Archive for August, 2012

American, US Airways talk merger; more competition for Delta?

042612usairways2There was Southwest Airlines’ buyout of AirTran, Delta Air Lines’ deal with Northwest and United’s with Continental. Now it looks like American Airlines and US Airways are hoping to taxi down the tarmac.

American and US Airways said Friday they are in fact-finding talks that could lead to a deal. “It does not mean we are merging — it simply means we have agreed to work together to discuss and analyze a potential merger,” US Airways CEO Doug Parker told employees in a letter.

Analysts say the combination would allow the airlines to give Atlanta-based Delta and United Airlines more competition, since it would create a third mega carrier.

“You would have the international operations of AMR and the lower cost structure of US Airways,” Morningstar analyst Basili Alukos told Reuters.

Delta, the largest carrier serving Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, already is getting more competition from Southwest, which began merging operations this year with AirTran, the …

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Cruise ships in Savannah? Could happen

As if Savannah isn’t already a hot tourist destination.

Now it’s looking to be a sort of cruise capital.

The city’s council is considering spending $279,500 to study what it would take to bring a cruise ship terminal to the riverfront, the Associated Press and Savannah Morning News report.

Three sites are being considered.

The study would look at the impact _ economic and otherwise _ of running cruise ships in and out of town. Cruise ship traffic would have to be coordinated with Port of Savannah traffic, for one. Another concern that’s been raised is possible pollution.

A temporary cruise terminal supposedly would create 288 jobs.

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Working to 70 no guarantee of comfy retirement

It was bad enough when retirement experts began telling workers that they’d have to stay on the job longer than they’d planned _ to 70, or so, instead of 65 or even 67 _ in order to make ends meet after they’d given up the daily grind.

Now, new data from the Employee Benefit Research Association suggests that for many people, the reality is they will have to stay on the job even longer than that. Its research shows that for about one in three households whose heads are  age 30-59, retiring at 70 won’t be enough to make it.

The association’s “Retirement Security Projection Model” shows that 64 percent of households age 50-59 (in 2007) would be OK to retire at 70. That’s a lot better than the meager 52 percent that would be ready to retire at 65.

The rest, though? They’ll come up short trying to cover basic living expenses and health care costs.

“It would be comforting from a public policy standpoint to assume that merely working to age 70 would be a panacea to the significant …

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Twitter allowing more advertising tweets to followers

Kardashian Twitter Tip.jpgDon’t be surprised if you see more targeted advertising tweets coming across your screen in the near future.

Twitter announced Thursday that it will start allowing advertisers to send their pitches directly to its 140 million users based on the interests they have revealed in previous tweets. The social media company is following the leads of others, such as Google, that display ads based on the type of topics online users seek out.

Until now, companies could only direct ads to their own Twitter followers and users similar to their followers.

Twitter, which is a free short-messaging service, has mined tons of tweets that users have sent or read to come up with 350 “interest categories” that advertisers can refer to in directing tweets. The categories range from education to home and garden, from investing to football and soccer. It also has cut the minimum bid requirement for its auction-based ad system to attract more advertisers.

According to Twitter’s pitch …

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Amazon.com: No more Kindle Fires to sell

(Associated Press)

The original Kindle Fire (Associated Press)

(Updated 1:50 p.m.)

Verge.com just posted what it says is a photo of the next Android-based Kindle Fire.

“We’re being told that a ‘pair’ of Fires is likely — a 7- and a 10-incher — though it remains unclear whether both models will be introduced at the same time,” the website said. Verge also said it can’t tell whether the new tablet comes with a camera.

Previous report:

Amazon.com says it has sold out of its $199 Kindle Fire and it has no more of the tablets to sell. The company is widely expected to unveil a successor next week.

While not providing specifics, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement: “We will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem.” Wow.

Amazon said the Kindle Fire, launched last fall, represented 22 percent of U.S. tablet sales and is the second-most popular tablet …

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How the rich are viewed: smarter, but greedier

So, how do you feel about the rich?

They’re different, no? More intelligent, perhaps, and also harder working, but greedier and less honest, too.

That, at least, is the prevailing sentiment expressed in a Pew Research Center survey which addresses an issue that’s been on the front burner much of this year and isn’t likely to go away during a Presidential election season.

More than half (58 percent) of those who responded to the survey said the rich don’t pay enough in taxes, and only 26 percent said they pay the right amount. Just 8 percent said they pay too much.

Don’t think that’s all jealousy, either. Among those respondents who described themselves as upper or middle class, 52 percent said upper-income Americans don’t pay enough in taxes.

Not everyone has a kill-the-rich mindset, however. Far from it. Among people who described themselves as lower-class, 84 percent said they admire those who get rich through hard work. Among those self-described as middle class, 92 percent …

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Historical marker ordered up for Waffle House

(Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com)

(Phil Skinner, pskinner@ajc.com)

Waffle House’s roots run deep in metro Atlanta, so deep that a historical marker is being ordered up along with pecan waffles, grits, eggs, bacon, hash browns and orange juice to commemorate the first one built nearly six decades ago.

The Georgia Historical Society will place a marker at the site of the first Waffle House on East College Avenue near Avondale Estates on Sept. 8. The chain, which has grown to 1,600 locations nationwide, was started by Avondale Estates neighbors Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner in 1955.

“In the beginning, we thought we would open about 10 locations and then go fishing,” Rogers said in a statement from the historical society.

Since its opening, waitresses at the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week restaurant have greeted many a late-night visitor with “What can I get for ya, hon’?” before firing off a rapid succession of orders to a cook who is already flipping, chopping, pressing, scraping and scooping up …

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Apple wants 8 Samsung devices removed immediately

Apple iPhone (left) and Samsung Galaxy S III (AP)

Apple iPhone (left) and Samsung Galaxy S III (AP)

Iphone maker Apple Computer wants eight Samsung mobile phone devices banned from sale in the U.S.  immediately, days after winning a $1 billion patent infringement lawsuit. But its South Korean rival vows to take “all necessary measures” to prevent that from happening.

Apple’s request is expected to be considered by a federal judge Sept. 20 in California. At the same time Samsung is going to ask that the potentially crippling verdict be thrown out due to lack of evidence. Apple is expected to ask that damages be tripled to more than $3 billion.

The models Apple wants removed are among more than 20 Samsung devices a San Jose jury said infringed on Apple’s software and hardware designs for the iPhone and iPad. The jury ruled Samsung copied innovations such as scrolling and zooming in on a screen by double tapping, and Apple’s setup for displaying icons.

The immediate Samsung list includes older devices and …

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Property values up elsewhere, not in Atlanta

Some good news in the national housing market … and some more bad news on the local scene.

Thirteen of the 20 cities in the latest S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values showed a year-over- year gain, but Atlanta isn’t one of them, Bloomberg reports.

Atlanta had the biggest year-over-year drop, in fact, with prices falling 12 percent.

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities climbed in June from a year earlier, the first gain in almost two years.

The index increased 0.5 percent from June 2011, the first gain since September 2010.

“Rising demand driven by mortgage costs close to a record low has trimmed the glut of unsold houses on the market, giving property values a lift,” Bloomberg said.

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Georgians cutting spending, still lack savings, survey shows

A new survey from the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates shows that nearly 9 in 10  Georgia members polled say they have significantly reduced their spending in the last year, yet two-thirds are still living paycheck to paycheck.

Among respondents, 46.6 percent cited their job status as the main factor affecting their spending, while 43.4 percent said their debt situation had the biggest impact.

Besides cutting their spending, 60.6 percent of those surveyed reported using coupons, 36.5 percent said they had eliminated vacations and 6.6 were car pooling to save money.

Still 58.4 percent said they couldn’t cover their basic expenses for more than three months if they lost their job or main income source.

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