Monday, August 10, 2015

Get Out of Dodge

It is that time of year for the annual trip to family, friends, and the TSA: Time to relax, catch up on that book that has been acquiring dust on the night stand, put the knuckle heads from the office out of your mind, visit the Beach Bar, take in a thunder storm or two, and simply enjoy.

Obnoxious bankers, over ripe thinkers, misguided managers, blow hard politicians, and Rush Limbaugh, all can be put aside for two weeks. As John Stewart so aptly put this past week, a few days without B.S. is a good thing.

Vacation is a mindset, not just a balcony view or humidity change. To unplug from technology, no time restraints, spending time with those who really matter, the days are all about family bonding and that is the real vacation – no matter where in the world you are.

POTUS VACATION – President Obama headed for Martha's Vineyard vacation a day early: for more than two weeks of hoped-for rest coupled with extended pursuit of ... golf. ... He departed the White House last Friday with ... Michelle, ... Malia and Sasha, instead of on Saturday as initially planned. Obama plans no public events during the 17 days ...

The vacation will be his sixth on Martha’s Vineyard since taking office in 2009. Obama skipped a trip to the island during his 2012 re-election campaign. He was returning to the same secluded estate he rented last year, a seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom property in Chilmark, on the western part of the island, and valued at $12 million ... The property's amenities include a dual basketball and tennis court.

Seinfeld creator playing golf with Mr. President, Larry David was in a sand trap, trying to hit his apparently errant ball back onto the green. After the swing, which brought a bunch of sand along with the ball, Mr. David let out a yell of disappointment, perhaps because it didn't come close to the hole.

POTUS, who appeared to be wearing light colored pants, a white or beige golf shirt, and a beige baseball cap, took his turn next. His ball was sitting at the edge of the green. After a couple of practice swings, POTUS hit the ball with his putter and as it approached the hole, POTUS leaned back on one leg, raising the other leg up as if to will the ball to fall in. It did not." Pic

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – The nation’s 18 million undergrad students heading off for the next school year will pay an estimated total $18,943 on public college tuition and fees ($42,419 for private schools). An average newly minted grad with student loan debt will have to pay back some $35,000; overall national student debt has escalated to an all-time high of $1.2 trillion.

While the cost of U.S. higher education escalates, there’s a genuine silver lining in play. A  growing number of colleges and universities are now focusing on student-consumer value over marketing prestige, making this a new age of return-on-investment education. This pivot is the result of intense public scrutiny on the substantial cost of a degree vs. long tail worth — the very heart of FORBES definitive Top Colleges ranking, now in its eighth year.

This year’s No. 1 FORBES Top College is Pomona College Endowments, followed by Williams College Ephs and Stanford University Cardinal. The first Ivy League school to show, Princeton University Tigers, comes in at No. 4, followed by Yale University Yalies (No. 5), Harvard University Crimson (No. 6) and Brown University Bears (No. 8).  Rounding out the 10 finest schools in America are Swarthmore College Garnets (No. 7), Amherst College Lord Jeffs (No. 9) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Bytes (No. 10). Some of these schools need to work on their nicknames.

The Spin now begins.

CHINA ECONOMY SKIDS INTO SECOND HALF - On the heels of a tanking Chinese stock market, new data on the country's economy over the weekend added to a troubling picture heading into the back of the year. Exports fell 8.3 percent in July from a year prior. Factory prices remain on the decline, and economic growth while better than expected is still showing that the Chinese boom is fizzling. For now, China's central bank is showing no sign of easing its grip on the currency and letting the yuan depreciate - despite pressure from exporters for help.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this weekend to: Antonio Banderas (55) Madrid Spain,  Bob Cousy (87) Scottsdale, AZ., Elizabeth Dole (79) Washington D.C., Edge (54) Dublin, Ireland, Tim Gunn (62) New York, N.Y., Wayne Knight (60) Pasadena, CA., Donna Redman ….famous supporter of law enforcement, Charlize Theron (40) Malibu, CA.

2016 DEBATE PART ONE - DEBATE GRADES - Rubio: A; Christie: B+; Walker: B; Bush: B- Kasich: B; Carson: B; Huckabee: C; Paul: C; Cruz: C; Trump: Classy

7 takeaways: "1. Jeb was meh. ... 2. Trump's act is wearing thin - especially with women ... 3. Paging Ted Cruz. ... 4. The real Trump effect: Lots of fireworks, less substance. ... 5. John Kasich is emerging as a top-tier candidate. ... 6. Rand Paul needed to attack - and he did [Christie]. 7. Scott Walker was so-so - but had the best line of the night. ... 'Probably the Russian and Chinese government know more about Hillary Clinton's email server than do the members of the United States Congress.


Preseason NCAA College Football Top Ten – 1). Ohio State Buckeyes,  2). Auburn Tigers,   3). TCU Horned Frogs,  4). Michigan State Spartans,  5). Oregon Ducks,  6). Georgia Bulldogs, 7). Notre Dame Fighting Irish,  8). Ole Miss Rebels,  9). Arizona Wildcats,  10). USC Criminals.  All teams began training camp last week.

Preseason SCIAC Football Top Four – 1). Chapman Panthers,  2). Redlands Bulldogs,  3). La Verne Leopards,  4). Cal Lutheran Kingsmen – Teams report at the end of the week to their preseason camps.

(MLB, August 15) New York Yankees (61-49) 3 at Toronto Blue Jays (61-52) 6

Season to date (64-33)

MARKET WEEK – Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) has agreed to buy aircraft equipment maker Precision Castparts (PCP), in a cash deal worth about $37.2 billion.

U.S. stock index futures rose today as the Dow looked to bounce back after extending its losing streak to seven sessions Friday. European stocks , meanwhile, turned negative as disappointing China data weighed, while optimism for a new Greece bailout deal rose.

China stocks shook off weak economic data, surging nearly 5 percent today, after a report suggested that the mainland will finally begin to overhaul its stumbling state-owned enterprises.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Hillary Clinton's $350 billion plan to kill college debt: The plan, which would change the way a large swath of Americans pay for college, borrows ideas from the left and the right: Clinton will discuss the plan ... at campaign stops [today and tomorrow] in New Hampshire. Summer Term at The ULV ends this week with a flurry of Exams and Case Papers, College of Law begins today, anxious to see the numbers. Good luck to Dean Gil Holmes on the upcoming year.

Next week: Guest Blogs the next two weeks, Rink Rats is on vacation. We will be back on August 31.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
August 10, 2015

CARTOON OF THE WEEKEND – B. Smaller, The New Yorker Magazine

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