print/weekly/sundaybriefing
Sunday, April 24, 2005

Last Week
Wild Ride for Market Watchers
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    Rising oil prices, mixed earnings reports and a troubling uptick in inflation caused stock prices to whipsaw after the previous week's dramatic sell-off.

Hot Hand, Cold Hand
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    Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was on the winning side of a Supreme Court decision that will make it harder for shareholders to successfully sue corporate management if the price of a company's stock falls.

Detroit Spinning Out
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    Detroit Spinning Out
Motown is singing the blues. General Motors reported a $1.1 billion quarterly loss, the biggest since the dark days of 1992. The company also said it was withdrawing its forecast for the rest of the year while declining to spell out details of any rescue plan. Ford said its earnings dropped nearly 38 percent and warned it could post an operating loss in the current quarter. Ford is also considering a sale of its Hertz unit to shore up its balance sheet. S&P lowered credit ratings for giant parts-suppliers Delphi and Visteon.

The Week Ahead
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    April 25-29, 2005 25 Monday
Senate Judiciary panel holds hearing on patent system.

Readings
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    In his first book, "The Rise of the Creative Class," Richard Florida, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, changed the conversation in the economic development world from chasing companies to chasing people. The people Florida focuses on are young, well-educated, hip and culturally diverse, with the spark of creativity that ignites fast-growing companies and booming regional economies. Since then, Florida has moved to the District and joined the faculty of George Mason University. In his newest book, The Flight of the Creative Class (HarperBusiness), Florida takes on critics who accuse him of elitism, anti-corporatism and moral depravity (his finding that high concentrations of gay residents correlates with creativity did not sit well with the Christian right). And he extends his thesis globally, pointing out that the competition for top talent isn't just between Boston and Austin but includes Paris, Sydney and Bangalore, India. Florida makes an effort to wrestle with some of the downsides of the new economic competition he celebrates -- rising income inequality, the loss of blue-collar employment and the dead-end quality of so many service-sector jobs. Some of his solutions border on the utopian, while others -- open immigration, greater tolerance for alternative lifestyles and stepped-up public investments in R&D, urban revitalization, the arts and education -- are as logical as they are out of sync with the agenda of Republican Washington.

Revolving Door
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    IN
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as chief executive of the Roman Catholic Church.

Primer
Over-consolidation
Over-consolidation
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     In defense policy, what happens to the industrial base when government purchases drop so low that only one supplier is needed to produce a category of weapons systems efficiently.


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