December 27, 2005

I’m OK with Paying Congressmen $1 Million a Year, If….

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:05 pm

….. no current representatives or senators are grandfathered into the pay increase, and strict 12-year term limits are imposed.

Thomas Sowell’s thought-provoking column proposing the $1 million pay idea is here.

One More Reason The New York Times Deserves 2005′s “Fiskie” Award

Filed under: Corporate Outrage,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 1:48 pm

Little Green Footballs is taking nominations for their Annual Robert Fisk Award for Idiotarian of the Year (“Fiskie” for short).

Michelle Malkin has a great recitation of reasons why The Times is so deserving of taking 2005′s coveted prize, but overlooks one biggie:

Serial Abuse of Shareholders

S&P 500 performance for 2005 (through December 26) — up 4.68%
(data at link will change after today’s market closes)

NYT Stock close, 12/31/2004 — $40.80
NYT Stock close, 12/23/2005 — $26.40 (down yet again in Tues. trading)
Change — down 35.29%
Loss in shareholder value — over $2 billion

And here’s a one-year “Oh my God” chart for the graphically inclined (as of about 1:40 PM; not clickable; go to nasdaq.com, enter “NYT” in the symbol box, and click “Info Quotes” to get a quote; then select “Charts” from the pull-down menu to get a current chart):

NYT122705

Perhaps The Times needs to assign its crack staff to this “shocking” story.

Nope, scratch that — They would probably headline it as “$2 Billion in Value Disappears at Heroic Media Company: Is Bush to Blame?”
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UPDATE: Another day, another $30 million-plus in shareholder value burned off — NYT stock closed down another 22 cents today, falling to $26.18.
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Other Times-related Blasts from the Past:

Greater Than Expectations: End of Year Edition

Filed under: Biz Weak,Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 11:09 am

A collection of pretty darned good news from the pre- and post-holiday wires:

Holiday Spending

The 8.7% increase over 2004 exceeded the National Retail Federation’s expected increase of 6%. Even if you figure that 2005′s holiday period had one more shopping day, that’s a very impressive increase.

Consumer Confidence

It came in at 91.5; Wall Street had expected 89.0.

Corporate Profits

Biz Weak reports (Item 4 at link):

Profits in 2005 were surprisingly strong, even outside of energy. Through the third quarter, earnings growth for the Standard & Poor’s 500 companies beat expectations for the 10th quarter in a row, according to Thomson Financial.

As I’ve noted before, naysayers are in the early stages of Plan B (grudgingly acknowledge the pervasive good news, look for the first signs of a crack, then wishfully, and probably falsely, pronounce the end of the good times), and are laying the foundation for Plan C (denounce “greed” and “materialism” as if it all of a sudden has become a new element of the human condition) as the steady-enough economic growth continues.
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UPDATE: Paul at Wizbang has a more comprehensive list of good news, and examples of media reports that seem reluctant to acknowledge the obvious. He also makes an excellent point that gift cards aren’t recorded as sales until they are used. This means that the record purchases of gift cards that took place during the Christmas shopping season will causes increases in future months’ retail sales.

UPDATE 2, Dec. 28: From a Wall Street Journal editorial (requires subscription): “Come January, the politicians will return to convince us that things are terrible, but for now, it looks like no one’s buying what they’re selling.”

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Holiday Headline Leftovers

Things I noted over the past four days that definitely merit a mention before newer stories kick in:

Turin Olympics going broke
A revealing quote:

The organizing committee for the Turin Olympics could face bankruptcy procedures if a 64 million euro (US$76 million) shortfall is not covered, the government supervisor for the games said on Wednesday.

“It would be very serious, but nobody actually believes it will happen. We’re hoping a Cabinet meeting tomorrow [Thursday] will help us out,” Mario Pescante said.

Well of course. They’ve never been worried about controlling costs because they “knew” the government would bail them out.

Celebrities and Entertainers Avoiding Iraq
From the UK Guardian: “the United Services Organisation, which has been putting on shows for the troops since the second world war, is struggling to get celebrities to sign up for even a short tour of duty.” Oh, but they all support the troops, and how dare you question their patriotism? (/sarcasm)

Small US Troop Reduction in Iraq Planned
Fantasy-driven Far Left claims credit–Yup, it’s all about them.

NY Attorney General Investigating Music Download Pricing
Unable to win real cases about real crimes in real courtrooms, Elliot Spitzer has found a market where the prices for all products are identical, consumers are not complaining, and decides that it should be investigated anyway (link requires registration).

Nine Years Pay for No Work Followup
A Cincinnati city employee managed to collect nine years of paychecks after leaving her job. One city councilwoman is outraged (HT The Kirk via NixGuy). JUST ONE?

$930 Million Sent Down a Rathole
A Chinese rathole–but that’s okay, it’s a politically correct Chinese rathole (HT Amy Ridenour).

Lending in a Quagmire
I’m not its biggest fan. In fact, I don’t even think it should exist. But, for better or worse, the International Monetary Fund has decided to lend money to an up-and-coming developing country: Iraq. What is interesting is their reasoning (lose at any cost leftists will not be pleased):

The International Monetary Fund yesterday approved a new $685 million loan for Iraq, saying the country has stabilized its economy despite continued violent conflict.
The loan, the second from the IMF after a $436 million emergency loan in 2004, reflects the lending agency’s judgment that Iraq’s government is doing its best to revive the war-torn economy. The loan clears the way for major debt relief from Western nations.

Press Conceals Party Affiliation Report Number 5,237
A politician who switched price tags in a store has been arrested. She also was caught collecting retirement benefits while continuing to work at her government position. Her party affiliation is not noted in the story (HT Large Bill, who, as if we didn’t know already, found it out).

Government “Do As We Say Not As We Do” Example Number 9,375
(HT Drudge) Information Week has found that the US Department of Justice has revealed individual Social Security numbers of people they are prosecuting in immigration-related legal actions. Private companies this lax would get the book thrown at them by the very people who have allowed this to happen.

Our Friends the Chinese, Number 7,531
The Chinese are recruiting IT grads from US colleges–“In turn, this brain trust is being used by China both as a control on its own Internet revolution and as a potential resource for North Korea’s cyberwar program.”

Comparing Cleanups
EU Rota notes a NY Times piece on the varying degrees of cleanup progress from Katrina in Mississippi. The controlling variable is whether private contractors or the Army Corps of Engineers have been responsible for the cleanup. Cleanups involving the Corps have gone much more ….. (no surprise) slowly.

Positivity: Formerly Deaf Girl Hears Christmas Music for the First Time

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:09 am

A pre-Christmas story that still warms the heart:

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