Friday, May 4, 2012

Will Julia or unemployment hurt Obama more

What’s new Today 

Story #1 is about the announcement on jobs and unemployment.  #2 through #4 are about the Obama campaign’s Julia online ad.  It seems this may be a huge mistake in what needs to be a mistake proof campaign for the Democrats.  Even the liberals on Morning Joe see it as a mistake.  #5 papers released from the bin Laden raid show who bin Laden thought Al Qaeda could trust and who they didn’t trust.  #6 has Elizabeth Warren’s campaign in trouble due to her minority status.  #7 is the story of the fracking issue and the school board.  It seems the left and the right will have a tough time coming together.  And finally #8 are facts about energy and the country.  Things look good. 

Today’s thoughts

Unemployment is down to 8.1%.  Sounds good until you realize the number of people with jobs has declined by 200,000 in the past two months.  The only reason that the unemployment rate has declined is because we have 855,000 more people who have dropped out of the labor market in that same period. 

More and more evidence is accumulating that BHO didn’t write, “Dreams of my Father,” but Bill Ayers did.  The use of nautical analogies and the composite people are both techniques Ayers used in his books while Obama hasn’t used them before or since. 

What did Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama have in common?  Both supported the Arab Spring. 

1.  The economy and employment

…U.S. employers pulled back on hiring in April for the second straight month, a sobering reminder that the economy remains weak. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, but only because more people gave up looking for work.

The Labor Department says employers added 115,000 jobs in April. That’s below March’s upwardly revised 154,000 jobs and far fewer than the pace from earlier this year.

The unemployment rate has fallen a full percentage point since August to a three-year low. But last month’s decline was not due to job growth. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively looking for work….

Since November, the employed has increased by 1.26 million (210,000 per month).  This month’s 115,000 is not a good sign for the economy at all.  The only reason the unemployment rate has gone down is because of people dropping out of the labor market. 

2.  Julia and the coming election

Yuval: surely, this is already a parody; why, I doubt that even David Kahane could have created its combination of myopia, stupidity, mendacity, effrontery, and misandry so artlessly — although I suspect he will soon give it a go. “Julia” appears to have no males in her life — certainly not a husband when, at 31, she “decides to have a child” after disporting herself sexually consequence-free in previous years, thanks to the wonders of Obamacare. (Where did “Zachary” come from — a test tube?)

On the macro level, is this slideshow supposed to appeal to women? Real Americans, whose every natural fiber would be to rebel against its wan, drab, Soviet-era view of existence, aren’t going to buy it.

First the dog-eating, then the Commie “Forward” slogan, the imaginary composite girlfriends, and now this vision of the New Soviet Woman — the wheels are coming off the once-crack Obama campaign. Where is Jake Lingle when they really need him? Did the surviving Pythons reunite to storyboard this farce?

I agree that the wheels do seem to be coming off Obama’s campaign.  In an election year where he needs to be perfect in the campaign to have a chance, he appears to be looking to lose it. 

3.   Twittering about Julia

President Barack Obama’s campaign attracted ridicule from conservatives on Twitter Thursday when it launched a slideshow depicting how Obama’s policies would aid “Julia,” a fictional woman, throughout her life. Below are 10 of the best #Julia quips on Twitter:

10.) Dana Loesch: OH: “Does anyone else notice that Obama is president for all of #Julia‘s life?”
9.) PolitixGal: Under Obama, #Julia can’t drive because gas prices have doubled, she can’t find a job & instead waits by the mailbox 4 Obama cash 2 arrive.
8.) mkhammer: 2-4-6-8! Every woman a ward of the state! #julia
7.) CaseyGeorge: #Julia died at age 78. She voted Democrat until age 92
6.) Sean Agnew: lemme guess… #Julia wants free contraceptives.
5.) Prudence Paine: in the life of #Julia, she quickly becomes a debt slave to the Chinese. good luck with the one-child policy!
4.) Teri Christoph: Is it me or does #Julia have “high cheekbones”?
3.) MattCover: Age 23: #Julia graduates. There are no jobs. Thanks to Obama, Julia can live comfortably in her parents’ basement.
2.) David Burge: #Julia “at 37, Julia completes her Masters degree in Interactive Website Design. At 43, she gets a job pulling a solar powered rickshaw.”
1.) Derek Hunter: By age 40 #Julia has written 2 autobiographies even though she’s accomplished nothing. Wait, that was Obama. Julia is still unemployed.

Very creative posts.  I especially enjoyed the high cheekbones comment (in case you don’t get this, that was what Elizabeth Warren attributed getting from her native American ancestor. 

4.  Morning Joe and Julia

The cast of Morning Joe blasted the Obama campaign for their new “The Life of Julia” website this morning. The original purpose of the ad was to show voters how Obama's policies help women throughout their lifetimes. But as pretty much every member of the show concludes, that effort backfired:

Politico's Mike Allen: "One of the things that those hundreds of young people in the Chicago headquarters do is create viral pieces of content for the web. Things that people will share. This is one that I think may be viral in the wrong way, that I think is a lot bigger on the Republican side, than it is on the Democratic side. The Life of Julia takes her from age 3 to age 67 and at every point along the way the government is giving her a hand."

MSNBC's Willie Geist: "They did lob this up as a softball for Republicans, one conservative saying, 'Who the hell is Julia and why am i paying for her whole life?'"

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: "Who brushes her teeth?"

Mika Brzezinski: "I don't think it helps. ... I think we are at a state, time in this country where people feel that there is no hope that they need help so desperately, but at some point we do have to inspire innovation and hope and get people on their way. ... They do need a leg up but then at some point... but their whole life, funded?"

Donnie Deutsch: "Our character is John Wayne, rugged individualism. ... Yes the government is there, but we feel weak in that. You don't feel proud in that. ... In reality, nobody, even a progressive guy like myself, wants to see America portrayed that way."

This is another disaster from the people who won the 2008 race going downhill with a wind at their back.  This year the wind is a headwind and the course is all uphill. 

5.  Bin Laden and the American Press

Osama bin Laden pondered the merits of US television news channels as he considered how to extract the best propaganda benefit from the tenth anniversary of 9/11 last year, and concluded that CBS was "close to being unbiased".

But an American-born media adviser for al-Qaeda warned Bin Laden to beware of the broadcasters' "cunning methods" as he described Fox News as a channel in the "abyss" that should "die in anger", CNN as too close to the US government and MSNBC as questionable after it fired one of its most prominent presenters, Keith Olbermann...

It’s amazing how close bin Laden’s opinions of the MSM are to the run of the mill progressive.

6.  Elizabeth Warren’s Campaign in trouble?

Elizabeth Warren’s stumbling efforts to douse the firestorm surrounding her claims of being a Native American minority have raised concerns among local and national Democrats who are questioning her campaign’s competence.

“There’s nobody watching this that doesn’t think she’s in big trouble,” one well-known Massachusetts Democrat said.

Joe Trippi, a prominent national Democratic consultant, told the Herald that while Warren has time to recover, the campaign should have anticipated this issue would surface….

…Some national political experts had much stronger words for Warren’s conflicting explanations about why she listed herself as a minority in university directories.

“This takes her biography into a bizarre dimension,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “It has derailed the effort to define Warren in a voter-friendly way.”

Sabato also said that Warren’s claim that she didn’t list herself as a minority to gain an employment advantage is not believable.

“This is what happens when candidates don’t tell the truth,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious she was using (the minority listing) for career advancement.”

As others have said, being a minority doesn’t get you the job, but being a well-qualified minority among a group of well-qualified applicants can get you the job. 

7.  Fracking comes to school

…I live in Western Pennsylvania, which is a boom area for Marcellus shale and a hotbed for the "fracking" debate.  And now, because of the geological quirks that have situated many Pennsylvania school districts upon vast reserves of natural gas, school boards have become "dramatis personæ" in the national debate over energy.  Our board recently voted to approve a gas drilling lease that will give us a bonus amounting to about 1.3 percent of our total budget and 18 percent royalties on gross revenues for many years...this while barring all surface activity on our property.  To a large majority of board members, this seemed like a reasonable course, all things considered.

Yet the debate brought out all of the predictable trappings of the divide between liberals and not-liberals that we have come to expect.  The good news is that the fracking issue, as we've dealt with it in our local school district, helps explain why it is so hard for conservatives and liberals to find common ground.

First, liberals are reflexively against natural gas because it is a "non-renewable" energy source that has to be extracted from the earth.  That there are vast reserves of cheap domestic energy underneath us is beyond dispute.  But the left wants us to pretend it isn't there.  It doesn't matter how much money the residents stand to make, how many good jobs the natural gas industry has brought to the state, or how much of a boon it is to the state's economy.  In the words of one of the residents who came to numerous meetings to argue against fracking, "we wish they hadn't discovered the gas, but now that they have, we'd just prefer that they leave it down there."  The other protesters roared and applauded in agreement.

Second, this example helps demolish one of the left's favorite narratives: that it embraces science while the right rejects it.  Just one small example will illustrate.  I recently got an e-mail from a chemistry and environmental science professor (with a specialty in "climate change") from a local college, listing many reasons why "the scientist in her" made her skeptical of the natural gas industry's claims regarding the safety and reliability of fracking.  She expressed deep concern about "the relative paucity of data, and an inconsistency and lack of transparency in the sources of data regarding the effects of fracking."  I replied, asking her if the same reasons and the "scientist in her" made her the slightest bit skeptical regarding the core claims of anthropogenic global warming.  She never answered.  In other words, the left's skepticism of science is highly unevenly applied, as a function of its overall favorability toward the activity in question.  There is a word that describes standards for thee but not for me: hypocrisy.

Finally, conservatives take the arguments of liberals seriously, but liberals do not return the favor.  Our school board held many public meetings leading up to the vote on the gas lease.  We researched, discussed, debated, and agonized.  We heard from the industry, the superintendent, other school districts, and each other.  And we patiently a withering barrage of exclusively alarmist information from dozens of anti-fracking activists.

In my public statements to this group, I consistently conceded that there are legitimate concerns associated with the fracking process, particularly as regards the disruption caused by the initial activity, and problems related to dealing with waste water.  After the initial 8-1 vote to move forward with a lease, the response from one of the more vocal residents was very illustrative: "the board had voted," this person wrote in the local newspaper, to "jump off the bridge along with everyone else, ignoring their moral and ethical obligations."  In other words, either you're either against fracking, or you're some combination of stupid, corrupt, immoral, and short-sighted.  Not a lot of room for common ground, is there?

A good illustration of the discussions between left and right. 

8.  The Real Story of Fossil Fuels

From a primer (go to the link and you can click this to get the report) by the Institute for Energy Research, with references, below:

  • In 2011, the United States produced 23.0 trillion cubic feet of natural gas making it the world's largest natural gas producer.
  • In 2011, the United States produced 5.67 million barrels of oil, making it the world's third largest oil producer.  
  • Proved conventional oil reserves worldwide more than doubled from 642 billion barrels in 1980 to more than 1.3 trillion barrels in 2009.
  • The United States is home to the richest oil shale deposits in the world -- estimates are there are about 1 trillion barrels of recoverable oil in U.S. oil shale deposits, nearly four times that of Saudi Arabia's proved oil reserves.
  • The United States has 261 billion tons of coal in its proved coal reserves. These are the world's largest coal reserves and over 27 percent of the world's proved coal reserves.
  • The United States produces nearly 1.1 billion short tons of coal a year, making it the world's second largest coal producer.   China produces over 3.5 billion short tons a year.
  • The United States has 486 billion tons of coal in its demonstrated reserve base, enough domestic coal to use for the next 485 years at current rates of consumption. These estimates do not include Alaska's coal resources, which according to government estimates, are larger than those in the lower 48 states.
  • The federal government leases less than 3 percent of federal lands for oil and natural gas production -- 2.2 percent of federal offshore areas  and less than 5.4 percent of federal onshore lands.

In the meantime, in 2011, wind power produced 1.2 percent of the energy used in the United States and solar power produced 0.1 percent of the energy used in the United States. In fiscal year 2010, the subsidies for solar power were $775.64 per megawatt hour, for wind $56.29, for nuclear $3.14, for hydroelectric power $0.82, for coal $0.64 and for natural gas and petroleum liquids $0.64.  While Obama keeps calling for the end of any subsidies for oil he is promoting the energy source with subsidies 121,193% higher than oil (solar). 

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