Friday, February 6, 2015

Plusieurs fois

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 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."

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)


(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

Claremont, CA

February 6, 2015


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