Today, a Senate committee holds a hearing on questionable foreclosures. It's a big problem in many parts of the country.
In today's Taking the Lead we focus on Florida's huge foreclosure case load.
There are so many pending, that $10 Million was allocated to hire retired judges to go quickly go through them all. But these so-called "rocket dockets" can hurt homeowners.
"Operating system" may sound like a boring or geeky word, but if you've had problems with your smartphone, you probably know just how important a good system can be.
The new Windows Phone 7 just released. Ali Velshi is Taking the Lead, looking at this system and the others out there.
If you have a smart phone, you need to see this.
Prices at the pump are rising. Today's Taking the Lead looked at WHY.
Believe it or not, it's thanks to the Federal Reserve.
The Fed plans to drop $600 billion in the economy to get it moving again. That news sent the US dollar lower against other major currencies. Because the dollar is the standard currency for oil trades, barrels of crude oil got more expensive. Crude oil is the biggest ingredient in gasoline, so gas is now pricier.
Analysts expect it to rise 5 to 10 cents per gallon.
Stock up now. The 'fabric of our lives' is getting a higher price tag.
Cotton clothing is costing more. Buttons are starting to get smaller to conserve cotton thread. And companies are looking at alternative fabrics to keep prices down.
Prices have soared almost 80% higher in the past few months. The reason? It's simple economics: supply and demand. Because of the recession, less people have wanted products made of cotton, so prices have been low. Demand, however, started to pick up again this year. At the same time, bad weather damaged crops in China, India, and Pakistan – all major cotton producers. This choked off a big chunk of global cotton supply. So, more demand + less supply = more expensive cotton.
Oh, and speculators also entered the market to bet on cotton, driving up prices even further.
Polyester just got a little more en vogue.
Attention, bargain shoppers: holiday sales are hitting stores earlier this year.
A lot of people wait to do their holiday shopping on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving known for its deals and steals. This year, though, retailers are offering steep discounts much earlier. Some of them were even rolling out sales last week!
Consumers are demanding bargains earlier. Retailers have the tough choice of either offering sales, or losing out to the competitors who do.
Here's the bottom line: the discounts will be bigger and last longer this year.
Oh, and a little trivia: it's called "Black Friday" because it's supposed to be a day when retailers go from being in the red to being in the black (making a profit).
Let the holiday season begin!
Job loss. Pay cuts. A sputtering economy.
It's no surprise that millions of Americans are in debt.
Some companies will help you settle your debts by working out a plan with creditors – for an up-front fee. What if they can't keep their promise? You might be out of luck, and a few extra dollars – until now.
The Federal Trade Commision has stepped in to help protect you. These companies now must actually deliver on their promise before charging you.
There is a loophole, though: this only applies to phone customers. Because the rule was made under the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule, it doesn't apply if a company visits you in person.
If you are in debt, remember that you DON'T have to go through a service. You can go to the creditors themselves, and try to work out a deal that makes paying back your debt manageable.
On Monday's Taking the Lead, Ali talked with CNNMoney.com's Poppy Harlow about soaring airfares this holiday season.
We're paying more this year – 18% more, in fact. That's not all, though. You also need to worry about baggage fees, which usually start at around $25 for the first bag. We've got a few tips to get you the best deal.
HOLIDAY FLYING TIPS:
1. Travel on less popular days.
EXAMPLE: Don't fly home the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
2. Try off-peak hours.
EXAMPLE: Leave very early in the morning.
3. Strategize which days to buy.
EXAMPLE: Many airlines post sales on Monday nights, which means you'll probably get the best deals Tuesday through Thursday.
4. Use your miles if you can.
EXAMPLE: Despite blackout dates, there may be seat openings that you can trade in miles for.