October 23, 2013

Revised Census Bureau Release Schedule Reax: Boy, the Housing Market Must Really Stink For Its Reports to Be Delayed So Long

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:22 pm

From the Census Bureau’s revised schedule of releases:

New Residential Construction
September [originally scheduled for 10/17/13] 11/26/13
October [originally scheduled for 11/19/13] 11/26/13
November [originally scheduled for 12/18/13] No Change

New Residential Sales
September [originally scheduled for 10/24/13] 12/4/13
October [originally scheduled for 11/27/13] 12/4/13
November [originally scheduled for 12/24/13] No Change

Really, we’re not going to see any new home industry info for another five weeks? Miss 16 days, skip over a month?

Only one other report (on Construction Spending, originally scheduled for Nov. 1, now coming out on Dec. 2) is being similarly delayed. Another close one is the report on Manufacturers’ Shipments for August, which will be combined with September when released on November 4.

But no housing data until just before Thanksgiving? The homebuilding industry must really be getting hit hard by what would be relatively inconsequential increases in interest rates — if we were in a robust economy, which we haven’t seen since about eight months before Barack Obama took office.

Unlike Halliburton in the Bush 43 Era, No-Bid Nature of CGI’s Obamacare Contract Is a Media-Kept Secret

In 2003, Halliburton Company received a great deal of scrutiny from the establishment press over certain no-bid contracts obtained in connection with the Iraq War. Examples, two of which are from the Associated Press, are here, here, and here. A Google News Archive Search on “Halliburton no-bid” not in quotes allegedly returns 1,760 items (Google’s counter is suspect, but the list extends to at least 19 pages, or well over 190 items, including multiple items in some listings).

In 2010, the Washington Times was virtually alone in reporting that the Obama administration, despite presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign promise never to entertain such deals, had entered into a no-bid contract with KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, “worth as much as $568 million.” It turns out that CGI, the Canadian company which is the lead firm in the design and rollout of HealtCare.gov, also has a no-bid contract with the federal government. But an AP search on “CGI no-bid” (not in quotes) comes up empty. A Google News search on the same string (not in quotes) returns only four times, none of which are establishment press outlets.

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Is Anything Genuine in This Administration?

Filed under: Health Care,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:02 pm

Just watch (original YouTube):

Yeah, it was orchestrated.

Question

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:56 pm

In response to “Seventeen murdered Copts and 85 torched churches since ousting of Morsi” in Egypt, despite which the Obama administration “cuts hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Egypt—thereby punishing all of Egypt for ejecting the Muslim Brotherhood from power,” Raymond Ibrahim asks:

What more proof can any sensible American need to know that the Muslim-named president of the United States of America is in league with Muslim terrorists?

I certainly don’t need any more proof.

Juan Williams Explains It All: ‘Massive Opposition’ From Republicans Forced Rushed HealthCare.gov Rollout

Last night on Fox News’s Special Report, Juan Williams singlehandedly raised the bar for what qualifies as world-class failure in blame-shifting. Williams excused the mind-boggling incompetence of the Obama administration’s HealthCare.gov implementation by claiming that “massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans” caused fearful system architects to “roll it out and see how it works for now.” Gosh, the only thing that remains is for President Obama to say that these poor programmers were “held hostage” by GOP press releases and speeches.

Video and a transcript of the relevant segment follow the jump (HT Twitchy via Hot Air; bolds are mine). Especially note the priceless look on the face of Fox panel member Stephen Hayes at the 1:12 mark of the two-minute vid:

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AP’s Scott Bauer Is Bitter About Wis. Gov. Scott Walker’s New Book

During the 2011-2012 controversy over Wisconsin’s Act 10, the establishment press, led by the Associated Press, clearly took sides against Badger State Republican Governor Scott Walker and the GOP-led legislature. No one was more blatantly biased than the AP’s Scott Bauer, who repeatedly insisted in 2011 and 2012 that the law “strip(s) most public employees of their union right to collectively bargain.” It does not. While Act 10 sharply limits the scope of what can be negotiated, it does not eliminate unions’ right to exist, or to negotiate.

Walker will be releasing a new book, “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge,” in November. Given the sustained national attention Act 10 received, the utlimately failed recall movement it inspired, and Walker’s possible interest in seeking the nation’s presidency in 2016, it’s reasonable to believe that the AP would have wanted to carry Bauer’s Monday morning review of the book as a national story. But thus far, it has not. I believe it’s because Bauer comes across as a fundamentally dishonest and embarrassingly partisan sore loser.

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Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102313)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Monks in Louisiana win lengthy fight to sell caskets

Filed under: Business Moves,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Baton Rouge, Louisiana:

Oct 18, 2013 / 02:03 am

After a long legal fight, the U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that Benedictine monks in Louisiana have the right to sell their handmade wooden caskets to the public.

“It’s a great day for us, and we’re very thankful that this five-year battle is over,” Abbot Justin Brown of St. Joseph Abbey told The Advocate, Baton Rouge’s daily newspaper. “We’re not in the business of going to court.”

The Covington-based abbey had for decades created the caskets to bury deceased religious brothers. It began to sell the caskets in November 2007 through a new company, St. Joseph Woodworks, after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the timberland on which it relied for income, and the caskets were sold at a rate significantly lower than others.

One month later, the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors ordered the abbey not to sell the caskets to the public within the state. State law required sellers of caskets to have funeral director training and to have a funeral parlor with embalming equipment.

The monks stopped selling caskets and filed suit in federal court in 2010, and a U.S. district judge struck down the law in 2011.

In March 2013 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision that the Louisiana embalmers and funeral directors board wrongly required casket sales to be conducted only through a state-licensed funeral director at a funeral home.

The court wrote that the state rule puts coffin customers at a greater risk of abuse and “exploitative prices,” striking down the protectionist law as violating the monks’ rights to equal protection and due process.

The state funeral board, which argues that the law helps protect consumers, had appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which chose not to reconsider the appellate court’s ruling in favor of the monks.

The abbey had celebrated its previous legal victories, but Abbot Brown said they will likely mark the final milestone “quietly in our prayers.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.