November 27, 2007

Mitt Romney ROTFLMBO Howlers of the Day (with Index and Links to Previous Posts)

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:55 pm

They are here at Romney’s campaign site (HT Rick Moran at American Thinker), where Romney rips into Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton over how they “share liberal values,” particularly abortion and same-sex marriage.”

They have me in “Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Butt Off” (ROTFLMBO)” mode.

Howler 1 (abortion):

BOTH (Giuliani and Clinton) WOULD KEEP ABORTION LEGAL

Mitt Romney’s Commonwealth Care aka RomneyCare health plan provides taxpayer-subsidized abortion services, with a $50 deductible. Yes it does. Additionally, RomneyCare at a minimum expanded the population with access to subsidized abortion services, and possibly even enshrined such access into law for the first time. Neither Rudy nor Hillary can “brag” about having done either for an entire state.

Howler 2 (same-sex marriage):

Mayor Giuliani And Sen. Clinton Both Say States Should
Create What Definition Of Marriage They Want

Mitt Romney unilaterally, and without proper legislative authorization, instituted same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, effectively creating his own definition of marriage and imposing it on the Bay State. Yes he did. Neither Hillary nor Rudy can “brag” about that.

Mitt Romney has a track record of ignoring the constitution he has sworn to uphold. What reason is there to believe he will act differently if elected president?

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Here’s the complete index to the “Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions” series:

- Nov. 21 — Part 1: Abortion Coverage in RomneyCare
- Nov. 21 — Part 2: Mitt Romney and Same-Sex Marriage
- Nov. 23 — Part 3: Various Excerpts, Statements, and Comments
- Nov. 24 — Part 4: What’s Beck Got to Do with It?
- Nov. 25 — Part 5: The Next President and the Courts

For those who insist on the Cliff’s Notes versions of the above posts, here they are (Part 3 is excluded because it “only” has excerpts and quotes from elsewhere):

  • (Part 1) Mitt Romney did nothing to stop or restrict state-subsidized abortion in Massachusetts, and with the institution of RomneyCare, definitely expanded its scope, and may even have enshrined it into Massachusetts law for the first time. Also see Part 1 for links to the underlying columns, blog posts, and background info from Gregg Jackson, Kevin Whelan, and John Haskins.
  • (Part 2) The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage in the Goodridge case was legally absurd and in and of itself against Massachusetts’ law and constitution. Even setting aside that point, an SJC ruling in Massachusetts requires that either legislation or a constitutional amendment be enacted for implementation to legally take place. No legislation or constitutional amendment was ever enacted, yet Mitt Romney implemented Goodridge anyway. He had no legislative direction, so he in fact did not have the authorization to go ahead with implementation. By doing so, he violated his own oath of office to uphold the Bay State’s constitution.
  • (Part 4) A 1988 US Supreme Court ruling in a labor-law and free-speech case shows that rulings by the Supremes are often not automatic without enabling legislation. Only a few states have implemented the ruling involved (Communications Workers of America v. Beck). Congress has passed no legislation, meaning not only that our president can refuse to carry out the ruling, in point of fact he must refuse.
  • (Part 5) The next president may have to defy Supreme Court rulings that unconstitutionally rely on foreign law or that are clearly and obviously in violation of the clear meaning of the Constitution itself. I believe that any of the Democrat nominees would, if elected president, handle such situations opportunistically, opting to enforce the ones they like (in violation of their oath of office), and refusing to enforce the ones they don’t. I hold hope ranging from a little to a lot that four of the five major contenders for the GOP presidential nomination might take up this likely crucial challenge. Based on his record in Massachusetts as described above and in the detail of these posts, I hold out no such hope for Mitt Romney.

I have brought back a BizzyBlog term from previous elections, namely the BizzyBlog Dealbreaker. A Dealbreaker is “something that completely justifies a person not voting for you, regardless of your party or your current stands on the issues.” Romney’s handling of the subsidized abortion and same-sex marriage issues are each Dealbreakers. As such, absent satisfactory explanations for all of this, I believe that he is unfit to be president.

Big Upward 3rd Quarter GDP Revision Expected; Only Thing Bigger Is Its Secrecy

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:37 pm

Of course, the expectations game can be frustrating, and we won’t know for sure until the actual report is released Thursday at 8:30 a.m. But there appears to be remarkably good economic news ahead. Naturally, it is getting the barest of coverage from an Old Media business press corps that seems intent on talking the economy down.

First, a week ago Monday, MarketWatch’s Greg Robb, in an article entitled “Economists think U.S. can dodge recession,” said that “The economy grew at a 3.9% rate in the third quarter, and many economists expect an upward revision above 4.5% when the government revises the data on Nov. 29.

Then, at MarketWatch.com yesterday, (“Dollar under pressure as credit fears loom”; link requires free registration), reporter Lisa Twaronite got this quote from an industry expert:

“Even though the early indications from the weekend U.S. retail sales were not as poor as feared, and [third-quarter gross domestic product] is expected to be revised significantly higher later this week, the anticipation of more write-downs and losses related to the leveraged lending-subprime and otherwise-the credit-crunch to undermine growth in [the fourth quarter] and early 2008 weighs on the dollar,” wrote currency analysts at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Then there was this tidbit in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday (link requires subscription). You would have no idea from the WSJ article’s headline (“How Rio Tinto Defensive Moves Could Make BHP Billiton Blink”) that this is coming. It starts the third of three items that originally came from behind the subscription wall at BreakingViews.com:

Credit Markets

In normal times, a U.S. recession would be a distant prospect. The biggest piece of economic data this week is the revision of third-quarter U.S. GDP growth rate, probably to a far-from-recessionary 5%. But these are not normal times.

If (emphasis “if”) Thursday’s actual result is 4.9% or higher, it will be the best GDP growth since the third quarter of 2003, and the second-best since the second quarter of 2000. See for yourself.

Chances are almost overwhelming that you haven’t read about the predicted GDP revisions anywhere, because this Google News search on [US revised "gross domestic product"] (typed as indicated, for date range of November 19-27) shows that the predictions aren’t being carried, or, as with the stories noted above, they are buried in otherwise downbeat reports.

As Larry Kudlow has often said (latest example here), it’s the “Greatest Story Never Told.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Maybe Shoppers Should Send a Thank-You Note to the Gloomy Business Press

Old Media reporters have worked themselves into such a lather trying to talk down the economy that you have to wonder if retailers got lulled into believing them.

The Associated Press’s report on Black Friday sales by reporter Anne D’Innocenzio went through the normal good news/”yeah, but” routine (bolds are mine throughout).

First, the good news:

The nation’s retailers had a robust start to the holiday shopping season, according to results announced Saturday by a national research group that tracks sales at retail outlets across the country.

According to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks sales at more than 50,000 retail outlets, total sales rose 8.3 percent to about $10.3 billion on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, compared with $9.5 billion on the same day a year ago. ShopperTrak had expected an increase of no more than 4 percent to 5 percent.

But in bringing out the supposed “bad news,” D’Innocenzio may have inadvertently exposed a retailer miscalculation:

In an apparent sign of desperation, the nation’s stores ushered in the official start of the holiday shopping season on Friday with expanded hours, including midnight openings, and a blitz of early morning specials that were more generous than a year ago. J.C. Penney and Kohl’s Corp. (KSS) opened at 4 a.m., an hour earlier than a year ago.

The strategy appears to have worked, as shoppers jammed stores in record numbers for early morning deals on Friday. Martin noted that judging by the strong figures on Friday, stores were able to sustain strong sales throughout the day.

I think “desperation” is truly a disgraceful term to describe a retail sector that has mostly been, and continues to be, both growing and profitable.

Anyway, it’s quite possible that retailers misjudged the need for deep discounts because they bought into Old Media gloom over high gas prices, subprime mortgage problems, and flat-to-declining home prices. In overreaction to all of this, they may have lowered prices more than necessary to generate store traffic and sales.

If that’s the case, shoppers owe the gloom-and-doom press a hearty thanks for all the misdirection-based bargains they were able to, uh, gobble up this past weekend.

The fact is that consumers are in pretty good shape. A Conference Board released a few weeks ago reported that an all-time record 63.5% of American households had “disposable income” in 2006, up from 52% just a few years ago. This exactly the type of income that would go towards gift-buying splurges. A separate report issued by the Treasury Department shortly thereafter tracked the economic progress of specific households over a nine-year period (1996-2005), and showed that their median real income increased a mind-boggling 24% during that period — over twice the 11% increase recorded in the nine years before that. More recent government reports on personal income confirm that income gains continue to outpace inflation.

Perhaps retailers will learn that they buy into Old Media economic gloom at their peril. Christmas-season shoppers hope that their education won’t start until after the New Year.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (112707)

On globaloney, if any warming is really taking place, its true source may be cooked carbon-trading books (HT Benny Peiser’s CCNet e-mail):

EU trading scheme slammed for “double counting” carbon credits
New report accuses EU’s emissions trading scheme of lack of transparency over practice that allows different firms to reuse the same carbon allowances

The EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) has been accused of systematic double counting of carbon allowances by a new report released last week.

The study from green business think-tank E3 International claimed that around 18m allowances had been double counted, making it impossible for independent observers to verify the environmental benefits of the scheme.

Why am I not surprised? The whole carbon-trading scheme seems like Enron on steroids.

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So while carbon-trading schemes chug merrily along with chicanery and lack of accountability, the US Securities and Exchange Commission is hearing calls from globalarmists (link requires subscription) to force real companies providing real goods and services to require “climate change risk disclosure.” What horse manure.

The bolded sentence at the end of the excerpt is the punch line, or I should say punch-in-the-gut line:

In addition, no one knows the shape of post-Kyoto Treaty limits and restrictions. The treaty expires in 2012, and countries already have begun to consider what changes are needed.

Therefore, it is impossible for companies to guess at the earnings effect any new treaty might have.

At present, China and India are specifically exempted from Kyoto Treaty emissions limits (one reason the United States and Australia refused to sign it). If the exemptions continue, companies might avoid countries on which limits are imposed and send more work to China and India.

Thus, while a U.S. company technically might be subject to any new limits negotiated, it might be able to avoid those limits by shifting more work outside the United States.

Among many others, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who buys into globaloney yet bemoans outsourcing, should be asked why it’s a good idea to send jobs overseas in the name of environmental purity.

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Best-kept economic secret (HT Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) –

The United States tops the overall ranking in The Global Competitiveness Report 2007-2008. Switzerland is in second position followed by Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland and Singapore, respectively.

The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the Report. This year, over 11,000 business leaders were polled in a record 131 countries.

The report was released at the World Economic Forum (WEF), an annual meeting of the world’s political and business elites that always gets saturation press coverage. Noel writes that although AP, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN had a combined total of about 200 stories from the WEF, “none of these outlets felt America’s global competitiveness was newsworthy.”

To clarify, AP’s Elaine Engeler wrote a report, but a Google News search on “economic competitiveness” (in quotes) between October 30 and November 6 shows no Old Media outlet actually having carried it (the Engeler’s report is the only relevant listing). The way I see it, that’s even worse media bias against good economic news than Noel indicated, because it means that hundreds of Old Media outlets across the country had AP’s raw material, and each appears to have individually decided not to use it.

As to the US’s standing, I will shamelessly steal Matt’s line at Weapons of Mass Discussion: I blame Bush.

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In France, now that Sarkozy has achieved initial success in taking on the transport workers, it looks like he’ll have to deal with rioting “youths.”

Positivity: Hotel Employees Rescue Young Boy Drowning in Pool

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Saratoga Springs, NY:

Posted: Nov 22, 2007 04:19 PM
Updated: Nov 23, 2007 04:03 PM

Police in Saratoga Springs are crediting two hotel employees with saving the life of a toddler.  A 4-year old boy and his family, who police are not identifying, were staying at the Saratoga Hotel on Broadway, when the child nearly drowned in the hotel pool.

Wednesday was like any other busy day at the Saratoga Hotel until 2 employees heard a scream coming from the indoor pool.

Night manager James Tino and engineer Dave Hesselfeldt ran toward the commotion, and found a father leaning over a young boy.

Hesselfeldt recalled the scene, saying, “The child was already bluish, grey … he wasn’t breathing and he didn’t have any heartbeart,”

According to the hotel manager the 4-year old boy and his family, including his parents and two older brothers, were all playing together in the pool area.  However, at the time of the accident, the 4-year old was the only one in the water.  He was down in the shallow end, and for some reason, was drawn underwater.

Saratoga police say it is possible that the boy got tangled in rope connected to a life ring.

James Tino also recalled the events of that night, saying, “I immediately said to Dave, ‘I’m going to go call 911,’  Dave stayed and started some rescue breathing,”

Although he received training in it, Hesselfeldt had never actually performed C.P.R. before; his efforts were successful however, as the boy’s eyes soon opened.

“He started to let out a scream, and hooray for that, because we were just lucky to be at the right spot at the right time,” Tino said.

Go here for the rest of the story.