October 7, 2011

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100711)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 3:50 pm

Rules are here.

Possible comment fodder will follow shortly. Other topics are also fair game.

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Here are just a few noteworthy items (will update periodically between now and the end tonight’s TIB All-Stars broadcast [go to Weapons of Mass Discussion at 6 p.m. for details and links]).

Cincinnati Enquirer“‘Occupy Cincinnati’ organizer Democratic activist.” Anyone think this got into the print edition?

James Pethokoukis at AEI’s Enterprise blog (“Occupy Wall Street Now Occupies Obama”) — “America’s #1 community organizer—in a switcheroo—has himself now been organized by a community, in particular those demonstrators up in New York and several other cities across America.” Well, yes and no. Obama really agrees with most of the vague things they want, and many of his supporters (see previous item, plus unions, plus MoveOn.org) have now joined.

Steve Jobs Roundup:

  • At Pajamas Media, via Michael S. Malone — “An Unexpected Appreciation”
  • At the New York Times, the pull quote of the day, on why he authorized a biography — “‘I wanted my kids to know me,’ Mr. Jobs replied, Mr. Isaacson wrote Thursday in an essay on Time.com. ‘I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.’”
  • Sebastian Anthony at Extreme Tech“What would the world be like if Steve Jobs had never existed?” We don’t want to know, and thankfully don’t have to find out. The author’s conclusion, after engaging in some over-the-top what-ifs: “the world would be less joyous, less functional, and less beautiful.”
  • Jobs’s Stanford commencement speech

Michael Ledeen at Pajamas Media — “Victory Could Be Ours, If Only We Want It.” I don’t think the Obama administration wants it, and it doesn’t really matter what “we” think. It’s too bad, as Ledeen notes: “In the real war, our major enemies are the evil regimes in Iran and Syria, and both are hollow and wobbling, needing only one good push to go over.” An historic opportunity may be lost.

Jake Tapper asks Obama a “tough” question (i.e., one you would expect any conscientiious reporter to have), and turns the President into an incoherent blubberer.

Jason Riley at the Wall Street Journal“Cain’s Post-Racial Promise”

Todd Spangler at USA Today“Those making $75,000-$100,000 a year are the fastest-growing share of people who don’t pay federal income taxes.”

A horrible truth about the 1979 Jonestown mass suicide/murders — “There were plenty of senior figures—sentient, educated people—cooking up the death plans. The medical director suggested mass shootings, and nurses volunteered to manage the massacre. It was the dietician who suggested a form of killing that would capture the attention of the world.”

Scroll to the end of this PDF, and you’ll find that a U.S. District court in California has dismissed a suit challenging the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner“Reid rewrites Senate rules with shocking move.” All of this to avoid embarrassing the president over the lack of support for his “jobs bill.” Related: Taranto at the Wall Street Journal“Radioactive Reid; The Senate majority leader’s power play is certain to backfire.”

At American Free Press“Corruption Plagues Obama.” Much of the first third is new info that most people don’t know.

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TIB-added Links:

ABC News“Obama Fundraiser Pushed Solyndra Deal From Inside”

Chicago Sun-Times on Solyndra and Valerie Jarrett.

Zogby: Big Mo Boards the Cain Train (Update: Cain Owns MSNBC’s O’Donnell Over Vietnam)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:04 pm

Too good to be completely true? Probably, but … (rubbing eyes) … (blinking several times) … “wow” (HT PJ Tatler):

Zogby100511Cain38

Bonus at the same poll: Cain 46, Obama 44.

Shoot, probably 1/3 and possibly even half of the country still doesn’t even know who Herman Cain is (Update: Maybe 1/3 is also high), which is anecdotally confirmed in a somewhat entertaining TV report from Tampa:

But outside Republican political circles, has Cain become a recognizable figure with John Q. Public?

When we showed pictures of Herman Cain to folks outside the very same bookstore where he was signing autographs, some recognized him, but others had a tough time placing his face.

“Probably some congressman, I don’t know,” said one man.

But there were several who also recognized Cain right away, which may not have been the case as recently as a month ago. Cain’s recognition factor may not seem too bad, considering he’s a relative newcomer to the national political stage.

But the presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfathers Pizza only did about as well as this another pizza exec whose picture we flashed, not running for office: John Schnatter A.K.A “Papa John”.

Also, to be perfectly fair, neither man was as universally recognized as the third pizza picture we shared, the Little Caesar’s guy.

Still, only one of these pizza players has pie-in-the-sky aspirations of delivering a victory November 2012.

UPDATE: It’s exchanges like this with ignoramuses who think they are know-it-alls which are endearing Cain to sensible voters –

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, MSNBC: Question about the Commander-in-Chief role. … Can you explain how you avoided military service during the Vietnam War and during the draft and why you should be Commander-in-Chief if you did successfully avoid military service during the war that came during what would have been your war years, how you, after avoiding the Vietnam War, why should you be Commander-in-Chief?

HERMAN CAIN: Lawrence, you know, do you stay up night to come up with the wording in these questions or do you have someone writing them for you?

… Lawrence, first of all, I wanted to clarify the record because I didn’t want to be accused later of saying that I served in the Navy. And if you read the book closely, it says I worked for the Department of the Navy.

Now, your choice of words to say, “How did I avoid the Vietnam War?” I wasn’t trying to avoid the Vietnam War. Here’s what happened, Lawrence. I was working in a critical area called exterior ballistics. I worked on something called the rocket-assisted projectile for the Department of the Navy. It was my local board in Atlanta, Georgia, that told me, we would rather for you to continue to do that analytical work to help the Navy rather than us drafting you.

Secondly, when they had the lottery, I made myself available. The year that they had the lottery for the draft they did not draft me because they didn’t get to my number. So I think that’s a poor choice of words on your part, to say that I avoided the Vietnam War. I made myself available to my country, and they did not draft me. The rest of the time I was serving my country in a critical role called exterior ballistics analysis. So I am offended with your choice of words in terms of what I was doing during the Vietnam War.

This of course did not satisfy O’Donnell (“I am offended on behalf of all the veterans of the Vietnam War who joined” — note how Cain baited him into saying something incredibly stupid). The MSNBC host is too dense to recognize when he’s been totally owned, and would apparently prefer to see a freaking rocket scientist trudging through the rice paddies in Vietnam in direct disagreement with the clear preferences of military officials at the time.

In a total non-surprise, Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters notes that “O’Donnell evaded draft with college deferment.”

Bleep you, Lawrence O’Donnell. And way to go, Mr. Cain.

The September Employment Situation Report (100711): 9.1% Unemployment, 58K Non-Verizon SA Jobs Added; SA Jobs Trending Downward; Sept. Weaker Than August

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:55 am

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics — a triple-digit month but which, after necessary adjustments, at least in terms of seasonally adjusted data, is a bit of a downshift:

Nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 in September, and the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The increase in employment partially reflected the return to payrolls of about 45,000 telecommunications workers who had been on strike in August.

Household Survey Data

The number of unemployed persons, at 14.0 million, was essentially unchanged in September, and the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent. Since April, the rate has held in a narrow range from 9.0 to 9.2 percent.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose to 9.3 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 in September. Since April, payroll employment has increased by an average of 72,000 per month, compared with an average of 161,000 for the prior 7 months. In September, job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and construction. Government employment continued to trend down.

… Employment in information was up by 34,000 over the month due to the return of about 45,000 telecommunications workers to payrolls after an August strike.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +85,000 to +127,000, and the change for August was revised from 0 to +57,000.

Well, the prior-month revisions are good to see, but that leaves us in a less than desirable deceleration mode in the land of seasonal adjustment:

  • July, +127K
  • August, +57K, which would have been +102K if the 45K (net seasonal effect) Verizon workers hadn’t gone on strike.
  • September, +103K, which would have been +58K if the 45K Verizon workers hadn’t gone on strike and then returned to work.

I’ll look at the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) news to find out how things really are on the ground shortly.

UPDATE: Here’s what the NSA numbers look like after making Verizon strike-related adjustments for the purpose of seeing the bigger picture (adding back 45K to both charts in August, subtracting 45K from both in September):

NSAandSAjobsMayToSept2011

What we generally see are months that don’t look awful, but still mostly trail in the historical context of the early and middle parts of the last decade. It’s also clear (pending revisions, of course) that September was not as strong as August, especially on an overall basis.

This is supposed to be a recovery from the loss of millions of jobs, and they’re just not coming back like they should. It needs to, and should be, running rings around the data of the previous decade because there’s so much unused potential. At this rate, millions people are going to remain unemployed for a long, long time.

UPDATE 2: Jobs certainly aren’t coming back like they did during the 1980s recovery. That comparison is coming. … Here it is:

ReaganVsObama9QtrsAt100711

Overall, the post-recession economy under Reagan added over 6.9 million jobs in the nine quarters after the 1980s recession ended — over eight times as many as have been added under Obama since the recession officially ended in June 2009. Adjusted for workforce size, the economy performed about 12-1/2 times better at adding jobs.

Focusing on the private sector, the post-recession economy under Reagan added over 6.5 million jobs in the same nine quarters — over 4.6 times as many as have been added under Obama in his analogous nine quarters. Adjusted for workforce size, the economy performed about seven times better at adding private-sector jobs.

This is why Keynesianism as a credible economic theory has collapsed.

UPDATE, 11:45 a.m.: Made adjustments to excluding-Verizon SA data to correct a misunderstanding of BLS’s +34K change in info processing jobs. I thought that was the SA Verizon effect, when is was the overall sector change. The conclusions don’t change.

Positivity: Steve Jobs Changed the World; Adoption Changed His

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Ryan Bomberger’s October 6 column:

The news hit me in the gut. I couldn’t believe I was seeing those few numbers, communicating his passing, beneath his photo: 1955-2011. Steve Jobs has, literally, changed the world. I’m typing this on my Mac, will check my emails and Twitter status on my iPad, and will stay in touch with everyone I love through my iPhone.

As a creative professional, his visionary work has helped my own visions become reality.

But his vision, his destiny and his ability to affect people, globally, may never have happened. Jobs was adopted as a baby and loved by his parents, Clara and Paul Jobs. The baby they took into their hearts and home had a purpose in life that would be unleashed by the powerful act of adoption.

He began today’s revolutionary Apple company and has departed this world with a professional legacy that is awe-inspiring. The partially bitten apple represents the temptation that millions of us have been unable to avoid…waiting in day long lines for shiny objects that proved to us science fiction could be made reality by a creative genius. Jobs’ minimalistic approach delivered a multitude of near-perfect electronic devices. From amber screens to full-color high definition, visually we’ve been changed by the adoption of Apple’s technology.

… There are so many well-known adopted individuals that have impacted many of our lives in one way or another: Charles Dickens, George Washington Carver, Nat King Cole, Babe Ruth, Dave Thomas (Wendy’s), Bo Diddley (musician/performer), Dan O’Brien (Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist) and Faith Hill, just to name a few. Steve Jobs is among this list of infinite possibility. No matter the perceived worldly success of an adoptee, adoption is a loving act that transforms, not only the life of the child, but the entire family. And, sometimes, the world.

Go here for the rest of Bomberger’s column.