Friday, December 20, 2002

Buyer beware:

Dec 20 (Fines announced): Citigroup $400 mil; Merrill Lynch $200 mill (total); CSFB $200 mil; Morgan Stanley $125 mil; Goldman Sachs $110 mil; Deutsche Bank, Lehman Bros., Bear Stearns, J.P. Morgan Chase, UBS $80 mil each.

Jack Grubman: $15 mil and lifetime ban from securities industry.


Thursday, December 19, 2002

Done with help from's glossary.


Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Reviewing the system:

We saw this graphic in the news today, and a number of thoughts occurred to us:

  • So, Iraq is going to be launching missiles with ranges of 5,000 miles? Who knew? (item 1)

  • Looks grim if you live in Europe.

  • That radar in Greenland isn't going to detect China-to-California missiles (item 3). What, if anything, is being done on that front?

  • It seems you need a satellite (item 8) to let you know if a nuclear bomb has leveled an American city.



Michael Kelly proves that the "liberal media" was, and is, alive and well. He cites results from Lichter's Center for Media and Public Affairs. We decided to do some exceptionally hard work and type:
Lichter's Center for Media and Public Affairs
into Google, and go to the very first link displayed. In it, we read the following:
CMPA President Robert Lichter concludes ... that election journalism doesn't reward or reflect ideology or even previous achievements ... Rather, it rewards campaigning skills.
Kelly cherry-picks number to make his case, and avoids the conclusions of those who immerse themselves in media studies.*

What a hack.

UPDATE: TBogg has more on this issue, and points out the Lichter isn't necessarily the objective fellow Kelly would like you to believe.


Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Worth a look:

Troubletown has a cartoon which is kind of like an updated Lillian Hellman / Mary McCarthy spat.    Well, sort of.


Monday, December 16, 2002

Scare 'em!

Rush Limbaugh doesn't like Bush's plan to extend unemployment insurance. Here is an excerpt from Limbaugh's website: (our emphasis)
There's nothing that's better than a job, and the longer you pay people not to work and not to go out and get a job, the longer they won't. Fear and need are incredible motivators. What is it that we need to revitalize the economy? More unemployment benefits? No. We need more people working.
According to Rush's "logic", we have unemployment not because there aren't jobs out there, but because people aren't looking hard enough. So much for business incentives, right? Of course it's all B.S, but that's Limbaugh for you. People having a ball on unemployment insurance? Rush implies that folks are insensitive to having higher incomes. By that reasoning, we should soak the rich, 'cause what do they care if they have an additional $100 grand?

But the important point is that for Rush and others who are comfortable, they don't give a rat's ass about people in need.


Tax the poor!

In a must-read article in the Washington Post, champions of a revised tax system give their reasons for increased taxes on the poor and middle-class. It's wild, and not confined to cranks outside the government. Here are some highlights:
  • As the Bush administration draws up plans to simplify the tax system, it is also refining arguments for why it may be necessary to shift more of the tax load onto lower-income workers.

  • The Treasury Department is working up more sophisticated distribution tables that are expected to make the poor appear to be paying less in taxes and the rich to be paying more.

  • ... outgoing White House economic adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey [said] the 12.4 percent Social Security levy should not be considered when tax burdens are calculated.

  • J.T. Young, the deputy assistant treasury secretary for legislative affairs, lamented in a Washington Times opinion article: "[Higher] earners cannot produce the level of revenues needed to sustain the liberals' increasingly costly spending programs over the long-term. . . . If federal government spending is not controlled, then the tax burden will have to begin extending backward down the income ladder."

  • Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has argued for two years that the nation is entering a dangerous period in which the burden of financing government is falling on too few people.
    • DeMint and his allies have called for a national sales tax to replace the income tax. For those below the federal poverty line, sales taxes paid would be refunded, but under the system, at least they will have seen the cost of government, he said.

    • The working poor would accept a higher tax burden because they would be relieved of the need to file a tax return.
UPDATE: This scheme seems more like a bargaining position than anything real. Perhaps advocates are hoping that when Bush's additional cuts for the rich are debated, opponents will say, "Okay. At least they're not raising taxes on the poor."


Crystal Ball version 1.4:

Inspired by the excellent work found at the Daily Kos and myDD.


Sunday, December 15, 2002

Need to get your sheets clean for the next cross-burning rally? Use: