July 31, 2011

NBC Tells You What They Really Think. [ArthurK]
— Open Blogger

Watched a few minutes of NBC Nightly News for July 31st and was stunned by this piece with Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell. This was a few hours before the President's announcement. Things were moving fast - Brian and Andrea were reading from a script so a bit of the veil came off.

Here's a link to the newscast but it probably won't be there 24 hours from now. They change it every day.

W Brian Williams
M Andrea Mitchell
... I left some stuff out.

They're talking about the debt mess.

W Andrea, you've seen 'em come and seen 'em go. This has hardly been a profile in courage. Have you ever seen anything like this?

M ... Now its stalemate, its gridlock. And I've never seen anything where there has been so little leadership and where people are angry, disgusted and, I think, really rebellious out there. People are wanting change and they don't know how to get it.

W And a new dynamic, Andrea, in Washington - at least in the time you and I have been watching things. Some members have come to town and they don't care if they get re-elected. That is a whole new dynamic. They are here for a single issue and are willing to go down in flames at the polls if they achieve it or don't.

M There has always been anger and animus in among leaders and among the followers - the rank and file, the caucus. But these new members really are willing to tear the place down. And they not only don't care whether or not are re-elected - they don't want pork (laughs). There are no inducements to get them to follow the speaker or the other leaders. So they don't want the traditional methods of buying loyalty here and that was a reform that now has changed the dynamic.

W Alright, Andrea Mitchell from our Washington newsroom. Wish there was better news to report to folks especially about our era in Govt.

I could spend hours fisking this conversation - but let's focus on the last 2 paragraphs. Tea Party Congressmen refuse to take pork - Brian and Andrea are dismayed. I Don't Have To Say Anything Else.

The bolded text is an unintentional shot at Obama that made me laugh.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 04:52 PM | Comments (151)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Maetenloch

End of the weekend for some, just another day for others, but all are welcome at the ONT party.

So Who Loves America?

The Japanese do - a lot - with 85% having a positive view of us according to a recent Pew poll. In fact they like the US even more than Americans do (79%). Which isn't all that surprising given that a substantial proportion of Americans (primarily on the left) just don't like the Unites States all that much -m although they do still "love" her in the Ike Turner sense.

Other interesting results are that the French are slightly more fond of the US than the Israelis are. After all the crap we've gone through on their behalf you'd think they'd like us a bit more.

And of course all the Muslim majority countries dislike us - despite our having elected a president named Hussein. But apparently Hussein did get us some Kenyan love.

Positive views aside I still say that if the chips ever were truly down for the US, the only countries we could absolutely count on to stand with us to the end are Japan and Australia and possibly Israel and Canada.


Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:39 PM | Comments (749)
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Obama To Speak At 8:40 EDT
— DrewM

Above the post update:

Obama say leaders have agreed to $1 trillion in cuts, which were agreed to weeks ago. Cuts "won't be so" abrupt. Yeah, out years are for suckers.

Bi-partisan committee that reports by November. "Everything will be on the table"... there's the tax trap? I don't see how House GOP votes for that if the choice will be the possibility of taxes or slash defense. Unless there's some guarantee that won't happen, I don't see how this gets enough GOP votes in the House.

Via Andy...here's the PDF of the PowerPoint Boehner used to explain the plan to his conference.

Or not? From Boehner PP.

Requires baseline to be current law, effectively making it impossible for Joint Committee to increase taxes.

That from TendStl on Twitter.

The only person who is going to like this deal is Obama because he desperately wants to put off another debt hike debate beyond the '12 elections.

Via Hot Air, James Pethokoukis explains why insisting that current law be the baseline the joint committee uses makes it almost impossible for them to raise taxes.

Original Post:

For the love of God man...SHUT UP.

Reid is on Senate floor now (8:32pm edt) saying there's a deal to avoid default. McConnell says he'll be holding a Senate GOP caucus tomorrow to go over "the framework".

Obama will no doubt be out to start to take credit.

Meanwhile, Boehner is on a conference call right now with House GOP members. I bet that's a fun call.

I really hope Obama uses his speech tonight to reach out and repair relations with corporate jet owners.

Posted by: DrewM at 03:30 PM | Comments (345)
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Football. We Need It
— Dave in Texas

Ok I am all up inside politics and stuff, all week long.

But daaaamn, we need a break.

So who wants to talk some football? The NFL owners and players seem theeeeees close to inking a deal.

Don't care? College football is coming regardless of this titanic struggle over monies.

Open football thread for idiots like me.

One way or another, we get some ball. My team is poised to shed some deadweight and I'm not even bothered about their choices.

Other teams may get idiots that shoot themselves in the leg.

They're welcome to em.

ALSO: I hear rumblings from Ben and CDR M that there are pickem leagues forming, so stay tuned for... ok basically me getting my shit together. more...

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 01:00 PM | Comments (230)
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Evening Open Thread
— Ace

Here's something: The FBI thinks they have a good suspect in the famed "DB Cooper" hijacking.

'The credible lead is somebody whose possible connection to the hijacker is strong,' she told the Daily Telegraph. 'And the suspect is not a name that's come up before.'

The FBI said that an item belonging to the suspect has been sent for testing at a forensics lab in Quantico, Virginia.

'We're hoping there are fingerprints they can take off of it,' she said. 'It would be a significant lead.

And this is looking like our most promising one to date.'

Oh, and Reid has apparently agreed to whatever deal they've worked out. I'll put up details when they're out.

Posted by: Ace at 12:30 PM | Comments (116)
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Presidential Cinematography
— rdbrewer

Look at this photo. They tried to make Obama seem bigger by placing the camera very low and using a wide angle lens with the camera moved in closer. This has the effect of making the background recede behind him more sharply. Things closer to the camera appear larger. That's also a problem, though, as mere fractions of an inch count for a lot. Notice how large the podium appears. It's enormous. It looks like the podium is the most important thing. And look at his hand. His hand is just a few inches closer to the lens, yet it appears larger than his head.

This shot is the visual equivalent of the infamous Newt Gingrich press release:

The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment's cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip . . . .

For this shot to work, they needed to construct a small podium just for the occasion. Also, with all the visual hocus pocus going on, the touch of moving the camera down somewhere around his belly button was way over the top. Flat-out stupid, really. Finally, they needed to tell him to keep his hands down. Instead, they wound up with a kitschy, distorted-looking mess, like a shot you'd see in a horror film--a shot of the monster.

Below the fold, John Lithgow's dramatic reading of the Gingrich press release. more...

Posted by: rdbrewer at 10:08 AM | Comments (186)
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"Deal" Still Being Negotiated; Seems To Involve A Two-Step Process: First, A Soft Republican Capitulation, Then, A Hard Republican Capitulation
— Ace

The Republicans have demonstrated that they will not shut down the government under any circumstances. So the Democrats continue to hold the trump card, because there is a step they will take which Republicans will not.

This "compromise," which isn't even agreed to, but is being negotiated as to its major details, simply delays the timing of Republican capitulation until closer to the elections.

Jen Rubin explains the triggers and the sticking points on them:

The second tranche works like this: If a new congressional commission introduces a plan totaling at least $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving and it’s passed by Christmas there are no across-the-board cuts. Or, if a balanced budget amendment is passed and sent to the states, then across-the-board cuts are avoided. However, if there is no commission package passed AND the BBA is not passed and sent to the states, then across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion including Medicare and defense (the details of which aren’t final) go into effect. If the across-the board-cuts go into effect, the debt ceiling is only raised $1.2 trillion (likely insufficient to keep the government operating for long), meaning “we could do this all over again, depending on economic growth.” In other words, if we went to sequestration the total debt ceiling increase would be $2.1 trillion in two doses.


GOP leaders are convinced that the triggers are so scary that it will in fact force the commission to reach agreement. The president at that point will be rooting for a deal as well, since the alternative across-the-board cuts would yield only $1.2 trillion in a debt ceiling hike and would set up another round of this insanity depending on economic growth.

The threat of drastically slashing Defense will cause Republicans to vote for tax increases. Democrats will not identify additional money to be cut, because they don't want to, and they don't need to -- Republicans will cave, as they have caved since the 2011 budget fight, and will agree to tax increases to avert devastating cuts in Defense.

So they're just pushing this off to closer to the election.

If they're going to capitulate, why not do it now?

Without the willingness to shut the government down, they have no leverage. Most of them don't even pretend at the fiction that they're willing to do that.

So Democrats continue dictating the terms of "negotiation." Furthermore, Republicans are simply trading an early capitulation for one closer to the elections, which doesn't even make sense to me.

And: I am still hearing nothing at all about a bill to dictate the procedure and priority of bill-paying in the event of a shutdown -- something that could greatly increase the Republicans' leverage in such an event.

But they don't even want to seem to want the leverage, because they don't even want to contemplate that option.

Another Possibility: Republicans let the automatic cuts happen, but then immediately propose reinstating most of the money to Defense.

This winds up causing automatic cuts to domestic discretionary, but no big cuts to Defense; most Democrats would probably have to vote for this.

But it has a bad effect: We'd have approved $2.1 trillion in debt ceiling increase while only (guestimating) cutting, say, $1.6 - $1.7 trillion in cuts.

Who knows, maybe that's a decent deal. Doesn't seem that decent, though.

Posted by: Ace at 08:12 AM | Comments (497)
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Rubio Debates Kerry In The Senate Over Debt Limit Increase
— Ace

Whoops... Andy posted this last night. I took the day off to... assemble furniture.

Um, Open Thread, then?

Beginning around 6:00, Rubio begins reading letters and statements expressing "extremist" views on not raising the debt limit.

He reveals that the statements were made, in order, by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Senate Majority Leader Reid in 2007.

At this point, John Kerry asks to yield for a question. A preview, maybe, of how Rubio would fare in a vice presidential debate. Via Red State, but embedded below.


Posted by: Ace at 07:49 AM | Comments (69)
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Sunday Book Thread
— Monty

Based on a recommendation in last week's book thread, I picked up all four volumes of Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet: The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence, and A Division of Spoils. I also picked up the fifth "coda" book of this series, called Staying On. (I bought all the books used for a buck apiece from Amazon's used book store. They arrived within two days with no problems at all. Win!)

This should fill my fiction docket for the rest of the summer.

What's everyone else reading?

Posted by: Monty at 04:24 AM | Comments (124)
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Sunday Morning Open Thread
— Monty

"For my own part I think no innocent species of wit or pleasantry should be suppressed: and that a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellencies of lively conversation." -- James Boswell

Posted by: Monty at 04:12 AM | Comments (230)
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July 30, 2011

Tentative Budget Deal Reached
— rdbrewer

From ABC:

  • Debt ceiling increase of up to $2.8 trillion
  • Spending cuts of roughly $1 trillion
  • Vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment
  • Special committee to recommend cuts of $1.8 trillion (or whatever it takes to add up to the total of the debt ceiling increase)
  • Committee must make recommendations before Thanksgiving recess
  • If Congress does not approve those cuts by late December, automatic across-the-board cuts go into effect, including cuts to Defense and Medicare.

Jeff Dunetz at Yid With Lid has more:

  • $2.8 trillion in deficit reduction with $1 trillion locked in through discretionary spending caps over 10 years and the remainder determined by a so-called super committee.
  • The Super Committee must report precise deficit-reduction proposals by Thanksgiving.
  • The Super Committee would have to propose $1.8 trillion spending cuts to achieve that amount of deficit reduction over 10 years. If that doesn't happen, across-the-board spending cuts would go into effect and could touch Medicare and defense spending.
  • If the Super Committee fails, Congress must send a balanced-budget amendment to the states for ratification (at least according to Major Garrett, the ABC report is that there has to be a Balanced budget vote either way)
  • The Super Committee is allowed to discuss spending cuts only...No net new tax revenue would be part of the special committee's deliberations.

Jeff says he is going to check with his congressional aide sources in the morning and try to get more. If he does, I'll steal that too. From Major Garrett at National Journal:

In many respects, the deal will, if approved by all parties, resemble the contours of a short-lived pact negotiated last weekend by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

. . .

Among the newest wrinkles, according to informed sources, is an agreement to extend the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling very briefly to give the legislative process time to work without resorting to emergency, hurry-up measures.

Keep in mind, these reports are early. Details could change. But I have to say, at first glance, with those triggers in place, this does not sound like the capitulation some are saying it is. Consider: We got a short term fix on the dreaded deadline the White House has been raving about. That deadline, real or imagined, carried with it the threat of political damage to the GOP because of all that puffery. There are no new taxes. We got 1T in cuts agreed to now, though, granted, the cuts are mostly prospective. And we got language that triggers a balanced budget amendment if we can't agree upon the balance of the cuts. What's not to like about that, considering we only have one-half of one branch of government right now?

I suspect Obama finally got on the phone to GOP leadership because of recent reports the debt fight was hurting him in the polls. If anybody capitulated, it was him. You know that call was a hard for him to make. So, if the actual language of the bill resembles what these early reports are saying, I'd call this a great GOP victory.

Update: Jeff Dunetz links to this AP report that says under the deal Congress would be required to vote on the BBA but that none of the debt limit increase would be contingent on its approval. We were discussing this in comments, and the idea of debt deal language that triggers a BBA being sent to the states did sound a little too good to be true. Again, take all this with a grain of salt. These are the first reports.

Posted by: rdbrewer at 07:12 PM | Comments (447)
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Overnight Open Thread-Debt Limit Free Caturday Edition [CDR M]
— Open Blogger

'Sup 'rons and 'ronettes! Hope y'all are all having a fine weekend with friends and family. Hot as hell here but the A/C is kickin'. Without further ado, on with the ONT.

This Sunday starts the annual feeding frenzy on the Discovery Channel known as Shark Week. In light of this, here's a timely piece that covers the 20 Greatest Sharks In Pop Culture History. Land Shark should've been far higher on that list. I dare SyFy Channel to air Honey Badger vs Mega Shark and pay Christina Hendricks to star. Ratings bonanza. Guaranteed.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 04:56 PM | Comments (609)
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Marco Rubio Tells It Like It Is
— andy

From today's senate debate on the debt ceiling. I particularly like the part where he pwns my senior senator Lurch Kerry (Dumbass-MA).

It's about 15 minutes long and worth every second.

Video below the fold via K-Lo at NRO. more...

Posted by: andy at 03:16 PM | Comments (237)
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Where Right Meets Left
— rdbrewer

Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee Approve ISP Snooping Bill, HR-1981.

On Thursday legislation was approved that would force internet service providers to save information on customer usage for twelve months on the chance law enforcement might want to look at it sometime. The bill was mislabeled the "Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011" in a nauseating attempt to cut off debate on its merits.

It eliminates the warrant requirement.

ISPs would be required to store customer names, bank account numbers, IP addresses, credit card numbers and home addresses. In other words, a gigantic database will be created for any snooping purpose. And, let's be clear, since there is no warrant requirement, law enforcement will end-up simply grabbing all of the information available, whether or not there is an ongoing investigation, and storing it permanently.

Republicans did this.

There's a point where right meets left. It's where some in the Republican party would liberally use government power to further their ends. It's a "we need a new law for that" kind of mentality. "Hell, we just wanna do good." They're the same as liberals; they're just on different sides of the coin. They both want to spread their good deeds far and wide with little thought to proper limits on the extent of government and police power. This has very little to do with what America is all about. It has everything to do with how these people view themselves. Liberals and conservative like these are drunk on power. They're so enamored of their own brilliance and so certain of their abilities, they feel they can fashion new law on an ad hoc basis whenever it suits them.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was a co-sponsor of this bill.

I would submit that the only real conservatives are constitutional conservatives. Socons and corporatists, like liberals, feel government is to be used get you things. They view government power as a sword rather than a shield. They also assume government is only benevolent, that bureaucrats never do harm.

Below the fold is a rogue's gallery of CINOs who joined forces with Sheila Jackson Lee to vote this bill out of committee. more...

Posted by: rdbrewer at 10:20 AM | Comments (382)
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43 GOP Senators Sign Letter To Reid Saying They Won't Vote For His Bill UPDATE: House Kills Reid Bill
— DrewM

Not unanimous but close enough.

Dear Leader Reid:

We are writing to let you know that we will not vote for your $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment which, if enacted, would result in the single largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the United States. In addition to this unprecedented increase in borrowing authority, your amendment completely fails to address our current fiscal imbalance and lacks any serious effort to ensure that any subsequent spending cuts are enacted.

The plan you have proposed would not alter the spending trajectory that is putting our economy and national security at risk. In return for an unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, your amendment reduces spending by less than $1 trillion over the next decade. Setting aside the $200 billion shortfall between the CBO scored savings and the $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, identified by the Congressional Budget Office, most of the proposal’s alleged savings are based on a false claim of credit for reductions in war-related spending that were already scheduled to occur. This amendment proposes no change to our military posture and, for that reason, these savings are the sort of widely ridiculed accounting gimmick that breeds cynicism about our ability to tackle our fiscal challenges. The only possible justification for a $2.4 trillion increase in borrowing authority is to allow the President to avoid any accountability for these issues before his 2012 election. It is by constantly putting off these tough decisions that we have found ourselves with a national debt nearly equal to the size of our gross domestic product. The time for action is now, we cannot wait until we accumulate another $2.4 trillion in debt.

For all of these reasons, we must oppose your unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment. Given the nation’s enormous future spending challenges, it would be irresponsible to give the President this unprecedented additional borrowing authority without requiring the enactment of significant spending reductions and reforms. We urge you to abandon this reckless proposal and instead pursue a more responsible course of action that would rein in spending, reassure the financial markets, and help promote private sector job growth.

The hold outs are exactly who you expect...Brown, Collins, Snowe and Murkowski.

The House is voting on the origianl Reid bill (which the Senate hasn't voted on yet) and they'll kill it.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid is on the floor whining that the Senate has the filibuster. Durbin is now doing the same thing. This is the new Democratic tactic...bitch about the filibuster. This of course could have been dealt with in January. They didn't want to change the rule because they want it in place when they are in the minority.

So we're pretty much nowhere.

BTW-Don't waste your time primarying Scott Brown. A challenge from the right will only help him with Massachusetts voters. You really want to hurt him? Have DeMint go up there and do a couple of events praising him. That will really hurt Brown.

Durbin just said, "time is the essence". Of course, McConnell just said he'd agree to a vote right now but Team Democrat wants the day to complain. They have nothing else to do since the Reid bill is going to die TWICE...once this afternoon in the House and then in the Senate. This is just time killing while they try and figure out what comes next.

Oh and Durbin's righteous indignation against the filibuster? It's somewhat selective.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL): "Those Who Would Attack And Destroy The Institution Of The Filibuster Are Attacking The Very Force Within The Senate That Creates Compromise And Bipartisanship." (Sen. Richard Durbin, Congressional Record, 4/15/05, p.S3763)

• DURBIN: The Filibuster Is "[One] Of The Most Treasured And Cherished Traditions Of The United States Senate." "Many of us in the Senate feel that this agreement tonight means that some of the most treasured and cherished traditions of the United States Senate will be preserved, will not be attacked and will not be destroyed." (Sen. Durbin, "Statement of Sen. Dick Durbin Regarding the Agreement on Judicial Nominations in the Senate," Press Release, 5/23/05)

UPDATE: The GOP preemptive strike against the Reid Plan is complete. This apparently is Reid 1.0 (which was amended by Reid last night) and it was defeated 173 Yes-246 No. I'll look for the final total but about a dozen Democrats voted No (11 was final total).

Cantor says only a pro-forma session tomorrow for the House, so nothing will pass before Monday.

Posted by: DrewM at 08:35 AM | Comments (241)
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President Fussbudget Uses the Awesome Power of His Weekly Address That Nobody Watches to Plead for His Electoral Future
— Dave in Texas

See what I did there?

Passing legislation is wasting time. You must pass legislation that does not bear the mark of your extremists, that does not address Washington's reckless spending, that allows us to continue to buy votes with your money.

Anything less would be irresponsible. And threaten (litany begins), Social Security Checks, Veterans, and Our Sacred Obligations to Federal Contractors*.

*full disclosure, I have some skin in the game on that last one.

I've watched Presidents use the bully pulpit for a long time. Can't remember the last time I saw one use it to say "I need this to get re-elected."

Maybe Nixon.

Anyway, whiny request for credit line increase below the fold.

Later this weekend we can talk some football, if anyone's so inclined.

via smitty_one_each more...

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 08:02 AM | Comments (114)
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3 a.m. Obama Call. Open Thread. [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger



Tim Geithner: "Hel.. Hello?"

Obama - slightly out of breath: "I need your help. You can't ask why. You can't ask where. But I need to bury an economy. Can I count on you?"

TG: "Of course, but one question: Why did you dial my cell? I'm lying at the foot of your bed."

Obama: breathing

TG: "I can see you."

Obama: "ummmm"

TG: "Forget it. I've got some shovels in my van."

Run with it, morons. Who else does Obama call?

Make me laugh. More importantly, make Andrew Breitbart laugh.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 05:50 AM | Comments (138)
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The White Thread
— rdbrewer

"White is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light that stimulates all three types of color sensitive cone cells in the human eye in nearly equal amounts and with high brightness compared to the surroundings. A white visual stimulation will be void of hue and grayness.[1]

White light can be generated in many ways. The sun is such a source, electric incandescence is another. Modern light sources are fluorescent lamps and light-emitting diodes. An object whose surface reflects back most of the light it receives and does not alter its color will appear white, unless it has very high specular reflection.

Since white is the extreme end of the visual spectrum (in terms of both hue and shade), and since white objects - such as clouds, snow and flowers - appear often in nature, it has frequent symbolism. Human culture has many references to white, often related to purity and cleanness, whilst the high contrast between white and black is often used to represent opposite extremes." --Wikipedia

Open Thread.

Posted by: rdbrewer at 04:34 AM | Comments (173)
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July 29, 2011

Obamaconomy [ArthurK]
— Open Blogger

Quarterly GDP since Pres. Obama took office.

2009 2nd Qtr:.....-.7%
2009 3rd Qtr:.....1.7%
2009 4th Qtr:.....3.8%
2010 1st Qtr:.....3.9% (Obamacare passed March 2010)
2010 2nd Qtr:.....3.8%
2010 3rd Qtr:.....2.5%
2010 4th Qtr:.....2.3%
2011 1st Qtr:.....0.4%
2011 2nd Qtr:.....1.3%

The conventional wisdom is that it takes at least 2.5% GDP growth to lower unemployment numbers.

For comparison, here are annual numbers from the Carter years


Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:52 PM | Comments (126)
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Overnight Thread- The Last Friday Before Obama Induced Doom Day On August 2nd Edition[CDR M]
— Open Blogger

Evening morons! Figured I'd start out the night with a dog and beer pic to help drown our debt limit sorrows. Let's just say, the drinking lamp is lit.

Now, what would you choose? This South Dakota Cowboy Town For $799,000 or an entire Detroit city block for a pack of Pall Mall's? I'd think I'd go with the cowboy town. That saloon would be kick ass. Perfect for a moron meetup and some high stakes poker. Plus it's NOT in a blue state. more...

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