August 17, 2007

Couldn’t Help But Notice (081707)

John Stossel on “Dead Men Farming,” based on a GAO report (PDF):

From 1999 through 2005, the USDA “paid $1.1 billion in farm payments in the names of 172,801 deceased individuals. … 40 percent went to those who had been dead for three or more years, and 19 percent to those dead for seven or more years.” One dead farmer got more than $400,000 during those years.

And they say you can’t take it with you.

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Larry Kudlow this morning on the biz-econ situation:

Wall Street remains caught in a tizzy over a power outage in the credit markets. But Main Street is in fine economic shape, according to the latest reports out of Washington.

Industrial production — one of the most important coincident indicators out there — is steadily rebounding. Overall, it’s up 2.9 percent annually over the past three months. Manufacturing is up 4.7 percent. Auto output has increased 19.4 percent. Computers and office equipment are up a whopping 25 percent.

These are big numbers. And Americans are buying what these businesses are producing. Overall retail sales are up 4.8 percent for the past three months at an annual rate.

Sure, housing is still soft. But building-material sales are up 11.4 percent for the past three months. General merchandise and department stores are up roughly 10 percent. Clothing stores are up 12 percent.

Meanwhile, the latest inflation numbers from the consumer price index are tame. Headline inflation is up 2.4 percent over year ago, and core inflation is at 2.2 percent. On a more accurate chain-weighted basis, the overall CPI rose only 2.1 percent with a core increase of 1.8 percent.

….. Economists David Malpass and John Ryding at Bear Stearns believe second-quarter GDP will be revised up from 3.4 percent to over 4 percent, while third-quarter GDP will come in at a minimum of 2.5 percent to 3 percent. So, despite the fact that stocks have hit an air pocket and credit markets are suffering a temporary power outage (to borrow a term from economist John Rutledge), the country is not plunging into recession.

Of course not. Bernanke lowered a key rate this morning. Home sold are down, but prices are firm, and getting firmer.

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This is pitiful, regardless of whether it further debunks already largely-discredited globaloney:

(Chico, CA veteran meteorologist Anthony) Watts and his volunteers have now surveyed about 227 weather stations. A recent discovery: Many are sited at water sewage treatment plants, which Watts described as “giant heat bubbles.”

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Add AFP to the list of known Iraq War fabulists. The “news” agency also has been caught stealing, and attempting to resell, a soldier’s photo.

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Curt Anderson, writing for the Associated Press as if a member of the Jose Padilla Defense Team, clearly wasn’t happy yesterday, abandoning any pretense of objectivity. Here are just a few examples, starting with the weenie “Please Don’t Read This” headline (which Anderson may not have been responsible for:

Padilla Convicted of Terrorism Support

….. Padilla, a Muslim convert from Chicago, had lived in South Florida in the 1990s and was supposedly recruited by Hassoun at a mosque to become a mujahedeen fighter.

The key piece of physical evidence was a five-page form Padilla supposedly filled out in July 2000 to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan, which would link the other two defendants as well to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization.

The form, recovered by the CIA in 2001 in Afghanistan, contains seven of Padilla’s fingerprints and several other personal identifiers, such as his birthdate and his ability to speak Spanish, English and Arabic.

Anderson couldn’t even bring himself to use the word “allegedly” about a form with the just-convicted Padilla’s fingerprints. And people wonder why so many don’t trust the Associated (w/terrorists) Press to give us the news straight.

Positivity: New EMT Graduate Called a Hero

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Bainbridge, Georgia (bold is mine):

Last Updated: Aug 12th, 2007 – 13:00:08

Before Terrell Mann of Bainbridge graduated Aug. 2 from Bainbridge College (BC) Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) program in the Technical Studies Division, he had already applied some of his training in a rescue situation.

First aid Instructor David Sarrette called his student “a BC hero” as he shared with the college community how Mann had used the practical knowledge he had learned when he came upon a terrible traffic wreck in Seminole County in June.

A pickup truck had rolled over several times, trapping the victim upside down. Mann knew to keep the vehicle in that position to avoid possible further injury to the driver and stayed with the victim until EMS personnel arrived.

They said that they found Mann had done everything right to prevent further injury, Sarrette reported. This was the sixth incident Sarrette was aware of that skills learned in his class were put to practical use to save a life.

Go here for the rest of the story.