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Archive for the ‘Wall Street Journal’ Category

Rove in WSJ: Tuesday Will Be a Democratic Apocalypse

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Karl Rove sounded the warning bell for the Democratic Party in Tuesdays elections: It will be a crushing rebuke of first two years of the Obama administration.

He writes this morning in the Wall Street Jounral:

Midterm elections are almost always unpleasant experiences for the White House, especially when the economy is weak. But key races that should have been safe for the party in power demonstrate the extent to which President Obama and his policies have nationalized the election.

In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a huge war chest in a state Mr. Obama won in 2008 by 12 points. Mr. Reid trails Sharron Angle by four points in the latest Rasmussen poll.

In West Virginia, Joe Manchin, a popular Democratic governor, is running for the Senate, yet he lags behind John Raese by two points in the Oct. 23 Fox News Poll, largely because of Mr. Obama’s 30% approval rating in the state. Mr. Manchin is running away from the president, telling Fox News that Mr. Obama is “dead wrong on cap and trade,” and that he would not have supported ObamaCare had he known everything that was in the bill.

Or take the Illinois Senate seat held by Mr. Obama before he was elected president. It should be safely Democratic. Instead, Republican Congressman Mark Kirk has led Illinois Treasurer and Obama basketball buddy Alexi Giannoulias in eight of the 10 polls taken this month. It will be a terrible embarrassment if the president’s former Senate seat flips.

Elsewhere, some powerful Senate Democrats were either forced out by popular Republican challengers (North Dakota and Indiana) or they trail badly because their races became nationalized over the Obama agenda (Arkansas, Missouri and Wisconsin).

One of the more interesting Senate races is in Ohio, where Rob Portman, a former trade negotiator and budget director for George W. Bush, leads Democratic Lt. Governor Lee Fisher by an average of 19 points in a state Mr. Obama carried by four points.

Ohio is no longer friendly Obama territory. An August survey by Public Policy Polling reported that Ohioans would prefer George W. Bush in the White House today rather than Mr. Obama by 50% to 42%. Mr. Portman campaigns relentlessly on jobs, presenting a principled, optimistic case that conservative policies mean economic growth. It’s a winning strategy.

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October 28, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Times Answers WSJ’s Complaint About Apparent Plagiarism

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The New York Times issued a correction yesterday acknowledging apparent plagiarism by reporter Zachery Kouwe of an article written by Wall Street Journal reporter Amir Efrati.

The Times also mentions that there are other possible incidents of plagiarism by Kouwe.

The issue came to light after Robert Thomson, editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote Times executive editor Bill Keller that “a significant proportion of an article by Wall Street Journal reporter was used verbatim, or near verbatim, in a story by the Times’ Zachery Kouwe, both online and in print.” His letter was published in The Times on Friday.

Once sentence that was apparently lifted (Example 6 below) carries the same typo in the word “accounts.”

Here is the correction, and below is Thomson’s letter:

In a number of business articles in The Times over the past year, and in posts on the DealBook blog on NYTimes.com, a Times reporter appears to have improperly appropriated wording and passages published by other news organizations.

The reporter, Zachery Kouwe, reused language from The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and other sources without attribution or acknowledgment.

The Times was alerted to the problem by editors at The Wall Street Journal. They pointed out extensive similarities between a Journal article, first published on The Journal’s Web site around 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 5, and a DealBook post published two hours later, as well as a related article published in The Times on Feb. 6.

Those articles described an agreement on an asset freeze for members of Bernard L. Madoff’s family, in a lawsuit filed by a court-appointed trustee. In the Times article and the DealBook post, several passages are repeated almost exactly from the Journal article.

A subsequent search by The Times found other cases of extensive overlap between passages in Mr. Kouwe’s articles and other news organizations’. (The search did not turn up any indications that the articles were inaccurate.)

Copying language directly from other news organizations without providing attribution — even if the facts are independently verified — is a serious violation of Times policy and basic journalistic standards. It should not have occurred. The matter remains under investigation by The Times, which will take appropriate action consistent with our standards to protect the integrity of our journalism.

Here is Thomson’s letter:

Dear Mr. Keller,

I’m writing to alert you to a case of apparent plagiarism in the New York Times. As you’ll see from the text below, a significant proportion of an article by Wall Street Journal reporter Amir Efrati was used verbatim, or near verbatim, in a story by the Times’ Zachery Kouwe, both online and in print. There was no general news release about this particular story and the Journal’s coverage was informed by original reporting and a meticulous review of legal files related to the case of Mr. Bernard Madoff.

Mr. Efrati’s Wall Street Journal story, titled, “Madoff Sons, Brother, Niece Being Sued by Trustees for Victims” was published on Dow Jones Newswires at 12:25 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, and was published on WSJ.com shortly thereafter. At 2:31 p.m., Mr. Kouwe published a related, in fact, a remarkably related story. The examples below show the striking similarities.

Example 1:

Mr. Efrati wrote:

Mr. Picard said the family received about $141 million in the six months leading up to Mr. Madoff’s December 2008 arrest.

Mr. Kouwe wrote:

Mr. Picard said the family received about $141 million in the six months leading up to Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008.

Example 2:

Mr. Efrati wrote:

The family members agreed not to transfer or sell property or assets valued at more than $1,000 or incur debts and obligations greater than $1,000 without approval of the trustee.

Mr. Kouwe wrote:

Under the agreement, the family members cannot transfer or sell property or assets valued at more than $1,000 or incur debts and obligations greater than $1,000 without approval of Mr. Picard.

Example 3:

Mr. Efrati wrote:

They are allowed to use credit cards for necessary living expenses.
The defendants also will provide the trustees with an accounting of their expenditures, the orders say.

Mr. Kouwe wrote:

They are allowed to use credit cards for necessary living expenses.
The defendants also will provide the trustee with an accounting of their expenditures.

Example 4:

Mr. Efrati wrote:

Last year Mr. Madoff’s wife, Ruth, also agreed to an asset freeze as part of a separate trustee’s $45 million lawsuit against her.

Mr. Kouwe wrote:

Last year, Mr. Madoff’s wife, Ruth, also agreed to an asset freeze as part of a separate trustee’s $45 million lawsuit against her.

Example 5:

Mr. Efrati wrote:

According to the trustee’s lawsuit, son Andrew Madoff invested just under $1 million into his Madoff investment accounts yet withdrew $17 million through “brazenly fabricated transactions.”

Mr. Kouwe wrote:

According to the trustee’s lawsuit, Andrew Madoff placed just under $1 million into his Madoff investment accounts yet withdrew $17 million through “brazenly fabricated transactions” over the years.

Example 6:

Mr. Efrati wrote:

Peter Madoff invested $32,146 into his ccounts but redeemed more than
$16 million in similar fashion, the trustee said.

Mr. Kouwe wrote:

Peter Madoff invested $32,146 into his ccounts but redeemed more than
$16 million, the trustee claims.

The extensive use of such similar phrases, without any attribution, is extraordinary. This is not a case of involving a columnist with apparently perfect recall or a case of cryptomnesia, but one of fundamental journalistic integrity.

Clearly, we expect that The New York Times will run a correction and publically acknowledge the source of the published material– that source being The Wall Street Journal.

Yours,

Robert Thomson

CC: Clark Hoyt, Public Editor
Larry Ingrassia, Business Editor
Philip Corbett, Deputy News Editor

Written by newscycle

February 15, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Wall Street Journal’s Frank Says Obama Was Right About Fox

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Thomas Frank writes today in The Wall Street Journal that President Barack Obama was right about Fox, but his administration should have taken a different approach in attacking the network.

To point out that this network is different, that it is intensely politicized, that it inhabits an alternate reality defined by an imaginary conflict between noble heartland patriots and devious liberals—to be aware of these things is not the act of a scheming dictatorial personality. It is the obvious conclusion drawn by anybody with eyes and ears.

Still, one wishes that the Obama administration had taken on Fox News with a little more skill. As cultural criticism goes, this was clumsy, plodding stuff. What the situation required was sarcasm, irony, a little humor. Simply feeding Fox a slice of raw denunciation was like dumping gasoline into a fire. It did nothing but furnish the network with a real-world validation of its long-running conspiracy theories—and a nice bump in its ratings.

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October 28, 2009 at 7:28 am

Democrats Consider Eliminating 401 (k) Tax Breaks

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Want a glimpse into what an Obama administration and Democratic-controlled Congress will look at in the area of tax policy? House Democrats are already considering an overhaul of the nation’s $3 trillion 401(k) system, including the elimination of most of the $80 billion in annual tax breaks that 401(k) investors receive.

Republicans are throwing around the “socialist” tag all over the campaign trail when referring to Sen. Barack Obama. But if the Democrats are even considering such a radical plan as to seize private pension accounts, it’s hard not to look at Democrats in any other way.

James Pethokoukis of U.S. News & World Report wrote on a congressional hearing in the 401(k) matter:

House Democrats recently invited Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School of Social Research, to testify before a subcommittee on her idea to eliminate the preferential tax treatment of the popular retirement plans. In place of 401(k) plans, she would have workers transfer their dough into government-created “guaranteed retirement accounts” for every worker. The government would deposit $600 (inflation indexed) every year into the GRAs. Each worker would also have to save 5 percent of pay into the accounts, to which the government would pay a measly 3 percent return. Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Washington and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, said that since “the savings rate isn’t going up for the investment of $80 billion [in 401(k) tax breaks], we have to start to think about whether or not we want to continue to invest that $80 billion for a policy that’s not generating what we now say it should.”

The director of the Congressional Budget Office, Peter Orszag, also testified at the hearing and said that about $2 trillion in retirement savings has been lost over the past 15 months.

Workforce.com explains the rational in the move:

“I want to stop the federal subsidy of 401(k)s,” Ghilarducci said in an interview. “401(k)s can continue to exist, but they won’t have the benefit of the subsidy of the tax break.”

Under the current 401(k) system, investors are charged relatively high retail fees, Ghilarducci said.

“I want to spend our nation’s dollar for retirement security better. Everybody would now be covered” if the plan were adopted, Ghilarducci said.

She has been in contact with Miller and McDermott about her plan, and they are interested in pursuing it, she said.

“This [plan] certainly is intriguing,” said Mike DeCesare, press secretary for McDermott.

Blogger Ed Morrissey of Hot Air notes “that means your employer can no longer write off their contributions to your 401(k), and your capital gains would be taxable year to year. In other words, it becomes just another investment or savings account, with no tax benefit at all, and no employer contribution. Instead, Uncle Sam would give you your “matching” funds — up to a whopping $600 per year! Whoopee!”

This huge disruption of Americans’ retirement plans may be only one element of an Obama Administration’s tax hike on workers. The Wall Street Journal notes that “the prospect of these tax increases is now hanging over the economy like a pall, as investors and businesses wonder where and how heavily an Obama Administration and Congress would strike.”

Here’s what the Journal reported Rep. Barney Frank as commenting recently on tax increases:

“I think at this point there needs to be a focus on an immediate increase in spending and I think this is a time when deficit fear has to take a second seat. … I believe later on there should be tax increases. Speaking personally, I think there are a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax at a point down the road and recover some of the money.”

The Journal then concludes:

Federal budget deficits are not something we obsess about, but eventually this new spending has to be paid for, and Barney Frank’s comments only underscore that big tax increases are coming. The prospect of these tax increases is now hanging over the economy like a pall, as investors and businesses wonder where and how heavily an Obama Administration and Congress would strike. The pall is likely to continue well into 2009, as millions of Americans delay their investment decisions until they know how much their after-tax returns are likely to fall.

Written by newscycle

October 25, 2008 at 11:11 am

Democrats Consider Eliminating 401 (k) Tax Breaks

with 3 comments


Want a glimpse into what an Obama administration and Democratic-controlled Congress will look at in the area of tax policy? House Democrats are already considering an overhaul of the nation’s $3 trillion 401(k) system, including the elimination of most of the $80 billion in annual tax breaks that 401(k) investors receive.

Republicans are throwing around the “socialist” tag all over the campaign trail when referring to Sen. Barack Obama. But if the Democrats are even considering such a radical plan as to seize private pension accounts, it’s hard not to look at Democrats in any other way.

James Pethokoukis of U.S. News & World Report wrote on a congressional hearing in the 401(k) matter:

House Democrats recently invited Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School of Social Research, to testify before a subcommittee on her idea to eliminate the preferential tax treatment of the popular retirement plans. In place of 401(k) plans, she would have workers transfer their dough into government-created “guaranteed retirement accounts” for every worker. The government would deposit $600 (inflation indexed) every year into the GRAs. Each worker would also have to save 5 percent of pay into the accounts, to which the government would pay a measly 3 percent return. Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Washington and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, said that since “the savings rate isn’t going up for the investment of $80 billion [in 401(k) tax breaks], we have to start to think about whether or not we want to continue to invest that $80 billion for a policy that’s not generating what we now say it should.”

The director of the Congressional Budget Office, Peter Orszag, also testified at the hearing and said that about $2 trillion in retirement savings has been lost over the past 15 months.

Workforce.com explains the rational in the move:

“I want to stop the federal subsidy of 401(k)s,” Ghilarducci said in an interview. “401(k)s can continue to exist, but they won’t have the benefit of the subsidy of the tax break.”

Under the current 401(k) system, investors are charged relatively high retail fees, Ghilarducci said.

“I want to spend our nation’s dollar for retirement security better. Everybody would now be covered” if the plan were adopted, Ghilarducci said.

She has been in contact with Miller and McDermott about her plan, and they are interested in pursuing it, she said.

“This [plan] certainly is intriguing,” said Mike DeCesare, press secretary for McDermott.

Blogger Ed Morrissey of Hot Air notes “that means your employer can no longer write off their contributions to your 401(k), and your capital gains would be taxable year to year. In other words, it becomes just another investment or savings account, with no tax benefit at all, and no employer contribution. Instead, Uncle Sam would give you your “matching” funds — up to a whopping $600 per year! Whoopee!”

This huge disruption of Americans’ retirement plans may be only one element of an Obama Administration’s tax hike on workers. The Wall Street Journal notes that “the prospect of these tax increases is now hanging over the economy like a pall, as investors and businesses wonder where and how heavily an Obama Administration and Congress would strike.”

Here’s what the Journal reported Rep. Barney Frank as commenting recently on tax increases:

“I think at this point there needs to be a focus on an immediate increase in spending and I think this is a time when deficit fear has to take a second seat. … I believe later on there should be tax increases. Speaking personally, I think there are a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax at a point down the road and recover some of the money.”

The Journal then concludes:

Federal budget deficits are not something we obsess about, but eventually this new spending has to be paid for, and Barney Frank’s comments only underscore that big tax increases are coming. The prospect of these tax increases is now hanging over the economy like a pall, as investors and businesses wonder where and how heavily an Obama Administration and Congress would strike. The pall is likely to continue well into 2009, as millions of Americans delay their investment decisions until they know how much their after-tax returns are likely to fall.

Written by newscycle

October 25, 2008 at 11:11 am

Keep an Eye on Credit Markets, Not So Much the Dow

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Most people are focused on what the Dow is doing in the midst of the current financial crisis. But the hgeart of the problem is really in the credit markets.

According to financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com,
the bond market primarily includes government-issued securities and corporate debt securities, and facilitates the transfer of capital from savers to the issuers or organizations requiring capital for government projects, business expansions and ongoing operations. Most trading in the bond market occurs over-the-counter, through organized electronic trading networks, and is composed of the primary market (through which debt securities are issued and sold by borrowers to lenders) and the secondary market (through which investors buy and sell previously issued debt securities amongst themselves). Although the stock market often commands more media attention, the bond market is actually many times bigger and is vital to the ongoing operation of the public and private sector.

Justin Lahart of The Wall Street Journal had these comments this morning:

Now, the stock market often seems out of sync with the credit crisis embroiling the financial system. Thursday was a case in point. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot higher when the stock market opened on hopes that the bailout plan getting hashed out in Congress would offer a salve to the financial system. But the short-term credit markets that lie at the center of the crisis were telling a different story. Libor, a widely followed benchmark interest rate for many dollar loans between banks that is set each morning in London, jumped by its most since 1999, rising to 3.77% from 3.48. A similar measure set in the morning in New York, NYFR, also registered a sharp gain.

Jumps in Libor and NYFR are a sign that banks are becoming increasingly wary of doing business with one another. Thursday’s move could have been a sign that credit-market participants didn’t think Washington was moving ahead fast enough with its bailout plan, thought it is moving in the wrong direction, or that a major player is in deep trouble, said Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners.

“It’s very disconcerting,” he said. “There have been several occasions when the credit market and the equity market diverged over the past year and in virtually every case it was the stock market that was wrong.”

Written by newscycle

September 26, 2008 at 10:22 am

Keep an Eye on Credit Markets, Not So Much the Dow

leave a comment »


Most people are focused on what the Dow is doing in the midst of the current financial crisis. But the hgeart of the problem is really in the credit markets.

According to financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com,
the bond market primarily includes government-issued securities and corporate debt securities, and facilitates the transfer of capital from savers to the issuers or organizations requiring capital for government projects, business expansions and ongoing operations. Most trading in the bond market occurs over-the-counter, through organized electronic trading networks, and is composed of the primary market (through which debt securities are issued and sold by borrowers to lenders) and the secondary market (through which investors buy and sell previously issued debt securities amongst themselves). Although the stock market often commands more media attention, the bond market is actually many times bigger and is vital to the ongoing operation of the public and private sector.

Justin Lahart of The Wall Street Journal had these comments this morning:

Now, the stock market often seems out of sync with the credit crisis embroiling the financial system. Thursday was a case in point. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot higher when the stock market opened on hopes that the bailout plan getting hashed out in Congress would offer a salve to the financial system. But the short-term credit markets that lie at the center of the crisis were telling a different story. Libor, a widely followed benchmark interest rate for many dollar loans between banks that is set each morning in London, jumped by its most since 1999, rising to 3.77% from 3.48. A similar measure set in the morning in New York, NYFR, also registered a sharp gain.

Jumps in Libor and NYFR are a sign that banks are becoming increasingly wary of doing business with one another. Thursday’s move could have been a sign that credit-market participants didn’t think Washington was moving ahead fast enough with its bailout plan, thought it is moving in the wrong direction, or that a major player is in deep trouble, said Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners.

“It’s very disconcerting,” he said. “There have been several occasions when the credit market and the equity market diverged over the past year and in virtually every case it was the stock market that was wrong.”

Written by newscycle

September 26, 2008 at 10:22 am

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