April 18, 2012

Never Thought That Mitt Romney’s Dog-on-Roof Story …

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:53 pm

… would turn into a competitive advantage in the general election campaign:

A long-overlooked passage in President Barack Obama’s 2004 book, Dreams From my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, has been uncovered and has ignited a firestorm of hilarity among conservatives on Twitter and other social networks. The passage includes the President talking about his experience as a boy in Indonesia when he was introduced to a variety of exotic meats including grasshopper, snake and – the coup de grâce – dog.

So while Romney kept Fido on the roof his care, Barry ate him.

Wow … or, I should say, bow-wow.

So .. when’s the next dog show demonstration against Romney’s dog-on-roof episode?


UPDATE: One-liners at IMAO (HT Instapundit), and the archive.

UPDATE 2: Remembering Jimmy Carter’s “kiler rabbit” incident.

Obama Wants Credit for Ohio’s Economic Improvement?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:41 pm

President Obama visits Ohio, and his peeps are trying to claim credit for the state’s economic improvement relative to much of the rest of the nation.

Obama can’t run on his own record (in fact, establishment media types want to pretend that it isn’t about his record at all!), so he tries to run on somebody else’s — in this case, that of Buckeye State Governor John Kasich, who had this to say in 2011 about busybody Obama:

Well look, y’know, I was Chairman of the (U.S. House) Budget Committee and was the chief architect of the last time we balanced the budget.

And here in Ohio, we, we have balanced our budget here, under the budget that we have presented, along with preserving the tax cut.

The President of the United States has I think a $13 trillion debt. Why doesn’t he do his job? And when he does his job and gets our budget balanced and starts to prepare a future for our children, then maybe he can have an opinion on what’s going on in Ohio.

Since Kasich’s statement a year ago, the national debt has grown to over $15 trillion.

President Obama still has no standing to comment about what is and isn’t happening in Ohio, because in the year since Kasich made his comment, Obama hasn’t been doing his job.

AP’s Kuhnhenn Gives No Space to Critics of Obama’s Oil Speculation Ploy

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:13 am

NightOfTheLivingSpeculatorsYesterday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, the headline at reporter Jim Kuhnhenn’s story on President Obama’s latest excuse to add more bureaucrats to the government payroll (“Obama wants to target oil market manipulation”) presupposed the existence of oil market manipulation when none has been proven. In 850 words, he didn’t find any space for critics of the move, who include the Daily Ticker’s Henry Blodget, CEO of Business Insider, using descriptions like “embarrassing,” “give me a break,” “smoke and mirrors,” and “a crock.” Finding contrary opinion is something Kuhnhenn would almost definitely have done with an economy-related move of a Republican or conservative president.

Before getting to Blodget, let’s look at what the government itself had to say to everyday Americans about what influences gas prices just two months ago at the USA.gov blog (bolds are mine):

Why the Price of Gas is Rising

On Facebook, Laura asked, “what is causing the rise in fuel prices in the USA and who benefits from this increase?”

Fuel prices in the United States are rising because of the increasing cost of crude oil. Crude oil is the natural form of oil as it is found in the ground, before it has been refined into gasoline. As of January 2012, the price of crude oil made up 76% of the cost of regular gasoline. In January, the national average retail price of gas was $3.38 per gallon. This means $2.57 per gallon paid for crude oil. Find out what makes up the rest of the price.

There are a few reasons why the price of crude oil is rising. There’s more demand from countries that haven’t used very much oil in the past, such as China. Also, instability in the Middle East means recent output from countries like Libya and Iran has been unpredictable or low. The Middle East produces a lot of the world’s oil and less oil means higher prices.

Currently, the United States’ demand for oil is down and production of oil is up. These factors would normally make prices go down. However, demand for oil in emerging markets like China is so high that it overcomes these market forces.

The countries and corporations that sell crude oil benefit when the price is high. In 2010, about 49% of the oil used by the U.S. was imported from foreign countries.

What? No mention of speculators? Nope, and there’s mention of the alleged role of speculators found in search at the government’s Economic and Statistics Administration on “speculator,” “speculators,” or “speculation.” Imagine that.

Here is some of what Blodget had to say in a Yahoo Finance video yesterday, as reported by the site’s Bernice Napach:

The Daily Ticker’s Henry Blodget says the proposal is “embarrassing” because speculators have little to do with the rising price of oil and gasoline. Prices are moving higher, Henry says, because “three billion new capitalists” in India and China are consuming oil and gasoline. It’s the balance between supply and demand that determines whether oil prices rise or fall, not speculators, Henry argues.

Ms. Napach left out many of the video’s juicy parts. Here are just a few:

  • “It does not required a Ph.D. in Economics to see that the main driver of gas prices and oil prices is supply and demand.”
  • “Speculators couldn’t care less whether prices go up or down. They bet both ways. So this idea that all speculators do is drive gas prices up is a crock. … This is smoke and mirrors.”
  • “People do not want to confront the fact that we do not have as much oil as we need to have $20 (a barrel) oil.”

Blodget also made a telling point in relation to housing, which is that raising the “margin requirements” (i.e., the required down payments) on homebuyers has driven the home prices down. While it’s clear that many mortgage loans during 1990s and 2000s were too lenient in this regard (thanks largely to Fannie Mae Freddie Mac, and HUD allowing them and in Fan and Fred’s case buying the potential problems, I’m told that the pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction, and that it’s very difficult for even well-qualified buyers to get financing because Dodd-Frank and other regulations are giving banks virtually zero discretion or ability to reasonably accommodate special circumstances.

Back to AP’s Kuhnhenn: He and his headline writer owed his readers at least a little skepticism, and they gave them none. The closest Kuhnhenn got (one would think after a lot of trying to get a stronger statement out of someone and failing) was the following ridiculous non-statement: “Analysts say it is possible that such speculation has somewhat inflated the price of oil.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: School Nurse and Teacher Save Hannum Student’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:30 am

From Oaklawn, IL:

April 13, 2012

If not for the swift action of a school nurse, gym teacher and a portable defibrillator, 9-year-old Caitlyn O’Reilly may not have survived a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia.

On a beautiful Leap Day morning 9-year-old Caitlyn O’Reilly’s own heart took a leap of sorts, causing the girl to collapse on the playground of Hannum Elementary School.

If not for the quick thinking actions of a teacher and school nurse, and a nearby automated external defibrillator or AED—Caitlyn’s survival of a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia is pure serendipity.

“It was such a shock at first and then it was so amazing that she made it,” Caitlyn’s mother, Joanne O’Reilly said, who was on her way to lunch when she received a call from the school on her cell phone. “Ninety-eight percent don’t survive it.”

Born with a complex form of birth heart defect involving switching pumping chambers and great arteries with a hole in the heart, the Oak Lawn girl is no stranger to Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital. Caitlyn has already undergone a sophisticated repair by Hope Children’s cardiovascular surgeons.

Until the morning of Feb. 29, however, Caitlyn had never shown the potential for a fatal arrhythmia. Playing with two young friends at recess, Caitlyn “stared blankly” and fell over, her mother said.

“[Her friends] thought she was kidding around,” Joanne continued. “Then they got scared and knew she needed help.”

After Caitlyn’s friends alerted the recess supervisor that she had collapsed, a gym teacher and nurse moved into swift action.

School nurse Therese Carberry administered CPR while gym teacher Gregory Guzzo grabbed the school’s AED, a device that diagnoses and treats potentially fatal arrhythmias and allows the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Confirming the presence of a lethal arrhythmia, the AED was activated to shock Caitlyn and restore the activity of her heart muscle. The device ultimately saved her life in the interim of waiting for paramedics to arrive on the scene. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (041812)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.