October 10, 2012

Tidal Wave Alert? Romney By 5 in a Oversampled Dem Poll (Rally with Josh Romney and Rob Portman in Brown Co. on Thurs.)

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:12 pm

This post will stay at the top until early Thursday morning.

On never wants to forget the typical paltry 9% successful completion vs. contacts attempted factor, but An IBD/TIPP poll has Mitt Romney up by 5 points (48.7% to 43.7%) — in a sample which is weighted 39-31-30 Dems-GOP-Indies.

The core finding: “Mitt Romney widened his lead to 5 points over Barack Obama in the latest IBD/TIPP tracking poll as the full effect of the challenger’s win in last week’s debate became clearer.”

Speaking of which, fellow Friday-broadcasting Truth in Blogging All-Star (TIBAS) Mark at Weapons of Mass Discussion suggested that I let readers know that there is a rally at the Brown County Administration Building tomorrow (i.e., Thursday) afternoon at 1:30 in Georgetown featuring Josh Romney and Rob Portman.

BLUMER: Cato gives Kasich a ‘B’ — Is it the best he’ll ever get?

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:45 pm

Note: This post went up at Watchdog.org earlier today.

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The Cato Institute, a leading liberty-driven Washington-based think tank, has just released its 2012 “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors,” its eleventh such biennial effort. The report’s findings merit further attention, especially the “B” grade given to Ohio Governor John Kasich. Barring a major change in course, the Kasich administration’s current direction virtually guarantees that the Governor’s grade will not improve during the second half of his current term or a possible second one — and could easily backslide.

The criteria report author Chris Edwards used in evaluating 48 of the nation’s 50 governors (Mississippi and Alaska were excluded for technical reasons) included “seven variables: two for spending, one for revenue, and four for tax rates.” Each governor’s score was the average of the three categories.

Edwards had to grade the governors on a curve. Four of them, all Republicans, were awarded an “A,” even though their scores on a scale of 1 to 100 ranged from 65 to 69. The five governors who received an “F,” all Democrats, had horrid scores ranging from 16 to 38.

Cynics who still believe there is no difference between the country’s two major parties should also note that the 27 Republican governors evaluated turned in an average score of 56.7, a solid “B,” while taking 15 of the top 16 positions:

CatoGovernorGradesByParty2012

Meanwhile, the 21 Democratic governors, including Rhode Island independent Lincoln Chafee, who might as well be a Democrat, averaged 43.2, a definite “D,” occupying 10 out of the 11 lowest spots.

Kasich achieved a score of 58 in earning his “B,” and was tied with two other governors for ninth place overall. This was a vast improvement over Democratic gubernatorial predecessor Ted Strickland’s 2010 “D” grade.

The report’s narrative on Kasich’s performance contained several compliments, including these:

Governor Kasich has held state spending down the last two years, and he has pursued a variety of tax reforms. In 2011 he signed a repeal of the Ohio estate tax, which had been one of the most onerous estate taxes in the nation.

Unfortunately, certain aspects of Kasich’s tenure have been far from stellar. Edwards notes that he signed off on a hospital tax increase last year, and has been pushing a 400 percent hike in the severance tax on oil and gas extracted from Ohio’s drilling sites, a tax which threatens to hold back the expansion of the state’s most promising avenue for economic growth.

More crucially, the Kasich administration inherited a particularly odious form of taxation found in very few other states, and the Governor has expressed no visible interest in doing anything about it. That tax, known in general terms as a gross receipts tax, is called the Commercial Activities Tax (CAT) in the Buckeye State. Edwards cites the Tax Foundation’s Joe Henchman, who persuasively argues that “this pernicious tax hits the receipts of profitable and unprofitable companies alike, and pyramids through the chain of production, distorting price signals.”

Kasich claims to believe in supporting entrepreneurship, but Edwards, in light of the CAT’s presence, accurately writes that “Ohio is far from a tax-friendly place for entrepreneurs right now.” That’s because the CAT forces start-up and emerging businesses to pay taxes even in their usually money-losing early years. The Governor should be working on killing the CAT. Instead, by lobbying for the severance tax increase, he is really pushing for its de facto industry-specific expansion. At this rate, Kasich can forget about ever getting an “A” from Cato; if the severance tax increase ever becomes law, he’ll richly deserve a “C.”

Unfortunately, the CAT has the strong support of current Secretary of State Jon Husted, who championed it when he was a legislator. Husted, heaven help us, has designs on the Governor’s Mansion after Kasich leaves public life, and appears to have the GOP establishment’s backing. If Kasich, doesn’t act to kill the CAT while he’s in office, Ohioans are probably doomed to its continued existence and the economic mediocrity which will accompany it well into the next decade.

MPAA Hangs an ‘R’ on ‘Hating Breitbart’; Why?

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 8:08 pm

Hollywood Reporter’s Paul Bond is reporting that “Hating Breitbart,” the Andrew Marcus film which was to hit theaters two days from now has been pushed back to October 19 in a dispute over the film’s rating.

Marcus has pushed for PG-13, but the MPAA retained its R rating of the film even after the filmmaker deleted all F-bombs except a few delivered by Breitbart himself. So nine days from now, because time is running short, the film will be released with an R rating. Why MPAA is being so inconsistent? I think it would be useful to look at who is in charge of the organization and who runs the day-to-day rating operation, and will do that after excerpting key paragraphs from Bond’s report:

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O’Keefe Films DNC Employee at OFA-Houston Helping Woman Vote Twice; More to Come

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has done it again — with, as is usually the case with his efforts, apparently more to come.

His latest effort, a six-minute video (direct YouTube link) which near its end taunts the establishment press (“Put your reputation on the line, journalists. Say this is an “isolated incident”), “exposes Obama campaign workers, including a Regional Field Director at Organizing for America (OFA), engaged in election fraud.”

He promises that the video “will have you outraged at the illegal activity going on behind the scenes of President Obama’s re-election effort – and we’re just getting started!”

He’s definitely right about generating outrage, at least in me:

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AP Uses ‘Don’t Read This, It’s Boring’ Early-AM Headline, Only Vaguely Describes Absence of Any Sept. 11 Benghazi Protest (See Speculative Updates)

The headline writers for Bradley Klapper’s story early Wednesday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, about the September 11 attack which destroyed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and killed four Americans, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, had a real problem on their hands: How do we make our headline so boring that people who see it won’t feel like clicking over to the story itself (or, if they’re reading a newspaper, not moving on to it)? Their answer, which was pretty effective given their apparent goal: “State Dept reveals new details of Benghazi attack.”

Zzz … zzz … Oh, excuse me, I needed a second cup of coffee to get past that snooze of a headline. Klapper’s story wasn’t any better, as he atrociously buried the lede — that there never was a protest over the 14-minute anti-Mohammed video before the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya took place — and was incredibly vague in his reference to this breathtaking story change when he finally did bring it forth (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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NewsBusted (100912)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 8:46 am

Here goes, with a substitute host, who did a pretty good job:

TOPICS:
– Romney/Obama Debate
– Tweeting the Debate
– Unemployment Rate Drops
– Democrats
– Kentucky Chinese Restaurant
– Joey Fatone
– Dancing with the Stars
– Arnold Schwarzenegger Book

Best Line: “Even though job growth remained slow, there was a dramatic drop in America’s unemployment rate for September — which proves how poorly the Department of Labor thinks President Obama performed in the first debate.”

The Job Market Still Stinks

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Activism,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:45 am

No conspiracy theories needed.

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Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday.

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After the release of Friday’s employment report showing that the nation’s unemployment rate had dropped below 8% in September for the first time in 44 months, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis appeared on CNBC, claiming to feel “insulted” by those who believe that its numbers were conveniently cooked for President Obama’s electoral advantage. She further asserted: “We have a very professional civil service organization (with) … top economists … these are our best-trained and best-skilled individuals.”

With the exception of at least two economists who have donated to political campaigns (but who don’t appear to have been in positions to influence the numbers), Solis appears to be mostly right about the professionalism at her department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those who toil there should feel insulted at how Solis and whoever else is responsible chose to present the information in September’s Employment Situation Summary.

The primary bone of contention is the September increase of 873,000, according to the BLS’s Household Survey (based on interviews and surveys of heads of households), in the number of people employed. That figure made it into the summary’s narrative, and was explained as follows:

Total employment rose by 873,000 in September, following 3 months of little change.

This was a brazen attempt to make a wildly fluctuating and relatively unimportant figure in a survey where the primary mission is to estimate the percentage of people who are not employed seem more important than the mediocre seasonally adjusted September job additions of 114,000 in the Establishment Survey of employers. I reviewed this year’s first eight Employment Situation Summaries; the Household Survey’s specific employment pickup or loss was never mentioned in any of them.

One could argue that the September increase was too big to ignore and had to be cited to address inevitable questions. If so, then the report should have noted the figure’s historically wild fluctuations and relative insignificance instead of blandly telling readers about three previous months of alleged “little change” — an assertion which was itself quite deceptive, especially when comparing the Household Survey’s results for the past seven months to the Establishment Survey:

SevenMosComparedHshldVsEstabJobGains0912

While the Establishment Survey has been showing job growth plodding along at a mostly tepid pace, adding an average of 111,000 jobs a month during the past seven months, the Household Survey’s total employment figure has seen month-to-month differences varying from the Establishment Survey by several hundred thousand in both directions. That’s hardly “little change,” Hilda.

Of course, the press couldn’t resist reporting the highly unreliable figure. It made it into the second paragraph at the Associated Pressaka the Administration’s Press, while the Establishment Survey result got mentioned in Paragraph 3. The New York Times saved the Household Survey’s 873,000 employment growth figure for a later paragraph, but implausibly claimed that “its credibility was bolstered by an unexpectedly robust rise in consumer confidence.” The confidence reference was to a Gallup poll which, as the Times acknowledged, attributed its rise “almost entirely to increased optimism among Democrats.” In other words, confidence is up because many Obama supporters recognize a duty to say that they’re confident even if they’re not.

To the AP’s credit, it noticed, though not until the 24th paragraph of its report, that most of the Household Survey’s employment pickup was in an unimpressive area: “582,000 more people reported that they were working part-time last month but wanted full-time jobs … the biggest increase in so-called underemployed Americans since February 2009.”  This is exactly the kind of result Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney was thinking of when he said on Friday: “This is not what a real recovery looks like.”

We haven’t seen what a real recovery looks like since the recession as officially defined ended 39 long months ago. Despite September’s unemployment rate drop:

  • That rate has been 7.8% or higher during every single month of Obama’s term, something not seen since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal extended the Great Depression for eight dreadful years.
  • During Obama’s first and hopefully sole presidential term, seasonally adjusted full-time employment reported in the Household Survey has contracted — by 604,000 through September. Meanwhile, part-time employment has ballooned by over 1.5 million.
  • In the Establishment Survey, even after considering a pending and preliminary adjustment to total employment of an estimated 386,000 for the 12 months ended in March, the nation’s economy has only added 325,000 jobs since Obama took office. The increase in the number of jobs at temporary help services during that time (570,000 before the pending adjustment) has been far greater.
  • In the “What have you done for us lately?” department, seasonally adjusted job growth per the Establishment Survey has averaged only 106,000 per month during the past six months, while monthly private-sector job additions in August and September averaged only 100,000.
  • Meanwhile, the Household Survey tells us that every single job added and then some during the past six months (819,000) has been part-time, while full-time employment has dropped by 64,000. Taxmageddon and ObamaCare are already exacting a heavy price.

As to the conspiracy theories, to believe them you’d have to buy into the idea that the BLS’s compilers deliberately showed the contractions seen above in Household Survey employment in July and August, allowing President Obama to continue to get hammered during all of August and September over his administration’s then-unbroken streak of 43 months of 8%-plus unemployment, and then opened the floodgates on October 5, just 32 days before the election — after the travesty of early voting has already begun in some states — to finally get the rate below 8%. Really?

That said, it’s hard to totally blame those who see a conspiracy, simply because this administration, by far the most callously and pervasively dishonest in my lifetime, has given critics so much fodder in so many other areas. To name just a few:

  • Its lethal, reality-denying decision-making in Libya and the Middle East, leading it to ramp down and deny adequate security protection to Americans in dangerous situations when it clearly should have been increased.
  • Its craven yet still unadmitted willingness to flood Mexico with guns which could only be “traced” after their murderous use.
  • Its open political favoritism in “green jobs”-related loans and grants.
  • Finally, in a brazen repeat of what occurred during the 2008 presidential campaign, the president’s campaign has again “chosen not to use AVS (Address Verification System) in screening contributions made by credit card,” potentially (i.e., more than likely) “accepting contributions from phony names or accepting contributions from foreigners, both of which are illegal.”

This horror show on virtually all fronts can’t end soon enough.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101012)

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

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

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Positivity: With over 100 plaintiffs, lawyers for mandate objectors are hopeful

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 7:25 am

From Washington:

Oct 10, 2012 / 04:00 am

As the number of plaintiffs suing over the controversial HHS mandate reaches 100, a leading religious freedom legal group is hopeful about the outcome of the cases.

Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, explained that “nothing the government has done in the past months changes the fact that the mandate still violates federal law and the Constitution by forcing religious organizations to pay fines for the privilege of practicing their faith.”

Duncan told CNA on Oct. 9 that the Becket Fund is still confident as it moves forward with lawsuits against the controversial federal mandate that requires employers to offer health insurance coverage of contraception, sterilization and early abortion drugs, regardless of their religious beliefs.

In issuing the mandate, the Obama administration failed to offer a religious exemption to any group that serves or employs members of other faiths, as well as for-profit companies.

The administration did create a one-year “safe harbor” delaying the mandate from being implemented against objecting religious groups and has promised a future “accommodation” for religious freedom but has not yet given formal details about it.

The mandate has attracted legal action by more than 100 individuals and organizations, ranging from the first suit filed by Belmont Abbey College in Nov. 2011 – before many Americans were even aware of the mandate – to the most recent lawsuit filed by two Baptist universities on Oct. 9. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Reuters Reporter, In Essence: Today’s Republican Are Pro-Slavery and Are Rarely Tagged as ‘Radicals’

Okay, Steven Spielberg said what he said about Democrats and Republicans at his prerelease press conference promoting “Lincoln,” his next movie which will be released just after Election Day. And of course he’s spectacularly wrong in claiming that the country’s two major political parties have “traded political places over the last 150 years.”

If that were the entire story and Reuters reporter Christine Kearney (pictured here at LinkedIn) had simply relayed what Spielberg said, this post wouldn’t be about media bias. But is, because Ms. Kearney herself took a journey into the land of make-believe with this subsequent sentence:

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