Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WHILE AMERICA WAS SLEEPING I fixed a 'news breakfast' for you -- ready each weekday morning at 6am Eastern to satisfy your media craving [feature permalink here]. These must-reads will kick start your day!


Fierce Winds Snarl Cleanup: "Vicious winds set back efforts to restore air travel Tuesday as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to charges that his administration was slow to respond to a blizzard that snarled traffic and left many passengers stranded at airports." (WSJ)
parasol and swimming pool

Christie Slammed for Disney Vacation As State Buried in Snow: "To make matters worse, Christie's Lieutant Governor Kim Guadagno is vacationing in Mexico, leaving Senate President Stephen Sweeny -- a Democrat -- in charge." (NY Daily News)

Murkowski Way to Victory Now Clearer: "A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by conservative Tea Party favorite Joe Miller that challenged his loss in Alaska's election for a Senate seat, clearing the way for state officials to certify Lisa Murkowski's historic write-in victory." (Reuters)

2012 Cozying in Full Force: "The friendly phone calls are incoming, presidential wannabes are showering them with praise, and their campaign accounts have been flooded with fat checks from people with names like Palin, Romney and Gingrich. Members of Congress from South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire are once again getting wooed by the presidential set — and the potential candidates are reaching deep into those state’s political rosters in search of that critical endorsement." (Politico=

Homicide Rates Fall: "Across the nation, homicide rates have dropped to their lowest levels in nearly a generation. And overall violent crime has sunk to its lowest level since 1973, Justice Department statistics show. The reductions have continued despite a grinding recession, a slow economic recovery and spikes in gang membership, according to recently released FBI figures for the first half of 2010." (USA Today)

Terrain Shifts in Challenges to the Health Care Law: "Congress’s power to pass laws “necessary and proper” to carrying out its assigned responsibilities is becoming an issue in the legal challenges to the health care overhaul." (NY Times)

Economic Downturn Disrupted Migration Patterns, Census Data Show: "The long-standing population shift to Sunbelt states slowed while states with more jobs and affordable homes saw gains. The question is whether those changes will stick or old trends will return." (LA Times)

Pilot Who Posted Video Calls Critics 'Naive': "The airline pilot now in the spotlight after he posted a cell phone video on the Internet criticizing airport security measures said today that his critics are "naïve" and ignoring a severe threat to the flying public." (McClatchy)

Will 'Billy the Kid' Get Posthumous Pardon? "With days left in his term in office, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is mulling whether to issue a posthumous pardon to Billy the Kid in the slaying of a sheriff." (CNN)


2010 Worst Year for Bank Failures Since 1992: "Amid high unemployment, a struggling economy and a still-devastated real estate market, the nation is closing out the year with 157 bank failures, up from 140 in 2009. As recently as 2006, before the bubble burst, there were none. Now, there are more on the horizon. The FDIC's list of "problem" banks - those whose weaknesses "threaten their continued financial viability"- stood at 860 as of Sept. 30, the highest since 1993. Historically, about a fifth of banks on the watch list end up failing." (WaPo)

Allstate sues BofA, Mozilo: "Allstate Corp has sued Bank of America Corp, its Countrywide lending unit and 17 other defendants for allegedly misrepresenting the risks on more than $700 million of mortgage securities it bought from Countrywide. Allstate, the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, alleged it suffered "significant losses" after Countrywide misled it into believing the securities were safe, and the quality of home loans backing them was high." (Reuters)

Full House? Blame the Recession: "Census Bureau data released in September showed that the number of multifamily households jumped 11.7 percent from 2008 to 2010, reaching 15.5 million, or 13.2 percent of all households. It is the highest proportion since at least 1968, accounting for 54 million people. Even that figure, however, is undoubtedly an undercount of the phenomenon social service providers call “doubling up,” which has ballooned in the recession and anemic recovery. The census’ multifamily household figures, for example, do not include such situations as when a single brother and a single sister move in together, or when a childless adult goes to live with his or her parents." (NY Times)

Jobs Are Indeed Created -- Just That Not in the U.S.: "Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring? Actually, many American companies are just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat." (AP)

Strong Holiday Season for Retail Bolstered by Online Shopping: "Online shopping posted growth of 15.4 percent this season compared with last year, a new report finds. Overall, consumers spent 5.5 percent more between Nov. 5 and Dec. 24." (CSM)

Home-Price Dip Casts Pall on Economy: "A report from Standard & Poor's Corp. on Tuesday showed the housing market continues to cast a shadow over the consumer parade. A renewed drop of 1.3 percent in home prices in 20 major U.S. cities in October showed clearly that housing fell into a double-dip recession last fall." (Washington Times)

China to Cut Rare Earth Exports by 10% in 2011: "World manufacturers are heavily reliant on China for these minerals, which are essential for making many electronic goods, such as TVs and PC monitors. China has 97% of the world's known supply of the goods. The US mined none last year." (BBC)


Bad News for China's Topless Dancers: "China plans to crack down in the coming year on lavish parties and seminars organized by government officials, hoping to placate a public angered by corruption and accounts of sex and booze-fueled fetes held at taxpayer expense." (AP)

Tech, Science

The 10 Biggest Tech 'Fails' of 2010: "The missteps, misdeeds and mistakes that remind us that no one -- not even Steve Jobs -- is perfect." (CNN)

iPad Magazine Sales Drop: "Remember when Wired’s debut issue for the iPad sold more than 100,000 times in June? It looks like it will be a while before that type of performance is seen again. Digital sales dropped toward the end of 2010 for all the magazines that make those figures available to the Audit Bureau of Circulations." (WWD)

Media, Entertainment

Fox News Tops All Competitors Combined -- Nielsen: "That dominance came primarily at the expense of CNN which lost 29% of its total viewership in 2010 and 34% of its prime time viewers.  Yes, you read that right. MSNBC, meanwhile stayed the course in total day total viewers - it was the only news channel not to drop in that category -- but dropped 5% year over year in prime time total viewers and 9% in the prime time demo." (Business Insider)