Freedom Eden has the report from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, ” Catholic Bishops’ Statement on Joe Biden’s Lies .” (At Memeorandum .) And here’s the new Romney ad, “Who Shares Your Values?”:
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Catholic Bishops Denounce Joe Biden’s ObamaCare Lies
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kevin Costner said his reputation was at stake as he defended himself against accusations that he cheated fellow actor Stephen Baldwin out of millions of dollars in a lucrative BP contract for oil-cleaning machines after the 2010 spill.Baldwin and a friend were seeking $17 million in damages, saying they could have made at least that much in the deal. A federal jury sided with Costner and gave them nothing. Costner smiled and shook his attorney’s hand as a grim-faced Baldwin left the courtroom. “My name means more to me than money and that’s why we didn’t settle,” Costner said. After a two-week trial, eight jurors deliberated for less than two hours before giving their decision in the lawsuit brought by Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris. Baldwin referred questions about the verdict to his attorney, James Cobb. “We’re disappointed. We thought we proved rather convincingly that these two guys, Mr. Costner and Mr. Smith, defrauded us,” Cobb said. “The jury saw it a different way but we respect the jury’s verdict.” Contogouris and Baldwin sold their shares in Ocean Therapy Solutions for $1.4 million and $500,000, respectively. The company was marketing the oil-separating centrifuges. Baldwin testified he would have held out for much more if he had known BP had committed to ordering 32 of them. Soon after they sold their shares, the oil giant made an $18 million deposit on a $52 million order. Attorneys for Costner and Smith said Baldwin and Contogouris knew BP was preparing to order the machines when they walked away from the company rather than gamble for a more lucrative payout if BP signed a binding contract. At the time they sold their shares, BP only had signed a non-binding letter of intent, the defendants’ attorneys said. Cobb questioned whether celebrity was a factor in the outcome “because I believe we proved our case and because the bigger celebrity won.” Earlier Thursday, during the trial’s closing arguments, Cobb told jurors they probably see the case as a “bunch of rich people fighting over money I’ll never, ever see.” Cobb, however, said his clients deserved to be compensated for being lied to by Costner and business partner Patrick Smith and defrauded out of their fair share of the BP money. “I had no idea the spider’s web of deception could be so pervasive and so hard to unravel,” Cobb said. Costner’s attorney Wayne Lee argued his client’s fame is the only reason he was sued. The plaintiffs were mistaken when they thought Costner would “roll over and give in” under the threat of a lawsuit, Lee said. “This lawsuit never should have been brought,” Lee said. “Mr. Costner never should have been a party to these proceedings.” Costner and Baldwin were ordered by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to attend each day of the trial, which they heeded. The judge thanked them at the end of the trial. “I know that being here throughout the trial has been a great challenge for them,” Feldman said. Costner testified that he never saw Baldwin contribute anything to their company’s efforts to persuade BP to use the centrifuges. Baldwin testified that no one asked him to invest any capital or lobby BP but said he used his celebrity to market and promote the centrifuges while he also worked on a documentary about the nation’s worst offshore oil spill. Costner had lost $20 million in an earlier effort to market the devices to the oil and gas industry, but Cobb said Costner and Smith each made $15 million off their investments in Ocean Therapy Solutions after the BP spill. BP deployed a few of the centrifuges on a barge in June 2010. The company capped the well the following month, and it was permanently sealed in September 2010. Costner praised the jury for “doing their best to understand everything” in a complex case. “They were really smart, and it was my good luck that they saw the truth of the story,” he said.
NEW YORK (AP/The Blaze) – Apple’s top brass had an “internal discussion” over the weekend regarding the company’s enormous $97.6 billion cash balance. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company’s decision this morning: Apple Inc. is finally “loosening up its purse strings” to reward shareholders directly, by instituting a dividend and share buyback program (meaning Apple will buy back its own shares at a price greater than the current market value). Investors had been expecting Monday’s announcement, driving up Apple shares 37 percent since management hinted in January that a dividend was in the works. Apple, the world’s most valuable company, sits on $97.6 billion in cash and securities. For years, CEO Steve Jobs resisted calls to reward shareholders with some of that money. He used to say that the money was better used to give Apple maneuvering room, for instance by giving it the ability to buy other companies. Jobs died in October after a long fight with cancer. On Monday, new CEO Tim Cook said that with this much cash on hand, a dividend wouldn’t restrain the company’s options. “These decisions will not close any doors for us,” he told analysts and reporters on a conference call. Apple generated $31 billion in cash in the fiscal year that ended in September, and is on pace to generate even more in the current year. That means its cash pile will continue to grow even with a dividend and a buyback program, albeit at a lower rate. Had it kept amassing cash and low-yielding securities, Apple could eventually have opened itself to legal challenge from shareholders, who could have argued that it was misusing their money. Apple said Monday that it will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share, starting in its fiscal fourth quarter, which begins July 1, 2012. The dividend works out to $10.60 annually, or 1.8 percent of the current stock price. That annual yield – how much the company pays out in dividends compared to its stock price – is below that of other big technology companies like Microsoft Corp., currently at 2.5 percent, and Hewlett-Packard Co., at 2 percent. However, in absolute terms, Apple will pay one of the richest dividends in the U.S. It will spend more than $10 billion on dividends in its first year, placing it just below companies including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., for whom the dividend is the main way of attracting investors. Apple Inc. stock quote (as of 11:35 EST) Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s second largest company by market cap, pays about $9 billion in dividends annually. The dividend opens up ownership of Apple shares to a wider range of funds, potentially boosting the stock price in the long term. Many “value-oriented” funds are not allowed to buy stocks that don’t pay dividends Apple said the $10 billion share buyback program will begin next fiscal year, which starts Sept. 30, and run for three years. Buybacks are a popular alternative to dividends, since they reduce the number of shares outstanding. That means every remaining investor has title to a larger share of the company. Cook said the main point of Apple’s buyback is to offset the shares issued to reward the Cupertino, Calif., company’s employees. In morning trading, Apple shares rose $7.75, or 1.3 percent, to $593.32. Last week, the shares hit an all-time record of $600.01. The company is worth $555 billion . To put that in perspective, and as mentioned earlier on The Blaze , that means Apple Inc. is currently worth more than Greece. The dividend and buyback announcement comes three days after the launch of Apple’s latest iPad tablet in the U.S. and nine other countries. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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‘Loosening up its Purse Strings’: Apple Shareholders Poised to Make Gains as Company Announces Buyback Program
A Thing Of Beauty! Rush Shares His Wedding Photos
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A Thing Of Beauty! Rush Shares His Awesome Wedding Photos