Saturday, December 31, 2016

Adios 2016

It was an interesting year to say the least. As in every family we lost some loved ones, we gained new members to the family, and hopefully we became a bit wiser.

SO LONG, 2016 - Welcome to the final Rink Rats of the year. And what a crazy year it was. We've already apologized for basically getting Donald Trump wrong at nearly every turn (though we did suggest he was closing the gap late!) so we won't go through all of that again. Credit the President-elect for running a tireless campaign and drawing an inside straight that allowed him to pick off just enough states to win the Electoral College while dropping the popular vote by nearly 3 million.

In the lessons learned category, RR regrets not focusing more on the difficulty of an incumbent party hanging onto the White House for a third consecutive term, even with an economy at nearly full employment and trending in the right direction. Clinton's weakness at connecting with younger voters and working class whites also could have used more examination. And never again will we believe that [insert outrageous gaffe here] will finish a political candidate. Trump blew that all away. Not that anyone not named Trump could pull it off. But still ...

In the spirit of the season, we here at RR are hoping for the best for an incoming administration that will face enormous challenges in actually delivering on the promise of a manufacturing renaissance in the industrial Midwest and more broadly shared growth. Best of luck also in reducing the trade deficit in the face of a surging dollar. But those are stories for next year. For now, thanks for allowing us into your inbox this year and we hope you will be kind enough to do so again in 2017.

See you back here next year! RR will be back on January 9th.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES 2016 - Flawed Forgiveness: The federal government is on track to forgive at least $108 billion in student debt in coming years, as more borrowers seek help in paying down their loans, leading to lower revenues for the nation’s program to finance higher education. The Government Accountability Office disclosed the sum in a report to Congress which for the first time projected the full costs of programs that set borrowers’ monthly payments as a share of their earnings and eventually forgive portions of their debt. The GAO report also sharply criticized the government’s accounting methods for its $1.26 trillion student-loan portfolio, pointing to flaws that have led it to alter projected revenues significantly over the years. The government says it still expects the program to generate a profit over the long term, but it has repeatedly trimmed expectations for revenues.

COLLEGE ENROLLMENT CONTINUES DOWNWARD SPIRAL: The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center says in a new estimate, released last month, that fall enrollment fell nationally by more than 270,000 students compared with a year earlier. The declines were heavily concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, with 39 states seeing enrollment drops. Also of note: nearly 165,000 fewer students enrolled in four-year, for-profit colleges. Overall, it said there were 19 million students enrolled in all types of institutions. "The trends of a declining adult student enrollment and the shrinking for-profit sector are now joined by stagnating numbers of new high school graduates," says Doug Shapiro, the center's executive research director. "These forces show no sign of slowing and will continue to challenge institutions in their planning."

- Top 5 states with the largest enrollment decreases: New York (30,695); Illinois (26,089); Michigan (25,841); Pennsylvania (18,390); and Virginia (15,613).

- Top 5 states with the largest enrollment gains: New Hampshire (21,413); Utah (20,498); Florida (16,989); Georgia (10,607); and Arizona (5,655).

MORTGAGE RATES HEAD HIGHER - The era of ultralow mortgage rates is over. The Federal Reserve's decision to raise the federal-funds target rate by a quarter of a percentage point last week means borrowing is about to get more expensive for consumers.

Some homeowners also will feel the pain, in particular those who signed up for home-equity lines of credit, adjustable-rate mortgages ..and other variable-rate loans. Interest rates on these loans tend to rise after rate increases, resulting in larger payments for borrowers ... Rates on plain-vanilla, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have surged since Election Day by 0.76 percentage point, bringing them to an average of 4.38 percent on Thursday - their highest rate since April 2014.

POLITICS 101 2016 – The election that was: Hillary Clinton now over 65 million votes. No candidate except Obama ever did that. Not even the great Trump! Clinton 65,001,074 Trump 62,578,111.

INAUGURATION WATCH – Jimmy Carter is only former president to RSVP for Trump's inauguration: One month out, Jimmy Carter is the only former president to RSVP to President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, while Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are putting off their decision until the New Year. The Clintons have been keeping a low profile since the election, and have made no decisions about whether or not to attend, according to a person familiar with the planning. Angel Urena, a spokesman for Bill Clinton, declined to comment. ... After a particularly personal and vicious presidential contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton, the former president has been leaning toward skipping the inauguration confab, according to a source in the Clinton camp.

DIANE REHM'S LAST SHOW -- Radio icon Diane Rehm signs off after 37 years: 'I've been proud to be your host: It began the way it always has: 'From WAMU in Washington, I'm Diane Rehm,' she said, and then she paused, because this time was different. 'I've said those words for so many years, thousands and thousands of times. I've always been so proud to say them.' Over nearly 40 years on the air, Diane Rehm has hosted writers, artists, philosophers, Hollywood celebrities, foreign leaders and U.S. presidents. But on Friday, during the final airing of NPR's 'The Diane Rehm Show,' she spent most of her time speaking to the loyal fans who have listened to her every week for so many years.

There were, of course, a few high-profile cameos: singer and songwriter Judy Collins called and sang a verse of 'Amazing Grace' at Rehm's request. Isabel Wilkerson, author of 'The Warmth of Other Suns,' also phoned in: 'Oh Diane, you're such a national treasure.' Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) thanked Rehm for her 'incredible service' to the country, and legendary actress Julie Andrews and her daughter gushed their love and gratitude, calling Rehm 'a beacon of light in our lives.'"

MILLENNIALS STUCK AT HOME - Almost 40 percent of young Americans were living with their parents, siblings or other relatives in 2015, the largest percentage since 1940, according to an analysis of census data by real estate tracker Trulia. Despite a rebounding economy and recent job growth, the share of those between the ages of 18 and 34 doubling up with parents or other family members has been rising since 2005.

Back then, before the start of the last recession, roughly one out of three were living with family. The trend runs counter to that of previous economic cycles, when after a recession-related spike, the number of younger Americans living with relatives declined as the economy improved. The result is that there is far less demand for housing than would be expected for the millennial generation, now the largest in U.S. history.

MARKET 2016 IN REVIEW - 2016 started off on a down note, with the oil crisis and fears of a slowdown in China rattling markets. By the 18th of January, U.S. equity markets had shed more than 10 percent on the year; the S&P 500 fell to 1812 from 2038, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2000 in what looked to be a torrid year for investors.

What a difference eleven and a half months make. As 2016 comes to a close, it has been a year of record high prices in both equities and bonds, further unconventional central bank policy and periods of unprecedented volatility in commodity markets.

Record equity prices: 2016 began with the acceleration of the commodity crisis that sent oil prices to multi-year lows. WTI Crude fell below $27 a barrel, crippling Middle Eastern economies and dragging equity prices with them. All major indices fell by more than 10 percent to begin the year.

After stabilizing in February, U.S. equities began an unprecedented turn north, dodging periods of volatility on their way to all-time highs. In August the three major U.S. indices (S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq) reached all-time highs, and on November 21, these three indices, plus the Russell 2000 made new all-time highs on the same day. (Further reading: Party Like It's 1999: 4 Stock Indices Hit Simultaneous Highs)

But the record run in equity markets faced some stern tests in 2016, most notably on the political front. In June, the U.K. voted to leave the European Union (Brexit), which sent global equities into free fall. In the 48-hours following the result, $3 trillion was wiped off global markets as investors feared the populist movement in Europe would leave to growing protectionism and trade wars that would dampen growth. However, the falling British pound stabilized European equities as they made it cheaper for foreign investment and markets continued to climb. On October 4 the FTSE 100 rose above 7000 for the first time.

It was a similar scenario in the U.S. after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. Shortly after Clinton conceded, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell by more than 600 points as fears of anti-trade and protectionism had investors hitting the flight to quality button. However, once investors assessed Trump's fiscal policy, equity prices, interest rates and the U.S. dollar all turned sharply higher as inflation expectations grew. Less than two weeks after the results the Dow went through 19,000 and the S&P 500 through 2200.

The S&P 500 finished higher 6 of the eleven months ending November and is on track to add December to that list. The best performing month was March where it gained 6.3 percent and the worst performing month for the S&P was January where it finished down 4.8 percent, despite being down 10.5 percent in mid-January.

Unconventional monetary policy hits currencies - As interest rates in the U.S. began to normalize, the next two biggest central banks, Japan's and the ECB, continued to tinker with monetary policy as growth and inflation remained benign throughout the year. In March, the ECB cut the deposit rate to minus 0.4 percent and in September, the Bank of Japan announced it would shift its focus to the yield curve.

After moving the deposit rate further into negative territory in March, the ECB said it is unlikely to reach its 2 percent target rate, and it reduced the 2016 growth forecast from 1.7 percent to 1.4 percent. In its policy statement, ECB President Mario Draghi said that "survey data point to weaker than expected growth momentum at the beginning of this year." Additionally, the ECB increased its monthly bond buying program from €60 billion to €80 billion. In December, the ECB announced it would reduce the amount back to €60 billion a month, but extended it through to the end of 2017. On the back of the news, the
EUR fell towards the key 1.05 level against the U.S. dollar as investors eyed parity. (See also: The European Banking Crisis Explained)

In Japan, the central bank continued to battle in a deflationary environment, and in September the Bank of Japan announced it was to shift its focus to long-term rates in an attempt to manipulate the yield curve. By steepening the yield curve, the BOJ hopes to increase banks profitability by keeping long-term rates above short-term rates. While the bank did say it was not pegging the 10-year yield, most saw the policy as a form of yield pegging. In its policy statement the BOJ said, "the current target level of 10-year JGB yields, which is around 0 percent, is set as an operating target for market operations for the intermeeting period. The Bank does not intend to peg 10-year JGB yields at this level for long in the future. It will examine an appropriate shape of the yield curve at every MPM."

Oil price volatility - Oil prices swayed markets early in 2016 when prices hit multi-year lows. At the beginning of February, crude traded below $30 a barrel for the first time in 12 years as reluctance to cut production flooded the market. The price decline crippled many energy stocks and rig counts in the U.S. plunged to record lows.

The middle part of the year saw oil climb off its lows, trading in a $40 to $50 a barrel range as fears of a fully-fledged crisis were averted, but an end of the supply stand-off remained. Then, in November, the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut supply by 1.2 million barrels a day, sending oil through $50 for the first time since mid-2015, and two weeks later non-OPEC nations agreed to a further production cut, which led to more gains in oil prices. By mid December oil prices had doubled of February's lows. (See also: Crude Oil Soars After OPEC and Non-OPEC Countries Agree to Production Cuts)

The bottom line - 2016 was a year defined by a changing political landscape. With the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's Presidential victory, it solidified the growing populism movement. Despite these fears, financial markets shrugged them off, and equities in the U.S. rallied to all-time highs as post-election optimism grew.

However, both Europe and Asia grappled with slowing growth and benign inflation, resulting in continued accommodative monetary policy.

MEDIA 2016 - Tom Friedman, op-ed columnist, The New York Times: "This is the year we discovered the fundamental truth of cyber-space: we are all connected there, but no one's charge there. And now that so many of our interactions—commerce, education, friendship and politicking—are moving there, we have a real problem. Unlike the terrestrial world, there is no governing legal authority. So we now have fake news, post-truth, hacking of our election from Russia & friends and Google and Facebook purveying truth and lies and not knowing, or wanting to police, the difference."

Mike Barnicle, longtime Boston columnist and regular on MSNBC's Morning Joe: “This is not meant as criticism or an indictment of our most important business, the news business and the constant objective of delivering truth to the customers who purchase the product or sadly and more often consume it for free. It's simply an observation provoked by 2016: during the epic campaign year just ending we seem to have forgotten to rely on the art of listening. "

"The demands of feeding the beast - a.k.a online editions -, the thinning out of so many newspapers and the loss of talent to buy-outs are just a couple of understandable reasons why that may have happened. But few things are more valuable, more enlightening, more educational and more fun than wandering around the edge of a big story and having a conversation with a stranger about that person’s life, about their fears, their hopes, their dreams, their problems and potential along with their daily existence. No recording device in their face. No notebook and pen deployed. Just a simple, hands-in-the-pocket chat with people who have come to regard too many in the news business as arrogant, elitist, out-of-touch sophisticates who just don’t get it. "

WEST COAST WATCH 2016 -- Mayor Eric Garcetti is trying to strike a balance with Donald Trump. Will it pay off? Before election day, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti didn't hold back when it came to Donald Trump. 'He's a racist. He's a bigot. He's sexist,' Garcetti told reporters in May, criticizing the Republican presidential hopeful for his views on the economy, immigration and women, among other things. 'What we cannot do with Donald Trump is normalize him as a candidate.' ... But since Trump's victory, Garcetti has adopted a more civil tone. They spoke by phone last week, and Garcetti has expressed his willingness to work with the president-elect on infrastructure and the economy. At the same time, Garcetti has offered assurances that the city won't aid Trump on any widespread crackdown against immigrants who are in the country without authorization.

After 24 years working together, Feinstein and Boxer say goodbye to their 'Thelma and Louise' partnership: In 1992, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer pitched themselves to California voters as the dynamic duo, as 'Thelma and Louise,' as 'Cagney and Lacey.' They were trying to convince voters to do something no state had ever done: Elect two women to represent them in the U.S. Senate. When they got to Washington, reporters followed the pair, looking for signs of discord. Boxer and Feinstein derided the attention as bizarre and sexist, but they remained conscious of the intense interest in how the nation's first female pair of senators would work together. 'It was ridiculous,' Boxer said. 'We knew there were people who were ready to say two women can't get along. We knew we had that responsibility.' ...

Feinstein, a former mayor of San Francisco, was a consensus builder willing to buck her own party at times to reach a compromise. Boxer, who served 10 years in the House before coming to the Senate, was a bit of a flamethrower, more rigidly ideological and staunchly devoted to the environment and women's healthcare. ... The 76-year-old Boxer is retiring in January, leaving behind a 24-year working relationship with Feinstein that was by all appearances in sync until its last days, when an argument over water policy played out in public. Starting Jan. 3, Feinstein will have a new partner in Kamala Harris, who has a blend of Boxer's progressive ideology and Feinstein's pragmatism.

THE NEW GILDED AGE - As Populists Won 2016 Ballots, World's Richest Made $225 Billion: Triggered by disappointing economic data from China at the beginning, the U.K.'s vote to leave the European Union in the middle and the election of billionaire Donald Trump at the end, the biggest fortunes on the planet whipsawed through $4.8 trillion of daily net worth gains and losses during the year, rising 9995.4 percent to $4.4 trillion by the close of trading Dec. 27, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. ... The gains were led by Warren Buffett, who added $12 billion during the year.

GOOD READ -- This coming Sunday's NYT Mag features a big cover story by C.J. Chivers in one of his first major features since being named a writer at large for the magazine -- "The Fighter: The Marine Corps taught Sam Siatta how to shoot. The war in Afghanistan taught him how to kill. Nobody taught him how to come home": "Since leaving the corps in 2012, Siatta had been unable to switch off the habits of war. He was hypervigilant and struggled to relax. He watched people, sizing them up and scanning for threats. In the varying situations of everyday life, he constantly repositioned himself so no one got behind him. Much of this was appropriate for combat patrols. Some of it drew from his training. All of it was mentally and emotionally exhausting, unsuited for a peaceful life. Going to a restaurant, moving through knots of people at a party, visiting the mall, finding a seat in a classroom relative to other people and windows and doors - each was a challenge requiring effort and will."

NAMES -- The new household names: Garcia is now the sixth-most-common surname in the U.S.: The 2010 [Census] data ... show that six of the 20 most common last names in the U.S. now have Hispanic or Latino origin. In 1990, just 2 of the 20 most common names were Hispanic. ... The Hispanic population in the U.S. grew by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010. That year there were some 50.5 million Hispanic-Americans, or 16 percent of the overall population.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Mel Gibson (60) Santa Barbara, CA.; Bobby Hull (77) Scottsdale, AZ.; John Paul Jones (70) London, England; Sandy Koufax (81) Beverly Hills, CA.; Bill Reid ….famous college roommate; Tiger Woods (41) Miami, FL.

WE WILL MISS YOU 2016 – Muhammad Ali (74), Bill Bigglestone, David Bowie (69), Glen Frey (67), John Glenn (95), Boutros Boutros-Ghali (93), Merle Haggard (79), Gordie Howe (88), Arnold Palmer (87), Prince (57), Nancy Reagan (94), Alan Rickman (69).


1. “Little Sister” (Zach Clark)
2. “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins)
3. “Sully” (Clint Eastwood
4. “Hail, Caesar!” (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
5. “Love & Friendship” (Whit Stillman)

NFL GAME OF THE WEEK – Sunday 1/1, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN: Green Bay Packers (9-6) vs. Detroit Lions (9-6) vs., for the Norris Division Title, the Lions do it to us every year, blow it! Packers win 32 – 24.Season to date (12-3)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 1/2, 8:00 PM ET, ABC; Rose Bowl: #9 University of Southern California Trojans (9-3) vs. #5 Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2), a blowout USC win 40 – 17.Season to date (11-5)


(NFL, Jan. 1) Houston Texans (9-6) vs. Tennessee Titans (8-7), the battle for the AFC South, Houston wins 24 – 20.

(NBA, Jan. 1) Detroit Pistons (15-20) at Miami Heat (10-24), thrilling New Years Day contest, Pistons in a barn burner 84 – 80.

(NHL, Jan. 1) Detroit Red Wings (16-16-4) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (16-12-7), a great game to start out the 100th year of the National Hockey League, Leafs win 4 – 3.

Final 2016 Season to date (126 – 100, 55.7%) Weak at best.

Next Blog: 2017 lots of luck.

Until Next Time, Happy New Year.

Jackson, Michigan
December 31, 2016


Monday, December 19, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas we prepared our Holiday Punch –

RINK RATS HOLIDAY PUNCH – Prep time five minutes, serves eight.
4 cups cranberry juice
1 bottle sparkling cider
1 liter ginger ale
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
12 ounces Ketel One vodka, optional but necessary
1 orange, sliced

In a large bowl, over ice combine all of the liquid ingredients. Float the orange slices on top, for garnish and serve.

On the Second Day of Christmas we selected our holiday music -


1). “Ave Maria”, 1957 – Perry Como

2). “Hallelujah”, 1984 – Leonard Cohen

3). “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree”, 1958 – Brenda Lee

4). “Santa Claus in Comin to Town”, 2007 – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

5). “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (medley), 1962 – Ran Conniff Singers

On the Third Day of Christmas we celebrated this week’s birthdays -

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Pope Francis (80); Al Kaline (82) Franklin, MI.; Nancy Newman ...famous photographer; David Smith ….famous educator; Steven Speilberg (70) Aspen, CO.; Lesley Stahl (75) Manhattan, NY.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas we reviewed POTUS week ahead –

POTUS WEEKS AHEAD - The President will be in Honolulu, Hawaii through Monday, January 2, 2017. The President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing every day. On Tuesday, December 27, the President will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Honolulu, Hawaii. The meeting will be an opportunity for the two leaders to review our joint efforts over the past four years to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, including our close cooperation on a number of security, economic, and global challenges. The President will also accompany Prime Minister Abe to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those killed. The two leaders' visit will showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies, united by common interests and shared values.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas we read a Dear Rink Rats letter –

Dear Rink Rats:

I believe that Santa Claus is an elf. In “The Night Before Christmas,” Santa is described as “a right jolly old elf.” He is also said to travel by “miniature sleigh’ led by “eight tiny reindeer,” suggesting he is elf-size. My co-worker Elena believes, as many others do, that Santa is a kind of superpowered human. Who is right?


Steve in Petoskey, Michigan

Dear Steve,

Of the many iterations of the jolly home intruder/child punisher/rider of mutant steeds called “Santa” – from Odin, to Sinterklaas, too Joulupukki the Christian Goat – the concept of a shrunken mini-Santa is the most terrifying. But yes, Steve, if that old poem is to be believed, there is a Santa, and he is a tiny elf who, I guess, has enslaved his own people to make toys. But since we are grown-ups, I can finally tell you the truth your parents are apparently still hiding from you: I AM SANTA CLAUS. I will see you soon! When you are sleeping!


Rink Rats

On the Sixth Day of Christmas we ponder about the PEOTUS (Donald J. Trump) –

PEOTUS – never laughs; he smiles, but never laughs. I don’t know what it is. It is extremely rare to see or hear the president-elect himself laughing. Something to ponder.

On the Seventh Day of Christmas the Church of Scientology –

Welcome to Scientology's 'Graceland,' the beautiful secret 'last refuge' of the church's founder L Ron Hubbard who was hiding out from the FBI and IRS...and maybe future home of Tom Cruise: The secret spiritual home of the Church of Scientology..sits in Ceston, a remote area of San Luis Obispo County, California, and has been dubbed the 'Scientology Graceland', or the 'Garden of Eden'. It is the last resting place of founder L Ron Hubbard, and has been kept in pristine condition nearly 30 years after his death, held in the highest regard by the church and its followers.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas the College Chronicles –

COLLEGES TIGHTEN THE LEASH ON STUDENT WATCHDOGS: College administrators across the country have sought in recent years to avoid scrutiny from student journalists by trying to control content - even going so far as to threaten to pull funding or pressure advisers to avoid stories that may tarnish the colleges' carefully-crafted image. That's according to a report out today by the American Association of University Professors, the College Media Association, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the Student Press Law Center, which says this rising resistance to scrutiny comes even as colleges have made at least a surface-level push to embrace civic engagement as part of the educational mission. "Few colleges and universities are 'walking the walk' of civic engagement in their governance of journalism, and too many are abandoning higher education's traditional commitment to free and independent journalistic voices," the report says.

College administrators have shown a growing tendency to meet behind closed doors and "thwart access" to critical information and documents , according to the report. When students do get their hands on juicy information, college leaders have gone to great lengths to keep them from publishing it. Nearly two dozen college media advisers surveyed this spring said they have faced some form of administrative pressure to control content, according to the report. Meanwhile, many colleges have cut journalism programs or funding for student-run publications - sometimes as a form of retaliation for coverage they didn't like. The report cites a number of such cases, including a February lawsuit at the University of Kansas, where a 50 percent cut to student activity-fees that fund the student paper was motivated at least in part by a desire to punish unfavorable editorial commentary.

Colleges are more obsessed with promoting a favorable public image than ever before, but a college that retaliates against students and faculty for unflattering journalism doesn't just look bad - it is bad," said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. "We need a top-level commitment from the presidents of America's colleges and universities to support editorially independent student-run news coverage, including secure funding and retaliation protection for students and their advisers."

On the Ninth Day of Christmas Hockey 101 –

HOCKEY 101 - Are you a new fan to hockey and don’t know anything at all about the sport yet? Is hockey to you only fights? Does the movie Slap Shot represent to you the best in hockey? Are you an avid fan who wants to brush up on hockey know-how? You’ve come to the right place! Hockey 101 gets you updated on all the referee calls and what they mean.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas we select our Top Three Christmas movies –


1). “Fences”, Paramount Pictures, Budget: $24,000,000

2). “La La Land”, Summit Entertainment, Budget: $30,000,000

3). “Sing”, Universal, Budget: $75,000,000

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas The Swami makes his picks –

NFL GAME OF THE WEEK – Monday 12/26, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN: Detroit Lions (9-5) vs. Dallas Cowboys (12-2), the Lions do it to us every year, blow it! Cowboys win big 35 – 20.    Season to date (11-3)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/24, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN; Hawaii Bowl: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (8-4) vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (6-7), a blowout Blue Raiders win 45 – 17.     Season to date (11-4)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Congratulations to the Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (15-0) Division III Champions, until next season.   Season to date (9-6)

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Wednesday 12/28, 4:00 PM ET, HGTV: The Florida College Classic in Southwest Florida, Northern Michigan Wildcats (4-14-2) vs. Cornell University Big Red (7-3-1), college hockey in the sunshine state, Big Red wins 6 – 2.  Season to date (4-6)


 (NFL, Dec, 25) Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5). AFC North title up for grabs, Steel Curtain prevail 24 – 17.

(NBA, Dec, 23) San Antonio Spurs (22-5) at Portland Trail Blazers (13-16), Spurs 96 – 90.

(NHL, Dec. 23) Minnesota Wild (18-8-4) at New York Rangers (23-10-1), Rangers win 4 – 3.

Season to date (122 - 98)

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas we look at the Market Week –

MARKET WEEK - "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" topped the weekend box office , scoring the second-best December opening ever with $155 million in North America, and $290.5 million worldwide, despite the spin-off not opening in China until the new year.
The dollar is cementing its domination of the currency market, trading near an almost 14-year high versus the euro as the Federal Reserve's more hawkish outlook invigorates its post-election rally. ...

The greenback headed for its best week in a month against major peers after surging to its strongest point since 2003 versus the euro and to a 10-month high against the yen. ... The Fed's pivot toward hawkishness marks a shift away from central-bank policy dominating market sentiment, with the potential for an increase in fiscal stimulus now in focus. ... [T]he Fed stands largely alone in actively tightening policy ... The Bank of England kept its key rate at a record low Thursday, a week after the European Central Bank extended quantitative easing.

Next week: 2016 Year in review.

Until Next Time, Merry Christmas.

Claremont, CA
December 20, 2016

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Saturday Night Live

SNL crushed it with its take off of the Christmas Hit “Love Actually”, "Hillary Actually," skit in which Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon) went to an elector's house and tried to persuade her to not vote for Trump.

Friday, December 16, 2016


Rink Rats is late this month, for many reasons, please excuse our tardiness.

The Oxford Dictionary defines pet peeve as: “something that a particular person finds especially annoying”. Well, I have four: (1) “reply all” email, really!  (2) Failure to use your turn signal when driving. (3) Individuals who think they are intelligent, but are not. (4) AND, being late.

Late: students, colleagues, strategies, decisions, laws, meals, plans, tasks, all drive me nuts!

I am driving myself nuts this month of December, late Blogs, late decisions, late to meetings, late to everything. Here is a picture of my desk this morning at 6:22 a.m. PDT. My desk is even late!

Is it too early for a vodka and tonic????

NO WHERE TO GO FOR TRUMP ON THE ECONOMY? - Goldman's Jan Hatzius on the challenges for Trump given the state of the economy and potential Republican opposition to big new spending or deficit-busting tax cuts: "Starting on January 20 ... Trump will preside over a US economy that is essentially at full employment. To be sure, there are still some indicators showing modest slack ... But there are now also several key metrics consistent with full employment or even a small amount of labor market overheating ...

"Further labor market tightening is likely in coming quarters, given the economy's solid growth momentum. ... There are some important constraints on the size of the ultimate tax cut. Unlike the last two times when a new Republican President took office with a promise to cut taxes sharply ... the official budget projections already show sizable federal deficits averaging more than 3 percent of GDP over the next decade"

STRONG DOLLAR GETS SCARY - Around the globe, the surge in the dollar is provoking financial jitters. Emerging market countries and corporations that have been binging on cheap dollar debt for more than a decade now face a spike in servicing costs and elevated debt burdens.

And the global financial giants - banks, insurance companies and mutual, pension and sovereign wealth funds - that have financed this $10 trillion borrowing bonanza must confront a period of higher interest rates and tighter financial conditions that will make them less willing to extend credit to companies and investors alike.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – A total of 39 leaders of private colleges earned more than $1 million during the 2014 calendar year.

The number of leaders with compensation above $1 million was up from 32 the year before. The average pay of private-college leaders, including those who served partial years, was $489,927 in 2014. Among presidents who served the whole year, average pay was $512,987. Leaders who served full years in both 2013 and 2014 saw a pay increase of 8.6 percent.

The Chronicle of Higher Education analysis is based on the latest available federal tax filings, known as Form 990s, of the 500 private, nonprofit colleges with the largest endowments. The data include compensation figures for 516 presidents who served at 499 institutions for all or part of the 2014 calendar year. The year-over-year calculation includes 377 presidents. (Because this year’s analysis used averages rather than medians, 2014 figures may not be comparable with previously published figures.)

Jack P. Varsalona, president of Wilmington University, in Delaware, led the field in 2014 with a total compensation package of more than $5.4 million. Mark S. Wrighton, of Washington University in St. Louis, and R. Gerald Turner, of Southern Methodist University, were the next-highest earners.

- Moody's Investors Service said that higher education would continue to have a stable outlook in 2017, and that public and private colleges would have aggregate revenue growth at or above 3 percent.

- G. Gabrielle Starr was appointed president of Pomona College, making her its first female and first African-American leader. Ms. Starr, currently dean of the College of Arts and Science at New York University, will succeed David W. Oxtoby, who will step down in June after 14 years.

WHY 'BALLERS' IS A BIG DEAL -- Dwayne Johnson's 'Ballers' moves to California from Florida, will get $8.3 million tax credit: Dwayne Johnson's HBO series 'Ballers' is moving to California from Florida for its third season and has been conditionally approved to receive an $8.3 million tax credit from the state. 'Ballers' is scheduled to shoot its next 10 episodes in California, where it will employ 135 cast, 209 base crew, and 5,700 extras. The series will generate an estimated $33.5 million in 'qualified expenditures,' defined as wages paid to below-the-line workers and payments to in-state vendors - making it eligible for a 25% tax credit for its first season in California, followed by a 20% credit for any successive seasons. 'Ballers' is the seventh series to relocate to California under the state's expanded tax incentive program, launched last year. The 2015-16 fiscal year marked a major expansion of the seven-year-old tax credit program, aimed at halting the erosion of California-based production to states with bigger incentives such as Georgia and New York. The annual allocation rose from $100 million to $330 million, and applications are ranked on how many jobs they will produce, rather than being selected by lottery.

SIGNED, SEALED, DELAYED - UPS and FedEx are straining to keep up with holiday shipping volumes that have blown past expectations, delaying the delivery of some of the millions of online orders shoppers have placed since Thanksgiving. In advance of the busy holiday season, both UPS and FedEx had extended delivery windows on some routes, suspended delivery guarantees and refunds for certain weeks and stopped promising to deliver certain express packages by a set time. Despite these measures, analysts say on-time delivery rates for both companies were down slightly during the weeks following Thanksgiving. UPS has relocated hundreds of staff from its headquarters and other corporate offices to help at struggling shipping hubs. Both companies handle millions of packages on their busiest days, so even a small drop can mean tens or hundreds of thousands of customers receive their shipments late.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Beau Bridges (75) Lake Forest, CA.; Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) (64) St. Lawrence University ’74; Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY) (59) Albany, NY.;  Dame Judi Dench (82) London, England; Kirk Douglas (100) St. Lawrence University ’39; Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry (73); Edwin Meese III (85) Carmel, CA.;  Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) (80).

HISTORY 101 - Back in 1824, this week the House of Representatives met to decide who'd become the next president, eventually choosing John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson and William Crawford. (And be honest: Some of you out there wanted an 1824 sequel this year.)

CLIMATE WOES -  Sierra snowpack could drop 50% by the end of the century due to climate change: Researcher Alex Hall used a complex computer model to look at what would happen to the Sierra Nevada mountains if these pollutants kept entering our atmosphere at the current rate. He found that by the end of the century, average temperatures could climb by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and average snowpack levels could fall by 50 percent. Even worse, this reduction in snow would likely fuel more warmth, since as snow melts it exposes land.

INSOMNIA CURE - There are simple, and in some cases surprising, ways to beat that awful feeling of waking up at 4 in the morning and not being able to fall back to sleep. Everyone experiences it occasionally, but for some it occurs so often that it becomes an insomnia disorder. Rising too early can be caused by an out-of-whack circadian rhythm, the internal clock that dictates the body’s sleep/wake cycle. The key is to reset the body clock later. This can be done by exposing patients to bright light in the evening via a light therapy box or goggles that beam light to the eyes. Other techniques include standing up to watch TV or scheduling phone calls in the evening to stay awake until bedtime.

GOOD VIEW – “The Heroes of San Bernardino: 1 Year After the Attacks" - ABC News: "One year after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, the ABC News Investigative Unit and 'Nightline' are looking back, revealing never-before-seen photos and videos and hearing from the first responders, the victims and the everyday people who prevented a terrifying day from getting any worse."

WOMEN ON THE RISE - At the start of a new legislative season, the number of female elected officials in the California State Capitol has dropped to 27 of a total of 120, down from a peak of 37 in 2006. That is a sharp contrast to Los Angeles County, where the Board of Supervisors, representing the nation's most populous county, recently installed its first female "supermajority" in history. And just days after four women took their place on the five-member board, the body began tackling a number of key women's issues.

OUT AND ABOUT – The Los Angeles Athletic Club is hosting the annual Log Cabin Republicans Christmas Party this evening (December 16). Early indications a 50/50 split in support of PEOTUS.

TOP THREE – World Professional Golfers
            1). Jason Day, Australia
            2). Rory McIlroy, N. Ireland
            3). Dustin Johnson, USA

NFL GAME OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/18, 1:05 PM ET, Fox: Detroit Lions (9-4) vs. New York Football Giants (9-4). The Lions begin their end of the season swoon, Giants win 24 – 21.    Season to date (10-3)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/17, 3:30 PM PT, ABC; Las Vegas Bowl: Houston Cougars (9-3) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (10-3), Houston is favored by four points, we like San Diego in an upset; 42 – 35.    Season to date (10-4)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday 12/16, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU: Stagg Bowl, D-III Championship: #1 Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (14-0) vs. #4 UW-Oshkosh Titans (13-1), perennial D-III winners, we like Mary Hardin-Baylor for two reasons, (1). name sounds like a Homecoming Court finalist, (2).  A better defense. 24 - 17   Season to date (8-6)

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/17, 7:07 PM CT, LPTV: An inter-conference match-up; #1 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (11-3-2) at #15 Bemidji State Beavers (13-5-2).  Bulldogs win in OT 5 – 3.  Season to date (3-6)


 (NFL, Dec, 18) New England Patriots (11-2) at Denver Broncos (8-5), so long playoffs for Denver, Brady Bunch wins 28 – 20.

 (NBA, Dec, 16) Charlotte Hornets (14-12) at Boston Celtics (13-12), time for the Celtics to start playing basketball, Boston wins 102 - 94

(NHL, Dec. 17) Montreal Canadiens (19-6-4) at Washington Capitals (18-7-3), Caps win this one 3 – 2.

Season to date (116 - 97)

MARKET WEEK -  Five U.S. stock indexes finished at records on Thursday — something that hasn't happened on the same day in 18 years. Small-cap stocks are far in the lead during the month following Donald Trump's surprise victory, with the S&P Small Cap 600 Index (SML) returning 18% from Nov. 8 (Election Day) through Dec. 8, while the S&P 400 Mid Cap Index (MID) was up 12.3% and the large-cap S&P 500 index (SPX) was up 5.2%.

Here are the 24 stocks in the S&P Small-Cap 600 Index with majority ‘buy’ ratings (among at least three analysts) that are expected to rise the most over the next 12 months:
Closing price - Dec. 6
Consensus price target
Implied 12-month upside potential
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Acorda Therapeutics Inc.
Nektar Therapeutics
First NBC Bank Holding Co.
Regional Banks
Flotek Industries Inc.
Oilfield Services/ Equipment
R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.
Commercial Printing/ Forms
Medicines Co.
Vasco Data Security International Inc.
Information Technology Services
Emergent BioSolutions Inc.
Omnicell Inc.
Health Industry Services
Cynosure Inc. Class A
Medical Specialties
LSB Industries Inc.
Misc. Manufacturing
36% Inc.
Internet Software/ Services
TiVo Corp.
Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Almost Family Inc.
Medical/ Nursing Services
Tetra Technologies Inc.
Oilfield Services/ Equipment
Comtech Telecommunications Corp.
Telecommunications Equipment
Contango Oil & Gas Co.
Oil and Gas Production
Motorcar Parts of America Inc.
Automotive Aftermarket
Cray Inc.
Computer Processing Hardware
Nautilus Inc.
Recreational Products
Lannett Co.
Natus Medical Inc.
Medical Specialties
Source: RinkRats

JOHN GLENN – I asked this week my Business class of twenty one, nineteen and twenty year olds if they knew who John Glenn is? Not one student knew who he is. I weep for our educational system.

John Glenn, a freckle-faced son of Ohio who was hailed as a national hero and a symbol of the space age as the first American to orbit Earth, then became a national political figure for 24 years in the Senate, died on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio. ... In just five hours on Feb. 20, 1962, Mr. Glenn joined a select roster of Americans whose feats have seized the country's imagination and come to embody a moment in its history, figures like Lewis and Clark, the Wright brothers and Charles Lindbergh. To the America of the 1960s, Mr. Glenn was a clean-cut, good-natured, well-grounded Midwesterner, raised in Presbyterian rectitude, nurtured in patriotism and tested in war, who stepped forward to risk the unknown and succeeded spectacularly, lifting his country's morale and restoring its self-confidence.

Next week: Chestnuts roasting on a fire….

Until Next Time, Adios.

Claremont, CA
December 16, 2016