June 9, 2011

Quote of the Day on the Economy

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:25 pm

From the Associated Press’s coverage of the days economic news:

“There is a significant slowdown going on,” said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “The economy is unlikely to grow at a decent rate anytime in the next year or two.”

(Wow, how did that one slip through? Mere days ago, establishment press reports were saying that growth was supposed to get to an annualized 3% during the second half of 2011 and stay there.)

Well, if growth isn’t going to part of the deficit reduction/debt control equation until after the presidential nominees are decided (which will almost definitely be by April or May of next year), the November 2012 elections will largely turn on who can get the economy going again.

So the choice will be between the guy who had three years do so (starting in June 2009, when the recession ended) and didn’t, or someone who can make the case that they can. It’s hard to imagine that Obama’s opponent — whoever he or she is — can do worse.

Reminder of the Day Concerning Anthony Weiner

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:55 pm

Kirsten Powers, yesterday at The Daily Beast:

We are all flawed human beings, and this is not about meting out judgment. It’s about having some sort of standard for what the Democratic Party stands for—especially regarding treating women with dignity and respect—and Congressman Weiner has fallen far short of even the low standard to which we generally hold our elected officials. It’s time for him to go.

Following Ms. Powers’s unimpeachable logic, unless and until Anthony Weiner resigns, citizens of the United States have no real choice. They must operate under the otherwise immutable assumption that the Democratic Party has no standards — “especially regarding treating women with dignity and respect” — and react, and vote, accordingly.

Memo to Ohio Legislature: Pass The Heartbeat Bill

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:29 pm

Thanks to a couple of patient and possibly annoyed by now e-mailers (Greg and Paula), I am pleased to report that I’ve learned some things today.

My perception of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill under consideration in Ohio’s legislature was that it is a band-aid that ignored bigger-picture problems I vetted here several years ago relating to the law, the courts, and separation of powers. I thought those bigger-picture concerns and future opportunities might well be jeopardized by the legislation.

I am now convinced that I am wrong about that. I have also seriously underestimated the degree of the legislation’s potential positive impact on reducing the number of abortions in the state.

Accordingly, I’ve moved from indifferent but seriously concerned long-term to very supportive and only slightly concerned long-term. I’m also pleased to report that the entire approach I’m seeing in action reflects some fresh and refreshing thinking on how to turn back the anti-life tide.

So that readers can educate themselves, I converted a very well-done Word document Paula sent me to a web page. It’s here.

What follows is a reprint of most of the e-mail I received today concerning the bill (link to full bill text added by me):

June 9, 2011 – Sub HB 125, Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill, to protect unborn babies with a detectable heartbeat from abortion, remains in limbo as House Speaker William Batchelder continues delay in bringing it to the floor of the full House for a vote.

Time is running out. The General Assembly will recess for the summer soon.

With a majority of 50 co-sponsors and overwhelming grassroots support, Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill, deserves a vote in the General Assembly!

ACTION NEEDED: Pro-life citizens who live in the following counties, please call your State Representative TODAY: Medina Co, Franklin Co, Hamilton Co, Marion Co, Union Co, Logan Co, Champaign Co, Shelby & Auglaize Co.

Urge your Representative to bring the Sub 125, Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill to the floor for a vote.

Find your Rep’s name & phone # by typing in your zip code at: www.house.state.oh.us.

State Representatves who represent the counties above serve on the powerful Rules Committee…they have the power to schedule the Heartbeat Bill for a vote! Leave a short message with the aide or on voice mail: “Please do not delay the Heartbeat Bill….bring it to a vote this week!”

***If you do not live in one of the counties listed, please call the office of the Speaker of the Ohio House William Batchelder at 614-466-8140 & leave the same message. Give your name & address so they know you are a real voter.

Since I’m not from one of the ID’d counties, I made my call to Mr. Batchelder. I was told that the budget needs to get ironed out between the House and Senate, and of course I get that. I got the impression from his aide that Mr. Batchelder won’t let Fetal Heartbeat languish, but it would be a good idea for others to encourage Mr. Batchelder not to let it happen.

As they say, don’t think “someone else” will call. Call your rep if he or she is on the Rules Committee or Mr. Batchelder — or both.

Notre Dame Trustee Resigns; Chicago Trib Relays Claim She ‘Didn’t Realize’ Emily’s List’s Proabort Mission

There must be something in Chicagoland’s drinking water which causes either acute memory loss or a persistent inability to pay attention.

First, we had presidential candidate Barack Obama, who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ for nearly two decades, but who supposedly had no idea Pastor Wright was so hostile towards America (“US KKK of A“), its history (we deserved the 9/11 attacks because of Hirsohima and Nagasaki), and its white citizens (the “white supremacy Rhetorical Ethic“).

Now we have Roxanne Martino, a Chicago-area member of the University of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees, who resigned Wednesday after serving less than two months. The Cardinal Newman Society noted that Martino had made $27,150 in political contributions to Emily’s List over a 12-year period. Her claim, relayed through the board’s chairman and the university’s president, is that she “didn’t realize any of the organizations she supported also promoted abortion rights.” Uh, Roxanne — Emily’s List has only one mission: “electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.”

Here’s some of Manya Brachear’s skepticism-free take at the Chicago Tribune:

A Chicago business executive resigned Wednesday from the University of Notre Dame’s board of trustees after a conservative Roman Catholic watchdog group reported that she donated thousands of dollars to an organization that says it is “dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women.”

Roxanne Martino, a 1977 Notre Dame graduate and president and chief executive officer of Aurora Investment Management, a Chicago firm with more than $8 billion in investments, said she stepped down less than two months after her appointment in “the best interest of the university.”

“I dearly love my alma mater and remain fully committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching and to the mission of Notre Dame,” Martino said in a statement released by the university. “I had looked forward to contributing in this new role, but the current controversy just doesn’t allow me to be effective.”

The controversy erupted last month when the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization that monitors the Catholic identity of the nation’s Catholic colleges and universities, reported that Martino had given more than $25,000 to Emily’s List, a campaign committed to electing women who support abortion rights.

Richard C. Notebaert, chairman of the university’s board of trustees, said Martino didn’t realize any of the organizations she supported also promoted abortion rights. The Rev. John Jenkins, university president, reportedly said the same to concerned alumni. Martino could not be reached to confirm whether she knew of the organization’s missions.

“On the basis of a recommendation from others, she made contributions to two organizations, and she regrets that she did not personally review their activities,” Notebaert said. “That she erred in not knowing completely about two of the many organizations to which she makes contributions does not in any way diminish the exemplary way in which she has lived her life and faith.”

Note how the Trib and Brachear:

  • Flagged the Newman Society as “conservative.” No, the group advocates adherence to Catholic doctrine, an important element of which is the acknowledgment of the scientific reality that life begins at conception. Said adherence is not appropriately characterizable as “liberal” or “conservative.”
  • Failed to note, as seen here, that Martino’s contributions to Emily’s List spanned the time period from June of 1998 to December of 2010.
  • Knocked the contributions number down from $27,150 to $25,000. Is there a new rule in journalism that you round to the nearest five grand?
  • Failed to specify that, as the Newman Society found, “Martino gave somewhere between $3,250 and $5,996 to the pro-abortion Chicago Foundation for Women from 2004 to 2011″ (though it did mention the existence of the CFW contributions).

More about Emily’s List:

  • In 2002 Thomas Edsall at the Washington Post fully described its mission: “A candidate must meet three qualifications to be considered for an EMILY’s List endorsement: back abortion rights, including the right to late-term (or “partial birth”) abortions; be a Democrat; and, in primary elections, be a woman.” Clearly, Emily’s List isn’t about merely preserving the abortion status quo; it wants to radically expand it.
  • The group’s pre-home page splash asking for contributions reads: “Help Us Elect Pro-Choice Democratic Women.”
  • Also on the splash page — “Welcome to EMILY’s List, a community of progressive Americans dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to every level of office. EMILY’s List members believe that the power of women as candidates, as contributors, as campaign professionals, and as voters can bring about great change in our country. Working together, we can make a difference.”

What Emily’s List is all about could hardly be clearer. As is the case with Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright, it’s virtually inconceivable that Ms. Martino “didn’t realize” that the group promotes abortion rights.

The Tribune should have cited a couple of “even thoughs” about Ms. Martino’s claim to create a balanced report, as it almost certainly would have with a conservative or Republican in a similarly troublesome situation.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Weekly Unemployment Claims, the New Normal: 427K, Last Week Revised Up to 426K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:53 am

At the Department of Labor:

In the week ending June 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 427,000, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 426,000. The 4-week moving average was 424,000, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 426,750.

… The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 364,507 in the week ending June 4, a decrease of 16,990 from the previous week. There were 398,864 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

The year-over-year drop in raw claims was less than 10%.

Here are the past 14 weeks. Note that every week presented saw an upward revision or two to the original figure:

UnempClaimsThru060411

420k+ claims is not a recipe for decent job or economic growth.

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UPDATE: Steve at No Runny Eggs noted in a previous post’s comment that expectations were for 415K. Naturally.

UPDATE 2: At the Associated Press, in its initial 8:40 a.m. report, the big bad bogeyman of the recession’s peak in weekly claims is back —

Applications typically must dip below 375,000 to signal sustainable job growth. They peaked during the recession at 659,000.

That was about 120 weeks ago, guys. Who cares?

UPDATE 3: Hmm — The 659,000-in-recession reference went away in Christopher Rugaber’s longer replacement write-up at the same link at 9:02 a.m.

30-Minute Quick-Hits (060911, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:32 am

On your mark, get set …

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Uh-oh #1: “Lack of buyers may force Treasury to boost rates.” Maxed-Out America may be coming way early.

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Uh-oh #2: “US Is Nearing Even Worse Financial Crisis: Jim Rogers”

“The U.S. is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world,” he said. “The debts are going through the roof. Would you keep lending money to somebody who’s spending money and not doing anything about it? No you wouldn’t.”

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Uh-oh #3:

According to a Treasury Department report, China has reduced its ownership of short-term U.S. Treasury bills by 97%, falling from a peak of $210.4 billion in May 2009 to only $5.69 billion in March 2011! Additionally, since October 2010, China has also been divesting its long-term Treasury bonds holdings. Clearly, China does not like to see an eroding U.S. dollar on top of extremely low interest rates. This is raising even more speculation about what will happen when the Fed ends its second round of quantitative easing (QE2) later this week. Who will buy Treasury bonds after the Fed ends its bond-buying spree?

See Uh-oh #1.

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Cue the MC Hammer (U Can’t Touch This): “Exxon makes major oil discovery in Gulf”

Exxon Mobil said Wednesday it has discovered an estimated 700 million barrels of oil equivalent at a deepwater well off the Louisiana coast, a major find that a top House Republican argued should push the administration to speed up offshore permitting.

I’m sure Barack Obama and Ken Salazar will work feverishly to figure out how China or Brazil can get to this oil.

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The More Sensible Conservatives, the Merrier: “New Whispers of Perry 2012 Bid” — as seen here in a graphic used last night, Texas’s four-year GDP growth of 8.68% trails only much smaller ND, WY, SD, and AK, all of which are arguably benefitting from good fortune with natural resources. Ohio (four-year contraction: 3.37%) and a lot of the rest of the country could use an injection of Texas-sized prosperity and optimism coming out of the federal government.

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“If you like your health plan, you can keep it” update:

A study by the McKinsey Group found that 30% of employers say they will definitely or probably drop health coverage after 2014, when ObamaCare fully kicks in. Among companies most familiar with the law, the figure is 50%. That’s more than ObamaCare backers claimed, and it would mean disruption in coverage for millions of families and huge new federal costs.

Anyone who understands statists’ goals and sees past their rhetoric understands that the statists in the White House consider this a good thing.
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Regulatory tyranny is more important than an economic recovery or jobs, Part God-Knows-What:

Two new EPA pollution regulations will slam the coal industry so hard that hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and electric rates will skyrocket 11 percent to over 23 percent, according to a new study based on government data.

Overall, the rules aimed at making the air cleaner could cost the coal-fired power plant industry $180 billion, warns a trade group.

… officials said that just one of the rules to cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions will would yield up to $290 billion in annual health and welfare benefits in 2014. They say that amounts to preventing up to 36,000 premature deaths, 26,000 hospital and emergency room visits, and 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma. “This far outweighs the estimated annual costs,” says an official on background.

There’s one hyphenated word to describe the government’s alleged “savings” and health-improvement figures: made-up. They have all the credibility of globaloney.

Positivity: Queen decorates Nepali for Afghanistan heroics

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 7:45 am

From London:

Thu Jun 2, 3:20 am ET

A Nepalese soldier in the British army has been given a top bravery award by Queen Elizabeth II for his heroics in Afghanistan, where he single-handedly saw off more than 30 Taliban fighters.

Corporal Dipprasad Pun, 31, said he thought he was going to die and so had nothing to lose in taking on the attackers who overran his checkpoint.

He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC), which is given in recognition of acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy.

Pun fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to repel the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, last September.

Surrounded, the enemy opened fired from all sides and for 15 minutes Pun remained under continuous attack, including from rocket-propelled grenades and AK47 guns.

At one point, unable to shoot, he used his machine gun tripod to knock down a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound.

Two insurgents were still attacking by the time he ran out of ammunition, but he set off a Claymore mine to repel them.

Pun was given his medal in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on Wednesday.

The CGC is second only to the Victoria Cross — the highest honour for bravery in the face of the enemy.

“There wasn’t any choice but to fight. The Taliban were all around the checkpoint. I was alone,” he said.

“I had so many of them around me that I thought I was definitely going to die so I thought I’d kill as many of them as I could before they killed me.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.