Erik Isaac took 100 broken iPhone touch screens and turned them into a work of art. Click here to read column.
Archive for August, 2010
Taxing Matters / Comments Off
I ask because the last time I went to Hooters the waitress who served me didn’t quite fit in her tight orange shorts, if you know what I mean. Have you had this experience?
But then I hear about this lawsuit in Michigan: Two former Hooters girls are suing the company, alleging they were placed on “weight probation.” Michigan has a law that prohibits companies from discriminating on the basis of weight. But the funny thing is, these women don’t have a weight problem. By most definitions, particularly by today’s standards, they are thin.
Hooters spokesman Mike McNeil says the case has no merit. He also apologized for my experience, saying Hooters aims for perfection, but doesn’t always achieve it. Not a big deal, really. I was just wondering. Two thirds of Americans are overweight, you know, and maybe the one-third that isn’t, doesn’t want to work at Hooters. But McNeil said Hooters has an image to uphold.
Meantime, it’s absolutely bizarre how marketers keep selling us fat- and sugar-laden foods and the image of sleek, beautiful bodies at the same time. Hooters is right at the heart of that phenomena, peddling chicken wings, pulled pork sandwiches and tall glass of beer with girls they put in calendars.
Click here to read my column on Hooters in The Sunday Wall Street Journal.
I enjoyed meeting the legendary Henry Cisneros last week.
Cisneros, who was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton, pioneered the path to America’s highest home ownership rate in history.
This is good, if you believe, as Cisneros does, that homeownership is the pathway to the middle class. And bad if you think that not everyone should be middle class, and that policies like this are what led to the mortgage foreclosure crisis.
Cisneros got me to thinking about a little paradox: Loose, government-backed lending may have contributed to the foreclosure crisis, but guess what happens when you turn the screws on loose government-backed mortgage lending? I am afraid we are living it. No loans, no homes.
Cisneros is continuing his affordable home mission as founder of CityView, a Los Angeles based investment firm.
Click here to read my column on Cisneros.
Autopia / Comments Off
I promise to never complain about traffic or curse the thousdands of drivers in front of me as long as I never, ever have to endure what is going on in China.
The Associate Press reports a traffic jam in Bejing that has been at a standstill for at least 10 days and could go on for weeks. Truck cargo rotting on the roadside, motorists running into fields to relieve themselves, people sleeping on asphault, opportunistic entreprenuers gouging the stranded on food and water – worse than Dante’s vision of hell, I tell you.
I get steamed if a trip cost me an extra 20 minutes. And I can’t imaging calling my wife: “Hi, honey, yep, still stuck in traffic. Be home in a few weeks.”
Click here to read more.
Food For Thought / Comments Off
Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of the company that owns Popeyes restuarants, is a case in point. When the talking heads were crowing about an economic turnaround last April, Bachelder told me the economy was still stuck. This week’s news on housing, which took the Dow Jones Industrial Average below 10,000, is a pretty good sign that Bachelder was right.
Bachelder has been executing a strategic plan based on a more realistic view of the U.S. economy, generating an impressive string of quarterly financial results. Just goes to show that pessimism, when properly, placed is really optimism.
Al On TV, Embattled Execs, Gulf Spill, Washington / Comments Off
Does former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich deserve to be retried on corruption charges? And did you know President Obama went ahead with his deep water drilling moratorium, knowing it could cost 23,000 jobs? I talk about these topics with Eric Kahnert on Denver’s 9News.
Yet Another Recall / Comments Off
What came first? The chicken or the egg, or the salmonella?
More than a half a billion eggs recalled. Thousands sickened. And two basic questions remain:
1) Why can’t we do something about food safety? Recall after recall shows the food supply isn’t reliably safe.
2) Why can’t people cook their food? Recalls of meat and now eggs consistently come with this warning, so how about it?
Time and again, the lesson to be learned, is that the mass production of food comes with safety risks that can be mitigated if we’re not too greedy. The consolidation of egg producers has clustered more and more eggs together. One bad egg and ….
Also to be learned is yet another lesson about the folly of cost-cutting. Look at any corporate disaster – even BP’s oil-well explosion – and you’ll always find some corporate wonk with a cost-cutting plan. This may be all well and good for the quarterly performance charts, but it’s not reallycost-cutting if it eventually erupts into a national disaster. Is it, egghead?
And finally, what’s the point of regulation and regulators if we don’t give them the authority or the financial wherewithal to regulate? We keep hearing that government is getting bigger. Where’s all this money going? Surely not enough is going to regulators.
Click here for a great roundup of the egg recall news from The Wall Street Journal’s health blog.
And now for my breakfast. Eggs and salmon. Mmm. Yummy.
Seems more than a little odd to me that people compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler.
Many of the same folks who do this would have simply freaked out at members of the left calling President Bush Hitler. And truth be told, neither has the resolve of a murderous totalitarian dictator.
Comparing any American president to Hitler is about as bizarre as comparing Bambi to Godzilla.
Weirder still is when the CEO of one of the world’s largest buy-out funds does it.
Billionaire Stephen Schwarzman has apologized for making the comparison, but he’s not backing off his criticism of a president he views as anti-business. He’s also unhappy about the possibility of his taxes going up.
Waaa! You’re gonna raise my taxes! You’re like that Hitler guy! Waaa!
Reminds me of the way people acted high school. But Schwartzman is a fully grown billionaire.
Click here to read more in my column in The Sunday Wall Street Journal.
After Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich more or less beat 23 out of 24 charges against him in his corruption trial this week, it appears more popular support is rallying behind him.
Clearly, he was not the cleanest mouth to grace the governor’s office, but as his trial ended, it became harder to refute the claim many trial observers made that the Fed’s case against Blago was simply an embarrassing waste of taxpayer money. Nevertheless, with a hung jury on 23 counts, the Feds can will him again.
Many feel even more sorry for his brother Rob, who was not convicted on any charges.
Click here to read column.
(PHOTO: By John Nelson, an avid Blago trial observer quoted in my column, taken near Division and State Parkway.)