March 3, 2011

Overnight Engine-Starter: Guess the Estimated Damage to Wisconsin’s State Capitol

I heard this on Mark Levin’s show earlier this evening. He was referring to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel blog post by the paper’s Don Walker.

The question is: What is the State of Wisconsin’s estimate of the amount of damage done to the Wisconsin State Capitol after roughly two weeks of non-stop protests?

The answer, and a link to the JSonline.com story, are after the jump — No fair Googling or otherwise searching for the answer:

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Dear AP: Haley Barbour Is Right About Obama’s Gas-Price Wishes

Philip Elliott at the Obama White House’s state-compliant wire service reports, and distorts (bolds are mine):

Barbour says Obama cheers for higher gas prices

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential presidential contender, accused the Obama administration Wednesday of favoring a run-up in gas prices to prod consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

Barbour cited 2008 comments from Steven Chu, now President Barack Obama’s energy secretary, that a gradual increase in gasoline taxes could coax consumers into dumping their gas-guzzlers and finding homes closer to where they work.

In 2008, while the head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, Chu told The Wall Street Journal that energy prices were the lynchpin to an energy overhaul.

“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Chu said in September 2008.

Obama has distanced himself from those comments

Barbour could have gone directly to Obama to support his contention:

Obama: I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.

Without doubt, that means he’s okay with the idea of high gas prices.

I don’t recall that Barack Obama has ever “distanced himself” from this assertion, which, if I recall correctly, was also made at least a couple of times in campaign appearances.

Plenty of folks at Philip Elliott’s state-compliant wire service know darned well that Barack Obama said what he said in 2008, but want to make readers believe that it’s Haley Barbour who’s making it all up. It’s the AP which is making things up about the Obama and his administration’s position, as Conn Carroll at Heritage detailed this morning (bolds and paragraph breaks are mine):

… Back in February, when the protests in Egypt were first unfolding, Energy Secretary Steven Chu was asked what the Administration could do to combat rising world oil prices. Chu responded: “The best way America can protect itself against these incidents is to decrease our dependency on foreign oil, in fact to diversify our supply.”

It is now one month later and the Administration has not updated its talking points. Pressed on gas prices yesterday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “We are also, as you have seen over the past two-plus years, very focused on the need precisely to develop other energy sources so that we are not as dependent on foreign oil as we have been in the past.”

So what are these “other energy sources” the White House has been developing? How does the White House plan to “diversify supply” to reduce gas prices? The answers are corn, wind, sun, and electric cars. And they won’t help a bit.

Phil Elliott, please note: There is no record of which I’m aware of Barack Obama “distancing himself” from Chu’s or Carney’s comments — and Carney supposedly speaks for him.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

In Ohio, SB 5 (Collective Bargaining Reform) Survives RINO Attack

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:15 am

You’ve got a 23-10 majority.

The most important reform in the imbalanced relationship between state and local government and the public-sector unions is proposed, and all you can get is the barest majority to pass it?

Whew:

SB5voteWithRINOsIDd0311

The Tea Party’s work to save the Buckeye State has just begun.

P.S. I’m not ready to let the majority who voted for SB 5 off the hook. Yours truly suspects that the Republican caucus decided that it had to give John Kasich what he wanted, and then got into discussions over who could “safely” vote no. It’s not like they haven’t done this kind of thing before (see: cynical maneuvering, Ted Strickland’s retroactive 2009 tax increase).

Thank goodness Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker isn’t stuck with this bunch in Madison. If he were, his cause would be hopeless.

Obama’s Job-Killing Economy: The Continuing Saga

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:05 am

Despite six quarters of tepid post-recession growth and a net loss in employment, nothing is really changing.

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

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Friday morning, the government announced yet another downward revision to a previously published economy-related number. The nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), thought to have grown at an annual rate of 3.2% a month ago, was downwardly revised to 2.8%. “Unexpectedly,” of course; analysts thought that the figure would increase to 3.3%.

In the six quarters since the recession ended, the economy under Barack Obama has grown by about 4.4%, and by only 2.7% in the most recent four quarters. By comparison, in the six quarters after the early 1980s recession ended while Ronald Reagan presided, GDP increased by almost 10%, with 8.5 points of that growth taking place during quarters three through six. The economy under Reagan blasted off; under Obama, it’s mired in what is worse than mediocrity.

The glaring shortfall in growth under Obama might not be so troubling but for the catastrophic results it has caused in the employment market. In mid-January, I noted, based on data available at the time, that Reagan’s first six post-recession quarters saw the creation of over 4 million jobs, while only 72,000 jobs were created during Obama’s comparable six quarters.

That was before Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) completed its annual comprehensive revision. When it went on the books in January’s employment report, it zapped hundreds of thousands of jobs from previously reported figures for the prior 21 months.

Here’s how the Reagan versus Obama six-quarter jobs comparison looks after BLS’s comprehensive revision:

ReaganVsObamaJobs6QtrsAsOf020411

Eighteen months after the recession officially ended, the revised figures show that the economy under Obama is still in the hole by over a quarter-million jobs. That’s because 44,000 job additions in the private sector have been far more than offset by 308,000 jobs losses in the public sector. Here’s a supreme irony, considering that Obama is still somehow perceived as a hero by the state and municipal employees’ unions: All of those seasonally adjusted government job losses — and then some — have occurred not at the federal level, where employment is up by 38,000, but at the state and local levels, where job losses have been 29,000 and 317,000, respectively.

Arthur Laffer and his fellow supply-side economists have more than enough justification to address Will Smith’s famous I, Robot line to leftist Keynesian holdouts like the insufferable Paul Krugman: “You know, somehow, ‘I told you so’ just doesn’t quite say it.” Krugman’s latest laugher is that “The stimulus can’t have failed, because it never happened.” Stop it, Paul. The federal government has operated as one big, failed stimulus program since late 2008. Barring a miracle, whether you go with administration or Congressional Budget Office (CBO) numbers, Uncle Sam will show three years of reported deficits totaling over $4 trillion when the current fiscal year ends — even if Tea Party freshmen in the House get absolutely everything they want.

Krugman despairs that Obama “has effectively given up on the idea that the government can do anything to create jobs in a depressed economy.” We should be so lucky to receive such benign neglect. Unfortunately, the administration seems more determined than ever to suppress and prevent job creation:

  • In direct defiance of a court order not to do so, it continues to pursue implementation of Obamacare as if nothing happened. What about Florida District Court Judge Roger Vinson’s declaration that “the declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction” don’t they understand? The apparent lawlessness is bad enough; but then consider Obamacare’s effect on the economy. The CBO estimates that full implementation will cost the economy 800,000 jobs over the next decade.
  • What Investors Business Daily has accurately described as the administration’s “war against fossil fuels” shows no signs of letting up. IBD notes the following in its short list: a virtual shutdown of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico; making much of the Outer Continental Shelf off-limits to exploration and production; and the “cancellation of 77 existing drilling leases in Utah.”
  • The administration’s latest salvo against jobs and economic growth may be its most punishing yet. As gasoline prices are hitting all-time February highs, as the reliability of international sources of fossil fuel imports is coming into question, and just as it appears that the recovery might finally start to produce a decent number of new jobs, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided that it will “study” the practice of “fracking.” This in effect freezes the shale gas industry, our best hope for long-term energy independence, dead in its tracks. The EPA won’t even make initial study results available until late next year (read: after the 2012 elections).

Bill Whittle opens the most recent of his outstanding videos with this statement:

Y’know, there comes a point where no matter how hard you try to offer the benefit of the doubt, evidence builds up to such a degree that you can no longer deny that the evidence is telling you something.

Halfway into his first term, the foreign policy decisions made by Barack Obama and his administration are so appalling, so destructive in the long-term, they can no longer be credited to inexperience or even incompetence. They’re so consistent, they must be due to ideology.

Replace “foreign policy” with “economic,” and Whittle’s statement is none the falser.

Lucid Links (030311, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:01 am

Via Gateway Pundit (“Dialysis Can Wait… Union Workers Leave Sick & Elderly Patients Stranded So They Can Attend Rally”):

174 elderly patients, including dialysis patients, were left stranded without a ride to their doctor’s appointments in New Jersey last week. CWA union members decided to attend an anti-Christie rally instead of going to work.

The CWA members were at an anti-(Governor of New Jersey Chris) Christie rally.

“Party of compassion” my a**.
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Democrats — and, it would appear, some potentially weenie Republicans — who can’t stand the idea of cutting $61 billion from a $3.819 trillion autopilot budget need to have a recent GAO report noted at the Wall Street Journal (HT Taxman Blog) figuratively rubbed in their faces until it hurts:

The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development.

… The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances …

… The report says there are 18 federal programs that spent a combined $62.5 billion in 2008 on food and nutrition assistance, but little is known about the effectiveness of 11 of these programs because they haven’t been well studied.

… The GAO study was required by a provision inserted by (Oklahoma) Sen. (Tom) Coburn into a law that raised the federal borrowing limit last year.

I’ll guarantee you without asking that virtually every one of them thinks they’re absolutely indispensable to life going on.

The article quotes Coburn as saying there’s $100 – $200 billion in savings just from what GAO has found so far.

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USA Today, in print and on the web yesterday:

Charlie Sheen is ‘winning’ the pop culture arms race

At USA Today’s Lifeline Live blog Tuesday afternoon:

Police remove Charlie Sheen’s twins from his home

If Sheen is “winning,” I’d rather not see what “losing” looks like.

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Media malfeasance, network by network, paper by paper, wire by wire — Just a sample from the past week, barely breaking a sweat:

  • Via Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters“NBC’s Todd Can’t Call Obama a Liberal but Labels GOP Governors ‘Conservative Warriors’”
  • Via Brad Wilmouth at NewsBusters“NBC Mislabels Dem Mayor as ‘R’ After Providence Fires All Its School Teachers”
  • Via Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters — “Despite Poor U.S. Evacuation Efforts in Libya, CBS Gives Response an ‘A+.‘” The effort, while not pathetic, was certainly not A+ impressive.
  • Via Julie Seymour at NewsBusters, hitting the nets as a group — “Networks Link Bush to ‘Skyrocketing’ Gas Prices 15 Times More Than Obama.” Specifically, “The Business & Media Institute examined all the broadcast network news reports mentioning gas prices during each of those time periods and found ABC, CBS and NBC aired more than 2 ½ times more stories (63 stories to 24) in 2008 than they did in 2011.In contrast to the 15 reports referencing the Bush administration when gas prices were “through the roof,” the only 2011 story to mention the president was NBC Nightly News on Feb. 24. Tom Costello’s report on the impact of surging gas prices quoted President Obama who was ‘optimistic.’” Since Obama has talked of the virtues of higher energy prices on several occasions, someone should have asked if he was optimistic about gas prices prices holding steady or going up.
  • Via Powerline (my title; also covered here on Tuesday) – “NY Times Reporter Stuffs Words in AFP President’s Mouth That Were Never Said”
  • At the Washington Post, former SEIU head Any Stern was recently interviewed by Journolist organizer and Washington Post staff writer Ezra “the Constitution is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago” Klein. The WaPo reporter lets Andy Stern get away with claiming that the U.S. labor movement “had socialist and communist tendencies” — i.e., it doesn’t have them any more. In addition to plentiful contrary evidence available before Stern made that statement (on roughly Feb. 24), the DC permit for the DC labor rally on Saturday, February 26 was taken out by the International Socialist Organization.
  • Via the Daily Caller“L.A. Times reviewer may find himself in hot water over fictional McCain aide quote”
  • Via Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters“AP, NPR Erroneously Tag Westboro Baptist as ‘Fundamentalist’ Church”
  • At the Associated Press, as of its 1:40 p.m. report on Wednesday (“Former aide to ex-NY governor reaches plea deal”) — The wire service fails to tag David Johnson, “an aide to former New York Gov. David Paterson” or Paterson himself as Democrats, which they are.

Not a coincidence: “Fox Dominates (Again), Takes Top 11 Cable News Slots in February”

Positivity: The Apostolate of Fun

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

Great column by Rebecca Ryskind Teti:

March 1, 2011

A dear friend hit one of those milestone birthdays and we all showed up to lend moral support. Her adult children were on hand to “roast” her, but the rest of us had entirely benevolent intentions.

It was a genuinely lovely affair, a gathering of gracious people our friend has built up around herself simply by being the joyful, prayerful and kind person that she is.

The wine flowed and the rooms filled with warm laughter and thoughtful conversation, punctuated all evening by hugs of welcome or handshakes of introduction for new arrivals.

You get a little lift being in such company, but I wouldn’t have thought any more of it had I not learned of a conversion that took place as a result.

One of the newer members of this community of friends almost didn’t come because her husband was so negative on the idea.

“I am too old for another event where gossip passes for socializing and acid remarks take the place of genuine wit.”

“Freezing a smile on my face and pretending to like it while people brag about their kids and their careers is what I do all week in business. I can’t bear to do it more on my own time.”

He made such a good case his wife lost her taste for the party, too. Good will towards the birthday girl was all that dressed them into their party clothes and dragged them out the door to face another draining, tiresome social event.

The ride there was almost silent as they gathered force to endure the evening.

Not so the return home.

It started out in thoughtful quiet. Suddenly at a stoplight the husband turned to his wife and a chorus of words spilled out: “That was incredible! Do you realize we spent four hours with all those people and I didn’t hear a single sour comment the whole night? No ragging on people! No shallow palaver!”

He proceeded to chatter excitedly the rest of the ride home about how different these folks were than anyone he’d ever met. “Everyone was so sincere but not stuffy. What a pleasure!”

The next morning the husband did not report for breakfast at the usual hour and the wife found her sweetheart — not heretofore a very pious man — in his study praying and reading his Bible, a practice he has kept up since.

God can use anything, even party conversation. The late journalist Robert Novak became Catholic as the result of a throw-away line at a cocktail party. For St. Augustine, it was an idle bit of news about some vague acquaintances that set his final conversion in motion.

This tells us, too, that people are watching us, and listening, all the time. There’s something in the human spirit that is always unconsciously on the lookout for signs of hope — and the most seemingly inconsequential things can provide them. There is power in simply being good; in being happy.

Read the whole thing.