THE COMPANIES WE KEEP
GOOD BUSINESS, BAD BUSINESS, FUNNY BUSINESS...
THERE ARE WAYS OF DOING THINGS IN THIS COUNTRY, BUDDY-BOY!
Capitalists Don't Have To Be Pigs. But They Are, With Rare Exceptions:
What is it about money-grubbing *ssh*les that just makes them such, you know, money grubbing-*ssh-les? Why is success in American business now defined by how many people you screw and how few you can actually serve? Well, there are a few exceptions. Let's make them the rule, instead, hm?
"Craigslist revenue to hit 100 mln dollars: media group"
Like Craigie, here.
' "Craigslist is a stunning business success story, especially since it's run more like a community service than a for-profit business," AIM founder Peter Zollman said Wednesday in a posting at the firm's website. "The company continues to grow significantly, while many classified advertising publishers are reporting year-over-year drops of 50 percent or more in certain categories," Zollman wrote. Craigslist websites localized to communities around the world act, in part, as online notice boards where people can post messages on a range of topics including apartment rentals, items for sales and jobs. Craigslist only charges fees for "a tiny percentage" of its ads, according to media consultancy group AIM, which has been estimating the Internet company's annual revenue since 2003. '
"'Guerrilla drive-ins' turn nostalgia on its head"
We can haz making out?
' Think the only way to see a big-screen movie is while slurping a 64-oz. soft drink, eating a $5 candy bar and shushing the wannabe film critic behind you? That's not the case anymore, thanks to people like John Young, creator of the West Chester Guerilla Drive-In and part of a loosely knit network of celluloid renegades resurrecting the drive-in for a new age. "Nowadays, you push a button and a movie appears," he said. "There's fun in the inconvenience of having to get off the couch and go somewhere you might not be familiar with, maybe getting rained on, maybe being cold. It makes it an adventure." For the past four years or so, the 38-year-old Web developer has been showing films — real, honest-to-goodness 16mm film — from a 1970s school projector mounted on the sidecar of his 1977 BMW motorcycle.Guerrilla drive-ins or "MobMovs" — shorthand for mobile movies — are popping up around the country in a variety of configurations. Unlike Young's old-school use of real film, guerrilla drive-ins typically eschew the analog in favor of DVDs and LCD projectors. "A lot of independent filmmakers are enabled by modern technology (to make their own movies), but the area where they're not enabled is distribution," he said. "There's no channel for them to get out there, no audience interaction or feedback. We can help support that." '
"2 missing, 41 hurt in NC Slim Jim plant collapse"
The smell of burning flesh was everywhere. And whatever is in Slim Jims, too.
' Some of the more than 300 workers on duty described chaos after the explosion. Authorities could not say exactly where in the plant the blast happened or what caused it.
"I was getting ready to pick up a piece of meat off the line and I felt it — the percussion. And you could feel it in my chest and my ears popped," said worker Chris Woods. "One of the guys I was working with got blown back — his hat flew backwards." Janelle Lynch, who has worked at the plant for eight years, said she saw flames and ran. She planned to leave through the cutting department, but the roof started to collapse, so she went in the other direction and escaped through a warehouse. "I saw a fire and things just started exploding," she said. ConAgra spokesman Dave Jackson said someone called the plant over the weekend and threatened to start a fire. He said company officials don't believe the threat was connected to the explosion, but Garner Police Sgt. Joe Binns would not say whether police think there is a link. "I don't want to go in that direction right now," Binns said. "We're focused on the rescue, not the investigation." '
"Tech cos enlist Democrat to blast Obama tax plan "
Revolving doors in the digital age.
' A group of technology heavyweights, including chiefs of IBM (IBM.N) and Motorola Inc (MOT.N) enlisted a former Clinton administration economist to beat back President Barack Obama's plan to boost some taxes on overseas profits. The Technology CEO Council recruited Robert J. Shapiro, a former top Commerce Department official, who wrote a report released on Monday arguing that significant jobs losses could occur under Obama's plan. Last month, Obama introduced a proposal to raise $210 billion over a decade in part by tightening tax rules on income earned abroad. The administration says current policy spurs job creation overseas, while U.S.-based multinational companies say precisely the opposite is true. Shapiro acknowledged his job loss estimates don't correspond to Obama's proposal, because the report examines elimination of tax deferral of foreign income, while Obama's plan is a modified version of that. A respected economist who reviewed the report, however, questioned the underlying data assumptions cited. "Their numbers are just way out there," said Rosanne Altshuler, an economist at the Brookings-Urban Institute's Tax Policy Institute. For example, the Shapiro report estimates that repeal of deferral would have cut earnings at foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinationals by $57.2 billion in 2004. But the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the government has raised a fraction of that on annual basis from the policy, making that estimate seem inflated. Current law allows companies to defer income tax until they bring the income back into the United States, for example, in the form of dividends. Companies can take deductions on expenses linked to income earned abroad immediately though. Obama wants to require companies to delay deductions until the foreign income is claimed. The top U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent is among the highest in the world, though Obama officials say that with deductions and loopholes it is effectively much lower, at about 20 percent. "The reality now is that companies pay very little in U.S. taxes," the senior Obama administration official said. '
"China demands new PCs carry spyware"
' Starting July 1, computers sold in China must include government-provided spyware that blocks pornography and political dissent from Chinese citizens’ view, The New York Times reports, following up a Wall Street Journal report. Called “Green Dam” — green being a foil to the yellow smut of pornography — the software is designed to filter out sexually explicit images and words, according to the company that designed it. Computer experts, however, warn that once installed, the software could be directed to block all manner of content or allow the government to monitor Internet use and collect personal information. PC makers are said to be irritated with the new rules but presumably not enough to buck the government. The major irritation seems to be that July 1 isn’t enough time to add the software to massive production lines. '
"Justices Tell Judges Not to Rule on Major Backers"
Digging for coal is a dirty business. And so is the Law, apparently.
' Elected judges must disqualify themselves from cases involving people who spent exceptionally large sums to put them on the bench, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-to-4 decision. The decision, the first to say the Constitution’s due process clause has a role to play in policing the role of money in judicial elections, ordered the chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court to recuse himself from a $50 million case against a coal company whose chief executive had spent $3 million to elect him. In the West Virginia case, Justice Kennedy wrote, there was “a serious, objective risk of actual bias.” Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin, the beneficiary of the coal executive’s spending, twice joined the majority in 3-to-2 decisions throwing out the $50 million jury verdict against the company, Massey Energy. '
"Landmark tobacco regulation bill goes to Obama"
Just blowin' smoke,here?
' Under the plan, the FDA for the first time will monitor and inspect tobacco companies. Cigarette makers must pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fees, register with the agency, and provide a list of all the products they make. The measure also calls for larger warnings on cigarette packages, restricts vending machine sales, bans most flavored products and further curbs print advertisements targeting children. The FDA also will have final say over new products and marketing claims such as "light" and "low tar." Health advocates backed the plan, saying it would reduce smoking, prevent disease and lower soaring healthcare costs. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, whose helped lead the effort, said FDA oversight will rein in an industry known for aggressive marketing efforts. Some experts have said the bill essentially seals Philip Morris' position as market leader. Reynolds American Inc's R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit and Lorillard Inc's Lorillard Tobacco Co. have spoken out against the plan. "It's going to make it almost impossible for any new product to enter the market," said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University's School of Public Health. Critics like Siegel said the bill did not go far enough. Lawmakers could have banned nicotine as well as popular mint-flavored menthol cigarettes, raised the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 and restricted sales to certain stores, much like alcohol, Siegel said. '
"Microsoft hopes charity push will spur IE downloads"
It's AMAZING the chump change amounts of money that multibillionaire Bill Gates & Co actually donate to charity, and all the great free press they get as a result. Sickening. Just like their CRAP software.
' Although Microsoft is pulling Internet Explorer 8 out of Windows 7 in Europe, the software maker is also busy in the U.S. trying to get folks to download its latest browser. One piece of the effort is a charity push in which Microsoft will donate meals to a food bank for each person that downloads IE 8 via a special "Browser for the Better" Web site. Technically, the company is donating $1.15 per completed download, up to a maximum of $1 million. The software maker has seen its browser share--which once topped 90 percent--continue to decline, with Mozilla's Firefox having gained considerable ground. The company also faces competition from Apple, Google and others in the browser arena. As of last month, Internet Explorer's global market share stood at 65.5 percent, according to Net Applications, compared with 22.5 percent for Firefox, 8.4 percent for Safari, and 1.8 percent for Google's Chrome. '
"Fiat Bags Chrysler"
Spaghetti westerns, Motown pizzawagons?
' But Fiat now has a tough task ahead of it, even though it is familiar to the U.S. market: Not only does it own the American construction and agricultural equipment maker Case New Holland, it has tried selling cars in the U.S. before--and unsuccessfully at that. After building up a reputation for shoddy quality, it pulled its Alfa Romeo brand out of the U.S. market in 1994. "Americans still remember that," said John Wolkonowiscz, senior auto analyst at thinktank IHS Global Insight. He forecasts that Fiat's brands will start selling around 50,000 cars annually in the next three years, which represents around half of what Volkswagen's Audi brand sells in the U.S. today. Fiat now needs to focus on making its cars as durable and reliable as possible for American car buyers, who tend to treat their cars more robustly than in Fiat's home region. "Unlike Europeans, Americans treat their cars with a kind of cavalier attitude. They run over potholes. They kind of abuse the vehicles," said Wolkonowiscz. Meanwhile Chrysler's brands have been tainted by bankruptcy. "Americans have been very upset that Chrysler and GM took money from the government. Many are shifting over to Ford and other brands." Fiat clearly has a lot of work to do. '
"Theme park firm Six Flags files for bankruptcy"
We are NOT amused.
' The New York-based company operates amusement parks across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Six Flags said it filed for Chapter 11 protection with the unanimous support of its lenders' steering committee. Shapiro said the action will not affect day-to-day park operations. The bankruptcy filing "paves the way for a full revival of the company," he said. Six Flags, which offers 800 rides at its 20 parks, had been burdened with a massive debt load and a looming cash payment in August. '.
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