August 30, 2006

Yellowcake Characters Are Recent MIAs in Daily Kos Searches

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 2:50 pm

Search for yourself at Daily Kos and see (all searches are set up for 30 results per page and look back over the previous quarter; searches were done at roughly 2:45 PM):

  • Bush” (to prove the search engine works) — 558 results, up to and including today
  • Wilson” — latest entry is August 24, well before the news exculpatory to the administration broke.
  • Plame” — latest entry – August 11
  • Libby” — latest – July 14
  • Fitzgerald” — August 4
  • Fitzmas” — June 24
  • Armitage” — no results

No commentary necessary.

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UPDATE: Good luck finding anything recent at Atrios or the top level at MyDD.

UPDATE 2: If you can still stand digging into the details, Investors Business Daily has a good question.

UPDATE 3, Sept. 2: Atrios goes inane (yes, that’s the word I meant to use) as the WaPo admits the obvious.
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Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

BizzyBlog Blast From the Past:
‘Waste Ted’ Stevens Threatens to Resign. He Should.

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:17 pm

This past has been carried forward from Tuesday evening, and will stay at or near the top on Wednesday.

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UPDATE: This article in an Arkansas paper (HT TPM Muckraker; Hot Air is on it too) says matter-of-factly that Stevens “has a hold of his own on Coburn’s bill to make public the spending patterns of the government. ….. ‘He’s the only senator blocking it,’ Coburn said of Stevens.”

UPDATE 2, 4PM — A Stevens staffer acknowledges that his boss is the one. The justifications don’t pass the stench test, let alone the smell test.

UPDATE 3, August 31, 5PM: Whoa, it was a “bipartisan hold” — Byrd of WV has owned up to being a fellow secret holder with Stevens (HT via Instapundit). His excuse is lame too; even if it’s sincere, it doesn’t justify the secrecy.
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Well, well.

It appears, according to the latest compilation at Townhall by Mary Katharine Ham, that “Waste Ted” Stevens is one of only three senators who has not denied placing a unilateral “secret hold” on S.2590, the Tom CoburnBarack Obama-sponsored “Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act,” which would “publicly disclose all recipients of federal funding and financial assistance” in what would in essence be a searchable Internet-accessible database.

Stevens is at the moment considered the prime suspect. The other two who have not denied being the secret holder are Gregg of VT NH and Crapo of ID. Yes, it is painful that three remaining are Republicans, though Ace reminds us that some of the “established” denials are coming from staff using that famous possible dodge, “to the best of our knowledge and belief.”

To make sure you understand why, if “Waste Ted Stevens” is indeed the guilty party, it would be totally in character (or lack thereof), I am re-posting this entry from October of last year when Stevens threatened to resign from the Senate if Alaska didn’t get its now-infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” He should have resigned then; if he’s the secret holder, it simply proves that his resignation is long overdue.

Last October’s entry is below the fold.

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Americans More Optimistic Less Pessimistic About Economy

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:02 pm

The headline from American Research Group (ARG) reads “More Optimistic,” but considering the negativity still present, the organization’s latest monthly wade into what can only be described as the pools of economic ignorance dated August 23 really tells us that people are “less pessimistic.”

The objective big-picture situation in the economy is this:

  1. A sustained 4% growth rate over the last 13 quarters. The performance is slightly higher than the Clinton Administration’s best 7 years, and slightly lower than Reagan-Bush 41′s best 7, as shown here. This would still be true if the second quarter’s GDP growth of 2.5% were factored in.
  2. Under 5% unemployment, within striking distance of what used to be considered “full employment.”
  3. “Core inflation” under control (fingers crossed).

Given those facts, any decrease in the gap between perception in reality is welcome.

But, though there was improvement in ARG’s latest survey, there is clearly a long way to go to bridge the divide:

  • One piece of “good” news is that “only” 28% of those polled think the country is in a recession, down from 38% a month ago. Of course, the US hasn’t been in a recession since March – November 2001, according to “the gurus,” and never was in recession during that time if the traditional definition of two consecutive quarters of negative growth is used. Late last year, an unfathomable 43% thought we were in a recession.
  • The percentage thinking the economy is in “very bad” shape dropped from an utterly ridiculous 30% to 10%, and most of the reduction there led to increases in “very good” (from 8% to 17%) and “excellent” (from 6% to 10%).
  • Though there was a move to the middle in peoples’ opinions as to whether the economy was improving (fewer said it was, but fewer also said it was getting worse), the real stunner was that 25% think that the economy will be better a year from — up from only 6% last month.

The WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known to most as the formerly Mainstream Media) will probably be pleased to know that even though their negative and selective reporting on business and the economy hasn’t prevented a reduction in general pessimism, the Bush Administration is getting virtually no credit for this improvement — Only 32% (up from 31% last month) approve of the administration’s handling of the economy.

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UPDATE: Counterpoint — “Consumer Confidence Slides in August”

Carnival Barking (083006)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 11:27 am

Newshound’s 37th Carnival of Ohio Politics is here.

Boring Made Dull’s 10th go-round for Economics and Social Policy is here.

Great stuff at both places. Go there.

The New York Times Will Sacrifice What Little Is Left of Its Credibility….

….. over the Duke lacrosse player prosecution vendetta:

Imagine ….. you have invested your credibility in yet another story line that is falling apart …… What to do?

If you’re the New York Times and the story is the alleged gang rape of a black woman by three white Duke lacrosse players—a claim shown by mounting evidence to be almost certainly fraudulent—you tone down your rhetoric while doing your utmost to prop up a case that’s been almost wholly driven by prosecutorial and police misconduct.

From the Times’ perspective, if three stupid but from all current appearances not criminal college students get dragged in the mud for a better part of year while their families spend a fortune on attorneys’ fees, it’s “too bad, so sad.”

No clean words exist to describe how outrageous this is.

Radio Rant of the Day: Rush on the Wilson/Plame Flameout

You have until about 6 PM to get this one for the hard drive before it goes behind his subscription wall, or you’ll have to settle for the excerpt below the fold.

You’ll notice that I’ve checked off the “Business Moves” category in this post, with good reason.

  • The WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known to most as the formerly Mainstream Media) had to know, after a pretty short time, that this story represented the height of boredom for the rest of the nation.
  • It is becoming increasingly clear that they had to know at some point there was no real story here (except the fraud of Wilson and Plame). But they pressed on, in an attempt to flood the zone and dupe dazed readers and viewers into thinking that there was a real scandal here.
  • Even though it became increasingly clear, despite Scooter Libby’s bogus indictment, that there was no scandal, driving down the Administration’s poll numbers, credibility, and the perhaps even the nation’s support for the War On Terror became more important than retaining reader and viewer interest.

The coverage accorded the Wilson/Plame Flameout Fraud has, in my opinion, served to accelerate the downward business spiral the Big Media companies find themselves in. It was truly a bad business move.

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2nd Quarter GDP Revised from 2.5% to 2.9%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:42 am

The “slowing economy” meme suffered at least a minor setback today as the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that Real Gross Domestic Product grew at an annualized rate of 2.9% in the second quarter, up from 2.5%.

Here’s the BEA announcement.

Key excerpt:

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for services, private inventory investment, nonresidential structures, exports, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

As noted at my post on the original 2nd quarter GDP announcement, the federal spending component change cut about a half-point off of second-quarter growth. Today’s announced revision means that second-quarter GDP growth in the rest of the economy was a very decent but not robust 3.3% – 3.4%.

Oh, and who thinks the federal spending component of GDP will slow down in subsequent quarters like it did in the second?

The slowdown in residential fixed investment at an annualized rate of -9.8% (i.e., an actual drop of 2.4% during the quarter) is not a bubble-like radical drop by any stretch. And it’s gratifying that the rest of the economy is for the most part picking up the slack occurring in the housing sector.

That Ad on the Top Right

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 9:01 am

Drum Corps International Is on TV — Again.

One of the neatest things that has happened in music over the years has been the evolution of high school and college marching and other bands to pretty cool things to be in (let’s just say they weren’t back in the 1960s and 1970s and leave it at that).

Which leads to those rotating half-banners at the top right.

No, they’re not paid ads (darn, but hopefully that’s down the road). It’s a promotion placed by special request for the Drum Corps International (DCI) competition broadcast coming up just after Labor Day. Befitting the evolution to “cool” I just noted, stories and performances from DCI’s national tournament earlier this year will be broadcast (yes) on a sports channel for the second year in a row:

The two-hour program is scheduled to air on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2006, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time. Dates and times are subject to change. Additionally, the program will be rebroadcast later in the year as two one-hour specials. The first will be on Monday, Sept. 11, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and on Monday, Sept. 18, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time.

The broadcast, which received higher-than-expected Nielson ratings in 2005 during its inaugural ESPN2 showing, will feature highlights from the 2006 World Championships in Madison, Wis. The highlights will be drawn from the competitive performances of the elite corps competing for the coveted Drum Corps International championship trophy. Included in the telecast will be “behind-the-scenes” features providing captivating insights, profiles and perspectives of this highly competitive display of world-class athleticism and extraordinary musical talent.

British People to Pols: “Cut Taxes.” Pols of Both Parties: “We Can’t Hear You.”

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:12 am

British people: “10 million of us are considering leaving the country.”

The potential for overtaxed and mistreated people to “vote with their feet” is a worldwide phenomenon.

Related Story:Germans Leave in Record Numbers, Fleeing Unemployment” (HT Instapundit) — I think it has also has something to do with this.

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Previous Post:

August 23: LABOR MP Calls for an End to UK’s Death (”Inheritance”) Tax

Some People Probably Want Their RIAA Fine Money Back

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:07 am

After all of the grief the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has visited on people for illegally downloading songs all these years, this is more than a little hard to take:

Universal Music, the world’s largest music company, is backing a start-up that will allow consumers to download songs for free. It will rely on advertising for its revenues, offering a different business model from that of Apple Computer’s popular iTunes music store.

Yes, I respect intellectual property rights (though applying the word “intellectual” to a lot of the music involved is quite a stretch).

My point is that Universal and other record companies could have gone down this free-songs-for-ads route at least five years ago, and didn’t, opting to put Napster out of business and sue everyone they could find instead. You have to look back now and ask “Why?”

Another E-Voting “Uh-oh”

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:02 am

In Alaska (HT Techdirt):

Voting machines in several precincts slowed election returns Tuesday and caused elections officials to hand count and manually upload a still-unknown number of votes.

Election coordinator Lauri Wilson said several Diebold touchscreen machines in Southeast Alaska, the Interior and near Nome did not upload their votes into the Division of Elections’ central computing system.

Wilson says the machines’ modems either did not get a dial tone or had other problems. She says the votes from touchscreen voting machines four Kodiak precincts had to be manually uploaded

Techdirt wonders: “If the machines can fail on something as basic as that, is it any wonder that so many of us ask why there aren’t backup systems in these machines for the purpose of a recount?”

So do I.

Ford’s “Bold Moves” Ad

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 7:57 am

If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a vid at the link. It’s “bizarre.” And, I think, poorly thought through.

EU-PU: French Minister Warns of “Collapse”

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:52 am

At least someone there has their eyes open:

French minister warns EU project risks ‘collapse’

PARIS, Aug 29, 2006 (AFP) – France’s European affairs minister warned on Tuesday that the construction of the European Union was at risk of collapse, two years after its big bang expansion to 25 members.

Describing the state of the union as “alarming”, Catherine Colonna said the EU was “suffering from a kind of wasting disease, a general fatigue that bodes ill for its ability to answer the needs of its peoples.”

“Can the European Union carry on at this pace for long? Can Europe even take crucial decisions any more?” she asked French ambassadors gathered for an annual conference in Paris.

“We need to fundamentally jumpstart the situation, if we are to avoid the risk of a collapse of European construction, a slow and inexorable dilution.”

The EU was plunged into disarray following the French and Dutch rejection of a draft constitution aimed at preventing decision-making gridlock following the bloc’s expansion from 15 to 25 members in 2004.

It wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world if the nations of Europe said “oh, never mind.” But there’s that miserable currency they created to deal with…..

Positivity: Surviving a 640-Foot Fall

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

The woman suffered only cuts and bruises:

Millionairess survives 640ft fall
August 27, 2006

One of Britain’s wealthiest women has had an extraordinary escape from death after plunging 640ft down a mountain on Peru’s famous Inca Trail.

Barbara Catchpole, 60, co-founder of upmarket travel agency Elegant Resorts, suffered only cuts and bruises after falling while walking the 28-mile trail near the historic Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu.

Eighteen rescue workers using machetes spent one-and-a-half hours hacking their way through thick rainforest on the perilous Andes slope to rescue the stricken millionairess.

Comisario Salucio Mateaus, the police chief of Machu Picchu’s remote mountain force, spearheaded the rescue.

He said: “It truly was miraculous that she survived. She was with a lady friend on the third day of a four-day hike along the Inca Trail.

“They were in a precarious spot 2,500 metres up, just past an Inca ruin called Winay Wayna.

“The path was very slippery and wet from humidity and that, combined with the altitude and Mrs Catchpole’s age, makes us believe she either lost her footing or got dizzy.

“She was travelling with porters and one of them raised the alarm.”

Comisario Mateaus has six officers stationed on the Inca Trail, mostly to stop tourists being robbed.

He said: “One of my officers used his walkie-talkie to tell me an English lady had tumbled 200 metres off the mountainside.

“I felt certain we would be dealing with severe injuries, if not a fatality. But I was told they could hear her yelling for help.

“The mountain slope is scree covered with thick rainforest. The scree is unstable and made it impossible for her to climb back up, but the dense vegetation probably cushioned her fall and saved her life.”

It took teams of four people, working in relays, to carry Mrs Catchpole back up the mountain.

….. Last night, Ian Thomson, managing director of Elegant Resorts, paid tribute to the company founder’s fighting spirit and determination.

He said: “Barbara will get over this, no problem. She is a very determined person who has started to enjoy outdoor travel recently and likes the open air. She is an indomitable lady.”