Monday, April 25, 2016

To Ph.D. or not, that is the Question

ROBERT HEVEY was fascinated by gardening as a child, but then he grew up and took a 30-year career detour. Mr. Hevey earned a master’s in business and became a certified public accountant, working for accounting firms and businesses ranging from manufacturing to enterprise software and corporate restructuring.

“I went to college and made the mistake of getting an M.B.A. and a C.P.A.,” he recalled with a laugh.

Now 61, Mr. Hevey is making up for lost time. He’s a second-year Ph.D. student in a plant biology and conservation program offered jointly by Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Mr. Hevey, whose work focuses on invasive species, started on his master’s at age 53, and he expects to finish his doctorate around five years from now, when he will be 66.

“When I walk into a classroom of 20-year-olds, I do raise the average age a bit,” he says.

While the overall age of Ph.D. candidates has dropped in the last decade, about 14 percent of all doctoral recipients are over age 40, according to the National Science Foundation. Relatively few students work on Ph.D.s at Mr. Hevey’s age, but educators are seeing increasing enrollment in doctoral programs by students in their 40s and 50s. Many candidates hope doctorates will help them advance careers in business, government and nonprofit organizations; some, like Mr. Hevey, are headed for academic research or teaching positions.

At Cornell University, the trend is driven by women. The number of new female doctoral students age 36 or older was 44 percent higher last year than in 2009, according to Barbara Knuth, senior vice provost and dean of the graduate school.

“One of the shifts nationally is more emphasis on career paths that call for a Ph.D.,” Dr. Knuth said. “Part of it is that we have much more fluidity in career paths. It’s unusual for people to hold the same job for many years.”

“The people we see coming back have a variety of reasons,” she added. “It could be a personal interest or for career advancement. But they are very pragmatic and resilient: strong thinkers, willing to ask questions and take a risk in their lives.”

Many older doctoral candidates are motivated by a search for meaning, said Katrina Rogers, president of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif., which offers programs exclusively for adult learners in psychology, human and organizational development and education.

 “Students are asking what they can do with the rest of their lives, and how they can have an impact,” she said. “They are approaching graduate school as a learning process for challenging themselves intellectually, but also along cognitive and emotional lines.”

Making a home for older students also makes business sense for universities and colleges, said Barbara Vacarr, director of the higher education initiative at, a nonprofit organization focused on midlife career change. “The convergence of an aging population and an undersupply of qualified traditional college students are both a call to action and an opportunity for higher education.”

Some schools are serving older students in midcareer with pragmatic doctoral programs that can be completed more quickly than the seven or eight years traditionally required to earn a Ph.D. Moreover, many of those do not require candidates to spend much time on campus or even leave their full-time jobs.

That flexibility can help with the cost of obtaining a doctorate. In traditional programs, costs can range from $20,000 a year to $50,000 or more — although for some, tuition expenses are offset by fellowships. The shorter programs are less costly. The total cost at Fielding, for example, is $60,000.

Mr. Hevey’s advice to anyone considering a similar move? “Really ask yourself if this is something you want to do. If you think it would just be nice to be a student again, that’s wrong. It’s not a life of ease: You’ll be working all the time, perhaps for seven or eight years.”

Mr. Hevey does not expect to teach, but he does hope to work in a laboratory or do research. “I’m certainly not going to start a new career at 66 or 67,” he said. “But I’m not going to go home and sit on the couch, either.”


The N.H.L. suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw for one game for shouting an anti-gay slur while in the penalty box during his team’s Game 4 playoff loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.

Shaw was also fined $5,000 for directing an inappropriate gesture at the officials and will be required to take sensitivity training. He will miss Game 5 on Thursday in St. Louis, with the defending champion Blackhawks trailing by three games to one.

The incidents occurred late in the third period after Shaw was penalized for interference with Chicago down by 4-3. He gestured at the officials while skating to the penalty box. Video of Shaw in the penalty box seemed to show him shouting the slur, though it was not clear to whom his remarks were directed. After the game, Shaw told The Chicago Tribune: “I mean, emotions are high; I really don’t know what’s said. I was obviously upset with the call being that late in the game.”

But on Wednesday, he apologized in a statement. “I am sincerely sorry for the insensitive remarks that I made last night while in the penalty box,” he said. “When I got home and saw the video, it was evident that what I did was wrong, no matter the circumstances.”

Speaking to reporters later, Shaw said, “I’ll never use that word again, that’s for sure.”

“I get it,” he added. “It’s a hurtful word. It’s 2016 now. It’s time that everyone is treated equally.”

The Blackhawks said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed in Andrew Shaw’s actions last night. His comments do not reflect what we stand for as an organization.”

Colin Campbell, the N.H.L. vice president for hockey operations, said that while Shaw was remorseful, he had to be held accountable.

“The emotion of the moment cannot and will not be a mitigating factor for the conduct that is expected of an N.H.L. player,” Campbell said.

Andrew Shaw is our Jack Ass for the month of April for his actions this past week.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Kay Bigglestone ...Tucson's finest, Queen Elizabeth II (90) London, England; Al Pacino (76) Manhattan, N.Y, Joe Zanetta ...The Man & The Legend.

GOOD READS - The Secret History of Tiger Woods," by Wright Thompson on the cover of the upcoming "Fame" issue of ESPN: The Magazine: "The death of his father set a battle raging inside the world's greatest golfer. How he waged that war -- through an obsession with the Navy SEALs -- is the tale of how Tiger lost his way."

COLLEGE CHRONICLESANNUAL COMMENCEMENT SEASON (DRAMA): The University of Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Joe Biden and former House Speaker John Boehner with its highest award at next month's graduation ceremony. But some students are crying foul, saying that neither man represents the university's values. More than 80 students signed an op-ed in the school's newspaper in March criticizing the decision to give Biden the 2016 Laetare Medal, which university officials award to a Catholic "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity." Objections to Biden center on his support of abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage. Another op-ed takes aim at Boehner's selection, noting his positions on immigration, the death penalty and environmental issues. University spokesman Paul Browne indicated this year's award is intended to "promote that which unites us. I guess it's a sign of the times that fostering civil discourse would generate invective in some quarters," he said.

- Meanwhile, more than 600 students at the University of Alabama at Huntsville are petitioning to revoke Sen. Jeff Sessions' invitation to speak at the school's May 1st commencement. The petition lists Sessions' track record on education and civil rights and his endorsement of Donald Trump as president as reasons to rescind the invitation. Faculty members have joined in, submitting a petition with almost 200 signatures. A counter-petition supporting Sessions' invitation to the university, which enrolls about 8,000 students, is also circulating.

- Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is at the center of a flap on feminism and her foreign policy track record at a California women's college. Twenty-eight faculty members at Scripps College sent a letter to the school newspaper saying they would not attend this year's May 14 ceremony because Albright is delivering the commencement speech. In a letter to the paper, one student criticized Albright as a "white feminist and repeated genocide enabler" for her failure as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN to stop the killings in Rwanda and her support of NATO's bombing of Serbia in 1999.

- Not all the backlash is politically motivated. A group of students at Tulane University tried last month to replace Today Show's Hoda Kotb as commencement speaker for not being sufficiently serious or high-profile. The petition, which garnered more than 200 supporters, said students deserve better "given the amount of money, work, and passion we have poured into our educational careers at Tulane." The petition has since been taken down and Kotb will speak at the May 14 graduation.

- Students at Trinity College in Connecticut are reconsidering an invite to rapper Action Bronson, scheduled to perform at its spring concert, because of his violent and sexually explicit lyrics. George Washington University decided to remove  him from the school's concert lineup earlier this year because his music wasn't "consistent" with the university's "values of diversity and inclusion."

POLITICS 101 - Donald Trump's Road to Washington Goes Through Fresno: For Trump to clinch the nomination, he has to do very well in the remaining contests, plus win a large majority of delegates in California - as many as 130, according to the Associated Press, representing victory in 39 out of the state's 53 congressional districts. As Breitbart News analysis has determined, that almost certainly means Trump has to win at least one or two districts in Cruz strongholds in the Central Valley of California, with large numbers of Latino and evangelical voters.

COUGH - Los Angeles and Bakersfield top list of worst air pollution in the nation: Bakersfield tops the list for having the most unhealthy days from airborne particles spewed by highway traffic, diesel trucks, farm equipment and fireplaces, the American Lung Assn.'s State of the Air 2016 report says. Los Angeles remains the nation's leader in harmful ozone pollution from car tailpipes emissions, the report says.

HAMILTON SURVIVES; TUBMAN ON THE $20 - Harriet Tubman will bump Andrew Jackson from the front of the $20 bill while Alexander Hamilton will stay put on the $10 - a historic move that gives a woman prime placement on U.S. currency and quells a controversy kicked up by Hamilton super-fans. ... [Treasury Secretary Jack] Lew rolled out sweeping changes that will put a new cast of historic figures onto various bills that have remained largely static for decades.

Leaders of the women's suffrage movement will make their way onto the back of the $10 bill, while civil rights era leaders and other important moments in American history will be incorporated into the $5 bill. Jackson will be kicked to the back of the $20 bill. The plan is a major reversal for Lew, who appeared taken aback by the swift rebukes Treasury received last summer when he announced that he was considering replacing Hamilton on the $10 bill with a woman. ... Lew ... got an earful from fans of Hamilton, who helped create the Treasury Department and the modern American financial system.

FORTUNE's new cover, "Business: The Trump Way," "He's a billionaire (though maybe not as rich as he says). He claims he hates debt (but his casino companies went bust because of it). He craves press attention (but sues at the drop of a hat). What does Trump's record tell us about how he'll lead?"

 ... See the cover.

THE PRESIDENT'S WEEK AHEAD: On Monday [in Germany], the President will open and tour the Hannover Messe Trade Fair with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Afterwards, the President will deliver remarks. In the afternoon, the President will meet with President Francois Hollande of France, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy, and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom in a meeting hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the evening, the President will depart Hannover and return to Washington ...

On Wednesday, the President will welcome the United States Naval Academy Football Team to the White House to present them with the 2015 Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. On Thursday, the President and the First Lady will mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder at the White House with friends and staff. On Friday, the President will attend the International Jazz Day Festival at the White House.

REAL ESTATE, REAL ESTATE - Richard Nixon's Western White House takes a $6-million price chop:  A San Clemente estate that became known as the Western White House during Richard M. Nixon's presidency has come back up for sale at $69 million.

Called La Casa Pacifica when Nixon took ownership in 1969, the sprawling 5.45-acre compound occupies an ocean bluff in a gated enclave. While the 37th U.S. president lived there he replaced an existing tennis court with a swimming pool and built a 1,500-foot-long wall to enclose the property.

HOTTEST JOB IN TOWN? How clean tech innovation is rebuilding California: In California, 508,000 people work full-time or part-time in advanced energy, including 44,100 in Orange County, from solar panel installers to electric car designers, home energy auditors, irrigation specialists, chipmakers, biofuel scientists and sustainability executives. The sector's California job growth is explosive: up 18 percent in 2015, more than six times faster than the state's overall payroll expansion of 2.8 percent.

LEAVING BEHIND A PRINCELY SUM: At his death, Prince, the genre- and gender-bending musician had an estate worth about $300 million. It's not yet known if Prince prepared a will. If not, under Minnesota law, the estate would go to his nearest relative, leading some to speculate that it could end up in the hands of his sister, Tyka Nelson. Compares to John Lennon, $800 million; Michael Jackson, $600 million; David Bowie, $230 million.


NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – April 27, Nashville Predators (3-3) vs. Anaheim Ducks (3-3): Game seven drama in the first round, Ducks prevail 4 – 2.

Season to date (32 -18)

MARKET WEEK – As the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee prepares to meet tomorrow, one signal suggests that investors believe the economy, and financial markets, may be finding a footing after a tumultuous start to the year. Government-bond yields are heading higher around the world, a move typically linked to rising expectations of economic growth and inflation. As investors drive down bond prices, yields rise. But many worry the recent bond selloff is just the latest in a series of false starts. In three of the last four years, bond prices have fallen sharply at the start of the year, only to surge later as economic and geopolitical concerns took over investors’ minds. And in other market news, the European Central Bank’s plan to buy corporate bonds has raised the question of whether easy access to money will let companies put off making hard choices.

The week begins with new home sales on Monday. The housing market data continues to be volatile, but after Wednesday's bounce in existing home sales of 5.1% the market will be hoping the trend continues into new home sales. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is back in the spotlight where they are expected to keep interest rates on hold. This year has been a volatile one for the Fed as they grapple with global growth and geopolitical concerns and a domestic economy that continues to show signs of improvement.

After the March meeting disappointed investors when Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen delivered a more dovish statement than expected, the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields all fell sharply. Since then the U.S. employment report for March again showed an employment market that is heading towards full capacity with another 215,000 jobs added. More importantly for the Fed, the average hourly earnings rose 0.3%. This won't be enough to tip the Fed into raising rates but hints at the potential timing of a rate hike will be closely watched.

Thursday sees the release of the first estimate of Q1 GDP. The market is expecting a pullback from 2015 fourth quarter of 1.4%.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Big primary day on Tuesday with contests in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are set up for big wins. But Trump could run into trouble in Pennsylvania because most of the state's delegates will not be bound even on the first ballot in Cleveland ... Will big losses drive Sanders from the race? Seems possible.

President Obama completes his European trip on Tuesday continuing to push for free trade in an appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel followed by remarks and meetings with other European leaders ... FOMC meets Tuesday and Wednesday but is not expected to make any change to rates. And there is no press conference by Chair Janet Yellen ... First read on Q1 GDP on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. expected to show growth of just 0.6%.

Next week: The Commencement season begins and do you have a Darth Vader at your work?

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

April 25, 2016

CARTOON OF THE WEEK –2016 Pulitzer Prize winner, Sacramento Bee 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Top Five

Our Three Hundredth edition of Rink Rats, and they said it couldn’t be done.
It is only fitting on this our 300th edition we celebrate our Top Five.

Top Five Reasons to move to Canada:
5). Molson Export Ale
4). Hilary Clinton
3). Bernie Sanders
2). Ted Cruz
1). Donald Trump

Top Five Reasons to not to move to Canada:
5). Snow
4). Mounties
3). Don Cherry
2). Sudbury, Ontario
1). Toronto Maple Leafs

Top Five Reasons we do not like Tax Day:
5). Audits
4). Itemized Deductions
3). Pay first, then request an extension
2). Obama Care
1). Accountants are boring

Top Five Highest paid CEOs:
5).'s Marc Benioff, $33.4m
4). Disney's Bob Iger, $44.9m
2-3). Oracle co-CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, $53.2m each
1). Viacom's Philippe Dauman, $54.2m

Top Five Kentucky Derby Favorites:
5). Zulu
4). Mor Spirit
3). Danzing Candy
2). Mohaymen
1). Nyquist

Top Five SCIAC Endowment Values as of June 30, 2014:
5). Scripps (#237 overall) $311 million
4). Occidental (#200 overall) $406 million
3). Claremont McKenna College (#136 overall) $699 million
2). California Institute of Technology (#42 overall) $2.09 billion
1). Pomona College (#41 overall) $2.1 billion

Top Five Professional Golfers:
5). Rickie Fowler
4). Bubba Watson
3). Rory McIlroy
2). Jordan Speith
1). Jason Day

Top Five Reasons Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will be impeached:
5). FIFA
4). “Car Wash” Scandal
3). Zika outbreak administration
2). Longest economic downturn in decades
1). Defection of Democratic Movement Party

Top Five Reasons Crime is up in Claremont, California
5). Walter’s Dance Club on Saturday Nights
4). All Male City Council
3). Buffalo Inn closed
2). Two lines at Some Crust Bakery, what is that all about???
1). Who wants to go to Upland!

Top Five Post Governor jobs for Jerry Brown:
5). Angry old man
4). Mayor of Upland, CA
3). First civilian astronaut to Mars
2). Life guard in Malibu, CA
1). Provost of University of California at Berkeley

Top Five Reasons Adjunct Faculty are Cool:
5). Free parking
4). No Faculty meetings to attend
3). No research
2). You do not have to wear socks
1). They can laugh at themselves

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Jennifer Garner (44) Malibu, CA; Gene Hasse ….The Man; Ashley Judd (47) Knoxville, TN; Jack Nicholson (78) Beverly Hills, CA.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES – A new report out last week from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology stresses the importance of cross-collaboration between departments to improve online learning. The study, "Online Education: A Catalyst for Higher Education Reform," recommends that higher education professionals understand the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration; consider online education a scaffold, rather than a replacement, for in-person learning; cultivate a skilled workforce specializing in digital learning design; and ensure changes are made on the highest institutional levels to enable change.

One of the goals of the report is to try to help frame the discussion and to pull together some of the pieces of the conversation that are taking place in different arenas but are not necessarily considered in an integrated way," Karen Willcox, an MIT professor and coauthor of the report, said in a statement. The authors noted that drawing together fields that may not be traditionally linked, such as education experts and neuroscientists, can better provide ways to optimize the online learning experience. The online learning report and its findings will be presented today at the National Academy of Sciences headquarters.

SYLLABUS - Attention students: put your laptops away. A study shows there are still advantages to taking notes the old fashioned way. NPR:

'YALE NO' TO ENDOWMENT TAXES: Three higher ed groups that combined represent most of the country's colleges and universities say no way to a Connecticut proposal to tax Yale University's endowment. The Association of American Universities, the American Council on Education and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities issued a joint statement saying they were "deeply troubled" by the bill. "Taxing a large university would set a precedent for taxing not only other private colleges but also every nonprofit, from local churches and soup kitchens to the Red Cross and Salvation Army," the statement said. "Nonprofit charitable organizations are part of the foundation of American society. If we begin to tax them, we erode that foundation."

CHINESE GOODS BYPASS CALIFORNIA - Chinese exporters are sending more of their goods to the U.S. Southeast, bypassing the California ports that have long served as the gateway for Asian imports. The reason: the Southeast is home to a growing number of factories that import parts from China, and it's cheaper to bring them into the country via Savannah, Houston and other ports in the region, said Jock O'Connell, an international-trade economist at Beacon Economics.

TAXING TIMES - New Treasury rules limiting the ability of U.S. companies to do international deals to lighten their tax burdens drew cries of protest from corporate boardrooms and conservative critics yesterday. While companies around the globe raced to assess the impact, Pfizer and Allergan swiftly condemned the action after terminating their planned $150 billion merger. Both companies now must look to do deals of their own. The Treasury pushed back against the claims that its new rules put U.S. companies at a global disadvantage, arguing that the regulations shut down unfair loopholes. The Obama administration and congressional Republicans agree that the U.S. should cut its corporate-tax rate, but there are few signs that Congress will act in an election year.

CALIFORNIA POLITICS – Loretta Sanchez closes Gap on Kamala Harris for US Senate; within 4 Points on SurveyUSA Poll: Harris is proving to be one of the most uninspiring candidates for Senate in decades. Her campaign makes little news outside of emails begging for money. Sanchez has been bolstering her bid through showing voters she knows how to get things done in Washington and logging in lots of cross country miles.

GOOD READS - The Fight for the Future of NPR," by Leon Neyfakh in Slate: "A slow-moving bureaucracy. An antiquated business model. A horde of upstart competitors. Can National Public Radio survive?"

POTUS ROAD TRIP: On Tuesday, the President will depart ... en route Ramstein, Germany on his way to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, the President will arrive in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In the afternoon, the President will meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The President will remain overnight in Riyadh. On Thursday, the President will meet with leaders and delegations from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In the afternoon, the President will depart Riyadh and travel to London, United Kingdom, where he will remain overnight.

On Friday, the President will have lunch with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom at Windsor Castle. In the afternoon, the President will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom. Afterward, the President will participate in a press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron. The President will remain overnight in London. On Saturday, the President will participate in a town hall discussion with British youth at the Royal Horticultural Halls. The President will remain overnight in London.

On Sunday, the President will depart London and travel to Hannover, Germany. In Hannover, the President will have a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Afterward, the President will participate in a press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the evening, the President will deliver remarks at the Hannover Messe Trade Fair Opening Ceremony. Later in the evening, the President will participate in a dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel and business leaders. The President will remain overnight in Hannover.

OUT AND ABOUT – One of the best kept secrets in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California is the series “Sundays At The Morgan” held monthly (during the academic year) at The University of La Verne Stephen and Ann Morgan Auditorium. This past Sunday I had the extreme pleasure of listening to Vijay Gupta.

Vijay Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2007 at the age of 19, after completing a Master’s degree in Music from Yale University, and a Bachelor’s in biology from Marist College. Gupta is a passionate and dedicated advocate for the presence of music in ostracized communities. He founded and serves as Artistic Director for Street Symphony, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing free, live music to men, women, and youth living in homelessness and incarceration. A gifted spokesperson for human and mental health advocacy through a musical medium, Gupta is a TED Speaker, and a 2011 TED Senior Fellow.

PANAMA PAPERS IMPACT - Mohamed A. El-Erian: "The revelations about offshore accounts that came to light in the so-called Panama Papers will reinvigorate government efforts to rein in not just tax evasion, which is illegal, but tax avoidance, too. They will also add to popular frustration that will challenge the authority of some government officials. The uproar will bring about enhanced enforcement measures.

"Yet there also will be unintended consequences that will further erode the credibility and effectiveness of the political establishment, including its ability to govern from the center, which is already being tested."

NFL CALENDAR - Super Bowl rematch: Panthers-Broncos opens season: The rematch will be on Thursday night, Sept. 8 in Denver. ... It is the first Super Bowl rematch on opening weekend since 1970, when Minnesota beat champion Kansas City 27-10. ... Among the highlights for opening weekend is the Rams' return to representing Los Angeles as they visit San Francisco in the nightcap of a Monday night doubleheader. Pittsburgh is at Washington in the first game. ...

The Rams get their first home game in the LA Coliseum in Week 2, hosting Seattle. That night, the Vikings open their new stadium in Minneapolis against Green Bay. ... Week 16 will feature most games on a Saturday because Sunday is Christmas. There will be two games on Christmas Day: Baltimore at Pittsburgh in late afternoon, Denver at Kansas City at night. ... Houston hosts Cincinnati in a Christmas Eve night game. A tripleheader on the other major holiday, Thanksgiving, will have the traditional home games for Detroit (vs. Minnesota) and Dallas (against Washington). The prime-time matchup is Pittsburgh at Indianapolis. ...

Four games will be played abroad. Jacksonville will host Indianapolis in London on Oct. 2, at Wembley Stadium. On Oct. 23, the first NFL game at Twickenham Stadium will have the Rams hosting the Giants. And the following Sunday, Cincinnati will host Washington at Wembley. The NFL returns to Mexico City for the first time in 11 years when Oakland hosts Houston on Nov. 21. ... Houston hosts the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.


National Basketball Association Playoff Picks:

Eastern Conference: #1 Cleveland Cavaliers (4-1) over #8 Detroit Pistons;  #7 Indiana Pacers (4-3) over the #2 Toronto Raptors; #3 Miami Heat (4-2) over the #6 Charlotte Hornets; #4 Atlanta Hawks (4-3) over Boston Celtics.

Conference Semis – Cleveland Cavaliers (4-1) over the Indiana Pacers; Miami Heat (4-2) over the Atlanta Hawks.

Conference Finals – Cleveland Cavaliers (4-1) over the Miami Heat

Western Conference: #1 Golden State Warriors (4-0) over the #8 Houston Rockets; #2 San Antonio Spurs (4-1) over the #7 Memphis Grizzlies; #3 Oklahoma City Thunder (4-1) over the #6 Dallas Mavericks; #4 Los Angeles Clippers (4-1) over the #5 Portland Trail Blazers.

Conference Semis – Golden State Warriors (4-2) over the Los Angeles Clippers; San Antonio Spurs (4-3) over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Conference Finals – Golden State Warriors (4-2) over the San Antonio Spurs

NBA Champs – Golden State Warriors (4-2) over the Cleveland Cavaliers

Season to date (32 -18)

MARKET WEEK - So far, 1Q earnings season has contained mostly positive results relative to low expectations. For the 35 reporting firms, median year/year EPS growth equaled 6 percent versus 3 percent expected by consensus. This week is the first major reporting week, with 101 S&P 500 firms representing 28 percent of market cap scheduled to release earnings.

DRIVING THE WEEK – New York votes on Tuesday with 95 delegates at stake for Republicans and 291 for Democrats ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday will preside over an FSOC meeting with asset management on the agenda ... Index of leading indicators on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise 0.4 percent ... Morgan Stanley reports first-quarter earnings on Monday, Goldman Sachs on Tuesday. Will their trading results be better than expected? ... ECB makes a policy announcement Thursday with no changes expected to rates or its asset purchase program.

Next week: Jack Ass of the month.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
April 18, 2016


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

$971, $200, $15

The state of America’s sports is a rip off. The average ticket price to watch a 16-65 Los Angeles Laker team final game of the season, and yes Kobe’s last game, is $971. Nine hundred and seventy one dollars to watch a once was and a bunch of has beens!

A student at the University of Michigan has to make a deposit of two hundred dollars by May 1 to have the opportunity to purchase a season ticket for the 2016 football season.  Really?

A ten ounce beer at Los Angeles Dodger stadium costs fifteen dollars. Really?

Fifty percent of the Los Angeles television market cannot view Los Angeles Dodger baseball games due to a monopolized cable television agreement. While Magic Johnson (he owns 1%, 1% of the Dodgers) says he is a man of the people. ESPN begins games at 9:30 p.m. eastern time, the University of California at Los Angeles head football coach is the highest paid California state employee. Really?

I sure miss Downton Abbey.

POLITICS 101 - LET'S PLAY MONEYBALL - Guests on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" gave wife's House campaign: Forty-eight frequent guests on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" TV show have given the House campaign of his wife, Kathleen Matthews, who's running for the open seat in Maryland's 8th District. "These individuals, their spouses, or their political action committees donated $79,050 as of December 31, 2015 - about 5 percent of the $1.5 million Matthews had raised as of that time," The Intercept reports. "Some of the guests made the donations after they were on the show - in some cases, long after. But in at least 11 of these cases, the Hardball guests appeared on the program after Kathleen Matthews announced her candidacy, and without any disclosure of the donations. And in at least three of those cases, the donations came within days of the MSNBC appearance.

Los Angeles Times (CA Governor Race) on #cagov2018: Newsom, Villaraigosa, Chiang, Faulconer, Garcetti, Steyer, Swearengin, Westly, and ... Condoleezza Rice?

POLITICS INVADES HOLLYWOOD - Already, release schedules for the months preceding Nov. 8, Election Day, are peppered with movies that have partisan potential, whether overt or covert. Among the movies listed: "Independence Day: Resurgence," "The Purge: Election Year," "Southside With You" and Oliver Stone's "Snowden."

Days until the New York primary: 7. Days until the 2016 election: 209.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Governor Jerry Brown (78) Sacramento, CA; Hugh Hefner (90) Bel Aire, CA; John Madden (80) Oakland, CA; Dennis Quaid (62) Pasadena, CA; Joe Scarborough (53) Scarsdale, NY; Marion Roach Smith…famous writer and St. Lawrence University alumni; Robin Wright (50) Woodland Hills, CA.

WEEKEND READS --"Is 'Friends' Still the Most Popular Show on TV?" by Adam Sternbergh in New York Magazine : "Why so many 20-somethings want to stream a 20-year-old sitcom about a bunch of 20-somethings sitting around in a coffee shop.”

COLLEGE CHRONICLESChina U: The huge wave of Chinese students entering American higher education seems beneficial for both sides. The students are clamoring for American credentials, while U.S. schools want their tuition dollars. But on the ground, American campuses are struggling to absorb the rapid and growing influx. Teachers bluntly say a significant portion of international students are ill prepared for an American college education, and resent having to amend their lectures as a result. The unhappiness appears to be mutual. Chinese students are finding themselves separated from their American peers due to their high numbers and language and cultural barriers. One student who came from Beijing to study business at Oregon State University said, “I didn’t expect to go abroad and take classes with so many Chinese people.”

HARVARD AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE HINGES ON FISHER: A judge has placed a stay on the court case filed against Harvard by an anti-affirmative action group pending the outcome of Fisher v. University of Texas before the Supreme Court. The suit alleges that Harvard's admissions policies put Asian-Americans at a disadvantage. Court watchers have been waiting to see how the death of Justice Antonin Scalia may affect the Fisher case. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself, and leaving only three liberal justices deciding the case, so a conservative majority would require just four votes. The ruling:

- Speaking of the Supreme Court, the Council for American Private Education is celebrating Scalia in its latest newsletter, detailing his legacy supporting private education. Among the cases it cited in which Scalia was part of a majority supporting private and religious schools: Mitchell v. Helms, a 2000 decision that upheld an ESEA requirement that school districts lend materials and equipment to religious schools; Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, a 2002 decision that upheld the constitutionality of vouchers for religious schools; and Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn , a 2011 decision that upheld an Arizona program that offered tax credits for contributions to school tuition organizations. "As influential as Scalia's 282 majority opinions and 'occasional' dissents have been to the court's overall vitality, his ideas, words, and votes have had particular significance over the years on decisions affecting private education," CAPEoutlook wrote.

HEDGE FUND CLOSURES SOAR - More hedge funds closed their doors in 2015 than at any time since the financial crisis, according to new research, as turbulent markets dragged down the industry's performance. Last year was the worst year for liquidations since 2009, with 979 funds closing, up from 864 in 2014, according to data from Hedge Fund Research. The fourth quarter of 2015 also saw the fewest new hedge funds starting up since 2009, with just 183 openings compared with 269 in the third quarter.

The figures capture a period in which many of the industry's marquee names suffered significant losses. The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite index fell 0.9 per cent last year, HFR data show. December saw a flurry of funds converting into family offices, including Michael Platt's BlueCrest and Doug Hisch's Seneca Capital, or shutting entirely as Lucidus Capital Partners did following redemptions. Unnerved by jerky markets, hedge fund clients became fearful of risk and less patient with poor returns in the second half of the year.

BRAZIL IN CRISIS - Brazil was teetering on the brink of a constitutional crisis on Thursday after a judge blocked President Dilma Rousseff's appointment of her predecessor, Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, to her cabinet, prompting clashes in Congress and on the streets. Just as Mr Lula da Silva's swearing-in ceremony drew to a close, a federal judge issued an injunction, suspending the ex-president's appointment on the grounds that it prevented 'the free exercise of justice' in corruption investigations. ...

Opposition politicians hailed the decision as a triumph for Brazilian democracy, while the government vowed to appeal, lambasting the order as part of a 'coup' by the country's elite, reminiscent of Brazil's period of military rule. Brazilian assets rallied as investors bet on the government's collapse ... Mass protests swept the country on Wednesday and Thursday night after a court released incendiary recordings of Mr Lula da Silva's private conversations that fueled accusations he had been appointed as minister only to shield him from immediate arrest.

GOING IN REVERSE - The term “subprime loan” strikes fear into the heart of many an investor. But forget, if you can, the mortgage loans that were central to the last financial crisis, it is early defaults in subprime auto loans that are now raising concerns. A report  last week indicated that some of these loans packaged up in recent bond issues are showing cracks, with high levels of missed payments and in a small number of cases where borrowers have filed for bankruptcy or had vehicles repossessed. Bond issues backed by U.S. subprime auto loans topped $27 billion last year, the highest in a decade and a 25% increase from 2014. Some say the appetite for auto debt is what is fueling the boom, and expect defaults to rise. But many analysts brush off suggestions of a subprime auto-loan bubble, pointing to low gas prices and stable unemployment rates.

L.A. COUNTY DEBT - has doubled to $20 billion:

WELCOME TO EARNINGS SEASON: IT'S GONNA STINK - On Monday, Alcoa kicks off what we expect to be a disappointing 1Q earnings season. Our year-end 2016 S&P 500 target of 2100 implies just 3 percent upside from the current level. ... 1Q 2016 year/year EPS growth will be at best flat but could fall by as much as 9 percent given the poor operating environment for banks and energy firms ...

Corporates are currently unable to execute discretionary buybacks, the only source of demand for US shares. ... Our analysts have highlighted a laundry list of headwinds including energy counterparty risk, a slowdown in capital markets activity, and a bruising quarter for asset managers. We believe Financials EPS could fall by as much as 25 percent.

MARCUS WELBY, M.D. – Five Things Lack of Sleep Does to Your Body:

Researchers say insufficient sleep is associated with negative behavior and physical consequences including:

•          an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
•          weakened immunity and an increased tendency to get sick
•          weakened cognitive function including memory, alertness and decision-making
•          increased impulsiveness, risk-taking and addictive behavior
•          eating more and eating more unhealthy foods

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Congratulations to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (34-6-4) on their eighth NCAA Hockey Championship beating the Quinnipiac Bobcats (32-4-7) 5 – 1.

Some key story lines to watch in the offseason: (1). Who will be the new coach of the St. Lawrence University Skating Saints? (2). Is Michigan State University Spartans due for a new coach? (3). The Quinnipiac Bobcats move to the Hockey East Conference.
Season to date (11-8).

TOP SNOBS – After watching The Masters golf tournament this past weekend no doubt in my mind that it is good TV watching but the idiotic club rules and traditions make the members of the Augusta National Golf Club Top Snobs.

There goes my chance of gaining a membership to Augusta National, but Really???

The green jacketed members of the powerful private club famously tell the biggest golf stars, TV networks and sponsors what to do and how to do it. Despite the millions earned by today's golfers, they're still "gutless" when it comes to meekly obeying Augusta's strict rules and regulations, according to golf legend Lee Trevino. Also, the word diversity is not at all seen at the Augusta National Golf Club.

OH, OH CANADA – For the first time since 1969 no Canadian team is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs: Montreal Canadians, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and the Winnipeg Jets. What is going on….eh?


National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoff Picks:

Eastern Conference: #1 Washington Capitals (4-2) over #8 Philadelphia Flyers;  #7 New York Islanders (4-3) over the #2 Florida Panthers; #2 Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3) over the #3 New York Rangers; #3 Detroit Red Wings (4-2) over Tampa Bay Lightning.

Conference Semis - Washington Capitals (4-1) over the New York Islanders; Pittsburgh Penguins (4-1) over the Detroit Red Wings.

Conference Finals - Washington Capitals (4-3) over the Pittsburgh Penguins

Western Conference: #1 Dallas Stars (4-1) over the #8 Minnesota Wild; #2 Anaheim Ducks (4-2) over the Nashville Predators; #2 St. Louis Blues (4-3) over the #3 Chicago Black Hawks; #2 Los Angeles Kings (4-3) over the #3 San Jose Sharks.

Conference Semis – Los Angeles Kings (4-3) over the Dallas Stars; Anaheim Ducks (4-2) over the St. Louis Blues.

Conference Finals – Anaheim Ducks (4-2) over the Los Angeles Kings

Stanley Cup Champs – Anaheim Ducks (4-2) over the Washington Capitals

Season to date (32 -18)

MARKET WEEK - Market volatility reared its head again on Thursday as the VIX rallied 10% while stock markets and interest rates fell sharply amidst global growth concerns. These jitters stabilized somewhat on Friday with equities paring some losses to end the week down around 1%.

The week ahead, investors will be paying attention to economic data from the U.S., the International Monetary Fund meeting, corporate earnings from the U.S. and some key offshore data.

The focus for the week in the United States will be the release of the March Consumer Price Index. As the chance of deflation continues to dwindle the Fed will be hoping to see inflation continue its path to the 2% target. The consensus is for a rise of 0.2%. The CPI number is preceded by Wednesday's Producer Price Index that tracks prices at the producer level before it is passed onto the consumer.

Wednesday also sees the release of the March retail sales data where investors will be looking for a rebound from February's -0.1% fall.

The week is rounded off with the release of U.S. Industrial Production Index data.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at 8:30 a.m. on Monday delivers remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in DC on "America and the Global Economy: The Case for U.S. Leadership" ... President Obama on Monday afternoon will meet with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen "to discuss the state of the American and global economy, Wall Street Reform, and the long-term economic outlook" ... U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosts a summit Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. on investing in American featuring Lew, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Senator John McCain, Governor Scott Walker and Governor Terry McAuliffe ... What are expected to be grim first quarter bank earnings begin this week with JPMorganChase on Wednesday and Bank of America on Thursday ... IMF and World Bank hold spring meetings beginning Tuesday ... Senate Finance Committee at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday holds a hearing on cybercrime ... Senate Appropriations on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. holds a hearing and the SEC and CFTC budgets ... House Natural Resources holds a hearing Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the Puerto Rico bill ... House Small Business Committee has a hearing Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. on small business tax simplification ... Senate Banking on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. has a hearing on the bond market featuring Treasury Counselor Antonio Weiss ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent ex-autos ... Producer Prices at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise 0.3 percent headline and 0.1 percent core ... Consumer Prices at 8:30 a.m. Thursday expected to rise 0.2 percent headline and core ... Industrial Production at 9:15 a.m. Friday expected to dip 0.1 percent ... Univ. Michigan Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m. Friday expected to rise to 92.0 from 91.0.

Next week: Top Five.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
April 11, 2016

CARTOON OF THE WEEK –The Democratic Campaign