Thursday, February 11, 2010

Random Readings...

Greece was saved! Until it wasn't. Germany has told everyone that will listen that they are afraid of the consequences of bailing out Greece.

"Germany is stepping totally on the brakes on financial assistance," said a senior EU diplomat. "On legal grounds, on constitutional grounds and on principle." Another senior diplomat said of the Germans: "They're not waving their chequebooks."

Commercial Real Estate - the Congressional Oversight Panel which tracks the progress of the TARP program projects that commercial real estate losses threaten nearly 3,000 mid-sized and small banks and may severely compromise their ability to make loans.

“Between 2010 and 2014, about $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans will reach the end of their terms. Nearly half are at present ’underwater”‘–that is, the borrower owes more than the underlying property is currently worth.”

Initial Jobless Claims - There was much rejoicing as initial jobless claims fell by over 40,000 from last week. However, as I noted previously, there was an artificial spike in jobless claims over the past 4 weeks as claims worked through the system following the holidays. Now that this has worked through the system we are back around where claims were 4 weeks ago. The White House also announced that they expect the economy to create 95,000 jobs per month. My only comment would be that the US economy needs to create 125,000 jobs per month just to keep up with population growth. Anything short of that number will result in higher unemployment rates.

In honor of St. Hallmark, I mean Valentine's Day, a little history -

the origin of Valentine's Day goes back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia, held on Feb. 15, celebrated with a giant feast. It also included the pairing of young women and men.

The name 'Valentine's Day' dates back to the 5th century when Pope Gelasius I created the holiday in remembrance of the Christian martyr St. Valentine who was executed on Feb. 14, 270 A.D.

In the 1700s, Americans began to exchange Valentine's. It wasn't until the 1840s when a Massachusetts' man named Esther Howland began selling the nations first Valentine's Day cards, which would lead to the creation of the Valentine's Day industry and societal stereotype's about the holiday.

That seems about right -- we're all forced to buy gifts because of an idea from a guy named Esther.


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