June 4, 2007

Couldn’t Help But Notice (060407)

Note: This post has been moved to the top for the rest of the day because of the importance of some of the topics in it.

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Sneak preview: Based on my look at the last Daily Treasury Statement for May, it looks like federal receipts for the month are going to be down from May 2006 (yes, I said down) when the May Monthly Treasury Statement is released on June 12 — perhaps by 5% or more.

The big collection months of June and September, when most individual and corporate estimated taxes are due, will really tell the tale on the rest of the fiscal year’s receipts.

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Guess who was listening in on phone conversations in 1992?

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Matt at RAB is definitely correct about this — When there’s outrage over $80K in bonuses in 2006, vs. silence over $1.2 million in bonuses in 1994 (i.e., 15 times more, even before considering inflation), there’s no reason to take those who are currently outraged seriously.

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From a Friday Wall Street Journal editorial (requires subscription):

What further economic harm can a despot do once he’s plundered all of his nation’s wealth? Robert Mugabe has an answer: Loot the foreign assets left in Zimbabwe.

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Amanda Carpenter at Townhall is on the Clinton/InfoUSA trail. She needs to pick up on the Opinion Research/CNN polling issues discussed here (towards the end) and here.
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Fauxtography revisited.

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Ruffini at Hewitt’s place on last night’s “presidential” debate:

The key moment in the debate came when Dennis Kucinich said he would take no action if there was actionable intelligence about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. It was meaningful not for what happened, but for what didn’t happen. None of the candidates used this to tee up their Commander-in-Chief credentials …..

Not exactly “presidential.”
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This interview fooled me. Content originally here has been removed. Lesson learned.

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Tiananmen Square was 18 years ago today. Last year’s post on it is here.

With S&P 500 at Record Level, USA Today Writer Focuses on the Index’s Losers

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 10:40 am

While the relatively narrow Dow Jones Industrial Average has been achieving alltime highs for a couple of months, it took until last week for the broader S&P 500 index to beat its previous record of 1527. The index closed at 1536.24 last week.

Instead of writing up the big winners in the 77% of companies that have brought the index back from its 2000 low, USA Today writer Matt Krantz looked for dark clouds in on otherwise blue sky, taking an opportunity to focus on the index’s losers who kept the index’s recovery of value from happening sooner:

S&P’s run leaves Wal-Mart, other big caps behind

For a quarter of the stock market, the celebration about the Standard & Poor’s 500′s charge back to record levels for the first time in more than seven years is an example of history being written by the victors.

Even though the benchmark S&P index last week finally took out its old high from March 2000, investors who own 23% of its stocks have completely missed out. A total of 115 stocks in the S&P 500-stock index are still below where they were in March 2000, according to data from Bridge Information and S&P. They aren’t down just a little, either, but off 45% on average.

“At any given time, you’re going to have companies that have one-off issues,” says James Paulsen of Wells Capital Management.

Yeah guys, and that’s why investing in a broad-based index of stocks in an index mutual fund is often a good idea for investors who don’t have the time to evaluate and keep up with either individual stocks or actively-managed mutual funds. Zheesh.

Krantz also noted that the tech-heavy NASDAQ, which by all accounts was immensely overinflated during its run to over 5000 that ended in 2000 (and certainly affected how long it took the S&P to recover), would have to gain 93% to get to its alltime high.

If you don’t remember a lot of stories about companies left behind during the stock runup of the 1990s, join the club.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

A New Level of Horse Manure (Ohio on the Verge of Racetrack Gambling After Voter Rejection)

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:01 am

From a Toledo Blade editorial last Tuesday, about the Ohio Senate’s approval of “instant racing terminals” at the state’s horse race tracks:

Opponents who worked hard to defeat the Issue 3 slot proposal last year feel betrayed by legislators and rightly so.

The ballot measure failed miserably, going down 56.6-43.4 (the Secretary of State’s link is here). Jill at Writes Like She Talks had 57 reasons (56 of them are categorized here; BizzyBlog index is here) why it deserved to go down in flames. I recall very little support for the measure on left or right blogs; what little existed was mostly libertarian-streak “gambling should be legal, period” stuff that didn’t look at the initiative’s extraordinarily weak details.

RAB is correct that the campaign contributions situation with Attorney General Marc Dann and the gaming gambling industry over these machines, whose implementation and installation appear to be imminent, looks more than a little like the same “pay to play” fertilizer present during the Taft Administration.

Betrayal? I’ll say. If it ever gets to his desk, Governor Strickland should veto it. Given how his Attorney General waved it through, a veto doesn’t seem likely.

Positivity: Police look for men who saved woman’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Aurora, Colorado:

June 2, 2007

AURORA – Aurora police are looking for two mystery men who pulled up to an accident scene on a cold, rainy night in mid-May just as eight other men were trying to lift a mangled car off the female driver, who was barely breathing.

The good Samaritans happened to have a hydraulic lift on the back of their pickup. Within seconds, they pulled the car off the woman just as emergency workers arrived on the scene at East Iliff Avenue and South Sedalia Street.

Minutes later, before anyone could get the heroes’ names, they vanished into the dark night.

Thanks to the mystery men, Arleen Meyer, 53, of Aurora, is recovering from severe injuries at the Medical Center of Aurora. On May 14, as rain and tornadoes pounded the Denver area, she was driving to work at Kohl’s when she lost control of her car. She apparently was ejected as the car rolled then landed on top of her, pinning her to the pavement.

Former Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Rogers happened upon the scene moments after the crash as he headed to his home blocks away. Rogers at first thought the woman was dead. All he could see were her legs and stomach sticking out beneath the car’s wheel well.

Then he spied the woman breathing, and he and the other passers-by had one thought: “Get that car off of her.” They were failing to make progress and flagging down any volunteers they could when a dark blue or black full-size pickup pulled up. The driver said he was a “repo man” and had the perfect equipment to free the woman.

Go here for the rest of the story.