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Archive for January, 2013

Programming Note

They must have liked me.

I’ll be on the Week in Review panel on tomorrow’s “Joy Cardin Show” on local Wisconsin Public Radio from 8 AM to 9 AM.  My sparing partner will be Ruth Coniff of the Progressive magazine.

Wonder if I can get her to explain how her “Russ Feingold’s the True Tea Party Candidate” from 2010 wasn’t meant to be a humor piece?

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Cartoon of the Day

With or without the pictures.

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Economy Shrinks in Q4

Worst part for the White House?  This was supposed to happen in the 1st Quarter according to their script.

Then they could have blamed it on the GOP House and the fiscal cliff.  This way, it’s all on Obama.

The U.S. economy unexpectedly contracted by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, the first setback in economic growth since the middle of 2009.

The downturn will inevitably factor into the ongoing budget war in Washington. Congress and the White House are wrangling over what to do with a round of spending cuts set to take place on March 1 — and a possible government shutdown in late March — that some economists have warned could further slow economic growth.

Analysts had expected GDP growth to be 1 percent to 1.2 percent, but the advance fourth quarter estimate from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis on Wednesday painted a different picture.

The downturn, according to the BEA, reflected lower private inventory investment, reduced government spending at both the federal and the state and local levels, as well as decreased exports.

“Reduced government spending” is a bogus claim.  Federal spending was up $31 Billion in Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011.   Unless the C+I+G+(X-M) formula has changed since I last took a macroeconomics course…

No, what happened in Q4 will likely be explored in the coming days and weeks. The likely answer: In anticipation of higher taxes from either ObamaCare, the tax deal or both, companies and individual consumers just stopped spending.

Or have the stories about a piss-poor Christmas shopping season not come out yet?  Perhaps the fact that while Amazon had sales jump 22 percent, at the same time profits shrinking 45 percent is a portent of things to come?

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Cartoon of the Day


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Remember When We Wanted to Hunt Feral Cats?

We might have been onto something there…

In a report that scaled up local surveys and pilot studies to national dimensions, scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States — both the pet Fluffies that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals that never leave it — kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.

The estimated kill rates are two to four times higher than mortality figures previously bandied about, and position the domestic cat as one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats, the report said, than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes.

Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and an author of the report, said the mortality figures that emerge from the new model “are shockingly high.”

“When we ran the model, we didn’t know what to expect,” said Dr. Marra, who performed the analysis with his colleague, Scott R. Loss, and Tom Will of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “We were absolutely stunned by the results.” The study appeared Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

The findings are the first serious estimate of just how much wildlife America’s vast population of free-roaming domestic cats manages to kill each year.

New numbers like this are going to reignite a whole mess of things, the least being a discussion about hunting feral cats.

Then there’s “herd management” which means environmentalists worrying about cats (feral or wondering domestics) taking out natural habitats and being an invasive species going up against animal welfare advocates who don’t wish to see millions of cats destroyed via euthanasia tactics.  (Bob Barker was right, spay and neuter your pets folks.)

There are reportedly over 80 million feral cats roaming the American countryside.  We’re going to have to deal with them eventually; whether were mocked for wanting to set up a hunting season for them or not.

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Obama Administration Closes Office in Charge of Closing Gitmo


The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement. Mr. Fried’s office is being closed, and his former responsibilities will be “assumed” by the office of the department’s legal adviser, the notice said.

The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues pertaining to repatriating or resettling detainees appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the prison as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do so.

Mr. Fried will become the department’s coordinator for sanctions policy and will work on issues including Iran and Syria.

The announcement came as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other Guantánamo Bay detainees facing death penalty charges before a military tribunal over the Sept. 11 attacks made their first public appearance since October on Monday, sitting quietly in a high-security courtroom at the naval base in Cuba as pretrial hearings resumed. A closed-circuit feed of the proceedings was shown at Fort Meade.

When asked about the office closing at yesterday’s White House briefing, spokes-hack Jay Carney said that President Obama ‘remains committed’ to closing Gitmo by the end of his term.  Funny, he said that four years ago too.

(Wonder if the Left has gotten in on the joke that he’s likely never going to yet?)

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Cartoon of the Day


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I Know, We’re Shocked. Unions Lying in Right-to-Work Critique

Great pick up from the guys across the lake at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (Disclaimer: I have friends there.).  Seems that the union talking point that “states with right-to-work laws earn less” is done by fudging the numbers.

Over the years, Big Labor has intentionally done them while wholeheartedly ignoring one factor: The cost of living between different places in the country.  (H/T RedState)

Scores of right-to-work critics ranging from politicians to economists have cited lower per-capita incomes in right-to-work states as why the new law is not good for Michigan.

However, not factoring in cost-of-living exposes a flaw in that analysis, said Mackinac Center for Public Policy Fiscal Analyst James Hohman. Once that is considered, Hohman said the per-capita income is higher in right-to-work states than non-right-to-work states.

For example, Texas per-capita income was $37,098 but would have a purchasing power of $49,700 in the state of New York in 2007, according to Hohman’s analysis. New York’s per-capita income was $47,852.

Hohman found that in terms of Michigan dollars in 2000, right-to-work states had 4.1 percent higher per-capita personal incomes than non-right-to-work states when factoring in cost of living. Michigan was considered a non-right-to-work state because the law was passed in late December 2012. Hohman said the right-work-states didn’t surpass non-right-to-work states until 2003.

“One of the most basic arguments repeated time and time again by right-to-work opposition is that Michigan is going to lose income by passing this law,” Hohman said. “That just isn’t the case. When you adjust for what a dollar can get you, the difference reverses itself.”

Hohman used the cost of living index done by political scientists William Berry, Richard Fording and Russell Hanson. They adjusted for cost-of-living in every state from 1960 to 2007.

A dollar buys differently in different locations.  Gas prices vary from place to place, as do any other commodity; even groceries.

Any economist knows this, and for unions to not just hide this information, but outright lie about it is a disservice to both themselves and their members.

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Questions I’ve Been Pondering…

1] It just me, or does Chris Larsen sound a lot like those who 15 years ago were saying we’d need a decade to tap and deliver the oil which could be found in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge when he’s talking about it needing seven years before the jobs appear?

Funny, we haven’t started drilling in ANWR yet either…

If you want to say you’re for job growth, you’re going to have to eventually allow the first steps.  A cake doesn’t bake itself, a relationship doesn’t just happen, and investment doesn’t work on a clock set by hands of government interventionists.

2] If it is now “voluntary” to let women into combat, when do women groups lobby Congress to write legislation that would force 18 year-old women do what 18 year-old men do: File for Selective Service?

No doubt the basis for the entire exercise by out-going SecDef Leon Panetta is the practices of the Israeli Defense Forces (in which women serve), so why not go the full route and have women conscripted as well (which all Israelis also do).

3] When doesn’t the NFL just end the Pro Bowl?

It’s been called the game everyone wants to selected to and no one wants to play.  Like usual, I’m skipping the game and going to watch something else instead.  One almost feels sorry for Fox Sports having the contract to broadcast the game.

In the near future, the NFL should just have a nice dinner and awards ceremony for the All-Pros in the Super Bowl city (most of these guys will be there anyway) and give them a paid voucher for an all-expenses paid trip to Honolulu that can be used during the off-season.

There, think that makes everyone happy.

4] Will the media even bother reporting that the Obama Jobs Council ends this week and might not be renewed?

The two-year executive order which established the group expires on the 31st.  They haven’t met in over a year.  Sort of tells you how important job creation has been to this presidency.

Of course, the lack of mentioning it during his second inaugural address ought to have been a clue.

5]  How come liberals get more chances than in the media than conservatives?

Oh, I’m probably answering my own question here, but think about it.  Locally, James Rowen lied to the press for months on end during the Marilyn Figueroa scandal (read the testimony here) and he’s rewarded with his own blog at the Journal Sentinel.  Really?

Nationally, it was George Stephanopoulus who for two years danced and joked around with reporters from the White House press room until ABC decided he was worthy of hosting not one, but two shows.

Pity the guy can’t tell Bill Russell and Morgan Freeman apart.

6] Am I really to believe “Obama for America’s” email list can beat the NRA’s membership list?

One of the best laughs I’ve had in the past week was the announcement from Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter saying they’d take on the NRA one-on-one with their campaign email list.

For starters, it idiotic and arrogant for the Obama folks to assume that they didn’t get any NRA members to vote for them.  As their primitive, liberal minds might not understand this, but a lot of NRA folks are not “single-issue voters” and may have indeed voted for Obama for other reasons.  Now, the very president they voted for — whom they didn’t think was going to go after their guns — is now going after their guns and thus, their right to defend their lives and their families

No wonder “Glengarry Glen Ross” playwright David Mamet wrote this.  He’s Jewish, as Hollywood as they come, and given a lot of money to Democrats.  And now he’s written a piece for Newsweek / The Daily Beast comparing the President’s gun control agenda to communist rule and the Polish village of Chelm from Jewish lore.

So best of luck to the proposed “Obama-Bloomberg” tag-team on guns.  It sounds doomed to fail.

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