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CNN IN THE MONEY
Terrorist Attacks Effecting Stock Market; Olsen Twins Turn 18; Kerry Campaign Unable To Capitalize On Bush Slip-ups
Aired May 9, 2004 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capitol, this is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, HOST: Welcome to IN THE MONEY, I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's program:
The Kerry conundrum: the smoke alarm keeps going off at the White House, but that hasn't translate to a lead in the polls for Kerry. See how effective the democrats' campaign really is thus far.
Plus, 30-somebody: American women hitting their midlife crisis at 30 and they won't settle for a sports car and some guy. We'll look at the struggle to balance love and work.
And a portfolio ready for trouble: terrorists can shake up the stock holdings whenever they strike, and wherever. Find out how to prepare your investments for the worst.
Joining me today, on IN THE MONEY, a couple of the regulars on the program, CNN correspondent, Susan Lisovicz and "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer.
Being the father of four, count 'em, four daughters I was shocked on Friday when the president and first lady announced they would not be attending their daughter's graduations, one from Texas and one from Princeton. I mean, I'd be thrown out of the house without even subway fare if I'd said I wasn't going to one of those kid's graduations. What's up with that?
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president said that he did not want thousands of proud parents and family members to have to go through metal detectors as surely they would when any president is in attendance and I bought that hook, line, and sinker. But, you seem to have a different view, Jack?
ANDREW SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: I guess they don't want the president there in front of all the signs that say Bush is a bad guy and all that. I think that's where Jack is going. It's Yale, I think, instead of Princeton, by the way.
CAFFERTY: Oh, is it?
SERWER: One of the Ivy League joints.
CAFFERTY: I get them confused.
LISOVICZ: His al matador.
CAFFERTY: They all look alike.
SERWER: But, you know, it is tough being a presidential family, I guess. I mean, think about Chelsea Clinton and Amy Carter and, you know, you wear weird clothes to school and the press corps is all over you. But, I mean here, I think the president's to buck up and go to these graduations. This is an important moment for the kids, and I mean, family's important. Right?.
CAFFERTY: Well, and their -- you know, if they're micromanaging this behind the scenes so as to avoid anybody holding a sign to disagree with the president's position on something, that's kind of silly, I mean, it's his daughter's graduation.
LISOVICZ: And he's not speaking.
CAFFERTY: No. And besides, I mean wouldn't the classmates -- I mean, I -- if somebody told me that the president was coming to my daughter's graduation, I think that would be pretty cool. I'd say, that's neat, the president of the United States -- I don't think people mind going through a metal detector in order to get to -- anyway.
SERWER: Family values, right?
SERWER: Family values.
CAFFERTY: Family values.
CAFFERTY: All right.
For a lot of the voters, the presidential race poses a couple of big questions these days. One is why George W. Bush has been doing as well as he has been in the polls given the trouble facing the White House. And the other is why John Kerry isn't doing any better than he is. Let's check the Kerry campaign report card as we bring in Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times." He's a CNN political analyst and he joins us from Washington, D.C.
Ron, nice to have you with us, thanks for joining us.
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Thanks for having me.
Besides being the un-Bush, what has John Kerry done to define himself to the electorate? He's not having much of an impact, so far.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, he's had very mixed success at defining himself since coming into the democratic nomination in March. He has done a few things that could matter later on; he has raised a lot of money and enabling himself to go on the air to a degree that really no challenger has before and Jack, he's also started to reposition himself, I think, as the democratic primaries really tilted to the left, that kind of populous, remember the Benedict Arnold corporations on a variety of fronts, fiscal discipline, talking about adding more troops to the military, not leaving Iraq, this week, with some education reform proposals. Trying to move himself more towards the center, but he is in the position that is common for challengers before their own convention. They have a tough time telling a coherent and sustained story to the American public and they are sort of an afterthought, especially when you have big events like we have now dominating the news.
LISOVICZ: When you say that John Kerry is now repositioning himself, but what most Americans are seeing is this $25 million ad campaign that talks about John Kerry's life. Look, if you're voting for the president of the only super power in the world, you want to know what his ideas are. Is that, in your view, a mistake?
BROWNSTEIN: No, I actually disagree a little bit, I think that if you look back, the first challenge for the challenger and remember, we're talking about the candidate who is -- you know, challenging the incumbent president, is to convince people that they have a sense of understanding of what their lives are like, they have experiences that will bring them in touch with ordinary folks' lives, and especially now that they have the qualifications to be commander-in-chief. I mean, if you go back and you look, whether Ronald Reagan in 1980 or Bill Clinton in 1992, both won pretty decisive victories, they were trailing at this point, largely because people had very shallow impressions of them. This ad campaign is not going to solve John Kerry's problems. It will really take the convention, I think, to begin to introduce him to the country. But, as long as Bush stays right around 50 percent in his approval rates, some polls slightly under, some polls slightly above, Kerry will be in the game and you saw that in your latest CNN poll this week. Bush went down, Kerry went up.
SERWER: Ron, is it just me or are democrats just lousy campaigners? I mean, you take away Bill Clinton and the democrats have always done a very good job of bumbling campaigns. Are the republicans simply better at this process?
BROWNSTEIN: That's a good question. Look, John Kerry -- no one will say -- I don't think any democrat's going to say John Kerry is the most electric campaigner in the world. There are issues that are arising about him that could be important later. Does he connect well with average voters? Can he crystallize a short terse coherent message?
I would just say it's early to make these judgments. Until we see him having an opportunity to really tell his story to the country which, as I say, for the challenger usually comes at the convention, it's hard to know how strong he will be. The evidence, Andy, is that when you have an incumbent president, the race revolves more around the incumbent president than the challenger. There was doubts about Bill Clinton in '92 or Ronald Reagan in '80 or Jimmy Carter in '76, and voters because they were relatively certain they didn't want the incumbent for another four years. That's the -- that's sort of the marker that I keep my eye on more. Where is Bush's approval, what is the sense of whether we're on the right or wrong track and those -- you know, measures point us toward a pretty close race.
CAFFERTY: How much of the problem that John Kerry has is because of the republicans and if fact they got on television early with some very hard-hitting ads that called Kerry a flip-flopper on the issues, voted against the money for the war in Iraq, voted against body armor for our troops, I mean really though stuff, and more importantly, not so much what the republicans did early, but the fact that the Kerry campaign didn't do anything to respond right away?
BROWNSTEIN: Right. Well they were -- Jack, you know, they were in a difficult situation. They exhausted themselves financially, physically, and emotionally winning the democratic primary and you had the Bush campaign that had been waiting two years for whoever came out, as the democratic winner, to go after them with this extraordinary bankroll that they had -- they had put together, so they did not respond quickly. But, what they have been able to do, I think because we have such a polarized electorate, in which there is a lot of enthusiasm on both sides, they have been able to raise much more money than anybody expected and come back on the air, now, with a very large ad buy.
That Bush ad buy from early March to mid April, was larger than the total amount of money he or Al Gore spent from the convention through the general election last year and you could say, well, John Kerry isn't doing better, given the bad news in the world, you could say George Bush spent an unprecedented sum to get a knockout and didn't get it, so really, they're both kind of not as strong as they might be, but they are in a very competitive situation.
LISOVICZ: Right. And right now the president is clearly vulnerable, as you mentioned, Ron, with the latest poll numbers. How important is it for John Kerry to be both -- keep the high road but yet, to take advantage of this opportunity?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I believe -- I mean, I'm a believer that the challenger is a secondary factor in a race with an incumbent; it's primarily going to be about George Bush. What Kerry has to do is make himself acceptable to voters disposed to want a change. But, you're right, the challenge, especially on Iraq, is a difficult one. On the one hand, you don't want be -- seem to be undermining the commander- in-chief, much less the troops in the field, at a time when most Americans want this to succeed, on the other hand, you have to find a way to tap into the doubts that do exist, the polls tell us, in the public about whether this is succeeding, whether Bush has a clear plan, especially adding to the pressure on Kerry is the fact the Ralph Nader is now out there as an opponent to the war, basically giving himself a rational for the candidacy that he didn't have and putting pressure on the left. I do think that if things continue to go badly in Iraq, Kerry will feel pressure to more shapely delineate himself from Bush and perhaps begin to talk about ways of reducing the American commitment, something he hasn't done at all, to this point.
CAFFERTY: Quick last question, Ron. We're about out of time. Historically, elections are decided on the economy, people vote their wallet when they go to vote for a president, in partial. The economic news is starting to break the president's way -- 600,000 jobs in the last two months based on numbers that came out last Friday. If the economy continues to expand and grow, I mean, jobs continue to appear, is the problem in this country, over the war in Iraq enough of an issue, to get John Kerry elected, if he doesn't have the economy to run on?
BROWNSTEIN: You know, if the Red Sox or Yankees are going to win a World Series?
CAFFERTY: Come on, Ron.
BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. I mean, that's that right question. I mean, you tell me -- look, I believe events outweigh arguments in presidential politics, especially when you have an incumbent. And I think that with the economy perking up, it is likely that the one factor that could beat George Bush is Iraq, and it could do that. I mean, if things continue to go badly, he'll stay, I think, right on brink. You know, Jack, if you look historically, he is -- his approval rating is probably below where it should be, given the trends in the economy and clearly what's holding him down is anxiety about the way things are going in Iraq. That may turn out to be much of a vulnerability, in the end, even though there's a kind of a differential. States like Ohio and Missouri and West Virginia may not recovering as much -- could create some vulnerability there, but I still think in the end, it will be Iraq that will be the central point of vulnerability.
CAFFERTY: Ron Brownstein, CNN political analyst, national political correspondent for the "Los Angels Times," thanks very much, Ron.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
CAFFERTY: All right. Coming up on IN THE MONEY, as we continue:
When the big three-oh, is the big huh-oh: For lots of American women, 30 is midlife crisis time, even though actuarially of speaking, it is a long way from midlife. Find out how that's changing their work and their lives.
Plus, Fizzyologic (SIC): As names the new boss, see if Wall Street likes the company's selection.
And, success in stereo: The Olson twins about to get a fancy job title at their media empire, plus billion dollars. See how turning 18 will change their fortunes and how it's so so much different than yours and my 18th birthday.
Many in the business world say it's all about location, location, location. In this year's battle of East coast and West coast, it's California who claims the title of the state with the most "Fortune" 500 companies within its borders -- 53 to be exact. Coming a close second, the state of New York is where 51 "Fortune" 500 companies call home. But what New York lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. The Big Apple houses ten of fortune's top 50 companies compared to California's five. Not all fortune 500 companies are part of the bright lights, big city mentality; "Fortune's" No. 1 company, Wal-Mart is in Bentonville, Arkansas, where it opened its first store in 1962.
LISOVICZ: A midlife crisis usually makes people think of gray haired men with sports cars and very young women. But what about professional women who turn 30 and suddenly feel panicked because they don't, quote, "have it all?" Our next guest calls that the new female midlife crisis and says it's hitting women all over the country.
Lia Macko has coauthored "Midlife Crisis at 30: How the Stakes Have Changed for a New Generation--And What to Do about It" and Lia joins us today to talk about the book.
Welcome, great to see you.
LIA MACKO, CO-AUTHOR, "MIDLIFE CRISIS AT 30": Thank you. Thanks for your interest.
LISOVICZ: Well, being a woman, having turned 30, I had a party.
SERWER: No. Really? Never knew that. Jack?
MACKO: You have it all together.
LISOVICZ: I mean, having turned 30 sometime ago, I might add.
SERWER: All right.
LISOVICZ: Is it the women's midlife crisis at 30 a lot more subtle than the guys? Because, with guys you can read it like, you know, 100 miles away.
MACKO: Yes, we react to our crisis in a different way, I would say, but it's also -- you know, this isn't your father's midlife crisis in the sense that it questions about where the life has gone. For women, who deal biology in the 30s, and some very important questions about how they're going to structure their lives, it's about where the time is going and -- you know, when you have a very, very compressed timetable -- you know, women are not marrying at 22 anymore, they're getting marrying at 28. They're first considering questions about children, usually after 30, now. And the number of single women between the ages of 30 and 34 have tripled, and it's just tripled over the course of a generation, so all these questions in the 30s, it's a turbulent time.
LISOVICZ: But it's not new, I mean, this is not new, these kinds of trends you cite have been out there for some time. MACKO: Well, the conflicts are not new, they're evolving, but the timetable is new. You know, in the past, women were having children in their 20s and their careers, if they had them, were developing over decades, and over lifetimes, really, and now you have this peak for women -- you know, you have 35-year-old law partners contemplating an infant, that's an entirely new presentation of the work life conflict than we've had in the past.
SERWER: You know, Jack and I have done a lot of thinking about this issue. No, but seriously, folks. Actually, it is interesting because it is different, Jack and Lia, for women. Because -- you know, you really have to have two incomes now and in this economy to make it work.
SERWER: And women feel the pull to stay home and take care of their kids, because let's face it, kids are better off, I think, if there's more contact with their parents. So women are caught in the middle in a way that men are not. And it is very difficult in economic terms, isn't Lia?
MACKO: It -- absolutely. And you know, I grew up -- I was part of this luck generation to grow up with this idea that anything is possible for women and you reach your 30s and realize, hey, you know, the remnants of a glass ceiling still exist. I have issues about biology -- what will I do next? And then you also have this -- you know, sort of half changed world that we're operating in. As much as we've been hearing about family-friendly rhetoric since the 1980s, that's still not a reality for most women and what you have are women leaving the workplace entirely not by choice, but because by the time you have a reduction in status, reduction in pay, if you do the math, you can't even pay the babysitter. You know, you really are leaving work because you have to, not because you necessarily want to.
CAFFERTY: How does this stuff manifest itself among the women who are affected by it? What kinds of reactions were you seeing?
MACKO: Well, I mean, what you see are -- you know, these women, irrespective of their incredibly impressive life resumes, feeling confused and conflicted about what they've done. They feel like failures, they're all sort of thinking -- not measuring up, so they -- you know, whether they've stayed at home with the kids, they're thinking they've missed a great opportunity to have a career, women who are out having a career, think, I'm a loser because I don't have a husband and kids. And, what's happening is, as evolved as we are, there's lot of, sort of, Ozzie and Harriet cultural white noise out there telling women they should -- you know, be married and have a white picket fence...
CAFFERTY: Is the Ozzie and Harriet cultural white noise, is it really white noise or is it maybe the way things are sort of supposed to be and because the United States -- America's become this super- productive capitalistic business-at-any-cost kind of place, the rest of the world doesn't live like this. MACKO: I think that it's not the way the world is supposed to be. I think there is no one size fits all definition of what a successful women needs to be and I think that's the privilege of living here, but I think what we need to do is, I think as women, we need to have this dialogue and be a little more comfortable about what our lives are going to look like. That means, hey, if you're 34, you've invested a decade in your career, then don't beat yourself up about the fact you don't the kids.
CAFFERTY: The children...
MACKO: Right, and we very purposely in this book with Kerry Rubin, who works here at CNN -- you know, we have this second half called the "new girl's club," which is a wink to the old boy's club and we talked to women who are very successful in their 40s and 50s and 60s and really sought some practical advice from them. Women -- you know, Jerry Laybourn, Mary Maitland, Paula Zahn -- you know...
CAFFERTY: Susan Lisovicz.
MACKO: Suze Orman, and the good news in it is you really can have it all as long as you're willing to be very, very focused about what you're willing to eliminate.
LISOVICZ: You know, there was a very interesting story a few days ago. Brenda Barns, who was one of the -- held one of the top jobs at PepsiCo, quit her job six years ago to raise a family, just came into the work force as president COO of Sara Lee. But she left for six years and came back.
MACKO: And Ann Fudge is another example that got on the cover of "Businessweek" cover a few weeks ago. So, I think this conversation about nonlinear careers is one we need to be have, not necessarly -- I beg to difer with you of the Ozzie and Harriet standards, I think it's...
CAFFERTY: I figured you would, which is why I suggested it.
MACKO: I think it's -- I think it's that we really need to be recreating what women trajectories look like in the workforce and we're just at the very, very beginning phases of this.
SERWER: Nonlinear? I like that.
CAFFERTY: There you go. "Midlife Crisis at 30," Lia Macko's the co-author. Thanks for being with us.
MACKO: Thank you.
CAFFERTY: Much more ahead on IN THE MONEY as we continue. Up next, spinning the bottle: Coke's hoping a new boss will add a little kick to the company, we'll see how Wall Street is taking that news.
Plus, less bang for the bucks: Learn what to do to protect your investment portfolio from the impact of terrorism.
Plus, two-star entertainment, the Olson twins kick started a video empire. See how much they'll be worth as they fire up the candles on their 18th birthday cake. They are making a bundle of money. Back in a minute.
LISOVICZ: Now let's look at the week's top stories in our "Money Minute." Alan Greenspan and company kept short-term interest rates the same, but they hinted rate hikes are on the way. That's because the central bank believes the economy is recovering and inflation is a growing concern.
The wife of former Enron chief financial officer Andrew Fastow has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and has been sentenced to a year in prison -- the maximum. A federal judge rejected Lea Fastow's first attempt at a guilty plea last month when he balked at the light five month sentence recommendation from prosecutors. Andrew Fastow pleaded guilty to other charges and will serve a ten-year prison term when he finishes cooperating with prosecutors.
And less than three weeks after McDonalds's CEO, Jim Cantalupo died of a heart attack, his successor underwent surgery for colon cancer. Forty-three-year-old Charlie Bell is reportedly recovering well and should be back on the job soon. McDonald's says Bell's illness had not yet diagnosed when he took the top job.
SERWER: All right. There was a change at the top of another top American company, this week. Coca-Cola tapped E. Neville Isdell, an Irishman as its new CEO, but my colleagues at "Fortune" magazine reported that the soft drink giant was in talks with former GE chairman Jack Welch for the top spot before the deal broke down.
Coke shares are up about 35 percent since last year, but in this fragmented drink market, can Coca-Cola ever regain its dominance? That makes Coke our stock of the week.
And you know guys, over the past five years or so, it's really been a tough ride for Coke, they had problems in Europe with tampering, they've had slow sales here, they had discrimination suits, whistle blowers saying they've got accounting problems. The company keeps saying "isolated event, isolated event, isolated event." But, Wall Street's not buying it, because the stock has really not gone anywhere for a while. You wonder, can they turn it around?
LISOVICZ: Well, certainly, the new CEO, Mr. Isdell, has been a veteran of the company, has worked for the company three decades or so. I find it interesting, actually, we're talking about McDonald's and Coke, two of the leading consumer products companies, both have non-Americans now, at the post.
SERWER: That's right.
LISOVICZ: Charlie Bell is from Australian, and Mr. Isdell is an Irish citizen. But, not only that, now that you have someone who's taken this job, he was considered an outside candidate in some ways, Steven Heyer was passed up for the job, the COO. Some analysts say he surely will leave and he will take people with him. So, more turmoil at the company.
CAFFERTY: They've also had some trouble finding someone to fill this job. That doesn't speak too well about whatever's going on in the company, if nobody wants to go in and take over this thing, does it?
SERWER: Well, I don't think it does and a lot of people are complaining that Isdell is a consummate insider. What this company doesn't need is more people steeped its ways. The board is very powerful here, you've got Warren Buffet and Don Keo (PH), people who've been associated with the company for year after year. And you've got to feel that, you know, the company that has the buzz right now, is Pepsi...
SERWER: ...and it has not been that way for a long, long time. I mean, name Coke's new ad campaign -- you can't really name it. The hot young people are associated with Pepsi. I really think eventually they're going to have to go outside to really get this thing going.
LISOVICZ: Well, and that's what they were doing and how did -- you know, to speak to Jack Welch on his wedding day, what would Emily Post say about that?
CAFFERTY: You can tell always tell the guys that have been married before, they're doing a deal during the wedding, saying, "I'll call you right back."
LISOVICZ: And the honeymoon, he was still talking with them.
SERWER: That's Welch, well we'll have to see how Mr. Isdell does.
Coming up on IN THE MONEY: Terrorism and your investments. With the U.S. in the crosshairs of Islamic terror groups, find out how to keep your money out of harm's way.
And they're almost 18 and that means the Olsen sisters, twins even, are about to get complete control of one of the biggest fortunes in show business.
There they go.
We'll find out how they got so popular and so powerful.
LISOVICZ: Whether you're out to make more money or simply to hold on to what you've got, terrorism counts when you're thinking about investments. That might sound callous, but in a world where they practically want to check your dental work before you fly, taking account of terrorism is just simply common sense. "TIME" magazine senior writer Dan Kadlec is here in New York with more about that.
Welcome, good to see you again.
DAN KADLEC, "TIME": Good to see you.
LISOVICZ: It's kind of an unnerving subject.
KADLEC: It's a tough one, it's a tough subject because no one likes to think this way. But, you know what got me thinking this way in particular was GE buying this little bomb detection company called InVision a few months ago. And it occurred to me, if GE is buying protection, and that's what they're doing, they're buying earnings protection by owning a company that's going to do well if the terror threat persists and if there is another strike, you know, maybe the rest of us should think this way also.
LISOVICZ: You've seen some huge jumps in some of these security firms, like TASER and Mace, no description necessary for names like that. It's almost like being back in 1999.
KADLEC: Yes. No doubt there's been a run-up in these. But there's good reason for that. The government is going to spend something like $100 billion over the next few years fighting -- with homeland security, a lot of that money is going to go the security systems. The security stocks are the ones that have had the big run- ups, although I don't think necessarily overpriced. But that's where a lot of the action is and that's what you're talking about.
SERWER: But Dan, how much do you integrate this in your overall thinking about investing. I mean, is this just a piece of it? Should this be your whole way of looking at the market now?
KADLEC: No, no, you're right. It's a small piece. You don't want to rush into -- when you invest, you never want to do anything wholesale. This is something you want to do at the margin with maybe 5 or 10 percent of your money. It's just something you want to think about it. No one's going to -- there's a lot of ways to do it, by the way. You can own some oil stocks because oil would tend to do well in turmoil.
And by the way, with China sucking up all the world's reserves, those are going to do pretty good anyway. I also think dividend stocks are a nice way to go. There's sort of an inherent safety in dividend stocks. And by the way, they've been a little bit out of favor for a while and they are coming back strong anyway. So it's not something that you do just for the terror strike or the terror potential. But you look for ways that are going to do well with or without it. But certainly would benefit at the margin.
CAFFERTY: Are there things you should stay away from, I know some people have suggested that certain municipal bonds might be something you want to look twice at?
KADLEC: Right, well, munis should be a fairly safe haven. But I think with munis what you want to think about is, don't own too many in one region. God forbid a power plant gets hit in some little community. Well, guess what, if you own munis of all the taxing authorities in that town, they're all going to get hit. So spread them out, just spread them out. It's common sense diversification.
LISOVICZ: But you know, Dan, we are seeing clear signs every week it seems that the economy is improving. Airfares, for instance, much higher. There are just no sales going on. But yet you say stay away from travel related sectors right now.
KADLEC: Not stay away, lighten up. And you're right, that -- just in the last few weeks, that has become a little bit of a different picture with the economy coming back, and travelers coming back some. I would just say, don't overdo it there. Retail, autos, airlines, hotels, don't stay away, but don't overdo it.
SERWER: You hear that, Susan, lighten up.
SERWER: What about plain vanilla, the defense stocks, your father's defense stocks, like Raytheon, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, those kind of things?
KADLEC: Yes, well, for one thing, I think those have gotten a little expensive anyway. And they're not in the same category as the security stocks that are going to get a lot of the attention. But, yes, why not own some of them. I just wouldn't overdo it, again. I think there is going to be money flowing that direction, sort of over the long term. But that's not a specific play that you want to -- that's not like the security stocks which are really where it's at.
CAFFERTY: You really have to be careful about doing your research. This TASER, for example, what's it up, 5000 percent in the last year or so?
CAFFERTY: And now the day traders are having a lot of fun just moving this stuff back and forth. You did a thing the other day on "AMERICAN MORNING," be a little careful, this is for the pros, don't go and invest your grandmother's 401(k) in this stuff. So you've got to be a little careful when you talk about the security companies, about which ones have real business models, real earnings, and a real potential to do well for them...
KADLEC: Yes. No question. I'm not even that familiar with the TASER. But that is one that I know just went crazy.
CAFFERTY: It was a moon shot.
KADLEC: And there have been a few like that. But this thing like InVision that GE bought, that's a real company making real money. And there are other things like that out there: OSI Systems, Verant (ph), I think, is another one. There are a few out there, Ceradyne, you know, there's a growing number of these things out there. And they're going to benefit as the government spends money.
LISOVICZ: And you still like gold, right?
KADLEC: You know, again, at the margin, I wouldn't mind owning a little of it. I think it's a good hedge. And you do have the China story, which is good for all natural resources, the whole commodities boom going on.
LISOVICZ: But China now says that it wants to ratchet back its economy a little bit. But that's still pretty bullish, right?
KADLEC: You know, that's a really near-term thing. I'm fascinated by people saying the commodities boom is over. We've had the run, and certainly we're going to take a rest here somewhere. But over the next five to 10 years, this is an ongoing story.
SERWER: I agree with that.
CAFFERTY: Dan, good to see you as always, thanks for coming by.
KADLEC: Thank you.
CAFFERTY: Dan Kadlec, senior writer with "TIME" magazine.
Just ahead on IN THE MONEY, as we continue, they're not your ordinary child stars, a look at the Olsen twins' financial empire, see how it got that way. It's very large.
What kind of person makes those annoying computer worms, like the Sasser? Webmaster Allen Wastler will have the profile of that. Stay with us.
SERWER: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are about to take the reins of a billion-dollar business. But first they have to graduate from high school. The twins have been involved in the TV and film business since they were infants. Their new movie, "New York Minute" opens this weekend and is expected to be a big hit with the pre-teen crowd. Here to talk about the Olsen empire is Mark Dagostino, New York correspondent for "People" magazine.
MARK DAGOSTINO, "PEOPLE": Thanks. Glad to be here.
SERWER: Well, for people who really aren't that familiar with the Olsen twins, talk to us about...
CAFFERTY: That would be me.
SERWER: That would be Jack Cafferty and people like him, talk to us about exactly how big these girls are.
DAGOSTINO: You know, it's -- they stayed under the mainstream radar for a very long time, doing direct-to-video movies and things like that. So it's hard to believe that over the last 17 years, they've built a company that last year sold $1.2 billion in retail sales around the world.
LISOVICZ: And when you talk about that empire, as I see, that you have so thoughtfully given us a diagram of their empire, everything from backpacks to action figures, to toothpaste, thankfully they turned down the offers for Mary-Kate and Ashley Spaghettios.
DAGOSTINO: Right. They've also turned down offers to -- of tens of thousands of dollars to appear at people's birthday parties, and things like that. They could really just be making money hand over fist every single day. But they've tried to keep it classy. They've tried to do things that they're really, really involved in and excited about throughout their whole career.
CAFFERTY: When they turn 18 they'll be free to start making their own mistakes, right?
CAFFERTY: And you know with a couple of kids that have been this successful, human nature being what it is, we'll all be sitting around there, waiting for them to do something that says they're going to crash and burn. I mean, when Britney Spears lit a cigarette, the world stopped turning on its axis. What are the pitfalls out there for these kids?
DAGOSTINO: They're facing kind of tabloid media scrutiny for the first time in their lives. And there is definitely all eyes on them as they move to New York City to go to college at NYU this next year.
LISOVICZ: Page Six alert.
DAGOSTINO: Page Six alert, we're going to be getting the calls every single time they show up at a bar somewhere, you know, just like normal teens do.
CAFFERTY: You know, but if you're 18 and have a billion dollars, maybe it's poetic justice you have to undergo some aggravation in exchange, right? It starts when they come here to go to school I guess.
DAGOSTINO: I think so. And they know, and they're aware that people are watching them. They don't want to be role models to the world. They just want to be normal teens and be able to live their lives.
CAFFERTY: But that's just silly. They're not normal, and they're not going to be allowed to just live their lives. I mean, I love that, I just want to be a normal person. You have a billion dollars, you're 18 years old, there's nothing normal about you.
LISOVICZ: And that has come across in your dealings with them. Describe what doing an interview with these 17-year-old girls, tell us how they come across. DAGOSTINO: It's really interesting, because they've been in the industry for so long, they're a little bit like little politicians. They speak in these terms of, you know, which one of you is the better student. You would think that's...
SERWER: Maybe they'll run for office.
DAGOSTINO: It's a simple question, right? Well, neither one of us is really better. We both have our strong points and our weak points.
SERWER: That does sound like a politician.
DAGOSTINO: You know what I mean? So they're very careful with what they say to the media, and very well trained. And it's amazing, for a couple of 17-year-old kids, because they really are kids. They're also very loose and laid back and kind of silly and they laugh with each other.
CAFFERTY: There are so many stories about kids who had very unhappy endings to their lives who were exactly at the place that these kids are at now. I don't know what the ingredient is that allows one to make it through this and go ahead and have some kind of a life of normalcy and what causes somebody to hit the wall and totally self-destruct. Do you get a sense of whether they have got the real stuff, the real goods to make the right choices and keep the compass heading constant as they move forward?
DAGOSTINO: I really think so. The parenting here seems to have been really strong from the very beginning; simple things like doing chores and being on an allowance just like their brothers and sisters. Also, they have, in Robert Thorne, the CEO of their company, an outsider...
SERWER: I love that, CEO of their company, right?
DAGOSTINO: Right. They have someone who's not a family member running their business empire.
CAFFERTY: That's probably smart.
DAGOSTINO: And I that's very, very important.
LISOVICZ: But they're at a critical stage now, not only because they're on the verge of taking over this huge empire, but because they're becoming young women. And in a way, are they trying to shed that image? I mean, you know, with this new "New York Minute" that just premiered, are they trying to sort of shed their childish image and take on a new one?
DAGOSTINO: Not shed the image so much as just grow up at the same rate that their peers are growing up. You know, what was weird with a Britney Spears or somebody is that she seemed to make this leap from being very innocent to not that innocent overnight. And it shocked a lot of people.
LISOVICZ: Yes, that would be an understatement.
DAGOSTINO: They seem to be growing at the same rate that their peers are growing. And that's what they want to present to the audience.
CAFFERTY: All right. We're going to have to leave it at that, Mark. I know I'm going to be seeing the movie over the weekend, because I have two girls who are just dying to see it. Mark Dagostino, New York correspondent for "People" magazine, thanks very much.
DAGOSTINO: Thank you.
DAGOSTINO: All right, just ahead, the Sasser virus, could be proof that the people who create viruses are going from pranksters to gangsters.
And you can tell us what's on your mind at email@example.com. But please don't send any viruses to us, please.
CAFFERTY: Got this little computer worm called Sasser making the rounds this week, leaving about 1 million computers out of service. Worms, viruses, nothing new, but our Webmaster Allen Wastler thinks the profile of the average virus-spreading hacker could be changing.
What up with these guys?
ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: Now don't you figure that somebody who is writing viruses and worms is like some little adolescent up there that really needs to discover beer and girls?
SERWER: Get a life, get a job, get real, get out of your dark room.
WASTLER: And this Sasser worm, it sort of speaks to that, because basically it doesn't need anything to get into your computer. If you're unprotected, it is going to slip in there. You don't need to open up an e-mail or anything to do that. And then all it does is reboot your computer over and over again. Your computer starts up, shuts down, starts up, shut down, just irritation for irritation's sake.
CAFFERTY: Now what's the purpose of this, what is...
SERWER: Who is...
WASTLER: Well, what's happened is once that worm went out, it was followed up by a fake e-mail saying, hey, this is your Sasser patch, OK? And anybody stupid enough to open it up would get hit with the Netsky virus, and different variant of the Netsky of virus. Now in that code -- and this is where I think it might be changing a little bit, in that code was a message that basically said, ha ha, we wrote both this virus and the Sasser virus, and we're the best virus writers in the world. It was a big boast, OK? Now I talked to some experts that sort of follow this trend, and they said it's an indication of sort of like gangs building up between virus writers. This outfit likes to call itself Skynet. But apparently they're facing off with another group that claims to have written the Bagel virus and some other viruses. And so you know, you sort of get the "West Side Story" image of, "when you're a Jet, you're a Jet" you know?
WASTLER: And they're sort of fighting off.
SERWER: Wasn't there a catcher named Sasser for the Mets, does it have anything to do with him? Who is Sasser?
WASTLER: Sasser is actually -- it's a play off the acronym for the security hole in the Windows operating system, it's called LSASS, ah, the Sasser.
SERWER: That's why he's the Webmaster.
LISOVICZ: Do we have a profile on these hackers?
WASTLER: Well, it used to be, what we were talking about, some nerdy little kid that needs to get a life, but now they think it might be changing. Just two months ago they arrested over in Belgium a female virus writer, went by the name of Gigabyte (ph). And so they're saying, OK, well, it's spreading out from there and...
CAFFERTY: What's her name, Gigabyte?
WASTLER: She went by Gigabyte.
SERWER: A Belgian worm Gigabyte. Let's get her on the show, Jack.
WASTLER: So you've got the bratty kid. And now we see it's sort of going up into a delinquent sort of gang mentality type of thing.
LISOVICZ: Equal rights.
SERWER: Belgian worm gangs.
WASTLER: The next step is going to be more criminality type things, from brat to delinquent to criminal.
CAFFERTY: My favorite part of this program every weekend is the "Fun Site of the Week," because I don't understand a lot of the other stuff we talk about. But I can go on the fun site and get...
WASTLER: Here you go, gentlemen, you were talking about the Olsen twins? Well, that's the Olsen twins countdown clock, OK? For those of you who... (CROSSTALK)
CAFFERTY: I take back what I said.
WASTLER: ... just want to find out when they're going to be in charge of their empire, no other motivation here at all.
SERWER: How far away is it, roughly, do you know?
WASTLER:: It's about 34 days.
SERWER: Is that right?
SERWER: Not that you're really keeping close track.
WASTLER: Not that I...
CAFFERTY: Be still my beating heart.
LISOVICZ: And who's maintaining this site?
WASTLER: There are several...
SERWER: A guy named Jerry, isn't it? A guy named Jerry is probably...
WASTLER: ... in varying degrees of taste.
CAFFERTY: Good to see you, my friend. Thank you, as always.
Still ahead on IN THE MONEY as we continue, we're going to read some e-mails. You can tell us what you think by sending us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to keep it clean, and no more than three-syllable words because I hate having to go to the dictionary. The FCC is watching as well. Stay with us.
CAFFERTY: Time now to read some of your answers to our e-mail question about how we can stop the continued outsourcing of American jobs.
David in Crescent City, California, says: "How about setting up tariffs to discourage cheap imports from entering the country? And any American company that wants to use cheap overseas labor would be subject to the same tariffs if they tried to sell their goods in America. I know it's protectionism, but is that such a bad word?"
Ray in Florida wrote this: "Remember the jobs are leaving the U.S., not just because foreign labor is cheaper, but because American labor is so expensive. I'm not talking about salaries, I'm talking about all the taxation and government regulation. Tort reform would help as would more union cooperation."
And Bill out there in Montana weighed in with this: "I'm not sure I know how to stop outsourcing, but if it lowers my cable bill, I wouldn't mind if the CNN anchors spoke with a Chinese accent."
CAFFERTY: Go for that.
Here's the e-mail question for this Mother's Day weekend: Did your mom go to work or stay home when you were growing up, and how did that decision affect you?
Send us your answers at IN THE MONEY at CNN.com. And visit our show page at money.com/inthemoney where you'll find the addresses of our "Fun Site of the Week," the countdown to the Olsen twins' birthday.
CAFFERTY: Thank you, in the meantime, for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. That concludes our little proceeding for now. Thanks to the gang: CNN financial correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large Andy Serwer, Money.com managing editor Allen Wastler.
Thank you for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to the regular gang: CNN financial correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large Andy Serwer, Money.com managing editor Allen Wastler.
Join us next week, Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00 Eastern time or you can watch Andy and me all week long on "AMERICAN MORNING" on CNN starting at 7:00 Eastern time.
Thanks for today and have a good week.
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