May 31, 2005

Yes, I Still Blog on Business (Links for 053105)

Even in the midst of Ohio’s hot-and-heavy 2nd District congressional primary, there’s plenty of business news and views worth noting, which I will continue to review once each business day:

  • Accounting firm Arthur Andersen’s conviction for destroying Enron-related documents was overturned today, unanimously.This is being seen as a defeat for the US Justice Department. But if the DOJ’s objective was to put Arthur Andersen out of business, the strategy worked just fine, though how that is “justice” escapes me.

    There may be plenty of other substantive reasons to go after Arthur Andersen on Enron (like the accounting they allowed for the various related shell companies that sprouted like weeds), but shredding audit docs clearly has turned out not to be one of them. The may be other cases where Andersen may be convicted with finality (WorldCom perhaps).

    But if I were among the 28,000-plus Andersen employees who had to look elsewhere for work after Enron, especially if I were among those who had a tough time finding work for a while, I might be thinking of former Reagan Administration Labor Secretary Ray Donovan:

    “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” — Reagan Labor Secretary Ray Donovan after being acquitted of corruption charges in 1987.

    As noted here (near bottom of page):

    Donovan, of course, was asking a rhetorical question, knowing full well that his name had been dragged long enough and hard enough through the media mud that no legal victory could ever fully restore his reputation and vindicate him in the public mind.

    Today, former Andersen employees can understandably ask: “Where do we go to get our company back?”

  • (A major personal pet peeve) A Friday Opinion Journal editorial (link may require free registration) on academics and athletes in the NCAA notes that when all costs are considered, very few Division 1-A athletic programs may be breaking even:

    Yet the most surprising figures to come out of this week’s meeting were not about graduating. They were about what some call an “arms race.” It seems that spending on college athletics has been growing four times faster than overall university spending. According to data compiled in several studies for the NCAA, the spenders may not be getting much bang for their bucks, either.

    In 2001-2003, both revenues and expenditures of Division 1-A athletics programs rose by an average of about 17%. If you exclude the extra money universities cough up in “institutional support” for sports, only about 40% of all Division I programs report that they run athletics in the black. More ominous yet, that statistic doesn’t reflect capital spending, e.g. for building stadiums. If that’s factored into the equation, as few as 12 of the division’s 325 member programs may be self-sufficient.

    Meanwhile, spending on scholarships and coaching salaries continues to soar. This despite studies indicating that, on balance, pumping money into athletics does not increase winning rates, or bring in more donations from alumni.

    For the time being, a train wreck is being delayed in part by institutions contributing more out of their general budgets to sustain athletics programs. Then there’s the tax otherwise known as the “student athletic fee.” For example, one public university in Florida raised more than $11 million this way in 2003-2004 and students at another state school now pay more than $11 per credit hour to finance athletics, whether they have any interest in sports or not.

    I can deal with nominal “general” fee charges for activities that improve campus life and enable activities that don’t make any money to function. But the Florida charge is NOT for those activities, and it works out to about $175 per term for a typical course load of 16 hours. To athletics, which is supposed to sustain itself? That’s an outrage. My position is: Not, one, dime. I know these examples aren’t Florida-related, but they make the point (and don’t tell me Florida college programs are any cleaner). That’s right–not one dime. Not when a basketball coach with a DUI is suspended with pay. Or when a bigtime football program has a newspaper headline list that looks like this (link should work; going to individual articles requires paid subscription). Or when college football coaches get paid like this (link may require registration).

  • Good news for New Media and news content diversity–Bad news for Network TV newscasts (and presumably, their bottom line):

    Between November 2003 and November 2004, ratings for nightly news fell 2% and share fell 5%. (despite the presidential election)

    In absolute numbers, that means that in November 2004, 28.8 million viewers watched the three network evening newscasts, half a million less than in November the year before. That is a 45% decline from the 52.1 million people who watched the nightly newscasts in 1980, the year CNN began.

UPDATE on Andersen-Enron: Opinion Journal channels Bizzyblog on the Ray Donovan quote, but makes the point that individual wrongdoers instead of the entire firm should have been pursued: “As we argued at the time, it would have been wiser for the Justice Department to go after individual Andersen partners for obstructing justice while handing over the firm to Paul Volcker, who had a clean-up plan ready to go. Instead, with one exception–David Duncan, the Andersen partner who audited Enron and turned state’s evidence–no one was held responsible.” Thoroughly unsatisfying, to say the least.

As the 2nd District (OH) Turns–The McEwens Plan a Campaign Day

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 9:05 am

Note: The following conversation was relayed to BizzyBlog by a high-tech fly on the wall.
The scene: Bob McEwen and his wife Liz are meeting with campaign manager Nonita Via. Bob has a lot of ideas about places to visit.


Nonita Via: Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. McEwen.

Bob McEwen: Good morning, Nonita. We’ve been campaigning here for two whole months now, and we’ve gotten to know the people of this district very well. In that spirit, you can start calling us Bob and Liz, and we’ll call you NV.

Boy, Liz and I can’t wait to get out there and mingle with the people of myyyyy Second District today. We’re getting down to the last couple of weeks, so we have to plan our agenda very carefully. Let’s start in Batavia. We’ll go shake hands with the patriotic blue-collar men and women at the Ford plant there.

Liz McEwen: Good idea, Bob. High-paying manufacturing jobs are so important.

NV: Uh, Mr. and Mrs. McEw-, er, Bob and Liz, that’s not a Ford plant any more, and hasn’t been for over 5 years. Now it’s a joint venture between Ford and Z-F.

Bob: Ford and the F what?

Liz: Hey, no F words around here.

NV: No, no, Mr. and Mrs., er, Bob and Liz. The name of the other company in the joint venture is ZF Friedrichshaefen.

Bob and Liz: Oh. (pause)

Bob: They still make transmissions, right?

NV: Yes.

Bob: Well, at least that hasn’t changed. But The F–sorry, Liz, I mean Z-F– probably wouldn’t be the best place to go to show my support for American companies.

NV: Especially since the UAW local endorsed Paul Hackett.

Bob: Paul who? In what race?

Liz: Wait, the 2nd District IS the only race. Are we running against him?

NV: Not yet. (under breath) If ever…..uh, Hackett’s a Democrat.

Bob and Liz: (looking at each other knowingly and overconfidently) Oh. (pause)

Bob: That’s okay. We’ll go and visit the Corning Precision Lens Plant west of Amelia. Betcha thought I was going to call it U.S. Precision Lens, didn’t you, NV? But I know they changed their name to Corning Precision Lens in in 2000, because I keep up with what’s going on in myyyyy district.

NV: Well–

Bob: I can remember when President Reagan visited there when it was USPL in 1988. What a special man he was… (daydreaming) What special days those were…. (eyes getting misty)

NV: But Corning sold it. Now it’s called 3MPO. Mr. Mc-, er, Bob?

Bob: (coming back to reality) What? Oh. Sorry. (pause) They make robots now? Like that one in Star Wars?

Liz: Oh, high-tech manufacturing is so important.

NV: No, Mr. and M-, er, Bob and Liz, it means 3M Precision Optics. They still make lenses that go into TVs and other types of displays. 3M bought the plant about 2-1/2 years ago. That probably wouldn’t be a good place to go either. They haven’t done real well since 3M bought them.

Bob and Liz: Oh. (pause)

Bob: That’s all right. We’ll just hop on over to the Kenwood Towne Centre. That’s one of the great malls in America, and it’s in myyyyyy district. We can greet the people there at the entrance to Lazarus.

NV: Mr., um, Bob, that store is a Macy’s now.

Bob: What? This is a low-crime district, and I plan to keep it that way! Why would anyone devote a store of that size just to selling Mace? When I’m elected, I’ll make sure that–

NV: Bob! This is a conversation, not a speech.

Bob: Oh. Sorry. (pauses) Well, let’s do the meet and greet in front of McAlpin’s instead.

Liz: Shoot, I was hoping to do a little shopping at Lazarus. But McAlpin’s will work. Having first-class retail stores is so important.

NV: Guys, the old Lazarus is a Macy’s department store. Y’know, the same people that have the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, and who have a store about 10 miles from yourrrrr home in Virginia? And McAlpin’s is now Dillard’s.

Bob and Liz: Oh. (pause)

Bob: Well then. That will be perfect. We’ll do a meet and greet at Macy’s, and then go right over to McAlp-, I mean Dillard’s. You know where I want to visit next?

NV: (under breath) Uh-oh…I mean, uh, no. Where, Bob?

Bob: We should go visit that historic elementary school up in Kings Mills and say hi to the kids and the teachers there. We should call in a photographer to take pictures of us with those kids, our most precious resource, in that old school. Shots like those would work well in our next round of TV ads.

Liz: Oh, how perfect, Bob. Education is so important.

NV: Uh, guys, that building just has the district’s administrative offices now. The district built a new elementary school across the street four years ago, and their last day of school was last week.

Bob and Liz: Oh. (pause)

NV: (reaching into desk drawer) Here, Bob. It would probably be better if you study this map of the district’s major landmarks, and this Southern Ohio Directory of Companies. I’ve printed out a list of our district’s zip codes, so you’ll know whether each company is really in yourrrrr district or not. That way, we can plan our day better tomorrow, after you have learned about the big companies and important places that are in yourrrrr district. Like Luxottica.

Liz: Since when did that kind of thing get into this district? It’s just everywhere these days.

NV: (sighs) No Liz, not Erotica. It’s called Luxottica.

Liz: I don’t care. Bob, I don’t want that sick stuff here in yourrrrr district–

NV: Liz, stop. It’s an Italian company.

Bob: I don’t care what nationalities or ethnic groups are involved, I–

NV: Guys, will you please listen? Luxottica is the company that owns Lenscrafters now. Y’know, the “glasses in about an hour” people? They built a huge headquarters up in Mason three years ago, and they’re expanding it again.

Bob and Liz: Oh. (pause)

Liz: Well, making sure people can see is so important.

Bob: Well, NV, maybe you have some suggestions about where we can go.

NV: Well…(bravely suppressing true thoughts) There are a lot of other big companies here that weren’t in the Second District back in the mid-1990s, or that have grown a lot, like Thomson Publishing, Cintas, Anthem Health Care, a big Procter & Gamble research facility, and (gulping) FACS Group.

Bob: That’s great. A company that make fax machines in myyyyy district!

Liz: And more high-tech. That is so important.

NV: (almost yelling) Guys! That F-A-C-S. It stands for Federated Allied Credit Services. They manage the credit card programs and do administrative things for Federated Department Stores.

Bob and Liz: Oh. (pause)

(longer pause)

Bob: Well, it looks like I have a little work to do, NV. While I study the directory and the landmarks, why don’t you get on the phone and buy more radio and TV ad time? We need to remind the voters how much Liz and I know and love the people and places of myyyyy 2nd District.

2nd District (OH) Congrressional Race–A (Relevant) Blast from the Past on Bob McEwen

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 9:01 am

June 3, 4PM Update: NixGuy lifts and posts the graphic. Go for it, everybody.

Note: Bolds are mine. The original column is not available online, and was obtained from library microfilm. No other commentary is necessary. Excerpts from that column are presented for education and discussion purposes. And remember, I didn’t write this.

From: The Cincinnati Enquirer; Sunday, March 21, 1993; Page B-8/Metro


Howard Wilkinson on Politics

Some people just have to learn the hard way.

…..people told Bob McEwen not to do it–not to run for another seat in Congress three months after being booted out of his old one.

State party leaders told him. Friends–political allies….–told him.

He did anyway, and Tuesday, he ran into an electoral buzz saw–the Second District special primary election, which he lost to Cincinnati lawyer Rob Portman, favorite of the Hamilton County GOP.

So now, the 43 year-old McEwen–who has held elective office in Columbus or Washington since he was 24 years old–has lost two congressional elections in about five months.

McEwen lost his seat in Congress last fall in an upset that probably stunned even the man who beat him, Democrat Ted Strickland of Lucasville.

In retrospect, though, it’s not so surprising.

McEwen dragged several 500-pound albatrosses around his neck…. He had 166 rubber checks in the infamous House Bank Scandal. He had traveled at taxpayer expense to more exotic climes around the world than anyone since Marco Polo.

McEwen’s political friends told him those issues, the stuff of a politician’s worst nightmares, would rise up again and bite him if he decided to come down to the Second District….

But running is what he does.

….the advice from political friends was to bide his time, wait for the memory of 1992 to fade and take a stab at winning back his old seat in 1994.

But he didn’t take the hint….

And McEwen is now saying what southern Ohio Republicans never thought they’d hear–that he probably won’t run for anything.

May 28, 2005

GOP Leaders and Candidates–It’s Sober-Up Time in the 2nd Congressional District (OH)

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 8:59 am

While the world waits for further installments of “As the Second District Turns” (previous posts are here and here; credit goes to e-mailer and fellow blogger Sierra Faith for the soap opera appellation)–

Any justification for the GOP’s foolish and dangerous overconfidence cited in previous posts should have evaporated by now. From this admittedly limited vantage point (or basement, depending on time of day), it hasn’t, despite the fact that the other side is uniting behind a pretty strong-looking candidate:

Democrats trying to win the 2nd Congressional District after decades of Republican control say they see an opportunity – but not with the loyal standard-bearer who has run and lost in the last four elections.

In Hamilton County, the party’s executive committee tonight may try to prevent four-time loser Charles Sanders from becoming their nominee again by endorsing Paul Hackett…..

If Hackett wins the Democrat primary, audible GOP gulps will be heard across the 2nd District.

Hackett’s bio and career (from his web site) are the stuff a campaign manager’s dreams are made of:

Paul first became familiar with the people, as well as the nooks and crannies of the seven counties that make up Ohio’s 2nd Congressional district, by traveling as a boy with his father, a traveling salesman.

(He joined) the U. S. Marine Corps as a young man. He also committed to his own sense of learning by graduating from law school.

By 1992, Paul had met and married Suzi, and became a part of the Select Marine Corps Reserve and founded his own law firm, Hackett Law Offices.

As an active member of his neighborhood, a husband, and a small business owner, Paul became acutely aware of his community. He was disgusted by many of the things he saw in his own city council meetings and, feeling the need to do his part serving his community, chose to take a more active role by running for, and becoming a member of the Milford City Council, taking charge, and restoring order.

….Last year, Paul heard the call to service again. As his Marine Corps brothers fought a half world away, Paul could not sit in the comfort of his home and let others do the work he was prepared to do. After a serious discussion with his wife and children, Paul re-upped and joined his marines for a seven month tour with the 1st Marine Division and served as a Civil Affairs officer in Ramadi, took part in the Fallujah campaign and subsequent reconstruction.

Paul returned only a few weeks ago, he was told of Rod Portman’s exiting his congressional seat, Paul Hackett is continuing his service to his country by running for the United State Congress.

As a candidate for the United States Congress, Paul Hackett is fighting for the people of Southern Ohio. Not for the red, not for the blue, but for the red, white and blue.

Here is a large portion of a “progressive” blogger’s review of last week’s Democrat Party debate (note that the “progressive” almost has to bite his tongue because Hackett won’t speak out against the Iraq operation):

When it comes to young, up and coming politicians Paul Hackett is straight out of central casting. And as much as it pains me to say it, I liked what I saw.

From the first moment he spoke it was obvious that Mr. Hackett was a very experienced public speaker. What was really refreshing was that while the other candidates talked about problems with the Bush Administration and how they would solve them Mr. Hackett talked about organization… how he was building up his team… doing the organizational work needed to win the race. While everyone else was in the clouds Hackett’s feet were firmly on the ground. Being a champion of preparation and organization this was all music to my ears.

Mr. Hackett indicated that he has already gotten endorsements from the UAW, Teamsters and Pike County Democratic Party.

Afterwards, when I asked him about it he told me that since in this audience we all shared the same basic values he thought it was more important to talk about how we were going to win this thing.

Mr. Hackett had just returned from Iraq several months ago. Surprisingly enough he didn’t bite at the chance to slam the President over Iraq, instead talking about the importance of completing our mission and of the Iraqi soldiers that he served besides, including in the battle of Fallujah. The only chink in the armor was when the moderator talked about 1,200 American soldiers wounded in Iraq and he sharply corrected him that the figure was over 30,000. I’ve been hoping that veterans returning from Iraq would start stepping into the political ring. There’s a lot to say for someone who has actually walked the walk as they say.

Note to file: The “soft liberal” strategy doesn’t look too viable.

Don’t even try to tell me August 2 is a lock if Paul Hackett is the other candidate on the ballot.

UPDATE: Hackett is officially the local bigwigs’ favorite, picking up the endorsements of the Hamilton County and Clermont County Democrat leadership.

UPDATE 2: On this Memorial Day weekend, I salute Mr. Hackett, Bob and Liz McEwen’s son Jonathan, and every other soldier’s service to our country. I hope that everyone pauses from whatever weekend events they have planned to remember all those who have served, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms and blessings we enjoy.

May 27, 2005

This Weekend’s Unanswered Questions (TWUQs for 052805)

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 10:05 pm

Another installment in a nearly-regular series of mysteries and pseudo-mysteries this inquiring mind would like to have answers for (some links included may require free registration):

  • When are the big airlines going to get their manners back?It seems to me that if you have a guest in your “house” for hours you at least offer them a small free snack. Not at Northwest.
  • Who will be the first company to figure out that this idea ought to be an employee benefit?Or perhaps companies would rather let their employees continue to make dumb 401(k) moves.
  • Why is anyone surprised at the federal government’s multi-$100 billion annual deficits when both parties are discussing spending money on this?The national debt as of May 26, 2005 was $7,781,373,341,944. And 80 cents.
May 26, 2005

Shameless Brag about GDP Prediction; Shameless Reference to Prior Post; Predictable MSM Downplay of Good News

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 8:16 pm

As predicted by Kudlow and BizzyBlog (not necessarily in that order), first-quarter GDP growth was revised upward from 3.1% to 3.5%.

I used the original reaction to the preliminary GDP growth release as a reason to explain the origins of MSM business bias.

Also as expected, the MSM business press came up reasons to be disappointed with the revision:

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace in the first quarter than earlier estimates, the government reported Thursday, but the stronger reading fell a bit short of Wall Street expectations.

The gross domestic product, the broad measure of the nation’s economic activity, rose at an annual 3.5 percent rate in the first quarter, compared to the 3.1 percent gain reported in an earlier report. Economists surveyed by had a consensus forecast that the GDP would be revised up to 3.6 percent growth, while Reuters found a range of estimates from 3.2 to 4.0 percent growth.

A smaller-than-expected trade gap in March was one of the major reasons for the upward revision in GDP. Purchases of imported goods and services reduce the GDP, while exports, which grew to record levels in March, increase the measure of the nation’s economic activity.

Even with the upward revision, the first-quarter growth was slower than the 3.8 percent gain reported in the fourth quarter. Still, despite disappointing some on Wall Street, the report was a solid one, said John Silvia, chief economist with Wachovia Securities. In fact he said he expects future quarters this year to show even more slowing of the economy.

“I think the slowdown is still in the cards,” he said. “We’re probably looking at 3.5 to 3.25 (percent growth) in the second quarter, and 3.0 to 3.25 (percent) in the second half. Part of what drove the first quarter number was an increase in inventories, and a lot of that was unintentional. You’ve already seen businesses starting to scale back production to reduce that inventory.

“I don’t see a reacceleration of this economy at all, unless there is an external factor,” he said.

All that gloom over one-tenth of 1% (3.5% actual vs. 3.6% predicted). Zheesh.

As to “external factors” potentially contributing to “reacceleration” (as if going from 3.8% to 3.5% is a big slowdown)–how about these just for starters:
- Oil prices trending down.
- Airport traffic at its highest level in 5 years (but reported instead as looming problems with flight delays, cancellations, and security bottlenecks).
- Mortgage rates staying low, and even falling..

UPDATE: 20 minutes after my post, Kudlow chimes in and exhaustively builds on the good numbers, predicting “non-inflationary prosperity for years to come.” Whew–He is a braver man than I on that one. It looks like he left the gloating to me. Fair enough.

Links of the Day (052605)

One of the worries I had originally was whether there would be enough business-related items to blog about on any given day. Today, as usual, not to worry:

  • Buy one, buy two, bank red, buy blue: Some supporters of (take your pick) Democratic, progressive, liberal, and/or leftist candidates and organizations have decided to stop patronizing companies that give to (take your pick) Republican, reactionary, conservative and/or right-wing candidates and organizations. One such web site is Buy Blue.

    Staying true to blue companies, or even finding them in some cases, has proven difficult. Currently, Buy Blue is picking on the “progressive” purchasing program know as Working Assets because its affinity credit card program is with MBNA (scroll to bottom), which has been a very prominent GOP donor.

    Working Assets has definitely taken notice–you won’t find anything on their site about MBNA unless you read the fine print in the actual online credit application.

    There’s one problem, though: Any attempt to find an alternative bank forces you to face the fact that (surprise-not) almost all bankers give more money to the GOP than to Democrats. The one exception noted in the list at the bottom of this link is (relatively small) Providian Bank. And before you “progressives” move all your card business over there, note that Providian in 2001 was involved in the largest class action settlement at the time for consumer fraud.

    It’s not easy being blue.

  • Minor spyware violations: Instapundit stumbled across this despicable problem earlier this week with his daughter’s computer: mainstream companies involved with pumping adware and spyware onto computers from web sites for kids. This is one more bit of proof that John Dvorak’s proposed law should be passed:

    “Any person who knowingly writes or reads files from another person’s computer by personal or robotic means for whatever reason whatsoever and without the permission of the party involved, with full knowledge of the activity each and every time the action is performed, is guilty of a felony and subject to fine and imprisonment not to exceed $10,000 and one year in prison for each offense.”

    That, or get a Mac, and hope that Apple’s market share stays low.

  • Two consequences of the San Francisco-San Jose area’s sky-high home prices: unprecedented risky borrowing (“Roughly two-thirds of the home mortgages in the San Francisco Bay area are interest-only mortgages.”) and families with children fleeing.
May 25, 2005

Metro-Area Brainpower Survey Released. And the Winner Is….

Filed under: General,News from Other Sites — Tom @ 10:11 pm

(This ought to start some discussion)…Boulder, Colorado:

“People in the rest of Colorado joke that Boulder is so different, it’s like it’s in a bubble,” laughs David Bolduc, owner of the Boulder Book Store. “And you know, in a way they’re right. Maybe we are in a bubble. We really are different from everyone else.”

Boulder residents, Bolduc says, tend to be more liberal. He also considers them to be more interested in natural foods, more passionate about political issues, more opinionated.

And, based on a new study by American City Business Journals, they’re smarter.

Boulder has more brainpower than any other metropolitan area, not only in Colorado, but in all of the United States, says an ACBJ analysis of 171 urban centers.

Fifty-nine percent of Boulder’s working-age adults have bachelor’s degrees, according to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The survey used mostly 2003 Census data for each Metro area, and multiplied the percentage of the population with grad degrees by 5, bachelor’s degrees by 4, associate degrees by 3, “some college” by 2, high school grads by 1, and non-HS grads by zero.

As with any survey of this nature, it has its limitations. For example, Boulder was presumably able to include plagiarist first-class Ward Churchill and his unhinged academic defenders as grad-degreed persons.

The Top 10 are Boulder; Stamford, CT; San Francisco; Madison, WI; Metro Boston; San Jose; Raleigh-Durham; Ann Arbor, MI; Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ; and Metro Washington.

As to the bottom 10, five are in California, 3 are in Texas, and one each are in Florida and Louisiana (studiously avoiding commentary to avoid alienating readers).

An Excel spreadsheet with all 171 metro areas ranked is at the link above.

I’m still trying to get over the fact that Metro Dayton (102) came in ahead of Metro Cincinnati (111). My response: We have less brainpower, but we use what we have more effectively. So there. Oh, and Cincinnati was one of the few areas where 2003 data wasn’t used, so they had to use 2000 instead. Trust me, we’ve picked up a lot of brainpower since then.

Let the bragging and bashing begin.

UPDATE: Generic Confusion makes a good point: “I would venture that a study like that is biased against states with older populations. The people retired in Florida now got the same education with a high school diploma that kids today go to college to receive. True or not, it was a lot easier to prosper without a college education back then.”

UPDATE 2: Betsy notes: “Of course, this equates college degrees with brainpower. The two are not necessarily correlated. As we see all the time listening to some of the lame brains pontificating on politics.”

2nd District (OH) Congressional Race Update: Open E-mail to Local Prolife Leader and McEwen Worker (revised)

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 2:46 pm

JUNE 8 UPDATE: Subsequent to this post, the McEwen campaign released information concerning McEwen’s “clearance” in the House Bank scandal. My response to that release is at this post: “2nd Congressional District (OH) Race: Voters Fired McEwen AFTER His “Clearance” Was “Common Knowledge.”

NOTE: The letter as posted on this site was revised as a result of a discussion with Mr. McEwen. The prolife leader I e-mailed was notified that changes were made, and I suggested that this person read this revised post to identify differences from the e-mail.

ALSO NOTE: I have given no money, and don’t plan to give any money, to any of the candidates in this race, and have not decided who I will vote for on Primary Day.

Dear (Prolife Leader):

The most important point to make here is that I indicated in my original post that Bob McEwen is probably a fine man now in his personal and spiritual life (maybe even “exemplary,” as I suggested, if you made it that far in the post). That’s not the point. He (fairly or unfairly) got tainted by the House Bank Scandal, and he created the career of Ted Strickland. He’s got a million other meaningful things he can do with his life, and I wish him all the best, but IMHO being a Congressman again in the current circumstances shouldn’t be one of them.

My second, and probably larger, point is that he shouldn’t get to represent an area he hasn’t really lived in for more than 6 months of the past 12 years, and pretend to know the interests and concerns the people in this Congressional District.

(Note: McEwen and the e-mailer say that the McEwens rented an apartment for a couple of years leading up to the condo purchase; I believe McEwen stated that they moved to a larger unit in the same building. I do not know how often or even whether he actually was in the district during this time. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in mid-April on his condo purchase as if he had just moved into the district (an incomplete rendering on their part), and noted last week (scroll down to the “Endorsements, Endorsements” section) that “For the past 12 years, McEwen has been living in northern Virginia and working as a Capitol Hill lobbyist with close ties to Christian conservative leaders.” I haven’t seen the McEwen campaign dispute this repeated characterization of his residency. The original April 15 link referring to the condo purchase appears to have been archived by the Enquirer and isn’t accessible. Finally, the link in the first post notes that “As in 1993, when he lost to Portman in a primary, McEwen has had to buy a home in the district to establish residency.” All in all, I believe that my point about McEwen’s lack of presence in the district stands.)

How many times did the prolife movement use “Hillary” and “carpetbagger” in the same sentence in 2000? I can see myself letting go of the House Bank scandal if Bob had gotten back in the trenches in this area, started with lower elective offices, and worked his way up again. But Mr. McEwen did not choose that route, IMHO to his detriment.

My third “point” is a question: When did Pat DeWine become radioactive? Don’t say it’s the filibuster thing with his father, because the antagonism obviously predates that. Pat DeWine, like his father, is 100% prolife, even on ESCR (embryonic stem-cell research). If it’s his personal life, I’m not pleased with that either. But his political stands are strong, he lives here, and he hasn’t been affected (again, fairly or not) by the House Bank Scandal. In other words, DeWine may be a politically principled guy who is a personal scoundrel, but he’s our politically principled personal scoundrel. McEwen may be a saint, but he’s not our saint. I’m not saying I’m voting for DeWine, but I find the obvious antipathy to DeWine hard to fathom. From your e-mail, it seems as if defeating Darth DeWine is the only reason McEwen is running and the only reason the “moral” Who’s Who is at all interested in the race.

My fourth “point” is another question: Since when do Washington insiders and mostly out-of-district “moral” leaders try to dictate who our candidate will be?

My fifth point is: Although my objection to outside involvement stands, the national and “moral” leaders could have, and should have, backed Brinkman if they thought something was wrong with DeWine. Brinkman lives here and works here. Bingo, Brinkman’s money problem is solved. Instead, as e-mailer and blog poster Sierra-Faith wrote to me today (note: this is S-F’s opinion, not mine):

Why does the GOP set itself up for the well-deserved hypocrite label when it’s not necessary?

Don’t know DeWine (not fond of his dad) nor Brinkman, but the only thing I can think of is that folks see McEwen as the real pro-lifer, and are willing to damage that cause by supporting someone who used the taxpayers as his private slush fund (purposefully or not).

My sixth point is: If Mr. McEwen has a letter of “exoneration,” as you and he both claim, on the House Bank scandal, post it on his web site. We’ll see what the working definition of “exoneration” is. If it’s truly exculpatory (or even if it isn’t), I would suggest that you get it out now so that it’s “old news” by the time the Special Election is held on August 2. Otherwise, you’re left with the same problem John Kerry continues to have with his refusal to release his military records.

My seventh and final point (I’m sure you’re relieved at that) is: Bob McEwen has shown that he can lose to a Democrat. He can do it again. The overconfidence and the arrogance of the “moral leaders” and the GOP Washington insiders that the August 2 Special Election is a lock for any GOP candidate with a pulse is breathtaking. This appears from here to be an orchestrated attempt to impose the party’s and/or “moral” leaders’ will on 2nd District Republicans that may have been in the works as early as December; if I’m right, I resent it deeply. Everything I’m noting in this letter will be multiplied by 10 by the Democrats in the seven weeks leading up to August 2, and if you don’t think it has a good chance of resonating with the voters, you don’t remember Harris Wofford (2nd item at link).

I’m inches away from leaving the party and changing my registration to Independent over this. McEwen’s injection into this campaign is very, very misguided. Bob may win now, and in August, but that doesn’t change the fact that this will not be one of his, or your, or the prolife movement’s, proudest moments.

May 24, 2005

Marvel of the Day: The Nanotech Toilet

Filed under: Marvels — Tom @ 6:01 pm

From the appropriately named Extreme Nano:

…..another relatively new and little publicized toilet innovation is emerging as a winner here. Yes, it’s the nanotech toilet. It turns out that nanotechnology can address one of those “should do” but highly unpleasant tasks in life – cleaning the toilet. For some of us, that’s right up there with pulling weeds, flossing teeth and taking out the garbage. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a self-cleaning toilet?

Nano meets the toilet

Over the past four years Toto (the Japan-based world’s largest single-brand toilet manufacturer) has, in fact, been rolling out a self-cleaning feature across some of its toilet line. Called CeFiONtect (Ceramic Fine Ion Technology) in Asia and SaniGloss in the U.S., Toto’s ceramic glaze coats the inner bowl with a non-porous, super smooth surface at the nanometer scale. According to the company, stubborn waste is as small as a few microns. Their patents suggest that the “roughness” of a SaniGloss surface may be under 30 nanometers. By eliminating the microscopic nooks and crannies that conventional glazes have, there are no places for dirt, mold or bacteria to get a foothold. Toto achieves this smoothness by applying a secondary transparent glaze over the conventional colored glaze whose pigments and opacifiers create surface unevenness. In addition, anti-bacterial metals can be added to this layer.

Conventional glazes contain ions that can repel particles. But those ions are not uniformly spread across the surface – leaving about 50% of the surface susceptible to waste and bacteria adhesion. Toto’s technology, on the other hand, creates a high density, uniform charged ion barrier across the entire surface of the bowl, creating good resistance to deposits. Should any matter actually deposit on the surface, the smoothness should enable a stream of water to flush it down the drain. No rubbing, no detergents. According to a Lenora Campos, PR Manager for Toto USA, “SaniGloss makes surfaces on which it is glazed virtually self-cleaning.”

Is this truly a self cleaning toilet?

Not totally. Campos cautions that, “These surfaces do require period maintenance as anything does, but that maintenance is periodic. For example, when a toilet bowl is glazed with SanaGloss, the water that rinses the bowl as the toilet flushes is all that’s needed to remove stains, residue, scaling, and lime buildup.” Adds Terry Love, a Bellevue, WA plumber who hosts a popular plumbing and remodeling web site, “Homeowners report that they still need to clean their toilet, but SanaGloss cuts the cleaning effort in half.” That alone makes consumers overjoyed with the performance.

If this ever catches on, the arguments over who does the housework will be much less contentious.

Spurious Spam of the Day

Filed under: Stock Schlock — Tom @ 12:36 pm

This first entry in the Stock Schlock category, which is intended to track the results of the investments touted in junk e-mails (so you don’t have to, and so you won’t be taken in by them), actually doesn’t relate to a specific stock at all.

That’s because of the imbeciles who sent me the following e-mail (shown in part below). Next time, guys, change your boiler-room form letter before hitting the Send key:

“A Premium Market Related Service”
Attn: Subscribers, Stockbrokers, Analysts & %INVESTOR %ALERT

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 19, 2005–%COMPANY(Pink Sheets:%SYMBOL – News), a contact center consulting and software development firm, today announced that Empire Research Associates has completed its initial report on the company, in which it recommends %SYMBOL as a “Strong Speculative Buy”. The report is an invaluable research tool for both shareholders and strong potential %INVESTOR.

In his report, William Walling, Chairman and Founder of Empire Research Associates, stated, “We are not yet prepared to present specific quantitative forecasts in this report. But, we sense that a 5% market share level in five years would be plausible (and probably conservative), if Central Authority(TM) catches on commercially. This could provide %SYMBOL with annual revenues in the area of $25 million.

At this level, profits would be juicy because software companies have high fixed costs and low variable costs, so rising incremental revenues pour down to the bottom line. Thus, a 40% margin on sales (fully taxed) would imply $10 million of net income in 2010. On the present 17.6 million shares, earnings would exceed $0.50 per share. Though inevitable future financing would necessarily dilute this amount, it would still be mighty attractive for a %STOCK currently selling at $0.075.

Zheesh. The company IS named later in the e-mail. Don’t you DARE ask me for it.

Identity Theft and Data Compromises Across America (052405)

This may become an ongoing saga (I hope not) of ID theft stories and datakeeeping failures.

A few choice entries for today (some links require free registration):

  • (Courtesy of Wizbang)–How to steal a house without the owner knowing it.
  • Two banks lose control of info relating to over 100,000 accounts–and it was an inside job.
  • Speaking of inside jobs, how about the tax preparers who used their clients’ identities to buy homes?
  • Finally, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Theft has the potential to disrupt the used-car market, and leads to the Money Tip of the Day:

    It just takes one look at the 17 numbers and letters that make up your car’s Vehicle Identification number, or VIN. It’s kind of like the Social Security number for the car.

    “You just copy that VIN number down and then you go create a VIN. You make your own VIN plate,” says Woods.

    Auto theft cops call it cloning. Add a faked title and cloned VIN to a stolen vehicle and you’ve got a sale that might look good, but it isn’t.

    Sergeant Keith Kucifer has an eagle eye for the bad VIN’s. One truck caught his eye enough to look for other evidence.

    The victims are hit on both sides — the stolen number and the unsuspecting buyer of the cloned vehicle.

    “Just because I as the victim, may have purchased it “legitimately” and paid $15,000 for it doesn’t give me the right to keep stolen property,” says Kucifer.

    Police will seize the property and the money is already gone.

    I made a quick call to the local police here, and learned that there is nothing illegal in covering your VIN number with tape, or paper or whatever, as long as you can make it accessible when necessary, like when you’re pulled over for a traffic violation (not that any of readers of THIS blog would ever have to worry about that). I suggest you cover up your VIN; I just did. And, since your VIN is listed on your car’s inside driver door, you should ALWAYS lock your car when it’s not in your closed garage.

May 23, 2005

2nd Congressional District (OH) GOP Primary: An Attempted Coronation for Bouncin’ Bob McEwen

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 8:33 am

JUNE 8 UPDATE: Subsequent to this post, the McEwen campaign released information concerning McEwen’s “clearance” in the House Bank scandal. My response to that release is at this post: “2nd Congressional District (OH) Race: Voters Fired McEwen AFTER His “Clearance” Was “Common Knowledge.”

May 27, 12:20 Update: Revised the description of 1993 GOP special primary below based on further research.

May 26, 9 PM Update: Red State’s Michael Meckler comments on the race’s players.

May 25, 5:15 PM Note: I spoke with Mr. McEwen and have corresponded with one of his campaign workers. In light of those communications (blogged here), in which both parties claim that McEwen was “exonerated” in the House Bank Scandal, I have suggested that they post evidence to that effect on their web site. Although McEwen has for the moment refused to do so, I’m in “show-me” mode on the House Bank Scandal issue for the time being. My objections to his lack of presence in the district, the outside impositions by “moral” leaders and Washington insiders, and the political damage, both past and potentially current, McEwen has wrought or may bring about, still stand.

May 25 AM Note: Just removed the question mark on the entry title. There is NO DOUBT that “moral” leaders and Washington Insiders are attempting a coronation here.

Note to blog readers: I live in this congressional district and am troubled by what I see happening in this election, so please forgive the temporary parochial tilt. Besides, I would argue that this post says a lot about how “business” is done in Washington today. Also, I have given no money, and don’t plan to give any money, to any of the candidates in this race, and have not decided who I will vote for on Primary Day.

I caught this at Red State (second paragraph) in mid-April and didn’t think much of it (the link to the District map in the quote was added by me-while there, note the absurd statewide gerrymandering):

Former Congressman Bob McEwen wants his old job back. Thursday McEwen announced his candidacy for the G.O.P. nomination to succeed newly-appointed Trade Representative Rob Portman as the representative for the heavily Republican 2nd Congressional District. Portman has been nominated by President Bush to become the next U.S. trade representative. As in 1993, when he lost to Portman in a primary, McEwen has had to buy a home in the district to establish residency. Observers view McEwen and Ohio state representative Tom Brinkman as vying for the support of social conservatives, who are not particularly happy with the perceived front-runner in the G.O.P. primary, Hamilton County Commissioner Pat DeWine.

Maybe DeWine (son of Senator Mike DeWine) was the perceived favorite then, but I get the sense that this race is wide open. Anyone who can mount a credible three-week radio and TV blitz and drown out his or her opponents can take advantage of what will almost certainly be a low-turnout primary on June 14 and win. (The 2nd District is drawn in such a way that the GOP primary winner, assuming he or she still has a pulse, will be a heavy favorite to win the August 2 Special Election.)

So when I first heard expensive talk-radio ads for McEwen on Friday, the antennae went up.

It turns out that Bouncin’ Bob has assembled quite a list of heavyweight endorsements: James Dobson, Paul Weyrich, Jack Kemp, Ed Meese, Anthony Munoz, and numerous other Christian and prolife bigwigs. I suspect that quite a stash of campaign cash has accompanied some of these endorsements.

What in the world is going on here? Why is the GOP establishment lining up behind Bouncin’ Bob McEwen?

Oh, you want to know why I call him Bouncin’ Bob? (full bio is here)

McEwen was first elected to represent Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District in 1980. The bio link overlooks McEwen’s brief candidacy for Ohio Governor in 1989; he bowed out to give then-Cleveland Mayor and now (supposedly) GOP Senator George Voinovich an uncontested shot at the office. By 1990, after several reelections, McEwen was riding high in Washington. He was among the most vocal supporters of the first Gulf War, and was on network TV frequently during that time. He was considered among the GOP’s rising stars.

Until the House Bank Scandal broke.

First, a brief history lesson (bolds are mine):

(On April 1, 1992), the House Ethics Committee released a list of the twenty-two most flagrant abusers of the defunct House bank. The bank, which had been closed in the fall of 1991, was not a financial institution, but rather served as a common place for legislators to tuck their paychecks. The representatives in question were accused of overdrawing on this collective account. But, though the legislators’ habit of overdrafting neither violated the bank’s rules nor led to the loss of federal money, it reeked of fiscal irresponsibility and stirred yelps of protest from the American public. The House Ethics Committee held that legislators who had overdrafted on their payroll deposits for a minimum of eight months out of a sample thirty-nine-month stretch were indeed in the wrong. The committee’s findings, as well as the decision to name names, sent Capitol Hill into a tizzy. A number of the legislators fingered on the list lashed out at what one accused representative deemed a “libelous indictment.” But, such protests did little to quell the controversy: during the ensuing months, the committee revealed that some 350 former and current House members had written bad checks (note: amounting to at least $10.8 million, an average of $30,000 per offender). With the public outcry hardly abating, fifty-three representatives tendered their resignations by May 4 of that same year.

Bouncin’ Bob’s involvement was heavy and his response to getting caught was, to say the least, disappointing (bold mine):

McEwen was caught up in the House Bank scandal. Initially he denied bouncing any checks, then he admitted maybe he had bounced a few, and then it was revealed to have been more than a hundred.

Actually, it was 166 (go to Page 6 at link).

McEwen was clearly in the obstructionist camp against telling the voters just how pervasive the abuse was. Look at his 1992 voting record (see votes 46 and 47) yourself, and you’ll see that he voted against the compilation and release of the “39-month stretch” of records referred to above.

Bouncin’ (and now Bullheaded) Bob should have resigned. Instead, he used what was left of his incumbency advantage to narrowly defeat a better opponent in the 1992 GOP primary. As Bill Clinton won his first presidential term, McEwen lost the Sixth District (redrawn after 1990) to a Democrat. The re-gerrymandered Sixth District (redrawn after 2000) is now firmly in Democrat hands. The current occupant, and the original vanquisher of Bouncin’ Bob, is none other than John Kerry’s duck-hunting partner Ted Strickland, who now has his sights set on the Ohio governor’s mansion. Thanks, Bob.

The quote at the top about McEwen’s 1993 drive-by primary run in the Second District against Portman failed to note that Bouncin’ Bob got stomped in Hamilton County, actually finishing a distant third countywide. Though he won the other four less-populated rural counties in the district, overall, McEwen finished second (35.61% Portman, 29.54% McEwen). The Wikipedia entry on McEwen’s career is here.

It shouldn’t surprise you that I probably wouldn’t vote for Bouncin’ Bullheaded Bob McEwen if he was the only person on the ballot. I can forgive him for what he did and said 13 years ago, and wish him luck with the rest of his life, which appears to have been quite prosperous, fulfilling, and even exemplary. But forgiveness doesn’t require me to return him to Congress, and I won’t support that.

But now, here are the things I REALLY don’t understand about this race:

  • How can the above Who’s Who of so-called moral leadership sign on to McEwen’s candidacy? Is this election about who can be most easily “managed” by the national GOP leadership, or is it about who is the best person to represent the voters of the Second District?
  • And how did this come together so quickly? In addition to the Who’s Who, Bouncin’ Bob appears to have lined up a surprising number of grass-roots workers in the snap of a finger. It almost makes you wonder if the President’s selection of Portman as Trade Rep was the “surprise” everyone claimed it was when it was announced. I suspect the Trade Rep deal may have been done shortly after the November election, and that Washington-insider McEwen may have had a few months to lay his heavy-hitter foundation of support.
  • Why should the voters of the Second District support a guy who only moves into the District when he sees an opportunity to return to Washington? The McEwens closed on their condo purchase on April 11, 2005 (note: McEwen lists his address at the bottom of his personal home page, so no one’s privacy is being violated). Bouncin’ Bob will have been in the Second District all of 64 days when the primary is held. If you’re keeping score, that’s 18 fewer days than Alan Keyes was in Illinois before he got thumped by Barack Obama in that state’s US Senate race last year.
  • Oops, did I say “return to Washington”? Silly me. I meant “return to Congress.” McEwen’s own blog refers to a newspaper item (bolds mine) noting that he is “a Hillsboro Republican who has spent most of his time in the Washington area since leaving Congress 12 years ago.” Hillsboro is NOT in today’s 2nd District; for the geographically impaired, neither is Washington. Can you say “opportunist”?
  • Why should the voters give McEwen any kind of second chance when there are plenty of candidates with similar philosophies who only lack equivalent experience in writing NSF checks?
  • I don’t see any contrition here when (again, from his blog) one of Bouncin’ Bob’s big “selling points” is “He has 10 years of experience in the House and as a result, can automatically qualify for leadership positions.” If he regretted his past conduct, he’d agree to start out with zero seniority, wouldn’t he? (aside–in what other occupation can you be gone for 12-plus years and not lose seniority?)
  • And, finally, where is the money coming from to finance McEwen’s campaign? It looks like we won’t know much until June 2nd (bounteous thanks to Mike Krempasky of for finding this link), which is a scant 12 days before the election, though we could learn of contributions of $1,000 or more a bit sooner. The FEC web site currently shows no contributions to McEwen, DeWine, or Brinkman (I didn’t check the others-links provided are McEwen’s) from their committees, from other committees, or from individuals. From here, it appears that McEwen may be the only one with the bucks to sustain consistent radio and TV ads through Primary Election Day (DeWine may be an exception). This is why the question about funding sources, especially if McEwen’s money is mostly from GOP outsiders attempting to impose their will on Second District voters, is important.

If Chicago Democrat Dan Rostenkowksi, who was irreparably tainted by the House Post Office Scandal (3rd paragraph at link) and other matters during the same corrupt era, and who was voted out in the “Contract With Amercia” election of 1994, were to try to run again, I believe McEwen’s Moral Who’s Who above and his grass-roots supporters would (correctly) be beside themselves with indignation. So why does Bouncin’ Bob deserve a pass? I (obviously) believe he doesn’t.

This primary should be about injecting fresh new candidates and ideas into a district that has its share of problems, especially in its central and eastern rural areas. It shouldn’t be a carpetbagging pickup for a thinly-disguised Washington insider who deservedly lost his seat over a decade ago, but apparently has never lost his sense of entitlement.

UPDATE: Welcome Wizbang readers. I’ll be checking out Wiz’s comments section to see if anyone has a good defense for the “moralist” support for McEwen.

UPDATE 2: Yikes! There are eleven Republicans on the primary ballot. The possibility that Bouncin’ Bob can win on name recognition and short memories looms large.

UPDATE 3: Full text of Dobson’s endorsement “as a private citizen” is here. Dobson says that “Bob McEwen’s campaign represents a unique opportunity to return a proven leader to Congress.” My posterior; it may be a “unique opportunity” to lose a seat that should be safe to the other party, and to set off a wave of “Bush is failing, the country is rejecting the theocracy” hysteria in the MSM. Does anyone remember what Dick Thornburgh’s 1991 loss to Harris Wofford in the Pennsylvania Senate Special Election did to Bush the Elder, and for Bill Clinton?

UPDATE 4: Sierra Faith says: “(McEwen) loves the Washington, DC game (not the accountability obviously), and is banking (pun intended) that his former constituents have lousy memories.”
In a later e-mail, S-F adds “Why does the GOP set itself up for the well-deserved hypocrite label when it’s not necessary? Don’t know DeWine (not fond of his dad) nor Brinkman, but the only thing I can think of is that folks see McEwen as the real pro-lifer, and are willing to damage that cause by supporting someone who used the taxpayers as his private slush fund (purposefully or not).”

May 21, 2005

This Weekend’s Unanswered Questions (TWUQs for 052105)

Another installment in a nearly-regular series of mysteries and pseudo-mysteries this inquiring mind would like to have answers for (some links included may require free registration):

  • In an era of camera phones, why is everyone automatically assuming that American soldiers took pictures of Saggy Saddam in his undies?Yes I know the Sun claims the photos came from the military. They NEVER lie. (/sarcasm)

    Some possible candidates: International Committe of the Red Cross (y’know, the folks who think Gitmo ought to be a hotel, and that we should leave the good little boys alone), Saddie’s assorted lawyers, and non-military personnel who give him food, change the sheets, etc.

    Now it may be (but I personally doubt) that visitors have to hand over all personal gadgetry before visiting Saddie. If anyone can enlighten me and blog readers on this, e-mail me here.

    A good rundown of the good, bad, and ugly uses of camera phones is here.

    UPDATE May 22, 8:30 AM: More photos have been released, and the Sun claims to have paid $900 or so (second last paragraph at link) for the photos. Another blogger (sorry, lost track of who it was) pointed out that an American taking that level of risk would have demanded much more than that.

  • Why is business so surprised when regulators step in to make them do things they should have done all along?The FCC has just mandated that Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services must enable easy access to emergency services:

    In issuing its order on a 4-0 vote, the FCC said it “hopes to minimize the likelihood of situations like recent incidents in which users of interconnected VoIP dialed 911 but were not able to reach emergency operators.”

    The FCC decision says VoIP providers must make sure all 911 calls they process are routed to the caller’s local 911 operations center. In addition, VoIP calls must display the customer’s callback number and location when it rings into the emergency center, a system called “enhanced” 911 or E911.

    The need to do this automatically and with no questions asked should have been obvious from the very beginning. The fact that Vonage and other VOIP providers made emergency services access difficult and/or costly is a disgrace, and partially explains why the generally bureaucratic and inefficient hand of government regulation gets involved (once in, it never seems to let go). Sorry, Mises, I have to disagree with you on this one. Had the VOIPs done the right thing, the FCC in this administration would probably have left them alone.

  • When is New Jersey going to allow its citizens to pump their own gas? (a personal pet peeve, having just visited the Garden State)Here’s the background. I might have figured that Oregon would be the only other state to ban self-service at the pump.
May 20, 2005

Links of the Day (052005)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,General — Tom @ 10:38 pm

Okay, I promise not to get political. Here are interesting biz-related links for today:

  • Add Hyundai to the list of foreign-based carmakers with plants in America (specifically in Montgomery, Alabama).
  • A merger of two weak airlines that appears to make quite a bit of sense.
  • The stock markets had their best week since November. Stocks are typically leading economic indicators, which may mean the good times will continue.
  • Sorry, I just can’t resist. Why should I care about whether a mass-murderer of 300,000 (second-last paragraph) is seen in his undies? And then the bastard wants to sue? Heck, Saddie, you can get $100 mil for your so-called embarrassment in return for at least 100 grand per victim from your Swiss bank accounts. That nets out to $29.9 billion, by certified check only.

UPDATE: Thanks to Radio Equalizer for the kind words (about halfway down his post). RadioE had a great post on the Newsweek debacle earlier this week, and some predictions about the reaction to it that have turned out to be pretty accurate so far.