Monday, July 29, 2013

For The Sake Of The Economy, Obama Should Keep His Eye Off Of The Ball

Forbes ^ | 07/28/2013 | John Tamny

Last Wednesday in Illinois, President Obama unwittingly explained how economies grow. Our 44th president asserted without a hint of irony that “Washington has taken its eye off the ball.” Exactly!
Economies aren’t living, breathing blobs, rather they’re a collection of individuals. Because we individuals have infinite wants, economic growth is as simple as the government getting out of the way of our production. What we produce constitutes our demand, so if we’re not restrained by government policy, we tend to be productive.
Considering government policy, from an economic perspective it’s best to break it down to four policy areas. Specifically, if governments get taxes, trade, regulation, and monetary policy mostly right, the economy booms. It’s as simple as that.
Taxes are a price, or a penalty placed on work and investment, so if the price isn’t too high, individuals have an incentive to get up and work each day. Trade is of course why we work, we’re all free traders at heart, so when politicians aren’t erecting barriers to trade, they’re not taxing the purpose of our labor. Regulations by definition don’t work, but they do inhibit the profit motive, so when they’re not increasing, companies can focus on producing for others rather than pleasing bureaucrats.
If we then analyze the U.S. economy in light of Obama’s largely correct statement that “Washington has taken its eye off the ball,” we can easily understand why the latter has coincided with a somewhat promising stock market rally alongside rising optimism among Americans about the health of the economy. To put it very plainly, too much government had been strangling the economy thanks to Washington keeping its eye on the ball. But with Washington and Obama happily distracted, growth has picked up.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Middle class has been left behind by Obamanomics

Washington Examiner ^ | July 26, 2013 | Timothy P. Carney

"Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits," President Obama said in his economics address last week, "nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1 percent."
It's odd that Obama touts these facts, because the facts indict his policies. This is even stranger: Many Republicans want to downplay these facts, even though they provide the GOP with an opening.
Obama's first term, with all its tax hikes, regulations, mandates, subsidies and bailouts, saw stock markets rise, corporate earnings break records and the rich get richer, while median income stagnated and unemployment remained stubbornly high.
Obama rightly calls the last few years "a winner-take-all economy where a few are doing better and better and better, while everybody else just treads water."

Median household income has fallen by 5 percent since 2009 — when the recession ended and Obama came into office — as the Wall Street Journal pointed out after Obama's speech. But corporate profits and the stock market keep hitting record highs.
How does Obama think these are points in his favor?
If he's using this data to prove he's no Marxist, fine. Point granted. But Obama seems to think that middle-class and working-class stagnation under Obamanomics somehow calls for more Obamanomics.
The unstated premise is this: More government means more equality, while the free market favors the rich and tramples on the rest.
Liberals and mainstream journalists believe this, but so do some Republicans. When Mitt Romney dismisses the lower 47 percent of earners as hopelessly liberal, he's buying the notion that free enterprise is a system for the wealthy.
But Obama's own facts help undermine that: Government grows, the wealthy, the big, and the well-connected pull away, and the rest of us struggle.
One reason: Obamanomics leans heavily on trickle-down economics. How does Obama promise to create jobs? With more loan guarantees to sell jumbo jets and more subsidies to make solar panels — taxpayer transfers to the big companies with the best lobbyists, with some crumbs hopefully falling to the working class.
Also, Obama's regulations crush small businesses, protecting the big guys from competition. This hurts Mom & Pop and would-be entrepreneurs, but it also hurts the working class. New businesses are the engine of job growth, but new business formation has accelerated its decline in the last few years, hitting record lows.
This gives Republicans an opening to explain that they can deliver on Obama's promises of helping the middle class and the working class, but they can do it by reversing Obamanomics — cutting everyone's taxes, undoing the most onerous regulations, ending trickle-down corporate welfare and so on.
Call it free-market populism, or libertarian populism.
Trig's Supermarkets, in Wisconsin, is an emblematic victim of Obamanomics. Trig's employs about 1,100 people, with about two-thirds working part-time, according to local TV station WJFW. Under Obamacare, anyone who works more than 30 hours per week is considered full time, though, and Trig's will be forced to provide health-care coverage for them.
The company crunched the numbers and decided this would spell bankruptcy. So, they told their workers their hours would be cut to below 30 per week. Nobody is happy with this, but the alternative was laying off all 1,100.
In a couple of ways, this story shows how Obamanomics undermines its stated goals and creates an opening for free-market populism.
Big-government regulations are supposed to hold big business accountable. But Trig's story shows how they often do the opposite. Recall Walmart loudly supported Obamacare's employer mandate, and Costco's founder — who also spent at least $180,000 trying to elect Obama — publicly lobbied for Obamacare.
Walmart and Costco can afford the costs of government — and Costco even got a shout-out from Obama in his economics speech. Smaller employers aren't so lucky.
Government tends to benefit the big and well-connected, and that's not Mom & Pop. Every small-business owner is a potential Republican if the GOP becomes the party of free-market populism.
More important, though — and more numerous — are the hundreds of Trig's employees seeing a reduction in hours. Obamacare was supposed to help them. Obama, on his economic-policy tour, suggests more government intervention will help them. But Obamacare is hurting them. Why should more of the same help?
Obama is right about the middle class being left behind. The working class is faring even worse. This doesn't call for more Obamanomics. It calls for unrigging the game that Washington has rigged.
Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at His column appears Sunday and Wednesday on

Cruz: We Have 60 Days to Defund Obamacare

The PJ Tatler ^ | 7/29/13 | Bryan Preston

Sen. Ted Cruz told Andrea Tantaros today that the next 60 days will be crucial to defunding Obamacare.

Tantaros opened her interview with the Texas Republican with a question about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent criticisms of Sen. Rand Paul. Christie recently said that the libertarian principles that Paul and some other Republicans stand for are “esoteric” and even “dangerous.” Christie’s comments come in the context of the debate over the National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance of Americans’ phone and online communications, and have been widely interpreted as an opening salvo in the 2016 GOP presidential primary.
Tantaros asked Cruz “So Chris Christie is attacking your friend — are you gonna take that, senator?”
“Well, Gov. Christie is certainly entitled to his opinions and he does not seem shy about sharing those,” Cruz replied. “What I can tell you is that I think the principles of liberty are the foundation of this country.” Cruz cited the Declaration of Independence. “Frankly, one of the reasons for the deep frustration that so many Americans have with career politicians both Republican and Democrat, is they’ve lost sight of liberty. They’ve lost sight of the free market principles of our Constitution. And I think there’s an incredible hunger to get back to the principles that made this nation strong.”

Tantaros asked Cruz if he thinks Christie is wrong. Cruz reiterated that Christie is entitled to his opinions and will continue sharing them. He added that most people don’t care about squabbles between politicians, but about how to turn the country around.
Turning to the subject of Obamacare, Tantaros asked Cruz if it can be stopped.

“I believe that we have a moment, in the next 60 days
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Electile Dysfunction

Cartoon: Mr. Weiner, you have “electile dysfunction”

The Worst States to Be Unemployed

Wall Street 24X7 ^ | 07/29/2013

As a result of the sequester, which went into effect in early 2013 to help cut the U.S. budget deficit, a federal program intended to lengthen the amount of time jobless residents can receive unemployment benefits will be substantially reduced. Cutting Emergency Unemployment Compensation will mean an end to an important source of income for many out-of-work Americans.
Unemployment rates have fallen nationwide, but there are still nearly 12 million active job seekers who cannot find work. While unemployment is rarely a favorable situation, in certain parts of the country, the unemployed can expect to find a job more easily because of a favorable job market or at least receive good benefits. In other areas, job growth is slow, competition is high, and benefits are relatively poor.
Based on unemployment insurance benefits data and employment statistics from the Department of Labor, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where residents had the worst chances of finding work and also received the worst benefits while they were looking for it.

Click here to see the worst states to be unemployed
Click here to see the best states to be unemployed

One of the biggest indicators of how difficult it is to find work is the unemployment rate. A low jobless rate in a given state usually means the area’s economy is doing relatively well, competition is limited, and workers have the skills necessary to qualify for available jobs. In all of the best states to be unemployed, the unemployment rate was well below the national rate of 7.6% for June. In North Dakota, one of the best states to be unemployed, just 3.1% of the workforce did not have a job.
In the worst states to be unemployed, job growth was relatively slow, and new opportunities to work took longer to materialize. In most of the these states, the number of nonfarm jobs grew slower than the 1.3% national rate between June 2012 and June 2013. In three of these states — Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois — the total number of jobs grew by less than 1%.
Not surprisingly, it is far better to be unemployed in a state with healthy job growth. According to Rebecca Dixon, policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, “in some of these states, people go back to work really quickly.”
However, even if employers are hiring and local economies are doing well, workers may still need time to find a job. This may mean relying on unemployment insurance benefits while looking for work. Nationally, unemployment benefits covered an average of 33% of the average weekly wages in the area. In six of the best states to be unemployed, this figure, known as the replacement rate, was more than 40% of average wages, with Hawaii covering a nation-leading 53%.
Dixon pointed out that a high replacement rate is not enough on its own to make benefits available to the unemployed. “A state can have a great program, but if they make it really, really hard for people to qualify for benefits, then it’s just a great program sitting there that no one can use,” said Dixon.
Known as the recipiency rate, just 45% of all unemployed workers received such benefits over the 12 months going through the first quarter of 2013. In five of the better states to be unemployed, a higher percentage of jobless residents received these benefits. In some of the worst states to be unemployed, these rates were even lower. In Louisiana and Tennessee, the two worst states to be unemployed, just 30% of unemployed workers received these benefits.
To determine the worst states to be unemployed, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed figures published by the Department of Labor’s Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The recipiency rate and recovery rate from the OUI are for the 12 months running through the end of the first quarter of 2013. Unemployment rate from the BLS are for June 2013, with job growth numbers reflecting changes in the nonfarm payrolls measure from the year before. The final rank reflects a composite score of these four measures weighted equally. Data on change in Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits comes from NELP. Dixon noted that since the data was put together, North Carolina has made changes in its UI program to cut weekly benefits. Those changes are not reflected in our data.

These are the worst states to be unemployed.

10. Mississippi
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 37% (18th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 28.8% (10th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 9.0% (3rd highest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 2.5% (5th highest)
Unemployment insurance is not very generous in Mississippi when compared to most other states. The average weekly benefit was just $193, making Mississippi the only state to offer an average of less than $200. This only comprised 28.8% of weekly wages, lower than all but nine other states. In addition to having limited unemployment insurance benefits, Mississippi is struggling with high unemployment, which at 9% as of June 2013 was higher than every state except Nevada and Illinois. Between June 2012 and June 2013, nonfarm employment rose by just 0.3%, lower than all but three other states, while manufacturing, one of the state’s largest industries by employment shed jobs.
Also Read: America’s Worst Companies to Work For
9. Kentucky
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 38% (19th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 38.2% (17th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.4% (12th highest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 0.8% (12th lowest)
In June 2012, Kentucky had an unemployment rate of 8.3%, barely above the national rate of 8.2%. The state also had a 1.9% increase in nonfarm employment from the year before, slightly faster than the national pace. But as of June 2013, job growth had slowed to just 0.8% over the year before. The unemployment rate was also higher, at 8.4%, than in the year before, even as the national rate fell to 7.6%. The job market has been especially difficult for workers in eastern Kentucky, where 4,000 mining jobs have been lost, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Senator Mitch McConnell recently published an editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal critiquing President Obama’s environmental policy as “a war on Kentucky jobs.”
8. Florida
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 32% (8th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 28.5% (8th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.1% (22nd highest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.7% (14th highest)
The $232 that Florida offers in average weekly unemployment benefits is lower than all but four other states. This average benefit comes out to just 28.5% of weekly wages, lower than all but a few other states. For a while, Florida made it more difficult than in other states to collect these benefits. The state enacted a law in 2011 that required unemployment recipients to take math, reading and research tests before receiving benefits. However, the U.S. Department of Labor nixed the plan in April over concerns that it may violate civil rights laws for the disabled and those for whom English is not their first language. The good news for those still out of work is that the unemployment rate, while one of the highest in the nation at the height of the economic downturn, now has fallen below the national rate.
7. Ohio
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 37% (18th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 37.2% (20th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.2% (21st highest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 0.3% (4th lowest)
Between June of 2012 and 2013, the number of nonfarm jobs in Ohio rose by just 0.3%. The state’s unemployment rate also barely budged, falling from just 7.3% to 7.2%, higher than the majority of states, although below the national rate of 7.6%. Out-of-work individuals, on average, received unemployment insurance benefits covering 37.2% of the state’s average weekly wage, more than the 33% nationwide. But just 37% of all unemployed workers actually were able to receive these benefits, versus 45% across the country. Recently, two neighboring states, Indiana and Michigan, enacted “right to work” laws, which are designed to attract employers and prohibit unions from collecting payments by non-members at companies in which they operate. While such a law has not been passed in Ohio, unions remain concerned the issue could be brought up in their state.p>
6. Indiana
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 35% (12th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 34.3% (22nd lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.4% (12th highest)
> 1 yr. job growth: 1.4% (23rd highest)
In Indiana, the unemployed accounted for 8.4% of the labor force as of June, more than the 7.6% nationwide and unchanged from the year before. Only 35% of unemployed workers received benefits during the 12 months ending with the first quarter of 2013, versus 45% across the nation. Job growth also has slowed considerably, from 2.5% between June 2011 and June 2012, then the fourth highest rate in the nation, to 1.4% between June 2012 and June 2013. But not all job news out of the state is negative. Almost all the state’s job growth in June came from the manufacturing industry, according to the Indiana Department of Workplace Development. Indiana has a proportionally higher number of manufacturing jobs than any other state.
5. Arizona
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 33% (9th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 24.9% (2nd lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.0% (15th highest)
> 1 yr. job growth: 2.0% (7th highest)
Arizona experienced 2% employment growth over the 12 months ending in June, a faster pace than all but a half dozen states. However, skilled job opportunities may be scarce, with three-quarters of all job openings in Arizona requiring only a high school diploma or less. The state also was unable to significantly reduce unemployment during the past year. From June 2012 to June 2013, the unemployment rate fell just 0.4 percentage points from 8.4% to 8.0%. Just one-third of jobless workers received unemployment insurance benefits during the 12 months ending with the first quarter of 2013, well below the 45% of the unemployed nationwide. Also, the average weekly benefit received was just $214, or less than 25% of the average weekly wage in the state, worse than in any other state except Louisiana.
Also Read: Ten Cities Where the Poor Can’t Get Rich
4. Alabama
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 32% (8th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 26.2% (6th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 6.5% (18th lowest)
> 1 yr. job growth: 1.2% (22nd lowest)
Alabama’s unemployment rate rate fell from 7.6% in June 2012 to 6.5% in June 2013. But despite these improvements, being unemployed likely is still very difficult for Alabama workers. Just 32% of unemployed job seekers received unemployment benefits, with these payments averaging just 26.2% of the average weekly wage, both among the lowest figures in the nation. Governor Robert Bentley has made reducing joblessness in the state a top priority and has pledged not to take any salary until the state’s unemployment rate reaches 5.2%.
3. Illinois
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 43% (25th highest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 32.1% (16th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 9.2% (2nd highest)
> 1 yr. job growth: 0.8% (12th lowest)
While the $987 in average weekly wages in Illinois was higher than all but six other states, the average unemployment benefit of about $317 was just the 17th highest in the nation. Illinois has struggled with job growth as well, with the number of nonfarm jobs growing just 0.8% between June 2012 and June 2013, well below the 1.7% growth across the country. The number of jobs in both the public sector and manufacturing industry, which both have a sizable presence in the state, actually decreased during that time. The Illinois unemployment rate of 9.2% in June was higher than that of any other state except for Nevada.
2. Louisiana
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 30% (tied-5th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 24.6% (the lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.0% (25th lowest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.1% (19th lowest)
Jobless individuals in Louisiana should not expect generous unemployment insurance benefits. The average weekly payout in the state for the year ending in first quarter of 2013 was just $201, lower than any other state except for Mississippi. When taken as a percentage of the average weekly wage, Louisiana’s benefits become the stingiest in the country, paying out less than 25% of the average. Fortunately for those out of work, the unemployment rate was 7.0% as of June 2013, below the national rate, indicating less competition for jobs. However, the state is one of a minority where the unemployment rate actually rose from the previous year.
Also Read: The Best States to Be Unemployed
1. Tennessee
> Pct. unemployed getting benefits: 30% (tied-5th lowest)
> Pct. average weekly wage covered: 28.6% (9th lowest)
> Unemployment rate: 8.5% (10th highest)
> 1-yr. job growth: 1.2% (22nd lowest)

Tennessee is the worst state in the country to be unemployed. The average weekly unemployment insurance payout totaled just 28.6% of the average weekly wage, lower than all but eight other states. Meanwhile, just 30% of the unemployed received those benefits, also among the lowest in the country.The state enacted a new law in 2012 that required the unemployed to make “a reasonable effort to secure work” by demonstrating they have reached out to at least three employers per week. In addition, the law requires people receiving benefits to take any job offering 100% of prior wages in the first 13 weeks. After this, to continue receiving benefits they may not turn down any job offering 75% of past wages. By the 38th week of unemployment, this standard falls to 65% of past wages. The state’s unemployment rate of 8.5% in June 2013 was the 10th highest in the country and up from 8.2% in June 2012, despite a decline across the country.

Obama Questions Job Numbers from Keystone XL Pipeline

Rig Zone ^ | July 29, 2013 | Rigzone Staff|

U.S. President Barack Obama has called into question the number of jobs that would be provided from the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in a New York Times interview over the weekend.
Republicans have frequently stated that there would be a large number of jobs created if the pipeline is approved for construction, Obama said, adding that he disputes their premise.
“Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator,” Obama said in the interview. “There is no evidence that that’s true. The most realistic estimates are this might maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline, which might take a year or two, and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people.”
The president noted that even the temporary increase of 2,000 jobs that might be created during the construction of the pipeline, which would cost about $5.3 billion to build, was “a blip relative to the need.”
Republicans and business groups have pressured Obama to approve the pipeline, emphasizing that the approval and construction of the pipeline would produce economic benefits, including a drop in gasoline prices.
Democrats and environmental groups have opposed the approval and construction of the pipeline primarily on environmental grounds, saying that the burning of fossil fuels contributes to climate change.
Obama said that if the pipeline allowed the Midwest to export more of its oil to other countries, it could actually cause gasoline prices in the region to increase.
Obama said last month that the pipeline would serve U.S. interests only if it did not “significantly exacerbate” carbon pollution.
The president is expected to make a final decision later this year or in 2014.

Is Eric Holder Is President Obama’s ‘Inner Nigger’?

COLUMN» 127 comments

President Obama‘s powerful speech on the aftermath of Trayvon Martin‘s unpunished killing has spawned a panoply of reactions, but one Salon writer’s review of the President’s remarks is drawing molten-hot criticism on Twitter. Demos Senior Fellow and sometime Up panelist Richard Benjamin blasted the speech as a tepid shadow of Attorney GeneralEric Holder‘s advocacy, and declared that “Some of us have an Inner Child. Others have an Inner Nigger. Is Holder the president’s conscience? Or his Inner Nigger?”
Finally the president has spoken about George Zimmerman’s acquittal. Even as the country waited for his singular response – the nation’s leader and a law professor who once looked like Trayvon Martin – the president danced around the issues. And what a dramatic anti-climax, listening to the president refuse to say anything insightful or profound about the acquittal. In signature professorial style, the president gave us the “context” to the episode and to black people’s “pain.” But he didn’t offer a meaningful opinion on the episode’s hot molten core: racial profiling, vigilantism, and “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder delivered trenchant thoughts on the acquittal, demanding action. Before an audience of supporters, Holder recently called for a full investigation of Martin’s death after Zimmerman’s acquittal. Holder vowed that the Justice Department will act “in a manner that is consistent with the facts and the law. We will not be afraid.”
“We must stand our ground,” he told supporters.
Some of us have an Inner Child. Others have an Inner Nigger. Is Holder the president’s conscience? Or his Inner Nigger?
Is Holder the president’s aggressive internal mind and voice — willing to speak truth to power, but unbothered with appearing like an angry black man?
The President has faced harsh provocations from other black commentators, but this is a whole different level. The post drew swift criticism from the This Week In Blackness tag team of Elon James White and Angry Black Lady Imani Gandy, including sharp rebukes of Salon‘s editors:
@elonjames Seriously @RichBenjaminUSA. What the fuck dude? Of all the framing around this you would use “Inner Nigger” to make this argument?
@elonjames Whether you thought that Obama’s speech is lacking or not, deliberate link bait like this is cheap and problematic at best.
@AngryBlackLady When I said publish more voices of color, this wasn’t what I had in mind, @Salon.
@AngryBlackLady I can’t. i can’t. RT @tommyxtopher: @AngryBlackLady @Salon @elonjames cue Rush Limbaugh “satire.” Maybe a parody Stevie Wonder album cover?
@elonjames Wow. And @Salon–do you guys not have editors? What editor in their right mind sees “Inner Nigger” and thinks “Publish this ASAP.”
@elonjames Fuck your career. This isnt about how many hits you can get. This is so much bigger than that and muthafuckas out here trying to be popular.
@elonjames Dear White People & Organizations: having negroes make dumbass arguments does not shield you from critique. CC: @Salon
@elonjames At this point @Salon should rename itself “White Liberal Bullshit Weekly.”
@AngryBlackLady And @Salon published that nonsense by @RichBenjaminUSA with Trayvon’s name spelled incorrectly in the photo caption — so that’s delightful.
@goldietaylor I don’t even know what to say. Why would a progressive site publish a piece re: POTUS’ “inner n-word”?
Following the barrage of criticism, Benjamin tweeted “What black person doesnt understand duality/double consciousness? Legit Q: Does Holder embody PBOs complex double consciousness? @Salon”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that it’s not the Jungian psychology that’s tripping people up. He later added “ive admired PBO & Holder publicly & privately. still, leaders’ approaches to race merits reflection. @Salon”
I always liked Benjamin as a panelist on Up, and I hope he doesn’t get fired for this. My feeling is that the best response to problematic speech is more speech, not less. In this case, I’d be especially interested to know what Benjamin was trying to accomplish with his word choice, beyond blunt provocation, and if he’s prepared to have his words parroted by the likes of Rush Limbaugh on Monday morning. That’s a sound that hurts, no matter how accustomed you get to it.
Benjamin’s provocation is something he’ll have to wrestle with, but on the substance, he’s got half a point. Eric Holder has been much more vocal and active on issues of race during this administration, but the speech the President gave today was as unflinchingly far from a Beer Summit as anyone could reasonably expect. Yes, President Obama could have given this speech as a candidate, and enjoyed a nice, long career as a Senator.
Update: Rich Benjamin added an update Saturday morning, in response to the uproar. You canread that here. For what it’s worth, I think people understood the point he was reaching for, but after reading his explanation, I still don’t understand how the term “inner n*gger” helped him get there.
Twitter user @dvnix has a thorough aggregation of tweets on the subject here.

Obama Vineyard vacation at $7.6m private resort; more than 75 rooms booked for staff

Washington Examiner ^ | July 29, 2013 | Paul Bedard

The Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, the exclusive playground for presidents and their families, is about to get its annual summer infusion of cash and attention as President Obama and his family prepare to arrive August 10 for an eight-day vacation.

Local reports indicate that the first family will likely be staying at a $7.6 million resort home on southern edge of the island in the town of Chilmark where homes feature water access to Chilmark Pond, tennis courts and swimming pools.

Still No WH Tours, but Parade of Special Visitors Continues

White House Dossier ^ | July 29, 2013 | Keith Koffler

The White House continues to bar average Americans from touring “The People House” but nevertheless lavishes spending on all sorts of special invitees – from diners at last week’s Iftar dinner breaking the Muslim fast to sports teams and foreign diplomats.

Soon after the outcry over the cancellation of tours due to the sequester, the White House promised to see what could be done to allow some visits to resume. But nothing was done and no one can visit – unless President Obama finds you useful or amusing.

Favored guest have poured in this month, even though Obama was traveling in Africa for part of it.

Scientists power mobile phone using urine

Phys.Org ^ | July 16, 2013 | Staff

British scientists on Tuesday reported they had harnessed the power of urine and were able to charge a mobile phone with enough electricity to send texts and surf the internet. Researchers from the University of Bristol and Bristol Robotics Laboratory in south west England said they had created a fuel cell that uses bacteria to break down urine to generate electricity, in a study published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.
"No one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it's an exciting discovery," said engineer Ioannis Ieropoulos.
"The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun; we are actually reusing waste to create energy.
"One product that we can be sure of an unending supply is our own urine," he added.
The team grew bacteria on carbon fibre anodes and placed them inside ceramic cylinders.
The bacteria broke down chemicals in urine passed through the cylinders, building up a small amount of electrical charge which was stored on a capacitor.
Ieropoulos hoped that the cell, which is currently the size of a car battery, could be developed for many applications.
"Our aim is to have something that can be carried around easily," he explained.
"So far the microbial fuel power stack (MFC) that we have developed generates enough power to enable SMS messaging, web browsing and to make a brief phone call.
"The concept has been tested and it works - it's now for us to develop and refine the process so that we can develop MFCs to fully charge a battery."
They hope the technology will eventually be used to power domestic devices.

Mobile phones are displayed on May 20, 2013. British scientists on Tuesday reported they had harnessed the power of urine and were able to charge a mobile phone with enough electricity to send texts and surf the Internet.

Who Serves in the Military? (Military enlistment to population ratios by region and income)

Powerline ^ | 07/29/2013 | Paul Mirengoff

Peter Robinson at Ricochet directs attention to a study by the Heritage Foundation of military enlistment to population ratios by region. It tells us that, generally speaking, folks from Red States are much more inclined to serve in the military than folks from Blue States.
The most over-represented region consists of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The most under-represented region is the Northeast from Pennsylvania upwards.
The Mountain West — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico — is over-represented. So is Southeast.
The Pacific West and the Midwest are underrepresented. The Midwest’s short-fall in the military surprised me. But the much of that region has been trending Democratic for some time.
The Heritage Foundation study also explodes the myth that military service disproportionately attracts men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds. To the contrary, the study shows that U.S. military service disproportionately attracts enlisted personnel and officers who do not come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Members of the all-volunteer military are significantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods. Only 11 percent of enlisted recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth (quintile) of neighborhoods, while 25 percent came from the wealthiest quintile.

American soldiers are more educated than their peers. A little more than 1 percent of enlisted personnel lack a high school degree, compared to 21 percent of men 18-24 years old, and 95 percent of officer accessions have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Generally speaking, then, people don’t volunteer for the military because they lack employment opportunities. They volunteer because they want to serve their country. And those with that level of patriotism tend to come from “Red America.”

Ex-Clinton Aide: The Clintons Want Weiner Sexting Scandal Story To ‘Go Away’

CBS ^ 

NEW YORK — President Bill Clinton’s former aide says Anthony Weiner’s continuing sexting scandal has been “very painful” for the Clintons, who are close to the New York mayoral candidate’s wife.

Ex-press secretary Dee Dee Myers said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” it wasn’t a story anybody, particularly the Clintons, were happy to see dominate the news.

Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, was adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Myers later said she hadn’t spoken to the Clintons. She said she meant to say that like many others, the Clintons “would like to see the whole story go away.”

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Affordable Care Act may free some from working for health insurance

Marketplace ^ | 15 July 2013 | Dan Gorenstein

There are lots of predictions the Affordable Care Act will force employers to lay off employees, reduce hours, and cut seasonal positions. But a report released Monday from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that up to nearly 1 million workers may voluntarily leave their jobs because of the new health care law.
For empirical evidence of this, the authors point to something dramatic that happened in Tennessee back in 2005. Finances forced state officials to kick 170,000 people off the Medicaid program, which primarily serves low-income residents.
“That’s the largest disenrollment in the history of Medicaid. So this was a pretty big change,” says Tal Gross, a health economist at Columbia and co-author.
What happened next, says Gross, is critical to understanding the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act.
“Roughly half of the people who lost public coverage, regained private coverage through an employer,” he says.
That’s right, people went back to work just so they could have health insurance. Gross believes we’ll likely see the exact opposite under the Affordable Care Act with about 900,000 people leaving their jobs. That’ll happen because for some, the option of subsidized insurance is better than work.
Economist Joe Antos with the American Enterprise Institute says this is a kind of test for the Affordable Care Act.
“If we see over time, that people do in fact migrate from employers, then that’s a pretty good indicator that things worked out well,” he says.
Antos says leaving a job behind is a sign there are affordable insurance options out there. But he says it also means so-called able-bodied adults will get taxpayer subsidized health coverage, when they could be at work.
“The question I think we have is what is the cost to taxpayers, what is the cost to society,” he says.
This report though, gets at something bigger. The Affordable Care Act weakens the bond between your job and your health insurance. MIT economist Amy Finkelstein says it’s hard to make good choices with those two linked.
“It’s like, let’s take a crazy example, suppose we said you know the only way you get food is you have to work 20 hours a week as a Marketplace reporter," Finklestein says. "You’d be better off if you could choose them separately. Some people like to be Marketplace reporters and some people don’t. Most people, though, do want food,” she says.
This report makes it clear the new law gives people choices they didn’t have before.

On a roll!






In a perfect world


Not so private


The needle





The Neighborhood


Horse's Ass


In a jar!




Sent to Mexico


Democrat Leaders




80% Of US Adults Are Near Poverty, Rely On Welfare, Or Are Unemployed

Zero Hedge ^ | 7-28-13 | "Tyler Durden"

Despite consumer confidence at a six-year high, the latest AP survey of the real America shows a stunning four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, are near poverty, or rely on welfare for at least parts of their lives amid signs of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among whites about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987.
"Poverty is no longer an issue of 'them', it's an issue of 'us'," as 'the invisible poor' - lower income whites - are generally dispersed in suburbs (Appalachia, the industrial Midwest, and across America's heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains) where more than 60% of the poor are white.
More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four - accounting for more than 41% of the nation's destitute - nearly double the number of poor blacks and as one survey respondent noted "I think it's going to get worse."
Via AP,
Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."
"If you do try to go apply for a job, they're not hiring people, and they're not paying that much to even go to work," she said. Children, she said, have "nothing better to do than to get on drugs."
Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.
"It's time that America comes to understand that many of the nation's biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position," said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty.
"There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front,"
"Poverty is no longer an issue of 'them', it's an issue of 'us'," says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis who calculated the numbers.
Among the findings:
For the first time since 1975, the number of white single-mother households who were living in poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade, spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock births among whites. White single-mother families in poverty stood at nearly 1.5 million in 2011, comparable to the number for blacks. Hispanic single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.
The share of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has increased to 1 in 10, putting them at higher risk of teen pregnancy or dropping out of school. Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 17 percent of the child population in such neighborhoods, up from 13 percent in 2000, even though the overall proportion of white children in the U.S. has been declining.
The share of black children in high-poverty neighborhoods dropped sharply, from 43 percent to 37 percent, while the share of Latino children ticked higher, from 38 to 39 percent.
Going back to the 1980s, never have whites been so pessimistic about their futures.
All this despite Jack Lew's insistence on this morning's Meet The Press that this recovery is 'not anemic', six year highs in consumer confidence, and all-time-highs in US equity markets.
Perhaps it is worth reiterating the question that Rick Santelli asked before?

Bill and Hillary Clinton are 'livid' at comparisons to Weiners' sexcapades and forgiveness! ^ 


Bill and Hillary Clinton are angry with efforts by mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner and his campaign to compare his Internet sexcapades — and his wife Huma Abedin’s incredible forgiveness — to the Clintons’ notorious White House saga, The Post has learned.
“The Clintons are upset with the comparisons that the Weiners seem to be encouraging — that Huma is ‘standing by her man’ the way Hillary did with Bill, which is not what she in fact did,’’ said a top state Democrat.
Weiner and his campaign aides have explicitly referred to the Clintons as they privately seek to convince skeptical Democrats that voters can back Weiner despite his online sexual antics — just as they supported then-President Bill Clinton in the face of repeated allegations of marital betrayals.
“The Clintons are pissed off that Weiner’s campaign is saying that Huma is just like Hillary,’’ said the source. “How dare they compare Huma with Hillary? Hillary was the first lady. Hillary was a senator. She was secretary of state.”
A longtime Hillary aide and Clinton friend, Abedin’s surprisingly unequivocal support of her husband after his bombshell admission Tuesday that he engaged in salacious online sexting well after he resigned in disgrace from Congress in 2011 left the Clintons stunned, continued the source.
“Hillary didn’t know Huma would do this whole stand-by-your-man routine, and that’s one of the reasons the Clintons are distancing themselves from all this nonsense,’’ the source said
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Obama: Keystone XL Won't Create Jobs, Will Raise Gas Prices

breitbart ^ | july 28, 2013 | Ben Shapiro

In a New York Times interview published Saturday, President Obama came out foursquare against the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that it would not create jobs. “Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator,” Obama said. “There is no evidence that that’s true.” He then blamed Canada for not “doing more” to prevent carbon emissions from oil sands. Obama continued, “I meant what I said; I'm going to evaluate this based on whether or not this is going to significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere. And there is no doubt that Canada at the source in those tar sands could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release.”
Obama also blasted reports that job creation would be significant: ““[M]y hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline – which might take a year or two – and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.” He stated that gas prices would go up in parts of the United States thanks to Keystone XL:
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