Yardstick: Look in the Sunday paper - you can get a 30 year mortgage for about 6%. But Citibank has to pay 14% plus some other sweeteners to get a shot in the balance sheet. You are twice as good a credit risk than one of the largest banks in the country. How's that make you feel? Really?
Report of the Commissioner: According to the Comptroller of the Currency, "Over a third of the nation’s community banks have commercial real estate loans exceeding 300% of their capital; nearly 30% have construction and development loans exceeding 100% of their capital." Ah, much safer than home mortgages. Even so, that adds up to 4 times their actual capital...
Saved At Last. The
recession bailout economic stimulus is the equivalent giving us each a one-time 3% bonus. If that wer all it took to avoid disaster, I'm sure my boss would have given me a raise years ago.
Cavities: Los Angeles began fluoridating its water last fall, using 12,000 tons annually. That was enough to deplete US supplies. Cities such as Fort Worth, TX and Needham, MA have suspended fluoridation because their chemical bills nearly doubled. Be interesting to know if those gaining fluoride out-number those losing the protection. Probably a conspiracy by dentists.
Dick Tracey, Jr. Today, more than 23,000 people from private industry are part of a group working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The group, InfraGard (website at infragard.net) receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does, and are being trained for a role in a martial law situation. In return they have permission to “shoot to kill” to protect their factories in the event of martial law. Scares the hell out of me, too.
Something's Cooking: Wheat is up again, record high. Now there's speculation as to how Chinese consumers will react to food shortages. Wheat is up because at the current rate of export the US will run out before the end of 2008. What happens here when Wheaties get to $14.00 a box?
Cold : Vladimir let George know that nobody's fooled by this putting ABMs in Poland to stop Iran from attacking France. He told Bush that if the economically weakened US wants to have an arms race with energy-rich and trade-balance positive Russia "well, bring it on." Sounds like old times, except now Europe gets most of its natural gas from Russia.
More Is Not Less : A federal court thinks the EPA should enforce the Clean Air Act so that clean air results, rather than more mercury pollution from coal-fired electrical plants.
Secret of the Lakes: Same old same old. A scientific report that would embarrass Bush got sidelined and the author got promoted to a do-nothing job. This time it was a CDC study is of industrial toxins in the Great Lakes; Dr. De Rosa said there was lots and we should do something about them. So the CDC transferred Dr. De Rosa.
Scale: The major US market indexes lost about 5% of their value during January. Not good. Worldwide, January's losses totaled $5.2 trillion; 50 of the 52 global equity markets ended the month down, 25 of them with double-digit losses. That's some $850 for every man, woman and child in the world. And they're going to give you a $600 band-aid for the boo-boo.