Friday, February 20, 2015
A special Friday edition of Rink Rats this week, or should we call it the Red Carpet edition.
It is the time of year for Red Carpets, those walkathons for celebrities whether you know who they are or not. Careers have been made or lost on the Red Carpet: what you wear, how you wear it, what you say, how you say it.
In fact America is obsessed with the Red Carpet. In fact last weekend I took my car for a 60,000 mile checkup and I walked the Red Carpet to the service counter. While on the carpet I was interviewed twice and had my picture taken, I thought about a selfie but had on the wrong outfit.
Even business events and conferences have Red Carpets. There is nothing creepier than seeing a fellow worker in a too tight fitting dress and the wrong makeup walking the Red Carpet. I purposely look away when I see the infamous Dr. Evil in a tuxedo walking the Red Carpet. Who is Dr. Evil, for liability reasons I cannot disclose his true name. But lets’ just say the Red Carpet and Dr. Evil are a bad fit.
It is asking enough to listen to local morning news anchors every morning, but to see them interview and report from the Red Carpet is too much for a person to take. What does Brad Pitt really say after he is questioned by these air heads? Now that would be interesting.
I believe Facebook is a modern, digital version of the Red Carpet: who are you dating, where I am eating, I love my life, etc. We really don’t care, but we have to watch and listen. The good thing about Facebook is you do not have to wear Armani and you can bend the truth.
THE SWAMI’S OSCAR PICKS –
Best Movie – Birdman
Best Actor – Michael Keaton
Best Actress – Julianne Moore
Best Supporting Actor – J.K. Simmons
Best Supporting Actress – Emma Stone
Best Director – Alejandro Inarritu, Birdman
Best Animated Movie – Big Hero 6
HAPPY NEW YEAR - 農曆新年
Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. It falls between January 21 and February 20. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".
The Goat comes 8th in the Chinese zodiac. The 12 zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
According to Chinese astrology, each year (starting from Chinese New Year) is associated with an animal sign, occurring in a 12-year cycle. For example 2015 is a year of the Goat.
Lucky Colors: brown, red, purple
Lucky Numbers: 2, 7
Lucky Flowers: carnation, primrose
Year of Birth: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Harvard grads lead IPO class of 2014, the Ivy League school is the alma mater for seven chief executives who led their companies' IPOs last year. ... Tied for second place ... were Columbia, ... Stanford, Texas Tech ... and University of North Carolina. Each school produced three CEOs who took their companies public.
TOP REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES –
1) JEB BUSH (age 62, to Hillary's 67): He's got money, momentum, Florida, big ideas. His surprise, early signal that he's running is THE PLAY OF THE CAMPAIGN so far -- pushing OUT Mitt and perhaps Christie by freezing or stealing their money and talent. Jeb will be first Republican to $100 million by a mile. Now, watch for the use of overwhelming force to lock up more talent, donors and public endorsements. His big unknown: actual voters. A story leading the Tampa Bay Times today says Iowa "looks hostile,' in part because voters actually matter.
2) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (age 47): He's got a Wisconsin winning streak, union-bashing, newness and ambition. His boffo performance at the Iowa Freedom Summit got the chattering class to notice. Now, watch for him to position himself as conservative Midwest savior, snuggled between Jeb's moderation and Cruz's rigidity. After CPAC (a week and four days from now), Walker plans rat-a-rat trips to the three earliest states - Iowa, N.H., S.C. - within a month.
3) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (age 43): The Floridian is winning fans among future-thinking conservatives, especially younger ones. He's buffing up on foreign policy and could plausibly be the most sophisticated national-security thinker in the field (grading on a curve, of course). He's blowing off Senate votes to raise coin and planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. And in private, his aides are making clear his relationship with Bush wouldn't be a deterrent. Remains Playbook's top pick for veep under the "no two white dudes on a ticket" rule.
4) SEN. RAND PAUL (age 52): He's got creativity, social-media savvy, an early-state organization, and the capacity to surprise. SCOOP: Rand plans to continue his effort to reach beyond traditional GOP audiences with an upcoming appearance at a historically black college (he's still nailing down location). Now, watch to see if he can truly upend what we know about the GOP electorate -- and Rand and his family.
5) SEN. TED CRUZ (age 44): His right-wing lingo and street cred could propel him to an Iowa win, which would rattle the GOP establishment and ignite a media frenzy. He heads to Florida on Friday, venturing onto Jeb/Marco turf, as Rand did yesterday. Cruz is trying to look more serious and less scary by emphasizing national security - he did fine last Sunday in satellite interviews from the Munich Security Conference with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week," and Dana Bash on CNN's "State of the Union." Don't discount how much true-believers like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) like the guy.
THE REST: Gov. Chris Christie (age 52) was #5 when we first kicked around this list two weeks ago. Christie has candor, a winning record, raw ambition and some big donors. But Jeb's fundraising juggernaut has squeezed Christie much worse than top Republicans had expected. And Christie's London trip, where the biggest stories were about his stance on vaccines and his unwillingness to answer a question about ISIS, showed that the tough-guy shtick needs more work. Our leader board, of course, will change in radical ways in the weeks ahead -- especially if another governor -- John Kasich of Ohio, Mike Pence of Indiana -- gets serious.
THE DEMOCRATS, ONLY HILLARY - Hillary Clinton, expecting no major challenge for the Democratic nomination, is strongly considering delaying the formal launch of her presidential campaign until July, three months later than originally planned, top Dems tell Playbook. The delay until summer, from the original April target, would give her more time to develop her message, policy and organization, outside the chaos and spotlight of a public campaign.
The danger - and a reason the plan could be scrapped - is that the comparatively leisurely rollout could fuel complaints among nervous Dems that she is treating the nomination fight as a coronation. Already, her allies are contemplating the possibility that she may not have to debate before the general election.
A Democrat familiar with her thinking said: "She doesn't feel under any pressure, and they see no primary challenge on the horizon. If you have the luxury of time, you take it." One adviser said: "She doesn't want to feel pressured by the press to do something before she's ready. She's better off as a non-candidate. Why not wait?"
A huge advantage to waiting is that Clinton postpones the time when she goes before the public as a politician rather than as a former secretary of State. Polling by both Dems and Republicans shows that one of her biggest vulnerabilities is looking political. So the Clinton camp has enjoyed watching her recede from the headlines in recent weeks as Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney amped up their potential candidacies.
One option that is being considered would be to announce an exploratory committee earlier - perhaps in April, at the beginning of a new fundraising quarter, when insiders originally expected her to launch her campaign. The actual kickoff would be in July, near the start of the next quarter. By launching at the beginning of a quarter, supporters have the maximum amount of time to generate a blockbuster total for their first report.
The delay would pose complications for the infrastructure that has been built in anticipation of her candidacy. Ready for Hillary, a super PAC that expects to go out of business once the campaign begins, would have to fund its data-gathering and grass-roots activities longer than expected.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Phil Esposito (73), Peter Gabriel (65), Hal Holbrook (90), Jim Kelly (55), Kevin Marshall …famous Professor, Sidney Poitier (88), Rene Russo (61), Cybill Shepherd (65), Chuck Yeager (92).
APPLE CAR TO ARRIVE BY 2020 - Apple Inc., which has been working secretly on a car, is pushing its team to begin production of an electric vehicle as early as 2020 ... The timeframe - automakers typically spend five to seven years developing a car - underscores the project's aggressive goals and could set the stage for a battle for customers with Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Co., both of which are targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000.
MARKET WEEK - U.S. stock futures were higher in early trading, as investors focus on the Greek debt talks. A positive session on Wall Street today could propel the Dow and S&P 500 to a third straight week of gains.
As the technology-heavy Nasdaq closes in on its all-time high reached in March 2000, investors are facing a market that barely resembles the go-go era of 15 years ago.
Next week: Jack Ass of the Month.
Until Next Monday, Adios
February 20, 2015
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – L. Cullum
Monday, February 9, 2015
I grew up in the Detroit area, Franklin Michigan to be specific. I learned to play hockey and golf in our backyard. We had a pond; I have fond memories of skating and learning the game ice hockey.
For one long weekend every January, nearly 1,500 men and women in skates converge on frozen Lake Nokomis Minnesota to revisit their childhoods.
The event, the United States Pond Hockey Championships, recalls a simpler time, when children from the Upper Midwest developed their skating and stick-handling skills on windswept frozen lakes and backyard rinks, not at indoor complexes with screaming parents.
“We’re celebrating the hockey of our youth,” said Carson Kipfer, a tournament co-commissioner.
Camaraderie, bragging rights and beer are the primary attractions for a 10-year-old tournament that offers no prize money and only one trophy: the Golden Shovel, an oversize, gold-painted snow shovel on which the names of winning teams are etched. Last month, swishing skates, clacking sticks and the occasional barking dog provided the soundtrack for 250 teams in six divisions, competing on 25 rinks laid out 50 yards from shore.
In the past decade, pond hockey has grown from a curiosity into one of hockey’s most popular genres. The success of the World Pond Hockey Championships in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, which began in 2002 and features teams from Canada, the United States and more than a dozen other countries, inspired similar events in the United States.
USA Hockey does not track pond hockey players specifically, but it said overall adult participation had more than doubled in the past decade, to 167,527 in the 2013-14 season from 75,974 in 2004-5. Labatt, the Canadian brewery, sponsors 13 tournaments in New York, New England and the Midwest.
On or off the water, American pond hockey rules differ greatly from rules in college hockey and the N.H.L. Teams skate four on four, with no goaltenders and a maximum of six or seven players on a roster. Games have two 15-minute halves, with a two-minute break in between. Checking and slaps shots are not allowed. There is no icing or offside. Goals may be scored only from the attacking half of the ice.
Nets vary from tournament to tournament. Minnesota uses wooden boxes made of 2-inch-by-6-inch planks that are six feet wide, with 12-inch openings on each end. Wisconsin opts for nets, which are four feet wide and six inches high. Minnesota edges its rinks with 18 inches of hard plastic, but Eagle River prefers small piles of snow. Every spring, Weber said, firefighters retrieve 700 to 800 pucks from the melting snowbanks and donate them to the local hockey association.
Pond hockey also stands out for the whimsical team names etched on its trophies. Minnesota entries included Hat Trick Swayze; He Suits, He Scores, with players in tuxedo T-shirts; Navin R Johnson and the Jerks, a reference to “The Jerk,” the 1979 film starring Steve Martin; and Vanek! At the Disco, melding Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek with a pop punk band.
Above all else it is a great way to celebrate the sport of ice hockey, ice hockey largely misunderstood in America, but in my opinion the greatest game in the world.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - New Harvard University policy bans student-teacher relations. The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1DG8sq0
THIS WEEK’S SOAP OPERA: Brian Williams - For years, Brian Williams had been telling a story that wasn't true. On Wednesday night, he took to his anchor chair on "NBC Nightly News" to apologize for misleading the public. On Thursday, his real problems started. A host of military veterans and pundits came forward on television and social media, challenging Mr. Williams's assertion that he had simply made a mistake ...
The trustworthiness of one of America's best-known and most revered TV journalists has been damaged, and ... the moral authority of the nightly network news anchor ... has been dealt another blow. ... Some of the soldiers present in Iraq that day had been quietly fuming about Mr. Williams's reporting for years, and had even tried to alert the news media to it earlier. Joe Summerlin, who was on the helicopter that was forced down, said in an interview that he and some of his fellow crew watched Mr. Williams's initial story and were angered by his characterization of the events. ...
Williams just extended his contract with NBC in December, with the terms reported to be as much as $10 million a year for five years.
With America's No. 1 newscast at stake, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke held a meeting with NBC News executives at his house yesterday to discuss the next steps in the Brian Williams crisis. Williams still hopes to survive and is considering the timing and venue for his next apology. But his cancellation yesterday of an appearance on "David Letterman," scheduled for Thursday, was a sign that the agony - for Williams and the network - may be prolonged.
IN AND OUT - Becerra seriously weighing California Senate run: Rep. Xavier Becerra is moving closer to jumping in the California Senate race. The Democrat this week told House colleagues as well as Democratic operatives and lobbyists about his desire to run to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. 'One to 10, 10 being serious, 10,' said Becerra when asked how seriously he was considering launching a campaign ... Becerra represents downtown Los Angeles and previously served in the California State Assembly and as deputy attorney general in the California Department of Justice.
Billionaire Tom Steyer announced Thursday that he will not run for the California Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer. The news ends speculation about whether Steyer, an outspoken environmentalist and former hedge fund manager, will insert himself into the race ... Aides explained that Steyer will continue working to raise the profile of climate change through his 501(c)(4) organization, NextGen Climate, and its associated super PAC ... [An] aide added that Steyer remains interested in seeking public office, possibly the governorship of California in 2018.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: John Grisham (60), Greg Norman (60), James Spader (55), Gail Tang …nobody does Google Docs better, John Williams (83).
ALIBABA IN THE SPOTLIGHT - A rare public dispute between one of China’s most prominent companies and the country’s government has come to light. Beijing has accused e-commerce giant Alibaba of failing to crack down on the sale of fake goods, bribery and other illegal activity on its sites—prompting Alibaba to accuse a senior official at a government agency of misconduct and threaten to file a formal complaint. The claims highlight a major risk for the company that last year raised $25 billion from global investors in the world’s largest initial public offering. Experts warn that the accusations could damage Alibaba’s reputation among investors and brands overseas, while the highly public spat could hurt the company’s relationship with the government. Meanwhile, Yahoo has announced a plan to spin off tax-free its nearly $40 billion of holdings in Alibaba, a move that should give Chief Executive Marissa Mayer more time with shareholders despite continued declines in the Internet portal’s core advertising business.
APPLE MAKES A GIANT PILE OF MONEY - Apple reported the largest net income of any public company in history in the three months to December, as record iPhone sales of 74.5m units beat even the most bullish Wall Street forecasts. ... Apple's net profit grew 37 per cent to $18bn, topping ExxonMobil's previous quarterly record of $15.9bn in 2012, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. The financial results and the iPhone's strong performance come as a vindication for Mr Cook, who has seen off questions over whether anyone could succeed Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs. With pressure building to maintain the iPhone's momentum, Mr Cook faces his next test in April with the launch of the Apple Watch, its first new device since the death of Jobs.
Sales of the iPhone leapt 46 per cent over the prior year in the crucial holiday shopping quarter, driven by the highest number of first-time buyers since the smartphone launched in 2007. ... First-quarter revenues at the company, now valued at $650bn by investors, grew 30 per cent year-on-year to $74.6bn. Earnings increased by 48 per cent to $3.06, well ahead of analysts' estimates ... Apple's cash position at the end of the quarter stood at $142bn, net of debt. That is almost $23bn up on three months earlier, with 89 per cent of its cash now held outside the US.
FACEBOOK'S EXPENSES SOAR - When Mark Zuckerberg warned investors three months ago that Facebook's expenses were going to rise sharply, he really meant it. The company reported on Wednesday that revenue increased 49 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previous year, exceeding Wall Street's expectations. But expenses rose even faster, up 87 percent from the same quarter a year ago, driven in part by a huge increase in stock payouts to employees ...
The social network, which makes most of its money by including advertising in the news feeds of its users, said about 69 percent of its advertising revenue came from mobile devices, which have become the most common way people tap into the service. Facebook said that it had revenue of $3.85 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to $2.59 billion a year ago. Net income was $701 million, or 25 cents a share, up from $523 million, or 20 cents a share, in the previous fourth quarter.
JUST WORDS – I was in a few meetings this past week where the word “transparency” was used quite often. As a profession I solve problems. These problems can vary a lot depending on the situation. project. culture. team. ...But what I have been noticing is that the cause of many problems is the lack of transparency. Now I want to make my awareness about transparency stronger. I have been trying to do this by reflecting the question of 'What is transparency' on my daily life.
Transparency to me means the ability of being able to see where the final result came from. A transparent structure should allow an outsider to look at all sources involved [data, tangible supplies etc.], see all steps taken and be able to understand the underlying processes that led to the status quo.
The problem is the sources and amount of data to provide an understanding is missing.
WORDS OF THE MONTH –
1. to perform hastily or carelessly.
Even-tempered as he was, he soon began to give evidences of the strain of being pent in with a mechanical monster that toiled, and sobbed, and slubbered in the shouting dark.
-- Jack London, "The Pearls of Parlay," A Son of the Sun, 1912
Salida: noun; exit, way out
Salida derives from the verb salir and is the basic way of referring to an exit from a public building. You may well see it on signs such as:
salida de emergencia - emergency exit
GRAMMYS - Grammy Awards 2015: Sam Smith almost sweeps top awards; Smith, the freshman British singer-songwriter ... took three of the four top awards, for record, song and new artist. The runaway success of Smith's career in the span of barely eight months dramatically demonstrated the new world in which music is created, given birth and blossoms at lightning speed thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and You Tube.
COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Friday 2/14, 7:00 PM CT, FSD+; #14 Michigan Wolverines (16-8-0) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-9-3). They don’t get any bigger in the Big Ten, Michigan 4 The Gophers 3. Season to date (4-1)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(SCIAC Game of the Week, Feb. 14) SCIAC #1 Golf Tournament – (men) (1) CMS Republicans, (2) La Verne Leopards; (women) (1) CMS Republicans, (2) Occidental Tigers
(ECAC hockey, Feb. 14) Cornell University (10-10-3) 2 at #9 Harvard University (12-8-2) 6
(NHL, Feb. 14) Vancouver Canucks (29-19-3) 3 Calgary Flames (29-21-3) 5
Season to date (18-11)
MARKET WEEK - The U.S. economy has "turned the corner," but wage growth remains a problem, said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. But he expressed concerns over Greece and Russia.
U.S. stock futures were lower in early trading on worries about the Greek debt standoff and weak Chinese trade data. Wall Street closed lower Friday, but the Dow and S&P 500 both surged for the week.
Resolving the crisis in Greece may prove difficult after leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras laid out plans Sunday to dismantle his country's "cruel" austerity program. Greek stocks were off 6 percent today.
DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama today meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss 'a range of issues including Ukraine, Russia, counterterrorism, ISIL, Afghanistan, and Iran. They will also cover economic growth, international trade, climate change and Germany's plans for hosting the G-7 Summit in June." ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew arrives in Istanbul, Turkey for the G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.
More snow and bitter cold this week for the East Coast, while eighty degree temperatures will be the norm in Southern California.
Next week: Jack Ass of the Month and The Puzzler.
Until Next Monday, Adios
February 9, 2015
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – E. Flake
Friday, February 6, 2015
We have a late post this week, due to a variety of events: Super Bowl Sunday, Groundhog Day, the beginning of the Spring Semester (nous avons 134 étudiants), and new medication.
We will be back on schedule Monday.
Our opening theme this week is “Again and again”: appropriate for Groundhog week. Some things never change and occur like clockwork. Some examples:
- The obsession with the media in the continuing downward spiral of Tiger Wood’s career; let it go.
- The City of La Verne, CA continued obsession with parking and their dictating of policy involving University wide issues, let it go.
- Students both undergraduate and graduate not being prepared for the first week of classes; no text, no course prep, no más.
- No matter if Faculty never smile, no matter that it is long, Commencement ceremonies, no matter what time of year, renew and engage my spirit.
- Super Bowl Sunday is the one social event of the year, in America, that stops the country from all else.
- Week to week, the U.S. stock and bond markets continue to be a crap shoot.
- POTUS is a decent man but a lousy administrator.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - COLLEGE ENDOWMENTS GROWING: University endowments returned an average of 15.5 percent without fees in 2014. That's according to final data released by the NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments.
The average return is up from 11.7 percent in 2013. More money means increased spending for programs like financial aid and faculty research.
- On a related note: In 2014, charitable donations to colleges and universities went up almost 11 percent. Schools raised a historic $37.45 billion - $1.16 billion of which went to Harvard.
POTUS 2016 BUDGET - All eyes are on President Barack Obama this week as he announces his 2016 $4 trillion budget to Congress. While the focus will be on Obama's push to boost funding for federal programs, increase tax cuts for the middle class and raise taxes on wealthy taxpayers and businesses, there will be some tech and telecom goodies as well. In his budget last year, Obama set aside money to encourage broadband adoption, slightly increased spending on research and development and called for a boost in the Patent and Trademark Office's funding. His budget also reinforced federal IT efforts but didn't propose substantial reforms despite the Healthcare.gov troubles of the previous fall. This time around, Obama will also touch on federal IT, setting aside $105 million to expand the U.S. Digital Service, the federal technology improvement effort - led by former Googler Mikey Dickerson - that launched this past August. Obama's 2016 budget will also increase research funding and set aside $14 billion to support government cybersecurity efforts. We'll be tracking all of that, as well as his proposed funding for the usual tech and telecom suspects.
The 2016 budget plan is proposing another round of tax increases—this time on corporate earnings. His plan calls for a change in the tax code on overseas corporate profits and an increase in spending on highways and transit systems. We note that big companies are likely to view the proposed rates—a 14% tax on the approximately $2 trillion of overseas earnings they have accumulated and a 19% minimum tax on future foreign profits—as too high, and Republicans may see Mr. Obama’s latest proposal as an effort to widen the corporate-tax base without doing enough to bring down rates. But Mr. Obama’s plan might at least bring a long-running debate over U.S. company taxation to an important junction. The Obama administration is also expected to seek a funding increase for U.S. securities regulators charged with implementing and policing tough new rules for the financial industry.
INSIDE THE BUDGET --Obama's 10 new taxes: 1. Buffett Tax ... would raise $35 billion. 2. Limiting itemized deductions for the wealthy ... would raise $640 billion. 3. Capital Gains ... would raise $208 billion. ... 4. Expand middle- and low-income family tax credits ... would cost $277 billion. ... 5. The Mitt Romney Loophole ... raises $26 billion. ... 6&7. Taxes on multinational companies ... the one-time repatriation tax would raise $268 billion. Going forward, the 19 percent rate on global profits would raise about $206 billion. ... 8. Bank tax ... would raise $112 billion. 9. Tobacco tax ... would raise $95 billion. 10. The Gingrich-Edwards loophole would raise over $74 billion.
60 MINUTES" LISTINGS: Lesley Stahl reports on the U.S. military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Dan Kaufman, who heads its software unit, working on cyber warfare and making the internet more secure. Shachar Bar-On is the producer. ... The Swiss List -- Bill Whitaker investigates the biggest leak in Swiss banking history. Ira Rosen and Habiba Nosheen are the producers ... SELMA -- The director of the new movie celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights talks to Bob Simon about filming in the same places where history was made. Ava DuVernay also addresses charges that her film's portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson was inaccurate. David Browning is the producer.
HACK - Chinese State-Sponsored Hackers Suspected in Anthem Attack: The attack appears to follow a pattern of thefts of medical data by foreigners seeking a pathway into the personal lives and computers of a select group -- defense contractors, government workers.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Christie Brinkley (61), Amal Clooney (37), Morgan Fairchild (65), Bob Griese (70), Roxanne Lewis …famous Denver Broncos fan, Jack McElwee …famous Professor Emeriti, Fran Tarkenton (75)
DEAL IN THE WORKS - Staples and Office Depot are in advanced talks to combine, according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be a major step toward consolidating the retail market for pens, paper and other office supplies. However, there is no guarantee a deal will be reached. Antitrust regulators would likely take a close look at any combination of the two companies, according to bankers and analysts, having blocked a merger between the two in 1997.
GOOGLE MISSES ON EARNINGS - The rising dollar claimed another victim as Google's revenue grew slower than expected. The Mountain View, Calif., Internet giant said fourth-quarter revenue, excluding payments to other companies that syndicate its ads, rose 17 percent to $14.5 billion from $12.4 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts polled by FactSet had projected revenue on that basis of $14.7 billion. Net income rose 41 percent to $4.8 billion, or $6.91 per share, from $3.4 billion, or $4.95 per share.
SUPER BOWL AD RANKINGS, 1 to 61, per USA Today Ad Meter consumer panel: 1. Budweiser: Lost puppy saved by Clydesdales ... 2. Always (P&G): Redefining "like a girl" ... Fiat Viagra ... 18. Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel for BMW ... 37. Risky Budweiser "Brewed the hard way" making fun of pumpkin-spice ale ... 46. Nationwide ad about a dead kid ... 56. "50 Shades of Gray" movie trailer.
PATRIOTS WIN THRILLING SUPER BOWL - Well that was nice payback for last year's stinker, wasn't it? New England defeated Seattle 28-24 in a thrilling Super Bowl that turned on two stunning plans near the end. After the Patriots battled back from 10 points down to take the lead, Seattle QB Russell Wilson heaved a jump ball toward the end zone for Jermaine Kearse. Patriot corner Malcolm Butler appeared to break up the play. But the ball bounced off Kearse's legs and the Seahawks receiver corralled it in a play reminiscent of David Tyree's helmet catch that helped the Giants beat New England in Super Bowl XLII. Seattle had timeouts and the ball at the five yard line.
Marshawn Lynch hammered it down to the one. Everyone in the building and tens of million watching on TV assumed Lynch would get it once more to end the game and give the Seahawks back-to-back titles. But Pete Carroll opted to throw a quick slant. Butler, the goat moments before, jumped the route, made the interception and sent MVP Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots to their first title since 2004. Carroll said after the game that he didn't want to run against the Pats jumbo goal line package. He figured he could still run on third or fourth down. But he took the blame and said the loss was on him for making the wrong call. Quite a game.
BOSTON GLOBE: "Champions don't quit. The New England Patriots didn't." http://bit.ly/1vopoCx
SUPER BOWL HIGHEST RATED SHOW EVER - Super Bowl XLIV, which aired on NBC, garnered an average of 114.4 million viewers over the course of the broadcast, becoming the most-watched program in television history, and topping last year's broadcast on Fox. ... The high drama likely kept some viewers tuned in even as the night went on. Super Bowl XLVIII, which aired last year on Fox, drew an average of 112.2 million viewers when the final numbers came in, according to Nielsen.
The Super Bowl is by far the biggest event in television, and arguably in all of media, with advertisers paying $4.5 million for a 30-second advertisement, alongside a commitment to buy ad time on other networks and programs owned by NBCUniversal.
COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Friday 2/6, 7:00 PM ET; IvyTV; #6 Harvard University Crimson (12-6-2) at #15 Yale University Bulldogs (12-6-3). Big game in The Ivys at New Haven, Yale 4 Harvard 2. Season to date (3-1)
NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – NFL season has ended our final record - Season to date (16-6)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(NBA, Feb. 7) Portland Trail Blazer (34-16) 92 at Dallas Mavericks (34-18) 95
(SCIAC Game of the Week, Feb. 7) Women’s Hoops – Pomona-Pitzer Endowments (4-15) 54 at University of La Verne Leopards (9-11) 65
(ECAC hockey, Feb. 7) #16 Quinnipiac University Bobcats (16-8-2) 5 at Colgate University Raiders (14-9-3) 4
(NHL, Feb. 7) New York Rangers (30-15-4) 4 at Nashville Predators (38-12-6) 3
Season to date (14-10)
MARKET WEEK - U.S. oil prices could skyrocket from current depressed levels by this fall, and gasoline could double, a former top oil executive predicted. In early Monday trading, oil was higher after last week's surge.
Union leaders called strikes on Sunday at nine U.S. refineries-accounting for more than 10 percent of U.S. capacity-in a bid to pressure oil companies to agree to a new national contract covering workers at 63 plants.
Federal safety regulators said Toyota (TM), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), and Honda (HMC) plan to recall about 2.1 million older vehicles to fix cause air bags than could deploy when they're not supposed to.
The cost of GM's faulty ignition switches victims compensation fund, which stopped taking claims this weekend, is not expected to exceed the $400 million to $600 million the automaker set aside.
Moody's Investors Service (MCO) is under investigation by the Justice Department for its credit ratings on mortgage deals in advance of the 2008 financial crisis that ultimately went bust.
Next week: Just words and words of the month
Until Next Monday, Adios
February 6, 2015
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – E. Flake