February 23, 2012

Surging Santorum Visits Brown County, Ohio

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:55 am

SantorumBrownCo021712Santorumentum.

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Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday. Another BizzyBlog post relating to Santorum’s speech is here.

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Friday evening, a rural Southwestern Ohio event booked months ago at a fraternal lodge with a planned crowd of a couple hundred ended up with over 800 enthusiastic partisans packed into a nearby elementary school’s multi-purpose center.

The occasion was the Brown County, Ohio Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner. The reason for the venue change and overflow crowd: Rick Santorum. He extemporaneous (take that, President ‘Prompter) 53-minute speech, while in need of a bit more polish and continuity, did not disappoint the crowd, and brought them to their feet several times.

Less than three weeks earlier, sensible, constitution-based conservatives were disheartened when former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s January 31 Florida Primary victory seemed to establish him as the frontrunner. At the time, I wrote: “Boy, are we in trouble.” If anyone had told you of their certainty that Santorum would completely turn the tables on Romney and then-closest pursuer Newt Gingrich, trounce them both a week later in three states (Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado), move from a 16-point national deficit to a 12-point lead in Rasmussen’s national poll, and take strong mid-February polling leads in the upcoming Michigan and Ohio primaries, you would have questioned their sanity.

After an initially determined narrow second-place finish in early January’s Iowa caucuses, which an utterly incompetent Hawkeye State GOP changed into “nobody won” sixteen days later and to “Santorum won” the very next day, the former Pennsylvania senator impressed no one during the next four races. Sure, he didn’t aggressively campaign in most of them, but he failed to break 10% twice. Gingrich seemed to be leaning on Santorum to drop out. In your dreams, Newtster.

What in the world has happened? Opponents’ gaffes and intemperance have helped, as have key blogospheric endorsements from Coloradoan Michelle Malkin and Minnesotan Ed Morrissey. But in my view, “Santorumentum” is sweeping the nation principally because he has a powerful message which is getting through, and is the only candidate with an overarching agenda whose ambition matches the challenges America faces.

Three of my key takeaways from Santorum’s speech were:
(more…)

Mitt Romney Commits ‘An Egregious Misrepresentation of Catholic Church Teachings and … ‘What Actually Happened’

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 am

Based on irrefutable evidence presented at Boston Catholic Insider (HT to Gregg Jackson in an email), the answer to its headlined question is “Yes”:

Did Romney Lie About Cardinal and Contraception During Wednesday Debate?

As readers know, if there is one thing that gets under our skin here at BCI, it is deception. This one by former Gov. Romney about a situation here in Massachusetts affects how the country perceives values important to many Catholics, so BCI felt we could not let it sit without a response.

In the Republican Presidential debate Wednesday evening at about 8:50pm or so, former Gov. Mitt Romney said he never infringed on the rights of Catholics as governor of Massachusetts by requiring the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims–it was “entirely voluntary” on the part of the Catholic Church.

If providing morning-after pills was “voluntary” on the part of the Catholic Church, then that would mean that Cardinal O’Malley volunteered to have Catholic hospitals give out abortifacients.

That is simply not true.

The Bottom Line:

When Romney was asked in the debate if he had required Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims and had infringed on Catholics’ rights, he responded, “No, absolutely not. Of course not.” That was untrue.

When Romney said “for the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims…was entirely voluntary on their part”, that was also untrue.

For him to suggest to the citizens of the United States on national television that Cardinal O’Malley and the Catholic Church would “voluntarily” provide morning-after pills is an egregious misrepresentation of Catholic Church teachings and an egregious misrepresentation of what actually happened in this situation.

Of course it is. “Misrepresentation” might as well be Mitt Romney’s middle name.

Read the whole thing.

I think it’s safe to assume that alleged Catholic and delusional Romniac Ann Coulter is unavailable for comment on this matter.

Unemployment Claims: 351K SA, Same as Last Week’s Upwardly Revised Figure

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:10 am

From the Department of Labor:

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending February 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 351,000, unchanged from the previous week’s revised figure of 351,000. The 4-week moving average was 359,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 366,000.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 345,216 in the week ending February 18, a decrease of 19,888 from the previous week. There were 380,985 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

This means that next week, after a likely upward revision to this week of 3,000 – 4,000, which is what we’ve typically seen during the past 50 weeks, will probably show that Business Insider’s email prediction of 355,000 was about dead-on.

Changes in the seasonal adjustment factor from 2011 to 2012 (from 0.993 in 2011 to 0.983 in 2012) caused this year’s seasonally adjusted result of 351,000 to be 3,000 higher than it would have been had last year’s factor been used.

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UPDATE: At the Associated Press, Christopher Rugaber has a story, and he’s sticking to it

When applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

Given that Gallup is estimating that the mid-February unemployment rate is now 9% compared to the government’s official 8.3% January result, we’ll see if Chris’s moving-the-goalposts benchmark holds. Several years ago, he told us that the threshold for a “growing economy” was 325,000 (“Weekly initial claims are generally at 325,000 or below in a growing economy”).

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022312)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows; others may be added throughout the day. Other topics are also fair game for reader comments.

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In Germany, (Global Warming Policy Foundation translation), “The sharp price increases for electricity and gas is leading to serious payment problems for more and more consumers – even to dark apartments. Because of unpaid bills an estimated 600,000 households in Germany had their power cut off in 2010.” That would be the equivalent of about 2.3 million here, which I don’t believe we’re seeing.

That’s correct:

Over 5 million US households have suffered utility shut-offs for inability to afford basic life-sustaining utilities because of being priced out since 2005 by skyrocketing gas and electric rates.

“Since 2005″ works out to 1.25 million per year assuming four years (the item in question is from May 2010).

But as a result of a president who doesn’t mind seeing energy costs “skyrocket,” the shut-off problem is trending worse. It is not a media story for that reason, not because “liberal media” is a myth, according to the link.

I may have more on this in an upcoming column.

Positivity: Oklahoma Cheerleader Meets Parents Of Liver Donor Who Saved Her Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Oklahoma City (video at link):

Posted: Feb 17, 2012 7:10 PM EST
Updated: Feb 17, 2012 7:10 PM EST

For the first time, an Oklahoma college cheerleader meets the parents of the young woman who saved her life. She was on her death bed until one life changing moment.
Now, two Oklahoma families share an unbreakable bond.

Anna Eaton Smith Thomas, a University of Central Oklahoma student, was just 26. Her mother says her daughter loved her husband, her family, God and had a real passion for writing. Thomas died unexpectedly on January 12, 2011 from a brain aneurysm.

A teenage girl from Claremore was dying too, waiting for liver donor.

On Friday, both families shared about loss, life and their new connection.

“I was an emotional wreck. They walked in and from that moment. I felt peace,” 19-year-old Northeastern Oklahoma A & M student, Breanna Fly said.

Fly has been thinking about Thomas ever since she woke up from surgery at Oklahoma Transplant Center in Oklahoma City. She met the family who raised a young woman who saved her life.

Thomas’s mom, America, and her step-dad David lost their little girl, but saved another mother from losing her daughter too.

“I can’t imagine what she went through,” said Fly’s mother, Bridget McCoy, as she couldn’t hold back tears, “I’m grateful and thankful, if it wasn’t for them and their choices and Anna’s choices. We wouldn’t be here. Life would’ve taken a different road.”

Fly was just 18-years-old when she got sick from something she ate, doctors told her it would pass that only one percent of the patients’ livers failed from what she had.

In a matter of days, she went from the bubbly high school cheerleader to the hospital with Hepatitus.

Doctors told the family Fly had just seven days to live on January 6, 2011. Thomas died on January 12 and her liver was donated just in time.

“It is such a pleasure to meet her and her family and know they’re really valuing and appreciating the gift my daughter Anna was able to give,” Thomas’ mother, America Farrell said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Suggested Title for Ann Coulter’s Next Book …

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:22 am

… “Delusional.”

That’s the one word which best describes her column Wednesday.

Virtually every statement is an exercise in sheer falsehood, fabrication, misrepresentation, and/or fantasy.

I’ll take just one item, because it relates to hard numbers, and cannot be spun:

Purely to hurt Romney, the Iowa Republican Party fiddled with the vote tally to take Romney’s victory away from him and give it to Rick Santorum — even though the “official count” was missing eight precincts. Isn’t the party apparatus of a state considered part of the Establishment?

On the night of January 3, Iowa looked like this (framed as “final results” in Update 2 at the link)
- Romney – 30,015 (24.557%)
- Santorum – 30,007 (24.551%)

On the night of January 5, KCCI in Des Moines reported (BizzyBlog link) that Romney got credit for 20 votes he didn’t deserve in one Iowa precinct. There seems to be no underhanded reason for the gentleman who raised the matter to bring it up. The Occam’s Razor conclusion, absent other firm evidence, has to be that Romney got 20 more votes than he deserved, and that Santorum received 12 more votes than Romney.

In the midst of all of this, Rick Santorum said he was told that there were offsetting errors in other precincts that went Romney’s way, but as far as I know he never had specifics (nor did anyone else I’m aware of).

On January 18, the Iowa GOP said they would base their results on all but eight precincts which had not submitted proper paperwork, but that they would not declare a winner. (For Ann’s information, that’s the state’s hidebound “party establishment” which would not declare the winner to be the guy with the most votes, i.e., Santorum 29,839 Romney – 29,805).

There was also this from the Associated Press’s story on the party’s “nobody won” delaration:

Unofficial election night results from the eight precincts, gathered by the party and reported that night by news organizations, including the AP, gave Santorum 81 votes and Romney 46. If those results had been certified to state party officials by Wednesday’s deadline, Santorum’s lead in the final tally would have been 69 votes.

On January 20, presumably after getting tired of enduring well-deserved and unrelenting ridicule to the point of possibly endangering the Hawkeye State’s status as the first official presidential electoral event in the nation, the party declared Santorum the winner.

Iowa was a story of the establishment digging in and declaring Mitt Romney the winner and then comically claiming that no one won until it was dragged kicking and screaming into admitting that Rick Santorum won because, well, he got the most official votes (and the most votes after the day-after adjustment noted above, and even more of a margin had the eight uncounted precincts been counted). If anything, the party holdout was done “purely to hurt Santorum,” not Romney, as Coulter’s excerpted paragraph claims.

On this, and so many other items in her column, Ann Coulter is truly delusional. It is a sad sight to see. Someone get her help.