June 14, 2011

Would Somebody Wake Up and Dress Ted Strickland?

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

This is from the “ohiodemocrats” YouTube channel, so it must be official:

Are you kidding me?

It’s amazing that the state’s economy “only” shrank 3.37% while this guy was in charge. Based on this presentation, we’re lucky it wasn’t 10%.

Wis. Court: Budget Repair Law Can Take Effect; AP’s Bauer Clearly Unhappy

As has been the case virtually from the beginning, the Associated Press’s Scott Bauer has been clearly unhappy with 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, commonly known even to the Wisconsin Supreme Court as the “Budget Repair Bill.” Today, the court ruled that the law as enacted by the Badger State’s legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker can go into effect on July 1.

Looking back at what’s available of Bauer’s body of work on the matter during the past four months, his consistent mischaracterization of the bill’s contents, saying that it would “eliminate collective bargaining” when it doesn’t (shown here and here), is truly striking. What’s even more striking (pun intended) is how he and his employer described the law in the report’s headline and first sentence in at least one early version this evening:

Wisconsin’s Polarizing Union Law To Take Effect
(more…)

Take This Council and Shovel It

Filed under: Economy,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:52 pm

ObamaShovel2This morning, I noted how unimpressed Investors Business Daily is with the report of the Fortune 500-dominated “Jobs and Competitiveness Council.” My word: Lame.

I guess I need to work on my sense of humor about the economy and the massive failure known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Yesterday, this exchange in North Carolina (video at link) was supposed to be an exercise in comedy:

We see first-hand what happens when you try and permit a project in this country. And, um, it can delay things from months to years, and in many cases, uh, it can cause the project to be abandoned. Um, I’m sure that when you implemented the Recovery Act, your staff briefed you on many of the challenges of the permitting process and the impact of putting Americans back to work. And that’s exactly what we see in American business.

Obama (smiling): Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.

To be fair, it’s not correct to say that the GE’s Jeff Inmelt and others “erupted in laughter” — but they did get a chuckle out of Obama’s response. And the humor in government’s failure to perform is …?

To also be fair and very critical, Obama fudged his answer. What he told the New York Times last fall in an item with an inadvertently revealing title (“The Education of Barack Obama”) was the following:

But he did identify what he called “tactical lessons.” He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works.

In Ohio, the lack of shovel-ready projects was so apparent that in April 2009, Governor Ted Strickland tried to steer some of the Buckeye State’s money to drawing up plans for new ones, a situation I described as “pencil-ready projects.”

Anybody with a brain on Obama’s staff should have been able to tell him that there’s no such thing as a shovel-ready project. Anyone who has ever held an executive position in government or with many years of national political experience should have already known that — but, oh yeah, Obama had no executive experience when elected, and had had a total of 143 days of experience in the Senate when he declared his presidential candidacy. Team Obama, up to and including the President, either didn’t know this and thus didn’t deserve to be in their positions, or did know and didn’t care.

As to the results — while the lamebrains enjoy themselves, this is what has happened:

updated20unemployment20stimulus20graph

The graphic, benchmarking Team Obama’s prediction of what would happen when ARRA passed vs. what it predicted would happen if it didn’t vs. what really has happened, definitively shows that doing nothing would have been preferable.

Yesterday, Rush put the current situation in its proper bleak perspective (link won’t work by next Monday evening:

We’re living through a manmade economic disaster, not a cyclical disaster. This really is a president steering a hurricane. They tried to tell us that George W. Bush was steering Katrina to hit New Orleans ’cause he didn’t like Democrats. This is an economic hurricane that is being steered by this administration, and the damage that’s being done here is real, and it is purposeful.

You can take “purposeful” to mean “steered by public policies proven ineffective in the past” or as “deliberately damaging, where the damage to come was known beforehand.” Who can prove that it isn’t the latter?

CNN Derangement Syndrome

First, it was this — and note that the headline hasn’t changed in almost a month. No remorse, no regret; apparently it’s just standard operating procedure.

Now there’s this:

CNNwingnutHdln061411

It’s hard to see now Gingrich or Palin, neither of whom currently holds political office, can be seen as “demanding” anything.

Contrary to leftist belief, “wingnut” as meant in the headline above is not an accepted general-use dictionary word:

  • Proof 1
  • Proof 2 — Here, additional meanings are clearly tagged as slang, i.e., not acceptable for use in ordinary prose. Leftists should also note that the slang definitions are NOT exclusively right wing-targeted.

CNN, now derisively and appropriately tagged as the Client Number Nine network, has moved from national cable-news dominance to a distant also-ran in about 15 years. The above exemplifies why.

Obama Florida Fundraiser Over Half-Empty; Only the Politico and ABC Blogs Notice

Many people, including yours truly, believe that one of the primary reasons for the Politico’s existence is to carry negative stories about Democrats and leftists which the rest of the establishment press then mostly chooses to ignore (“Why should we cover that? It’s at the Politico already”).

President Obama’s more than half-empty campaign fundraising stop in Miami Monday is a case in point. As far as I can tell, only the Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown (“Empty seats: Obama fundraiser underwhelms”) and Mary Bruce at ABC’s Political Punch blog, whose item was also referenced at ABC’s The Note, covered the politically embarrassing situation.

At the Associated Press, a 10 a.m. ET search on “Obama Florida” (not in quotes) returned no stories devoted exclusively to the President’s Sunshine State appearances. In an early Tuesday report, the AP’s Jim Kuhnhenn buries a short mention of Obama’s appearances in a much longer piece about his voter turnout-driven visit to Puerto Rico:

The visit, the first official trip to the island by a president in 50 years, caps a two-day trip that took Obama to two crucial political battlegrounds – North Carolina and Florida – as he solidified his political outreach while defending his economic record against sweeping attacks from potential Republican foes.

Budoff Brown’s Politico report has an AP-credited photo of the event at the top, so it’s not like the wire service can pretend it wasn’t there. Nice coverup, Jimbo.

If a campaign stop in Puerto Rico seems odd because islanders can’t vote, Kuhnhenn helpfully reminds readers that “about 841,000″ Puerto Ricans live in Florida, and would supposedly be influenced by the natives’ lobbying.

A search on “Obama Florida” (also not in quotes) at the New York Times returned Kuhnhenn’s item and another by the paper’s Helene Cooper, whose only Florida reference reads as follows:

After North Carolina, Mr. Obama headed to Florida, another crucial state for his re-election hopes; he has scheduled several fund-raisers as part of his effort to raise a record $1 billion during this campaign.

This omission of what actually happened at Obama’s Monday Florida appearances is odd. Cooper’s item appeared in today’s print edition, meaning that she should have had plenty of time to relay what transpired (the Politico’s original time stamp is 8:06 p.m. Monday). She apparently chose not to.

The award for the worst coverage of the fundraising appearance goes to the Miami Herald’s Mark Caputo (“Obama fires up supporters at Arsht Center rally”), who wrote:

Obama repeated a similar line later at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, where an estimated 980 people paid anywhere from $44 to $2,500 to hear the president. The crowd enthusiastically greeted Obama’s warm-up acts, former Miami Heat star Alonso Mourning and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the new chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, which co-hosted the fundraisers with the president’s re-election campaign.

Zheesh. At its web site, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade County indicates that the capacity of the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House is 2,400. The place was 41% full.

It virtually goes without saying that a similar underwhelming appearance by an incumbent Republican or conservative president would have received much wider notice. The lack of coverage beyond the Politico and ABC’s blogs is very telling. Apparently, there are some stories deemed not to deserve wide distribution; the president’s half-empty fundraiser would appear to be one of them. It’s likely because, as Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker noted, “There is no way to recapture the magic of his first campaign for the presidency precisely because it was built on a manufactured image of hope entirely lacking in substance.”

As far as the establishment press is concerned, the nation’s relatively disengaged news consumers can’t be allowed to reach that conclusion.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lame: The ‘Jobs and Competitiveness Council’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:36 am

AMEXandGEjobsA Monday Investors Business Daily editorial belabors what should be obvious.

But it should be obvious to the press and others that those who are on the “Jobs and Competitiveness Council” won’t be creating much labor for the nation’s unemployed workers to perform, and it clearly isn’t.

Thus the need for what follows:

President Obama says he’s 100% focused these days on creating jobs. So why is he taking advice from a bunch of CEOs whose companies have been shedding jobs for years?

In February, Obama chartered the Jobs and Competitiveness Council with a mission of leaving “no stone unturned” in the search of ways to boost the country’s anemic job growth. But you could tell from the start that this council would have trouble even finding those stones, let alone turning them over.

After all, Obama stuffed the group full of Fortune 500 CEOs — General Electric, American Express, DuPont, Time Warner, Eastman Kodak and Xerox, among them. While these may be good companies, they’ve hardly been roaring engines of job growth. In most cases, in fact, the opposite is true. Some examples:

• GE’s domestic workforce shrank by 25,000 — almost 16% — between 2001 and 2010, according to the company’s annual reports. (The number of overseas GE jobs climbed over those years.)

• AmEx employed 28% fewer workers in 2010 than it did a decade ago.

• Kodak’s workforce cratered to just 18,800 last year from 75,000 in 2001.

… Just one business represented on the board — Facebook — is a genuine growth company. And the council is all but devoid of the kind of small- and midsize firms responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s new jobs.

It’s little wonder, then, that the list of immediate must-do, job-creating ideas the council came up with — and outlined in a Monday op-ed signed by GE’s Jeff Immelt and AmEx’s Ken Chenault — is so uninspiring.

More money to retrain workers? More tax dollars retrofitting commercial buildings to boost energy efficiency? More government loans passed out by the Small Business Administration? That’s the best the council could come up with after almost four months’ work?

In a word; Lame — and worse. I’ll get to that later.

Positivity: Dallas Mavs’ Owner Will Pay for Victory Parade

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

I can’t say that I’ve been a huge Mark Cuban fan, but I have to give him kudos for footing the bill for the Mavs’ victory parade:

The Dallas Mavericks returned home in triumph on Monday, cheered by hundreds of fans celebrating the franchise’s first NBA title and the first professional championship of any kind in the area in more than a decade.

Owner Mark Cuban walked off the plane at Love Field carrying the championship trophy he was handed after Sunday’s Game 6 win over the Miami Heat.

Next came forward Dirk Nowitzki with hardware of his own: The NBA finals MVP trophy that was awarded after he overcame a finger injury, illness and smothering defense from the Heat to power fourth-quarter comeback wins.

Cuban, the Dallas billionaire who bought the team in 2000, had the championship trophy in a seat next to him on the plane and he apparently kept it close throughout the Sunday night celebration.

“This will sound weird,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’m laying in bed. With the trophy next (to) me.”

Cuban will keep the party going at least through Thursday morning, the date set for the team’s victory parade through the streets of downtown Dallas.

Team spokeswoman Sarah Melton confirmed the date Monday, but said the precise route and other details would be announced Tuesday. Cuban has said that he will pick up the tab for the city’s parade costs.

The championship, the first in the 31-year history of the Mavericks, represents a breakthrough. The franchise was once one of the worst in the NBA and, even after Cuban’s infusion of cash and energy, had a reputation of failing to win big games – including a loss to Miami in the 2006 Finals after leading the series 2-0. …

I would suggest that this should become a tradition, effective right now, in the big four sports of baseball, basketball, football, and hockey.