June 4, 2009

Econ Catch-up

Some data points that need to get recorded here for future reference:

  • First quarter 2009 GDP was revised a week ago from an annualized -6.1% to -5.7%. Combined with the government’s previous figures of -0.5% in 3Q08 and -6.3% in 4Q08, this means that the economy’s estimated shrink during the three full quarters we have endured the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, aka the POR Recession As Normal People Define It, has been 3.17%.
  • The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported Monday that its May Manufacturing Index came in at 42.8% (up from 40.1% in April). Wednesday, ISM’s Non Manufacturing Index showed 44.0% (up from 43.7% in April). Both are still well below the above-50% reading needed to be in expansion. The Manufacturing number is nice, but the near-stall in Non Manufacturing, which is over 80% of the economy, is pretty strong evidence that the media’s positivity about our truly negative situation isn’t warranted.
  • Speaking of false positivity, ADP’s National Employment report showed a seasonally adjusted 532,000 jobs lost in May, down very slightly from April’s -545,000. Given that result, this e-mail alert I received yesterday from CNNMoney.com is transparently deceptive:

    CNNheadlineOn0509ADPjobLosses

    “Better”? Give me a break.

    At this rate of “better,” the economy, after losing over 10.5 million more jobs in the interim, will finally start adding jobs 41 months from now during the final month of 2012.

    A post related to this final point is at NewsBusters.org.

An Erroneous Early Misfire From Kasich’s PressSec (See Updates)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:35 pm

An overzealous press secretary thought he struck early gold.

Unfortunately, based on what I have found, in his apparent enthusiasm, he has overstated the facts on ground in Columbus, Georgia.

I received the following e-mail yesterday from Rob Nichols at Kasich for Ohio:

NCR’S MOVE TO GEORGIA LEVERAGED WITH STIMULUS MONEY
Strickland’s Support for Federal Bailout Program Helps Pave the Way for Dayton Job Losses

Columbus, Ohio – According to the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, Georgia, plans to use federal stimulus money to purchase a building that NCR will use to house its new ATM manufacturing facility.

“Ohioans will remember that Governor Strickland led his fellow governors to Washington, D.C., to beg for federal stimulus money to bail him out. Now that same money is being used by the State of Georgia to lure NCR away from its 125 year home in Dayton, Ohio,” said Rob Nichols, press secretary for Kasich for Governor. “It is astonishing that Dayton residents’ own tax dollars are being used to finance the departure of one of the city’s most important economic assets.”

….. “Beyond the incentives package offered to NCR, Ohio offered no compelling economic reason to stay and conduct business in Ohio,” said Nichols. “Sadly, the Governor has done nothing to address the fundamental problems that have plagued Ohio’s economy for decades and have put us at a competitive disadvantage in our ability to bring jobs to this state.”

That’s fine, if you ignore the following, which of course you can’t — According to the Ledger-Enquirer (click on the fourth item at the link to get to the actual article), as of Tuesday, the stimulus funding in Columbus, Georgia is NOT “being used,” isn’t on hand to be used, and may not ever arrive (bolds are mine):

To get up and running quickly, NCR will move into the Corporate Ridge Business Park facility formerly owned and occupied by Panasonic, which has been out of it for almost two years.

The 340,000 square foot facility was purchased for $5.2 million by the Development Authority of Columbus.

To make the deal happen, the Development Authority and city of Columbus got “creative and aggressive,” said Becca Hardin, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce industrial recruiter credited by Perdue, Mayor Jim Wetherington and NCR officials as the one who deserves credit for her work on the project for the last four months.

How aggressive?

The city has said it will guarantee $7.5 million in incentives. The city has applied to the Economic Development Administration for $5.5 million in federal stimulus money to offset the cost of buying the Panasonic property.

“The city is the backstop in the event we don’t get the money from the EDA” Wetherington said.

If the city has to fork over money for the project, it will borrow the money and pay it back at no more than $1 million per year, Wetherington said.

Now it may be that Columbus, GA will ultimately get the stimulus money (though given the likelihood that politics is involved in the EDA’s decision-making process, Nichols’s press release may cause its rejection). And of course, NCR is leaving Ohio because of its awful business climate whether or not the stimulus money arrives.

But the stimulus money is NOT currently “being used by the State of Georgia to lure NCR away from its 125 year home in Dayton, Ohio” — because they don’t have it to use it.

This is really weak.

Rob Nichols, you screwed up, and the center-right, sensible conservative Ohio blogosphere, including but not limited to the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance, is not going to pretend that you haven’t when we find things like this.

The press spokesmouth for the guy who wants to be Ohio’s next governor should be better than this. He has 17 months to prove it.

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UPDATE, 11:30 p.m.: I’d say after looking over this Columbus (OH) Dispatch report that Columbus, GA can forget about that stimulus money and start working on Plan B (or I should say Plan S for “self-reliant) –

“We have applied for stimulus funding, but we haven’t heard anything whether we’re going to get the money we applied for,” he (Columbus GA Mayor Jim Wetherington) said. “If we don’t, then local government would have to foot the bill.”

Wetherington said he “personally wouldn’t have a problem” using federal stimulus dollars to lure jobs from one state to another, although he acknowledged that “other people might. This money that we’ve applied for is what President Obama said is going to be available.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who cast the deciding vote in the Senate to pass the stimulus bill earlier this year, was sending a letter today to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke objecting to such us of stimulus money.

“He is writing Secretary Locke to urge him to prevent funds from being used for the purpose of building a new facility that would take jobs from Dayton, Ohio, to Columbus, Ga.,” said Meghan Dubyak, a Brown spokeswoman. “The senator would say the Economic Recovery Package (stimulus bill) was passed to create jobs, not help relocate them.”

Because of the Democratic majorities in Congress, it would be reasonable to believe that what Sherrod Brown wants, Sherrod Brown will get — which makes the Kasich release at the beginning of this post even more ridiculous and wrong.

_____________________________________________________

UPDATE 2, June 5: An early morning report from the Columbus (OH) Dispatch indicates that Columbus, GA will probably have a very difficult time getting that stimulus money

The White House appeared yesterday to rule out using federal stimulus money to help Georgia officials build a manufacturing plant for NCR Corp., which is moving its headquarters from Dayton to Georgia.

The effort by officials of Columbus, Ga., to seek money from the $787 billion economic-stimulus package provoked anger and outrage among Ohio politicians, who said federal tax dollars should not help NCR move to another state.

A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no stimulus money has been awarded, “and the administration obviously had no role in the relocation,” noting that NCR had decided to move before Georgia officials said they would apply for the money.

But the official added that the Department of Commerce, which has control over the money, won’t allow it be used to encourage “corporate relocation from one U.S. region to another and will review every request very carefully.”

However, the Commerce Department seemed to leave the door open to using stimulus money to help Georgia build a plant for NCR.

Another source, who also spoke anonymously, said a Commerce official told the staff of an Ohio lawmaker last night that there did not appear to be a direct link between NCR leaving Dayton and the request by Georgia officials for stimulus money. But, the source said, “We’re going to work to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future.”

Rob Nichols loses either way:

  • If the Obama administration stops the stimulus money from going to Columbus, GA, which in the real seems pretty likely, there was no obviously no justification for the press release.
  • If Commerce lets it go because of the lack of a direct link, he was still wrong in issuing the release, because the stimulus money was not approved, and therefore wasn’t “being used,” at the time he issued his clearly false gotcha.

Kasich deserves better than this from his PressSec. He’d better get it, or it will be a long 17 months.

Remembering Tiananmen (‘Tell the world, they said to us’)

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:38 pm

Claudia Rossett’s column on the 20th anniversary of the massacre at the Wall Street Journal, is a must-read.

Go there for her eyewitness account. What I have excerpted here relates to her historical perspective and modern lessons:

…. Tiananmen was — and is — important because that spring of 1989 was the only time in the despotic, 60-year history of the People’s Republic of China that the people themselves enjoyed the chance to speak, debate and assemble freely. What they did with that freedom, by the millions, was call peacefully for China’s government to institutionalize those rights. They called for democracy and marched under banners bearing exactly that word. They asked for the right to choose their leaders and hold them to account.

…. Since the Tiananmen uprising of 1989, China’s rulers have loosened the economic strictures enough to allow remarkable growth — testament to the vibrancy of the Chinese people given even half a chance. Out of this, China’s rulers have devoted enormous resources to projects meant to suggest they run a modern nation — sending astronauts into space, convening conferences on the climate, and hosting the 2008 Olympics.

Count me unimpressed. The real sign of modernity will come when China opens up its political system enough so that the country’s leaders no longer fear June 4 but treat the Tiananmen uprising with the honor it deserves.

During the protests, on one of those warm spring evenings just before the crackdown, I was wandering around Tiananmen, notebook in hand, and came across a young man sitting in a beach chair on the monument where the demonstrators were soon to make their last stand. He had a question about what happens when you get your dream of democracy: What then? As he put it: “I know what China is dreaming. What is America dreaming?”

The answer of free societies, the old American dream, is that you may choose for yourself. Freedom, in the framework of a true democracy, allows individuals to weigh their own talents, skills and ambitions, choose their own trade-offs, and chart their own dreams. That gives rise to innovation, exuberance and prosperity of a kind that no government can plan or centrally command into existence.

Someone tell Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, who, incredibly, believes that “we Chinese need to be controlled” (HT Yellow Menace). Such nonchalance is sadly not uncommon.

Freedom isn’t just another word, folks.

Thousands died for it on June 4, 1989:

Someday, God willing, China will be free.

Lucid Links (060409, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:42 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies, today in two longer items –

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Back in the 1970s and 1980s, a local Cincinnati radio station put together some clever spoof ads for a company selling mythical new products and services. The pretend outfit’s tag line was, “The company that creates a need, and then fills it.”

Well, Al Gore, with lots of Beltway help, is doing just that in real life.

First, he and the anti-human-progress environmental movement have created what may be the biggest hoax in human history. Commonly known as “global warming,” yours truly prefers to describe it as globaloney.

Gore and his Beltway buds may be on the cusp of ramming a fantasyland market known as “cap and trade,” which in the name of truth-in-legislation should be called the globaloney tax, down our throats. They have thus created out of not-really-warming air the need for software to help companies and others conduct trading and navigate the regulatory thicket cap and trade creates.

As to filling that need, on Monday Reuters told us about a company (HT Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) in which Gore is a partner:

Hara, a 25-employee company that debuted in 2008, (which) provides online software to help companies reduce their carbon footprint — a $2.5 billion market that will grow 10-fold if the proposed energy bill, which will require companies to get permits for emissions, becomes law.

Gore is described as partner in this firm. His involvement is so important that “This company would not have existed if Al Gore had not bought off on the idea ….”

Passage of the globaloney tax would likely put Hara into a position to go public, adding at least tens of millions to Gore’s already prodigious $100 million net worth — all for “creating a (bogus) need, and then filling it.”

Noel at NewsBusters has more background here on Gore’s globaloney-based accumulation of wealth.

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In the spirit of perpetual campaigning, Barack Obama’s FightTheSmears.com web site (FTS) is still up and whining. At the top is a quote from President ‘Prompter himself:

ObamaFightTheSmearsTopQuote0609

Of course, the campaign and the media establishment (but I repeat myself) did use religion as a wedge, especially among those indifferent or hostile to religion in general.

More critically, we now know that FTS knowingly lied about the religion of Obama’s father.

As ABC’s Jake Tapper noted on Tuesday, while FTS leaned on media reports that Obama’s father was “atheist or agnostic,” a White House apparatchik told those on a conference call that Obama’s father was Muslim.

There are other relative-ly related issues, as Gateway Pundit notes.

The bottom line in this really has nothing to do with religion. It is that the Obama campaign and its candidate at its core did not believe the American people could handle the truth about who he and his family really are and were.

Why not?

This distrust even extended to demonizing those like yours truly who dared to point out that Barack Hussein Obama, like other presidents and presidential candidates, has a middle name.

4-1/2 months in, it has become painfully obvious that President Obama’s administration doesn’t trust the American people to handle the truth about what it is doing to our country. If it had the mandate from the November election lefties claim, the administration wouldn’t be conducting itself as it has.

Just one example out of a large volume of them was brought out yesterday by Rick Santelli at CNBC when he reacted to Tax Cheat Tim Geithner’s denial that the Treasury and the Fed have crossed the line into monetizing the massive debt load this administration has created. This is a warning sign that serious inflation may be coming.

Barring one little mitigating possibility that Santelli noted, monetizing the debt is exactly what they are doing. Since Geithner is not stupid (yeah, he’s doesn’t like math, which is disturbing, but he’s still not stupid), you’re cornered into concluding that this administration believes the American people can’t handle the truth about where we really stand financially.

Why not?

This is why paying attention during political campaigns matters.

Positivity: CNN’s Cooper Spotlights Woman Who Decided Against Late-Term Abortion

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 7:38 am

This comes from Matthew Balan at NewsBusters, who writes, in part:

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper conducted a five-minute long interview of Diane Elder, a woman who decided to let her infant daughter live despite her severe genetic defects, during his program on Tuesday evening. The interview came about after Elder wrote Cooper after watching a similar interview he conducted the previous night of (women who supported late-term abortions).

…. During the interview with Cooper, Elder described her experiences during the four months after she found out that her daughter had Trisomy 18, a severe genetic disorder, and during the half-day that she shared with her daughter, whom she named Angela. Despite all the hardships that she and her family endured, Elder recounted how after her daughter was born, “we were very taken aback when we found that, when she was placed in our arms, we were happy. We were- we were incredibly happy. And my husband was with me. A lot of family and friends showed up right after the birth. She was passed around from arm to- from arms to arms.” Cooper dealt with the subject very sensitively, and thanked her for her strength at the end of the interview.

Here is Balan’s trancription of that interview:

ANDERSON COOPER: Diane Elder chose not to have an abortion, even though, medically and legally, she had every right to. She joins us now, and Diane, thanks so much for being with us. You actually sent me an e-mail earlier today because of- of an interview you read that we had on last night. We had a woman on who, in the 20- 20th or 21st week, chose to have a late-term abortion, because her baby had a severe- severe genetic defect. You had a similar situation. You made a different choice. Why?

DIANE ELDER: Because I wanted my baby to have a natural death. I did not want my child to die at my hands. She-

COOPER: What did your baby have?

ELDER: My baby had a- had a syndrome called Trisomy 18, which is a very severe chromosomal abnormality that is incompatible with life. That’s what — that’s the phrase doctors used to me.

COOPER: And you found this out what- at what stage of the pregnancy?

ELDER: I was somewhere in the fifth month of pregnancy.

COOPER: And, obviously, I mean, it’s devastating news.

ELDER: It was devastating. I found out on Mother’s Day, and all I can remember is collapsing to the floor, because I had been trying for this baby for a very long time. So, it felt like a cruel- almost a cruel joke to me that this happened. And so, I- I went forward with the pregnancy another four months, probably the most difficult four months of my life. We were prepared for basically a- a monster, because we were told she was going to not have a brain, and she was going to have possibly cleft palate, club feet, and she was born with all those things. She was born missing part of her brain. She had one club foot, one rocker-bottom foot. She had just everything that goes along with that condition, which is- is bad.

But we were very taken aback when we found that, when she was placed in our arms, we were happy. We were- we were incredibly happy. And my husband was with me. A lot of family and friends showed up right after the birth. She was passed around from arm to- from arms to arms. I told the hospital I did not want any extraordinary measures taken, because I wanted what happened to her to be natural. I didn’t want to try to- to force her to stay alive with needles and tubes, if that would cause her pain and just prolong a very difficult life. But I didn’t want to kill her either. So, I just decided to completely turn myself over to nature and let it take its course, and the resolution was really a very good resolution. She- she never suffered.

COOPER: How long did she live?

ELDER: Twelve hours. The nurse woke me up at 5 am, and said, ‘Diane, I think you might want to get up now. The baby’s having trouble breathing, and this might be her time, and she put Angela into my arms.

COOPER: You named her?

ELDER: Yes, Angela- Angela Diane Elder, and Angela looked- it was funny, because she was able to make eye contact with me, and it seemed as though she were looking into my eyes. I could hear her breath becoming more and more shallow, sort of a rattling breath, and then she took two large breaths, and then a very large breath, literally sat up, and then fell back, and she was gone. And it was a very difficult moment, even at this time.

COOPER: Do you- do you regret it, looking back on it?

ELDER: Not in one- not one minute of it. She died peacefully, with no pain. The suffering was ours. For two weeks, of course, at least two weeks, really a whole year, we were in mourning for her, as you would grieve over any loved one who dies. That’s a normal part of life. You can’t get away from the fact that- that people die and people get sick, and they die. And- but we felt very clean when it was over, and- and as though the situation was- there was closure. There was a resolution, and-

COOPER: Obviously, other women, other families in that situation make different choices.

ELDER: Right.

COOPER: Do you believe that- that women should have the right to make that choice?

ELDER: When a baby is a fully formed, living baby, I don’t think that, really, we have ever had the choice to- to take a life at that stage. I think that- that’s a — that’s a fully-formed baby. I mean, I think you had some of the pictures up there, and you saw her. She’s a fully-formed baby. She was born early, by the way. She came out at eight months.

COOPER: And, when you heard about Dr. Tiller’s death, your thought?

ELDER: Oh, I think that was awful. No one has the right to do that, particularly not someone who considers themselves to be an advocate for life. How can they take another life? It’s inexcusable.

COOPER: Well, I- I appreciate you coming on and talking about this. I know it’s not easy, and I appreciate you writing the e-mail to me and- and that we were able to have you on today. Thank you very much.

ELDER: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Thanks. Thanks for your strength.

ELDER: All right.