November 2, 2007

2007 Weblog Awards Update (110207; Late Update – Weapons of Mass Discussion Is Nominated!)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 10:14 pm

The Best Business Blog Ballot is here. You get to vote once every 24 clock hours. Complete voting rules are here. Vote early and (as) often (as you can).

An index to all blog category ballots is here.

As long as you don’t let these recommendations distract you from voting for BizzyBlog (:–>), here are other personal recommendations:

- Best BlogMichelle Malkin
- Best Conservative BlogNewsBusters (the home-team pic; Michelle, who is on this ballot too, can “settle” for being Best)
- Best of Top 5001-6750Doug Ross @ Journal
- Best of Top 1751-2500Weapons of Mass Discussion (way to keep a secret, guys!)
- Best of 501-1000Betsy’s Page
- Best UK BlogEU Referendum
- Best European Blog (Non-UK) — Brussels Journal
- Best PodcastPundit Review
- Best Military BlogMichael Yon
- Best Online CommunityLittle Green Footballs (interesting placement v. Daily Kos)
- Best Comic StripDay by Day

I would have recommended more, but so many categories have at least two strong finalists.

A Leftist
Blog Post

Filed under: General — Tom @ 12:23 pm

UPDATE: Thanks to Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion for the suggested fix, which appears to have been the ticket. Sheepish grin time — the problem was an error between the blog operator (yours truly) and the keyboard.

Some of you
are seeing the
Pajamas Media
adstrip go
down the middle
of the page and
blocking post
content.

The text of this
post is on
the far left
because of that.

It is not
comfortable
being on the
far left. I
don’t see how
anyone could
feel comfortable
here.

I hope my
web guy and/or
advertising code
placers figure
out what the
bleep is
going on,
and soon (solved — see above).

The October Employment Numbers (110207)

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:21 am

Here’s the lead from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 166,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and leisure and hospitality. Manufacturing employment continued to decline, and construction employment was little changed.

….. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 166,000 in October to 138.4 million, following increases of 93,000 in August and 96,000 in September. In October, job growth continued in several service-providing industries, while employment in manufacturing continued to trend downward. Construction employment was little changed over the month.

AP’s report says the results more than doubled expectations only 80,000 additional jobs. It’s amazing how often the “surprises” are to the upside.

Other Detail:

  • Revisions to previous months — September, -14,000 (from 110,000 to 96,000); August, +4,000 (from 89,000 to 93,000)
  • Net change in new jobs, including revisions to prior months — +156,000 (166 – 14 + 4)

Quick Take:

After the big July and August upward revisions of 118,000 reported in September, I was hoping for at least half of that this time around. Instead, at -10,000 (-14 +4), it went the wrong way. Also, I know there’s a precision issue in gathering the data, but the unrounded unemployment rate went from 4.696% to 4.727%; I only noticed this because the number of unemployed went up, while the total workforce went down.

Media Reax:

If this e-mail flash I received from USA Today is any indication, I think the October news is actually being played up a bit too positively:

Employers boosted payrolls by a surprisingly strong 166,000 in October, the most in five months, an encouraging sign that the nation’s employment climate is holding up relatively well against the strains of a housing collapse and credit crunch.

Not the “housing collapse” part, which is clearly overwrought (NASDAQ from 2000-2002 was a “collapse”; come back when nationwide real estate prices fall by 1/4 as much as NASDAQ did before you hit me with this “collapse” garbage). The overall employment gain with prior quarter revisions isn’t what I had hoped for, and hopefully will be exceeded in future months.

Never mind on the e-mail flash interpretation: Sue Kirchoff’s USA Today article channels John Edwards’ “two Americas” nonsense with an imitative “two economies” riff. More on that later.

On the bright side: If GDP grew by an annualized 3.9% in the third quarter with relatively tepid job growth (less than 300,000 in July, August, and September combined), imagine what it might be if the fourth quarter pickup is 500,000, which is what will occur if November and December are clones of October.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (110207)

John Fund gets to the bottom line on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants in New York — “This Will Make Voter Fraud Easier.” Of course it will. That’s why Eliot Sptizer, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party want it so bad.

_____________________________________________

Jerry Bowyer contrasts the handling of the disasters in New Orleans and San Diego.

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Exempting military pensions from Ohio state income tax would be a positive move for Ohio’s economy:

“For those who say the state cannot afford to give up this tax, I would remind them that the military is a young person’s organization,” said retired Air Force Col. Dan Bigelow, chairman of the Dayton Chamber Military Affairs Committee.

“Many retire after 20 years,” he said. “Most are forced to retire after reaching 30. Many in their 40s have not had the stability or resources to invest in a home and so must seek other jobs to maintain or improve their lifestyles. Thus Ohio gains additional compensation and tax revenue from the second career of the retiree, the spouse’s job, and investment interest.”

Military members who leave have often been all over the world, and are much more likely than the average job-changer to settle where the opportunity is best and the taxes are lowest. That would include any one of several states with no income tax. Exempting their pensions from state taxation should be seen as a skilled worker recruitment tool.

_____________________________________________

Wesley Smith (HT Life News) recounts a remarkable recovery that goes a long way towards proving that those who didn’t want Terri Schiavo to involuntarily die from starvation were right:

On October 19, only months after being nearly dehydrated to death when his feeding tube was removed, Jesse Ramirez walked out of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix on his own two legs. Ramirez is lucky to be alive.

Early last June, a mere one week after a serious auto accident left him unconscious, his wife Rebecca and doctors decided he would never recover and pulled his feeding tube. He went without food and water for five long days.

But then his mother, Theresa, represented by lawyers from the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, successfully took Rebecca to court demanding a change of guardianship on the grounds that Rebecca and Jesse’s allegedly rocky marriage disqualified her for the role.

The judge ordered that Jesse be temporarily rehydrated and nourished. Then Jesse regained consciousness. Now, instead of dying by dehydration, he will receive rehabilitation and get on with his life–all because his mother rejected the reigning cultural paradigm that a life with profound cognitive dysfunction is not worth living.

Michael Schiavo was apparently unavailable for comment. Old Media was apparently unavailable for coverage.

_____________________________________________

Why am I not surprised at this? — “In the football gospel according to (Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver) Chad Johnson, selfish is good — even if it rubs teammates the wrong way.” As one recently rubbed, I can attest that it’s no fun watching a teammate (inadvertently or not) sabotage a team’s efforts.

Much more important — Just as critics who think Johnson should shut up and play can justifiably claim vindication in the Bengals’ 2-5 record, management at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, thanks to this and this (with, “oddly enough,” no mention of this), surely feel more justified in their decision to terminate Jeff Coryell today than when they did the deed on Tuesday.

Along with that, Old Media types in general attempting to adapt to the brave new world (and, despite the frequent snark here, at least a few will surely make the necessary decisions and adjustments) are less likely to see the road to success running through serious dealings with the existing blogosphere.

Positivity: Memory Loss Girl Rebuilds Her Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:52 am

From Glasgow, Scotland:

Oct 16 2007

Exclusive Pop Star Treat For Brain Bug Teenager Who Cheated Death Twice Mum And Dad Help Coma Girl Remember Identity

A MEDICAL miracle teenager is rebuilding her memory from scratch after beating a rare killer disease.

Doctors gave 14-year-old Lori Fulton little chance of survival when she was struck down with a brain condition which affects just one in a million people.

But Lori astounded them by twice battling back from the brink of death – only to discover the illness had robbed her of her memory.

But now, with the help of her parents and pals, Lori is starting to lead a normal life.

And yesterday, she became a pop star for the day as a treat from a charity which grants seriously ill kids their wish.
Rays of Sunshine arranged for Lori to record her favourite song, No Doubt’s Don’t Speak, in a Glasgow studio.

She was ferried around the city in a limo and was treated to a new outfit and a hair and beauty makeover.

Smiling Lori said: “My mates are really jealous about all this. They think it’s really cool.”

Lori fell ill with herpes in the brain two years ago and went into a sixmonth coma.

Doctors said she had little hope of pulling through – and if she did she might never walk and talk again. But the brave teenager, from Cambuslang, near Glasgow, defied the odds.

However, after waking from her coma she had no idea who any of her family were and had forgotten most of the words she knew.

Dad Billy, 44, said: “It was like she was a baby again.

“She had lost the 12 years that she had had before falling ill and basically had to start learning everything all over again.

“We’d stretch her limbs to encourage her to walk and we would talk to her all the time to help her speech.

“Getting her to speak was our first target and that came within a few weeks.

“We still laugh when we think about her first word – ‘chocolate’. She shouted it out in the middle of the night in hospital.

“The nurses were so amazed they ran out and got her chocolate ice cream so she could associate the word with the taste.
“Then she started to sing a Pussycat Dolls song we’d played to her while she was in a coma.

“For us that was a major turning point.

“It showed that, even though her memory from before had gone, she had come out of the coma with the ability to remember things now.

“We’d hold objects up and teach her words and help her put them into sentences.

“We’d start with food like carrots, apples and pears and then go onto animals, just like you would with a baby.”
Billy, a local government worker, added: “Her friends were incredible, some of them started writing wee books all about her life and the things they’d done in the past.

“Slowly she started to remember bits, but she got so frustrated when she knew she’d forgotten. Once we talked about our two trips to Disneyland and she got upset when she couldn’t remember even going there.

“But we told her to be patient and that it would all start coming together.”

After spending a year in hospital, Lori, a pupil at Stonelaw High School, finally got home last October – and has not looked back.

Mum Pauline, 43, told how doctors describe Lori as a “medical miracle”.

Go here for the rest of the story.