Thursday, May 27, 2010

GDP FOR Q1 2010 REVISED DOWN TO 3.0% FROM 3.2%

For the story, go here. An additional and final revision is still forthcoming.

Growth of 2.5% is necessary, according to widely reported statements by the Federal Reserve chairman and others, to maintain the status quo in employment and absorb the new workers who are added to the population every year.

In other words, there is no growth engine presently at work effectively providing jobs for 8.5 million people sidelined by the recession, not to mention millions more involuntarily part-timed by the downturn. 

GOLD AND THE U.S. MONETARY BASE, THEN AND NOW

Interesting stuff from Brett Arends two days ago at The Wall Street Journal:

Dylan Grice, a strategist at SG Securities in London, thinks global conditions today could unleash another gold boom like the one in the 1970s. ... Mr. Grice calculates that even at today's prices, the bullion that the U.S. government holds in places like Fort Knox is still only worth enough to back 15% of the U.S. monetary base. That is near a record low.

At the peak of the gold mania in 1979-80, gold prices rose so far that the backing exceeded 100%. How far would gold rise if that happened again? To around $6,300 an ounce, Mr. Grice says.

Read all about it, here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

OUR DISLOYAL ANTI-AMERICAN PRESIDENT

From Jared E. Peterson at The American Thinker:

Over the past week we witnessed presidential and congressional disloyalty without precedent in American history, events that should be indelibly imprinted on the American electorate's collective memory. For the first time (at least to this writer's knowledge), a foreign head of state who is promoting an ongoing, aggressive, illegal, and often violent invasion of America came to our country, met with our president, and, from the White House itself, received our president's implicit but obvious public support for that invasion; and that same foreign leader spoke to Congress and received a standing ovation from its Democrat members' for his country's war on America's borders.

Read the rest here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

UDAY AND QUSAY ARE 'BY NATURE' EADAY

Not only can no one spell in the United States, they're having trouble with the Greek Sigma in the word "by nature" from a line from Aristotle on the new glass door at the Department of Classics at the once venerable Cambridge University.

So far George Bush hasn't been blamed, but Mary Beard may yet get around to it, when she's done blogging about buggering in Catullus.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

32 STATES OWE FEDS NEARLY $38 BILLION FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BORROWING

The billion dollar hitters include twelve states:


California       6.9 billion
Florida            1.6 billion
Illinois            2.2 billion
Indiana           1.7 billion
Michigan        3.9 billion
New Jersey     1.7 billion
New York        3.2 billion
N.C.                  2.1 billion
Ohio                 2.3 billion
Penn.               3.0 billion
Texas                1.0 billion
Wisconsin       1.4 billion


The data were reported here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FEDS RELENT: HUTAREE MILITIA RELEASES BEGIN

"Three of nine members of the Lenawee County-based militia charged with attempting to overthrow the government were released yesterday from Detroit-area jails," reports The Toledo Blade today. Defense attorneys do not seem to know why the government suddenly changed its mind about the conditions of release stipulated by Judge Roberts earlier in the month.

They have to wear electronic tethers, live with relatives in a weapon and ammo-free environment, cannot get gun permits or passports, drink booze, use drugs, listen to police scanners, and can't go out except to the doctor, to church, court and law appointments, and to work, among other restrictions.

The other six remain jailed pending decision on their release, presumably until similar arrangements for them are in order.

Read all about it here, here, and here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Politics Is Like A Cookbook Where The Recipe For Everything Is To Fry It"

Everyone should be so lucky to have advice from the inimitable P. J. O'Rourke. A couple of years ago he offered some of the bad kind to new graduates, which appeared in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. The excerpt on politics is rich. Well, maybe greasy is a better description:

Politicians are chefs, some good, some bad. The problem isn’t the cook. The problem is the food. Or let me restate that: The problem isn’t the cook. The problem is the cookbook. The key ingredient of politics is the belief that all of society’s ills can be cured politically. This is like a cookbook where the recipe for everything is to fry it. The fruit cocktail is fried. The soup is fried. The salad is fried. So is the ice cream and cake. The pinot noir is rolled in bread crumbs and dunked in the deep-fat fryer. This is no way to cook up public policy.

Politics is greasy. Politics is slippery. Politics can’t tell the truth. But we can’t blame the politicians for that. Because just think what the truth would sound like on the campaign stump, even a little bitty bit of truth:

“No, I can’t fix public education. The problem isn’t funding or teachers’ unions or a lack of vouchers or an absence of computer equipment in the classrooms. The problem is your kids!”

Read the rest. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pew Poll Says Americans Overwhelmingly Support Arizona Immigration Law

A new poll from the Pew Research Center on the recently passed immigration legislation in Arizona shows that Obama and the Democrats, who vehemently oppose the law, are wildly out of step with 73% of the American people:

The public broadly supports a new Arizona law aimed at dealing with illegal immigration and the law’s provisions giving police increased powers to stop and detain people who are suspected of being in the country illegally.

Fully 73% say they approve of requiring people to produce documents verifying their legal status if police ask for them. Two-thirds (67%) approve of allowing police to detain anyone who cannot verify their legal status, while 62% approve of allowing police to question people they think may be in the country illegally.

I wonder what percentage of the American people would like Obama to produce his papers?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beware Of Greeks Defending TARP

James Pethokoukis of Reuters actually defends the fact that American politicians have ROBBED the taxpayers, always the last in line for money, to rescue the bankers, who are always first:

Of course, voters should be skeptical of paying for other people's financial mistakes. But it seems short-sighted for them to penalize politicians when they actually do something that's unpopular but right. And the TARP bailout does seem to have been the right thing. Despite its high sticker price, the final cost to American taxpayers will likely be a fraction of that thanks to speedy bank repayment of government capital injections.

Yeah. Speedy repayments. Sort of like GM's with TARP funds. If they could do it so quickly, maybe you overestimated the gravity of the original problem, and discount now how banks' profits are made possible by capital from the taxpayers.

Maybe it's because of what Spengler has recently observed about the Greeks, James:

[C]orruption pervades Greek society to the point that to purge it would destroy the social fabric: all political and social relations are premised on corruption.

You may be willing to justify theft, but the voters in Utah don't accept accommodation with corruption, throwing out Senator Bennett in the Republican PRIMARY. And now the voters in West Virginia have joined them, throwing out Representative Mollohan in the Democrat PRIMARY. All this after Germans just voted against Angela Merkel last Sunday after agreeing to bail out the Greeks.

Do you see a trend here, James?

Better get used to it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Fault Is In Ourselves . . .





















. . . that we are underlings.

-- Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II

Joseph Addison On Justice

Justice discards party, friendship, kindred,
and is always therefore represented as blind.

Addison

The Tyrant's Friends

When I have most need to employ a friend,
Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile,
Be he to me.

Shakespeare

[e.g. Bill Ayers, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Bart Stupak]

Alexander Pope on Slavery

First slave to words, then vassal to a name,
Then dupe to party; child and man the same.


Fools grant whate'er ambition craves,
And men, once ignorant, are slaves.

The Good Olde Days

When George W. Bush co-opted conservatism for a season,
entangled the country in costly foreign adventures,
pandered to illegal immigrants and the businesses who hired them,
expanded the welfare state to secure the votes of seniors,
exported American jobs because of his free-trade zealotry,
routinely slaughtered the English language and generally spent money like a drunken sailor,
we didn't know how good we had it.

"Menopause Was Change Enough For Me"

In "Moms to the Barricades," which appeared here, Michael Graham explores the idea that mothers' instincts to protect their children and their futures help explain the Tea Party Movement:

Moms like Karen Miner Herd, who calls herself "one of the founding mothers" of the tea party movement in Virginia.

Her favorite tea party sign? "Menopause Was Change Enough for Me." ...

Dana Loesch, talk host and co-founder of the St. Louis tea party, believes the tea party movement is the modern conservative version of "the personal is political."

"Motherhood itself has become a political act," says Ms. Loesch. "And the tea parties are an extension of our need as moms to protect the future for our children."

Keli Carender isn't a mom, but the Seattle-area 30-something is the mother of the tea party movement. She held the very first rally of the modern tea party era to protest the so-called stimulus package, days before Rick Santelli's infamous CNBC rant.

Read the full article at the link above.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hutaree Militia Release In Almost Comic Limbo

The Detroit News is reporting an almost comical series of developments involving the bond proceedings for the Hutaree militia members who thought they were going to be freed this week pending trial.

Prosecutors appear to be so upset with U. S. District Judge Victoria Roberts, who decided the Hutaree could be free with conditions, that Assistant U. S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet seems to have misrepresented those conditions in his appeal of the release ruling to the U. S. 6th Circuit Court Of Appeals.

One defense attorney is quoted as saying, "Obviously, Waterstreet has completely misrepresented what was discussed with pretrial services."

Read all about it, here.

On The Rarity Of Wisdom

"That wisdom does not come naturally to the elderly any more than it does to anyone else is proven by the ubiquity of old fools."

-- Imam John

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hutaree To Stay In Slammer At Least Until Friday

As reported by The Detroit News:

A federal appeals court temporarily halted the release of nine Hutaree militia defendants today, just moments before they were scheduled to be set free.

"The order of revocation is temporarily stayed pending further review and order of the court," the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said in response to an emergency motion from federal prosecutors in Detroit.

The effect of the order is that none of the defendants will be released before Friday. The court said lawyers for the defendants are to file briefs opposing the stay by 5 p.m. today.

Read the whole thing here.

Illegals For Redistribution! Illegals For Violence!


On The Aims of Black Communism

The dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. "was to make everything equal in everybody's house."

-- Al Sharpton, Danbury, CT, May 2, 2010 (video here)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Obama Defies Us Every Step Of The Way, And Revels In Doing So

Noemie Emery complains here that Obama has "disregarded civility," but doesn't seem to want to face what Obama knows better than anyone: that this is a permanent war by a commie president against a democratic people, and that his recent calls for tolerance mean only that he needs time to catch his breath in the tough work of almost singlehandedly overthrowing a country from within.

Why Americans Can't Face The Meaning Of Barack Obama

The words are from a different time, but as you read them, imagine they are written about this time and this situation, about Obama, his allies, their program, methods and objectives:

If people in the West find it hard to bear this vision of merciless struggle between the two forms of society [Communist and democratic], if they sometimes drive it out of their minds, it is partly because the socialist cause was forged within the democracies themselves in the nineteenth century, was one of their offspring that became an independent component of political life. We have trouble understanding that this offspring's heir presumptive, twentieth-century communism, has assumed the historical mission of destroying the democracy from which it issued. We persist in viewing it as just another political persuasion that may have degenerated but which can mend its ways, calm down, participate someday in a global concert. To think otherwise, we feel, sins against tolerance. Unfortunately, the democracies are not making the rules in this game. The Communists in no way share their concern for tolerance and the coexistence of systems.

Communism considers itself permanently at war with the rest of the world, even if it must occasionally agree to an armistice. . . . [A]ll forms of action are part of this war, beginning with negotiation. . . .

[T]he aim of negotiation has never been to reach a lasting agreement but to weaken their adversary and prepare it to make further concessions while fostering the illusion that the new concessions will be the last . . ..

-- Jean-Francois Revel, How Democracies Perish, 1983

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hutaree Win Release With Conditions

Ed White for Cleveland.com is reporting here that nine Hutaree militia members jailed for over a month on sedition and other charges get to go home to await trial if they wear "electronic monitoring devices" and comply with other restrictions.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts is quoted today as saying, "Discussions about killing local law enforcement officers -- and even discussions about killing members of the judicial branch of government -- do not translate to conspiring to overthrow, or levy war against, the United States government."

The reason? Names and dates apparently were not mentioned by the Hutaree in the evidence accumulated by the FBI, disqualifying their loose talk from the "imminent lawless action" required by a 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision dealing with seditious conspiracy, according to the judge.

Sounds like the weapons charges will be front and center in this case. A previous story indicated that the FBI still hadn't completed its examination of the seized arms, despite a month having gone by.

Just how long does it take to load some .223 in the AR 15 platform, pull the trigger, and see if only one round comes out? Or are they just too busy tampering with the evidence?

We Are The I.C.E. Men, Koo Koo Ka Choo

Minutemen counter-protestors carried signs like this in San Francisco on Saturday to protest the presence of illegal immigrants in America, and to remind Americans how both Democrat and Republican administrations have been derelict in their duty to secure the borders.

I.C.E. refers to U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigration Militants Destroy Private Property In California

The Telegram is reporting that immigrant rights militants caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage in California late Saturday:

Close to 20 businesses were damaged after what started as a peaceful immigrants' rights march in downtown Santa Cruz turned violent, requiring police to call other agencies for help, authorities said.

If Tea Partiers had done this, you'd never hear the end of it, but since leftists did it you're lucky to hear the beginning of it.

The story is here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In Arizona, It's About Survival

For Mexicans in America illegally, the urgency for acceptance here has much to do with the rapidly increasing disintegration of their society back home, pride about which makes it difficult for them to own up.

Ralph Peters provides some much needed perspective on the issue in the following, excerpted from his "Border Disorder" which appeared in The New York Post:

South of the border, down Mexico way, a new and savage revolution rages just beyond our inspection lanes. After less than five years of fighting, estimates of the dead have reached 22,000.

The rate of killing accelerates each month. And Washington covers its eyes like a kid at a scary movie. Well, the Mexican narco-insurgency, in which well-armed guerrilla forces confront the authority and presence of the state, is our No. 1 security challenge.

The chaos in northern Mexico has far deeper implications for our country than Islamist terror or even an Iranian nuclear capability (as grim as those threats are).

The rule of law has collapsed from Tijuana on the Pacific's edge to Matamoros and the Gulf of Mexico. Major cities are now "ungoverned spaces," as our diplomats refer tidily to distant trouble spots.

More people now die violently on our southern border than in Somalia, Yemen or even Afghanistan. But Washington doesn't know what to do about Mexico. So Washington does nothing much.

To read more, use the link above.

We Need More Ice At This Fiesta

In a story on yesterday's May Day immigration law protests, AP is very carefully reporting the totals from cities all across the country. Doing the math, I put the reported numbers for the whole country at at least 116,335.

In LA, protestors numbered 50,000, described by AP as "massive."

In NY, they managed only 6,500, where the organizer described the nationwide protests as the awakening of "a sleeping giant."

In Chicago, police estimated the crowds at 8,000.

At The White House, 35 cranks were arrested for civil disobedience.

In Dallas, 20,000 protested, a handful with signs saying Arizona's Governor is a Nazi and Sheriff Joe a Klansman.

In Denver there were 3,000, in Miami hundreds.

In Houston 7,000.

In Atlanta and Milwaukee each, 5,000, while 3,000 were counted in Boston.

Ann Arbor demonstrators numbered 500.

Tucson, AZ, had 5,000, and Phoenix had "several thousand," according to AP, which also said in San Francisco one counter-protestor had a sign saying "We Need More Ice At This Fiesta."

This is all in sharp contrast to the rallies of four years ago. In 2006 "more than 1 million people across the country" were counted, according to AP. In 2010 barely 10% of that.

Yep, that new Arizona law really galvanized dissent yesterday.

Read the story, here.




Saturday, May 1, 2010

Congressional Mandates Overheated Housing, Not Wall Street

Mort Zuckerman writes a helpful essay explaining the complex world of mortgage finance and the role of derivatives, and lays much of the blame for the crisis we are going through squarely where it belongs, on the Congress of the United States, instead of on Wall Street:

But we also need to understand how the housing market got as hot as it did. Why did it keep rising, generating more and more derivatives geared to a rising market? It turns out that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration had financed a lot more subprime and Alt-A (alternative documentation) loans than anyone realized, mostly as a result of congressional mandates. Indeed, of their total outstanding mortgage portfolios of $10.6 trillion, roughly half turned out to be of low quality. Had this been known, it would have been clear that the American public's capacity to assume this amount of housing debt was at great risk.

That is at the heart of the now-famous Goldman-Paulson saga. Hedge fund manager John Paulson judged that the housing market was a bubble, so he shorted the securities through Goldman Sachs and an insurer called ACA, which sold the package to a German bank. The buyers judged that it was safe to count on housing prices continuing to rise. They chose which mortgage securities would be bundled by Goldman. And they have paid a heavy price for their judgment.

The American public has hereby had a peek into the bewildering complexities of the world of finance. The natural instinct is for the public to blame the housing decline on those who shorted. But it is the other way around. They should be blaming those who let the market get pumped up, inviting a dramatic and painful correction that took most people by surprise.

The complete story is well worth reading, here.