June 23, 2011

Shock and ‘Awww’ at the NYT Over ‘Once-Unthinkable’ New Jersey Govt. Union ‘Setback’

chris-christieIt took well over a year, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has gotten his way.

Covering the story for the New York Times, Richard Perez-Pena seemed to alternate between shock and “Awww.” His biggest journalistic distortion was understating the degree to which Christie needed — and got — Democratic Party help to pass legislation which, in Pena’s words, “will sharply increase what state and local workers must contribute for their health insurance and pensions, suspend cost-of-living increases to retirees pension checks, raise retirement ages and curb the unions’ contract bargaining rights.”

The shock and “Awww” at the Times extends to the difference between the item’s browser window title (“N.J. Legislature Moves to Cut Benefits for Public Workers”) and the article title, which readers will see after the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):


Memo to Chuckie Schumer and Dickie Durbin: 11 GOP-Led States Are Saving Obama’s — and the Country’s — Bacon

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:15 pm

(originally posted at about noon; revised significantly at 3:15 p.m.)


All right, that does it. Gloves off.

I just heard audio of Democratic Senators Chuckie Schumer and Dickie Durbin accusing the GOP leadership in Washington of wanting the economy to tank in the name of electoral advantage.

Erik Wasson covered this utter crap at the Hill yesterday:

Schumer argued Republicans are focusing on the deficit at the peril of the economy, and that infrastructure spending and support for clean energy are other stimulus measures that should be considered by Congress.

“It is hard to figure out why Republicans would say no for three reasons: It’s pro-business, it’s a tax cut, and many of them have supported it in the past,” he said.

Schumer suggested that opposition to the stimulus proposal could come because the GOP deliberately wants to scuttle the economy in order to prevent Obama from being reelected.

Here’s a direct Durbin quote recorded by Greg Sargent at the Washington Post’s Plum Line, also from yesterday:

Today Senate Dems went there: They accused Republicans of deliberately sabotaging the economy in order to further their own political interests. And a senior Dem Senate aide tells me that Dems will not shy away from making that case in the weeks to come, if the Republicans keep blocking their efforts to spur job creation.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin made the charge in remarks to reporters today. Durbin said: “Unfortunately our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate are driven by putting one man out of work — President Obama.”

Schumer seconded …

Bleep both of you, Chuckie and Dickie — and your little party too.

Perhaps the two pathetic progressive senators can explain how it is that the states identified below with conservative Republican governors have been the predominant job creators in the economy this year. In fact, the named states are mostly doing the things Schumer and Durbin despise: Cutting or holding the line on taxes, cutting spending, and doing what they can about excessive regulation and bureaucracy.

Gosh … that’s what the GOP in Washington wants to implement nationally. In other words, they want to do at the federal level what has been working at the state level. If the GOP is determined to tank the economy (which has never really left the tank, in case you two haven’t noticed), they have a funny way of trying to make it happen, don’t they, Chuckie and Dickie?

Here are the facts, in case you fools give a damn:

Fact 1: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the first five months of this year (pending revision), the economy has added 783,000 seasonally adjusted jobs.

Fact 2: The following eleven states with Republican governors, most of whom (where described) have replaced Democrats or proven RINOs, have added a total of 445,000 jobs (full graphic off all 50 states and DC is here):

  • Texas, 118K
  • Ohio, 70K (John Kasich defeated incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland in 2010 and took office in January 2011)
  • Florida, 60K (Rick Scott replaced proven RINO and one-man disaster Charlie Crist in January 2011; Florida’s economy, after growing 29% from 2001-2006 under the marvelous Jeb Bush, contracted by 4.4% from 2007-2010 under Crist; only Michigan and Nevada fared worse during those years)
  • Virginia, 37K (Bob McDonnell replaced Democrat Tim Kaine in January 2010)
  • Michigan, 32K (Rick Snyder replaced Democrat Jennifer Granholm in January 2011)
  • Wisconsin, 28K (Scott Walker replaced Democrat Jim Doyle in January 2011)
  • Arizona, 25K (Jan Brewer replaced Janet Napolitano in January 2009)
  • Oklahoma, 24K (Mary Fallon replaced Democrat Brad Henry in January)
  • Louisiana, 21K (Bobby Jindal replaced Democrat Kathleen Blanco in January 2008)
  • Utah, 16K
  • Nebraska, 14K

Fact 3: These states have only 32% of the nation’s population.

Fact 4: Despite regulatory impediments and downright hostility from statist ingrates in Washington, particularly members of the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress, the above states are making meaningful economic headway.

Fact 5: Meanwhile, many blue states, in terms of their seasonally adjusted workforce growth percentage, aren’t impressing (e.g., California, +0.52%; Maryland, -0.28%; Minnesota, +0.34%). Maybe that’s where your “scuttling the economy” is coming from, Chuckie and Dickie. Why don’t you ask them why they’re working so hard to scuttle precious President Barack Obama’s electoral chances?

To be clear, comparing the Bureau’s national and state-by-state data isn’t a clean apples-to-apples exercise. But it should be nonetheless obvious that if it weren’t for the disproportionately strong economic performance of the eleven states listed above, all of which “just so happen” to have conservative Republican governors, the nation’s economy would be in much, much worse shape than it already is.


UPDATE: The only really strong performer among larger states with Democratic governors thus far is Illinois (+64K, or 1.15% of the workforce, which still trails Ohio’s +70K, or 1.39% of the workforce). This is admittedly odd given the tax increases Illinois just passed. As of course is the case with the 11 relatively stellar states run by GOP governors noted above, we’ll see if it lasts.

UPDATE 2: If all 50 states and DC were replicating the performance of the 11 states above and did so for the rest of the year, the national economy would add about 3.3 million jobs by the end of the year — far more than any of the current predictions, most of which are in the 2 million range. That would still be nowhere near Reaganesque, but it would beat the pants off of what’s happening now.

Jon Husted and Ohio Senate Say We Don’t Need Photo ID at the Polls

Filed under: Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:57 pm


From yesterday (HT to an e-mailer):



  • What possible proof does giving a Social Security number (not a card; Jon Husted only referred to “numbers”) with no other accompanying form of identification provide? (Polling booth personnel have no Social Security records to cross-check, nor should they.)
  • Who doesn’t have a photo ID? (I would like to meet them, and if they live in Warren County, will be glad to connect them to someone who will remedy that shortcoming at no charge.)
  • In the past few years when the photo ID requirement has been in place, who has come forward and said “I was unable to vote because I had no ID” who couldn’t have easily remedied that shortcoming well ahead of Election Day?
  • Absent a photo ID (which itself isn’t foolproof, but a vast improvement over no photo ID), what controls are in place to ensure that the person voting is who they say they are? (I hear crickets chirping …)
  • How can anyone provide ironclad assurance that a significant amount of fraudulent voting is not occurring, when so many jurisdictions have more registered voters than adult residents?

Stuck on Stagnant II: 30K Actual New Homes Sales in May; Annualizes to Seasonally Adjusted 319K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:04 am

In a country with 89.5 million single-family homes, 30,000 new ones were sold in May, according to the Census Bureau.

Here’s what the trailing 12 months’ sales have been since the end of 2008:


We should have bottomed out and started meaningfully heading back up long ago. It’s not happening. Instead, we’re at over 2-1/2 years since TARP and have finally, possibly found the bottom, with little if any prospect for a meaningful rebound.

This isn’t one of those Ben Bernanke “I have no idea” situations. Democratic-driven home lending policies created this mess, and the Obama administration’s mortgage modification and other market-interrupting programs have lengthened it, deepened it, and caused untold large numbers of Americans to needlessly suffer.

Stuck on Stagnant: Initial Unemployment Claims Come in at 429K SA; NSA only 7.5% Less than 2010

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:41 am

From the Department of Labor:

In the week ending June 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 429,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 420,000. The 4-week moving average was 426,250, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average of 426,250.

… The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 394,925 in the week ending June 18, a decrease of 5,683 from the previous week. There were 427,080 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

The revision to the previous week was even bigger than usual, going from 414K to the 420K above. When this week’s figure is upwardly revised next week, it will mean that the four-week average really trended up this week.

The not seasonally adjusted initial claims number is only about 7.5% less than the same week in 2010, which is among the lowest year-over-year drops in some time.

Disappointing, but if you excuse the use of the term, not unexpectedly so, at least around here.

Out there in weak-predicting establishment medialand, it was “more than expected” by about 15K.

Positivity: Nearly 20,000 priests expected to attend World Youth Day

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Madrid:

Jun 20, 2011 / 02:01 pm

Nearly 20,000 priests are expected to accompany the young people attending World Youth Day 2011 in August, announced Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco of Madrid, Spain.

“To accompany young people in this great celebration with the Word and with the Eucharist and with devoted pastoral care is the great challenge and opportunity that (World Youth Day) gives us for the present and the future of the Church,” he stated.

Cardinal Rouco said numerous bishops and a “massive” number of priests from around the world are expected to attend the youth event taking place August 16-21 in Madrid. “The number of priests registered has surpassed 12,000 and we expect that number to reach 15,000-20,000,” he said during a Mass for the feast of Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, celebrated in Spain on June 15.

Cardinal Rouco Varela recalled the long logistical and spiritual preparation for World Youth Day 2011, centered upon “the Cross of Christ, the Cross of the World Youth Days, and the Icon of the Virgin Mary at its side.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

AP Coverage of Bernanke’s ‘I Have No Idea’ Speech Similarly Clueless

clueless-202x300(Graphic found at Libertarian Christians)

When the Associated Press’s Paul Wiseman and Martin Crutsinger team up for a report on the economy, there’s no limit to the comic potential.

Today, in covering what the folks at Zero Hedge described as “Ben Bernanke’s ‘I Have No Idea Why The Economy Will Get Better But It Will’ Speech” (transcript is at link), the AP pair may have set a new world record for most unused words one would expect to be employed in a report on the condition of the economy.

Readers will not find the following words, all of which bear at least somewhat on why the economy currently is failing to live up to expectations and to meaningfully rebound nearly two years after the official end of the recession, in the wire service’s report: