Tales of 57 States: Happenings After the Great Joust

November 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In the days soon after the Great Joust between the Donkey and Elephant Clans, it was rumored that three important events did occur
American Thinker Blog

Tales of 57 States: The Deficit Wizards Speak

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Deficit Wizards asked to apply their knowledge of coin, commerce and Congress to the Realm’s deficit problem
American Thinker Blog

Trumka’s delusions, and other tales from the footnotes of DSM-IV

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Richard “The Dick” Trumka is simply amazing.  I can’t lead, dwell within, or polish this bit, so I’ll just copy it and then comment:

“This is a bad economy for working people, and they took it out on everybody who was in office,” Trumka said Wednesday during a meeting with reporters and editors at National Journal. “And, quite frankly, if they don’t make it better in two years, they’ll do it again, and we’ll probably be helping them do it.”

Obama’s troubles, Trumka said, have something-but certainly not everything-to do with how the president delivered the economic message.

“I think at times the president stepped on his message when he would talk about job creation and deficit reduction and failing to distinguishing between the two, and it confused things” the AFL-CIO president said.

“Is that responsible for this?” Trumka asked, sizing up the midterm analysis that’s been offered countless times on cable news. His answer: “No. You can’t look at something like that and say if that hadn’t happened, all of this would be different.”

People didn’t know what was in the stimulus (which was too small, anyway), Trumka said.

The Dick is really on his game here.  But “his game” is not a good thing.  It is his deluded view of his place in society.  It is, without his perception, a lonely place.  People pass by, nod, point, laugh, and he thinks they are interacting with him.  The Dick is, in reality, a resident at a zoo.  Let’s spend some time traversing the cobweb-laced avenues of his demented existence.

The Dick’s view in a nutshell:  The economy is bad, Barry did a poor communicative job, and the Stimulus was too small.

Hunh.  Let’s deconstruct …

The state of the economy speaks to all of us through our observations of our finances and those of the folks that cross our path - so that is out of the control of any outside voice.  Barry’s message was muddled, The Dick says, but even if it wasn’t the political climate may not have been altered.  I guess his intent here is to tell us that bad times can be absorbed better with an empathetic leader.  OK, but empathy in this instance needed to originate also in Congress.  Didn’t, couldn’t happen.  So that leads us to the only substantive part of The Dick’s analysis:

The Stimulus wasn’t big enough.

The Stimulus wasn’t misdirected, mind you.  It’s sheer volume was short.  Almost a trillion dollars wasn’t enough.  Directing it almost exclusively unions and universities to perpetuate existing jobs rather than creating new ones was not an issue.  We needed to spend more, says The Dick.

I guess instead of limiting the research to the sexual lives of Syracuse University freshwomen, we could have extended it to freshman, too.  And townies having sex with SU students.  And professors banging students in exchange for ignoring spotty classroom attendance.  I think that once we holistically understood the entire who’s-bedding-who (whom?) picture of the Syracuse, NY, higher-education environment that we could proclaim an advancement in knowledge.  Perhaps a model could be programmed that would allow Planned Parenthood to more accurately forecast the need for abortion clinics.  Maybe the trial lawyers could tap into the knowledge to assess the climate for claims of Tortious Interference with Prospective Educational Success (grounded in faculty canceling class in order to do the Bubba-Monica thing).

Concerning the sheer size of the Stimulus, we cannot forget that union contracts - infrastructure contracts - by their nature mature over years.  Projects need to be engineering before constructed, etc.  This led the Administration to calender the marketing campaign “Recovery Summer” back when the bill was signed into law:  ”OK, boys and girls, this is 2009Q1.  Our union brothers will be shoveling whatever those people shovel 2010Q2.  So as soon as that is fully underway, we do our ‘Recovery Summer’ campaign.  Someone calender it for 2010Q3.  That will take us up to the midterms, where we will rock, people!”

Nice job, Barry.  The problem, of course, is that our economic problems are not limited to the 7% to 8% of the working population that belongs to non-government unions.  Nor the additional less than 0.1% of the working population that does research in universities.

So when The Dick says …

“If you go back two, three years ago, I was screaming, ‘It’s about jobs! it’s about jobs!’ and everyone was going-” Trumka pretends to yawn.

… I laugh.

You are a pathetic troll, Trumka.  Unions suck the lifeblood out of the economy.  Government spending takes money out of the economy on a net basis - it just happens over time like a Ponzi scheme.

There is nothing you have said or done that helps our economy.  Nothing.  You are useless.  Go away.

Liberty Pundits Blog

Chinese Economic Data: More Tall Tales

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 
style="float: right; margin-bottom: 1px; margin-left: 1px;"> href="http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/China-s-Stocks-0204101.jpg"> class="alignnone size-full wp-image-39784" title="China-s-Stocks-020410" src="http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/China-s-Stocks-0204101.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="166" />

The Conference Board, a global research association, made a splash with their 2011 global outlook. The group’s most interesting href="http://www.conference-board.org/press/pressdetail.cfm?pressid=4057">claims are that emerging markets will drive “global growth” and that China could pass the U.S. on one measure of economic size as early as 2012. The Conference Board is making two mistakes many observers make, and which the media gladly eats up.

First, the Conference Board projects China could have a larger economy than America when adjusting for purchasing power parity (ppp). PPP is a way to account for different prices across countries. For example, most things are cheaper in China than the U.S., so a dollar’s worth of money, or 6.7 yuan, generally buys more in the PRC than the U.S. id="more-46451">

In that light, the dollar value of China’s GDP should be revised higher in comparison to America’s. For 2009, the World Bank has American GDP near $ 14.3 trillion and Chinese GDP at $ 9.1 trillion using ppp, where using normal GDP China was at $ 4.9 trillion.

Moreover, China almost always revises GDP higher after the fact and boasts much faster growth than the U.S. It’s not going to pass the U.S. in 2012 but, in current ppp terms, it could get close. Hence the headline.

Now the part headlines miss: prices change. What a dollar’s worth of money buys in the PRC is slipping. Chinese prices are rising faster than American prices, arguably much faster. The ppp comparison between the U.S. and China’s is going to change, making China’s economy look smaller.

This has happened before. The last time the World Bank adjusted its ppp href="http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22808.pdf">measurements, the ostensible size of the Chinese economy fell 40 percent. PPP has advantages but, as you move farther in time from the price measurements that give purchasing power across economies, ppp can tell a very inaccurate story.

The Conference Board might have adjusted for prices changing over time but they gave no indication of having done so. More important: most commentators will not adjust for changing prices; they will take the current ppp measurement and run. That will in turn generate a lot of false claims that China’s economy is soon to be bigger than America’s.

The second mistake the Conference Board made is already common: fast-growing economies drive global growth. That seems sensible but it gives fast-growing economies too much credit. Fast-growing economies may be helping everyone but they may be only helping themselves.

In 2010, China will not add to the rest of the world’s GDP, its trade surplus means it will take almost $ 200 billion away from the rest of the world’s GDP. This is just a function of how GDP is counted. The PRC does contribute to the world economy in many ways but it is badly misleading to suggest that it is doing the most to help the rest of the world. China is raising the average of GDP growth among countries but doing so in part by continuing to drain GDP from the rest of the world.

In terms of adding to the rest of the world’s GDP, even though we’re growing slowly, the U.S. remains by far the biggest contributor.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Tales of 57 States: Nancy from Wonderland

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Princess Nancy was known throughout the Realm for her youthful appearance, despite having walked the Great Hall of Congress for many years.
American Thinker Blog

Tales from 57 States: His Obamaness Addresses the Currylanders

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Now it came to pass that His Obamaness spoke before the gathered ruling class of Curryland
American Thinker Blog

Tales from 57 States: His Obamaness Flees the Joust

November 6, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

And so it came to pass that His Obamaness, before departing, stood before the gathered members of the Town Crier Guild who dwelled in the White Palace, and said, “What we have here, is a failure to communicate.”
American Thinker Blog

Tribune Co. CEO Resigns Amid Tales of Raunchiness

October 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

From the Associated Press:


Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels resigned Friday, pressured by tales of raunchy behavior that likened him to the ringleader of a college fraternity house.

Michaels’ decision to leave comes at a pivotal time for the troubled media company. After nearly two years operating under bankruptcy protection, Tribune Co. is drawing up a reorganization plan that it hopes to get approved by a federal judge before the end of the year.

A four-man executive committee will fill the void created by Michaels’ departure. The new bosses are Don Liebentritt, Tribune Co.’s chief restructuring officer; Nils Larsen, chief investment officer; Tony Hunter, publisher of the Chicago Tribune; and Eddy Hartenstein, publisher of the Los Angeles Times.

The Tribune and the Times are the largest newspapers owned by the company, whose holdings also include more than 20 television and radio stations.

Michaels, 58, joined the Tribune Co. three years ago following an ill-fated $ 8.2 billion buyout engineered by real estate mogul Sam Zell. Michaels became Tribune Co.’s CEO late last year. Michaels, a former radio disc jockey, won Zell’s trust as CEO of a radio broadcast company that Zell owned, Jacor Communications.

It seemed likely Michaels’ tenure was coming to an end anyway. Lenders in line to become the company’s new owners will probably want to install their own management team once a bankruptcy reorganization plan gains approval. The company said it would file a revised reorganization plan late Friday.

Meanwhile, at a hearing in Wilmington, Del., the judge overseeing Tribune Co.’s Chapter 11 case gave the official committee of junior creditors permission to file lawsuits against some parties involved in the 2007 buyout. He gave them until Nov. 1 to file the complaints. The targets of those lawsuits could include Zell, the company’s major shareholders and board members at the time. An independent investigator concluded this summer that some aspects of the deal had bordered on fraud.

Once Tribune Co.’s bankruptcy plan is approved, the company’s is expected to be controlled by creditors who are getting ownership stakes in exchange for forgiving most of the debt incurred in Zell’s buyout, which took Tribune Co. private. The debt holders in line to become Tribune Co.’s owners include JPMorgan Chase & Co., distressed debt specialist Angelo, Gordon & Co. and hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management.

Under Tribune Co.’s latest reorganization proposal, the lawsuits would be pursued by a so-called litigation trust with a $ 20 million loan from the company for covering legal expenses. The lawsuits could allege that Tribune Co. wouldn’t have had to file for bankruptcy protection if not for fraudulent conduct by Tribune’s board, including Zell, and some of its financial advisers and lenders. Tribune Co. spokesman Gary Weitman declined comment on the possibility of lawsuits.

Michaels’ exit apparently was accelerated by an unflattering portrait drawn of his management style in a front-page story published by The New York Times two weeks ago. The story, based on interviews with more than 20 current and former Tribune Co. employees, asserted that Michaels helped cultivate a culture filled with sexual innuendo, profanity, poker parties and other bawdy behavior.

Tribune’s Chicago headquarters, one of the country’s most famous skyscrapers, “came to resemble a frat house,” the Times reported.

Tribune Co.’s board of directors issued statements supporting Michaels in that article, but he quickly found himself under fire again last week when a top lieutenant sent an internal memo with an Internet link featuring a racy video that included a bare-breasted woman pouring booze down her chest. Michaels initially suspended the executive, Lee Abrams, and then accepted his resignation as Tribune Co.’s chief innovation officer.

“During the last few weeks the company has drawn a lot of media attention, much of it negative,” the board wrote in an e-mail sent Friday to Tribune Co. employees. “That coverage has diverted attention from the things that matter most: The quality of our media products, the talent and dedication of our people, and the very real progress that we’ve made over the last two-and-a-half years.”

Michaels was Tribune Co.’s executive vice president in charge of its broadcasting and interactive divisions before his promotion to CEO. When he was hired, Michaels also brought in many of his former colleagues from his days in radio.

By the time he was named Tribune Co.’s CEO, Michaels already had gained a reputation for using language and engaging in conduct more befitting of the “shock jock” that he once was. Michaels and Zell said they were trying to loosen up a traditionally staid company and usher in fresh thinking at a time of upheaval in the media business. Zell remains Tribune Co.’s chairman.

While Michaels was CEO, Tribune Co.’s financial performance improved, helped by cost cutting that has become common at newspaper publishers throughout the country as they try to offset a steep downturn in advertising sales that has depleted their main source of revenue.

Tribune Co. already has projected its newspapers’ revenue will continue to drop for at least two more years while its broadcasting division rebounds. The company’s other major newspapers include The (Baltimore) Sun, Hartford. (Conn.) Courant and the Orlando Sentinel.

Big Journalism

Tall Tax Tales

October 22, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Republican Sharron Angle says in a TV ad that Nevada Sen. Harry Reid “voted to raise taxes” 300 times. A “staggering 300 times.” He didn’t.
We reviewed the 304 votes provided by the Angle campaign and found its final tally was padded:

86 votes were against proposed tax cuts, not votes …

Debunking the Tall Tales of the Great War, Now that it’s ‘Over’!: Diario Economico, Portugal

October 20, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

In addition to World War I history buffs, this article is for Republicans who detest John Maynard Keynes and the stimulus packages his theories justified - and which are still in use today - most notably by President Obama and most of the developed world last year.

As was reported in September, World War I is officially over, now that Germany has delivered its last chunk of reparations imposed on it at Versailles in 1918.

According to Fernando Gabriel of Portugal’s Diario Economico, not only is President Wilson’s post-war influence overblown, but it’s a myth that reparations imposed on Germany after World War I led to hyperinflation and the rise of Adolph Hitler. He calls into question this and other theories of economist John Maynard Keynes, whose work has been used not only to explain Hitler’s rise, but laid the basis for modern post-Depression economics, including the use of government stimulus packages in times of economic crisis.

For the Diario Economico, Fernando Gabriel writes in part:

The more acceptable approach to historical truth suggests a very different Germany after the Armistice; in particular in regard to the relationship between the macroeconomic policies pursued after the war and the reparations that Germany was forced to pay. The amount of reparations didn’t give rise to an unsustainable debt, nor were reparations the principal cause of German hyper-inflation. In 1921, as a percentage of GDP, German debt was less than Britain’s. And the reparations never exceeded 8.3 percent of German national income - far removed from the forecasts of 50 percent put forward by the “clairvoyant” Keynes. By the way, German macroeconomic imbalances were caused by the strategy advocated by Keynes: devalue the currency to increase exports and generate income to pay off foreign debt; increase public spending by boosting inflation and reducing the real value of domestic government debt.

Another persistent myth depicts American President Woodrow Wilson as a stubborn “destroyer of empires.” It is indisputable that Wilson believed in potentially dangerous ideological vacuities such as “making the world safe for democracy” - a slogan, the destabilizing potential of which is well-illustrated by the neo-conservatives, who are Wilson’s intellectual progeny. What’s doubtful is that Wilson’s convictions were at all decisive in regard to the geopolitical reordering of Europe.

The major preoccupation of the Allies was to prevent the “global revolution” announced by Trotsky. Wilson’s orders concerning the withdrawal of the U.S. military personnel who had fought in Europe are instructive in regard to the fear of the communist “contagion.” In 1919, concerned that Black soldiers returning from Europe would provide a means of disseminating Bolshevist ideas in the U.S., Wilson ordered a kind of “quarantine.” Why this applied only to Black soldiers isn’t clear, but the measure is informative of the fear of the spread of communism.

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.

The Moderate Voice

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