May 4, 2006

I Hope He REALLY Means It

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:45 pm

From House Majority Leader John Boehner’s blog:

Enclosed is the text of Mr. Boehner’s exchange with reporters, as well as an audio file and streaming audio link with his strongly worded response:

Q: “Despite the President’s veto threat, the Senate has added over $14 billion to the emergency supplemental bill…”

Majority Leader Boehner: “The House will not take up an emergency supplemental spending bill for Katrina and the War in Iraq that spends one dollar more than what the President asked for. Period.”

UPDATE, May 5: I didn’t even need to look into it to know, but both Ohio Senators DeWine and Voinovich voted for the bill that has the $14 billion added.

Lots of Good Economic News in One Place

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 2:55 pm

This Associated Press piece:

The efficiency of American workers rebounded in the opening quarter of this year, growing at an annual rate of 3.2 percent. Wages rose at a brisk pace.

….. In other economic news, shoppers seemingly undeterred by rising gasoline prices spent energetically in April, giving retailers strong sales for the month.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp., Nordstrom Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. and Limited Brands Inc. were among the merchants reporting better-than-expected results.

….. New claims for unemployment benefits rose last week by 5,000 to 322,000, the Labor Department said in a separate report. Although jobless claims went up last week, the overall level still pointed to a good job-market climate.

….. Hourly compensation in the first quarter increased at a 5.7 percent rate — more than twice as rapidly as the 2.7 percent growth rate in the previous quarter.

That, along with the 4.8% initial estimate of 1st Quarter 2006 GDP growth, is a lot of good news, especially for an economy that 30% of those polled STILL think is in a recession:

recession0406

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UPDATE: Although the retail news is still good after considering it, you have to remember that Easter was in April this year and March last year. Plus April had five Saturday-Sunday weekends.

UPDATE 2: This Reality Check from the Media Research Center, about how the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known to most as The Mainstream Media) are focusing on high gas prices to the exclusion of the plethora of other good news, is absolutely, completely and totally spot-on:

During the Clinton years, network journalists argued (correctly) that strong economic growth, a rising stock market, low unemployment and low inflation were the benchmark indicators of a good economy. Today, economic growth is a phenomenal 4.8 percent, the stock market has been climbing for three straight years, and inflation and unemployment are both low.

But instead of trumpeting the amazing “Bush economy,” TV news has downplayed this recent good news while hyping the bad news of rising fuel costs. Indeed, a new Media Research Center study suggests the broadcast networks are not just noting the discontent about prices but actively stoking public outrage.

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Previous Post:

  • Dec. 2, 2005 — 43% of the Country Believes We’re in a Recession!

David Smith: NOW We Find Out (He Did Not Have the Money He Claimed)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:14 pm

Yet Another Item to Add to the Smith Campaign Deception Pile

US GOP Senate Primary candidate David Smith should be grateful that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) was nowhere near as fast as they claim to be in processing the paperwork that was due to be submitted by the various Ohio campaigns on April 17.

The David Smith for Senate Committe’s manually prepared FEC Form 3, The Report of Receipts and Disbursements, which is shown as “filed” on the FEC’s web site on April 17, was actually not stamped and scanned in by the Secretary of the Senate until April 21. As best I can determine, it was not posted on the FEC’s web site until overnight processing on Monday, May 1 or Tuesday, May 2. I recall checking for it on Friday, April 28, and believe that if it had posted over the weekend someone in the money-obsessed press (like this reporter) would have noticed it. So for all practical purposes, the report wasn’t available in time for Election Day.

This matters because in a February 16 interview with Bill Cunningham of 700 WLW in Cincinnati, David Smith told Mr. Cunningham that he had raised $10,000, with a goal of getting $250,000.

Never mind the $250,000 goal. Chalk that up to rookie enthusiasm.

(Oh, I forgot. Mr. Smith’s run was not that of a rookie but of a three-time veteran congressional candidate [Utah in 2002, Tennessee in 2004, and Ohio in 2005]).

Back on topic: I have reviewed the FEC Report of Receipts and Disbursements for The David Smith for Senate Committee (click on the number “26020300644″ in the “Display Image” column in the “Pre-Primary” row), and have found that Mr. Smith did not raise the $10,000 he claimed, and didn’t even get close enough to be able to defensibly round up to $10,000 from an actual number (the multiple contributions from “Swim” are from many different individuals with the same last name):

SmithContribs

Giving him the benefit of every conceivable doubt, first by assuming all small contributions were received before February 16, and then by allowing for possible one-day delay in deposit posting on Smith’s personal contribution to the campaign of $250 on February 17, the greatest amount of money he could have raised was $8,668. The more likely situation is that Smith received about half of his smaller contributions before February 16, and that his own contribution on February 17 should not count. Using those more realistic assumptions, I estimate that he had raised just $7,509 by the date of the interview. (Aside: Not that it affects the results of this post, but can you “raise” money from yourself?)

Political candidates without financial backgrounds might be excused for rounding $8,668 or $7,509 to “about $10,000.” Financial guys like Mr. Smith, who claims to be involved in managing $3 billion of his employer’s money, don’t get such a pass (actually, he has said that HE is responsible for handling and/or managing $3 billion of his employer’s money, which is also a lot less than truthful). And anyway he didn’t say “about” $10,000; his statement was clearly a representation that he had reached or crossed the $10,000 threshold.

Do you think Mr. Smith’s Christian fundamentalist brethren would have been troubled by what he said on February 16 if they had known of its untruthfulness before May 2? Isn’t there a commandment about all of this?

So, we have yet another false representation to add the already existing pile of campaign sins that negate any claim that David Smith’s showing on May 2 has any validity:

  • Resume concealing, from the very beginning.
  • Creating undeserved name recognition through illegal sign placement that continued up to and including Election Day, and actually got bolder as Election Day approached, to the point of attaching signs to expressway overpass fencing (yet another dubious political campaigning first).
  • Peddling an unsupported poll that showed him having twice the support he ultimately garnered, and showing him trailing Mike DeWine by 45 points less than than the actual 57 point-margin of his loss (there may be more to come on that; UPDATE — Here it is, the poll’s source is refuted).
  • And now, a false statement made in front of Greater Cincinnati’s largest radio audience about money raised.

Is there any aspect of David Smith’s candidacy that was genuine?

The 21st Carnival of Ohio Politics is Up; Plus a New S.O.B. Member

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 10:55 am

The Carnival it’s here.

The new member is The Keeler Report, who definitely has a sense of humor, as part of his top banner says that Blackwell won thanks to his backing. Is that partially or completely? :–>

Mexico Appears to Be Crossing a Drug Rubicon

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 am

UPDATE: Vicente Fox backs off (HT Interested-Participant). I think in Spanish that would be “olividese por favor de él.” (“Please forget about it.”)
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No country would be this dumb, right?

Wrong (HT Hugh Hewitt):

Mexico to Allow Use of Drugs
Fox will sign the bill, one of the world’s most permissive policies, in a bid to curb trafficking. U.S. officials say it will lead to more addiction.
May 3, 2006

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Vicente Fox will sign a bill that would legalize the use of nearly every drug and narcotic sold by the same Mexican cartels he’s vowed to fight during his five years in office, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The list of illegal drugs approved for personal consumption by Mexico’s Congress last week is enough to make one dizzy — or worse.

Cocaine. Heroin. LSD. Marijuana. PCP. Opium. Synthetic opiates. Mescaline. Peyote. Psilocybin mushrooms. Amphetamines. Methamphetamines.

And the per-person amounts approved for possession by anyone 18 or older could easily turn any college party into an all-nighter: half a gram of coke, a couple of Ecstasy pills, several doses of LSD, a few marijuana joints, a spoonful of heroin, 5 grams of opium and more than 2 pounds of peyote, the hallucinogenic cactus.

Even if you’re in favor of legalization, I would think the sudden shift would be troubling.

I fail to see how the state’s sanctioning the creation of a vegetable class can be spun as a positive thing.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ-Life Links (050406)

Free Links:

  • iTunes downloads are staying at 99 cents — The deal with the record companies that just ended lasted three years, the betting is that the new deal is for a shorter period.
  • Someone Who Has Been Frequently Covered at This Blog Might Have Noticed This — and if he did, he may be breathing a sigh of relief today:

    Ohio Supreme Court blocks access to tax returns to prove residency

    The city of Cleveland’s attempts to use federal income tax returns to prove the residency of municipal employees was thwarted by The Ohio Supreme Court last week.

    A unanimous court ruled that requiring city firefighters to submit copies of federal income tax returns was an invasion of privacy.

  • Kudlow gives Bush props for a strong speech on the economy, and points to strong stats (HT Club for Growth; bold is mine):

    And here’s the really interesting part of this story. While Mainstream Wall Street economists and the Fed continue to expect an economic slowdown (as they have for the last three years), the reality is the economy may actually be picking up speed.

    Check out today’s factory orders report for March, where backlogs are up 13.5 percent at an annual rate over the past three months, and orders for high-tech are up 73.7 percent annually for the last three months.

    These are unbelievable numbers. The ISM non-manufacturing index was significantly stronger than expected.

    Let me summarize: Conventional wisdom Demand-Siders continue to “misunderestimate” the economic growth incentive power of lower marginal tax rates. Especially reduced rates on capital, which is the seed-corn for new businesses, new jobs and higher incomes. Easy capital, with higher investment returns after tax, are driving this economic boom.

    It is the greatest story never told.

    But now the President is telling it.

    Much more of this jawboning is needed from the president. Here’s a link to a story that discusses all of the indicators that Kudlow is so pleased with. Also at the end of this link is an advance indication that the economy created 200,000 net new jobs in March.

    But also: Would somebody find the president that veto pen he seems to have lost? (Maybe the problem is that it fell into the cushions in the furniture the Clintons with them when they left the White House.)

  • Some professors are banning laptops in the classroom — They say that can’t find any learning improvement to justify their presence. If it weren’t for the fact that too many students have a nasty habit of doing other things while pretending to pay attention, I would disagree. I have no idea how you would force a student to limit a laptop to note-taking during class, but if you could, I believe there would real improvement in learning.

Subscription-only Link:

  • Belying the bellyaching during the runup to Bankruptcy “Reform” (code-named BARF by Moderate Mainstream), credit-card issuer profits jumped last year, a lot (bold is mine):

    U.S BANK CARD PROFITS RISE IN 2005

    U.S. issuers of Visa and MasterCard credit cards in 2005 posted a collective after-tax return on assets of 1.99%, up 40 basis points from 1.59% in 2004, according to Cards&Payments’ annual Bank Card Profitability Study and Annual Report. The 25% increase in the rate came despite rising federal fund rates during the year and changes in U.S. bankruptcy law that led to a dramatic rise in bankruptcy filings.

Positivity: An Amber Alert Works

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

And it worked very quickly (Original New York Times article is behind subscriber wall; excerpt is from Good News Blog):

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