Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Five: Links to take you to the weekend in style

Here is the five-year chart of the TED spread--that's essentially the difference between the rate banks use to lend to each other (on the high side) and essentially risk-free short term treasuries on the other. In other words, it's an indication of how much default risk banks perceive in other banks. The normal TED spread until 2007 was between 0.1% and 0.5%. As I write, it's 4.6%, up almost 10% today.

There's a cuss word at the end of this amateur political ad. The ad is funny, but I link to it because I wonder every cycle why more political ads don't work like this one. (I wonder seriously--I assume the political folks see some problem with this lighter approach.)

I hadn't realized that Tyler Cowen has a short version of his wonderful book chapter about choosing restaurants on this page of his dining guide site.

Many people have linked to George Packer's fascinating article on Ohio voters. I think there's an untold story to be told in the answer to a question the piece does not invite us to ask: why is Barbie Snodgrass making thousand-dollar mortgage payments? That amount buys a lot of house in Columbus if you're talking about a standard 30-year mortgage. (The loan amount would be a little shy of 200K--and reader, if that amount sounds small to you, be sure to check out rust belt house prices). Is this about predatory lending? A gimmick loan? Or is it a manifestation of American housing ambition, a working-class analog to what Michael Lewis is starting to write about?

If you don't get the Lewis reference, here you go: Michael Lewis's Mansion

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