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Scott Walker's Dog Allergy Breaks Tradition; Tax Freedom Day; Baseball Teams Worth $36B
2015-04-05 15:10:26
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Scott Walker's Dog Allergy Breaks Tradition; Tax Freedom Day; Baseball Teams Worth $36B


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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Scott Walker's Allergy to Dogs Sets Him Apart
2. This Year's Tax Freedom Day Is April 24
3. Major League Baseball Teams Worth $36 Billion
4. No. 5 Most Wanted Nazi Dies a Free Man
5. Largest U.S. Occupations: Cashier and Retail Sales Clerk
6. Nixon's 'Western White House' Up for Sale

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1. Scott Walker's Allergy to Dogs Sets Him Apart

Wisconsin governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is allergic to dog dander, to the point where he recently had to cancel an important meeting at the home of a dog owner.

Walker's allergy runs "against the long sweep of United States political history," observed The New York Times. "If the ritual for presidential candidates wooing American voters had a handbook, 'must love dogs' would be somewhere near the front.

President Warren Harding's Airedale, Laddie Boy, had his own chair at cabinet meetings. Herbert Hoover posed with King Tut, his Belgian Malinois, during the 1928 campaign.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was so devoted to his Scottish terrier Fala that the memorial to FDR in Washington, D.C., depicts him with the dog at his feet.

Richard Nixon delivered a career-saving televised speech in 1952 focusing on his daughters' cocker spaniel Checkers.

Lyndon B. Johnson stunned reporters by lifting his beagles, Him and Her, by their ears.

Ronald Reagan had three dogs, Victory, Rex, and Lucky. Bill Clinton had Buddy.

In 2009, Sen. Edward Kennedy gave President Barack Obama a Portuguese water dog.

Dog ownership by American presidents dates all the way back to George Washington, who bred hunting dogs. Abraham Lincoln's Fido, a mongrel, was killed by a knife-wielding drunk soon after Lincoln's assassination.

Among likely 2016 White House candidates, Marco Rubio has a Shih Tzu, Manna. Ted Cruz has a mutt named Snowflake. Rick Perry has a dachshund, a black Lab, a mutt, and a griffon. Ben Carson has a German shepherd, Echo.

Jeb Bush lost his Labrador Marvin to cancer, and Rick Santorum mourns the death of his German shepherd Schatzie.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton posed for People magazine with her toy poodle, Tally. Joe Biden's dog is named Champ. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has a cocker spaniel, Rex, and a mutt named Winston.

For presidential candidates, owning a dog "humanizes them," Claire McLean, founder of the Presidential Pet Museum, told the Times. "It shows that they are just like me and you, with the kids and the dog."

A Walker spokeswoman called his allergy to dogs "unfortunate because he loves animals."

Editor's Note:

 

2. This Year's Tax Freedom Day Is April 24

Americans must work from the beginning of this year through April 24, Tax Freedom Day, just to pay their taxes, the Tax Foundation reveals.

"Tax Freedom Day is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its federal, state, and local tax bill for the year," the Tax Foundation explained.

Americans will pay $3.38 trillion in federal taxes and $1.57 trillion in state and local taxes this year, for a total of more than $4.8 trillion, or 31 percent of the nation's income. Collectively they will spend more on taxes in 2015 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined, according to the Foundation.

Taxpayers will work 43 days this year to pay federal, state, and local individual income taxes, 26 days to pay payroll taxes, 15 days for sales and excise taxes, 12 days for corporate income taxes, 11 days for property taxes, and seven days for estate and inheritance taxes, custom duties, and other levies.

Tax Freedom Day falls one day later this year than in 2014. The latest-ever Tax Freedom Day was May 1, 2000. A century earlier, in 1900, the day fell on January 22.

While April 24 is the national figure, the total tax burden borne by residents of different states varies due to differing state tax policies and the progressivity of the federal tax system.

Tax Freedom Day arrives the latest in Connecticut and New Jersey, May 13, and in New York on May 8.

The earliest Tax Freedom Day this year is in Louisiana (April 2), Mississippi (April 4), and South Dakota (April 8).

"Tax Freedom Day gives us a vivid representation of how much we pay for the goods and services provided by governments at all levels," Tax Foundation economist Kyle Pomerleau said in a release. "Arguments can be made that the tax bill is too high or too low, but in order to have an honest discussion, it's important for taxpayers to understand the cost of government."

Editor's Note:

 

3. Major League Baseball Teams Worth $36 Billion

The average Major League Baseball team is now worth more than $1 billion — $1.2 billion to be exact — up a whopping 48 percent from last year, according to new figures from Forbes.

The surge is mostly attributable to a national TV deal that will pay an average of $52 million per year to each team through the 2021 season.

The New York Yankees are the most valuable of MLB's 30 franchises by far, with a current value of $3.2 billion. The late George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $10 million in 1973.

The Bronx Bombers have topped the Forbes list every year since the magazine began estimating team values in 1998.

The only other U.S. sports franchise worth more than $3 billion is the Dallas Cowboys, also worth $3.2 billion. Real Madrid, a team in the Spanish soccer league, is the world's most valuable sports franchise, worth $4.4 billion.

Three other MLB teams are worth at least $2 billion — the Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.4 billion), Boston Red Sox ($2.1 billion), and San Francisco Giants ($2 billion).

A record 15 teams are now worth at least $1 billion, Forbes reported, and the total value of all teams is $36 billion.

The Yankees had revenue of $508 million last season, after deducting $90 million the team contributed to baseball's revenue-sharing system and certain other payments. The team earned more than $100 million from local TV rights alone.

But the Yankees, with a high payroll as well as large revenue-sharing costs, had just $8.1 million in operating income last season, while the Tampa Bay Rays, the least valuable MLB franchise, had $7.9 million.

The Dodgers, with the league's highest attendance, had $403 million in revenue, but actually had operating income of -$12.2 million.

Four other teams had operating income in the negative range — Philadelphia Phillies (-$39 million), Detroit Tigers (-$20.7 million), Toronto Blue Jays (-$17.9 million), and Arizona Diamondbacks (-$2.2 million).

The St. Louis Cardinals, with baseball's highest local TV ratings, had the most operating income last season, $73.6 million, just ahead of the Chicago Cubs ($73.3 million).

The aforementioned Tampa Bay team is worth $625 million, just behind the Miami Marlins ($650 million) and Kansas City Royals ($700 million).

The average NFL team is worth $1.43 billion, according to Forbes, while the average NBA team is worth $1.1 billion and an NHL franchise is worth $490 million on average.

Editor's Note:

 

4. No. 5 Most Wanted Nazi Dies a Free Man

Danish-born Soren Kam, who was No. 5 on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of the most wanted Nazi war criminals, has died at age 93 after living as a free man in Germany for decades.

"The fact that Soren Kam, a totally unrepentant Nazi murderer, died a free man in Kempten (Bavaria) is a terrible failure of the Bavarian judicial authorities," the Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said in a statement.

Kam volunteered for the German SS in June 1940 and rose to the rank of company commander, becoming Denmark's highest-ranking Nazi.

He was one of three men who in 1943 murdered Danish anti-Nazi newspaper editor Carl Henrik Clemmensen by shooting him eight times. One of Kam's accomplices was executed in Denmark in 1946, another escaped prison and disappeared, and Kam fled to West Germany, where he lived under the name Peter Muller and obtained citizenship in 1956.

In 1999, the Danish minister of justice requested an extradition of Kam, but Germany refused. The Germans again refused extradition in 2007 after a court claimed that the killing of the editor was not murder but manslaughter, and the statute of limitations for that crime had expired.

While in Germany, Kam reportedly attended veterans' rallies of SS men and was closely associated with Heinrich Himmler's daughter, the leading figure in an aid network for SS members.

"Kam should have finished his miserable life in jail, whether in Denmark or Germany," Zuroff said after Kam's March 23 death, the Daily Forward reported. "The failure to hold him accountable will only inspire the contemporary heirs of the Nazis to consider following in his footsteps."

Editor's Note:

 

5. Largest U.S. Occupations: Cashier and Retail Sales Clerk

New figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm that the recent decrease in the unemployment rate touted by President Obama has in large part been fueled by a surge in low-paying jobs.

The BLS reported on March 25 that retail sales clerk and cashier were the two largest U.S. occupations last year — 4.6 million Americans worked in retail sales and 3.4 million worked as cashiers, together comprising nearly 6 percent of the total workforce.

The two occupations added a combined 400,000 workers since 2012, according to the BLS. But retail workers earned just $24,020 a year on average, while cashiers made $20,670.

The 10 largest occupations accounted for 21 percent of total U.S. employment. After retail sales clerks and cashiers, other occupations in the top 10 are those in categories the BLS calls combined food preparation and serving workers. In descending order according to their total workers, they are: fast food employees; general office clerks; registered nurses; customer service representatives; waiters and waitresses; laborers and freight, stock, and material movers; secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive; and janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners.

In his State of the Union address in January, Obama said that "our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999."

But of the 10 largest occupations, only registered nurses earned a mean wage more than the national average of $47,230. They earned $69,790. The lowest earning of the 10 occupations, food preparation and serving workers, made just $19,110.

While the largest occupations accounted for 21 percent of the workforce, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) jobs accounted for just 6.2 percent.

The highest paying STEM occupations included petroleum engineers, with an annual mean wage of $147,520, and physicists at $117,300.

Editor's Note:

 

6. Nixon's 'Western White House' Up for Sale

President Richard Nixon's so-called "Western White House" in San Clemente, Calif., is on the market for $75 million.

In 1969, six months into his presidency, Nixon and several business partners bought the oceanfront property for $1.4 million. Nixon dubbed it La Casa Pacifica and used the home for family retreats and meetings with prominent figures including Henry Kissinger and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

Nixon sold the estate in 1980 to Gavin Herbert, now the retired founder and CEO of the pharmaceuticals company Allergan, who served as the finance chairman for the president's Orange County re-election campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The 5.5-acre estate has more than 15,000 square feet of living space in a main house, guest houses, and staff quarters, and 450 feet of ocean frontage.

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Editor's Note:

 

Editor's Notes:




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