News PM Punch

November 12, 2013

newsmanWet and gray this particular Tuesday afternoon on California’s north coast —  sunshine briefly brightens every-once-in-a-while, but mostly thin, wispy rain alternating with low fog.
Yet, with temperatures in the 60s, and not much wind, the ambiance is not at all unpleasant.

Now after work, surfing the news this PM, the sense of time —  in a couple of weeks, Black Thursday: “I think it’s turning into a day of greed — for shoppers and stores.”

The lady was commenting on the move by retailers this year in moving up the biggest shopping day of the whole, entire year — “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving — into Thursday afternoon/evening, soaking further upstream in time to capture the few dollars floating around out there.
The reverence of the American Dream:

Roger Beahm, professor of marketing at the Wake Forest University School of Business in Winston-Salem, N.C., expects that it’s just a matter of time — he estimates five years — before most chains open all day on Thanksgiving.
As for Christmas, he says that day is still sacred among shoppers.
“The floodgates have opened,” Beahm says.
“People will turn Thanksgiving Day shopping into a tradition as they historically have on the day after Thanksgiving … And stores don’t want to be left behind.”

And indeed, the period between Thanksgiving and the New Year is a the retail world series — in some cases, can make or break a business — and my liquor store is no exception. After a shitty fall, this month has already started to get better, and it will even more-so the closer we get to the holidays.

Meanwhile, in the horrid world of US health insurance comes a new report: “Despite the increases in resources devoted to healthcare, multiple health metrics, including life expectancy at birth and survival with many diseases, shows the United States trailing peer nations.”
The story paints a picture of one shitty American mess — we’re sicker than people in countries at our economic level, sick with cardiovascular disease, perinatal disorders, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, just a freakin’ health disaster.
And we spend 4.2 percent more than those other countries, despite spending nearly 20 percent of all we have on medicine.

Meanwhile, the pro-Obamacare health people have put out some some provocative online ads aimed at young women — the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now came up with the project: “Let’s Get Physical.”

No longer physical in the US, Tina Turner has formally relinquished American citizenship. She’s lived in Switzerland for years, and last month signed her statement at the US embassy: Turner had taken the oath of Swiss nationality April 10.  She’s fluent in German, the report said, and she declared that she no longer has any strong ties to the United States “except for family, and has no plans to reside in the United States in the future.”
She is one incredible, and athletic entertainer.

And healthy might be in the ability to disappear. Harry Potter gets life with a new discovery in the invisibility cloak industry, but these designs can sometimes actually make you more visible: “For example, you might make a cloak that makes an object invisible to red light. But if you were illuminated by white light (containing all colours) you would actually look bright blue, and therefore stand out more.”
Easy one — stay out of the blue room.

And, seeming some good news in the 10,000 deaths off super Typhoon Haiyan was a great exaggeration — Philippine President Benigno Aquino today revised that figure way-down to between 2,000 and 2,500, maybe higher. He sounded a bit political, though: “Ten thousand, I think, is too much,” Aquino said. “There was emotional drama involved with that particular estimate.”
Supposedly, he faces a test in how well he handles the show.

And now some brainiacs claim they finally understood the teen-age brain — new research seems to show maybe there’s a reason why teenagers act crazy, or commit crimes: One explanation may be that as a group, teenagers react more impulsively to threatening situations than do children or adults, likely because their brains have to work harder to rein in their behavior, a research team reported here yesterday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.
I don’t know — a teen-age brain is working overtime even when they’re sleeping.

And not the era of wonderful US politics — Congress has become even more repugnant — from Gallop this afternoon:

Public displeasure with Congress is equally rampant across political groups, with Republicans (9 percent), independents (8 percent), and Democrats (10 percent) giving the institution similarly low approval ratings.
Twenty percent of Democrats approved of Congress in September, but their approval plummeted to 5 percent in October during the shutdown.
This month, Democrats’ approval improved slightly, but is still well below levels measured earlier this year.

Congressional approval for the first 11 months of 2013 is 14 percent, on track to be the lowest yearly average in Gallup history, one percentage point below last year’s 15 percent average.

One wonders how long this can go own. Tomorrow’s the middle of the week, we’ll know more.

(Illustration found here).

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