Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

Voters Hate Congress, And Sequestration Will Make Them Even Madder

By Loren Thompson, Contributor

The public’s approval ratings for Congress have fallen to the lowest level in two decades, with an average of only 16% of respondents in surveys saying they like the job legislators are doing.  76% say they don’t approve, and in one particularly ominous poll conducted during mid-July by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, just 32% of those surveyed said their own representatives deserved to be reelected. 57% say they’d like to get rid of everybody in Congress and start over. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Samsung said to be in talks to acquire German Novaled

Samsung is reportedly in talks to acquire German organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology developer Novaled.

A Novaled representative declined to comment on reports that Samsung is offering more than US$200 million for the company, but she did say it may have an announcement to make in a few days.

A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter and referred to Samsung affiliate Cheil Industries, also known as Samsung Chemical, which would acquire Novaled, according to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. Cheil Technologies did not respond to a request for comment.

Novaled develops technologies and materials that enhance the performance of OLEDs and other organic electronics and sells them to manufacturers of display products.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Obama to GOP: Let's Cut Corporate Taxes

By Kevin Spak

President Obama has a new “grand bargain” for Republicans, though it’s a little less grand this time around. In a speech today, Obama will offer to overhaul the corporate tax code, reducing the rate and reaping a onetime windfall in the process, the Wall Street Journal reports. In exchange, the… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Howard Dean: ObamaCare's Price-Fixing Is Doomed

By Kevin Spak

Howard Dean isn’t toeing the party line when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Dean praises parts of the law, but takes aim at one of its key provisions: “the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board,” that will determine what rates Medicare will pay… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Health

BMW Launches Its First Electric Vehicle, While U.S. EV Sales Double In First Six Months of 2013

By Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Contributor

The positive trend continues for electric vehicles.  Today, BMW unveiled its first mass-produced electric vehicle, the BMW i3, which is expected to reach U.S. markets in 2014, at a cost just over $41,000 (before incentives or federal tax credit).  For customers wanting to tackle the issue of ‘range anxiety’ – the fear of running out of electric charge – another $4,000 will get you a small gasoline-powered back-up motor.  BMW’s Chief Executive Norbert Reinhofer is quoted in the Wall Street  Journal as positioning the firm for the coming decades.  In order to comply with current and anticipated regulations, Reithofer indicated “we need about 30% plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles for the year 2025.” …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Shutting Down The Vital Organs Of Your Healthcare System

By Doug Book

Health Inspector 202x300 Shutting Down the Vital Organs of Your Healthcare System

Anyone not convinced by now that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was fashioned by those in pursuit of greater power rather than better healthcare apparently doesn’t know that the law features a section which deliberately shuts down many of the best and most effective healthcare providers in the nation. Thanks to a deal forged by ObamaCare’s Democrat authors and associations which represent many of  the nation’s largest hospitals, all clinics, treatment facilities and hospitals owned by physicians are being effectively driven out of business.

For years the nation’s critical care hospitals have been unable to successfully compete with the smaller, more specialized, doctor-owned and operated facilities. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “…many physician-owned hospitals have enjoyed profit margins of 20 to 35 percent in recent years. Meanwhile, community hospitals had profits of just 7 percent in 2010.”  (1)

But rather than worry about finding a way to match the quality of care and services offered by the physician-owned operations, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals struck a deal with Mr. Obama. The hospital groups agreed to go all in, right from the very beginning with unconditional support for ObamaCare in return for language in the ACA which would prevent existing doctor-owned hospitals modernizing and expanding, or new doctor-owned facilities being built at all! (2)

How will this scheme work out for patients?

Each year, the federal government rewards hospitals which provide the highest quality patient care according to the government’s own statistics. In 2012, the No. 1 hospital on the government’s list “… was physician-owned Treasure Valley Hospital in Boise, Idaho. Nine of the top 10 performing hospitals were physician-owned, as were 48 of the top 100.” (3) There are only 238 physician-owned hospitals in the US, yet of the more than 3000 hospital entries catalogued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, this small group occupied 48 of the top 100 spots!

Remember, thanks to the promise of ObamaCare, MORE patients will be coming on board, needing “quality healthcare” after the 1st day of 2014, NOT fewer! Effectively shutting down existing providers–many of them the highest quality providers in their area–seems to make little sense. How can this be reconciled with the Barack promise of better healthcare for more people?

It can’t! But then again the Affordable Care Act has little to with the dispensing of healthcare. And that of course is the point.

Authors of the Act made certain that federal agencies would amass and share an unprecedented amount of personal information about each ObamaCare participant while select healthcare officials would enjoy the power of life and death over every patient. For a political regime dedicated to the proposition of rule through intimidation, such an arrangement represents the true heart of the Affordable Care Act. It is for these reasons–reasons of power and control– that the left believe the existence of ObamaCare and its long-term viability MUST be guaranteed regardless of cost or legality.

In fact no inevitable ObamaCare “trainwreck,” may be permitted to interfere with the long …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Pope Francis On Gays: Who Am I To Judge Them?

By The Huffington Post News Editors

Pope Francis has had a busy week at World Youth Day in Rio as he visited his slums and prisons, blessed the Olympic flag and brought three million people to Copacabana Beach for a final Mass on Sunday morning.

Now, Pope Francis has made another headline, this time when the pontiff said, “Who am I to judge a gay person?”

While taking questions from reporters on the plane back to Rome, Francis spoke about gays and the reported “gay lobby.” According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pope’s comments about homosexuality came in the context of a question about gay priests.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Another Terrifying Plane Landing

By Ruth Brown

Another dramatic plane landing, this time at LaGuardia Airport in New York, where the landing gear on a Southwest plane collapsed. Many news outlets are reporting “several” passengers are injured—the Wall Street Journal puts the figure at 10 ( CNN says five), and says six have been sent to… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Vivendi Pulling Billions From Activision for Debt?

Activision parent company Vivendi is reportedly looking to draw billions of dollars from Activision’s cash funds in order to pay its own debt. According to the Wall Street Journal, Vivendi is considering voting on pulling roughly $3 billion from Activision’s cash reserves by way of a “special dividend,” netting about $2 billion due to its 60% stake in the publisher.

Back in May, Activision reported that it has no debt and $4.6 billion in cash, meaning Vivendi’s withdrawal would take a significant chunk out of the company’s assets. Since Activision’s cash isn’t entirely held in the U.S., the Journal points out that “Activision Blizzard would have to raise debt of its own to fund such a dividend.” Specifically, “$2.7 billion of that cash is held offshore, and would be subject to U.S. taxes if repatriated, according to company filings.”

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at IGN Video Games

13-inch Apple iPad May Be in the Works

ipads

Apple may be working on a larger iPad model, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Officials at the company’s suppliers have allegedly stated that Apple has requested screen designs for a tablet device sporting a display just under 13 inches. Prototype iPhones with larger screens are purportedly also in the works, consistent with a previous report by Reuters suggesting that Apple was exploring the possibility of 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch versions of its smartphone.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at IGN Tech

JPMorgan May Pay $500M Fine in Energy Con: Report

By Kevin Spak

JPMorgan is considering paying a record $500 million settlement over allegations that California and other states paid its power plants to not produce electricity, the Wall Street Journal reports. The alleged scheme is simple: The states promise to give energy providers “make whole” payments whenever they lose money firing up… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Reports: Edward Snowden seeks asylum in Russia

Edward Snowden, the leaker of documents that revealed National Security Agency surveillance programs, has submitted a request for temporary asylum in Russia and could be granted a decision within several weeks, according to news reports.

Snowden’s request was submitted Tuesday in an effort to evade persecution from the U.S. government that could bring with it torture or death, said Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s attorney, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. Russia’s Federal Migration Service is required by law to consider the application within three months, but a decision in Snowden’s case could be made in as soon as two to three weeks, the Journal said.

The request is being made for “temporary asylum,” not permanent political asylum, because the latter takes longer to consider, the AP said. Under Russian law, political asylum is granted by presidential decree and is not granted often, whereas temporary asylum is akin to refugee status and usually lasts for a renewable period of one year, reports said.

WikiLeaks, the nonprofit news-spilling organization that has been advising Snowden, could not be immediately reached to confirm the reports. Officials at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., as well as the Consulate General of Russia in San Francisco, also could not be reached.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

11-Year Gitmo Detainee: Please, Let Me Plead Guilty!

By Kevin Spak

Sufiyan Barhoumi is desperate to plead guilty to war crimes—but prosecutors won’t even charge him with anything unless he does them a favor first. Such is the twisted logic that prevails at Guantanamo Bay, where being convicted is the best route home, the Wall Street Journal reports. Barhoumi was… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Apple TV Service Will Reportedly Allow Ad Skipping

Rumors of an Apple television streaming service have been circulating for years, but according to numerous reports, the company has struggled when it comes to studio and service provider negotiations. Now, the Cupertino-based company has reportedly developed a new strategy — a premium subscription model that would allow users to skip ads. Citing sources familiar with the discussions, former Wall Street Journal editor Jessica Lessin says that Apple has told network executives that it plans to offer a premium version of its TV service, which would allow users to skip commercials. For the privilege, Apple will offer the studios unspecified compensation for the lost advertising viewership.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at IGN Movies

Woman Dead After iPhone Zap: Family

By Matt Cantor

The family of a 23-year-old Chinese woman says she was electrocuted when she answered her charging iPhone. The story has prompted an investigation into the death by Apple as it makes waves on Chinese social media, the Wall Street Journal reports. A local official says Ma Ailun’s “neck had an… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Eliot Spitzer Sued By Hank Greenberg, Former AIG CEO, For Defamation

By The Huffington Post News Editors

One of Eliot Spitzer’s old Wall Street adversaries has slapped him with a lawsuit just as the former New York governor is trying to mount his political comeback.

Former American International Group CEO <a target=_blank href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323740804578602180595381040.html
” target=”_hplink”>Maurice “Hank” Greenberg is suing Spitzer for defamation, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Baseball Games Contain About 18 Minutes of Baseball

By Kevin Spak

Tune in at any given point in a baseball game, and there is a very good chance you are going to see people standing around doing nothing. That’s because an average three-hour baseball game contains roughly 18 minutes of actual action, at least according to an unscientific Wall Street Journal… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Great Finds

Why Congress Is Targeting These Dividend Favorites

By Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

Image source:

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Investors have flooded into high-yielding dividend stocks to get more income from their portfolios. But now, Congress is looking at potentially taking a bigger piece of the profits that popular high-yielding real estate investment trusts earn, as a Wall Street Journal report explains how the House Ways and Means Committee is looking at potentially revoking a big tax advantage that they’ve enjoyed for years. If Congress follows through, investors would likely be left paying the price.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

What are REITs?
Real estate investment trusts were almost unknown 15 years ago. But between the housing boom and the parallel rise in commercial real estate that largely continued until the 2008 financial crisis hit, REITs have attracted a substantial following among income-seeking investors.

The benefit that REITs enjoy over most companies is that REITs don’t have to pay corporate taxes. Instead, they’re required to pay at least 90% of their taxable income to their shareholders, who then have to pay individual income tax on what they receive. That may sound onerous, but the net result is to avoid the double taxation that most corporations face, paying tax at the corporate level and still leaving investors to pay taxes on their dividends.

Because of the requirement to pay out the vast majority of their income, REITs often have extremely high dividend payouts. Mortgage REITs ARMOUR Residential and Chimera Investment use leveraged strategies to produce yields well in excess of 10%, while Omega Healthcare and Senior Housing Properties Trust , which specialize in long-term care facilities and other properties catering to older residents, both have yields between 5% and 6%.

Why are REITs under fire?
Congress has been looking at a number of potential revenue-raising measures lately, so provisions that involve corporate tax breaks are a natural place to look. Moreover, many companies have been looking to take advantage of REIT status for all or a part of their operations, leading to concerns that the REIT format is being abused. Forest-products and timber giant Weyerhaeuser converted itself to a REIT back in 2010, using its extensive timberland holdings as justification for the move. But recently, even casino operator Penn National Gaming has looked into putting its real-property holdings into a separate REIT as a possible tax-savings mechanism, with the company having gained the support of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board last week to take the step toward REIT status.

One reason REITs aren’t in as much danger as other beneficiaries of tax breaks is that the revenue impact from revoking REIT status isn’t as large as one might think. Currently, REIT investors pay ordinary tax rates on distributions, which can be as much as 20 percentage points higher than the rates that would apply to dividends if the favorable REIT tax status were revoked. The federal government would collect corporate taxes from the former REITs directly, but the net

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Why Unions Want to Cut Retiree Pension Benefits

By Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

The PBGC steps in to make payments to pensioners when pension plans fail. Source: PBGC.

Unfortunately, the

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Underfunded pension plans represent one of the biggest potential financial problems facing the nation. Despite rising challenges over the past several years in meeting pension obligations, most pension plans have remained committed to making good on the promises they had already made to retired pensioners, following the federal law that protect retirees against benefit reductions.

Now, though, retiree pension benefits could be at risk for the first time in decades. As a recent Wall Street Journal report explained, unions and employers have gotten together to recommend changes to the nearly 40-year-old laws governing pension plans that cover workers from multiple employers. Those changes would make it possible for plans to reduce existing benefits paid to current retirees.

Us vs. them
The dilemma that pension plans face right now is a difficult one. Although many pension plans have been diligent in maintaining adequate funding levels to finance the promises they’ve made, an increasing number of plans are falling behind. With scores of pension plans on a path toward failing entirely, cutting pension benefits now could allow the plans to survive longer, benefiting current workers and relatively new retirees at the expense of older retirees.

Yet the policy behind protecting retirees is still as strong as ever. After you retire, you have almost no ability to replace lost income from declining pension payments from other sources. Conversely, current workers can still take steps to boost their personal savings to plan for an anticipated reduction in future pension benefits.

Indeed, most private companies have followed the strategy of protecting current pensioners while removing benefits from future workers. Over the past several years, IBM , Verizon , and countless other major employers have frozen existing pension plans, keeping them in place for employees that already earned benefits from them. New hires, however, were shunted into 401(k) plans and similar defined-contribution plans, which carry far less risk for the employer.

In addition, failing private companies have often relied on the federal Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation to step in and protect their workers. In the past, US Airways and United Airlines, now merged into United Continental , have seen the PBGC take over certain pension-plan obligations to provide benefits to their workers as part of the airlines’ respective bankruptcy proceedings. Under the PBGC, certain former workers whose benefits fall above a maximum benefit level have seen their payments cut, but many have gotten full restoration of their pensions.

The PBGC steps in to make payments to pensioners when pension plans fail. Source: PBGC.

Unfortunately, the PBGC has had financial problems of its own for years. The premiums the PBGC collects from employers haven’t been sufficient to avoid a funding deficit of about $34 billion, and it anticipates rising rates of pension insolvencies to push that deficit much higher in the coming decade. As a result, lawmakers will be more receptive to union and employer proposals that could reduce any potential

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance