Memphis nears launch of $175M revamp of Cook Convention Center


Ryan Poe, USA TODAY NETWORK – TennesseePublished 10:58 a.m. CT Dec. 29, 2017 | Updated 11:09 a.m. CT Dec. 29, 2017

Memphis will next year launch a long-anticipated, $175 million expansion and renovation of the Cook Convention Center in Downtown, Mayor Jim Strickland said Friday.

The city will choose a construction team in upcoming months, and hopes to complete construction in 2019, Strickland said in his weekly email to constituents. The city has a minority participation goal of 30 percent but an “aspirational goal” of 50 percent.

The renovation — estimated at $100 million as recently as November — will give the 1974 convention center hotel-quality finishes in line with the newer Cannon Center for the Performing Arts, as well as technology upgrades and a new “skin” on the building.

“This is more than simply a renovation — it’s an expansion and transformation of the interior and exterior in exciting new ways that take advantage of its location overlooking the Mississippi River,” Strickland said in the email. “For instance, a new glass concourse will take over the west side of the building, allowing for striking views of the river, the Bass Pro Pyramid and skyline.

“The city plans to pay for the project with hotel/motel taxes and state sales taxes captured by the Downtown Tourism Development Zone (TDZ). In 2015, the City Council approved raising hotel/motel taxes to 3.5 percent, an increase of 1.8 percentage points, to fund what at the time was expected to be a $50-60 million renovation.

“We’ll do this at no cost to the local taxpayer,” Strickland wrote. “We’re paying for this in two ways, via those who visit our city: through hotel/motel taxes and money from the Downtown Tourism Development Zone. This will not take away any money we use for core services like police and fire.”

The Cook improvements are a part of the city’s Bicentennial Gateway Project to improve the Interstate 40 entryway to Downtown, anchored by the $1 billion expansion of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Gateway Project also includes the renovation of Mud Island River Park into an aquarium with a footbridge over Wolf River Harbor to what could be the new home of the Brooks Museum of Art next to a renovated Cossitt Library, as well as improvements along the riverfront and in the Pinch and Uptown districts.

The convention center and Cannon Center will both remain open and continue to host events throughout the construction project, Strickland said.

The convention center is already qualified for TDZ funds. The city is still planning to seek state approval to also tap the funds for the Mud Island and riverfront projects.


Super Bowl LII: How Much Does an Commercial Cost?


January 11, 2018

While you’re probably tuning into the Super Bowl for the game itself, a lot of people watch the game for its commercials.

More than 100 million Americans tune in to watch the Super Bowl every year. The broadcast presents marketers with a golden opportunity to reach a huge amount of consumers, and that’s why Fox was able to charge $5 million for a 30-second spot for the 2017 Super Bowl.

This year is no different, with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch reporting that NBC will average more than $5 million for a 30-second spot.

 For comparison, the average price of a 30-second ad during Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was just over $500,000. The price for a similar spot during the 2016 Oscars cost about $2 million.

See our top-five commercials from last year to see how brands made the most of their investment.

Super Bowl LII will be played Feb. 4.

Letterman and Obama reunite for the debut of the late-night king’s new Netflix show

After a three-year absence, a decidedly more casual version of America’s longest reigning late-night host greeted an ecstatic studio audience with characteristic understatement: “I’m Dave Letterman. I had a show for a while, then I got fired.”

Now he has another show, called “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman.” It debuted Friday on Netflix, and the special guest who kicked off the premiere was also returning to the public eye.

“The stereotype of former presidents is that you’re sitting around your house, waiting for someone to call,” said the 44th president of the U.S., Barack Obama, in his first talk-show appearance since leaving office a year ago. “[That we’re] lonely …”

“No, that’s me,” quipped Letterman, who was on air for 33 years before passing the baton to his successor, Stephen Colbert, in 2015.

Retirement jokes framed an hour-long conversation that was entertaining and moving, fun and serious, veering into areas both of them had avoided in their former roles.

A bearded and bespectacled Letterman, 70, was uncharacteristically emotional, reverential and even sentimental at points. He also appeared free of the face powder, grooming and crisp dress shirts required by network TV.

Obama, who at 56 appears to have grown younger since he left the White House, spoke in less guarded terms about political divisions among Americans, the role special interests and media play in those divides, the rise in racism and the very real danger of voter suppression.

The chemistry between the two was instant and palpable, not all that surprising — Obama appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman” several times over the years, and he made a cameo on the show’s final episode.

Like two old friends reuniting after years apart, they compared notes on their kids, their careers and aging: Letterman’s son shudders at compliments from his father; Obama’s daughters find his dancing unbearable (cut to a photo of the former leader of the free world busting awkward moves at a Prince performance).

At several points, Obama turned the interview onto Letterman, who began answering questions before realizing he’d been played. “This is how this works. I’m going to interview you,” said Letterman.

Obama shook his head. “This is a whole new ballgame,” he said. “New set. No band.”

In addition to no band, there was no desk, no “Top Ten” flashcards or pencils as props. Just two armchairs and two men.

Neither did the uncluttered format feature a long opening monologue, other guests or commercials, allowing for a deeper and more lengthy conversation than the usual late-night or news interview.

And without the inherent restrictions of network TV and its advertisers, the two spent a good portion of the show delving into uncomfortable topics that talk-show hosts of Letterman’s era once avoided.

Letterman was intent on discussing the rise of racism in America, a conversation interspersed with footage of another interview Letterman recently conducted with U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

In it, Letterman walked Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma with Lewis, retracing steps that the then-young civil rights activist, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of others took in the landmark 1965 march to Montgomery to demand equal voting rights.

Lewis said that march led directly to Obama becoming the nation’s first African American president. Letterman asked Obama what he thought.

He answered in a remarkably frank but characteristically eloquent manner: “The long view on human history: It turns out we come up with all kinds of reasons to try to put ourselves over other people.

“Racism is a profound example of that, but obviously, biologically, there’s no actual reality to it other than we made this thing up. Over time, what happens is, because it manifests itself in very concrete ways — slavery, Jim Crow, subjugation — it becomes a social reality and it ends up having very real impacts. It is true that African Americans on average are poorer than other Americans. It’s not because of their race, it’s because of the social constructs over the course of 300 to 400 years that made them poor.”

Other things they touched on: Obama’s first month in office (“We forget how bad things were,” he said of his early first term. “Two wars and a collapsing economy.”) and the state of the democracy today: “One of the most damaging things to our democracy [is that] we don’t have a common baseline of facts. We are operating in different information universes … If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than if you listen to NPR.”

But the time they got to changes in voting laws made in 2013, which some believe have led to voter suppression in many regions, Letterman and the audience were clearly moved by Obama’s remarks.

“We’re the only advanced democracy that deliberately discourages people from voting,” Obama said. “We create all these barriers and difficulties. That’s all directly related to our history … Those vestiges of thinking that only some of us are worthy of having a say, that carries on.

“People opt out themselves because they just don’t think anything can happen. They figure, ‘My voice doesn’t matter, my vote doesn’t matter, Washington is broken, rich people are going to make the decisions.’ The lesson to draw from Selma has less to do with the particulars of the laws that were changed or were not changed. It has more to do with the spirit that said, ‘OK, I’m a Pullman porter, I’m a maid, but if enough maids and Pullman porters walk, and pray, and sing and show this injustice, we can awaken the consciousness of the nation.’”

An emotional Letterman practically teared up at the end of the hour, telling Obama that though he he had been taught to always respect the office of the presidency, “without a doubt, you are the first president I truly and fully respect.”

The two men were then shown walking offstage and accidentally bumping into a camera crew in the hallway. Obama suggested they retake the scene.

“They want a shot of us walking into the sunset together. The two old guys,” said the former president. “This way, they will be able to create this poignant moment.” No such shot was needed, but down the long hallway they walked toward an open door.


‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman’

Where: Netflix

When: Any time, starting Friday

Rating: TV-MA (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 17)

Trump to have medical exam amid questions about mental fitness


President Trump will get his first physical Friday since taking office, a normally routine event that this time comes as questions have been raised about his mental fitness. Critics questioned Trump’s psyche this month following a tweet in which he said he has a bigger nuclear button than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, in which anonymous Trump acquaintances questioned the president’s stability, furthered the debate. But psychiatric exams are not part of presidential physicals, and Trump said in a recent tweet he remains a “very stable genius.” Now 71, Trump is the oldest president ever at the time of taking office.

Trump: ‘Why Do We Want … People From Shithole Countries?’

Trump says US should seek immigrants from Norway, not Africa
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2018 6:56 PM CST


“What do we want Haitians here for?” the Los Angeles Times quotes President Trump as saying during a meeting Thursday, as per two sources briefed on the meeting. “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? Why do we want all these people from shithole countries?” Two sources provided the Washington Post with a similar quote. Trump reportedly made the comment while meeting with senators about a bipartisan deal on immigration. It was suggested by Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham and Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin that protections for immigrants from Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador could be restored in exchange for $1.5 billion for the border wall and eliminating the visa lottery system. Trump rejected that idea, saying the US should focus on getting immigrants from places like Norway.

The White House didn’t deny Trump made the reported remarks, instead issuing a statement that he would “always fight for the American people.” CNN reporter Kaitlain Collins tweetsthat White House staff aren’t concerned about the “shithole” comment, as they believe Trump’s base will approve of it. Meanwhile, Democrats are condemning the remarks. “This is racism, plain and simple, and we need to call it that,” Democratic Rep. Tim Walz tweets. “My Republican colleagues need to call it that too.” The Times reports the incident shows how hard it will be to secure a deal for Dreamers. Aides say Trump seemed interested in a deal earlier Thursday but had lost that interest by the time of the meeting. And a legislative aide to the president said afterward that a deal is far off.

Walmart boosts starting pay, closing dozens of Sam’s Clubs

AP Business Writers

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart confirmed Thursday that it is closing 10 percent of its Sam’s Club warehouse stores – a move that a union-backed group estimated could cost thousands of jobs – on the same day the company announced that it was boosting its starting salary for U.S. workers and handing out bonuses.

The world’s largest private employer said it was closing 63 of its 660 Sam’s Clubs over the next few weeks, with some shut already. Up to 12 are being converted into distribution centers to handle online orders, the company said late Thursday.

It did not disclose how many people would lose their jobs, but said some workers may be placed at other Walmart locations. Making Change at Walmart, a campaign backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, estimates that 150 to 160 people work at each Sam’s Club store, meaning the closures could affect about 10,000 people.

Lauren Fitz, 22, said she was at her other job as a church secretary when a colleague texted to say that the Sam’s Club where they both worked in Loveland, Ohio, had closed. Fitz had been pleased earlier to read the news that Walmart was boosting starting salaries and offering bonuses.

“I thought, ‘This is really cool.’ And then to find out that my store is closing,” said Fitz, who said she had worked as a sales associate in the jewelry department for two months. At home, she got a call from her manager and had a letter in the mail saying the store had closed and she could seek employment at another Sam’s Club or Walmart store.

“It was very sudden and very shocking,” Fitz said. “I don’t think our managers had any inkling yesterday. It was a normal shift.”

On Twitter, Sam’s Club responded to people’s queries by saying, “After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy.”

Local news reports said Sam’s Clubs stores were closing in Texas, California, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana and Alaska, among other states.

Earlier in the day, Walmart had cited the sweeping Republican tax overhaul that will save it money in announcing the higher hourly wages, one-time bonuses and expanded parental benefits that will affect more than a million hourly workers in the U.S.

President Donald Trump cheered the announcement with a tweet, saying, “Great news, as a result of our TAX CUTS & JOBS ACT!” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said she would not comment on the Sam’s Club closings but that the wage increases were a sign that the tax measures “are having the impact that we had hoped.”

Walmart representatives did not respond to a question about the timing of the dual developments.

“This is nothing but another public relations stunt from Walmart to distract from the reality that they are laying off thousands of workers,” said Randy Parraz, a director of Making Change at Walmart.

Rising wages reflect a generally tight labor market. The conversion of stores to e-commerce sites also illustrates how companies are trying to leverage their store locations to better compete against Amazon as shopping moves online.

Walmart announced years ago that it would actively manage its store portfolio as it strives to put a dent in Amazon’s dominance online. With Thursday’s closing, that strategy is now extending to Sam’s Club.

Online retailers typically pay warehouse employees who pack and ship orders more than store jobs pay. Job postings at an Amazon warehouse in Ohio, for example, offer a starting pay of $14.50 an hour.

“This is about the evolution of retail,” said Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute. “The rise of e-commerce is leading to higher wages.”

Large employers also have been under pressure to boost benefits for workers because unemployment rates are at historic lows, allowing job seekers to be pickier.

But the low unemployment has meant that retailers have had trouble attracting and keeping talented workers, experts said. Walmart employees previously started at $9 an hour, with a rise to $10 after completing a training program. Target had raised its minimum hourly wage to $11 in October, and said it would raise wages to $15 by the end of 2020.

“They raised the minimum wage because they have to,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said about Walmart. “The labor market is tight and getting tighter.”

While many department store chains such as Macy’s and Sears are struggling, retailers as a whole are still trying to hire. The retail industry is seeking to fill 711,000 open jobs, the highest on records dating back to 2001, according to government data. The longer those jobs go unfilled, the greater pressure on employers to offer higher wages.

Walmart, which reported annual revenue of nearly $486 billion in the most recent fiscal year, said the wage increases will cost it an additional $300 million in the next fiscal year. The bonuses will cost it about $400 million in this fiscal year, which ends on Jan. 31.

It joins dozens of companies including American Airlines and Bank of America that have announced worker bonuses following the passage of the Republican tax plan that slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. “Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Thursday.

The company said the wage increase benefits all hourly U.S. workers at its stores, including Sam’s Club, as well as hourly employees at its websites, distribution centers and its Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters. A one-time bonus will be given to those Walmart employees who won’t receive a pay raise. The amount, between $200 and $1,000, depends on how long they worked at the company. Walmart said those being laid off at Sam’s Club will still receive a bonus.

In all, Walmart employs 2.3 million people around the world, 1.5 million of which are in the U.S.

Walmart also announced that full-time hourly U.S. employees can get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Before, full-time hourly workers received 50 percent of their pay for leave. Salaried employees, who already had 10 weeks paid maternity leave, will receive more paid parental leave.

For the first time, Walmart also promised to help with adoptions, offering full-time hourly and salaried workers $5,000 per child that can be used for expenses such as adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs.


Idea of expanding Downtown Memphis open container zone draws ire


A proposal to allow open alcohol containers across the Downtown business district drew the wrath Thursday of restaurateurs, residents and the clergy.

The proposed Memphis City Council ordinance sponsored by member Martavius Jones would allow open containers in public in an area bordered by the Mississippi River to the west, Danny Thomas Boulevard to the east, A.W. Willis to the north and Crump Boulevard to the south. Currently, Beale Street is the city’s only open-container zone.

The ordinance, whose wording is still in flux, could bring the “vibrancy” of New Orleans’ French Quarter to Downtown Memphis, said Jones, who had the idea after he and three other council members took a taxpayer-funded trip to Bourbon Street last year.

“I just think we can have more life, more vibrancy Downtown, more businesses flourishing, more restaurants and more things to do,” Jones said.

But the ordinance was widely and sharply criticized during a public meeting Thursday afternoon, the first of two meetings on the idea. Perhaps the biggest hurdle was raised by Memphis Police Department Maj. Chris Moffat, who said he doesn’t have the officers to patrol an expanded open-container zone. The number of officers in Downtown has been halved as the city has struggled with a shortage of police officers, he added.

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, exhorted Jones in a public meeting in One Commerce Square in Downtown not to “lead the sheep astray” by promoting an ordinance that will allow more people to get “dog drunk,” like he said happens on nearby Beale.

“This ordinance is diametrically opposed to families and wholesome activity,” Gaines said, one of three pastors who warned against the dangers of alcohol at the meeting.

The criticism of the ordinance, which is up for a final council vote on Jan. 23, wasn’t limited to the religious, though. Majestic Grille owner Patrick Reilly said the ordinance was “shortsighted” and would disrupt a delicate balance between Beale and other, very different Downtown businesses. He also worried that Downtown would attract an unsavory element and that the Memphis Police Department, already in the throes of an officer shortage, wouldn’t have the manpower to patrol a larger open-container zone.

“The number one struggle we face as Downtown business owners is that Downtown is safe,” he said to widespread applause. “The question we never get is, where can I get a cocktail?”

 Jodie Vance, publisher of the Memphis Downtowner magazine, said Memphis doesn’t want to be like New Orleans, whose liberal open containers laws inspired Jones.

“Main Street is our front door,” she said. “I don’t think anyone wants drinking night and day in their front yard, and that’s what this is.”

Of the 40 or so people present, only Wayne Tabor, president of the Metropolitan Memphis Hotel and Lodging Association, spoke semi-favorably of the ordinance.

“I think from a hotel convention or tourism side, we would be for (the ordinance) if there were regulations to keep there from being trouble or drunkenness on the streets,” he said.

After the event, Jones acknowledged that the crowd has largely been against him, but said he’s also received favorable comments via email. And in a survey of its members, the Downtown Memphis Commission found that nearly half of respondents were favorable.

“This could very well be the vocal minority,” Jones said.

CLOSED: Schools, businesses close Friday for winter weather

(WMC) – The threat of winter weather is looming in the Mid-South.

As such, some businesses have decided to close, and some schools have decided to cancel or delay classes for Friday.

CLICK HERE for an up-to-the-minute list of closed or delayed schools and businesses.

The following schools will be closed unless otherwise noted:


  • Ascent Children’s Health Services Of West Memphis
  • Blytheville School District
  • Desoto School – West Helena 
  • Earle School District 
  • Forrest City School District 
  • Marion School District
  • Lee Academy, Marianna 
  • Osceola School District
  • West Memphis School District


  • Delta Academy in Marks
  • DeSoto County Schools
  • DeSoto County Academy
  • Holly Springs Schools
  • Itawamba County Headstart
  • Lafayette County Schools (delayed 2 hours)
  • Marshall County School District 
  • North Panola Schools (delayed 2 hours)
  • Northwest MS Community College
  • North Tippah School District
  • Prentiss County Headstart
  • Senatobia Municipal School District (delayed 2 hours)
  • South Panola School District
  • Tate County Schools
  • Tunica Academy


  • Achievement School District
  • Arete Christian School
  • Arlington Community Schools
  • Bartlett City Schools
  • Bells City Schools
  • Bodine School
  • Bradford Special School District
  • Briarcrest Christian School
  • Carroll County
  • Catholic School System
  • Central Baptist School Raleigh-Lagrange
  • Chester County Schools
  • Christ Methodist Day School 
  • Christian Brothers High School
  • Circle of Success
  • Collegiate School of Memphis
  • Collierville Schools
  • Concord Academy
  • Cordova Christian Academy
  • Cornerstone Prep (Lester), Cornerstone Prep (Denver), and Lester Prep
  • Creative Life Prep School and Daycare
  • Daffy Duck Learning Academy
  • Dyersburg State Community College will open at 10 a.m. for all locations.
  • Dyer County Schools
  • Dyersburg City School
  • Dyersburg Head Start
  • Emmanuel United Methodist Kindergarten
  • Evangelical Christian School
  • Faith Christian Academy Millington
  • Faith Lutheran Collierville
  • Fayette Academy
  • Fayette County Schools
  • First Academy Christian School
  • First Choice Kids Academy 
  • Freedom Prep Academy
  • Freed-Hardeman University (Henderson, Memphis, and Dickson campuses)
  • Germantown Municipal School District
  • Germantown United Methodist 
  • Gibson County SSD
  • Grace Celebration Child Development
  • Grace-St.Luke’s School 
  • Granville P. Woods Academy
  • Green Dot Public Schools 
  • Hardeman County
  • Harding Academy
  • Haywood County Schools
  • All northwest Tennessee Head Start Centers will be closed on Friday
  • Institute of Beauty in Bartlett
  • Krayola Learning Academy
  • Lakeland School System
  • Lamplighter Mont. School
  • Lausanne Collegiate School
  • Leadership Prep Charter
  • Lighthouse Christian Academy & Preschool 
  • Little Bears Preschool
  • Little Harding Academy
  • Lords Tabernacle Christian Academy
  • Margolin Hebrew Academy
  • Marshall Academy
  • McNairy County Schools
  • M.E.M. Christian Preschool 
  • Memphis Business Academy
  • Memphis Rise Academy 
  • Memphis University School 
  • Mi Escuelita Bilingual Christian Academy
  • Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Midtown Church of Christ 
  • Milan Special School District
  • Millington Municipal Schools
  • Mt, Vernon Christian Academy 
  • New Hope Christian Academy
  • New Life Learning Academy
  • North Panola School District will have a 2-hour delay on Friday.
  • Phoenix School for Creative Learning in Germantown
  • Roulhac’s Pre-school
  • Sacred Heart School
  • Shelby County Schools
  • St. Georges Episcopal Preschool
  • South Tippah Schools
  • Tennessee Academy of Cosmetology 
  • Threshold Montessori School
  • Tipton Christian Academy
  • Tipton County Schools
  • Tipton-Rosemark Academy
  • TLC Learning Academy Pre-K in Whitehaven
  • Trafalgar Village Baptist Daycare and Preschool
  • Union County Headstart
  • University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • W.E.B. Du Boise Charter Schools
  • William Moore College of Technology

The following businesses are impacted:

  • Ability Works  in Olive Branch
  • Belk Brothers RPM  will be closed Friday
  • Caldwell Family Dentistry will be closed Friday
  • Carrier Corp of Collierville: will be closed Friday
  • Comprehensive Pediatric will be closed Friday
  • Eletolux Manufacturer will be closed Friday
  • Firestone Dental Group will be closed Friday
  • Garrison Custom Cabinets will be closed Friday
  • Institute of Beauty Bartlett will be closed Friday
  • iQor AMS in Memphis will start at 8 a.m.
  • Jabil Circuit in Memphis is closed Friday
  • MIFA Meals on Wheels and MIFA Transit Services are suspended Friday
  • Social Security Offices of Memphis will be closed on Friday
  • Spay Memphis will be closed Friday

Government buildings will also be closed. The following are impacted:

  • Bartlett City Offices (non-essential)
  • City of Memphis will open at Noon
  • General Sessions Criminal Court Div. 13
  • Helen Tucker Center
  • Shelby County Assesor of Property (delayed 2 hours)
  • Shelby County Chancery Court
  • Shelby County Circuit Court
  • Shelby County GS Criminal Gouty
  • Shelby County Juvenile Court
  • Social Security Offices of Memphis

Weekend Fun

FRI: The Temptations at Horseshoe, The Science of Beer at Pink Palace, Russell Hall at GPAC, Almost Famous at Lafayette’s, Jazz in the Box: Russell Hall at GPAC, The Grizzlies at The Nuggets

SAT: Miles Flatt at Lafayette’s, Mark O’Connor Band at GPAC, Tigers at Temple

SUN: The Wailers at New Daisy, Kevin Hart :The Irresponsible Tour at The Lander’s Center

FRI-SUN: The Memphis Boat Expo at Memphis Cook Convention Center

MON: King Day at The National Civil Rights Museum

More here

Warren Buffett Thinks Bitcoin Will End Badly

Cryptocurrency falls on talk of South Korea ban
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2018 6:50 AM CST

(NEWSER) – Warren Buffett’s advice on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be summed up in two words: Stay away. In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, the billionaire Berkshire Hathaway investor said that “in terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending.” The 87-year-old, however, said he couldn’t predict when that bad ending would occur—and admitted he doesn’t know that much about cryptocurrencies. “We don’t own any, we’re not short any, we’ll never have a position in them,” he said. “I get into enough trouble with the things I think I know something about. Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don’t know about?”

Charlie Munger, Buffett’s 94-year-old right-hand man, also told CNBC he sees cryptocurrencies as a bubble. Investors “are excited because things are going up at the moment and it sounds vaguely modern,” he said. “But I’m not excited.” Bitcoin fell more than 10% to $13,200 early Thursday after South Korea’s government announced that it plans to ban trading in cryptocurrencies, Reuters reports. The government later clarified that legislation to bring in a ban is being discussed with financial regulators, among others, but has not been finalized. Earlier this week, police raided South Korea bitcoin exchanges in a crackdown on tax evasion. (Kodak is creating its own cryptocurrency.)