The state of Alabama was already struggling with high unemployment when it was pummeled by tornadoes last week. As businesses and homes have been destroyed by the twisters, many residents in the region are struggling to recover from the devastation without their jobs.

Ben BernankeFederal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke told reporters at the Fed's first ever press conference April 27 that the Fed's Open Market Committee will not change existing policies that are suppressing interest rates to nearly zero and will complete purchase of $600 billion in federal government debt securities. Bernanke also predicted inflation will stay under control and the economy will grow only slowly for three more years.

"I'm sure the rising cost of energy is bothering the market," said Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at D. A. Davidson & Company last week. "I do think the uptick in gasoline prices will have an impact on consumer spending in the next few quarters." 

One could scarcely call it an "uptick," with gasoline prices up by $.70 a gallon since the first of the year, and approaching $4 a gallon. The American Automobile Association said at that level consumers "will have to start cutting back to pay their fuel expenses. This could adversely affect restaurants, malls, and entertainment venues that count on people driving to get there."

The University of Texas decided this week to take physical possession of some 664,000 ounces of gold it has bought over the past year, a quantity valued at nearly $1 billion as gold passed $1,500 per ounce Wednesday.

Speculation over the length of conservative pundit Glenn Beck’s tenure at Fox News has pervaded media circles and conservative blogs almost since the first days of his appearance on the news channel. As Beck’s contract is set to expire in December of this year, it appears more likely that Beck may leave Fox News and possibly start his own channel.