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Business And Economy

The Takeaway

Work: Finding a Job and Becoming a Do-Gooder

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Tuesday, our day on The Takeaway to consider how work affects our lives. With millions of Americans scrambling to find work after layoffs, and millions more who will have to work longer because of losses in the stock market, we talk wtih Marci Alboher, Senior Fellow at Civic Ventures about whether it's possible, even in today's competitive job market, to find a job that is meaningful. James Smallwood, a union carpenter and the founder and CEO of the nonprofit The Choice is Yours Inc., says it is possible. He explains how he did it and how his employees are helping to benefit society.

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The Takeaway

TV: Cutting the Cable, Watching Online

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A few stories about the future of TV caught our eye this week that we wanted to follow up on.  The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple may begin to offer TV subscriptions via the internet.  The thought of Apple competing with your cable box made us wonder if making the switch from cable or satellite TV to watching everything online. Nick Bilton and his wife Danielle recently said good riddance to their high cable bills and switched over to using their computer to watch TV.  Nick is the lead writer for the Bits Blog, for our partner The New York Times.

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The Takeaway

How Banks Bet Against the Housing Market... and Won

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You might have heard of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and the role they played in the housing crisis, but have you heard of a 'synthetic CDO?'  Gretchen Morgensen and Louise Story report in today's New York Times, ("Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won,") on how banks used this special category of bundled debt to bet against the housing market, and win. Sometimes it meant the banks profited while their clients lost out.

Louise Story joins us to explain synthetic CDOs and the three government investigations that are already underway about the practice. The government wants to know if investment firms may have exacerbated the housing crisis as they tried to hedge their vulnerable mortage positions. We also speak with Sylvain Raynes, a structured finance consultant, to give us details on how firms used synthetic CDOs and how they pitched them to clients.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Trade Wars, Tarmac Waits, Listeners on Health

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

  • Money Takeout: Louise Story of the New York Times explains why U.S. media companies just scored a victory in the ongoing US-China trade war. 
  • Airline Takeout: New York Times reporter Matthew Wald tells us about a new law intended to prevent airline passengers from being kept on the tarmac for long periods of time while waiting for their flights to leave.
  • Listener Takeout: From health care to holiday songs, Takeaway listeners are coming through loud and clear. 

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Yelp Says No, Mojave Preservation, Usain Bolt

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

  • Money Takeout: Yelp walked away from an acquisition deal from Google worth more than $500 million... why? John Abell, of Wired.com, joins us to put the story in context. 
  • Environment Takeout: Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) is looking to make more than a million acres of the Mojave Desert into a national monument. Daniel Stone of Newsweek explains why this ambitious environmental effort might get government approval. 
  • Sports Takeout: After a brief discussion of the Redskins' trouncing at the Giants' hands last night, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin kicks off our series on the ten most memorable sports stories of 2009 with the fastest man alive, Usain Bolt. Watch him run!

 

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The Takeaway

Fine Print, Big World: Strategies for Avoiding Gotchas

Friday, December 18, 2009

We've spent the whole week talking about the fine print – on our student loan bills, on our bank statements, and on our mortgages – but that's just a small portion of what we see in fine print everyday. How do we manage all the other fine print in our lives? And when do we throw in the towel and decide it's not worth reading anymore? Gary Belsky, author of "Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them," and Beth Kobliner, Takeaway contributor and author of "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties," share and debate their differing strategies.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: FTC & Intel, Sotomayor, Colts/Jaguars

Thursday, December 17, 2009

  • Business Takeout: Louise Story tells us why the Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against Intel, just as Europe has dropped their anti-trust suit against Microsoft.
  • Supreme Court Takeout: Carole King takes us through Justice Sonia Sotomayor's first visit to Puerto Rico since becoming a Supreme Court justice.
  • Sports Takeout: Ibrahim Abdul-Matin says it would be a mistake if the undefeated Colts benched their starters in tonight's game. His suggestion? Play hard, all the way!

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The Takeaway

The Fine Print: Mortgages

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So you want to get in the real estate game while rates are low and affordable property is abundant? Before you hop on the gravy train, be wary of the fine print. As part of our weeklong series on Life in Fine Print, we talk with Dan Green, loan officer at Waterstone Mortgage and author of themortgagereports.com. He explains why all those ads promising low APRs and fantastic terms might be concealing a slightly more complicated truth.

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The Takeaway

Green Business: The Giant and the Little Guy

Friday, December 11, 2009

Some businesses go green by having bicycle-operated blenders. Others do it by redefining what "acceptable packaging" is for an entire category of retail products. We talk with Sean Meenan, owner of New York's first solar-powered restaurant, Habana Outpost, along with Candace Taylor, director of sustainability for the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart. They share with us the unique challenges and opportunities they each face – as a small business and an enormous one – in staying green, staying afloat, and setting an example for businesses and consumers.

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The Takeaway

TARP Extended; Banks Try to Leave the Program

Friday, December 11, 2009

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended his extension of TARP on Thursday, saying it will help fight foreclosures and increase lending for small businesses.  But many banks have already paid back the bulk of their TARP money: Bank of America returned the entirety of its bailout funds on Wednesday, and Citigroup is playing catch-up, trying hard to get out from under government ownership by repaying $45 billion of TARP money.  We speak with Andrew Ross Sorkin, chief acquisitions and mergers correspondent for The New York Times and author of "Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System - and Themselves." We also hear from Richard Bove, an analyst with Rochedale Securities in Lutz, Florida, on whether the paybacks mean the economic crisis is over, or just that banks want out of the program's regulation.

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The Takeaway

First Time Shop Owners Face Black Friday

Friday, November 27, 2009

Today, on what's marketed as “the biggest shopping day of the year,” we check in with two small business owners facing their first Black Friday: Michael Sclafani, who operates the Park Delicatessen skateboard, flower, and dry goods store in Brooklyn, New York; and Julie Lapier, who owns a Dresscode, a consignment shop in Plattsburgh, New York.

We also chat with Spencer Ante, Businessweek writer and author of "Creative Capital," about the the rise of entrepreneurship in a recession.

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The Takeaway

Ken Auletta on Google's Future

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On "Tech Thursday" it’s all about Google. Once upon a time, Google was just the name of the hugest number in the universe, then it became a verb. Now it refers to a media empire, on track to become the world’s first $100 billion media company. That’s just the kind of thing that gets the attention of Ken Auletta, author of “Googled: The End of the World as we Know it.”

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The Takeaway

'The Princess and the Frog' and the Race and the Marketing

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Disney’s first movie to feature a black princess, “The Princess and The Frog,” opens this week in select cities, and nationwide on December 11. Jeff Yang, trend forecaster for market research firm Iconoculture and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, talks with us about the challenges of marketing a film to both a wide audience and niche segments. And Latoya Peterson, who’s been tracking the black community’s reaction to a princess who spends most of the movie as a frog, relays what she’s been hearing on the ground.

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The Takeaway

Finding Charity, Scarcity in this Recession

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We're entering the season for charitable giving around the country. But are the rising needs outweighing the charity? We check in with Susan Bond, who works in the trenches at the Samaritan Love Food Pantry in Kokomo, Indiana; as well as Melissa Berman, president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, about the broader picture on charitable giving. (Berman mentions the government's public service site, Serve.gov.)

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Afghan Strategy, National Debt, Gov. Sanford's Ethics Battle

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

  • Washington Takeout: Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich debriefs us on President Obama's finishing touches on a new Afghanistan war policy.
  • Business Takeout: Louise Story of The New York Times brings us fair warning of the dangers of the rising national debt ahead of today's GDP numbers. 
  • Political Takeout:  Mark Quinn, host of SCETV's "The Big Picture," explains that embattled South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford may have to pay for his allegedly use of state funds for private gains.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Bank Execs' Bankrolls, Jimmie Johnson, Listeners on Oprah

Monday, November 23, 2009

  • Money Takeout: A new Harvard study proves what most of us could have guessed: the executives of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns are still rich, even though they lost $900 million in stocks with the two bankruptcies. Louise Story, of The New York Times, explains.
  • Sports Takeout: Our own Ibrahim Abdul-Matin talks NASCAR's record-making Jimmie Johnson, and responds to a listener's comment on football helmets.
  • Listener Takeout: We hear more reactions to Oprah's announcement that she'll end her show in 2011.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Profiting from Mortgages, NFL Recap

Monday, November 23, 2009

  • Finance Takeout: New York Times finance reporter Louise Story joins us this morning to talk about private companies buying at-risk mortgages at a discount, sharing the profit with the home owners, and shifting the risk to taxpayer-backed federal agencies. (Read the full story at The New York Times.)
  • Sports Takeout: Our sports contributor, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, looks at the weekend's games and the undefeated records of the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.

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The Takeaway

SuperFreakonomics: Questioning Football Helmets

Friday, November 20, 2009

This year’s football season … full of exciting games and undefeated teams ... is also unfolding amidst concerns over head injuries to players. But what would happen if the helmets meant to protect players' heads were removed from the game? "SuperFreakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner reports on the surprising outcomes, with safeguards and incentives included, of course.

Click through to watch a video of Cal's electric tailback Jahvid Best, who was diagnosed with a concussion after taking a serious fall earlier this month.

 

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Jobs, Carbon Offsets, Stimulus Payback?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

  • Washington Takeout: Our friend in Washington, Todd Zwillich, tells us about Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) next moves for health care reform and new efforts by Congress to create jobs.
  • Business Takeout: Louise Story, finance reporter for The New York Times, fact-checks a claim that some families will have to repay some of the stimulus money they received this year. 
  • Environment Takeout: The New York Times' Elizabeth Rosenthal reports on the efficacy of carbon offset programs.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Offshore Money, LeBron James, Listeners

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

  • Business Takeout: We have figures on how many Americans have been hiding money in offshore bank accounts, and Louise Story, finance reporter for The New York Times, tells us about the more than 14,000 people turning themselves in as part of a tax-amnesty offer. 
  • Sports Takeout: Ibrahim Abdul-Matin ponders the future of a Cleveland with (or without) LeBron James, who's poised to become a free agent.
  • Listener Takeout: We hear from you about ethics in the workplace and our coverage of Rakim's latest album release.

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