Initial unemployment claims dropped to a five year low last week, but save the champagne for New Years. Holiday weeks always end up being adjusted, usually upward when the disruption is straightened out. It is good news anyway since it didn't actually skyrocket upward as the right had predicted would be the result of the fiscal 'cliff' panic. The Republicans seem oddly concerned about the cuts to government spending that will kick in, with Boner narrowly squeezing through a bill that put off the cuts for a month. You would think they'd see any cuts as a good thing as it is their stated philosophy, but they're predicting the collapse of Western Civilization instead.
In another of his 3-D chess moves, Obama had his Treasury Sec announce unexpectedly that the debt ceiling has already been reached. They had put out that it wasn't coming until March based on juggling the government's books. The Republicans had refused Obama's request to end the unconstitutional limit on borrowing to pay for expenditures. Expenditures that the very same Congress has already mandated by law. It appears that he is simply going to call their bluff now, rather than allow them another go round in the Spring. He may choose to simply defy the weakened and foolish looking Republicans and let them sue him over the 14th amendment's requirement that Federal debts be paid, period. That's if they have the cōleī. (latin profanity)
Incredibly, the Republicans view of the negotiations is to sit and wait for the Senate Democrats to send them a bill that they like. They say that they won't write a bill of their own, that's another lie of course. Boner put out a bill, the fabulous Plan B, but couldn't find enough votes with the tea baggers against it. The House could vote on the Senate bill they keep insisting doesn't exist. He had planned to vote that down at the same time as his Plan B was voted in, but the Senate bill being reasonable might pass, so that vote won't happen.
So it appears likely that we will go off the 'cliff', at least briefly. It's possible that Boner will pass the Senate bill in the final hours of the year, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Most likely he will only allow anything to happen after his own re-election as Speaker. If he does it before, they will all gather for the symbolic 'dagger in the back' caucus, and make Cantor the new Speaker. (et tu Cantor?) So the dirty work of raising taxes on the rich will be done by Boner and he gets to keep the laurel wreath, at least until they can find some other excuse to perforate his toga.
Footnote - From the Wikipedia: Ludus latrunculorum, latrunculi, or simply latrones (“the game of brigands”, from latrunculus, diminutive of latro, mercenary or highwayman) is a strategy board game played by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is said to resemble chess or draughts, but is generally accepted to be a game of military tactics.