November 2, 2015

Ohio Issues 1, 2, and 3 — No, No, and Heck No

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:35 pm

We’ll take ‘em in reverse order.

Issue 3 (legalizing marijuana and giving control of the “industry” to a state-sponsored cartel) is a definite “Heck No!” Even if you believe that pot should be legalized, you don’t do it by creating a cartel, which is what Issue 3′s passage would do. This attempt at cronyism writ large should be rejected by a decisive majority.

Issue 2 is a tough one, but should also get a “no” vote. Issue 3 (see above) is indeed an abuse of the initiative process with the aim of benefitting a few well-connected individuals and entities in a low-turnout off-year election (to be clear, so was a 2006 congressional election year gambling issue in 2006, which yours truly also opposed). And yes, something needs to be done to prevent that kind of abuse in the future. But Issue 2 isn’t the answer. Its language is shoddy and vague, and appears likely to create far more problems than it hopes to solve.

Issue 1 (state legislative redistricting for Congress and state offices) looks tempting. In an ideal world, everyone would like to see an end to partisan gerrymandering. Too bad that even if Ohio does it, ruthlessly gerrymandered leftist strongholds like Illinois, New York and California won’t. Until that happens, Ohio shouldn’t preemptively surrender its admittedly gerrymandered advantage to the left. So I’ll be casting a reluctant but quite necessary “no” vote.

UPDATE, Nov. 3, 11:30 p.m.: Issue 3 was by far the most important of the three issues on the ballot, and it failed badly. Those who want to legalize pot need to put forth a free market-oriented measure.

Issue 2′s passage appears to leave a mess in the legislature’s hands, thanks to its vague and debatable language.

Issue 1′s passage is unfortunate, because similar measures haven’t — and likely never will — pass in deep-blue states like California, New York and Illinois.

Wash Post Analysis: Police Justified in Fatal Shootings At Least 95 Pct. of Time

On June 30, the Washington Post announced that it would be “compiling a database of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty in 2015.” The Post has been “tracking more than a dozen details about each killing — including the race of the deceased, the circumstances of the shooting, and whether the person was armed.”

The paper’s work thus far has been a revealing exercise which should be getting far more attention than it is. I believe would be getting the needed attention if the revelations were different. You see, the analysis of fatal shootings thus far shows that, in layman’s terms, the overwhelming majority of them were wholly justified (HT to an Investor’s Business Daily editorial).


So John Kasich Is Running for Vice-President?

From John Fund at National Review last Thursday:

Kasich advisers privately admit his faults but say that even if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination, he is perfectly positioned to be the GOP vice-presidential candidate, given that he comes from the key swing state of Ohio. But a home-state geographic advantage is less relevant in today’s media age than it used to be for a vice-presidential nominee (Paul Ryan in 2012 and John Edwards in 2004 both lost their home states). And balancing that off is Kasich’s infamously prickly personality and penchant for winging it during speeches. In addition, you can bet that the fawning mainstream-media members who now back Kasich would melt away in a general election — just as they did after John McCain finished dispatching his fellow Republicans in the 2008 primaries.

Make no mistake. Kasich’s “advisers” wouldn’t be “privately” saying such things unless Preacher John said it was okay.

Also on the roster of VP losers, in a different sense: VP Al Gore failed to succeed President Bill Clinton in 2000.

October ISM Manufacturing: 50.1 Percent, Down From 50.2 Percent in Sept.; Underlying Metrics Mostly Contract or Barely Expand

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:56 am

From the Institute for Supply Management — I think I smell something that’s been cooked (bolds are mine; paragraph breaks added by me):

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in October for the 34th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 77th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The October PMI® registered 50.1 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the September reading of 50.2 percent. The New Orders Index registered 52.9 percent, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the reading of 50.1 percent in September. The Production Index registered 52.9 percent, 1.1 percentage points above the September reading of 51.8 percent.

The Employment Index registered 47.6 percent, 2.9 percentage points below the September reading of 50.5 percent. Backlog of Orders registered 42.5 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point from the September reading of 41.5 percent.

The Prices Index registered 39 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point from the September reading of 38 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the 12th consecutive month. The New Export Orders Index registered 47.5 percent, up 1 percentage point from September, and the Imports Index registered 47 percent, down 3.5 percentage points from the September reading of 50.5 percent.

Comments from the panel reflect concern over the high price of the dollar and the continuing low price of oil, mixed with cautious optimism about steady to increasing demand in several industries.”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, seven are reporting growth in October in the following order: Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; Paper Products; and Fabricated Metal Products. The nine industries reporting contraction in October — listed in order — are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Petroleum & Coal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.

Let’s summarize:

  • More industries are contracting than aren’t.
  • Backlog of Orders has cratered for two straight months in the low-40s, i.e., contracting seriously two months in a row.
  • None of the five expanding metrics is above 53.0. (To be fair, two of them, Production and New Orders, which both would foreshadow GDP pickups, increased nicely.)
  • Six of the 11 metrics are in contraction (i.e., below 50.0).
  • The expanding metrics average 51.5.
  • The contracting metrics average 45.0.
  • And the overall result is a teeny-tiny net … expansion?

This is very suspect.

Zero Hedge notes that “the employment sub-index at its lowest since August 2009″ — just after the recession officially ended.


Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (110215)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Pope Francis sets up foundation to boost Catholic education

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

from Vatican City:

Oct 29, 2015 / 11:54 am

Observing the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on Christian education, Pope Francis on Wednesday established a foundation meant to promote Catholic education worldwide.

“I am grateful to the Congregation for Catholic Education for the initiatives organised for this 50th anniversary of the declaration Gravissimum educationis,” the Holy Father wrote in an Oct. 28 chirograph, a letter circulated in the Roman Curia.

“I am likewise pleased to learn that the same Dicastery wishes to constitute on this occasion a Foundation named Gravissimum educationis, with the aim of pursuing ‘scientific and cultural ends, intended to promote Catholic education in the world’,” he wrote, quoting the foundation’s statutes.

The Pope’s letter instituted the Gravissimum educationis Foundation in Vatican City, making it subject to canon law, Vatican City civil law, as well as its own statutes.

One of three declarations of Vatican II, Gravissimum educationis recognized the Church’s role in education, ordered toward man’s salvation, and stated fundamental principles of Christian education.

The conciliar document, issued Oct. 28, 1965, stated that Catholic schools are meant “to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities, and finally to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and man is illumined by faith.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.