December 13, 2011

Latest Obama Fundraising Letter Asks Donors to Taunt Republicans When Donating (Possibly Illegally)

This one definitely does not go into the “how to persuade people that your cause is right” file.

Obama For America’s latest attempt to beg people to contribute $3 to enter a drawing for a dinner with POTUS and FLOTUS has a pathetic, insufferable, punkish and privacy-invading twist, wherein you get the opportunity to tell a Republican acquaintance that you just gave money to the Obama campaign:

ObamaNagAgoperLetter1211

Just an aside, Julianna — Someone putting up a Mitt Romney sign is probably not a conservative.

Geez, these people are more obsessed with birthers than the birthers.

Here’s part of what you see if you follow the link:

ObamaGOPerInspired1211 ObamaGOPerInspired1211insts

Wow … we’re supposed to be impressed that someone gave three whole dollars to win a contest where the prize is a dinner with Barack and Michelle Obama.

I’m guessing that second prize is two dinners with Barack and Michelle Obama.

Also note that there is no reason to believe that the emails of those being taunted aren’t being illegally collected for some other purpose. They certainly aren’t being provided voluntarily by the taunted party. Where’s the FTC when you need ‘em?

If a Republican or conservative president or candidate did this, the press would properly be criticizing the utter boorishness and privacy invasion involved. As it is, expect stone silence, as was the case when Nancy Pelosi invoked the wonderfulness of the Occupy movement in a fundraising letter.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: Taranto at WSJ’s Best of the Web — “Commander in Creep”

AP’s Rugaber Virtually Alone in Cheering Nov. Retail Sales Others Call ‘Disappointing’

Today’s Advance Monthly Retails Sales Report for November from the Census Bureau came in with a seasonally and shopping-day adjusted 0.2% increase over October. Analysts expected 0.6%, and a whole host of them described the result as “disappointing,” as shown here in a Google News Search for the past 24 hours on ["retail sales" disappoint"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets; as of 6:40 p.m. ET, over 1,100 results were returned, but only about 400 are from after the report’s release).

That didn’t stop the Associated Press’s Christopher Rugaber and the wire service’s headline writers, in separate items at 11:44 a.m. and 3:05 p.m., from getting really close to in essence claiming, as Kevin Bacon’s character Chip Diller did in “Animal House,” that “all is well.”

First, from 11:44 a.m. (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Retail sales rise for sixth straight month

The start of the crucial holiday shopping season in November helped fuel the sixth straight monthly increase in retail sales. Gift-buying Americans spent more on clothing and electronics, and sales of autos and furniture also rose.

Still, the overall gain was the smallest since June. Consumers pulled back on some purchases unrelated to holiday shopping, such as groceries and building materials.

Retail sales rose 0.2 percent in November, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was lower than October’s gain, which was revised up to show a 0.6 percent increase.

Even so, more spending on retail goods shows the economy is continuing to grow steadily, if slowly.

Then, 3:05 p.m., which incorporated news from two other government reports which were published later in the day:

Retail sales are helping economy grow consistently

Economic growth is picking up in the final three months of the year, fueled by higher consumer spending, rising business stockpiles and modest increases in hiring.

The start of the holiday shopping season in November helped produce the sixth straight monthly increase in retail sales. Gift-buying Americans spent more on clothing and electronics, and sales of autos and furniture also rose.

To be fair, Rugaber tempered the enthusiasm in later paragraphs. To be critical, those paragraphs are the ones less likely to be read by news readers or to be heard by radio listeners or TV viewers at subscribing AP outlets.

Here’s just one contrasting of the tone found elsewhere from CNN Money:

Retail sales rise, but disappoint

Retail sales picked up in November … but not by much. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that retail sales were up 0.2% compared to October, growth that fell well short of the 0.6% increase forecast by economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

The story was similar when auto sales were excluded. Those sales increased by only 0.2%, well off the 0.5% forecast.

The disappointing numbers do not bode well for retailers that depend on strong holiday sales — despite a recent wave of optimism in the industry.

Black Friday shoppers showed up in droves and spent a record amount of money over the Thanksgiving weekend — but that doesn’t mean holiday sales momentum will continue through Christmas.

One commentator indicated that today’s report provides reason to believe that fourth-quarter growth, which many have been thinking will be an annualized 3% or greater, will be more like 2.5%.

All is not well, Chris, even you do work for the Administration’s, er, the Associated Press.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

November Retail Sales Disappoint

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:21 am

Business Insider calls it a “shocker” — Up 0.2% in November vs. 0.6% expectations (without considering inflation).

The Census Bureau’s report is here.

I’m going to go contrarian on this one and speculate that this month’s figure is going to get revised up a bit. Having said that, I think December may very well disappoint. My gut reaction to retail traffic during the weeks after Black Friday is that it has ranged from disappointing to miserable for the Christmas shopping season. Things may pick up during the final 12 days, but they’ll need to.

In Report on November Deficit, AP’s Crutsinger Miscasts Post-9/11 Economy of ‘A Decade Ago’

AdministrationsPress1111Uncle Sam’s Monthly Treasury Statement for November came out yesterday. The results: Tax collections through two months of the fiscal year are up 4.4% over fiscal 2010; spending is down 5.5%, but only because about $31 billion in checks which would ordinarily have gone out on October 1 (a Saturday) were sent on September 30; and the deficit of $235 billion is $55 billion less than last year.

The headline in the report by Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press (“Gov’t on pace to run budget deficit below $1T”), celebrated the totally untenable claim, only two months into the year, that the deficit might come in below $1 trillion for the first time in four years. Crutsinger’s coverage was otherwise adequate, except near the end, when he threw in the following obviously gratuitous and recklessly false and misleading statement: “A decade ago, the government was running surpluses and trillion-dollar deficits seemed unimaginable.”

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121311)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Jennifer Rubin has a sane post about the very real dangers of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which really must be stopped. Also noted: The lobbyist leading the charge for SOPA is former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who, not content with playing a heavy role in ruining the housing and mortgage-lending industries, is now, in Google co-founder Eric Schmidt’s words, “whacking away at the (Internet’s) DNS (domain name) system.”

While the opportunity exists, I should also express profound disappointment at how Rubin has otherwise morphed into a mindless Romneybot during much of the past six months.

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At the Associated Press (HT Instapundit) “Movie audiences shrink below post-Sept. 11 level” — For the year, receipts are down by about 4%, and attendance is down by about 5%.

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In the wake of the appalling Cincinnati-Xavier brawl over the weekend, it’s nice to see an outstanding athlete with some perspective (“ROBERT GRIFFIN III (Goes) Straight to Ground Zero After Winning Heisman Trophy”; HT Gateway Pundit) — “after winning the Heisman Trophy this weekend in NYC … the star QB went straight to Ground Zero … to pay his respects.”

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At BigGovernment.com, via Dan Mitchell — “… economists at the European Central Bank have just produced a study showing that government spending is unambiguously harmful to economic performance.” Somebody tell Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and the rest of the government-growing Democratic Party, and go-along, get-along RINOs.

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At the Wall Street Journal yesterday, via Daniel Yergin — “America’s New Energy Security; Thanks to new technology, the U.S. has become less dependent on petroleum imports from unstable countries.” Only if we have the will to tell the extreme environmentalists in and out of government to pound sand.

Positivity: Returning Oklahoma Soldier Mom Pops Out Of Mystery Box

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Tulsa, Oklahoma (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

Posted: Dec 05, 2011 10:44 PM EST
Updated: Dec 06, 2011 9:30 AM EST

A Green Country family received the ultimate Christmas Monday.
Sergeant Jamee Gaines is just back from Afghanistan and managed to surprise her husband and three children.

Kevin Gains says it’s been tough but his church family has been incredibly supportive since his wife has been overseas.

Okmulgee’s Calvary Baptist Church has rallied behind Kevin Gaines. His wife, Jamee has been in Afghanistan for six months.

“At the beginning there was a lot of crying at night with parents being gone like this. Doing what I can,” Kevin said.

The church wanted to do everything it could to make sure the family felt the love of the Christmas spirit.

The group came over to sing Christmas carols and bring gifts to the kids to make sure they have a good holiday.

What Kevin and the kids don’t know, is that mom is the mastermind behind the jolly festivities. And she isn’t overseas right now. She’s wrapped in bright shiny paper on the front porch. A Christmas surprise. …

Go here for the rest of the story.