Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day

This Memorial Day honor all of our fallen soldiers but take action to honor one.

Trident Frog sportswear will donate $2 for every shirt sold this Memorial Day Weekend (today through May 28th) in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy, Medal of Honor winner and fallen Navy SEAL.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Racism? Let's Go to the Video Tape

Well, you knew it was coming, but maybe you didn't expect it from such an MSMer as Chris Cillizza (or maybe you did?!?!) who put his name to this patently ridiculous assemblage of words:
That President Obama lost roughly 40 percent of the vote in Democratic primaries in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia over the last two weeks has drawn massive national headlines.
Those headlines have drawn a collective eyeroll from Democrats — and many others who closely follow national politics — who ascribe the underperformance by the incumbent to a very simple thing: racism.
No, none of these Democrats are willing to put their name to that allegation — either generally or for this story. But, it is, without question the prevalent viewpoint they hold privately.
Yup, nobody's said it but they're all thinking it.  Huh?  How would he know?  Anyway, let's move to quash the notion on the merits.  There is, of course, a mountain of evidence that Obama's economic policies have simply failed to encourage economic recovery at best or have actively inhibited recovery at worst.  Furthermore there are legitimate criticisms that Obama's foreign policy is counter to the nation's interest, dangerous, ineffective or all of the above.  Third, there is a mountain of anecdotal evidence that Obama, the man, is nothing of what he told the American people he was - uniter, no-drama, yadayada - during the 2008 campaign.  Finally, Obama has racked up an impressive list of regulatory strong-arming, cynical propaganda campaigns, and cronyism to say nothing of the brazen assaults on core constitutional rights and freedoms, which have launched a number of high profile legal challenges - the latest of which is the suit by 43 Catholic institutions over HHS's contraception mandate.  But no matter, voters' seeming displeasure simply has to be racism.

Also, as a famous NY sportscaster is fond of saying "Let's go to the videotape..."  Let's not forget that Obama's electoral rebukes started in New Jersey and Virginia in 2009 with the elections respectively of Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell as governors.  Obama campaigned heavily for Jon Corzine in the Garden State contest.  Obama largely stayed out of the Virginia race, but after going for Obama in 2008, not one year later, Democrats got completely shellacked in 2009 in Virginia.  Shortly after that was the improbable election of Scott Brown to the US Senate from Massachusetts.  Then Gov. Joe Manchin (D) ran for Senate with a famous campaign commercial where he shot a bullet through Obama's "cap and trade" bill.  Of course, in November of 2010, Republicans won an historic sweep into the House majority, where several long-time incumbents and key congressional Obama supporters got bounced. Simultaneously, Republicans won six US Senate seats and scored massive electoral wins in state houses and governors' mansions all over the country.

So, under Obama as the standard-bearer of their party, the Democrats have gotten slaughtered from 2009 through to the present, from Maine to Nevada, from the federal level down to the statehouses...but somehow these humiliations in Kentucky and Arkansas are attributable to racism?  Only in MSM-Land.  The truth is more simple, Obama is a terrible - dangerous even - President and voters are rejecting him.

Jarrett Directs the Purimspiel

Here is an interesting article from Edward Klein based on research for his new book The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House about Valerie Jarrett.  The indictment of Jarrett put forth by Klein only needs to be half true to get one wondering why Obama sticks with her.  I agree that Obama is "vainglorious and thin-skinned" but that would make him want to surround himself with people who, unlike Jarrett, make him successful, no? His vanity would lead him to fire her and seek other advisers, right?  Klein leads you to the obvious question - why does Obama stick with Jarrett? - but doesn't posit a clear answer.  I brought up this same issue in contemplating Kathleen Sebelius and also Janet Napolitano.    These women are atrocious and have ill-served the President as spokeswomen for his administration.
Kathleen Sebelius is certain that reducing pregnancies will cut costs and thereby justify subsidies of birth control, and yet she is completely unsure of the basic estimates of the effect of Obamacare on the federal deficit. What has always amazed me is that Barack Obama does not see this woman as a liability for him. Janet Napolitano too but that's another subject, or maybe it is the same subject...
"I stand by my February 2008 profile of Obama as a sociopath dominated by strong women."
Spengler's psychoanalysis may be spot on, but since I generally don't give much credence to that discipline I have to go with a simpler explanation:  Obama doesn't know the difference between good performance and bad performance, he only knows agreement and disagreement, obsequiousness and disobedience.
"I guess when you've never had executive authority, and thus responsibility for evaluating those working for you, you don't develop an ability to know who is good and who is bad at what they do."
Such is the price of electing a man of no accomplishment and questionable character to the highest office in the land.

Harvey and Me

My fellow American Express alum, Harvey Golub, diagnoses the failed economic policy of this administration almost exactly I have...only I provided my analysis much much earlier.

Golub today:
"So what went wrong? All the available Keynesian levers for achieving economic growth have been pulled, yet the recovery is one of the weakest since World War II. The problem lies with the way the “stimulus” was carried out, the uncertainty of looming higher taxes, and the anti-business rhetoric and regulatory strong-arming of this administration."
Baseball in July 2011:
"In my view, even if the stimulus could have possibly worked (which I believe it couldn't have), it was neutered by the damaging rhetoric and policy agenda of this President and the Pelosicrats as I have noted here. What the stimulus offered with one hand, the poisonous anti-business stance of Washington DC caused to be withdrawn by the other hand. For all their purported expertise in Keynesian economics, they were ignorant of what Keynes dubbed the "animal spirits" of the economy, which they have succeeded in thoroughly and relentlessly crushing."
Oh, and there is also this:
I predicted, more or less, this sequence (here, here, here, here) upon the election of our 44th President:
1) Barack Obama and the Democrats attack business relentlessly with rhetoric and punitive legislation and regulation;
2) businesses pull back substantially on investment;
3) the economy suffers or languishes at best;
4) the poor economy sinks the Obama presidency and many Democrat's careers.

Check out this post at Carpe Diem, as evidence of #2. #s 1 and 3 are hardly in dispute. All that's left is the crying, or #4.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Arkansas Primary Returns: Lefty Panic Moves to DEFCON 3

So, I'm sitting here watching the returns come in down in Arkansas and I can't help but wonder when the Democrats will fully come to the realization that Obama has been an absolute disaster for their party.  I know the Clintonite faction has come to that conclusion long ago, but when will the party as a whole internalize this fact?  The inmate-guy in WV, "Uncommitted" in Kentucky and now this Wolfe fellow in Arkansas.  Will the Dems just chalk this up to the esoterica of the low-sloping foreheads or will they be murmuring "Holy Freaking Shit" as they frantically call their therapists?  The answer, of course, is the later.  Foreheads only slope low when we are talking about Republicans and/or people so inclined as to contemplate voting for Republicans.  Arkansans, West Virginians, and Kentuckians are all thoroughly decent people and members in good-standing in the brotherhood of civilized society when they fall in line with elite coastal viewpoints.  Thus what we have is a "Holy Freaking Shit" moment a-brewing here.  I'm moving the Lefty Panic Attack Condition to DEFCON 3.

UPDATE:  With 67 of 75 counties reporting, Wolfe has 42% of the vote and the Lightworker has 58%.  DEFCON 3.5 if you ask me, although when it comes to the MSM, I predict...crickets....

UPPDATE:  John at Powerline adds some historical context - essentially the same results sent LBJ packing in 1968, although McCarthy was a credible candidate whereas "Uncommitted" and a federal inmate are not (although, IMHO anybody/thing would be better than Obama, including Glenn Reynolds's syphilitic camel).  Also, the Democrats were different then.  The radical progressive wing has taken over and expunged moderate, sensible Democrats.  Not to worry though, the Clintonite Restoration is underway.

UPPPDATE:  I have to throw in a little conspiratorial flavoring into the soup.  Here we are at 11:00am on the following day and Arkansas is stuck at only 67 of 75 counties reported.  What's is going on?  Is there some reasonable explanation for the delay or are those 8 additional counties electorally peculiar in a way that only Michael Barone could understand and somehow hiding even worse news for the Lightworker...???

Obama Readies Election Season Swing State Slush Fund

First note that HHS is spending $20 million on PR to improve the image of ObamaCare.  Next note that HHS is demanding that any refunds coming to health plan enrollees from the MLR provision cite ObamaCare in a move of election year propaganda.  Now, check this out:
President Barack Obama will offer school districts the chance to compete for awards from a $400 million program by designing plans to individualize classes and improve student achievement.
The awards, of as much as $25 million each, will target districts that “focus on transforming instruction so that it meets all students’ learning abilities,” the Education Department said in a statement today. The department will take comment on the criteria for the awards competition through June 8, according to the statement.
Hmmm, let me guess.  I'm willing to wager that some lucky quite deserving school districts in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania are going to be recipients of very generous grants right about the September-October time frame.   

I can even see the headlines:  "Hey, waddyaknow, Allentown, PA, Jacksonville, FL and Youngstown , OH each just got a completely merited, totally non-political $25 million dollar grant FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA (who aside from giving $20 million grants, also killing Osama bin Laden) because this President is totally committed to education in these special places that, like, totally earned the money and are totally not swing states or anything."

Vaclav Klaus Echoes NBfPB

Vaclav Klaus confirms what I've been saying for warming is dead as a global policy initiative.

"War on Women" Update

Wow!!  The War on Women has scored a boatload of new recruits!!  Check 'em out.  They look like a fine bunch, so this war should get a real boost!

They Don't Call It The NY Crimes For Nuthin'

I just had this conversation with someone the other day.  I mentioned that I don't read the NY Times and they were in disbelief and asked why, so I gave my stock answer "for the same reason I don't drive a Chevy, it's a mediocre product."  Sure enough, case in point.  When it's not Jason Blair or Abu Ghraib on the cover for two months straight, it's plucking obscure lefty weirdos out of nowhere to slander free enterprise by using phony academic studies and/or lying about said studies...

UPDATE:  which is why I've never heard of Charles Blow.  Perhaps because he's so irrelevant that the right-o-sphere doesn't even engage him, even if only to mock, ala Krugman/Dowd/Nocera/Brooks/Friedman.  Anyway, I've googled him...he's the new Bob Herbert, I guess, in the exquisitely engineered diversity of the NY Crimes Op-Ed Page.

The British NHS Is One Giant Death Panel

Here's the craziest thing you'll read all day, and maybe for several days...remember that whole thing with the Lockerbie bomber, Megrahi, who was perversely released by the Scottish government?  Yeah, well, the political angle is superseded in ridiculousness by the healthcare angle.
Karol Sikora, a leading cancer specialist who examined Megrahi shortly before his release, explains that predicting how long a patient with end-stage prostate cancer has to live is "a value judgment of probability," not an exact science. But Dr. Sikora also writes that his initial three-month prognosis was "based on his treatment as an NHS patient in Glasgow at the time, when not even standard docetaxel chemotherapy was offered." By contrast, "Mr. Megrahi almost certainly had excellent care in Tripoli."
Think about that one: Get treated for cancer by the U.K.'s National Health Service, and you'll be dead by Christmas. But get treated for the same cancer in Libya, and you may have years to live. No wonder Americans are terrified of government-run medicine and rationing boards.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Clintonite Tells Youth That Things Are Bleak (Under Obama)

Hmmm...another Clintonite undermining the message of "Hope and Change" telling a key Obama voting block "You're f**ked."  Notice how he frames the bad news:
Fewer than half of the graduates from last year’s class have as yet found full-time jobs. Most are still looking.

That’s been the pattern over the last three graduating classes: It’s been taking them more than a year to land the first job.
Last three years, huh?  What's going on here...I wonder.

UPDATE:  And another (Rendell is, of course, a major Clintonite).  Also, Cory Booker has a bright future, do you think maybe he was told that he could hook his caboose up to the re-emergent Clintonite Democratic Party's freight train or to a steadily sinking Obama...?  That's Obama's main problem, he's renting loyalists, and somebody, somewhere articulated it early.  Booker may just have cancelled Obama's lease on him.

UPPDATE:  Jennifer Rubin says that "Romney Revels in Obama's Bain Blunders"  I wonder if these are really blunders, all Obama has got is narrow base targeting (enviros, minorities, hard core leftists) and tearing down Romney's whiteness, wealth, and career history.  I wouldn't classify using your only available tactics as a blunder, I would classify it as a bad strategic hand, which should not come as a surprise when you invest so much in an empty suit.  To use military analogies, Obama is fighting with archers and foot soldiers when he needs cavalry, and he's fighting on ill-chosen terrain.  Still I think Obama was going to lead with 1) Romney/Bain is evil and 2) Keep Hope and Change Alive.  To see powerful Democrats take swipes at both these core pillars of Obama's arsenal is, well, berry eenturesting....

And The Week asks itself what I am thinking...are prominent Dems being asked to choose: Obama or their political future in a revived Clintonite/Democratic Party?  And Chris Matthews, who might know a thing or two about Democrat Party inside baseball (if not anything about getting ratings), sees it for what it is...sabotage.

UPPPDATE:  Dude.  Now, it's Mark Warner. So, let's boil this up into the big picture from the various tidbits - a who's who of establishment Dems are taking sledgehammers to one of the key pillars of Obama's campaign strategy, the anti-Bain attack.  That's the story.  What can you possibly conclude from that?

UPPPPDATE:  OMG!  Now it's Bob Schieffer !!  I am speechless.  Epic Fail.  There has to be utter panic in the Obama campaign bunker in Chicago.  I am convinced of it, the Clintons have put the word out.

Oil Discovery News

Iran finds what could be 10 billion barrels in the Caspian Sea:
Iran has discovered oil in its Caspian Sea waters for the first time in more than a century, the state-run Fars news agency reported.
The deposit was found at a depth of 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) during drilling on a natural-gas field and may contain 10 billion barrels of crude, Fars said, citing the National Iranian Oil Co. That's equal to 7 percent of Iran's known reserves.
and Bangladesh finds a nice haul of 137 million barrels.
DHAKA, Bangladesh - Bangladesh has discovered oil in two old gas fields in the country's northeastern region with an extractable reserve worth $5.5 billion, the chairman of state-owned Petrobangla said Monday.
Hussain Monsur said the two finds at Kailashtila and Sylhet contain proven reserves of 137 million barrels of low sulphur crude oil, of which 55 million barrels can be lifted commercially.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Uh Oh...

Here's a little tidbit from a routine piece of economic data analysis from one of the best in the business"
Upward revisions to retail sales for prior months suggest real consumer spending (including services) increased at a 3% annual rate in Q1.  With two more months to go, it looks like real consumer spending is growing at about a 2.5% rate in Q2.  Mixing this data with today’s report on inventories suggests later this month Q1 real GDP will show a downward revision to a growth rate of 1.8%.  The original report for Q1 had a growth rate of 2.2%, but, since then, inventories have been revised downward.
Davids Axelrod and Plouffe, call your office...major phony "vampire" and/or "war on women" and/or "I am gay and I killed bin laden" campaign push needed...

Rampant Bitter Clinging

Bitter clingers clinging bitterly.  Or just maybe a clear-eyed reaction to things like this...


That's the assessment from matchless sociological observer Walter Russell Mead.
How the mighty have fallen. The New York Times may still be trying to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation on the decomposing OWS corpse, attributing continuing policy influence sans evidence of any kind to a movement that has all but completely disappeared
Many impulsive people bet on the wrong horse here.  That's fine, except when you are a leader and you bet your institution's credibility.  The damaged credibility is hard to regain.  Granted he's at retirement age, but I wonder if this didn't play a role in Bishop Mark Sisk's retirement.

War on Women Update

Major developments in the War on Women:
"Prominent woman politician's endorsement is decisive for little-known woman politician, thereby enlisting her in the War on Women."

No immediate comment was available from the Hitlerian/Stalinist woman married to the standard bearer in the war on women.  And it is not known if this new female soldier in the War on Women knows that it is possible to be stylish and powerful.

UPDATE: And I just got an email from another woman eager to join the War on Women.  Check it out.  She all but admits that this War on Women looks like alot of fun.

Picture of Smug Politician Accompanies Article Suggesting Hypocrisy...Hmmmm

Wow, the AP is suggesting that maybe the Greatest/Smartest/Bestest President in All History might be a tad hypocritical.  Although the best part for me is the picture of Lightworker in the graduation gown (below). Only Drudge and the evil minions of the rightosphere ever run pictures showing Dear Leader as the smug narcissist  that he is.  It might be unprecedented for a picture like this to run in the MSM.  How did this happen?  Hmmmmm...

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses before he delivers the commencement address for the 2012 graduating class at Barnard College in New York May 14, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Tuesday, May 15, 2012



Ah, Gee, Thanks Bill

The Clintonite "assistance" is coming fast and furious (pun intended) now that we have the two-horse race.  Bubba Himself today:
"Bill Clinton said Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s goal of hiking taxes on the rich alone is not enough to solve the country’s fiscal woes and suggested that middle class Americans must also eventually contribute more."
Translation: The "Buffett Rule" is totally phony, and everybody's taxes are going up in an Obama Term Two. Can you just hear Axelrod & Co. in campaign HQ, "Ah, um, er...thanks Bill?"

Indra Nooyi's Run Ruining Pepsi Is Over

When a great American company has a crappy CEO, that CEO eventually gets fired.  When a great American company has a crappy CEO that is part of a protected class of people under our crazed progressive victimologist caste system, that CEO gets to hang on because Boards of Directors are loathe to fire, say, a woman CEO.  That is until the world's patience runs out.  That is why, for example, glamorous but worthless Andrea Jung hung on so long at Avon.  That is why Indra Nooyi has hung on so long at Pepsi long after she has proven disastrous
A fair question might be “What exactly has Mrs. Nooyi been doing for four years other than letting the company’s flagship product wither and it’s marketing talent flee?”  Easy.  Trying to sell healthy foods.  But it’s more than that.  The strategy is apologetic, it reeks of shame and a desire for absolution and forgiveness.  Ms. Nooyi has infected a successful US company with the destructive ethos of global do-goodism.  Instead of understanding Pepsi’s success and taking pride in producing products that are loved the world over, Pepsi donned the hair-shirt and acted as if it was some kind of an NGO.
Well that is about to change.  Uber-activist investor, Ralph Whitworth is reported to have taken a stake in Pepsico.  When Whitworth crashes your party, a CEO departure is usually the minimum amount of change in the offing.  Nooyi's run dressing Pepsi up as an acceptable company by the standards of global elites is over. 

NYC Council: Hey, How About Telling Banks Where and How to Do Business?

After the housing meltdown, you would think that strong-arming banks into handing money away to money-losing prospects dressed up under the guise of "community re-investment' would be studiously avoided.  You would think and you would be wrong.  Leave it to a perennial font of ill-advised intrusive and coercive schemes - the New York City Council - to come up with another 'force the banks to do our socialist bidding' directive.
Banks holding New York City treasury funds would be required to disclose investments and business practices in neighborhoods under a law City Council members say they’ll pass today.
The bill... would also create a community-investment advisory board in the Finance Department that would review banks’ branch locations, loans, delinquencies and foreclosures organized by census tract. Officials could use the information to determine whether the city should deposit its funds there, according to the text of the bill.
“This bill is designed to make banking reinvestment activity transparent, fair, and, above all, constructive, for our working-class communities,” Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr., a Democrat from Brooklyn who co-sponsored the measure, said in an e-mail"
At least it appears that Mayor Nannyberg will veto the bill.  If not, if I'm running any of these banks, the solution is very simple, "where should we send your deposits NYC, they are not welcome at our bank any longer?"

Reassuring Thought of the Day: The Government Isn't Even All That Good at Propaganda

Check this out, the Lightworker administration is trying to use the provisions of Obamacare as electioneering propaganda in order to increase public perception of the healthcare law. Well, it just so happens that I got a letter from my small business's health insurance provider in the mail today.  Here is the opening sentence:
"We're committed to making health care reform work for you and your employees.  As we take steps to to put the Affordable Care Act into action, we do our best to limit administrative burdens for you, our customer."
Now others may interpret that differently, but, at least in my reading, that is not what I would call whiz-bang propaganda.  First, the benefits are not self-evident, they seem to require commitment on the part of my insurance provider.  Second, they are doing their best (code for "we can't actually do it, so we are telling you that we are doing our best") to limit the mal-effects of the law.  The law has mal-effects?  Really, thanks for telling me. 

From here, the reader has to wade into some very dry language about the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rebates to figure out that they may or may not be getting some money back.  Here's a fun part.  If they mail you a check, you have to distribute it among plan enrollees.
...we will send a check to you if a rebate is due.  You will then distribute to enrollees, based on the amount of premium paid by the employee.  Don't worry.  If this happens, we will provide you tools and assistance in making that calculation."
So basically, getting this money, if you get it, is going to be a hassle.  Only the government could make receiving money a prospect over which one must be reassured is not a cause for worry.

"The medical loss ratio is the percantage of premiums (less federal and state taxes and licensing or regulatory fees) that insurers spend on medical care."
So, you gave us money and we're giving you some of it back, after, of course,the government gets its cut via "federal and state taxes and licensing or regulatory fees."  Gee thanks, I'm sure the government will only take a miniscule slice and why do we have this middleman again?

I would be madder at this overt example of text-book socialist-tinged statist propaganda if the government weren't so inept at nearly everything it does, that this effort will turn out to be laughable rather than ominous.

So Far: Romney Playing Chess, Obama Checkers

Just a quick note, it seems to be an emerging fact that the Romney campaign is "agile and aggressive" as John Hinderaker notes.  Mitt's campaign appears not to be stodgy and hidebound as many seemed to expect it to be by falsely equating their perception of Romney's personality with how he'd run his campaign.  The quick responses to many of Obama's themes of attack indicate a strong focus on anticipation and war-gaming...and response.  It is one thing to anticipate an adversary's moves, it is another to plan and execute an effective counter-attack.  This is good news.  It indicates that Romney is playing chess.  I thoroughly expected chess out of the Romney camp but many did not, which is odd. Why somebody with Romney's background would be expected to mount a limp and ineffective campaign is beyond me.  Anyway, more good news is that Obama is playing checkers.  I hope this continues.  I suspect it will not, but I can't guarantee that Obama will switch it into chess mode operating as he is with B and C Teamers.

UPDATE:  Wow, click through to that "B and C Teamers" link.  I think my analysis holds up real well...

Shocker: Companies Hire Accounting Over Psyche Majors

Mark Perry notes the improving jobs picture for recent college graduates.  Bloomberg notes that this is largely restricted to graduates with majors on the more practical end of the spectrum rather than graduates whose majors are, well, shall we say less skills-based.

Monday, May 14, 2012

War On Women Update

Republicans, I assume including the insufferable, Hitler-like and Stalinist Ann Romney, are waging that war on women while the beneficent Democrats are imparting sage advice: "you can be stylish and powerful."  Wow, I can't think of anything more empowering - try a little lipstick gals!

UPDATE:  If the "War on Women" thing fails, what do they have left...vampires and the gay?

UPPDATE:  Oh, silly, silly, silly, me...what do they have left?  I forgot the sine qua non of progressive victim politics and the foundational cynicism of this President.  How could it have escaped me?  Duh!  Obama is still dishing out that "with a name like mine" bullshit.  We elected the most unqualified person ever to inhabit the White House (essentially because of his name), a fact which we are only just now waking up to, and apparently we are still an irredeemably racist nation.  What an S.O.B.  I weep that this man is our President.

Hey, That Sounds Like a Good Idea...

Local Baseball News

Some kid named Christie hit a game-tying single in the Morris County (NJ) Tournament final.  Without Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative this kid, and millions like him, would be at home sitting on the couch.

A Rat(tner) Off the Sinking Ship??

Another one of Obama's Clintonites-on-loan, um, er, doesn't stick to the narrative...

Massive Oil in Remote Hinterlands of Obscure Country

Hey, guess what?  There is more oil underneath Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado than there is in the entire world.  But remember, we can't drill our way out of our energy problems...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bloomberg's Silly Investor Poll

Bloomberg is peddling their ridiculous poll of global investors again, purporting to claim that Obama is widely preferred by global investors and "has a better vision for the U.S. economy."  As I have said, I am in this business and I meet very few people who feel that Obama is better for the the economy and for investors, even among people that voted for Obama in 2008.  But I guess you can get such a poll to say what it says if you really try.  Sure maybe European investors who all live in crumbling social-democratic zombie states prefer Obama to the likely ridiculous image of Romney that they can glean from the pages of Der Speigel.  So yeah, anybody could get this poll result if they wanted, and Bloomberg definitely wants it.  Barron's, more accurately in my view, nailed it long ago.  The poll results are simply laughable on their face - the number of investors in this business in America that prefer the guy who never had a real job over the guy that built a large private equity company are few and far between.

I'll Say It Again: Obama Is Cooked (from the Inside)

Well folks, I've been saying it (and saying it, and saying it, and saying it, and saying it).  Here is the original exposition of the theory:
Obama has been told it's over. He will not be given the keys to the Democratic Party's future and be allowed to own the vast apparatus of the party's traditional assets for decades to come as an all-conquering two term President. His presidency is in caretaker mode. No, not as Peter Beinart posits in his latest nitwittery, where Obama is the caretaker of a declining America, but rather where the Clintonites are the caretakers of a declining Obama.
The Clintons will simply not allow Obama to be the second and reigning two-term Democrat President since FDR and thus hold the keys to the Democratic Party.  An admixture of ego and a responsibility to keep the Democrat Party strong is driving Bubba and Hill to softly (for now) undermine Obama and ease him into a cushy retirement.  Don't believe me?  Ask yourself why Bill Daley was the source of all the WaPo's damaging exposes of O's leadership?  Ask yourself why Mort Zuckerman sounds like a Tea Partier with his frequent and no-holds-barred critiques of O's economic policy.  And ask yourself why Obama's fundraising has struggled and he's had to resort to $3 raffle tickets (hint: the big donors are Clinton people). 

And now, comes, well, more of what we know to be true...Bubba hates and disdains the Lightworker.  Obama has made mistake after mistake, and precisely on the heels of what most see as an egregiously cynical flip-flop/pander/election gambit (despite the media's best attempts to spin it as a bold, courageous move), this sentiment from Bubba hits the airwaves??? 

Compared to what Obama faces in the Clintons, Mitt Romney is a cute puppy dog.  Look for more kicks while Obama is down from here until November. 

Obama Forgets, Harper Delivers

As I have noted before, Canada is doing a great job of emerging from recession and adding jobs.  The latest numbers are 52,800 jobs, which of course is equivalent to 528,000 in the U.S. with 10 times the population of Canada.  This job-creation performance blows the U.S.'s anemic pace away.  I guess Stephen Harper knows something Obama doesn't or maybe he hasn't "forgotten" at times that there was a recession on.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

US Will Be Greece, Item #478

Postal Service:  One second thought, we're not going to close down any post offices.
Bending to strong public opposition, the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday backed off a plan to close thousands of rural post offices after May 15 and proposed keeping them open, but with shorter operating hours.
Oh, and by the way, we're probably going to lose $10 billion this year...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Uncooking The Pension Books

If you think government pensions look bad now, just wait until new rules requiring less book cooking go into effect...
The Sisyphean task of funding U.S. state and local-government retirement plans, a hidden risk for municipal-bond investors, will get even more daunting under proposed new accounting rules.
Pensions in Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana and Kentucky may have less than 30 percent of the assets needed to cover promised benefits under the measure, according to data from the Boston College Center for Retirement Research. The changes, which take effect starting in June 2013, will alter how liabilities are calculated and how assets are reported on financial statements.
They haven't even been balancing the cooked books, so this is going to be quite revealing.
Illinois, which already has the U.S. state pensions with the widest gaps between assets and promised benefits, will see two of its funds fall to the lowest among the 126 plans studied by the Boston College center. The state Teachers system’s funded ratio will drop to about 18 percent, the lowest level in the study, from 48 percent, and the State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois will sink to 22 percent from 46 percent, ranking second.
New Jersey’s Public Employees’ Retirement System will see its funded ratio drop to about 30 percent from 62 percent, while the New Jersey Teachers’ Pension & Annuity Fund will fall from almost 58 percent to about 25 percent, according to the Boston College study released in November. 

US News's Laughable School Ranking Entrenches the Educational Status Quo

US News ranks the Best High Schools With Alot of Poor Kids and calls it Best High Schools in America.

If you read it and you wonder why some crappy schools are on the list and many fantastic schools are not, you can probably guess why, this being US News.  They statistically adjusted data to juice schools with alot of poor kids.  In fact, it seems that they mostly eliminated predominately white, suburban schools through statistical legerdemain.

Here is the methodolgy:
• Step 1: The first step determined whether each school's students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state. We started by looking at reading and math results for all students on each state's high school proficiency tests. We then factored in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students (who tend to score lower) enrolled at the school to identify the schools that were performing better than statistical expectations.
• Step 2: For those schools that made it past this first step, the second step determined whether the school's least-advantaged students (black, Hispanic, and low-income) were performing better than average for similar students in the state. We compared each school's math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students with the statewide results for these student groups and then selected schools that were performing better than this state average.
So, if you have a school of entirely middle class white kids, this methodology will toss that school out of the analysis.  This is how you wind up with silly results like Yonkers Middle High School as #24 and Elizabeth (NJ) High School as the sixth best in NJ and 134th nationally.  Laughable, but this is what liberals do. That is why the US is routinely shown to have a crappy healthcare system by outfits like the World Health Organization because they overweight "access" and "affordability" in order to demote more free-market based health systems.  But this is journalistic malpractice, people rely on these ratings to make important decisions about where to live.  Furthermore it tells mediocre schools that they can rest on their laurels, that no changes are needed.  Too bad, I doubt students and parents at, say, Yonkers Middle High School feel that they actually have the 24th best school in the country, but their teachers and administrators will act as if they do and resist any critique of the status quo.

Obama's DirecTV Journey

DirectTV has a series of funny commercials tracing out a string of odd consequences that emanate from getting frustrated with your cable provider and that lead, ultimately, to an unfortunate end.  This one is titled "Don't End Up In a Roadside Ditch."  (Here's another good one.)

I can think one that relates to politics that is very much in keeping with this theme except that it's not fake, it's real. It goes something like this:

"When You Swallow Decades Of Global Warming Bullshit, You Want to Destroy the Coal Industry."

"When You Want to Destroy the Coal Industry, You Run for President In Order to Destroy the Coal Industry"

"When You Run for President In Order to Destroy the Coal Industry, the Compliant Media Covers Up Your Lies About An 'All of the Above' Energy Policy."

"When the Compliant Media Covers Up Your Lies About An 'All of the Above' Energy Policy, Enterprising Bloggers Expose Your Bullshit For What It Is."

"When Enterprising Bloggers Expose Your Bullshit for What It Is, No One Believes Your Bullshit Anymore."

"When No One Believes Your Bullshit Anymore, You Quit Lying About Your Energy Policy."

When You Quit Lying About Your Energy Policy, It Becomes Obvious You Want to Destroy the Coal Industry."

"When It's Obvious You Want to Destroy the Coal Industry, You Almost Lose an Election to a Prison Inmate."

"Don't Almost Lose an Election to a Prison Inmate...."

We Have Chosen to Live Not With Pipelines, But BY Pipelines

Mark Perry highlights how Obama is, thankfully, losing the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline.  Mark shows a map of US pipeline infrastructure, which appears to be a map of major pipelines only.  If you add intrastate pipelines as well the map looks like this.  And this map doesn't include "gathering" pipelines for if it did, there would be virtually no white visible in certain areas of the map.  Reality, the United States of America is irretrievably covered, crisscrossed, and generally awash in pipelines.  Our modern society is enabled by this pipeline infrastructure, and we can't have one without the other.  That is how we live.  That is how we've chosen to live.

NC Vote: You Can Feel the Liberal Cognitive Dissonance

Check out this despicable, yet hardly surprising, hate-fest in reaction to North Carolina's vote banning gay marriage.  People who actually know something about North Carolina know that for almost its entire history, residents have consistently left the state, until recently.  In recent years, North Cackalacky has experienced in-migration.  And guess what, it ain't those knuckle dragging white folk that are taking over the Tar Heel State.

Yup, it's those noble and blessed minorities who've been streaming in over the years.
 Who are these people who are immigrating to North Carolina today? Many are African
Americans whose families once left the state and are now returning to find jobs, to retire,
or to improve their quality of life. The end of segregation in the South in the 1960s has
made more of the new jobs available to African Americans. A lessening of racial tension
has also made life in the South more attractive. Meanwhile, racial problems, crime,
violence, a decline in jobs, and disappointment with the quality of life in urban areas of
the North have led many Black North Carolinians to return home. Many African
Americans say that they are returning to be with family members they left behind, to find
work, and to find safer schools and communities than they could find in the North.
 Another group of people who have come to North Carolina are people of Hispanic
heritages. In 1990, the number of Hispanics living in the state reached 76,726, a 35.5
percent jump over 1980.
Still other people are coming to North Carolina from other countries to find work or to
escape persecution in their home countries. The fastest growing segment of these inmigrants
has been Asian, with their population more than doubling between 1980 and
1990 from 21,168 to 52,166 people.
 All these minorities, it must be told, seem to be cancelling out the influence of all those northeastern liberals that have moved to NC...or maybe those liberal transplants have been mind-melded...

Truth is, North Carolina is a contemporary melting pot state.  The white hick schtick isn't born out by the demographics.  It's just that all those newly minted North Carolinians aren't voting the way that elitist liberals feel they should vote.  Just like when the California gay marriage vote that went down inflames because all those black people headed to the polls to elect Barack Obama, you can cut the "progressive" cognitive dissonance with a knife!

UPDATE:  Yeah, like I said, cognitive dissonance...