PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, BASKING IN U.S. PUBLIC APPROVAL FOR THE KILLING OF OSAMA BIN LADEN, FLEW TO A MILITARY BASE IN KENTUCKY ON FRIDAY TO THANK SPECIAL FORCES WHO CARRIED OUT THE DEADLY RAID AND LED A RALLY FILLED WITH CHEERING TROOPS.http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/06/us-binladen-obama-idUSTRE7455FG20110506
With his poll numbers up and even Republican critics congratulating him for the bin Laden operation, Obama paid tribute to the elite military team in a secrecy-shrouded meeting at Fort Campbell five days after announcing the al Qaeda leader was dead.
It appears Obama is playing this for all it’s worth. That’s the reason I put the question mark at the end of the headline.
Fannie asks for more taxpayer money
FANNIE MAE ASKED THE GOVERNMENT FRIDAY FOR AN ADDITIONAL $8.5 BILLION IN AID AFTER DECLINING HOME PRICES CAUSED MORE DEFAULTS ON LOANS GUARANTEED BY THE MORTGAGE GIANT.
The company said it lost $8.7 billion in the first three months of the year. Those losses led Fannie to request more than three times the federal aid it sought in the previous quarter. THE TOTAL COST OF RESCUING THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED MORTGAGE BUYER IS NEARING $100 BILLION - the most expensive bailout of a single company.
It’s time to sever any government ties to Fannie and Freddie.
US gains 244,000 jobs: Unemployment bumps up
U.S. EMPLOYMENT GROWTH ACCELERATED LAST MONTH AS THE ECONOMY ADDED 244,000 JOBS, BUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ROSE TO 9 PERCENT, THE LABOR DEPARTMENT REPORTED ON FRIDAY.
The report easily bested analysts' expectations for a decidedly mediocre jobs report and marked the fastest rate of employment growth since last year when census hiring inflated numbers. Private-sector growth clocked in at 268,000, the highest level since 2006. The public sector continued to lose ground, shedding 24,000 jobs in April.
Hiring in the service sector drove the gains, with sizable jumps in retail trade (up 57,000), professional and business services (up 51,000), leisure and hospitality (up 46,000), and health care (up 37,000). Goods-producing sectors showed less of a bump, and construction job levels didn't budge, a reflection of how depressed the housing market continues to be.
THE NUMBER OF LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED--DEFINED AS THOSE INDIVIDUALS BEING OUT OF WORK FOR MORE THAN 26 WEEKS--FELL 283,000 TO 5.8 MILLION, AND THEIR SHARE OF UNEMPLOYMENT FELL TO 43.4 PERCENT.
The reason the unemployment is bumping up is that with 43.4% of the unemployed over 26 weeks, a large number of people have dropped out of the workforce. When new jobs start to happen, these people who were counted before, are counted again.
Oil prices drop
OIL FELL ON FRIDAY TO CAP A FRENZIED TRADING WEEK THAT SLICED PRICES BY A RECORD OF MORE THAN $16 A BARREL ON DEMAND WORRIES AND A MOVE BY INVESTORS TO SLASH COMMODITIES EXPOSURES.
Oil bounced up early, then began to erase gains as the dollar rose. Crude turned negative late, extending Thursday's shock-inducing collapse, when Brent fell by as much as $12, a record, in a furious, high-volume session that saw wave after wave of selling as key technical levels were broken.
Selling pressure on oil and other commodities came on several fronts throughout the week. Investors weighed factors from the death of Osama bin Laden to the impact of higher fuel and commodity costs on consumer nation economies to the monetary policy in major economies.
CASCADING SELL STOPS CREATED A "DOMINO EFFECT", said Tom Bentz, director of BNP Paribas Commodity Futures in New York. "It became a vacuum of less people trying to buy and more people trying to sell."
Brent crude fell $1.67 to settle at $109.13 a barrel in heavy trade, with volumes twice the 30-day moving average. THE CONTRACT TUMBLED $16.76 A BARREL FOR THE WEEK, MARKING THE LARGEST WEEKLY DECLINE EVER IN DOLLAR TERMS.
Some more good news to go along with the death of UBL. But it’s not entirely good news.
“The good news is that the economy added about 268,000 new jobs. The bad news is that 25 percent (62,000) were from McDonald’s. Were Obamacare Waivers Responsible for 25 percent of Private Sector Job Growth?” It appears Obama’s new campaign slogan may be “Do you want fries with that?”
Despite UBL’s fate, Obama’s fate still up in the air
Significantly, a Newsweek/Daily Beast poll conducted immediately after the bin Laden announcement SHOWED NO OVERALL BUMP IN THE PRESIDENT’S APPROVAL RATING, WHICH REMAINED STUCK AT 48 PERCENT. A STRIKING 92 PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS STATED THAT THE KILLING OF BIN LADEN WILL HAVE NO EFFECT ON THE WAY THEY WILL VOTE IN 2012, AND JUST 39 PERCENT FELT THAT OBAMA WAS DOING HIS JOB WELL ENOUGH TO DESERVE RE-ELECTION.
On the crucial issue of the economy, a mere 27 percent of respondents in the Newsweek/Daily Beast poll agreed that it was heading in the right direction, compared to 60 percent who felt it was not. And WITH THE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT INDEPENDENT VOTERS, OBAMA REMAINS IN SERIOUS TROUBLE. As leading pollster Douglas Schoen notes, independents retain grave doubts over the president’s handling of economic issues:
The politics of the SEAL operation is in full gear. Obama goes to ground zero and the next day goes to praise the SEALs. That is good politics. The problem Obama has is that as wonderful as this is, “It’s the economy, Stupid” seems to be in full force.
I’m from the government and I’m here to help
In May 1962 the local Volunteer Fire Company had been hired by the town council to clean up the landfill. As was done in the past, Firemen set the dump ablaze, let it burn for a while, and then doused the fire, or so they thought. Several days of flareups followed. Finally to their horror they discovered the fire spread through an improperly filled hole in the rock pit, ignited a coal seam and flared into the coal mines below.
The FIRST ACTION BY PA'S DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES IN JULY 1962, WAS TO DRILL BORE HOLES TO MONITOR THE FIRE. HOWEVER THIS MISSTEP PROVIDED A NATURAL DRAFT, AIDING THE FIRE'S COMBUSTION.
BY MAY 1969, THE FIRE THREATENED HOMES. COMMUNITY LEADERS PROPOSED SURROUNDING IT WITH A TRENCH, BUT OFFICIALS AND AGENCIES FRITTERED AWAY TIME, WHILE FAILING TO FUND THE $50,000 NEEDED TO COMPLETE THE PLAN. …
…National attention descended on Centralia in February 1981 when the ground collapsed under a 12 year old boy playing in his grandmother's backyard. Todd Domboski survived by holding onto exposed tree roots in a 150 foot deep sinkhole until pulled to safety…..
Although burning for over 19 years, environmentalists with their willing accomplices in national media quickly passed judgment and ASSIGNED BLAME TO INTERIOR SECRETARY JAMES WATT. Eco-activist Joan Quigley (in her book The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy) wrote that WATT'S RESIGNATION "ACCOMPLISHED MORE FOR CENTRALIA THAN TODD DOMBOSKI, CONCERNED CITIZENS AND THREE DECADES OF FEDERAL MINE RECLAMATION LAWS COMBINED." One would think putting out the fire would do more for Centralia.
Watt was destroyed, yet no further activist effort was put forward to resolve the disaster. In 1984 Congress appropriated $42 million for voluntary acquisition and relocation in Centralia. By now $7 million was spent fighting the fire. Eleven years later in 1995 $53 million was spent moving residents and fighting the fire with no resolution.
TODAY THE CENTRALIA FIRE BURNS UNDER THE TOWN AND IN THE SURROUNDING HILLSIDES on several fronts. There is nary an eco-activist or carbon crusader in sight. No, THEIR NEW ECO-HYSTERIA IS FOCUSED 90 SHORT MILES AWAY IN DIMOCK, PA. WEBSITES LIKE PROPUBLICA SPREAD THE RHETORIC OF FEAR FOR THEIR NEW ENERGY DEMON: FRACKING. Green minions blog with quotes like "stop these people before all of their creeks and ponds are filled with carcinogenic sludge," this while standing upwind of the noxious fumes and toxic gases released up through the back yards, basements, and streets of Centralia.
And these are the people who want to decide what kind of light bulb you can have, what type of energy you can use, and how to make your life risk free.
Union rules and we pay
NO-WORK JOBS IN A MOB-LINKED UNION COULD ADD NEARLY $100 MILLION TO THE PUBLIC COST OF REBUILDING GROUND ZERO, A NEW REPORT CHARGES.
The Real Estate Board of New York, a major developers' group, says antiquated rules let a cadre of crane and heavy equipment workers pocket six-figure paychecks for little more than showing up.
In the next three years the no-work jobs, controlled by Locals 14 and 15 of the Operating Engineers, could add $96.2 million to the cost of World Trade Center projects, the REBNY says.
We’ve all seen the videos where you have 10 people at a construction site and one of them is working while the others watch. While this may seem funny, it’s also very costly to the taxpayer or even to someone buying a new home.
Europe: The future of the USA under Obama?
GREECE, IRELAND, AND PORTUGAL ARE NOW FROZEN OUT OF CREDIT MARKETS. The yield on Greek two-year bonds is 24 percent and on both Irish and Portuguese bonds of similar maturity around 12 percent. No country can afford to borrow at those rates. Of interest to the White House and Congress might be the speed with which the markets move: Interest rates charged on Greek debt increased by 10 percentage points in the past month.http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/coming-euro-crack_558504.html
THE DEBT BURDEN ON THESE COUNTRIES IS IN EXCESS OF THE 90 PERCENT OF GDP THAT SCHOLARS NOW AGREE STIFLES GROWTH. Portugal’s debt is at 90 percent of its GDP and rising, Greece’s is approaching 150 percent, and “Ireland’s debt now appears to be bigger, in relation to its economy, than the reparations imposed on Germany after the First World War,” according to economist Anatole Kaletsky.
THESE ECONOMIES CANNOT GROW THEIR WAY OUT OF THE PROBLEM. The Greek economy shrank at an annual rate of 4.5 percent last year and is forecast to decline this year at 3.2 percent. Portugal’s will shrink at an annual rate of 1.5 percent, guesses the International Monetary Fund. And Ireland, despite a robust export industry and a corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent that, at half the EU average, remains attractive to foreign investment, might eke out growth of 1 percent. No way these growth rates produce enough tax revenues to meet debt obligations.
This may be a preview of the USA if we don’t get our borrowing under control.