Archive for January 7th, 2011

07
Jan
11

a couple of things….

(Random photo that I love)

(1) OUTRAGE in the Right Wing and Professional Left media over the President’s reference to Robert Gibbs’ “relatively modest pay”. Don’t any of these people understand the word “relatively”? Get a dictionary! The context would have been obvious to an intellectually-challenged giraffe: the President was making the point that Gibbs could have earned a lot more in the private sector the last two years – working, for example, as a lobbyist – but chose to work for government.

What’s that? A fact.

(2) SNEERING in the Right Wing and Professional Left media over how much more applause Pete Rouse got, compared to Bill Daley, at yesterday’s Chief of Staff announcement by the President. Even an intellectually-challenged tomato could have figured that one out – the room was filled with White House colleagues of Rouse who, clearly, adored the fella. Daley? Um, he’s brand new to the Obama administration, so he hasn’t had the chance yet to make any White House friends.

What’s that? A fact.

07
Jan
11

‘this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs’

Rick Ungar (Forbes): The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.

The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.

Why? Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.

….United Health Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, added 75,000 new customers working in businesses with fewer than 50 employees ….. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City reports an astounding 58% increase in the number of small businesses purchasing coverage in their area since April, 2010 – one month after the health care reform legislation became law.

“One of the biggest problems in the small-group market is affordability,” said Ron Rowe, who oversees small-group sales for the Kansas City operation for Blue Cross Blue Shied. “We looked at the tax credit and said, ‘this is perfect.” Rowe went on to say that 38% of the businesses it is signing up had not offered health benefits before.

Whatever your particular ideology, there is simply no denying that these statistics are incredibly heartening. However, for those of you who cannot get past your opposition, even for a moment of universal good news, let’s break it down.

The primary, most enduring complaint of the opponents of the ACA has been that the law is deathly bad for small business: Apparently, small businesses, and their employees, do not agree.

The next argument has been that the PPACA is a job killer: If these small businesses found the new law to be so onerous, why have so many of them voluntarily taken advantage of the benefits provided in the law to give their employees these benefits? They were not mandated to do so…

Of course, there is the nagging banter as to how Obamacare is leading us down the road to socialism: Let it go, folks.

Private market insurance companies are experiencing significant growth because of a tax break provided by the PPACA. I may have missed the day this was discussed in economics class, but I’m pretty sure this is not a socialistic result of federal legislation.

When data like this appears, we have the opportunity to really find out who is talking smack for political benefit and who actually cares about getting affordable and available health care to America’s workers …  if you cannot celebrate what appears to be an important early success, you really should give some thought as to where your true interests and intents lie.

If you’re all about beating up on President Obama, you can conveniently forget this bit of data as if it never really happened. However, if your interest is to make health care available to more Americans, this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs.

This is seriously wonderful news: Full article here

07
Jan
11

‘pragmatic, thoughtful, smart, diplomatic, effective….mature’

Huge thanks to Rita for letting me know about this blog post – loved it.

p m carpenter’s commentary: This morning the Post’s Dan Balz assesses the choice of Bill Daley as “another significant step in the post-election evolution of President Obama,” noting that Daley “has a reputation for shooting straight, playing hard, talking bluntly and, above all, remaining calm in a crisis.”

Indeed, the Beltway consensus is that Daley is pragmatic, thoughtful, damn smart, diplomatic, effective, loyal and philosophically mature — all in all he’s a judicious choice, one that will serve the administration well and frustrate the Republican noise machine.

So, naturally, with the notable exception of Howard Dean, who has responded as a model of reason, the activist progressive community launched into orbital unhingement over the Daley pick.

Gloomily representative of what’s become their orthodox overreaction to most everything Obama was the Torquemada of ProgThink, Adam Green, who said  … “(bla bla bla)”

Yes, just another White House “mistake” …. such as rescuing the nation from the Great Depression II, securing universal health care, pulling DADT’s repeal out of a hopeless hat, saving the domestic auto industry, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Read the full post here

07
Jan
11

a good impression

….hey, the ultimate tribute to outgoing chief of staff, Pete Rouse.

07
Jan
11

ah, those principled ‘progressives’ at huffpost….

Mediaite: “Betsy Morgan, The Huffington Post’s former CEO, is heading to The Blaze, Fox News’ resident Star Wars aficionado Glenn Beck’s four-month-old website……it’s heartening news for Beck and for the future of his site. The Conservative author, TV host and radio personality was hit with some bad news earlier this week when it was announced that his radio show would be dropped from New York’s WOR station due to insufficient ratings.

…..Morgan’s new role is described as “establishing The Blaze as a premiere digital network curating content, community and debate and further leveraging Beck’s loyal audience.” Morgan, for her part, says she is “looking forward to expanding the team and developing businesses around topical content in all areas that engage audiences and drive a healthy national debate.”

Intriguing.”

Thank you Chi

Then again, we all know how easily Arianna Huffington switches with the political winds … one minute a supporter of Newt Gingrich’s ‘Republican Revolution’ and Bob Dole’s 1996 Presidential run, next minute a Professional Leftie. Whatever’s most profitable, hey?

And HuffPost calls President Obama a sell-out? 🙂

Thank you kellyamore1 for reminding us that Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos, was also ‘once’ a Republican.

“During the 1988 presidential election, he served as a Republican precinct captain and assisted with the re-election campaign of Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde” – yep, Moulitsas worked for the re-election of the guy who, “as a member of the congressional panel investigating the Iran-Contra affair, vigorously defended the Ronald Reagan administration, and a number of the participants who had been accused of various crimes, particularly Oliver North”. And the same Henry Hyde who “argued that the House had a constitutional and civic duty to impeach Bill Clinton”.

True, we can all see the error of our political ways and switch sides before it’s too late! But it’s interesting that both he and Huffington have similar political backgrounds. Brings a whole new meaning to the ‘Professional Left’?? Whatever way the wind blows……

07
Jan
11

where’s the change?

WH: On Tuesday, the President signed a number of bills …. which help ensure Americans can enjoy clean air, safe drinking water, and healthy wildlife.

These bills will curb lead levels in water pipes, a major source of harmful lead exposure for children, and help address diesel engine pollution that is linked to serious health conditions like asthma and heart and lung disease.  They also hold the Federal Government accountable for the water pollution it contributes to American communities; encourage volunteer opportunities in National Wildlife Refuges; and help conserve vulnerable shark populations. These measures are just the beginning of what we can accomplish in 2011….

The President signed the following environmental bills into law:

  • H.R. 81, the “Shark Conservation Act of 2010 and International Fisheries Agreement Clarification Act,” which generally prohibits the removal of shark fins at sea and amends certain laws related to international fisheries;
  • H.R. 4973, the “National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Improvement Act of 2010,” which reauthorizes and amends authorities relating to volunteer programs and community partnerships for national wildlife refuges;
  • H.R. 5809, the “Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010,” which modifies and reauthorizes through FY 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Program;
  • S. 3481, which clarifies the Federal Government’s responsibility to pay reasonable service charges to a State or local government to address stormwater pollution from Federal properties; and
  • S. 3874, the “Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act,” which modifies the Safe Drinking Water Act definition of “lead free” with regard to pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures

Meanwhile…

Ken Salazar (Secretary of the Interior): I am in Florida today to announce an exciting initiative to conserve working lands and wildlife habitat in the Everglades headwaters.

The Everglades rural working ranch landscapes are an important piece of our nation’s history and economy, and this initiative would work to ensure that they remain vital for our future.

The partnerships being formed would protect and improve water quality north of Lake Okeechobee and restore wetlands which are so vital to the entire Florida economy. The proposed conservation area and refuge would also protect important habitat for 88 federal and state listed species, including the Florida panther, Florida black bear, whooping crane, and Everglade snail kite.

The Fish and Wildlife Service, along with its partners, is conducting a thorough, preliminary study to establish a new National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area of approximately 150,000 acres of important environmental and cultural landscapes in the Kissimmee River Valley south of Orlando. The proposed area includes 50,000 acres for potential purchase, and an additional 100,000 acres that could be protected through conservation easements and cooperative agreements, keeping the land in private ownership.

07
Jan
11

shades of recovery

President Obama, accompanied by Rick Wuest, chief executive officer of Thompson Creek Manufacturing, meets with workers, Jan. 7, in Landover, Md

President Obama introduces new members of the White House staff at Thompson Creek Manufacturing in Landover MD. They are, left to right: Heather Higginbottom, Deputy OMB Director, Gene Sperling, director of the Council of Economic Advisors, Katharine Abraham, a member of the council and Jason Furman, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.

07
Jan
11

missing bush yet?

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Today’s jobs report provides evidence that the policies of the Democratic-led Congress are helping to create jobs and revitalize our economy – adding more jobs in 2010 than President Bush did over eight years. With so many Americans still looking for work, now is not the time to reverse course.

“Republicans must join Democrats in focusing on putting people to work, instead of making their top priority repealing critical patient protections, putting insurance companies back in charge of the health of the American people and blowing a $230 billion hole in the deficit.

“Building on the progress of the December jobs numbers – marking the last full month of Democratic leadership of the House – we will continue to measure every proposal by whether it creates jobs, strengthens our middle class, and reduces the deficit.”

07
Jan
11

west wing week: “resolutions” (january 7, 2011)

07
Jan
11

9.4% – the lowest unemployment level in 19 months

Washington Post: U.S. employers added 113,000 private-sector jobs in December, fewer than analysts expected. But the unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 to 9.4 percent – the lowest level since May, 2009.

Economists had expected the report to show significantly more jobs created in December – 150,000 or more – but had also predicted that the unemployment rate would drop only slightly, to 9.7 percent.

Instead, the overall number of jobs created was 103,000, the government said. The number of jobs created in November was revised sharply upward, from 39,000 to 71,000.

But more people apparently also stopped looking for work in December, which accounts for part of the larger-than-predicted decline in the joblessness rate. The government does not count people as unemployed unless they say they are looking for work.

The much-anticipated jobs report follows a string of promising economic data in recent weeks. It is considered one of the most important signals as to whether the labor market is picking up.

Austan Goolsbee (Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers): Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 113,000 in December, capping 12 consecutive months of growth that added 1.3 million private sector jobs to the economy during 2010, the strongest private sector job growth since 2006. The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage point to 9.4 percent last month.

The overall trend of economic data over the past several months has been encouraging … but we still have a ways to go. The measures we worked with Congress to pass last month that continue tax cuts for the middle class and extensions to unemployment insurance are vital to sustaining the recovery. The Administration will also continue to focus on actions that the President has recommended to increase growth and job creation, such as providing incentives to encourage businesses to invest and hire here at home, investing in education and infrastructure, and promoting exports abroad.

In addition to the increases last month, the estimates of private sector job growth for October (now 193,000) and November (now 79,000) were revised up. Including today’s revisions, private sector employers have added an average of 128,000 jobs per month in the 4th quarter, the highest quarterly average in almost four years.

…Even though the unemployment rate fell sharply in December, it is still unacceptably high and we need robust employment growth in order to recover from the deep job losses that began over two years ago.  The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically since then, but there will surely continue to be bumps in the road ahead…..

Later today (link):





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