Wednesday, January 25, 2017

One Hundred Days

You hear and read a lot of noise lately about the first hundred days of the Trump Administration. What will the President do? How is he at managing? Is he a leader? One hundred days is used to measure the successes and accomplishments of a president during the time that their power and influence is at its greatest.

Presidents come to office hoping to spruce up the ship and then realize how much time must be spent to keep it from foundering in a giant, hostile sea. Avoiding disaster—in the form of war—is the big challenge.

War is the horrible wild card of presidencies. A prolonged stalemate in Korea left Harry S. Truman deeply unpopular by 1952, and he abandoned efforts to get re-elected. Vietnam not only cost Lyndon Johnson his presidency but also, because of the many lies that were told, destroyed the trust most Americans had in their government before then. And, no, I’m not forgetting Iraq. If the last 42 months of the presidency of George W. Bush had gone like his first 6 months, we’d merely have had kooky fiscal policies, poorly enforced borders, and a financial meltdown. Not ideal but not irremediable. Unfortunately, after September 11, 2001, a major security failure in itself, we saw ill-considered wars, a massive loss of blood and treasure, vast erosions of civil liberties, and even the use of torture on detainees in our custody. All that will keep hurting for decades to come.

Even presidents who try to scale things back find themselves drawn into more than they planned for. Barack Obama claimed to reject the Beltway playbook yet got us involved in overthrowing Muammar Qaddafi and funneling aid to rebels in Syria. Such efforts did the first Obama White House little good and left the next one with trouble it was ill-equipped to handle. Last year, the United States dropped more than 26,000 bombs in seven countries—what Obama’s critics call “America in retreat.” I’d hate to see an advance.

Republicans control everything for the first time in a decade, Democrats are trying to find their way and the media is grappling with a massive shift in our nation's politics. Leaving politics aside, Washington changes with every administration.

One hundred days is an important indicator not only for the Presidency: one hundred day diets, one hundred day certificates of deposit, one hundred day probation, one hundred days into a relationship, one hundred days of peace, one hundred day wars, for professional sports the first one hundred days of a season are an indicator of success.

It seems like a short time but in fact it is an accurate measurement of success or failure. Many of us live our lives by quarters; budgets, exercise, habits. Those extra ten days for many indicates a better measurement of performance.


GRAND RAPIDS PRESS: "HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Trump takes reigns of country with a vow to return the power to the people"

THE BOSTON GLOBE has a great front page with an eye-grabbing AP image.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - 'Free college' in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal on last week to offer free tuition at New York’s two giant university systems for families with annual incomes up to $125,000 could be groundbreaking for the “free college” movement. It would be the first such program that calls for free tuition for four years of college, not just two years, as in Tennessee and Oregon.

But some analysts are already calling it a “regressive” approach. That’s because it would cover only tuition, and many lower-income students would already qualify for enough state and federal aid to cover those costs. Also, under the proposal, students would have to attend full time to be eligible. About one-third of CUNY and SUNY students attend part time, and many part-timers do so because they need to work to support their families.

CALIFORNIA DREAMING - Fifty is the new 30. Orange is the new black. And in Donald Trump's America, California has become the new Texas. California is now a deep-blue island of resistance, one of only four of the 50 states with both a Democratic governor and legislature.

PHOTO - "My Ten Years With Obama": "Brooks Kraft has photographed the outgoing president from the campaign trail, to the White House, and back again. Here's the best of what he saw." 32 pix

APPLE MILESTONE - Apple to hit $1 trillion in total iPhone, iOS revenue this year: report: Total revenues from iOS products, which include iPhones (now celebrating their 10-year anniversary), iPod Touch devices, Apple Watches, iPads and Apple TV systems, will hit $980 billion by the middle of this year. Add in $100 billion in revenue from iOS services, and "iOS will have generated over $1 trillion in revenues for Apple sometime this year.

OUCH - Billionaire hedge-fund manager George Soros lost nearly $1 billion as a result of the stock-market rally spurred by ... Trump's surprise presidential election. But Stanley Druckenmiller, Mr. Soros's former deputy who helped Mr. Soros score $1 billion of profits betting against the British pound in 1992, anticipated the market's recent climb and racked up sizable gains, according to people close to the matter.

The two traders' divergent bets are a stark reminder of the challenges even acclaimed investors have faced following Mr. Trump's unexpected victory. Many experts had predicted a tumble for stocks in the wake of the election, but instead the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed about 9 percent since Election Day. Stocks have fallen broadly in the past couple of sessions, hurt in part by a reversal for smaller companies and the financial industry.

A NICE READ -- "The Bush Sisters Wrote the Obama Girls A Letter" -- FUNNY LINE: "Enjoy college. As most of the world knows, we did."

FRIENDLY SKIES - JetBlue becomes the first airline to offer free wifi in every seat. The Fly-Fi service includes streaming video curated by Amazon and 36 channels of DIRECTV. Also free wifi at its terminals at DCA, JFK, LAX and many other airports.

SEARS ON THE BRINK - Long-struggling Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) may soon be on the brink of bankruptcy. "Nothing they have gets them where they need to be," says one retail consultant.

 BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Alan Alda (80) Austin, TX.; Wayne Gretzky (55) Thousand Oaks, CA.; Jack Nicklaus (77) Palm Beach, FL.

FINANCE 101 – NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement)

A regulation implemented January 1, 1994 in Mexico, Canada and the United States to eliminate most tariffs on trade between these nations. The three countries phased out numerous tariffs, (with a particular focus on those related to agriculture, textiles and automobiles), between the agreement’s implementation and January 1, 2008. NAFTA’s purpose is to encourage economic activity between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

About one-fourth of U.S. imports, (especially crude oil, machinery, gold, vehicles, fresh produce, livestock and processed foods), comes from Canada and Mexico, which are the United States’ second- and third-largest suppliers of imported goods. In addition, about one-third of U.S. exports, particularly machinery, vehicle parts, mineral fuel and oil, and plastics are destined for Canada and Mexico.

The Clinton administration, which signed the law that was developed under the George H. W. Bush administration, believed NAFTA would create 200,000 American jobs within two years and 1 million within five years because exports played a major role in U.S. economic growth. They anticipated a dramatic increase in U.S. imports to Mexico under the lower tariffs. Critics, however, were concerned that NAFTA would move U.S. jobs to Mexico. While the United States, Canada and Mexico have all experienced economic growth, higher wages and increased trade with each other since NAFTA’s implementation, experts disagree on how much NAFTA contributed to these gains, if at all.

NAFTA was supplemented by the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC). These side agreements were intended to prevent businesses from relocating to take advantage of lower wages, more lenient laws about worker health and safety, and less strict environmental laws.

NAFTA did not eliminate regulatory requirements on companies wishing to trade internationally, such as rule of origin regulations and paperwork requirements that determine whether a good can be traded under NAFTA. The free trade agreement also contains administrative, civil and criminal penalties for businesses that violate any of the three countries’ laws or customs procedures.

Countries are most likely to import goods that domestic industries cannot produce as efficiently or cheaply but may also import raw materials or commodities that are not available within its borders. For example, many countries have to import oil because they cannot produce it domestically or cannot produce enough of it to meet demand. Free trade agreements and tariff schedules often dictate what goods and materials are less expensive to import. With globalization and the increasing prevalence of free trade agreements between the United States and other countries and trading blocks, U.S. imports have increased from $473 billion in 1989 to $2.24 trillion in 2015.

WORD OF THE MONTH: intrapreneur

\in-truh-pruh-NUR, -NOO R, -NYOO R\
1. an employee of a large corporation who is given freedom and financial support to create new products, services, systems, etc., and does not have to follow the corporation's usual routines or protocols.

Many companies—including global brands like IBM, eBay, and Facebook—focus on developing an “intrapreneur” culture. An intrapreneur brings the creativity and drive often associated with startups to larger, established companies.

GREAT READS - "The Government Secrets Trump Is About to Discover," by Garrett M. Graff in the January/February 2017 issue of Politico Magazine: "From spy planes to cyberattacks to the private lives of foreign leaders, the president gets access to more confidential material than anyone else on the planet. Now, it's all in Donald Trump's hands."

"The Great Exception: California vs. Trump. Part One," by Andy Kroll in California Sunday: "With a GDP of $2.5 trillion, it has the sixth-largest economy in the world, trailing only the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China, and, of course, the United States. With 39 million people, it is by far the most populous state in the union. (Put another way, nearly one out of every eight Americans is a Californian.) Two of the nation's most influential industries - tech and entertainment - reside primarily in California. The state is the fifth-largest supplier of food in the world."

GOOD LISTEN – If by chance you have Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 82 Mad Dog Sports is quite entertaining this week (Noon – 4:00 p.m. PT). Christopher Russo is having his annual Super Bowl Trivia contest; you must answer four questions to win two tickets to the Super Bowl. As of today Tuesday no winners, and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo is getting aggravated, a good listen.

OUT AND ABOUT – Rink Rat follower, Todd Eckel, was quoted last week on KPCC 89.3:

This piece was regarding an agreement between the University of La Verne and the local school districts – which include those in Pomona, Alhambra, Covina, Duarte and other areas – is meant to ease the pathway between high school and higher education.

“The more accessible and affordable we can make our education at the University of La Verne, the better off the region will be as a whole,” said Todd Eckel, the interim dean of admissions at the University of La Verne.

CONGRATS TO – Viggo Mortensen (St. Lawrence ’80) for his Academy Award Best Actor nomination.

NEW ENGLAND PREP SCHOOL HOCKEY - #6 Loomis-Chaffee Pelicans (9-3-1): The two teams to beat the Pelicans are Avon and Deerfield, by scores of 2-1 and 3-2 (OT). In both of those losses Loomis poured over 40 shots on net. So excellent goaltending has been the only thing to stop Loomis. But Loomis has a pair of backstops who are very tough in their own right -- team GAA is 1.20.

SUPER BOWL QUIZ – Answers at the end of this Blog.

What two players who played in the 1967 “Ice Bowl” NFL Championship game went on to coach in the Super Bowl?

What two NFL teams have a record of one win and two losses in the Super Bowl?

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Friday 1/27, 7:00 PM CT, HGTV:  #2 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (15-5-4) at #6 Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-6-2). The Battle of Minnesota, The Bulldogs prevail in the Twin Cities, 5 – 4.   Season to date (6-6)


(NBA, Jan. 28) Los Angeles Clippers (30-17) at Golden State Warriors (38-7), Golden State too much for the Clips, 102 – 94.

(Pegasus World Cup, Jan. 28) $12 million stakes race at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Bet a sawbuck ($10) on California Chrome to win and end his illustrious career in style.

Season to Date (14 – 4)

MARKET WEEK – World's 8 Richest Have as Much Wealth as Bottom Half of Global Population: The report, based on Forbes's annual list of billionaires, was prepared for release with last week's gathering of world leaders and business elites at Davos, Switzerland. It follows up on a similar study conducted a year ago that found that the world's richest 62 people had as much wealth as the bottom half of the population.  The eight: Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega Gaona (founder of Inditex, which owns Zara), Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison and Mike Bloomberg.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Donald Trump kicks off his first full week in the White House with meetings on Monday with business leaders at 9:00 a.m. and union leaders at 3:00 p.m. ... At 10:30 a.m. he is expected to sign more executive orders. Later in the week he will huddle with Republicans at their House and Senate retreat in Philadelphia. ... British PM Theresa May will also visit the retreat before heading to the White House on Friday where she will be the first foreign head of state to meet with the new president ... Still no vote set yet on Mnuchin ... First read on Q1 GDP on Friday at 8:30 a.m. expected to show growth of just 2.2 percent.


Forrest Gregg, Green Bay Packers coached in Super Bowl 23 for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dan Reeves, Dallas Cowboys coached in Super Bowls 21, 22, 24 for the Denver Broncos

Seattle Seahawks (1 – 2)
Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams (1-2)

Next Blog: Winter Dining

Until Next Time, Happy Chinese New Year on January 28: The Year of the Rooster

Claremont, California
January 26, 2017

CARTOON OF THE WEEK –“For Profit” Signe Wilkinson

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