July 11, 2010

Establishment Press Misses Rhode Island Parallel to Ariz. Immigration Law for Nearly Three Months

mexico-borderPreconceived notions are dangerous things in journalism. They cause one to assume facts that aren’t in evidence, leading to false or incomplete results.

A classic example has played out in the nearly three months since Arizona passed its “1070 law.” Among other things, it mandates that law enforcement officials verify citizenship status in situations involving police contact if they have a reasonable suspicion that someone is not in the country legally.

It seems that virtually everyone covering the story has been assuming that Arizona’s law is the first of its kind. Well, maybe as a “law” it is. But in Rhode Island, of all places, Boston Globe reporter Maria Sacchetti finally noticed on July 6 (HT Hot Air) that police have been doing what Arizona will start doing on July 29 since 2008 as a result of a gubernatorial executive order:

R.I. troopers embrace firm immigration role
In contrast to Mass., they report all who are present illegally

From Woonsocket to Westerly, the troopers patrolling the nation’s smallest state are reporting all illegal immigrants they encounter, even on routine stops such as speeding, to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.

“There are police chiefs throughout New England who hide from the issue . . . and I’m not hiding from it,’’ said Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, the towering commander of the Rhode Island State Police. “I would feel that I’m derelict in my duties to look the other way.’’

Rhode Island’s collaboration with federal immigration authorities is controversial; critics say the practice increases racial profiling and makes immigrants afraid to help police solve crimes.

But it is a practice that Governor Deval Patrick’s opponents in the governor’s race are urging Massachusetts to revive. The Patrick administration has staunchly opposed having state troopers enforce immigration laws, and shortly after he took office in 2007, the governor rescinded a pact by his predecessor, Mitt Romney, to assign 30 troopers to the so-called federal 287(g) program, which trains local police to enforce federal immigration law.

… In 2008, Governor Donald L. Carcieri, a Republican, issued an executive order mandating immigration checks on all new state workers and ordering State Police to assist federal immigration officials.

Sitting in his office in an old farmhouse off a country highway, Doherty said the State Police had collaborated with federal immigration officials before, but the relationship has become more formal in recent years. In 2007, he said, he trained all state troopers in how to deal with noncitizens because of widespread confusion and because Congress did not resolve the issue of illegal immigration. Troopers learned to notify consulates when noncitizens are arrested, how to recognize different forms of identification, and how to deal with different cultures.

One can’t help but wonder how well Ms. Sacchetti or whoever came up with the idea of looking into Rhode Island’s posture is being treated in the Globe’s newsroom these days. Her bosses and the rest of the establishment press should be really be asking themselves why they didn’t bother to look into what other states are doing when the Arizona law passed. Or, worse if true, they should be justifying why parallels they did find (how could they have missed California, as noted by the NewsBusters staff on Friday?) were somehow not worthy of coverage.

Did they decide to not look at Rhode Island because “everybody knows” that such a liberal state couldn’t possibly be strictly enforcing immigration laws — when in fact it is?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Daily Caller: Obama to Blame for Lack of Jobs; Actually It’s the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy’s Progenitors

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:54 pm

What follows is from the Daily Caller’s Jon Ward. He does a  fine job, but like so many others, Ward misses an opportunity to nail down how long what he describes has been happening, and why (internal links are in original):

There is one word being mentioned by business leaders and economists more frequently when the conversation turns to why jobs are not returning more quickly to the U.S. economy: uncertainty.

“By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses,” said Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg at a speech in Washington in late June.

Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh said in a recent speech in Atlanta: “Owing to a less-than-assured economic outlook and broad uncertainty about public policy, employers appear quite reluctant to add to payrolls.”

Roberton Williams, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in an interview, “The whole tax situation is very much in flux, very uncertain. It makes it hard to plan.”

“It’s clear that firms are not yet hiring. A lot of them are sitting on big bundles of cash,” Williams said, citing the examples of Google and Apple, which are both hoarding about $30 billion in cash instead of investing it or using it to expand.

Seidenberg’s comments last month were a significant political moment. The Verizon CEO has been one of President Obama’s strongest allies in the business community, and as president of the 170-member Business Roundtable, he had tried to cooperate with the Obama administration on its trademark agenda items – health care, financial reform and energy legislation.

But, Seidenberg said he was “troubled” by Obama’s agenda, so much so that he had “reached a point where the negative effects of these policies are simply too significant to ignore.”

Seidenberg was not the last major business leader and Obama ally to turn on the president in recent days. Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, said in Italy late last week that Obama and the business community did not like one another and are not getting along with each other. Immelt said the U.S. is “a pathetic exporter,” according to the Financial Times.

“We have to become an industrial powerhouse again but you don’t do this when government and entrepreneurs are not in synch,” Immelt was quoted as saying.

The cascading comments have come as the economic recovery has slowed and fears of a double-dip recession have entered the mainstream lexicon.

Of course Obama is to blame, along with the other two makers of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy that began in June of 2008 and has now into its third year.

The point yours truly has been emphasizing since I contemporaneously called the POR Economy’s existence is that Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid caused the uncertainty to reach a tipping just over two years ago. On the jobs front, it’s been all downhill until very recently; improvements in recent months have been fitful at best.

Between May 2008, the best benchmark for measuring the terrible triumvirate’s uncertainy-induced recession and its aftermath (although I’m beginning to believe that further review may move the benchmark back to April) and October 2009, 7.845 million jobs were lost on a seasonally adjusted basis. During that time, the private sector lost 7.89 million jobs, while seasonally adjusted government employment increased — yes, increased — by 45,000. Of the 837,000 jobs added since the October 2009 trough, only 583,000 jobs have been in the private sector, an average of 73,000 per month. In normal recoveries, instead of this “Rebound? What Rebound?” recovery, that monthly number would be in the hundreds of thousands.

If they cared about creating jobs, the President, Pelosi, and Reid would do something to puncture the pervasive uncertainty. They haven’t. There’s no genuine indication that they really want to. Doing so would get in the way of their statist agenda.

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Side note: Inmelt’s comments are so pathetically hypocritical it’s hard to know where to begin. So many members of the Business Roundtable, but especially Inmelt and Jack Welch/GE alums like Bob Nardelli, have made it their life’s work to impose “the China price or else” on American manufacturers who couldn’t hope to match the Chinese Communists’ heavily subsidized bids. If the industrial base has deteriorated, it’s because too many of these multinational “citizens of the world” have been okay with exporting it instead of American-made products.

Mapping the Economy’s ‘Man-cession’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:45 am

MenNotWorkingFar more men than women are out of work as the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy enters its third year. Why? And what can be done?

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Friday. I have included two of the graphics in the body of the BizzyBlog version of the column that I merely linked to in the PJM original.

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Analysts didn’t have to scratch very far beneath the surface of the government’s July 2 report on the employment situation to find troubling news.

While the disappearing workforce and “lackluster” private sector job growth got most of the ink and bandwidth, what caught my attention was the renewed spike in the unemployment gender gap.

As recently as 2005, as seen below, the average unemployment rate for 20-and-over men was a bit lower than the rate for women (4.4% vs. 4.6%):

BLSmfUnempNSA2005to2010

Also note that during the next two years, those rates were virtually identical.

As seen here, after small differences during the first half of 2008, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men first exceeded that of women by over a half-point in July of that year:

BLSmfUnempNSA2005to2010

It just so happens that this was the first month of the recession as normal people define it and the first full month of what I have been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy since its inception.

By August 2009, the seasonally adjusted unemployment gender gap had grown to 2.5 points. It basically stayed there for the next three months, and then began to fall slowly. But in June, it widened again to 2.1 points (9.9% for over-20 males vs. 7.8% for over-20 females) from May’s 1.7 points (9.8% vs. 8.1%). Given what happened when the rates first significantly diverged two years ago, the resurgence of the gender gap may foreshadow the double-dip recession so many observers have begun to fear, even on the left.

While the degree of the male-female unemployment divergence is without precedent, it builds on a 30-year marketplace trend.

From 1948-1981, with only rare and tiny exceptions, the unemployment rate for women exceeded that of men, even during economic contractions. That changed during the early-1980s recession. In 1982 and 1983, average 20-and-over male unemployment bumped up against 9%, while female unemployment rose to just above 8%. Male-female differentials of similar size reappeared during the next two downturns in 1991-1993 and 2001-2003 even though they were far less severe. But in each case, the rates returned to rough equality when the economy improved.

At its worst, the “man-cession,” the informal term for the male-female unemployment differential, has often been 2-3 times as big during Obama’s term as any gap previously seen. It seems to be heading in that direction again.

Why did this happen?

In this recession, many of the jobs which were lost and in many cases disappeared forever were in male-dominated sectors like the automotive industry and construction; free but unfair trade and the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac-driven housing bubble have been key contributors to their respective declines. Meanwhile, certain fields which have traditionally had a higher percentage of women, including education and health care, continued to experience job growth or at least didn’t contract.

This job market reality, along with the government’s willingness until very recently to continually extend unemployment benefits to as many as 99 weeks, has likely led a disproportionate number of out-of-work men to avoid reconciling themselves to the need to switch to often lower-paying careers. Instead, while cashing their checks, many are still naively trying to find jobs that aren’t out there.

Now let’s look at root causes of the problem that have taken decades to develop. The overriding theme is that if education is destiny, American males on the whole appear destined not to do as well as females when times are bad:

  • In 2006, the high school dropout rate, which was 1.5 points higher for girls in 1970, was 2 points, or almost 20% higher, for boys (10.3% vs. 8.3%).
  • A 2007 study led by James Heckman of the University of Chicago asserted that “the pattern of the decline of high school graduation rates by gender helps to explain the recent increase in male-female college attendance gaps.”
  • The gender gap in college attendance for at least the past several years has returned. In late April, Uncle Sam’s Department of Labor told us that after three years of almost gender enrollment by high school graduates (2006, 2007, 2008), 202,000 more women than men from the class of 2009 went on to college. Women make up almost 55% of the current year’s freshman class.

The situation with African-Americans, where male and female 20-and-over unemployment in June were 17.4% in 11.8%, respectively, explains almost one-third of the current 2.1-point gender differential, even though African-Americans make up only 12% of our population. Regrettably, that’s not surprising. On top of the overall trends just cited, second-rate urban public schools have had persistently high male dropout rates while poorly equipping those who do graduate for even the jobs they could do. It’s fair to surmise that conditions in these schools, when combined with the tragic peer pressure to avoid “acting white” by achieving good grades or even acting responsibly, have probably hurt African-American males more than their female counterparts. Other negative cultural influences haven’t been helpful either.

Given its size and causes, it’s fair to ask when — or even if — the current “man-cession” is going away.

Achieving that happy result will first require a return to genuine prosperity of the type the nation experienced during the mid- to late-1980s, mid- to late-1990s, and 2004-2007. The Obama administration’s current economic policies are on an often self-admitted path to high unemployment “for possibly years to come.” Many currently unemployed men, particularly the intractably low-skilled, won’t be getting back to work for quite awhile if the economy doesn’t significantly improve.

Other helpful developments would include a “you’ve come a long way baby” acknowledgment that the noble war for female gender equity and equality in the workplace has largely been won; calling off “The War Against Boys” that is still being fought at too many schools; and shrinking the size of the public sector so that private individuals and firms can create new products, services, and jobs instead of living in fear of what their government will do to them next.

The prognosis for all of this occurring soon: Very doubtful.

Positivity: Researcher finds evidence Pius XII may have helped 200,000 Jews leave Nazi Germany

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:39 am

From the Vatican:

Jul 9, 2010 / 06:10 am

Further challenging claims of papal inaction in the face of Jewish persecution during World War II, a German historian conducting research in the Vatican archives has said that Pope Pius XII may have arranged for the escape of 200,000 Jews from Germany in the weeks after the Kristallnacht Nazi attacks.

Dr. Michael Hesemann based his claim on his research in the Vatican archives for the Pave the Way Foundation, a U.S.-based interfaith group, the Daily Telegraph reports.

He said that in 1938 the future Pope, who was then Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, wrote to Catholic archbishops around the world to urge them to apply for visas for “non-Aryan Catholics” and Jewish converts to Christianity who wanted to leave Germany.

Hesemann reported that additional evidence suggests that the visas would have been given to ordinary Jews to escape persecution.

“The fact that this letter speaks of ‘converted Jews’ and ‘non-Aryan’ Catholics indeed seems to be a cover,” Hesemann told the Telegraph.

“You couldn’t be sure that Nazi agents wouldn’t learn about this initiative,” he continued. “Pacelli had to make sure they didn’t misuse it for their propaganda, that they could not claim that the Church is an ally of the Jews.”

The letter was dated Nov. 30, 1939, 20 days after Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” when Jews were attacked in Germany. Cardinal Pacelli could request the visas because the 1933 concordat signed with the Nazi government specifically provided protection for Jews who converted to Christianity.

Dr. Ed Kessler, who is director of the Cambridge-based Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths, told the Telegraph “It is clear that Pius XII facilitated the saving of Roman Jews.”

While the wartime Pope is on the path to possible beatification and canonization, some Jewish groups have wanted the process stopped until the Vatican’s wartime archives are unsealed in 2014. …

Go here for the rest of the story.