January 25, 2011

In DC Prolife Mass Homily, Cardinal Criticizes ‘Jaded Media,’ Praises Increased Youth Involvement

On Sunday evening, an event in Washington preemptively made mincemeat of the usual press claims that “thousands” would participate in the next day’s March for Life.

The next day at the Washington Post, Michelle Boorstein and Ben Pershing followed form (“Thousands of abortion opponents rally in march on Mall”), but did make an interesting, seemingly reluctant observation: “Some attending the events Monday said that more young people appeared to be participating than in previous years.”

The Associated Press’s coverage of the march added a new twist. Its afternoon report on the rally made no attempt at a crowd size estimate. The New York Times, as far as I can tell, did no story of its own.

The Sunday evening event noted earlier was a pro-life vigil Mass, where the crowd size was relatively verifiable. The homilist, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, took the opportunity to point a finger at the establishment press, and to take note of the youthful energy driving the pro-life movement:

Around 10,000 Catholics, many of them young people from schools around the nation, met to pray for an end to abortion at a pro-life vigil Mass in D.C. on the eve of the annual March for Life.

The Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life was held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 23. On Jan. 24, crowds thronged to the D.C. area to participate in the annual March for Life, which occurs near the date that Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S. in 1973.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the vigil Mass. During his remarks to the thousands in attendance on Sunday night – including numerous bishops, priests, seminarians and religious – he underscored the significance in the amount of young people participating in the annual March for Life.

“I want to thank all the young people here, the seminarians, postulants and novices, the children, youth in high schools, the university students and young adults,” he said. “You have been, have become and remain the genuine leaders and pioneers of this March for Life and this Vigil Liturgy.”

“We your elders become exhausted just watching you!” he said. “May you never cease to give your beautiful witness to the gift of human life.”

Cardinal DiNardo also reflected on the “astonishment” of the “jaded media” at the young people who have gathered from throughout the U.S. to serve as “unflagging witnesses to the inestimable worth of each human person.”

I’m sure there are elements of the proabort movement who thought that Roe v. Wade would ultimately end the debate, and the opposition, if not soon, would wither, at least within a generation or two. 38 years later, it’s more than safe to say: No such luck, folks.

Clearly, if 10,000 marchers attended the Catholic Mass, there were far more total marchers in the event on Monday. Those who have participated in the larger road-running events will likely agree that the crowd pictured here yesterday was easily in the “tens of thousands.”

It should also not go unnoticed that 40,00050,000 marched for life in San Francisco on Sunday. I’m noticing it here, because the AP, as usual, described the attendance as “thousands.” Additionally, by using “thousands” as its estimate, it gave the from all appearances incorrect impression that the crowd was smaller than last year’s 35,000, which it cited. Clever in a way, but foolish in another, given that the pics showing “tens of thousands” are out there.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Obama’s Strangulation of Business (Robert Roll Column)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Rob Roll @ 10:31 am

President Obama made news this week when he published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal saying that he was going to sign an executive order requiring all federal agencies to continually review the regulations they put in place to make sure that they are actually useful and to make sure that they are worth their economic costs. Some in the media praised this move as the president’s attempt at “triangulation” or “moving to the center.” Please pardon me if I seem skeptical, not in the least because the executive order President Obama signed is identical to one President Clinton signed during his term in office; Clinton’s order should still be in effect. I have another reason to be skeptical of President Obama’s sincerity toward reducing regulations: his record.

In his first two years as President, Obama’s administration has instituted 39 “major” regulations versus 37 for the entirety of George W. Bush’s second term. A major regulation is one that has an economic impact of over $100 million. Only in Washington can $99 million be considered “small”. One could argue that these regulations were instituted by individual agencies and that the president had no direct control over them. Okay then, look at a few of the bills the president has signed into law: the Dodd-Frank Act, which regulates banks; the CARD Act, which severely restricts who can be issued credit cards; and, most importantly, Obamacare, which gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to create over 700 new rules.

All of these new laws will add to the 800,000 pages already in the Federal Register, which contains all federal regulations. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many pages of regulations there are, it matters how they are enforced, and the Obama administration has been unduly aggressive in enforcement. Recently, Goldman Sachs told its American clients that they will not be able to buy shares of Facebook because Goldman was taking heat from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Because the offering of shares was not open to the general public, under SEC rules, Goldman was not allowed to advertise the offering. The thing is that Goldman did not advertise the offering. The SEC viewed media coverage that the offering received as “advertisement.” The SEC forgets the fact that Goldman had nothing to do with the decision of news companies to cover the story. Now because of the SEC’s new interpretation of a rule, Americans will not have a stake in Facebook, one of the most innovative companies in the world. This whole situation could have been avoided if the regulations from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act did not discourage companies from going public, but I digress.

In another example of regulatory overreach, Arch Coal was recently forced to scrap a planned $250 million dollar mining investment in West Virginia because the EPA, for only the second time in its history, revoked an already-issued permit. That investment would have created 250 jobs in one of the poorest areas in the country. Sadly, these stories are not few and far between; open up any major newspaper.

Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that we should abandon all regulations. So how much better off are we with all of these regulations? We are very much worse off. Not only do these regulations destroy jobs, they also prevent new jobs from being created. Possibly the worst part of the jungle that is government red tape is that it hurts small business the most. While large corporations have the money to comply with new rules, small businesses do not.

What will come of Obama’s new executive order? If I had to guess, I would say that it will get rid of regulations like those that limit the amount of water used in each flush of a toilet or restricting the kind of light bulb you can use (I am not kidding, those are actual regulations). In short, nothing much will come of it. I will hope against hope that I am wrong because, right now, we have as system that does not regulate our businesses: it strangulates them.

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Robert Roll is a freshman majoring in Finance at Ohio Northern University, and the blog owner’s nephew.

Lickety-Split Links (012511, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:26 am

Heh — Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters catches the New York Times using violent gun metaphors in an article about (natch) Republican budget hawk Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

That Times reporters Jennifer Steinhauer and David M. Herszenhorn and their editors utterly lack a sense of irony is found in another metaphor in their article:

But now Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican point man on spending cuts and designated responder to the State of the Union address, has emerged as the latest chew toy among Democrats. They spent Monday beginning a campaign to portray him as the architect of fiscal policies that they view as unwise and hope will prove unpopular among voters, including plans to partially privatize Social Security and Medicare.

This would make the Democrats metaphorical equivalents of puppies, dogs, birds, rodents, or rabbits. Readers can take their pick.

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Congrats to the Illinois Appeals Court, or at least two-thirds of it members, which threw Rahm Emanuel off the Chicago mayoral ballot on Monday for enforcing the city’s residency requirement for running for mayor. They actually ruled that the law means what it says:

The panel ruled 2-1 that Emanuel did not meet the residency standard to run for the city’s top office.

“A candidate must meet not only the Election Code’s voter residency standard, but also must have actually resided within the municipality for one year prior to the election, a qualification that the candidate unquestionably does not satisfy,” the court stated in the decision.

This means that Rahm Emanuel is objectively unable to run. Any higher-court ruling which overturns Monday’s ruling will be objectively corrupt. See Update.

Too bad these folks weren’t the members of Ohio’s Supreme Court in October 2009. If they had been, they would have thrown Metro Dayton non-resident Jon Husted out of his Ohio Senate seat and prevented his becoming Ohio’s Secretary of State, which is hopefully the highest political office he will ever achieve.

Update, Jan. 28: The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that Illinois law trumps city law. It’s not as clear as the press is making it out to be that it was the right decision, as this excerpt from Best of the Web on Tuesday afternoon will illustrate (bolded words are mine):

Time (Magazine) notes that Emanuel is basing his argument on the Illinois Election Code, which provides that “no elector”–meaning voter–”shall be deemed to have lost his or her residence in any precinct or election district in this State by reason of his or her absence on business of the United States.”

A conflict of laws? It would appear not. The relevant Municipal Code provision reads: “A person is not eligible for an elective municipal office unless that person is a qualified elector of the municipality and has resided in the municipality at least one year next preceding the election or appointment.’

Since Emanuel was in Washington “on business of the United States,” he is still a qualified elector and a resident of Chicago under the Election Code.

I disagree. I read the two bolded items as saying, “Sure, state law says you can vote in Illinois elections, including in Chicago, but city law clearly says you can’t run for public office unless you’ve actually resided there.” Obviously, the court disagreed. I believe the court was wrong.

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Giveaway clue that the President isn’t serious about reining in spending:

More than two months after his deficit commission first laid out a plan for reining in the national debt, President Obama has yet to embrace any of its controversial provisions – and he is unlikely to break that silence Tuesday night.

While Obama plans to stress the need to reduce record budget deficits in his State of the Union address, he is not expected to get into the details and will instead call for members of both parties to work together to tackle the problem, according to congressional and administration sources.

Democratic lawmakers said that approach makes sense as the White House begins a delicate dance with resurgent Republicans over government spending, tax reform and the other difficult issues that will shape the debate into the 2012 presidential campaign. Until Republicans signal a willingness to work with Democrats to raise taxes as well as cut spending, the lawmakers said, it would be a mistake for Obama to endorse painful policies that could become the target of political attack.

In other words, Obama and his party are in effect rejecting their own deficit commission, and holding out for tax increases before doing anything about spending.

They fiddle; the nation’s fiscal situation continue to burn.

Related, at Pajamas Media:: Matt Patterson — America the Broke; Here comes a reckoning we won’t soon forget.”

Positivity: Pro-life vigil Mass in DC draws thousands of nation’s youth

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 8:24 am

From Washington:

Jan 25, 2011 / 05:47 am

Around 10,000 Catholics, many of them young people from schools around the nation, met to pray for an end to abortion at a pro-life vigil Mass in D.C. on the eve of the annual March for Life.

The Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life was held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 23. On Jan. 24, crowds thronged to the D.C. area to participate in the annual March for Life, which occurs near the date that Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S. in 1973.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the vigil Mass. During his remarks to the thousands in attendance on Sunday night – including numerous bishops, priests, seminarians and religious – he underscored the significance in the amount of young people participating in the annual March for Life.

“I want to thank all the young people here, the seminarians, postulants and novices, the children, youth in high schools, the university students and young adults,” he said. “You have been, have become and remain the genuine leaders and pioneers of this March for Life and this Vigil Liturgy.”

“We your elders become exhausted just watching you!” he said. “May you never cease to give your beautiful witness to the gift of human life.”

Cardinal DiNardo also reflected on the “astonishment” of the “jaded media” at the young people who have gathered from throughout the U.S. to serve as “unflagging witnesses to the inestimable worth of each human person.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

While Toyota Is Barely Edging GM in Worldwide Unit Sales, AP Report ‘Forgets’ Its Revenues Are 50% Higher

In a Monday Associated Press dispatch, reporter Tom Krisher virtually celebrated the idea that Government/General Motors “may be Number 1 again,” with happy talk of “dethroning” and “overtaking” Toyota.

Nowhere did Krisher mention the inconvenient fact that Toyota’s revenues dwarf GM’s to the point where comparing unit sales is an absurd waste of time. Specifically:

  • Toyota’s sales from its automotive operations for the first six months of its fiscal year (April through September, 2010) amounted to 8,863.6 billion yen (go to the segment information in the report), which translates to roughly $104 billion at an average exchange rate of 85 yen to the dollar.
  • GM’s revenues during those same two quarters were $67.2 billion.
  • Thus, Toyota’s auto operations are over 50% larger than all of GM. We’re supposed to be impressed that GM is close to selling the same number of cars? We wouldn’t be if Krisher had chosen to report revenues, something any who follows business news would clearly have wanted to know.

Here are a few paragraphs of Krisher’s free advertising — er, report:

Resurgent GM nips at Toyota’s heels in sales race

General Motors has a shot at being No. 1 again.

The resurgent automaker reported Monday that its worldwide sales last year came within 30,000 of beating Japanese rival Toyota, which took a big hit because of safety recalls.

GM is hiring, producing more and basking in a better reputation for quality. It expects to sell even more cars and trucks this year, putting it within reach of the title of biggest in the world – an honor it held for 76 years before losing it in 2008.

… Dana Rouse, a union official at the pickup truck factory here, called overtaking Toyota the Heisman Trophy of the auto business.

“We’re going to take Toyota on, and the people in Flint are going to be a part of that,” he said. “This is the birthplace of General Motors. We kind of take it a little more seriously than maybe some other towns.”

… Now GM is outselling Toyota in fast-growing China, and its U.S. business is bouncing back. To overtake Toyota, it needs a sales increase of half a percentage point, about the number of Chevy Silverado pickup trucks it sells per month in the U.S.

Toyota is still wounded from recalls of more than 10 million vehicles, mainly to fix gas pedals and floor mats that could make cars speed out of control.

… Dethroning Toyota, experts say, might also help GM with marketing, even if it adds little value to the business. Their advice: GM, which has shed four of its weaker brands in recent years, should focus not on size but on making money.

… GM’s global sales grew by a dramatic 12 percent last year, and it turned a $4.2 billion profit in the first nine months of the year. Financial results for the final three months of 2010 aren’t in yet, but more profit is expected.

Krisher also erred in at least these items not excerpted:

  • He claimed that GM took “nearly $50 billion in government help.” No Tom, it’s far more than that. Even if your “nearly $50 billion” in direct aid is the correct figure (I believe it’s low), there’s the roughly $17.5 billion it won’t have to pay on its first $50 billion in profits thanks to being helped through TARP. Companies emerging from bankruptcy as new entities normally don’t get that break. And that’s even before considering the money shoveled into GMAC.
  • He also asserts that GM “has limited rebates and low-interest financing.” Even a casual TV viewer should know that the alleged limit on low-interest financing Krisher cites is a product of his imagination. GM has been aggressively promoting 0% interest for 60 months almost since it came out of bankruptcy, and more recently has been pushing no payments for the first 90 days. As to rebates, this table from Edmunds shows that GM level of rebates was higher than any other of the Big Six makers in December 2010, November 2010, and December 2009 (though by narrowing amounts in more recent months). Who do you think you’re kidding, Tom?

And of course, Krisher never mentioned any of the other thuggish assistance GM has received from Uncle Sam, ranging from ripoffs of disfavored creditors in bankruptcy to far more aggressive and from all appearances orchestrated use of product recalls against its larger rival. Why let the facts get in the way of a phony story, right Tom?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.