UNEXPECTEDLY! Under Health Care Act, Many Tax Filers Are Discovering Costly Complications. “This filing season, for the first time, millions of Americans are facing tax implications — and new forms that even seasoned preparers are finding confusing — related to their health insurance status. The changes are not only complicating things for tax filers, but also costing many of them money.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week and nonfarm productivity contracted more sharply than previously thought in the fourth quarter.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! NYT: Insured, But Not Covered.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Minimum Wage Hike Closes San Francisco Bookstore.
EVERYTHING HE TOUCHES: Michael Barone: Obama Will Leave The Dems In Shambles.
Before the election results are in, and keeping in mind that there may be some unpleasant surprises for one party or the other — or both — it’s possible to assess how the Democratic Party has fared under the leadership of President Obama. To summarize the verdict: not so well.
By one metric it has done very badly indeed. When Obama took the oath of office in January 2009, there were 257 Democrats in the House of Representatives. Going into this election there are 201 (including two vacant Democratic seats). . . .
Why has the Democratic Party fared so poorly under Obama’s leadership? I can see two reasons: one ideological, one demographic.
Start with demographics. The Obama coalition, even more than Bill Clinton’s, is based on overwhelming support from constituencies with some conflicting interests. It’s a top and bottom coalition: he carried the very lowest and highest income and education groups, while his support sagged among those in the middle.
His strongest groups are blacks and gentry liberals — the same two groups he gathered together when he got to design his own state Senate district in 2002. Majorities of both groups still support him, but perhaps with diminished enthusiasm. Black crowds unexpectedly started walking out before he finished talking at recent events in Prince George’s County, Md., and Milwaukee.
Moreover, the geographic clustering of blacks and gentry liberals in central cities, sympathetic suburbs and university towns puts the Obama Democrats at a disadvantage in equal-population districts where Republican voters are spread more evenly around.
Meanwhile, the thrill is clearly gone among two groups that backed him heavily in 2008 and 2012, and which will inevitably be larger parts of the electorate in the future: Hispanics and Millennials.
Well, they haven’t exactly prospered under Obama.
Well, in retrospect Romney’s foreign-policy chops from 2012 are looking spot-on, while Obama’s are looking kinda . . . chickenshit.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Flow Of Money From South Texas Oil Startles Economists.
The economists had predicted just last year that they expected the total economic impact to South Texas to be $89 billion in 2022. Instead, they now estimate that the impact has already reached almost that amount: $87 billion.
What’s making the difference?
Primarily all the jobs from drilling and running pipelines.
“But also because of lots of new manufacturing activity. And a lot of that is being driven by the low cost of natural gas,” said Tunstall.
I mean, who could have seen this coming? Well, maybe Rick Perry.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN. I THINK IT DEFINES OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY: “Jobless claims unexpectedly rise 11,000 to 315,000 last week.”
BRING BACK DDT: Mosquito-Borne Viruses Hit Japan and the U.S.
Mosquito-borne viruses are showing up unexpectedly in affluent countries where they have been largely unknown.
Yoyogi Park, a popular oasis in downtown Tokyo, was closed last week after authorities realized it was the center of Japan’s first outbreak of dengue in 70 years.
Dengue is also called breakbone fever for the severe joint pain it causes. Repeat infections can cause dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be lethal. Since Japanese authorities detected the first case Aug. 27, 65 more have been found, most of them associated with Yoyogi Park. The victims included two models covering the outbreak for a local television station.
Fear of the virus is spreading. In Yokohama, officials closed a large beach park after one local woman infected in Tokyo said she was later bitten by a mosquito there.
In the United States, more than 750 cases of another painful disease, chikungunya, have been reported this year. Almost all have been in tourists returning from the Caribbean, where the disease is rampant, particularly in the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique and Puerto Rico. Nine million Americans visit the Caribbean each year.
But Florida residents who had not traveled were infected this summer, and the virus was found in a Texas mosquito, meaning that it is becoming established in the United States.
Chikungunya was unknown in the Western Hemisphere until late last year.
Victims can often be seen walking stooped over with pain; the name means “bent up” in Makonde, an East African language.
There used to be malaria in East Tennessee where I live — and Yellow Fever epidemics in Philadelphia.
YOU KNOW, THEY DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE ANY LEGAL AUTHORITY TO DO THAT: Golfers frisked as Obama arrives at Martha’s Vineyard club. How come nobody ever tells them to buzz off, and that if the President wants to play golf he can damn well respect the rights of others? The response to the ominous “So, you’re not cooperating?” should be “No, are you assaulting me?”
If the President wants to go out in public, fine. If he can’t do it without assaulting the rights of citizens, then he should stay home. But hey, most of these folks probably voted for him. So: Enjoy!
UPDATE: From the comments:
Think of it this way…
There are probably two Republicans on MV and they are incognito.
Obama is pissing off all the right people.
Well, that part is fun.
UNEXPECTEDLY! ObamaCare Enrollment Is Shrinking, Top Insurers Say.
The most relentlessly cited statistic was that women make up only 16% of the tech workforce. At first glance, this looks pretty lame. But once you catch your breath, you realize that most of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Women only earn 18% of such degrees awarded to United States residents. Not such a bad effort, then, by Google and company. Still, that didn’t stop the public shaming. Earnest apologies were issued, and calls were made for reform.
Who deserves the brunt of our collective outrage over these lopsided ratios? More importantly, who should be charged with fixing them?
One highly controversial theory — the one that got Larry Summers in deep trouble — argues that there are male advantages in math-related cognitive ability, especially at the so-called “right tail” end of the bell curve. But it’s not necessary to hit that third rail, because even the most capable women shy away from engineering and computer science.
To my knowledge — I’m biased — no school enrolls more fiercely intelligent women than Yale. Yet even there, women are only 18% of computer science majors. The figures are similar at other high-flying schools that admit the best and the brightest women. Not unexpectedly, the prevailing narrative at Yale is that these numbers reflect some kind of glaring injustice. But what exactly is Yale doing wrong? . . . In fact, despite the mainstream media’s insistence that sexism is rife, there exists very little evidence of pervasive bias. Studies occasionally pop up that point to overt or subtle bias in academic hiring or funding, but they are debunked as often as they are trumpeted. And the discrimination that social scientists claim to demonstrate is rarely strong enough to explain observed disparities.
One explanation I’ve seen is that most women don’t want to date science-and-engineering guys. Thus, they avoid those majors. . . . But read the whole thing.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Final US GDP contracts 2.9% vs -1.7% estimate; May Durables drop 1.0%. Unexpectedly!
UNEXPECTEDLY! Consumer prices rise sharply in May. “Consumer prices last month posted their sharpest increase in 15 months as inflation continued a recent acceleration from unusually low levels. The consumer price index jumped 0.4% after rising 0.3% in April, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Economists had expected a 0.2% increase.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! More patients flocking to ERs under Obamacare.
UNEXPECTEDLY: This Simple Graph Compares Reagan’s and Obama’s ‘Recoveries’. All the people I know who are in business for themselves already know this in their guts (and in their bottom line.)
UNEXPECTEDLY: Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day.
CHANGE: Aging Baby Boomers Becoming the Roommate Generation, at ABC. Note the unexpectedly “funemployment”-style slant of the article.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Student debt holds back many would-be home buyers. “Of the many factors holding back young home buyers — rising prices, tougher lending standards, a still-shaky job market — none looms larger than the recent explosion of college debt.”
THE CULTURE OF UNEXPECTEDLY! Wrong Again: The economists’ confession.
TRAIN WRECK UPDATE: ObamaCare enrollments dip. Unexpectedly!
YOU MAY NOW KIDNAP AND STRIP THE BRIDE: 15 Unexpectedly Barbaric Origins Of Modern Wedding Traditions.
MICKEY KAUS: GM Loses Market Share, Again?
The press won’t make it easy for you to discover–gets in the way of the pre-packaged “Detroit is back!” narrative–but it looks like General Motors lost market share again in 2013. According to Ward’s Auto, GM sales grew 7.3%–but the market as a whole grew 7.5%. … GM sales for December unexpectedly cratered, despite “high inventory levels … unseen since before the Great Recession.” … If this is a good year for GM, I wonder what a bad year will look like.
I dunno, but I’ll bet it’ll happen unexpectedly.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: Jobless claims unexpectedly jump to highest level since March.
SARAH HOYT: Woe Is Obama: Is the president depressed as his “accomplishments” come home to roost? “Unexpectedly! Everything going wrong for the most brilliant man in the nation!”
UPDATE: The National Enquirer was already on this. Hey, as John Edwards can attest, they’re not always wrong.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Obamacare Exchanges Won’t Hit Enrollment Targets.
I PREFER MY “PEELING AN ONION OF FAIL” METAPHOR, BUT “FAIL FRACTAL” HAS A NICE RING TO IT, TOO: ACA Fail Fractal: The Deeper You Get, The More Dysfunction You See.
Higher deductibles can, in certain contexts, be useful for introducing some price sensitivity into the system. But that depends on how people go about dealing with them. There are two deep-rooted problems with what remains in many ways an excellent health care system overall: it is too expensive, and not enough people have enough access to it. The cheaper health care becomes, the easier it is to expand access. In a cheaper system, fewer people need subsidies and the subsidies they do need are smaller. Without fixing costs, on the other hand, more and more people, not to mention the government, struggle to pay for our system, and the resources for expanding access shrink as the cost of do so grows.
Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act puts most of its effort on the wrong end of the problem: access rather than price. That’s one reason the rollout has been going so poorly and in some respects will get worse. Because not much effort was put into cost control, many insurers have taken the one easy step available to them to limit rate shock: restricting provider networks. As a result, people are unexpectedly losing access to doctors they have seen for years.
WHY OBAMACARE IS LIKE THREE MILE ISLAND. “The administration clearly understood this — right up to the point where a major component failed. Now it’s apparently planning to keep the reactor running with as many pieces as possible in the hopes that none of it will unexpectedly blow up. This is not sound policy thinking, or even sound political thinking, and I think that all of us who care about keeping insurance available for ordinary Americans should try to talk them out of it — for their good, as well as our own.”
Alternative analogy: The Iraq War.
SALENA ZITO: No Evidence Dems Can Take Back House.
It is a possibility pushed by paid pundits as reality, but the facts do not support it.
That does not mean a wave election isn’t brewing out on Main Street. In fact, early polling indicates the 2014 midterm might produce another electoral shift, but not one that shoves Republicans out of power.
First of all, the playing field of vulnerable GOP seats is too narrow for Republicans to lose their majority, baring a massive wave. (Think 1894, when 107 Democrats were swept out of the House.)
Second, major waves historically have not happened concurrent with the “six-year itch” – the election held in the sixth year of a president’s tenure, in which the party holding the White House typically loses a substantial number of House and Senate seats.
And remember that, in the 1996 midterm election of the Clinton era, Republicans lost 18 incumbents but kicked the Democrats’ butts in the open-seat races. The Republicans’ losses were mostly “wave seats” that they unexpectedly won two years earlier, during their first sweep back into power after 40 years in the political wilderness.
Coincidentally, all of that occurred in the year of another government shutdown – that one over the funding of Medicare, which is a heck of a lot more popular with voters than Obamacare.
Today, every member of Congress, along with the White House and President Obama, are getting battered in the polls over how they’ve handled the shutdown, with Republicans taking a slim lead on the voter-anger index.
Kyle Kondik, a House analyst for the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, says that if (and he stresses a big “if”) Republicans eventually suffer because of the shutdown, it will not be Tea Partiers who are hurt.
“While the Republican brand is poor, the president isn’t particularly popular – his approval is only in the low to mid 40s, according to polling averages,” said Kondik. “There would have to be an incredible amount of revulsion with the Republicans to deliver the House to the Democrats.”
Plus, historically, there’s basically no precedent for the president’s party to capture control of the House in a midterm year. Many presidents have held the House in a midterm, but they haven’t taken control of it in a midterm.
Mostly this is Dem pundits playing on GOP fears. It’s working, too.
President Obama’s chief technology adviser, Todd Park, blames the unexpectedly large numbers of people who flocked to Healthcare.gov and state websites. “Take away the volume and it works,” he told USA TODAY’s Tim Mullaney.
That’s like saying that except for the torrential rain, it’s a really nice day. Was Park not listening to the administration’s daily weather report predicting Obamacare’s popularity?
Park said the administration expected 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users. It got 250,000. Compare that with the similarly rocky debut seven years ago of exchanges to obtain Medicare drug coverage. The Bush administration projected 20,000 simultaneous users and built capacity for 150,000.
That’s the difference between competence and incompetence.
On the other hand, there’s this from Liz Peek: Obama Snookers GOP into Government Shutdown.
UNEXPECTEDLY! August Housing Starts Weaker Than Anticipated.
NOT EXACTLY LEADING WITH HIS STRENGTHS: Obama’s week ahead: All about the economy.
President Obama will launch a week of economic events on Monday, highlighting the five-year anniversary of the crashing of the financial market to argue that Republican policy prescriptions to looming fiscal battles would undo recent gains.
Looking back to the economic collapse of 2008, which helped propel him to the White House, Obama will argue the country has since been on a steady climb back to prosperity. The White House is hoping to use the week as leverage before an October deadline to keep the government funded and ahead of the nation reaching its borrowing capacity just weeks later.
It’s all fun and games until someone says the magic words: Labor Force Participation Rate.
UPDATE: Industrial Production Misses Fifth Month In A Row. Unexpectedly!
POLITICIZING IS WHAT HE DOES. IT’S ALL HE KNOWS: Obama’s Politicizing National Security.
UPDATE: Related: What The Hell Is Going On? “So far as we know, most everyone in the government was expecting the bombing would start on Saturday afternoon, Washington DC time. Government officials, above all those with expertise in military operations, were told to cancel their Labor Day vacations and show up for overtime work. No golf for them! Then President Obama–in the face of most all the advice from his ‘national security team’ (I even heard a national radio network broadcaster call it ‘the war cabinet’)–changed his mind. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Surprisingly. How? Why? . . . We don’t have an answer, which suggests to me that we’re missing some key element in the story.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! GDP Growth Revised Downward. A Wall Street reader emails:
The “unexpected” downward revision to first quarter GDP confirms what everyone expected going into this year: The tax increases would hurt consumers. Funny how that “reality” didn’t show through the government data until as long after the fact as possible.
An undiscussed consequence of this suspicious pattern is that markets will decreasingly trust government data, potentially increasing volatility and decreasing stability. Note I believe these are undiscussed, not necessarily unintended, consequences.
It’s sad to see this degree of irresponsibility.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: Manufacturing Drops Unexpectedly.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: “Previously owned U.S. home sales unexpectedly dropped in March.”
RECOVERY SUMMER! Retail Sales Fall . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . Unexpectedly! “Retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in March by the most in nine months as employment slowed, showing households ended the first quarter on softer footing.”
I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Thunderstorms contain ‘dark lightning,’ invisible pulses of powerful radiation.
Scientists recently discovered something mind-bending about lightning: Sometimes its flashes are invisible, just sudden pulses of unexpectedly powerful radiation. It’s what Joseph Dwyer, a lightning researcher at the Florida Institute of Technology, has termed dark lightning. Unknown to Franklin but now clear to a growing roster of lightning researchers and astronomers is that along with bright thunderbolts, thunderstorms unleash sprays of X-rays and even intense bursts of gamma rays, a form of radiation normally associated with such cosmic spectacles as collapsing stars. The radiation in these invisible blasts can carry a million times as much energy as the radiation in visible lightning, but that energy dissipates quickly in all directions rather than remaining in a stiletto-like lightning bolt.
Dark lightning appears sometimes to compete with normal lightning as a way for thunderstorms to vent the electrical energy that gets pent up inside their roiling interiors, Dwyer says. Unlike with regular lightning, though, people struck by dark lightning, most likely while flying in an airplane, would not get hurt. But according to Dwyer’s calculations, they might receive in an instant the maximum safe lifetime dose of ionizing radiation — the kind that wreaks the most havoc on the human body.
I wonder if the mechanism is related to that by which Scotch tape creates X-rays? Interestingly, pilots have reported all sorts of strange sights on the tops of thunderstorms that meteorologists for years pooh-poohed, but science keeps finding evidence that there really are weird things going on there.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: “The pace of expansion in the U.S. manufacturing sector unexpectedly slowed in March, according to an industry report released on Monday.”
TWO PBSs IN ONE! PBS’s Mark Shields: ‘The Rich Are the Scum of the Earth:’
MARK SHIELDS, PBS: I think it was G. K. Chesterton who said, “Wherever they are, the rich are the scum of the earth.”
SHIELDS: For some reason, Charles doesn’t want to stand up for rich Russians. And I think somebody has to stand up for people who put their money in offshore or nontaxable places. Let’s remember, I mean, look at it this way: Cyprus is the Cayman Islands of a different time zone. That’s what it is. We don’t want rich people paying taxes whether they’re Russian or whether they’re Republicans.
GORDON PETERSON: But the rich people he’s talking about …
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: You don’t think there’s a difference between the way the Russian economy works and who gets rich? Russia doesn’t have a Steve Jobs. Russia has people who steal from what was once Soviet property and you get your money if you’re a crony of Putin and his other people.
SHIELDS: I wasn’t defending how one gets it. I was just merely addressing the compulsion to keep it and never to surrender any to the public wheel.
KRAUTHAMMER: There’s a difference between gains which are ill-gotten or fairly gotten.
NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: [Groans] I’m not sure that a lot of the people that Mark is talking about who aren’t Russian got it so fairly either.
But please you wealthy people whom we just condemned, continue to sponsor our shows, and give generously during one of our seemingly weekly fundraisers. A generous pledge of $500 will bring you a $9.99 DVD of Woodstock and a PBS totebag!
Actually, the full Chesterton quote is:
“You English are an extraordinary lot,” said the Irishman, with a sudden and sombre quietude. ” I sometimes feel you may pull through after all.”
After another silence he said, ‘ You’re always right, Hump, and one oughtn’t to think of Yankees like that. The rich are the scum of the earth in every country. And a vast proportion of the real Americans are among the most courteous, intelligent, self-respecting people in the world. Some attribute this to the fact that a vast proportion of the real Americans are Irishmen.”
Modesty regarding my own heritage means that I can neither confirm nor deny the last portion of that sentiment, but it’s difficult to see anyone at PBS declaring that “a vast proportion of the real Americans are among the most courteous, intelligent, self-respecting people in the world.” I would imagine the thoughts of someone staring out from the glass windows of a PBS building into the hinterlands would be much more akin to this. Not to mention, this.
RELATED: Tales of the One Percent: “WaPo Executives Make Millions While Paper Cuts Staff, Benefits.” That seems rather “unexpectedly” paradoxical behavior from the management of a paper that supported Occupy Wall Street in 2011.
WHY YOUR KID CAN’T GET A JOB, as explained by Michael Malone of Forbes and Silicon Valley marketing executive Tom Hayes:
So what is a kid today to do? One answer is to establish a powerful personal brand independent of work experience. Not just cobble together a few starter jobs, but pursue their own aspirations – and then learn how to define them and market them to the corporate world. Another answer is to take advantage of being a digital natives and build new kinds of networks – and a sharing economy – and find jobs for each other and hire amongst themselves. Freelancing is likely to be their future anyhow, so why not start and learn the skills (from DIY bookkeeping to marketing) of being an entrepreneur now? Young job hunters need to rethink their social media presence. Social proof is critical to employers. Ditch the frat party photos, avoid the drunken tweets. Turn your public social media presence into a showcase of your personal brand and portal of interests and skills. Connect the dots for the prospective hiring manager. The best way to combat a thin resume is with photos, video, endorsements. Be unusual and memorable: if, for example, you reached Level 60 on World of Warcraft, tell your future boss why that means you have monster leadership skills. And, show you have a big and growing network that comes with you when you get hired.
Read the whole the whole thing, and then pass it along to someone who either needs the advice personally, or has kids who would benefit from these suggestions.
ILLINOIS LAW MUST OUTLAW STALKING, NOT ENCOURAGE IT:
Yes, that’s correct; during labor disputes, Illinois’s law against “aggravated stalking” does not apply to union organizers (Public Act 097-0468). This leads to a simple and logical question: is it ever acceptable to engage in stalking? Apparently, the answer in the Land of Lincoln is yes.
For anyone who engages in aggravated stalking in Illinois, it is a Class 3 felony with a “second or subsequent conviction” serving as a Class 2 felony. The penalty for the crime is serious and it should be. That’s what makes the exemption for organized labor — a special interest — so outrageous and inexcusable.
But unfortunately, Illinois is not alone; it is joined by California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. These states have placed the interests of Big Labor bosses above the safety of average citizens.
UNEXPECTEDLY: We had to pass the bill to find out what was in it — and now we know: under the Orwellian named Affordable Care Act, “medical claim costs, the largest driver of health insurance premiums, are expected to increase by 32 percent for individuals, a new study by the Society of Actuaries finds.”
And 2014 is just around the corner…
DEHUMANIZING ELIMINATIONIST RHETORIC: “[Anyone] who would run out to buy an assault rifle after the Newtown massacre has very little left in their body or soul worth protecting,” tweets Jim Carrey, in-between sparring with moviegoers on Twitter who disagree with his anti-Second Amendment viewpoint.
Presumably Carrey is wishing for his box office appeal to become increasingly “selective,” as Spinal Tap manager Ian Faith euphemistically explained his charges’ own declining popularity.
Update: An Insta-reader emails that Carrey’s hateful rhetoric is “a pretty harsh thing to say about Gabby Gifford’s husband….”
Meanwhile, Greg Gutfeld and Dana Loesch punch back twice as hard; including Loesch asking Carrey if he’ll be denouncing his own upcoming Kick Ass 2 movie, to remain consistent with his anti-gun rhetoric; Carrey bravely runs away in response. Unexpectedly.
(Bumped to top.)
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: Homebuilder Confidence in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell in March.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Health Insurers Raise Some Rates by Double Digits. “Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.”
Hey, weren’t these the people ObamaCare was supposed to help? Who could have seen this coming?
UNEXPECTEDLY! USA Today: Health Care Law May Mean Less Hiring In 2013.
Australia has designs on becoming the leading natural gas supplier for not only Asia, but the entire world. Indeed, the country has the offshore resources and the thirsty markets nearby in Asia to pass Qatar as the world’s top supplier of LNG.
However, Australia’s march towards energy superpowerdom is beginning to run into domestic problems—and new competition. Rising labor costs and high prices in Australia’s booming economy are making it unexpectedly difficult for the Aussies to export their gas and now energy-hungry Asian countries like China and Japan are starting to eye alternative and equally cheap gas from North America. . . .
Whether it’s Australian, American, or Canadian gas that wins the race to the Asian market (and most likely, there is plenty of demand for all three), a few things seem clear:
(1) The long era in which the Middle East was the global supplier of hydrocarbons is coming to an end.
(2) A global switch from coal to natural gas is one of the most practical ways available for civilization to begin the transition to a new kind of energy market. Greens take note.
(3) Asia is not going to be self sufficient in either energy or food in the 21st century, which, from the standpoint of those who hope to see the world becoming a more peaceful and economically integrated place, is a very good thing. The rising Asian powers will need a healthy, stable and secure global system to feed their people and run their economies.
UNEXPECTEDLY: U.S. retailers scramble after lackluster holiday sales. “The 2012 holiday season may have been the worst for retailers since the 2008 financial crisis, with sales growth far below expectations, forcing many to offer massive post-Christmas discounts in hopes of shedding excess inventory.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall. “Not one of them has a four-year degree. Only one is still studying full time, and two have crushing debts. Angelica, who left Emory owing more than $60,000, is a clerk in a Galveston furniture store. . . . even after accounting for financial aid, the costs of attending a public university have risen 60 percent in the past two decades. Many low-income students, feeling the need to help out at home, are deterred by the thought of years of lost wages and piles of debt.”
Go to college, but don’t borrow money to do it. Plus this: “The growing role of class in academic success has taken experts by surprise since it follows decades of equal opportunity efforts and counters racial trends, where differences have narrowed.” Unexpectedly!
IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, you should read Matt Lewis’s column in The Week about how the media should be ashamed of their Sandy Hook shooting coverage.
But aside from the “Death Porn,” as some have called it, there’s also the instinct toward moral bullying and control coupled with appalling ignorance that was demonstrated by Rupert Murdoch and Mark Shields, both of whom seem to think that any American can just waltz up and buy a machine gun at the drop of a hat. Perhaps Murdoch’s ignorance is excusable because he’s a foreigner — though if he wants to use that as an excuse, he might also want to butt out until he learns something about the country he’s criticizing — but Shields’ excuse is . . . what, exactly? Senility?
CRITICIZING THE “DEATH PORN MEDIA.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: US Manufacturing Declines in November: ISM Index. “U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in November, falling to its lowest in over three years in a sign the sector may be struggling to gain traction, according to an industry report released on Monday.” Funny, there was no sign of this before the election. . . .
On the other hand, there’s this: Knoxville One Of Just Three U.S. Cities In Recovery From Recession.
UNEXPECTEDLY! New home sales stagnant, cast shadow on housing. “New U.S. single-family home sales fell slightly in October and sales for the prior month were revised sharply lower, casting a faint shadow over one of the brighter spots in the U.S. economy.” Funny that the prior month’s numbers were “revised sharply lower” after the election.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Obama hits the links for post-Thanksgiving golf.
BUT IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF
THE JAPANESE TSUNAMI SANDY: Unexpectedly, Right After Election, Jobless Numbers Hit New High. “Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months.”
UPDATE: Mocking the Sandy excuse.
NEW YORK POST: “An unexpectedly defensive President Obama yesterday dared Capitol Hill Republicans to ‘go after me’ on the Benghazi consulate intelligence debacle.” Didn’t Gary Hart once say something like that? Plus:
Here’s hoping the debate begins with a dissection of Obama’s admission that Rice’s dishonest post-Benghazi appearances on TV talk shows were made “at the request of the White House.”
That’s when she repeated the already-discredited line that Benghazi was a “spontaneous” attack fueled by an Internet video.
The president accused McCain and Graham of seeking to “besmirch her reputation” — which is a little silly, given the job she herself has done of it.
Senators have an obligation to hold to account any top official who lies to the country — or who serves as a transmission line for false information.
All this eclipsed news that former CIA Director David Petraeus has reversed course and agreed to testify under oath about his undercover post-attack fact-finding trip to Benghazi.
The retired four-star general also blamed Benghazi on the video — in front of Congress, no less! — although he certainly had to have known better.
This time, he will be under oath, and lawmakers need to wring the full truth out of him. Of course, whether his own personal drama played any role in his earlier, misleading, testimony must be explored, as well.
Benghazi is important in its own right — by all accounts it represented a grave US intelligence failure.
Equally critical is the likelihood — near certainty, actually — that the murders of four Americans were politicized to serve Obama’s re-election campaign.
Indeed. And a filmmaker is in jail as a scapegoat.
WELL, I CERTAINLY WOULDN’T HAVE EXPECTED IT: WWII Nazi’s Tank Manuals: Unexpectedly Hilarious! Though “hilarious” is a bit strong. “Amusing,” maybe.
UNEXPECTEDLY: PETA unintentionally red-lines the irony meter: “PETA Thanksgiving billboard asks kids: Would you eat your dog?”
Well, it does seem like a viable first step for any young man on the path to the presidency days.
SOME ADVICE FOR BUSH: Jonah Goldberg warns that the Republicans need to avoid overreaching, as Republicans have done in the past when things went unexpectedly well. (I linked to a similar warning from John Ellis earlier today). Democrats and their friends in the media, after all, will be waiting to pounce on anything that will let them paint the Republicans as corrupt pawns of greedy big business.
I think he’s right, and in particular I think that the Bush Administration needs to do something dramatic that will position it on the side of consumers against Evil Big Business. And I have just the thing: The Bush Administration should take on the crooks and thugs of the recording and movie industries. And it should do so on the side of artists and consumers.
It’s widely believed that the recording industry shafts its artists. As Ken Layne has pointed out, when 9,000 artist accounts were audited, 8,999 were found to have involved underpayments to the artists. Artist retirement funds have been underfunded, too — sometimes to ridiculous levels. And the record companies recently settled a price-fixing suit brought by state attorneys general.
Meanwhile the entertainment industries are trying to take control of people’s computers, televisions, and stereos. Consumers are gouged for ticket prices, radio is ruined by payola and other shady practices, and pretty much everyone knows that the whole industry is rotten to the core. (Heck, it was the topic of the very first post on InstaPundit). And by siding with artists, the Administration will be able to split an industry that’s usually united against the Republicans right down the middle. And voters identify with actors and musicians much more than with the suits who run the record and movie industries.
By taking on this big business that everyone has come to hate, the Bush Administration can position itself as a tribune of the people against greedy corporate interests. (And make media assaults on the Administration easy to discount as a self-interested response to its efforts to enforce the law). That they happen to be greedy corporate interests that give generously to Democrats will only make it more appealing.
This was good advice ten years ago after an unexpectedly large GOP victory. It’s good advice today after a GOP defeat. But will it happen? Experience says not, because Republicans can’t seem to bring themselves to go after big business, even big business that hates them.
EXPECT MORE OF THE UNEXPECTEDLY: Hey, look on the bright side: it will be fun to continue seeing all bad economic news reported as “unexpectedly” in the MSM for another four years.
During a speech in Springfield, Ohio today, the president ad libbed a remark when his supporters started booing Mitt Romney: “No, no, no — don’t boo, vote,” Obama said. That’s his standard response to booing at his rallies. But then he added this: “Vote! Voting is the best revenge.”
THE BLOOMBERG SYNDROME: In January of 2011, when New York had just dug itself out from under a couple feet of white powdery global warming, Victor Davis Hanson wrote:
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was a past master of lecturing about the cosmic while at times ignoring the more concrete. Governing the boroughs of an often-chaotic New York City is nearly impossible. Pontificating on the evils of smoking, fatty foods, and supposed anti-Muslim bigotry was not only far easier but had established the mayor as a national figure of sensitivity and caring. He was praised for his progressive declarations by supporters of everything from global warming to abortion.
But Bloomberg’s carefully constructed philosopher’s image was finally shattered by the December 2010 blizzard and his own asleep-at-the-wheel reaction. An incompetent municipal response to record snowfalls barricaded millions in their borough houses and apartments, amid lurid rumors of deliberate union-sponsored slowdowns by Bloomberg’s city crews.
* * * * *
Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.
His namesake news service has seen all bad economic news since January of 2009 as occurring “unexpectedly,” but nobody else should be surprised by Bloomberg’s shtick this week, or that his cosmic rhetoric belies an incompetence in regards to more down to earth matters.
On the other hand, as Jonah Goldberg wrote today, Bloomberg is making baby steps of a sort: “Well, at least he didn’t blame Sandy on some guy with a political agenda who doesn’t like the health care bill or something.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Military Ballots Are Still a Problem.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Non-shocker of the day: September jobs data revised by half.
WHY LIBERALS THINK WHAT THEY DO, as explored by Victor Davis Hanson:
Anger, envy, and the primordial emotions
For some, especially those who are well-educated and well-spoken, a sort of irrational furor at “the system” governs their political make-up. Why don’t degrees and vocabulary always translate into big money? Why does sophisticated pontification at Starbucks earn less than mindlessly doing accounting behind a desk? We saw this tension with Michelle Obama who, prior to 2009, did not quite have enough capital to get to Aspen or Costa del Sol, and thereby, despite the huge power-couple salaries, Chicago mansion, and career titles, felt that others had far too much more than the Obamas. “Never been proud,” “downright mean country,” “raise the bar,” etc., followed, as expressions of yuppie angst. The more one gets, the more one believes he should get even more, and the angrier he gets that another — less charismatic, less well-read, less well-spoken — always seems to get more.
So do not discount the envy of the sophisticated elite. The unread coal plant manager, the crass car dealer, or the clueless mind who farms 1000 acres of almonds should not make more than the sociology professor, the kindergarten teacher, the writer, the artist, or the foundation officer. What sort of system would allow the dense and easily fooled to become better compensated (and all for what — for superfluous jet skis and snowmobiles?) than the anguished musician or tortured-soul artist, who gives so much to us and receives so much less in return? What a sick country — when someone who brings chain saws into the Sierra would make more than a UC Berkeley professor who would stop them.
You can see that mindset hard at work in this angry and punitive Tweet from Robert Reich:
Will we comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable under President Obama, or do the exact opposite under President Romney?
I missed the section of the Constitution that calls for the government to afflict the comfortable — but I bet Mr. Obama can find it.
(Incidentally, isn’t it journalism’s self-designated role to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable?” Though that’s a task that the industry seemed to “unexpectedly” begin to forget, starting in 2008.)
UNEXPECTEDLY: Obamacare Is Even More Unpopular Now than in 2010.
(Via Maggie’s Farm, which has loads more links today.)
UNEXPECTEDLY: Chick-fil-A thrives despite gay rights issue. “There was a lot of talk that this would hurt Chick-fil-A, but it actually helped the brand. . . . They were saying to their core constituency: Here’s what we believe.”
CBS BUSTS OBAMA — AND ITSELF — IN BENGHAZI COVER-UP:
CBS News has released a clip of an interview by Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes on Sep. 12 with President Barack Obama that indicates Obama knew the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was a premeditated terror attack–and suggests the White House later deceived the public by blaming protests against an anti-Islam video. CBS chose not to air the clip for over a month–but did air Obama’s attack on Romney that same night.
Obama told Kroft that the attack in Benghazi was different from the violent protest at the U.S. embassy in Cairo: “You’re right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt, and my suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.”
Obama’s remarks pointed towards a premeditated attack, in contrast to the story the White House went on to tell for weeks.
CBS chose not to air that portion of the interview with President Obama–not even in the days and weeks that followed, when it was highly relevant–first to the question of the nature of the Benghazi attack, then to the question of whether the president had in fact called it an act of terror from the start.
But then, the MSM has a long history of burying Mr. Obama’s “unexpectedly” damaging statements, rather than actually using them to break news.
DO WE BELIEVE ANYMORE? “We live in an age of disbelief, in which citizens increasingly do not believe what their government says or, for that matter, what is accepted as true by popular culture,” Victor Davis Hanson writes in his weekly PJM column.
In the 1960s, the left insisted that we “Question Authority.” Now that the reactionary left is authority – ancient, sclerotic, calcified though it may be, they seem to be having second thoughts about that notion.
Unexpectedly, of course.
FRANK WILSON: In The Age of “Unexpectedly.”
SOMEONE TELL THE PRESIDENT: Chinese paratroopers storm island during mass exercise.
A recent joint exercise by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is caught on camera, as the world’s largest military force mounts a show of strength in response to mounting tension with Japan over disputed islands.
Apparently a weakened US does NOT mean peace on Earth. — Unexpectedly!
UNEXPECTEDLY: Global Warming Stopped Sixteen Years Ago. RELATED, IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT: The Coming of the New Ice Age: End of the Global Warming Era? And yeah, the ice age thing was in my books in middle school and it’s why I’ve never taken AGW seriously. Opposing trends shouldn’t have exactly the same proposed remedy. Unless the hot/cold stuff is an excuse to drag us into socialism and scarcity.
UNEXPECTEDLY! “Attacks in Libya become unexpected weak spot for Obama campaign,” bleats this L.A. Times headline.
Amazing how much bad news has unexpectedly become “unexpected” to the MSM since January of 2009, isn’t it?
NEW CIVILITY WATCH: New tone? Despicable lefties fantasize about ‘hate f**king’ Paul Ryan.
For an ideology whose buzzwords are peace, tolerance, diversity and coexistence, the left sure seems rather “unexpectedly” obsessed with “hate f***ing” its enemies, doesn’t it?
Even CNN’s Gloria Borger admits, “He was condescending at times to Paul Ryan. I think I could have done with a lot less eye-rolling and chuckling on the part of Joe Biden.”
Meanwhile, Ace adds, “This debate will not strongly impact the race, but note that Ryan — the crazy extremist who wants to kill your grandparents — is viewed as likable by more than a majority of the public, whereas Biden has… the Democratic Client System base.”
Love the photo atop his post.
UPDATE: On the other hand, “MSNBC Call Biden Out Over Lie About Libya Security Requests” — “Good heavens, when Andrea Mitchell is calling the Obama administration out, you know they’ve gone too far.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Mike Huckabee: Media ignoring gas prices.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Military Times poll results “indicate that about 66 percent of those surveyed support Romney, compared with about 26 percent who say they will vote to re-elect President Obama.”
“Economy, not military issues, tops concerns,” the article adds.
DEMOCRATS GONE WILD: Obama supporters ‘key’ cars displaying pro-Romney bumper stickers.
Time to update the logo and dust off this T-shirt slogan, which was “unexpectedly” popular in the fall of 2004:
UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Flashback: My reporting from the bullet-riddled Bush-Cheney headquarters in 2004.