The Business Writer Blog

Month: September 2015 (Page 1 of 5)

U.S. intel officials warn hacking is getting worse

Top American spy officials told senators it’s time to set basic international rules on hacking and spying to prevent a future catastrophe.

Carly Fiorina Laments That Politics Is ‘A Fact-Free Zone’

WASHINGTON — Carly Fiorina on Tuesday defended her rocky tenure at Hewlett-Packard, from which she was ousted as CEO in 2005 after cutting thousands of jobs.

Speaking at a town hall in Oklahoma City, the GOP presidential contender said she was proud of her record and suggested that her critics were distorting the truth.

“Somebody once asked me, ‘What’s the difference between business and politics?'” Fiorina said at the event, which was hosted by the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. “And here’s the difference: Politics is a fact-free zone. People just say things.”

“The thing is, business is not a fact-free zone. In fact, business is a fact-filled zone,” she continued. “So as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, I had to stand every 90 days and defend our results in excruciating detail. And if I misrepresented those results in any way, I could be held criminally liable. Now, just suppose for a moment that anyone else running for president was held criminally liable for anything they said.”

She later added, “When you lead, when you challenge the status quo, you make enemies.”

Fiorina’s remarks might strike some as incongruous, since she’s recently been accused of making things up herself. Fact-checkers have taken her to task for describing a scene in a controversial, undercover video on Planned Parenthood that does not actually exist. Even some conservatives have conceded that Fiorina’s critics have a point. 

Fiorina and her campaign, however, insist that she made no error. Her refusal to give an inch on the matter may exemplify her current campaign strategy — deflect criticism by immediately shifting to offense.

She did so once more on Tuesday, attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for recently coming out against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“You’re going to hear lots of Democrats criticize my record, Hillary Clinton among them,” she said. “Mrs. Clinton has never created a job. She has never saved a job, and her policies destroy jobs, day after day after day, including this decision.”

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U.S. slams Europe over Facebook privacy controversy

The U.S. has attacked Europe’s top court for making “inaccurate assertions” about the way America’s intelligence services work.

No Vanity Project: At Art Center, Baryshnikov Tells Artists, ‘You’re The Boss’

You’d think the sign in front of dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov’s arts center would have his name in lights — but actually, you can barely see it. He says what happens inside is way more important.

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This U.S. Airport Cost $313 Million, But You’ve Never Heard Of It

You’ve heard of Chicago Midway, and you’ve heard of O’Hare, but have you ever considered a flight out of MidAmerica Airport?

Probably not, because it currently offers just two flights per week. And they only go to Florida. WOMP.

Located about 30 minutes from St. Louis, Missouri, MidAmerica Airport cost a startling $313 million to build before its grand opening in 1997. (LAX’s recent terminal renovation cost around $240 million, for reference.) As a hub for the now-defunct Trans World Airlines, it was expected to serve millions of passengers per year.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen: Just about 16,000 people flew out of MidAmerica in 2014. Airport officials are hoping a new route to Las Vegas – a big deal, considering there are literally two passenger flights per week at the moment — will help boost revenue. For now, though, things are dismally quiet.

Rows of chairs sit empty in the terminal at MidAmerica Airport. Supporters once envisioned a facility with 85 gates. Instead, there are only two.

The terminal building is a sad sight, waiting for passengers to board the current two flights per week to Orlando, Florida. MidAmerica Airport will resume its St. Petersburg, Florida route in early October, and Las Vegas flights will start in November. 

An unused taxi stand sits empty out front. 

An idle jet bridge waits for a flight … but will one ever come?

It looks rough right now, but MidAmerica will soon be a little less empty: Allegiant Air will offer flights for just $49 when it starts its Las Vegas service out of the airport in November. 

“We’re real excited,” Eric Fletcher, Allegiant’s manager of airports, told a local news source. “The community continues to embrace our service.”

Let’s just hope the people show up. 

Meanwhile, we’ll be here:

 H/T Daily Mail

Also on HuffPost:

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Tear Stocks Plummet After John Boehner Announces Resignation

Tear stocks and crybaby futures hit a record low on Wall Street Friday just minutes after Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that he would resign from Congress.

Tears stalled and collected themselves briefly, but then fell gradually before losing all traction and plummeting to ground level.

Traders did all they could to hold onto the tears they still had. They smiled uncomfortably or did that thing where your lower lip quivers for a long time. 

When reached for comment, most traders told The Huffington Post that they had something in their eye and couldn’t “do this right now.”

Keep it together, keep it together, keep it together…

Not here. Nope, not here.

 [Exhales forcefully, clears throat.] 


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I Raced A Helicopter Through NYC Traffic On A Bike. And I Won

Fighting Manhattan gridlock to get across town is notoriously difficult. It’s even more difficult during rush hour on a morning when a good chunk of Midtown streets are shut down because the Pope is delivering an address at the United Nations.  

The helicopter on-demand service Blade had a great idea to help people bypass the #popepocalypse gridlock on Friday: It announced a promotion where it would fly passengers back and forth between the far east and far west of Manhattan for a mere $95. The flight route would go around the tip of the island, rather than across it. Blade said it’d take 10 minutes.

That’s a pretty good idea, but I had a better one — why not just bike? Biking is hands down the best way to get across the city. You slide right by the traffic and are often going just as fast as the cars around you, if not faster. 

Not to mention, the Pope’s visit gridlocked Manhattan as he traveled around the city spreading his message about climate change. A 10-minute helicopter ride is not the worst thing in the world for the environment, but a Blade passenger’s carbon footprint is not zero. Biking is a far more climate-friendly way to travel.

So I challenged Blade to a race:  

The company accepted!

After some back and forth to get a route that simulated a real commute, we decided that we’d start on the East Side, at the 34th Street heliport. It happens to be a block from the East River Ferry terminal (and a Citibike station), so plenty of people start their day at that location and need to head west. We’d race from there to the Citibike station on 27th Street and 11th Avenue, which is in front of the Starrett Lehigh office building.

This meant that my colleague Caitlyn, who’d be racing me in the chopper, would need to disembark at the West Side helipad and walk to the Citibike station to meet me. We did this because someone flying around the island would still need to walk to their final destination once the helicopter landed. 

This race didn’t come totally out of nowhere: There’s actually some history. Back in 2011, during Los Angeles’s “Carmageddon,” JetBlue did a similar promotion, flying planes from an airport on one side of the gridlocked city to an airport on the other side. A group of cyclists called Wolfpack Hustle raced the plane (and won!). This gave me confidence (overconfidence?) that I could beat the helicopter. Flying is plush, but bikes don’t require spending time going through TSA checkpoints.  

Just before 8 a.m., Caitlyn and I met at 35th Street, and the race was on. I may have gotten a little bit competitive:

As Caitlyn was strapping herself in and enjoying a complimentary beverage from Blade, I was heading down 35th Street toward Second Avenue.

There was a fair amount of traffic, but not nearly as much as I expected. I headed down Second to 29th Street, which would take me all the way across Manhattan to 11th Avenue. There were a lot of potholes. Had Citibike provided me with a complimentary coffee, I probably would have dropped it on the bumpy ride. However! In no time, I was nearing my destination. Miraculously, there were no cars parked in the bike lane to block my way, and not enough construction to slow me down — both regular issues for a bike commuter in the city.

Then I had to stop at a light just before crossing 10th Avenue. It felt like the longest light of my life. Cars came. They kept coming. There was no way I was going to get across. Finally, it was green.

As I headed down the block and readied my turn onto 11th and down the home stretch, I saw my competition walking toward me from the other direction. No way she would make it the remaining two blocks on foot faster than me on a bike. I had won!   

It took me just under 13 minutes to travel the 2.2 miles across town. Caitlyn arrived a couple minutes later.

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New home sales highest since 2008

New U.S. homes sales in August hit their highest mark since 2008, a healthy sign for a housing market still recovering from its collapse.

America’s best beer towns

Here are the best cities to crack open a cold one and celebrate Oktoberfest, according to Trulia.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen OK After Receiving Medical Attention

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen received medical attention on Thursday after she fell ill during a speech at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Citing a secret service agent, CNBC reported that Yellen was OK.

Reuters reported that Yellen was coughing and halted her speech to compose herself, before walking off stage. She had been speaking for about an hour. 

Ia statement, the Fed said that Yellen “felt dehydrated at the end of a long speech under bright lights.” She saw a medic “as a precaution,” the statement said.

Yellen decided not to seek further treatment at a hospital and was expected to continue with scheduled events. 

Earlier in the speech, Yellen said it was likely that the Fed would hike interest rates before 2016.

“Most of my colleagues and I anticipate that it will likely be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate sometime this year,” she said, according to CNBC.

The speech was part of the school’s annual Philip Gamble Memorial Lecture .

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