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Pinback's Journal
Pinback's Journal
July 27, 2023

Trump needed $225 million. A little-known bank came to the rescue.

When you're shopping for high-yield online savings accounts, be aware that Axos Bank has bankrolled Trump's real estate projects with hundreds of millions of dollars in loans.

Trump needed $225 million. A little-known bank came to the rescue.
- By Michael Kranish, Washington Post, July 27, 2023

SAN DIEGO — As Donald Trump considered another White House run last year, his company’s finances were at risk of spiraling into crisis.

The former president’s longtime lender and several banks with his deposits had cut ties in the days around the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters, at a time when Trump had hundreds of millions in loans coming due. In February 2022, the accounting firm that had worked for him for two decades dropped Trump and advised against relying on his “statement of financial condition,” a metric banks use to evaluate the risks of a loan.

Unless he found a new lender, Trump’s business empire could have been in jeopardy.

Then a new partner came to the rescue: A little known, online-only financial firm headquartered in a suburban San Diego office park.

Axos Bank, formerly known as Bank of Internet USA, had grown from one of the first digital banks into a profitable, publicly traded company in part by specializing in loans to borrowers other banks had shied away from — all while navigating federal regulator scrutiny over its internal operations and a congressional hearing that cited its involvement in high interest rates on some loans.

more at link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/07/27/trump-loans-axos-bank-gregory-garrabrants/

Non-paywall link: https://t.co/pULRH4m1tX
July 23, 2023

Recommended: Transatlantic

Just watched the first couple of episodes — Netflix historical drama set in 1940 France. Gripping story of brave American civilians working to help Jewish intellectuals and “decadent” artists escape the Nazis and their Vichy enablers.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. And as a long-time fan of the surrealists and Dadaists, I love the end credits, done in the style of an independent Berlin film of the pre-WWII period.

July 19, 2023

Calling Out Hollywood's Crypto Frontmen (with Ben McKenzie) - In The Bubble podcast

Andy Slavitt interviews actor Ben McKenzie about his new book, Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud (co-written with journalist Jacob Silverman). McKenzie did not hesitate to call out celebrities like Matt Damon, Larry David, Steph Curry, Kim Kardashian, Tom Brady, et al. for their role in promoting what he saw as a dubious (at best) investment — years before the crypto bubble burst.

It’s an interesting discussion with a guy whose economics degree from UVa differentiates him from the average Hollywood pretty face (although McKenzie does not claim to be a personal finance expert).

Well worth a listen:
— or see “In The Bubble with Andy Slavitt” on your favorite podcast app.

July 18, 2023

A Meatless Diet Is Better for You--And the Planet

- Scientific American, July 14, 2023

A Meatless Diet Is Better for You—And the Planet
Vegetarian and especially vegan diets can promote better health, help mitigate climate change and reduce inhumane factory farming

The idea that we need to eat meat to get enough protein and iron, a false assumption of some Paleo diet acolytes (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/human-ancestors-were-nearly-all-vegetarians/), is a common misconception. It ignores the abundance of protein and iron in many plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds and legumes. Similarly, consuming dairy is not necessary to obtain adequate dietary calcium, as this mineral is abundant in soy, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, grains, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.

Likewise, while we typically associate omega-3 fatty acids with fish, fish themselves incorporate these into their tissue by eating algae and seaweed, which we can consume directly without the concerns of exposure to accumulated mercury and microplastics in fish flesh. Indeed, a whole-food, plant-based diet can provide all essential nutrients except for vitamin B12, which is made by bacteria in soil and ingested by animals, thereby incorporated into their tissue, milk, and eggs. While modern sanitation allows humans to consume clean produce uncontaminated by dirt or feces, we can easily and cheaply obtain oral B12 supplements.

Furthermore, significantly reducing our consumption of meat would carry vast benefits. As cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death around the world, poor diet has now surpassed tobacco smoking as the top risk factor for death in the U.S, where life expectancy has now stagnated, in large part because of a plateau in mortality from cardiovascular disease. Eating highly processed foods and red meat has been repeatedly demonstrated to promote underlying mechanisms of cancer and cardiovascular disease, such as inflammation and damage to the lining of blood vessels.

Mounting evidence points to the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet. A meta-analysis of scientific studies from 2017 found that a vegetarian diet is associated with a 25 percent relative risk reduction for coronary heart disease and an 8 percent relative risk reduction for cancer, with a vegan diet conferring a 15 percent relative risk reduction for cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meat as carcinogenic, and (unprocessed) red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans. Finally, randomized controlled trials have also demonstrated the benefits of a Mediterranean diet (essentially a whole-food, plant-predominant diet) in both the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, with enhanced benefits from greater adherence to a provegetarian (more plant-based) dietary pattern.
- More at link: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-meatless-diet-is-better-for-you-and-the-planet/

Note: This is an opinion piece by By Sarah C. Hull, assistant professor of medicine (cardiology) at the Yale School of Medicine, where she also serves as associate director of the Program for Biomedical Ethics.

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