Warren Buffett And Newspapers: Infatuation Or Cold Calculation?

Warren Buffett SC 300x226 Warren Buffett and Newspapers: Infatuation or Cold Calculation?

“For most newspapers in the United states, we would not buy them at any price,” -Warren Buffett in 2009.

“I’ve loved newspapers all my life — and always will…. Berkshire will probably purchase more papers in the next few years.” -Warren Buffett in 2012.

Will the real Warren Buffett please stand up? Is the Sage of Omaha a sentimentalist or a skeptic when it comes to newspapers?

Yes.

That the Berkshire Hathaway CEO has a particular soft spot in his heart for the medium has been clear since he picked up his hometown paper, the Omaha World-Herald, last fall, a purchase many wrote off as a charitable act.

Read More at Forbes. By Jeff Bercovici.

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Buffett’s Berkshire To Buy Media General Papers

Warren Buffett SC 300x226 Buffetts Berkshire To Buy Media General Papers

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s company is making its largest foray into newspapers yet, agreeing to buy 63 papers from Media General Inc.

Richmond, Va.-based Media General says the $142 million deal includes the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal. The company is selling all its papers except those in Tampa, Fla., most importantly the Tampa Tribune. Media General says it is in talks with others for those papers.

Read More at OfficialWire. By Associated Press.

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Obama’s Bad Businessmen

Warren Buffett SC 300x226 Obamas Bad Businessmen

A slew of left-wing business moguls are on the skids thanks to poor investment decisions, questionable judgment, and accusations of bribery and cronyism.

Warren Buffett has lent his star power and his surname to President Barack Obama’s push for higher taxes, but his firm and its shareholders have not fared well during the Obama administration. Berkshire Hathaway has underperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index by an average of eight percent over the past three years.

Buffett is not the only famous presidential supporter to fall from business grace.

Television titan Oprah Winfrey appears to have lost the golden touch that helped make her the richest self-made women in America and propelled Barack Obama from up-and-coming Illinois senator to the nation’s first black president.

Bloomberg News reported earlier this month that the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) may have lost as much as $330 million since its launch due to poor ratings and lackluster demand.

Read More at freebeacon.com

Photo Credit: trackrecord (Creative Commons)

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Obama’s Downgrade May Last Until 2029

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

Obama scored another historical first on Friday, becoming the first president to see the U.S. credit rating downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, from AAA to AA+. While we hope his presidential reign lasts no longer than January 2013, Americans may have to live with the consequences of Obamanomics for more than a decade to come. The chairman of Standard & Poor’s sovereign debt ratings, John Chambers, told ABC’s This Week program on Sunday the United States could be stuck with the lower credit rating between nine and 18 years. “We’ve had five governments that lost their AAA that got it back,” he said. “The amount of time that it took for those five range from 9 years to 18 years.” He forecast that digging America out of the debt ditch “could take awhile,” and that it would require two things: “a stabilization of the debt as a share of the economy and eventual decline” and “more ability to reach consensus in Washington than what we’re observing now.”

The president’s commitment to deficit spending and unwillingness to make enforceable budget cuts leave a grim prognosis. But the outlook gets worse. As this author noted Friday, there is a chance America will be downgraded yet again. Chambers placed the odds of a future downgrade at one-in-three. Scoring a AA rating would place the Land of the Free on equal terms with Spain and Qatar.

These realities had Obama in full Alinsky mode during his 1 p.m. speech (which took place at two o’clock this afternoon). He opened by saying, while Tea Party intransigence forced S&P to cut our debt rating, “The markets, on the other hand, continue to believe our credit status is AAA.” To bolster his case, he added, “Warren Buffett, who knows a thing or two about good investments, said, ‘If there were a quadruple-A rating, I’d give the United States that.’” Even as he spoke, the stock market was in free fall. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 634.76 points this afternoon. The slide capped off a string of losses so severe that CNBC reports, on this eighth day of the month, “August is already on track to be the worst month for the S&P [500] and Nasdaq since Oct. 2008,” the first full month of the economic meltdown. And despite earning the Obama administration’s seal of approval, Standard & Poor’s marked down Buffett’s Birkshire Hathaway holding conglomerate from “stable” to “negative” today.

Obama’s Surrogates Savage the Savers

Democratic talking heads did their best to pin blame on their political opponents. This weekend, both David Axelrod and Sen. John Kerry repeated the phrase “Tea Party downgrade.”

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner eschewed presidential responsibility, as well. “Congress ultimately owns the credit rating of the United States,” he said. This would be true in the sense that Obama offered absolutely no leadership during the debate and presented no plan of his own but would overlook the president’s addiction to deficit spending and hostility to fiscal (or political) responsibility. Geithner, suddenly discovering the Founding Fathers, noted Congress has “the power of the purse in the Constitution.” That fact did not keep Geithner from publicly musing about having Obama unilaterally raise the debt ceiling in late June, leading to a chorus of Democrats demanding the president invoke the 14th Amendment to claim the power of the purse as his own.

Not everyone is reading from the same script, though. As usual, Bill and Hillary Clinton have taken the crisis to spin things in their favor. The Hill newspaper reports former Clinton administration appointees, who insisted on remaining anonymous, said Obama….

Read more.

Obama is the Charlie Sheen of Debt Addiction

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, FloydReports.com

Watching Charlie Sheen’s outbursts is a great entertainment for Americans. Here is a guy who has it all — fame, fortune, a great career — and it is all crashing in on him because of addiction.

We all know that Charlie Sheen is one 911 call from the morgue. He has made the ambulance trip before, and he doesn’t see it coming. Denial is a classic symptom of drug addiction.

Here is Charlie in his own words responding to a question about his drug and alcohol problems: “I’m different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man.”

Sheen is not dealing with reality and the concern of others around him doesn’t seem to register: “I’m dealing with fools and trolls. I’m dealing with soft targets, and it’s just strafing runs in my underwear before my first cup of coffee.”

Addiction does strange things to the mind. The same is true of America’s addiction to debt.

Americans have been warned many times about excessive debt. The latest warning in Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders is a prime example. Here is what Buffett concludes: “But leverage is addictive. Once having profited from its wonders, very few people retreat to more conservative practices. And as we all learned in third grade – and some relearned in 2008 – any series of positive numbers, however impressive the numbers may be, evaporates when multiplied by a single zero. History tells us that leverage all too often produces zeroes, even when it is employed by very smart people.”

Leverage has sent America to the emergency room already. We called it the financial crisis of 2008. But now in 2011, the problems of debt have faded in the minds of many, just as the problems caused by addiction don’t register in the mind of Charlie Sheen. But the danger hasn’t passed.

We believe the danger has increased. TARP and the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have socialized what were once private debts. Billions in private debts and risk were transferred from Wall Street to the taxpayers under the guise of a policy called “too big to fail.”

Now, with the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programs, America is merrily printing money….

Read more.