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What the Nation's Leading Papers Said This Week

by Eric Hler The New York Times (free registration required) had lots of bad news and a little good news this Sunday. Among the bad: Lucent is blowing it big time; "vulture investors" find plenty of carcasses to gnaw on; how poor earnings at one company can drag down another's. The good news: retirement accounts have become more retiree-friendly.

Bad news could be good for President Bush: as the economy cools, voters warm to his tax-cut proposal, reports The Washington Post. Economists remain lukewarm to the idea, though, observes The Boston Globe.

The Los Angeles Times accentuates the positive, meanwhile: While nobody can know if the trend will continue, risk-taking investors have been pleasantly rewarded so far this year. Also: Chinese companies (still) seek consumers' respect.

That didn't take long: The backlash to the backlash has begun. The Baltimore Sun says that even if throwing stupid amounts of money at smart business ideas is no longer fashionable, the business ideas themselves can be valid. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's profile of Digital River suggests that e-commerce is growing unabated. And The San Francisco Examiner says the Internet, and the economic changes it introduced, are here to stay.

WAYS PEOPLE WORK. "Hi, I'm out of the office until..." How many times have you heard this? Sun Microsystems is studying the ways people work -- not always in the office, for one thing -- and what it's finding could change the nature of workplaces, says The San Jose Mercury News.

Talk about your non-core competencies. A Michigan hospital system is operating a strip mall to try and plug losses from its medical operations. That's raising questions of propriety, says The Detroit News.

You want to raise prices and be loved? Good luck; it isn't working for Xcel Energy, says The Denver Post. Also: business is booming for Denver's Hispanic community; and it's an uphill battle for makers of the monoski, a virtually unknown "snowriding" product.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel also notes the growing economic clout of Hispanics, adding that the existence of Spanish-language broadcasters has helped Hispanics avoid assimilating into mainstream U.S. culture and markets.

PLUMBER. DOCTOR. WHATEVER. Heaven forbid that companies help their workers because it's the right thing to do. Some companies are providing workers with social services, but not because they've gone soft, says The Dallas Morning News: the movement springs purely from self-interest.

Auditing and consulting do mix, according to Arthur Andersen chief Joseph Berardino. The Chicago Tribune reviews Berardino's plans to expand his accounting firm into areas where federal regulators don't necessarily want it.

Maybe the best way to find a new doctor is the same way you find a plumber: word of mouth. A consumer service called Angie's List is about to start listing doctors in Florida, says The Tampa Tribune.

First you get dissed by the Genius Grants. Now this. Chances are your name appears nowhere on The St. Petersburg Times' list of local business heroes for the coming year. The leadership drought concerns columnist Robert Trigaux.

WORK HARD, OR ELSE. If we're really in a post-industrial era, here's proof: a Pennsylvania steel mill is being turned into The National Museum of Industrial History, says The Orlando Sentinel.

Ideas are easier to come by than guts. The Florida Times-Union profiles several locals who made the emotional leap into entrepreneurism, which for many is even harder than the financial one.

With advice like this going around, employers are likely to start spreading layoff rumors. The Boston Globe says the best way to survive a layoff is, basically, work harder.

There's a bona fido (get it?) business story in this St. Paul Pioneer Press account of the making and marketing of a new dog treat. But personally I couldn't get past the image of turkey feathers, beaks, and feet being ground up and fed to other animals.

Similarly, the phrase "eat cooked rat" caused me to lose focus on this Cincinnati Enquirer piece on a company that helps other companies squeeze brand-preference information out of consumers.

PHILADELPHIA EXCHANGE. Even Wal-Mart can be beaten on price. The St. Louis Post Dispatch profiles the founders of Deals Nothing Over a Dollar, a chain store whose name is self-descriptive.

Small-business owners frustrated by the state government's inability to give them answers want the Oregon legislature to create an Office of Small Business, reports The (Portland) Oregonian. But the state may not have the money to do it, and besides: Is a new government office going to be any better than the old government offices?

The new United Airlines pilots contract created a big opportunity for United's regional partners, which fly under the name United Express. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides a peek at anticipated growth at one such carrier, Air Wisconsin.

Philadelphia still has a stock exchange? Yep, and it's doing better than most anyone expected, says The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Finally this week, The Inky's Jeff Brown reveals what landlords and tenants want from each other. He should know: he has been both. H??bler reports for The Denver Post

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