Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
EX Lib-Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell is joining the board of SCOTTISH AMERICAN INVESTMENT COMPANY. The company’s nickname is Saints.
You can find the Scottish American Investment Co. plc in the fiance pages under… SCAM.
IN FLORIDA McDonald’s Corp. has pulled -voluntarialty - its sponsorship of report-card covers in Seminole County, Fla., public schools.
“This is a good day for parents and children in Seminole County and anyone who believes that corporations should not prey on children in schools,” says Dr. Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “We are pleased that McDonald’s is listening to parents all over the country who believe that report cards should not be commercialized.”
McDonald’s had agreed to sponsor the report-card jackets for the county’s elementary schools. On the covers, McDonald’s was to offer a free happy meal to any scholar with A’s and B’s, two or fewer absences, or good behavior.
Protests were made.
“It was McDonald’s decision to remove our trademarks from report-card jackets in Seminole County, Fla., because we believe the focus should be on the importance of a good education,” said Bill Whitman, a spokesman for McDonald’s USA. “McDonald’s, not the school district, will cover the cost to reprint the report-card jackets.”
Because a corporation using education to advertise looks shallow, greedy and abusive? Becaue Ronald the neon clown gives the children bad dreams? Well:
Regina Klaers, a spokeswoman for the school district, said in December that the school approached McDonald’s for the sponsorship, not vice versa. For the 10 years prior to McDonald’s sponsorship, Pizza Hut had picked up the tab. During that time, Ms. Klaers said, there were no parental complaints.
Thin and crispy. Or stuffed?
THE “craze” going on in the United Kingdom involves people take pictures of themselves partially covered with folded banknotes. At least so say the American site Freaking News.
(Has anyone seen anyone doing this?)
The result is this:
IN ‘Poultry is not a class issue, old Etonian Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tell us about chicken:
But a commercially produced free range bird, not organic, can be had in most supermarkets for a little over £5. And there is another – cheaper – higher welfare option provided by the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods method of poultry rearing. All the major supermarkets offer this bird or an own-brand equivalent, and these typically sell for about £4. As one of these birds will easily feed a family of four – twice, in the hands of a keen and resourceful cook – you could even say they are a bargain.
You could. Only:
And be in no doubt, these birds may be reared inside but they have, through lower stocking levels and an enriched environment, certainly led more comfortable and less stressful lives than the “two for a fiver” birds piled beside them in the supermarket chill cabinet. The irresistible pressure on many shoppers to buy cheap chicken arises not because higher welfare birds are expensive, but because standard factory farmed poultry is aggressively, artificially and, I would say, shamefully cheap.
I would say a bargain…
I believe that there is a continued need for a domestic poultry industry that can deliver good value chicken at a keen price for a massive popular market. But basic welfare reform is an urgent matter. If something like the RSPCA standards were adopted as a new starting point for the industry, it would add only 50p to the cost of raising a bird. That includes a fairer price for the farmers, who are struggling to stay in business as their grim product sells for insultingly low prices.
Let’s hear it for more expensive chicken!
EMI: “Guy Hands’ attempts to prevent an exodus of talent from EMI have suffered a blow with the Rolling Stones’ decision to release their new album through rival Universal Music.
“The album, Shine A Light, will be released in March, and will accompany a Martin Scorsese film of the same name that features two live shows the band performed in New York in 2006.”
Yeah, what a blow. Does anyone buy a new Rolling Stones album?
EMI faces a rebellion:
But it is hard not to sympathise with the new bosses’ surprise at discovering entries in EMI’s accounts such as £200,000 for fresh fruit and flowers – a well-known industry euphemism for artists’ partying requirements – or the fact that 30% of the advances they hand out never result in an album being made, let alone one that people want to buy. But you do not need to audit a major record label’s accounts to know that there is a serious problem – just listen to Radio 1. Talk to anyone in the music industry, and they will admit that the parallel themes of gross profligacy and crap records are not unconnected.
Take a look at what they produce…
FROM the Forums: When the Nationalisation goes through, it may be as well to understand that it means every single N. Rock mortgage borrower is going to wake up and find a Government which finds it difficult to cope with the correct way of dealing with political donations is going to have the FIRST CHARGE on the title deeds of hundreds of thousands of private homes and business properties….
IN “The Globalization Election”, Fred Siegel writes:
Clinton’s slide in the polls began when she muffed a debate question about whether she supported New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. But when, in a subsequent debate, Obama botched his answer to the same question, he suffered no political penalty. That’s because Clinton draws her support heavily from white and black working- and middle-class voters who feel threatened by the double bind of increased internal and external economic competition. Obama’s core constituency, by contrast, is made up of people who have benefited from outsourcing and immigration, so the issue of illegal immigration doesn’t cut against him.
As Clive Davis notes, “there’s a clear class divide”…
SOME economic analysis from Hillary Clinton: “I think we’re slipping toward a recession,” she said. “A couple of people that I met on the street, they work in construction. They tell me it’s slowed down.”
Hillary’s common touch…
BIG bonuses at New York bank Merrill Lynch. Or not. As reported on CNBC, an employee at Merrill Lynch’s fixed income research group has “inappropriately relieved” himself in reaction to his meagre bonus.
Reported: “In the first place, it wasn’t piss. It was shit. DealBreaker can confirm this much….The way we first heard it is that a guy took a dump in the rest room, stomped in it, and then dragged it all over the place by walking around with it on his shoes.”
Merrill says there was “an unfortunate accident” in one of the stalls.
Has the, bottom, fallen out of the market?
He is refusing to work for Terra Firma, the financier company which took over EMI. Williams says the new boss, Guy Hands, is behaving like a “plantation owner”.
Hands the overseer has Williams on a £80million contract. Nice slavery if you can get it. But, then, Williams’ name has sold 70 million records for EMI.
EMI has a problem. And it bigger then just Williams and image. As the economist notes:
IN 2006 EMI, the world’s fourth-biggest recorded-music company, invited some teenagers into its headquarters in London to talk to its top managers about their listening habits. At the end of the session the EMI bosses thanked them for their comments and told them to help themselves to a big pile of CDs sitting on a table. But none of the teens took any of the CDs, even though they were free. “That was the moment we realised the game was completely up,” says a person who was there.
Says Williams manager, Tim Clark: “We have no idea how EMI will market and promote the album. They do not have anyone in the digital sphere capable of doing the job required.”
Does anyone buy music in a record shop any more?
“TONY Blair will earn around £2 million a year in his part-time role as adviser to the Wall Street bank JP Morgan without ever having to go into the office,” says the Telegraph.
“BLAIR’S £1m-A-Year PAYBACK FOR IRAQ,” thunders the Mail’s front-page headline.
Says Reg Keys, whose son was killed in Iraq: “If he had a conscience or any sensitivity he would not have taken this job.”
Chimes Conservative defence spokesman Gerald Howarth: “It will be viewed with some contempt by the armed forces that he picks up this large cheque when he was happy to send British troops into battle ill-equipped and in insufficient numbers.”
“It’s almost like blood money,” comes the headline inside the paper.
But surely if Tony is earning money and domiciled in the UK, he is paying UK taxes. His wages will go into the big pot and be used to pay for things like better guns, improved armour and more soldiers.
Like him or not, Blair has the right to earn money…
Sugar is the blunt businessman who left school at 16 and sold car aerials and electrical goods out of a van he had bought with his savings of £100. He is a trader by nature.
But the pupils are not being allowed out of class to sell the lamps they’ve made in design and technology, the home economics biscuits and car radios obtained from the teachers’ car park. Scholars at Matthew Arnold School, Surrey, are being invited to take part in challenges.
As the head teacher Jackie Pearson says: “Firms would set up a challenge, students would go off and do the challenge, come back and report on it and get told ‘you’re hired’, or ‘you’re fired’.”
What pupils are studying and aping is the celebrity Alan Sugar, the one who scowls as if someone has just poured white spirit over his car; the Alan Sugar who stars on The Apprentice TV show and sees which aggressive and pushy “I get results –I’m not here to be popular-I would murder my first born for this chance” agonist gets to be a trainee Alan.
Nto emntiely without interests, one of the cpanies invocleed with the schme is McDaionald’s
Anorak is minded of the maths teacher who equips every failed test with a McDonalds’s application form.
How to you motivate the little loves: stick, carrot, Sugar or two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun…
TAX in France: “Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday launched a far-reaching shake-up of French television, proposing to tax -commercial operators in order to fund a high-quality public broadcaster that would promote the country’s cultural and economic -’renaissance.
“The French president said at his first full press conference at the Elysée palace since his election seven months ago that advertising on the nation’s two public television stations could be scrapped.
“Instead, funding would be generated by a tax on mobile phone operators and internet service providers, as well as a levy on the advertising revenues of commercial channels.”
So the commercial channels will have to pay to fund their competitors? Genius! Do Tv execs burn cars?
TO the Indian call centre, sink of depair and hopeless phone calls:
Researchers estimated that heart disease, strokes and diabetes would cost India more than £100 billion in lost productivity over the next 10 years.
Staff in call centres dealing with customers in Britain say they have been shocked at the ferocity of the verbal attacks they encounter.
Nidhi Aggarwal, 24, said she had never heard some of the insulting language used – including the word “Paki” as a term of abuse – before she began taking orders for a British catalogue company, which routes its customers’ calls to a Bangalore call centre.
“At first, I thought I’d get used to it, but it’s been a year now and it’s not getting easier,” she said.
“On its own, maybe I could cope with the abuse, but there’s also the stress of finishing calls in one minute and hardly having time for breaks.”
Miss Aggarwal, an English graduate, said she planned to quit, tired of wishing customers a good morning only to hear: “Oh, I’m through to India am I? Put me through to someone who can understand English, you f****** cow.”
The Indian call centre is the eight layer ofg hell. The ninth layer is the Dell Indian call centre…
GOLDMAN Sachs workers taunted in New York:
You know Merrill and Morgan and Lehman and Citi
J.P. and Wamu and Bofa and Barclay’s
But do you recall?
The most famous i-bank of all?
Goldman the two-faced i-bank
Gave out very shoddy loans
And if you ever saw them
You’d wonder how its profits rose
All of the other i-banks
Lost billions on the subprime game
How did that crooked Goldman
Come away with all the fame?
Because it knew how bad it was
And it stoked the flames
At the same time that it made bad loans
It bet that folks would lose their homes
Right now it’s bonus season
And we’re shouting “don’t you see!
Goldman the two-faced i-bank
Pay now or pay in history!”
Frosty the Goldman
Frosty the Goldman
Was a very crafty soul
With a gilded pipe and a lot of dough
And a heart made out of coal
Frosty the Goldman
Was too smart to lose they say
He made awful loans
But he sure did know
How to swindle us for pay
There must have been some magic
In that goldman pipe he smoked
For when he held it to his lips
He made bank and we went broke
Frosty the Goldman
Was as rich as rich can be
But still he’d say
“Make the poor folks pay!
And bring their homes right back to me”
Frosty the Goldman
Knew there had to be a way
To boost his funds
At the end of the run
On the backs of the subprime prey
He plundered and pillaged
Like a felon on the lam
Running here and there all around De Beers
Saying catch me if you can
He led us down the road to debt
And before the market dropped
He even bet we’d lose our homes
And now we holler STOP!
Frosty the Goldman
It is soon your bonus day
Stop telling us lies
We can rhyme “securitize”
And you sure as hell can pay
thumpety thump thump
thumpety thump thump
Look at Goldman go
thumpety thump thump
thumpety thump thump
Give up your dirty dough
DEBT: “A man was left deaf, blind and brain-damaged after his young wife spiked his drinks with antifreeze because she had run up debts and wanted to claim against his £50,000 life assurance policy, a court was told yesterday.
“Kate Knight, 28, set out to murder her husband, Lee, 37, after taking out bank loans and remortgaging the family home, Stafford Crown Court was told. She considered giving him an overdose of Ecstasy or iron tablets before settling on antifreeze, which contains the poisonous chemical ethylene glycol, it is alleged.”
Knight denies attempted murder. The trial continues.
A LOOK at Road Pricing, with Dizzy:
Road pricing? Is it on? Is it off? Who actually knows? Some people might remeber that at Labour Conference, the Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly, said that road pricing was “inevitable”A month later it was reported that the Government had U-turned on the subject.
For a policy that is supposedly dead it’s interesting though that since 2004 the Department of Transport has spent “£6.5 million on consultancy contracts including professional advice on possible technical designs, system architecture and cost modelling” and that “[a]nother £1.0 million is currently contractually committed through to the end of 2007-08″.
Wouldn’t be anything to do with ITIS Holdings that company that has the former Transport minister, Stephen Ladyman, who bigged up road pricing, consulting for it now? Worth noting at this point though that former MP and London Mayoral candidate, Steve Norris is a non-executive director of ITIS. NOt sure how that sqaures with his opposition to road pricing but there you go.
The point is though is that the DfT is spending quite a lot of money on a policy that it has been applied will not be happening. On, off, on again? Or never really off, just postponed to the right politically expeident moment?
HE WRITES: “Jobs define us; what we do and where we do it is the stuff of social introductions. How should they go nowadays? ‘My company badges up goods manufactured in China. We market them here – and India does the sales support. An American private-equity group runs the show, but is looking to sell us on next year.’”
Well, no. Jobs do not define us. People who ask “So what do you do?”, and expect to hear a label or job title in response, will always be the type best avoided.
Jobs are how we make a living. Nothing more…
PRESS Release on teaching finance in schools:
The ifs School of Finance has welcomed the Prime Minister’s recent call for schools and colleges to do more to educate their pupils about personal finance.
“When asked if there should be financial education in schools, Gordon Brown replied, “Yes absolutely. And I would favour more education in financial management and in financial budgeting generally at school. I’d like to see financial literacy…extended particularly through schools and colleges and their education programme.”
Anne Kiem, Director of External Affairs at the ifs School of Finance, said:
“We welcome Gordon Brown’s comments and hope this signals a change in Government policy which currently does not include any statutory provision of financial education or provide for any examinable financial education in schools.
We would like to work with Government to achieve our mutual aim of ensuring future generations have the capability to make informed financial decisions. The ifs School of Finance has long argued that financial education should be added to the core school curriculum, putting personal finance on an equal footing with other subjects such as Geography, History and Modern Foreign languages i.e. compulsory for schools to offer it but not compulsory for all students to take it. We welcome the Prime Minister’s comments as another step towards this goal.”
A good idea? Or not – espceially if the nippers work out how dear Gordon takes their spending money from mum’s purse…
HAVE a break. Have a KitKat. Or something Made in China: “Economists and politicians rant about China in terms of jobs lost, currency valuation, and trade gaps. But the New York Times reports that a new metric has been discovered: every year, Chinese workers manufacturing our toys, garments and electronic junk in the Peal River Delta collectively break 40,000 fingers.”
It makes people’s life’s better by flogging them Thoroughly Therapeutic Honey & Bilberry Foot Creme, Healthy Healing Carrot Nutritive Body Lotion, Body Butter and anythign else you can smear on your arse and a piece of “raw” wholemeal bread.
Over on the Treehugger blog, readers learn:
“We and our readers were surprised and some were dismayed when Burt’s Bees was sold to Clorox for $913 Million in November; The New York Times reveals that all was not going so sweetly well before this, and that Burt got the short end of the stick. It seems that Burt was living in a turkey coop when he met Roxanne Quimby in 1984; they split in 1993 and she bought him out in 1999 with a house worth $ 130,000.
She then sold 80% of the company to AEA,(according to a commenter, a buyout firm formed in 1968 by the Rockefeller, Harriman, and Mellon families) in 2003 and got $ 141 million; when Burt complained she gave him $ 4 million. She got another $150 million when it was sold to Clorox; Burt got nothing. His face is on the packaging but he is back living in a turkey coop.
No little shock to discover that the product range is not hand processed by a beared old man with a festish for yellow and black jumpers. Perhaps users can dream anti-capitalism but putting a wiry grey hair in their pot of Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Shampoo…
NOTES the Times: “LIVING standards in Britain are set to rise above those in America for the first time since the 19th century, according to a report by the respected Oxford Economics consultancy.
The calculations suggest that, measured by gross domestic product per capita, Britain can now hold its head up high in the economic stakes after more than a century of playing second fiddle to the Americans.
It says that GDP per head in Britain will be £23,500 this year, compared with £23,250 in America, reflecting not only the strength of the pound against the dollar but also the UK economy’s record run of growth and rising incomes going back to the early 1990s.
In those days, according to Oxford Economics, Britain’s GDP per capita was 34% below that in America, 33% less than in Germany and 26% lower than in France. Now, not only have average incomes crept above those in America but they are more than 8% above France (£21,700) and Germany (£21,665).
Hands up who can afford a new house….
SO many Europeans in New York, euros are now accepted. The death of the dollar..?