December 4, 2006

London and Hong Kong ‘Heart’ Sarbanes-Oxley

Jan. 10, 2007 — Note to visitors from Wikipedia: The Sarbanes Oxley entry at Wiki claiming that this post supports the notion that “The amount of business displaced from Wall Street to the City of London remains disputed” is incorrect. My entry below notes that displacement is taking place and quotes ONE person relative to the percentage of new IPOs being listed in the US since SarBox. Though some may be disputing what that person has said elsewhere, no “dispute” of that person’s statement is noted here. A contemperanous BizzyBlog post noting this is here.

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2 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Kudlow’s blog for linking to this post!

I’m getting the impression that there might be interest in bumper stickers and perhaps other items containing the (ahem, copyrighted) design below. If you are in the financial, business or political community, e-mail me at this e-mail address and let me know the particulars of what you might like to see (products, number of people involved), along with the necessary contact info (e-mail and phone number at least). Prices will be comparable to similar items seen elsewhere.
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LondonHKloveSB

Sarbanes-Oxley Quotes of the Day: Kudlow Discussion Group and John Fund Column
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If people won’t listen to the US business and investing communities about the negative impact of Sarbanes-Oxley, maybe they’ll take note of the unconcealed glee overseas.

Here’s one example from Larry Kudlow’s show last Thursday (posted at his blog on Friday), on the post-SarBox IPO (initial public offering) dry-up (bold is mine):

Mike Holland: I’d like to put a fact in here. Before Sarbanes-Oxley, 50 percent of all IPOs around the world listed in the United States. Would anyone, including Herb, like to guess how many since Sarbanes-Oxley have listed in the U.S.?

Herb Greenberg: Give me the number.

Mike Holland: It’s 8 percent. And the last 25 largest IPOs, they all listed abroad. I was in Europe a couple weeks ago–they’re talking about erecting statues to Sarbanes and Oxley in London’s financial center.

Kudlow: Yes. Absolutely. ….. That’s what people don’t understand. We’re going to lose competitiveness.

John Fund, at today’s OpinionJournal.com, notes Hong Kong’s gratitude for SarBox (bolds are mine):

Increasingly, Hong Kong and London are the places where companies are finding it easier and cheaper to list their shares and raise capital. Last year, of the 25 largest initial public offerings in the world, only one took place in America. This year, Hong Kong is likely to end up as the No. 1 market for stock offerings world-wide.

Perhaps the top culprit in New York’s relative decline as a trading center is the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate accountability rules that were put in place in 2002 in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Henry Tang, Hong Kong’s financial secretary, couldn’t be more blunt on the good fortune Sarbanes-Oxley has brought his city. “Our success is giving [Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson a few raised eyebrows,” he told a delegation from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian free-market think tank, last week. “Thank you, Mr. Sarbanes and Mr. Oxley,” he said, referring to Democratic Sen. Paul Sarbanes and GOP Rep. Mike Oxley, the law’s chief sponsors.

….. Our foreign competitors ….. are taking advantage of our curious refusal to reform our financial markets, which could make the U.S. a global also-ran. As one leading Hong Kong businessman told me, “Your current policies amount to unilateral disarmament in the contest for IPO’s. The next year or so will be a test for whether you can wake up in time.”

Are we really going to cede an entire sector of the financial services industry to overseas competitors without a fight because of a bunch of unnecessary busywork?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org, with additional media bias-related commentary provided there.

Re Google News and Centcom Inclusion: This Post Is Unintentionally Unresolved

Last Monday (Nov. 27), I raised the issue of why all but one relatively minor web site of Centcom.mil was being excluded from Google News, and entirely excluded from Yahoo! News. I asked for technical help explaining and confirming what I believed I had found.

Tuesday, Brain Shavings came to the rescue and filled in a lot of technical holes that on balance confirmed what I had reported. He also noted that Centcom press releases were given Blog and not News status by Google. Spc. Patrick Ziegler of Centcom commented at Brain Shavings’ post that he would report the issues “to the powers that be.”

In response to Brain Shavings, my post concentrated its fire on Google because of the blog treatment of press releases.

Late Tuesday morning, I sent an Open Letter through Google’s Corporate blog to a Google News Product Manager who had posted an entry there, and copied Google’s Public Relations Department.

Within three hours, I got an e-mail response from Daniel Pastor at Google, who wrote, “I’ve sent it to the approrpiate (sic) person at Google News, and they should be in touch with you shortly.”

Nothing happened. I phoned Mr. Pastor Thursday afternoon, and he said that he would look into the situation.

It is now just over six days later — an eternity in Internet time. The fact that you’re seeing this post indicates that I have yet to hear back from anyone at Google News, but you can rest assured that I am not about to let up on this. As the Open Letter indicates, I want to know how Centcom’s near-total exclusion occurred, whether the exclusion was due to inaction by Centcom or the result of actual rejection(s) by Google, and what has been and will be done to remedy the situation.

Some important contextCommenter Kevin at the “open letter” post was under the mistaken impression, as I suspect others are, that press releases from companies and others don’t make Google News, and that military releases perhaps ought be considered to be on an equivalent level. First, the fact is that press releases DO make Google News (even the most fawning and mindless ones from PR Newswire, as an example). Second, in light of the by-now irrefutable fact that the media in Iraq are failing to accurately report what is happening there, to the point of making stuff up, and using bogus and anonymous sources in the process, the military should at the very least have equal access to the same outlets the press is using to spread its “news.” Frankly, anything short of equal access is an insult.

(By the way, I haven’t forgotten about Yahoo!, but I’m hoping that Centcom will get that one going with Brain Shavings’ suggestions.)

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UPDATE: Brain Shavings reports unimpressive follow-through at Centcom, and great displeasure at having to do so.

Quote of The Day: Mary Katharine Ham on Why ‘Police Captain’ Jamil Hussein Matters (Plus Other Updates)

From the conclusion of her Friday Townhall column:

This is not a one-time transgression or a harmless rumor. This is indicative of a pattern, which is indicative of untold numbers of inaccuracies that were never caught, rumors that were never stopped, sources that were never verified. Each one of those has had a part, however miniscule, in forming the narrative of the war in Iraq and the greater War on Terror. That narrative has shaped public opinion in Iraq, the U.S., and around the world. That public opinion may end up playing a hand in whether we win or lose in that theater.

Reporters are fond of thinking they can change the world. They should really double-check all their sources before they go trying.

Who is Capt. Jamil Hussein? Keep asking that question. Getting the answer right matters a great deal. You’d think reporters would understand that.

Oh, they understand very well, MKH, especially the “win or lose” part. The WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, formerly known as the Mainstream Media) want the false narrative to be the first one that hits the streets, even if it takes questionable sources and/or anonymous sources to make it happen. The WORMs know that the corrective narratives, if they even occur at all, barely matter, because the vast majority of readers, listeners, and viewers will never see, hear, or be aware of them.

Mitchell Langbert at Democracy Project celebrates Flopping Aces’ and others’ success at exposing the Associated Press’s treachery with Jamil Hussein as “changing history.” Maybe, but I think it’s more likely the second shot (the fauxtography tussle was the first) in a long-running battle between the Army of Davids and the monopolistic and biased status quo. It’s not at all clear to me who will have the upper hand several years from now.

ALSO #1: Flopping Aces noted AP trending towards anonymous sources over the weekend, thus enablng the avoidance of those pesky bloggers and occasionally peskier folks from the military questioning sources; Gateway Pundit also caught AP’s continued use of sources the military has specifically identified as non-credentialed.

ALSO #2: Over the weekend, Ray Robison found disturbing evidence that the Associated Press is sharing writers and/or sources with Al Jazeera.

REMINDER: Robison’s discovery should not at all surprise BizzyBlog readers who recall the post containing info that originated at Little Green Footballs. It detailed how the Associated Press, Associated Press Television News (APTN), and likely other news organizations are being paid extra to give special treatment and spin to Arab-, Palestinian-, and Muslim-related stories by Arab-state paymasters. If you haven’t read it, go there and you’ll understand why you simply cannot take any news out of the Middle East at face value (just one recent example: Gateway Pundit notes the pro-terror spin from Lebanon — “Lebanese democratically elected government = Western (US) backed Government”). If there was ever any naive hope that Iraq might be an exception, those hopes have clearly been dashed.

ALSO #3: Be careful what you wish for, WORMs. James Whetzel at American Thinker notes that there are costs outside of Iraq, even to a supposedly important liberal cause (George Clooney, please note) — “The conflict in Darfur is abhorrent and tragic; however, that tragedy is compounded by the fact that the United States has lost the will to act in the face of tyrants, dictators, and thugs, not because we are soft as a people, but because the media has so distorted the truth and sided with our enemies it has become almost impossible to win, even if we do.”

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UPDATE: The New York Times’ Tom Zeller Jr. circled the wagons in an article for today’s paper published online Sunday –

….. Then there was The Associated Press itself, which by Friday had come to view the continued scrutiny of its article as evidence that everyone — the military, the blogosphere, even other media outlets tracking the back-and-forth — was either agenda-driven, insolent, or both, but not legitimately curious.

….. It is also true that the institution conducting America’s multibillion gamble in Iraq — the military — says that this standout of atrocities never happened, while a venerable, trusted news agency has twice interviewed witnesses who said, in extensive, vivid detail, that it did.

Sorry, Mr. Zeller, AP, et al. Just off the top of my head, I am “legitimately curious” why “Jamil Hussein” stays in the shadows, why no one can name or produce the five of six who allegedly died, why the morgue is said to have no records of these deaths, why no one can find any relatives of the five to talk to, and why there is apparently no local news coverage naming the dead to cite. And I am “legitimately curious” as to why an allegedly “venerable, trusted” news agency that can’t or won’t answer these simple questions has any right to claim more credibility than the military, where people who commit dishonest acts receive disciplinary action instead of Pulitzers.

Oh, and Zeller, just a few days earlier, had this from the Times’ Baghdad correspondent Edward Wong, who, as Zeller noted, “was unable to substantiate the burning incident for his Saturday story”:

We reached several people who told us about the mosque attacks, but said they had heard nothing of Sunni worshippers being burned alive. ….. Such an incident would have been so abominable that a great many of the residents in Hurriya, as well as in other Sunni Arab districts, would have been in an uproar over it. Hard-line Sunni Arab organizations such as the Muslim Scholars Association or the Iraqi Islamic Party would almost certainly have appeared on television that day or the next to denounce this specific incident. Iraqi clerics and politicians are not shy about doing this. Yet, as far as I know, there was no widespread talk of the incident. So I mentioned it only in passing in my report.

I think I’m supposed to read Zeller’s latest as a self-admission that the Times and Wong are less “venerable and trusted” than AP — stunning indeed. (I just left a comment at Zeller’s “The Lede” blog — “Three days later, Wong’s circumstantial reasons for questioning whether the incident happened still stand: the lack of residents in an ‘uproar’ on the streets and the lack TV opportunism by the Muslim Scholars Association. How can that be if the incident really took place?”)

Allah at Hot Air has similar thoughts and questions.

Blue Crab Boulevard makes a great point — Referring to the AP’s assertion to the Times in a face-to-face interview (that “to engage these questions — to continue to write about them — merely fueled a mad blog rabble that would never be satisfied.”): “Notice how the AP tries to stifle even the Times’ reporting ….?” Message to the rest of the press: Don’t cover this.

Patterico“Apparently it never occurred to either of these stellar journalists that there is, in fact, one thing the AP could do — but, notably, hasn’t. And that is to produce Jamil Hussein.”

Curt at Flopping Aces“The Iraqi’s (sic) set up a unit so that the press could be assured that the official spokesmen that these reporters like to quote so much are in fact who they say they are. What’s absurd is the notion that this wrong and somehow restricting their freedoms. Is it too much to ask that the media quote REAL police officers?” Apparently — no point in letting the legitimacy of sources, or lack of evidence that it even happened, get in the way of a good story.

Jawa Report“….. the New York Times is vastly more concerned with the freedom of reporters to report, than the actual accuracy of those reports.”

Michelle Malkin“….. lack of transparency, disclosure, reliability, and credibility is at the heart of the war coverage controversy the MSM doesn’t want to confront.”

Outside the Beltway“Given that AP has had numerous problems with international stringers in recent months, one would think they would turn over ever stone to answer these questions. Plenty of once-venerable, once-trusted institutions have lost their credibility with repeated violations of their trust.”

UPDATE, 1:30 PM: Hot Air has video of Crittenden on Fox News this morning. Don’t know whether he was up against a hard break or not, but Cincinnati area native Bill Hemmer, who was with CNN for many years, seemed to cut Crittenden off pretty quickly when Crittenden tried to move into the larger and more fundamental problems with AP. And assuming he read Crittenden’s op-ed piece, Hemmer seems to have consciously avoided allowing time for the bigger arguments about pervasive bias.

UPDATE, 11:45 PM: Dan Riehl notices that Time Magazine couldn’t confirm the AP’s work, and that even Al Jazeera didn’t report on the Burning Six. Wow.
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Previous Posts:
- Nov. 30 — Tonight’s Jamil ‘Captain Tuttle’ Hussein and AP (Always Paranoid) Update
- Nov. 30 — Jamil Hussein Update
- Nov. 29 — Burning Six Update: Michelle Malkin Sums It Up
- Nov. 27 — The Burning Question (Figuratively and Literally): Is Reliance on Bogus and Compromised News Sources Slanting Iraq Coverage?

Shameless Plug: If a Free Credit Report Is a Good Christmas Gift, How Much Better Is Financial Control?

Filed under: General — Tom @ 6:16 am

I got this e-mail from Equifax Friday, which led to this post’s title question, and to the changes I made to the e-mail text that follows:

It’s December and the holiday shopping season is upon us. When you’re thinking about gifts to buy, consider an Equifax Gift Certificate one-year subscrption to CYMnow.com. While it might not be making wish lists, empowering someone to understand and manage their credit health take control of their finances could be the gift that keeps on giving.

Purchasing an Equifax Gift Certificate CYMnow.com as a gift is simple, and redeeming using it is even easier. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to deal with crowds or long lines. It’s smart holiday gift-giving. During the order process, you can choose to send an email notification with instructions for redeeming the Gift Certificate to your recipient of choice, or you may choose to print a hard copy of the Gift Certificate to send at a later time. select when your gift takes effect (e.g., the day after Christmas). An e-mail will be sent on the day the Gift takes effect that will tell your recipient how to access CYMnow.com. What could be easier and more personally satisfying than knowing you’ve given someone a gift that will return value all year long?

Data Retention Rules Get Tougher

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:11 am

From AP:

U.S. companies will need to know more about where they store e-mails, instant messages and other electronic documents generated by their employees in the event they are sued, thanks to changes in federal rules that took effect Friday, legal experts say.

The changes, approved by the Supreme Court’s administrative arm in April after a five-year review, require companies and other parties involved in federal litigation to produce “electronically stored information” as part of discovery, the process by which both sides share evidence before a trial.

Call them The “Make Sure Deep-Pocket Corporations Are As Exposed As Possible When They’re Sued” Rules.

I’m surprised they didn’t require taping of all phone conversations (don’t give them any ideas — Ed.).

The silence from the so-called libertarians worried about whether the NSA is listening in on their conversations with terrorists has been deafening.

Fox, Here’s the Henhouse You Get to Guard

Filed under: Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:06 am

From TPM Muckraker (tipped to Lincoln Logs, who went into more detail):

Focus of FBI Probe, Mollohan May Oversee FBI Budget

Glad to see things will be soooo much cleaner in Washington with the congressional leadership change. (/sarcasm)

Catching Up on Patterico’s “No Ramadi Air Strike” Story

Patterico’s original post, based on Brian’s One Oar in the Water entry that relayed info from a soldier disputing the Los Angeles Times’ account of an incident in Ramadi, was the subject of the last half of Michelle’s Vent at Hot Air last Thursday.

Brian’s reax to the idea of his original post and the subsequent attention is totally understandable. It is a very difficult decision to relay info from a soldier, because the potential for repercussions to that soldier based on OPSEC (operational security) exist. It is obvious that Brian thought that issue through BEFORE his original post, and concluded that the situation warranted going ahead. Here’s why:

But what are we to do when the American Press is actively working to subvert our effort in Iraq? Not only working to subvert our effort, but actively working to subvert our way of life. Well there are no easy answers, but for those of us outside the military, we have to keep the pressure on the seditious. For the military folks, do not put your careers in harms way, but try to expose this threat though military channels and your families. Know that there is strong base behind you and we will support you always. But most importantly, stay in the fight, because we know this fight is real, and if not dealt with now, it will come to our shores more deadly than it did on 9/11.

Meanwhile, Patterico’s latest on the topic tells us he’s still digging:

I am still looking into certain matters noted in updates to that post, including one tidbit that bolsters the charge that the paper repeated insurgent propaganda, and another that has caused some commenters to question whether military press officers split hairs in answering my questions. I’m also working on developing and building relationships with reliable contacts on the ground there. I’m told that the L.A. Times is still actively looking into the events of Nov. 13.

If/when there’s more news, I will be sure to pass it on.

Positivity: Blaze hero teen scaled drainpipe to rescue family

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

In the UK:

20 November 2006

A TEENAGER has been lauded for his bravery after climbing up the drainpipe of a Dundee tenement to the rescue of a young family trapped by a blaze.

The incident unfolded around 9am on Saturday at 30 Balbeggie Street, Douglas, while about 20 people were inside the block of flats.

Choking fumes were pouring out of a first-floor flat and the piercing screams of a distressed woman could be heard nearby. First to react was 18-year-old Stephen McGrath, who was in the property directly above.

He ran out to investigate and realised when he reached the tenement landing there was a dangerous fire.

Modest Mr McGrath, who recently completed a fire safety course at Kingsway East fire station, set about alerting all his neighbours.

He then made his way to the front of the building and climbed a drainpipe to reach a young mother and her three children— one only two months old.

Car park security worker Mr McGrath told how he scaled the pipe using one hand and his feet—as he was using the other hand to call the fire brigade.

“She (the young mother) was shouting from her window so we were wondering what had happened. Then it sounded like it was coming from the closie. I went and looked and it was filled with smoke.

“Once I realised this, I ran straight out the door and knocked on every door and told them all to get out. I went to her door and told her, ‘Hang on, I’ll be there in a second.’ I went down to the bottom and she was screaming.

“So I climbed up the pipe and got in the flat. I then opened up the window fully, covered the bottom of the living room door with a sheet and then got them all towards the window and got their heads out so they could breathe.

“Someone went and got a ladder to get them out just as the firefighters arrived.”

Neighbour Barry Jackson (21) was one person grateful to Mr McGrath after being woken up coughing because of the smoke.

He said, “My dad woke me up telling me we had to get out. There was smoke everywhere. Stephen’s the hero of this.”

Lead firefighter at the scene, Kingsway East watch manager Fred Cochrane, heaped praise on Mr McGrath’s instinctive actions.

Mr Cochrane said the vital knowledge he gained on the fire safety course undoubtedly ensured the few casualties escaped with minor injuries.

He said Stephen was standing on the windowsill trying to get the family away from the raging flames when he arrived with his crew.

“They were trying to use a builder’s ladder but hadn’t managed to get any of the family out by the time we got there. We really do hope he gets some sort of recognition for what he did.

“I believe he took part in a fire safety scheme at Kingsway East with the green watch. Because of the training, he knew what to do. He did the exact right thing because he checked the front door and looked through the letterbox—but knew not to open it. If he had, it would have been a completely different story.

“We never encourage anyone to go back into a fire or climb up to a fire but he was aware there were young children inside, which is a very emotive subject.”

Last night, hero Stephen admitted that he was “a wee bitty shocked” now that events had sunk in, as he hadn’t stopped to think at the time.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said the stricken family were taken to Ninewells Hospital in two ambulances, with the baby being closely monitored for the effects of smoke inhalation. Mr McGrath was treated at the scene.

The seat of the blaze is understood to be a rear bedroom, which was completely destroyed.

A police spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances and that the fire was accidental.