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Dan Bobkoff

  • There are so many mattress stores in America, and they always seem to be empty. So how can they afford the real estate? And how do they stay in business?
  • As the volume of online orders surged, some retailers and package delivery companies were unable to fulfill promises to deliver gifts by Christmas. UPS acknowledged it was overwhelmed by all the late traffic. In response to complaints, Amazon says it is offering gift cards and refunds for shipping charges.
  • For freelancers and artists living in expensive cities like New York, the home-sharing site Airbnb has become a way to subsidize their rents. It's also often illegal. With the site's users in the crosshairs of New York's attorney general, and questions elsewhere, some now wonder if the good times are going to end.
  • If you want to raise money, charge a sales tax. If you want people to smoke less, tax producers. Traditional economics says this shouldn't make a difference, but it does.
  • Two members of the up-and-coming indie band The Yellow Dogs were among the dead in a Monday morning murder-suicide in Brooklyn. It's a tragic ending for a band that came from Iran to escape crackdowns on rock music.
  • JPMorgan Chase agreed pay $5.1 billion to settle litigation over mortgage assets sold during the housing bubble. The deal, announced late Friday afternoon, is to resolve claims the company misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the housing market crashed. It is part of a tentative $13 billion deal the company is trying to reach with federal and state agencies over its mortgage liabilities.
  • Activist investor Carl Icahn has increased his stake in Apple and is pushing the company to replace its own stock buyback plan with a much more ambitious proposal. In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Icahn said that, given the size of Apple's cash holdings, its stock buyback should be $150 billion instead of the planned $60 billion.
  • The details are still being worked out, but JPMorgan Chase and the Justice Department have agreed to a $13 billion settlement that will close out numerous lawsuits. About $3 billion will go to compensate investors who lost money on securities from banks that JPMorgan acquired during the financial crisis. Federal prosecutors have agreed not to seek punitive damages against JPMorgan for losses related to those deals.
  • Thanks to the shutdown, economists are flying blind without government data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will finally release the September jobs report on Tuesday, more than two weeks after it was slated to come out.
  • Tuesday is the deadline for taxpayers who requested an extension on their 2012 tax returns. With most of its staff currently furloughed, the Internal Revenue Service is not answering calls, issuing refunds or collecting audits. Even so, don't expect a filing reprieve; the midnight deadline is still in effect.