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New York Times Brain Drain

The Daily Beast

Star reporter Brian Stelter just jumped ship to CNN, the latest in a string of big-name exits. But does the talent exodus signal trouble at the paper or only a changed media landscape?

Is The New York Times hemorrhaging talent? By most accounts, it is. Is that cause for alarm? Depends on whom you talk to.Some insiders at the Times—like most newsrooms, a hotbed of smart, ambitious, and gossipy malcontents, except more so at America’s best newspaper—claim things are getting dire. But senior management insists everything will be all right, better than all right, and advises the doomsayers to chill out and count their blessings.

GOTCHA

Kevin Trudeau Found Guilty

José M. Osorio/Getty

For misleading infomercials.

The jury just wasn’t buying what he was selling. TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau was convicted of criminal contempt on Tuesday after airing misleading infomercials from a diet book. Trudeau, 50, defied a decade-old order from the FTC to stop making misleading ads promoting his diet books. In 2006 and 2007 he ran infomercials claiming to have discovered a secret weight-loss plan that would permanently keep off weight. According to prosecutors, Trudeau claimed to be selling a cure, when in fact he “lied about what was in the book to make more money.” The jury deliberated for only an hour before handing down the sentence. Meanwhile, another federal judge failed Trudeau to get to him to cough up alleged millions hidden overseas to pay a $37.6 million FTC fine.

Read it at the Chicago Tribune

Confusion

Wall Street’s Big-Wig Confusion

Larry Busacca/Getty

Wall Street’s biggest names took to the stage on Tuesday to discuss the markets and the health of the financial industry, but their outlooks were anything but consistent.

Markets are on a roll, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at a record high. Interest rates are very low. Inflation is non-existent. The rich have never been richer. These are very good times indeed to be a big-shot financier.And yet. The crown rests uneasily on the heads of the titans of finance. They’re concerned about America’s past and future, they’re worried about their status, and they’re looking in all sorts of unlikely places for bliss.

TAKEOFF

U.S.-American Merger Approved

Deal reached with Justice Department.

We are now ready for takeoff. The proposed merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways has achieved a preliminary agreement with the Justice Department. As a result of the tentative deal, the two companies would part with 104 slots at Reagan National in Washington, 34 slots at La Guardia in New York and other slots in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. The agreement would avert a trial on the lawsuit by the DOJ, and was a condition of a ruling allowing American to exit from bankruptcy proceedings. The deal still must be approved by the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia.

Read it at the New York Times

WHOOPS

Corn Ethanol Hurts Environment

Tim Boyle/Getty

Despite clean energy promises.

Corn-based ethanol, long seen as a boon for clean energy, is severely damaging the environment, an Associated Press investigation released Wednesday found. Farmers clamoring to cash in on government ethanol mandates have wiped out over five million acres of land once set aside for conservation, polluted water supplies, and destroyed habitats. The mass use of fertilizer by farmers also contributed to the expanding dead zone killing marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite environmentalists and scientists now declaring corn-based ethanol bad for the environment, the Obama administration has continued to support it as an alternative energy source, pointing to its economic impact for farmers. The report met with fierce resistance from the ethanol industry, as Congress is now reviewing a mandate that requires oil companies to blend ethanol into their gasoline.

Read it at CBS News

Playback Wars

The Apple-Pandora War

AFP

The Internet radio business is growing, with Apple the latest company to jump into the pool of competitors. But it’s not yet a ‘Pandora Killer.’

Last week, the CFO of Pandora took to the stage at a corporate conference to boast that its market share had risen in October—the month following the release of Apple’s iTunes Radio.The statement, which seemed to prove the newly released iTunes Radio wasn’t a “Pandora Killer,” made headlines. It was fodder for all the industry-watchers who recognize the significant revenue stream and sizable audience at stake. What may have begun as a rather innocent revolution in entertainment is now quickly giving way to an all-out war between digital radio competitors.

Phoenix

Tesla Survives a Fiery Crash

Eric Risberg/AP

Weak earnings reports and a series of fire incidents finally brought down Tesla Motors’ stratospheric stock price, but somehow the company continues to defy the rules of the market.

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on Tesla, the electric-car manufacturer that inspires love-hate reactions among investors and the public. The brainchild of serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, Tesla sells an expensive electric sports car.The only thing as expensive as the Tesla Model S, which retails for about $60,000, is the company’s stock. Between October 2012 and October 2013, it rose from $31 to $190, up more than six-fold, giving the company a stock market valuation of $23 billion.

Approved

Can Suze Orman Save America?

Ben Rose

A messy brand extension nearly derailed her empire. Now, the loud and proud money guru is hitting back at her critics—and touting her victory over the ‘financial rape’ of the poor.

When it comes to people and their money, Suze Orman is never wrong.That’s according to Suze Orman. In fact, around the set of The Suze Orman Show, her long-running CNBC series, Orman and her producers like to joke about what they call “Suze witching moments”—instances in which the host’s psychic intuition turns out to be eerily accurate.Before a recent taping at network headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Orman warned two guests about her on-air style, which relies heavily on these witching moments.

LONGREADS

Best Business Longreads

Chip Somodevilla

From the success of High Times to the plight of migrant workers in techonology manufacturing, The Daily Beast brings you the best in business journalism from the week of November 9, 2013.

Street Cop: Can the S.E.C.’s Mary Jo White Control Wall Street?Nicholas Lemann – New YorkerThere has been a marked difference between the SEC once castigated by Judge Rakoff for what he saw as leniency toward banks, and the guns-blazing, take-no-prisoners SEC in the news the past few weeks. The new chairman, Mary Jo White, has a reputation as one of the most competitive and competent lawyers to come out of the Southern District of New York. The question is, will all of her work change the way Wall Street behaves?An iPhone Tester Caught in Apple’s Supply ChainCam Simpson – Bloomberg BusinessweekBonded labor, in which migrant workers pledge labor to pay of a debt, is a common form of labor in many developing countries particularly in the Middle East and in factories in South Asia.

Citizen Eike

Brazil's Shrinking Billionaire

Eduardo Martino/archivolatino/Redux

Eike Bastista was the world’s eighth-richest man, and the poster-boy for the new Brazil, flashy and flush with wealth—until his oil and gas bubble burst.

One day, some 30 years ago, before the trophy wife and the floodlights, when a berth on the Forbes billionaires list was still a moon shot, Eike Batista was restless. At age 23, he’d had enough of Europe and the golden cage he’d spent his childhood in, and decided to move back to his native Brazil to make something of himself. The engineering school dropout had sold corned beef to Africa and brokered some Brazilian diamonds with mixed success.

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Shame on You, Walmart!

With an Ohio Walmart hosting a holiday food drive for its own workers, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky criticizes the notoriously stingy company for not paying them more.

  1. Obama Gets Credit for Stock Market Play

    Obama Gets Credit for Stock Market

  2. Twitter’s IPO: World Reacts Play

    Twitter’s IPO: World Reacts

  3. Phone Throwing App Is Awful Play

    Phone Throwing App Is Awful

Business

Daniel Gross

Latest from The Daily Beast

Ukraine: Truce and Consequences

Ukraine: Truce and Consequences

In an exclusive interview, Ukraine’s foreign minister says that over Easter he has halted confrontations with Russian-backed separatists in the east. But next week may be messy.

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Another U.S. Mumps Outbreak

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History Lesson

Was There Really An Empty Tomb?