June 25, 2009

Revised POR Economy Damage Report: 1Q09 GDP ‘Only’ Down an Annualized 5.5%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:14 am

I’m gone for the rest of the day and most of the evening, possibly checking comments a couple times in the interim.

If anyone sees a press report calling a revised 5.5% drop in annualized GDP a positive or encouraging sign for the third full quarter of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, otherwise known as the POR Recession As Normal People Define It, I’d like to know about it.

Even given the press’s Obamalove, that doesn’t seem likely. That’s because, in a barometer I generally don’t look at much, weekly unemployment claims rose to 627,000. That only seems significant because I thought there had been a slight downward trend in previous weeks. The apparently Obama kool-aid-free Reuters link says that the news “deflate(s) labor rebound hopes.”

Governor Sanford…

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 8:14 am

In 1963, from his Birmingham, Alabama jail cell, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the following:

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

I love how that true, prophetic paradigm has transcended time. I also love that there is no hesitation there, simply “good” and “bad.”

I have worked behind the scenes in politics for over a decade and in no other realm have I seen man’s most desperate and absolute need for redemption. Oh, not because of the blatant, gratuitous depravity of “the bad people” (on both sides), but rather the appalling silence and/or fall from grace of “the good people” (on both sides). And it is inescapable because not one among us is perfect.

While “bad” people for the most part don’t care about anyone but the lowlife in the mirror, it is true that “good” people can do “bad” things.

Governor Mark Sanford for instance is now in the company of many men. No points are given for circumstances; right is right, wrong is wrong and he has stated as such.  Let’s see, there’s Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Elliot Spitzer, (first name here) Kennedy, and suddenly I am reminded of the “socialization” argument against home schooling to which I respond “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Cor 15:33). I believe this goes to the heart of Dr. King’s statement and is one of the main reasons for this country’s lack of leadership.

Don’t misunderstand, Governor Sanford’s actions are his own and he will have to deal with the personal and political consequences (unlike any of the Kennedy boys who thought having an “affair of the month” was a country club requirement). That said, there is a tendency in politics to think that anything goes and as such, opportunities for corruption and/or reckless behavior are presented, taken and then start getting categorized, compared & contrasted. After all, isn’t Spitzer’s prostitution ring scandal small potatoes compared to Ted Kennedy driving a Capitol Hill secretary off a bridge, leaving her to drown, then complaining about water-boarding 40 years later?

So should we care if elected officials make uncontrolled, detrimental judgments in their personal lives? Absolutely…especially if those judgments evolve into or reveal an existing pattern of behavior. In general, if an elected official consistently makes decisions that will devastate the family he or she [ostensibly] loves for momentary gratification, how much more consideration do we think they’ll give to how their decisions affect we the people? My guess is not much.

Additionally, from that perspective, it’s not surprising to have some politicians vote the wrong way on a crucial piece of legislation for the temporary satisfaction of getting an “atta-boy” from the extortionists. Bad company corrupts good character. Tough to see true leaders emerge from that environment.

For the record, I don’t think that the last two paragraphs represent Governor Sanford’s situation, nor do I think that he makes the “Top Ten Worst People in Politics” list (closest he’d get on his worst day is # 536). Some could even argue that this situation may not hinder his ability to lead or be effective in the future. Generally speaking, Sanford’s politics are on the money and it is unfortunate that one, bad, personal decision will take many years to heal everyone involved, including the Governor himself.

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”  ~MLK Jr.

Lucid Links (062509, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:54 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

Words missing from President Obama’s press conference on Tuesday include “liberty” and “self-determination.” The closest he got to unqualified “freedom” was “freedom of speech” a couple of times, and once each for “free speech,” “freedom of assembly,” and “freedom of expression.” Also missing: Any form of “hospitals,” from which injured protesters are being pulled by Khamenei’s thugs, or “bullets,” which Khamenei is having fired at peaceful demonstrators.

Obama told us twice that we have to respect Iran’s “sovereignty.” Why?

Then there was this: “The Iranian people are trying to have a debate about their future.”

Really? Is that what this is? (Warning — gruesome footage; HT Threats Watch via Mark Levin; direct YouTube):

Some “debate.”

Update: Though he gives the President more credit than he deserves (another thought: Where’s the righteous anger? Is that only for Republicans who oppose reckless spending?), Ryan Mauro at PJM has some concrete suggestions for the President. Two of them are “to specifically and frequently mention the death of Neda, and immediately react to each new crackdown with condemnation and a call for the release of political prisoners and the allowing of dissent.”

Good ideas, considering that Obama didn’t even mention Neda’s first name at his press conference (an interesting oversight, given that Alinsky said to make it personal), and considering that there has been, as far as I can tell, no direct reaction to the vid above.

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ComparingGovtSpendingToTaxCuts0609

Commenter dscott brought to my attention the graphic to the right showing the relative economy-stimulating effects of tax cuts vs. government spending based on historical experience. It’s part of a presentation at the National Center for Policy Analysis identifying good and bad ideas for recharging economic growth, which stopped occurring with the onset of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy a year ago.

The source is a 2007 study (“The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks”) done by Christina and David Romer.

Christina Romer is the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration, which has given us the less-effective historical $1.40 version of stimulus on a time-delayed basis — and that’s only on portion of it that represents true government investment, and not simply increases in transfer payments. As NCPA notes, “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that less than 40 percent of the proposed infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill will be spent within two years.”

Ms. Romer’s relative silence on what the administration is doing is pretty pathetic.

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Darleen Click at Protein Wisdom, in a brief digression at  a very good post — “It is interesting to observe the Left that was positively apoplectic over the Patriot Act enabling the government to monitor overseas telephone calls of suspected terrorists, but now has no worries about the Feds having every medical decision between you and your doctor at its immediate fingertips.”

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Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, and Ed Markey seem bound and determined to start a cap-and-trade trade war.

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I’m with Michelle Malkin on Mark Sanford. It’s also good to see that there’s a spouse who won’t just sit there and take it — “Unlike other self-esteem-lacking wives of cheaters, Jenny Sanford shows real courage, class, and dignity in her statement to the press — and in her decision NOT to stand by her adulterous husband at his public confession.” Update: Rose has more.

Positivity: Lost boy uses TV show to survive

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Daggett County, Utah:

It was a modern twist on the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale as a 9-year-old lost hiker who had been separated from his family on Saturday used techniques he saw on the television reality show “Man vs. Wild” to leave clues for searchers who eventually found the boy Sunday morning.

A trail of clues left by Grayson Wynne, who was lost in the woods in Daggett County overnight Saturday, led to his successful rescue Sunday morning by two searchers on horseback, said Karen Peterson Daggett County Sheriff’s office spokeswoman.

Grayson, a resident of Heber City, became separated from his family while on a 4-mile hike to Daggett Lake Saturday afternoon.

“I was really scared,” Grayson said Sunday night. “But ‘Man vs. Wild’ tells you how to survive all different terrains.”

Searchers were called out Saturday evening, including the Daggett County Search and Rescue team, Uintah County sheriff’s personnel and volunteers on horses, mules and on foot. Teams searched through the night without success and were joined Sunday morning by a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter and a Daggett County bloodhound team.

Using survival strategies shown in the show, Grayson said he tied pieces of his rain parka to trees as he hiked hoping they would help someone find him more easily.

Grayson’s mother, Kimberly Wynne, said her son had been hiking back to the family’s camper with a cousin when he fell behind and strayed onto a different trail. When family members noticed Grayson was missing, they began a search, but once dusk neared they contacted emergency personal for help.

“I climbed a pine tree to see if I could see anyone, but I didn’t,” Grayson said. “So I just kept following the river.”

In a statement released Sunday, Peterson said the first clue in the search — a granola bar wrapper — was found Saturday night about 300 yards from the trail the family had been hiking. Early Sunday morning, a small footprint was discovered near a creek about 400 yards from the spot where the wrapper was discovered. Farther up the stream, searchers found the black backpack the boy had been carrying.

Kimberly Wynne said that when rescuers found the backpack, she and her husband were devastated.

“He had his sleeping bag, snacks and an extra jacket in his backpack,” Kimberly said. “It was cold out and we worried how he’d manage without it.”

Peterson said the boy, who had spent the night under a log, had cold, wet feet but was in otherwise in good health and spirits when found. ….

Go here for the rest of the story. Some commenters at the link are suggesting that the boy should have stayed where he was, and they are probably correct.