Positive Economic News
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Newspapers, online news, and TV news get their best ratings and readership when news is bad. You know the drill:  “If it bleeds, it leads.” Negative information moves product. Nobody reads a paper to see that everything is working fine. Maybe it’s just my perception, but it seems like all the economic talk I’ve been hearing for months is alarmist and panicky. True enough—there is major commotion in the world’s economy. Companies are going out of business.  People are being... Read More
2012
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It’s over. It’s finally over. The longest and most expensive presidential campaign in our history is mercifully at an end. Regardless of your politics, please join me in praying for our president-elect and for our country. God knows that we have enough messes to work on. But at least the noise level of political woofing and barking will go down a little, right?   Right? It seems that Governor Palin retreated to Alaska and held court in Anchorage to “weigh her... Read More
Darwin
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These are heady days for London’s Natural History Museum. In September of 2009 they will open a new eight-storey, £78 million Darwin Centre, which will house the workplaces of hundreds of scientists. It will also host displays for the public.   One of their most prized artifacts are Darwin’s mockingbirds, which he collected during his 1831-1836 voyage to the Galapagos Islands 900 km west of the coast of Ecuador. As Darwin studied these birds, he concluded that species are not static... Read More
Zimbabwe and Thrift
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The news from Zimbabwe hasn’t been good in a long time, but it seems to deteriorate by the day. As bad as the political situation is, the economy is far worse. The word hyperinflation is not strong enough to describe what the collapsing Zimbabwean monetary system is doing to prices as people seek to survive. In February a loaf of bread cost $200,000 Zimbabwean dollars. Last week the price was Z$1.6 trillion. Inflation is thought to be greater than 11... Read More
Mitsubishi
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On October 7 Tammi LaFave was charged in Milwaukee court with felony murder. According to the criminal complaint, her “boyfriend,” Travis Zoellick, had pretended to buy a car, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, from UWM student Haroon Khan. On Oct. 1 during the test drive, Zoellick pulled a gun on Kahn, forced him to drive to a remote location near Watertown 40 miles away, took him out in the woods, killed him, and then buried the body in a shallow grave.... Read More
Gasoline
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You know, when gas was $4.26 a gallon, I would get chain e-mails about once a week with a stirring call to action to punish the greedy oil companies. We should all go on strike on a certain day and refuse to buy gas. The theory—the robber barons of petroleum would be brought to their knees. The e-mail usually ended with dire threats of what would befall me and the country if I didn’t pass the message on to my... Read More
Indian Summer
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Gosh, the days are balmy in my part of the world.  It seems as though summer never stopped. Who ever thought that we’d have the A/C running during the NLCS?  The official title of this October pleasantness is “Indian summer.” Don’t you love it? My original plan for this blog was to regale you with some stories of the origin and meaning of that term. That idea bombed. I couldn’t, because I don’t think anybody knows for sure how Native... Read More
Somebody Stop Me
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Only in America.   Vernita Lee has a problem. She lives in a tony high-rise in Milwaukee with a great view of Lake Michigan. She has also managed to rack up an unpaid bill of $155,547 for elegant designer clothes from the Valentina Boutique. Ms. Lee, who happens to be Oprah Winfrey’s mom, had a similar conflict with the boutique in 2002, when she managed to run up an immense unpaid account. Valentina, Inc. has sued Ms. Lee for the 2008... Read More
Dialing for Dough
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It’s not too hard to make fun of the way other people’s media ministries raise the money they need to stay on the air. Remember back in 1987 when Oral Roberts told his supporters if he didn’t raise $8 million by March that God was going to call him home? His pleas on the air were so emotional and tear-filled that some were afraid he might commit suicide. Well, he made it and is still around at age 90. Roberts... Read More
IKE
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As I write this, Galveston, Texas, is still a sodden ghost town. ¾ of its population has fled, and local government really wishes that the remaining ¼ had fled, too. Electricity and running water are still days away. Many homes, especially those right on the Gulf, were destroyed. What is even worse, Hurricane Ike destroyed the 4-6-foot dune that buffered Galveston Island. The State of Texas might have to seize and condemn all houses that no longer sit behind the... Read More