Rita Jeptoo, the accomplished marathoner who holds the course record at Boston, has reportedly tested positive for a banned substance. The Majors said it's awaiting a decision by the governing body.
It's Halloween, and at "Marketplace" we're getting in the spirit. Marketplace Morning Report Producer Katie Long has been working on her costume:October 31, 2014
There are plenty of stories to read and numbers to watch today — Japan's stimulus, the ongoing legal drama surrounding Ebola quarantines, the impending midterm elections — but since it's a holiday and a Friday, we're going to stick to only the spookiest numbers today.
To get us started, Quartz is featuring the ten scariest economic charts out there. From European unemployment to student debt, keep repeating to yourself "it's only a chart, it's only a chart..."
Here are some other spine-chilling stories we're reading today.2
That's how many people have died from accidentally eating THC-infused edibles since Colorado legalized medical marijuana use. Denver police have put out a PSA warning parents about the varieties of edibles that look like typical Halloween candy, the New York Times reported. There haven't been any reported cases of people passing out edibles, and some Marijuana advocates say the claims are alarmist. Others are pushing for tighter regulation of the treats.
One of the best trick-or-treating neighborhoods in the nation — Noe Valley, San Francisco — according to a study by Zillow. In last week's "Dear Prudence" column over at Slate, Prudie ripped into a self-professed one-percenter for griping about children from outside the area coming over to trick-or-treat. It's a well-known phenomenon, also explored in a Washington Post column Thursday. The conclusion: don't spend Halloween dressed up like Scrooge.
The price of Starbuck's "secret" Halloween treat, a "Franken Frappuccino." The unholy concoction is a green tea Frappuccino with three pumps of white mocha sauce, three pumps of peppermint syrup and mocha java chips, the LA Times reports. [Shudder]
If you live in a swing state, chances are you’ve seen a political ad or two in the run-up to this year’s midterm elections. And there’s also a pretty good chance that ad talked about the economy.
Which brings us to this question: If those ads were your only source of information, what would you think about the state of the economy? What kind of picture are the ads painting? It’s not always what you’d expect.
Check out these two ads, for gubernatorial races.
In his ad, the Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, says we’re on the road to recovery.
And the Democratic candidate for governor of Wisconsin, Mary Burke, talks about bleak job prospects and layoffs.
“We would expect Democratic candidates to trumpet the success of the economy and for Republicans to be on the attack," says Vincent Hutchings, political science professor at the University of Michigan. "But at the state level, especially if we’re talking about gubernatorial contests, that logic gets turned on its head.”
Hutchings says incumbents, whatever their political stripe, have to defend their handling of the local economy. Challengers blame economic problems on the incumbent. But in national, congressional races, political ads focusing on the economy are more predictable.
For Republicans, “it’s all doom and gloom,” says Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.
Listen to ads from Republican congressional candidates, she says, and you think the economy will never pick up.
“So, a lot of ads will make references to the squeeze on the middle class in particular," she explains. "I’ve seen ads on recent college graduates and frustration over spending a lot of money on a college education and not being able to find a job.”
Franklin Fowler says, for congressional Democrats, it’s morning in America -- or it would be if it weren’t for the Republicans.
“Democrats will often go after Republican incumbents and/or wealthy challengers who own businesses for shipping jobs overseas or for job losses,” she says.
In fact, Franklin Fowler says, about 20 percent of ads for all Senate candidates mention jobs, with very different takes on the jobs picture. So who’s right? I turned to Richard DeKaser, a corporate economist at Wells Fargo.
“I’d give the economy a B-minus,” he says.
DeKaser says we’re creating about 250,000 jobs a month, and GDP is growing at about three percent. That’s pretty good.
But it’s an uneven recovery. Not everyone is benefiting.
So politicians can cherry pick economic data, to make a point.
“You can pick and choose from the data and tell pretty much any story you’d like," DeKaser says. "And more often than not, that’s the case. It’s just a matter of biased presentation rather than dishonest presentation. Though there is some dishonesty as well.”
And when the economic picture is a bit ambiguous like it is now, it’s that much easier to manipulate.