Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 December 24

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December 24[edit]

Trying to understand treasury stock[edit]

All that I understand about treasury stock comes from the original Railroad Tycoon, so I'm trying to compare that to the real-world understanding provided by our article — specifically applied to US federal investments laws, which would be relevant to the game if it were 100% realistic. Of course I understand that many of my scenarios aren't likely to happen in real life, between SEC restrictions and the fact that you can't use the game's cheats in real life.

  1. Under current US federal law, is it true that "Treasury stock has no voting rights"? Let's say that your company buys up 90% of the outstanding shares and holds them for re-sale. Does that mean that your competitor can take over your company by buying 5%+1 of the total shares? Or is the game realistic in that it's impossible to mount a hostile takeover of a company whose stock is 50%+1 held for resale in the treasury?
  2. In the game, owning treasury stock will increase your total assets when the stock price rises. In real life, if your company has some treasury stock held for resale, will rising prices on the open market cause your total assets to rise, fall, or stay the same?
  3. Upon purchasing stock, are companies always allowed to choose between cancelling it and holding it in the treasury for resale? Or is there a situation in which one or the other would be required?
  4. Is there a legal minimum percentage or number of treasury shares that can't be repurchased? For example, in the game you can't buy back the last 10,000 shares.

Thanks for the input; I'm just having a lot of trouble understanding much of the article, including the "Accounting for treasury stock" section, and I'd appreciate someone expanding or simplifying what's in there right now. Nyttend (talk) 01:35, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

It's helpful to start with the precept that a corporation is owned by the holders of its outstanding capital stock. There typically are more shares authorized than outstanding; these may include shares authorized but unissued, shares issued by the corporation but repurchased and held in the corporation's treasury, and shares repurchased and canceled. The distinction between treasury shares and canceled shares is usually insignificant for corporate purposes, although the accounting presentation is somewhat different.
  1. Corporate voting rights are determined by the jurisdiction in which the corporation is incorporated, which almost always is a state; there are only a few corporations, mainly national banks and federal savings banks, organized under federal law. However, in every jurisdiction of which I am aware, treasury shares do not have voting rights. In general, someone who acquires a majority of the outstanding shares will then have voting control of the company. A competitor may not be able to do this because of antitrust restrictions. It is also possible that the company may have antitakeover defenses to make hostile takeovers more difficult, but these generally are not dependent on the availability of treasury shares as such.
  2. Increased market prices of the corporation's shares will not increase the corporation's own assets, unless it chooses to take advance of the favorable prices by selling its shares.
  3. Under corporate law, corporations can choose between canceling repurchased stock and holding it in the corporation's treasury.
  4. I'm not sure if there is a requirement that a corporation never repurchase all its stock, but there is no specific minimum number of shares that must remain outstanding. There are some restrictions, of which the most important is that a corporation cannot effect a repurchase that would impair its stock (i.e., it can't spend so much on the repurchase that the company is rendered insolvent). John M Baker (talk) 03:36, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Jesus and Sodom[edit]

A few months ago in my (Catholic) Religion Class, we were doing a reading activity, looking through several passages and summarizing them. I don't remember the specifics, but one of them in the Gospels had a verse where Jesus told his followers to go spread the word of God. The passage that our teacher told us to summarize was cut off short before the chapter ended, and I read the last verse and it was something along the lines of "and if they do not believe (or maybe it was "let you enter their home"), their fate will be those as Sodom." I tried looking it up (since I lost the sheet) but I surprisingly couldn't find it. Does anyone know it? Thanks! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:51, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Matthew Chapter 10. --Jayron32 02:57, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
... or Mark 6:11 or Luke 10:12 Dbfirs 10:10, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Hense Synoptic Gospels... --Jayron32 15:19, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Are you cure? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 11:54, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Math–verbal achievement gap[edit]

What is this sentence from the article even means: "Typically the number of Asian students taking the SAT is more than 100 percent higher than their overall numbers in the U.S. population."? (talk) 04:38, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

That is rather vague, but I take it to mean something like "If 5% of the US population is Asian, then 10% of the people taking the SAT are". StuRat (talk) 04:58, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Not only is it badly worded, but it is not supported by the source cited. The article is essay-like and probably plagiarised. Itsmejudith (talk) 08:33, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Were it supported by evidence, then a better way to make a precise statement might be: "of the students taking the SAT, the proportion [or percentage] who are Asian is more than double the Asian proportion [or percentage] in the U.S. population." Dbfirs 10:03, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Well if you guys saw there is something wrong with it then why don't you guys just fix it? It's literally takes less than 1 minute. I already fixed it anyway. (talk) 21:31, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
The same Q goes right back to you. You spotted it first, so you should fix it, as you did. StuRat (talk) 01:44, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

UN General Assembly[edit]

I heard almost all of the 205 countries speeches and one that caught my attention was the one by Anote Tong. Is there any country in the World willing to receive the inhabitants of Kiribati as climate refugees? Ukboyy (talk) 14:55, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Kiribati only has a population a bit over a hundred thousand. So, yes, it would be easy to take them in (not like if we had to evacuate China). However, if they all want to stay together, and remake some other place into "New Kiribati", that might be a bit harder, as the existing residents of the new place must either move out or become a minority. StuRat (talk) 03:18, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
That's non-responsive to an interesting question. The article on Anote Tong says: So far, however, no country has agreed to relocate substantial numbers of I-Kiribati., which answers the question up to the present time. That article also says that Tong hopes that they may become productive members of their host society, and avoid becoming merely "environmental refugees". So he doesn't want them to be received as climate refugees, but rather as ordinary immigrants. In any event, according to the article Tong is warning that his country may become uninhabitable by the 2050s, so there are several decades to go before they have to be all relocated; I kind of doubt that any countries are actually going to take anybody in that far in advance. Duoduoduo (talk) 12:22, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Question upon US presidential succession[edit]

Dear Wikipedians. I know that the following question might be unrealistic, but I asked it myself several times. Let us assume that the U.S. President becomes ill or has an accident and is at sometime decleared dead my the doctors. The message is published and the following moment the Vice President is sworn in as new president (not acting president) and immediantely assumes his duties such as making appointments and signing bills into law. Some hours later the doctors recognize that the previous President is not dead (there are people who have been decleared dead and later it turned out that this was false). What's going to happen in that case? Is the "old" president again in office or out of it. Does the former Vice President remain head of state because he took the oath and assumed presidential duties or must he step down to the Vice Presidency again?

I assume that the constitution does not have a specific answer, but does somebody know which case is likely if it comes so far? Thanks a lot in advance. -- (talk) 18:00, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

If it's the VP, the Constitution is pretty clear: In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected. [1] I'd say "oops, not dead yet" counts as removing a Disability. --jpgordon::==( o ) 18:20, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
However, if he was comatose, the VP would probably continue in the job until the Prez is actually able to resume the job. Lt. Governors in states sometimes take over for Governors when they're indisposed, and it's not really a big deal. It's a big deal at the national level just because it doesn't happen very often. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:52, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Really, what's at issue here is not Article Two. It's the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. That certainly would have been invoked if the president was so seriously ill, and so the Veep would have had the authority to sign bills, make appointments, etc. The swearing in as actual president was void as unauthorized as the president was not dead, and so that was a nullity, but his actions should be fine. However, I doubt he will ever live it down if there was the least bit of eagerness on his part.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:40, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
You mean like "as of now, I am in control here"? --Trovatore (talk) 21:40, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
From what I recall, that mocking came from only one side of the political spectrum.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:31, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Probably, but it was pretty silly. Haig had no authority to declare himself "in charge". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:29, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
OP's scenario is not far from what actually happened when Wilson had a stroke in 1919 (well prior to the 25th Amendment). In that case his wife Edith was de-facto President, which wasn't too popular - even Scott Fitzgerald called her a "female Rasputin" (Echoes of the Jazz Age). Zoonoses (talk) 05:09, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Discrimination based on sexual proclivities[edit]

Wikipedia forbids editors to identify as pedophiles and blocks editors that do so. Would a similar discriminatory practice be permitted in the workplace? Can employers discriminate based on sexual proclivities in the absence of previous criminal offences, or a credible risk posed by such sexual attractions? Ankh.Morpork 21:17, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

What jurisdiction? Most of the United States observes some modified form of the at-will doctrine, according to which employment is an arrangement between willing buyer and willing seller, and either may decline to enter that arrangement for any reason, unless specifically prohibited (race, sex, religion, color, national origin — note that "sex" here means what many nowadays unfortunately refer to as "gender"). This is not legal advice; if you are planning to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual attraction you should consult a lawyer in your state. --Trovatore (talk) 21:24, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
I note that LGBT doesn't feature on your list, is that intentional? Ankh.Morpork 21:30, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
A majority of states do not make sexual orientation a protected category. --Trovatore (talk) 21:35, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
If you've described WP's policy accurately, I'm somewhat amused. It seems that they don't mind if an editor is a pedophile, but they object to him/her coming out and saying so. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 23:10, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
A classic Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. This policy actually makes sense if your goal is to avoid controversy. This way, you don't end up with any known pedophiles, and it's only the known ones which cause controversy. StuRat (talk) 01:39, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Sadly, the unknown ones still cause nasty things to happen. --Jayron32 02:53, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
You can apparently be fired for being too attractive in the US state of Iowa. Dismas|(talk) 04:54, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
You can be fired for any reason in the state of Iowa, just like in all other at-will employment states, with the exception of the aforementioned protected categories. Your hair is 4 inches instead of 3.8? You're fired. You like apples and not oranges? You're fired. -- (talk) 09:30, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Reading about that situation, unbelieving the audacity of both the doctor and the supreme court, nonetheless there's probably a lot more going on there than was made public, and that guy is probably headed for eventual disaster in his marriage. Regardless, in a corporation he couldn't get away with that, no matter what state it was in, because corporate internal policy wouldn't allow it. Being a small business, he can get away with more. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:28, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Given the at-will doctrine, I'd say there's noting stopping a person or company from refusing to hire someone based on actual or perceived sexual proclivities (barring internal company policy). However, I don't assume one could back out of an already-signed contract on the grounds of such a discovery. Firing an employee on such grounds may well constitute Wrongful dismissal. If this is a practical real-life issue for you, be it as employer or employee, I'd say you should speak to an employment lawyer, as wrongful-dismissal laws may vary greatly between jurisdictions.
Also, I note that in regulated professions (medicine, psychology, nursing, etc), one's proclivities or inclinations are not generally of themselves grounds to deprive or strip someone of their registration (barring posing a risk, having broken the law, or engaging in an act of professional misconduct). Of course, this doesn't oblige an employer to hire you. You may find this article to be of relevance.
As to Wikipedia policy, I'd say it's more an issue of avoiding disruption or reputational damage to the project (which is perfectly reasonable, IMHO), rather than getting into moral judgements regarding editors' fantasies. I'd say the disruption issue is likely the bigger of the two. There's no reason we Wikipedians need to be told such details (a classical case of TMI?). Of course, if you are in fact molesting children (as opposed to merely fantasizing about it), please do tell us, so we can inform your local police department, and hopefully have you stopped. (talk) 18:08, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
@AnkhMorpork 2nd post: Partly it's the fact that the 15th Ammendment, the 19th Ammendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 occurred before LGBT rights issues had been popularized. Universities and corporations have non-discrimination statements, and the ones that I've seen prohibit discrimination based on LGBT status. Other than high-profile gay marriage referenda, I don't know much about what non-discrimination laws have been passed (and resisted) since 1964.--Wikimedes (talk) 02:49, 28 December 2012 (UTC)