Silver was up to $32.85 when I looked and gold passed the $1,700 level today in anticipation of action by the European Central Bank. As one story in the WSJ notes, this is also an anniversary of gold’s all time high of $1,920.
All of which would be cheerful news to those of us who blindly bought the yellow dog of metals when it was out of favor….except for one small point.
Seems to me that the all-time high of gold on a purchasing power basis is still way above present levels. If you plug in $850 and 1980 into the Minneapolis Fed’s “How quick we’re watering down your money’s purchasing power calculator” (for some reason they don’t label it this way…just can’t imagine why…). Anyway, the real price of gold TODAY would have to be about $2,400 to be equal to the high in 1980….$2,397.91 if you demand precision, but if its within a sixpack or so, I figure it’s all good.
Gold dropped down to just over $1,700 just in the last few minutes since the ECB didn’t move rates and is holding them at record lows.
Any idea why a US user can’t access the ECB website? www.ecb.int ?
Charge Off Rates
New Fed chargeoff and delinquency rates are out. Woo-hoo!
Lemme see on chargeoffs: Farm loan chargeoffs are up, leases up, credit cards down a tad, residential and commercial down a tad.
On delinquencies? Down overall a bit. Credit card delinquencies down fxrom 3.06% in Q1 to 2.89% in Q2. Thank you for your payment…
Too Much Work
Yes, CBS did a nice fact-check “Clinton claims of compromise a stretch.” But around here, we’d already discounted XprezBill’s assessment of Obama as compromiser. Depends what you mean by ‘compromise’ huh?
Speaking of the ‘crats & crap
We notice God(-given) made it back into the party platform at the DNC (along with Jerusalem…which I thought was moving to London according to the Olympics hymn, but that’s my memory for you..). Anyway, a discussion of how this went down per the NY Daily News is instructive.
I do like the urban legends potential of “God booed by democrats” as a republicorp/jobjacker marketing mantra. How long before it makes Snopes? Place Ure bets…
I just bet you didn’t know that phrase comes from the soft pedal on a piano, did you? Well, regardless, the idea is to play the part but not make much noise about it. Which gets us to the Reuters headline that the “Pentagon maps Japan radiation, says U.S. personnel safe.”
Going to the referenced government site, and clicking on Camp Sendal, north of Fukushima, we read how the dose over the 60-day measurement window is claimed to be less than what a whole-body MRI would induce:
” Your whole-body and thyroid radiation dose estimates are well below levels associated with adverse medical conditions. Since the estimated radiation doses and health risks associated with this event are so low, no one is being placed in a medical surveillance program to monitor their long-term health outcomes.”
Well, er….hold up there. This was 1.20 Rem in a 60-day measuring window. But near as I can figure it, Uncle Sam didn’t send people away after 60-days. In fact, more likely (and I’d bet a beer or two one this) there are likely some personnel who are still there.
Radiation levels, or course, are not stable. They decline over time…at least that’s the conventional wisdom. But Fukushima is a special case – and still leaking.
So would there be health risks if a personal was there the whole time? Maybe. There would be 8- 60 day periods involved, so (with all kinds of fine print) if a person was at Sendal, we wouldn’t be surprised to see levels 2-6 times higher than what DoD reports, simply because the effects would be cumulative. The radiation didn’t just leave Japan in the middle of the night when DoD closed the 60-day window.
As reader Marika summed up ” George, this is insane…..”
No, this is government at work.
To quote Billy Mayes… “But wait! there’s more!“
Government IQ Issues
Speaking of government at work, we have this little oddity from reader Laura up in the Pacific Northwest:
“Hi George– Just wanted to comment about your mention of the TSA wanting to test people’s drinks: North of Bellingham, WA, at the Lynden-Aldergrove border crossing, after 9/11, something new started as I headed up north to Canada. In the line up, I assume right at the edge of the US side, there would be a jeep parked with a couple of ARMED men standing outside it who would stop every car and say “Where are you headed?” It was all I could do to tell them “It’s none of your f***ing business” but I didn’t want to get hauled away. I get the PTB thing and the seemingly “harmless” infringement on the rights of the masses and this was very disturbing to me. “
Near as I can figure it, it’s just authoritarian government ploy. But, what it also shows is that government (on average) ain’t none too bright. Sort of like the country in general.
Here’s the thing: If I were a TSA worker/gunman/border patroller type, and a car with Washington or Oregon plates was going up the road – a road which only ends in CANADA for crying out loud… I would be asking my superiors a pretty obvious question:
“WTF? Road goes ONLY TO CANADA and you want me to ask them WHERE THEY ARE GOING?” (I’d quit on the spot, or be fired for my poor attitude.)
Sadly, we don’t have enough data to pin this amazing lack of mental accuity (the road only goes to Canada, remember) on the upper reaches or lower ranks of TSA or ICE…but my bet is it’s a GS-15 level policy or higher. The rank and file no doubt have figured out the Lynden crossing does not end at Cuidad Juarez or Riyahd …at least most of them have this figured out, we hope.
The question does demonstrate one thing clearly enough: the federal retirement programs really ARE overfunded.
What I’d suggest next time is that reader Laura respond with the name of the most obscure little place you know of in BC.
Me? I’d pick one I know from happy days in my childhood fishing all the great trout lakes from Oregon to almost the NW Territories: Try Lac La Hache (lak-lah-hash is how locals pronounce it). Then see if the gun-toters give chase, or if they know that’s where excellent fly-fishing is — just up from 100-mile House three hoops and a holler or two.
That way, you’d be (patriotically) answering honestly, directly, and yet (depending on how well-versed the guards are on geography or fly-fishing) somehow confounding to the system. Send me a postcard from Gitmo, too.
PS: Odds with this are good they would give chase… “What was that about hash?“… They’ll almost certaintly have heard “Lack of hash!” We already discussed accuity, right?
PPS: Don’t forget to have packed several hundred dollars in Pakistani and Yemeni currency. Flash it carelessly while fumbling for your ID when stopped. It’ll make a marvelous conversation-starter.
PPPS: Send us a postcard from Gitmo. Tell us how the chow is.
There’s a nerw “FBI Moneypak” virus going around...but no, I doubt this has anything to do with a rogue effort to balance the budget…
No everything government does is bad…just enough to keep life interesting. Though I sure wish creating viruses was punishable by the death penalty.
We mentioned to Peoplenomics.com readers on Wednesday the oddity of reported heavy (military) construction up around Cokedale, Colorado. A couple of reasons for our interest: The place is over 6,000 feet elevation and there’s a big coal mine underground which was shut down in 1947. Oh, and isn’t rumored UFO base Dulce, NM just southwest of there a ways?
Turns out, the Army (Guard engineers) is (are) helping to preserve southern Colorado mining history…which seems like a kind of odd way to spend tax dollars, but no one asked me…
Curiously, no one asked me about is/are sentence structure, either. No idea why…
Meantime, a contributor named Michael has been looking into this histerical preservtion stuff a bit further:
“It–the whole town, it appears, is on the National Register of Historic Places–a National Historic District, which is actually sort of a step up from a single building being listed in the Nat’l Reg. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires a pain-staking and time-taking analysis to determine if there is going to be an effect by a project and if the effect is going to be adverse.
If it is, then mitigation measures must be taken. These kind of studies and documents take a long time to get done and in place. Typically, multiple levels of government and agencies need to sign off on the deal (MOA).
And, even if it is determined to not be adverse, the research, analysis, documentation still has to be done.
Note: The Act requires Section 106 to be conducted any time a
(1) known National Register site is within a project area,
(2) the project is on government property (like USFS, BLM, etc lands) or if federal dollars, in any way, are being used. State highway projects always do these even if they are totally state sponsored, just in case there is some federal dollars asked for later, or if there is some other kind of federal connection, so they wont be stopped by some group who objects to the project. And,
(3) even if XYZ bank, or whatever–like a forest service office in some town– is being built on private property and federal dollars somehow play into the project a Section 106 must be conducted.
Section 106 applied to both above ground and below. Once you get to talking about below ground resources, then another group of federal historic preservation/cultural resource/Native American acts come into play. I suppose the Act can be overridden by some type of presidential paperwork-EO (and/or dept of Interior), but quite unusual here if you ask me.
Maybe a Section 106 was done already, but if so, there should be a paper trail. Seems the National Trust (a non-profit preservation group) and/or the National Register of Historic Places, a part of the National Park Service, which is in the US Dept of the Interior, should know something about this. “
Interesting points…and it sets me off on a new day of scheming how to get some of this government preservation dough for myself. Since the mine was shut down in ’47 and I was born in ’49, seems to me I ought to be nearing time when I can apply for a little personal historic preservation dough for myself. $7-8 million oughta hold us for the rest of this Life…. We don’t have any coke ovens around the ranch to preserve but I could spend a bundle on lippo…and that should get us support for the ap from the medical community….
As we frequently note: Where there’s a will, there’s a lawyer.
More after this…