Monday, July 27, 2015

Again and Again and Again

The events in Lafayette, Louisiana this past week joining Chattanooga, Tenn., Charleston, S.C., Aurora, Colo., Newton, Conn., and so many others on the long list of cities scarred by gun violence.

The gunman became the latest figure in a gallery of angry men with weapons who walked into a movie theatre, a church, a school or a workplace and shattered the lives of people there.

How we continue to allow individuals to obtain weapons is tragic. In viewing the same cycle of news reports, outrage, and “we must do something about this”, it is becoming more and more obvious that the leaders of this country cannot solve this problem. From local governments without the power or intellectual savvy to deal with gun control, state and federal governments concerned more about PAC money and reelection than the safety of their citizens. 

Society is changing and it is scarring the hell out of me. I go out to dinner now, the first thing I look for is the exit, who in the room looks creepy, and is anyone wearing a t-shirt over a dress shirt. Stop the madness, please.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – A FREE PLACE TO STAY FOR COLLEGE-BOUND FAMILIES: Airbnb has teamed up with non-profit Summer Search to give students and their families free accommodations while visiting colleges or attending college graduations. Summer Search, a non-profit that aims to help low-income students develop a "college-going" mentality through summer trips, programs and mentorships, was a natural partner for Airbnb, said Rae Richmond, head of global citizenship for the company. "It just seemed like something that our hosts would be so happy to open up their homes for," Richmond said. The program began in May and Airbnb covers the cost of each stay. The majority of Summer Search students are the first or would be the first in their families to graduate college. Visiting colleges is critical for low-income students because it helps them envision themselves on campus, said Sonia Torres, director of marketing and communications at Summer Search.

HARD DRIVE - JULY 21. Forty-six years ago, the front page headline was "Men walk on moon."  Did you know that the Apollo Guidance Computer had only a teeny, tiny bit of memory compared to what you carry around in your pocket every day?!

WHAT'S ON THE LINE IN LOS ANGELES: LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer has an enormous task ahead of him. The country's second largest school district has been through turmoil in recent years - plagued by a dysfunctional student data system, dogged by questions over competitive bids, Apple, Pearson and a $1 billion iPad debacle that prompted the involvement of the FBI, and the exit of former Superintendent John Deasy, wreathed in controversy.

The district has finally stabilized - for now, said Zimmer, who was unanimously elected president of the board earlier this month. Superintendent Ramon Cortines, who signed a year-long extension of his contract earlier this year, announced that he might leave by the end of the year. So the search for a new superintendent is on for the next six months or so. Still, Zimmer, perhaps the board's most labor-friendly  leader in decades, showered Cortines with praise.

"The bruises and wounds that John Deasy and all the controversy around him had left were almost as dangerous to the district as the budget crisis itself," Zimmer said. Cortines helped balance the budget, signed an agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles that no one thought possible, stabilized the student data system - working collaboratively with the board on all of it, Zimmer said. "So we have to transition from a person who is literally the most skilled school system leader in the country to new leadership in a community that is just healing."

Zimmer said he doesn't want the selection of a new superintendent to devolve into another ground war over schooling, pitting traditional public school advocates against education reformers. The board-elected races - including Zimmer's own campaign - get very ugly. But as board president, Zimmer said he hopes to elevate the conversation. "The premise, the baseline assumption is that a large public system can't work," he said. "But that's still a very open question in Los Angeles."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this weekend to: Sandra Bullock (51) Austin, TX., Peggy Fleming (67) Bristol, Conn., Norman Lear (93) Beverly Hills, CA., Ted Lindsay (90) Bloomfield Hills, MI., Alessandro Suffredini …famous nephew, J.K. Rowling (50) London, England, Jordan Spieth (22) Dallas, TX.

SIX STOCKS THAT RULE THE WORLD - Just a few companies are driving the gains in major U.S. stock indexes this year, raising fresh concerns about the health of the market's advance. Six firms: Amazon, Google, Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc. and Gilead Sciences Inc. - now account for more than half of the $664 billion in value added this year to the Nasdaq Composite Index, according to data compiled by brokerage firm JonesTrading. Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, Gilead and Walt Disney Co. account for more than all of the $199 billion in market-capitalization gains in the S&P 500.

The concentrated gains are spurring concerns that soft trading in much of the market could presage a pullback in the indexes. Many investors see echoes of prior market tops - including the 2007 peak and the late 1990s frenzy - when fewer and fewer stocks lifted the broader market. The S&P 500 is up 1 percent this year while the Nasdaq has gained 7.4 percent. Other indicators are also flashing yellow. In the Nasdaq, falling stocks have outnumbered rising stocks this year, sending the "advance-decline line" into negative territory, a phenomenon that has come before market downturns in the past, investors and analysts said.

RINK RATS TRAVEL - The Best Sort of Rest

What’s the most strategic way to take a vacation? Psychologists and researchers have been studying how to create an ideal getaway—one that boosts our well-being, relieves stress that can impact our health, and helps us recharge for returning to work. Some conclusions: Longer vacations aren’t necessarily better than shorter ones. Anticipating plans can be more rewarding than remembering them afterwards. Engage in activities you haven’t done before, even if you’re at home on a staycation. And end a trip on a high note.

JOE Z. PICK - #16 Republican candidate! Rink Rats friend Joe Z., Cornell University and Jamestown New York, likes Ohio Gov. John Kasich as he jumps in the Republican Presidential campaign with an announcement at Ohio State University student union in Columbus. The themes, per a campaign adviser: "It will be authentic and passionate: His experience is unmatched ... He led the effort to balance the federal budget, he served on the House Armed Services Committee for 18 years, he helped turn around Ohio and cut taxes by $5 billion ...

"He knows how to lead, keep America safe, create jobs, bring people together and lift people up. ... His optimism and hopefulness is infectious: The governor will talk about his vision for America that connects so well with people because it's what we need-a stronger military for a safer country; a balanced budget for a stable future; a return to the values that made America great-personal responsibility, teamwork, empathy, resilience, family and faith. ... He's for us."

DEBATE DASHBOARD – August 6 Cleveland, Ohio: Roster for first debate, based on latest polling: 1) Trump ... 2) Jeb ... 3) Walker ... Tied for 4) Huckabee, Rand, Rubio ... 7) Carson ... 8) Cruz ... 9) Christie ... 10) Perry.

--THE BUBBLE: Christie and Perry could drop off. Santorum and Kasich are closest to making it.

--OUT for now: Santorum, Kasich, Jindal, Carly, Lindsey, Pataki, Gilmore.

THE BIG PICTURE: The GOP's statehouse advantage: Leaders worry losses of state, local offices create shortage of top candidates: Democrats maintain a significant electoral college advantage as shifting U.S. demographics tilt their way. ... But many Democrats worry that GOP success capturing state and local offices will erode that advantage before they have a chance to rebuild. ... Obama ... has lost 13 seats in the U.S. Senate and 69 in the House during his tenure, a net loss unmatched by any modern U.S. president.

Democrats have also lost 11 governorships, four state attorneys general, 910 legislative seats, as well as the majorities in 30 state legislative chambers. In 23 states, Republicans control the governor's office and the legislature; Democrats, only seven. ... In few places are the Democrats' troubles more apparent than in Ohio, the perennial presidential battleground state twice won by Mr. Obama. Ohio Democrats lost every statewide contest in the ... midterms.


Tell me again why we need the NFL in Southern California. Tell me again why we need to build two billion-dollar stadiums within 20 minutes of each other, when bridges on Interstate 10 are collapsing. Tell me again why the past 21 years in Southern California have been so awful, why we have been deprived of true sporting entertainment despite the best efforts of the Lakers, Angels, Dodgers, Kings, Ducks, Clippers, Galaxy, USC, UCLA and, for that matter countless high schools and SCIAC.

The NFL is so wonderful and majestic thing from a distance, like a meteor shower. But it becomes harder to separate the suspense of the game from the moral bankruptcy of the league.

Because of this, NFL you are Rink Rats Jack Ass of the Month. It has been a pleasure being played a sucker over and over again.

RETIREMENT - Garrison Keillor says he's ... retiring from 'Prairie Home: Keillor said he plans to step down as host after next season, following four decades of entertaining listeners with his baritone voice and folksy comedy sketches about Lake Wobegon, his mythical Minnesota hometown 'where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.


(MLB, August 1) Los Angeles Angels (55-43) 5 at Los Angeles Dodgers (56-44) 3

Season to date (63-31)


Technophobia: \tek-nuh-FOH-bee-uh\
1. abnormal fear of or anxiety about the effects of advanced technology.
"Technophobia and fear of OIT go hand in hand.”

Verb: to shrink; to shrug
 “Este vestido ha encogido, y no me entra más.”
“This dress has shrunk and I can’t get it on any more.”

MARKET WEEK - The Dow is coming off its biggest weekly drop since January, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq since March. This coming week features another earnings onslaught as well as a two-day Fed meeting beginning tomorrow.

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama continues his Africa trip today in Ethiopia ... Hillary Clinton is in Iowa today talking renewable energy ... Inaugural Playbook New Jersey event this morning in Newark with Mike Allen, Matt Friedman and Sen. Cory Booker (RSVP: ) ... Fed begins two-day policy meeting on Tuesday with a statement (but no news conference on Wednesday). ... House Financial Services has a Dodd-Frank at five years hearing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ... Joint Economic Committee has a hearing at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday on dynamic scoring ... House Ag has a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Dodd-Frank and derivatives reform ... First read on Q2 GDP on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. expected to show growth popping back to 2.5 percent ... Twitter reports earnings Tuesday after the close ... Facebook reports Wednesday after the close.

Special Olympics continue in Los Angeles; free event tickets, wonderful stories, if you are in Southern California try to attend. Our cynical politicians could learn a lot from Special Olympic athletes.

Next week: The People Magazine Syndrome.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
July 27, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEKEND – Mike Twohy, The New Yorker

Monday, July 20, 2015


The economic recovery looks as fragile as ever, Gross Domestic product shrank 0.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, far worse than the Feds estimate of 0.2 percent growth.

Though last year the economy seemed to be on the brink of a long-delayed breakout, it has now contracted for the third time since the recession ended in mid-2009. The blame: strong U.S. dollar, brutal winter, but more importantly financial institutions still do not get it.

The too big to fail syndrome is still alive and functioning in the world banking community. The top five banks in the world:

1). ICBC – China,  2). HSBC – United Kingdom,   3). Deutsche Bank – Germany,
4). Credit Agricole – France,  5). BNP Paribas – France  (notice no U.S. Banks in top five)

These institutions continue to support high risk, high return, high failure, speculative ventures. Examples, supporting declining Chinese stock market, supporting failing economies like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and funding aggressive development in Africa.

You wonder why no American banks in the top five – after the 2007-2008 credit collapse of U.S. banks – their fear of high risk, speculative investing has been replaced by the European and Asian institutions aggressive development of these markets. Any one look at the Southern California real estate market the last few years, who is buying real estate?

World credit markets are so interdependent the credit risks of Europe and Asia effect credit and growth in the U.S. No need to panic, just beware: job growth has been steady, household income adjusted for inflation is up 3 percent over the past year. Building permits are at their highest level since 2008, as are sales of new homes.

But tell that to the average American, consumer spending is down, this hangover from the recession will continue through 2014 – then look for the Federal Reserve to raise rates in 2015 to ignite spending.  This may not be a cause for optimism, but it’s surely an argument for reduced pessimism.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DODD-FRANK – Tuesday (July 21) marks the fifth anniversary of the landmark financial regulation. Lots of events planned this week by both proponents and opponents. The pro view from Better Markets in remarks going out later today as party of their anniversary event at the Newseum that features the only joint appearance of both Barney Frank and Chris Dodd along with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew: "Better Markets today released an extensive Cost of the Crisis Report detailing how the 2008 financial crash and the economic catastrophe it caused will cost the United States more than $20 trillion. ...

"The Report shows those human and economic costs, including historically high unemployment, underemployment, long-term unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, underwater mortgages, bankrupt businesses large and small, lost savings, deferred or denied retirements, educations cut short, and more. Although there has been substantial economic recovery since the dark and terrifying days after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, the Report also outlines the many Americans across the country who are still suffering."

THE CON VIEW from an op-ed in this a.m.'s Wall Street Journal from House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling who keynotes AEI's Dodd-Frank event on Tuesday:

"Too-big-to-fail institutions have not disappeared. Big banks are bigger, small banks are fewer, and the financial system is less stable. Meanwhile, the economy remains in the doldrums. ...

"Dodd-Frank was based on the premise that the financial crisis was the result of deregulation. Yet George Mason University's Mercatus Center reports that regulatory restrictions on financial services grew every year between 1999-2008. It wasn't deregulation that caused the crisis, it was dumb regulation."

POLITICS 101 - CAMPAIGN EARNINGS TO DATE -  (campaign + outside groups): ... Team Jeb: $114.4 million ... Team Hillary: $69.3 million ... Team Cruz: $51 million (that includes the $4 million his campaign raised in the 1stQ) ... Team Rubio: $43.8 million ... Team Perry: $17.9 million ... Team Carly: $4.8 million.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Phoenix, Falling: For-profit colleges have had a rough time of it lately as doubts about the quality of their courses and the propriety of their business practices have continued to multiply. Even the University of Phoenix, the best known of the chains, has not been immune, and last week its parent company. Apollo Education Group, announced a series of moves that it said were aimed at improving the university’s poor retention rates, raising its academic quality, and cutting its costs.

For starters, the university will cut 50,000 students by dropping most of its associate-degree programs. It will also shut down some of its physical locations and for the first time adopt academic admissions standards (shocking). By next year it expects to have about 150,000 students – down from 460,000 five years ago.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this weekend to: Bill Bigglestone, Tucson, AZ.;  Rosey Grier (83), Los Angeles, CA.;  Patrick Pugliese, Pasadena, CA. …watch out for him in the 2018 NHL Draft; Barry Sanders (47), Scottsdale, AZ.; Carlos Santana (68), Malibu, CA.

THE BOTTOM LINE – About 40 percent of U.S. workers are required to take drug tests during the hiring process. In 2014, 9.1 million workers provided urine samples to major testing company Quest Diagnostics. About 3.9 percent tested positive, most of them for marijuana, followed by amphetamines and painkillers.

WATER QUIZ -  How Much Do You Know About Hydration: Is it necessary to drink eight glasses of water per day?

The Correct Answer: False

There's no evidence to back that up. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men get about 125 ounces of water daily and that women get 91 ounces, but that includes water from all foods and beverages. Most people get enough hydration unless they're exposed to heat stress or they're very active for a long time.

HARD DRIVE – If you use Google Chrome as a browser, RR does, the strain on computer memory is brutal. I found an app “The Great Suspender” that suspends tabs in use but leaves the content just a click away.


(MLB, July 25) Los Angeles Dodgers (53-40) 2 at New York Mets (48-44) 5

(CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals, July 22) U.S.A. 3 Jamaica 0

Season to date (63-29)

WHAT’S ON THE iPAD? – five songs we are listening to this week:

1). “A Buena Vista”, 2004 – Luis Frank Arias
2). “Call Me The Breeze”, 1974 – Lynyrd Skynyrd
3). “Chain of Fools”, 1968 – Aretha Franklin
4). “Why I Sing the Blues”, 1983 – B.B. King
5). “Someone to Watch Over Me”, 1950 – Ella Fitzgerald

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama today holds a bilateral meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House ... Obama this afternoon will deliver remarks at a reception for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew speaks at the Better Markets Dodd-Frank event at 4:00 p.m. ... Both Heritage and AEI hold Dodd-Frank discussion on Tuesday ... Senate Banking subcommittee on Tuesday holds a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on SIFI designations ... Center for American Progress has a Dodd-Frank at five event on Wednesday ... Jeb Bush is at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL today to deliver a speech on changing the way Washington works ... Index of leading indicators Thursday at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise 0.2 percent ... Morgan Stanley reports second quarter earnings this morning.

Special Olympics visit Southern California Communities this week, try to get out and support the visiting athletes.

Next week: Words and Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
July 20, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEKEND – Sharks in the waters

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer in the City

A special Rink Rats Weekend Edition: What interests RRs and what we are doing this summer 2015 July weekend.

What is the weather like this Saturday morning in areas of interest to Rink Rats?

Clareville, CA – High of 82 degrees, chance of thunderstorms, yes thunderstorms

Beijing, China – High of 79 degrees, thunderstorms

Canton, New York – High of 81 degrees, chance of afternoon showers

Jackson, Michigan – High of 90 degrees, partly sunny skies

Saint Andrews, Scotland – High of 64 degrees, windy

Kuwait City, Kuwait – High of 117 degrees, sunny skies

Sao Paulo, Brazil – High of 75 degrees, partly cloudy skies

SUMMER’S DEEP FREEZE – It’s summertime. The season when you can write your name in the condensation on the windows at Starbucks, people pull on parkas to go to the movies and judges have been known to pause proceedings so bailiffs can escort jurors outside the courthouse to warm up.

On these, the hottest days of the year, office workers huddle under fleece blankets in their cubicles. Cold complaints trend on Twitter with posts like, “I could preserve dead bodies in the office it’s so cold in here.” And fashion and style bloggers offer advice for layered looks for coming in and out of the cold.

Why is America so over air-conditioned? It seems absurd, if not unconscionable, when you consider the money and energy wasted — not to mention the negative impact on the environment from the associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Architects, engineers, building owners and energy experts sigh with exasperation when asked for an explanation. They tick off a number of reasons — probably the most vexing is cultural.

There’s also the widely held misconception that colder temperatures make workers more alert and productive when, in fact, research shows the opposite. Studies have shown people work less and make more mistakes when the air temperature is 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit versus 74 to 76 degrees. Moreover, some research indicates feeling cold can take a psychological toll, making people untrusting, uncommunicative and unfriendly.

A region of the brain called the hypothalamus is responsible for our body’s thermoregulatory system, constricting blood vessels when we are cold and dilating them when we are hot to maintain a safe core body temperature. Your physical discomfort is essentially the hypothalamus prodding you to say, put on a sweater if it’s chilly or fan yourself when it’s hot.

Extreme temperature changes like entering a freezing lobby on a sweltering summer day may feel good at first, but it makes the hypothalamus go nuts, intensifying physical and psychological discomfort when the initial pleasure wears off — as if to say: “A blizzard is on its way! Do something!”

A couple of computer scientists have developed a smartphone app (what else is new) that proposes to solve that problem by making people the thermostats. Users can tell the app, called Comfy, whether they are hot, cold or just right. Over time, it learns trends and preferences and tells the air-conditioning system when and where to throttle up or throttle back the cooling. So far it’s used in a dozen buildings, including some of Google’s offices and some government-owned buildings, for a total of three million square feet. The developers claim Comfy-equipped buildings realize savings of up to 25 percent in cooling costs.

Of course, for fresh air and comfort, engineers and architects tend to agree the most effective control is being able to open and close the windows. No app required.

BARBECUE – Rink Rat’s favorite BBQ Sauce –

2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
1 smallish onion, coarsely chopped (preferably a Spanish or other sweet onion)
3 small cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or substitute sherry vinegar)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 canned chipotle en adobo, chopped (note that this is 1 chipotle pepper from a can of peppers, not 1 can of peppers)
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon sweet Spanish paprika (pimentón)
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon molasses
 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ketchup and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add the mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle chile, ancho chile powder, paprika, brown sugar, honey, and molasses and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 10 minutes or until thickened. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.

3. Scrape the barbecue sauce into a food processor or blender and purée until smooth or until the desired consistency. The sauce will be quite, quite thick. Let cool to room temperature. Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. You can start dousing and dolloping right away, although if you wait overnight you’ll be rewarded with a more complex, three-dimensional taste. (You can cover and refrigerate the sauce for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.)

After you’ve made this quick and easy sauce once, you’ll want to slather it on grilled chicken, steak, pork chops…you might never go back to the bottled stuff.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: 4.1 TRILLION - That's how many megabytes of mobile data Americans used in 2014, according to a new report from CTIA - The Wireless Association. That's 26 percent higher than data usage in 2013, and it's distributed across 243.4 million mobile devices. Other interesting stats: Americans send 3.6 million text messages and 300,000 photos and videos each minute, according to the report. The trade group is using the stats to back up its push to make more spectrum available to wireless carriers.


 Q. You and your opponent agree to concede all putts within a club length of the hole in an effort to speed up play. Is this permissible?”
What is the correct answer?

Nope, you may not agree in advance to concede putts.

FISHING – Our good friend, Sula Vanderplank, Consejera de Ciencia – Science Advisor at Terra Peninsular and Biodiversity Explorer at Botanical Research Institute of Texas, along with Linda MacKechnie, a Rink Rats Science Advisor – posts a cool picture of her fishing exploits off the Baja Peninsula.

Nice catch Sula!

IT MUST BE THE WATER – An Illinois couple welcomed the 100th child born to their children, grandchildren, and other descendants. Ruth and Leo Zanger have been married for 59 years and have 12 children, 53 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren, and now one great-great-grandchild. “We could start our own town,” Leo said.

RINK RATS TRAVEL - The new frontier in air travel: digital bag tags. As the number of passengers climbs, airlines are developing technologies to improve and automate how they handle and track bags. Their latest ideas include allowing fliers to tag their own bags and print luggage tags at home, and track their bags on smartphones and tags that digitally update if flight plans change. The moves, however, face hurdles, including opposition from unions, security rules and fliers who prefer a human touch. In other travel news, the new normal for airlines appears to be more capacity on existing jets, but fewer trips. According to an analysis of data by the Journal, U.S. airlines are offering 12% more domestic seats this month than two years ago, but 4.4% fewer flights.

DEADHEAD FINALE -"Grateful Dead Close Out Their Final Concert With ... 'Please, Be Kind,': The Dead's 'core four' - Phil Lesh on bass, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart handling percussion and Bob Weir on rhythm guitar - embraced and waved from center stage after taking their final bows just before midnight, capping more than three hours of the band's famously improvisational jams spread across two sets and two encores. [Hart:] 'The feeling we have here - remember it, take it home and do some good with it ... I'll leave you with this: Please, be kind.'"

SPORTS BLINK - U.S. Women's Soccer Team Will Get $33 Million Less Prize Money Than The Men's World Cup Winner: The United States Women's National Team will get a paltry $2 million for its victory on Sunday. The men's German team got $35 million for winning the 2014 World Cup.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Stanford University finished out the year a top the final 2014-15 Division I Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings this season with 1448 total points. Stanford scored in 25 total sports, but only 10 men’s and 10 women’s sports are scored in the standings. The following scores were omitted – women’s cross country, field hockey, women’s lacrosse and women’s outdoor track and field and wrestling.

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) led all conferences with seven teams finishing in the top-25 – Florida (4th), Georgia (14th), LSU (15th), Arkansas (16th), Texas A&M (17th), Kentucky (22nd) and Alabama (25th).

UCLA finished second with 1236 points. The Bruins have scored in 19 total sports, including 50 points in baseball.

USC secured its third place finish with its 50 points in baseball to increase its total to 1209 points. The Gators of Florida finished in fourth overall with 1188.5 points. Florida had one score omitted on the women’s side, women’s cross country due to scoring in 11 women’s sports.

Rounding out the top five is North Carolina with 1152 points The Tar Heels scored in 24 total sports with the following scores omitted, women’s golf, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field and men’s indoor track and field.

All 13 spring Division I championships have been completed with the following institutions capturing titles: baseball – Virginia; softball – Florida; women’s golf – Stanford; men’s golf – LSU; women’s lacrosse – Maryland; men’s lacrosse – Denver; women’s rowing – Ohio State; women’s tennis –Vanderbilt; men’s tennis – Virginia; women’s outdoor track & field – Oregon; men’s outdoor track & field – Oregon; men’s volleyball – Loyola Chicago; women’s water polo – Stanford.

The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 20 sports — 10 women’s and 10 men’s.

WHY THE NEW BOSS IS YOUNGER THAN YOU ARE - Top Executives Are Getting Younger ... More companies hire chiefs in their late 40s. As older baby boomers retire, more companies are turning to members of Gen X, those born between about 1965 and 1980, and younger boomers, now in their mid-50s. Among companies that have recently appointed CEOs aged 50 or younger are McDonald's Corp., Harley-Davidson Inc., Microsoft Corp., and 21st Century Fox ...

As members of the first generation to use personal computers from childhood, they are generally more tech savvy. They also spend more time wooing and keeping younger staffers, and worrying about how to keep products and services relevant for the rising millennials projected to comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. Gen X and young boomer CEOs also generally take more risks and react faster to sudden business shifts than the CEOs they replaced."


Dustin Johnson wins The Open…U.S.A. Men Soccer 2 Cuba 1….Los Angeles Angels 5 Boston Red Sox 3…Joe Zanetta for the 32nd straight year will get The Swami’s birth date wrong by a week.

Season to date (60-28)

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEKEND – Birthday wishes and thoughts this weekend to: Lucie Arnaz (64), Dick Button (86), Diahann Carroll (80), Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (68), Nick Faldo (58), David Hasselhoff (63), “Action” Jackson Krich (2), Donald Sutherland (83), Joe Torre (75).

WEEKEND ROAD TRIP - They’ll take Manhattan: Obama, daughters explore New York, POTUS, [his] two teenage daughters, ... plus some of the girls' friends, ... had a wide-open day [today] after zigzagging around Manhattan in dad's motorcade [last] night. They lingered past 11 p.m. over dinner at an Italian place in Greenwich Village [Carbone, on Thompson Street between Bleecker and W. Houston Street, per pooler Byron Tau] and took an after-hours tour of the Whitney Museum that lasted until midnight. ...

President Obama was scheduled to return to Washington on Saturday night. He'll be back in New York ... Tuesday for one last appearance with Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’ and a Democratic fundraiser.

THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK AHEAD: On Monday, the President will host Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House. ... On Tuesday, the President will travel to Pittsburgh ... to address the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention. Following the convention, the President will travel to New York, New York and will tape an appearance on ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.’ In the evening, the President will attend a [DSCC] event. On Wednesday, the President will meet with small business owners to discuss the importance of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. On Thursday, the President will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, the President will travel to Nairobi, Kenya. On Friday, the President will arrive in Nairobi.

Monday: Greece and the state of Banking and those who get it.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
July 18, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEKEND – Tom Toro, New Yorker Magazine

Monday, July 6, 2015

Brazil 7, California 8 - California 7, Brazil 8

This time every year the University of La Verne welcomes business students seeking a certificate in management for this three week study, the majority of the students are from Brazil. This year 247 are attending, studying courses in Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Management, Public Administration, Strategy, and of course Winning in Las Vegas.

The last few quarters Brazil and the great state of California have been battling for the 7th position in the world’s largest economies. Yes, California is that big.

But all is not well in Brazil: Brazil’s economic catastrophe – Just five years ago, Brazil was being touted as an emerging new world power, with a booming economy growing by 7 percent a year, escalating middle class, and major oil reserves discovered off the coast.  But now the economy has stagnated and is about to tip into its worst recession in 25 years. Inflation has soared to 8 percent, and widespread corruption has undermined the economy. President Dilma Rousseff is now widely scorned as corrupt and incompetent.

Brazil was hit by a perfect storm of economic disasters. It is still a commodities-producing country, heavily dependent on exports of its crops and natural resources. In the past year the economies of the countries that buy its goods, particularly China and Germany, have slowed, drying up demand. The prices of its main exports have plummeted; Oil, sugar, coffee, and soybean prices are all down by as much as 33 percent. The Brazilian real, has lost a quarter of its value this year alone. Drought has produced an acute shortage of water and hydroelectric power, meaning soaring electricity prices.

Government debt interest rates are now past 13 percent, too expensive to borrow additional capital. President Rousseff is trying to heal the economy by belt-tightening-but for people to accept lower salaries, they must have faith in government policies, and Brazil is notoriously corrupt.

What next? As public sector workers face cuts in salaries and benefits, they are striking all across the nation. Brazil may be reaching its boiling point.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – The department's "state authorization" regulations are finally on the books, four years after they were established. Though colleges' time to comply with the new requirements is technically up, institutions in states still putting in place a sufficient process for oversight and approval "may have their current status continued for a reasonable period," Education Department officials said in a Dear Colleague letter last month. And individual approvals won't really come up until the department conducts its regular program reviews; at that point, colleges' eligibility for federal financial aid could be on the line.

- And lower student loan interest rates take effect July 1, for new borrowers seeking funds for the 2015-16 academic year. The rate for undergraduate Direct Loans fell from 4.66 percent to 4.29 percent. Graduate and professional Direct Loan borrowers will pay 5.84 percent, down from 6.21 percent last year. And interest for Direct PLUS Loans now stands at 6.84 percent, compared with 7.21 percent in 2014-15.

UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX SIDESTEPS OBAMA: The University of Phoenix has engaged in an aggressive strategy to recruit on military installations that includes sponsorships of rock concerts, Super Bowl parties and father-daughter dances, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. The recruitment efforts evade a 2012 executive order signed by President Barack Obama, meant to prevent for-profit colleges from gaining preferential access to the military.

The Apollo Education Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, shared a statement that it had sent the center defending its programs that it says play "an important role in offering career relevant higher education degree and credential education programs to active-duty service members, veterans and military families.

INSIDE JEB'S TAX RETURNS - Bush's firm made him rich - and built nest egg for family: Shortly after Jeb Bush left the Florida governor's office in 2007, he established his own firm, Jeb Bush & Associates ... More than a third of the firm's $33 million in proceeds from 2007 to 2013 came from banking giants Lehman Bros. and Barclays, which paid Bush a combined total of about $12 million for his work as a senior adviser ... An additional $8.1 million ... came from speaking fees. 

More than a third of his company's income was from sources that his campaign has largely declined to disclose. Bush's small firm paid more than $2 million in wages over seven years. A large share of that money appears to have gone to his youngest son, Jeb Bush Jr., 31, who worked as a management consultant. ... Bush's wife, Columba, ... was collecting an annual salary that averaged about $31,500 - totaling more than $220,000 over seven years.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: 50 Cent (40), Susan Ford Bales (58), Huey Lewis (65), Nancy Reagan (94).

GREECE CRISIS – On a December night in 2009, two larcenous officials in Pangaio, in the mountains of northern Greece, lured the town’s mayor to a rendezvous on a quiet coastal road. Fearful that state auditors were about to expose the three men’s systematic looting of the municipal treasury, they shot their co-conspirator to death with an Uzi submachine gun to silence him, then jammed his corpse into the trunk of his car, where it was found three days later. The killers were sentenced to lengthy jail terms, but – this being Greece, a country notorious for its bloated work force and a safety net that even protects the jobs of convicted criminals – they continued drawing a portion of their salaries while sitting in prison. “They Murdered the Mayor but Still Get Paid!” ran the headline in one Greek newspaper. This dysfunction is at the heart of Greek society and how it has led the country to an economic meltdown.

GREECE TO CREDITORS: DROP DEAD - Greek voters on Sunday sent a clear message to their European creditors: Drop dead. In a national referendum, over 61 percent of Greek citizens voted against accepting the deep spending cuts, tax hikes and other reforms that European creditors are demanding in return for extending further bailout assistance to the deeply indebted nation. ... The overwhelming "no" vote pushed Greece closer to a potentially messy exit from the euro zone common currency union. It also set up possible global market chaos and presented a fresh headache for the White House, which has had little success pushing for a deal that would prevent a Greek exit.

Markets in Asia dropped on Monday and European stocks opened lower following the Greek vote. The euro also dropped while futures contracts suggested U.S. stocks could open sharply lower. But no immediate signs of panic emerged in overseas trading, something Wall Street analysts say reflects a belief that the European Central Bank could step in as soon as Monday to offer emergency support should Greek banks come close to failing. Greece has limited cash withdrawals and implemented other capital controls. But the nation's banks could still run out of cash this week.

CHINA STOCKS RISE ON GOVT ACTION – Perhaps an even bigger crisis looms in China, with the troubles in the Chinese equity markets; stocks rose on Monday after Beijing unleashed an unprecedented series of support measures over the weekend to stave off the prospect of a full-blown crash that was threatening to destabilize the world's second-biggest economy. ... In an extraordinary weekend of policy moves, brokerages and fund managers vowed to buy massive amounts of stocks, helped by China's state-backed margin finance company, which in turn would be aided by a direct line of liquidity from the central bank.

The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen was up 2.5 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC had gained 2.2 percent, pulling back after an initial burst of euphoria sent them up around 8 percent when trading began ... The rapid decline of China's previously booming stock market, which by the end of last week had fallen around 30 percent from a mid-June peak, had become a major headache for President Xi Jinping and China's top leaders, who were already struggling to avert a sharper economic slowdown.

THE NEW ECONOMY -- Buying a car could soon be a thing of the past, and Ford is desperate to find what's next: Ford last month sent letters to 14,000 of its American drivers with an unusual suggestion: For extra cash, they could rent their cars to fellow urbanites wanting a cheap ride. ... It would put Ford closer to the front of a movement in which cars are shared, ignored or Uber-ed - not bought.

BUSINESS BURST -- Wal-Mart ... plan ... should terrify Whole Foods, Kroger, and Trader Joe's: The retailer's smaller-format stores, called Neighborhood Markets, are a major threat to traditional supermarkets ... The Markets focus on three of Wal-Mart's strongest categories - groceries, pharmacies, and fuel - and they are more conveniently located to urban centers ... Supercenters are typically located on city outskirts.

Don’t mention this to the citizens of the City of La Verne, CA.

TRUMP TROUBLE - All jokes aside, the Republican Party is officially afraid of Donald Trump. He has virtually zero chance of winning the presidential nomination. But insiders worry that the loud-mouthed real estate mogul is more than just a minor comedic nuisance on cable news; they fret that he's a loose cannon whose rants about Mexicans and scorched-earth attacks on his rivals will damage the eventual nominee and hurt a party struggling to connect with women and minorities and desperate to win. 'Donald Trump is like watching a road-side accident,' said former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer. 'Everybody pulls over to see the mess. And Trump thinks that's entertainment. But running for president is serious. And the risk for the party is he tarnishes everybody.

POLL – Who will be the first woman on the $10 bill? Rink Rats did a survey: Eleanor Roosevelt 33% ... Susan B. Anthony 17% ... Helen Keller 12% ... Sojourner Truth 11% ... Abigail Adams 10% ... Nellie Tayloe Ross 5% ... Henrietta Lacks 4% ... Alice Paul 3% ... Jeanette Rankin 2% ... Carli Lloyd 1% … Wendy Lau 1% … Martha Rountree 1%.


Wimbledon:  Gentlemen’s Winner – Novak Djokovic, Ladie’s Winner – Petra Kvitova

Season to date (59-27)

MARKET WEEK – Investors expect the rest of 2015 to be a bumpy ride. The stock market has shifted to neutral lately while bonds have gone into reverse. The oil market came roaring back in the second quarter, but more pain may be in store for investors. Mom-and-pop investors are putting on the brakes after years spent piling into stock and bond mutual funds—reflecting anxiety that the rally in capital markets is growing long in the tooth. As mergers-and-acquisition activity has raced ahead in other parts of the globe, economic worries have kept Europe relatively quiet. And in China, action in Shanghai has been volatile, but a torrid start to the year means stocks are still up.

Greece's decision in Sunday's referendum to reject the terms of its creditors sent shockwaves across global financial markets Monday, as investors wonder whether Athens can achieve a debt deal to stay in the euro.

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama this afternoon receives on update on the fight against ISIS and will make a statement following the meeting … Greek creditors hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday … Senate Banking has a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on "The Role of the Financial Stability Board in the U.S. Regulatory Framework” … FOMC on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. releases minutes from its June meeting … The Managed Funds Assoc. and BPC on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. host a forum on the Dodd-Frank act at five … Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. holds a hearing on "Understanding America's Long-Term Fiscal Picture" … Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Friday at 12:30 p.m. delivers a speech on the U.S. economic outlook to the City Club of Cleveland's Sally Gries Forum Honoring Women of Achievement … ISM Non-manufacturing Survey this morning at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise to 56.4 from 55.3 … Allen & Co. holds its annual media and technology conference in Sun Valley, Idaho … Comic-Con begins Wednesday in San Diego.

Next week: Summer BBQ, Air Conditioning and those who get it.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
July 6, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Tom Toro: congratulates U.S.A. Women’s Soccer