FAST FACTS HAWAII
Pizza Hut gives voters a choice
Pizza Hut is turning the 2008 election campaign into an ad campaign.
The Yum Brands Inc. subsidiary has released a new commercial for low-priced pizza featuring sound clips of the presidential delegates and asking viewers to "please vote" just as the primary voting season is set to blast off.
The 30-second commercial uses a bewildering series of snippets of debate chatter to try and answer the questions, "What is your plan to improve the U.S. economy?" and "Are people seeing lower prices now?"
The ad, which is airing nationwide, then asks viewers if they are "Confused?" and presents a Pizza Hut pie as an easy cost-saving choice.
"We are also using our marketing clout to remind Americans to vote in this important presidential election, no matter their political affiliation or who they support," in addition to selling pizza, said Scott Bergren, Pizza Hut Inc. president, in a company news release.
S&P puts Paris, London at top
Bond insurers may be watching their ratings tank, but credit rating agency Standard & Poor's
gave some of the world's biggest cities high fives (from Paris's AAA to Moscow's BBB-plus) in 2007.
S&P's "World's Top 10 Economic Centers," released Dec. 13, ranks cities on how economically vital they are in terms of gross domestic product per capita and unemployment; their creditworthiness; and by capital expenditures and as services providers.
The cities must be regional commercial hubs and major population centers in their respective countries. The countries must also be among the world's largest economies.
The top 10, according to creditworthiness: Paris;
London; Madrid; New York; Toronto; Los Angeles; Chicago; Yokohama, Japan; Milan, Italy and Moscow.
Cities were also ranked on the size and investments of their city governments and the wealth and employment rate among citizens.
Bank-loan funds performed worst
Mutual funds that buy bank loans turned in the smallest gains of any fixed-income group in 2007 after subprime-mortgage losses scared off high-yield debt investors.
Loan funds managed by firms including Eaton Vance Corp. and Hartford Investment Management Co. returned 1.1 percent last year, according to data from Chicago-based Morningstar Inc. U.S. Treasury funds that protect against inflation rose 10 percent, the most in Morningstar's fixed-income group.
Bank-debt funds, which hold low-rated loans that are often used to finance leveraged buyouts, fell as the subprime collapse in July sent investors fleeing from all but the safest government bonds. Concern that corporate defaults would increase as the U.S. economy slowed also reduced demand, leaving banks with $350 billion of LBO debt that they had committed to sell.
"Loan funds got hit square in the face with the contagion," said Payson Swaffield, chief investment officer for fixed income at Boston-based Eaton Vance, who oversees $53 billion, including $20 billion in bank-loan assets.
Youth culture reinvents capitalism
Matt Mason is asking us to steal.
But we're stealing to promote creativity, the good of humanity and more efficient business practices, says the British music journalist and former London pirate radio deejay.
Mason's premise in "The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism" is that the rise of angry, anti-corporate punk in the 1970s spread the seeds of a do-it-yourself ethos with an altruistic bent, while hip-hop contributed the borrow-mix-and-recreate style to form a revitalized corporate mentality.
This approach can be seen in the way videogame and some software companies interact with the users of their products. These corporations, said Mason, allow and even encourage their users to reprogram and refine products using open-source technology, rather than keeping trade secrets close.
Meanwhile, he noted, the traditional record labels see music lovers patch together and remix pieces of others' songs -- without permission -- and make them available online, bypassing the industry altogether.