You're on Amazon.com. You're buying, say, a toaster, and you're checking out the customer reviews. You assume the people writing these reviews are people like you — people who wanted a toaster, went online and bought one. As it turns out, a lot of reviews on Amazon are written by people who are nothing like you. They're written by elite reviewers who are sent free merchandise to review products. In other words, it's possible that the guy reviewing that toaster you're looking at wasn't in the market for a toaster to begin with and didn't pay a cent for it.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, (who we're sure was not intentionally making the "choke" sign) and Marilyn Tavenner, head of the HHS agency that oversaw the Obamacare website project.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 9:39 am
Good Tuesday morning, fellow political junkies.
As you go through your day, keep this in mind: at least you're not Marilyn Tavenner. When critics of the Obama administration's botched launch of the Affordable Care Act call for heads to metaphorically roll, Tavenner, the top official of the Health and Human Services agency that oversaw the ill-fated website project, is high on that list.
Rae Padulo creates handmade ceramics, like these holiday ornaments, for her Etsy-based company, mudstar ceramics. She's disappointed with the site's new policy to allow outsourced manufacturing. "There's nothing wrong with factory-made," she says, but "that's not what Etsy started out to be."
Two employees of Alicia's Tamales los Mayas prepare tamales in the La Cocina industrial kitchen. Alicia Villanueva, the owner, and her team produce 3,000 to 5,000 tamales every week to sell in the Bay Area.
Credit Courtesy of La Cocina
Villanueva makes cheese, veggie, pork and chicken tamales, and prides herself on their authentic Mexican flavor. Her cart slogan reads, "My tamales are stuffed with love, and the best people are stuffed with my tamales."
Credit Courtesy of La Cocina
Villanueva sells tamales from her cart in San Francisco. Villanueva bought her cart for $1 thanks to the generosity of Metal Gourmet, a maker of high-end mobile carts and trailers.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 11:32 am
San Francisco's Mission District is a cultural crossroads for food, where Mexican bodegas and burrito shops meet gourmet bakeries and cutting-edge California cuisine. It's also home to a kitchen where some of the most promising food startups in the region are getting a boost.
When 52-year-old Alicia Villanueva migrated to San Francisco from Mexico in 2001, she began preparing tamales at home to make a living. She found clientele for her authentic, quality food easily, but says that she struggled to grow the business.
Dennis Chestnut stands next to a stretch of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 2. Chestnut, who has been working to clean up the Anacostia for decades, says it can take a long time for a nonprofit to see an end result.
Credit Sia Kambou / AFP/Getty Images
A worker from Doctors Without Borders speaks with a sick child in Gao, in the north of Mali, on Feb. 4.
There's one area of the economy that's growing faster than business or government.
According to the Urban Institute, in the 10 years between 2001 and 2011, the number of nonprofits increased 25 percent. But most of them aren't very good at measuring their effectiveness — at least, that's the conclusion of the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator, which rates thousands of nonprofits to help donors make decisions on their giving.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:52 am
After production problems and delays, the Federal Reserve will finally circulate a new $100 bill on Tuesday. The aim of the redesigned bank note is to make it harder to fake: For example, when you tilt the note, the bells and numbers inside a 3-D security stripe will move, and a bell hidden inside the gold inkwell will change color.
The government is just 10 days away from defaulting on its debt. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said that by Oct. 17, the department will likely have less money on hand than it needs to pay all its bills.
"The reality is that if we run out of cash to pay our bills, there is no option that permits us to pay all of our bills on time, which means that a failure of Congress to act would for the first time put us in a place where we're defaulting on our obligations as a government," Lew said on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday.
Over the last year of so, Tesla motors has received some really good press. But this past week, it's been knocked off its pedestal.
"We're a country that likes to put things up on pedestals and then tear them down from pedestals. We do that with people, I think we do that with things," says Jack Nerad, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book.
I hope you'll take a look at our video for this month. It's a personal message from me to our clients, potential clients, and friends. I want you all to know that I love what I do and I'm highly motivated to provide you the best financial counseling possible. It's a goal that all management and staff at Chornyak & Associates share and strive to achieve in our everyday dealings with you.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 10:24 am
"Joy Covey, who helped take Amazon.com Inc. public as the Internet retailer's chief financial officer, died Wednesday when her bicycle collided with a van on a downhill stretch of road in San Mateo County," the Los Angeles Times writes.
JPMorgan Chase has agreed to acknowledge that it violated federal securities laws and will pay $920 million in penalties assessed by regulators in the U.S. and U.K. to settle charges related to the huge trading losses racked up by its London traders last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday morning.
It's been five years since Lehman Brothers collapsed and touched off a banking crisis that is still being felt by the global economy. Today, the banking industry is a lot stronger than it was, but some critics say efforts to reform banking regulations have fallen short of their potential.
The U.S. renaissance in energy, manufacturing growth, and the rebound of the automotive industry are bringing about opportunities for investors. Make sure you catch this video in which Joe Chornyak discusses what he's hearing from portfolio mangers regarding our energy and manufacturing future.
Erin Ford graduated from the University of Texas two years ago with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering. Recruiters came to campus to woo her. She got a paid summer internship, which turned into a full-time job after she graduated. Now, at age 24, she makes $110,000 a year.
Michael Gardner just graduated from City College in New York with a degree in psychology. He applied for more than 100 jobs, had trouble getting interviews and worked at Home Depot to make ends meet.
Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 3:27 pm
The beauty of the Internet — and the reason for its ubiquitous place in our lives — is that just about anyone can use it to offer services, products or information. But the link between what's out there on the Internet, how fast it gets to us and how much data can get to us is dependent on Internet service providers and the rules that govern them. That's where things get thorny for the principle of net neutrality.
If your eyes are already glazing over, consider this: This debate could affect the speed, quality and cost of your Hulu or Netflix binge-viewing.