Grab a Pillow


Need some stress relief; grab a pillow.

For the fifth year in a row hundreds of Chinese gathered in Shanghai to send 2011 out with a massive pillow fight. And this time around so many people needed the outlet that two days of fighting was planned.

Eleven Wang is the organizer behind the event. He says there are many white collar workers and students facing extra economic pressure. He says with college bills piling up and bosses demanding extra work people need a healthy way to deal with their emotions. And if they need something to blame, they can write down the name of their boss, teacher or subject of stress and put it in the pillow.  read more »

An Economic Shock


Think the news about the U.S. economy can't get any worse; then you don't know the whole story.

The economic collapse is a blog that regularly compiles a list of the most startling and unknown facts about the country's economy. A statement from the blog says it produces this list because people need to be educated about how weak our economy has become. It says short term political solutions such as small tweaks here and there won't be enough to fix the damage already done.  read more »

A Depressing Recession


We’re battling a recession and it’s getting depressing.

Analysts say our current economic situation cannot compare with the great depression. But MSN Money disagrees; and they’ve found ten reasons that prove otherwise. For example today anyone holding Greek bonds has a reason to be nervous. And our stock market rises and falls based on the news from Europe.

MSN says much like the great depression the causes and effects of today’s recession are global. When the treaty of Versailles ended World War I Germany was given a bill for reparations. And to pay back the victorious European countries they borrowed from U.S. banks then defaulted. Today if a Greek default can’t be prevented the problem could spread to Italy, then Spain and so on.  read more »

Tax Free Shopping


People in the south are celebrating a new holiday and its tax free.

Last week Arkansas shoppers braved record high temperatures to join in on the first ever tax free shopping weekend. In February the state’s lawmakers approved the holiday to give parents a tax break on their back-to-school shopping; this included savings on clothes, school supplies and uniforms.

Clancy Graham is the owner of a boutique in Arkansas and says the amount of business brought in by dropping the tax was unbelievable. Graham says their sales goal was tripled and more money was made in that one weekend than over the entire month. But while shoppers are gleefully spending the state is feeling the pinch. Officials say the tax free holiday will cost the state about $2 million in revenue.  read more »

A Habit Changing Economy


Old habits die hard, except in this economy.

As bank account balances dwindle many Americans are turning away from their regular retail haunts and shopping for a bargain. A Goodwill store that recently opened in Paramus, New Jersey is seeing a steady stream of business from people that used to favor department stores.

Experts say the stigmas that used to be attached to thrift stores have fallen away as people accept the fact they can’t afford to pay full price. And it’s not just clothing stores. Shoppers are clipping coupons and favoring store brands at the grocery store. When it comes to buying expensive items and holiday shopping, stores are seeing a surge in layaway. And credit card companies are reporting a surge in purchases at fast food restaurants like McDonalds.  read more »

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A Catty Election


Midterm elections are weeks away and it’s getting nasty.

Recently I spoke with former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown about the upcoming election, and as usual the lifelong democrat had plenty to say. Brown says what’s interesting about this time around is that the republicans and the tea party seem to be putting the women in the front seat and the democrats are fumbling around. Brown says the men can’t handle it when the women get confrontational and the race has been reduced to a clash of personalities as even the hottest issues like the economy take a backseat to backlash. Brown says these troubled times have become nothing more than a weapon of words.  read more »

A Different Kind of Swing


The business of sports is taking a big hit in the weak economy, none more so thatn the Ladies Professional Golf Tour.

The LPGA depends on corporate sponsors to fund its tournaments and guarantee attractive purses. But in this economy, corporations are cutting back on sporting events. Only 25 LPGA tournaments are planned this year. Mike Scanlon was an LPGA spokesman at last weekend’s LPGA tournament at Blackhawk Country Club in California. He told me the LPGA’s new CEO Michael Whan is meeting present and potential sponsors individually to keep them in the game.

“It changed the way that we have to do business. We kind of had to go down to bare bones and figure out what is it that we can offer and how can we do it better.”

And their solution was to turn to the talent.  read more »

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Picking Up The Club


They say most business deals are closed on a golf course. But what happens when the economy is keeping people off the green.

During a recent visit to the Greenbrier Golf Resort in West Virginia I spent some time with its legendary golf pro emeritus, Tom Watson, the winner of 39 PGA Tour events, and many majors including the US and British Opens. I asked Watson what the weak economy is doing to the business of golf. Watson says with high unemployment and those working not getting raises, golfers don’t have the extra money to tee off. So the industry is in a slump. But Watson is as confident of a turnaround as he is about winning.  read more »

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An Unfocused America


Earlier this week a drop in home sales led stocks to fall to their lowest level in seven weeks, a sign the economy remains in trouble. How can we turn that around?

John Chen is the CEO of Dublin, California based Sybase; a world leader in information technology and wireless computing. When Chen took Sybase over 12 years ago, the company was in deep trouble. Today Sybase is vibrant and just sold to German based SAP for $5.8 billion. But if we are to find future success, as individuals or as a country, Chen says it might be time to change our focus.  read more »

A Personal Investment


In today's tough economy sometimes your best investment is in yourself.

John Chen is CEO of Dublin, California based Sybase. A world leader in information technology. But early in his engineering career at another company, Chen was told he would never get promoted, primarily because he was Asian and had trouble speaking English. So he shelled out $2,000, his entire monthly salary at that time, to hire a husband and wife broadcasting team to teach him presentation and public speaking skills.

"It was a worthwhile investment, probably the best investment I ever made, but it's the willingness to do something different. A lot of people ask me to speak and I always tell people this is just about accepting challenges, don't accept stereotypes. You can do better and you should do better."  read more »