October 24, 2014

Better Off Than 6 Years Ago? Not the Homebuilding Industry

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:55 pm

In his late-September interview with Steve Kroft of CBS News, President Barack Obama insisted that, when looking at the economy and asking “are you better off than you were … six (years ago),” “the country is definitely better off.” Unfortunately, he admitted, the American people “don’t feel it.”

One reason “they don’t feel it” is because, despite what the President contends, there are many areas of the economy which aren’t in better shape than they were six years ago. One obvious sector which is still worse off is the homebuilding industry.

The Census Bureau reported Friday morning that new home sales in September came in at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 467,000. That was barely ahead of August’s revised total of 466,000. The really sad part of the Census’s release is that August originally came in at 504,000, but was revised downward today by over 7 percent.

Actual sales in September (i.e., not seasonally adjusted and not annualized) amounted to only 38,000 units.

338,000 new homes have been sold during the first nine months of this year. That’s almost 16 percent below the comparable figure of 401,000 from 2008, i.e., six years ago. Even given the steep slump which occurred during the final quarter of 2008, new-home sales in 2014 will still certainly come in below that seen in 2008.

Why is this happening? Obama gave Kroft the reason: “… incomes and wages are not going up.”

His “solutions”? Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, which would steeply raise prices, reduce business profits, and lead to reduced employment.

The President also is pushing to “make sure women are getting paid the same as men for doing the same work.” That idea requires no action, because equal pay for equal work is already the reality, both in the law and in practice.

Obama believes we should also be “doing more to invest in job training.” That means doing more of what hasn’t worked. The New York Times recently exposed how the Workforce Investment Act, an existing job-training effort, has generated no real results for many supposed beneficiaries besides pushing them deep into debt.

Housing in particular is suffering because, thanks to the Dodd-Frank banking regulations passed during early part of Obama’s first term, lenders are looking over their shoulders, worried that Uncle Sam’s busybody auditors might second-guess their underwriting decisions and put them through the regulatory wringer. Even people with golden credit and plenty of other financial assets are finding it extraordinarily difficult to navigate their way to a new mortgage loan.

Today’s new-home news only reinforces the fact that after almost six years of Obama’s alleged recovery medicine, the patient is nowhere near recovering.

Cross-posted at DC Gazette.


Sore Losing Losers at the Big Three Nets Won’t Cover Democrats’ (So Far) Rough 2014 Election Cycle

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:51 am

From the Media Research Center, as carried at NewsBusters:


ABC is the sorest losing loser of the bunch, having broadcast no stories on the midterms from September 1 to October 20.


NewsBusted (10/24/14)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 6:36 am

Here we go:

– Midterm Elections
– Republicans
– Falling Oil Prices
– Hardball with Chris Matthews
– STD Infections
– Kris and Bruce Jenner
– Mothers and Kids
– God and Sporting Events

Best Line: “MSNBC is suffering from record-low ratings. To give you an idea of how bad it is, ‘Hardball’ with Chris Matthews is now ‘Solitaire’ with Chris Matthews.”


Grimes Says She’s Won’t Be ‘Bullied’ by McConnell … or Chuck Todd

Imagine the pile-on that would be occurring from other members of the nation’s establishment press if a Republican or conservative U.S. Senate candidate went after an individual member of the press as Alison Grimes just has against NBC/MSNBC reporter Chuck Todd. The “How dare you?” cries would be everywhere.

It’s hard to see how employing such a tactic works to get votes, but Grimes, the Democrats’ candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, seems to think that acting as if she’s standing up to playground bullies might get her some mileage. Todd, along with incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, is one of the supposedly all-powerful bullies. Video follows the jump:



Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102414)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Medal honors guardsman for saving woman’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Wichita, Kansas:

10/20/2014 2:39 PM, Updated 10/20/2014 2:42 PM

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article3130755.html#storylink=cpy

The U.S. Air Force medal ceremony honoring Tech Sgt. Shawn Rucker lasted far longer and caused Rucker more prolonged anxiety than what he endured on the night he saved Nancy Shatley’s life.

Even so, Rucker, looking a little embarrassed in his dress blues, managed one more act of generosity to the Shatley family on Monday.

Rucker two years ago ran into a house roiling with smoke and flames and carried 78-year-old Nancy Shatley outside, with smoke filling his lungs and pieces of the house falling down around him.

Moments after receiving the Airman’s Medal at McConnell Air Force Base, Rucker pointed journalists toward a civilian in a striped shirt standing yards away from the generals, colonels and majors.

The Air National Guard officers had talked only of Rucker in the ceremony, but Rucker pointed out that Mike Shatley, the man in the striped shirt, “did all the things I did” and helped save his mother’s life.

Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general of Kansas, hung the medal on Rucker’s chest at McConnell on Monday, with more than 100 uniformed officers and enlisted personnel applauding. He told how Rucker, a Kansas Air National Guardsman, put his life at considerable risk.

Rucker, an intelligence analyst, had just finished a work shift at McConnell on Nov. 24, 2012, and raced past his own house when he saw a smoke plume and a glow on the horizon several blocks away.

The Airman’s Medal is one of the higher awards given by the Air Force for risk-taking heroism in a non-combat situation, Tafanelli said. The medal ranks higher than the Bronze Star and just under the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Typical of Rucker’s character, officers said, is that the military didn’t learn about Rucker’s heroism for a long time. Rucker didn’t tell anybody in the Air Guard about what he had done.

Family members told them about it later. Only then did the Air National Guard start the investigation that led to the medal’s award, two years after his life-saving acts. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 23, 2014

Vox’s Amanda Taub: Reax to Canada Attack Shows ‘We’ Are Biased Against Islam

Taking the web site even further down the path of useless, pretentious collection of hackery than it already is — and that’s quite far — Vox.com has tweeted (HT Twitchy) that “Our obsession with the Ottawa shooter’s religion reveals more about us than about him.” It must be a shock to their system to learn that a lot of “us” would rather not be cut down by a member of the alleged “Religion of Peace.”

The site’s underlying writeup by Amanda Taub, its “Senior Sadness Correspondent” (not kidding) accuses “us” of jumping to conclusions, when there was plenty of evidence from the get-go that the attack was jihadist in nature:



AP’s Headline After Driver Plows Into Crowd: ‘Israeli Police Shoot Man’

Here’s the first sentence from an Associated Press dispatch relating to a breaking news story out of Israel: “OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli police say they have shot a man whose car slammed into a crowded train stop in east Jerusalem, in what they suspect was an intentional attack.” (“OCCUPIED JERUSALEM”" Really? — Ed.) The story goes on to note that nine people were wounded.

From all of this, the wire service ran with the following initial headline: “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem.” That’s right. Nothing about the man being the driver of a car which plowed into a crowd. Well guys, if you play with fire, you’re sometimes going to get burned. In this case, more like scorched, as one of the nine wounded, a three-month-old baby, died. The initial headline, though ultimately changed, more than likely stayed with the story for a brief time at some outlets as additional developments unfolded. Excerpts from the latest report, as carried at Yahoo, follow the jump.



Why ‘It Matters’ Update

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:02 pm


Twenty-six percent (26%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending October 19.

The number who say the country is heading in the right direction is down one point from the previous week. This finding has now been in the 23% to 27% range nearly every week since early June …

… Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters now believe the nation is headed down the wrong track.

… Roughly two-thirds of voters of all ages agree the country is on the wrong track.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of whites and 56% of other minority voters say it’s on the wrong track. Blacks are evenly divided over the direction of the country.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of the Political Class believe the country is headed in the right direction, but 78% of Mainstream voters disagree.

When almost eight out of 10 people not in the poltical class believe we’re heading in the wrong direction … we’re heading in the wrong direction.

When things are this bad, sitting on the sidelines is not a viable option. “It Matters” that people get informed, get involved and vote:


Initial Unemployment Claims (102314): 283K SA; Raw Claims Down 18% From Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:56 am


  • Bloomberg predicts 281,000 seasonally adjusted claims.
  • Business Insider apparently didn’t bother.

HERE is the news from the Department of Labor:


In the week ending October 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 283,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 264,000 to 266,000. The 4-week moving average was 281,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since May 6, 2000 when it was 279,250. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 283,500 to 284,000.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 255,483 in the week ending October 18, a decrease of 18,260 (or -6.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 33,552 (or -12.3 percent) from the previous week. There were 312,037 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

The seasonal adjustment factors for this week and the same week last year were virtually identical (90.2 and 90.0, respectively).

The report indicates that “covered employment” — the number of workers who would be covered by unemployment insurance if they were to be let go by their employers — is now 132,731,174. That’s still about 1.25 million short of the 133,902,387 peak at the end of 2008.

That leads to an interesting comparison:


The translation here would seem to be that, compared to six years ago, there are three times as many Americans on employer payrolls whose work is so part-time or unpredictable in nature that they aren’t covered by the unemployment system if they lose their jobs.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102314)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Arkansas Marine’s Final Act During Tornado Saved His Wife’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Ashdown, Arkansas (video at link):

Published: Oct 20, 2014, 5:34 PM EDT

Eddy Withem, 33, an Arkansas Marine and father of three, was killed early Monday, Oct. 13 after an EF2 tornado tore through Ashdown in the southwest corner of the state. His wife, Roxanne Oliver-Withem, was badly injured, but is talking about her husband’s final heroic moments, which saved her life.

The family was all at home when the storm came through that morning around 5:30. Roxanne described the awful scene from her hospital bed.

“We woke up to the roof being torn off,” she said. Roxanne says her husband grabbed her and pushed her under “a bunch of stuff” that would shield her. His last words were, “Don’t move if you want to live.” And then he was gone.

The three children, ranging in age from seven to 13, sustained minor injures.

“The one thing we never lacked in this family was love,” she said.

Go here for the rest of the story.


Exquisite Timing: USAT Runs Op-Ed on ‘Beware the Christian Extremists’

Sandwiched in between two domestic terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists in Canada during the past three days, USA Today ran a Tuesday op-ed which appeared in Wednesday’s print edition by Mary Zeiss Stange called “Beware the Christian Extremists.”

With all due respect, ma’am, we’ve got bigger worries. But in Ms. Stange’s world, Christian “religious extremism taken to potentially lethal ends” is really the “primary threat to homeland security.” She castigates the news media, which in her view “have been remarkably slow when it comes to zeroing in on the pervasive reality of hate-based Christian extremism,” because “It is easier, after all, to blame the un-American other.”


October 22, 2014

Press Covers For Crist’s Tired Excuse For Fla.’s Jobs Freefall on His Watch

At their debate Tuesday night, former Florida governor (2007-2010), former Republican (1974-2010), former independent (2010-2012) and current Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist got out the crying towel over why the Sunshine State’s economy was so bad on his watch. He also refused to acknowledge that incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott deserves any credit for the state economy’s overachievement during the past 45 months.

At the debate, Crist tried to minimize the economic disaster which occurred during his term in office by claiming that — quoting from the debate transcript — “I was serving during the global economic meltdown. And we did the very best we could to get Florida through it and we did.” As seen after the jump, the “best we could do” for Crist was far, far worse than the rest of nation’s “best” could do. As would be expected, I didn’t find any establishment press coverage which has made the comparisons which follow.



O’Keefe Finds Eagerness to Commit Voter Fraud Among Colorado Leftists

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:47 pm

Also posted at DC Gazette.

James O’Keefe, the man who brought down ACORN, has done it again, this time exposing Colorado leftists’ shocking wilingness to cheat.

Here are several quotes from the Project Veritas video about their attitude towards the illegal act of taking someone else’s mail-in ballot and using it to vote:

  • “I mean, that’s not even like lying or stealing. If someone throws out a ballot, like, if you want to fill it out you should do it. … It doesn’t have anyone’s name on it yet.”
  • “It’s putting the votes to good use.”
  • (Reacting to the idea of Oregon voters who have already voted by mail in that state but have just moved to Colorado voting again) “That’s awesome.”

A Greenpeace representative even identified a place in Aurora where one would have high chance of success in retrieving unused ballots from the trash.

Colorado’s Secretary of State, who is a Republican, notes that “historically, when you look at it, one of the most popular avenues for voter fraud is mail ballots,” and that “it’s absolutely possible” for someone to retrieve the ballot of a person who has thrown out their ballot and use it to vote.”

Besides Colorado, where all mail-in balloting begins this year, Washington and Oregon opted for such a system some time ago. Since doing so, Washington has moved from being a swing state two decades ago to predictably Democratic. In 2004, a Republican candidate for Governor “somehow” lost a close election he was on track to win before recount shenanigans commenced. That loss was also possibly traceable to voter-registration fraud — a crime much easier to commit when the perpetrator doesn’t have to show up and be seen at a polling location.

O’Keefe argues that what he has uncovered “should make voters across the country question the very integrity of our elections.” And it should, especially in the three states just identified, as well as those which have chosen to adopt no-excuse-needed absentee voting.