Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Stop the Madness

We are in a crisis in American society, from Higher Education to Business, the email “Reply All”.

Each day the fight gets tougher. More and more educated Americans are taken by this dreaded disease. The need to reply: “Thanks for sending”, “I agree”, “Count me in”, and so on and so on.

America we do not care! Keep your opinions to yourself. I believe there should be a course in graduate school, entitled “The Evils of Reply All.” Because the main followers of this cult are educated Americans, the PhDs, EdDs, and JDs of the world have all been hit hard by this disease.

How can we stop this madness? Two solutions make every advanced academic degree holder watch a season of The Orange County Housewives or just end the “Reply All” function in email. A tall order for both, but with modern science and technology this goal can be achieved in our lifetime.

Please as citizens of the planet, end this now.

“Citizens Against Reply All” CARA – “We really don’t care what you think!”

HAPPY 149th BIRTHDAY CANADA JULY 1 - Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada) is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally.

With our choices in this year’s American Presidential Election, Canada is looking pretty good these days. Yes, they have lousy professional National Hockey League teams, and yes they have a dollar coin called the loonie, and yes their Prime Minister is a tad odd. But they have the largest coastline of any country in the world: from Vancouver, British Columbia in the west, to St. John’s, Prince Edward Island in the east, Windsor, Ontario to the south and Nunavut Territory to the north.  All this with only 35 million people, Don Cherry, and the best beer in the world: Molson Export Ale.

This writer is one quarter Canadian, so we wish all Canadians Happy Birthday and have a cold one on your knucklehead neighbors to the south.

HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA - George Stroumboulopoulos is out and Ron MacLean is back in as the host of Hockey Night in Canada according to a report by Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star.

Stroumboulopoulos was one of Rogers’ biggest hirings when they acquired the NHL broadcasting rights for $5.2 billion in 2014. The former CBC talk show host replaced MacLean, the longtime host of Hockey Night in Canada on CBC, in that role on Sportsnet.

Stroumboulopoulos, a former MuchMusic VJ and passionate hockey fan, was hired in hopes of bringing a younger audience to the broadcast, as MacLean was pushed aside in a smaller role. Clearly, the decision to replace MacLean was the wrong one — although it’s not entirely Stroumboulopoulos’ fault. He proved to be a capable host and an excellent interviewer who didn’t mesh well with the rest of Sportsnet’s talent. (Changing his wardrobe was among the requests executives suggested.) It just proved to be an awkward fit. Also look for other changes to the Sportsnet hockey analysts’ roster.


WHAT’S ON THE iPAD? – five songs we are listening to this holiday weekend:

1). “Love Runs Out”, 2014 – OneRepublic

2). “Right Place Wrong Time”, 1973 – Dr. John

3). “Going to California”, 1971 – Led Zeppelin

4). “Expressway to Your Heart”, 1967 – The Soul Survivors

5). “365 Days”, 2013 – ZZ Ward


STATE FAIR MENU – Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 25 to Sept. 5) announces "New Foods for 2016": "SPAM® Sushi: ... Macaroni & Cheese Curds ... Gumbo Frites: A bed of crispy french fries topped with [Ragin Cajun's] traditional New Orleans gumbo ... Italian Taco ... Deep Fried Grilled Cheese Bites ... Beer Brat Buddies ... SPAM® Curds: Cheese-flavored SPAM® that has been cubed, battered and deep-fried, served with a side of ranch dressing. The Claremont Club address is: 1777 Monte Vista Avenue, Claremont CA.

THREE GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW THROUGH THESE ECONOMIC TIMES - The nonfarm payroll report (commonly known as the job report) released earlier this month was just the latest reminder that the current U.S. economic expansion remains uneven, inconsistent and prone to disappointment.

Although recent data shows a consumer sector in good shape, with home prices rising and household spending accelerating, a sharp deceleration in payroll growth calls into question the case for a consumer-led recovery. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector is still struggling with last year’s rapid rise in the U.S. dollar and the collapse in commodity prices.

How can investors navigate through this murky picture? Here are three guidelines:

Watch the Dollar: U.S. manufacturing has been decelerating for most of the past two years. A number of factors have contributed to the slowdown, including soft overseas growth and a sharp drop in capital spending by energy and mining companies.

But a strong dollar also bears much of the blame. Over the past five years, the level of the dollar index has explained roughly 30% of the variation in the rate of growth in industrial production. The silver lining of this month’s weak payroll number is a greater likelihood that the Federal Reserve will hold off on raising interest rates, which could lead to a softer dollar. That, in turn, should help alleviate the pressure on the manufacturing sector, as well as corporate profits.

Income matters more than confidence: Pay less attention to what consumers say and more to what they’re earning. The best predictor of household consumption is income growth, with wages being the most important component of income. Historically, changes in personal income have been the biggest driver of changes to retail sales. Surprisingly, consumer confidence has had a much weaker relationship with retail spending. Outside of the 2008 recession, the level of consumer confidence has told us very little about spending.

The lesson being: Consumers will spend if their income is rising, regardless of how they answer polls.

Lending indicators do in fact lead: To state the obvious, economies are complex and vulnerable to exogenous shocks. As a result, there are no truly reliable measures of future growth. That said, certain economic statistics have historically led overall growth.

My preferred measure is the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI), which has historically correlated with economic activity one to two quarters ahead. In other words, it won’t provide much information on what the economy will do a year hence, but it has historically done a decent job of signaling an imminent recession. Today, the CFNAI is right where it’s been for most of the past seven years, hovering close to 0. This suggests that growth is likely to remain positive, albeit tepid.

Given the recent weakness in the dollar, the modest acceleration in hourly wages and stable leading indicators, for now my view is that the U.S. economy will continue to expand in the coming quarters. Just don’t expect great things…or consistency.

SUMMER PIE RECIPEMichigan Tart Cherry Pie

Makes: 8 servings,  Prep 30 mins,  Cool At least 2 hrs,  Bake 1 hr,  Stand 45 mins


1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

2 tablespoons cornstarch

5 1/2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened pitted tart red cherries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Two Crust Pie Shell (Helen Fletcher's No Fail Pie Crust)


1 tablespoon sugar


In a large bowl, stir together the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, quick-cooking tapioca, and cornstarch; add frozen cherries and lemon juice. Gently toss until coated. Let mixture stand about 45 minutes or until fruit is partially thawed but still icy; stirring occasionally. (If using fresh cherries, let cherry mixture stand about 15 minutes or until a syrup forms; stirring occasionally.)

Prepare and roll out Two Crust Pie Shell pastry (see below). Line a 9-inch pie plate with half of the pastry.

Transfer cherry mixture to the pastry-lined pie plate. Cut slits in remaining pastry to make a pretty design; place on filing. Trim overhangs to an even 1 inch all the way around. Tuck the crusts under and flute the edges. Lightly brush top pastry with a little water. Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon sugar on top pastry. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil.

Place pie plate on middle shelf in oven; place foil-lined baking sheet on lower rack beneath pie. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake about 50 minutes more or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Rink Rats Two-Crust Pie Pastry:


3 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup shortening

7 tablespoons cold water

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar


In a large bowl, stir together cake flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter and shortening until pieces are pea-size.

In a small bowl, stir together 6 tablespoons of the water, egg and lemon juice. Using a large fork, gently toss the flour mixture and egg mixture together. If there are any dry parts add the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and gently toss to moisten evenly (should be a mass of very large crumbs).

Turn crumb mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Using your fingers, gently form a ball. Using just a bit of flour, knead 4 to 5 times to form a ball. Divide in half. Using your hands, flatten each into a disc about 1 inch thick. If necessary, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or until easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disc of dough from center to edges into a circle 12 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it and gently fit pastry into dish.

Roll remaining dough disc into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Cut slits to allow steam to escape. Place pastry on filling. Trim both overhangs to an even 1 inch all the way around. Tuck the crusts under and flute the edges. To prevent overbrowning, cover edges with foil. Bake as directed in individual recipes. Makes 2 pie crusts.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Mel Brooks (90) Beverly Hills, CA.; John Cusack (50) Pasadena, CA.; Kris Kristofferson (80) Austin, TX.; Lorrie Morgan (57) Memphis, TN.; Kellie Pickler (30) Nashville, TN.


Major League Baseball Game of the Week: Saturday July 2, 4:15 p.m. ET, NESN; Los Angeles Dodgers (43-36) vs. Boston Red Sox (42-35). Battle of wild card playoff contenders, Sox win this Independence Day weekend, 7 – 4.

Season to date (50 -36)

MARKET WEEKBREXIT: British voters didn't just shock the world and the financial markets by voting to leave the European Union a few days ago: They also ignored President Barack Obama, handed Hillary Clinton a potential economic burden and injected new energy into the populist currents roiling politics on both sides of the Atlantic. ... The surprise 52-48 result in favor of leaving the European Union - which British networks projected just before 5 a.m. local time - came after a tense night of vote-counting throughout the United Kingdom. ...

In addition to driving down the pound by nearly 10 percent, the vote slammed global markets, with shares in Asia down sharply. Markets had a big swoon on Wall Street Friday and Monday with shares falling more than 3 percent. That would amount to a Dow drop of close to 600 points, a plunge frighteningly reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis.

Market analysts struggled overnight to reckon with the potential global impact of the Brexit vote. 'Massive institutional uncertainty is now being superimposed on economic fragility and financial fluidity,' said Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz."

Look for lots of soothing statements from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank, as well as heads of state, as leaders try to calm the financial markets and limit the damage from the vote. But make no mistake: A Brexit represents nothing less than the partial splintering of the world's largest political union and trading bloc - an $18 trillion economy.

Many fear that other European countries will now hold their own exit referendums, leading to a chain reaction that will reverberate across the Atlantic. The Brexit vote could also break apart the U.K., scramble transatlantic political unity amid growing tensions with Russia, and complicate U.S. trade ties.

It could even hit the U.S. economy, warned Harvard professor and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. “The economy is more fragile to a negative shock than at any time since the second World War. Always before when had a downturn there was room for monetary policy action to counteract that. Today there is essentially no such room.”

STOCKS TO WATCH - Amazon (AMZN) is expected to announce an expansion of its Dash push-button ordering service, according to the Wall Street Journal . The thumb-drive-sized devices allow customers to directly order products.

Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) has submitted a bid for 17 Sports Authority stores, according to Reuters. Dick's is said to be the only bidder to make offers for more than a single location operated by its bankrupt rival.

Walt Disney's (DIS) "Finding Dory" topped the weekend box office again, pulling in another $73.2 million in North American ticket sales. The movie is the sequel to the 2003 hit "Finding Nemo." But another sequel, "Independence Day: Resurgence," struggled.

FINANCE 101 - EUROPEAN UNION: The European Union (EU) is a group of 27 countries that operates as a cohesive economic and political block. Nineteen of the countries use the euro as their official currency. The EU grew out of a desire to form a single European political entity to end the centuries of warfare among European countries that culminated with World War II, which decimated much of the continent. The European Single Market was established by 12 countries in 1993 to ensure the so-called four freedoms: the movement of goods, services, people and money.

The EU had its beginning in the European Coal and Steel Community, which was founded in 1950 and had just six members: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It became the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957 under the Treaty of Rome, and subsequently became the European Community (EC). The early focus of the Community was a common agricultural policy as well as the elimination of customs barriers. The EC first expanded in 1973 when Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Greece and Spain joined. A directly elected European Parliament took office in 1979.

In 1986, the Single European Act solidified the principles of foreign policy cooperation and extended the powers of the community over the members. It also formalized the idea of a single European market. The Maastricht Treaty took effect on Nov. 1, 1993, and the EC was replaced by the EU. The Treaty provided for the creation of the euro, which is intended to be the single currency for the EU. It debuted on Jan. 1, 1999. Denmark and the United Kingdom negotiated "opt out" provisions that permitted them to retain their own currencies. Several newer members of the EU have not yet met the criteria for adopting the euro. In 2014, the GDP of the EU totaled $13.8 billion, which is larger than that of the United States.

The EU and the European Central Bank (ECB) have struggled since the global financial market collapse of 2008 to deal with very high sovereign debt and collapsing growth in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Greece and Ireland received financial bailouts from the community in 2009, which were accompanied by fiscal austerity. Portugal followed in 2011, along with a second Greek bailout. Multiple rounds of interest rate cuts and economic stimulus failed to resolve the problem. Northern countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands increasingly resent the financial drain from the south. Repeated rumors that Greece would be forced to withdraw from the euro failed to materialize amid disagreement as to whether the move was legally possible as it was not covered in the Maastricht Treaty.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Brexit react will dominate the start of the week ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will appear on CNBC's "Squawk Box" at 8:00 a.m. ahead of the US market open. Later in the morning, Lew will deliver remarks and participate in a moderated conversation at the 2016 Bretton Woods annual conference ... Top central bankers begin meeting today at a three-day European Central Bank summit in Sintra, Portugal ... Third estimate of Q1 GDP on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. expected to be revised up to 1.0 percent from 0.8 percent ... Case-Shiller Home Prices at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to grow 0.5 percent ... Consumer Confidence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise to 93.1 from 92.6 ... Personal Income and Spending at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday both excepted to grow 0.3 percent ... ISM Manufacturing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise to 51.4 from 51.3.

Next week: Jack Ass of the Month and Words of the Month

Until Next Time, Adios.

Claremont, CA

June 28, 2016


CARTOON OF THE WEEK –The New Yorker, Warp

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Wind

The summer wind came blowin' in from across the sea

It lingered there, to touch your hair and walk with me

All summer long we sang a song and then we strolled that golden sand

Two sweethearts and the summer wind


Like painted kites, those days and nights they went flyin' by

The world was new beneath a blue umbrella sky

Then softer than a piper man, one day it called to you

I lost you, I lost you to the summer wind


The autumn wind, and the winter winds they have come and gone

And still the days, those lonely days, they go on and on

And guess who sighs his lullabies through nights that never end

My fickle friend, the summer wind

The summer wind

Warm summer wind

The summer wind


SINGER: Frank Sinatra

After a ten day break Rink Rats is back for another eight weeks until our August two week break. We begin the summer after a wonderful visit to family and friends.

It should be a very interesting summer: 28 days to Cleveland, 35 days to Philly, and 141 days to Election Day.

Two weeks ago we lost Muhammad Ali, this past week we lost a hockey legend Gordie Howe. My youth was spent watching and following Gordie Howe Number 9, a true sportsman.

SUMMER READING – Three business books to read this summer:

Grit by Angela Duckworth

This book is about the tenacity that underscores most successful ventures and individuals. Grit has a heartwarming message for entrepreneurs and seasoned business people alike: Effort trumps talent. In other words, the more tenacious and hardworking you are, the better your chances of success. This is not a new discovery or revelation. What makes Duckworth’s message compelling is her use of examples and research from an assortment of fields and sciences, ranging from the humanities to business. To be sure, Duckworth, who previously won a MacArthur “Genius” research grant, does not discount the role of talent and luck in determining success for a venture or individual. However, she provides enough reasons (and examples) to encourage and spur hard workers into action. According to the Scientific American, Grit is “a lucid, informative and entertaining review of the latest research on grit and how it can be developed.”

Breaking Rockefeller: Peter B. Doran

In times of oil prices that have roiled the energy markets, what could be a better read than a book about the breakup of Standard Oil? At first glance, the situation today and the one at the turn of last century may seem different. Then, Standard Oil held an 80 percent monopoly of the world’s oil supply. Two upstarts - Royal Dutch company and Shell - joined forces along with the U.S. Department of Justice to bring down the behemoth.

However, the situation today is not too dissimilar in that the hegemony of traditional oil suppliers, such as large multinationals and cartels (such as OPEC), has been challenged by upstarts in the shale industry. Supply has outstripped demand, as it did during the turn of last century.

While not as comprehensive as Daniel Yergin’s The Prize, Breaking Rockefeller is a satisfying read nonetheless because it is a crash course on the politics and economics of oil markets without the attendant jargon. Instead, Doran, who is the vice president for research at the Center for European Policy Analysis, focuses on the people who drove the story forward. These range from Marcus Samuel, a businessman who founded Shell and craved a royal title, to Henri Deterding, who was responsible for expanding Royal Dutch in the Far East, to Rockefeller, who, Doran says, tried underhanded and unscrupulous tactics to deter competitors. In his review of the book, Roger Lowenstein (author of Warren Buffett’s biography) writes that the book “emulates the best oil literature, in which geology and geopolitics go hand in hand.”

Money Changes Everything: William Goetzmann

The central premise of this book is that money made civilization happen. In other words, money came first and civilization (and organization of society) followed. Money, according to Goetzmann, is a “movement” technology, just like automobiles. It has and will evolve over time to change with circumstances. Goetzmann, who is a professor at the Yale School of Management, perambulates through the history and evolution of money to make his point. In the words of the FT reviewer, “he (Goetzmann clearly sees the problems as bumps in the road towards a richer and more advanced civilization. Bubbles, crashes, and bailouts are sidebars in this history: Money Changes Everything is centrally a celebration of progress.

SUMMER BINGE WATCHING - Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing or marathon-viewing, is the practice of watching television for a long time span, usually of a single television show. In a survey conducted by Netflix in February 2014, 73% of people define binge-watching as "watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting." Binge-watching as an observed cultural phenomenon has become popular with the rise of online media services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video with which the viewer can watch television shows and movies on-demand.

Binge Recommendations: House of Cards and Game of Thrones are the same basic show. When you boil it down, each is a collection of morally-ambiguous characters playing a political game of cards.

Other popular binge viewing shows: Orange is the New Black, Billions, The Good Wife and the ESPN documentary O.J. Simpson, Made in Amercia.

But be careful - A Cambridge University statistics professor says binge watching shows is dampening our sex lives. And it's all Netflix's fault. Hulu, and Amazon Prime's. And HBO's.

He explained that in 1990 couples reported having sex five times a month. Now it's down to three times.

By 2030, it could be down to no getting down to it at all.

The point is...this massive connectivity, the constant checking of our phones compared to just a few years ago when TV closed down at 10:30 p.m. or whatever and there was nothing else to do," he said. Sex was great when there wasn't great TV. Now, not so much.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - HOW MUCH FRAUD IS THERE IN HIGHER ED?  The Obama administration is offering its best guess to that sweeping question. As part of the administration's proposal, unveiled last week, to write new rules governing debt relief for student loan borrowers who were deceived or defrauded by their college, the Education Department had to outline its complicated analysis for gauging the plan's potential hit to taxpayers.

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT BUMMER - Sierra water runoff coming up short: The Department of Water Resources now projects that the mountains will produce about three quarters of normal runoff during the months of heaviest snowmelt, shorting the rivers and reservoirs that typically provide a third of California's water - and cementing a fifth year of historic drought for the Golden State. ... The projections arrive alongside forecasts for potentially dry La Niña weather next winter.

BAD DAYS FOR CONSERVATIVES CONTINUE - End of conservative Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas may be next to leave: Thomas, a reliable conservative vote on the Supreme Court, is mulling retirement after the presidential election, according to court watchers. Thomas ... has been considering retirement for a while and never planned to stay until he died ... He likes to spend summers in his RV with his wife. ... Should Thomas leave, [conservatives'] slight majority would continue if Donald Trump becomes president. ... Clinton ... would get the chance to flip two Republican seats, giving the liberals a 6-3 majority.

HOME IS WHERE THE MONEY IS  - The U.S. housing market has almost completed the long road back from the mire. Home prices are at near-record highs across the U.S., a sign that the lopsided housing-market recovery of the past five years is gaining some strength. The S&P/Case-Shiller national home-price index has clawed its way back to within 4% of its 2006 peak and U.S. new-home sales in April posted their strongest month in more than eight years. That bodes well for sellers heading into the peak home-selling season in May and June but could pose challenges for buyers, especially first-timers, as overall sales volume and new construction remain well below their pre-crisis peaks. Meanwhile, new tariffs on imports are boosting steel prices in the U.S., offering a lifeline to beleaguered American steelmakers but raising costs for manufacturers of goods ranging from oil pipes to factory equipment to cars.

SOROS IS BACK - After a long hiatus, George Soros has returned to trading, lured by opportunities to profit from what he sees as coming economic troubles. Worried about the outlook for the global economy and concerned that large market shifts may be at hand, the billionaire hedge-fund founder and philanthropist recently directed a series of big, bearish investments, according to people close to the matter. Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages $30 billion for Mr. Soros and his family, sold stocks and bought gold and shares of gold miners, anticipating weakness in various markets.

Investors often view gold as a haven during times of turmoil. The moves are a significant shift for Mr. Soros, who earned fame with a bet against the British pound in 1992, a trade that led to $1 billon of profits. In recent years, the 85-year-old billionaire has focused on public policy and philanthropy. He is also a large contributor to the super PAC backing ... Hillary Clinton and has donated to other groups supporting Democrats.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Marv Albert (75) Brooklyn, NY; Jim Belushi (62) Chicago, IL; Jeff Dillon …famous St. Lawrence graduate; Dan Fouts (65) La Jolla, CA; Michael J. Fox (55) Woodland Hills, CA; Bill Maher (60) Brentwood, CA; Joe Montana (60) Napa, CA; Aaron Sorkin (55) Santa Barbara, CA; Bob Vila (70) Boca Raton, FL.

CALIFORNIA GOLD - Surging California economy vaulted to world's 6th largest in 2015. $2.46 trillion last year. 5.7 percent growth. "In broad ... categories, California's finance and insurance sector was the largest in 2015 at $535 billion, with government at $300 billion and manufacturing at $278 billion. Agriculture, once an economic mainstay, was just $39 billion.

But oh yeah, one thing ... that doesn't take into account our insane cost of living: Once that's factored in, the IMF data finds California drops from sixth to eleventh in the global size of its gross domestic product. That still eclipses other U.S. states, but is some important context for politicians who might be freshening up their talking points.

HOLLYWOODLAND – One of our favorites, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Returning to HBO: Curb Your Enthusiasm last aired an original episode in September 2011, and the nearly five-year gap since has seen neither HBO nor Larry David ready to publicly dismiss the idea of revisiting the show. ... On his decision to revisit his alter ego, David had this to say: 'In the immortal words of Julius Caesar, "I left, I did nothing, I returned.


Major League Baseball Game of the Week: Saturday June 25, 9:20 pm ET, TSN; Boston Red Sox (39-31) vs. Texas Rangers (46-25), Texas is running away with the American League West, Red Sox battling Baltimore in the East. We like “Baston” tonight 6 – 4.

Season to date (49 -34)

MARKET WEEK - Nevada has led the nation in unemployment for 27 months, taking the mantle from Michigan, which had the nation’s worst unemployment rate for 47 months from April 2006 to February 2010.

Here's a breakdown of the states with the highest jobless rate in the country since 1976: http://on.wsj.com/MmE0t9

The prospect of Britons voting to leave the EU this week fueled global market upheaval on last week, with investors rushing for safety and sending the UK currency and stocks to their lowest levels in months. ... The accelerating shift, which came after a trio of opinion polls showed Leave leading by significant margins, was most marked in government bonds, where a series of records were smashed as cash flowed into the relative security of sovereign debt.

German 10-year Bunds traded with interest rates below zero for the first time after Japan's benchmark fell to a new low of minus 0.185 per cent. The UK's 10-year gilt yield recorded a new low, and the 30-year bond dropped below 2 per cent for the first time.

In Switzerland almost the entire market for Swiss government debt had fallen below zero, with 30-year debt offering an annual yield just below zero. The US 10-year Treasury note yield at 1.6 per cent was just above its lowest close since 2012.

DRIVING THE WEEK - U.K. votes Thursday on whether to say in the EU. A win for the Leave side could send markets reeling and throw an unexpected wild card into to the presidential race ... Fed Chair Janet Yellen testifies before Senate Banking at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday and before House Financial Services at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday ... Senate Banking has its bank capital hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ... House Financial Services has a terrorism financing hearing at 10:00 a.m. Thursday

Next week: Back to the future and what is on the iPad.

Until Next Time, Adios.

Claremont, CA

June 21, 2016


CARTOON OF THE WEEK –Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

On the Road

Rink Rats is on the road this week, so our edition is a mix of topics and points of view. One observation on the road, this country has a serious infrastructure problem: roads, bridges, utilities, buildings – time to stop talking about building walls and rebuild America.

OUT AND ABOUT – This group of returning Alumni to St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, attending a dinner in Eben Holden Dining Hall.

Left to right: Second row - Scott Graham, Tom McGuire, Jim Shadford, Joe O'Rourke, Greg Sharlow, Bill Reid, Peter Blair, Scott "Cat" Morrison.

Front row - Jeff Dillon, Dan "Bugsy" Moran, Bog Gang, Reggie Dunlop.

THE FIFTH ESTATE - One of the world's most storied media companies has gloriously rebranded itself as Tronc [actually 'tronc,' standing for 'Tribune Online Content]: After 168 years in publishing, ... Tribune Media Company will now be known as Tronc. ... The publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times united under a proud new banner ... What is a Tronc? Why, it's 'a content curation and monetization engine.

SMALL BUSINESS 2016 - from Babson College in Babson Park, Mass.: The State of Small Business in America 2016: Small businesses face challenges and opportunities around access to capital, the regulatory environment and technology.  Key Findings Overview (an excellent review) http://politi.co/1Unx2mF   44-page PDF http://politi.co/1ZulSAP

MEDIA - More Viewers Watch CBS News During the 2016-2016 Television Season Than News On Any Other Broadcast Network" -- Release: "Nielsen estimates 177.6 million people watched all or part of a CBS News broadcast since the season began in September and ended in May, with 72.3 million of them in the key adults 25-54 demographic desired by those who advertise in news. CBS News led its broadcast rivals in both viewers and adults 25-54.

HISTORY - Hillary Clinton declared victory Tuesday night in the Democratic presidential primary race, emerging from a bruising battle as the first woman within striking distance of the Oval Office. Though Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed at a late night rally in Santa Monica, Calif., to battle on to the Democratic National Convention in July, Mrs. Clinton’s victory was cemented with wins in New Jersey and New Mexico even before the polls closed in California, a state she also won. Mrs. Clinton’s tough primary challenge has pushed her well to the left, while her candidacy represents the establishment in a year of outsiders, notes our Washington bureau chief Gerald F. Seib. Meanwhile, after House Speaker Paul Ryan called his comments racist, Donald Trump said his attacks on the federal judge handling his Trump University lawsuit have been “misconstrued.” The presumptive Republican nominee is getting a late start to fundraising and faces an uphill battle against Mrs. Clinton’s robust finance operation.

POLITICS 101 - 5 takeaways from the night the general election began: Clinton makes history, Trump's under pressure and Bernie weighs his demands: [1] Hillary Clinton is the first woman to win a major party's presidential nomination. ... [2] How many Republicans will un-endorse Donald Trump? ... [Yesterday's comments] ... suggested an end to the shaky détente between Trump and the party establishment - at the precise moment Clinton began pivoting away from Sanders to her general-election opponent. ...

[3] Release the hounds! ... Expect ... statements [calling on Sanders to go] to become significantly more pointed as talks between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns drag on ...

[4] What does Bernie want? ... A fulsome consideration of more stringent Wall Street regulation (the Clinton campaign has been in quiet talks with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on those issues and others for weeks), party platform language that permanently bonds Clinton to her recent anti-free-trade stances and a coordinated policy to attack income inequality. ... [5] What does Jane want? ... ... His most militant adviser is his wife, Jane, who has spurred him to step up his attacks on Clinton.

THE MAP -- The 11 states that will determine the 2016 election: Trump vs. Clinton may be an unusual matchup, but their coming battle will be fought on familiar terrain: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. All were battleground states in the previous two elections.

CALIFORNIA VOTERS - Calif. sees record high voter registrations going into primary: A report released on Friday shows that there are 17,915,053 voters registered as of the state's May 23 deadline, the most the state has ever seen going into a primary. In the 45 days leading up to the voter registration deadline, there was a huge surge in voter registration - total statewide voter registration increased by nearly 650,000. Part of this surge was fueled through social media, as Facebook sent a reminder to all California users to register to vote.  According to the report, about 72 percent of eligible Californians are registered to vote.

Of the state's voters, about 45 percent are registered as Democrats, which is a one-point increase since April. Republicans make up about 27 percent and unaffiliated voters account for about 23 percent.

The Field Poll estimates that about 8 million voters will be participating in today's California presidential primary election. If true, this would represent a turnout of 44.7% of the state's 17.9 million registered voters.

The poll also estimates that about 5 million of the votes cast in the primary will be done using a mail ballot, a record number for a primary election in California.

California's massive electorate now casts its ballots in stages. Voting by mail has become so popular that more than 60 percent of the ballots cast in 2014 were Vote-By-Mail. That will probably be the case in the 2016 primary...As of Monday morning, some 2.7 million ballots had been received and catalogued by the counties, and most have been counted. This is the early vote and will be the first results released on Election Night. It is likely this vote will exceed the three million early ballots in November 2014.

CALIFORNIA SENATE - Two Democrats will face off for U.S. Senate in November. California voters made history on Tuesday in the race for the U.S. Senate, sending two Democrats to a November runoff and denying a Republican a spot on the fall ballot for the first time since the state's first direct election of senators in 1914. State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris won the largest share of the vote and the title of winner in the primary. By the end of the night, Harris led Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez by more than 800,000 votes, a margin of 23 percentage points.

In a year when millions of voters embraced outsider candidates in the presidential contest, California Senate voters appeared impressed with the two Democrats' deep experience. ... Harris, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, would ... become the first Indian woman to hold a Senate seat and the second black woman elected to the Senate. Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun was elected in 1992 and served one term. Sanchez, if elected, could become one of the first Latinas to hold a U.S. Senate seat.

TRUMP NOT SO RICH? - Donald Trump claims a net worth of more than $10 billion and income of $557 million. But he appears to get there only by over-valuing properties and ignoring his expenses ... the real estate magnate's bottom line - what he actually puts in his own pocket - could be much lower than he suggests.

Some financial analysts said this, and a very low tax rate, is why Trump won't release his tax returns. ... “I know Donald, I've known him a long time and it gets under his skin if you start writing about the reasons he won't disclose his returns,' said one prominent hedge fund manager who declined to be identified by name so as not to draw Trump's ire. 'You would see that he doesn't have the money that he claims to have and he's not paying much of anything in taxes.”

His businesses apparently generate a lot of revenue but may not put much cash in his pocket; He assigns himself a net worth that is impossible to verify and may be based in part on fantasy; And he is selling assets and increasing debt in ways that suggest a man scrambling for ready cash. In response to a list of questions for this story, Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks emailed: "The report speaks for itself." If it does, the report does not speak clearly.
The financial disclosure form showed Trump adding fresh debt of at least $50 million, though a campaign press release said Trump was using increased revenue to reduce his debt, which now stands at at least $315 million and possibly over $500 million. The disclosure also suggests that Trump sold fund assets to raise as much as $7 million in cash and individual securities to raise up to $9 million more. ...

There is no dispute that Trump owns many valuable properties that contribute to a high net worth. But there is a great deal of dispute about how high that worth actually is. The financial disclosure form lists assets worth at least $1.5 billion but the ranges included are far too wide to determine anything close to a precise figure. ...

Trump has a tendency to value his brand at a very high amount but these are usually intangible valuations just pulled out of thin air,' said Steve Stanganelli, a certified financial planner at Clear View Wealth Advisors. 'And he appears to be reporting gross revenue. There is a huge difference between that and net income. What really matters is what you put in the bank.

THE RISE & FALL OF THE MEGABANK - The sobering reality of banking in 2016 is that lenders are awash in new regulations, and growing armies of rule-interpreters and enforcers—for good or ill—are bringing striking changes to banks’ internal cultures. Some bankers view these compliance officials as nuns with guns—ultraconservative but still dangerous. We take a look inside the awkward, sometimes maddening, relationships between banks and their regulators and explore the simple, if beguiling, conundrum about banks today: What are they? And what will they become? For most global banks, it is no longer a viable strategy to try to be all things to all customers around the world.

VOTER DATA - Millennials, who already have surpassed Baby Boomers as the United States' largest living generation, now have caught up to the Boomers when it comes to their share of the American electorate. As of April 2016, an estimated 69.2 million Millennials (adults ages 18-35 in 2016) were voting-age U.S. citizens - a number almost equal to the 69.7 million Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) ... Both generations comprise roughly 31% of the voting-eligible population.

100 - The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, via Forbes: Californians in the top ten -- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg #7, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki #8 and HP CEO Meg Whitman, #9. Check out the rest of the California contingent: http://onforb.es/1Uvd2hL

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - California 12-year-old set to start university: A 12-year-old Sacramento student who already has three community college degrees and has been accepted to two University of California campuses says he plans on studying biomedical engineering and becoming a doctor and medical researcher by the time he turns 18. Tanishq Abraham has been accepted to UC Davis and received a regents scholarship to UC Santa Cruz, but he has yet to decide which university he'll attend, reported Sacramento television station CBS 13 Sunday.

Nancy Zimpher, the State University of New York chancellor, will leave her post, effective June 30, 2017. Speculation about her next step is inevitable, since she said in an interview that she's not retiring and plans to engage in state and national initiatives. In her seven years as SUNY chancellor, Zimpher has provided steady leadership for the 64-campus system, increasing its profile, and earning a headline as President Barack Obama's "favorite college leader" for her prominent support of many White House education reforms. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. gave Zimpher a shoutout  Tuesday night, calling her a "true champion of college access, affordability and completion.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Maria Aguirre …famous supporter of our Veterans; Bjorn Borg (60) Stockholm, Sweden; Clint Eastwood (86) Carmel, CA.; Melissa Ethridge (55) Del Mar, CA.; Colin Farrell (40) London, England; Anna Kournikova (35) Miami, FL.; Etta Lucero …famous entrepreneur; Larry McMurtry (80), Boulder, CO.; Rafael Nadal (30) Monte Carlo, Monaco; Tom Scali …famous singer; Fetty Wap (25) Pomona, CA. 

SPORTS TALK - Between February and May, ESPN lost 1.5 million subscribers leaving them under 90 million for the first time in years. And not only has ESPN lost subscribers, but so has Fox's FS1.

RIO OLYMPICS - Crime feared at Rio Olympics Despite security steps, risk remains for athletes, fans: Zika is one of many safety and security concerns leading up to the Rio Olympics, but it's not the only one,' said Juliette Kayyem, who served as President Obama's assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. 'I fear that Zika has distracted us from other threats that people could face. ... I think everyone will be throwing money at the problem, and holding their breath for two weeks."

--Rio-Filthy Water: When Rio fails, sister city shows sewage cleanup possible: In Rio's Olympic bid document seven years ago, authorities pledged that an extensive cleanup - which included collecting and treating 80 percent of the city's sewage - would be one of the games' enduring legacies, but it simply never happened: An ongoing study commissioned by The Associated Press has shown that rowers, sailors and marathon swimmers will be exposed to waters so filthy they're roughly equivalent to raw sewage. ... Several athletes fell ill while training last year.

ALI - Ali, who died Friday, in Phoenix, at the age of seventy-four, was the most fantastical American figure of his era, a self-invented character of such physical wit, political defiance, global fame, and sheer originality that no novelist you might name would dare conceive him. Born Cassius Clay in Jim Crow-era Louisville, Kentucky, he was a skinny, quick-witted kid, the son of a sign painter and a house cleaner, who learned to box at the age of twelve to avenge the indignity of a stolen bicycle, a sixty-dollar red Schwinn that he could not bear to lose.

Eventually, Ali became arguably the most famous person on the planet, known as a supreme athlete, an uncanny blend of power, improvisation, and velocity; a master of rhyming prediction and derision; an exemplar and symbol of racial pride; a fighter, a draft resister, an acolyte, a preacher, a separatist, an integrationist, a comedian, an actor, a dancer, a butterfly, a bee, a figure of immense courage.

Neil Leifer's shot of Muhammad Ali fighting Cleveland Williams in 1966 is the greatest sports photograph of all time" http://bit.ly/1r6T8lJ


Major League Baseball Game of the Week: Saturday June 11, 1:07 pm ET, TSN; Baltimore Orioles (34-23) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (31-29). American League East battle where there will be plenty of Labatt Blue Light in the crowd, Jays win 5 – 4.

Season to date (48 -32)

MARKET WEEK - If Fed Chair Janet Yellen has her way, there likely would be two interest rate hikes this year, contrary to current market expectations and despite Friday's terrible jobs report. Yellen didn't overtly say so in her Monday speech but signaled the possibility. Policymakers meet next week. Apple (AAPL) sold a 30-year U.S. dollar bond in Taiwan at a yield of 4.15 percent, lower than other recent bond issues by multinationals like Intel (INTC) and Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD). Apple is looking to raise up to $1.2 billion.

Nearly 60 percent of business economists blamed uncertainty about the November election for damaging prospects for economic growth this year, according to a new survey. They marked down expectations for 2016 GDP to 1.8 percent.

Stocks to watch this week - Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) was soaring in premarket trading, after the FDA asked for more information on the company's experimental treatment for muscular dystrophy.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) were sinking in premarket trading, after saying its drug Soliris missed the primary goal in a late-stage clinical trial for additional treatments.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Yellen speaks at 12:30 in Philadelphia on Monday. Will she touch on the weak jobs number and what it means for the Fed's rate outlook? ... Treasury Secretary Lew will be in Beijing, China on Monday to participate in the eighth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. ... Primaries in New Jersey and California on Tuesday are likely to push Hillary Clinton over the number of delegates she needs to win the Democratic nomination. But she could lose California and Sanders may not concede given Clinton will only be over the top with super delegates included ... . Also on Tuesday, House Financial Services Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) will be in New York to discuss the details of a bill to replace the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The bill has not shot this year but could it provide a blueprint for a President Trump? ... Brookings has an event at 9:30 a.m. Monday to discuss negative interest rates ... Senate Banking has a hearing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. on "Bank Capital and Liquidity Regulation" ... House Financial Services at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday has a hearing on terrorism financing.

Next week: Summer reading, movies, travel.

Until Next Time, Adios.

Jackson, MI

June 8, 2016

CARTOON OF THE WEEK –Warp, The New Yorker