Wall Street Journal -- Overheard Column -- Chavez And Christmas...

Since Hugo Chavez took power in 1998, Venezuela's oil output as dropped 28% or almost one million gallons a day. That is roughly the equivalent of Australia's consumption.

He is unlikely to change course, which can have mixed results among OPEC members. Notably, on a 12-month rolling average, U.S. output hit 6.1 million barrels a day in July, up roughly 19% in just three years and experts expect output to keep rising, potentially upending the geopolitics of oil later this decade.

The latest job figures, especially that drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8%, are building into smiles where there were grimaces. Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist at Yardeni Resarch says there is reason for cheer in hours worked and hourly earnings. He's predicting a big mall crawl.