This morning’s late-breaking news comes courtesy of Bloomberg News — they report President Obama will put forth Jack Lew as his nominee to be the next Secretary of the Treasury. Lew is presently Obama’s chief of staff. According to Bloomberg, that announcement is expected tomorrow.
And we’re going to start with some news that slipped through the cracks a bit. The Federal Reserve has released the minutes from its meeting in mid-December. You might recall this was the meeting where the Fed’s policy-setting board announced a major shift in approach: vowing to continue an expansionary monetary policy until unemployment hits 6.5 percent. But the minutes released this week convey more nuance than we got at the time.
The U.S. is importing less oil, and that will continue at least into 2014. A new report from the US Energy Information Administration projects the lowest oil import levels in 25 years.
California’s insurance commissioner is mad about the latest rate hikes for health insurance. And he’s using the only real power he’s got: stepping up to a podium and scolding the insurance companies. In particular, he called out Anthem Blue Cross of California for an 11 percent premium increase for some customers. But Anthem’s double-digit rate hike is consistent with new 2013 rates being rolled out all over the country. Not exactly what the achitects of health care reform had in mind.
Imagine yourself in this trendy, luxury retail environment: there’s a sushi bar in one corner, a juice bar in the other; fine wine for sale, the scent of fresh baked bread in the air, maybe hard to believe you’re in a Walgreens. But that’s the upscale plan, at least, for a select number of Walgreen drug stores around the country. The San Francisco Chronicle has more details on one of them set to reopen there soon. The Chronicle had previously named this Union Square location one of the five worst Walgreens in the city — apparently they keep such a list. But the remodel will expand it to two floors and set the standard for glamorous things you don’t really expect when you walk into a drugstore.
Now to a sector of the economy and some peoeple in our economy who are often overlooked — there are 52 million domestic workers around the world. And today the International Labor Organization, which is part of the United Nations, raised alarms about the legal protections that domestic workers get.
Here’s a little tech quiz for you: What do Google and Toyota have in common? I’ll let you think for a moment… and the answer is: self-driving cars. Audi has one too. The two carmakers are at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas this week, showing them off.
If you spend a day at Disneyland, it’s quite natural you’d get some photos taken — maybe standing with Mickey or going over Splash Mountain. But this week Disney started photographing folks at the gate — and according to the L.A. Times its causing some considerable delays getting into the park. Disney’s trying to combat an increasingly prevalent ticket scheme: Outside brokers by a multiday pass — then rent it out by the day, for an inflated price that’s still less than buying a single-day ticket. Disney loses money, and the broker pockets the difference. So now Disney’s taking a picture of everybody showing up with a multiday pass. If someone different shows up with the same pass the next day… no Space Mountain for you.
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