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Opening Bell: 4.16.08

Blood On The Floor At WaMu (Forbes)
Congratulations to CtW Investments for successfully forcing out Mary E. Pugh, the chair of WaMu's finance committee. The group had been pushing for this, and last night, after the company posted a big loss, Pugh resigned. The firm also put out an announcement claiming shareholders had withheld over 50 percent of their votes for certain other WaMu directors, underlining their claims that the folks on top ought to go.
House Approves Bill Banning Private Debt Collection Of Taxes (Dow Jones)
We didn't even know that taxes were actually collected by private parties. There's something very... feudal about that. Apparentlyit's just when a payer is delinquent on their taxes that a private agency could get involved, not generally. We'd like to see it the other way. Where private organizations, like H&R Block, are actually responsible for remitting some quota of tax dollars up to the feds. And how they get the money is their own business. We suspect they'd offer free tax filing for one thing. Or do you think they'd resort to intimidation and breaking legs?
Wall Street Winners Get Billion-Dollar Paydays (NYT)
Amidst all the implosions, some hedgefunders ad a great year. That guy John Paulsen, as everyone knows, id pretty well, earning himself some $3.7 billion (that's good, but sucks to be him on tax day). Also, and this surprised us for some reason, George Soros is thought to have made $3 billion last year. Not sure why that's so surprising. Honestly, we sort of assumed he was washed up, which is why he spent so much time on causes.
Intel Net Falls 12%, But Forecast Is Bright (WSJ)
Three months ago, a rough report from Intel totally tanked the market, confirming for many that the recession was here and now. Last night, its report wasn't so bad. Yeah, profit fell as expected, but the outlook didn't show further deterioration. Things aren't perfect yet, overall worse than they could've been. Shares were up 7 percent after hours.
JPMorgan Chase Reports First-Quarter 2008 Net Income of $2.4 Billion; Earnings Per Share of $0.68
There's the report from JPM, and there's some snap analysis from Bloomberg. Looks like the company pretty much led analysts to the right conclusion, as that $.68 number is just what they were expecting.

Mike Micklewright, Deming Impersonator (Lean Blog)
Just a reminder to you: there are many worlds out there that you don't have any familiarity with at all. You know who W. Edwards Deming is right? An early manufacturing guru, whose ideas heavily influenced Toyota. Anyway, apparently he has a pro impersonator, who dresses up like him and speaks, as Deming, at events. We've seen Abraham Lincoln impersonators and probably Madam Curie. You know, they speak at high school events and the like. But the fact that there's a Deming one really threw us for a loop.
Taxes done: now, the fun (Megan McArdle)
As we hinted yesterday, we filed for a delay, just cause we were lazy procrastinators, though no big deal, really. At the post office, we glanced over and saw a woman putting a $60,000 check in an envelope (pretty sure) and became thankful about not being in a higher tax bracket. Megan McArdle offers some of here favorite NYC and Washington DC tax return questions, like, "do you produce maple syrup?" Answer: probably not, especially if you're a professional blogger. You got any favs?
Sell capitalism (FT Alphaville)
This doesn't exactly come as a surprise, but support for free markets is on the slide around the world. It doesn't really matter the country, the trendline looks pretty clear. USA is still number one, in that more people here are believers in the market than anyone else. And get this, France is the one contrary where believe in laissez-faire is actually on the rise. Imagine that.