Monday, March 14, 2016
I am sure everyone at one time or another has been bullied. It has been and will always be a problem in any society or culture. But this year bullying is playing a central theme in our Presidential campaign.
Lauren Underwood writes below about her experience at a Trump rally before the Michigan primary last week.
Lauren Underwood, Garden City, Michigan - Okay, so I'm going to go ahead and share my experience at Donald Trump's rally in Warren, MI today. We'll start with why I went. I am a firm believer in being educated on ALL candidates, not just the one you're rooting for, so Stephanie and I decided to attend. If you know me, it's no surprise that I am not a fan of Trump due to his racist, misogynist, and popularity-searching "campaign". But I try to keep an open mind, understanding that people have different views and everyone is entitled to their own. I wore a shirt bashing Trump, and Stephanie wore a pro-Bernie Sanders baseball hat. We had no intentions of causing a scene, starting any fights, or even speaking negatively towards any Trump-supporters. We stood in the crowd with everyone else, even made small talk with a few different people, asking back and forth about each other's views. A women supporting Trump even complimented our hat and shirt.
This is not a post to bash all Trump-supporters. Most of the people we spoke to were very kind to us, as we were to them. Trump came out and started his speech. As hard as it was, we ignored the screams and chants of building walls and exporting citizens. We stood quietly and listened to the man speak. Every 15 or so minutes, a scene would happen where the crowd would yell about protestors and Trump would scream, "Get them out, send them out of here!" and the crowd would scream "USA, USA, USA" until the attendees who were asked to leave were escorted out. So, about 45 minutes to an hour into his speech, a group of teenage boys (who had been harassing us the entire time while we ignored their comments) screamed and pointed at us, yelling for us to be kicked out. At first we laughed it off, of course we couldn't be kicked out, we were just standing here silently. Wrong. A secret service member and a police officer were there within the minute, grabbed Stephanie and I by our arms, and started to lead us out. One of the Trump supporters we were chatting with even stood up for us, explaining that we weren't doing anything and weren't being disruptive. By now the crowd was chanting their USA run and a large portion was also booing us out. The walk through the crowd was very upsetting, being screamed at and filmed, even one man said "Go to China if you like communism so much!"
(Communism?? Don't you mean democratic socialism??). But also, along the walk out, some attendees would high five us or shake our hands, and thank us for coming and supporting Bernie. It felt weird to be thanked, due to us not doing anything besides standing quietly. As the two men walked us out, one explained that if we returned we would be arrested. Stephanie quickly asked why that was. The man replied with "They don't want you here," to which she said "Isn't it a constitutional right to silently protest?" The officer replied "Not here." The rude remarks and yells didn't stop at the door, for Trump-supporters who didn't get in greeted us with just as much hatred. The walk back to my truck even included a man yelling from his car about how this was for Trump people and that we didn't belong here and shouldn't have come. This kind of hatred is what is ruining this country. To think that my right to protest was taken from me AT A RALLY, scares the hell out of me for if Trump actually became president and got that power. What else would he take away from us if he can't even stand two teenage girls standing silently at a FREE, PUBLIC, OPEN-TO-EVERYONE event? If you're thinking of voting Trump this year, please rethink your stance.
This much hate belongs nowhere near the presidency.
THE TRUMP INFOMERCIAL - Say what you will about the GOP front-runner, his press conferences are remarkable performance art. Tuesday night's was perhaps the most amazing yet. In an upbeat victory speech that was part press conference, part product-placement bonanza - and equal parts political circus - the Republican presidential front-runner managed to plug Trump Steaks, Trump Magazine and Trump Water.
Donald Trump touted his golf courses, his wineries and his business school. Watching the spectacle was his newest supporter, former New York Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill - who got an extended on-air shout out from the billionaire. 'I don't think I've seen such a stream of disconnected ideas since I quit psychiatry 30 years ago,' said conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer on Fox News.
TRUMP's TALL TALES – “Trump's Week of Errors, Exaggerations and Flat-out Falsehoods: POLITICO Magazine subjected the GOP frontrunner to our fact-checking process: The result: more than five dozen statements deemed mischaracterizations, exaggerations, or simply false ... It equates to roughly one misstatement every five minutes."
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Alex Ball …famous campaign advisor to Josh Gottheimer for Congress NJ 5th; Michael Caine (82) London, England; Jon Hamm (45) Woodland Hills, CA; Carrie Underwood (33) Memphis, TN; Bruce Willis (60) Bel Air, CA; Bow Wow (29) Brooklyn, NY.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES – College endowments are seeing losses. A dozen funds that responded to requests from Bloomberg for their returns for the first six months of fiscal 2016 showed an average loss of 3.8 percent. Indiana University’s $2.3 billion endowment had the biggest loss at 6.1 percent through Dec. 31. Pennsylvania State University’s $3.7 billion fund had the smallest decline at 1.8 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 1.6 percent in that time.
The interim results from schools, nearly all with assets of at least $1 billion, provide a snapshot of performance at endowments, which are typically heavily invested in equities, hedge funds and private equity. While global equities have rallied recently, endowments may be unable to make up for lost ground when the fiscal year ends June 30. Investment returns contribute to a school’s annual operating budget.
The six-month losses come after lackluster 2.4 percent returns on average for fiscal 2015, the worst since a 0.3 percent decline three years prior, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers and investment manager Commonfund. While endowments invest for the long term, the schools set a formula -- often an average of the previous three or five years of returns -- for annual spending rates to fund academic operations.
Schools typically spend about 4 percent to 5 percent, which means they need annual returns to be higher to avoid cutting into principal. The chief investment officers of some of the wealthiest endowments, including those at Harvard and the University of Notre Dame, said last week at an investing conference that the current environment will be challenging for returns.
For decades, endowments typically followed a portfolio model in which the majority of assets were invested in equities. Asset allocations, which still include stocks, have expanded to include hedge funds, private equity, emerging markets and commodities, making the funds more susceptible to swings in the price of oil or the pace of China’s economic recovery.
2015: WEAKEST EARNINGS YEAR SINCE THE CRISIS – 2015 results reported saw S&P earnings per share fall by 12.7 percent, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. That is the sharpest decline since the financial crisis year of 2008. Plus, the reported earnings were 25 percent lower than the pro forma figures - the widest difference since 2008 when companies took a record amount of charges.
THE RETIREMENT CRISIS: STILL HAPPENING - News flash: Americans still aren't saving enough money for retirement. ... . While slightly less than two-thirds of white families have managed to put something away for their post-work lives, only 41 percent of black families and barely one-quarter of Latino families can say the same.
VALUABLE JUNK - The riskiest part of the U.S. corporate-bond market is staging a comeback, marking an upswing in investor confidence following a turbulent start to the year. Returns on junk bonds turned positive for 2016 this month, reversing a sharp selloff at the beginning of the year. The surge is one of the most convincing signs that the recession fears that rattled markets earlier this year have faded. While analysts continue to scrutinize stock valuations amid soft global-growth expectations and slumping U.S. corporate earnings, many portfolio managers say stocks and junk bonds look relatively attractive at a time when yields on safe assets such as government bonds are in many cases near record lows and falling. U.S. stocks tiptoed to their longest rally since October last week as a rise in oil prices lifted energy shares.
OUT AND ABOUT – Last Saturday’s Detroit Red Wings win over the New York Rangers at The Joe, saw this distinguished group of Detroit Country Day alumni celebrating Terry Tangkas’ birthday.
From left to right: Randy Field ’72, Mike Page ’71, Terry Zangkas ’72. Dan Kanaan ‘72.
2017 WINTER CLASSIC – The Detroit Red Wings are heading back outdoors to play the Toronto Maple Leafs. The NHL made it official last week with the announcement the two teams will play Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in the first NHL Centennial Classic at Toronto’s BMO Field where Major League Soccer's Toronto FC and Canadian Football League's Argonauts play. The game will be a rematch of the 2014 Winter Classic that set a record crowd of 105,491 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. The Maple Leafs won the game, 3-2, in a shootout.
The 2017 game will be part of a yearlong Centennial celebration that will feature a variety of special events highlighting the 100th year of the NHL.
MARCH MADNESS! - UVA, UNC, Kansas and Oregon are the #1 seeds. Full bracket: http://es.pn/1V5PxA6
BRACKETOLOGY 101 – We like a Final Four of Kansas, Oklahoma, Providence, and Michigan State in this year’s March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament.
COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Friday 3/18, 7:30 CT, HGTV; #6 University of Denver Pioneers (23-8-5) vs. #5 St. Cloud State Huskies (29-8-1), the NCHC tournament semi-final, Huskies in a wild one 6 – 5. Season to date (8-7).
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(SCIAC, Mar. 15) Baseball; Ithaca College Bombers (2-3) at Claremont-Mudd Republicans (4-12), the annual spring break visit of Coach George Valesente’s South Hill club, Ithaca wins 8 – 4.
(ECAC, Mar. 18) #18 St. Lawrence University Saints (19-13-4) vs. #12 Harvard University Crimson (18-9-4), ECAC semifinal, Saints win in OT 4 – 3.
(NHL, Mar. 19) Boston Bruins (39-23-8) at Los Angeles Kings (40-22-5), two teams heading towards Lord Stanley’s tournament, LA wins 3 – 2.
(NBA, Mar. 19) Golden State Warriors (59-6) at San Antonio Spurs (56-10), forget about the NCAA tourney tonight, this is HUGE: Warriors win in OT 106 – 104.
Season to date (26 -17)
MARKET WEEK - There were no government economic reports due out today, but Wall Street get a flood of key inflation numbers tomorrow and Wednesday ahead of the Fed's interest rate decision. The producer price index is out tomorrow and the consumer price index is out Wednesday.
DRIVING THE WEEK - Fed announcement and Yellen presser on Wednesday with no rate hike expected. Markets will look for any dot-plot changes and hints about when the next hike might come ... Tuesday's primaries will either put Trump on a glide path to the nomination or make a contested convention a serious possibility ... Senate Banking has a nominations hearing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ... FDIC meets Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. ... U.S. Chamber hosts its capital markets summit Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. ... ABA holds its government relations summit Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ... House Financial Services holds a CFPB hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. ... Retail sales Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. expected to drop 0.1 percent headline and 0.2 percent ex-autos ...
Tuesday's primaries could decide whether Donald Trump can lock up the GOP nomination before the July convention or if chaos in Cleveland lies ahead. Should Trump take both Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66), there is probably no stopping him. But while the marketing executive leads by significant margins in most Florida polls, he trails home state governor John Kasich in Ohio. GOP 2012 nominee Mitt Romney will campaign in Ohio with Kasich on Monday as the "stop Trump" effort enters what could be its final days ...
If Trump splits the two big states, establishment dreams of keeping him from the 1,237 delegates he needs will remain viable. If he somehow loses both, Trump could be in real trouble. The other big prizes up for grabs Tuesday include Missouri, Illinois and North Carolina. Trump could take them all but Kasich has a shot in Illinois and Ted Cruz has his best chance in Missouri.
Next week: Jack Ass and the Words of the Month.
Until Next Monday, Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
March 14, 2016
CARTOON OF THE WEEK –Nick Anderson, Hearst Papers
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
My wife is the living proof that you can move up without putting someone down, be strong without making someone weak and love without having to hate.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
The International Women’s Day theme for 2016 is "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.”
THE PRESS - "DERELICTS OF DOODY: Senate GOP leaders sign letter vowing to defy Constitution and ignore ANY Supreme pick." See the cover. http://nydn.us/vp5qdB
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I will never vote for Donald Trump, not even if Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley rise from the grave and beg me to support him." - Rick Wilson, a GOP consultant who outlined the many, many reason he won't support Trump in an op-ed. http://bit.ly/1QYrKMV
FOR THE LOVE OF LIBRARIES: President Barack Obama's nominee for the 14th Librarian of Congress has an "unparalleled" dedication to learning and education, the president said. He and Carla Hayden (and first lady Michelle Obama) go way back; they all know each other from Hayden's days working at the Chicago Public Library in the early 1990s. Hayden - who would be the first woman and the first African American to hold the position - is now CEO at Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library. "It became that community meeting place, and people were so relieved to have a safe place to be," she said. "I believe in what libraries can be for a civilized society, and a country that is open to all." The former American Library Association president, who would take over amid criticism of the technology policies at the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, must still be confirmed by the Senate.
THE CARDINAL WAY -- One day after announcing a record-setting $400 million donation from Nike founder Phil Knight, comes this from Stanford's Kathleen Sullivan: "The Stanford University Board of Trustees has approved a 3.5 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for the 2016-17 school year...total undergraduate charges will increase to $62,541 next year, including $47,331 for tuition, $14,601 for room and board, and $609 for a mandatory health fee." http://stanford.io/1KOK1zG
JUST DO IT: Nike's founder Phil Knight donates $400 million to Stanford University, via Wall Street Journal: One of the largest philanthropic gifts ever to a learning institution... http://on.wsj.com/1T77xdY
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Ron Howard (62) Studio City, CA; Tea Leoni (50) San Marino, CA; Eddie Murray (60) New York, NY; Joanne Woodward (86) Wilton, CT.
COLLEGE CHRONICLES – Engineering Failure: The most valuable problems may be the unsolvable ones. The engineering school at Northwestern University is using the power of problems without clear solutions to prepare freshmen for the ups and downs of college and careers. Aware that some of its academically successful students arrive on campus without ever having failed at anything, the university requires all new engineering majors to take an unusual course featuring challenges they often can’t meet: working in teams to design and build devices to help individuals with disabilities. Learning to handle failure in small doses equips students for bigger challenges, professors say, building resilience and humility.
"USC tuition to top $50,000 for the first time,'' via LATimes: http://lat.ms/1L79N2g
SUMMERS ON TRUMP - Larry Summers blogs: "While comparisons between Donald Trump and Mussolini or Hitler are overwrought, Trump's rise does illustrate how democratic processes can lose its way and turn dangerously toxic when there is intense economic frustration and widespread apprehension about the future. This is especially the case when some previously respected leaders scurry to make peace in a new order - yes Chris Christie, I mean you. ...
"The possible election of Donald Trump as President is the greatest present threat to the prosperity and security of the United States. I have had a strong point of view on each of the last ten presidential elections, but never before had I feared that what I regarded as the wrong outcome would in the long sweep of history risk grave damage to the American project."
MIKE BARNICLE in Daily Beast, "The Two Americas Behind Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders": "The sadness within the American promise is that in places where voices are not heard, where dreams are now nearly dead, where a generation of hard work and solid wages have been hollowed out or stolen as the establishment sat on its hands unwilling to fight an economic system geared to satisfying shareholders before addressing the real needs of families that once thought they were on a level playing field, the future is now filled with dread instead of a dream.”
WALL STREET'S NEXT BIG SHORT: TRUMP? - Add the juggernaut that is Donald J. Trump to the list of what-ifs that is worrying Wall Street. A growing realization that the unpredictable New York real estate developer is in a position to win the Republican nomination and then battle Hillary Clinton for the White House in November's election has caused some investors to sell U.S. stocks. They fear having such a wild-card president could trigger trade wars, hurt the economy and add a lot of market volatility.
“As the market rarely feasts on lack of predictability - Trump represents a nightmare for investors this year,' said hedge fund manager Douglas Kass of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc, who said last week that he was adding to his existing short bet on the U.S. stock market in part because of Trump's increasingly strong position in the race. Trump's statements on business and Wall Street don't neatly fit into one ideological worldview, but if anything, they are seen as isolationist in a globally connected world".
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Donald Trump: https://youtu.be/DnpO_RTSNmQ
COPY THAT - Xerox Corp. will split itself in two and give several board seats to activist investor Carl Icahn, reversing an effort by the century-old company to marry business services with its copiers and printers. Xerox will divide into two publicly traded companies: one containing its office machines and another housing its services operations ... The company made the announcement last week when it is forecast to report a fourth straight year of declining profits and sales.
The split unravels Xerox's biggest ever acquisition, the 2010 purchase of Affiliated Computer Services Inc. for about $6 billion, which pushed Xerox deeper into providing bill processing, managing call centers and other back-office services to government agencies and corporations. The split would follow a similar move by rival Hewlett-Packard Co. last fall. ... Mr. Icahn in November disclosed a stake in Xerox and said he would seek talks with the company about its future. With an 8.1 percent stake in the company, Mr. Icahn's hedge fund is now the second-largest shareholder after Vanguard.
COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Saturday 3/12, 7:00 p.m. ET: ECAC Quarterfinals, Clarkson College Golden Knights (20-13-3) at #18 St. Lawrence University Saints (17-13-4). Two old, old rivals battle for a ticket to Lake Placid. Saints in a tight one 4-3. Season to date (7-7).
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(SCIAC, Mar. 12) Baseball; University of Redlands Bulldogs (10-5) vs. California Lutheran Kingsmen (7-4), two top four teams in conference, Cal Lu 7 – 4.
(NHL, Mar. 12) New York Rangers (39-22-6) at Detroit Red Wings (32-23-11), The Wings suddenly are fighting for their playoff lives, they win 3 – 2.
(NBA, Mar. 12) Oklahoma City Thunder (43-20) at San Antonio Spurs (54-10), Spurs breeze, 104 – 85.
Season to date (23 -16)
REMEMBERING Nancy Davis Reagan ... LOU CANNON, who was written five books about Ronald Reagan and covered his presidency as senior White House correspondent for The Washington Post, is the eye-popping byline on the N.Y. Times obit of Nancy Reagan, "Fierce Protector and Influential Force as First Lady: Champion in the Struggles Against Drug Abuse and Alzheimer's Disease" (one-third of front page, plus 1.5 pages inside): "'Without Nancy, there would have been no Governor Reagan, no President Reagan,' said Michael K. Deaver, a longtime aide and close friend of the Reagans who died in 2007.
Next week: Bullying and the Words of the Month.
Until Next Monday, Adios.
March 8, 2016
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – “Hooray for Women”