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Help Wanted

Good Luck Getting Hired at Walmart

Gilles Mingasson/Getty

Despite pushback from the city council, Walmart will open its first two stores in D.C. next month. But getting a job there will prove difficult since the chain received 38 applications for each job opening.

Walmart is constantly in the news as a metaphor for what’s ailing America. On Monday, it was the news that employees had set up bins to collect food for needy employees at a store in Ohio. On Tuesday morning, we were presented with a Walmart-related news item that explains why the company can get away with paying so many so poorly.Seeking growth in the low-end of the retail market that it has largely saturated, Walmart has been trying to push into cities.

Crossing Over

‘Money Honey’ Flees to Fox

Mario Tama/Getty

Maria Bartiromo, who took a sexist nickname and made it her own, is departing CNBC for its rival, Fox Business—where she’ll join mentor Roger Ailes. But will her audience follow?

Financial television luminary Maria Bartiromo, who in her two decades at CNBC established herself as “The Money Honey,” a sexist nickname she shrewdly trademarked, is jumping to the rival Fox Business Network as well as the Fox News Channel.The Drudge Report first posted the news on Monday as the 46-year-old Bartiromo was anchoring Closing Bell, CNBC’s late-afternoon stock market program. CNBC officially acknowledged the loss in a statement, noting that Bartiromo “has been at the center of every major financial and business news story…since her earliest days” at the network, but Fox held its fire until an expected announcement later in the week.

RED HOT

Bitcoin Value Hits All-Time High

Bloomberg/Getty

Ahead of congressional hearings.

The digital currency is on a roll. On Monday, Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $700 on the Mt. Gox exchange, up 25 percent in one week. The gains came after multiple government agencies outlined their stances on Bitcoin ahead of a congressional hearing, “Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies.” Most important, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central banks has no plans to regulate Bitcoin.

Read it at Circa

Always Low Wages

Walmart’s Dumb Blame Game

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Walmart continues to blame outside factors—the food stamps cut, the ACA, and the government shutdown—for dwindling sales. But the real reason for its troubles? Its own business model.

Wal-Mart touches more consumers than virtually any other company—140 million customers each week. The registers at its 4,135 U.S. stores ring up millions of transactions every day. Its sophisticated IT systems collect a wealth of information about the supply chain, the behavior of consumers, and real-time action in the consumer economy. And yet at some level, America’s largest retailer remains remarkably clueless about what is happening in the economy.

LONGREADS

Best Business Longreads

WPA Pool

From the man behind American suburban mindmeld to the famed Moon family, The Daily Beast brings you the best in business journalism from the week of November 16, 2013.

Simone Levitt’s Memories of Her Marriage to Bill Levitt, the Mastermind of the Suburb Rich Cohen – New YorkAfter promising the Navy during World War II to build quickly a number of houses that usually took four years, famed developer Bill Levitt turned an occupation (construction) that had once been done by artisans into another American assembly line.  After the war, he predicted that millions of Americans would be pursuing the American dream of a house, but without affordable options.

The Next Big Thing

Facebook Dissed By Snapchat

The Daily Beast

When Snapchat shot down Mark Zuckerberg’s billions this week, the markets got a clear picture of the perverse logic that now rules social media—and the problems that lie ahead.

The buzz of this week was that Snapchat, the pre-revenue/no-revenue instant-messaging craze, turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook.Much of the commentary centered around the folly, or heroism, of Snapchat’s young founders Evan Spiegel, who is 23, and Bobby Murphy, now 25. Why should they take a lowball offer and go to work for someone else when an independent Snapchat might be worth $6 billion, or $12 billion, or $20 billion, in a few years? On the other hand, should the energy surrounding social media dissipate, should investors start demanding that companies have actual revenue and profits again, or should Snapchat be surpassed by the next new thing, the founders will look like chumps.

Gadgets

Coin’s Wallet of the Future

Coin

A new startup has created a miracle gadget that unites all your credit, debit and gift cards into a single card.

Credit cards may soon be relics of the past if Coin lives up to its hype.Coin has created a gadget the size of a single credit card that can store payment data for all the cards in your wallet. It can be swiped for payment just like any other credit card. “Coin is designed for the lifestyle of today but with the technology of tomorrow,” said founder and CEO Kanishk Parashar in a release.The company says that the product is a completely unique and secure device that fits seamlessly into your wallet or purse.

Tablet Tax

Did Apple Cook the Books in Italy?

Eric Risberg/AP

Italian prosecutors are investigating Apple for allegedly hiding $1.3 billion from local tax authorities, but the tech company dismisses the accusations.

In a country where even a former prime minister has been convicted of tax fraud, it should be little surprise that major corporations think they might be able to pull a fast one.The Italian subsidiary of multinational tech magnate Apple is under investigation by prosecutors in Italy for allegedly hiding $1.3 billion from the local tax authorities. The alleged fiscal fraud supposedly took place in 2010 and 2011, during the waning years of Silvio Berlusconi’s troubled reign when Italy’s government was on the brink of collapse.

This Smart Old House

How to Hack the Perfect Home

Christian Science Monitor/Getty

Apple alum Tony Fadell reinvented the boring market for home thermostats with his sleek and eco-savvy digital Nest. Coming next: a smoke detector that could be a real disruptor.

Silicon Valley’s latest hot new app doesn’t have a funny name or purport to be a new social medium. In fact, it’s a pretty pedestrian piece of hardware. The hipster former Apple guys who reinvented the thermostat have come up with the next big thing: a smoke alarm.Nest Labs, founded a few years ago by Tony Fadell, who helped design the iPod, has a smash hit with the Nest thermostat—a digital, Apple-looking temperature regulator that is easily programmable, hooks up to the Internet, learns your family’s habits, and just might save the planet.

Aced It

Yellen Sails in the Senate

Alex Wong/Getty

While Obama crashed and burned over health care, his nominee to head the Fed sailed through her confirmation hearing. But will Janet Yellen be any different from her predecessor?

President Obama’s press conference on Thursday was something of a horror show. By contrast, the confirmation hearing of Janet Yellen, the president’s nominee to be the next Chair of the Federal Reserve, was more like something from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The general theme of the three-hour session was Damn it, Janet. I love you! The Senate remains a remarkably politicized place. Tea Party rogues like Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are gumming up the works.

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Daniel Gross

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