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Constitution's 'excessive fines' ban bolstered by U.S. high court
Wed, 20 Feb 2019 16:27:00 -0500
Constitution's 'excessive fines' ban bolstered by U.S. high courtThe nine justices ruled unanimously in favor of an Indiana man named Tyson Timbs who argued that police violated his rights by seizing his $42,000 Land Rover vehicle after he was convicted as a heroin dealer. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, back on the bench for a second straight day after undergoing lung cancer surgery in December, wrote the court's opinion, which clarified the applicability of the "excessive fines" prohibition contained in the Constitution's Eighth Amendment. "For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history.
Obama joined by Curry to tell minority boys 'you matter'
Wed, 20 Feb 2019 10:21:46 -0500
Obama joined by Curry to tell minority boys 'you matter'OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry told a roomful of minority boys on Tuesday that they matter and urged them to make the world a better place.
Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders Have a Plan to Kill the Stock Market
Wed, 20 Feb 2019 06:30:43 -0500
Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders Have a Plan to Kill the Stock MarketSenators Chuck Schumer of New York and Bernie Sanders of Vermont want to penalize “self-indulgent” corporations that buy back their own stock. In a recent article in the New York Times, they argued that when companies repurchase shares, not only do the vast majority of Americans not benefit, but income inequality is exacerbated since only wealthy shareholders and corporate management profit.Despite decades of extraordinary success that the United States has enjoyed and that we enjoy today, Schumer and Sanders believe that something sinister is taking place in the corporate world. They call buybacks a form of “corporate self-indulgence.” Why? Because> corporate boardrooms have become obsessed with maximizing only shareholder earnings to the detriment of workers and the long-term strength of their companies. . . . Companies, rather than investing in ways to make their businesses more resilient or their workers more productive, have been dedicating ever larger shares of their profits to dividends and corporate repurchases.Now even some Republicans are getting on board. Florida senator Marco Rubio has suggested changes in the tax law to discourage buybacks because he says they “inflate” the prices of stock “at the expense of future productivity & job creation.”These senators don’t seem to fully understand that the purpose of a business is to allocate resources in a way that maximizes per share results over the long run. To think that this can be achieved at the expense of workers, at the expense of investing in research, at the expense of developing new and better products, at the expense of investing in equipment to both lower the cost and increase the quality of production, etc. is sophomoric. This underscores their lack of knowledge about investing and financial markets.Companies have several options with regard to the use of excess cash. They can (1) retain the funds in the company, (2) invest in the capital needed to grow the company, (3) make acquisitions, (4) pay out the excess cash in the form of dividends, or (5) repurchase shares from existing shareholders.These senators see little value in share buybacks, but they should listen to Warren Buffett, who is unequivocally a long-term investor. His financial success is a result of making exceptional long-term investments in resilient companies. Unlike Schumer and Sanders, Buffett is an enthusiastic proponent of utilizing excess cash to repurchase shares when conditions are favorable (or opportune).Here is what he said in his 1984 annual report: “The companies in which we have our largest investments are all engaged in significant share repurchases at the times when a wide discrepancy exists between price and value.” He has made this point repeatedly throughout the years. These companies repurchase shares and continue to grow, continue to invest in research, in capital that will improve the quality and lower the cost of products. He has even bought back $1 billion of shares of his own company, Berkshire Hathaway, not because he is “self-indulgent” but because he thinks the firm is undervalued.Schumer and Sanders—and in some cases they are joined by Rubio—provide two main reasons we are in a stock buyback “crisis”:> First, stock buybacks don’t benefit the vast majority of Americans.> > Second, when corporations direct resources to buy back shares on this scale, they restrain their capacity to reinvest profits more meaningfully in the company in terms of R&D, equipment, higher wages, paid medical leave, retirement benefits and worker retraining.The first point is utter nonsense. More than 100 million average Americans own stock. Americans invest in mutual funds and index funds and buy and sell stock every day. Tens of millions more have 401K plans, and most union pension funds have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in stocks.The second point is equally absurd. A corporate board of directors is elected by shareholders, the owners of the company. When a board makes the decision to repurchase shares, it is a sign of confidence in the firm’s long-term profitability. It raises share values, which obviously benefits shareholders and puts firms in better financial shape — which also benefits the employees. Essentially, Schumer and Sanders believe, and Rubio seems to believe, that they have the right to tell the owners of a corporation the best way to allocate their profits.Studies show that firms that buy back their own shares have strong long-term growth.Consider Apple. It has become the most valuable company in the world. This exceptional success was achieved because of the enormous investments they made to develop revolutionary products. Companies cannot develop revolutionary products by underpaying talented workers or without investing billions of dollars in research, factories, and equipment. Not incidentally, Apple has repurchased billions of dollars of its own stock.The hyper-competitiveness and efficiency of U.S. companies is a major reason that unemployment is at a near 50-year low. Today, no company can survive if its workers are treated poorly. Walmart, which Schumer and Sanders attacked in their article, and many other companies recently raised their wage rates substantially, starting with entry-level positions.What is most disturbing about Schumer and Sanders’s proposal is their hubris in believing that they know how every company should handle its excess cash better than the CEOs, the boards of directors, and shareholders do. That is a rather all-encompassing statement. One would be hard-pressed to find a more vivid example of what Friedrich Hayek called “the fatal conceit,” the distorted notion that one knows more than is knowable. Would Buffett invest in a company if Schumer and Sanders were in charge of allocating its resources?We doubt it. Who in their right mind would?If approved, what Schumer and Sanders propose would not only hurt U.S. companies. It would harm the entire U.S. economy and financial system. It would raise the cost of capital for companies. What they advocate would tell domestic and foreign investors that our government is interfering with how companies allocate their resources.What is the difference between going after a large company with lots of shareholders and a small company with one owner? How long before Senators Schumer and Sanders tell the tire-shop owner that he has not paid his employees enough and that therefore he has withdrawn too much of the profit as an owner distribution?Every shareholder and business owner in America should rise up in loud protest against what these senators are proposing.Thomas A. Smith is the president of the Smith Foundation and ran a successful investment company for 40 years. Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks.
Trump attacks on press 'dangerous' and 'reckless': NYT publisher
Wed, 20 Feb 2019 12:52:58 -0500
Trump attacks on press 'dangerous' and 'reckless': NYT publisherUS President Donald Trump's attacks on the press are "reckless" and "dangerous" and threaten to encourage violence against journalists at home and abroad, the publisher of The New York Times warned on Wednesday. "America's founders believed that a free press was essential to democracy because it is the foundation of an informed, engaged citizenry," A.G. Sulzberger said in a statement. Previous US presidents "had complaints about their coverage and at times took advantage of the freedom every American has to criticize journalists," Sulzberger said.
Southwest Airlines cancels nearly 400 flights as maintenance woes, winter storms linger
Thu, 21 Feb 2019 21:07:20 -0500
Southwest Airlines cancels nearly 400 flights as maintenance woes, winter storms lingerThe airline continues to have a higher-than-usual number of aircraft out of service due to maintenance and is dealing with snow in Las Vegas.
With Top Investor in Jail, Putin Hits at Business Climate
Wed, 20 Feb 2019 08:21:10 -0500
With Top Investor in Jail, Putin Hits at Business Climate(Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said honest business people shouldn’t have to live under “constant fear of criminal prosecution,” days after the arrest of one of the country’s top foreign investors.
French TV cuts Facebook live feed from Jewish cemetery after anti-Semitic abuse
Wed, 20 Feb 2019 16:47:41 -0500
French TV cuts Facebook live feed from Jewish cemetery after anti-Semitic abuseA French TV channel said on Wednesday it had been forced to cut short a live Facebook broadcast from a desecrated Jewish cemetery in eastern France because of an onslaught of anti-Semitic commentary. "Our country is confronted with a resurgence of anti-Semitism undoubtedly without precedent since the Second World War," President Emmanuel Macron said later on Tuesday in an annual speech to Jewish leaders in France. France 3 television said it went live from the first cemetery in the village of Quatzenheim on Tuesday as President Emmanuel Macron was visiting to pay his respects after more than 90 graves were vandalised with swastikas and anti-Semitic abuse.
Meet the 'New' F-21 Fighter: An F-16 On Steroids (With F-22 and F-35 DNA)?
Wed, 20 Feb 2019 20:00:00 -0500
Meet the 'New' F-21 Fighter: An F-16 On Steroids (With F-22 and F-35 DNA)?Is this the fighter India needs?
Canada looks to reunite Syrian family after fire claims seven kids
Thu, 21 Feb 2019 13:18:33 -0500
Canada looks to reunite Syrian family after fire claims seven kidsCanada is looking to quickly bring over siblings of a Syrian refugee distraught over the loss of her seven children in a Halifax house fire, the prime minister said Thursday. "The immigration minister is seized with this particular case," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when asked if Ottawa would fast-track the immigration or asylum process to bring the woman's brothers to Canada in order to provide her with family support. The family was among tens of thousands of Syrian refugees welcomed by Canada over the past four years.
Courtroom video shows man punch own attorney after sentencing
Thu, 21 Feb 2019 11:18:06 -0500
Courtroom video shows man punch own attorney after sentencingCourtroom video shows a man attacking his own attorney after he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 47 years.
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Gamers prove their metal as rock stars
Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:27:09 EST
Jess Hu is a child care provider from Brooklyn, New York, but for 20 hours a week, she's a rock star. That's how much she estimates she plays the video game "Rock Band."
Comedian is living in an Ikea store
Tue, 08 Jan 2008 20:23:26 EST
Texas town hopes to become UFO landing spot
Wed, 23 Jan 2008 09:39:56 EST
Governor's son sells 'Don't Drop the Soap'
Mon, 28 Jan 2008 11:05:59 EST
Cops snag lotto ticket from accused drug dealer
Mon, 21 Jan 2008 10:51:26 EST
Politician cuts the fat with photo fakery
Sat, 19 Jan 2008 13:56:45 EST
Puppy vs. polar cub for cuteness title
Mon, 14 Jan 2008 09:56:18 EST
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