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Midday Open Thread

January 1st, 2010, 04:01 am admin Leave a comment Go to comments
  • As has been the case for months now, there’s been mixed news on the economy this week:

    The Conference Board’s consumer confidence indexrose 2.3 points to 52.9, a good sign, but the “present situation index” fell 2.5 points to 18.8, a near-record low, and an extremely large 46.6 percent of respondents said business conditions are bad.

    Hotels had their worst year since the Great Depression.

    The restaurant business took another dive in November.

    The Department of Labor reported that four-week running average for unemployment compensation claims dropped again.

    The Institute for Supply Management reported a large expansion in the purchasing manager index.

    Fannie Mae reported another increase in mortgage payment delinquencies.

    NASDAQ up 45%, DOW industrials up 20% and the S&P up 25% for the year.

  • Is delayed gratification really good for you?. Edward Tenner explores the concept with a story from David Ogilvy:

    When I was a boy, I always saved the cherry on my pudding for last. Then, one day, my sister stole it. From then on, I always ate the cherry first.

  • Jeff McMahon takes note that North Dakota wants to sue Minnesota for even thinking about a carbon tax:

    North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Tuesday he expects to sue Minnesota for just that, and North Dakota’s legislature has set aside $2 million to fund the lawsuit. Now there’s a good cause.

    What did Minnesota do wrong? Two years ago the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission passed a regulation requiring utilities to consider the potential cost of carbon emissions when they project the cost of energy to Minnesota consumers.

  • Some folks are still arguing about when the decade really ends.
  • In Single-Payer’s Last Stand?, Greg Kaufmann offers a chance for the Congressional Progressive Caucus to provide a smidgen of help in this direction:

    One item worth rallying around–and it hasn’t received a lot of attention–is waiver language that would permit states to implement alternatives to insurance market exchanges, including single-payer systems.

    The Senate bill would allow such waivers, but not until 2017, even though the private exchanges start in 2014.

  • Jim Hightower suggests Six Things to Do in 2010:

    On issue after issue, it’s been go-slow and don’t-rock-the-corporate boat. “Where’s the ‘audacity of hope?’” people are asking. “Where’s the ‘change you can believe in?’”

    The answer is that in our country’s democracy, audacity and change are where they’ve always resided: out there with you and me, at the grassroots level.

  • Yes, polar bears and (walruses) are in big trouble:

    [Thursday], responding to a court-ordered deadline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized long-overdue reports documenting the status of polar bears and Pacific walrus in Alaska. The reports confirm that polar bear populations in Alaska are declining and that Pacific walrus are under threat. Both species are being hurt by the loss of their sea-ice habitat due to global warming, oil and gas development, and unsustainable harvest.

  • Targeted Yemeni cleric says, ”I’m Alive”

    A week after U.S. and Yemeni officials said the radical Yemen cleric Anwar Awlaki may have been killed in a U.S.-backed Christmas eve air strike, a Yemeni journalist says Awlaki has surfaced to proclaim, “I’m alive.”

    “He said the house that was attacked was two or three kilometers away from him and he was not there,” the journalist, Abdulelah Hider Shaea, told ABC News. He said he talked to Awlaki on the phone and recognized his voice from previous interviews.

  • The Daily Beast has something to make you smile and probably piss you off in its 2009 Gallery of Monsters and Weenies.
  • Glenn Greenwald hits the bullseye with a Tweet:

    As AQ Terrorists make explicitly clear, nothing helps them more than treating them as warriors rather than criminals: http://is.gd/…

  • The Real News Network takes a look at a New stage of resistance in Iran, including an interview with Nader Hashemi, Assistant Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics at the University of Denver.
  • Thalif Deen investigates how U.S. Arms Feed Yemen’s Gun Culture.

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