If watching gold-digging women fighting over a pseudo millionaire or ex-lovers revealing embarrassing stories to former flames' parents doesn't make your stomach turn, how about eating horse rectum?
Just when you thought reality TV couldn't get any worse, NBC slapped this programming gem into prime time. After a long meeting between the network's affiliate board members and top executives, the Peacock network agreed that promos featuring Fear Factor contestants chowing down on equine innards crossed the line of decorum, especially since one appeared during a Saturday morning children's show. A long meeting?
"We did hear [the non-delicacy] was USDA," said board chairman and Gannett Television executive Roger Ogden. Uh, that's not the first concern that comes to mind....
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Motorola Answers the Call
- Discussion Board of the Day: Nokia
- File Taxes Electronically
- Quote of Note
- Microsoft Extends Hand to E.U.
- Shameless Plug: Perfect Credit Can Be Yours
- HP Gets the Message
- Quick Takes: McDonald's, Kmart, news about dividends, more
- And Finally...
Posting pre-charge earnings of $0.13 a share on a 3% uptick in year-over-year revenues may not seem like much, but hold the phone. Motorola guided Wall Street to a top-line decline in October on earnings of merely a dime per share. This is a different company now, and the confidence may be contagious. With Nokia
It was a solid performance by Motorola by most measures. The company posted operating profit gains in all businesses except the sluggish wireless network equipment sector.
While it also hosed down first-quarter targets, it will still mark Motorola's third consecutive profitable quarter. It also expressed its comfort with fiscal 2003 estimates of $0.40 a share in profits on $27.5 billion in sales, despite the rocky start.
Shares peaked three years ago when the wireless sector was walking on water. It took a dip, and Motorola's stock has shed 85% of its value since then. It's fitting that the company that started out making car radios would skid out of control. It's even more poetic to see that same company get back behind the wheel and start heading in the right direction.
If Motorola is bouncing back, does that mean the wireless sector is ready for a callback? What about Nokia? Can the sector's bellwether dial its way back into investor fancy? All this and more -- in the Nokia discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Paperwork, paperwork -- everyone hates paperwork. And the Internal Revenue Service is no different. In fact, the IRS hates it so much, it's taking steps to encourage Americans to file their taxes online, rather than send in 1040 forms splattered with chicken scratch.
IRS has partnered with several private tax-preparation software providers to offer 60% of Americans free online filing. Who's eligible? That's up to the individual provider. TAXSLAYER.COM is giving the freebie to active military personnel. TaxAct is targeting those who can file the 1040EZ or have an adjusted gross income above $100,000. You can use TaxBrain.com's services free of charge if your AGI is below $12,000 or if you're 50 years old or beyond. And Intuit's
To see if you're eligible, visit the IRS's Free File page, and browse the providers or fill out a questionnaire. Even if you aren't eligible, there are many benefits to filing electronically: You'll reduce the chance of mistakes (due to bad calculations or poor handwriting), all forms are easily accessible, and you'll receive your refund more quickly.
However, there are drawbacks. First, even if you're eligible for a free federal filing, you'll have to pay to file your state taxes. Also, expect to be subjected to marketing for other financial services. Most notably, watch for the "refund anticipation loans," which will give you the amount of your refund in cash while you wait for your IRS refund check -- for a price. Unless you desperately need the money, the fees and steep interest rates aren't worth it.
"See, when the government spends money, it creates jobs; whereas when the money is left in the hands of taxpayers, God only knows what they do with it. Bake it into pies, probably. Anything to avoid creating jobs." -- Dave Barry, syndicated columnist
The world's biggest software company is accused of intentionally keeping its code under wraps so that servers made by companies like Sun Microsystems
The Redmond, Wash.-based company will soon present a series of proposals to the European Commission, the executive body of the E.U. In the document, Microsoft will lay out exactly how it intends to resolve European regulators' anti-trust concerns. The company hopes it can point to its U.S. settlement with the Justice Department as evidence that many of the E.U.'s concerns have been alleviated.
However, the commission may suggest Microsoft needs solutions better tailored to Europe. Industry groups unhappy with the U.S. settlement have been lobbying the E.U. to bring down harsher penalties on the company. Regulators want Microsoft to remove its Media Player from Windows altogether and sell it separately, for example.
In its settlement with the Justice Department, on the other hand, Microsoft agreed to let computer makers and end customers hide icons for certain Windows software, but the programs would still be a part of Windows. It also agreed to disclose some of its code to rivals to ensure better compatibility.
The commission can either settle with Microsoft, much like the Justice Department did, or it can impose remedies upon the company. Microsoft will, of course, likely appeal any judgment handed down from the E.U.
The Motley Fool's new online seminar, FICO 850: Achieving Perfect Credit, offers tips and tricks to achieving clear credit. Learn how to tell those bill collectors to bugger off, avoid certain "solutions" at all costs, and boost your credit score. You'll also receive a free credit report and FICO score to see where you fall on the credit spectrum. Sign up today!
The two companies announced a deal today that will distribute AIM as part of HP's global messaging portfolio. The suite of HP services provides businesses with online-based communication opportunities among employees.
Instant messaging, for those of you living under rocks, is a system of real-time back and forth text messages. It's quicker and easier to use than email and provides ample opportunities for repartee and a whole bevy of emoticons. Oh, and it can also be valuable in the workplace for rapid communication (and distraction) among employees.
America Online would like to expand its AIM market from AOL members, home users, and sporadic business users to a more distinct business presence. In response, America Online started targeting businesses for its instant messaging service last November. This move will definitely add to its market share.
HP will offer a business version of AIM in its portfolio, therefore giving enterprises more control over the software. This will allay some concerns about network security and instant messaging programs.
Financial terms weren't disclosed yet, but you can bet America Online is happy. Faced with a year of extensive cost and job cuts, any new revenue stream is welcome.
"Common sense has prevailed." That was the official comment from McDonald's
Here's something to think about as the debate continues over President Bush's proposal to eliminate the double-taxing of dividends: A study released today by Thomson Financial shows that companies that pay dividends have less insider selling. The results hold true for all kinds of companies -- large or small, high tech or no tech.
An SEC filing reveals that new Kmart CEO Julian Day will receive a $1 million bonus when and if the company emerges from bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the reorganization plan to be presented Friday would reportedly leave nothing for current shareholders.
In local news, second-grader Curtis Gilson atetoo much candy yesterday afternoon and spoiled his supper.
Today on Fool.com:
- For updated stories throughout the day, be sure to bookmark our ever-changing News section.
- Several large corporations released less-than-rosy quarterly results.
- Biotech hopeful Millennium Pharmaceuticals takes a swing at getting a new cancer drug approved.
- Bill Mann answers some questions about his list of possible Rule Maker investments.
- Whitney Tilson offers advice to those interested in pursuing a career in money management.
- In Fool's School, can you save your portfolio with stop-loss and stop-limit orders?
Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim