Behind the Scenes @ FOX19 News

Steven Ackermann, News Director
Steven Ackermann, News Director
THE CHECK IS IN THE MAIL?  Headline and promo writers turned absolutely giddy on Thursday when news broke that President Bush and House Democrats reached a deal on the so-called economic stimulus package.  "There's a check with your name on it,"  and "The check is in the mail" may have been the most overused lines of the week.  So, is the check in the mail? 
We will quickly see whether Senators try to re-work the deal.   I heard one commentator remark over the weekend that it would be all too easy for this plan to come out of the Senate with "four hands and three heads."  It is likely to be as much political calculus as economic.
Jack is writing a regular newsletter for political junkies, so I asked him to weigh in:
Although the stimulus package was negotiated by leaders of both parties and won President Bush's blessing, New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer - among others -- wants to add more tax rebates for retirees and also extend unemployment benefits. Both may be worthy proposals, but either may torpedo the deal - which President Bush is urging Congress to pass in its original form. Stay tuned.

If you would like to get on that list, click here to sign up.  And, be sure to tune in The Ten O'clock News Thursday night for a fun story that Steve Oldfield is working on.    If the debates, television ads and pundits are getting on your nerves, Steve shows you a website  designed to match you with your ideal presidential candidate.

                                                                          SIMPLY MONEY: It's hard to tell economic stories.  Witness the jargon like "subprime mortgages" and "leading economic indicators."  The whole idea behind our Simply Money reports is that financial expert Nathan Bachrach does a pretty good job of explaining what really matters.  In that vein, a couple of my own Simply Money observations:             
While you are waiting for your "economic stimulus" check from Washington, consider that the price of oil was just pennies shy of $100/barrel on January 3rd and fell to around $87/barrel during the last week's market gyrations.  That is a 13% fall.  I put about 15 gallons of gasoline in my car each week-you may buy a lot more.  If the price of gasoline falls 13%, I'll save $300 a year.
  • The "Fed" meets this week and will talk just after 2:00 PM on Wednesday.  Last week's dramatic interest rate cut is already having an impact on mortgage rates and another cut (experts predict another ¼ or ½ percent cut on Wednesday) will push those rates lower.  If you are thinking about buying OR selling a house, that's also real money to you-probably a lot more than the rebate coming from Washington.
  • One economic commentator that I've followed for years focused on the story about the 31-year old French bank trader who racked up 7-BILLION (with a "B) in losses.  As the French bank tried to unravel this mess a week ago Monday, their trades may have been largely responsible for the worldwide market panic.  His point was that last week's market activity may have had more to do with the French mess than anything else.    And, he warns that we may be on the verge of over-stimulating the economy.  What does that mean?  Anyone out there remember President Ford's WIN buttons?  That stood for Whip Inflation Now.  OK, I'm giving my age away.

COOL SCHOOLS: We hear from viewers who say we only  pick the biggest schools for our Cool Schools feature.  Not so this week!  I was talking with Marita and Mike as they were working on this week's story about St. Rita School. If you don't know about St. Rita School, it's a very special school with special students and an extraordinary faculty.  There are less than a hundred students in the K-12 program, but there is no doubt that it's a Cool School.  Be sure to catch Dan Carroll's report Thursday morning at 6:15 or 7:50. If you've missed some of Dan's previous Cool Schools, click here for a link to the entire collection. 

Oh YEA: From the looks of things, there's a good chance of politics coming to Ohio on March 4th .  If you want to vote in the primary, you have until February 3rd to register.  I'm a little confused because that is Sunday--SuperBowl Sunday!  Here is a link to the Ohio Secretary of State where you can print out the voter registration form AND instructions.  Indiana and Kentucky primaries don't happen until May, but who knows?

As always, thanks for reading along, don't forget to join us Sunday evening for SuperBowl XLII from Glendale, Arizona and here is a link to let me know what's on your mind.