"The MySpace generation" (Cover Story, Dec. 12) brings alive the realities of consumer-generated media, today's prime media real estate. However, it does not address the fact that nearly 40% of the under-25 population is Asian, Latino, or black. These consumers, largely born in America, hop in and out of various cultures with the same dexterity as they jump in and out of media spheres for entertainment, research, shopping, or advocating a cause they truly believe in. While they do speak English, they also simultaneously gobble up math and reggaethon, kimchee and Bollywood, based on their sociodemographic and cultural orientation. With a cultural fluency that is matched by their technological savvy, this dynamic generation continues to challenge those marketers who still operate from segmentation templates.
Ethnic Strategist & Senior Vice-President
Strategic Research Institute
I live in a sorority house with 40 of my sorority sisters. MySpace.com is all the rage. Some of the girls become addicted to MySpace. I've seen it suck them in, and I will not allow the same thing to happen to me. The only way to do this is to abstain from using it altogether. Whoever thought something like this would be a multimillion-dollar hit? It makes me wonder what could possibly be next in this Generation@.
In "Fat merger payouts for CEOs" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Dec. 12) there's a quote: "I just think of it as a price you have to pay" to get a target company's CEO to submit to being taken over. Sounds like bribery, which is illegal.
Cherry Hill, N.J.
It is not the seller of a business who creates value but the acquiring company. Usually there are two possible reasons that the business is being sold: one, the enterprise is failing and cannot compete; or two, top management is selling a successful enterprise, perhaps to the detriment of shareholders. In either of these situations the CEO has not fairly earned the amounts you report. These dollars should have been paid to the shareholders. Since the CEO is making the deal, he is in a position to place his interests above those of the shareholder. Someone else must represent shareholders. If the board of directors won't do it, perhaps a federal tax on these payouts should be assessed -- as much as 75%.
So American Express (AXP) promises Kenneth I. Chenault a $73 million takeover payout "to help keep employees focused on their jobs." If $25 million would not keep Chenault focused on his job, perhaps American Express should divert $1 million or so to treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
"The race against climate change" (Special Report, Dec. 12) offers the strongest evidence and most convincing data I have seen supporting the role of private enterprise in environmental issues. It makes obvious the non-need for government regulation and the benefits of economic incentives.
Palo Alto, Calif.
Hydrogen is not an alternative to fossil fuels. It takes energy to create hydrogen. Please stop repeating President George W. Bush's ridiculous notion that hydrogen somehow reduces the use of fossil fuel. Hydrogen does have an important role in future energy production: as a transport and delivery medium for renewable energy such as wind power. The problem is that the lion's share of subsidies and research and development, by some accounts 90%, still goes to fossil fuel and nuclear (not renewable) energy.
UPC Wind Management
There have been six changes from cold to warm and back again to cold in the past 12,000 years alone since the peak of the last "ice age" period 18,000 years ago. Ice ages are caused by the natural inertial changes of the earth's inclination and orbit around the sun. The attribution of the natural changes to "man-made CO2" is a scientific error corrected back in 1994 by the famous originator, James E. Hansen, himself.
George W. Stroke
Transactions performed with any Visa International card produce a set of data with identifying transaction dates, times, places, types of goods purchased, and other crucial information ("Prepaid cards: candy for criminals?" News: Analysis & Commentary, Dec. 12). Prepaid card issuers and processors utilize sophisticated transaction monitoring systems to detect unusual and fraudulent activities, including transactions that may be related to money laundering. If an issuer determines that a prepaid card is being used for unlawful activity, the issuer has the capacity to make the card inoperable almost immediately. Additionally, Visa requires banks that issue prepaid cards as reloadable products to obtain customer identifying information and to be in full compliance with all applicable state and federal laws. A Visa card provides a far more protected means of payment than the alternative traditionally used to fund unlawful activities: cash. Visa and its member financial institutions take their anti-fraud responsibilities quite seriously, and we are proud of our record in this area.
Senior Vice-President, Prepaid Products