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Economic Statistics for 03 Oct 13

The Factory Orders report is delayed due to the government shutdown.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows 40,289 layoffs in September, the second highest number since April, But well below August’s 50,462.

Gallup reports that the U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate fell to 43.5% in September, from 43.7% in August.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell a point to -29.4.

Initial jobless claims rose 3,000 last week, to 308,000. The 4-week moving average fell 3,000 to 305,000. Continuing claims rose 104,000 to 2.925 million.

The ISM Non-Mfg Index fell 4 points to 54.4 in September.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $13.4 billion last week, with total assets of $3.747 trillion. Reserve Bank credit increased $2.1 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 Money Supply increased by $38.1 billion last week.

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Economic Statistics for 02 Oct 13

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell 0.4% last week, with purchases down 6.0% but re-fis up 3.0%.

ADP reports that September private-sector job growth was weaker than expected, with only 166,000 private sector jobs created.

Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index fell a point to 21 in September.

Confirmation of the private sector jobs reports would usually come from the government’s official statistics on the first Friday of the month, but the government shutdown may delay the release of the BLS’s September Employment Situation.

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Shutdown Theater

Some interesting things are happening for this government shutdown. The most interesting thing about them is that they’re entirely unnecessary.

For instance, the National World War II Memorial is in the middle of the Mall in Washington DC. Like the Korean and Vietnam memorials, it is an open-air monument that consists mainly of a oval arrangement of stone plinths, with a fountain in the center. It is unmanned by government personnel. Yet, for some reason, the Administration has set up fences around it—and other open-air monuments, with festooned with signs declaring the monument “closed”.  In other words, the Administration intentionally spent the time and money to close off open-air monuments that aren’t manned by government personnel anyway. They’ve even tried to prevent actual WWII veterans from entering this unmanned, open-air memorial. These vets didn’t like that, and essentially ignored the barricade.  I suppose that using unmanned, portable fencing to try and intimidate the guys who landed on Omaha Beach in the teeth of withering machine gun fire is not an optimally effective strategy. Apparently, not even the threat of arrest was particularly effective.

Happily, others are resisting these shutdowns, too, as on the Great Appalachian Trail, where the public ignored the barricades put up by the National Park Service and went to the park anyway. But the park service is serious about doing what they can to ensure that the public can’t use any national parks, going so far as to order the closure of the nation’s only privately-run park.

In addition, a number of government web sites have been shut down. Moreover, the government’s position is that all the web sites need to be shut down even if it’s cheaper to keep them running. Now, I can see if there are no personnel available to update the web sites, but the sites themselves are still up. They are merely either shunting off visitors to a “We aren’t going to let you see our web site” page at USA.Gov, or they are simply hiding their content with some extra Javascript coding. So, the sites are actually operational, the content is still there, and in some cases, still being delivered to browsers—along with additional code that hides it. So, essentially, none of the web sites are being shut down. They’re just not allowing you to look at them—even though the sites are still up and running. They aren’t unplugging their web servers, shutting out the lights, and going home, they’re just hiding them from you.

Let’s be very clear about what’s happening here. None of these things are unfortunate consequences of the government shutting down. These things are nothing more than intentional attempts to make the shutdown as inconvenient as possible.  This is shutdown theater, and nothing more. It is enraging, because it is just a cynical PR move to make the shutdown seem more inconvenient than it actually is.

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The usual lack of leadership from a petty partisan ideologue

Not that it should come as any surprise to those familiar with our president. Nile Gardiner hits the sore spot:

The American Left’s hatred for all things conservative has been on full display in Washington in recent days, with the White House and its allies in Congress heaving with anger and indignation over mounting opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and growing calls to defund it. President Obama has blamed Tea Party Republicans for what he calls a right-wing “ideological crusade” prompting the federal government shutdown. As the president put it in his Rose Garden press conference, “they’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.” Obama allies have used similar inflammatory language over the past week, aimed at demonising anyone who disagrees with their approach. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has railed against Tea Party “anarchists,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has attacked what she calls “legislative arsonists.” Even former Vice President Al Gore has jumped in to the fray, accusing the GOP of “political terrorism.”

The harsh invective flowing from Washington’s liberal establishment has been nasty, juvenile and petty. This should be a moment for humility for the White House over its hugely unpopular Obamacare reforms, which are opposed by a significant majority of the American people. Ironically President Obama turns the other cheek on the world stage when it comes to challenges to US global power, and has made the appeasement of America’s enemies and strategic competitors into a form of art. But he acts in a truly imperial fashion at home, refusing to listen to the slightest hint of criticism domestically. This is a president who happily apologises for his country’s past when he travels abroad, in thoroughly humiliating fashion for the United States, but cannot bring himself to acknowledge that his own policies might be wrong.

That’s exactly right. And he makes it clear he’s not going to take a leadership role – like a petulant child, he’ll just refuse to deal with others. Fred Barnes points out the obvious:

Presidents have two roles. In the current impasse, Mr. Obama emphasizes his partisan role as leader of the Democratic Party. It’s a legitimate role. But as president, he’s the only national leader elected by the entire nation. He alone represents all the people. And this second, nonpartisan role takes precedence in times of trouble, division or dangerous stalemate. A president is expected to take command. Mr. Obama hasn’t done that.

The extent to which he has abdicated this role shows up in his speeches. On the eve of the shutdown, he warned that a government closure “will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away.” Defunding or delaying his health-care program—the goal of Republicans—would have even worse consequences, he suggested. “Tens of thousands of Americans die every single year because they don’t have access to affordable health care,” Mr. Obama said.

In an appearance in the White House pressroom, he said that “military personnel—including those risking their lives overseas for us right now—will not get paid on time” should Republicans force a shutdown. At an appearance in Largo, Md., the president accused Republicans of “threatening steps that would actually badly hurt our economy . . . Even if you believe that ObamaCare somehow was going to hurt the economy, it won’t hurt the economy as bad as a government shutdown.”

Yet as he was predicting widespread suffering, Mr. Obama steadfastly refused to negotiate with Republicans. He told House Speaker John Boehner in a phone call that he wouldn’t be talking to him anymore. With the shutdown hours away, he called Mr. Boehner again. He still didn’t negotiate and said he wouldn’t on the debt limit either.

Mr. Obama has made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid his surrogate in the conflict with Republicans. Mr. Reid has also declined to negotiate. In fact, Politico reported that when the president considered meeting with Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, along with the two Democratic congressional leaders, Mr. Reid said he wouldn’t attend and urged Mr. Obama to abandon the idea. The president did just that.

The man is a presidential bust – and I don’t mean the type that sits on a pedestal. He’s never had it, he will never have it and we’re going to continue to suffer because instead of any leadership qualities the only thing this man can boast is petty partisanship. He’s a master at that. He’s essentially said that he’ll not negotiate and he’ll use his bully pulpit to insult and degrade his opposition.

Some “leader”.

Until he steps up and assumes that role – this is his shutdown.


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Economic Statistics for 1 Oct 13

Total vehicle sales fell a sharp 5.1% in September, to a 15.3 million annualized sales rate. Domestic vehicle sales were 11.8 million vice 12.6 million in August.

Redbook reports chain-store sales rose to a 3.8% year-on-year sales rate. ICSC-Goldman’s same-store sales index rose 0.2% last week, with year-over-year sales growth of 2.1%.

Markit Economics’ PMI manufacturing index fell 0.3 points to 52.8 in September.

The ISM manufacturing index rose 0.5 points to 56.2 in September.

The construction spending report due today has been delayed due to the government shutdown.

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Happy ObamaCare day …

The sun is out, the birds are chirping, the day is beautiful and … the government is shut down.  I’m not sure, but that may be adding to the beauty of the day.

Meanwhile this is ObamaCare’s first day. Unfortunately, ObamaCare isn’t quite ready.

On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pleaded for patience during a briefing with reporters, acknowledging there would probably be some site issues in the coming days and weeks as the administration moves forward on the sweeping program known as Obamacare. She likened the inevitable fixes to software updates on Apple products such as the iPhone or iPad.

“No one is calling on Apple to not sell devices for a year or to get out of the business because the whole thing is a failure,” she said. “Everyone just assumes there’s a problem, they’ll fix it, let’s move on. . . . Hopefully, they’ll give us the same slack as they give Apple.”

Apple.  She dares to compare this monstrosity to Apple?  Really?

Here’s the reason that comparison doesn’t even begin to hold water:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has had since March 2010 to prepare for open enrollment’s October 2013 rollout. Besides churning out thousands of pages of regulations, what have she and her army been doing?

Someone performing as Sebelius has in the private sector would have been fired at least a year ago, when it become obvious that her implementation plan — having already missed critical deadlines almost two years ago – was still hopelessly behind.

However, this would have been an admission of failure during an election year.

Instead, Sebelius and the administration unilaterally, and illegally, delayed imposing the employer mandate requiring companies to cover “full-time” employees — defined as any employee who works an average of 30 hours per week — for one year. The political motivation behind this cop-out is so transparent, one wonders if the delay wasn’t hard-coded in the plan. There has been no change in the individual mandate, which requires individuals and families to have health insurance coverage beginning next year or face a fine. So the employer mandate delay combined with the still-present individual mandate will force more Americans into the state health insurance exchanges. The administration is likely intent on making the process of undoing the exchanges as difficult as possible.

Apple would a) meet their deadline and b) have the product ready for the launch or c) some heads would roll.

So why is Sebelius still at HHS?

Oh, that’s right … because we don’t hold people in government accountable for anything, do we?

Which, of course, is a big part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in today.

Frogs marching or heads rolling (figuratively speaking) might begin to change a culture that know no matter how inept or incompetent they are, nothing of significance will happen to them. And after all, it’s your money they’re wasting, isn’t it?


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Tired of shutdown talk – let’s hit global warming, shall we?

This is sure to make the followers of the religion of climate alarmism froth and scream:

A prominent climate scientist says the earth actually faces a global cooling crisis on the eve of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) release of its latest climate change report.
David Archibald, an Australian scientist and visiting fellow at the The Institute of World Politics (IWP) in Washington, D.C., said during an IWP presentation Wednesday that contrary to a perceived consensus among the scientific community, the planet’s climate is not warming. Global temperatures have essentially remained flat in the last thirty years, he said.

While temperatures have increased by a modest 0.8 degrees Celsius in the last 150 years, that rise is unremarkable compared to previous increases in earth’s history, he said. Temperature spikes have occurred for hundreds of thousands of years and were slightly higher in the Roman Empire and Medieval periods, he added, according to a Swedish study and data from ice cores in Vostok, Antarctica.

Additionally, about 80 percent of the warming that has occurred can be attributed to water vapor compared to about 10 percent for carbon dioxide, said Archibald. The IPCC’s report, scheduled for release Friday, is expected to state with 95 percent certainty that greenhouse-gas emissions generated by humans are responsible for 20th century warming.

“The IPCC models have failed,” Archibald said, adding that meetings like the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark are “hilarious.”

Indeed they are.  In fact, word has it that the newest IPCC report simply ignores the lack of warming the last 15 years.  That’s one way to hide the decline, isn’t it?

Archibald pretty much calls this what it is, ‘hilarious’.  Except that the politicians see a revenue angle, and that makes it much less hilarious and much more likely to see government’s hand in our wallet to address an invented crisis. So they cling to the myth of this religion.

Speaking of the alarmist fundies, how sad is this?

A meteorologist who has covered weather for the Wall Street Journal tweeted that he has decided not to have children in order to leave a lighter carbon footprint, and is considering having a vasectomy.

He also vowed to stop flying after the world’s recent climate-change report made him cry.

Eric Holthaus was reacting to the findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which released a report on Friday that found it was ‘extremely likely’ that humans are causing warming trends seen in the last several decades.

On Friday afternoon the weatherman tweeted: ‘No children, happy to go extinct, which in and of itself, carries a certain sadness. #IPCC’

His next tweet said: ‘Its a very emotional decision. Mixed feelings. adios babies?’

According to another tweet from Holthaus, the Dutch artist known as Tinkebell, who calls attention to animal rights issues through works that use the remains of dead animals, had herself sterilised last week for a similar reason.

My goodness.  Frankly I wish more like him would opt for the “Holthaus solution”.

Al?!  Al Gore?!  Are you listening?

As for the religious aspects of alarmism, think about it:

Saying the science is settled is demanding what religions demand, that you have faith.

Religion has ritual. Global warming alarmism has recycling and Earth Day celebrations.

Some religions persecute heretics. Some global warming alarmists identify “denialists” and liken them to Holocaust deniers.

Religions build grand places of worship. Global warming alarmists promote the construction of windmills and solar farms that produce uneconomic and intermittent electricity.

Global warming alarmism even has indulgences like the ones Martin Luther protested. You can buy carbon offsets to gain forgiveness for travel on carbon-emitting private jet aircraft.

Some religions ban vulgar pleasures, like the New England Puritan sumptuary laws banning luxuries. Some global warming alarmists want to force most Americans out of big-lawn suburbs into high-rise apartments clustered around mass transit stations.

This last element seems to be dominant among many global warming alarmists. Stop the vulgar masses from living their tacky lifestyles driving those horrid SUVs. They must be made to repent, conform and be saved.

I’ll be glad when this particular eco-religion finally is tossed in the dust bin of history where it belongs.

Of course, there’ll be another one close on its heels, you can count on that, and the same “true believers” will be duped into climbing on to its bandwagon, because essentially they’re doomsdayers and this is what they do with their pathetic lives.

[HT: Moonbattery]


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 29 Sep 13

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the government shutdown and Republican party.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.


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