Despite crowded malls and non-stop TV ads urging the masses to spend themselves into oblivion, it was not a very merry Christmas for most retailers. Sears announced today they are closing at least 100 Sears and Kmart stores, ending more than 1,000 jobs, as a result of the increasingly bleak economy.
Oddly, consumer confidence is on the rise despite the increase in foreclosures, ongoing unemployment, and the inability of the Washington politicos to come up with a long-term solution to the economic morass. According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
"Confidence among consumers rose to an eight-month high in December as an improving job market helped Americans regain all the ground lost following the mid-year government budget battle and credit-rating downgrade.
"The Conference Board's index increased to 64.5, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg News survey and the highest since April, from a revised 55.2 reading in November, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Another report showed home prices fell more than projected in October."
It's a Festivus miracle!
Can Iowa withstand the flood of NeoCons headed there this week in advance of next Tuesday's GOP primary? And, while the popular kids clash over divorce papers and racist newsletters, will Rick Santorum finally get his 15 minutes of front-runner status?
"Santorum has spent so much time here that, as the former Pennsylvania senator told a group in Pella, he can challenge lifelong residents to Iowa trivia contests. Santorum has going for him what's been going against him until now: Having never emerged as a top candidate, he has avoided attacks from his opponents and is the only conservative left unscathed. He has kept his focus on the very religious voters who have played a central role in Iowa Republican caucuses since the Rev. Pat Robertson's 1988 presidential campaign."
And Santorum just released an ad in Iowa proudly touting the fact that he's home-schooled all his kids, a practice that's very popular . . . in Iowa.
In this silly season, anything is possible.