Posts tagged ‘economy’

Shocking revelation: Exercising for free burns as many calories as a gym fee!

Ever since the economy started going down the tubes, newspapers began running stories of how people are saving money – except the money-saving examples spoke more of extravagance than penny-pinching.

Such-and-such family forgoes FIVE cars for just one. Such-and-such person who made $90K a year decides taking multiple exotic vacations in one year actually isn’t living within one’s means.

I shouldn’t be so surprised at this. After all, there’s got to be a few reasons why credit card debt is such a problem, right?

However, I read a Wall Street Journal article this morning that sparked my annoyance at this trend.

Titled “Lean Times Bring Workouts,” the reporter details how many people have discovered that paying money for a gym membership isn’t as necessary as they originally thought – and that they can actually burn calories for free at home. What a deal! (more…)

April 22, 2009 at 8:44 pm 1 comment

Watchdogging the financial media: Media Matters takes on the task

financialmediamatters

As a follow-up to the Stewart/Cramer fiasco I blogged about last week, it appears that one non-profit organization, Media Matters, had declared itself a watchdog for the financial media.

They’ve launched a site called FinancialMediaMatters.org, and its main purpose is to hold those who report on labor and the economy accountable.

The organization states in a press release:

Media Matters created the website because the media have consistently offered false or misleading coverage of the causes of and proposed solutions for the current economic crisis. Many journalists, both in the financial and mainstream media, have failed to critically examine the issues and instead have simply repeated partisan spin –from using the phrase “Obama Bear Market” to touting CNBC on-air editor Rick Santelli’s rant as being “populist.” With this in mind, the new website will focus extensively on ensuring that outlets such as CNBC, Fox Business Network, and The Wall Street Journal are held accountable.

I’m still undecided on the effectiveness on the actual site – the design is rather convoluted, and right now there’s not much content that doesn’t fit into the “such-and-such media outlet publishes grossly inaccurate financial information” category. And while I agree with their opinion that “journalists” like Jim Cramer need some watchdogging, their site could use some positive examples – like, “hey, this is how financial journalism SHOULD work” – not to mention some concrete examples of what Media Matters intends to do to fix the problem (other than create a Web page). The other question is, of course, if the campaign will still hold attention once the buzz surrounding Jim Cramer dies down. (more…)

March 23, 2009 at 9:27 pm 2 comments

Populist anger at AIG: Has it gone too far?

Just like many Americans, I was enraged when news broke that AIG planned to pay $165 million in bonuses to its executives, some of whom aren’t even with the company anymore. But I read two items in the news today that makes me concerned about whether America’s populist anger toward the insurance giant has, in fact, become too hostile.

The Washington Post published an article this morning describing the palpable fear of employees at the headquarters of AIG Financial Products in Connecticut. And not just over the fear of their company’s future, but fear of their personal safety. Protesters have been staking out in front of AIG employees’ homes. The company has received death threats and calls to blow up the headquarters. An employee had in London had to relocate because a tabloid had printed his address.

Then, this afternoon, Gawker posted a memo from AIG to its employees, detailing security measures all employees should undertake to keep themselves safe.

In many respects, I find these reports even more outrageous than the news about the bonuses. As the Post mentions, most of the employees that instigated the behavior that led to the company’s downfall – like credit derivatives written on mortgage-backed securities – are long gone. Now, the employees who didn’t participate in this behavior are left to clean up the mess. And they’re receiving memos telling them not to wear AIG apparel in public, to walk in groups, and to be escorted whenever inside an AIG facility. (more…)

March 19, 2009 at 10:05 pm 2 comments

BREAKING: Sesame Street announces layoffs

elmoIt’s official now, folks. We’re finally in a recession. Sesame Workshop (a.k.a. Sesame Street) is laying people off. They’re apparently eliminating 67 of 355 staff positions.

I know, I know. Sesame Street isn’t a real place, you say. It’s a company that has to post a profit and also takes funding from the government and other corporations. Face it: Cookie Monster isn’t real.

I get this. But I can’t help but feel a twinge for something that, as a child, seemed insulated from such things as Ponzi schemes, layoffs, bailouts, tanking stock markets and partisan bickering. Instead, story arcs dealt with Bert’s decision to forego buying paperclips to purchase a soap dish for Ernie, and the death of Mr. Hooper.

Hopefully Sesame Street will weather the economic storm. Imagine having to explain to your child that Elmo is going off the air because the company that produced his show went broke.

On the other hand, perhaps Sesame Street’s writers can start focusing on fiscal responsibility, government accountability and transparency in their future scripts. The U.S. could use a bit more education on these things …

March 12, 2009 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment


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