Baaaa-ck: I confess: I was

: I confess: I was extending my vacation by not posting. I had to go back to work. I had to get back to life. But I didn’t want to leave the vacation and so I just acted as if I were still out in the sunlight and unavailable for blogging. But I’m not. I’m back.

: Ken Layne is back, too. Bravo. And don’t bother looking for conspiracies in the fact that we were gone and are back at the same time. There are no conspiracies, only coincidences.

AOL… AOHell… AHole…
: A pretty devastating story in the Washington Post on how AOL boosted its apparent revenue numbers before the I-always-said-it-was-a-big-f’ing-mistake-buying-this-pig-in-a-poke merger with Time Warner:

AOL boosted revenue through a series of unconventional deals from 2000 to 2002, before and after the merger, according to a Washington Post review of hundreds of pages of confidential AOL documents and interviews with current and former company officials and their business partners.

AOL converted legal disputes into ad deals. It negotiated a shift in revenue from one division to another, bolstering its online business. It sold ads on behalf of online auction giant eBay Inc., booking the sale of eBay’s ads as AOL’s own revenue. AOL bartered ads for computer equipment in a deal with Sun Microsystems Inc. AOL counted stock rights as ad and commerce revenue in a deal with a Las Vegas firm called Inc.

AOL also found ways to turn the dot-com collapse to its advantage, renegotiating long-term ad contracts it risked losing into short-term gains that boosted its quarterly revenue….

Collectively, the deals helped AOL beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations for earnings per share — a crucial profit yardstick for investors — by a penny per share in two quarters in 2000. At the time, investors punished companies whose earnings were off by even a cent….”The bubble had clearly burst, but senior management was under enormous pressure to hit the [financial] numbers and close the Time Warner transaction, which would diversify the revenue base and lower the risk profile of the company,” said James Patti, a senior manager in AOL’s business affairs division at the time.

Patti said he told senior executives he was uncomfortable with some of the transactions pushed by his unit. Shortly after receiving a merit promotion, Patti was laid off in 2001, a move he said he believes was directly related to his refusal to participate.

I own too much of this stock because I used to work there and I stupidly never sold any. I’m in pain. [via Corante]

No wonder they left him behind
: Moussaoui tries to plead himself guilty and into a death penalty. Stupid, insane, or what?

Here is New York… the book
: Here is New York, the amazing gallery of photos of Sept. 11 that sprung up downtown, is turning the exhibit into a book that you can order here.

Sept. 11 Videolog
: The BBC sent me email alerting me to the Sept. 11 Videolog they created. It’s a place where people can share their Sept. 11 thoughts in video or audio. I recorded my story of surviving the attacks and will try to contribute that and I’ll keep watching this site as others contribute theirs.

bin Lay
: Just for the record, let’s note that bin Lay, bin Eggers, bin Anderson et al did just as much damage to the U.S. economy as bin Laden did. The measurement: In its steepest fall, the stock market lost more value than it did after Sept. 11. With friends like these…..