We're starting to hear from folks who have received an email from "management of Fool.com mailing system," giving them instructions to keep their computers safe. If you get such an email, do not open it. It's not from us, and instead of protecting your system from a virus, it is a virus.

According to our techies, a new variety of bagel is hitting the streets, and no amount of lox or cream cheese is going to make it easy to swallow. This new flavor is actually a new type of email worm called "W32/Bagle-K," and it pretends to be from "The Management" at many well-known companies. The virus-laden email asks the reader to open a password-protected attachment -- an insidious way of avoiding anti-virus scanners -- and then unleashes havoc on the unsuspecting user.

As always, never open an attachment you aren't expecting, even if you know the sender -- email addresses can easily be "spoofed" to appear that they came from someone who actually didn't send it. It's as easy as writing a false return address on an envelope. Don't be fooled!

In today's Motley Fool Take:


e Case for Eisner

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz

How warm was the City of Brotherly Love to Disney(NYSE: DIS) CEO Michael Eisner today? Apparently not very, but we'll find out more as the drama continues to unfold at the company's annual shareholders' meeting in Philadelphia.

With various individual and institutional investors vowing to vote against Eisner's board re-election, maybe I should try on some contrarian mouse ears for a change.

The time to come down hard on Eisner and its chummy board may have already run past its expiration date. That venom in 2002 could have been lethal, considering the company's mismanagement of ABC's brief tenure at the top, its failure to brace for a tourism slump, and the scandalous accusations of favoritism leveled at the board.

Things have improved since then, with the shares nearly doubling since its 2002 lows. With the insultingly weak Comcast(Nasdaq: CMCSA) buyout offer and Pixar's(Nasdaq: PIXR) walkout sting, the entertainment giant has already started to respond to the moved cheese. The financial improvement in fiscal 2003 was obvious, and things are starting to get better in many of the company's businesses.

The blockbuster success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl gives Disney the ideal synergistic franchise -- one that can promote its theme park business as well as its live-action studio. Theme parks chief Jay Rasulo has been a welcome addition, with Disney acknowledging that new top-notch attractions are the drivers of growth across its parks, resorts, and cruise businesses.

While ABC is still chasing its peers -- Viacom's(NYSE: VIA) CBS and General Electric's(NYSE: GE) NBC -- in the ratings book, it's doing so in an improving ad climate, in which all ships shall rise.

Yes, there will be a large amount of abstentions and nay votes cast today, but it's not likely to be enough to catapult Eisner from the company's board. The narrowness of the margin will bear watching. It may send a message. There are some legitimate beefs from the dissidents over compensation levels and the hierarchy of power. However, Eisner's got a strong ally right now -- time.

David and Tom Gardner have some different thoughts on the matter today. Be sure to read them in Time for Eisner to Go?

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares in Pixar and Disney.

Di scussion Board of the Day: Disney

Where does Disney go from here? Are you a backer of Roy Disney Jr., or do you favor Michael Eisner? All this and more -- in the Disney discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

McDonald's Downsizes Fries

By Alyce Lomax

As a nation, we're often all about getting more while paying less. Unfortunately, that trend has been most prevalent in our expanding waistlines. In a nod at the current trend towards healthy eating, news agencies report today that McDonald's(NYSE: MCD) will pull its "Super Sized" options -- especially for fries and drinks -- by the end of this year.

Most people Super Size as a way to shell out a few cents more to get more fries or cola -- more "value," supposedly. However, media attention to the growing problem of obesity in this country has led many to believe that those ever-greater portions are a big part of why Americans are wearing ever-larger clothing sizes.

Despite the growing media focus on our eating habits, McDonald's has been hitting a happy medium with its restaurants lately. When Dave Marino-Nachison took a look at the company's sales numbers in early February, he pointed out that McDonald's menu mix is appealing to its old demographic and also reeling in customers with its healthier options, including salads.

McDonald's is not the only fast-food name that's been inspired to submit menu changes related to new public attention on fast food. Wendy's(NYSE: WEN), Subway, and Yum! Brands'(NYSE: YUM) Pizza Hut, to name just a few, are serving up healthier menu items as well.

However, maybe the downside of being the granddaddy of fast food is that you become an icon, and sometimes a negative one. The term "Super Size" has become part of pop culture lingo, which probably doesn't go over too well in McDonaldLand. Meanwhile, according to USA Today, the term has gotten even more flak recently, with the upcoming documentary "Super Size Me," which explores the health effects of the director's switch to an all-McDonald's diet for a month. "Grimace," for sure.

Although McDonald's denied the move had anything to do with the unflattering documentary, one might wonder about any public relations fallout from the film, which is due for release this spring. Never fear, though. For those of you who like your Super Sized fries, what will soon be the high end of fry size, the large, is six ounces -- only one ounce shy of the Super Sized version.

So, this move seems less about healthy eating and more about unhealthy image. After all, moderation and Super Sizes don't really go hand in hand.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned. She has wondered for years what food "Grimace" was supposed to represent.

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WorldCom's Ebbers Surrenders

By Bill Mann

Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers has surrendered to federal authorities in New York. He is charged with being the maestro of a massive conspiracy to defraud at WorldCom. His indictment came within hours of testimony from Scott Sullivan, who was CFO during much of the period in question when WorldCom inflated its earnings, assets, and sales. When all was said and done, the fraud exceeded $11 billion, and WorldCom stock, once valued at close to $200 billion, evaporated.

Sullivan's testimony was considered key. He was indicted in the summer of 2002, along with several other financial officers at the company. All of the others -- Betty Vinson, Troy Norman, and Buford Yates -- pleaded guilty and said that the conspiracy to hide WorldCom's true performance started at the top levels of the company: Sullivan and Ebbers. Sullivan agreed to plead guilty to slightly reduced charges, and will spend as many as 25 years in prison. He's also compelled to disgorge all gains he received as part of the fraud.

If this last condition is applied to its fullest extent, we may finally see a fraud penalty worth something. I'm surely not the only investor who's sick to death of executives who are charged with or implicated in wrongdoings at their companies being able to keep vast amounts of ill-gotten wealth. If the penalty actually becomes "we're taking away all your money," then justice, finally, might be served in these cases.

When we find out that former Freddie Mac(NYSE: FRE) CEO Gregory Parseghian received more than $14 million in severance after he was removed for approving some accounting strategies that obscured the company's accounting, we have to wonder just what laws, rules, and principles executives have to break before they start to feel some real pain. There isn't much comparison between what happened at Freddie Mac and at WorldCom, but under what warped definition is causing years' worth of accounting restatements not "gross misconduct"? A simply appalling response to simply appalling conduct.

Back to Ebbers and WorldCom. Along with Enron, Tyco(NYSE: TYC), Cendant(NYSE: CD), and a few others, the WorldCom case has become symbolic of executives enriching themselves at the expense of their shareholders during the booming 1990s.

As we've seen with the Enron investigation, building a case against the top folks in corporate conspiracies is incredibly difficult. Just last month, Enron's Jeffrey Skilling finally saw the inside of a courtroom, following plea bargains late last year from former CFO Andrew Fastow. The kingpin in the Enron case, Ken Lay, has yet to be charged.

It's been just as difficult to build the WorldCom case. Even though everyone "knew" that Ebbers was fully aware of the wrongdoings, there was very little hard evidence upon which to try him. Sullivan, for his part, refused to implicate Ebbers. So investigators continued to build their case against Sullivan, and once they had enough evidence to convict him on the more serious charges, they convinced him to turn.

Sullivan's spent the last 18 months free on bond living in a house in Florida so opulent that it had a special storage room just for fur coats. I don't think that his next residence will have the same je ne sais quoi.

Bill Mann owns no companies mentioned in this story.


ote of Note

"We are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction." -- General Douglas MacArthur

More on Fool.com Today

Are Disney CEO Michael Eisner's magical days numbered? His fate lies in the hands of Disney shareholders, who are meeting in Philadelphia as we speak. What's all the fuss about? David and Tom Gardner highlight the issues in Time for Eisner to Go?.... Want to save the world, eh? Motley Fool Hidden Gems editor Paul Elliott has a couple of tips for socially responsible investing. Go on, find out what all the talk is about.... Bill Mann profiles one company that can do no wrong, and one that can do no right. Check it out in A Tale of Two Companies.

In other news:

For a list of all our stories from today, see our Today's Headlines page.