The true meaning of Christmas, the steady drumbeat of news stories suggests, is the bottom line for retailers. The writers are running out of adjectives to describe the 5-8% drop in seasonal sales.
"Gloomy," Marketwatch says today. "Rotten," says the Canadian Press. Huffington Post says retailers are "desperate" to salvage the season with post-Christmas sales. "Retailers get coal in their stockings," NPR says.
What if sales had equaled or exceeded last year's? Would analysts and retailers still be so down?
Let's hit the News Cut "Wayback Machine," and set the date for "any Christmas but this one."
So here we are in 2007, where the MPR story described things as "bleak."
But big sales will mean lots of red ink for retailers. Many retailers have gone out of business or closed stores already. Analysts warn that deep price cuts could kill even more retailers or drive them to close stores.
The end-is-near. Again.(7 Comments)
Ten million of us baby boomers are going to develop Alzheimer's. Expect coverage of research to increase. Let's begin with this one that's out today.
At Northeastern University in Boston, researchers say the disease may get its start by an insufficient blood flow carrying sugar to the brain. They suggest that exercise -- now -- may be the answer.
Meanwhile, a researcher at McGill University is out with a study today that says patients who frequently kick or cry out in their sleep may be at an increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.
There's no simple test for Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is suggesting a five-minute test, which others say is hugely controversial. Why? Take it and see if you can figure it out:
Tell someone three random words: car, pencil, banana. Then have the person draw a clock with the correct time, as a distraction. A little later, can he or she recall the words?
As a Chicago Tribune article pointed out, "Failing such a test doesn't mean someone has dementia. But it signals there might be a problem with short-term memory that should be checked by a doctor. Maybe it's something fixable, such as depression or thyroid disease. Maybe it is an Alzheimer's warning sign. Or maybe the person just isn't a good test taker."
It was quite a shock to someone who hadn't had his morning coffee today when I opened the New York Times and saw this staring back at me from the front page.
The story details an expansion of community health clinics...
With federal encouragement, the centers have made a major push this decade to expand dental and mental health services, open on-site pharmacies, extend hours to nights and weekends and accommodate recent immigrants -- legal and otherwise -- by employing bilingual staff. More than a third of patients are now Hispanic, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers.
... while being sure to note that the number of uninsured Americans has increased dramatically during the Bush administration. Still, it was an unusual admission for the Times to acknowledge an apparently successful initiative under his watch.
The Times front-page article ushers in the period of reflection -- the one-month before the end of a presidency when columnists try to put a bow on the last 8 years.
A Canadian Press article today notes that Bush is considered "a hero" by many in Africa...
In Africa, Bush is a full-fledged hero after quietly tripling aid to the continent during his presidency, spending billions on AIDS treatment and prevention programs and a major malaria abatement initiative.
His policies are estimated to have saved 10 million lives, and stand in stark contrast to those of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, who paid little attention to Africa during two terms in office.
But a poll this afternoon suggests Americans aren't quite ready to do much more than say "good riddance." Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey today said they're the end of the Bush presidency is at hand.(1 Comments)
You know by now that Barack Obama has been named Time's Person of the Year. Who saw that coming?
But who is your person of the year? Someone you know who made a difference in your life or someone else's life. It could be a big thing, it could be a little thing, it just has to be a thing that impressed the heck out of you.