Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

Lean getting leaner.
Lean Companies Ready to Cut -- Despite another quarter of robust corporate profits, an ominous impulse is stirring at many big companies--restructuring. In a sign that executives see a rockier road ahead, many manufacturers are setting aside money to fund moves aimed at cutting costs and streamlining operations. Those steps could include job cuts and factory closures, as businesses seek to pare expenses ahead of what is widely expected to be slow revenue growth in 2012.

2 teachers union lobbyists teach for a day to qualify for hefty pensions -- Two lobbyists with no prior teaching experience were allowed to count their years as union employees toward a state teacher pension once they served a single day of subbing in 2007, a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation has found. Steven Preckwinkle, the political director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and fellow union lobbyist David Piccioli were the only people who took advantage of a small window opened by lawmakers a few months earlier.

Another Oracle acquisition.
Oracle to Buy Cloud-Based RightNow -- Oracle Corp. said it would buy cloud-based, customer-service company RightNow Technologies Inc. for $1.43 billion, bolstering its business-software line and making good on promises to embrace cloud computing. Oracle executives said earlier this month that computing power and software stored in the "cloud" and streamed to customers over computer networks would be a centerpiece of the company's strategy. RightNow adds cloud-based, customer experience-focused tools to Oracle's stable of business software and may help it compete with Salesforce.com Inc.

$$ for not farming.
Empty Fields Fill Urban Basins and Farmers' Pockets -- But now Mr. Kalin and his brother enjoy a choice that their parents and grandparents never had. They can continue to farm all their land, or they can stop farming some of it and earn more than $500 an acre -- more than the market value of a crop like alfalfa in a given year -- simply by not using the water required to nourish those crops. Water saved is sent on to thirsty cities and suburbs to the west: San Diego, Los Angeles and Palm Springs.

Sheena Moore

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