June 13, 2008

AP CPI Story Paints Gloom and Doom; Market Reaction Is Opposite

The Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger got out the gloom-and-doom paint in his report on the Consumer Price Index on Friday morning.

Here are his opening paragraphs:

Inflation rate jumps by biggest amount in 6 months

Inflation shot up in May at the fastest pace in six months, pushed higher by soaring costs for gasoline and other types of energy.

The Labor Department reported Friday that consumer prices rose by 0.6 percent last month, the biggest one-month increase since last November, as gasoline costs surged by 5.7 percent. Food prices, which have also been rising sharply, were up 0.3 percent as the cost of beef and bakery products showed big gains.

Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, edged up a more moderate 0.2 percent in May. But even there, core prices are up 2.3 percent over the past 12 months, above the Federal Reserve’s comfort zone.

Trouble is, the markets weren’t buying into the negativity Crutsinger was selling, as SmartMoney.com reported after the closing bell:

CPI Report Lifts Stocks

After a harsh warning from the Fed early this week, traders warmed the latest reading on core inflation.
Stocks finished higher Friday on the latest reading of the Consumer Price Index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 166 points at 12307. The Nasdaq picked up 50 at 2454, and the S&P 500 climbed 20 to 1360.

Of course, Crutsinger’s primary audience doesn’t include stock traders — or if it does, it appears they’ve learned to ignore him.

Crutsinger appears to be more interested in making sure that the average news consumer has no reason to feel good about the country’s current economic situation. The scare words in this paragraph from an updated version of his report done later this afternoon would support that contention:

Consumers are getting hammered by a relentless surge in energy costs, pushing gasoline above $4 per gallon. The rising food prices partly reflect higher costs for transporting products to grocery stores.

Readers are left to wonder how those poor, “hammered” consumers managed to send monthly retail sales to its best performance in six months, as the Census Bureau reported yesterday. And no, it wasn’t the stimulus checks, because April and March retail sales, which predated all but a relative trickle of the issued stimulus checks, were both revised significantly upward into positive territory.

Here’s something else you won’t see Crutsinger or anyone else at AP report until they absolutely have to. Reacting to yesterday’s retail sales report, Briefing.com predicted that economic growth in the second quarter might actually be half-decent:

Retail Sales are Flat-Out Strong

….. Coupled with the strong May same-store sales gains for retailers, these data should convincingly show that the fiscal stimulus and regular spending trends are not being completely destroyed by higher gas prices.

It is likely that consumer spending in June and July will also post good gains. The good trend on consumer spending as the second quarter begins greatly reduces the risk of a very weak second quarter real GDP gain. It is likely that forecasts will start to climb to the 1.5% to 2% range.

These data are clearly strong.

The mini-rally in the stock market in the past two days would appear to partially confirm the accuracy of the Briefing.com item.

If that turns out to be the case, as appears plausible, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of the recession-obsessed media.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

RIP …..

Filed under: General — Tom @ 4:52 pm

….. Tim Russert.

Six Undeniable Truths about Same-Sex Marriage in California

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:00 pm

As June 17 approaches, the points made in a Gregg Jackson e-mail I received earlier today are most pertinent, and not objectively arguable:

  1. The SC (California Supreme Court) merely issued an opinion declaring that limiting marriage to one man and one woman to be “unconstitutional.” This was a declaratory opinion containing no enforceable valid “order.”
  2. The SC can’t enforce its opinions and didn’t “legalize” anything. Courts can’t make laws.
  3. The marriage statute limiting marriage between one man and one woman passed by the voters in CA (prop 22) have not changed and can’t unless and until the voters themselves revoke or amend the current voter initiative statute.
  4. Gov Schwarzenegger has illegally authorized changes to the marriage certificates without an accompanying statute approved by the voters and has violated his oath.
  5. Any Justices of the Peace and Town Clerks who issue the null and void licenses will be in violation of their oaths.
  6. All illegally altered marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples will be null and void.

Schwarzenegger’s plans, along with Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney’s impunity as he did the exact same thing in Massachusetts, despite that state’s constitution expressly prohibiting the courts from getting involved at all in marriage-related issues, brings us closer than you might think to the following becoming the Seventh Undeniable Truth: “Constitutions are little more than nice-looking pieces of paper, and the rule of law they prescribe has disappeared, because people who should and in many cases do know better will not adhere to it, and those in the best position to hold violators accountable will not do so.”

Obama VP Committee Member Helped Enable 2000 Elian Gonzalez Seizure

Now that Jim Johnson has quit Barack Obama’s vice-presidential candidate selection team, maybe somebody, anybody, in the media, instead of making “He’s havng a bad day” excuses, might focus on the questionable judgment of Barack Obama in having Eric Holder serve on that team.

Besides his already-known role in facilitating the Clinton pardons, including that of fugitive billionaire financier Marc Rich, there’s the matter of former Clinton Administration Deputy Attorney General Holder’s involvement in the Elian Gonzalez case in 2000.

As the April 23, 2000 edition of the Media Research Center’s CyberAlert noted at the time, Andrew Napolitano of Fox News charged that the early-Saturday seizure of the then 6 year-old Gonzalez flagrantly disobeyed a ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In response to a question from Fox News anchor Jeff Asman, Napolitano said the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):

The order issued by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals four days ago …. said once the INS chooses the guardian, and the INS chose Lazaro Gonzalez (Elian’s paternal great uncle — Ed.) to be the guardian, and an application for asylum has been made by the guardian, the INS can not change the guardian and that’s exactly what they did here.”

Asman: “So is this executive overreach?”

Napolitano: “This is more than executive overreach. This is contempt of the circuit court of appeals order. This is a high class kidnapping is what it is, sanctioned by no law, sanctioned by no judge…”

In an interview later that morning, Napolitano left Holder speechless (also available in the fourth item at this link):

Napolitano: Tell me, Mr. Holder, why did you not get a court order authorizing you to go in and get the boy?

Holder: Because we didn’t need a court order. INS can do this on its own.

Napolitano: You know that a court order would have given you the cloak of respectability to have seized the boy.

Holder: We didn’t need an order.

Napolitano: Then why did you ask the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for such an order if you didn’t need one?

Holder: [Silence]

Napolitano: The fact is, for the first time in history you have taken a child from his residence at gunpoint to enforce your custody position, even though you did not have an order authorizing it.

Earlier in that interview, as noted in a different CyberAlert item on the same day, Holder showed that he wouldn’t admit the truth, even when in plain sight:

Napolitano: When is the last time a boy, a child, was taken at the point of a gun without an order of a judge. Unprecedented in American history.”

Holder: “He was not taken at the point of a gun.”

Napolitano: “We have a photograph showing he was taken at the point of a gun.”

Holder: “They were armed agents who went in there who acted very sensitively…”

Here is Alan Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo depicting how Elian Gonzalez was “was not taken at the point of a gun” (larger picture is at link):

INSelianGonzalezGun

Someone should ask Barack Obama if he is at all bothered by Mr. Holder’s inability to even recognize when someone is being taken at gunpoint, and how, among all the possible vice-presidential selection committee candidates out there, Mr. Holder was still deemed so deserving. Don’t expect that question any time soon.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (061308, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 9:15 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • Reaction to this news, given his obsession with steering as much business as possible to China while he was in charge at Home Depot, regardless of the underlying economics: “What did Bob Nardelli know and when did he know it?”
  • Sports fauxtography in the Washington Post (HT Instapundit). Original posting here.
  • Shameless brag — Yesterday Rush mentioned, and Drudge linked to, Adam Liptak’s NY Times item (“Out of Step With Allies, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend”) I criticized on Wednesday (and cross-posted at NewsBusters). The Drudge link to Liptak’s piece is still at his home page as of this moment. Rush said he would have more to say about Liptak’s piece on his program today. The sympathy for free-speech suppression by the mainstream left is revealing, and disturbing.
  • Waves of emigrants are leaving Britain. Money quote: “Despite talk of recession in the U.S., even though it has perhaps not occurred yet, most of these individuals are either aiming to move to the U.S., looking into it, or would like to.” Voting with their feet, as “someone” has discussed from time to time.
  • Not a “Bush is eeeeevil” thing — Mark Levin recited important and onveniently forgotten history yesterday in reaction to the Supremes’ ruling on Gitmo detainees (HT Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) — “Denying foreign enemy combatants access to U.S. courts is an incident of war. Ladies and gentlemen, every single president of the United States has taken that position. Every single one.” By all means, if supporters of this ruling believe every previous US president has been wrong on this matter, they should say so. From a separation of powers perspective, this Supremes’ ruling represents an “opinion” that the President would be within his province to ignore, if not now, certainly in similar future situations, unless Congress in the meantime passes a law to codify the ruling (it might actually require a constitutional amendment).
  • Fitting that ABC is asking “Are we living in the last century of our civilization?” The network, however, is looking at enviro-nonsense for the answer. The better place to look is at the previous item.

Positivity: Grandpa Comes to the Rescue, Grabs Shotgun from Intruder

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Carrollton, Ohio:

Last Edited: Friday, 06 Jun 2008, 9:31 PM EDT
Created: Friday, 06 Jun 2008, 5:28 PM EDT

A community garage sale brings all sorts of guests, but at the Sutton family home, in Carrollton, one visitor was not so welcome.

Amy Sutton, 25, was in the kitchen, about to go back out into the garage to see if any customers had arrived. Just then she noticed the door knob turning. As the door to the garage swung open, Sutton came face to face with an intruder.

“The guy just came in and looked straight at me and pointed his gun at me,” said Sutton.

At first Sutton thought it was a joke, but as the man approached her, she knew her life was at stake. She started screaming for help as she turned and ran for the front door. The gunman ran after her, grabbing her and slamming her up against the wall.

“I screamed,” Sutton said, and the intruder said, “Don’t do that. Don’t do that. I’ll take your kids,” Sutton told Fox 8.

Sutton’s two children, Nicholas, 3, and Nathan, 1, were playing in the family room.

What the gunman didn’t realize was that Sutton’s 72-year-old grandfather, Joe Sabol, was also in the family room, sitting in a chair, when the gunman came into the house. If the intruder had turned around, he would have seen Sabol plain as day. Instead, he kept his back to the family room.

“He didn’t know I was sitting here because when he opened that door he couldn’t see me. He just went straight that way,” Sabol explained.

Sutton says her only thought was getting the intruder as far away from her kids as possible. She wanted to get out of the house and scream for help, in hopes that other neighbors would hear her. She figured someone would — since everyone was outside of their homes for the community garage sale.

Sutton, however, never made it that far. After being slammed up against the wall, she took off running again, but the gunman was close behind. He grabbed the back of her shirt. She kept going.

When Sutton got to the front door, the gunman had-had enough and went to shoot her in the back. Sutton heard him cock the shotgun.

“I just closed my eyes ’cause I’m thinking if he’s gonna shoot me, so be it, just as long as my kids are safe,” explained Sutton.

That’s when Joe sprang into action. The great grandfather sneaked in on the gunman for a surprise attack of his own. He quietly walked up behind him.

Sabol saw his opportunity when the gunman turned the barrel of the gun to the floor as he cocked it. Sabol seized the moment.

“I reached down then and I got a tight grip on the stalk of the gun and when I got a hold of (it) there was no way he was gonna get that back,” said Sabol.

Sutton says she looked back and saw her grandfather wrestling with the intruder.

“All I know is I look back and my pap is tackling the guy with a gun,” said Sutton.

When the struggle was over, Sabol had control of the gun. The intruder turned on his heels and ran back the way he had come in, through the garage, and off into a wooded area.

Sutton quickly called the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies came out to search the area. They found 30-year-old Jason Haught hiding in the woods. He’s been charged with one count of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and kidnapping, all of them are felonies of the first degree. He also faces a charge of burglary and theft, both third degree felonies. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.