Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Dec 29, 2009

Good morning. Some good stuff today, including little green men and some great quotes from Texas. But let’s start with a follow up to one of yesterday’s topics:

Attempted bombing won’t stop people from flying (NPR)

Robert W. Mann Jr., one of the country’s leading airline industry consultants, said fear isn’t the main issue for most travelers. They’re more concerned with the inconvenience added security brings…

“I would go further to say that I’d like to see the next billion dollars invested not in technology with X-rays and puffer machines, but rather with essentially police work done offshore to locate people who would do harm — whoever they may be, wherever they be — and before they ever get to an airport,” he said.

When Americans head to Mexico to save on health care (PBS NewsHour)

How I sinned and got a couple of things right in 2009 (Allan Sloan/Fortune)

Texas banks applied their history lessons to this crisis (USA Today) Interesting article. I love some of the quotes:

We’ve been there and done that, and have the scars and bullet holes to prove it,” says Steve Scurlock, a state bank regulator in the ’80s and now executive vice president of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. “I still wake up in cold sweats” thinking about the bad old days….

Before the rest of the financial industry, Texas bankers learned that good times don’t last forever. “When everybody thinks that we have somehow figured out how to repeal the business cycle, don’t believe it,” says former FDIC chairman William Isaac. “The time to be cautious is when everyone starts to believe the sun is always shining.”

News Corp and Time Warner go at it (New York Times)

In negotiations, the News Corporation is pushing for about $1 a month for each subscriber, potentially setting a precedent for broadcasters that are seeking a new revenue stream to offset advertising declines.

Time Warner Cable is playing hardball, running an advertising campaign to prepare viewers for the prospect of a January without college bowl games or “American Idol.”

The search for extraterrestrial life is growing again (SF Chronicle)

Limited search programs for intelligent extraterrestrials in the 1970s and 1980s abruptly lost their federal funding in 1992, after NASA proposed a greater effort. Former Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., led the charge in Congress, telling the Senate at one point: “The Great Martian Chase may finally come to an end. As of today, millions have been spent and we have yet to bag a single little green fellow. Not a single Martian has said, ‘Take me to your leader,’ and not a single flying saucer has applied for FAA approval.”

The funding was eliminated, even though SETI listens for radio signals from distant planets and has nothing to do with Mars or with a supposed search for flying saucers or other space oddities.

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