Amendment to transfer insurance guaranty funds causes furor

ST. THOMAS - Senators attached a handful of unrelated amendments to a bill to reprogram Community Development Block Grant funds this week.

The bill was the last on Thursday's session agenda, and Senate President Ronald Russell allowed each senator to offer up to two unrelated amendments.

One amendment, offered by Sen. Carlton Dowe, caused a commotion on the Senate floor, with senators yelling across the room at each other and everyone talking at once.

Crop insurance supplants subsidies in farm-bill proposal

WASHINGTON -- The nation's farm subsidy payments will give way to an expanded crop insurance program under a bi-partisan plan that is expected to be submitted next week to the Congressional deficit committee, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The proposal is part of an ongoing effort among Senate and House agriculture leaders to rewrite the nation's farm bill. The group has committed to trim $23 billion in agricultural spending over 10 years.

Don't be a Hallowe'en insurance victim

Hallowe'en is meant to be a bit of harmless fun, yet, according to insurance claims, it is the worst day of the year for malicious damage to your home.
Ten years of data from Aviva show a rise of 150pc in home damage claims, with damage to cars and car thefts rising by 50pc and 20pc respectively in the week between Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night.
Figures also show a 28pc increase in burglary claims on Guy Fawkes Night, making it the worst night of the year for break-ins.
Research conducted by the insurer found that the period October 30 to November 5 last year saw the number of reported burglaries rise by 26pc when compared with the weekly average for the rest of the year.

What was the Washington Building?

In the 1970s, I worked in the Washington Building at 15th and New York NW. Not until years later did I notice its frieze more carefully. It depicts various graphics that have me curious about the building’s original purpose and tenants. Was it ever a federal building or that of a national trade association? When recently in the area, I was surprised at how difficult it is to even find an open-to-the-public entrance.
There are many Washington buildings, but there is only one Washington Building. It opened in 1927 at a place its owners liked to call “The World Corner.” Fifteenth Street and New York Avenue NW, they claimed in a large display ad in The Washington Post, was an intersection of global importance.

Putting some energy into underwriting

WASHINGTON — When you apply for a mortgage to buy a house, how often does the lender ask detailed questions about monthly energy costs or tell the appraiser to factor in the house's energy-efficiency features when coming up with a value?

Hardly ever. That's because the big three mortgage players — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, who together account for more than 90 percent of all loan volume — typically don't consider energy costs in underwriting.