Archive for November, 2009
Al On TV / Comments Off
Every Thanksgiving, I go online and Google the words “turkey” and “fire.”
This is one of those quirky pursuits that come with spending too many years at newspapers: I am fascinated with the risks people take just to fry a giant bird in one piece. People all over America do this every year, often with tragic consequences.
This year was particularly nasty, with injuries, dead pets, and possibly a fatality blamed on turkey fryers so far.
Turkeys are made for roasting. Giant vats of boiling oil should be left to the professionals.
Here are some links to some of this year’s turkey fires:
Fargo, N.D. turkey fire.
McCook, Neb.turkey fire.
Columbus, Ohio, turkey fire.
Fatal Lenior County, N.C. turkey fire.
Washington D.C. “fryer fiasco.”
Survey Said ... / Comments Off
Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the weekend have got to be the worse four days of the year, if surveys are to be believed.
Click here to read my column on what people really say about this time of year.
Banking Crisis / Comments Off
Ever see that sign at the bank that says your deposits are insured up to $250,000?
Well, the fund that insures these deposits has negative $8.2 billion in it.
That’s right. Trillions of dollars in bank deposits backed by less than zero.
Rising bank failures keeping eating up the fund. Click here to see the FDIC’s list of bank failures. It’s a long list.
This is only the second time in FDIC history that it has carried a negative balance.
But don’t worry, the FDIC is asking banks to prepay into the fund for 2010 and, of course, it has a line of credit it can draw upon from the U.S. Treasury. Click here to read the details from Dow Jones Newswires.
Economy Stupid / Comments Off
It’s hard to be surprised by today’s big headline from the Associated Press:
Economy’s rebound not as strong as first thought
Click here to read AP story.
Gee, really? Any observer of economic news had to figure there was a strong chance that the very optimistic third quarter gross domestic product numbers, showing 3.5% growth, would be revised downward.
Most of this alleged growth came as a result of cash for clunkers and homebuyers tax credits, anyway. And now third quarter GDP has been revised downward to 2.8% growth.
It’s just not enough to bring the jobs back, is it?
Washington / Comments Off
One of the criticisms of Treaury Secretary Timothy Geithner is that he’s been way too chummy with big Wall Street bankers.
So here’s an idea: Let’s just replace him with a big Wall Street banker.
Today’s New York Post reports that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon may be next in line for the job as some members of Congress have already asked for Geithner’s resignation. Click here to read Post story.
Dimon seems to be more in touch with the anger aimed at Wall Street, refusing to write fat bonus checks to retain talent as he navigates his way through the financial crisis, the Posted reported.
Dimon has reportedly said he does not want to be perceived as gunning for Geithner’s job – which sounds to me like he might just be gunning for Geithner’s job.
Geithner, under fire last week from Republicans for bailouts that did not prevent double-digit unemployment, again blamed the Bush administration for the financial crisis. Click here to read story.
“You gave this president an economy falling off the cliff,” he told Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. “Values of American savings cut almost in half; millions of Americans out of work; again, the worst financial crisis we’ve seen in a generation.”
Lest we forget: Before Obama named him Treasury Secretary, Geithner was chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, making him the second-most powerful central banker in the world.
I’m all for blaming the Bush administration whenever possible since all of this indeed began on Bush’s watch. But doesn’t Geithner bare at least some responsibility for this mess? Because it happened on his watch, too.
Retailing / Comments Off
What movie title best describes your budget for the holiday?
Click here to read my column.
People are eating Jif peanut butter with Smucker’s jelly, and maybe washing it down with some Folger’s coffee because they lost their jobs and can’t afford to go to Starbucks anymore.
But if it’s Smucker’s, it’s got to be good. J.M. Smucker Co.’s second-quarter profit is more than double what it was last year thanks to recessionary eating habits and its acquisition of Folgers.
“Consumers continue to respond well to our brands, our product innovations, and the value we bring in helping to provide memorable meals and moments for their families,” said Chairman and Co-CEO Tim Smucker.
Click here to read more from the Associated Press.
Wall Street / Comments Off
In the heat of last year’s financial meltdown, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack say he told then New York Federal Reserve Bank Chairman to get bent.
Only he didn’t say “bent.”
Mack’s description of this testy moment at a speech at Wharton last month has made him a big hit on YouTube.