January 22, 2008

‘How to Keep the Bearish Business Press from Talking Down the Economy’ — Posted Exclusively at Pajamas Media until Friday Morning

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:00 pm

The post, “How to Keep the Bearish Business Press from Talking Down the Economy,” is being carried at Pajamas Media (PJM) under the title “Is the Down Beat Press Right about the Economy?”

Its first paragraph reads as follows:

A speedy move by the Fed prevented what was looking a widespread stampede to the exits Tuesday following steep overnight sell-offs in the overseas markets . This means that the portion of the business press, which has been possessed by predictions of a recession and a market crash for at least the past two years, will have to wait a bit longer before celebrating how right they have been.

Go to Pajamas Media for the rest of the article.

The original that was posted at BizzyBlog last night has reverted to draft. It will stay that way until early Friday morning to comply with PJM’s exclusivity policy, at which time it will appear with the original date and time.

I believe that reader comments made while the post was up have been (crossing fingers) preserved. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to those who commented (I think there were two), especially if I’m wrong about comment preservation.

Fred Is Dead (His Candidacy); Now What?

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:15 pm

(Cryptic 1970s musical reference — “Freddie’s Dead” – Curtis Mayfield, early 1970s)

I was hoping I was wrong when I said so at the conclusion of the TIB radio extravaganza on Saturday night.

But alas, Fred Thompson has withdrawn, as I suspected he would when he came out and spoke to supporters not long after the polls closed in South Carolina.

Here’s the official statement (received via e-mail):

McLean, VA – Senator Fred Thompson today issued the following statement about his campaign for President:

“Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.”

This is a mostly expected bitter pill, as we lose the guy who had it about 95% right, leaving The Three Stooges and Rudy:

  • Unless you believe that constitutions are made to be trampled upon, Larry Mitt Romney is Objectively Unfit. If you aren’t familiar, please go to the link and read up on what Unfit Mitt did to keep a campaign promise to shred his state’s constitution and violate his oath of office.
  • Curly Huckabee’s rampant and conflicted acceptance of hundreds of thousands in outside fees while governor (first item at this link) is a BizzyBlog Dealbreaker. There are probably other Dealbreakers, and it probably wouldn’t involve a lot of work to find them. That means Old Media will, when the time comes.
  • Moe McCain? So far, I’m not buying enough of what he’s selling.
  • Rudy (no, he’s not Shemp, yet)? Can he convince social conservatives to hold their noses, show up (Dennis Prager is advising that), and get out the vote?

Couldn’t Help But Notice (012208)

Walter Williams, in a thoroughly excellent Townhall column, interrupts the hysteria over the economy to describe the impacts of what is being considered to “fix” the mortgage market situation, even though in historical context it’s not as bad as it was in other times (bold is mine):

The Bush bailout, as well as Federal Reserve Bank cuts in interest rates, is a wealth transfer from creditworthy people and taxpayers to those who made ill-advised credit decisions, and that includes banks as well as borrowers. According to Temple University professor of economics William Dunkelberg, 96 percent of all mortgages are being paid on time. Thirty percent of American homeowners have no mortgage. Delinquency rates were higher in the 1980s than they are today. Only 2 to 3 percent of all mortgages are in foreclosure. The government bailout helps a few people at a huge cost to the rest of the economy.

Williams wrote the above before this morning’s announcement of the 3/4-point Fed rate cut. The professor is correct that this is a wealth transfer, IF Bernanke & Co. are cutting rates beyond what is necessary to keep the whole economy going. I would suggest that at least a third of today’s announced cut is just that.

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Dennis Prager has never been accused of being pro-abortion, which is why this passage from his latest column deserves attention:

In fact, if it is Ronald Reagan that Republicans want, Giuliani is extraordinarily close to that venerated man. Ronald Reagan stood for two great beliefs: that big government is a big problem for a free society and that America must be militarily strong and lead the war against global communism.

Substitute “global jihadism” for “global communism” and you have Rudy Giuliani’s twin pillars. His one major weakness in appealing to all conservatives is that he is for abortion rights. Let me, then, briefly address all those who, like me, consider nearly all abortions immoral.

Ronald Reagan was pro-life, and it mattered little to the pro-life cause. Concerning abortion, what matters most in a president is the type of judges he appoints to the Supreme Court. As George Will wrote on behalf of Giuliani, “The way to change abortion law is to change courts by means of judicial nominations of the sort Giuliani promises to make.” It is extremely unlikely that John McCain would appoint similarly conservative judges. After all, why would he appoint judges like Scalia and Alito who apparently differ with him on the constitutionality of McCain’s own “campaign finance reform” laws?

Pro-life Republicans need to ask themselves: Will a Democrat or Giuliani as president render abortion less common in America? The best is the enemy of the better. And Giuliani is far better on abortion than any Democratic nominee.

The big question is whether you can trust Giuliani when he says he will nominate strict constructionist judges. I would suggest that, like his positions or not, at least you know where Rudy stands. What you see is what you get, and based on his career, what he promises is what you’ll get. With the Three Stooges, who knows?

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Here’s a tax loophole that should be plugged (HT Instapundit). I would note that while there are many universities earning unrelated business income and not paying taxes, the Christian Broadcasting Network is at the top of the list referred to. I should also note that what the list refers to as “total income from business activities” is probably tax-speak for “revenues,” not “profit.”

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From Michigan:

Michigan will no longer let illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses, a practice just seven other states continue to allow.

Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington do not require drivers to prove legal status to obtain a license.

How did that go unnoticed?

Positivity: Holiday miracle after horror train smash

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Taranaki, New Zealand:

Sunday, 06 January 2008

Holiday miracle after horror train smash

Hero dad David Maindonald fought through agonising pain to summon help for his partner and two young children after their family car collided with a train at a level crossing yesterday. >

David, 23, a Hawera farmhand, had to use his broken arm to pull out a cellphone to ring emergency services while trapped inside the twisted wreck.

“I just couldn’t feel the pain,” he told Sunday News from his Taranaki Base Hospital bed last night. “I was just worried about my kids and my partner.
I love them so much.’’

The car is a twisted mess of metal but David Maindonald, his partner Carmen Mansfield and their two youngsters survived with only minor injuries after a horror level-crossing smash with a train.

David, 23, was driving Carmen, her four-year-old son and their 16-month-old daughter down their neighbourhood Taumaha Rd in Hawera, just before noon yesterday, when the car collided with the train.

Speaking to Sunday News last night in an exclusive interview from his bed at Taranaki Base Hospital, David said he did not see the train until it was too late.

“I’m just glad everyone’s all right,” he said, one arm wrapped in a sling and his other hand heavily bandaged.

The Hawera farmhand’s collarbone was broken and his hand crushed in the smash.

But he ignored the agony of his injuries to phone for help.

“I pulled the phone out of my shorts and used the arm that was broken. That’s how shocked I was. I just couldn’t feel the pain.”

David managed to call the police before blacking out.

“(I) woke up to the ambulance.

“That’s when I really knew what kind of pain I was in,” he said.

While he was unconscious, firefighters cut him, Carmen and the youngsters from the mangled wreck airlifting Carmen, 23, to Taranaki Base Hospital, where she was treated for head lacerations and chest injuries.

She and David were recovering in the hospital last night.

Their children were taken to the hospital by ambulance and later released after being treated for moderate chest injuries.

David’s relieved mother, Shirley Maindonald, said her son’s miracle survival brought home how precious life was.

“You have to treat life special, because you just never know,” she said.

Go here for the rest of the story.