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.
UNEXPECTEDLY: US Factory Orders Post Surprise Fall in April.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Unemployment Rate Rises to 8.2%. “American employers in May added the smallest number of workers in a year and the unemployment rate unexpectedly increased as job-seekers re-entered the workforce, further evidence that the labor-market recovery is stalling.”
Unexpectedly! More: “The dismal jobs figures could fan fears that the economy is sputtering.” Ya think?
UPDATE: “This is just brutal no matter how you look at it. But how can these ‘experts’ and ‘economists’ be so far off in their forecasts? Not even half of what they expected.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Dan Mitchell: “At best, the results are mediocre. The unemployment rate generally gets the most attention, and that was bad news since the joblessness rate jumped to 8.2 percent. What makes that number particularly painful is that the Obama Administration claimed that the unemployment rate today would be less than 6 percent if the so-called stimulus was adopted. But as you can see from the chart, squandering $800 billion on a Keynesian package hasn’t worked.”
He continues: “Sort of makes you wonder whether there’s a lesson to be learned. Maybe, just maybe, bigger government means weaker economic performance.” Ya think?
Related: “The May jobs numbers are putrid.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! Consumer confidence in the economy plunged in May.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Index of U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Falls 0.1%.
POLITICO: Obama’s Wall Street Problem. “The giant $2 billion trading loss at JPMorgan Chase highlights a central problem in President Barack Obama’s case for a second term: Four years after the financial crisis nearly brought the nation to its knees, very little appears to have changed. . . . And now one of the largest banks in the United States, headed by a Democrat and operating with government guarantees, has turned in the kind of headline-grabbing, casino-style style loss that drives voters crazy and that Obama’s financial reform bill was supposed to stop.” Unexpectedly.
Plus this: “The guy in the street in 2008 and 2009 was worried about his or her deposits, and now it’s clear they should still be worried.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: U.S. Biofuel Mandates Looking Unrealistic. “In 2007, Congress vastly overestimated the government’s ability to create a market for cellulosic biofuels, which remain much more expensive to produce than corn ethanol. There was no commercial production of cellulosic fuel in 2010 or 2011—even though the 2007 law originally called for 100 million and 250 million gallons, respectively, for those years (the requirements were subsequently scaled back to around 6.5 million gallons for each year). The chart above shows the actual biofuel production, so far, compared to future mandates.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! GOV. JERRY BROWN SAYS CALIFORNIA FACING HIGHER-THAN-EXPECTED $16 BILLION BUDGET SHORTFALL:
California’s budget deficit has swelled to a projected $16 billion — much larger than had been predicted just months ago — and will force severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters fail to approve tax increases in November, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday.
The Democratic governor said the shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January in part because tax collections have not come in as high as expected and the economy isn’t growing as fast as hoped for. The deficit has also risen because lawsuits and federal requirements have blocked billions of dollars in state cuts.
How come the Red Queen’s Race only seems to happen in the bluest of regions?
UPDATE: Speaking of the Red Queen’s Race, “The History of Stockton: Chapter Nine.”
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The Chinese economy “unexpectedly” slows.
HOW THE FELON WON: Charles Mahtesian of the Politico on Keith Judd’s “unexpectedly” strong showing on Tuesday:
Whatever other forces may be at work in the Appalachian opposition to Obama — the role of race has been debated since his 2008 run — it’s clear the administration’s energy policies played a big role in the president’s lackluster performance.
Locally, it’s referred to as “the war on coal.”
Looking at the map, Judd’s strongest support came from southern West Virginia’s coal country, close by the Kentucky border.
The five coal counties that voted against Obama Tuesday also voted for Hillary Clinton by landslide margins in the 2008 primary.
That cluster includes the place that might be described as the epicenter of the Obama resistance: Mingo County.
Known as “Bloody Mingo” for its storied history of labor unrest and bloodshed surrounding the coal mining industry – the acclaimed John Sayles movie “Matewan” was based on events there in 1920 – the county disliked Obama even before he was elected president.
Clinton defeated him in there 88 percent to 8 percent, one of Obama’s worst primary drubbings in the nation in 2008. This time around, Mingo delivered what is certainly the president’s worst county-level defeat in 2012 – the inmate defeated the incumbent 60 percent to 40 percent.
Huh — can’t imagine why:
BITTER CLINGERS, REDUX: “To Explain Obama’s WV Humiliation, Dems Accuse Their Own of Racism,” John Nolte writes at Big Government.
But this isn’t anything new — Obama’s bitter clingers Kinsleyesque gaffe was aimed at Pennsylvania Democrats voting for Hillary in the April 2008 primary. As was concurrent talk from his fellow Democrats, such as film director Nora Ephron, who wrote at the Huffington Post in April of 2008 in a screedy post titled “White Men,” that “This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men.”
“Unexpectedly,” the election of President Obama has done little to calm the rage that seems to lurk just underneath the surface of much of the left.
OBAMA LOSES WEST VIRGINIA DELEGATES TO PRISON INMATE — Unexpectedly! “An obscure federal prison inmate gave President Obama an unexpected run for his money in the West Virginia Democratic Primary Tuesday, highlighting the deep dislike for the president in the Appalachian heartland.”
UPDATE: “Did Joe Manchin (D-WV) vote for prison inmate Keith Judd in today’s primary? He refuses to say if he voted for Obama.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: GDP Growth Comes In At Only 2.2%. More here. “Politically speaking, this makes the White House’s ‘we’re on the right track’ argument a little more difficult to make. A 2.2% GDP rate won’t be a disaster on the stump, but the trend is going once again towards another Stagnant Spring. If it gets revised downward in the next two months, Obama will have a tough time talking about the economy. Expect a lot of discussion of dog carriers and condoms in the weeks ahead.”
Plus: “Last week’s 386K number was revised to 389K, meaning the massive miss relative to expectations of 370K last week just got even worse. This is the 10th week in a row of misses to the weaker side and the 16th of the last 18.”
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: U.S. Previously Owned Home Sales Unexpectedly Fell in March.
SPEAKING OF UNEXPECTEDLY: Republican Committee Makes Big Turnaround on Fund-Raising. “With the divisive and drawn-out Republican primary season moving toward a close, the committee reported more money in the bank at the start of last month than the Democratic National Committee, which raised about $137 million during the same period but also spent far more.” How is the DNC managing to spend so much more when there’s no primary, and no general election campaign yet? High overhead? Or are they doing something I haven’t noticed?
UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS TO 8.2% DESPITE UNEXPECTEDLY FEW NEW JOBS. “The drop in the unemployment rate, to the lowest level since January 2009, reflected a drop in the labor force. The separate household survey, from which the jobless rate is derieved also showed a drop in employment.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Case-Shiller home price index falls. “Home prices in the U.S. fell for the fifth month in a row in January to the lowest level since early 2003, a closely followed index showed on Tuesday. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index fell 0.8%. The three-month rolling index includes transactions that took place from November to January. Over the past 12 months, prices have dropped 3.8%.”
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: New Home Sales Unexpectedly Slip 1.6% in February.
UPDATE: Plus this: China factories falter, euro zone business wilts. And: “Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx Corp (FDX.N), whose delivery service spans the globe, included a warning with its earnings report issued on Thursday that tepid economic growth was causing it to scale back its outlook for the rest of this year.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Developing World Success Shocks Economists.
2012 a Republican year? All I know is that even if Obama ends up losing every state, the press coverage will make him sound invincible right up until it happens, “unexpectedly.”
THE REAL NEWS HERE IS THAT PEOPLE ARE USING GOOGLE+! Chinese Netizens Flood Obama’s Google+ Page:
Google+ — the US Internet giant’s social networking site — has been unavailable in China since it was launched last year, apparently blocked by the nation’s strict censorship system, dubbed “the Great Firewall of China.”
But over the past few days, Chinese netizens say they have unexpectedly managed to get onto the site, and have decided to concentrate their presence on Obama’s page.
“Many people don’t understand the meaning why all Chinese are coming here. We envy American people their democracy and freedom!” one netizen said in English under Obama’s latest posting about his campaign’s bumper stickers.
The comments centre on freedom of expression and human rights, as well as more mundane issues such as how to get US green cards.
“We are not barbaric people, we are just suppressed,” one netizen wrote, while others called on the US president to “come and liberate China.”
Sorry, folks, but Iran is next on the list, I believe.
CLIMATE-CHANGE CHANGE: Global Warming Engine Unexpectedly Slows.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: Sales of U.S. New Homes Unexpectedly Decline in December. “Sales of new U.S. homes unexpectedly declined in December for the first time in four months, capping the slowest year on record for builders.” And note that November was revised down.
NOT EXACTLY “UNEXPECTEDLY:” AP calls New Hampshire for Romney.
“Old tea-party goal: Stop Romney from winning the nomination. New tea-party goal: Stop Romney from winning all 50 primaries. Heart-ache,” Allahpundit quips at Hot Air, with a round-up of early results. What is unexpected is the truly dismal showing from Rick Perry. Only one percent?
JOBLESS RATE DROPS UNEXPECTEDLY. The folks at ZeroHedge say it’s because of workforce shrinkage, and suspect chicanery at the BLS. I should note that I’ve looked into the chicanery issue, and folks who worked there under Bush don’t think there’s any funny business going on now.
Meanwhile, James Pethokoukis explains why it’s better but still terrible.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Weekly Jobless Claims Jump Back Over 400,000 Mark. “Claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly rose last week, climbing past the psychologically important 400,000 mark as the jobs market showed signs of more weakness. . . . Applications would need to stay below 375,000 consistently to push down the unemployment rate significantly. They haven’t been at that level since February.” Unexpectedly! And note that, as usual, the previous week’s number was revised upward.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Economic Growth Just 2%, Well Below Earlier Estimate. Unexpectedly!
THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEKEND, if you were out, you know, having a life or something:
My Sunday New York Post column: Government inflated the college loan bubble, but Obama isn’t fixing it.
Now online: Video of my keynote speech at the Harvard Law School constitutional-convention conference. All the conference video is collected here.
An epic population bomb fail.
Dartmouth’s diversity problem.
Hennepin County prosecutor gets it right.
More on the $10,000 college degree. Why aren’t Rick Perry’s proposals getting more attention?
In California, a rural rebellion is brewing.
The Livestrong App wins a fan.
I asked Michael Walsh if there was anything I could do for him after his heart surgery, and he said to plug his new novel, Shock Warning. Authors.
UNEXPECTEDLY! The debt fallout: How Social Security went ‘cash negative’ earlier than expected. “Now, Social Security is sucking money out of the Treasury. This year, it will add a projected $46 billion to the nation’s budget problems, according to projections by system trustees. Replacing cash lost to a one-year payroll tax holiday will require an additional $105 billion. If the payroll tax break is expanded next year, as President Obama has proposed, Social Security will need an extra $267 billion to pay promised benefits.”
Has anybody looked in Al Gore’s “lockbox?”
UNEXPECTEDLY! Why Economic Models Are Always Wrong. “If you had to readjust the constant in Newton’s law of gravity every time you got out of bed in the morning in order for it to agree with your scale, it wouldn’t be much of a law. But in finance they just keep on recalibrating and pretending that the models work.”
Of course, if the models are always wrong, that’s a good argument for leaving things to markets, instead of having regulators — whose models are always wrong, remember — trying to run things.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Consumer confidence tumbles, home prices stagnate. “Consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped to its lowest level in two-and-a-half years in October, while house prices were unchanged at low levels in August, suggesting the consumer is still struggling.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! Netflix Customer Loss Worse Than Forecast.
THIS MUST BE THE RESULT OF SOME OF THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WE WERE PROMISED: New Libyan Leader To Introduce “Radical” Islamic Law. “Mr Abdul-Jalil’s decision – made in advance of the introduction of any democratic process – will please the Islamists who have played a strong role in opposition to Col Gaddafi’s rule and in the uprising but worry the many young liberal Libyans who, while usually observant Muslims, take their political cues from the West.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Mark Shelden emails: “Hey, did you catch the ‘more radical than expected’ from the headline?” Another case of bad things happening unexpectedly!
UNEXPECTEDLY! Inflation Pressures Intensify as Producer Prices Jump Higher. “U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in September to record their largest increase in five months as gasoline prices surged, a government report showed on Tuesday.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! California revenues down by $705 million. “Revenues flowed into state coffers at a lower rate than projected in September, short about $302 million, putting California a total of $705.5 million below expectations for the first three months of the fiscal year.”
“DREADFULLY BAD:” Consumer Credit Unexpectedly Fell In August By Most In Over A Year. “This is the biggest drop MoM since April 2010. More surprising is that we just saw the first drop in non-revolving credit in a year: since this is credit that goes out for car purchases and school loans, is either of these two bubbles (student loans and GM subprime loans) about to pop?”
NOT-SO-GREAT EXPECTATIONS: US Factory Orders Fell Unexpectedly in August.
METRICS: Turns Out, The South Is A Pretty Nice Place To Live. “The advantages of the South — especially the advantages of the 21st century South — are less well known (and, somehow, Southern coastal cities are frequently overlooked as major cities). Oh, there are books and TV shows, songs and movies about Dixie — but, as Habeeb points out, they’re often misleading caricatures or dwell too heavily on the South’s past. Little has been done to update the popular image of the region, which is now economically inviting and culturally reassuring — perhaps because those who spin popular images, from the president to junior reporters, haven’t taken the time to really understand the South for themselves. That happens to be Habeeb’s thesis.”
To be honest, we’d rather word didn’t get out. Stay away! In fact, I need to point this out: The South is a cultural desert, across which ride Klansmen on horseback and NASCAR fans in F350 Dually pickups. The cultural center is Wal-Mart, and the occasional tailgater before a lynching. Gunshows are disdained as the domain of pointy-headed intellectuals, because they also sell books. No, really, that’s all true — stay away! For the love of God, stay away!
UPDATE: Reader Phil Manhard emails: “I wish to add that we have fire ants, sinkholes, red tide, shark attacks, huge and regular brush fires, sandspurs, sunburn, hurricanes (though, unexpectedly!, none in the last couple of years). Yes, for the love of God, stay far away!”
And the chiggers. Beastly critters you want no part of. Stay in Massachusetts!
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): August home building fell 5 pct., slide continues. “Construction fell to its lowest levels in 50 years in 2009, when builders began work on just 554,000 homes. Last year was not much better and this year is shaping up to be just bad.”
Unexpectedly! “Housing starts fell more than expected in August as groundbreaking for both single-family and multi-family units dropped, suggesting the economy will not get help from residential construction anytime soon.”
SOCIAL SCIENCE CONUNDRUMS: Violent Crimes Drop 12%, Reason Unknown; In Other News, Record Number of Americans Carrying Concealed Weapons. Unexpectedly!
UPDATE: A North Carolina report.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Jobless Claims Post Surprise Increase. “The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week in a sign concerns about a weak economy were sapping an already beleaguered labor market, data showed on Thursday.”
Related: Gallup: Unemployment Is Now Top Issue. “Asked which political party they thought would better handle the problem they considered the most important, 44 percent chose the Republican Party and 37 percent picked the Democratic Party.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! — ELECTRIC CAR EDITION: Mitsubishi raises price of all-electric i by an “unforeseen” $1,135.
UNEXPECTEDLY: “NO ONE expects rising unemployment claims! Their two main weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency!” And an almost fanatical devotion to the narrative. Wait . . . .