N.C. boy shocked after man powers up McCain-Palin campaign sign to prevent theft [Link]

In my youth, when kids did something mischievous and received just comeuppance, the attitude du jour was: "you deserved it and I hope you learned your lesson."

Nelson says it best:

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ExxonMobil Reports $41B 3rd Quarter Loss 
Irving, TX (TP) - World markets were send into a freefall earlier today when ExxonMobil announced a record-shattering $41B loss last quarter. The news comes just weeks after ExxonMobil completed its "Pay Now, Not Later" plan which compensated all employees and retirees for their expected full retirement benefits as well as setting aside $10 billion to be handed out to one million random average citizens who have no direct link to ExxonMobil. "We figured we would do the opposite of what companies like GM and Bethlehem Steel did. They were burdened with pensions and health benefits for thousands of people who were no longer contributing to the company so we figured, let's just get that out of the way now. We also wanted to beat Democratic senators to the punch and redistribute our hard-earned money to the people because we have proven we can manage our money better than the government can manage theirs." ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said last month. Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer praised the move and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said that "finally, ExxonMobil has done something right. Instead of stuffing their coffers with profit, they have ensured that their employees will enjoy a secure retirement. While my plan would have given their money not just to random people but to people strictly in need, I still believe this is a good move for America. I believe in change and this big chunk of 'change' from Exxon will have a positive effect on all Americans."

The announcement came at 10:48 EDT and the DJA began an unprecedented plummet, dropping as much as 4000 points before closing at 8237.19, off almost 3000 points (26%), after the SEC shut down all trading at 11:33 am EDT. Other still-open world markets experienced similar drops as the ripple-effect has still to take hold because major markets like Hong Kong and the Nikkei were already closed. Officials have announced a delayed opening for both those markets tomorrow with hopes of letting some of the initial turbulence subside. There has been no word yet on whether the DJA will be on a delayed opening or be closed completely tomorrow.

As expected, the price of oil soared as well; jumping from $96.22 a barrel to over $200 a barrel before officials closed that market as well with a record-shattering price of $211.02 a barrel. Other commodities markets closed early as well, leaving every major stock and commodities market in the world shut down and many appear reluctant to reopen until some dust settles.

Customers at the pump also felt immediate pain. Reports of gasoline jumping $3/gallon were not uncommon. "I drove by the station on my way to the hairdresser and it was $2.92/gal" said Mamie Alderfer, 58, of Sherman Oaks, CA, "and when I saw it an hour later, it was $6.06/gallon." Javier Rosado of Evanston, IL, said that the station pumps actually raised the price while he was filling up. "the first four gallons cost me $2.99 each but the last 12 cost me $5.95 each" Rosado said. There have also been scattered reports of gasoline topping $8 a gallon in San Francisco and Boston. Aside from huge price leaps, widespread reports of vandalism targeting gas stations were seen. In Detroit, an Exxon gas station was riddled with bullets, injuring two, and in Los Angeles, a Conoco station was attacked by what eyewitnesses called "a swarm of people with torches" and lit the structure on fire; no injuries were reported and firefighters quickly doused the blaze. Officials in both cities were reluctant to say if these acts were results of today's news.

Shares of ExxonMobil were down 81% when trading ceased this morning, producing the just the opposite effect by deflating many 401(k)'s and IRAs rich in ExxonMobil and other oil companies' stock. Since stocks in general were down, most people felt a significant blow to their portfolios as well. Edward Stanwyx, of Euclid, OH, was ready to retire tomorrow: "I just signed all the paperwork with my advisor and was ready to start collecting from my IRA when this happened" said Stanwyx, 60. "Suddenly, my funds dropped several hundred thousand dollars and my monthly payment will now be half of what I expected. Even if I am one of the lucky recipients of Exxon's giveaway, it will not make up for the lost investments."

"We wanted to show the world what would happen if we didn't make a profit. They have gotten their wish. Since many people think we have money to burn, we decided to burn all our money" ExxonMobil released in an official press release just minutes ago. There has been no truth to the widespread rumors that ExxonMobil has also decided to dissolve immediately and sell its assets to Royal Dutch Shell. PetroChina is also rumored to be interested in the assets if ExxonMobil dissolves. Officials at all three companies refused comment.

"I knew this was a bad move from the start" Barack Obama said earlier today. "I vow to crack down on this corporate irresponsibility. They have an obligation to their employees and this nation to manage their affairs properly" Obama said today. "This wanton recklessness and schadenfreude has deflated our robust economy, ruined the investments of hard-working Americans, and put America's national security in peril" Obama said.

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