Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Money for Nothing and your (bonus) checks for free

Nouriel Roubini's hue and cry to nationalize the banks last winter proved to be overwrought. With the TARP paybacks by Citi, Wells and BA, that crisis loomed but has now passed. The big banks did not fail. But they have failed to put their balance sheets to work in this economy. Banks borrow money at the discount window for approximately nothing, then charge credit card holders up to 31.99%. They can also buy Treasury Bills for 3.5% and pocket the difference. Does that sound like arbitrage or "dire straits"?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Goodies

One of my fondest memories of Christmas is the food my mother prepared in the days leading up to Christmas.

Divinity Southern favorite candy with a texture somewhere between a cookie and fudge. Fudge (also with a Texas pecan on each piece). Chex mix. Long before you could find this prepackaged in the grocery store, my mother would bake Rice, Wheat and Corn Chex with pretzels and peanuts. She would fill up giant jars with snap-lids. We fondly referred to it as "grazings". One food item that was received as a gift, usually from one of my aunt and uncles, was FruitCake from the Collins Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas. Often the butt of TV jokes, if you haven't tasted this coffee cake, then you should hush up.

Today my wife has a her own set of special reciples. Gingerbread houses & cookies for the grandkids, and tamales for us.