• ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON ECONOMIC ‘RECOVERY.’ “Companies around the world held almost $7 trillion of cash and equivalents at the end of 2013, more than double the level of ten years ago… and assumption has been that as the economic fog lifts, this idle near zero-yielding cash will surely be put back to work, creating a potentially virtuous circle of greater demand, higher growth, earnings and employment all round.” Problem is that facts and surveys do not support that assumption – most recently a World Economic Forum report based on 700 industry leaders who cite, as rationale for continued hoarding, “corporate exposure to ‘skyrocketing’ healthcare costs and ‘buckling’ domestic healthcare systems as a key threat in years ahead.” Evidence seems to be that cash hoarding is less dependent on economic cycle or interest rates than upon absence of “more durable demographic trends and political reforms that are stirring corporate anxiety about exposure to soaring pension and healthcare costs as work-forces age and government coffers shrink.”  [REUTERS – Jan 22, 14] 
  • “HUMAN EMOTIONS ARE DIRECTLY LINKED TO SENSATIONS IN SPECIFIC BODY PARTS.” A recent 700-person study over different countries and cultures found that “our emotional system in the brain sends signals to the body so we can deal with our situation.” Based on analysis of reaction to “words, facial expressions and stories designed to evoke emotions” (like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, envy, shame, disgust, anxiety, love), researchers found clear physical correlations – e.g. that head/face/arms grow hot when we’re angry; cold numbness grips head/arms when depressed; and a “warm glow” envelops the heart & upper body when in love [THE WEEK – Jan 17, 14]
  • THE THREE MOST STRESSFUL CITIES IN AMERICA ARE LOS ANGELES, CHICAGO & NEW YORK, and most stressful jobs are surgeon, commercial airline pilot, photojournalist, advertising account exec or real estate agent, as of surveys a couple years ago. Stress is blamed these days for the majority of ills since it “alters the neurochemical makeup of the body” – affecting 30% of all adult infertility problems, developmental growth in children, most skin & body-immunity issues, even accumulation of fat cells. It is “linked with six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, liver cirrhosis & suicide… and can damage & kill brain cells… Scientists suggest that stress has actually enabled humans to survive by temporarily increasing awareness and improving physical performance… but extreme or sudden emotional trauma can lead to broken heart syndrome (cardiomyopathy) in women.” [LBNElert – Jan 25, 14]
  • OTHER THAN DIRTY DIAPERS OR HUNGER, babies cry mostly as a reflex to their rude transition over the first few months to their new world. Research shows that five ‘S’ actions provide the “off switch that stops tears”:  Swaddling – is the ‘cornerstone of calming reflex’ by creating a pre-birth snuggling effect; Shushing – a high-pitch ‘shhh’ sound which creates white noise; Sucking – bottle, pacifier, breast or finger; Swinging – side to side motion which mimics the pre-birth floating feeling; and Side or Stomach hold – against shoulder, chest or arm (football carry).  [WEB MD – Nov/Dec 13]
  • SWISS BANKS HOLD $2.2 TRILLION IN ASSETS UNDER FORMERLY BREAKPROOF SECRECY LAWS.  After a 2009 crackdown against UBS (which handed over 4,700 such accounts and paid $780 million penalty to avoid prosecution), “at least 38,000 U.S. taxpayers also avoided prosecution by paying back taxes & penalties, and by disclosing which other offshore banks and advisers helped them hide assets and/or evade taxes.”  By the end of 2013, 300 Swiss banks were offered Amnesty and over a third signed up, acknowledging the mechanics of how they covered up, and agreeing to pay penalties up to 50% the value of undisclosed accounts – with nineteen of these turning out to be “regional lenders typically owned by regional governments.”  [BLOOMBERG.COM – Jan 26, 14]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK:  U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture just reported over 23 million households, a record 20% of families, were on Food Stamps last year.


 ‘Laser’ hair removal done by non-physician operators, results in lawsuits nearly 80% of the time, as a result of “disfiguring injuries, severe burns in sensitive spots and even, rarely, death.”   

       For those seeking a reality-based and reasonably nonpartisan analysis of last week’s STATE OF THE UNION speechhttp://nyc.podcast.play.it/media/d0/d0/d1/d4/dK/dE/dR/14KER_4.MP3