retail

Everybody agrees that healthcare.gov is working much better than before. Everybody also agrees that it’s not working as well as it should. So what’s a fair way to evaluate its progress? One way is to compare its performance to commercial websites. Two smart writers on the right, Philip Klein and Megan McArdle, have made that case in the last few days. Here’s Klein: 

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Big Boxes, Bigger Problems

Turn abandoned big-box stores into cultural institutions

How to turn today’s abandoned Walmarts into tomorrow’s award-winning libraries, museums, and churches.

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The Mysteries of the Cereal Box

The complicated history of how a cereal box closes

Did anyone notice that the way you close a cereal box has changed? One-Man Focus Group noticed, and found out the surprisingly complicated design history. 

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A Bite from the Apple Store

What JCPenney's Failed Imitation Says About Retail—and Identity

A leader out to revive JCPenney tried to make its stores look like Apple stores. It failed spectatularly—but not for the reasons you think.  

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The WSJ reports (online): “The U.K.’s top treasury official Sunday said the government is starting a process to rebuild the country’s banking system, likely pressing major divestments from institutions and trying to attract new retail banks to the market.” The British style is typically understated and policymakers always like to play down radical departures, but this is huge news. Pressure from the EU has apparently had major impact--worries about unfair competition through subsidizing “too big to fail” banks are very real within the European market place. Also, strong voices from within the

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As if we needed more reminding, the country has a huge gap between costs required for transportation needs and the funding sources to pay for them.

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On Wednesday, Dan Tarullo, a governor of the Federal Reserve and distinguished law school professor, dismissed breaking up big banks as “more a provocative idea than a proposal” and instead put almost all his eggs in the “creation by Congress of a special resolution procedure for systemically important financial firms.” He stressed: “We are hopeful that Congress will, in its legislative response to the crisis, include a resolution mechanism and an extension of regulation to all systemically important financial institutions” (full speech). This put him strikingly at odds with Mervyn King, gove

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Continuing my look at b.s. stories aimed at provoking parents' angst, today's NYT "Thursday Styles" takes time off from obsessing about high-end retail to explore the disturbing trend in parental yelling. The piece suggests that, deprived of the outlet of spanking, frustrated parents are increasingly turning to yelling to discipline their kids. As one parenting expert is ominously quoted, "yelling is the new spanking." Afterwards, many mommies and daddies feel bad about all the shouting.

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The Ghost Fleet

This Daily Mail story beggars belief: Here, on a sleepy stretch of shoreline at the far end of Asia, is surely the biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history. Their numbers are equivalent to the entire British and American navies combined; their tonnage is far greater.

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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, based on new figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that unemployment rates continued to climb in July in metropolitan America. It’s probably true, based on BLS estimates that the nation overall shed another 247,000 jobs in July.  But BLS’ metropolitan data don’t exactly show us what’s going on from month to month. That’s because they don’t take account of the natural fluctuations in employment levels that occur everywhere due to seasonal labor market changes. Or, in data-wonk terms, they’re not “seasonally adjusted.”  Why does this matter f

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