First things first. Some outstanding positive press for First Federal of Lakewood. First this piece in the Plain Dealer a couple weeks ago.
And then yesterday in Crain’s, a feature story on the bank’s growth as a residential lender these past few years. I’ve been here for just under four years. The bank has added around 130 employees over that period of time, most of those coming in the residential lending division. It really is a great story and it’s nice to see the local media outlets finally picking up on it.
On a more depressing note, our Indians are struggling. They’ve lost 8 of their last 13, including three in a row, where they’ve scored one run per game and been outscored 22-3. The starting pitching has been inconsistent. Eww-baldo has been more up and down than Fasuto Carmona’s age. Derek Lowe has been generally outstanding, but we all remember what happened to the aging pitcher last year in the second half. Josh Tomlin showed last night that if he is not perfect with his command and location, teams that can hit the long ball can make him look really bad. And the fifth starter spot has been a mess. Justin Masterson has really come around though. He’s gone 20 innings without allowing an earned run and will look to stop the bleeding for the Tribe tonight as they take on the Evil Empire in New York.
As bad as the Indians could use another starter, they need a right handed batting left fielder worse. Left field has been a train wreck all season for the team. And there are veterans out there that are available. In order of preference, Josh Willingham on Minnesota (who we could have signed this offseason), Carlos Quentin on San Diego, Carlos Lee on Houston, and Alfonso Soriano on the Cubs. It will take a couple prospects and picking up the majority of the salaries on these guys to get a deal done. Ownership has constantly talked about a willingness to spend when a window is there. The window is here. This division is horrible. We’re half a game out of first. We have no right handed bats, the team is 5-15 when facing left handed starting pitchers. The time is now to make an aggressive move after three very passive off-seasons.
Well, LeFraud James got his championship. While it was inevitable, it was still painful. The organization is still better off he’s gone. It never would have happened here for him. And the franchise is better off with Kyrie Irving and the run of high draft picks they’re now right in the middle of. More on Thursday night’s draft the next couple days here in The Dish.
Read two really books on vacation, including one that was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The Analyst – by John Katzenbach. What a book! Read it and thank me later, that’s all I’m saying. Also read Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child, a fun read, especially if you are familiar with the streets of Manhattan Island, where most of the book is set.
How about the run for the Kent State Golden Flashes baseball team? Outstanding stuff. The 21 inning marathon win against Kentucky to get to the school’s first College World Series ever. Then coming back after a loss to knock out the top seeded Florida Gators.
Not sure who you’re going to vote for in this year’s Presidential election? You’re not alone. With the economy badly limping, 25% of voters are still torn between Obama and Romney. Here’s a good, quick quiz on the issues from today’s USA Today that will let you know who you line up with more ideologically.
I’ll get to my thoughts on how the 5th season of Mad Men finished up in tomorrow’s Dish. As well as the new HBO show, The Newsroom, which premiered Sunday night to a lot of hype.
Quote of the Day …
“Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the house in blackjack.” ~ Adam Carolla
Insane Fact of the Day …
In 2011, the five most common names given to American baby girls were Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, and Ava. For boys they were Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Liam, and Jacob. Fifty years ago in 1961 the most common baby names for girls were Mary, Lisa, Susan, Linda, and Karen. And for boys they were Michael, David, John, James and Robert.
Long time readers of The Dish know I have swung and missed on my share of economy/market predictions over the last ten years. But I haven’t missed on much the last couple years. Before we delve too deeply back into the day to day grinds of the market, let’s recap some of the more macro themes we’ve seen evolve as spring has ended and summer has begun …
Mortgage rates hit new historic lows, 30 year fixed rates close to 3.50% – As predicted, continued uncertainty in Europe coupled with a stalled US economy making a QE3 more likely has pushed mortgage rates to levels a lot of people said they could never go. Near 3.50% on 30 year fixed rates.
US economy and job growth has stalled – The May #’s were U-G-L-Y, ugly. Only 69k jobs added to the economy. Unemployment rate up to 8.2%. Weekly first time unemployment claim #’s since then haven’t been good either. The US economy and job growth has hit the proverbial wall, and there is not much left to do about it. Fed has fired about all their bullets. Government stimulus didn’t work and will not happen again in 2012 with Congress so divided and an election looming. It is what it is.
Home sales at two year highs – Despite an economy that hasn’t really improved, the housing sector has a little bit. Home price affordability has never been better. Interest rates have never been lower. Homes sales have been picking up. New home sales were up 7.6% in May over April, and up 19.8% over last May. Encouraging stuff.
HARP 3.0 coming? – Another easy one to predict. Economy has hit the wall, Fed close to out of bullets, and still hundreds of thousands of homeowners out there that didn’t act irresponsibly that can’t refinance for various reasons. Who is going to be the Congressman that votes against this one? Congress can’t agree on anything, has got nothing done … this one could go through though. This would still be through Fannie and Freddie. Think NO delivery fees (some still exist on 30 year fixed rate HARP loans, most borrowers forced to pay feel equal to 0.75% of loan amount), think appraisal waivers on all loans (saving borrowers $350 and making more loans go through), and possibly lesser reps and warrants to refinancing lenders on higher LTV loans and potentially a toss out of the “had to be sold to Fannie/Freddie before May 2009” rule.
~ Obama’s Election Year Housing Push Shows a Pulse
~ New Home Sales at Highest Point in Two Years
~ Think Tank Measures FHA Progress
~ Gas Prices Falling as 4th of July Holiday Approaches
~ Facebook Adds COO Sheryl Sandberg as their First Female Board Member
~ EU Could Rewrite Eurozone Budgets
~ Samsung Caught Off Guard By New Smartphone’s Popularity
~ News Corp Considering Splitting Into Two