Monday, June 26, 2017


Character and Communication: define an institution’s culture. This has been a central theme to many institutions undergoing changes in their management structure these recent weeks. Organizations like Ford, Uber, Harvard University, Yahoo, and many more, are struggling to find that combination of character and communication to succeed in the marketplace, as well as internally.

FINANCE 101 – Five Cs of Credit:

The five C's of credit is a system used by lenders to gauge the creditworthiness of potential borrowers. The system weighs five characteristics of the borrower and conditions of the loan, attempting to estimate the chance of default. The five C's of credit are character, capacity, capital, collateral and conditions.

This method of evaluating a borrower incorporates both qualitative and quantitative measures. Lenders look at a borrower's credit reports, credit score, income statements and other documents relevant to the borrower's financial situation, and they also consider information about the loan itself.


Sometimes called credit history, the first C refers to a borrower's reputation or track record for repaying debts. This information appears on the borrower's credit reports. Generated by the three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – credit reports contain detailed information about how much an applicant has borrowed in the past and whether he has repaid his loans on time. These reports also contain information on collection accounts, judgments, liens and bankruptcies, and they retain most information for seven years. The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) uses this information to create a credit score, a tool lenders use to get a quick snapshot of creditworthiness before looking at credit reports.


Capacity measures a borrower's ability to repay a loan by comparing income against recurring debts and assessing the borrower's debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. In addition to examining income, lenders look at the length of time an applicant has been at his job and job stability.


Lenders also consider any capital the borrower puts toward a potential investment. A large contribution by the borrower decreases the chance of default. For example, borrowers who have a down payment for a home typically find it easier to get a mortgage. Even special mortgages designed to make homeownership accessible to more people, such as loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA), require borrowers to put between 2 and 3.5% down on their homes. Down payments indicate the borrower's level of seriousness, which can make lenders more comfortable in extending credit.


Collateral can help a borrower secure loans. It gives the lender the assurance that if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can repossess the collateral. For example, car loans are secured by cars, and mortgages are secured by homes.


The conditions of the loan, such as its interest rate and amount of principal, influence the lender's desire to finance the borrower. Conditions refer to how a borrower intends to use the money. For example, if a borrower applies for a car loan or a home improvement loan, a lender may be more likely to approve those loans because of their specific purpose, rather than a signature loan that could be used for anything.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - PORTRAIT OF A COLLEGE PRESIDENT: Despite efforts to diversify the field, the average college president is still a white male in his 60s, who spends most of his time fundraising, according to the latest annual snapshot of college leadership by the American Council on Education. Just 30 percent of college and university presidents were women in 2016, which was up four percentage points from 2011, when 26 percent of presidents were women. The percentage of minorities holding the top job was 17 percent in 2016, up four points from 13 percent in 2011, and from 7 percent in 1986. The average president was 62 years old - a decade older than when the ACE first published the presidential snapshot 30 years ago. Most presidents said fundraising and budget management were among their most time-consuming tasks. Nearly half of them also expect to see declines in federal and state funding over the next five years.

PAUL DRAKE - In keeping with its tradition of big-name and big-bucks investigations, the University of California will pay up to $210,000 for an independent look into allegations that President Janet Napolitano's office interfered with a recent state audit into its spending habits. UC will pay the law firm of Hueston Hennigan a 'blended' rate of $595 an hour for partners who work on the investigation and $395 an hour for associates. The tab will be capped at $165,000, unless the UC regents give the OK to spend more.

HISTORY 101 - Did you know Canada has its own Paul Revere-type figure from the War of 1812, who worked against the U.S.? Laura Secord, who was actually born in Massachusetts before moving to Canada and marrying a Loyalist, walked about 20 miles from territory controlled by the U.S. to warn the British of a looming attack on this week 204 years ago.

HAPPY 150th BIRTHDAY CANADA – We have many reader’s in Canada and we wish you all Happy Birthday this Canada Day July 1.

Canada celebrates its 150th year on July 1st with celebrations from coast to coast. Canada is an incredible, culturally diverse, and beautiful country. Canada is known for many things:  see below, also, an apparent need to apologize for things… and a very handsome and popular Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau).

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area and the fourth-largest country by land area.

Following several constitutional conferences, the 1867 Constitution Act officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1867, initially with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Canada assumed control of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest Territories, where the Métis' grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion and the creation of the province of Manitoba in July 1870. British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which had been united in 1866) joined the confederation in 1871, while Prince Edward Island joined in 1873.

Canada is known for: maple syrup, famous Canadian inventions include the games of ice hockey, sonar, canola oil, the snowmobile, snowblowers, poutine, walkie-talkies, the foghorn, the electron microscope, the pacemaker, the alkaline battery, garbage bags, the paint roller, plexiglass, peanut butter, the pager, the Java programming language, and the Blackberry. 

Also,  Canadian favourites include: Tim Horton’s “Double-Double”, Don Cherry, Molson and Labatt Breweries, Cat Morrison, a Loonie, Crown Royal, Canadian Bacon, Beaver Tails, Jacques Martin, Nova Scotia Lobster, Peter Blair,  Red Rose Tea, Bugsy Moran, and finally one of the best things about Canada is - Multiculturalism: The greatest single thing about living in Canada is the incredible mix of peoples and cultures they have and, specifically, the way people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds mingle freely, peacefully and happily throughout the country. At the core of all this is the continual arrival of new immigrants from all parts of the world and the cultural diversity and fine cuisine, among other things, that they bring with them. This is particularly apparent in places like Toronto and Vancouver, but you can also see it these days in smaller towns and cities as well.

The key word in the above paragraph is "peacefully". Anyone who knows anything about the horrific sectarian violence that is all too common in parts of Europe (particularly the Balkans) and especially India and Africa knows just how much we should cherish such peaceful coexistence.
So Happy 150th Birthday to all our friends in Canada this week!

ADIOS – The demise this week of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who resigned/forced out, underscores that real jerks can eventually be found out in an institution.

Over the years, there was "a sense of shiftiness about Kalanick, a can't-quiet-put-your-finger-on-it untrustworthiness that would irk some who deal with him.

Ilya Hykinson, a Kalanick colleague at an earlier start-up, recalls: "He'd write a large dollar figure on the whiteboard, circling it and outlining it for effect, just in case somebody came by and saw it ... That's kind of a weird, sleazy move."

"Kalanick ... seemed incapable, in public or in private, of holding back ... His widely quoted whoppers sometimes had an intellectually defensible ring to them. Yet they suggested a shocking lack of empathy or, at the very least, an inability to know when to keep quiet."

MANAGEMENT 101 or THEY DON’T GET IT - The values you project, whether they're intentional or not, will quickly pollinate through your organization. Know what they are, and make sure they're what you want.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Paula Abdul (55) Malibu, CA.; John Goodman (65) Chicago, IL.; Nicole Kidman (50) Nashville, TN.; Kris Kristofferson (81) Aspen, CO.; Carly Simon (72) Nantucket, MA,; Meryl Streep (68) Darien, CT.

HAPPY TENTH BIRTHDAY iPHONE - The decade’s statistics are pretty impressive: more than 1 billion phones sold, over 2 million apps written, more than 130 billion app downloads, $70 billion paid to app writers.

But the cultural effects are even more dramatic. With the iPhone (and Google’s imitator, Android), we became, for the first time, a society of people who were online continuously—wherever we went. Our communications blossomed from text messages to video calls, Snapchat, FaceTime, and Skype. Billion-dollar businesses like Uber, Snapchat, and Instagram sprang into existence. Distracted driving, distracted walking, distracted eating, distracted dating, and even distracted sex became things.

Steve Jobs had unveiled the iPhone onstage in January 2007, but the phone he displayed wasn’t anywhere near finished. His presentation followed a carefully scripted series of steps that had been programmed to work just for the demo. It took six more months for Apple to finish the phone—and to bring it to market on June 29.

IPHONE - Today, the iPhone is made at a number of different factories around China, but for years, as it became the bestselling product in the world, it was largely assembled at Foxconn's 1.4 square-mile flagship plant, just outside Shenzhen. The sprawling factory was once home to an estimated 450,000 workers," Brian Merchant writes in a  book excerpt published in The Guardian ."If you know of Foxconn, there's a good chance it's because you've heard of the suicides. In 2010, Longhua assembly-line workers began killing themselves. Worker after worker threw themselves off the towering dorm buildings, sometimes in broad daylight, in tragic displays of desperation - and in protest at the work conditions inside."

NEW iPAD PRO - It's definitely the best iPad and is excellent for all the things the iPad is already good at. That means browsing the Web, checking emails and gaming, but also plenty of "productivity" tasks, like drawing, sketching, and photo editing.

Software: The most important thing about the new iPad Pro is it's actually only partially being released this week. You can buy it, for sure, but the software designed to fundamentally transform the iPad into more of a serious work machine is iOS 11, which doesn't come out until the fall.

With the new iPad Pro, Apple is hoping to change the narrative around the iPad as much as the economics. Its big economic move was really the introduction of a cheaper base-model iPad earlier this year. The iPad Pro in general, and this model in particular, is Apple's effort to show that tablets are good for more than just watching movies, playing games and doing light e-mail and Web browsing. It is Apple's best iPad, not its best-selling one.

The new iPad Pro adds a bunch of nice improvements to the iPad, including faster scrolling, improved brightness and a faster processor. But the biggest improvement is fitting a larger 10.5-inch screen into the same size case. (There's also a 12.9-inch version, which I didn't review, but in a brief hands-on it felt big for anything I'd want to do on a tablet.)

As for helping take the new iPad into new echelons of productivity, that will largely have to wait for iOS 11, which is due out this fall. The free software update has some great new multitasking and drag-and-drop editing features that could make the iPad Pro a much more credible alternative to a laptop for some.

Who it's good for: Anyone in the market for a new iPad who is willing to pay top dollar for a top-notch tablet. It makes far better use of its size, filling more of its frame with screen.

Who it's not: The new iPad probably won't fully replace a laptop (at least not until iOS 11 arrives) and may be more tablet than a lot of people need if their main goal is to watch some videos and browse the Web.

The practicalities: The 10.5-inch model starts at $649 and a 12.9-inch version starts at $799. Cellular capability costs an extra $130 with 256GB and 512GB versions also available. All models are available now for pre-order and start shipping this week.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT - ... the first Watergate story by Woodward and Bernstein — on June 19, 1972. Richard Milhous Nixon announced his resignation 780 days later.

The burglars had been surprised at DNC HQ in the early morning hours of June 17, 1972.

The Post's first Watergate story, on June 18 ("5 Held in Plot to Bug Democrats' Office Here"), was by The Post's legendary police reporter, Al Lewis, who had 15,000 bylines in 50 years.

The story was above the fold, but not the lead. That was: "Both Sides Claim Victory in N. Vietnam Offensive."

NCAA IN THE NHL DRAFT - Here's a look at the 60 players/recruits taken in the NHL Draft, sorted by NCAA team and round of each pick. No St. Lawrence University team members selected this year.

SPOTTED – At Roberta’s Village Grille in La Verne, California one morning last week, Joe Zanetta and incoming Univ. of La Verne freshman Johnny Clarizio: La Salle High School graduate, Clarizio, is planning his first year at La Verne.


MLB Game of the Week (July 1) – Cleveland Indians (39-35) at Detroit Tigers (33-42). A big holiday weekend four game series at Comerica, if the Bengals do not take three of four in this series, their season is history. Tigers win 6 – 5.

CFL (Canadian Football League) – begins their 59th season this weekend (June 22 – November 4). We like to Edmonton Eskimos to win the western conference and the Ottawa Redblacks to win the eastern conference. We pick Edmonton to win their 20th Grey Cup in November.

Season to Date (44 - 20)

ON THIS DATE – June 25, 1953 Al Kaline “Mr. Tiger” played his first major league game. 

A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Al Kaline played his entire 22-year baseball career with the Detroit Tigers (1953 – 1974).  For most of his career, Kaline played in the outfield, mainly as a right fielder where he won ten Gold Gloves and was known for his strong throwing arm. He was selected to 18 All-Star Games and was selected as an All-Star each year between 1955 and 1967. A Career batting average of .297, 3,007 hits and 399 home runs. After hitting .294 in 1971, Kaline became the first Tiger to sign a $100,000 ($591,372 in today's dollars) contract.

Near the end of his career, Kaline also played as first baseman and, in his last season, was the Tigers' designated hitter. He retired not long after reaching the 3,000 hit milestone. Immediately after retiring from playing, he became the Tigers' TV color commentator, a position he held until 2002. Kaline still works for the Tigers as a front office official.

RINK RATS NEWS QUIZ – the answer to last week’s Rink Rats Quiz:

            Thanks in part to the rising popularity of cocktails, world-wide sales of hard alcohol
            rose 0.04% last year. Which of these, in contrast lost ground?
A.     Wine
B.     Beer
C.      Both
D.     Neither

MARKET WEEK - The Long Unwind - The Federal Reserve said last Wednesday it would raise short-term interest rates and spelled out in greater detail its plans to start slowly shrinking its $4.5 trillion portfolio of bonds and other assets this year. The moves mark the latest test of the economy’s ability to grow on its own, as the central bank dials back unprecedented stimulus measures. The quarter-percentage-point increase brings the Fed’s benchmark federal-funds rate to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The central bank has penciled in one more increase this year if the economy performs in line with its forecast. The rate decision and balance-sheet strategy signal confidence in the economic expansion, which has been unspectacular but is also the third-longest on record.

"Transformers: The Last Knight" scored a franchise-low domestic debut with an estimated $43.5 million this weekend. But the fifth installment in the series booked $123.4 million at the box office in China.

DRIVING THE WEEK – Welcome to ObamaCare Repeal Week - The policy itself is generally not in the MM wheelhouse (though it includes a large tax cut). But the resolution certainly matters for tax reform as well as the general trajectory of President Trump's first term and the backdrop for the 2018 midterm elections. It's quite possible that if the Senate passes their Obamacare repeal bill this week and the House approves it and Trump signs it, Republicans will be in significant trouble in 2018.

If anything close to the predictions for lost/no longer affordable or useful healthcare coverage come true, the party responsible for the policy will get punished. Of course Republicans will face blowback from their base if they fail on Obamacare repeal after promising for nearly a decade to get it done. And Trump will be furious. But the damage from success could turn out to be significantly worse.

On the banking front, CCAR results come out Wednesday giving banks over $50 billion an assets the signal on capital distribution plans President Trump on Monday meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House.

Senate Banking has a hearing Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on housing market finance reform House Financial Services subcommittee has a hearing at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday on equity market structure Senate Appropriations subcommittee has a hearing Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. on the SEC and CFTC budgets. House Financial Services subcommittee on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. has a hearing on "The Federal Reserve's Impact on Main Street, Retirees, and Savings" Case-Shiller home prices at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to show a gain of 0.6%. Consumer Confidence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to dip to 115.0 from 117.9.

Next Blog: Summer holiday weekend.

See you on July 3, Adios.

Claremont, California

June 26, 2017

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Kim Warp, The New Yorker

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Reading

It is time to set up the night stand and the pool/beach tote with our summer reading selections.

"Creative Confidence," by Tom and David Kelley - Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the "creative types." Especially if you have more than nine letters after your name.  But two of the leading experts in innovation, design, and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative.  In an incredibly entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, the Stanford, and with many of the world's top companies, David and Tom Kelley identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives, and in our personal lives, and allow us to innovate in terms of how we approach and solve problems.

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House," by Jon Meacham. - Andrew Jackson, his intimate circle of friends, and his tumultuous times are at the heart of this remarkable book about the man who rose from nothing to create the modern presidency. Beloved and hated, venerated and reviled, Andrew Jackson was an orphan who fought his way to the pinnacle of power, bending the nation to his will in the cause of democracy. Jackson’s election in 1828 ushered in a new and lasting era in which the people, not distant elites, were the guiding force in American politics. Democracy made its stand in the Jackson years, and he gave voice to the hopes and the fears of a restless, changing nation facing challenging times at home and threats abroad. To tell the saga of Jackson’s presidency, acclaimed author Jon Meacham goes inside the Jackson White House. Drawing on newly discovered family letters and papers, he details the human drama–the family, the women, and the inner circle of advisers– that shaped Jackson’s private world through years of storm and victory.

The Reporter Who Knew Too Much,” by Mark Shaw - Was What’s My Line TV Star, media icon, and crack investigative reporter and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen murdered for writing a tell-all book about the JFK assassination? If so, is the main suspect in her death still at large?

These questions and more are answered in former CNN, ESPN, and USA Today legal analyst Mark Shaw’s 25th book, The Reporter Who Knew Too Much. Through discovery of never-before-seen videotaped eyewitness interviews with those closest to Kilgallen and secret government documents, Shaw unfolds a “whodunit” murder mystery featuring suspects including Frank Sinatra, J. Edgar Hoover, Mafia Don Carlos Marcello and a "Mystery Man" who may have silenced Kilgallen. All while by presenting through Kilgallen's eyes the most compelling evidence about the JFK assassinations since the House Select Committee on Assassination’s investigation in the 1970s.

Casey Stengel: Baseball's Greatest Character,” by Marty Appel - As a player, Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel's contemporaries included Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson . . . and he was the only person in history to wear the uniforms of all four New York teams: the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, and Mets. As a legendary manager, he formed indelible, complicated relationships with Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Martin. For more than five glorious decades, Stengel was the undisputed, quirky, hilarious, and beloved face of baseball--and along the way he revolutionized the role of manager while winning a spectacular ten pennants and seven World Series Championships. 

But for a man who spent so much of his life in the limelight--an astounding fifty-five years in professional baseball--Stengel remains an enigma. Acclaimed New York Yankees' historian and bestselling author Marty Appel digs into Casey Stengel's quirks and foibles, unearthing a tremendous trove of baseball stories, perspective, and history. Weaving in never-before-published family documents, Appel creates an intimate portrait of a private man who was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 and named "Baseball's Greatest Character" by MLB Network's Prime 9. Casey Stengel is a biography that will be treasured by fans of our national pastime.

Camino Island,” by John Grisham - A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.

Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts.

Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets. But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise.

Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail,” by Melanie Radzicki McManus - In thirty-six thrilling days, Melanie Radzicki McManus hiked 1,100 miles around Wisconsin, landing her in the elite group of Ice Age Trail thru-hikers known as the Thousand-Milers. In prose that’s alternately harrowing and humorous, Thousand-Miler takes you with her through Wisconsin’s forests, prairies, wetlands, and farms, past the geologic wonders carved by long-ago glaciers, and into the neighborhood bars and gathering places of far-flung small towns. Follow along as she worries about wildlife encounters, wonders if her injured feet will ever recover, and searches for an elusive fellow hiker known as Papa Bear. Woven throughout her account are details of the history of the still-developing Ice Age Trail—one of just eleven National Scenic Trails—and helpful insight and strategies for undertaking a successful thru-hike.

The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway - Hemingway’s first novel is at the top of my list because it reflects his reliance on his traditional Midwestern values as he encountered new experiences and values in post-World War I Europe. Using friends and acquaintances that populated the cafes along Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris, he reveals his concern about the valueless life of these Lost Generation characters and begins his personal and literary search for meaning in what appears to be a godless world. In the midst of their heavy drinking and meaningless revelry during a fiesta in Spain, Pedro Romero, the matador, becomes a hero. He conducts himself with honor and courage, and it is here we see the beginnings of what will become the Hemingway Code.

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Harvard's president to step down next year: Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faust, who shepherded the school through the turbulence of the economic recession and expanded its diversity, will step down in June 2018 after 11 years leading the 380-year-old institution.

Faust announced her pending departure in an e-mail to students, faculty, and staff Wednesday afternoon, igniting an instant buzz on campus and among alumni and the wider world of higher education.

The Boston Globe is floating Barack Obama as a possible next president of Harvard University. Drew Faust, who has led Harvard for a decade, announced this week she'll step down after one more school year. The Globe points out that Obama is a former law school professor and was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, in 1990. Among the other names floated by the Globe: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Rice University President David Leebron and Nitin Nohria, dean of the Harvard Business School since 2010.

Harvard had just 28 presidents in close to 400 years" ... There were 11 Harvard presidents before U.S. was a country.

MICHIGAN TO WAIVE TUITION FOR POOR STUDENTS: The University of Michigan will waive tuition for students from families making $65,000 or less, the school's president announced this week. Many elite universities, including some Ivy League schools, have similar policies aimed at boosting economic diversity on campus. "I've heard from far too many families throughout our state who don't pursue a UM education because they feel they can't afford it," Michigan President Mark Schlissel said at Thursday's Board of Regents meeting. "We now guarantee those with the most need can afford a University of Michigan education."

FORBES CELEBRITY 100 - Ranks the top-earning front-of-camera entertainers on the planet by pretax income from June 1, 2016 through June 1, 2017. Fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted.

HELLO…HELLO - Next year, U.S. smartphone data use will surpass fixed broadband use for the first time according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers' latest Media and Entertainment outlook. By 2021, mobile data consumption is expected to eat up nearly 38% of all digital data consumption in the U.S., while fixed broadband will take up 27%, roughly 4 percentage points less than it does today.

GREAT READS - "A Sociology of the Smartphone," by Adam Greenfield in Longreads, in an excerpt of "Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life": "Smartphones have altered the texture of everyday life, digesting many longstanding spaces and rituals, and transforming others beyond recognition. ..

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Jim Belushi (62) Chicago, IL.; Jeff Dillon ….pride of Renfrew, Ontario; Queen Elizabeth (91) London England; Sir Paul McCartney (75) Sussex, England; Hannah Storm (55) Malibu, CA.; President Donald J. Trump (71) Washington D.C.

SEINFELD STUFF - Soupman, a Staten Island-based company that licenses the name and recipes of the real-life inspiration for Senfeld's Soup Nazi, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. Just hours later, New York AG Eric T. Schneiderman announced guilty pleas in a totally unrelated construction fraud case whose investigation code-name was Operation Vandelay Industries. Among the crooks? A purported architect whose last name was Newman.

POTUS WEEK -  MONDAY: Trump has Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and his wife to the White House. He will participate in an American Technology Council roundtable at 5 p.m. WEDNESDAY: The president is going to Iowa. THURSDAY: The Congressional picnic.

BULLY BRANDING - Little Marco. Crooked Hillary. Crazy Bernie. Lyin' Ted. Low-energy Jeb. Goofy Elizabeth Warren. And now ... "The Witch Hunt."

Trump, forced into campaign mode by his own actions and indiscretions, has officially branded the investigation by his own Justice Department.

DAYS OF OUR LIVES – I  have never seen a Cabinet meeting like the one on Monday June 12. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, taking his turn to genuflect for a beaming Trump, said: "On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people." (N.Y. Times front-page headline: "Flatterers First, Then President Praises Himself'" ... CNN chyron: "TRUMP'S WEIRD CABINET MEETING.")

Going back to the Clintons, we have never seen a president and his family work so hard to promote or appear on a program like the Trumps' trumpet, "Fox & Friends." From yesterday's show: "Hey, look! It's Ivanka Trump." ... "I join you almost every morning, just not on the couch!" This came after Trump himself promoted the friendly show on Twitter, which he regularly does.

In 228 years of presidents, none has canned the FBI director, then allowed his own Justice Department to appoint a special counsel — who within weeks his friends and allies would openly muse about firing.

In modern presidential history, there is nothing comparable to the personal and public attacks on James Comey by the president and his eldest son. In the last few days alone, they have called Comey — a guy who most elected Republican officials in town like and trust — a liar, a coward, a criminal leaker, and "a dishonest man of bad character."

Remember that we're living through history that will be studied and debated until the end of time. Many Trump backers, both the eager and reluctant ones, enjoy the destruction of norms and bemoan the highly critical coverage of this presidency. But we should never lose sight that we are experiencing a daily display of unprecedented actions and behaviors.

FLIPPING THE SWITCH - General Electric Chief Executive Jeff Immelt will step aside this summer, ending a 16-year run atop a conglomerate that he significantly reshaped but whose shares have vastly underperformed the stock market during his tenure. GE said Monday that Mr. Immelt would be succeeded on Aug. 1 by John Flannery, the head of the company’s health-care business, and retire as chairman of the board on Dec. 31. Mr. Flannery, 55 years old, is a 30-year veteran of the company who spent much of his career in its once-sprawling financial business. The shuffle comes as GE has been under pressure by activist investor Trian Fund Management to slash costs and increase profit in the company’s core industrial business.


Pedagogy      \PED-uh-goh-jee, -goj-ee\
1. the function or work of a teacher; teaching.
2. the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods.

Quotes: “It was the cold, pitiless glass heart of Professor March's approach to magical pedagogy. Every lecture, every exercise, every demonstration was concerned with how to manipulate and transform it using magic.”-- Lev Grossman, The Magicians, 2009

Flaco, adjective: thin, skinny

Flaco is one of those useful words you need to describe how people look.
“un hombre alto y flaco” - a tall, thin man
“piernas largas y flacas” - long, thin legs

In Latin America it’s often used as a nickname:
El Flaco Jiménez
Flaco Jiménez

People often use flaco in the phrase punto flaco, weak point.
“Pues cuida tu salud, es tu punto flaco estos días.” - So, look after your health, it’s your weak point these days.


MLB Game of the Week (June 24) – Colorado Rockies (46-26) at Los Angeles Dodgers (44-26). Time for the Dodgers to take control of the National League West, Dodgers win 5 – 4.

Season to Date (43 - 20)

RINK RATS NEWS QUIZ – the first to get this month’s quiz correct will receive a Rink Rats T-Shirt, please send entries to

Thanks in part to the rising popularity of cocktails, world-wide sales of hard alcohol rose 0.04% last year. Which of these, in contrast lost ground?

A.     Wine
B.     Beer
C.      Both
D.     Neither

MARKET WEEK - Brexit talks formally kicked off in Brussels on Monday nearly a year after Britons voted to pull their country out of the European Union. The negotiations, which are expected to last two years, started with British Prime Minister Theresa May under pressure to soften her position after early elections she called hoping to give her a stronger mandate resulted in the loss of her Conservative Party's majority in Parliament. U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis called the debate over the terms of the country's withdrawal from the European trading bloc, and the new terms of its relationship with the EU, the "most complicated negotiation of all time." "We are starting this negotiation in a positive and constructive tone," Davis said. "There is more that unites us than divides us." EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the first session would focus on trying to "identify priorities and the timetable" to show "a constructive opening of negotiations."

Cars 3 led the domestic box office in its debut weekend as expected, but its $53.5 million haul was the weakest opening in the series' history. Cars made $60.1 million in its opening weekend, and Cars 2 made $66.1 million. The movie was far behind other Pixar blockbusters — Finding Dory brought in $135.1 million in its first weekend. Still, Cars 3 managed to knock Wonder Woman down to No. 2 in its third weekend. Smaller films, including the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me and the shark thriller 47 Meters Down also did well.

DRIVING THE WEEK – President Trump meets with tech CEOs at the White House on Monday ... Senate Finance has a hearing on the fiscal 2018 budget at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday ... American Bankers Assoc. holds a forum on payments on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. ... Senate Agriculture Committee holds a hearing at 9:30 a.m. Thursday on the nomination of J. Christopher Giancarlo to be chairman of the CFTC ... House Financial Services picks up the flood insurance debate on Wednesday ... Senate Banking Committee has a hearing at 10:00 a.m. Thursday on Economic Growth ... Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks at 7:00 p.m. in NYC on Monday ... Index of Leading Indicators on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise 0.4 percent.

Next Blog: “C’s”

See you on June 26, Adios.

Claremont, California

June 19, 2017

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Harry Bliss, The New Yorker

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trends & Strategies

COLLEGE CHRONICLES - In the 375 years between 1636, when Harvard College was founded, and 2011, college enrollments in the United States rose almost continuously, rarely undergoing even a temporary decline. When the American Revolution began in 1775, only 721 students attended the nine colonial colleges. By 2010 enrollments had surpassed 20 million. The total number of enrolled college students fell every fall from 2011 to 2016, dropping to 19 million from 20.6 million, according to studies from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The declines were concentrated in community colleges and for-profit colleges, but even smaller institutions struggled to meet their enrollment goals during the years studied. What gives?

Some point to demographic influences, such as a drop in birth rates during the 1990s. Others cite increases in job opportunities, which lured college-age Americans away from the academy in the aftermath of the Great Recession. But two longer-term trends are at work: The cost of college attendance is rising while the financial benefits of a degree are falling.

The evidence on rising costs is well established: From 2000 to 2016, the tuition-and-fees component of the Consumer Price Index rose 3.54% annually (74.5% over the entire period), adjusting for overall inflation. With sluggish business investment, a slowdown in income growth has aggravated the rising burden of paying for higher education. American families have taken on more than $1.3 trillion in student-loan debt—more than what they borrow with credit cards or to buy cars.

Less well known is that the earnings advantage associated with a bachelor’s degree compared with a high school diploma is no longer growing like it once did. Census data show that the average annual earnings differential between high school and four-year college graduates rose sharply, to $32,900 in 2000 (expressed in 2015 dollars) from $19,776 in 1975—only to fall to $29,867 by 2015. In the late 20th century rising higher-education costs were offset by the increasing financial benefits associated with a bachelor’s degree. Since 2000 those benefits have declined, while costs have continued to rise.

Rising costs and declining benefits mean the rate of return on a college investment is starting to fall for many Americans. Some observers have begun asking whether it might not be better for more students to forgo college in favor of less expensive postsecondary training in vocations like welding and plumbing. The New York Federal Reserve Bank says about 40% of recent college graduates are “underemployed,” often for a long time. They sometimes resort to taking jobs as Uber drivers or baristas. With some inexpensive vocational training, they could easily get jobs that pay much better.

To be sure, the payoff from a college education varies sharply depending on school and major. U.S. Department of Education data suggests recent attendees of Stanford University earn on average far more than twice as much as those attending Northern Kentucky University ($86,000 vs. $36,000). Electrical engineers typically earn twice as much as psychology majors. No wonder elite students flock to schools like Stanford and demand for graduates with engineering degrees remains robust, while many state universities, community colleges and smaller liberal-arts schools struggle to attract students.

The size of the college-earnings advantage also varies with race and gender. In recent years, male college graduates’ earning power has decreased significantly, as it has for whites and Asians. Not so for women, Hispanics and blacks, for whom the financial payoff to a college education has continued to rise. College graduates traditionally earn more than high school graduates in part because their degrees act as signaling devices in the job market. To employers, a candidate with a bachelor’s degree has always seemed brighter and more disciplined, ambitious and reliable than someone with only a high school diploma.

As the proportion of adult Americans with college degrees grows beyond one-third, being a college graduate no longer necessarily denotes exceptional vocational promise. The bachelor’s degree is not the reliable signaling device it once was.

Nowadays, because of underemployment among college graduates, restaurant owners can hire bartenders who have college degrees. Credential inflation is at work. In the mid-1970s, far less than 1% of taxi drivers were college graduates; by 2010 more than 15% were. Is it possible that by 2030 a master’s degree in janitorial science could be a prerequisite for a job sweeping floors?

Apprenticeships and colleges: The average age of an apprentice in the United States is 28, and the positions are usually reserved for people interested in the building trades or the manufacturing industry. Now advocates are arguing that, given the rising cost of college, apprenticeships could play a greater role in job training. But where does that leave institutions of higher education? Extended learning, continuing education, non-degree certification training, are all possibilities, time to think out of the box.

OPINIONS - On POTUS: "Every president has some type of ideology, and the current president is basically a capitalist who believes in efficiency... So whenever he sees something that is inconsistent with efficiency, he'll abandon what he said before in order to get to execution. The previous government was different. They had a very strong ideology."

Finance philosophy #1: "There are no brave old people in finance. Because if you're brave, you mostly get destroyed in your 30s and 40s. If you make it to your 50s and 60s and you're still prospering, you have a very good sense of how to avoid problems and when to be conservative or aggressive with your investments."

Finance philosophy #2: "There are no patents in finance. Everything has a decay curve, in terms of its margins."

MILLENNIALS ON THE MOVE - Millennials are moving to America's cities — and not just the biggest ones. While places like New York City and Los Angeles remain millennial magnets, research from the Urban Land Institute shows that smaller cities, from Virginia Beach, Va., to Riverside, Calif., are actually seeing the most relative growth in their population of 25-to-34-year-olds.

DEAR RINK RATS – We have accumulated quite a bit of mail these last few weeks, here are some of them:

Dear Rink Rats: Is it possible for a man to be in love with two women at the same time? —Jake
Dear Jake: Yes, and also hazardous.

Dear Rink Rats: I've been going with this girl for a year. How can I get her to say yes? —Don
Dear Don: What's the question?

Dear Rink Rats: I've been going steady with this man for six years. We see each other every night. He says he loves me, and I know I love him, but he never mentions marriage. Do you think he's going out with me just for what he can get? —Gertie
Dear Gertie: I don't know. What's he getting?

Dear Rink Rats: What's the difference between a wife and a mistress? —Bess
Dear Bess: Night and Day.

Dear Rink Rats: I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can't afford to spend a lot of money to do it. Have you any suggestions? —M.J.B. in Oakland, Calif.
Dear M.J.B.: Yes. Run for a public office.

Dear Rink Rats: What inspires you most to teach? —Ted
Dear Ted: The Bureau of Internal Revenue.

REUNION OUT AND ABOUT – Reports have been coming in via social media and the FBI about last weekend’s St. Lawrence University class reunion weekend. After repeated efforts to decipher and multiple versions of translation, we offer our old friend Paul Gallagher’s (St. Lawrence ’77) version of the festivities:

“Hi Folks; just to let you know I survived the 40th Reunion for the Class of 77. Lots of laughs & of course I had to hold up Bugsy's Legs at the Whoot Owl while he did his performance (Chugging beer standing on his head) to the amazement of 300 younger SLU graduates who were mystified by this old guy---Priceless. Our class gave a record high $1,977,000.00 (almost 2 million) in donations. I guess we are a "Loaded Class" in more ways than one??? Kisses & Hugs. Caper.

Please see our SUMMER TRAVEL below, where we visit the area of the world where Mr. Caper lives.

MUST SEE TV - Carl Reiner's documentary (HBO) explores life after 90: Hollywood tends to place a premium on young, fresh faces, but these days there are plenty of talented stars in town working well into their 90s...Front and center in the film is 95-year-old comedy legend Carl Reiner, who created the 'Dick Van Dyke Show' and directed such films as 'Oh God!' and 'The Jerk.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Maria Aguirre …famous banker and financial analyst, Paul Giamatti (50) Scotia, N.Y.; Gabby Giffords (47) Tucson, AZ.; Elizabeth Hurley (52) London, England; Bill Moyers (83) Alexandria, VA.; Liam Neeson (65) Dublin, Ireland; Vice President Pence (58) Washington, D.C.; Nancy Sinatra (77) Rancho Mirage, CA.; Kate Upton (25) Orlando, FL.

FATHER’S DAY - Professional golfer Phil Mickelson says he will miss the U.S. Open [starts June 15 at Erin Hills in Wisconsin] for the first time in 24 years to attend his oldest daughter's high school graduation in California.
This is the same daughter who nearly caused Mickelson to miss the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, where he carried a beeper ... Amanda was born the next day. And now she's graduating high school.

CLASS LECTURE – These are the leading women business leaders who (if I could and had the means) invite to speak to my Finance class:

Susan Wojcicki – CEO of YouTube
Ursula Burns – American Chairperson and CEO of Xerox
Mary Barra – CEO and Chairperson of General Motors
Beth Comstock – Vice Chair of GE
Marillyn Hewson – Chairperson, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin
Safra Catz - Co-CEO of Oracle
Emma Walmsley – CEO of GlaxoSmithKline
Harriet Green – General Manager of IBM
Wendy Tan White – General Partner of Entrepreneur First

SUMMER TRAVEL – Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada: Although physically separated from the Nova Scotia peninsula by the Strait of Canso, the 1,385 m (4,544 ft) long rock-fill Canso Causeway connects it to mainland Nova Scotia. The island is east-northeast of the mainland with its northern and western coasts fronting on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence; its western coast also forms the eastern limits of the Northumberland Strait. The eastern and southern coasts front the Atlantic Ocean; its eastern coast also forms the western limits of the Cabot Strait. Its landmass slopes upward from south to north, culminating in the highlands of its northern cape. One of the world's larger salt water lakes, Bras d'Or ("Arm of Gold" in French), dominates the island's centre.

The island measures 10,311 square kilometres (3,981 sq mi) in area, making it the 77th largest island in the world and Canada's 18th largest island. Cape Breton Island is composed mainly of rocky shores, rolling farmland, glacial valleys, barren headlands, mountains, woods and plateaus. Geological evidence suggests at least part of the island was joined with present-day Scotland and Norway, now separated by millions of years of continental drift.

The climate is one of mild, often pleasantly warm summers and cold winters, although the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream moderates the extreme winter cold found on the mainland, especially on the east side that faces the Atlantic. Precipitation is abundant year round, with annual totals up to 60 inches on the eastern side facing the Atlantic storms. Considerable snowfall occurs in winter, especially in the highlands.

The island's residents can be grouped into six main cultures; Scottish, Mi'kmaq, Acadian, Irish, English, and Paul Gallagher (St. Lawrence ’77), with respective languages Scottish Gaelic, Mi'kmaq, French, and English. English is now the primary language, including a locally distinctive Cape Breton accent, while Mi'kmaq, Scottish Gaelic and Acadian French are still spoken in some communities.

Much of the recent economic history of Cape Breton Island can be tied to the coal industry.
The island has two major coal deposits:

-           The Sydney Coal Field in the southeastern part of the island along the Atlantic Ocean drove the Industrial Cape Breton economy throughout the 19th and 20th centuries—until after World War II, its industries were the largest private employers in Canada.

-           The Inverness Coal Field in the western part of the island along the Gulf of St. Lawrence is significantly smaller but hosted several mines.

Tourism in particular has grown throughout the post-Second World War era, especially the growth in vehicle-based touring, which was furthered by the creation of the Cabot Trail scenic drive. The scenery of the island is rivalled in northeastern North America by only Newfoundland;[citation needed] and Cape Breton Island tourism marketing places a heavy emphasis on its Scottish Gaelic heritage through events such as the Celtic Colours Festival, held each October, as well as promotions through the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts. Whale-watching is a popular attraction for tourists. Whale-watching cruises are operated by vendors from Baddeck to Cheticamp. The most popular species of whale found in Cape Breton's waters is the Pilot whale.

Best Brew - Founded in 1820, Alexander Keith's is a brewery in Halifax, Canada. It is among the oldest commercial breweries in North America. (The oldest surviving brewing enterprise in Canada was established by John Molson in Montreal in 1786 while the oldest in the US, Yuengling, originally called Eagle Brewing, was founded in 1829 in Pottsville, PA.)

Keith's was founded by Alexander Keith who emigrated from Scotland in 1817. Keith moved the facility to its final location, a three-storey building on Hollis Street at Lower Water in the downtown area, in 1820. Keith had trained as a brewer in Edinburgh and London. His early product included ale, porter, ginger wine, table and spruce beers. Alexander Keith was mayor in 1843 and in 1853-54 and president of the Legislative Council from 1867 to his death in 1873.

Keith's brewery produces Keith's India Pale Ale, Keith's Red Amber Ale, Keith's Premium White, Keith's Light Ale, and Keith's Nova Scotia Style Pale Ale, Keith's Nova Scotia Style Lager, and Keith's Nova Scotia Style Brown Ale for US markets. Keith's first, most popular, and most widely distributed beer is its India Pale Ale. Keith's has also produced Keith's Ambrosia Blonde, Keith's Harvest Ale, and Keith's Tartan Ale as seasonal brews. Originally brewed in the Halifax brewery, Anheuser–Busch InBev expanded production of Alexander Keith's beers to breweries in Ontario (London), Quebec (Montreal), Newfoundland (St. John's), British Columbia (Creston), and New York State (Baldwinsville), in addition to the original Halifax brewery which now produces beer for all of the Maritime provinces.

STANLEY CUP NUMBER 5 – Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins in winning the Stanley Cup (Rink Rats picked Nashville in six). A special congrats to St. Lawrence alumni in the Pittsburgh Penguin organization: Assistant Head Coach Jacques Martin (’75) and Director of Amateur Scouting Randy Sexton (’82).


MLB Game of the Week (June 17) – Washington Nationals (38-24) visit New York Metropolitans (28-33), if the Mets want to get back into the National League East race they need to sweep this series, they win this game: 6 – 3.

Season to Date (43 - 19)

ON THIS DATE – June 11, 1961: Stormin Norman Cash became the first Detroit Tiger to hit a home run ball out of Tiger Stadium. Cash hit the ball over Tiger Stadium's right field roof four times in his career.

Norm Cash who spent almost his entire career with the Detroit Tigers: An outstanding power hitter, his 377 career home runs were the fourth most by an American League left-handed hitter when he retired, behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig; his 373 home runs with the Tigers rank second in franchise history behind his teammate Al Kaline (399). He also led the AL in assists three times and fielding percentage twice; he ranked among the all-time leaders in assists (4th, 1317) and double plays (10th, 1347) upon his retirement, and was fifth in AL history in games at first base (1943).

Norm Cash was also one of the last players to not wear a batting helmet.

MARKET WEEK - The five most valuable companies in the U.S. are all technology firms that employ far fewer workers than their industrial predecessors.

These companies symbolize the central issue of employment in a new age of technology, automation, and artificial intelligence. For example, Ford, which is worth a tenth of Facebook, employs 200,000 workers compared with Facebook's 17,000. Worse, Ford is cutting jobs, saying last month that it will lay off 1,400 workers despite record revenue.

The success of these tech giants highlights the changing face of corporate America -- three of them did not exist 25 years ago, and the other two are just 40. That such relatively young companies are on top illustrates the trend of a higher churn rate among American companies. According to consulting firm Innosight, the 33-year average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 in 1965 narrowed to 20 years in 1990 and the average tenure is forecast to shrink to 14 years by 2026.

Stocks, bonds, gold and bitcoin—assets that rarely move in unison—have all been surging this spring, an “everything rally” that leaves investors confounded about how to play the plodding U.S. expansion. Major U.S. stock indexes have soared to records this month, reflecting some investors’ confidence in the recovery. Prices of bonds, which often decline when stocks rise, have also risen lately, while U.K. terror attacks and U.S. political turmoil have increased gold’s following. The simultaneous gains have begun to concern some investors. Many point to a wave of money driving up asset prices, tied in part to lower bond yields and a lower dollar—a confluence of events they say feels good but can’t go on forever.

DRIVING THE WEEK - Big week for the Fed with Chair Janet Yellen expected to announce another quarter point rate increase on Wednesday and speak at a news conference about the outlook for the rest of the year. This week's action seems locked in but with wage inflation still low and hard data a little soft, will the central bank show any sign of backing off plans for a further hike this year?

Next Blog: Summer Reading and Words of the Month.

See you on June 19, Adios.

Claremont, California

June 12, 2017