The First Draft, Wednesday Dec. 31

December 31, 2008

Happy New Year. It was a great political year. But most folks with a 401K retirement account and a mortgage will be glad to bid farewell to 2008 and ring in 2009 with a feeling of optimism that is natural with the start of a new year. 

FINANCIAL/TIMESIt would seem investors have gotten a whiff of that optimism.  After registering some of the worst annual losses in history, world stock markets look to close out the year on an up note. Wall street is poised to open higher with oil prices falling and the dollar rising.

Still, 2009 promises to bring more political drama. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who has been accused of trying to sell the vacant Senate seat, defied calls by his fellow Democrats to resign and appointed former state attorney general Roland Burris to fill the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. 

 Talking heads are still pondering whether Caroline Kennedy is qualified to be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate seat.
Minnesota is still counting ballots from the Nov. 4 election. Democrat Al Franken now holds a slim 50-vote lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. Both the Illinois and Minnesota disputes are likely to eventually end up in the courts.
President George W. Bush celebrates the New Year in Crawford, Texas. While President-elect Barack Obama rings in 2009 from Hawaii.
U.S. Jobless data just released show claims for new benefits falling by 94,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 492,000. It unclear how much the weather and Christmas holiday influenced the data.
Enjoy a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2009.

Photo credit: Reuters staff photographer (Sale sign in New York on Christmas eve)

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