Tidbits from a Night of Reading

Last night I sat reading and reading every section of the WSJ. As we lay in bed, Cindy asked me what it was that was getting such rapt attention. I ticked off just a few of things that fascinated me more than even the Idols results show.

*General Electric is the world’s largest property owner. The giant company owns a staggering $80 billion worth of buildings, shopping centers and apartment complexes around the world. The buzz in finance lately is speculating just how much they’ve actually lost in value. The company says just 1.5%, but the sector is down way, way more, like 25%. An amazing fact about GE’s real estate portfolio is that 80% of it was purchased with cash…so they don’t have many mortgages.

*In New Hampshire, the flood of out-of-staters who have moved there is turning around the electorate…and now they are considering a bill that would force motorists to, gasp, wear seat belts. The Granite State remains the only state where this isn’t the law. And old timers are fighting mad that the legislature is even thinking about putting this law on the books.

*In Iraq, the business sector that’s trying to develop is getting hammered by imports–from Iran. A photo showed a brick-maker who has had to lay off staff due to cheap bricks that are undercutting his price. While the US is trying to exit, but still leave a working economy in place, they had hoped that by easing up on import restrictions, they could help. But now it seems like with the oil-dependent country being killed by low crude prices, jobs are being lost by cheap food and other goods from their neighbor.

So that’s what was keeping me glued to the page. On Sunday I’ll be reporting from Mobile, Alabama. Hope to show you pictures, video and words that will give a good impression of this place I’ve never been before.