Monthly Archives: August 2011

How fantasy football impacts workplace productivity

The NFL season opener is just days away and you know what that means – millions of
 
Colts Manning Football.JPGAmerican workers will spend company time managing their fantasy football teams.

An estimated 21.3 million workers are hooked on fantasy sports and they spend up to nine hours a week managing their make-believe teams, according to the outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., which spends a lot of time studying these kind of issues.

It’s about time somebody took a hard look at this time waster. All that lost work time is bad for the economy. Or is it?

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Can Bruce Pearl top Cas Walker?

Today’s surprise announcement that former UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl will be vice
031811vols_atb_06.JPGpresident of marketing for wholesale grocer H.T. Hackney, brings to mind Knoxville’s most famous grocery promoter of all time – Cas Walker.

Pearl is a born promoter, but it won’t be easy to match Walker’s flair for the unconventional.

caswalker_02.JPGWalker, a grocery store owner and former Knoxville mayor who made national news when Life Magazine published a photo of him preparing to punch a city councilman, would do anything to get shoppers in his stores. He threw coupons from airplanes, tossed live chickens from rooftops and once buried a man alive in the parking lot of a store on Chapman highway.

Walker set the bar high, but I’m confident Pearl is up to the promotional challenge. He should do well as Hackney’s marketing guru. But tossing chickens from Hackney headquarters doesn’t sound like a good idea. What should he do? Host a BBQ cookoff?

What promotions would you suggest for Hackney’s new VP?

Photos: Knoxville News Sentinel files

More on Cas Walker

Cas Walker video: Message to shoppers

Value added tax, abolish Congress, more stimulus and other ideas

Here’s an interesting take on what the government really should do to fix the economy. The writer
ETP02.SY.jpgsuggests a little bit of everything.

Can’t say I agree with all of the writer’s ideas, but some — value added tax, infrastructure investment, new stimulus for housing, controlling entitlement costs — make a lot of sense.

U.S. News & World Report: What Bernanke Wants Congress To Do

Miller Energy restates financials, KPMG letter included

Troubled East Tennessee oil company Miller Energy Resources has filed an amended 10-K,
Miller_Energy02.jpgincluding a letter from accounting firm KPMG.

Investors responded positively to the new 10-K. Miller’s shares were up more than 45 percent in afternoon trading.

Miller plans a conference call with investors at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The new filing devotes considerable attention to the controversy surrounding Miller’s previous comments about an audit by KPMG.

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Bernanke to Washington: Do something helpful

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke today called on Congress and the President to take Jackson hole.jpgthe lead in boosting the economy.

The chairman’s much anticipated message to Washington was clear: set aside short-term political interests and do something helpful for a change.

In a fit of optimisim, investors responded favorably. The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 were all up in afternoon trading.

The $4 trillion question is whether the pols will take Ben’s message to heart. Given the current tone of the presidential primary campaign, that seems unlikely. I hope I’m wrong and the pols can agree on a plan to light a fire under the economy. 

Photo: Federal Reserve chairman Paul Bernanke, right, and Jean-Claude Trichet, of France, president of the European Central Bank, take a morning stroll on the veranda of the Jackson Lake Lodge, before the morning session of the Economic Policy Symposium at Jackson Hole in Moran, Wyo., Friday, Aug. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Knoxville airfares still high — but improving

060711frontier5_MC15087.JPGKnoxville was included today in a Wall Street Journal report on cities with the highest average airfares. Probably not surprising to metro area business travelers.

Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport has the eighth highest average ticket price in the country, according to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation. It’s not the kind of publicity McGhee Tyson officials like, but spokeswoman Becky Huckabee said the No. 8 ranking represents improvement.

A year ago, Knoxville had the third-highest average airfare, according to the transportation bureau. She expects Knoxville to slide further down the rankings next year with “the addition of Frontier Airlines and US Airways lower prices to Washington, D.C.”

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What will Ben say? Will it matter?

Market watchers have been speculating all week about what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
federal reserve.jpgBernanke will say Friday when he talks about what’s needed to spur the economy.

 Is QE3 in the works? How will the market react? Will whatever he says help the economy?

Here’s a sampling of what some pundits and experts expect.

Bloomberg: Bernanke May Forgo Easing as Data Point Higher

Forbes: Bernanke’s Jackson Hole Hamlet Moment: To QE Or Not To QE?

BusinessWeek: Bernanke Signaling No QE Backed by Data From Prices to Freight

CNBC: Bernanke Speech to Set Market Course Friday and Beyond

The Economic Times: US crisis: Ben Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech could rattle the markets

Photo: Associated Press files

Will new blood pump life into Ruby Tuesday?

Ruby Tuesday’s annual meeting is looking more and more interesting. Hedge fund Carlson

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday

Capital recently bought 800,000 RT shares increasing its holdings in the Maryville-based casual dining chain to about 4.4 million shares, or 6.8 percent of shares outstanding.

Earlier this summer Carlson and Becker Drapkin Management announced they had formed a RT shareholder group and would nominate a slate of three independent directors to the company’s board.
Their nominees: BPM founders Steven Becker and Matthew Drapkin and Michael Brodsky, co-CEO of Federated Sports & Gaming, a professional poker league.
Apparently wanting to avoid a possibly messy fight, Ruby Tuesday management quickly named Becker and Drapkin, to a newly expanded Ruby Tuesday board. In return, BPM agreed to withdraw its nominations.
Ruby Tuesday has stumbled a bit coming out of the Great Recession. Some new blood in the board room could be interesting.

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Cash or gold — which is best?

If you’re wondering how big time investors are handling their money in today’s ugly economy,
Culture_Currency(2).JPGhere’s an glimpse at what some Wall Street types are doing.

WSJ: How Wall Street Invests Its Money in Hard Times

If you’re tempted by scraping together everything you have to invest in gold, here’s something to consider.

New York Times: The Hidden Dangers in Safe Havens

Knox public transit ranks low in Brookings study

kat1_MP_10906.JPGNo car? Good luck getting to work in metro Knoxville. When it comes to connecting people without cars to job opportunities, Knoxville has one of the weakest public transit systems in the country, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.

Of the 100 largest metros, Knoxville ranks 98 in coverage rate, or the percentage of households without a personal vehicle – zero-vehicle households – that have access to public transportation, Brookings reports.

Only Jackson, Miss. (99) and Greeneville, S.C. (100) rank lower in the think tank’s study.

Tennessee’s other large metros all rank higher than Knoxville. Memphis has the best coverage rate ranking at 62. Nashville is 94 and Chattanooga is 96.

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