January 13, 2012

Three Months in and With Weak Support, AP Says Annual Federal Deficit Is ‘on Pace’ to Decline

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:20 pm

I see that the Associated Press’s Derek Kravitz is picking up where his colleague Martin Crutsinger left off in offering up incomplete information and inconvenient truth-avoiding coverage of Uncle Sam’s financial results as described in the Monthly Treasury Statement. December’s statement, which was released yesterday, showed a deficit of $86 billion and a year-to-date shortfall of $322 billion.

Naturally, this was cause for a positive-spinning headline at the AP report: “US gov’t on pace for smaller deficit in 2012.” Whoop-de-doo. Two problems: a) It’s too early to tell, b) the year-to-date reduction thus far is fairly small (about 13%), c) Most of the improvement is because of a lucky break when fiscal 2011 ended, and d) December itself was a pretty bad month compared to December 2010. Here are several paragraphs from Kravitz’s concoction (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

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Latest PJ Media Column (‘David Axelrod Tries to Re-Wright History’) Is Up

It’s here.

Thanks to PJM for so quickly reviewing and posting the column.

The column responds to David Axelrod’s Tuesday statement that the 2008 campaign’s negativity surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was the result of “ninety seconds of vitriol plucked from thirty years of sermons by some enterprising opposition researcher.” Uh, not exactly.

The column will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

CNBC Posts, Retracts ‘Bain Advised Obama/GM’ Report

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:52 am

UPDATE: James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute’s blog has more, including the possibility that the original story misidentified “Bain Consulting,” as well as a theory as to the story’s original source.

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It looks like someone ran with something they thought was too good to check.

A retraction described as a “Correction” currently on CNBC’s web site tells readers: “A previous story incorrectly reported that Mitt Romney’s former firm, Bain & Co., was part of a team of consulting companies that advised President Barack Obama on a decision to shutter car dealerships during the auto bailout. Bain & Co. said it has no connection to the “Bain Consulting” firm referenced in government documents.” Several bloggers excerpted the original report, including Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Some of what he captured follows:

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011312)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

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

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Fox News’s exit polls, which are laid out in a confusing way, do NOT say that more Democrats than Republicans voted for Ron Paul, as many bloggers and others are wrongly claiming.

They DO say that of all Democrats who voted in the GOP primary, making up 4% of all those who voted, 25% of them voted for Paul. With about 250,000 ballots cast (actually about 248,200, but I’m rounding for ease of understanding), that means Paul got 2,500 votes from Democrats out of about 10,000 cast.

Mitt Romney got 14% of the Democrats’ votes, or about 1,400. John Huntsman got 40%, or about 4,000. Huntsman’s Dem support component was by far the highest (about 4,000 Dems, 12,500 Reps, and 26,000 Indies).

The exit poll also says that Paul was the winner among independents, garnering 31% of their votes to Romney’s 30%.

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Sorry, Mitt, you’re not getting away with lowering expectations in South Carolina. The meme is that he might lose, but it’s no big deal. Baloney. If he loses, it means he will have squandered a double-digit polling lead he’s held in every major 2012 poll.

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In the New York Post — “At the Detroit Auto Show this week, CEO Dan Akerson admitted that General Motors may have to cut back production of the Chevrolet Volt because the 4,600-plus Volts on the market now are about three times the monthly sales. Other figures put the GM hybrid car’s inventory at an outrageous 120-plus days.” If the bean counters were told to allocate each Volt an appropriate amount for management’s time and attention, the product would be even more millions in the red than it already is.

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If unemployment claims return to 400,000-plus next week for the second week in a row (after yesterday’s 399K gets almost inevitably revised upward), it will be worse news qualitatively considering where should be in a “recovery” than the 400K+ numbers from a year ago. That’s because the workforce, as shown in the graph at Investor’s Business Daily, is still in shrink mode — something which did not happen in any other Post-World War II recovery:

IBDdisappearingWorkersJan12

Rebound? What Rebound?

Positivity: Vatican Museums break visitor record in 2011

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 11, 2012 / 03:48 pm

The Vatican Museums broke attendance records in 2011 with just over 5 million people entering its doors.

“It is, in a particular way, objectively amazing,” wrote Antonio Paolucci, Director of the Vatican Museums, in L’Osservatore Romano newspaper on Jan. 10.

By way of comparison, Paolucci said that Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is Italy’s “most famous and most popular” museum but it is only able to accommodate 1.5 million people in a year.

The visitor numbers for the Vatican Museums put it in the same bracket with British Museum in London, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Prado in Madrid. Meanwhile, the Louvre in Paris remains the continent’s most visited museum with 8.5 million guests every year.
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