April 27, 2011

AP, NYT Downplaying and Ignoring Mass. Move to Limit Union Health Bargaining

Gosh, after Republican Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich succeeded in championing legislation curtailing many collective bargaining rights of unionized state and municipal employees in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively, the establishment press had the meme all set. The GOP, conservatives, and Tea Partiers are enemies of labor and the middle class, while Democrats, liberals, and progressives are their champions.

Then along comes bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. As the Boston Globe reports, the Bay State’s House “voted overwhelmingly last night (Tuesday) to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.” It’s not a law yet, but it seems to be heading pretty quickly in that direction.

The Associated Press’s beat reporters and editors must be beside themselves. Despite having nationalized Wisconsin-based collective-bargaining stories since February, three searches (“Massachusetts health,” Massachusetts union,” and “Massachusetts unions,” all not in quotes) indicate that the wire service was still carrying nothing relating to the Bay State’s situation at its main national site as of 7:30 this evening.

The AP’s Massachusetts local wire carried two stories, one at 11:13 p.m. Tuesday night, plus a six-paragraph unbylined story at 5:05 p.m. today, which read in part:

Mass. Gov.: “Dial down rhetoric” on union fight

Gov. Deval Patrick is urging both sides to “dial down the rhetoric” over a plan to sharply limit the collective bargaining power of public employees over their health insurance.

Patrick said Wednesday it’s important to pass a bill to ease the health care burden on communities while guaranteeing labor a seat at the table.

Union officials are furious at House Speaker Robert DeLeo after lawmakers backed the plan late Tuesday.

Does anyone remember AP reporters Scott Bauer or Todd Richmond in Wisconsin relaying advisories to dial down the rhetoric from Scott Walker? I didn’t think so. But Obama bud Deval Patrick “somehow” gets a bit of deference from AP. No matter; he’s on board with doing much of what Scott Walker just did, and to public safety workers as well, whom Walker exempted from certain of the Wisconsin law’s provisions.

Meanwhile, at the New York Times, the same three searches done at 7:45 this evening (“Massachusetts health,” “Massachusetts union,” “Massachusetts unions,”) returned nothing relevant.

The establishment press is probably too busy picking their collective jaws up off the floor, utterly astonished that the past two months of bashing sensible conservatives as heartless enemies may be on the verge of being rendered useless. Trying to bottle the news up is their only recourse.

This is 2011, guys and gals. Thanks to Drudge and others, that’s mostly not going to happen.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Obama’s Third Middle Finger: Certificate’s Release Demonstrates Punk President’s Electoral Weakness

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:20 pm

ObamaIssuedBirthCert042711ObamaMcCainMiddleFinger1108ObamaHillaryMiddleFinger0408To get to my point, I need to hearken back to high school and memories that are less than perfect, but accurate enough for the moment.

When I was a freshman at Saint Xavier High School in the Mesozoic Era, the school had a really good football team for the first time in forever. It became clear by about Game 6, after defeating then-perennial powerhouses Roger Bacon and Elder, that an undefeated season was a real possibility. It was obvious to all that the toughest win to get would be our last, as our opponent would be Moeller, then coached by the legendary Gerry Faust.

In Game 9 against a relative lightweight, the team got a bad case of the look-aheads, and was trailing late. Because of this, the coach had to call a play that he had been saving for Moeller, some kind of halfback pass that no one had seen all year that went for a touchdown, just to keep the perfect record intact.

The next week, we tied Moeller (see, I’m so old that football games sometimes ended in ties), and ended the season 9-0-1 (there were no state playoffs at the time). Given the expectations (Moeller had a relatively down year, finishing 6-2-2), it felt like loss. Surely the fact that the “secret play” wasn’t a secret any more was a factor.

The same can be said for Obama’s birth certificate gambit. They had to play it now because their guy’s support is hemorrhaging badly, and they know it. Though they would have preferred to save it until next year, they had to find something — anything — that they think might give them the upper hand and a chance to (in their fevered minds) embarrass and marginalize the people who have been raising the issue for almost three years. The birth certificate play was the only one available.

This may have some short-term advantage for Obama, but long-term, I think it’s a negative. It will take time, but ultimately enough Americans to matter will conclude that the holdout was a particularly egregious example of the type of in-your-face, petulant punk behavior we have sadly come to expect.

This where you have to remind yourself that the first people who raised the issue were Hillary Clinton supporters in Pennsylvania. The whole exercise was nothing but an extended middle finger to people of otherwise diverse political persuasions who asked for documentation anyone would reasonably have a right to expect, and which should have been released years ago.

______________________________________________

UPDATE: As to Trump’s claim of heroism, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — If Trump isn’t a Democratic plant whose mission is to distract sensible conservatives from the ruination being brought on this country by our Punk President and his Gangster Government, he might as well be.

UPDATE 2: Maggie’s point in a comment below about Jerome Corsi’s book having a possible impact on the timing is well-taken.

UPDATE 3: Corsi — “Obama blinked … All that did was fuel the fire. … When people read the book, they will see that Obama is not eligible to be president.”

I hope Mr. Corsi has a Plan B for publishing and/or disseminating. I would not be surprised to see tremendous pressure exerted on booksellers not to carry the book, and on broadcast outlets to refuse to interview him, despite the book’s apparently imminent best-seller status.

UPDATE 4: Great post by Aaron Worthing at Patterico’s place“The Damage Done by Obama’s Obstinance”

Maxed Out America: Coming Sooner Than You Think

Filed under: Economy,General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:27 am

PJIonTimesSquare0411The USA will hit its borrowing danger zone in far less time than we’ve been led to believe.

________________________________

Note: This column was posted at Pajamas Media and teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday. The picture on the right is a portion of the message that appeared earlier this week on a message board in Times Square in New York.

________________________________

Washington’s recent budget deal represents at best a tiny baby step in the right direction. What is at stake in the budget battles to come is exponentially higher. This is why the “Maxed Out America” initiative of the PJ Institute demands the immediate attention of the political class and the American people.
(more…)

Lucid and Lickety-Split Links (042711, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:25 am

At Yahoo! News, a MarketWatch item“According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.”

My initial reax when seeing the headline was “no big deal; they have four times as many people.” Fair enough, but MW’s Brett Arends basically says “well, bigger is bigger,” and points to deeply troubling implications:

… It raises enormous questions about what the international security system is going to look like in just a handful of years. And it casts a deepening cloud over both the U.S. dollar and the giant Treasury market …

… We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. for so long that there is no longer anyone alive who remembers anything else. America overtook Great Britain as the world’s leading economic power in the 1890s and never looked back.

And both those countries live under very similar rules of constitutional government, respect for civil liberties and the rights of property. China has none of those. The Age of China will feel very different.

… China’s neighbors in Asia are already waking up to the dangers. “The region is overwhelmingly looking to the U.S. in a way that it hasn’t done in the past,” he said. “They see the U.S. as a counterweight to China. They also see American hegemony over the last half-century as fairly benign. In China they see the rise of an economic power that is not benevolent, that can be predatory. They don’t see it as a benign hegemony.”

The rise of China, and the relative decline of America, is the biggest story of our time.

… If the U.S. dollar ceases to be the world’s sole reserve currency, what will be?

What got us here has been a multi-decade process, but, as with seemingly everything else the Obama administration touches, it’s accelerated into overdrive during the past two-plus years.

Perhaps one reason that the rest of the world is viewing the U.S a bit more favorably (grain of salt alert on the info source, however; also, Egypt is an obvious exception) is because they’re seeing what the alternative is.

_________________________________________________

CNBC headline: “US Banks Warn Obama on Soaring Debt”

Actual headline of the underlying article at the Financial Times (requires registration): “Nervous Wall Street warns on debt limit.”

Big difference, doncha think?

It turns out that the banks are really warning that the U.S. can’t allow a hiccup in increasing the debt ceiling, and are in essence putting enormous pressure on Congress to pass an increase:

A group of the largest US banks and fund managers stepped up the pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to reach a deal to increase the country’s debt limit, saying that even a short default could be devastating for the financial markets and economy.

The warning over the debt limit is the strongest yet to come from Wall Street, highlighting growing nervousness among investors about the US political system’s ability to forge a consensus on fiscal policy.

The most pressing budgetary issue confronting Congress and the Obama administration is the need to raise the US debt ceiling, which stands at $14,300 billion.

Given the Obama administration’s incestuous relationships on Wall Street, this looks orchestrated, even to the point where it’s not out of line to believe that if there are hiccups, Timmy Geithner and the merry band of his Wall Street buddies (e.g., as noted last December at Weapons of Mass Discussion, Peter Orszag; Ted Strickland the demagogue, please take note) will make sure that there is some form of mini-default and blame the Republican Congress for its occurrence.

Why CNBC put up such an obviously deceptive headline is a mystery.

_________________________________________________

If the flags are at half-staff at the White House today, this will be why. (/kidding)

_________________________________________________

In Massachusetts — Deval Patrick = Scott Walker?

Drudge Siren: ‘Obama to Show Long-Form Birth Certificate’ (Update: It’s at WH Site)

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

DrudgeOnBirthCert042711

BizzyBlog, July 20, 2009:

Personally, I think that either the concerns being raised are valid — or that this is the Mother Of All Sucker-Punches, in which case the full release of proof, if ever deemed necessary, will be delivered when the crescendo hits its db peak to maximize embarrassment. I wish I knew which one it is.

Assuming Drudge himself isn’t being sucker-punched, we may be about to find out.

_________________________________________________

UPDATE: Now it’s “OBAMA SHOWS LONG FORM HERE IT IS!”

UPDATE 2: Drudge just linked to a CNN story saying it has been released. No pics yet. The fact that CNN just did a long report on the controversy would seem to indicate that it was aware that this was coming.

UPDATE 3: Here it is. Next questions: Why was this so difficult (i.e., reportedly millions of dollars were spent to prevent this, and regardless of how it’s priced out, certainly thousands (meant to write) hundreds of hours of legal time), and why now? It should NOT be forgotten that the issue was first raised by Democratic supporters of Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania.

Positivity: NJ students step forward to join Catholic Church

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Camden, New Jersey:

Apr 23, 2011 / 01:14 pm

St. Mary Magdalen Regional School in Millville, N.J. will finish this academic year with more than a dozen additional Catholic students – but not because of a surge in enrollment.

The increase is due to 13 of the school’s 29 non-Catholic students joining the Catholic Church.

“It is very unusual,” said Sister Rosa Maria Ojeda, the principal. “Usually we have two or three, or at most four.”

It’s too soon to know if this year’s sharp increase in conversions is the beginning of a trend or is just coincidental. Sister Rosa Maria said there is no formal program to encourage the conversions. It is up to the students and their parents to come forward and make the request.

Mary Boyle, the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Camden, said she does not have statistics yet for this year, but she isn’t aware of any pattern of increase in the number of non-Catholic students joining the faith.

“Our schools certainly do make an effort to work on that,” she said. “We want them planting seeds but not proselytizing.”

She noted that the diocese views such conversions as a parish event rather than as a school event.

All 182 St. Mary Magdalen students – whatever their faith – receive the same religious instruction as part of the school day. For the non-Catholics who wish to convert, once they get their parents’ approval, one of the sisters works with them individually for an hour after school once or twice a week to prepare. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

AP’s Surveyed Economists: Unless Stopped by $150 Oil, Happy Days Are Here Again

PollyannaJeannineAversa0411It’s always a bit of risk saying that a bunch of supposedly smart folks are wrong, but the economists Jeannine Aversa at the Associated Press consulted for a Tuesday afternoon report on the economic outlook must be taking a double dose of sunshine pills every day.

If we are to believe these folks, the only thing that can stop the economy now is oil — not the $112 a barrel accompanied by $4 per gallon gas we’re seeing now. That’s noooo problem. These smarties apparently think it’s clear sailing ahead for the economy as long as oil doesn’t go to $150, which would translate to at least $5.50 a gallon.

Here goes, if you can stand it:

AP survey: Only oil shock can stop economy now

The American economy is now strong enough to withstand Middle East turmoil and the Japanese nuclear crisis. Only a big rise in the price of oil could stop it now.

Those are the findings of an Associated Press survey of leading economists, who are increasingly confident in a recovery that is nearly two years old. They expect the economy to grow faster every quarter this year.

In part, that’s because the economists think Americans will spend more freely in the coming months. Higher stock prices have made people wealthier. And a cut in the Social Security payroll tax is giving most households an extra $1,000 to $2,000 this year.

… The one factor that could make a second recession a possibility would be a jump in oil prices to $150 a barrel, economists say. Oil trades at about $112 a barrel now. The record high, set in the summer of 2008, is about $147 a barrel.

“The economy is regaining some of its lost muscle and now seems to have a much thicker skin than it did six months or a year ago, and that’s helping it handle various negative forces,” said Lynn Reaser, a board member of the National Association for Business Economics.

While oil has risen almost $40 a barrel since Labor Day, analysts think it would take something extraordinary to drive the price all the way to a new record – either supply disruptions because of a new front in the Mideast unrest or action by the Federal Reserve that brings down the value of the dollar.

Economists think gas prices, now averaging $3.87 a gallon and rising every day, will stabilize by summer and drop to about $3.50 by fall. Rising gas prices are taking up much of what Americans are pocketing from the Social Security tax cut.

Aversa goes on to note the following predictions:

  • Over 3% annualized economic growth during each of the next three quarters, after 2.2% in the first (this first-quarter estimate directly conflicts with many other forecasters who have recently cut their estimates to an annualized 1.5% or so).
  • A drop in the unemployment rate to 8.4% by December, 10 quarters after the official end of the recession. By contrast, 10 quarters after the end of the early-1980s recession, the economy’s unemployment rate under Ronald Reagan was 7.2%, even though the rate had peaked at a higher level (10.8%) just after the recession than it did shortly after the 2008-2009 recession (10.1%).
  • Average hourly pay will rise, consumer spending will grow robustly, inflation will stay relatively tame, and the ghost of Saul Alinsky will return to take us to the Promised Land. (Okay, I made up the last one.)

Aversa’s assembled apparatchiks — er, economists — would be more believable if we weren’t looking at the following contrary indicators, to name just a few of potentially many:

  • A housing industry that is 25% of what it was six years ago and shows little sign of recovery. Even Aversa’s colleague Derek Kravitz knows that, and reported it yesterday: “”
  • Numerous price-increase announcements by consumer products makers — “According to The Wall Street Journal, last week retailers were told to expect price increases next month on items like Scott tissue (up 7 percent), Charmin tissue (up 5 percent), and Glad trash bags (9.5 percent).”
  • A three-month crash in consumer confidence as reported by Gallup.
  • The ongoing effect of multi-year, $1 trillion-plus deficits.

My bet is that the Aversa’s write-up is an attempt to take some of the sting of out what is looking to be an disappointing first quarter GDP report coming out Thursday by doing a preemptive Tony the Tiger routine (“Hey, this quarter was weak, but the rest of the year will be grrrrrreat!). Shoot, even the New York Times noted on Sunday that “the pace of recovery from the global financial crisis has flagged since November.”

Again, though you never want to say they’re wrong, it seems from here that Aversa went to a bunch of folks she could count on to tell her what she wanted to hear. Remember, this is the same reporter who trumpeted an economic “rebound” in December 2009. That didn’t work out too well. We’re still millions of jobs down from where we would be in anything resembling a normal recovery, and it took GDP four more quarters to get back to where it was before the recession began. The recovery as Warren Buffett defines it — per capita GDP returning to where it was in June 2008 — remains a far-off dream.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.