President Obama wants cars and trucks that don’t need oil to run. Today he proposed a fund to help make that happen, a fund with a $2 billion price tag. Which sounds like a lot, at least until you put it in context.
For one, it’s spread out over the next decade, so we’re talking about $200 million each year. And, the pool it’d be pulled from, the royalty revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling, was more than $5 billion last year. So, less than 4 percent.
The White House estimates those revenues will increase over the next several years. Which, Andy Radford, from the American Petroleum Institute, believes is likely. For one, he says, you’ve got rising prices. And, says Radford, “we’ve had some major discoveries in offshore that have been coming on line.” The more oil and gas that gets pumped, and the more it costs, the more the government takes in through the royalty program.
But why spend that extra cash on creating cleaner cars and trucks? Everyone in D.C. is talking about deficit reduction. Why not use it for that?
William Galston from the Brookings Institution says developing alternatives to oil is a public good, and “economists agree that there are certain kinds of what they call public goods that the market left to its own devices won’t supply enough of.”
And now the latest news from Espoo, Finland. Rovio, the company that makes Angry Birds, this weekend is launching a cartoon series based on its wildly popular app. Called "Angry Birds Toons," it's the latest addition to the burgeoning and profitable franchise.
The birds in Angry Birds should be happy. The game has gone from a 99-cent app on your phone to its own three-minute cartoons. The game, with many others, launched about 4 years ago when iPhones were just gaining popularity. But Evan Narcisse, a writer for Kotaku, a video game blog, says none of them have achieved the success of Angry Birds.
“There were other video games that launched alongside it, but I can’t name any of them,” he says.
Angry Bird’s success has created a store’s worth of merchandise deals. In a nod to popular culture, Narcisse says the game has become so popular, the Angry Birds T-Shirt is the new Bart Simpson T-Shirt. But remember Bart got his start on TV. As Angry Birds demonstrates, the digital age can produce mass-market sensations on the little mobile screen first.
And, says Mark Robichaux, editor in chief of Multichannel News, Angry Birds Toons is following a new migratory path to TV.
“In a traditional circumstance, Angry Birds might be a show on the Cartoon Network,” he says.
Instead, in the U.S., Angry Birds will initially bypass the TV networks. Players can download the cartoons on their phones, allowing the company to keep advertising profits which would otherwise get funneled to a TV channel.
The cartoons feature the same characters as the game -- birds which are angry at pigs that steal their eggs. There’s violence, but more like a scene from the Smurfs than Call of Duty.
“I’ve seen a teaser for the cartoon, this is not highbrow entertainment,” Robichaux says.
Tim Calkins, who teaches marketing at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, says the lack of the scary content is a big reason the brand is so successful.
“They’re not just reaching gamers, they’re just huge numbers of people,” he says.
Rovio is a private company, so it's value isn't publicly known. But the CEO dropped some details last year that it made a profit of $67.6 million on sales of more than $100 million in 2011. Analysts estimate the company is worth several billion dollars.
It's a fairly safe bet that if you're hungry for a particular dish from your home country, you'll be able to find it in the cultural fondue pot that is the United States. But does that mean immigrants never get homesick for a particular morsel or ingredient? I hit the streets of downtown Los Angeles to ask some foreign-born folks about what they miss most from their native cuisine.
What lengths would you go to get your favorite food? How much would you spend for a taste of home? Leave a comment for us below and let us know about the dish you miss most.
Senate investigators are holding a hearing today on JPMorgan’s estimated $6.3 billion losses connected to a London trader known as the 'Whale.' New evidence from internal emails and phone calls suggests the blame may lie with even bigger fish in company.
You're forgiven if you think all the President does is deal with the budget, since squabbling between the White House and Congress has been much in the news lately. But the presidency is more than that. One other big issue facing the administration is energy. On Friday afternoon, President Obama will address that at an event at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.
Later today, 33,000 aspiring doctors will find out where they’ll be doing their residencies for the next three to seven years. In medical circles, they call it "Match Day." In the last few years, doctors and hospitals have begun adapting the on-the-job training residents receive, so they can better succeed in today’s tumultuous health care world. But the past is never far from view.
Prices rose overall by 0.7 percent. The major factor: a 9.1 percent surge in gasoline. Since February, though, gas prices have retreated. So economists do not think the latest report changes the inflation picture.
Deborah Gilmore is a realtor with Harry Norman Realtors. She's been selling homes in the Atlanta area for more than two decades. Gilmore says people should move to Atlanta because of its fabulous weather, diversity and the wide variety of housing -- everything from a condo to a castle. She says Atlanta's housing market is recovering.
"We do have a heartbeat now. We had flat line for quite a while, but we are beating. That's good news," says Gilmore. "Certain areas of Atlanta, where high-end is predominant, there are people buying."
Gilmore says a three bedroom, two bath home in Atlanta can be found for around $150,000-200,000. While the same type of home in other parts of the county -- depending on whether it's in foreclosure or on short sale -- can cost around $90,000-150,000. In one of her recent sales, Gilmore says she sold a house to a new couple who were thrilled with their new home.
"They got so excited about the house, we got close to closing. And the buyer called and said that he wanted to go and cut the grass. I said that's so very nice. I said we have one problem. He said, 'What?' I said you don't own the house. It's not your house yet. You haven't bought it, so you can't just show up on the property and start cutting the grass and trimming the bushes. That's just one example. Excitement of people that when they want to buy and they have a good experience with the process and they can't wait to get the property, that's what I like," she says. "[If] they have cartwheels from the front door, you know they love the house."
But how are the bankers down South? Are they as hospitable as the people and likely to throw loans at potential buyers?
"Nobody's throwing loans, I'm sorry. You have to check with a lender bank first to see if you're credit worthy. People love to look at the pretty stuff -- the house and dream about where they want to live, but the restrictions are much different now than they were five or six years ago," says Gilmore. "They're looking at credit scores and pattern of payment. This has to be really good and clean."CLICK HERE TO VIEW AN INTERACTIVE MAP OF HOW MANY MORTGAGES ARE UNDERWATER IN YOUR STATE