November 5, 2007

The Economy is So Bad …..

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 2:30 pm

….. that roughly 88% 85% of it (see note below) was reported earlier today as expanding, and at a faster rate than in September.

That info comes from the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM’s) Non-Manufacturing report, which came in with a reading of 55.8, up from 54.8 in September. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. Scroll down the report, and you will see that it has shown expansion for 55 consecutive months. That happens to be the longest streak on record.

Applying the “patented” BizzyBlog method for determining whether the economy is getting better or worse, we find that the economy is getting better. Since both ISM readings are and have been in expansion mode for some time — manufacturing’s 15% of the economy, along with non-manufacturing’s 85% — the correct characterization of the economy is that it is “getting even better.”

Specifically, step-by-step (revised; see Note below):

September — (.15 x 52.00) + (.85 x 54.8) = 7.80 + 46.58 = 54.38
October — (.15 x 50.9) + (.85 x 55.8 [above]) = 7.63 + 47.43 = 55.06

How much more “awful” can it get? (/sarc)

Better question: How much more detached from reality can Old Media be?

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10 p.m. NOTE: The weighted-average calculations have been changed to reflect an allocation of 15% manufacturing and 85% non-manufacturing on the basis of one of the economists quoted in the AP article referenced below, and the belief that the government, whose goods and services, such as they are, comprise a small percentage of GDP, is not part of the non-manufacturing percentage.

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UPDATE: As if on cue, from the Associated Press

An increase in new orders helped drive the U.S. services sector to a faster-than-expected growth rate in October, but economists warned the data didn’t foretell that economic growth would pick up soon.

“Pick up soon”? After a third quarter when advance GDP came in at 3.9%, followed by the stronger expansion in October of the composite ISM numbers noted above, and what others (besides me; I was unimpressed) are calling a good October jobs report, the AP acting as if economic growth necessarily even NEEDS to pick up is disgraceful propaganda.

The rest of the piece quotes two economists, one who is looking for a “harbinger of an economic turning point” (reminder: 3.9% growth, net ISMs expanding more rapidly), another who says the ISM data is on balance a few weeks old, so it doesn’t count (I don’t believe it’s more than a couple of weeks old, tops).

AP reporters need to put someone other than gloom-and-doomers on their speed dials.

2007 Weblog Awards Update (110507)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:00 am

The Best Business Blog Ballot is here. You can vote once every 24 clock hours. An index to all blog category ballots is here. Complete voting rules are here. Vote early; vote often. Every vote for yours truly is intensely appreciated.

Other personal recommendations (links are to the respective ballots; actual site links are just below the ballots): fellow SOBer Weapons of Mass Discussion; Michelle Malkin; NewsBusters; Doug Ross @ Journal; Betsy’s Page; EU Referendum; Brussels Journal; Pundit Review; Michael Yon; Little Green Footballs; Day by Day. Update, 12:45 p.m. — Here’s a new recommendation in the Funniest Blog category – DUmmie FUnnies.

Race update, 11 AM: The latest standings show BizzyBlog in the middle of the pack, not far behind Kudlow. Does yours truly get to replace him on CNBC if BizzyBlog pulls ahead?

Who’s Really in the Way of Solving Global Poverty?

Filed under: Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:52 am

I guess this will surprise a lot of folks who haven’t visited here, but this doesn’t surprise me a bit.

Here’s the narrative from a movie trailer you really should see from a movie that deserves wide distribution (bracketed text is visual only):

Narrator: A dangerous force is denying the dreams of the world’s poorest people. There is a powerful group telling the world’s poor how to work, how to live, and even how to think.

[The truth may be inconvenient. But lies can be dangerous. And the enemy isn't who you think.]

Narrator: The first film that takes you to the dark side of the environmental movement.

Enviro critic: The environmentalists really are against growth. They think that what people need is to keep in their traditional ways of life. They should be kept as happy peasants.

[People worlds apart. With something in common.]

Town resident: I’m not asking for much. Just a normal job.

[Hope.]

[Only one thing stands in their way.]

Narrator: Powerful environmental groups have descended on impoverished villages. Around the world, small towns teeter on the verge of economic extinction.

Town resident: I know what I need. I need a job, work.

Narrator: Often a village’s best hope is a new, environmentally friendly mine that would bring jobs, development, and many of the basic human necessities that Westerners take for granted. But environmental lobbyists are campaigning to stop the (Rosia Montana, Romania) mine. They claim it would destroy a town’s charming way of life.

Town resident (paraphrase): What’s charming about this lifestyle?

[Poverty is not charming.]

Resident: The people who are against the project, they are rich people. They are not here, like us. We have to eat, we need jobs, and we have to work.

Narrator: A continent away, activists use the same arguments.

Enviro activist: I think the quaintness of Fort Dauphin (Madagascar), the small-town feeling, will certainly change.

Town resident: But people in Fort Dauphin are very poor.

Enviro activist: How do we perceive what is rich and what is poor, who is rich and who is poor? (showing off his boat) I bought this for about $35,000, which was a good price, and it came with everything.

Narrator: Western environmental lobbyists claim to represent the interests of the world’s poorest people.

Enviro critic: Well I don’t think they care about the poor. They’re the biggest enemies of the poor.

Narrator: What if everything you thought about the environmental movement was wrong?

Enviro critic: They really don’t like people.

Previous BizzyBlog posts (here, for starters) have alluded to how the worldwide enviro movement excuses its desire to keep the world’s poor in their place, and how a surprising number of them believe that the world’s population must be drastically reduced (here and here).

More background from the “Mine Your Own Business” press kit (PDF; bold is mine):

(Irish film maker Phelim) McAleer, a former Financial Times correspondent in Eastern Europe, starts his journey in Rosia Montana, a Romanian mining village where foreign environmental activists are opposing the construction of a high tech gold mine that many villagers see as their last hope of survival.

McAleer exposes the exaggerations and misleading claims of the foreign environmentalists opposed to the development. They explain how people in the village don’t want prosperity but prefer the simple peasant life where they are “poor but happy.”

McAleer interviews the villagers who tell a very different story as they speak about their desire for development that will bring renewed prosperity to their village and clean up the hundreds of years of environmentally unfriendly mining projects.

“Mine Your Own Business is the first documentary to take a hard look at the environmental movement,” said McAleer. “And what we found was not pretty. Activists believe that people in remote areas are ‘poor but happy.’ They think that development will spoil their idyllic rural existence. But I’ve been there, and poverty is neither charming nor quaint, nor is it a lifestyle choice.”

….. Hundreds of years after we have become rich and comfortable by removing our forests and exploiting our natural resources such as coal, oil, and gold we are now going to the poorest countries on the planet to prevent them from doing what we did and having what we have. We want them to stay as ‘traditional peasants’ forgetting all the while that the poor people desperately want progress and desperately want to enjoy the good, healthy and long life we in the west take for granted.

Mine Your Own Business will make a lot of comfortable western people very uncomfortable indeed. It will show them the consequences of their blind faith in our new religion-the religion of environmentalism.

This is sooooooo long overdue. And do you really think I care that a mining company funded it? Don’t waste my time with that; tell me where they are factually wrong — if you can.

Enviros must be forced to argue their case for continuing world poverty as the desirable status quo on its alleged “merits” — because that IS what they want. Good luck, folks.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (110507)

Context: German unemployment falls to a 13-year low of ….. 8.7%.

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Following on the heels of the fraudulent SCHIP polls a few weeks ago from NPR and CBS, this doesn’t surprise (HT Michelle Malkin), but requires emphasis. It has to do with this Associated Press poll:

People decisively favor letting their public schools provide birth control to students, but they also voice misgivings that divide them along generational, income and racial lines, a poll showed.

Sixty-seven percent support giving contraceptives to students, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. About as many — 62 percent — said they believe providing birth control reduces the number of teenage pregnancies.

Just a few “minor” problems:

  • The poll oversampled Democrats by double-digits.
  • 31% of those in the NPR Bull-SCHIP poll knew nothing about the issue; they were polled anyway. They were at the mercy of poorly designed poll questions, and the presence of know-nothings was not disclosed in press coverage. Similarly, 63% of those in the AP-Ispsos birth control poll were not parents of a school-aged child. You can make a better argument for including the 63% in the birth control poll than you can for the SCHIP ignoramuses; but again, the press didn’t mention this breakdown.
  • As with the NPR Bull-SCHIP poll in regards to the knowledgeable vs. know-nothings, the birth-control poll didn’t tell us how the results differed between parents and non-parents — even in the detail. In both cases, the numbers could have been, and should have been, compiled and disclosed.
  • AP (of course) embellished its coverage by interviewing a mother of a 3 year-old who is okey-dokey with contraceptives on demand, as if there are millions upon millions of moms just like her. I’ll betcha that a large majority of parents with school-aged children is dead set against that — especially down to age 11, which is what a Maine middle school is allowing.

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FIRE 1, Brainwashers at the University of Delaware 0. Hot Air has an interview, and audio, with one of the Delaware profs who exposed the Thought Police indoctrination tactics used at the school’s residence halls.

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Don Luskin thinks that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is being forced to deal with a bunch of children throwing temper tantrums posing as stock-market traders and analysts. He has a point. I should also add that the children are being egged on by a public conditioned by Old Media to believe that Armageddon awaits if interest rates don’t keep going down.
This interest rate given-in scenario going long-term does not bode well for keeping inflation in check.

Positivity: We’re twinseparable! Happy with his brother, the boy who refused to die

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From the UK:

Last updated at 01:09am on 3rd November 2007

They say twins share a strong bond – but the one between Gabriel and Ieuan Jones was unbreakable.

When doctors found that Gabriel was weaker than his brother, with an enlarged heart,and believed he was going to die in the womb, his mother Rebecca Jones had to make a heartbreaking decision.

Doctors told her his death could cause his twin brother to die too before they were born, and that it would be better to end Gabriel’s suffering sooner rather than later.

Mrs Jones decided to let doctors operate to terminate Gabriel’s life.

Firstly they tried to sever his umbilical cord to cut off his blood supply, but the cord was too strong.

They then cut Mrs Jones’s placenta in half so that when Gabriel died, it would not affect his twin brother.

But after the operation which was meant to end his life, tiny Gabriel had other ideas.

Although he weighed less than a pound, he put up such a fight for survival that doctors called him Rocky.

Astonishingly, he managed to carry on living in his mother’s womb for another five weeks – until the babies were delivered by caesarean section.

Now he and Ieuan are back at home in Stoke – and are so close they are always holding each other’s hand.

Mrs Jones, 35, a financial adviser whose husband Mark, 36, is a car salesman, said: “It really is a miracle. Doctors carried out an operation to let Gabriel die – yet he hung on.

“It was unbelievable.”

“When I felt him kicking madly the morning after the operation, I suddenly knew that he was going to hang on.

“The doctors couldn’t believe it when they could still hear his heartbeat the next morning.”

Go here for the rest of the story.