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Member since: Sat Aug 28, 2010, 10:23 AM
Number of posts: 3,201

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Apple could bail out Greece and do good for itself at the same time.

just saw this and thought it would be interesting .... comments.


Back in 2012, an investor attending Apple's general meeting asked Tim Cook, the chief executive officer, if he'd ever considered using the company's growing cash stash -- $97.6 billion at that point -- to acquire Greece. "We've looked into many things," but not that, Cook replied. Of course, entire countries can't be bought -- not even in novels, it seems. In Iain Banks's "The Business," such a deal fell through, even though the acquisition target was an obscure Himalayan monarchy, not an old democracy like Greece.


So everyone had a laugh and moved on. Things briefly got better for Greece when it received the biggest bailout in history, and private creditors agreed to a haircut. But its economy still failed to grow, and the country's debt burden, at 175 percent of economic output, remained unsustainable. Apple, in the meantime, more than doubled its hoard, which now amounts $194 billion in cash and equivalents. The company has been paying generous dividends and buying back stock, but the cash pile keeps growing. There's no way to invest it all. For years, Cook has been talking about mind-blowing products his company has in the pipeline, but he's only managed to come up with incremental improvements to existing products, an average streaming music service and an overpriced smartwatch, and these haven't required much capital. Unless Apple starts building cars -- or perhaps spaceships -- it will keep accumulating cash.
As will other big U.S. companies. Non-financial American firms hold $1.73 trillion in cash, 4 percent more than they had a year ago, and $1.1 trillion of that belongs to the 50 biggest companies, according to a recent report from Moody's Investor Services. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Pfizer and Cisco have stockpiled $439 billion.


Most of that money sits overseas, because if it were repatriated, it would be subject to a 35 percent U.S. tax. Spending it, or even giving it back to shareholders, is a pain. No one expects the U.S. to reform its tax system and resolve this issue anytime soon.
Greece needs about 190 billion euros ($212 billion) to bring down its debt to the manageable level of 70 percent of gross domestic product. That's about 48 percent of the five companies' combined cash stash. For paying down the debt, Greece could reward the firms with a special deal on corporate taxes, somewhat like the one Apple now enjoys in Ireland. That sweetheart deal is being investigated by the European Union and is probably doomed. Yet Greece's case is different: The EU, as one of the country's biggest creditors, might be inclined to make a special dispensation to the American companies for helping solve the Greek problem. The U.S. might have some objections, but, as the biggest shareholder in the International Monetary Fund, it, too, stands to lose money if Greece defaults, and the destabilization brought on by a Grexit is certainly not in U.S. interests.


In exchange for less than half of their cash -- and just 13 percent more than it would cost to pay U.S. taxes -- the companies would receive an indefinite, ironclad guarantee of low taxes on non-U.S. operations. Not a bad deal.
Greece, for its part, would get debt relief, plus the companies' European headquarters. Many executives would probably welcome the move to a warm seaside, and Greece would have the beginnings of a powerful tech cluster, which would draw in other companies and create service jobs. With such help, the Greek government could probably afford to be less austere than its creditors want it to be. But it would still need to reform inefficient public services and become more business-friendly, or risk missing out on the obvious benefits of working with the tech titans.

more at the link.

NC cop gets burned by free starbucks coffee and sues ...


I would love to by on this jury .....

RALEIGH, N.C. — A Raleigh police officer who got a free cup of Starbucks coffee is suing the company for $50,000 after he spilled it and got burned.

WRAL-TV (http://bit.ly/1GXc10R ) reports attorneys said in court Monday that Matthew Kohr should be compensated for burns, blisters and emotional damage caused after the officer spilled a cup of coffee in his lap in 2012.
Kohr says in the lawsuit the lid popped off a cup of coffee he ordered at a Raleigh Starbucks and the cup collapsed. Kohr claims the incident caused such severe stress it activated his Crohn's disease which resulted in surgery to remove part of his intestine. The lawsuit also claims Kohr's wife, Melanie, lost a "source of emotional support, her social companion and her intimate partner."

wish this could happen here. cosmetic testing on animals banned in NZ.


New Zealand has recently joined ranks with the 28 countries of the European Union, Israel, India, and the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo by declaring that ‘there is no use for testing cosmetics on animals – ever’.
The latest move of New Zealand’s government is to ban animal testing for “finished cosmetic products and their ingredients” – which has never happened in the country – and now, likely never will.


The amendment to the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill passed a debate phase on Tuesday, and is now expected to be enacted into law within the coming weeks. The Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, applauded the symbolic move.
“To the best of our knowledge, there has never been any animal testing for cosmetics in New Zealand, but this amendment will send an important message this kind of testing is unacceptable to New Zealanders and will never happen here,” Guy said, according to a press release.


New Zealand is a very unpopular place for animal testing according to a recent poll. A survey conducted found that 89 percent of adults in the country do not support the practice. Cosmetic testing, which can involve rubbing chemicals onto animals’ shaved skin or dripping toxins into their eyes, is widely considered to be a cruel practice – regardless if the animal is a guinea pig, rabbit, rat, or other small critter.

just found this


From CO teacher, this just breaks my heart.


A Colorado elementary school teacher's simple lesson to get to know her third graders has turned into a social media campaign after she learned most of her students lead heartbreaking lives.
Kyle Schwartz, a new teacher at Doull Elementary in Denver, was touched by the painful secrets her students revealed after she asked them to write down something they would like her to know about them.

"I wish my teacher knew I don't have (pencils) at home to do my homework," one youngster wrote.
"I wish my teacher knew I don't have friend to (play) with me," another shared.
"I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad because he got deported to Mexico when I was 3 years old and I haven't seen him in 6 years," read another.

Most of her class comes from underprivileged homes, Schwartz told ABC News.
"Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch," she said. "As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students' lives and how to best support them.
“I just felt like there was something I didn't know about my students."
Schwartz, who has been teaching for three years, is now encouraging other instructors to reach out to their students through an #IWishMyTeacherKnew social media campaign.

any word on the race in Israel?

last I looked it was said to be too close to call.

to who ever gave me a heart ... thank you very much ... :D nt

Dish network gets slapped ...


this needs to happen more ...

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Dish Network violated the “Do Not Call” registry tens of millions of times. Even phone numbers on the company’s internal do-not-call list received prerecorded telemarketing messages pitching satellite television programming and services.


A federal judge issued a partial summary judgment, making the finding that those calls violated federal rules, but left open such questions as what potential penalty the satellite-TV provider could face. Penalties for violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule can be up to $16,000 for each instance.
A trial is set for July in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. The government first lodged a complaint against Dish in 2009.

new years eve meals ..

I have found different areas of the country usually has different kinds
of meals. my mother, a norwegian by birth, would have Kraut and Herring .
here in NC they have black eyed peas and collards.

what about you and yours.

one way to have fun with sheep.

WAPO whites more confident that police treat blacks fairly.


WTF is in the water .... something is seriously wrong ....

The image of America’s police departments has been tarnished in recent months, with shootings and chokings of unarmed black men sparking nationwide protests charging racial bias.


An NBC News/Marist College poll released Sunday found 52 percent of whites saying they have a “great deal” of confidence that police officers in their community treat blacks and whites equally. That is 11 points higher than in a September NBC/Wall Street Journal poll asking the same question (albeit using a different polling firm). It also clearly exceeds levels of trust seen in a series of Pew Research Center and USA Today/Gallup surveys dating to 2007, as well as another NBC/WSJ poll conducted after the O.J. Simpson verdict in 1995.


There’s been no such boon in confidence among African Americans, though. Just 12 percent express a great deal of confidence in local police’s equal treatment of blacks and whites -- a number that is squarely within the 10-to-17-point range in previous surveys. Only one-third have at least a “fair amount” of confidence in their neighborhood police, compared with 78 percent of whites.
One possibility is that whites broadly believe white police officers had good intentions in recent deadly altercations and sympathize with them following protests and accusations of racism. National polls are consistent with this view, especially before the acquittal in Eric Garner’s death after an officer put him in a chokehold.


But another possibility is that whites do see major problems in recent police shootings in Ferguson, Cleveland and Staten Island, but don’t see them reflecting negatively about their own neighborhood’s police. It’s easy to see how a “this doesn’t happen in my town” logic could bolster whites’ faith in their own police force, who might seem much more competent in comparison to departments embroiled in accusations of racism. (It's kind of the same way with your local congressman. While Congress as a whole is generally held in very poor repute, people are much more forgiving of their own member -- and almost always reelect him or her.)

more at the link.
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