For our weekend business and political readers:

MICHAEL JORDAN AT 50 STILL FLYING HIGH
He’s Michael Jordan and that’s all that needs to be said. He was the king and considered by many to be the greatest basketball player ever. He commanded millions for his top performances, and guess what? As he turns 50 this weekend, he still does. It’s called the Jordan Brand.

I think it is safe to say we’ve seen the last of MJ soaring above the rim after hitting the half-century mark with three retirements already under his belt. But Jordan the business? It is stronger than ever.

How much did Jordan earn last year from corporate partners such as Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, Upper deck, 2K Sports and Five Star Fragrances? The amount is staggering.

Jordan out-earns almost every member of the world’s highest-paid athletes 10 years after his last NBA game.

Plus the former superstar owns six restaurants, a car dealership, as well as most of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats.

Go inside a Forbes post for an incredible look at the empire of Michael Jordan by clicking this link.

RATING THE POPE AS A CEO
Pope Benedict is doing something that hasn’t happened since the middle ages. He’s quitting. He’s announced he will resign February 28 and abdicate. If he were a CEO, would this be a good move? Marketplace points out that really the Pope is like a CEO.

If you think of him as the CEO of a global faith, the move can be seen as bold, forward-thinking management.

Marketplace has a complete analysis on why it thinks it is a good move and why some church insiders agree. Click here to learn more.

ARE ‘USEFUL’ INTERNET ADS COMING BACK?
There was a time in the 90’s during the beginning of the Internet when ads were actually useful and didn’t actually sell but rather “helped people” become informed, according to one ad guru. His name is Joe McCamby and his company, Modern Media, developed the first banner ads.

At a time when people wondered what the Web was all about, it connected visitors of hotwired.com to a tour of seven of the world’s finest art museums. It demonstrated how AT&T could transport people through space and time via the Internet — just as AT&T had done 100 years earlier with the first long distance network. Of those who saw the ad, 44% clicked.

Writing for Harvard Business Review’s Blog Network McCamby says, “Not only did people love the experience, they loved it enough to share it with friends. We were blown away. ‘People don’t share ads,’ we told ourselves. ‘They share candy bars, and Coca-Cola, and porch swings.’ It was the first time I heard the word “viral” applied positively. We were on to something.”

But as mainstream media began reaching for a slice of the Internet pie, things changed.

By 1998, though, spending on Internet advertising had grown to the point where the established agencies woke up. Innovative shops like Modern Media, Razorfish, and Agency.com were snapped up. Before long, content and utility were corrupted by the only thing big agencies understood: reach and frequency. We were back to delivering what TV spots, radio spots, and print ads had delivered for years: sales messages. The rest, as they say, is history.

But McCamby says there is a “Perfect storm brewing that will give us all the chance to redeem ourselves, and change the course of advertising forever.”

Find out what he means and where Storms #1, #2, and #3 will take us by surfing this link.

WARREN BUFFETT PLAYS ‘KETCHUP’
Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world, and he just got a lot richer by buying one of America’s classic brands, Heinz.

On Thursday he announced that, along with investor 3G Capital, he would buy HJ Heinz, famous for its ketchup and beans, for $28 billion. The offer of $72.50 a share represents a premium of 20% over its stock market price. Heinz’s boss, William Johnson, described it as the largest transaction in the history of the food business.

Get all the inside details on the historic deal by clicking on this link from The Economist.

COMPARING STATE OF THE UNION SPEECHES
The modern tradition of delivering an oral State of the Union message to Congress began in 1934. Compare how often presidents used selected words in their addresses.

The Wall Street Journal compares the speeches of JFK and Eisenhower, plus it provides a special graphic break-down of President Obama’s State of the Union speeches from 2009 as compared to this year’s on such topics as energy, spending/taxes, war/peace.

Click this link for the full analysis and some nifty graphics.

CONSERVATIVE GROUP WANTS SEQUESTER TO TAKE EFFECT
Americans for Prosperity is campaigning to “let the sequester take effect in March.”

The campaign, dubbed the Spending Accountability Project, will build on technology and techniques that the group deployed to criticize President Obama’s policies ahead of his 2012 reelection. The group’s activists will use campaign tactics including phone banks and door-to-door canvassing with tablet computers to push conservatives to contact their congressional representatives in as many as 40 districts nationwide.

What actually is the sequester and who is Americans for Prosperity?  How does this group plan to extend its influence further to GOP political campaigns?

The Washington Post has full details on how these moves will pit “one of the best-funded political groups head-to-head with rivals on the left and the right.” Click here to read more.

THE POLL IS IN ON FIVE-DAY MAIL DELIVERY
Recently the U.S. Postal System announced it would halt Saturday mail delivery to help stop the bleeding after “the agency lost $15.9 billion last fiscal year.”

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe’s decision to move forward with five-day delivery looks like an attempt to circumvent Congress’s long-standing resistance to the plan, which the Postal Service believes will save about $2 billion annually.

The poll is not without controversy as it “found ‘substantial racial differences’ in opinions about the proposed change.”

Click here for the poll numbers and complete story from the Washington Post.

THIRSTING FOR ATTENTION
It’s gone viral and has been constant fodder for late-night comedians. And it all started over a needed quick sip of water.

Marco Rubio fell into the orchestra pit this week.

This sometimes happens to politicians and performers. Who often are the same people.

Rubio, a senator from Florida, gave the official Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Even though Rubio is only 41 and relatively new to the national stage, he did just fine. For 11 minutes. And then he got thirsty.

Politico’s Roger Simon has all the dry details that happened from that point, plus the video.

WATER DOWN THE WHISKEY TO MAKE IT LAST
That sounds like a country song, but it’s really true. Because sales of bourbon from Kentucky are growing by “triple digits” one of its biggest and most popular makers is watering it down, or lowering the proof, to make it last.

For whiskey to be labeled bourbon, it has to be made from at least 51 percent corn, distilled at no higher than 160 proof, and be aged in a white oak barrel. It doesn’t have to be made in Kentucky, but it does have to be made in the U.S.

Michael Veach is the author of “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage.”

In recent years bourbon has been on a roll. “The problem is that these last 10 years the industry has been growing faster than anyone thought it would,” Veach says.

Find out from Marketplace Business which company hasn’t made enough bourbon to keep up with the demand and whether there is a supply problem throughout the industry at this link.

BIONIC EYE IS HERE
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first bionic eye.

The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, made by Second Sight Medical Products, of Sylmar, Calif., is for treatment of late-stage retinitis pigmentosa, which damages cells of the retina and causes blindness.

Learn more about this remarkable device and how it will work by going to this link from USA Today.

A CONVERSATION WITH THE EAGLES
They have a story to tell. Glen Frey and Don Henley are two of the founding members of the Eagles, one of America’s all-time favorite and best-selling bands that broke up once and then reunited.

This story is told in unflinching detail in a new documentary, “History of the Eagles,” directed by Alison Ellwood and produced by Alex Gibney (the Oscar-winning director of “Taxi to the Dark Side”). It will be broadcast in two parts on Showtime, on Friday and Saturday. Mr. Frey and Mr. Henley, who gave the filmmakers free rein to interview friends, rivals and bandmates past and present, spoke recently to ArtsBeat.

If you are a fan of the Eagles, you will love excerpts posted by the New York Times from a conversation where Frey and Henley talk “about their lives in a lane faster than anyone could have suspected.” Click here and take it easy – or take it to the limit.

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