January 8, 2014

Positivity: 11 Year-old Guitar Player Electrifies Band, Crowd

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 2:16 pm

Wow (HT The Blaze):

Steve Chabot: ‘The Unraveling of Iraq Should Never Have Been Allowed to Happen’

From the blog of Ohio’s First District Congressman (bolds are mine):

Since I’m on the topic of predictions, I’ll discuss one I’d made a few years back. President Obama was making a terrible mistake by pulling all U.S. troops from Iraq. Not a political mistake, because it probably helped him in his re-election campaign against Romney. After all, most people were sick of hearing about Iraq, and wanted to put it behind us as quickly as possible.

But policy-wise, washing our hands of Iraq wasn’t the right thing to do.

… In 2011, in my third visit to Iraq, I had the opportunity to assess the situation on the ground there, and meet with U.S. Embassy personnel, U.S. military personnel, and Iraqi officials. There was virtually unanimous consensus that the U.S. should maintain a military presence there. Not large, in the 10,000 range, mostly to assist and train Iraqis, so they could preserve the progress secured at such a high cost by both Americans and Iraqis.

When the half-hearted effort to reach an agreement on the terms under which U.S. troops would stay failed, President Obama announced he would pull all U.S. troops out, and he did. I and others made gloomy predictions at the time, and unfortunately, those predictions are turning out to be true.

the unraveling of Iraq should never have been allowed to happen.

It’s not like the U.S. has never left troops behind to secure the peace after a war has been won. We left substantial numbers of troops in Germany, Japan, and South Korea after winning military victories there, and far smaller numbers had been contemplated for Iraq. Unfortunately this Administration’s errors aren’t likely to stop with Iraq.

I believe the Obama Administration is headed down the road towards letting any gains in Afghanistan slip away either by a bad deal, or no deal, with the Afghan government. The result there may well be the Taliban back in control in Afghanistan in the not too distant future. And the sacrifices made by so many will have been squandered.

I hope I’m wrong.

Odds are that you’re not, Steve.

Let the record show that George W. Bush won the wars, and Barack H. Obama is on the verge of having lost the peace.

December ADP Private-Sector Employment: +238K; Nov. and Oct. Now Both Over 200K (See Conference Call Notes)

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 8:38 am

The breakdown of the 238,000-job gain (vs. expectations of 215K):

  • Small businesses (1-49 employees) +108,000
  • Medium businesses (50-499 employees) +59,000
  • Large businesses (500 or more employees) +71,000

The press release:

“The U.S. private sector added 238,000 jobs in December, surpassing November as the strongest month for job growth in 2013,” said Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP. “It’s encouraging news that hopefully bodes well for 2014.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The job market ended 2013 on a high note. Job growth meaningfully accelerated and is now over 200,000 per month. Job gains are broad-based across industries, most notably in construction and manufacturing. It appears that businesses are growing more confident and increasing their hiring.”

Conference Call Notes with Mark Zandi:
- Very good report, broad-based on industries and company sizes.
- Solid gains in const. and manufacturing.
- “Feels like the job market has kicked into a higher gear.”
- “Consistent with other economic data.”
- “Q4 GDP growth is tracking at 4%.” Job gains are consistent with that.
- Business confidence has surged since the shutdown and “is at a new record high.”
- “My sense is that businesses are now feeling good and engaging and hiring rates are finally picking up. … It feels like it’s happened.”
- At this pace of job growth, unemployment will decline quickly, and will be close to 6.5% by YE and to 6% by YE 2015.” (He thinks full employment is 5.5% to 5.75%).
- But we should still extend unemployment benefits, and paying for it “should not be a pre-condition.”
- We’ve had a lot of false starts during the 4-1/2 year recovery. This time it feels real, and we’re off and running. We’ll now see a recovery more typical of previous recoveries.

Questions:

MY Question (shutdown impact and part-timers):
- Surprised that shutdown had little impact — but confidence improved after it was over, and #s went up further.
- Shutdown might have been therapeutic.
- Hasn’t seen meaningful impact on PT employment. (“no significant increase”) May show up next year when -er mandate kicked up.

Rugaber of AP (GDP components):
- 3.5% is median.
- Inv. growth in Q4 doesn’t seem as low as one might think. ($75 bil increase [probably annualized -- Ed.]  in Q4 vs. $105 bil in Q3). Farm inv buildup is real because of PY drought and farmers holding onto their stocks.
- Predicts 225K per month for 2014.

Needham (The Hill – re UI extension and Fri. jobs prediction):
- 230K is prediction for Friday with unemp rate staying at 7%, though some indicators are foreshadowing a decline. If not in Jan., rate will decline in early 2014.
- Govt. employment is stabilizing.
- UI “should be allowed to die a natural death” and sort of wind down on its own. By the end of the year it should be all but gone except it troubled states like IL, NV, and RI.
- Lawmakers should work really hard to pay for it “over a period of time.”
- We’re mostly past the “emergency” part of the UI problem.
- Shouldn’t make paying for it a precondition for passage.
- There has been a significant improvement in the “flows out of unemployment.”

Latest PJ Media Column (‘A Chaos-Driven Path to Single Payer?’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

The article’s premise is that it’s almost impossible to believe that anyone could accidentally design an interactive database without the ability to interact, e.g., to accommodate the birth of a child, marriage, divorce, moving to another locale, etc.

Such an omission almost has to be deliberate. Why? Look at the column’s title.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010814)

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.

Comedy Gold: Senior Editor at The Atlantic Calls Melissa Harris-Perry ‘America’s Foremost Public Intellectual’

I kept looking for any sign that Ta-Nehisi Coates, described as “a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues,” was kidding in his Monday afternoon column about Melissa Harris-Perry when he called her “The Smartest Nerd in the Room.” He wasn’t.

When last seen here at NewsBusters, Coates was pretending that the wealth gap between blacks and whites has consistently widened during the past 20 years, when the reality is that almost all of the widening has occurred during the past five years for which data is available. That delusion is nothing compared to his assessment of Harris-Perry, excerpted after the jump (bold is mine):

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