Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Back to the Future

The elections are over, time to move on to more important things like sports and finance.

BREAKING NEWS – Chicago Cubs are being forced to give up their World Series title.

Cleveland Indians fans have rioted across the country in protest of the 2016 World Series. Despite knowing the rules of the game prior to playing, they were unhappy they lost and demanded the outcome to be changed. They could be heard chanting #NotOurWorldSeriesChampion  all across America.

Even though the Cubs won four games and the Indians only won three, since both teams scored twenty-seven runs throughout all seven games, they are being declared co-world champions.

When questioned, Commissioner Manfred stated, “We felt as though it was the right thing to do for the nation. What kind of example would Major League Baseball be setting if we expected the adults who play this game, and their fans, to gracefully accept defeat? Instead of creating a bigger divide between the Cubs and Indians, MLB is confident that the Cubs will gladly share their victory with the Indians.”

CALEXIT - "Calexit" refers to the secession of California from the United States, after which it would become an independent country. The word is a portmanteau meaning "California exit," which is based on similar coinages such as Grexit and Brexit. The term has come to the fore in the wake of Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election – Hillary Clinton won the state of California with 61% of the vote – though it is not the state's first independence movement.

Calexit is being spearheaded by Yes California, which describes itself as "the nonviolent campaign to establish the country of California using any and all legal and constitutional means to do so." The campaign plans to place an initiative on the 2018 ballot which, if passed, would call for an independence referendum the following year.

HISTORY 101 - Present-day California formed part of the Mexican province of Alta California until the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in May 1846. The next month, 30 American settlers seized a Mexican garrison in Sonoma and declared an independent republic. An updated form of their flag, emblazoned "California Republic," is currently the flag of the state. The republic never performed any administrative functions as a government and lasted less than a month before U.S. Navy Lieutenant Joseph Revere landed at Sonoma and raised a Union flag.

Present-day arguments for California sovereignty center on the state's large population and economic power. At $2.46 trillion, California's gross domestic product (GDP) was larger than France's ($2.42 trillion) in 2015. Using World Bank figures, California would be the world's sixth largest economy, if it were an independent country. The state was home to 39.1 million people in July 2015, according to the Census Bureau, slightly more than Uganda; as an independent country, it would be the world's 36th most populous. Cultural issues, while more muted, have featured in independence rhetoric, particular as they relate to environmental issues.

The U.S. Constitution does not directly address the issue of secession; Article IV limits itself to the accession of new states and the division or fusion of existing states. The beginning of the document contains the phrase, "in Order to form a more perfect Union," which is often interpreted to mean a "more perfect Union" than the "perpetual Union" described in the Articles of Confederation.

There are two major precedents for territorial secession in U.S. history, beginning with the American colonies themselves declaring independence from Britain. The Declaration of Independence frames its arguments in terms of universal rights, rather than British law. In practice, the colonies won their independence through war.

The second is the secession of the Southern states in 1861, which sparked the Civil War. The Confederacy was defeated on the battlefield, rather than the courts, although subsequent legal issues created by the attempt at independence led the courts to express an opinion on the legality of secession. In Texas v. White, a dispute over a bond sale by the Confederate States, the Supreme Court ruled in 1869 that Texas' secession had not been legal. According to the majoirty opinion, entry into the Union formed "an indissoluble relation"; it was "final," "perpetual," and left "no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States."

In other words, the Supreme Court appears to recognize the legitimacy of independence through armed struggle, although that hardly matters; the outcome of the war is the deciding factor regardless of a court's opinion.

Nor does it matter for Yes California, which is avowedly nonviolent. The "consent of the States" provides an opening, however, according to Marinelli. In a blog post from March 2016, he interprets the Supreme Court's opinion to mean that California can propose a constitutional amendment allowing it to secede. If that is approved by two-thirds of both houses of Congress, and 38 states ratify it, California can become independent. Alternatively, two-thirds of the delegates of a constitutional convention could approve the amendment, which would then have to be ratified by 38 states.

Whether that interpretation passes legal muster is uncertain. In any case, it is a long shot to get two-thirds of the House and Senate – not to mention legislatures from two-thirds of the states – to agree on anything, particularly the secession of its largest state, economically speaking.

Days until the Trump Inauguration: 66

Days until the 2017 election: 357.

Days until the 2018 election: 721.

OUT AND ABOUT – This past week Rink Rats heard from one of the Legends of St. Lawrence University Hockey, Jim Shatford.

Shad writes he has made the annual trip to Florida from the Canadian Maritimes.

“I’m in Florida for the winter…..not about to get ‘Trumped’ while here! Just a visitor, trying to enjoy the weather and chase a few golf balls now and then. No war here yet, nor insurgencies, or threats to my beer fridge!”

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Prince Charles (68) London, England; Sally Field (70) Santa Barbara, CA.; Al Michaels (72) Bel Air, CA.; Condoleezza Rice (62) Palo Alto, CA.; Maria Shriver (61) Bel Air, CA.; Neil Young (71) Edmonton, Alberta.

STOCKS TO WATCH - Novartis (NVS) is considering the sale of its Alcon eye-care products division. The drugmaker's chairman told a Swiss weekly newspaper the division has not done as well as the company had expected.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) saw mixed results for an experimental drug designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, when compared to Abbvie's (ABBV) best-selling Humira treatment.

Toyota (TM) agreed to settle a case involving truck rust for up to $3.4 billion. The agreement involves various Tacoma, Tundra, and Sequoia models that were alleged to have poor rust protection.

The ex-CFO of Autonomy was indicted for allegedly making fraudulent claims ahead of Hewlett-Packard's $11 billion purchase in 2011. HP eventually took an $8.8 billion write down, and successor firm Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) sold off parts of the Autonomy business earlier this year.

Marvel's "Doctor Strange" led the North American box office for the second weekend with $43 million in ticket sales. Alien thriller "Arrival" scored the top debut with a better-than-expected $24 million.

WHERE TO LIVE – Many students come to me during a school year and ask: “Where is the best to find a job and live?” Well, tough question, I suggest many cities, but one has to be Boston, Massachusetts.

Lauren Liebhaber (St. Lawrence ’12) writes a good review of Boston:

“Boston is a city of dualism, often feeling like a small town with all the perks of city life. The city houses a diverse culinary scene, an appreciation for and access to the arts and proximity to world-class educational institutions, employers and health care. It is historic, but ever evolving. It is on the cutting edge of medicine and technology, but traditional in its love of pastimes like summer nights spent cheering on hometown heroes at Fenway Park. It is a city of sports enthusiasts, art eclectics and ambitious entrepreneurs coexisting with a sense of camaraderie.”

“Often referred to as the "Cradle of Liberty," Boston is the site of some of the most significant social, cultural and political moments in U.S. history. Living in the city can feel like acting out the pages of a history book, while simultaneously experiencing the perks of a modern city. Boston's tenacious spirit was born out of an act of revolution and since its inception, the pursuance of innovation and progress has been in its DNA.”

“From the Old North Church to the Institute of Contemporary Art and everything in between, Boston is steeped in culture and rich in pride. For new families, recent college graduates, retirees or seasoned professionals, Boston is a place that can foster your next stage of life, whatever that may be.”

POTUS WEEK AHEAD - On Monday, the President will depart Washington, DC en route Athens, Greece. ... On Tuesday, the President will arrive in Athens, where he will see President Pavlopoulos and meet with Prime Minister Tsipras. Later, the President will hold a press conference with Prime Minister Tsipras. Afterward, the President will attend a state dinner with President Pavlopoulos. ... On Wednesday, the President will take a tour of the Acropolis. Later, the President will deliver remarks at the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center. Afterward, the President will depart Athens, Greece en route Berlin, Germany ... On Thursday, the President will meet and then hold a press conference with Chancellor Merkel. Later, the President will attend a dinner with Chancellor Merkel. ...

On Friday, the President will meet with Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande of France, President Rajoy of Spain, Prime Minister Renzi of Italy, and Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom. Later, the President departs Berlin en route Lima, Peru ... On Saturday, the President will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit, where he will hold a bilateral meeting with President Kuczynski. Later, the President will hold a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative town hall. Afterward, the President will attend a gala dinner. ... On Sunday, the President will attend meetings at APEC and then hold a press conference. Later, the President will depart Lima en route Washington, DC.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - The number of international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities exceeded one million for the first time during 2015-16 academic year, a 7% increase from the previous year and nearly double the level of 10 years ago.

But some U.S. schools are concerned about their ability to continue to dominate the global marketplace. They cite the election of Donald Trump, who ran on a platform of tightening U.S. borders, combined with China’s growing effort to attract international students, flat U.S. government education spending and a spate of racist attacks on college campuses since the election.

“I think there will be a short-term chilling effect on international students coming here not unlike there was after 9/11,” said Jason Lane, chairman of the Department of Education Policy and Leadership at the University at Albany-SUNY. “International students will be concerned about what the political environment means for them.”

China continues to send the largest number of students to the U.S. at 328,547, up 8.1% over the 2014-15 academic year, while India is second, at 165,918, up 25% from the prior year, according to the Institute of International Education, which released its “Open Doors” report on Monday.

The U.S. is by far the largest destination for international students, but investment in higher education by China is reshaping the global marketplace. A decade ago, China attracted very few students from abroad; last year there were 397,635, according to the Chinese government. That is up 36% from 2011.

In 2015, 60% of students studying in China came from other Asian nations. South Koreans alone sent 66,672 last year. The number of South Koreans studying in the U.S. declined last year by 4% to 61,007.

By 2020, China is projected to attract more international students than the U.K., which is second to the U.S. in the field, according to several analysts. The U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union could hurt its prospects of attracting foreign students, they said.

Last year in the U.S., international students spent about $30.5 billion, according to the IIE. U.S. colleges and universities have become increasingly dependent on that revenue.

A demographic dip in U.S. college-aged students comes as state funding for public universities remains well below levels from before the 2007-09 recession. Public schools often charge international students two to three times what domestic students pay.

The uncertainty accompanying Mr. Trump’s election comes as the market for students grows more competitive. Canada recently liberalized immigration rules for international students to encourage them to stay. China is offering significant scholarships to entice students to study there as it spends billions of dollars to improve its schools.

Allan Goodman, president of the IIE, believes the lack of school capacity in China and India combined with concern about the quality of degrees given in those countries will keep the U.S. well-fitted with international students.

“I don’t think they can educate these students at home. They’re going to need what American has for generations,” he said. In higher education, “people still trust ‘Made in the USA.’”

CONGRESS COMES BACK - into session on Monday for the first time since Donald Trump's election as president. Democrats -- especially in the House -- are at their lowest political point in a very long time. Democrats won just six seats in the House on Election Day. They've been in the minority for eight years and haven't ever gotten close to cutting into the massive Republican majority that John Boehner built, and Paul Ryan has maintained.

Both parties hold their leadership elections this week. Ryan is expected to win another term as speaker. And Nancy Pelosi has no challenger. Reminder: She has been the Democratic leader since Barack Obama was in the state house. While there is private grumbling in some circles (moderates, junior members), there will be no move to challenge her. Her vice grip on the caucus was on display earlier this week when Democratic women lawmakers signed a letter calling on Pelosi to stay on.

GOOD READ - Leonard Cohen: A Final Interview": David Remnick for "The New Yorker Radio Hour": http://bit.ly/2fL0fPq

NFL GAME OF THE WEEK – Sunday 11/20, 1:30 PM PT, CBS: Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) at Seattle Seahawks (6-2-1). Seattle, along with Dallas, are now the class of the NFC. Eagles are fighting for their playoff lives, Seahawks win 21 – 20.   Season to date (8-2)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/19, 7:30 PM PT, ESPN; #15 University of Southern California Trojans (7-3) at UCLA Bruins (4-6). The annual battle for Los Angeles, USC now one of the best teams in the west, USC wins 38 – 30.   Season to date (9-2)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/19, 12:00 PM ET, HGTV: The D-III Playoffs begin; Bridgewater State Bears (8-2), MASCAC Champions at #14 Alfred Saxons (10-0), E8 Conference Champions. The Saxon Warriors prevail in Round One, 31 – 17.    Season to date (6-5)

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 11/19, 4:00 PM CT, HGTV: We follow a D-I Women’s Hockey game this week - #1 Wisconsin Badgers (11-0-1) at #3 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (7-2-3), women’s hockey at its best. Badgers win 3 – 2. Season to date (2-4)


 (NFL, Nov. 20) Tennessee Titans (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (4-5), get the No-Doz out for this one, Colts win 24 – 17.

(CFL, Nov. 20, Western Final) British Columbia Lions (13-6) at Calgary Stampeders (15-2-1), Calgary continues their march to the Grey Cup, 34 – 20.

(NCAA FBS, Nov. 19) #2 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1) at Michigan State Spartans (3-7), despite their record a big game in East Lansing, Buckeyes win big 40 – 20.

(NHL, Nov. 19) Edmonton Oilers (9-6-1) at Dallas Stars (6-6-4), big game in Dallas, are the Oilers for real? Not this time, Stars win 6 – 3.

Season to date (98 - 88)

MARKET WEEK - The Dow has surged into the year-to-date lead after its recent rally, now up 8.2 percent for 2016; nearly 5.7 percent of that advance came last week alone. For the year, the S&P 500 is up 5.9 percent, while Nasdaq is higher by 4.6 percent.

Bond yields continued to power higher, touching December 2015 highs, as traders bet that Donald Trump's policies would boost inflation. Meanwhile, The dollar surged to an 11-month high against a basket of major currencies.

A two-day Trump thumping wiped out more than $1 trillion across global bond markets worldwide, the worst rout in nearly 1-and-a-half years, which may mark the long-awaited end to a more than 30-year-old bull run.

Gold prices, under pressure again this morning, have fallen 8.5 percent since Election Day, amid investor optimism that Trump's policies could boost the economy, and thus riskier assets.

DRIVING THE WEEK - All eyes on Trump's transition with more names set to roll out by the day ... President Obama holds a news conference at 3:15 p.m. before leaving for Athens, Greece ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Monday morning will conduct a bilateral meeting with Irish Minister for Finance Michael Noonan before departing for Athens to join Obama ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday expected to rise 0.6 percent, 0.5 percent ex-autos ... Industrial production at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise 0.2 percent ... Consumer prices at 8:30 a.m. Thursday expected to rise 0.4 percent headline and 0.2 percent core ... Index of leading indicators at 10:00 a.m. Friday expected to rise 0.2 percent. ... Brookings on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. hosts its "21st Annual Wall Street Comes to Washington Roundtable.

Next week: Fall movies to watch and college athletics.

Until Next Time, Adios.

Claremont, CA

November 15, 2016


CARTOON OF THE WEEK – The New Yorker, Sipress

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