Via: CNBC.com @ http://www.cnbc.com/id/36733087
Senior staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were being paid to police the financial system, an agency watchdog says.
The SEC’s inspector general conducted 33 probes of employees looking at explicit images in the past five years, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.
The memo says 31 of those probes occurred in the 2 1/2 years since the financial system teetered and nearly crashed.
The staffers’ behavior violated government-wide ethics rules, it says.
It was written by SEC Inspector General David Kotz in response to a request from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
The memo was first reported Thursday evening by ABC News. It summarizes past inspector general probes and reports some shocking findings:
- A senior attorney at the SEC’s Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. He agreed to resign, an earlier watchdog report said.
- An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as “Sex” or “Pornography.” Yet he still managed to amass a collection of “very graphic” material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC’s internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense, and received a 14-day suspension.
- Seventeen of the employees were “at a senior level,” earning salaries of up to $222,418.
- The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.
Read the rest of “SEC Staffers Watched Porn as System Crashed” @ CNBC.com
Apple announced 1st quarter earnings, today, and took Wall Street’s earnings estimates and stomped all over them. With stronger than expected iPhone sales as well as continued strength throughout its product lineup, Apple announced a staggering 90 percent growth in net revenue and much higher than expected earnings per share figures that sent the stock soaring in initial after-market trading. If you needed any more proof that Apple is the king of corporations, right now, this had to do it for you. I’m sure glad I have the shares that I own – I only wish I had more and had purchased them a long time ago. Have you bought yours yet?
With the overwhelmingly successful launch of yet another product – the iPad – the sky only seems to grow brighter and higher for Apple. They truly have a halo position in the global marketplace and it seems they can do no wrong. Their products are not for everyone and I would argue that their consistently pricing themselves out of certain mainstream marketing, but they are profitable and are not having to compete in a price-competitive arena because their products are so differentiated from the rest of the mix. So while I will never likely own a MacBook or an iMac, I am thrilled with my iPhone and am, in fact, typing this blog post on it right now. Their lineup makes me wonder if they might be able to get at least one product into the homes/hands of many – and what might that number be?
I currently have about 10% of my fledgling IRA invested in Apple stock and I’m pretty content in that number even though I may wish I had a few more shares. At about $240/$250 a share, Apple shares add up quickly. Is this stock right for you? And where could the value of Apple reach?
I think any company that shows the kind of success that Apple has belongs in your portfolio. This is a company that clearly has its finger on the pulse of mobile tech. I also think any stock that has a price tag this high needs you to be monitoring it very closely. These days, investors are much quicker to trade out of a stock if speed bumps are felt or even just perceived to be felt. There’s also more trading in the investor mix and traders will take profits or reposition themselves at a moments notice. And Apple could just as easily be reaching it’s maximum just when we think they are reaching their best distance stride. Google is a prime example of a high-end stock that’s hit a few cracks in their road to world domination and investors and traders have made them pay with quick adjustments during the unoredictable economic times – especially for their failure in China.
With more than half a million iPads sold already – all within the US and before the international release – combined with this quarter’s steller reports, I see no end in sight for the Apple halo. I’m looking for a ride up to near $330 a share, maybe sometime after the holiday season, and continued solid mobile products to be churned out – with the next in line being the new iPhone.