April 30, 2011

Word of the Day, and Beyond: ‘Racer’

We’ve had truthers and birthers. Now there’s a term which unfortunately applies to far more people (HT to Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters), including many in the establishment press. It would be useful to get this into the vernacular — quickly:

Tony Katz — Brilliant.

A “racer” is someone who believes that race and racism explain almost everything, when they explain almost nothing. Race and racism most certainly have nothing to do with the Tea Party movement, and nothing to do with criticisms of our President’s and his administration’s out-of-control deficits, lawlessness, and authoritarianism.

“Racer” is now an official part of the BizzyBlog vocabulary. It’s a useful distinction from “racist” for those who try to falsely read race into things where race is irrelevant, but who aren’t provably racists themselves (just, like, dumb, or politically agendized.

I guess this makes people like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Jeremiah Wright “speed racers.”

Econ Quotes of the Day (043011, Morning)

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:40 am

“Companies that are very profitable (are) still behaving
as if bankruptcy is around the corner.”

– From “General Comments from Members of the Survey Panel”
in the latest Chicago Purchasing Managers report (HT Zero Hedge)

The report came in with a still-strong expansionary seasonally adjusted number of 67.6, down from 70.6 the previous month (anything above 50 indicates expansion).

The quote shows you the kind of behavior pervasive, government-driven business uncertainty induces. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the kind of employment expansion which would signal a legitimate job-market recovery.

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“Maybe to someone in the upper incomes it doesn’t matter what the price of a pound of bacon is, or what the price of a ham, or the price of a pound of pork chops is,” he says. “But for many of the customers we sell to, it really does matter.” Workers can share cars when the price of oil rises, he quips, but “you can’t share your food.”

C. Larry Pope, CEO of Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, quoted
in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal

Other items in Mary Kissel’s report:

  • Kissel writes, while quoting Pope, that “Over the last several years, ‘the cost of corn has gone from a base of $2.40 a bushel to today at $7.40 a bushel, nearly triple what it was just a few years ago.’ Which means every product that uses corn has risen, too—including everything from ‘cereal to soft drinks” and more.”
  • Kissel writes that “Now food price inflation is popping up across the country. A pound of sliced bacon costs $4.54 today versus $3.59 two years ago and $3.16 a decade ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ground beef is $2.72, up from $2.27 in 2009 and $1.74 in 2001. And it’s not just Smithfield’s products …”
  • Pope asserts, “The hog farmer . . . is in jeopardy of simply going out of business ’cause he doesn’t have the cash liquidity to even pay for the corn to pay for the input to raise the hog. It’s a dynamic that we can’t sustain.”

Much of the problem can be traced directly back to ethanol, which George W. Bush sadly championed and Barack Obama apparently still favors despite the havoc it has wreaked on food prices.

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“I’m the Anti-Christie.”

– Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, quoted
by NBC Connecticut

Unlike New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Malloy certainly is anti-taxpayer, as a Wall Street Journal editorial shows today (bolds are mine):

The Yankee Institute, a free market think tank, counts some two dozen new taxes in Mr. Malloy’s budget. He would raise taxes on cigarettes, gasoline, Internet sales, drugs, booze and wealthy estates. Property tax bills would climb by $500 for the average homeowner.

… For anyone who thinks income tax hikes are the financial salvation of states, Connecticut’s history is instructive. Governor Lowell Weicker sold an income tax in 1991 as a one-time reform that would keep sales and property taxes low. Instead, a state that paid its bills for 200 years without an income tax and had become one of the richest states in per capita income is now raising income taxes for the fourth time in 20 years.

This is what always happens when a state introduces an income tax: A gusher of new revenue leads to higher spending, which leads the politicians to demand higher rates; rinse the taxpayers and repeat.

Two points:

  1. Connecticut’s calamity has been a bipartisan fiasco. As noted here in 2007, Republican Governor Jodi Rell pushed for tax increases rather than face up to the state’s structural problems.
  2. What the Journal described is exactly what happened in Ohio for over 30 years until 2005, when Bob Taft (of all people) put in income-tax cuts. Fortunately, current Buckeye State governor John Kasich insists on solving the $8 billion deficit Ted Strickland dumped on him without tax increases. Despite what “the anti-Christie” claims, it can be done.

Positivity: Official papal photographer recalls life with ‘a living saint’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:05 am

From Vatican City:

Apr 29, 2011 / 01:05 am

Arturo Mari was Pope John Paul II’s personal photographer for all 27 years of his pontificate. Now, in the days before John Paul’s beatification, Mari has been recalling his life with the late pontiff.

“For me he was a man of God,” Mari tells Associated Press April 28 in an interview conducted in his apartment just yards from the Vatican. “I can guarantee you he was a living saint, because everything I could see with my eyes, hear with my ears, you cannot believe that this man could do so much.”

Many of the images that have come to define the public image of Pope John Paul’s papacy were captured by Mari; the Pope sunning himself in the mountains of Val D’Aosta, lying in a hospital bed after a 1981 assassination attempt and then meeting and forgiving the Turkish man who shot him.

For Mari there are some particular moments that typified John Paul the saint. One such occasion came in 1984 when the Pope was visiting a leprosy hospital on Sorok Island, South Korea. In a break with the official protocol, “he touched them with his hands, caressed them, kissed each one,” says Mari, “Eight hundred lepers, one by one. One by one!” …

Go here for the rest of the story.