I finally got sucked in. I watched my first full episode of Dancing with the Stars last night. After ten seasons of holding back, and being one of only about 100 Americans who had never seen American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, or The Office … ABC execs finally lured me in with Erin Andrews from ESPN.
Some random observations from a first time viewer, with the caveat that my personal stance/experience on dancing is “If you see me dancing, tackle me and wrestle my car keys away from me”:
- Erin Andrews was really robotic … and what was with the goofy faces? Predictably though, she got relatively good scores. Here’s a prediction – no matter how bad she is, she’s not going anywhere for at least 6-7 episodes and will continue to get better than deserved scores. When she’s out, I’m out … and I would suspect there are tens of millions of other male viewers like me out there. ABC clearly knows this.
- The scoring in general is insane. No offense to Buzz Aldrin, but how does he get fives, and Chad Ochocinco (who I thought did well) get only sixes? Why not just make the scoring from 5-8 if you aren’t going to hand out any scores outside that range? I generally found myself agreeing with the opinions of the female judge. The other two guys seemed to be goofballs aiming solely for shock value and personal grandstanding.
- Speaking of shock value, Pam Anderson, good grief. You just know ABC execs told her she had to play the role of the unhinged, wild 1996 Pam to get the invite. And Shannen Doherty … get it together for cryin’ outs. Her first dance and she was sobbing harder than your typical Indians fan in the 6th inning of a Jeremy Sowers start.
- It’s pretty obvious to me already who will win this season: Nicole Scherzinger and the brother of Julianne Hough.
Quote of the day …
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” ~ Ernest Benn
Pretty quiet day for the markets yesterday. No economic news of note. The Dow advanced about 50 points and mortgage bonds also rallied slightly in the afternoon.
Mortgages were helped by continued concern about the situation in Greece. We’ve all probably heard passing news commentary about the problems over in Greece. But what’s really going on, in layman’s terms?
Let me take a stab at it.
The Greeks have about 27 billion dollars in debt maturing very shortly here. Years of unrestrained spending, cheap lending and failure to implement financial reforms left Greece badly exposed when the global economic downturn struck. Greece’s credit rating has been trashed, which has badly hurt their ability to issue new debt to pay off their maturing debt. And it has the rest of the world pretty freaked out right now.
As part of the European Union, a bailout could begin to affect other European countries, and could also impact the Euro. All of this could impact the US economy. How? If Greece takes Europe down with it, Europe won’t buy as much stuff from us. If people get nervous about the euro, they may start trading in their euros for dollars. That will drive up the value of the dollar, and make U.S. exports more expensive in Europe. So Europeans won’t buy as much stuff from the U.S.
The left and the right hook. That’s the fear. And that’s why a safe haven fixed income investment like a US mortgage bond would rally off of those fears.
As far as noteworthy things happening today, the biggies both have to do with the housing market. We get existing home sale data for February at 10 AM. Expectations are that existing home sales fell by about 1% in February due to bad weather, rampant unemployment, and still no real sense of urgency with the first time homebuyer tax credit not really expiring until April 30.
In addition, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is scheduled to testify before Congress about government efforts to overhaul mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The pair, which was essentially taken over by the government during the credit crisis, guarantees the majority of mortgages her in America. The government’s support for the two has helped keep interest rates low as part of an effort to help the housing market recover. Geithner’s take is that the U.S. mortgage finance system should be revamped and any government guarantees should be clearly defined and the risk priced accordingly. We’ll keep a close eye on the developments here.
~ Debate on the Future of Fannie & Freddie Heats Up
~ Geithner Calls for Revamp of Housing Finance System
~ Fed’s Plosser: Base Monetary Policy on Simple Rules
~ HAMP Alternative Announced in Another Effort to Reduce Foreclosures
~ Democrats Push Financial Reform Bill to Full Senate
~ New Owner of Former Parma Bank Promises to Expand Product Line
~ AP Sources: Pay Czar to Widen Compensation Review
~ Stock Futures Point to Slight Gains Ahead of Open