Wednesday, February 29, 2012

U.S. announces diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea


The United States announced a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea Wednesday.

Under an agreement reached in direct talks in Beijing last week, North Korea has agreed to allow the return of nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, and has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile tests, nuclear tests, and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities, the State Department said. In return, the United States will provide North Korea with a large food aid package.

Bright the latest Indiana electric vehicle startup to call it quits

The one positive of Obama's presidency is that his administration is even incompetent at carrying out it's own stupid high priorities.
Just when it seemed like things couldn't get worse, Indiana received more bad news on the electric vehicle front Wednesday as another promising hopeful announced it would call it quits.

Bright Automotive, which had plans to deliver 300 manufacturing jobs to Indiana by 2012 pending the outcome of a loan from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, announced Wednesday it has withdrawn its DOE application and will wind down operations in Indiana.

In a scathing letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Bright Automotive Chief Executive Reuben Munger and Chief Operating Officer Mike Donoughe described an overly bureaucratic process and called the department ineffective in its mission to meet President Barack Obama's goal of adding one million plug-in vehicles to the road by 2015.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Subsidized Green Energy Company Struggles, Lays Off Workers — Rewards Top Executives

Executive welfare courtesy of the American taxpayer.
In the nine months since David Prystash was named Chief Financial Officer of A123 Systems — the battery manufacturer that received $390.1 million in federal and state subsidies — the company has laid off 125 employees and had a net loss of $172 million through the first three quarters of 2011.

A123 Systems also learned earlier this month that the company that was to be the main purchaser of its batteries — Fisker Automotive — had its federal funding cut off for missing milestones and had to lay off its own employees. A123 Systems had invested $23 million into Fisker.

Yet, this month A123’s Compensation Committee approved a $30,000 raise for Prystash just days after Fisker Automotive announced the U.S. Energy Department had cut off what was left of its $528.7 million loan it had previously received.

Prystash wasn’t the only executive to see a big raise this month. Robert Johnson, vice president of the energy solutions group, got a 20.7 percent pay increase going from $331,250 to $400,000, while Jason Forcier, vice president of the automotive solutions group, saw his pay increase from $331,250 to $350,000. Prystash’s raise was 8.5 percent, going from $350,000 to $380,000.

Israel will keep US out of the loop if it decides to strike Iran’s nuclear program

With Obama in charge, who could blame them.
WASHINGTON — Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel’s potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran’s nuclear program.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gallup: 72% of All Americans and 56% of Democrats Say Obamacare Mandate Unconstitutional

Surprising that even a plurality of Democrats are clear headed on this issue.
(CNSNews.com)- Seventy-two percent of American adults and 56 percent of self-professed Democrats say that the provision in the health-care law signed by President Barack Obama that requires individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine is unconstitutional, says the Gallup Poll.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear cases challenging the constitutionality of the mandate.

Among Republicans, according to the poll, 94 percent say the mandate is unconstitutional and 6 percent say it constitutional. Among Independents, 70 percent say it is unconstitutional and 21 percent say it is constitutional. In contrast to the 56 percent of Democrats who say the mandate is unconstitutional, only 37 percent say it is constitutional.

Monday Funny

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Seven Americans wounded in attack on NATO base in Afghanistan

Hey Obama, looks like that apology is working out well for you.
(Reuters) - Seven U.S. military trainers were wounded on Sunday when protesters in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan threw a grenade at their base, provincial police chief Samihullah Qatra told reporters.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed there had been an explosion outside one of its bases in northern Afghanistan, but declined to comment on casualties.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Eve Funny

Sorry folks, this one breaks me up.

"Mammas Please Let Your Babies Grow up to be Commies"

One can only hope he forgets his way home.
Sean Penn was Hugo Chavez' guest of honor (again) last week, serving as keynote speaker at graduation ceremonies for Venezuela's Salvador Allende Medical School. "Allow me to impart a little anecdote," beamed the two-time Oscar winner to the enchanted crowd. "I had the privilege (italics mine) to introduce my children to comandante Fidel Castro and as he posed for a photo between them I told him: "President, (italics mine) I'll now be denounced in the U.S. for educating my children as socialist revolutionaries.

So Castro responded: "That's among the best things that could happen to them.”

Besides his fame as wife beater with baseball bats, Sean Penn also claims fame as an advocate against the death penalty. His Oscar–winning role in Dead Man Walking where he played a convicted rapist and murderer who perished by lethal-injection in Louisiana seems to have made a deep impression upon Penn.

Police: Intruder Shot By Homeowner Dies

Another happy ending courtesy of Smith & Wesson.
GLEN ARM, Md. -- A home intruder was shot and found dead more than a mile away from a house that he was trying to break into, police in Baltimore County said.

At about 9 a.m., police said they received a call for a burglary in progress with shots fired from a house in the 11500 block of Glen Arm Road in Glen Arm.

SkyTeam 11 HD Capt. Roy Taylor said police found numerous shell casings and a blood trail at the scene. Police said there were two bullet holes in the home's front window.

Investigators told 11 News that the female homeowner saw the man as she came out of a bedroom, and she fired her handgun at him.

"The burglar also fired several rounds. The suspect was struck by the homeowner," said Baltimore County police spokesman Lt. Rob McCullough. [Police search the vehicle in which the suspect was found dead.] Police search the vehicle in which the suspect was found dead.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Obama fundraiser turns out to be a bad ambassador

Just one more incompetent leach in the Obama administration sucking the life out of this once great nation. Don't expect to see it anywhere but here.
Candidate Barack Obama promised to end the time-honored American practice of appointing ambassadors who have no experience in foreign policy, but President Obama has completely ignored that promise, appointing fundraisers to dozens of ambassadorships all over the world.

Today, the State Department revealed that another fundraiser turned ambassador ran her embassy into the ground ... only to return to fundraising and leave the State Department to pick up the pieces.

According to a new State Department inspector general's report

on the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas, Ambassador Nicole Avant presided over "an extended period of dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement, which has caused problems throughout the embassy" since she was appointed by the president in 2009. Prior to being America's envoy in the Caribbean, Avant was Southern California finance co-chairwoman of Obama's presidential campaign and vice president of Interior Music Publishing.

According to her glowingly positive Wikipedia page, Avant spent her time in the Bahamas "focused on five priority initiatives: Education, Alternative Energy, Economic and Small Business Development, Women's Empowerment and Raising awareness of the challenges facing people with disabilities."

But according to the State Department's internal investigation, Avant was away from the embassy an inordinate amount of time -- mainly shuttling back and forth to her home in Los Angeles -- and when she was in town, she worked from her residence most of the day.

Avant was absent from the embassy 276 days between September 2009 and November 2011, including 102 "personal" days and 77 "work travel" days to the United States, of which only 23 were on official orders.

New Ice Age to Begin in 2014

The left will blame it on the burning of fossile fuels, just watch.
“Forecasters predict that a new ice age will begin soon,” says this article on russia-ic.com. “Habibullo Abdusamatov, a scientist from the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences considers that the sharp drop in temperature will start on the Earth in 2014.

“According to the scientist, our planet began to “get cold” in the 1990s. The new ice age will last at least two centuries, with its peak in 2055.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sharia in Pennsylvania: Muslim admits to attacking atheist; Muslim judge dismisses case

This is truely surreal.
This is enforcement of Sharia in a Pennsylvania court. The attacker supposedly got off because he "is an immigrant and claims he did not know his actions were illegal, or that it was legal in this country to represent Muhammad in any form. To add insult to injury, he also testified that his 9 year old son was present, and the man said he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet."

Then, Judge Mark Martin, himself a Muslim, told the atheist, Ernest Perce V.:

“Having had the benefit of having spent over 2 and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact I have a copy of the Koran here and I challenge you sir to show me where it says in the Koran that Mohammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted things. Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it it makes you look like a dufus and Mr. (Defendant) is correct. In many Arabic speaking countries something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society in fact it can be punishable by death and it frequently is in their society.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Department of Education: Catholic Schools Beat Public Schools

Color me shocked!
When two schools meet in a basketball game, the winner is indisputable. One team outscores the other.

The same is true in certain types of academic competition. When students take standardized national tests, students from some schools outscore students from others.

In the most recent round of National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the winners were indeed indisputable. Catholic schools thrashed public schools.

It wasn't close.

"In 2011," says the Department of Education in a report on the NAEP tests, "the average reading score for eighth-graders attending public schools was 19 points lower than the overall score for students attending private schools,and 20 points lower than for students attending Catholic schools specifically."
Or not.

WH Senior Advisor: Unemployment Stimulates the Economy

I've heard to ridiculous spin before but this takes the cake...
This evening, speaking at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said that folks getting and spending unemployment checks is a healthy thing . . . because it stimulates the economy:

"Even though we had a terrible economic crisis three years ago, throughout our country many people were suffering before the last three years, particularly in the black community," Jarrett said. "And so we need to make sure that we continue to support that important safety net. It not only is good for the family, but it's good for the economy. People who receive that unemployment check go out and spend it and help stimulate the economy, so that's healthy as well."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Budget of a Left-Wing Progressive.

Click and read the whole thing, Barnes nails it
President Obama’s budget for 2013 is pure Obama. How do we know? Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, was once asked how to become a budget expert. “You have to read the budget,” he said. To know Obama, it’s similar. You have to take positions he’d rather not. Only sympathizers, notably media types, believe any of those notions.

The truth is not hidden. One merely has to digest the new budget Obama unveiled last week, his budget last year, and his four major speeches since last April, and the real Obama comes into focus. He turns out to be a left-wing progressive who rejects many of the mainstream political and economic ideas of post-World War II America.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Report: Millions of jobless file for disability when unemployment benefits run out

Another unintended consequence oozes from the festering pustule we recognize as Obamaville.
Being unemployed for too long reportedly is driving people mad and costing taxpayers billions of dollars in mental illness and other disability claims.

The New York Post reported Sunday that as unemployment checks run out, many jobless are trying to gain government benefits by declaring themselves unhealthy.

More than 10.5 million people -- about 5.3 percent of the population aged 25 and 64 -- received disability checks in January from the federal government, the Post wrote, a 18 percent jump from before the recession.

Among those claiming disability, 43 percent are asking for benefits because of mental illness, the Post wrote. A growing number of those people are older, former white-collar workers.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Funny

Thanks RR.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Out of Wedlock

The perfect recipe for creating a permanent dependent underclass.
LORAIN, Ohio — It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.

Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. The fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data.

Among mothers of all ages, a majority — 59 percent in 2009 — are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women — nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to mothers under 30 — is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.

Large racial differences remain: 73 percent of black children are born outside marriage, compared with 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites. And educational differences are growing. About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with some post-secondary schooling and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less, according to Child Trends.
And therein lies the problem.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Real Unemployment Rate

The only illustration you'll ever need to see concerning unemployment (blue line worker participation % constant).

CBO: Longest Period of High Unemployment Since Great Depression

Now all at the same time, THANKS OBAMA!
After three years with unemployment topping 8 percent, the U.S. has seen the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression, the Congressional Budget Office noted in a report issued today.

And, despite some recent good news on the economic front, the CBO is still predicting that unemployment will remain above 8 percent until 2014. The report also notes that, including those who haven't sought work in the past four weeks and those who are working part-time but seeking full-time employment, the unemployment rate would be 15 percent.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foreclosures on the Rise Again

If the economy's improving I'm Jeremy Lin.
After a year-long reprieve from rising foreclosures, the numbers are going up again.

One in every 624 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in January, up 3 percent from the previous month, according to a new report from RealtyTrac. Foreclosure activity froze in many states in 2011, due to processing delays after fraud, or so-called "Robo-signing," were uncovered in the fall of 2010. The thaw is now on.

"We expect the pattern of increasing foreclosures to continue in the coming months, especially given the finalized mortgage and foreclosure settlement reached in early February between 49 state attorneys general and five of the nation's largest lenders," said RealtyTrac's CEO Brandon Moore in a written release. "Foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis for the first time in more than 12 months in Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania, following a pattern we saw in late 2011 in states such as California, Arizona and Massachusetts."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

U.S. startups hits 25-year low

Another grim milestone courtesy of the Obama administration.
Unemployed Americans who started businesses last year was the lowest in at least a quarter-century.

In 2011, 3.3% of out-of-work Americans started businesses, compared to 4.7% in 2010. But recent start-up activity is anemic compared to 1989 when 20.3% of unemployed were starting businesses. Until 1997, start-up activity was typically in double digits.

“Basically, it was not a very inviting environment for would-be entrepreneurs,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “While big business definitely began to reap the benefits of the recovery in 2011, conditions were not nearly as fruitful for existing small business, let along those attempting to get up off the ground.”

Romney may be running low on cash.

Hmmmmm.
"The former Massachusetts governor’s gold-plated fundraising machine has depended almost exclusively on big checks from the wealthy individuals — business leaders, Mormon allies, longtime Republican Establishment donors — whom Romney and his team have been cultivating for years, pressing the cases that resonate for those crowds: That he’ll cut taxes; that he’ll beat Barack Obama; that he’s inevitable and they’d better get on board.

But Romney has proved unable to tap into the emotion-drived small-dollar contributions that helped power Barack Obama in 2008, and which fueled even his more Establishment rival, Hillary Clinton, this time four years ago when she too began to run out of big donors. The result: Republican fundraisers say that despite his success so far, they think Romney is fast approaching a wall, and that he will likely be forced to pay for the campaign out of his own deep pockets."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bangkok bomber blows off his own legs

Another feel good story, this time from Thailand.
A bungling Iranian bomber blew off his own legs when he hurled a grenade at Thai police outside a Bangkok school - which bounced off a tree and then exploded at his feet.

It came after he had blown up his own home and then hurled a grenade at a taxi driver who would not accept him as a passenger, the Bangkok Post reports.

Police allegedly found an Iranian ID card in a satchel close to the blast in the Thai capital, and unconfirmed reports suggest he is called Saeid Moradi.
Other than the injured innocents this would have been a perfect ending. (Graphic)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oprah Cheats

Typical liberal, the ends always justify the means.
Oprah Winfrey may be feeling the pressure over her fledgling network’s sputtering ratings.

A tweet from the talk show host’s Twitter account asked followers, “Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Nielsen box,” in what seems to be a plea to boost ratings numbers.

Winfrey publically apologized for the tweet, which was subsequently deleted — after being informed that the move may have violated Nielsen policy prohibiting networks from influencing ratings.

“I removed the tweet at the request of Nielsen,” Winfrey said in a statement Monday. “ I intended no harm and apologize for the reference.”
No, she INTENDED to skew a legitimate process by encouraging people to lie. The harm was done by kneecapping all those who play by the rules.

Morning Examiner: Obama’s budget lies

This is the most disingenuous administration in the last 60 years and that's being generous.
White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew appeared on all five Sunday talk shows yesterday to defend the budget President Obama will release today. On two of those shows, CNN’s State of the Union and NBC’s Meet the Press, Lew flat out lied about the Democrats’ failure to pass a budget since Obamacare became law.

First on Meet the Press, David Gregory asked: “Here’s a stat that a lot of people may not know, but it’s pretty striking. The number of days since Senate Democrats passed a budget is 1,019. Can you just explain as a former budget director, how do you fund the government when there’s no budget?”

Lew replied: “Well, you know, one of the things about the United States Senate that I think the American people have realized is that it takes 60, not 50 votes to pass something. And there has been Republican opposition to anything that Senate Democrats have tried to do.”

Later on CNN, Candy Crowley asked...

[Snip]

Both Crowley and Gregory let Lew’s statement go by unchallenged. It fell to ABC News‘ Jake Tapper to fact check the White House. He reported, “That’s not accurate. Budgets only require 51 Senate votes for passage, as Lew — former director of the Office of Management and Budget — surely must know. White House officials did not dispute that Lew misspoke.

[Snip]

Maybe if Lew had made this statement on just one program, it would be believable that he “misspoke.” The fact that he made the statement on two programs, and that he is the former director of the Office of Management and Budget, shows that he both knew his statement was false, and he intended to make the false statement...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Santorum Surges Into the Lead

PPP isn't the most reliable pollster on the planet but this is interesting nonetheless.
Riding a wave of momentum from his trio of victories on Tuesday Rick Santorum has opened up a wide lead in PPP's newest national poll. He's at 38% to 23% for Mitt Romney, 17% for Newt Gingrich, and 13% for Ron Paul.

Part of the reason for Santorum's surge is his own high level of popularity. 64% of voters see him favorably to only 22% with a negative one. But the other, and maybe more important, reason is that Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich. Romney's favorability is barely above water at 44/43, representing a 23 point net decline from our December national poll when he was +24 (55/31). Gingrich has fallen even further. A 44% plurality of GOP voters now hold a negative opinion of him to only 42% with a positive one. That's a 34 point drop from 2 months ago when he was at +32 (60/28).

Friday, February 10, 2012

Benefit Costs Sunk Benton Harbor's Finances

I grew up just a stones throw from Benton Harbor and have watched it self destruct slowly for many years. It's a microcsm of Detroit. Across the river is St. Joe, about the same size and doing quite well under a similar economic environment. The difference, St. Joe is almost all white and Benton Harbor is almost all black. Don't get me wrong, it's not racial but political. BH has been electing liberal Democrats since the beginning of time and St Joe is far more Republican and conservative.
The story of Benton Harbor's financial troubles has been well known since the town made national news when Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed former state Auditor General Joseph Harris as the emergency manager in April of 2010.

Benton Harbor was in the midst of a six-year cycle where it had overspent its budget by $8 million.

What may not be as well known are the details of a union contract that played a part in the city’s financial crisis. The city had worked under the contract for eight years, an unusually long life for a union deal.

Under that contract, the city was giving raises as high as 15 percent to some of its employees and paying for 100 percent of health care premiums for all its employees. Also, employees contributed just 3 percent of their salary to their defined-benefit retirement plans.

In 2002, the city’s Michigan Council No. 25 AFSCME AFL-CIO Local 1433 contract was signed. It expired in 2008, but stayed in place until the new contract was passed July 1, 2011.

“This situation didn’t happen overnight,” said Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “The difficulties they were having certainly didn’t just pop out of nowhere.”

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Caterpillar won't build North American plant in Illinois

One of the most advisarial business environments in the country, any wonder why.
PEORIA -- Caterpillar Inc. will not be building its new North American plant anywhere in the state of Illinois, officials with the company told local leaders Tuesday, with part of the reason being continued concerns about the business climate in the state.

The company will instead focus on a location closer to its division headquarters in Cary, N.C., Peoria County officials were told in an email sent to them shortly after the close of business and later obtained by the Journal Star. The plant stood to bring with it from Japan roughly 1,000 jobs manufacturing track-type tractors and mini hydraulic excavators.

Peoria County had submitted a regional proposal for the facility at the end of last year, and the Galesburg area also had a proposal on the table for the manufacturer. Peoria's proposal reportedly included economic incentives as well as a promise of a legislative effort to establish a tax increment financing district to benefit the company.

At its core, Caterpillar's decision reflects some concerns its officials had previously expressed about the economic condition of the Land of Lincoln.
BTW, CAT announced they will be locating a somewhat smaller facility in Indiana. You know that Indiana just passed right to work legislation. Coincidence?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Dependence on government up 23 percent under President Obama

We are in trouble sports fans....deeeep trouble.
President Barack Obama has proved his adeptness at exploiting the vote pump: Dependence on government has increased by 23 percent under his administration, according to the Heritage Foundation 2012 Index of Dependence on Government.

More people than ever before — 67.3 million Americans — depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid or other assistance. Consider: The nation committed more than 15 times the resources in 2010 than in 1962 to pay for people who depend on the government. More than 70 percent of the nation’s spending goes to dependence programs, up from 28.3 percent in 1962 and 48.5 percent in 1990. The Index grew 8.1 percent in 2010 alone.

So, lest you think the increase in dependence stems primarily from temporary, recession-related rises in flexible spending programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, note well that increased dependence has been a steady trend for the entire decade the Heritage Foundation has released its index.

At the same time, the percentage of the population that pays no federal income taxes whatsoever has also increased. In 1984, just 14.8 percent of Americans — or 34.8 million tax filers — paid no federal income taxes; in 2009, 49.5 percent — or 151.7 million tax filers — paid nothing.

Report: Iranian Special Forces Are Marching Into Syria

Since Iran has no border with Syria, which country are they marching through, Iraq or Turkey???
According to the Turkish newspaper, Sabah, the commander of the Quds forces, Qassem Soleimani and 15,000 of his fighters have entered Syria with the mission of assisting in the suppression of the Syrian protestors. The Quds forces will act as a firewall for the Assad regime as the Syrian army is finding itself in a difficult situation where many officers are joining the opposition because they do not approve of the mass killings of the civilians, which so far has taken the lives of more than 5,000 people.

Other sources have indicated that Qassem Soleimani has a permanent presence in Syria’s war room overseeing and managing the attacks on the opposition.

Khamenei has said that Syria is the red line, adding that the fall of Assad will not be tolerated. Qassem Soleimani is urging Assad to enforce a complete lockdown of information to the outside world and to use a vicious clampdown to put an end to the uprising before the West can possibly get involved militarily.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

High-school Shocker: Lesson Sheet Elevates Communism over “Capitalism”


United Soviet Socialist Republic of Des Moines.
When parent Jeff Travis saw a lesson sheet his son received in social studies class, he was shocked. Using propaganda that could have been disgorged by the KGB, the flier seemed to elevate communism over “capitalism.”

Distributed in Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, the lesson sheet includes a cartoon (portion shown below) that purports to illustrate the differences between the two systems. In the left panel are two unhappy-looking workers with balls and chains tied to their ankles who toil away on one side of a machine while all the profit spills out the other side into a bag held by a smiling, stogie-smoking, portly business owner in a hat. It is labeled “Capitalism — In theory.” In the right panel, communism is presented “in theory” with two smiling workers standing relaxed at the same machine while all the profit comes back their way.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Another Unemployment Rate Fairy Tale

Just so there's no confusion.
The BLS reported that the closely followed "headline" (U-3) unemployment rate fell to 8.3% in January. This represented a decline of 0.2 percentage points from the previous month's level and the lowest level since February 2009. So, why isn't this good news?

The problem isn't just that the employment report wasn't good news, it's that the employment report wasn't even news. Rather, it was simply the latest monthly installment of the long-running story contained within President Obama's so-called "economic recovery": falling labor force participation. For the past 31 months, discouraged workers have been dropping out of the labor force in unprecedented numbers.

At the end of the recession (June, 2009), the labor force participation rate was 65.7%. In January 2012, it was 63.7%. The difference between these two numbers represents 4.8 million people who have given up on looking for work.

If the labor force participation rate for January 2012 had remained the same as it was in December 2011, the unemployment rate would have risen by 0.2 percentage points to 8.7%, rather than falling by 0.2 percentage points to 8.3%.

However, this comparison does not even begin to show the damage being done by Obamunism.

If the labor force participation rate had remained where it was when Obama took office (65.7%), the unemployment rate for January 2012 would have been reported at 11.0% rather than 8.3%. In January 2009, unemployment stood at 7.8%.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Abbott & Costello Discuss Unemployment

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America .

ABBOTT: Good subject. Terrible times. It's about 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.

ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?

ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ... they are out of work!

ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To who?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work... Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means they're two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.

Global Warming Heats Up In The Classroom

Attempted indoctrination of our youth with junk science.
The debate over global warming is now entering the classroom and its proponents are alarmed. It seems the “dogma” of the existence of global warming is running into problems as boards of education in several states have established a standard that requires the presentation of climate change “denial” as a valid scientific position. Legislators in other states have introduced bills that require equal time for climate change skeptics’ views in the classroom. With new national science standards from kindergarten through twelfth grade due by the end of 2012, we can expect to see a heated debate over climate change appear more often in court and in the classroom.

The National Center for Science Education’s [NCSE] is challenging such restrictions. It seems anyone who so much as questions the reality of man-made climate change is in a psychological state of “denial” of established science. The Center’s education initiative [1] seeks to impose the climate change agenda upon our school children leaving no room for scientific method or debate.

In the opinion of the NCSE, “there is virtually unanimous scientific agreement about climate change.” What is this claim founded upon and who are the renowned scientists that signed on to this statement? It seems NCSE has simply dismissed all those who disagree with climate change theory.

Note that no figure of the percentage of scientists in agreement is given, perhaps because they deem the number to be so insignificant. A simple exaggerated statement suffices to provide all the emotional arguments to justify their agenda.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Record 1.2 million people fall out of the labor force in 1 month

Before you get too giddy about the latest unemployment data.
A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million.

No, that's not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation. As for the quality of jobs, as withholding taxes roll over year over year, it can only mean that the US is replacing high paying FIRE jobs with low paying construction and manufacturing. So much for the improvement.
So basically they they get the smaller unemployment percentage by reducing the numerator of the equation.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Report: Union membership dwindles in WI, across U.S.

An encouraging trend indeed.
MADISON — If labor unions’ strength lies in numbers, a new report indicates unions’ most powerful days may be behind them.

Membership in organized labor unions dropped last year in Wisconsin by 16,000, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That left 13.3 percent of the employed population — 339,000 workers — represented by unions, down from 14.2 percent in 2010.

“I think at this point, we’ve gotten to the point where the unionization rates are so low that for many workers, they don’t have any exposure to unions and unions are not seen as a normal part of working lives,” said William Powell Jones, a University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor in history whose specialty is the history of the labor movement.

Challenger: Job cuts increased in January

One step forward two steps back.
The U.S. job market stumbled out of the gates in 2012 -- at least according to one report.

Planned job cuts for the month of January totaled 53,486, according to a report from outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That's a 28% increase from December and the highest total since the 116,000 cuts announced in September.

Leading the way were financial firms and retailers, which announced lay-offs totaling 7,611 and 12,426, respectively. Cuts of seasonal retail workers typically don't show up in the report, Challenger said.

The Challenger report follows data Wednesday from payroll processor ADP saying that the private sector added 170,000 jobs in January, down sharply from 292,000 in December.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

OFFLINE

Internet down in the heartland, hopefully be back tommorrow.