Talk about fighting fire with fire. In Amsterdam, a charity group is paying local alcoholics in beеr to clean up a public park. The men used to loiter in Oosterpark, located in a poor area where half the population is immigrant: Surinamese, Moroccan, Turkish. They drank, fought and made passes at women. Locals hated them.
Now residents smile at the cleaners wearing orange uniform jackets issued by the Rainbow Foundation. The former public nuisances start off the working day with two cans of beer each at 9 a.m. and walk out into the park and the adjoining streets with their garbage bags. They have another two beers at lunch and one more when they're done at 3:30 p.m. Apart from the beer, the day's wages amount to 10 euros ($13.69).Read more »
Last night, my wife and I attended the Washington opening of a terrific play, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," a new adaptation of the famous movie.
It was an appropriate theme, reflecting on the death yesterday of Nelson Mandela, the most revered global statesman of the past half century.Read more »
Here's a not-so-comforting lesson for investors, courtesy of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Just because the SEC says a company's earnings were fraudulent doesn't mean the company will ever be required to correct them.
The SEC this week accused Fifth Third Bancorp of committing accounting fraud during the height of the 2008 financial crisis. The company agreed to pay a $6.5 million penalty to settle the agency's claims.Read more »
The biggest college sports scandal of the season is over: Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston will not be charged with sexual assault.
William N. Meggs, state attorney for Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit, announced at a press conference in Tallahassee this afternoon that his office didn’t have the evidence to bring a case to trial.Read more »
Earlier today Bloomberg View columnists Margaret Carlson and Ramesh Ponnuru met online to chat about Obamacare, millennials and the 2016 election. Below is a lightly edited transcript.
Ramesh: So, Margaret, after weeks where we've had to say the same things about Obamacare -- the website's a disaster and what a bad patch the administration is in -- we finally find ourselves able to say something new. Now the website is slightly less of a disaster, and the administration is trying a new tack: Just pretend it's basically OK. We're back to sure-there-are-a-few-glitches mode. I think the political strategy is going to work in a very limited way (much like the website): It will help stop the bleeding among the president's core supporters. It gives them something a little less dispiriting to tell themselves, and others, than "yes, it's crummy, but we're working on it."Read more »
Travel back with me to those wonder years of the late 1990s. It was a time of strong productivity growth. It was also a time of sham companies thinking that page hits would translate into sales, but let's focus on the positives for the moment.
"There was a general belief in the late 1990s that the U.S. had entered a permanent phase of higher productivity growth," said Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management. "Of course, it was illusory" -- just as illusory as the current belief that the U.S. has entered a permanent state of low productivity growth, recently identified as "secular stagnation" by economist Larry Summers.Read more »