Monday, May 1, 2017

Radio Days

I am listing to the radio more these days; I find it soothing, less busy, and television programming stinks.

My Radio Day begins at 5:25 a.m. – NPR Morning Edition: yes NPR can at times be a tad to the left in political commentary, I find the morning news and stories informative.

6:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – I listen to KUSC 91.5 with Dennis Bartel, a wonderful and entertaining time of the day for radio. The classical music is a nice escape from freeway traffic.

Noon – 3:00 p.m. – It is sports talk time with Christopher Russo, Sirius satellite radio channel 82, the “Mad Dog” has by far the best sports talk. Where most sports talk shows concentrate on the main sport of the day: NBA, NFL, that’s about it. Mr. Russo talks about golf, tennis, hockey, good books, as well as the main sports like MLB, NFL, and NBA.

3:00 – 6:00 p.m. – We end our radio day with KJAZZ 88.1, the Steve Tyrell show at 5:00 p.m. is great cocktail hour listening. The jazz and blues offer a nice end of the day atmosphere at the end of a hectic day.

A great radio channel to listen while traveling on long road trips is Sirius Satellite channel 148, Classic Radio. Half hour segments of great shows from the 1940’s and 50’s like Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, The Shadow, Sam Spade: big time old school and it is wonderful.


Winning confirmation of Justice Gorsuch: Trump did it fast, with little drama and huge consequence. The win tipped the Court, invigorated conservatives, and bought him credibility with the establishment. It's the president's one achievement so far that will outlast him, regardless of what else unfolds.

Pro-business executive orders and regulatory changes: Nothing lifts a presidency (or increases the chance of reelection) more than a rising economy. Trump's early pro-business rhetoric and assault on regulations has boosted many industries. And the market "Trump bump" has given business a new spring in its step.

Encouraging CEOs to think more systematically about American jobs: Businesses talk openly about trying to "bait" a positive tweet from Trump (or insulate themselves from assault) by announcing factory openings or job expansions. These overtures aren't always all that they seem: Some were already in the pipeline, or may never come to fruition. But he has forced huge companies to reckon with the issue.

Operation Normal I: Installing experienced national-security and economic teams, obviating the fears of some Republicans that a Trump Cabinet would have a bit of a clown-car aura.

Operation Normal II: Post-Flynn, establishing a national-security decision-making process that has produced well-executed policies that have been regarded as sensible by mainstream Republicans. This includes the Syria strike, the embrace of NATO and the China state visit.


No significant new laws: He has full Republican control of Washington — and little to show for it. In retrospect, some White House aides think they screwed up by rushing into health care, and wish they had plunged into tax reform or an infrastructure package.

Little personal growth in office: His loose style, resistance to structure and amorphous views (and loyalties) leave White House aides insecure, and create internal inefficiencies and blind spots. This chaos contributed to the health-care debacle, provoking weeks of public butt-covering and finger-pointing. To this day, many aides tell us the West Wing reality is even worse than is publicly portrayed.

Failure to articulate a theory of the case, foreign or domestic: International allies and Congressional Republicans are left uncertain of what he believes, and opponents have an opening to define the vacuum on their terms.

Inability to get over it: The president hasn't kicked any of his bad campaign habits, all of which complicate governance — score-settling, name-calling, reckless tweeting, petty grievances, and unnecessary shots at allies and others he will one day need to succeed.

Resistance to reaching out to the 54% of 2016 voters who voted for someone else: Trump's low approval ratings make it harder for Democratic leaders on the Hill to make deals with him. Ditto his continued incitement of the Democratic base.

POTUS PLAN B? - President Trump brought his chaos-and-loyalty theory of management into the White House, relying on competing factions, balanced by trusted family members, with himself perched atop as the gut-instinct decider. He now realizes this approach has flopped, and feels baffled and paralyzed by how to fix it.

The chaos dimension has created far more chaos than anticipated. Come nightfall, Trump is often on the phone with billionaire, decades-long friends, commiserating and critiquing his own staff. His most important advisers are often working the phone themselves, trashing colleagues and either spreading or beating down rumors of turmoil and imminent changes.

This has created a toxic culture of intense suspicion and insecurity. The drama is worse than what you read.

POTUS WEEK -  MONDAY: The president will sign a "Law Day" proclamation, drop by a meeting of the Independent Community Bankers Association and have lunch with VP Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. He's also meeting privately with Tillerson.

TUESDAY: The president will present the Commander in Chief Trophy to the Air Force Academy.

WEDNESDAY: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be at the White House.

THURSDAY: Trump will return to New York for the first time in his presidency, and will give 
"remarks commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

SOMETHING TO WATCH -- Will Trump Release the Missing JFK Files? Unless the president intervenes, we'll soon know more secrets about the Kennedy assassination. The nation's conspiracy-theorist-in-chief is facing a momentous decision. Will President Donald Trump allow the public to see a trove of thousands of long-secret government files about the event that, more than any other in modern American history, has fueled conspiracy theories - the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy? The answer must come within months. And, according to a new timeline offered by the National Archives, it could come within weeks. Under the deadline set by a 1992 law, Trump has six months left to decide whether he will block the release of an estimated 3,600 files related to the assassination that are still under seal at the Archives.

WHERE EAGLES DARE - Air Force launches test missile off Central California coast to show nuclear deterrent capability: An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile was launched just after midnight Wednesday April 26 from Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of an operational test to show the country's nuclear deterrent capability, according to the U.S. Air Force.


Purdue University, a flagship public institution in Indiana, is jumping into online education by buying for-profit Kaplan University with the aim of creating a new, public online university. The highly unusual acquisition will extend Purdue’s reach to more working adults while building an additional revenue stream at a time when state funding is uncertain. Purdue President Mitch Daniels said the school wanted to stay true to its land-grant mission of educating as many people as possible, but he recognized it couldn’t build an online presence alone. The venture highlights the shifting higher-education market as public funding declines, tuitions rise and college students grow older, busier and more indebted. Purdue said it plans to acquire Kaplan University’s 32,000 students, 3,000 employees and 15 bricks-and-mortar campuses and learning centers from Graham Holdings, which will maintain Kaplan’s international, professional and test-prep businesses.

TOP ALUMNI NETWORKS - College Rank, a website dedicated to evaluating and ranking college programs and experiences, has released its list of the Top 25 Best College Alumni Networks:

1). Colgate University
2). Stanford University
3). Gettysburg College
4). Texas A&M University
5). Virginia Polytechnic & State University

Notables: 12) St. Lawrence University
                    16). Claremont-McKenna College

Two words: “Hoot Owl”.

CAREER SERVICES 101 – Advice for new college graduates: The first would be to treat everybody with respect. The second thing is that it’s not a race. You cannot be CEO overnight. It takes a long time and part of that journey is fun. You have to enjoy the ride.

So don’t be aggressive. You can be assertive, but if you’re overly aggressive, you’re going to ruin your opportunities. Sometimes you have to let the organization pull you.

Some of the best jobs were given to me that I didn’t even realize were coming. Some of the worst jobs I’ve had were when I pushed for them, and I discovered that I wasn’t ready for the job.

FUTURE VALUE - This chart explains why Tesla's stock price is entering insane territory: With a total value of $48 billion, versus $51 billion for GM, Tesla is still considered by Wall Street the number two US automaker — Ford is at $45 billion.

The takeaway: When it comes to the whole massive-market-cap-thing, however, we have been reminded that Tesla sells a remarkably small number of vehicles, relative to the traditional US Big Three: GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Get smart fast: Tesla bulls argue that Elon Musk's enterprise will be legitimately bigger than GM's and Ford's in the future because electric transportation will displace gas-powered mobility over the next few decades and Tesla has the best brand and largest head start.

Why it matters: A market cap at Tesla's level signals an immense level of investor confidence in Tesla's future execution.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Chris Krich ...famous golf swing and leader; Daniel Day-Lewis (60) Travis City, Michigan; Al Pacino (77) Southampton, N.Y.; Jerry Seinfeld (63) Manhattan, N.Y.

HISTORY IN PICTURES - Ralph Lincoln: 11th Generation Lincoln (creepy).

A SHULTZ HOUR - When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called: "My wife or the president," Shultz recalled.

Shultz, who's now 96, says that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. ... And the only way to do great work, in any field, is to find time to consider the larger questions.

THE SUMMER WHITE HOUSE -- Goodbye, Mar-a-Lago, hello, Bedminster: President Donald Trump's repeated weekend jaunts away from Washington have caused nonstop headaches for his South Florida neighbors this winter. But once his exclusive seaside retreat at Mar-a-Lago closes for the season, Trump is expected to shift his weekend plans north, to his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey - and bring with him all the chaos that comes with being a preferred presidential destination.

RINK RATS AT THE MOVIES - A surprisingly fascinating documentary, "Obit," which last week began a two-week run in New York, calls artful death notices "a once-only chance to make the dead live again.

A review in the N.Y. Times, "Commemorating the Dead With Humanity and Delicacy": "We keep nervous, vigilant watch over our mortality and an expedient means for us to mark time is to keep up on who among the prominent, or even casually known, has checked out for good."

"'Obit' shapes the tension and tedium of the writing process itself into engaging narrative drama as it lets us watch the veteran writer Bruce Weber assemble a 2014 obituary of William P. Wilson, a media consultant who provided vital cosmetic and staging tips to the 1960 Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy before his first televised debate with Richard M. Nixon."

See the trailer. ...  @OBITthefilm

BASEBALL PAYROLLS - The Los Angeles Dodgers topped the major leagues for the fourth straight Opening Day but dropped to $225 million, according to a study by The Associated Press. That’s the Dodgers’ lowest payroll since 2013.

Detroit Tigers are second at $199.75 million and the New York Yankees, in the midst of a turn toward youth, third at $195 million. The Yankees had not been outside the top two since 1993, and their Opening-Day payroll had not dropped this low since 2007, according to the AP’s calculations. New York topped Opening-Day payrolls from 1999-2013 before falling behind the Dodgers each year since 2014.

KEEPING SCORE -  World Golf Rankings as of April 27, 2017...

This week / Last week / End 2016 / End 2015
# 1 / 1/ 3 / 8 Dustin Johnson, USA
# 2 / 2 / 2 / 3 Rory McIlroy, N. Ireland
# 3 / 2 / 1 / 2 Jason Day, Australia
# 4 / 4 / 6 / 15 Hideki Matsuyama, Japan
# 5/ 5 / 5/ 1 Jordan Spieth, USA




MLB Game of the Week (May 6) – Houston Astros (16-9) at Los Angeles Angels (14-13), top two teams in the American League West, Angels win 5 – 4.

SCIAC Game of the Week (May 5) – SCIAC Softball tournament, round 1: Chapman University Panthers (20-18) at University of La Verne Leopards (27-11), regular season champs La Verne prevails 6 – 4.

Season to Date (30 - 16)

MARKET WEEK – On the first day of May today, the stock market is coming off strong monthly gains. In fact, the Dow and S&P were higher for the fifth month out six in April. The Nasdaq logged its sixth consecutive monthly advance.

Investors are hoping the old Wall Street cliche "sell in May and go away" won't apply this year. In fact, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq have not fallen in May since 2012.

In advance of Friday's March jobs report, the new month kicks off with March personal income and spending at 8:30 a.m. ET. The ISM's April manufacturing index and the government's March construction spending are out at 10 a.m. ET.

The Fed holds its two-day May policy meeting starting tomorrow. The market does not expect an interest rate hike this month, but the probability for a move at the June meeting is about 63 percent.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks this morning at Milken at 10:45 a.m. EST ... Trump drops by the ICBA meeting today at 11:00 a.m. ... Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visits the White House on Wednesday ... Trump returns to New York for the first time in his presidency on Thursday and will give "remarks commemorating the 75thAnniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea."

House Ways and Means Committee Republicans today continue their two-day policy meeting in the Longworth House office building on Capitol Hill on tax reform ... Senate Banking has a hearing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. on "Examining the U.S.-EU Covered Agreements" ... Senate Budget Committee has a hearing at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday on the economy ... House Financial Services expected to mark-up the CHOICE Act on Tuesday ...

FOMC announcement Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. not expected to include any changes ... April jobs report Friday at 8:30 a.m. expected to show a gain of 190K with unemployment at 4.6 percent and wages up 0.3 percent .

Next Blog: Jack Ass of the Month, Words of the Month, Dear Rink Rats.

Until next time, Adios

Claremont, California

May 1, 2017

CARTOON OF THE WEEK –Paul Noth, The New Yorker

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