the proposal would streamline child care benefits and triple the child care tax credit, which could benefit an estimated 5.1 million families. "The announcement is a strong indicator that for the third year in a row, President Obama will make a strong push for greater federal investments in early childhood education," said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Kris Perry.

Obama will also talk about his plan to give two free years of community college to "everybody who's willing to work for it." All told, the new tax benefits for middle-class families would cost $175 billion over 10 years - in addition to the $60 billion price tag for the community college proposal. POTUS proposes paying for all that by hiking the capital gains tax and levying a new tax on banks. Republicans aren't likely to go along. 'Hopefully the president's address will also include some proposals that might actually have a chance to become law and help create jobs - such as ... eliminating paperwork to make it easier for college students to apply for scholarships already available," Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander said.

HARD DRIVE - President Barack Obama has spent weeks laying the groundwork for initiatives he'll outline in his State of the Union address tonight, and tech policy is no exception. Obama previewed the speech earlier this month by announcing a series of tech and telecom proposals he'll make, starting with a push for consumer and student privacy legislation and a federal standard for how companies notify consumers about data breaches. He also urged the FCC to override state laws that keep local governments from building out their own broadband networks. Expect the president to hit all of those themes tonight.

Cybersecurity is also high on the president's agenda going into the State of the Union. Our friends at Morning Cybersecurity report that Obama will build on recent calls for cybersecurity information sharing legislation, but he's not expected to immediately announce a proposal for executive action, according to White House officials. Work is continuing on a plan to broaden the focus of the government's information sharing strategy, one official said.

THERE'S ALWAYS THE TECH POLICY GRAB BAG - It's possible Obama could delve into other tech issues tonight. There's plenty on his agenda, including his administration's efforts to get more high-speed Internet into schools and libraries and his support for patent litigation reform - both of which got shout outs in last year's SOTU - as well as the immigration executive actions he announced late last year. Obama has also been a vocal advocate for the strongest net neutrality rules, issuing a game-changing call in November for the FCC to do the previously unthinkable and change the way it regulates broadband providers. We'll be tracking all his tech talk out of the speech.

ECONOMY - FED STILL SET TO RAISE RATES IN 2015: Federal Reserve officials are on track to start raising short-term interest rates later this year, even though long-term rates are going in the other direction amid new investor worries about weak global growth, falling oil prices and slowing consumer price inflation. After their next policy meeting Jan. 27-28, officials are likely to repeat in their statement that they can 'be patient' ...

That means no moves for at least the next two meetings - or not until June at the earliest ... At the same time they aren't likely to signal an alarm about developments abroad that would indicate a meaningful shift in their plans.

ENVIRONMENT - Last year was the hottest in earth’s recorded history, scientists reported on Friday, underscoring scientific warnings about the risks of runaway emissions and undermining claims by climate-change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped. Extreme heat blanketed Alaska and much of the western United States last year. Several European countries set temperature records. And the ocean surface was unusually warm virtually everywhere except around Antarctica, the scientists said, providing the energy that fueled damaging Pacific storms.

In the annals of climatology, 2014 now surpasses 2010 as the warmest year in a global temperature record that stretches back to 1880. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human emissions and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and to the natural world.

OSCAR TALLY - Nominations, by movie: "Birdman" - 9 ... "The Grand Budapest Hotel" - 9 ... "The Imitation Game" - 8 ... "Boyhood" - 6 ... "American Sniper" - 6 ... "Whiplash" - 5 ... "Interstellar" - 5 ... "Foxcatcher"

COMING ATTRACTIONS – Republican National Committee (RNC) rolls out 2016 debate schedule: The [RNC] announced ... it will sanction at least nine presidential primary debates, starting this August in Ohio and continuing through March 2016, with the potential to add three more. ... To give their push to control the debate process teeth, the party announced Friday that any candidate who participates in a debate that isn't sanctioned by the RNC will not be allowed to participate in any more sanctioned debates.

THE DEBATES: 1. Fox News, August 2015, Ohio ... 2. CNN, September 2015, California, at the Ronald Reagan presidential library ... 3. CNBC, October 2015, Colorado ... 4. Fox Business, November 2015, Wisconsin ... 5. CNN, December 2015, Nevada ... 6. Fox News, January 2016, Iowa ... 7. ABC News, February 2016, New Hampshire ... 8. CBS News, February 2016, South Carolina ... 9. NBC/Telemundo, February 2016, Florida.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Buzz Aldren (85),  Muhammad Ali (73), Bill Maher (59), Dolly Parton (69), Betty White (93).

COLLEGE SPORTS TAKES CENTER STAGE: More than 3,000 college sports staff and athletes are gathering outside Washington for this week's National Collegiate Athletic Association convention, which kicks into high gear with the opening business session and President Mark Emmert's annual "State of the Association" address.  White House officials said they held what is a typical stakeholder meeting with athletic directors and NCAA executives Wednesday to discuss relevant topics including the It's On Us sexual assault prevention campaign. But as USA Today reported, the discussion also coincides with talk about a conference commissioner-led "Coalition to Save College Sports," and a presidential commission to review the state and direction of institutional athletics.

Advocates for college athletes, including former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon and the College Athletes Players Association, also appeared on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to press for better financial and safety protections. Afterward, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told Morning Education that a presidential commission - first floated in legislation last year from former Rep. Jim Moran - would be "a healthy step forward" for the NCAA. "The reason we're even having this discussion is because the NCAA is not capable of reforming itself," he said. Dent and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) plan to reintroduce their National Collegiate Athletics Accountability Act in the next month or two. Beatty told Morning Education that Wednesday's meetings "continued important conversations," and that she plans to work with lawmakers, the White House, colleges and the NCAA "to affect meaningful change" this Congress.

SUPER BOWL 49 - The Seattle Seahawks opened as Super Bowl favorites over the New England Patriots, but the point spread was on the move ... The Seahawks opened as 2.5-point favorites ... but the number was down to a pick 'em [in some] books within an hour ... There will be two weeks' worth of bets [before the] Super Bowl on Feb. 1, in Glendale, Ariz. [outside Phoenix]. The Super Bowl point spread has never kicked off at a pick 'em. ... This will be the sixth Super Bowl ... for the Patriots under ... Bill Belichick and ... Tom Brady."

SPORTS BUSINESS - LPGA pro @BrookePancake announces an endorsement deal with... Waffle House.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Our College Football season has concluded congratulations to The Ohio State Buckeyes on their National Championship.   Season to date (12-8)

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/24. 7:00 PM ET, FCS; #11 University of Denver Pioneers (13-7-1) at #9 Miami of Ohio Redhawks (14-8-0). A big NCHC conference game at Steve Cady (St. Lawrence ’75) Arena, we like Denver to upset the Redhawks 3-2.   Season to date (2-0)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Super Bowl pick next week.  Opening Vegas line (odds) is pick ‘em.  Season to date (15-6)


(NBA, Jan. 24) Washington Wizards (29-13) 92 at Portland Trail Blazers (31-11) 98

(SCIAC Game of the Week, Jan. 24) Men’s Hoops – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Republicans (11-3) 75 at Pomona-Pitzer Endowments (2-12) 58

(ECAC hockey, Jan. 24) Dartmouth College Big Green (6-8-3) 2 at Cornell University Big Red (7-8-2) 5

(NHL, Jan. 25) NHL All-Star Game; Team Toews (West) 7 at Team Foligno (East) 6

Season to date (9 – 4)

MARKET WEEK - Earnings season ramps up this week. Morgan Stanley (MS) was under pressure in premarket trading after disappointing results. Dow stock Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is also out before today's opening bell, while Dow stock IBM (IBM) and Netflix (NFLX) are scheduled after the bell.

China's economy grew at its slowest pace in 24 years in 2014, official data revealed today. Chinese stocks rebounded slightly overnight, after falling nearly 8 percent on Monday.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Tuesday, President Obama the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress at 9:00 p.m. ... NAHB homebuilder survey at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise to 58 from 57 ... Senate banking has a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on proposed Iran sanctions ... All week, World Economic Forum meeting kicks off in Davos, Switzerland.

Next week: Words of the month, an interview with a student, and Dear Rink Rats.

Until Next Monday, Adios

Claremont, CA

January 20, 2015


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