January 4, 2008

Carnival Barking, and Catch-up (010408)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 10:47 am

Carnival of Ohio Politics catch-up:
- Number 96 from mid-December is here. Well “organ”-ized by Pho.
- Number 98 from earlier today, assembled by Ben Keeler, is here.
- No, I don’t know where Number 97 is.

Boring Made Dull’s Econ and Social Policy catch-up:
- Number XLI is here.
- Number XL is here.
- I don’t think he skipped any numbers. :–>

Bad News for Recession Boosters: ISM Non-Manufacturing Holds Steady

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:15 am

December’s Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Non-Manufacturing report came in at 53.9%, virtually unchanged from November’s 54.1%. Any reading above 50% indicates expansion.

The weighted average value of the two ISM reports for December is 52.97 (weighted 15% for manufacturing and 85% for non-manufacturing, which excludes the goods and services produced by governments; this is consistent with previous months):

(15% x 47.7) + (85% x 53.9) = 52.97

That’s down from November’s 53.61 by 0.64, and is still decently in expansion territory.

Will Old Media Learn a Lesson from Lancet? Doubtful

NationalJournal.com has news (HT Instapundit) about the reality of the October 2006 Lancet report on civilian deaths in Iraq — a report that was breathlessly and gullibly cited at the time by Old Media outlets and reporters (including David Brown here at the Washington Post).

Here is background for those unfamiliar with the original story:

Published by The Lancet, a venerable British medical journal, the study [PDF] used previously accepted methods for calculating death rates to estimate the number of “excess” Iraqi deaths after the 2003 invasion at 426,369 to 793,663; the study said the most likely figure was near the middle of that range: 654,965. Almost 92 percent of the dead, the study asserted, were killed by bullets, bombs, or U.S. air strikes. This stunning toll was more than 10 times the number of deaths estimated by the Iraqi or U.S. governments, or by any human-rights group.
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The December Employment Report

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:49 am

It looks like the Old Media Economy Talkdown may finally be having its desired effect.

Way to go, guys and gals:

The unemployment rate rose to 5.0 percent in December, while nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged (+18,000), the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Job growth in several service-providing industries, including professional and technical services, health care, and food services, was largely offset by job losses in construction and manufacturing. Average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents, or 0.4 percent.

There’s not a lot of solace in reported prior-month revisions:
- November’s reported job increase of 94,000 was revised upward to 115,000, an increase of 21,000.
- October’s job increase was revised downard from 170,000 to 159,000, a decrease of 11,000.
- Thus 28,000 more people (+18 +21 – 11) were estimated to be working in December than in November.

On the brighter side, the average hourly earnings number was pretty decent, and continues a trend of staying ahead of annual inflation. The Wall Street Journal (link requires subscription) says “That was up 4.3% from a year earlier, indicating some pressure on wage costs from relatively tight labor markets.”

If this is indeed the beginning of a slowdown, it argues for a stimulative tax cut. If there’s another silver lining to this, you would think that this would make the huge tax increases that are being discussed by the congressional majority less palatable.

Caucus Cleanup

Here are the numbers (currently at the NY Times home page):

IowaCaucusResults0108

By the way, was it just my computer, or did the Iowa GOP have a meltdown putting the results up on its web site? I believe “meltdown” is the correct answer.

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Hugh Hewitt explains why Mitt Romney shouldn’t win.

Of course, that’s not how HE framed it, but that’s the reality of this Townhall e-mail tease for his column today:

Hewitt010408THtease

Okay, let’s see:

  • Tax Cuts — Not while governing. Was against the Bush 2003 cuts before he was for them.
  • Originalist judges — “Romney Appointed Liberal Judges in Massachusetts.” Read the detail.
  • National defense, free trade, victory in war — He may say “yes,” but I submit that that his investments, and those of Bain Capital, say “maybe,” or even “no.” If what’s at the link doesn’t concern you, check to see if you still have a pulse.
  • Secure borders — from Fred Thompson, at the CNN/YouTube debate, “First of all, of course, Governor Romney supported the Bush immigration plan until a short time ago. Now he’s taken another position, surprisingly. (Laughter)”
  • Restrained domestic spending — the Club for Growth says he was pretty good on spending. But RomneyCare could blow all of that up pretty easily.

  • Protection of the unborn — Falsely recast the legacies of Ronald Reagan and Henry Hyde, both of whom were in reality always prolife, to make himself look similar, when Romney’s flip-flop is from near-radical support of abortion rights to ardent prolife convert.
  • Protection of traditional marriage — Oh brother. His failures to do his constitutional duty in this area are why he is Objectively Unfit Mitt.

The Manchester NH Union Leader isn’t buying what Objectively Unfit Mitt is selling. Hopefully, that state’s voters won’t either.

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If Hillary Clinton plays the “experience” card after this, she will deserve to lose:

Then she tried to talk about our future by talking about her past.

Her “experience” was being first lady at the end of the last century, though the documentary proof of her active policy involvement remains locked in an Arkansas library. Then, the New York Times discloses….

she never got intelligence briefings during her White House years and had no security clearance. So how involved would that make her?

I’m guessing that she’s still going to go back to it. What other strategy remains she that she hasn’t already tried?

Couldn’t Help But Notice (010408)

The CHBN covers the forced adoption of energy-efficient lighting, interracial crime reporting, the exclusionary nature of statewide caucuses, and the box-office trend in Hollywood.
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Positivity: Guidance from his sons

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Truckee, California, soon to be at San Diego:

Truckee physician commits to combat after eldest son is killed in Iraq

There’s a determination in Bill Krissoff’s voice. It is conveyed with a calm cadence that cracks once with emotion as he speaks of his son, a Marine lieutenant whose injuries from an Iraqi roadside bomb couldn’t be repaired in time.

Now Krissoff’s Truckee office is shuttered. His wife has come to terms with his nearing departure. All that is left for Krissoff, a 61-year-old orthopedic surgeon, is to head to Iraq where young Marines, broken from battle, will be tended by his experienced hands.

Marine 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff’s death, only a year past, galvanized his father’s determination to go to war as a healer.

At a time when most successful doctors his age are settling into retirement, the fit surgeon is making one of the most monumental decisions of his life and heading to war.

In his sixth decade, Krissoff, who could pass for 41, squares his chin and with large eyes looking at a point in the distance, proudly speaks of his son.

Fathers usually inspire sons into action, to achieve life goals. But in this family that relationship was turned upside down when Dr. Krissoff received news of his older son’s death.

Nathan Krissoff died on Dec. 9, 2006, in Al Anbar province. He was 25.

Now the fallen Marine’s father is committed to a mission, one that carries even more than the memory of Nathan. Krissoff’s youngest son, Austin, is also an officer in the Corps.

“Both my sons were hugely affected by the events of 9/11, and Nate was proud to serve in the Marines, as Austin is,” Krissoff says. “I share their views.”

So he is closing his Truckee practice, leaving his Reno home, relocating to San Diego and taking on a brand new persona, that of Navy Lt. Commander .

Though 19 years over the Navy’s official age limit, Dr. Krissoff will serve as a Navy surgeon for three years.

“My interest in Navy medicine,” Krissoff says, “was because they take care of Marines.”

Dr. Anthony Zissimos, a colleague and friend of Krissoff, says Nate’s death changed the Krissoff family forever.

“Bill would probably say that his sons showed him the light,” Zissimos says. “He is really going to another form of service.”

And why not be of service to the nation, Krissoff asks.

Go here for the rest of the story.