July 8, 2011

Housekeeping Note

Filed under: General — Tom @ 10:54 pm

In the second-from-the-right column, the long-lost SOB Alliance blogroll is back, this time accompanied by the latest posts from around the Alliance. Readers should feel free to peruse the blogs and the latest posts contained therein.

A new SOB Alliance logo also graces the right column near the top.

Intense thanks go to Alo at Brain Shavings for getting involved with the new scripted blogroll and working up the great new logo.

CA-36: Janice Hahn Must Be Stopped

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:31 pm

They’re 8-plus minutes each, so they’re on the long side, but they’re worth it. Just watch, and if you know anyone in CA-36, make sure they know about it.

The one is from 2008, and details Democrat Janice Hahn’s involvement in and continued advocacy of a gang intervention program long after it was clear that it was failing:

This is from Wednesday, after Democratic Congressional candidate Janice Hahn issued a cease and desist letter in an attempt to prevent the LA TV station involved from updating its report:

Janice Hahn:

  • Has demonstrated extremely poor judgment in instituting and then defending a clearly indefensible gang intervention program.
  • Has revealed her authoritarian instincts for all to see. While that would make her perfectly welcome in the Obama administration’s Gangster Government, it makes her objectively unfit to serve as a congressperson.

Her opponent, Craig Huey, is a sensible constitution-following conservative.

The choice couldn’t be any clearer.

AP’s Conn. Priorities: In-State Tuition For Illegals and Sick Pay Mandate Are National Stories; 6,500 Union-Driven State Layoffs Aren’t

ConnecticutLooking for updates on the Connecticut state budget mess earlier this afternoon, I searched the Associated Press’s national site on the last name of Democratic Nutmeg State Governor Dannel Malloy, and found nothing recent (graphic saved here for future reference).

But there were two stories originating from the state which the wire service, the nation’s de facto news gatekeeper, deemed worthy of national attention. Brace yourself.

Yesterday afternoon (“Illegal immigrant in-state tuition begins in Conn.”), reporter Stephen Dockery virtually celebrated the fact that “illegal immigrant Maria Praeli can consider going to college fulltime” because she can “can now qualify for in-state tuition at Connecticut’s public universities under a law that took effect last week.” The law will reduce Ms. Praeli’s tuition costs “by as much as $17,000 annually for undocumented students such as Praeli.” Governor Malloy, who signed the bill, is apparently quite pleased, as evidenced in this AP quote: “These are children who live in Connecticut, contribute to our economy and are part of the fabric of our state. This bill isn’t controversial, it’s common sense.”

The second national story submitted by Stephen Singer on Tuesday trumpets the news that the state has become the first in the nation to require employers to “the first state to require companies to provide employees with paid sick leave.” Singer’s report appears to indicate that Malloy is more than a little concerned about actively joining in the hallelujahs:

The measure requires businesses in the service industry with 50 or more employees to allow workers to accrue one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked. Backers estimate that between 200,000 and 300,000 workers will benefit. Opponents said the law will make Connecticut less competitive.

… Malloy’s signature was expected, but the absence of a gathering to mark the first-in-the-nation law took its chief legislative backer by surprise. He signed the bill into law Friday but didn’t announce his action until Tuesday.

A Malloy spokesman said the governor might schedule a ceremonial bill signing, but right now is putting his stamp on bills as they reach his desk.

Malloy, a Democrat, made his support of paid sick leave a campaign issue last year, saying it was to safeguard public health. He persuaded wavering lawmakers to vote for it, Prague said.

From what is reported, the law appears to apply to all employees, even part-timers. Lord have mercy on Connecticut’s employers.

Gee, I wonder if either of these stories has any relationship to why Connecticut’s budgetary situation is a complete mess, why its business climate ranking is almost the worst in the nation (#47, per the Tax Foundation), and why its Tax Freedom Day of May 2 is the latest in the entire country?

But “somehow,” the budget mess isn’t deemed worthy of national carriage in AP-Land. Nor is it making much news anywhere else. A Google News search from July 5-8 on “Connecticut layoffs Malloy” (not in quotes) returns only 56 stories (the first page says 875, but it’s really only 56 without duplicates).

Malloy’s mess originated with tax increases passed in anticipation of promised public-sector union givebacks to complete the closure of a multibillion-dollar budget gap. The taxes are already in effect, but the givebacks aren’t happening. A not nationally syndicated report from this afternoon by the AP’s Susan Haigh gives away a likely reason why the establishment press might be keeping a lid on this, namely appallingly antidemocratic union contract hurdles which make givebacks virtually unachievable:

Gov’s aide to talk with Conn. unions about rules

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Thursday that he has directed his chief labor negotiator to reach out to the state employee union leaders and learn how they plan to change their process for approving a labor savings and concessions agreement.

Malloy, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, said he “needs to understand what a road to an approval process is” and whether the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition will make any clarifications to the current rules.

“I don’t see any way that further discussions would be justified if the same approval process is what applies,” Malloy said.

SEBAC leaders sent Malloy a letter on Tuesday, asking to “reconvene discussions” with the Democratic governor’s administration in an effort to stop approximately 6,500 looming state employee layoffs.

Union leaders, who represent about 45,000 workers, have been struggling to find a way to avoid the layoffs after the membership last month rejected a labor-savings deal.

Four of the 15 SEBAC unions voted against the deal. A total of 57 percent of the votes were in favor of it, but under the coalition’s current bylaws, at least 14 of the 15 unions have to vote to support any changes to the coveted, 20-year health and retirement benefit agreement that’s in place until 2017.

… “We spent 60 days negotiating an agreement that was ultimately good for everybody, short-term-wise and long-term-wise, and clearly the process requiring all but one union to vote for it and representing 80 percent of registered membership is unlikely to be met in the future, based on the process,” Malloy said.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Haigh doesn’t mention the tax increases which were enacted with the promise of givebacks.

Does anyone else besides yours truly think that Malloy should have known how nearly impossible achieving givebacks would be before blithely pushing through tax increases and arriving at the current impasse? (Or worse, did he know the givebacks would almost certainly not happen and push tax increases through anyway?)

Wisconsin’s situation was national news for months. Chris Christie’s breakthrough budget in New Jersey made national news. The mess created by Malloy, who in headier days referred to himself as “the anti-Christie” — y’know, the guy who could get a state’s house in order and keep public-sector unions operating under an “are you kidding me?” 20-year contract unscathed — should also be a national story. The situation certainly has national lessons.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

The June Employment Situation (070811): +18k Jobs, -44K Prior Revisions, Unemployment at 9.2% (See Updates)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:28 am

With ADP’s better than expected report showing 157,000 jobs added in the private sector, estimates of overall seasonally adjusted job adds in today’s Employment Situation report are now between 120,000 and 200,000, according to the Associated Press.

BizzyBlog readers know that the raw data, i.e., the NOT seasonally adjusted numbers, is where the best info is in the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy’s topsy-turvy situation of past three years.

Here is where we stand:

http://i739.photobucket.com/albums/xx40/mmatters/NSAandSAJobs2001to0511.png

I would say that the benchmarks for June jobs add should be 600,000 overall and 1 million in the private sector. We need a robust recovery, not a mediocre to nonexistent one.

On the seasonally adjusted side, I would not be surprised to see a number near the high side of the AP’s range which will shield the weakness in the underlying raw data (Update: See below; not exactly).

The report will appear here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS, with yet another round of bitter disappointment:

Nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in June (+18,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in most major private-sector industries changed little over the month. Government employment continued to trend down.

… Total nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in June (+18,000). Following gains averaging 215,000 per month from February through April, employment has been essentially flat for the past 2 months. Employment in most major private-sector industries changed little in June, while government employment continued to trend down.

… Manufacturing employment changed little in June. Following gains totaling 164,000 between November 2010 and April 2011, employment in this industry has been flat for the past 2 months. In June, job gains in fabricated metal products (+8,000) were partially offset by a loss in wood products (-5,000).

Construction employment was essentially unchanged in June. After having fallen sharply during the 2007-09 period, employment in construction has shown little movement on net since early 2010.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised from +232,000 to +217,000, and the change for May was revised from +54,000 to +25,000.

Thus (seasonally adjusted, of course) — in the 24th freaking month of “Rebound? What Rebound?” — the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 26,000 fewer people (June’s +18K minus April’s and May’s downward revisions totaling 44K) were working at the end of June than were thought to be working at the end of May. O … M … G.

I’ll look at the NSA numbers when I can break through to the BLS’s updated data.

___________________________________________________

UPDATE: The actual jobs adds in the past three months are as follows –

June: Overall, 376K; Private, 840K (2003-2007 averages: Overall, 490K; Private 916K)
May: Overall, 631K; Private, 719K (2003-2007 averages: Overall, 845K; Private 849K)
April: Overall, 1173K; Private, 1146K (2003-2007 averages: Overall, 939K; Private 931K)

Interesting. April beat the 5-year averages from 2003-2007; May trailed badly; June trailed not as badly. Yet, after cooking in the seasonal adjustment kitchen was complete, June came out essentially as bad as May (+18K vs. revised +25K).

The administration got a break in May’s seasonal adjustment (as I pointed out in my Pajamas Media column a month ago) and got the shaft in June’s. I’d be tempted to say “What goes around comes around,” but if May 2011′s actuals had been reported in May 2007, the SA numbers would undoubtedly have come in negative, and Team Obama dodged that PR-disastrous bullet.

UPDATE 2: Birth/Death was +131,000 (HT commenter Greg), which, though it’s the same as last June, seems high. I would rate the odds that May and June 2011 ultimately end up being negative when all revisions are done, including the next two annual benchmark comprehensive revisions, as being pretty high.

UPDATE 3: Frequent commenter dscott has a post up at his place graphically demonstrating how disastrous the labor market of the past three years has been and how much damage the alleged recovery has done, with particular emphasis on the growth in part-time workers. It was done before today’s release, meaning that most of the data in his post only gets worse when June gets factored in.

UPDATE 4: Yesterday, Karl Denninger at Seeking Alpha impressively sniffed out the data divergence between unemployment claims and the impending employment report:

Unemployment Claims, Jobs Numbers Don’t Jibe

… I know the expectations for the NFP report just got boosted, and with cause given the ADP numbers, but the claims are now over 400k for 13 weeks running.

This is simply incongruent with job growth.

Denninger went on to predict that if today’s report came in weak, we’d see “a negative jobs figure within the next two to three months and likely a negative GDP by 1Q 2012.” As I said in Update 2, I think the chances are high that we’ll see May’s and/or June’s seasonally adjusted number go negative by the time all revisions, including the comprehensive benchmarks, which have averaged -415,000 per year during the past four years, get figured in. In other words, there’s a good chance that Denninger is already right about the first half of his prediction, and the BLS just hasn’t yet confirmed it.

Quick-Hit Headlines (070811, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:06 am

Barely scratching the surface …

At Pajamas Media: “Why the Case Against Huma Abedin Cannot Be Dismissed” — That’s right, the article is about Anthony Weiner’s wife. She is (obviously) “closely associated with her Muslim Brotherhood family” and “was never properly screened” for her State Department position as Hillary Clinton’s closest aide, in which she clearly has access to all kinds of sensitive info.

Also at Pajamas Media, via Bob Owens: “Email Confirms ‘Gunwalker’ Known Throughout Justice Department: Attorney General Holder’s credibility takes another hit.” The headline questionably assumes he ever had any. Related: At the New York Post, by Michael Walsh: “‘Fast & Furious’ gets hotter for Holder” — Nowhere near hot enough.

At the Wall Street Journal in Jim Taranto’s Best of the Web: “Ruthless People: Libs to Ginsburg: Drop dead.” Lefties want Ruth Bader Ginsburg to quit the Supreme Court so Obama can appoint a younger leftist who ignores the Constitution’s original intent and legislates from the bench. Guess that means they’re worried about losing in November 2012.

Dick Morris vs. Tim Pawlenty at RightSpeak: “Shariah compliant housing loans in Minnesota.” Summarized: “Morris 1, Pawlenty 0.”

At Hot Air: “Did Obama lie about White House salaries in Twitter town hall?” The headline didn’t need to be phrased as a question.

James Pethokoukis at Reuters: “U.S. debt crisis might be on fast track.” This echoes something from yours truly in April: “Maxed Out America: Coming Sooner Than You Think.”

Positivity: Irish pro-life rally draws thousands

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Dublin, Ireland:

Jul 7, 2011 / 06:22 am

Thousands of people attended a large pro-life rally in Dublin to oppose attempts to force abortion on Ireland by changing its laws.

Organizers said the July 2 “All Ireland Rally for Life” was “hugely successful” and serves as a warning to the political party Fine Gael that the Labour Party’s plans to legalize abortion in Ireland are “unacceptable to the majority of Irish people.”

Speakers called on Irish prime minister Enda Kenny to keep his promise that his party would be opposed to the legalization of abortion, according to rally co-sponsor Youth Defence.

The European Court of Human Rights in December ruled that Ireland’s abortion ban breached the rights of a woman who had to leave the country in order to procure an abortion. Fine Gael has set up an expert group to examine the judgment.

The “rush” by Ireland’s Labour Party to call for abortion legislation after the ruling hurt their performance in the 2011 elections, Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute told the crowd.

She said that pro-lifers will not accept a review committee that is “stacked against the unborn child” or ignores “the evidence that clearly shows that abortion is never medically necessary.”

Carolyn Johnston of Youth Defence said Irish pro-lifers demand that the government “listen to the pro-life majority who say ‘Yes to Life’ and ‘No to abortion.’”

“Enda Kenny needs to tell the European Court not to interfere in the right of the sovereign people to decide Ireland’s pro-life laws,” Johnston said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.