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.
WEAK HORSE: Hunt for Obama’s Middle East Policy Comes Up Empty, Jeffrey Goldberg writes at Bloomberg News:
Yet all we have from Obama is passivity, which is a recurring theme in the administration’s approach to the Middle East. So is “aggressive hedging,” a term used by the Brookings Institution’s Shadi Hamid to describe Obama’s strange reluctance to clearly choose sides in the uprisings of the Arab Spring.
“There’s a widespread perception in the region that Obama is a weak, somewhat feckless president,” Hamid, who runs the Brookings Doha Center, told me. “Bush may have been hated, but he was also feared, and what we’ve learned in the Middle East is that fear, sometimes at least, can be a good thing. Obama’s aggressive hedging has alienated both sides of the Arab divide. Autocrats, particularly in the Gulf, think Obama naively supports Arab revolutionaries, while Arab protesters and revolutionaries seem to think the opposite.”
Leaders across the Middle East don’t take Obama’s threats seriously. Neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the Arab leaders of the Gulf countries believe he’ll act militarily against Iran’s nuclear program in his second term.
“When a little boy is kidnapped, turned into a child soldier, forced to kill or be killed — that’s slavery,” Obama said in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative. “It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world. Now, as a nation, we’ve long rejected such cruelty.”
But for the third year in a row, Obama has waived almost all U.S. sanctions that would punish certain countries that use child soldiers, upsetting many in the human rights community.
None of which should seem very “unexpectedly” at this point — even to Bloomberg.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT LAST NIGHT: Univision Breaks New Details of Obama Admin’s Fast and Furious Cover-Up.
And a question from Bob Owens: Will Romney mention Fast and Furious during the debates, to help force an issue to the surface that the palace guard MSM are “unexpectedly” reluctant to discuss?
FAST AND FURIOUS: Univision Breaks New Details of Obama Admin’s Fast and Furious Cover-Up.
And a question from Bob Owens: Will Romney mention Fast and Furious during the debates, to help force an issue to the surface that the palace guard MSM are “unexpectedly” reticent to discuss?
UNEXPECTEDLY REDUX: To follow up on Glenn’s post earlier today on Bloomberg’s latest “Unexpectedly” moment, this time involving business activity shrinking in the US for the first time since 2009, it’s amazing how much bad economic news happens so “unexpectedly” these days, isn’t it?
But then, hasn’t everyone but the legacy media learned to “Expect the ‘Unexpectedly,’” as Jim Geraghty quipped last year?
UNEXPECTEDLY! Business Activity in U.S. Shrinks for First Time Since 2009. “Business activity in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in September for the first time in three years, adding to signs manufacturing will contribute less to the economic recovery. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its business barometer fell 49.7 this month from 53 in August. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.”
No word yet on Chris’s thoughts on this achievement, but no doubt, they would be along the lines of “it reminds me of the 1930s in another country,” and/or comparing the MRC to the Khmer Rouge or the North Koreans. I only hope that someday, he evolves.
HIDE THE DECLINE: “More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday,” according to Reuters.
So today’s “unexpectedly” horrid economic report is actually good news, right Senators Kerry and McCaskill?
Meanwhile, from lefty blogger and JournoList member Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, another “unexpectedly” today, this time involving “An unexpectedly ideological presidential election.”
UPDATE: For those who’d prefer a swanky Continental version of the same theme, Bloomberg is happy to oblige as well today: “Euro-Area Economic Confidence Unexpectedly Fell in September.”
THEY WOULDN’T BUILD THAT BUSINESS: “55 percent of small business owners would not start company today, blame Obama.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Campaign’s Flag Poster No Longer Appears In Store.
Looking at the above juxtaposition, I can’t understand at all why they’d pull that from the shelves. But then, pages have a tendency to disappear themselves from Obama Websites at purely random intervals for no apparent reason at all.
THE WORLD’S BIGGEST CELEBRITY: Chris Wallace Asks Obama Adviser ‘President Has Time for Whoopi Goldberg But Not World Leaders?’
This isn’t exactly “unexpectedly,” of course.
(What is unexpected for me is the opportunity to sit in at Instapundit once again — a big thanks to the Professor for the opportunity.)
UNEXPECTEDLY! More Americans Than Forecast Filed Jobless Claims Last Week. “Jobless claims decreased by 3,000 in the week ended Sept. 15 to 382,000, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 375,000.” And if history is any guide, they’ll be revised upward next week.
UPDATE: More: “Today’s initial claims print was the 5th week out of 6 in which expectations missed: instead of coming in at the consensus number of 375K, down from last week’s 382K, the BLS reported a miss to expectations of 7K, resulting in a seasonally adjusted number of 382K, or what is now once again secular shift higher. But, wait big miss was actually good news: why? Because the ever data-massaging BLS was kind enough to revise last week’s print upward (for the 86th week in a row) from 382K to 385K (just as we predicted last week) which in turn led to such farcical headlines as U.S. weekly jobless claims drop slightly to 382,000 from the WSJ.” Yeah, this pattern with the revisions is so consistent, it’s almost suspicious. Note the damning graph on headlines vs. revisions at the link.
PAUL RAHE: “It used to be the case that a diplomat was an honorable man who went abroad to lie for his country. In the Age of Obama, a diplomat is a dishonorable woman who goes on television to lie for her President.”
Related: Victor Davis Hanson: Obama’s Middle East Delusions. Love the graphic.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): EMPIRE FED PLUNGES TO -10.41 (-2.00 EXPECTED). “The Empire Fed manufacturing index fell to -10.41 versus expectations of a -2.00 reading and a prior reading last month of -5.85. New orders tumbled to -14.0 from -5.0 last month. . . .The employment index fell to 4.3. . . . Economists polled by Bloomberg forecast the key business activity index will rebound to -2.00 from its August reading of -5.85. A reading above zero indicates expansion.”
THE GOOD NEWS FOR OBAMA IS THAT THE EMBASSY ATTACKS WILL DISTRACT PEOPLE FROM THIS BAD ECONOMIC NEWS: Jobless Claims in U.S. Rose More Than Forecast Last Week. “The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits rose more than projected last week, showing scant improvement on the outlook for jobs. Jobless claims increased 15,000 in the week ended Sept. 8, the biggest gain in almost two months, to 382,000, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 370,000 claims. . . . The jobless rate has been stuck above 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch in monthly records going back to 1948.” Unexpectedly!
How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?
UPDATE: Hey, wait a minute: “October 2008 in Pennsylvania: ‘A little bit of rain never hurt anybody’.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Kevin Hedges writes:
The Democrats should have no problem at all proving that Obama’s speech was moved indoors due to the weather and not due to poor turnout. All they need to do is point to the 50,000 convention-goers who would have attended the speech but now can’t. My guess is that most of them are from Milwaukee.
I must say, I have read your blog over the years for the variety of links, but I’m loving all the jokes lately. Granted, it’s the material, but still.
It’s a target-rich environment.
MORE: Limbaugh laughs.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Jobless Claims Remain At One-Month High: “More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that progress in the labor market is faltering amid a slowing economy. . . . Jobless claims were little changed at 374,000 in the week ended Aug. 25, matching the upwardly revised figure from the prior week, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for 370,000. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, climbed to a six-week high.” Expect this week’s numbers to be revised upward later. That seems to happen every time.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Consumer Confidence Tumbles to 9-Month Low. Unexpectedly!
UNEXPECTEDLY: Treasury: U.S. to lose $25 billion on auto bailout. “The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.”
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: US factory goods demand falls unexpectedly.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): White House projects $1.2T deficit, lower economic growth in 2012. Do you think Obama would have won in 2008 if he’d promised these sorts of economic numbers?
UPDATE: Reader Bryan Farris writes:
Remember the first of many economic graphs that scared the bejesus out of everyone and created the Tea Party? It was Obama’s projected deficits vs. Bush’s actual deficits.
Turns out that (unexpectedly!), the news was worse than forecast. With today’s news that the 2012 deficit will measure $1.2 Trillion, we can see it’s 50% larger than was originally projected. … Oh, and if you extrapolate that out, that means that should we be so fortunate as to re-lect the Nobel Prize winner, we can expect a deficit of approximately $2 trillion in 2016.
Unexpectedly, of course.
I MISSED THIS UNEXPECTED EVENT: U.S. Existing Home Sales Unexpectedly Drop To Eight-Month Low. “NAR said existing home sales fell 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 4.37 million in June from an upwardly revised 4.62 million in May. The drop surprised economists, who had expected existing home sales to climb to 4.65 million from the 4.55 million originally reported for the previous month.”
MAYBE OBAMA SHOULD MEET WITH THAT JOBS COUNCIL OF HIS SOMEDAY: Unemployment Claims Jump; Jobs Market Still in Doldrums. Unexpectedly! “Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 34,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 352,000 from the previously reported 350,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 365,000 last week.”
UPDATE: Then there’s the whole underemployment problem.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Retail Purchases in U.S. Unexpectedly Decrease 0.5%.
Related: U.S. Employers Add 80,000 Jobs As Economy Struggles. “About one-third of the jobs gained in June were in temporary services.”
UPDATE: CNBC: Worst hiring period in 2 years. “There is little hope of an acceleration in the pace of job growth any time soon.” Not until November at the earliest.
Plus: “A measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers ticked higher to 14.9 percent, its highest level since February, while the labor force participation rate stayed near a 30-year low at 63.8 percent.”
Remember back in 2009, when President Obama and his team told us that we needed to squander $800 billion on a so-called stimulus package.
The crowd in Washington was quite confident that Keynesian spending was going to save the day, even though similar efforts had failed for Hoover and Roosevelt in the 1930s, for Japan in the 1990s, and for Bush in 2008.
Nonetheless, we were assured that Obama’s stimulus was needed to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent.
Well, that claim turned out to be quite hollow. Not that we needed additional evidence, but the new numbers from the Labor Department re-confirm that the White House prediction was wildly inaccurate. The 8.2 percent unemployment rate is 2.5 percentage points above the Administration’s prediction.
Here’s the chart:
Mitchell: “The one thing that is unambiguous is that we’ve never had a jobs recovery as anemic as the one we’re experiencing today.”
Here’s another chart on that, from the Minneapolis Fed:
The red line is the current recession. Click through for a bigger version with more data. This is a predictable result of having an Administration — and for the first two years, a Congress — that views Atlas Shrugged not as a cautionary tale, but as a how-to manual. . . .
ASSOCIATED PRESS: New jobs report looms over Obama campaign bus trip. I’m seeing a lot of stories like this in the press all of a sudden — I’m almost wondering if it’s a setup for reports that the numbers were, unexpectedly, not as bad as feared. . . .
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Manufacturing in U.S. Unexpectedly Contracted in June.
TEENAGER SHOT WITH SPEAR THROUGH HEAD SURVIVES. “Yasel Lopez, 16, was fishing with a friend in Miami when their three-foot spear gun went off unexpectedly, piercing Lopez through his head. Doctors are calling his survival from the accident, nearly two weeks ago, a miracle. . . . Not one but three miracles kept Lopez alive: The side through which the spear pierced his head, the fact that it managed to miss important blood vessels and that it avoided damaging vital brain structures all contributed to his survival.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Jobless Claims, Inflation and Deficit All Rise. Actually, it looks like inflation dropped less than expected, which is still unexpected, I guess.
UPDATE: Initial Claims Miss Big, People Falling Off Extended Claims Soar To 135K, CPI Plunges Most Since December 2008. “This is the 22nd expectations miss in the last 25 reports.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: UMass board approves 4.9 percent fee increase. “The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees approved a 4.9 percent increase in student fees today, giving its emphatic blessing to a proposal Governor Deval Patrick had slammed the day before in a last-minute letter and phone call to UMass President Robert Caret. . . . Tuesday morning, Patrick weighed in unexpectedly, telling Caret he believed any rise in fees would put too much pressure on students and families, especially given that student loan interest rates are set to double if a deadlocked Congress does not stop them from doing so. He said he believed UMass first needed to ensure it had cut all possible costs.”
You don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing. Or maybe Deval’s been reading up on the subject.