Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Atlanta woman who invented Spanx is officially a billionaire

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 3:17 PM


I'm ambivalent about Spanx. On the one hand, they represent a woman's need to conform in a society that tells her that her thighs are too big and her gut sticks out too far. On the other hand, they've made lots of women feel better about the way they look in clothes and that's great. Women should feel great about the way they look, and if it takes a glorified girdle, more power to 'em.

Also, more power to Sara Blakely, the 41-year-old Atlanta woman who created Spanx and is now a billionaire as a result. Sorry, "the youngest female self-made billionaire in the world." (And the youngest-looking 41-year-old in the world.)

From Forbes:

Sara Blakely was 29 when she invested her entire life savings, $5,000, trying to come up with something flattering to wear under her white slacks. Six months later, the one-time Disney World ride greeter and door-to-door fax machine salesperson found her new line of shaping underwear, Spanx, named one of Oprah Winfrey's Favorite Things. Since then, Blakely has taken Spanx from a one-product wonder sold out of her Atlanta apartment to a billion-dollar powerhouse with just under $250 million in annual revenues and net profit margins estimated at 20%. She owns 100% of the private company, has never advertised and never taken outside investment. Blakely turned 41 in February, making her the youngest female self-made billionaire in the world.

Again, Happy International Women's Day.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Deadline to sign up for city's free job fair ends today

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

On Tuesday, the city will hold a free job fair at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center filled with more than 70 businesses who say they're looking to fill nearly 1,500 positions.

The event is part of Hire One, a joint program between Mayor Kasim Reed, the city, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Atlanta-area employers that "aims to get business leaders off the fence, hiring from the unemployment ranks and taking an active role in the future of our economy." Businesses expected to participate include Georgia Power, Home Depot, Sun Trust Bank, Turner Broadcasting, MARTA, Hyatt Regency, Manpower, ADT Security and Starbucks, among others.

But there's a catch: To attend the fair, you have to register. Do so here.

People who register for the job fair will be given three time slots to choose from: 9 a.m.-11 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Be sure to print a copy of your ticket.

You've got until 5 p.m. today to register or until all slots have been filed. If you're unable to snag a time, the city says, you can submit your resume at an on-site checkpoint.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hey y'all, Bill Clinton is gonna be at Barnes and Noble today

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Bill Clinton is going to be signing copies of his new book at the Barnes and Noble on Moreland today at 12:30. What else is there to say? PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON is going to be at a strip mall near you. Close your eyes, put on Pavement as loud as possible, and pretend that we're in the greatest decade ever and that the world isn't falling apart quite yet.

What about the book? Since you asked, New York Times critic Michio Kakutani says that it's a few books in one: "It’s a lucid one-man rebuttal of the Tea Party’s anti-government agenda. A series of shrewd talking points for Democrats trying to hold on to the White House and battling for control of Congress in the midst of a sour economy and growing voter discontent. A self-serving reminder of the prosperity the country enjoyed during Mr. Clinton’s tenure in the White House, meant to burnish his legacy. And a practical set of proposals — some borrowed and some new, some innovative and some highly sketchy — for restoring economic growth and creating jobs." Sounds stressful. Probably best to stick to the "Remember how sweet it was when I was President" chapters.

So there you have it, put on your favorite blue dress and head over to your favorite big box book retailer and get yourself a copy signed by the coolest dude ever. On a side note, you will be my personal hero if you get him to sign as "Dirty Bill Clinton" or any version of any lyric from Goodie Mob, for that matter.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hallmark's new line of 'Don't commit suicide quite yet' greeting cards perfect for metro Atlantans

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM

As you've probably read (right here on Fresh Loaf!), metro Atlanta is #1 at losing jobs, having kissed goodbye more than 30,000 positions since August 2010. Hooray.

Here's a particularly depressing quote from the AJC about Atlanta being the best at being the worst:

“Out of almost 400 metropolitan areas, we’re dead last and nobody is competing with us for that distinction,” said Chris Cunningham, a BLS statistician in Atlanta. “It’s pretty bad and it has been the same story for the last two, three years.”

But, you know what? EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK. Says who? This little brown owl on one of Hallmark's new condolence cards for the recently unemployed ...

... theres no shame in eating out of the trash?
  • ... there's no shame in eating out of the trash?

Hallmark's creative director told NPR (via Gawker), "A job, like any loss, is a grieving process. We offer more ['you'll get through this' cards], versus dwelling on the loss of the job itself."

Really, to anyone planning on buying a cute greeting card for a jobless friend, maybe they'd just prefer a sincere, "That blows," and the $3.49 you would've spent.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Report: Proposed coal plant could hike up energy bills

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 9:01 AM

A consumer advocacy group says a controversial coal power plant proposed near Sandersville by several electric-membership cooperatives could cause ratepayers' electric bills to increase anywhere between $165 to $240.

"If the proposed plant is built, rate increases will no longer be modest," says the report, which was conducted by TR Associates and released by Georgia Watch. "The plant will also cause long-term financial headaches for the electric membership cooperative (EMC's) and others who sign on to purchase power from Plant Washington."

* During the first year of operation, the average electric rate increase would be 16 percent, eight times higher than what consumers might normally expect.
* In actual dollars (for an average household using 1000 kWh per month) this is an average additional cost of $208.00 to the household budget annually. Depending upon where consumers live, the annual increase would range from $165 to $240.
* During the early years of Plant Washington’s coal-fired operation consumers can expect at least an additional $50.00 annual charge to pay for the cost of new carbon regulations.
* Considering the full impact of future energy regulation, the costs of Plant Washington could raise annual prices by an estimated $258 per year for the average household.

And if the plant weren't constructed, as environmentalists have urged? Electricity bills would increase only 2 percent.

A spokesman for Power4Georgians, the firm pushing the project, told the Atlanta Business Chronicle the firm is confident about the project:

Dean Alford said if the consortium’s numbers don’t hold up, the project won’t qualify for financing and, thus, won’t get built.

“Before anyone loans anybody $2.1 billion, they’re going to do their due diligence on the need for the plant and if the cost is viable,” he said.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Tax Day! Hungry for some exotic tax dodges?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Thanks to the observance of Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., the guv'ment gave folks a few extra days to file their taxes. Tonight at midnight is that final deadline, so watch out for traffic tangles at the few area post offices that will be open until the very last second (or later than usual, at least).

Those offices, by the way, are:
Atlanta Main Post Office
3900 Crown Road SW, Atlanta
(Open until midnight)

Decatur Main Post Office
520 W Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur
(Open until 9 p.m.)

Boggs Road Postal Store
1605 Boggs Road, Duluth
(Open until midnight)

Marietta Main Post Office
257 Lawrence Street NE, Marietta
(Open until 8 p.m.)

Mount Bethel Station
4455 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta
(Open until 8 p.m.)

(List from the home of The Tough Questions ™ !)

In the meantime, Slate's Explainer has a guide to all sorts of exotic tax dodges with examples from a certain ubiquitous Internet search company that made use of some of these dodges. Couple that with what Bobby Feingold posted earlier about the wealthiest taxpayers and those who paid nothing at all, and it's one heck of a Tax Day, isn't it?

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

City incorrectly installed more than 9,000 water meters

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 9:08 AM

The sad saga of Atlanta's faulty water meters continues. Via the AJC:

Jim Beard, deputy commissioner and chief financial officer of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, said a sampling of 9,193 of the city’s 127,000 water meters revealed the antennas in 25 percent of them were installed upside down in the meter box instead of on top on the lid.

Cue "Yakety Sax."

Beard said the system is designed to allow meter readers to receive radio signals on the mobile data collectors or hand-held units up to two miles away from the meter.

With the antennas upside down, Beard said, the range is drastically reduced, which has forced meter readers to stand directly over the meter box to get a reading.

Beard says the upside-down meters are an "operational issue" that affect the meter reading process, not a "billing issue." Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman, however, told CNN the faulty equipment might play a role in some customers' unexplained spike in water bills.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Georgia Power not notifying customers about upcoming rate hike

Posted By on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Georgia Power customers' utility bills will be significantly higher this month, with the average ratepayer being asked to fork over more than $14 extra every month. Next year that additional amount will increase by a few bucks. Come 2013, the average monthly bill will be roughly $22 more than it was last year. And Georgia Power CEO W. Paul Bowers, in an interview with the Associated Press, can't promise his company won't seek another increase before 2014.

The company hasn't done too stellar a job of informing customers about the upcoming price shock. A Georgia Power spokesman on Monday told 11Alive that "customers were not sent notifications in the mail advising them of the changes." (H/T to MyGreenAtl)

(Meanwhile, has anyone else recently noticed Georgia Power's TV commercials promoting Project SHARE, the Dr. Julius Erving-approved program that allows customers to donate a certain amount, which the utility matches, to charity?)

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

PSC OKs Georgia Power's rate hike

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 12:23 PM

  • bringaid/flickr

When your power bills are noticeably higher in January, you know who to thank. Via Margaret Newkirk at the AJC:

The state Public Service Commission signed off on a compromise deal between the company, PSC staff, industry and big retailers that will raise the typical residential bill by $10.76 per month in January and ratchet up another $4 by 2013.

It also approved a second increase that will add another $3.73 cents to bills starting in January.

Thank your state lawmakers — and the army of lobbyists Georgia Power dispatched to influence elected officials — for that second fee. It will help pay for two proposed nuclear reactors, expected to begin operation in 2016, at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. Newkirk reports that the fee is nearly twice as big as what Georgia Power originally proposed to the Legislature.

Oh, and Bobby Baker, the only PSC member who would actually push back against utilities, voted against the rate hikes. It was his final vote as a commissioner.

UPDATE, 2:20 p.m. Reactions from Georgia Watch and AARP Georgia, two consumer advocacy groups that opposed the rate hikes, are after the jump.

Continue reading »

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Friday, December 17, 2010

PARKatlanta helps you do something nice for a change

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM

All year long you've been bitching and moaning about PARKatlanta. You're all, "B-b-but, I put money in the meter and got a ticket anyway!" and "Hey, there wasn't even a sign telling me I couldn't park here!" and "I had to take out a second mortgage on my home to pay for all these tickets!" Huh. Sounds to me like you can still afford a side of French cries to go with that quarter-pound waaaahburger.

Meanwhile, all they're doing by aggressively and arbitrarily ticketing Atlanta's populace is trying raise money to help people. See:

PARKatlanta appreciates the opportunity to work with Atlanta residents and visitors throughout the year to provide exemplary public parking services. During the holiday season; as part of our corporate giving, we look forward to sharing with those who are in need” said Anderson Moore, Senior VP PARKatlanta.
PARKatlanta has identified five families to participate in a shopping spree at Wal-Mart Store #3401. Families from different neighborhoods around the City of Atlanta will be treated to an evening of dinner and Christmas shopping. PARKatlanta enforcement officers and personal shoppers from Wal-Mart will assist each family in purchasing groceries, clothing, and special wishes of the children.
The families will be transported by Georgia Motor Coach from the Downtown Hyatt, 265 Peachtree St. NW at 10:00 am on Saturday, December 18, 2010 and will be dropped off at Wal-Mart Store #3401 located at 6149 Old National Highway, College Park, GA. Upon arrival, the families will enjoy a special holiday shopping experience sponsored by PARKatlanta and a lunch sponsored by the local Wal-Mart.

They provide "exemplary public parking service" AND they treat some of the needy to shopping sprees! Now everyone, in unison, say, "THANK YOU PARKATLANTA."

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