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Opening Bell: 7.25.07

Loonie jumps on 'blowout' (
Ugh, the Canadian dollar is now within spitting distance of the US dollar. When the two finally switch places, it's going to be so embarrassing that people will thank the stars that their dead relatives aren't alive to see this day. As if Canadians don't already have enough to be smug about.
Paulson Says U.S. Hurt by High Tax Rates (NYT)
Hank Paulson is expected to lay out a major critique of the US corporate tax system, citing the high rate of taxes as well as its complexity. A number of recent studies have pointed out that compared to the rest of the world, the US tax climate is not particularly business friendly. That being said, the real culprit would seem to be the complexity rather than the nominal rate itself. Troll through some 10qs and you'll realize that big, complex multinationals have all kinds of mechanisms for avoiding taxes, whereas your small or medium sized business that doesn't have a corporate structure like a Russian doll typically has to pay the piper in full. Pretty obvious that all that talk about wanting small businesses to succeed is just political nonsense.
A bully exposed (Houston's Clear Thinkers)
Funny that we'd link to a Houston-based blogger for a story on Eliot Spitzer, but it there's nobody who knows more about the 'bully' that New Yorkers now call Governor than Tom Kirkendall, an expert on the criminalization of business, et. al. Suffice to say, we don't think this embarrassment could've happened to a nicer guy. Meanwhile, another 'Breaker fav, Professor Bainbridge, whips out fitting Nixon comparisons.
Mozilo’s Perfect Storm (Paper Money Blog)
In case you missed it, here's what the head of Countrywide said yesterday to tank the market: "I do think it’s important to observe what happens going forward because we are experiencing home price depreciation almost like never before with the exception of the Great Depression and so I think using standards or frames of reference on prime and the performance of prime in other environments may not be a fair comparison in light of what’s happening to real estate values.” Zing!

Apple Calls Trade Heavily Ahead of Report (WSJ)
Shares of Apple dropped yesterday, after AT&T revealed disappointing two-day activation rates, but today is a new day, and Apple will have a chance to redeem itself when it reports its own earnings after the bell. With a stock like Apple, every dip is called a buying opportunity, as options traders are busily snapping up call options. For years, Apple has been the option-lovers dream as its stock tends to be really event-oriented, jumping all around whenever there's an earnings report or a Stevenote.
Web’s Weakest Link: The Power Grid (GigaOM)
So it appears that yes, yesterday's major internet outage was directly related to the broader power outage that hit San Francisco. There has been some talk about a drunk employee sabotaging the whole thing, but that seems not to have been the case. Too bad, that'd have been pretty exciting. Still, it's a little weird that the collapse of the power grid could do this. Don't these data centers have backups upon backups? Our guess is that we'll be hearing about what went wrong for some time to come.
McDonald's Swings to 2Q Loss (AP)
The title to this article is misleading, as McDonald's would've turned a profit in this quarter had it not been for some one-time expenses associated with selling off some of its Latin American operations. In fact, the company continues to do quite well, as it's doing a brisk business in coffee, breakfast items and chicken-related items (seriously).
No tangerines for you? (Politico)
In a stunning demonstration of her willingness to sacrifice for the environment, Elizabeth Edwards says she'll no longer eat tangerines, because they have to be shipped too far to get to her. It's too bad that E-squared doesn't have a 3,000 mile long tongue.
Bausch & Lomb Calls on Rival to Sweeten Bid (Dealbook)
Bausch & Lomb, which not long ago was reeling from the fact that its products could cause blindness, is not in the catbird seat, telling potential acquirers that they need to raise their offers if they're going to take the company out. Must still be a seller's market.