Unusual Coalition Seeks Ballot Measure To Expand Solar Power

CBS Miami

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — An unusual coalition announced Wednesday they are joining a petition drive meant to expand the use of solar energy in Florida.

Those in the coalition include Tea partiers, Libertarians, conservative Christians, Florida’s largest retail association and clean energy advocates.

Members said they want to take the issue to the voters because they are frustrated the Legislature has done little to advance use of the clean energy in the state that gets the most solar radiant energy east of the Mississippi River. They blamed it on the millions of dollars power companies pump into political donations and lobbying.

The group will try to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot that would allow private companies not regulated as utilities to sell up to two megawatts of solar energy to customers. The solar facilities would have to be on the same…

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How ‘Simpsons’ tribute to Charlie Hebdo came together (CNN Money)

January 14, 2015: 2:17 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
A letter in Charlie Hebdo’s latest sold out issue says “Charlie has a lot of new friends,” and it looks like “The Simpsons” are among them.
The longest-running sitcom in history paid tribute to the satirical magazine Sunday with an image of the family’s baby, Maggie, holding a flag with the now-famous slogan “Je Suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie” in English.

Executive producer Al Jean said the idea started last Thursday when one of the show’s original producers, James L. Brooks, suggested making a statement in defense of free speech.
“We looked online and saw the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ posters and thought the ideal person to hold the flag would be Maggie, who doesn’t speak,” Jean said.
Longtime director David Silverman was in charge of crafting the image.
Silverman drew the animation in the spirit of Eugène Delacroix’s famous French painting “Liberty Leading the People” and the iconic poster from the musical “Les Miserables.”

I love these two stocks: Billionaire Ron Baron (CNBC.com)

Billionaire buy-and-hold investor Ron Baron told CNBC on Monday he expects big things from Tesla Motors and Manchester United—both of which are $200 million-plus investments at his money management firm.

Both are relatively new holdings for Baron—within the past two years. So far, they’ve been flat, he said. But he predicted on “Squawk Box” that he could make 10 times his money on electric automaker Tesla in the next 10 years because “governments don’t want people to use energy, to use carbon fuels.”

“Right now, it costs about 75 cents the equivalent gallon in electricity. Of course, I think that 75 cents is going down,” he estimated—comparing the cost to gasoline, which averaged $2.20 a gallon in the past three weeks, according to the latest Lundberg survey. Due to falling oil prices, that does represent a 27-cent drop from the previous period and the lowest level since April 2009. Baron shook off questions that lower gas costs would hurt Tesla.

He said he just got a new Tesla. “You’ve driving this car and you pass gas stations and you realize you’re never going in again, except if you have to go to the bathroom.”

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From the open road to the soccer field, Baron said he expects to make four or five times his money on Manchester United over the next four or five years.

The company provides the storied English club a platform to generate revenue from sponsorships, merchandising, product licensing, new media and mobile, broadcasting and matchday sales at the Old Trafford sports venue.

The reasons for his bullish prediction: “[Soccer] is the most popular television program in the world,” and live sports can’t be time shifted like most other programs.

Read MoreHow to play the weak earnings season ahead: Pros

Baron Capital currently has $26.8 billion in assets under management.

In the family of Baron funds, all of them in operation for at least five years have turned in double digit returns during that time period, expect for the Baron international Growth Fund, which was up just over 8 percent in the past five years.

“We have 450 investments, and the top 10 represent 18 percent of our assets,” Baron said—adding that besides Tesla and ManU, his 36 other investments over $200 million have seen “big increases.”

He attributes his success to a philosophy of seeking out great companies and holding on to them.

Read MoreGoldman’s Kostin: Expect pullback in 4-6 weeks

The stock market doubles every 10 years, Baron said—adding he sees no reason for that to stop. That’s about 6.2 percent a year and around 8 percent when dividends are added, he said.

The Baron Capital chairman and CEO formed the investment company that bears his name in 1982. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at around 880 then and now trades at 17,737 as of Friday’s close.

He advises investors to refrain from trying to time the market.

For example, he said the years 2000 to 2008 were the toughest period for the stock market in U.S. history, with the market too high after 1999 and sinking way too low in the depths of the financial crisis during 2009 before rebounding.

“The economy doubles every 10 years. And the stock market and the economy are linked,” Baron said. “Sometimes the market is better, sometimes it’s worse. You can never know. You never can predict that in the short term.”

New Governor for Illinois

Today marks the day for change in the State of Illinois. In just moments, a new governor will be taking the helm in the financially troubled state. Bruce Rauner will become the 42nd in a previously troubled position.

What would we need to see from the new Governor? Specifics. So far Mr. Rauner has been vague on his plans to change the budget and turn the tides of financial woes. It is easy to promise change to rally the troops but real change comes from hard work. Is he up to the task? Only time will tell.

My concern will be that this will be another empty victory. What I’m hearing on the news regarding his political appointments, however, is that Mr. Rauner is actually choosing people that are good for the jobs rather than a result of political favors. How un-Illinois like.

Perhaps this is a new dawn. Perhaps we are on the brink of being a financial power once again in this great country.