Archive for July, 2012

Smart Power, Dumb Broad

No, I don’t really mean that. Hillary is many things—misguided, malevolent, ambitious, dishonest, calculating—but enough praise!

She just plays dumb at the State Department:

China has rejected criticism by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that it is hampering efforts to end the Syrian conflict by supporting President Bashar Assad’s government.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement Saturday that Clinton’s remarks were “totally unacceptable” and that China has contributed greatly to the cause of Syrian peace.

He said China has wide international support for its “just and constructive” stance on Syria.

“Any effort to slander China and incite discord between China and any other country will be futile,” Liu said.

I hate to agree with China, but they’re right. If slandering China were the job of a diplomat, I’d be UN Secretary General for life!

But of course, Secretary Clinton is right too, if belatedly:

Clinton told about 100 nations attending a conference on Syria on Friday that they should “directly and urgently make it clear that Russia and China will pay a price” for standing up on behalf of the Assad government.

What did you do in Syrian civil war, mommy? I attended a conference, honey.

I don’t suppose we have to insist other countries fear us, but is it too much to ask them to respect us?

Yes, I suppose it is. If we don’t respect ourselves…

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Does a Golden Bear [Bleep] in the Woods?

You better hope it does, and that its scat is 24-carat!

California lawmakers approved billions of dollars Friday in construction financing for the initial segment of the nation’s first dedicated high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The move marked a major political victory for Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and the Obama administration, which have promoted bullet trains as job generators and clean transportation alternatives.

The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $4.5 billion in voter-approved bonds that includes $2.6 billion to build an initial 130-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line in the Central Valley. That will allow the state to collect another $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday.

“The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again,” Brown said in a statement.

Am I missing something? Isn’t the state busted flat? Didn’t Stockton just declare bankruptcy?

The first segment of the line will run from Madera to Bakersfield. The final cost of the completed project from Los Angeles to San Francisco would be $68 billion.

Republicans blasted the Senate decision, citing the state’s ongoing budget problems.

“It’s unfortunate that the majority would rather spend billions of dollars that we don’t have for a train to nowhere than keep schools open and harmless from budget cuts,” Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, said in a statement.

Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Granite Bay, said the project would push California over a fiscal cliff.

“It will require endless subsidies and will blast a massive hole into our budget,” Gaines said in a statement.

Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is managing the project, said California would have lost billions of dollars in federal aid if the Senate fails to pass the bill before adjourning Friday for a monthlong recess. California entered a contract that called for the federal government to provide money for building the Central Valley segment if the state also put up its share, he said.

California was able to secure more federal aid than expected after Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin turned down money.

Because they have shame?

But that explains it: we all own a share of California’s choo-choo. I got dibs on Bakersfield!

I just made mention in the post below of a make-believe land where the rules of physics and logic do not apply. Turns out it’s California!

Hey, as long as we’re (they’re) spending other people’s money (ours):

The Democrat-led state Senate voted 21 to 13 to approve the California Trust Act, dubbed by supporters as the “anti-Arizona” bill. It blocks local police from referring a detainee to immigration officials for deportation unless that person has been convicted of a violent or serious felony.

“Today’s vote signals to the nation that California cannot afford to be another Arizona,” Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Democrat who sponsored the measure, said in a statement. …

The measure seeks to create a national model to counter what backers say is racial profiling inherent in a part of Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration that was allowed to stand by the U.S. Supreme Court last week.

[I]n all of their self-imagined righteousness, California is all about winning the popularity contest, and they’re openly declaring that they’re going to pretty much sit back and all but invite illegal immigrants to come find safe haven in their state.

California, I might add, is struggling beneath an estimated $16 billion deficit for 2012.

No, you silly conservative, we are! It’s ours. It’s broke and we own it!

Like Greece, France, and the rest of the deluded socialist world, California took one look the world through sober eyes and said “Spark up another spliff, Cheech. We’re gettin’ high.”

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A “Pest” in the Right Direction

Did I say “step”? I… uh, I read that backwards. Uh… I mean, inside out. It’s a sept…ic in the wrong direction. Uh… you know…

I do like a lot of the Cubs players too!

President Obama, at his second campaign stop Friday following a dismal June jobs report, dropped a line from his speech in which he cited the faint job growth as a “step in the right direction.”

The president had taken heat for the comment from both the Mitt Romney campaign and Republican National Committee.

“Seriously?” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an email earlier that drew attention to the remark. She noted the 80,000 jobs recorded in June are far below the 130,000 to 150,000 it takes to keep pace with population growth.

But at a stop Friday afternoon in Pittsburgh, his last on a two-day bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, Obama dropped the line — stressing instead the work that remains.

“We have been fighting back,” Obama said. “But what we all understand is that we’ve got so much more to do. Too many of our friends and family members and neighbors are still out of work. Too many folks still are seeing their home property values under water.”

The president is still smarting from saying after the previous monthly jobs report that the private sector’s “doing fine.”

In a faraway land with pixies, mermaids, and unicorns, where they have an independent press, this would be Obama’s Mission Accomplished moment—a chance to play gotcha and hold a big stinking pile of horse manure up to his nose.

Such places do exist. The Tooth Fairy told me so. But if you see Brian Williams or any other news anchor even breathe a word of this eff-up, he’ll be wearing a diamond tiara and carrying a magic wand (if he doesn’t already).

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Condolences

An Arab terrorist died in a house fire, not as a result of a Massad hit, as previously alleged.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Israel. But fear not: there are plenty more genocidal psychopaths where he came from:

Hamas official Kamal Ranaja, whose body was found in his Damascus home last Wednesday, was not assassinated but rather was the victim of a household fire, an investigation carried out by the Islamist group derived.

Hamas was quick to blame Israel for Ranaja’s death, saying he was assassinated by Mossad agents.

Israel denied any involvement in the case; but Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio on Thursday that Ranaja was not “one of the most righteous men of his generation.”

According to a Friday report by the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat, a Hamas probe into Ranaja’s death derived that he died of smoke inhalation, following a fire that broke out in his home.

A Hamas investigation found that the generator in Ranaja’s home malfunctioned and sparked a fire.

Investigators concluded that though hurt, Ranaja attempted to crawl out of the apartment, but succumbed to the smoke.

Another theory had it that Assad whacked him in retaliation for Hamass’ treachery. (That would be different how?)

It sounds like Ranaja had no dearth of people who wanted him dead, but if there were any who loved him, they have our… no, I can’t do it. I’ll face my maker with this blot in my copy book. There may be “special providence in
the fall of a sparrow”, but not with the fall of a single murderous scumbag.

Hamas, however, negated the possibility that Syria or Israel were linked to Ranaja’s death, stressing that since he “had nothing to do with the movement military or security operations, no one had a reason to target him.”

See, BTL? He wasn’t such a bad guy.

Then why the knee-jerk accusations by Hamass that he was clipped?

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What’s The Unemployment Rate For Blacks? What’s The Unemployment Rate For Young Adults? What’s The Unemployment Rate For Women? UBYAW!™

UBYAW™! Unemployment Blacks Young Adults Women A new feature. How to pronounce it? Who cares? It is something stuck in the back of the throat, something you cannot dislodge, something steadily choking you. It is not necessary to know how to pronounce it in order to panic. Let’s talk about black unemployment

The unemployment rate for white men and women was unchanged at 7.4 percent, while 184,000 more black American’s went without a job in June, for an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent.

And the rate of unemployed, underemployed is fantastic. We have arrived; we’re just like Europe!

Nonfarm
Underemployment Rate (U6): 14.9 percent

We did young adults in an article below: 12.8%. Hope-n-Change!!

And women?

The number of women unemployed in June was 5,785,000, an increase of 780,000 from when Barack Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 – at that time, the number of unemployed women in the United States was 5,005,000.

The number of unemployed is for women ages 16 and older in the civilian work force and is seasonally adjusted, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS data also show that the unemployment rate for women in June was 8.0 percent, up from 7.9 percent in May. That’s also up from 7.0 percent in January 2009 when Obama became president.

The overall unemployment rate (men and women) is 8.2 percent. For women, the unemployment rate has gone up fairly consistently since January 2009, with a few ups and downs, but reaching as high as 9.0 percent in November 2010 and staying in the mid-8 percent range for most of 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Now, all three groups will vote overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. So these numbers work for me. Elections have consequences and stupidity isn’t free.

- Aggie

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Obama Hurt His Base More Than Other Americans

African American unemployment is through the roof, and youth unemployment is 12.8%.

New jobs numbers for June released Friday show that Americans 18-29 years old continue to suffer under the Obama administration with a 12.8% unemployment rate.

The jobs report shows that there are now 1.735 million young Americans who are no longer counted as “employed” because they have given up looking for a job and have left the labor force all together.

Works for me. Remember how they all got a free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone for voting for Obama?
- Aggie

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Truly Impressive

- Aggie

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Never Bring a Shoe to a Gunfight

Not to be insensitive, but do we sound as silly to Arabs when we argue as they do to us (me anyway) when they argue?

A Jordanian member of parliament pulled a gun on a political activist during a furious debate live on Jordanian TV on Friday.

The MP, named in a YouTube clip of the confrontation as Mohammed Shawabka, was debating a political activist named in the clip as Mansour Sayf al-Din Murad, discussing aspects of Jordanian politics including attitudes surrounding the uprising in Syria.

As the discussion became more heated, each of the men accused the other of various crimes and deviancies, including working for the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency. “You’re a Mossad agent,” said one. “You’re a big crook,” said the other.

The MP stood up and began screaming and pointing at the activist, who was sitting opposite him, while the host of the program, Mohammed Habashneh, seated in the center, desperately urged his guests to “calm down.”

Instead, the MP sat back down, bent over and took off his right shoe, and threw it at the activist, who ducked behind his desk, knocking it over.

Then the MP pulled a gun — a silver pistol — out of his waistband and briefly brandished it toward the activist, who walked toward him. The MP kept holding the gun, but was no longer pointing it at his critic.

The two men struggled, with the parliamentarian again careful now not to point the gun at his adversary, while the panicked host circumnavigated the strewn furniture to try to break up the fight.

But the two men would not be easily separated, and the brawl continued for some time before the program cut to the credits.

All of which you can watch for yourself! But make popcorn first.

PS: Isn’t it awesome how Israel is in their heads? Calling someone a Mossad agent is the greatest imaginable insult. Too bad the shoe wasn’t designed by Isaac Mizrahi and the pistol wasn’t an Uzi.

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Clueless BO [UPDATED]

“A step in the right direction?”

If you’re walking the plank…

President Obama said at a campaign event on Friday that the June jobs report shows the economy has taken ”a step in the right direction.” …

“That overall means that businesses have creatd 4.4 million jobs over the past 28 months,” Obama said at a rally in Poland, Ohio. “That’s a step in the right direction…

Begging the president’s pardon (which I may have to do literally if I keep this stuff up), how come the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows only 3.844 million jobs created over that time span? (I did the math, twice.) Is he making it up? There were four months during that span when we lost jobs—is he not including those months? Or by saying “businesses have creatd [sic]” 4.4 million jobs, does he have an out if public sector jobs shrank by 556,000?

In any case, “recovery” began in June 2009—making this our fourth Recovery Summer—and we have yet to see sustained economic growth, in spite of—I would say because of—his accursed stimulus. Baby steps, at best, in the right direction, and get ready for the inevitable face-plant and tears.

UPDATE
Your ObamEconomy story of the year (so far):

More workers joined the federal government’s disability program in June than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation’s jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery.

The economy created just 80,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But that same month, 85,000 workers left the workforce entirely to enroll in the Social Security Disability Insurance program, according to the Social Security Administration.

As Investors Business Daily further notes, that isn’t the exception in the Obama recovery, but the rule:

The disability ranks have outpaced job growth throughout President Obama’s economic recovery. While the economy has created 2.6 million jobs since June 2009, fully 3.1 million workers signed up for disability benefits.

Channeling Rush here: this is by design. Unemployment falls, welfare (and the welfare-dependent voter lobby) swells. It’s win-win. Haven’t you seen and heard the advertisements for benefits? They’re on more often than McDonalds ads. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself; give a man a Filet-o-Fish and he’ll come back tomorrow and the next day, hand out and dependent.

PS: The Labor Participation rate held steady at a historically-dreadful 63.8% last month. Someone said that if the rate were where it was before the recession, unemployment would be 10.9%. See point above.

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The Good, the Bad, and the China

They’re all over the place.

Literally:

The Philippines on Wednesday protested China’s move placing virtually the entire West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), including the Philippine territory of Macclesfield Bank and its surrounding waters, under the jurisdiction of a newly created city.

Manila’s protest came as the latest sour turn in relations between the Philippines and China, which have yet to find a temporary solution to their dispute over Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), a resource-rich reef in the West Philippine Sea just west of Zambales province.

Also on Thursday, Philippine President Aquino III urged the Chinese authorities to “balance [their] statements with the truth” in response to their accusation that he was trying to stir tension in the West Philippine Sea by asking for US help in monitoring the disputed waters.

Oh yeah, I’m sure Obama “has your back”, Philippines.

Meanwhile, this is interesting news:

A group of prominent Chinese scholars issued an open letter on Thursday calling for a rethink of the country’s one-child policy, the second high-profile challenge to the long-standing law this week.

The group argued that the policy in its current form is incompatible with China’s increasing respect for human rights and need for sustainable economic development. The letter comes less than a month after the story of a woman who was forced to undergo an abortion of her seven-month-old fetus ignited public anger.

“The birth-approval system built on the idea of controlling population size as emphasized in the current ‘Population and Family Planning Law’ does not accord with provisions on the protection of human rights contained in the nation’s constitution,” the authors of Thursday’s letter wrote, adding that a rewriting of the law was “imperative.”

Imperative, but too late, I wonder. Forget about the human rights angle (this is China, remember), who’s going to support the aged parents in their dotage if there are no young people (and fewer young women than men)?

Still, there is good news from China!

The Chinese Ministry of Health has lifted a 14-year-old ban on lesbians donating blood in effect as of July 1.

The ban still applies to men who are sexually active with other men, but celibate homosexuals are permitted to give blood, according to the Ministry of Health’s website.

The original ban, enacted in 1998, barred homosexuals of both genders from donating blood out of a fear of spreading HIV and AIDS.

Xu Bin, a prominent lesbian rights activist in China, told the Global Times she applauded the amendment and what it means for lesbians in China.

“It is also about our dignity and the elimination of blood donation discrimination,” she was quoted as saying.

I’m curious. Can you request lesbian blood?

Hey, it’s just a question!

PS: I sympathize. Having lived in the UK for a few years in the early 90s, I am prevented from donating blood. Seriously. They think I have Mad Cow, or something (and they’re not far wrong).

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Bad News and Worse News

The bad news:

Hiring was lukewarm last month, with employers adding jobs but not enough to bring the unemployment rate down.

The economy added 80,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported Friday, barely an improvement from the 77,000 jobs added in May.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained at 8.2%.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney had expected to see employers add 95,000 jobs and the Revisions from previous months also showed the economy gained 1,000 fewer jobs in April and May than originally thought.

The economy needs at least 125,000 jobs added each month just to keep up with population growth.

I’ve seen that number quoted as high as 150,000—and likely higher now that Obama has proposed what amounts to amnesty for children of illegals (slur alert!). So, 80k is barely half of what’s needed just to break even.

Still, who doesn’t enjoy a joke at the expense of others’ misery?

Revisions from previous months also showed the economy gained 1,000 fewer jobs in April and May than originally thought.

I’m just glad you can’t see the smirk on my face right now.

Believe it or not, there’s even worse news:

U.S. service companies grew in June at the slowest pace in nearly two and a half years, a troubling sign for the economy.

But those same firms boosted hiring last month, adding to other data that show job growth may have picked up.

The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday that its index of non-manufacturing activity fell to 52.1 last month from a May reading of 53.7.

The reading was the lowest since January 2010. Still, any reading above 50 indicates expansion. The sector has grown now for 30 straight months.

Service companies employ roughly 90 percent of the economy. They include retail, construction, financial services, health care and hotels, among others.

To be clear, the service sector grew, but at the slowest pace since the early days of the (snort!) recovery (chortle!).

And it seems like only yesterday that we learned of this grim news:

The manufacturing sector contracted in June for the first time in nearly three years, the latest sign U.S. economic growth is weakening. The Institute for Supply Management said production, exports and the number of new orders fell.

The slowdown comes as employers have scaled back hiring, consumers have turned more cautious, Europe faces a recession and manufacturing has slowed in other major countries, like China.

Global growth is slowing and U.S. consumers are spending less. Many companies worry U.S. lawmakers won’t extend a package of tax cuts at the end of the year.

That’s okay. What do we manufacture anymore anyway? But if the service sector is 90% of the economy, and if its stalling, we are well and truly screwed. Today’s 8.2& unemployment may be a glowing beacon of hope in the near future.

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We’re So Dumb

- Aggie

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