May 8, 2012

Indiana Primary: Mourdock Disarms Lugar

Filed under: Activism,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:47 pm

Via USA Today, with not-so-fine whines, and a “dream on” sequence:

Sen. Richard Lugar defeated in Indiana’s GOP primary

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana was defeated in the state’s Republican primary Tuesday, ending the 36-year career of a GOP elder statesman and handing the Tea Party movement its biggest upset victory so far in the 2012 elections.

Lugar was ousted by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, whose campaign against the veteran lawmaker was backed by conservative groups including the Tea Party Express, the anti-tax Club for Growth, the National Rifle Association, the Tea Party-aligned Freedom Works, and former Republican Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks election spending, outside groups invested $4.5 million in the race.

… Mourdock’s victory will redouble Democrats’ effort to pick up Indiana this November in their ongoing battle to maintain their Senate majority, currently held at 53-47. Democrats believe Mourdock’s conservative record and Tea Party ties will make him an alienating force in a general election.

In the Hoosier State, Mourdock’s victory will turn enthusiastic conservatives and those with Tea Party values out in droves. Democrats’ climb just became more uphill.

Memo to the Ohio Republican Party aka the Ohio Stupid Party: Maybe you ought to consider having competitive primaries for key state and national positions sometime instead of constantly clearing the field for incumbents and other favored cronies.

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UPDATE: Lugar lost by 60-40%. That may the strongest primary repudiation of an incumbent senator I have ever seen.

Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Circulation Drops Below a Quarter-Million, But It Could Be Worse

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is the only daily newspaper in Greater Cleveland (2010 population: 2.08 million). According to the latest “Top 25″ release from the newspaper industry’s Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), its average daily circulation for the six months ended March 31, including about 14,300 digital-only subscribers, dropped to 246,571. The “PD” is Ohio’s only newspaper in the ABC’s Top 25.

That’s a 28% drop from six years ago, when the paper’s daily circulation was 343,163. It’s almost certainly the first time in decades that the paper’s daily circulation has gone below a quarter-million.

The news about Sunday circulation at the “PD” isn’t so bad. Five years ago, Sunday circulation was 442,482. The March 31, 2012 Sunday figure has two components: “Regular” circulation is 340,570, supplemented by 60,564 copies of a “branded” edition known as the “PD Wrap-up,” a Sunday-only publication containing what a PD circulation employee described as “select content” targeting specific zip codes. The combined total of just over 401,000 is only 9% lower than the 442,482 figure from five years ago. Top-tier papers in many other towns have seen drops of 30% or more during that time.

Like almost every major newspaper nationwide, the Plain Dealer is having a hard time figuring out how to catch eyeballs in the digital age, let alone how to turn a profit on them. But the bleeding elsewhere is in many cases has been much more severe. At the once thought indispensable Washington Post, daily and Sunday circulation were down by almost 8% and and over 15%, respectively, in the past twelve months — and I believe it’s accurate to say that the PD doesn’t have the kind of problem the WaPo has with excessive compensation, namely one of “paying six-figure salaries to scores of people whose output averages no more than a few hundred words per day.”

Smart-Aleck Thought of the Day: On Wisconsin’s Low Unemployment Rate and Poor Jobs Performance

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:44 am

Many states, particularly those where Republican governors succeeded Democrats after the 2010 elections, have seen significant drops in their unemployment rates and significant job growth since the end of that year.

Two such examples are in the Midwest:

  • Ohio — The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 9.2% to 7.5% during the fifteen months ended March 2012, while picking up 80,500 seasonally adjusted jobs (workforce growth: 1.59%).
  • Michigan — The unemployment rate dove from 11.2% to 8.5%, with 91,600 new jobs (workforce growth: 2.35%).

Nationwide, the unemployment rate has dropped from 9.4% to 8.1% during the same period.

Meanwhile, while Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has dropped from 7.8% to 6.8% (proportionally, that’s about the same as the nationwide drop), it has lost 10,200 seasonally adjusted jobs.

Why?

That’s easy: People who want to be employed and are actively seeking it are having better success in finding it. Those who aren’t looking for gainful employment are instead “working” on recalling Scott Walker.

With the prospects for success apparently dimming, I might add.

IBD Calls Out Establishment Press For Promoting ‘Myth’ of European ‘Austerity’

In one of a virtually endless stream of such examples, a Monday Associated Press report by Elaine Ganley and Greg Keller on challenges facing newly elected French Prime Minister, Socialist Francois Hollande, described him as “the leftist who has pledged to buck Europe’s austerity trend.”

What a deceptive joke. Europe’s attempt at “austerity” can’t be a “trend,” because it hasn’t even started. The “Fiscal Treaty” involved (at Google Docs; at RTE News [large PDF]) hasn’t even taken effect. Article 14, as explained by RTE’s Europe Editor Tony Connelly, “will enter into force on January 1 2013 so long as 12 member states have completed ratification.” A Monday editorial at Investor’s Business Daily took the press to task for its pretense, and in the process noted facts about the monstrous growth of government in EU countries the U.S. establishment press won’t report (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (050812)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:40 am

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

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Positivity: Rise in US seminary numbers brings ‘big smile’ to Pope’s face

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:30 am

From Vatican City:

May 6, 2012 / 04:06 pm

Bishop James D. Conley of Denver said the news of rising seminarian numbers across the United States has delighted Pope Benedict XVI.

“He was very happy to receive that information,” Bishop Conley told CNA on May 4 after meeting the Pope at the Vatican.

“He said he had heard that vocations were going up in the United States and he said this is very positive news and, in fact, he had a big smile on his face when he heard the news.”

Bishop Conley was one of ten bishops from Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming who had an audience with Pope Benedict as part of their five-day “ad limina” pilgrimage to Rome which concludes tomorrow.

He explained to the Pope that there is now a year-on-year increase in the numbers of young men opting for the priesthood across many US dioceses.

“I told him that in the Archdiocese of Denver both of our seminaries, St John Vianney Theological Seminary and Redeptoris Mater Neo-catechumenal seminary, are full,” the bishop added.

“In fact we have more applicants than we have space so for the first time in many years we have to create a waiting list which is a good problem to have.”

The most recent statistics show a similar story across the United States. Last year the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University estimated that the 2011 seminary intake was up 4 percent on the previous year and had reached its highest figure in 20 years. Meanwhile, Rome’s North American College is full to its 250 capacity for the first time in decades. …

Go here for the rest of the story.