February 1, 2008

Did You Hear? ‘Conservative’ Talkers and Pundits Love Mitt Romney. Now They’re Trying to Save Him.

Filed under: Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:48 am

Note: This post went up early this morning, but will stay at the top for the rest of the day.

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Sean “How Dare Mike Huckabee Not Drop Out” Hannity endorsed Mitt Romney yesterday.

Who saw that coming? (/sarc)

Ann Coulter said she’ll campaign for Hillary if McCain is the nominee.

I’m sure Her Thighness will welcome Her Thinness with open arms. Allah at Hot Air, staying sane while others around the blogosphere go off the deep end, correctly calls it “madness.”

At least Allah’s boss is saying “It’s not too late” to John McCain.

Mark Levin apparently had a Romney endorsement up at National Review Online (“Conservatives need to act now, before it is too late”), but when I looked for it after midnight, it came back invalid. Update: At 7AM, it’s working. Mark, you can talk to me about things that are “irrefutable” when you, alleged constitutionalist that you are, break the silence and acknowledge the irrefutable chronology of Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney’s unilateral imposition of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts — and not one moment sooner.

Geez, guys and gals. Did it ever occur to you that if a guy can’t win against a less-than-stellar field, even after raising/spending/self-funding $90 m-m-m-million dollars (and that’s as of the end of December) — far more than all other GOP candidates combined — that maybe, just maybe, voters are seeing and learning what’s wrong with him (heh), and you’re not?

Start here, folks, and see what you’ve either missed or ignored. The Big Cahuna reason to reject Objectively Unfit Mitt has been out there for all to see for well over a year. The fact that he did what he did to keep a campaign promise (underlying NY Times story) has been known for almost five months.

Y’all just haven’t paid attention. Fortunately, others have.

Then go here and here for the latest supplements on how the working model for HillaryCare II, aka RomneyCare, is doing. If your time is too precious to look, the quick answer is “It’s blowing up.”

If anyone has betrayed conservatism in this election cycle, it’s the people who swooned over the pretty packaging without seeing the emptiness inside, and who failed to support the real deal when they had the chance.

Now the candidate, as we all knew he would, is carpetbombing the airwaves. Romniacs-all-along like Hannity and others have pulled back the curtain to mount one last desperate offensive on behalf of the person who has betrayed constitutional government, the rule of law, and conservatism as no other governor in my lifetime has.

Pray — pray hard — that they fail.

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UPDATE: Rick at the FDH Lounge is pleased with where things stand — a little too pleased, in my view:

How about the sight of Rich Boy Romney going into the fetal position last night about McCain’s characterization of his Iraq position, as though Romney didn’t spend a ton of his inherited wealth to dump slime via TV ads on everyone in the race thus far.

Or, as Bob Novak revealed in early January, to propagate false rumors that Thompson would leave the race after Iowa.

Speaking of slime, Rick also points to a blood-boiling September Hugh Hewitt post that I missed. It went up at the time of Fred Thompson’s announcement of his candidacy. It’s tasteless, classless cancer-mongering, recycling a four month-old report from Bloomberg, now in the hands of hard-lefty Al Hunt, who at the time would have been in mortal fear of a Thompson presidency. How dare you, Hugh.

UPDATE 2: In a Wall Street Journal editorial

Mitt Romney has emerged as the last Republican with a chance to stop John McCain, and there’s no doubt he’s a candidate from central casting: successful in business and politics, a family man, and quicker and more articulate than most. The main doubt about him has been whether he believes in anything enough to stick to it if he did become President.

I have no doubt. He doesn’t.

The editorial is a definite read-the-whole-thinger, wrapping thusly, and accurately:

John McCain’s difficulties in selling himself to GOP voters reflect his many liberal lurches over the years — from taxes to free speech, prescription drugs and global warming cap and trade. Republicans have a pretty good sense of where he might betray them. Yet few doubt that on other issues — national security, spending — Mr. McCain will stick to his principles no matter the opinion polls. If Mr. Romney loses to Senator McCain, the cause will be his failure to persuade voters that he has any convictions at all.

UPDATE 3, 11AM: Well of course Hewitt weighs in, and with typical nonsense

….. (Romney endorsers/near-endorsers) Rush, Sean, and Laura, Beck, Levin and Hewitt are right, and Arnold, Rudy, and Rick Perry are wrong: Conservatives have to decide right now if they will fight for Romney and the party of Reagan against the MSM-generated McCain resurrection.

Hmm. I didn’t know that Arnold, Rudy, Perry (and Crist, and others) were part of the “MSM.” They are, or were, governors (one was the mayor of a city bigger than most states). They run, or ran, huge institutions — the three largest states in the Union, and the nation’s largest city. They’re smart enough not to let Old Media drive their thought processes, or to let a pretty face and a few clever sound bites fool them.

ISM’s January Manufacturing Index: Back Into Expansion

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:21 am

A few days ago, yours truly, reacting to the durable goods report, wrote the following:

This (report), by the way, is very good news for the economy, indicating that the weakness shown in manufacturing in December’s Institute for Supply Management report might be very short-lived.

Ta-da — from the Institute for Supply Management:

January 2008 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®
PMI at 50.7%

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January, while the overall economy grew for the 75th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.

Old Media must be so frustrated. Their “manufacturing is in the tank” meme just got jolted by reality.

Repeat after me, Old Media — any reading above 50 means ….. ex, ex, ex (come on, you can say it) ….. ex-pan-sion.

The ISM result beat expectations of 48.4.

So today’s three big pieces of economic news are:
- (:–>) Unemployment rate — Down to 4.9%.
- (:–<) Job creation -- down 17,000 in January (down 8,000 after prior-month revisions).
- (:-->) Manufacturing — back into expansion, if only slightly.

Do I even need to ask which one of the three will dominate the TV newscasts?

The January Employment Report — And an Illegal Immigration-Related Issue

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:49 am

Advance estimates:

  • ADP, in its monthly report, says that “Nonfarm private employment grew 130,000 from December 2007 to January of 2008 on a seasonally adjusted basis.” ADP’s accuracy has been a less-than-perfect barometer, though — at least on a month-by-month basis.
  • Predictions: Apparently the consensus is about +80,000, based on this Chicago Tribune quote — “The latest employment surveys from other sources are inconclusive. The January count of private employment by Automatic Data Processing showed a surprising gain of 130,000, which implies a total jobs gain of 160,000. That’s more than twice the average estimate of economists.”
  • The full ADP report (PDF) has this stunner — “January’s increase of 130,000 is consistent with nonfarm private employment growth that averaged 110,000 during the three-month period from October through December 2007.” Those increases are a lot greater than BLS has reported in the past few months, which makes you wonder if there will be significant upward prior-month revisions.

The actual report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics arrives at 8:30. Here’s where it will be is:

Both nonfarm payroll employment, at 138.1 million, and the unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, were essentially unchanged in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The small January movement in nonfarm payroll employment (-17,000) reflected declines in construction and manufacturing and job growth in health care. Average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents, or 0.2 percent, over the month.

I would say that the ADP folks have some explaining to do.

Digging into the detail:

  • BLS’s claim that “The number of unemployed persons (7.6 million) and the unemployment rate (4.9 percent) were essentially unchanged in January” is pretty strange. The reported number of unemployed dropped by 79,000 (from 7.655 million to 7.576 million). That’s not minor. Which MoveOnster at BLS wrote that?
  • Prior-month revisions are significant, but, though I thought otherwise earlier, don’t net out to much. December’s original +18,000 was adjusted up to +82,000 (a +64 net change), while November’s went down to +60,000 from +115,000 (a loss of 55).
  • So the number of estimated number of additional Americans working at the end of January was 8,000 fewer (-17+64-55) than it was thought to be at the end of December.

That’s pretty weak.

Can’t help but wonder how much validity there might be to the following:

  • The Household Survey element of the BLS report shows that the civilian labor force has actually contracted by 4,000 in the last two months.
  • At the same time, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed went down in December.
  • Keep in mind that BLS doesn’t inquire as to legal status in its Household Survey questions. Therefore, the reported civilian workforce is designed to capture all who could be working — legal AND illegal.
  • If (emphasis “if”) these are indicators that the illegal-immigrant population has stopped increasing or is perhaps even decreasing (for an example, see Oklahoma; also see this), it may be that despite weak fourth quarter GDP growth, per-capita and/or per-household GDP based on the country’s real, all-inclusive population, including illegals, are still going up nicely.
  • If that’s the case, wouldn’t that be a more important measurement than overall GDP, especially in the current situation?

Unfortunately, I don’t see how you could get definitive answers to the the issue I’ve just raised.

Positivity: Doctors scramble to try to explain medical miracle

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From New Zealand:

5:00AM Saturday January 26, 2008

An Australian teenage girl has become the world’s first known transplant patient to change blood groups and take on the immune system of her organ donor, doctors said yesterday, calling her a “one-in-six-billion miracle”.

Demi-Lee Brennan, now 15, received a donor liver when she was 9-years-old and her own liver failed.

“It’s like my second chance at life,” Demi-Lee told local media, recounting how her body achieved what doctors said was the holy grail of transplant surgery. “It’s kind of hard to believe.”

Her body changed blood group from O negative to O positive when she became ill while on drugs to avoid rejection of the organ by her body’s immune system.

Her new liver’s blood stem cells then invaded her body’s bone marrow to take over her entire immune system, meaning the teen no longer needs anti-rejection drugs.

Doctors from Sydney’s Westmead Children’s Hospital said they had no explanation for Demi-Lee’s recovery, detailed in the latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.