*What’s that guy’s name again? Here’s another interesting tidbit from the political scene in Nevada. Seems some guy named Rory is running for governor on the Democratic ticket. His campaign site has lots of feel-good information about his wife, his children, where he went to college, what he’s done since. The only thing that isn’t prominently displayed is his last name. Rory, you see, is Rory Reid, son of Nevada’s senior senator, Harry Reid. Guess Rory doesn’t think dad’s coattails will stretch very far this year.
*Putting that Goldman Sachs penalty in perspective. Goldman Sachs has agreed to cough up $550 million to Uncle Sam to settle all charges regarding the way they misled investors about certain derivatives. That might be a fortune to thee and me, but it’s a pittance to the Kings of Wall Street. Consider: It represents just 3.4 percent of Goldman’s employee bonus pool for 2009. That came to a whopping $16.2 billion. Can Goldman afford the fine? Don’t make me laugh.
*Can any city afford this? It’s not just the state of California that’s facing overwhelming budget problems. Many of the municipalities in the Golden State are, too. Here’s one reason why: In the city of Oakland, 1,149 people work for the police department. Of that number, more than half earn more than $100,000 a year. Last year, the top four wage-earners in the department were regular policemen. Each made more than $225,000 for the year—including $100,000 in overtime. Maybe crime doesn’t pay; but fighting it sure can.
*Will it soon be No. 1? Don’t know if you noticed, but last week the SPDR Gold Shares ETF, which trades under the symbol GLD, passed a remarkable figure. Investors have traded more than 50 billion Federal Reserve notes for shares of the fund. With one share of GLD representing one-tenth of an ounce of gold, this means the fund now holds more than 43 million ounces of the Midas metal for its shareholders. Do you have some?