"Stock investors will focus on profits and forecasts, with those exceeding Wall Street's expectations likely to set off some buying -- and possibly a rally. Disappointments, of course, are seen as a reason to sell."
The confirmation process became broken because the Bush administration learned the wrong lesson from the failed Bork nomination and decided it could still nominate extremists as long as their views were hidden. To that end, it insisted that the Senate confine its inquiry largely to its nominees' personal qualities.Oh, yes. Those extremists voted in favor of crazy right-wing ideas like freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
The administration's tactics succeeded in turning the confirmation hearings for Roberts and Alito into a sham. Many Republican senators used their time to praise, rather than probe, the nominees. Coached by the administration, the nominees declined to answer critical questions. When pressed on issues such as civil rights and executive power, Roberts and Alito responded with earnest assurances that they would not bring an ideological agenda to the bench.
After confirmation, we saw an entirely different Roberts and Alito -- both partisans ready and willing to tilt the court away from the mainstream. They voted together in 91 percent of all cases and 88 percent of non-unanimous cases -- more than any other two justices.
Extremism in the defense of the Constitution is no vice, Teddy.
My representative is the Queen of the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi. She voted in favor of pork all 19 out of 19 times. Why would a partisan like Pelosi support Republican pork so consistently? Simple. If there's one principle she holds above partisanship, it's "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." She supports their pork and they'll support hers.
How did your Congressman do?
Companies would have to provide more details of their executives' pay and perks under a plan being adopted by federal regulators.When Cox was nominated to head the SEC, liberals whined that he would be too friendly to corporate crooks. They should have been looking in the mirror instead.
And amid a widening scandal over suspect timing of stock option grants to company officials, the Securities and Exchange Commission also is writing new rules on disclosure of the dating of options.
The planned regulations amount to the biggest changes governing disclosure of executive compensation since 1992. For the first time, public companies will be required to furnish tables in annual filings showing the total yearly compensation for their chief executive officers, chief financial officers and the next three highest-paid executives.
There's a new sheriff in town.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki spoke [yesterday] to a joint meeting of Congress, and some Democrats seized an opportunity to burnish their credentials as supporters of Israel, CNN reports:
In a letter to al-Maliki, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York called the Iraqi leader's comments troubling.
"Your failure to condemn Hezbollah's aggression and recognize Israel's right to defend itself raise serious questions about whether Iraq under your leadership can play a constructive role in resolving the current crisis and bringing stability to the Middle East," the letter said.
The senators said some Democrats are considering boycotting al-Maliki's speech before Congress.
"I want the prime minister to denounce what Hezbollah has done," Reid said at a news briefing. "I will lose a lot of confidence in al-Maliki if he does not denounce what Hezbollah has done."
Well, what exactly did al-Maliki say? Here are some quotes:
"We call on the world to take quick stands to stop the Israeli aggression."
"[Israel's] excessive use of force is to be condemned."
"What is happening is an operation of mass destruction and mass punishment and an operation using great force that Israel has--and Lebanon does not."
"While Israel has stated its military objective is to hit Hezbollah's infrastructure and physical strength, it has, in the words of the Lebanese prime minister, torn the country to shreds."
In fairness to al-Maliki, we should note that he didn't say all these things. Only the first and third quotes are from him; the second and fourth are from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. We'll agree with Reid, Schumer and Durbin, then, that al-Maliki is as bad as Annan, and we look forward to their condemnation of Annan.
It turns out that he doesn't mind corporate fraud when it benefits Democrat fatcats ($):
A strange thing has happened on the matter of corporate scandal: Democrats have discovered the virtues of forbearance. Or at least they have on reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the "government-sponsored enterprises" responsible for some $16 billion in mistaken or fraudulent accounting in recent years. To adapt F. Scott Fitzgerald, the rich in Washington are different; they have more political protection.
And their main protector at the present crucial moment is none other than Senator Paul Sarbanes, co-author of Sarbanes-Oxley. That law imposed vast new accounting costs and potential liability on all of corporate America in the name of punishing a few business crooks who ended up in jail in any case. But when it comes to reforming the demonstrably culpable Fannie and Freddie, Mr. Sarbanes has refused to lend a hand to Banking Chairman Richard Shelby. If a bill fails to pass the Senate this year, Mr. Sarbanes will be the reason.
And the names and figures on the Democrats who got rich from the fraud:
For years, Fannie in particular has also been a sinecure for Democrats (and a few Republicans) who want to get rich in between their government stints without leaving Washington. As the recent report by Fannie's regulator makes clear, those managers were directly responsible for policies that fixed earnings in order to trigger their bonuses. Here's a list of top managers, from the recent exhaustive regulator report, and their earnings over the six years from 1998 through 2003:
• CEO Franklin Raines, $90.1 million in total compensation, including $52.8 million tied to earnings per share growth;
• CFO Timothy Howard, $30.2 million in all, including $16.8 million tied to earnings;
• General Counsel Jamie Gorelick, presumably responsible for the company's corporate governance, $26.5 million in total, including $14.9 million tied to earnings;
• Former COO and current CEO Daniel Mudd, $26.3 million in total, including $14.6 million tied to earnings growth.
We could list many more. But keep in mind that Mr. Raines was Bill Clinton's budget director and was widely mentioned as a potential Treasury Secretary had John Kerry won in 2004. Ms. Gorelick was Hillary Rodham Clinton's eyes and ears in the Justice Department in the 1990s, helped obscure the Clinton Administration's antiterror record as part of the 9/11 Commission, and could be the next Democratic Attorney General. As the regulator's report notes, "The conduct of Mr. Raines, CFO Timothy Howard, and other members of the inner circle of senior executives at Fannie Mae was inconsistent with the values of responsibility, accountability, and integrity."
You'd be wrong.
...some Democrats are still trying to strangle the program. In the House, John Tierney of Massachusetts this year proposed cutting the Pentagon's missile-defense budget by more than half. His amendment was defeated on the House floor, but it won the support of more than half of his Democratic colleagues, including would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Meanwhile in the Senate, Carl Levin (D., Mich.) offered in June to cut off funds for the ground-based interceptor program that Mr. Bush recently activated in Alaska in anticipation of the North Korean launch. Mr. Levin wants to stop new interceptors from being built, but Senate Republicans wouldn't bring his proposal up for a vote. Mr. Levin has been waging his own private war against missile defenses for a generation, to the point of outflanking Russian objections on the political left.
New campaign slogan: "If we don't defend ourselves, no one will want to kill us!"
Pathetic. He issued neither an acknowledgment that he made a complete jackass of himself nor an apology. Just "To my great surprise, Bolton is playing nicely with others."
Should the president send his renomination to the Senate, I will vote to confirm him, and I call on my Democratic colleagues to keep in mind the current situation in the Middle East and the rest of the world should the Senate have an opportunity to vote. I do not believe the United States, at this dangerous time, can afford to have a U.N. ambassador who does not have Congress's full support.
For the good of our country, the United Nations and the free world, we must end any ambiguity about whether John Bolton speaks for the United States so that he can work to support our interests at the United Nations during this critical time.
He owes Bush, Bolton, and the country an apology.
On the plus side, Voinovich has a new campaign logo:
(no, not an unsolicited bush massage... an unsolicited massage from Bush).
Mr Chirac was elected in 1995 on promises to cut taxes, to curb unemployment and to “mend the social fracture”. Yet, under his watch, France has slipped out of the world's top five economies. Its public debt has swollen from 55% of GDP to 66%; unemployment has never dropped below 8%. At the start of Mr Chirac's reign in 1995, France was paralysed by strikes against reforms, and governed by an imperious, unloved prime minister, Alain Juppé. Now, towards its end, France has seen 1m-3m people on the streets in a student-led protest against labour-market reforms, and is governed by the imperious, unloved Mr de Villepin. A president who promoted the construction of a strong Europe, to counter-balance America in a multi-polar world, failed to persuade his own people to vote for its new constitution in last year's referendum.
But when I see moronic drivel like this from a newspaper's paid financial "expert," it pisses me off.
USA Today's personal finance columnist John Waggoner says that dollar-cost averaging is not as good as we think because:
...if you had invested $100 a month in the Vanguard 500 Index fund for the past decade, you'd have had $15,437 in your account at the end of June, according to Lipper.In a word, wrong, Shit-For-Brains. Waggoner reveals that he doesn't understand one of the most basic concepts of finance, the time value of money. Waggoner's example is equivalent to going to your bank and saying "I'll deposit $100 every month for a year, but I want you to pay me interest as if I deposited the whole $1200 up front." It doesn't work that way, dumbass.
You'd have invested $12,000 in the fund, so your total profit would be $3,761, or 31.3%. Any gain is good, but 31.3% is a far smaller gain than 122% - the S&P index's return in the past decade.
In a word, bad timing.
Sure, investing a lump sum up front is better if you happen to have all of the cash up front and if you are certain the market will rise (and exceed the opportunity cost for the money). But that's the whole point of dollar-cost averaging: many people don't have all the cash up front, and not all markets always go up.
True, USA Today is a really crappy paper written for morons. But does it really have to be written by morons, too?
Hallucinogen In Mushrooms Creates Universal 'mystical' Experience Hopkins Scientists Show:
One third said the experience was the single most spiritually significant of their lifetimes; and more than two-thirds rated it among their five most meaningful and spiritually significant. Griffiths says subjects liken it to the importance of the birth of their first child or the death of a parent.
Two months later, 79 percent of subjects reported moderately or greatly increased well-being or life satisfaction compared with those given a placebo at the same test session. A majority said their mood, attitudes and behaviors had changed for the better. Structured interviews with family members, friends and co-workers generally confirmed the subjects' remarks.
The amazing thing is that the Drug War zealots in our government are finally allowing researchers to study these substances again. It's about time.
Remember what the dormouse said!
So they get a little testy when conservative groups actually expect Republicans to vote like Republicans.
You know where I stand on this. If you don't support limited government, fiscal restraint, and the Bill of Rights, you don't belong in Congress. And I don't give a damn whether you have an R or a D next to your name.
Hilarity ensues. A 63-year-old dishwasher, bike hater, and general crackpot has sued the city of San Francisco, and has obtained an injunction preventing the city from making any improvements to bike lanes.
Gold extends rally on continued global political tensions.
Gold for August delivery was last up $9.80 at $652.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, having earlier risen to as high as $653.30, its loftiest level since May 30. On Tuesday, gold futures gained $17.
Gold's rally has been fuelled by Tuesday's deadly bombings of rush-hour commuter trains in Mumbai as well as by the lack of a breakthrough in the west's attempts to stop North Korea and Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
As long as there is no resolution in the crises in Iran, Iraq, Gaza, and North Korea, "gold will keep drawing safe-haven buyers under its protective wing," said Jon Nadler, an analyst at Kitco.com.
Nadler is wrong about the reason, of course. As I've said before, the gold rally is not about terrorism or Iran. It's about the fact that the Fed will have to continue destroying the dollar in order to bail out overindebted consumers and the overindebted U.S. government. Gold will keep going.
Imagine my suprise to learn that Salon.com still exists!
It's the same as it ever was, except now it sucks and has no one worth reading.
Corporate tax receipts are up more than 26% over the same period last year, ringing in at $250 billion. Individual income tax collections, at $791 billion, are up 14% over the first nine months of fiscal 2005. The Congressional Budget Office projects corporate tax receipts will total $330 billion by the end of the fiscal year. As a result, the deficit for the year is expected to be about $300 billion, down from $318 billion last year and $412 billion the year before.
What, you ask, has led to this miraculous event? A tax cut, it turns out. Or rather, an array of tax cuts, on corporate income, personal income, and capital gains. These tax cuts, passed in 2001 and 2003, appear to be having the desired effect of spurring economic growth by creating addition incentives for work and entrepreneurship.
Who would have thought?
Oh, maybe Reagan, GW Bush, and every university student with the capability to understand that incentives affect behavior. Back in the early 90's, I actually had an economics professor (yes, full professor, not lecturer/instructor/adjunct, you nit-picking academics) who argued this point with me, and claimed that Reagan's tax cuts caused the deficit, when in fact revenues increased substantially. Don't be surprised to see liberals and dim-witted educators claim this time around that Bush's tax cuts are causing the deficit. It's the spending, stupid.
HT: Decision '08.
Al Gore is currently an unofficial advisor to Google's top executives, and was formerly an official "Senior Advisor" to them. Guess those global warming messages didn't sink in, huh?
Google: Do No Evil!
The French government has been plunged into embarrassment by the revelation that its intelligence agents interrogated six French citizens inside the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.
Defence lawyers said the trial of the six men on terrorist charges, which began in Paris on Monday, had been seriously compromised. They said the French authorities had previously refused to admit that the six had been interrogated by French counter-terrorism agents at the detention centre in Cuba.
HT: Ace of Spades.
There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.
But this service is now going to go through the internet and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.
Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?
I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?
Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.
So you want to talk about the consumer? Let's talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren't using it for commercial purposes.
Read the whole thing. It's hilarious and tragic at the same time.
HT: Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.
UPDATE: Ted Stevens' timeless words put to music.
Bin Laden is now largely irrelevant. Al-Qaeda is still a significant threat, but it will remain so with or without bin Laden. It is decentralized, and does not require communication or organization from bin Laden to function. As for funding, bin Laden is not al-Qaeda's only source, and whatever resources he still controls will be passed to his associates when he dies.
Yesterday, we received news that the CIA agrees with me.
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