Talk about early adopters. Tiny kids are rivaling eight-year-olds in screen time, some are getting their own screens, and device makers are no doubt drooling over the possibilities of cashing in on the gift that keeps on giving. Plus, pending housing starts are disappointing and industrial production is up. Business spending was less than expected last week. Has the shutdown scared people that much -- or are there other dark clouds on the horizon? And finally, even some Democrats are saying the sign-up period for the Affordable Healthcare Act should be extended.
Painkillers are some of the most abused drugs on the market. The FDA has been looking for ways to stem that abuse. Now it has reclassified certain painkillers as Schedule II, which means everyone involved needs to jump through more hoops to get the drugs. Plus, Instagram has come up with an obvious way to generate revenue: It's going to start including advertising in users photo feeds. Finally, Spalding is rushing to make basketballs with the new NBA commissioner’s autograph so they’re ready when he takes office.
After the Deepwater Horizon debacle, the Obama administration decided that it would integrate all complex contracts in-house, and have one person coordinate big projects like that. It hasn’t worked, mainly because the very people who are qualified to do that job, would rather make the big money in the private sector. Cable television nearly did in TV Guide Magazine. But a few years ago a private-equity firm took it over and remade it. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel is outraged at possible bugging of her mobile phone by the U.S. European leaders meeting in Brussels will discuss how to respond to allegations of U.S. spying. Possible retaliations include suspending the transfer of bank data and withdrawal of cooperation on an EU-U.S. free trade deal.
President Obama promised that no one who had health insurance would have to change because of the new health care law, but hundreds-of-thousands of people who have individual policies are receiving cancellation notices from their insurers. In many cases, though, they will be offered new policies that are more comprehensive and no more expensive. Plus, as online retailers fight for a piece of the customer pie, the ability to deliver goods quickly and cheaply is key. eBay has bought the same-day delivery service Shutl and Amazon tries to lock in customers with its Prime service that allows "free" shipping with an annual subscription. Finally, investing in nascent companies has, for the most part, been the preserve of the wealthy. Until now. A new law will allow people of average means to play venture capitalist.
A lackluster jobs report has many economists worried about a slowing economy, especially since the partial government shutdown. Also, the George Washington University has basically been fibbing about its admissions policy, saying it is "need blind," when in fact, students are admitted based, in part, on their ability to pay. Finally, Yahoo just hired David Pogue from the New York Times and appears once again to be taking the plunge into original content. But Yahoo has trodden this route several times before, and struggled before.
We're getting early reports of a potential $13 billion JP Morgan Chase settlement, of which $4 billion would go to consumers. But how does relief come, when it finally arrives, and for folks stung by the housing crisis, might it amount to too little, too late? Also, with the health care technology issues that continue to get worse, what can the Obama administration do to improve customer experience quickly -- besides giving out a 1-800 number? Finally, that 17th century "it" girl, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, is back in New York for the first time in 30 years.