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)   44-page PDF

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 d├ętente 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:

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"


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

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