Your Landline Phone Is in Big Trouble, & 4½ More Things to Know Today

At the market
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Here's a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you'll just want to know.

• Cell phones and broadband Internet are fantastic innovations, but there's something deeply comforting about knowing that no matter where you go, you can always pick up a good old landline phone, get a dial tone, and make a clear call. But all good things come to an end: The infrastructure of our long-distance phone system -- the switches, lines, etc., -- is decaying to the point where a significant number of calls don't connect, and the phone companies aren't all that interested in replacing it.

• When it comes to investing, it pays to follow the leader: New research of companies in the Russell 3000 index showed that, in the five days after CEOs let regulators know that they'd bought shares in their companies -- which made that information public -- their companies' stocks performed an average of six times better than the index. And they kept beating the index for three months after that.

• Looks like Janet Yellen, current vice chair of the Federal Reserve board, is on a smooth flight path to confirmation for the top job at the Fed. After a well-received hearing before the Senate Banking Committee last Thursday, the panel is set to vote this Thursday to send Yellen's nomination to the full Senate. Given that Democrats control the Senate, and that even Republicans who have problems with the Fed's recent policies haven't been taking them out on her, it's hard to imagine a scenario where she encounters much more than token resistance.

• The latest report from the Labor Department showed that U.S. workers' compensation increased only modestly in the past quarter -- just a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent, even less than the 0.5 percent it rose in the second quarter. Benefits costs outpaced wage increases. So wage inflation is clearly no worry in the U.S. But that's here. In Hong Kong, there's such a shortage of people willing and able to take blue- or pink-collar jobs like waiting tables or construction that wages for them are going through the roof, and the benefits would make Americans envious.

• And finally, in a retail world where Walmart (WMT) is the big dog in bricks-and-mortar, Target (TGT) has the cheap-chic cachet locked down, and Amazon (AMZN) has everyone running scared, it takes a little something extra for an old-school discounter like Kmart (SHLD) to get shoppers' attention. Exhibit A this holiday shopping season: This ballsy Jingle Bells ad for its Joe Boxer Brand.

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Maybe obama should give out land lines instead of cell phones.

November 20 2013 at 2:32 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

What no one has mentioned, is that an old fashioned land line - not one hooked up to FIOS or dependent on a cell tower- will continue to work when the electricity goes out and the cell towers are down. All you need to do is plug in a corded phone and you are able to call for assistance if need be. A land line hooked up to FIOS will only continue to work for 8 hours without electricity if the battery is fully charged.

November 20 2013 at 12:36 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Cell phone or Table Cell Phone... many of these 'toys' have cameras, video recorders, full Internet capability, GPS trackers, automatic file transfer, automatic battery recharge, etc., but cost some $300 to $600 each, plus $35 to $135 per month usage charge.

Evan a cheap cell phone with nearly nothing on it can run $20 to $70 per month depending on the zip code, service provider, type of use, etc., and thus many of the poor and many seniors cannot come close to affording these devices. Land-line can run from $8 to $14 per month, which is a lot less and within most people's means...

November 20 2013 at 12:20 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mac2jr's comment

Sorry meant to say Tablet Cell Phone, i.e., the iPad etc...

November 20 2013 at 12:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Do the Internet phones work with DSL or Dial Up? Many of the poor and the older persons still have older computers and only use each for email or occasional look-up research.

November 20 2013 at 12:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Cell phone buttons are too small, the typing on the face is too small, and the entire phone is too small; most seniors cannot easily use these expensive toys. Additionally, there are new land-line phones that have large buttons and a screen with large type, the phones automatically convert the caller's voice to written text for reading as well as hearing, especially good for the hard of hearing or totally deaf.

November 20 2013 at 12:13 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

hahaha, your too stupid to realize,

YOUR too stupid? Classic!

November 20 2013 at 12:04 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to willypfistergash's comment


November 20 2013 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mac2jr's comment

Ya catch on quick, dontcha?

November 20 2013 at 2:30 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down

Perhaps you need to look at you grammar and spelling before calling anyone else stupid.

November 20 2013 at 3:26 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

comment 814 needs a dose of immodium and a tall glass of STFU.

November 19 2013 at 11:35 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Got rid of my landline years ago and never missed it . Actually it's nice not hearing that ringer .

November 19 2013 at 10:46 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

if you have high speed internet, why not get voip for your home phone? i switched when at&t jacked my rates up to around $50.00 a month. now i'm on basic talk and my bill is only $11.75 a month. the call quality is exactly the same as a regular land line, and i wanted high speed internet so i dont count that cost because i use high speed for for other things. like tv and internet.

November 19 2013 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The 3 big phone companies replaced swiching with elecronic and digital equipment from 1985 to 2000 millions of dollars,most problem with land lines is outside wiring and not cost efective for the company,home phones are to be replaced with wirless phones that have a small transmitter/receiver box which will work simmilar to cell from towers and later fom satelite ,the home phone with all vertical features is to expensive.31 yrs worked on switching

November 19 2013 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply