Last week, I took the Today show and Matt Lauer to task for deciding that international travel wasn't worth celebrating this year in the show's popular "Where in the World Is Matt Lauer" series. Instead of showing Americans the wonders of the world, they're claiming that now is a time to be nationalistic, and they're staying near home.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city would like to spend $45 million to retrain laid-off financial industry workers and provide capital and resources for businesses they might start.
Louis Lanzano, AP
Denny's Super Bowl ad, announcing a free Grand Slam breakfast for a limited time, drew crowds early Tuesday morning, Feb. 3, 2009.
Alex Slitz, The Saginaw News / AP
Denny's gave away Grand Slam breakfasts for one day in its 1,152 restaurants nationwide.
Alex Slitz, The Saginaw News / AP
Salvage groceries are items that get returned to warehouses for some reason -- dented cans, over-ordering, use-by dates are getting close or items that don't sell well. This "remainders" business is getting hot in our bad economy.
Many libraries across the country are experiencing an increase in patrons, especially job seekers who use the Internet to look for work and borrow DVDs for cheap entertainment. Even with budget cutbacks, some are thinking of buying more computer terminals and expanding wi-fi options.
Pat Wellenbach, AP
To try to spur tourism and help out local businesses, the state of Massachusetts is sponsoring a new program called MassValuePass which has coupons, special offers and huge discounts.
You don't have to just let unwanted gifts sit around in your house, gathering dust. With belts tightening, you need to make use of all your assets, so a new site, barterquest.com has found a way to match up people and their stuff to barter.
To deal with the rising cost of food, Royal Caribbean is adding a surcharge for steaks served in its dining rooms.
Hybrids are one option for fuel-conscious drivers, of course, but many are now opting for even smaller vehicles: scooters. Sales are up 66 percent so far in 2008. Honda is releasing its 2009 model early to capture as many customers as possible.
M. Spencer Green, AP
Blaming inflation and rising food and energy prices, the 99 Cents Only discount store announced it was bumping its top price to 99.99 cents -- or one-hundredth of a cent less than a dollar -- the first price increase in the chain's 26-year history.
Nick Ut, AP
A few days ago, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams trumped Lauer and made a point of announcing an opposite opinion. Williams had intended to visit an overseas beach resort with his family, but like Today, he canceled plans because of the economy. "It just. Didn't. Feel. Right," Williams told radio show host Erik Hastings during an impromptu call-in. "Expenditures feel pretty gross these days."
But after talking to a few people who derive their livelihoods from the travel industry, including Loews Hotels' owner Jonathan Tisch, Williams decided it was more important to spend his money on the road. The world is in a recession, not just America. "Stay on the planes, get out there, spend money, go to a resort, go to a hotel," Williams said. "The busboys depend on it. I get that. And we're gonna do that."
So Williams' big vacation plans are back on. Now the anchor will spread around a little of that reported $10 million he makes each year ("We're overcompensated in my line of work," he acknowledged).
"The world is still big and the airlines are still running," Williams told Hastings. Way to go, Williams. Literally.
Lauer, for his part, may not have the stamina to go abroad soon anyway; he hit a deer on his bike on Saturday and messed up his shoulder. But at least one of NBC's high-profile personalities will be hitting the road in a healthy way.