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CNN IN THE MONEY
Gas from Barrel to Tank; Emulating Israeli Preparedness; Slacker Men Hired Over Sharp Women?
Aired August 5, 2006 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDY SERWER, HOST: Coming up on IN THE MONEY. "Tanks" for the memories. Find out where you end up if you trace a tank of gas back to the source.
Plus, get real. See what the U.S. can learn from Israel about doing business in wartime.
And dumbing up. We'll look at why corporate America works like a frat house. All that, and more after a quick check of the headlines.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: A look at those headlines. U.N. Ambassador John Bolton says the United States and France have agreed on a draft resolution aimed at ending the Middle East conflict. The U.N. Security Council is expected to meet in about two hours from now to consider the plan. A vote could come in the next few days, Monday or Tuesday at the earliest we're told.
At least for the time being, the conflict continues. There were more Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel today, including an attack that killed three people in western Galilee.
Also today, more Israeli air strikes inside Lebanon. And Israel staged a commando attack in the Lebanese city of Tyre. The Israelis say they killed several Hezbollah members in an apartment building being used as a base for rocket attacks.
A second doping test has come back positive for Tour de France winner Floyd Landis. The tour director said Landis is no longer considered the winner. Landis insists he did not take performance- enhancing substances and says he will appeal.
Authorities in Ontario, California, have charged a substitute elementary schoolteacher with molesting a 10-year-old girl. The suspect is 28-year-old Eric Norman Olsen. Police say Olsen told them he has molested as many as 200 students since becoming a teacher three years ago.
We'll update your top stories at the bottom of the hour. IN THE MONEY begins right now.
SERWER: Welcome to IN THE MONEY. I'm Andy Sewer, sitting in for Jack Cafferty.
Coming up on today's program, trouble by the gallon. Follow a tank of gas from a suburban Chicago filling station right back to the source. Plus, burn your sheepskin. In corporate America these days, it's smart to play dumb. See why slacking off in college just may be a successful strategy.
And mergers and acquisitions. Dating is a high-risk speculative investment with some really lousy returns. We'll hear some tips, techniques and horror stories.
Joining me today, Jennifer Westhoven and Valerie Morris.
With the situation in Cuba as it is, there's discussion of the country opening up to the United States for the first time in decades. The economy is more than just sugarcane and cigars. Though those would be interesting businesses for the U.S. What else is going on there? What are companies in the U.S. looking forward to at this point?
JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, HOST: Well, I mean, first we have this whole legal provision, though, that if power goes to Raul Castro, by U.S. law, we can't start, you know, a dialogue or really an opening with them yet. So that's going to be really interesting to watch.
But my favorite thing about watching this is that one of the things I read is that apparently Fidel Castro has been someone who's really put the brakes on Hugo Chavez. He's been a father figure to him. And that without him, that's -- Chavez would get a lot more radical and maybe more dangerous.
VALERIE MORRIS, HOST: I think also what's really interesting is oil, which is interesting the entire world. What is happening just, what, 50 -- 90 miles off the coast of Cuba.
MORRIS: And what would happen with that generous oil supply if in fact relations are neutralized -- normalized. I think that's going to be fascinating. Because obviously everybody's saying, we need more oil, even though I keep saying, we need more conservation and less use of it, right?
SERWER: Right. And there are other businesses as well, of course, tourism being a big one. It would be very interesting to see what happens there. Obviously a lot more stuff to come there down the road.
If you're thinking about anything at all while you're putting gas in your car, it's probably the price you're paying. But after the interview you're about to see, you may have a lot more on your mind next time you hit the pump.
The Chicago Tribune has a special report out called "A Tank of Gas, a World of Trouble." In it, correspondent Paul Salopek traced the origins of gas sold at a suburban Chicago station over five months. Then he tracked that fuel to its many sources, as close as the Gulf of Mexico and as far away as Africa and Saudi Arabia. George Papajohn is projects editor at The Chicago Tribune. He edited the report and he's here to tell us what the reporter found out.
First of all, George, let me ask you, is it really possible to trace back a gallon of gas back to its source like that?
GEORGE PAPAJOHN, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: When we embarked on this project, we were not sure. Paul was not the first reporter to have this idea in America. He was the first to finally break through and find a friendly oil company that would share what was considered business secrets, or proprietary information.
So once we broke through on that front with Marathon, we began to try and find the right gas station in the Chicago area and trace it. But yes, it was -- the first, most difficult part of the reporting, was just finding out that it could be done.
MORRIS: George, one of the things that I'm fascinated with, with this story, is not only the journey, which we will get more details on, but let's roll it back a little bit so that our viewers can say, what should the average American be really thinking about as far as the images of how you get the oil that you're standing -- pumping into your car at the gas pump? What images don't we know that we should know?
PAPAJOHN: I think people are blissfully unaware of the variety of sources, for one thing, that you might assume Middle East oil, which is a good assumption, but you might not think about the guy you mentioned earlier, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, as a major supplier. And somebody who dislikes the United States, a country whose direction we're unsure of.
Africa is an emerging source, another country with its own troubles. Oil is known as almost the oil curse there, because it brings in great money. It also helps sow corruption and further unrest. So when you think about pumping that oil, you might be thinking about the Mideast. But you might not be thinking about some of the other places, which also have a lot of uncertainty surrounding them.
WESTHOVEN: Why are we so blissfully unaware of that? I mean, Americans pay a lot for organic food. There are, you know, funds -- socially responsible funds. Are we turning a blind eye or is there something with the oil industry that they keep us in the dark about this?
PAPAJOHN: I think in a way, the oil industry in recent months has actually tried to inform the public a little bit. I think they don't want to be blamed when there might possibly be shortages. So you see advertisements about trying to find alternatives, ethanol, et cetera. And I think as Americans, you know, I count myself among them, we're optimists. We've seen crises in the past. We've heard -- we've seen headlines saying, the landfills are filling up. We're going to run out of landfill space. There's an oil crisis, and we're going to run out of oil. And then when these things don't happen, when we overcome the crisis of the day, we think, OK, it's really not all that bad. And I think coming into it as a neutral participant, I was stunned and really drawn into the project, because it clearly is not -- as one of the energy experts we interviewed said, it's not your father's oil crisis. This is not the time to be blissfully unaware, this is something to pay attention to.
SERWER: George, what did you find out though? What does the report say? Where did the oil come from?
PAPAJOHN: We traced -- we wrote the series, the special report in four chapters, focusing first on the United States crude in the Gulf of Mexico, and where that also is a resource that is diminishing. We were once the Saudi Arabia of the world, America, and now we're out there trying to find those last drops from underneath the Gulf, desperately drilling not only vertically, but horizontally to look for the oil.
And as well, we traveled to -- he traveled -- Paul Salopek traveled to Nigeria to a fishing village to show the situation in Africa, which, again, is a place where we can hope to get more oil from, but also is a place where there's a lot of resentment towards the United States, where oil has become the big issue.
And then the final two chapters were Iraq. And as you might remember, Iraq was supposed to be really pumping it out by this point. That was going to be -- help fuel a new era for that country. And clearly that's not what's happening there. And Paul spent some time with a security consultant who, in order to just get back and forth from the oil fields, has to be escorted by bodyguards, who constantly fears for his life.
And then finally, Paul traveled to Venezuela, where he spent some time with some native Indians there, who are reaping a bit of a bonanza due to Chavez's intervention with their oil. But he also showed how Venezuela could become a real tipping point, in that, are they going to start shipping their oil to China? Where will they go? What will Chavez ultimately do with his bounty?
SERWER: Right. Well, it sounds like a fascinating article and some big questions there. And congratulations to you on this report. George Papajohn, projects editor of The Chicago Tribune. Thanks for coming on the program.
PAPAJOHN: Thank you.
SERWER: When we come back, fire insurance, Israeli businesses keep going in wartime because they plan for trouble. Find out what the U.S. could learn from that.
Also ahead, Ben Bernanke may be about to break the Fed's rate hike streaks with Wall Street watching. Find out what's at stake.
And power structure. Heat waves like the one this past week can stress out the grid. See if America's infrastructure is built to handle the load.
WESTHOVEN: Disaster preparedness has become a popular catch phrase in the business world after 9/11. But are American companies really ready for an attack or natural disaster? Not necessarily. Our next guest says we could learn a thing or two from the way businesses are run in Israel. Nelson Schwartz is the editor of Fortune Magazine Europe. He joins us now from London.
Welcome to the program. I get your argument...
NELSON SCHWARTZ, EDITOR, FORTUNE MAGAZINE EUROPE: Good to be here.
WESTHOVEN: Thanks. American companies need to do more. But can I just ask, when we are talking about contrasting us with Israel? I mean, how much of that would be over the top? They are really, I think, facing considerably more risk than we are, missiles, bombs, war.
SCHWARTZ: That's certainly true. And I made it clear in the article, we face different risks, but what impressed me, visiting these companies, you know, in Haifa, and farther north when the Katyushas were coming in, was just how calm and prepared and rehearsed they were for this kind of situation, which, quite honestly, nobody expected even two, three months ago.
And it just -- I was really struck by it. They always say in Israel, you know, it's business as usual. But even to a visitor, that was actually true.
MORRIS: Which businesses, though, have been hardest hit? And what kind of support are those businesses now receiving?
SCHWARTZ: Basically, I mean, you've got a lot of different companies in Haifa. A lot of high-tech companies, including research centers for some big American-based firms, like HP, Microsoft, Intel. They all have offices in Haifa, including as well as a lot of high- tech startups.
Further north you've got manufacturing. But what's interesting is they've really prepared. I mean, for instance, they've wired the bomb shelters with wi-fi for Internet connections so you can do work on your laptop, check your e-mail. I mean, they're used to it. They've kind of coached employees on what to do.
And what I was struck by this, I talked to a guy who does disaster prep plans for American companies, and he said he basically has to force the American people who are ordering these plans to sort of sign an affidavit that they've read through the plan. Otherwise, they just don't read a plan and it ends up in a drawer somewhere, you know, gathering dust, like the Enron ethics manual or something like that. They take it very seriously in Israel. It's not just a report to be filed away for an insurance company.
SERWER: Nelson, you were there kind of early on in this crisis or war...
SERWER: ... or whatever we're calling it this week.
SERWER: And there was a resolve, there was a stiff upper lip. Has that changed? Will that erode over time, though, do you think?
SCHWARTZ: Well, you know, actually, I spent today, you know, talking to some of the guys I visited calling, because everyone when I was there a week-and-a-half ago, expected it to be over by now, quite honestly. They're surprised it has gone on as long as it has.
But for better or worse, what they're telling me is that people have gotten used to it. More people are actually coming into the office than were then. People -- when I was there, a lot of people were working from home or actually went farther south in Israel and were working from other offices. They say people are coming back.
The manufacturing is sort of, maybe, gone from, say, 50 percent to 80 percent. But again, I think the longer it goes on, the harder it does become.
MORRIS: Nelson, I'm a former Air Force brat, so I'm used to being in countries where maybe there have been problems where or a little unrest. So we did have preparedness plans and safety plans. Is this really an intricate part of the fabric of companies in Israel? And what about multinational companies? Are they approaching these safety preparedness in the same way?
SCHWARTZ: They are. I mean, I actually interviewed the CEO of Tower Semiconductor there, who's an American guy, a Mormon guy from Utah. He did not grow up in Israel or anything like that. He also is taking it very seriously. And he was just saying he was also struck by how well prepared and well rehearsed.
And that's partially because basically everybody there, men and women serve in the army. The CEO of another company I talked to was a veteran of the 1973 war. So, you know, actually another CEO, a younger guy, he was a bomb defuser. So he literally had to defuse bombs before he became a CEO, which is good training.
So that is part of it. It's definitely part of the fabric. But what I was struck as just as businesses, how they store critical parts in different locations. They back up data. Not just in other locations inside Israel, but over, you know, in America. And they really have covered all the bases. Like you said earlier, I mean, America faces different threats. But even five years after 9/11, I'm not sure we're taking these threats as seriously as we should be.
WESTHOVEN: So you think we should be having bomb drills and the like?
SCHWARTZ: No, but I -- don't know about bomb drills, but I think most employees, myself included, probably don't know what the disaster plan in their office is. I mean, most of us, you know, get these e-mails and we delete it. We don't read through it. And again, that's the message you get when you talk to employees honestly.
The other part of the equation is, one, I think America's biggest vulnerability is our dependence on foreign oil. It is, you know, very different from Israel. That's a different -- a slightly different kind of threat, less direct, but it is one which we haven't even begun to address five years after 9/11. The way Israel has sort thought about these kinds things from the top down.
And plus, initially, they take and there's a tremendous amount of respect for the confidence of the equivalent of FEMA in Israel. As we know post-Katrina, you know, FEMA was not on the ball.
MORRIS: Nelson Schwartz, because this conflict doesn't really show any signs of letting up, at least not right now, we thank you for this information that will help people hopefully sort through to some good conclusion. Thank you so much for joining us.
SCHWARTZ: Great. My pleasure.
MORRIS: Now it's time for this week's look ahead. U.S. Federal Reserve officials will meet on Tuesday. We're going to find out if Ben Bernanke and company will raise interest rates for the 18th straight time.
And on Friday, a couple of key economic reports come out. We're going to get retail sales numbers for the month of July.
As well, the U.S. import and export price indices report.
Coming up after the break, 17 and counting. Ben Bernanke just might break the Fed's long run of rate hikes next week. We'll look at what this means for Wall Street, and for you.
Plus, dumb luck. The stats show girls are doing better than boys in college. Find out why the guys might come out ahead when it's time to land a job.
And sharp flavors, skewers that do some of the work for you, a culinary breakthrough. We're going to show you that, and more, in our "Brainstorm" segment.
SERWER: Fed rate decisions usually have all the drama and mystery of a baseball game pitting the New York Yankees against the Scarsdale Little League All-Stars. But this time it's different. There's actually a good chance Ben Bernanke and company could stop raising interest rates after 17 straight rate hikes over the last two years.
That question is definitely the market's obsession these days, and it's the focus of this week's "Street Talk." So on Friday we hear the jobs report for July comes in weak. Unemployment rate jumps. The market responds positively, because it's perceived that the economy is slowing and that might take the heat off of Bernanke.
What do you all think? Do you think it's time he stops, and do you think he will stop raising rates?
MORRIS: I think the report gives at least more flexibility for a pause. But I don't know. I don't have a real clear sense or feeling about this one. You know, usually we can say, most people are saying yes or no. What is it? Well, 64 percent say that the Fed will pause. So I guess I'm going to be -- gambler that I am not, I guess I'll go with that.
WESTHOVEN: Well, I mean, that's what's so wild about this. Usually right before a Fed meeting, the market knows exactly what it thinks. Suddenly we've got all kinds different of flexibilities, numbers, some days it's 50/50, some days it's 70/30. That kind of uncertainty about what the Fed is going to do is unheard of. We haven't had this in years. It makes the market very uncomfortable.
MORRIS: Oh, yes.
WESTHOVEN: It's just going to be very interesting to see if it ends up working for the economy, what makes the market uncomfortable (INAUDIBLE).
SERWER: Well, there certainly is some drama this time. But one thing you know, the Fed is like an aircraft carrier, and it wants to make these moves very slowly. It takes a lot of time. And one thing that Bernanke doesn't want to do, particularly early in his tenure, is have to go one way and then switch back again. In other words, you want to just stay on course and change once.
WESTHOVEN: I don't know. I think he's more willing to do it than Greenspan would be.
SERWER: Well, he is...
WESTHOVEN: Lighter on his feet.
SERWER: He certainly suggested that early on, that once you are wearing those big shoes and in the big seat, it would be interesting to see. So as they say in our business too often, but this time it's really true, we shall see.
Coming up on IN THE MONEY, dude interrupted. If you believe the studies, college guys are losing ground academically. See why that might not hurt them in corporate America.
Plus, asset management. Dating takes cash, and some dates take more of it than others. Find out about the fake purse grab and other night on the town maneuvers, coming up.
WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Here's a look at our top stories. The U.N. Security Council is expected to meet later today to consider a draft proposal from the U.S. and France aimed at ending the Middle East crisis. The resolution seeks to create conditions that would lead to a halt in the hostilities, but not an immediate cease-fire. A vote could come early next week.
A violent day in Iraq as roadside bombings explode in Baghdad and Baquba. Police say two bombs went off in a Baquba market, wounding eight people. The first blast destroyed a grocery store. The second went off about five minutes later just as police arrived at the scene.
Bad news for Tour de France champion Floyd Landis. Race officials say he is no longer considered the tour winner. Now that a second doping test has come back positive for high levels of testosterone, Landis says he will fight to clear his name.
More headlines in 30 minutes. Now back to more IN THE MONEY.
MORRIS: Girls rule. Boys drool. It's the type of slogan that you might expect to find on a little girl's T-shirt, but our next guest gives it an awful lot of credence. Women are more likely to finish college and obtain higher education than men. So why are the boys still dominating corporate culture, and what does this say about our country's future? Joining us now is Barbara Ehrenreich. She is the author of "Bait & Switch."
Barbara, thank you for joining us today.
BARBARA EHRENREICH, AUTHOR, "BAIT & SWITCH": Oh, glad to be with you.
MORRIS: You know, this whole thing about the "girls rule, boys drool," it used to be an empty slogan, but you have kind of reworked that. Why, and what's your thinking?
EHRENREICH: Well, there's been some fascinating new data about boys achievements in college, and a growing gender gap, with women, with women doing more. I mean, right now, men are only 42 percent of college students. Women are more likely to last in college, more likely to graduate, more likely to graduate with honors, more likely to do it in just four years. And the girls are the high achievers. The boys are more likely to spend a lot of time on video games, or socializing.
WESTHOVEN: Well, let's take that, let's speed that into what happens then in the corporate workplace. What is it that makes you think that companies are now valuing smiles more than skills? It almost sounds unbelievable.
EHRENREICH: Well, that partly came from my own experience working on the book "Bait & Switch," where I went undercover as a white collar job seeker. And one of the things that just amazed me right away was the emphasis on personality as a way of getting jobs. Not your skills, not your experience, but are you likable? Are you going to fit in with the corporate culture?
And it seems to me that maybe the boys who are sort of goofing off in college already know that. And know that it's not going to matter that much, whether they have a 4.0 GPA, that it might matter that they can just get along with other guys, which is a very discouraging thing to think about what's happening in our corporate culture.
SERWER: But wait a minute, switching back to college for a minute, though, Barbara, you're suggesting that the scenario is improving for girls, for women, they're doing better, and they're doing better relative to boys.
First of all, doesn't that suggest a picture that's changing, and hasn't -- isn't that something we've all wanted, or women have wanted? It's time for women to start doing better. So what's wrong with that, number one?
And number two, doesn't that suggest that maybe the corporate culture will change in the future?
EHRENREICH: Well, I don't think there's anything wrong with it at all. But there has been a lot of alarm recently, a lot of articles about what's going on with boys. What is this boy problem in America? Why don't -- why aren't they as motivated? Why do they seem to sort of be willing to be slackers in their crucial college years?
So, you know, I think it's not intrinsically wrong. There is something wrong, though, I think, if our corporate culture is going to consistently favor the "likable, popular type" over the person who, you know, has skills and might actually get things done, make things happen.
MORRIS: Barbara, do you think this change in our corporate culture is going to damage us as far as our global competitiveness and our ability to compete in the corporate market?
EHRENREICH: I think so. Yes, I mean, that's my long-term fear. We have this big emphasis on personality. We have so many companies using personality tests, which are, I must say, have no scientific credibility whatsoever, or predictive value. But using that as a basis for, you know, selecting people to hire.
You know, you're told that -- when you're searching for a job, you're told again and again, 90 percent of the decisions are made on the basis of somebody's gut feeling about you rather than what you can do, or what you know. And that's going to mean trouble coming up against all the brainiacs in India and China today.
WESTHOVEN: I don't want to get too conspiracy theorist on you, but it seems like women are doing better in school. We finally, you know, are not only just catching up, but in some ways taking the lead, only to sort of get up to the great and powerful wizard and have him say, you know, sorry, that doesn't count anymore. Why is it changing like this? What happened? It feels almost nefarious.
EHRENREICH: I don't know what happened -- what made it happen in the corporate culture. But there is, I think, a greater sense on the part of managers, people who make hiring decisions, that they want to maintain their own comfort level. They don't want to be challenged by overly smart people, by know-it-alls, by critical type thinkers. And that does not bode well for our future international competitiveness.
SERWER: Barbara, just quick last question, though. I mean, don't you think that net-net, there are more opportunities for women than ever before? There are more women CEOs, there are more women top executives certainly than there were 30 years ago? I mean, isn't the bigger trend more opportunities for women and more women in the workplace at higher levels?
EHRENREICH: Well, but the progress on that is really disappointing. The women in the highest levels of management, you know, are few and far between. There is a glass ceiling out there. We expected much more change, with much more gender equity at the CEO and other top executive levels by this time.
MORRIS: Barbara Ehrenreich, author of "Bait & Switch," thank you so much for joining us (INAUDIBLE).
EHRENREICH: My pleasure.
MORRIS: There is still more to come here on IN THE MONEY. Up next, find out if the power grids are tough enough to handle more heat waves like the one this past week.
Also ahead, the dish on luxury dog food, that and other dining innovations are ahead on our "Brainstorm" feature.
WESTHOVEN: The heat wave that's broiled America this week has finally subsided a little bit. But the strain it put on the nation's electrical grid has a lot of people and businesses worried about high temperatures. About 1,000 people on the South side of Chicago had to be evacuated Tuesday when power went out in dozens of high-rise apartment buildings. And in St. Louis hundreds of thousands of people without power for days last month after hot weather and storms. And California's record July heat wave led to about a million customers losing their electricity.
With people from New York to Cleveland remembering that massive blackout we had in 2003, earlier, Jack, Allen, and I, talked about this issue with Ashley Brown. He's executive director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group.
WESTHOVEN: Of course, in New York, we are very sensitive to power issues after that huge blackout that we had. Have the kinds of issues that sparked that blackout been fixed? Are we still -- have a lot of risk in the system?
ASHLEY BROWN, EXEC. DIR., HARVARD ELECTRICITY GROUP: Well, you would have to distinguish that blackout, actually, from the concern that people have about reliability when demand goes up because of the heat wave. Now that blackout, of course, was caused originally by error in a power plant in Ohio, which cascaded across the system, and some technology that was supposed to deflect that kind of cascading blackout didn't happen.
Obviously people are more alert as a result of that experience. The concerns right now -- and that sort of mistake can happen anytime. The concerns that we've had this summer, of course, is because of the record heat. We've been very concerned about where you have real system constraints, and the federal government actually has identified four areas where that's true: Southern California, the New York City area, primarily Long Island, and southwest Connecticut, and also outside the United States, but in North America in part of the same market in Ontario.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Is anything being done to address these areas that are perceived as being the most at risk?
BROWN: Well, obviously there are contingency plans in effect in case demand outstrips the capability of meeting it. But in addition to that, there have obviously been proposals to build new transmission facilities. New York City has done a fair amount to install local generation. And the local -- the logistics of local generation tends to boost the overall reliability of the grid. And so in that sense, I think we have made improvements.
The federal law has changed a bit to give the federal government more power, more authority over building new lines, although the primary responsibility for that still resides with the states.
ALLEN WASTLER, MANAGING EDITOR, CNNMONEY.COM: Actually, let me get -- I sort of believe the market can cure anything, OK? And -- in that if you've got a price where people want to pay for it and make it happen, it will happen. But the electricity market doesn't seem to work that way. There seems to be some melding where sometimes, yes, you really want it, but you don't have to pay more for it. Am I right in that respect?
BROWN: Well, I think the public certainly has mixed expectations. I mean, they certainly aren't willing to tolerate price volatility when the price volatility means the price goes up. On the other hand, we have been trying to use market mechanisms to deal with the grid. One of those, of course, is that people should be paying for transmission commensurate with their location on the grid.
In other words, some places, generation and consumption actually enhances the reliability of the grid, other places it reduces it. And so we have been trying market mechanisms, particularly in the northeast part of the United States, to try to influence consumption.
What we haven't done adequately and one of the reasons why the market sometimes doesn't always work in electricity, is we haven't adequately opened up the market for effective demand response. Demand is -- while somewhat elastic, is not as elastic as it might be in other commodities. CAFFERTY: So long term, as you look toward the impact to things like global warming and the disappearance of stuff like crude oil over a long period of time, and our necessity to shifting to other kinds of energy sources, what are the most pressing needs in this country to make sure that we have affordable power, even at the height of summer in all of the 50 states?
BROWN: Well, I think there are a number of things. I mean, one is, we need an effective market. We need to open it up for effective demand-side and response. We're not sending adequate price signals to end users. I think we need a very effective conservation or load management -- demand-side management system.
We obviously need to be looking at what resources we can be putting online that are publicly acceptable. I mean, in the environmental context, certainly there are arguments in favor of nuclear power, but for a variety of reasons, political, social, and otherwise, and economic, I should say, we haven't been building nuclear plants.
I think we need to take a look at that. Obviously I think we need to promote more use of renewable resources, but in some cases that's not economical, or may not physically be available. I think we need to take a holistic approach. We also need to figure out how we make effective national policy on these issues.
The National Energy Policy Act of a couple of years ago had some improvements for electricity, but more of it was pork for various interest groups than it was effective use in looking at policy.
CAFFERTY: What a surprise.
BROWN: Yes, what a shocker there, right.
CAFFERTY: Ashley, we're going to have to leave it there. I appreciate your thoughts on what is an evolving problem, or issue in this country. Ashley Brown is the executive director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group. Thanks for being with us.
BROWN: Thank you very much.
SERWER: Food trade shows are all the about the sights, the sounds, and of course, the samples. In this week's "Brainstorm," we take a look at the latest trends and innovations the food industry has in store for you.
SERWER (voice-over): Looking for foods you can eat along with your pet? How about traditional favorites like chocolate and jelly beans that are set for the health food aisle. For a look at some hot new products appearing on a store shelf near you, we recently headed to a food trade show in New York City. ANDI BROWN, HALO PURELY FOR PETS: These are Woof (ph) Cookies, the "dog-licious (ph)" treat. He can ask for it by name. You can actually share them with your dogs.
SERWER: Even for those not inclined to dine with Rover, upscale pet foods are a hot item and retailers have taken notice.
ANDI BROWN: It contains fabulous zucchini, chicken, green beans, a variety of different types of vegetables. And you can see how good it is. You can see how great it looks. And the animals just love them. Just love them.
SERWER: If your pet is inclined to entertain, not to worry, the folks at Halo Purely for Pets have a product just for them.
ANDI BROWN: So you can make a Dinner Party for your pet any day of the week. Dinner Party comes in chicken and herbs, in salmon and herbs. We also have it in beef and herbs. It's lots of fun.
SERWER: Good news for humans as well. Call it "health by chocolate." Antioxidant rich dark chocolate is all the rage. And listening to some suppliers tell it, there is no limit to the benefits.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We also have our new product, which is called Sexy (ph), with a little bit of infusion of ginger. A little aphrodisiac.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the (INAUDIBLE) bar has soy and (INAUDIBLE) berry, which helps with the symptoms of PMS and menopause.
SERWER: There's chocolate for your bones, or chocolate for your skin. Just expect to pay a little more than you would for that Hershey's bar.
Just in time for your backyard barbecue, how about a skewer which flavors the food for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delicious.
(voice-over): Or microwaveable meals in environmentally friendly biodegradable bowls, like these from Annie Chun's.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you have a complete meal that includes...
SERWER: Finally, we just had to know what the heck is a peppado (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A peppado is a new fruit that was discovered in South Africa about 12 years ago.
SERWER: Still grown only in South Africa, the peppado has a sweet, tangy flavor, with a little bit of a kick. It's being used to flavor everything from chips and cheese spreads to Bloody Maries and martinis.
SERWER: Coming up next on IN THE MONEY, dating could be the biggest investment of your life, heart, and wallet. We will take you to that weird place where dating and money meet.
And it's time to hear from you as we read some of your e-mails from the past week. You can send us an e-mail right now to -- we are at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SERWER: Join me now as I delve into a world of mystery, fear, and economic chess play. No, I'm not talking about industrial espionage, I'm talking about dating. Yes, the dating life has become adversarial as a hostile takeover. Joining us now to explain all that is Kevin Bleyer, co-author of the new book "I Love You, Nice to Meet You: A Guy and a Girl Give the Lowdown on Coupling Up."
KEVIN BLEYER, AUTHOR: I'm the guy.
SERWER: That's great. Can you, first of all, explain what the heck the title's all about? I mean, I'm kind of getting to be an old fogy here. I'm not sure I get it.
BLEYER: Certainly. "I Love You, Nice to Meet You." In my experience dating, we all, or at least I seem to suffer from something we've called "premature exclamation."
SERWER: Excuse me?
BLEYER: Premature exclamation.
SERWER: Thank you.
BLEYER: Which -- thank you. Which is merely that idea that we meet someone, we think we like them. We're so eager to like them, frankly, to love them, all of our hopes and dreams are foisted upon this person, not knowing for certain that they really will satisfy us, or that we will satisfy them. And so we almost say, I love you, before we even have really had a chance to meet them.
I'm certainly not immune from this, half the time I ask a woman out for a date, I mean a date for a wedding. And I realize that that's not probably the best idea. In writing this book, I've come to realize that perhaps shopping for baby strollers on the third date is perhaps not my A game.
WESTHOVEN: Now you co-wrote this book with a woman...
BLEYER: Who broke up with me apparently.
WESTHOVEN: What do you mean?
BLEYER: No, no, no.
(LAUGHTER) WESTHOVEN: OK. So apparently the two...
SERWER: He's available is what we're hearing, Jennifer.
BLEYER: Ah yes.
SERWER: We'll start that up.
WESTHOVEN: Well, this is going to get to that. Apparently after you would go out on a date, the two of you would just sit down and pick apart your dates. And it sounds like that was where most of the fun was.
BLEYER: Dates with other people, mind you. Indeed, we never dated, she and I. But that's true. If anything, the best thing sometimes that you can get out of a bad date is the "anec-date" part of it. The -- instead of the date part, the pick-the-date-apart part. And that's what truly what she and I did.
We spent many hours on the phone between the hours of say, oh, I don't know, midnight and 3:00 a.m., talking about what went wrong, what I should have done better, and quite frankly, doing our darndest to find any humor in what it was. Because the truth of the matter is, dating isn't always that fun. But sometimes the horror stories that you have from dating can be turned into some comedy, yes.
WESTHOVEN: Couldn't you ever treat your date -- or interact with your date the same way you interacted with your friend? Wouldn't that be a little more honest and fun?
BLEYER: What -- where's honesty in dating?
BLEYER: I don't know if that's -- you need to read the book.
MORRIS: OK, Kevin, well, here's the question. What did you learn from Lori, your co-author, about women that you did not know before you wrote this book?
BLEYER: I -- the degree to which -- and I should have known this already, but I think it's just a matter of degree. The degree to which we all are so incredibly neurotic about every particular moment in a date, not just, did it go well or did it go badly, but quite frankly, every slight, slight moment. Whether it be the first time you maintain eye contact, or one chapter in the book that, what we call the "fake purse grab," which is that moment at the end of the date when he offers to pay and she goes for the purse, maybe not intending to get there. We all pick these moments apart.
And quite frankly, if you are -- the more neurotic you are about it, the less likely you are to be happy in this relationship or any relationship. So I'm hoping that if I even write another book, it will be about just, oh, whatever, maybe this date went fine. But, yes, it's about the life and death of a relationship. And if you get -- the more neurotic you get about every particular moment in that relationship, perhaps the less likely you are to find love. But perhaps the more likely you are to find humor.
MORRIS: OK. Here's the question, financial maven that I am, can we talk about the financial portfolio part of the relationships? I mean, people make a lot of bad investments when it comes to their money portfolio. Why do we get it so wrong with the relationship portfolio?
BLEYER: I think it's simply this. At the -- in the early part of a relationship, the VC part, perhaps, when you're just getting to know someone and you're trying to raise your value to them, you're on your best behavior. Then you get ready for that big IPO, and you maybe make a huge sale, and you know, you have a three- or four-month relationship.
Then suddenly there's some blip. Somebody cooked the books and you didn't see it happening. I think there's a lot of, dare I say it, Jeff Skillings in the world out there -- in the dating world, who hold back the most damning bit of information about who they are, who they might be, until you have already gone full in. And that's why people maybe find some despair at the end of the night. I don't mean to be so cynical. I'm actually very optimistic.
MORRIS: Kevin Bleyer, "I Love You, Nice to Meet You," that's the name of your book...
BLEYER: Oh, I thought you just told me you love me.
MORRIS: No, no, no, I'm not going to be desperation here.
SERWER: That's a trick that he does every time.
MORRIS: He does. I have a feeling that's it. "I Love You, Nice to Meet You: A Guy and a Girl Give the Lowdown on Coupling Up." Kevin, thanks for stopping by.
BLEYER: A pleasure.
MORRIS: All right.
SERWER: And now for this week's "Life After Work." Sands Bellizzi sold her home and left behind a busy urban lifestyle to retire in the country. There she invested $32,000 on two unique animals, Alpacas. Now she has about 40, and they provide her with a steady income and rewards beyond any paycheck.
SANDS BELLIZZI, ALPACA RANCHER: ... get a haircut. Are you not the sweetest thing in the world?
SERWER (voice-over): Sixty-one-year-old Sands Bellizzi says she enjoys life a little more thanks to her Alpacas.
BELLIZZI: Look at you, earth angel. You look beautiful.
SERWER: After selling her California home, she and her husband, Paul, bought land and made future plans.
BELLIZZI: He said, do you want to grow something? Do you want to raise an animal? I said, oh, I want to raise Alpacas. And he says, what the heck's an Alpaca? They were indigenous to the high altitude areas of Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. And they're a long domesticated animal.
SERWER: After a couple of years nurturing her first Alpacas, while still working in travel sales, Sands closed her business to raise them full time. On their Yerington, Nevada, ranch, they breed and sell these semi-exotic animals and market fleeces used for clothing and art.
BELLIZZI: Oh, honey, it's all right.
They're not harmed at all. And once they're down on the ground and they're secured, then generally they relax.
When you take his fiber, just naturally, and make it into yarn you come up with a beautiful male, masculine sweater.
Probably the best benefit of Alpaca ownership is that it is a relaxed, wonderful place to be.
SERWER: Next week on "Life After Work," 58-year-old Dick Shindel (ph) spent 30 years teaching business and marketing at the junior high and high school level. Now that he's retired he's practiced what he's preached for all those years. We'll have his story next week.
IN THE MONEY will be right back.
WESTHOVEN: Now it's time to read your answers to our question about whether you adjust your investments based on events you see in the news.
Stephen in Illinois wrote: "Adjusting my investments for every news story for every news story would be crazy. But I do try to make some changes when I see events that suggest long-term trends. It's a marathon, not a sprint."
Julia wrote: "I would if I could, but the super-rich guys can move their money around so much faster than people like me. By the time I can make an investment change, the news has already changed."
And Victor wrote: "Yes, that sounds like a great idea, tell me, how could I invest in a company that makes Katyusha rockets, flammable flags for anti-American protests, and those adjustable price signs for the gas stations?"
I don't know, but if you find out, tell me.
Now for next week's e-mail question of the week: What do you think is the best way to move up the ladder at your office? Being good at your job or just being one of the guys? Or maybe something else?
Send your answers to email@example.com. And visitor our show page, cnn.com/inthemoney.
SERWER: All right, Jen.
Thanks for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to Jennifer Westhoven and Valerie Morris. We'll see you back here next week, Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00. See you then.
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