The Independent Market Observer

Hurricane Ryan Hits Tampa, Hurricane Isaac New Orleans

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CFP®

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This entry was posted on Aug 30, 2012 1:01:54 PM

and tagged Politics and the Economy

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Once again, politics and Isaac are the big stories. Ryan’s acceptance of the vice presidential nomination hit the front pages of the New York Times (NYT) with “Rousing GOP, Ryan Faults ‘Missing’ Leadership” and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) with “Ryan Pledges GOP Rebirth in Accepting Nomination,” but the Financial Times (FT) sat this one out. Lots of political commentary in both papers but not much actual analysis.

The hurricane made all three front pages, with “Isaac tests Louisiana’s defenses seven years after the devastation of Katrina” in the FT, “Storm Drenches Gulf Coast; High Water Cuts Off Many” in the NYT, and “Isaac’s Deluge Rolls Wide” in the WSJ. The basic story is that Isaac is a bad storm, causing extensive damage in some areas, but, overall, it isn’t as bad as it could have been—and certainly not as bad as Katrina. The strengthened defenses in New Orleans seem to have worked, by and large. Best wishes to everyone living through the storm and its aftermath.

Other common stories run the gamut today. On the financial front, Citigroup paid a large fine to settle a lawsuit over lack of disclosure during the financial crisis. This made the front page of the FT with “Citigroup settles US investor lawsuit,” page C1 of the WSJ with “Citi to Settle Suit for $590 Million,” and page B4 of the NYT with “Citigroup Settles Lawsuit Over Subprime Securities.” One more piece of the past put to rest, at least from a legal standpoint. The banks are slowly working their way out of earlier troubles—and, of course, into new ones. So it goes.

Slow growth continues on the U.S. economic front, as noted in “Economy Still Stuck in Low Gear” (NYT, p. B1). Interestingly, there was a somewhat more cheerful headline in the WSJ: “Fed Sees Modest Growth as Jobs, Housing Improve” (p. A6). In the same vein of working through past problems, “US Households Chip Away at the Debt on Their Homes” (WSJ, p. A6), talks about the slow consumer deleveraging process, while “Homeowners See Benefit in Bank Plan” (NYT, p. B1) discusses mortgage relief provided to more than 130,000 homeowners as part of a settlement of systemic foreclosure abuses. We are making progress, really, on many fronts.

Two more interesting stories and we’ll call it a day. There’s more talk about the gold standard on the op-ed page of the WSJ in “The Gold Standard Goes Mainstream.” Not sure I would go as far as that, but it certainly is in the conversation. The other story is the refutation of the starve-yourself-and-live-longer diet plan. Mice apparently live longer on very low-calorie diets (although that seems in dispute as well), but monkeys sure don’t. Good news for those of us looking forward to Labor Day barbecues and ice cream—and especially for my continued lobster roll research!

Have a great day!

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