When kids paint, talking cake instead of taxes, the power of the Facebook status update, the circus and the Age of Abundance, and the Somalia famine.
The economy is beyond the means of mortal people to understand, which doesn't prevent me from trying.
Let's take a look, for example, of this morning's economic reporting, in the order I consumed. it.
Act 1: I heard this on Marketplace last evening....
Right now about 75 percent of companies have reported, and we're on pace to have record earnings. You know, that beats 2007, when the earnings were all phony banking profits.
The number of people seeking unemployment benefits dipped last week, a sign the job market may be improving slowly.
Act 3: Target reported its earnings this morning. Phil Picardi reported on them as I drove in this monring...
Minneapolis-based Target says a key sales figure rose more than 4 percent last month as shoppers bought groceries and health and beauty products. Target says overall sales for the four-week period climbed 6 percent from the same quarter last year to 4-point-8 billion dollars.
Six percent? That's great, right?
Over to you, Wall Street. Bring it on home!
It started as a joke, but maybe there's some life to the "stop the wave" movement that's growing in -- where else? -- Texas?
The end of the "wave" may be coming.
"If fans would get on their feet and make noise with two strikes in first innings, I'd love that," Chuck Morgan, the Rangers' senior vice president for ballpark entertainment, said on Thursday to mlb.com. "Nobody has banned anything. We just put up a couple of funny messages. Do what you want, but we just say to consider doing it at a time that does not take away from the game. Players say the wave is OK as long we've got a blowout going."
What's the big deal? It's that the wave is a big deal, a bigger deal than it should be, and too often a bigger deal than the game itself. The website, StopTheWave.net, for example, points out that in last night's game in Detroit, only two people behind the plate were paying attention to an 8th inning homerun in a one-run ballgame, because everyone else was doing "the wave."
The video says that's not exactly accurate. But it's too important an issue to be left to facts.
After this effort succeeds, maybe the organizers can turn their attention to the practice of throwing an opposition's homerun ball back on the field.(2 Comments)
The video of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defending an appointment to the New Jersey Superior Court is starting to catch fire on the Intertubes.
Sohail Mohammed, 47, was sworn into the job last week, despite criticism that a Muslim judge could lead the way to the influence of Sharia law.
Christie didn't mix words about what was at work in the criticism.
Christie is rumored to be interested in running for president someday.
"So now it's for sure --he ain't running," a local commenter on Facebook noted today.(5 Comments)
(If you don't see the WCCO story above, go here)
It's a good life when the worst that can happen is Caribou Coffee runs out of cards for its summer sticker promotion that gives people a free cup of joe every so often.5 Comments)
The stock market, you may have heard or felt in your portfolio, is having a lousy time of it.
The last time I checked, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 372 points to stand at 11,501. That's a big drop, of course. The Dow is down more than 1,000 points from its recent high, which means you don't want to be hitting "one step update" on Quicken anytime soon. Oh, and you don't want to retire.
Clearly, there's lousy economic news to feed the bear. But the "lousy economic news" is also a media narrative that creates even more lousy economic news. To feed the narrative, you have to work harder for new angles to explain just how lousy the economy is. That's simply the way it works in the news business.
That's not saying things aren't lousy; they obviously are.
But you see that picture up there? We're using it to accompany the story today about how lousy things are and it's clearly captioned as a file photo from May 25, 2010 (No sense buying a new one; all pictures of stock market traders look the same). Things were perceived as lousy on that date, too, apparently.
Those panicked traders had no idea what August 4, 2011 would bring. On May 25, 2010, the Dow lost 22 points and closed about 1,500 points lower than it will today.
Everyone come in off the ledge. There's something terribly wrong if I'm the half-full guy around here.(3 Comments)
Posted at 2:26 PM on August 4, 2011
by Bob Collins
A little girl rescued a baby woodpecker from being injured by her cat in Virginia.
But under the Federal Migratory Bird Act, it is a crime to take or transport a woodpecker. So not letting the woodpecker die resulted in a federal employee and a state trooper spending their time chasing after an 11-year-old girl and her mother.
That is, until another government employee with some common sense and an eye for a public relations nightmare in the making put a stop to things.
Timing is everything.
3M boss George Buckley told the Securities and Exchange Commission in a filing that he plans to sell a third of his shares in his company by the end of the year.
The filing said Buckley could sell up to 376,037 shares, worth about $32.4 million based on the stock's Wednesday closing price of $86.18 a share, the Star Tribune reported this morning.
In the egg Wall Street laid today, 3M's stock dropped almost 5% in value, to $82.23 a share. Buckley's value of the shares he intends to sell dropped $1.5 million. It lost $364,000 in the last 20 minutes of trading.
He'll probably be OK, anyway.