Retailers are also sensing more shopper experimentation. This fall, supermarkets Safeway Inc. and Kroger Co. noted that sales of their store brands are on the rise. “In this economy, customers are much more willing to try a private-label item, and we’re seeing signs that this is happening more and more as the year progresses,” Kroger CEO David Dillon said on a conference call.

The Big Money has a brief post on Obama’s support of ethanol, which is surely a cynical political ploy to win Iowa votes, though the post says he’s considering the Iowa governor as Agriculture secretary, something that would be sure to continue the ethanol boondoggle. I would have liked to have seen an exploration of Obama’s ethanol policies, but I guess that leaves it for someone else to do.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at