Thursday, June 2, 2011

Morning Brief: Mac owner yells "stop, thief!"; Argentina yells "stop, thieves!"; stocks fall, confidence wanes, while the media remains obsessed with Weiner's wiener

You'd be smart to leave Joshua Kaufman's stuff alone, the Mac owner is quite prepared to get his stuff back.

"I came home late on a Monday night in March, and someone had broken into my apartment through my window," Oakland, California resident Kaufman told the New York Daily News yesterday.
But the police weren't very interested in pursuing the case – it's Oakland, after all. So using a program called Hidden, Kaufman pursued the thief. The program, which costs $15 per year for an individual computer to protect, or up to $395 per year to protect 100 company computers, can use the computer's camera to take pictures of the thief and track his location.

"The following Thursday I started getting images and location information," Kaufman told the Daily News. "I was amazed. I was like, this thing actually works!" But still the police weren't interested in helping Kaufman get his MacBook back (maybe they are Windows people), so Kaufman posted the pictures to a the Tumblr blog "This Guy Has My Macbook" and . . .

"ARRESTED! An Oakland police officer just called me to let me know that they arrested the guy in my photos! BOOYA!" Kaufman tweeted yesterday.

The Daily News story includes several pictures of the alleged criminal – I thought it better to not post those in case there is more to this story.

OK, so that's one less thief in the Bay Area, but what do you do when the thieves are some of the biggest corporations in the world? In the U.S. the answer is, of course, nothing. We Americans are fully aware that while we have the right to vote, the right to rule is strictly limited to corporations.

Argentina, however, thinks that if you make record profits you should pay taxes. Silly Argentines.

Nonetheless, the Argentinian government has decided to bring a case against four large grain trading companies, ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Dreyfus, accusing the companies of tax evasion.

"These companies have gone into criminality," Ricardo Echegaray, the head of Afip, Argentina's revenue and customs service, said according to The Guardian. "2008 was when agricultural commodities prices spiked and was the best year for them in prices, yet we could see that the companies with the biggest sales showed very little profit in this country."

Cargill and ADM both denied the charges. However, while it is standard operating procedure to record record profits and pay no U.S. taxes, other countries, apparently, may feel differently about the matter.

Back in the U.S., stocks suffered their worst day of the year with the Dow falling almost 280 points, while the Nasdaq fell a little over 66 points – both over two percent declines.

"There isn't a lot of confidence to begin with, so it doesn't take much to push people away from the table," Ted Weisberg, a trader with Seaport Securities told Dow Jones Newswires.

The problem, of course, is that jobs are not being created, people's homes are falling in value, resulting in no growth. The White House and the Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, are arguing about how much money to pull out of the economy in order to make matter worse. It is, after all, all too logical that in a recession you step on the brakes.

Of course, as Rome burned the U.S. media continued to talk about Rep. Weiner who apparently can not be sure the picture of a man in bulging boxer briefs is really him. "It certainly doesn't look familiar to me, but I don't want to say with certitude to you something that I don't know to be the certain truth," Rep. Weiner told CNN, according to Reuters.

So Weiner's inability to recognize his own wiener remains the story du jour.