At least 834 exoplanets have been discovered so far, but there are only seven and a half business-type things you need to know each day. Here they are.
Thing One: Conventional Wisdom: Did you so enjoy last week's Republican National Convention that you said to yourself, "Gee, if only this infomercial of lies, exaggerations and two-minutes-hate-style awfulness could last another week"? No? Well, tough luck, because you're getting another three-day infomercial of lies, exaggerations and two-minutes-hate-style awfulness, also known as the Democratic National Convention!
The goal last week for the Republicans, or at least the part that concerns a business-related newsletter: Explain, exactly, how they plan to make the economy monster stop eating all of our jobs all the time. Mission accomplished? Not so much. The goal is quite similar for the Democrats, notes the Financial Times, although one other thing they'll need to explain, in a way that does not get them struck by lightning, is why the economy continues to suck so hard (technical term) after four years of their stewardship.
President Obama, in particular, has some 'splaining to do, writes the Huffington Post's Peter S. Goodman. Sure, the president can say with a straight face that he probably prevented worse outcomes. The president has limited power, and Republicans obstructed him every step of the way in Congress. The New York Times points out that there's even a solid argument that we are way better off now than four years ago, when the economy was technically in recession and the financial crisis was just getting started.
Still, you can be forgiven for having the nagging suspicion that maybe, if the president had spent a less time working on his bowling game and a little more on helping the economy and on selling his plans all along, then he and we might all be in better shape right now.
Thing Two: The Romney Retirement Plan Most of us are going to be lucky to retire with 401(k) savings that might be enough to buy us an RV and a lifetime supply of cat food, if we're lucky. Almost none of us are going to ever be able to retire the way Willard Romney has retired -- particularly since he continues to receive a steady stream of cash from Bain Capital that is taxed as if he had never retired at all, the Washington Post writes.
Thing Three: Europe: The Re-En-Brink-Ening: The European Union's latest make-or-break month kicked off today with news that Europe's factory sector shrank at a faster rate than expected last month. Borrowing costs are soaring for companies in southern Europe, the Financial Times reports. Spaniards are pulling their cash out of Spain, according to The New York Times. But look who's coming to the rescue: European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi says he's totally going to buy some European bonds, so problem solved. Until next month.
Thing Four: Egypt Gets $1 Billion In Don't-Hate-Us Money: The U.S. government plans to forgive $1 billion in Egyptian debt, part of a renewed effort to make Egypt's new leaders stop drifting toward the influence of China. And the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood is at least open to talking about Western-style economic development. "They sound like Republicans half the time," one administration official tells The New York Times. Which in this case is not a complaint, apparently?
Thing Five: China's Factory Sector Shrinks, Too: China, which is often expected to bail out struggling economies like Egypt, Europe and the United States, has problems of its own, you know. Its factory sector also shrank in August, according to new data. Reuters notes that the last time China's economy was in such bad shape was in March 2009, at the tail end of the last recession. China's factories rebounded then, but this time around they may do whatever the opposite of rebounding is.
Thing Six: Samsung Blue: Some technology companies are famous for not losing patent disputes with their rivals and having to sort out labor conditions at their suppliers. Those technology companies are not Samsung, which said today that it was reviewing the labor conditions at about 250 of its Chinese suppliers, after a human-rights group claimed one Samsung supplier used child labor.
Thing Seven: Ladies Can Do Stuff Now, Europe Edition: The European Commission is pushing to require the boards of publicly listed companies to be 40 percent female by the year 2020, the Financial Times writes. Currently, the boards of large public European companies are less than 14 percent female.
Thing Seven And One Half: On this day in 1888, George Eastman patented the handheld Kodak camera. He started selling the camera that year with the slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest."
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Calendar Du Jour:
10:00 am. ET: ISM Factory Index for August
10:00 a.m. ET: Construction Spending for July
All Day: Auto and Truck Sales for August
Before the Bell:
Heard On The Tweets:
@IvanTheK: Remember when you could get 1.85% lending Uncle Sam 10-year money? That was funny.
@DannyZuker: I sincerely hope that when I get older my children don't put me in a home or on a stage at a political convention.
@ReformedBroker: Dirty Chairy
@morningmoneyben: For A Few Dollars More I'll Sell You This Chair
@moorehn: Under NO circumstances is anyone to tweet on my behalf when I die. I'm taking the Instagrams to my grave with me.
And you can follow me on Twitter, too: @markgongloff