Brian Banmiller's blog

Stella Awards for Stupid Legal Decisions

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At a time when so many Americans are struggling to survive this disastrous economy, there are some folks who apparently believe the legal system provides them their best opportunity.

Proof of that was sent me via e-mail from a friend who was as angered as I was at just how far some people will go to abuse the legal system for their own benefit.

“Below are winners of the annual Stella Awards! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck, who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?  read more »

President Obama's "To-Do" List

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This is a list of what CNNMONEY.COM says President Obama must tackle in his first 100 days in office.

1. Get recovery package passed and implemented

Topping Obama's economic to-do list will be getting an economic stimulus bill through Congress.

Obama has gone out of his way to tamp down expectations. He's noted in several speeches that the economy will likely get worse before it gets better. And even his top economic advisers say that the best his proposals (most of which are included in the House Democrats' $825 billion stimulus bill) can do is to create or save between 3 million and 4 million jobs. That's enough to keep the unemployment rate from getting worse by 2010, they estimate, but not enough to actually reduce it from where it is today, at 7%.  read more »

It’s Time to Take Time

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In our 24/7 business and media world it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Financial programs breathlessly shout out the latest ups and downs in stocks, unemployment, consumer confidence, and all other sorts of short term data designed to keep you tuned in, if not just plain depressed.

But that leaves little time for sober reflection on the problems and opportunities we face as a nation.

With the dramatic change in leadership in Washington, there is now a unique opportunity for all of us to step back to take a look forward with a sense of renewed purpose. This is still the world’s strongest economy, driven by our can-do spirit, democratic ideals and devotion to country. We were again reminded of that with President Obama’s Inaugural speech.  read more »

Rebuilding Your Nest Egg

If you’ve been dipping into your savings account or busting up your 401- k to stay afloat, how can you build your nest egg back up?

Millions of people are looking for work while millions of others are moving from full to part time, as companies cut back. With cash tight, people are dipping into their rainy day funds because, well, it’s raining. So investment analyst Ken Winans says now is the time to plan for a way to fill up that piggy bank a day at a time. While there are still safe companies to invest in, if the market is too volatile for you then cut back your spending. Winans says it’s time to live within our means.  read more »

Media Careers Crater


Being closer to the end than the beginning of my own very rewarding media career, I can sympathize with the thousands of younger aspiring journalists who are faced with a rapidly deteriorating job market that may not give them the chance to get in on the ground floor of such an exciting industry.

And seasoned veterans are not being spared from the economic tsunami washing over the media business. Long time local TV and radio news anchors and reporters are being unceremoniously shown the door in cities all across the country. Magazines and newspapers are also in free fall, with huge layoffs in editorial, operational and marketing divisions at some of the country’s biggest publications.  read more »

Picking on Private Jets


I know. The headline gives the story away. And it sure shows my bias. But this issue is a lot bigger than just dumping on private planes. It’s about government over-regulation and big-brother control.

First I need a disclaimer. I am a former Air Force Officer, private pilot and proud airplane owner with a life-long love of aviation. But I’d like to store that personal baggage and just stick to the facts.  read more »

Turning a Profit

Millions of Americans are out of work. We’re in a recession and the government is busy bailing out big companies. So how can you turn all this bad news into a profit?

As a country America has been in even worse positions before and while it’s hard to predict when things will turn around there are actually some bright sides to consider. Investment analyst Ken Winans says with the fed pumping money into the economy and this new stimulus package in the works people might be able to find a little more money in their pockets. Winans says there is still profit in a recession.  read more »

Mistakes to Avoid in 2009

This is the time of year for resolutions. So what should you do to succeed in this tricky economic environment? More important, what past mistakes you should absolutely avoid?

Last year gave all of us a lesson in tough love. So how can we profit from the bad news to help us tackle the uncertain future. Ken Winans is an investment analyst and founder of Winans International and says that most people are still in shock and denial and are expecting the government to bail them out. But it’s not the government’s job to help people make ends meet. Winans says people need to face their own economic reality.  read more »

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Network News Re-runs

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Remember when the main goal of network TV news divisions was to fight to make sure they broke the big story before the competition? Now it seems they are falling all over each other to make sure you see that big story, over and over again.

When I started out in local television news, it was considered heresy to run the same story twice. If you could not find enough stories to fill a newscast you just weren’t good enough. How times and budgets have changed.  read more »

Trust: Can it make a Comeback?

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I may be dating myself but I actually do remember when deals were closed with a handshake. And when someone said “My word is my bond” you simply believed it. Or when a customer said “The check is in the mail” it really was. Trust was the grease that made the wheels of commerce turn more efficiently.

Not anymore. And that lack of trust is threatening to deal a body blow to our way of life.

Certainly one can argue that greed and deceit have been part of business dealings since the dawn of commerce. And maybe our 24 hour news cycle just makes us more aware of human weakness. But somehow we never dreamed that lying, cheating and stealing could get so rampant as to permanently damage or bring down the entire U-S economy.

Now I am not so sure.  read more »