For the Tooth Lover on Your X-Mas List
Last week Christmas shopping, I found this store in Northampton: Tooth Pix
. It's a Dental Specialty store. I bought a friend a new toothbrush, dental floss dispenser and cranberry floss (which supposedly fights plaque). Great looking store. If you're wondering if they have electric tooth brushes, the answer is yes, yes they do.
Western Mass Blog Scene
Just spent the evening getting together with Western Mass. Bloggers for a Holiday Party at Wiggins and whatever Mulino's basement is called. Not sure I have all of the links yet -- there were 20 or so of us. Scott's Blog Beat Noho
is on my blogroll already (will get the others there soon). Great meeting David from Baseball Musings
, Jennifer B
and Jennifer M
, and This Is Really Happening
, and The Suki
and I don't know if you were there Ravin
, but hi.
Western Mass Blogroll coming soon!
Understanding Halliburton Overcharges
When Halliburton overcharged for gas in Iraq, it didn't need to actually collect the money to benefit, and in fact may have fully expected the overcharge to be caught and corrected. To understand why, we need to revisit the SEC allegations from 2002
The New York Times published an article Wednesday highlighting a change in Dallas-based Halliburton's accounting policies and quoting accounting specialists who said the change stretched -- and may even have broken -- accounting rules.
Under the change, implemented by Halliburton in the late 1990s, the company began to recognize some of its unresolved claims against engineering and construction clients as revenue, even though the amounts of money at stake were disputed.
One of the effects of overstating revenue is to temporarily drive up the stock price. This will benefit stockholders with inside knowledge (i.e. upper management) even if the revenue is never collected. That is, there is incentive to overcharge and book revenue even if you expect never to collect on it. Minor investors (e.g. your grandmother) won't be privy to the fact that the revenue is overstated and will not benefit.
So, when the President says he expects Halliburton to pay back overcharges, he may sound tough, but he is not addressing the consequences of their behavior.
Being a President means making a choice on how to use limited resources. We had a choice after September 11. We could try to destroy Al Qaeda or we could have a war with Iraq. We could not do both. Bush chose Iraq, Dean would have chosen Al Qaeda.
This quote from Andrew Sullivan is going around
I feel a lump in my throat. I am so proud of the country I was born in and the country I have made my home. I have never been prouder to be an Anglo-American, to have done in our time what so many before us have done - to broaden the possibilities of liberty, to bring hope, to restrain the violent men and evil ideologies that are each generation's responsibility. The men and women in our armed forces did the hardest work. They deserve our immeasurable thanks. But we all played our part. By facing down the evil, the cowardly and the simply misguided, we have done a great good.
Some comments are focusing on the use of Anglo-American, but I think that that's just a straight-forward use denoting his English birth and American residency, and even though other countries took part, the US and UK led the effort, so I don't think it's as bad a usage as others do. I have a problem with the "But we all played our part" nonsense. That's completely delusional.
Remembrance of Things Past
Remember the Berlin Wall? When it came down, that was an honest to goodness significant global event and validation of US policy. George Bush rightly deserved praise. Ronald Reagan rightly deserved praise. And when November 1992 came around, no one cared.
Democratic Candidates Obscure Their Wealth
by Nedra Pickler
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - On the campaign trail, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt is fond of talking about his humble upbringing as a son of a milkman. But his words belie his true wealth. According to the USDA, the US produces 17.5 billion gallons of milk each year. At three dollars a gallon, the Gephardt family stood to make millions. Gephardt never mentions the size of the US Dairy Industry in any of his stump speeches.
Similarly, North Carolina Senator John Edwards sometimes mentions his father Wallace, who worked in a mill. The Senator doesn't mention, however, that clothes, which can be made from the textiles at these mills, are expensive. A recent visit to Abercrombie & Fitch set this reporter back quite a bit of money -- money that might have gone right into the pockets of Mr. Edwards' father. On the campaign trail, Edwards never mentions how I look in my new A&F open neck top.
President Bush, on the other hand, led a series of failed oil companies and later owned a baseball team that has never won the World Series. He and his father both worked as Presidents, a job that pays considerably less than trial lawyers, doctors, former ambassadors and retired Generals.