July 24, 2011

In Covering State Jobs Report, AP’s Kravitz Ignores Job Gainers

In his Friday report covering the June state and local employment report released by Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Associated Press’s Derek Kravitz told readers about the three biggest seasonally adjusted job-losing states (Tennessee, Missouri, and Virginia), but had nothing to say about states which gained jobs. This was a curious omission indeed, given that BLS told us that “nonfarm payroll employment increased in 26 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 24 states.”

Only Kravitz knows why he neglected to tell us about the job gainers, but the list of the top eight states in that department should make readers wonder if the wire service reporter’s omission was motivated by inconvenient (for liberals and leftists) likely explanations for the improvements in most of them (keep in mind that though it’s not an apples to apples comparison, the economy as a whole added only 18,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in June):

TopJobGrowthStatesJune2011

One by one:

  • Mentioning Texas might have made some people think of generally positive economic news from the Lone Star State in general under possible GOP presidential contender Rick Perry. Others may be aware of the Obama administration’s EPA-led war on Texas, and wonder why it would be engaging in such an effort when the state, which has gained 144,000 jobs so far this year, is to a fair extent carrying the economy on its back.
  • California had a good month, but compared to Texas, it’s working off of larger base. The Golden State has picked up a total of 110,000 jobs since January, but that performance places it only 22nd in percentage employment growth.
  • Michigan had a good June, and of course needs very many more strong months to make up for its eight years under Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm. The Wolverine State has a new GOP governor in Rick Snyder and a legislature which passed a fiscally conservative budget, getting it done before Memorial Day for the first time since 1981.
  • June was the final month in the run-up to Minnesota’s state shutdown battle. The rest of the Gopher State economy didn’t seem to care much, did it?
  • Ohio under Republican Governor John Kasich, who ousted incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland in November, is one of the states where contentiousness over public-sector labor relations reform has been greatest. The state’s two-year budget effective July 1 closed a projected $8 billion budget gap without increasing taxes. The Buckeye State also “just so happens” to have picked up over 70,000 seasonally adjusted jobs this year, the highest 2011 percentage growth (1.42%) of any industrial state.
  • Massachusetts had a good June and has had a pretty decent first half of 2011. It just may have something to do with the fact that the state, to the surprise of many, has worked on and  actually enacted a degree of pubic-sector health care cost-sharing reform.
  • Then there’s Wisconsin, where Republican Governor Scott Walker took the most intense fire of any governor in recent history over his public-sector labor relations reforms earlier this year. The Badger State is in the midst of recall election campaigns involving state senators from both parties. Perhaps voters will notice that the state’s economy under Walker has improved significantly, something which could be not said about the situation under his predecessor, Democrat Jim Doyle. Wisconsin employment grew by all of 12,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in 2010. So far this year, employment is up by 37,300, over triple the 2010 figure.
  • Finally, there’s South Carolina, where Governor Nikki Haley has been in a public battle with the Associated Press over its negative state economic reporting. Spin this, AP: The Palmetto State had the nation’s fifth-highest percentage employment growth in June, trailing only much smaller, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and South Dakota. And don’t forget that the National Labor Relations Board has sued Boeing to prevent it from doing business at a plant near Charleston .

Despite the job pickups, the unemployment rate in most of the states listed above increased in June, as thousands of people who had been on the sidelines started looking for work again based on improved economic climates. One hopes that this bodes well for further job growth in these states.

As to the AP’s Kravitz, it’s awfully convenient for Democrats and the left that he neglected to relay the good news from states which are largely Republican-governed or have enacted public-sector labor relations reforms. His avoidance of South Carolina’s emphatic, in-your-face result is also quite a coincidence. Did you just run out of space, Derek?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Boehner to Obama: ‘Congress writes the laws and you get to decide what you want to sign’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:58 am

From the Politico (a shaky source, but it seems to fit Boehner’s personality):

Boehner walked away from talks for a large-scale deficit deal Friday, saying the White House abandoned an agreed upon number for a revenue increase and was insisting on tax hikes. That move, GOP aides and lawmakers said, was seen favorably by House Republicans, who are wary of deal making with Obama.

Boehner recounted to participants on the call what he told Obama.

“As I read the Constitution, the Congress writes the laws and you get to decide what you want to sign,” Boehner said, recounting what he told the president, according to two sources.

Importantly, it would appear that the “revenue increase” Boehner was discussing largely related to enhanced enforcement and not fundamentally changing the tax laws. If roughly $500 billion of the $800 billion involved related to that, then only $300 billion related to something else — which could easily be non-tax items such as land sales, fee adjustments, and ending industry-specific subsidies. Though the linked item appears to frame it differently, we have to remember that Senator Kyl separately referred to identified non-tax “revenue” enhancements of $150-$200 billion (not clear if annual or 10-year) which were “mis-Tweeted” as tax increases by Reuters earlier this month.

Even if the leftovers were tax increases (which, again, I tend to doubt), the fact that Obama came back with $400 billion more in tax increases at the last minute means he was demanding at least double the tax increases Boehner was willing to begrudge. Obma’s gambit was a lot of things, but “good faith negotiating” isn’t one of them.

Boehner is of course correct in his quoted statement. Further, if a law to prevent a shutdown or financial disruption gets to Obama’s desk and he vetoes it, he will have been the one who caused the shutdown or financial disruption to occur. No amount of press or White House spin can alter that reality — mabye the perception, but not the reality.

Positivity: A friend’s death leads softball team on emotional journey to championship

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:54 am

From Indianapolis (photo gallery at link; HT CNA):

July 1, 2011

Everywhere he looked, David Lauck savored the scenes of pure emotion that come from winning a high school state championship.

He watched the girls in the dugout rush across the softball diamond to join their teammates on the field, all of them diving on each other in a joyous, tangled pile of bodies on the pitcher’s mound.

He saw the celebration in the bleachers where moms and dads beamed and hugged, and the players’ friends and fans clapped and cheered for the Roncalli High School softball team that had just captured the 2011 Class 3A state championship of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

As the head coach of Roncalli’s team, Lauck reveled in every second of the celebration on June 11. But his joy was also touched with a feeling of wistfulness in what may have been the most emotional moment of the day.

That moment joined Lauck with Marty and Kathleen Lynch. Ever gracious, even in their deep pain, the husband and wife hugged Lauck and told him how happy they were for him and the girls on the team.

In that moment, Lauck once again pictured the couple’s daughter, Kaitlin “Katie” Lynch. As he thought of her, he knew in his heart that the overflowing joy of this state championship was inspired by the devastating heartbreak of Katie’s death.

Setting an example for living life

When Katie died at age 17 on May 20, the news rocked the Roncalli community and everyone who knew and loved her. After an announcement about her sudden and unexpected death was made at the school on that Friday morning, shocked, grief-stricken students looked for understanding and comfort from each other and their teachers—teachers who needed understanding and comfort, too.

A Roncalli teacher, Lauck was at home on that morning, helping his wife, Kara, with their newborn baby, Aubree, who had entered the world just five days earlier. When Lauck received the phone call about Katie, the news took away the breath of the father of four.

Similar to everyone familiar with Katie’s story, Lauck knew that she had been battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma—a type of cancer—for three years. But the expectations and the medical percentages were always high that she would eventually recover.

Her doctors believed that she was getting better every day after she received an adult stem-cell transplant at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis on May 12. She was even dancing and laughing in her hospital room on the night before she died of a blood clot.

“She was happy-go-lucky, always smiling on the field and off the field,” Lauck recalls. “She was a very confident player. Softball was going to be her sport in high school.”

In her freshman year, she played for Roncalli even as she received radiation treatments for the disease. When she couldn’t play in her sophomore year, she served as a manager for the team. She also attended as many games as she could this season. Even more telling, she reached out to nearly everyone at Roncalli, making special efforts to connect with students who are quiet, shy or doubted themselves.

That helps explain why more than 4,000 people attended her wake in the Roncalli gym.

“She had a fighter’s personality,” Lauck says. “She went around nationally speaking about cancer awareness. She was also involved in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation [an effort in which people agree to shave their heads for donations that benefit research for a cure of childhood cancer]. A number of kids at Roncalli shaved their heads every year because of her.”

As he thought of Katie, Lauck also focused on some of the girls who knew her well—the members of the softball team.

‘We came together’

Since the beginning of the softball season in March, Lauck believed he had a state championship-caliber team. But the team just wasn’t playing like it or acting like it as the season moved deeper into May.

“There were some trust and chemistry issues with the team,” Lauck says. “It wasn’t a united team.”

Looking back now, everyone connected with the team says the change in attitude came with the news about Katie. …

Go here for the rest of the story.