"Distressed bonds have lost 8.2 percent this month as oil and coal prices slid, bringing this year’s loss to 12.2 percent, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch index that tracks the debt. The securities are on pace to lose more than 20 percent for the second straight year, the worst performance since 2008. SandRidge Energy Inc. bonds have lost almost 30 percent this month through Tuesday, while notes of miner Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. were down more than 27 percent."
"Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded–i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public–in the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings “for public use” is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property–and thereby effectively to delete the words “for public use” from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Accordingly I respectfully dissent.
"by filibustering yesterday, Paul all but ensured that section 215 will not be reauthorized. The reason why is the arcane legislative procedures of the Senate. In brief, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell can’t bring his reauthorization bill to a vote without cloture, a procedural vote required to end debate and move to a vote on the underlying measure and any related amendments. After a cloture vote, the Senate gets 30 hours before the bill can be voted on up or down and to address any amendments offered. That brings us into, or even past, the weekend. But the House goes on recess after last votes today (expected to be completed by 3pm), and doesn’t come back until June 1, after section 215 sunsets."
"People in Paul’s orbit believe that the decision to take to the floor to fight the NSA — via a long, filibuster-like speech — will galvanize the libertarian base that supported his father, Ron Paul, without turning off more mainstream Republicans. The Paul forces wasted no time fundraising off the event, something sources say will continue, and the campaign revived the #StandwithRand hashtag that Paul made popular with his 2013 filibuster of John Brennan’s nomination to lead the CIA in order to dramatize his skepticism about the administration’s use of drones. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Paul supporters attempted to stage a small, impromptu rally at the Capitol.
But big moves carry big risks, as supporters of Paul’s GOP competitors pointed out. Rival campaigns and other Republicans note that times have changed since Paul burst onto the national scene with his filibuster. Now, they say, with the Islamic State on the march, Paul’s efforts to restrict the NSA could jeopardize national security. Some predicted the filibuster would backfire, serving mainly to show early-state voters just how out of step Paul can be with the Republican mainstream."
"After Edward Snowden’s leaks allowed the Guardian to reveal the phone-records bulk collection in June 2013, deep political opposition coalesced around the bulk program – eclipsing the FBI’s acquisition of other data, which has long been an issue only for civil libertarians.
But a Justice Department inspector general’s report finally released on Thursday covering the FBI’s use of Section 215 from 2007 to 2009 found that the bureau is using the business-records authority “to obtain large collections of metadata”, such as “electronic communication transactional information”."
"Verizon, which will pay $50 a share for AOL, says the deal will help its “wireless video and OTT (over-the-top video) strategy.” Verizon says the transaction should close this summer.
Armstrong, who left the top sales job at Google to run AOL in 2009, will stay on to run the business after the deal closes, Verizon says."
"Facebook failed to beat earnings estimates in Q1 2015, coming in with mixed results after 10 straight quarters of beating them. Its revenue of $3.54 billion fell short of its $3.56 billion estimate, though it exceeded the 40 cents EPS estimate with 42 cents."
"That said, questions have been asked about AdBlock Plus' controversial whitelisting service, which has been described as a racket. Advertisers whose content isn't obnoxious can apply to be exposed to web users, but one unnamed party claimed that it was asked for 30 percent of its revenue to remain on the list. "
"There is no consensus among economists as to what drove the rise of U.S. house prices and household debt in the period leading up to the recent financial crisis. In this post, we argue that the fundamental factor behind that boom was an increase in the supply of mortgage credit, which was brought about by securitization and shadow banking, along with a surge in capital inflows from abroad. This argument is based on the interpretation of four macroeconomic developments between 2000 and 2006 provided by a general equilibrium model of housing and credit.
The financial crisis precipitated the worst recession since the Great Depression. The spectacular rise in house prices and household debt during the first half of the 2000s, which is illustrated in the first two charts, was a crucial factor behind these events. Yet, economists disagree on the fundamental causes of this credit and housing boom. "
"Living in an apartment? Expect your rent to go up again.
Renting has gotten increasingly expensive over the last five years. The average U.S. rent has climbed 14 percent to $1,124 since 2010, according to commercial property tracker Reis Inc. That's four percentage points faster than inflation, and more than double the rise in U.S. home prices over the same period.
Now, even with a surge in apartment construction, rents are projected to rise yet another 3.3 percent this year, to an average $1,161, according to Reis. While that's slower than last year's 3.6 percent increase, the broader upward trend isn't going away."
Italian grandma tries to ask Siri the time in Italy, it doesn't end well