Friday, January 29, 2016

Out of Touch

Rink Rats is still having a difficult time staying consistent in our posting dates, our history is to post every Monday. This has not been the case now for many months, hopefully we will do better. I blame The Republicans and bad pizza, which is a story for another Blog.

This relates to our Blog title for this week: “Out of Touch”. Perhaps this writer is getting out of touch?

“Out of Touch” seems to be a frequent theme these days in the news:

DISCORD IN DETROIT: Teacher "sick-outs" closed nearly all of Detroit's schools on last week, displacing nearly 45,000 students as teachers called attention to run-down schools, large class sizes, teacher pay problems and more. "We realized that nobody is coming to save us, so we have to save ourselves," Lacetia Walker, an instructional specialist in special education for DPS, told the Detroit Free Press. District spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski said that while nine district schools were open Wednesday, "44,790 of the district's 46,325 students lost a critical day of instruction." The sick-outs prompted DPS to ask for a restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the teachers. The district wants the court to force them to follow Michigan law, which prohibits strikes by public employees.

- The district's emergency manager, Darnell Earley, says DPS is in danger of running out of money this spring. Total debt, including unfunded pension liabilities, is estimated to be as high as $3.5 billion.

BACK TO THE FED - When it raised short-term interest rates last month for the first time in nine years, the Federal Reserve was supposed to be beginning a process of normalization that would see rates rise steadily. But after a brutal start to 2016, a number of investors now hope the U.S. Fed is having second thoughts about hiking rates three or four more times this year. That raises the stakes around what the central bank will say in the statement it will release Wednesday afternoon. While several markets rebounded last week, oil prices are near multiyear lows and there are still concerns about slowing Chinese growth. This morning, the Shanghai Composite Index, China’s main benchmark, experienced its largest one-day percentage loss since the Chinese government got rid of a “circuit breaker” mechanism on Jan. 8. Meanwhile, other central banks, including in Japan and Europe, are still enacting stimulus measures, but traders worry about whether it will be enough.

NEGLIGENCE - Negligence by Southern California Gas Co. led to massive Porter Ranch-area gas leak: The government agency that regulates Southern California's air quality sued Southern California Gas Co. on Tuesday, accusing the company of negligence in a massive gas well leak that has forced thousands to leave their homes. The South Coast Air Quality Management District said the utility's negligence extended to the design, construction, operation and inspection of one of the wells at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility near Porter Ranch, according to the civil complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

OSCARSSOWHITE - Diversity in Hollywood: Failure of Inclusion Plagues The Entire Industry: This year, the nation's battle over identity and inclusion has found a new focus: Hollywood. The tipping point arrived with the Jan. 14 unveiling of Oscar nominees, a list as white as the Social Register, circa 1950. The announcement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences - revealing that every one of the 20 acting nominees was white, incredibly, for the second consecutive year - has filled the Twitterverse and cable talk shows with outrage, plunging the Academy into crisis. The lack of diversity has dominated the conversation, from the executive suites at Disney to the hallways of CAA.

JACK ASSES OF THE MONTH – Last but not certainly least in the Out of Touch category for this week, the crisis in Flint, Michigan over the city’s water supply. Of all towns in America, Flint, Michigan does not need this. This town has suffered for a generation now: crime, poverty, General Motors abandons, corruption, a bad hockey team, and now poison water.
From the Federal Government’s EPA, to the Governor’s Office, to County and City elected officials and water company bureaucrats – a hearty congratulation for pulling a Watergate and never, absolutely never, telling the truth. Welcome to our Jack Asses of the Month club.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - ENDOWMENT RETURNS DROP SHARPLY WHILE DONATIONS RISE: Colleges saw significantly lower returns on their endowments in the 2015 fiscal year - but that's not stopping them from spending the big bucks. The annual NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments found that 812 colleges returned an average of just 2.4 percent after fees, down from 15.5 percent in 2014 and the lowest return since the -0.3 percent reported for 2012. The long-term return was well below the median 7.5 percent most endowments report they need to earn to maintain purchasing power after spending, inflation and investment management costs, the report notes. Yet 78 percent of participating institutions spent more from their endowments this year, with a median increase of "a substantial 8.8 percent, well above inflation." The report:

- But it's not all bad: Colleges raised an all-time high of $40.3 billion in 2015, the Council for Aid to Education said today. That's a 7.6 percent increase over 2014, according to the group's annual Voluntary Support of Education survey. The wealth is not exactly widespread, however; less than 1 percent of the nation's colleges got more than a quarter of the money. Of the 20 colleges that collectively received $11.56 billion, Stanford gathered the most, a record $1.63 billion. Harvard came in second with $1.05 billion and the University of Southern California was a distant third with $653.03 million.

POLITICS 101 - NBC/WSJ/Marist polls: Iowa: Trump 32%, Cruz 25%, Rubio 18%, Carson/Bush 4% ... Clinton 48%, Sanders 45%, O'Malley 3%.

N.H.: Trump 31%, Cruz 12%, Rubio/Kasich 11%, Bush 8%, Christie 7% ... Sanders' lead over Clinton grows to 19 points (Sanders 57%, Clinton 38%), up from 4 points (50%-46%) in the same poll less than three weeks ago; O'Malley 2%.

S.C.: Trump 36%, Cruz 20%, Rubio 14%, Bush 9%, Carson 8% ... Clinton 64%, Sanders 27%, O'Malley 2%. NBC's Carrie Dan: "Clinton receives the backing of 74 percent of African American likely voters, compared to just 17 percent for Sanders. For white voters, it's 52 percent for Clinton and 41 percent for Sanders.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Alan Alda (80) Fairfield, CT; Wayne Gretzky (55) Thousand Oaks, CA; Chief Justice John Roberts (61) Washington D.C.; Mimi Rodgers (60) Las Vegas, NV; Bob Uecker (81) Milwaukee, WI; Eddie Van Halen (61) La Quinta, CA.

TALK SHOW RADIO – Some of the best sports talk show radio has been on the satellite radio air waves this past week. Sirius Channel 82’s “Mad Dog Radio” Chris Russo has been hosting his annual Super Bowl trivia week contest. You answer four trivia questions you win Super Bowl tickets. The reaction to his contestants by the Mad Dog has been a classic.

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – No game this week unless you count the Pro Bowl, I would rather watch Senator Cruz discuss his family tree. Season to date (11-9)

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Saturday 1/30, 3:00 PM ET, Lifetime: We turn to NCAA Women’s hockey this week – St. Lawrence University Saints (13-11-3) visit #5 Clarkson Golden Knights (21-3-3). Senior Sydney Bell leads St. Lawrence into Potsdam to take on the nationally ranked Golden Knights, Clarkson is too tough 5 – 2. Season to date (3-6).


(NBA, Jan. 30) San Antonio Spurs (39-7) at Cleveland Cavaliers (32-12), Cavs 92 – 88.

Season to date (12 -10)

Next week: Super Bowl week.

Until Next Sunday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
January 28, 2016

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Exercise for those who are out of touch.”

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