Category Archives: Economics

Cartoon(s) of the Week – It’s all over. Where are we?

Kevin Siers in The Charlotte Observer:

Perhaps we can start on getting religion out of politics. What are we, the Taliban?

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Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

At least we know now that America is more than old white men…

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Joel Pett in The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Of course, some Republicans will probably continue their uncooperativeness. It will kill them later.

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Mike Luckovich in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Of course, this may make at least one news organization reevaluate it’s strategy…

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Adam Zyglis in the Buffalo News:

And now forward into the second term (thanks, in part, to General Motors.)
 

 

 

 

 

The Final Results of the Election…

If you haven’t seen where everything finally ended up after Florida was called (which took an awfully long time and right up to the very end the GOP said Romney had it… but he didn’t), then here it is:

This, to me, is a sure sign that Obama has a mandate to finish his agenda. To win by 126 electoral votes is not insignificant… it is a real rollover.

Now we will listen to Boehner claim that he is ready to cooperate, but will keep the House just a opposed to increasing taxes on the very rich and solving the rest of the economic problems. Will the House Republicans finally support Obama’s goal to increase jobs? Looks like they are going to stay just as opposed. Didn’t they learn anything from the election?

Mitch McConnell will probably keep the Republicans in the Senate from letting things go through, although they are still in the minority. McConnell is up for reelection in Kentucky in 2014, so maybe he will cooperate a little bit just to show that he’s not a schmuck. We’ll wait and see.

 

So how is Romney’s plan to send Foodstamps to the states going to effect his voter base?

That is a good question, after looking at this article in the Bloomberg News. Here’s a clip:

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in May that he’d written off votes from 47 percent of Americans who are collecting government aid. Turns out many of them are part of his political base.

Seventy percent of counties with the fastest-growth in food-stamp aid during the last four years voted for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by Bloomberg. They include Republican strongholds like King County, Texas, which in 2008 backed Republican John McCain by 92.6 percent, his largest share in the nation; and fast-growing Douglas County, Colorado.That means Romney is counting on votes from areas where lower-income people have become more reliant on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps.

Let’s see how it really fits his base support. Get the word out!

How do the candidates stand on America’s energy future? Here’s a radio piece from NCR

Energy policy, defining how we use energy to power our economy and our lives, is among the most pressing issues for the next four years. In this special edition of BURN, stories about the power of one: how, in this election season, a single person, place, policy or idea can — with a boost from science — affect the nation’s search for greater energy independence.

We’ve had a lovely afternoon and evening at the American Conservation Film Festival.

We are in the four day period of the ACFF, now celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary of presenting conservation and nature support films here in Shepherdstown.

We saw two films this afternoon, but tonight we saw two films accompanied by live discussions and question periods with the filmmakers.

The most interesting to me was Marion Stoddart whose life and career spent saving the Nashua River was so well presented in the short film “The Work of 1000.”

Filmmaker Susan Edwards broached the subject Can one person truly make a difference? This film tells the inspiring story of how a remarkable woman saved a dying river–for herself, for the community and for future generations–and became an environmental hero honored by the United Nations.

Mrs Stoddart, now in her 80s spent decades getting a very polluted river clean… petitioning, demonstrating, approaching manufacturers and politicians directly, and getting her husband and children involved. Her live presentation with the audience was very involving.

Our Nation’s River: A System on Edge  was the second film we saw this evening. Ten minutes long and made by Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of historic natural filmmaker Jaques Costeau. This piece was particularly meaningful for us, since it is about the Potomac River, the water body that forms our northern border and flows from us down to Washington DC.

Ms, Cousteau answered questions but also presented a discussion panel of professionals from the Nature Conservancy and the Potomac River Foundation.

The House was pretty full at Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University, with a number of standers who wanted to catch everything as well. Among the folks there tonight were most of the officers of Sustainable Shepherdstown (My wife is in that bunch, of course), our current State Delegate John Dolan whose work for us has been spectacular and who is leaving office at the end of the session. Steve Skinner, the Democratic candidate for Delegate who, hopefully, will take John’s place, was there as well. Both men realize the importance the Potomac is to our community. Of course, Republican Candidate Elliot Spitzer was NOT there this evening. Preserving our environment is just not a Republican issue… after all, don’t they all think that Climate Change is a joke?

We’re going to some more films tomorrow.

Here’s a video treat from ALL HAT NO CATTLE…

…the one blog I try to view every day. This is a video that Lisa put together Called “Back in the Good Old Days” which is a good indicator that Romney will bring Bushiness back to us.

 

Hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

 

Employment growth picks up in October with addition of 171,000 jobs

Today the Government released the October Labor Statistics and we see that employers have added a larger-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October across a broad spectrum of businesses. In this, the  final snapshot of the economy before election day, we have an interesting picture of job growth… more than double what it was in September.

Unfortunately, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.9% from 7.8% in September. This was because more people jumped back into the labor market, including a very large group of 18-year old first time workers. This, of course, is a positive sign that workers may be feeling more confident about their job prospects.

The new Labor Department report, which also revised sharply higher job growth in September and August, may give a boost to President Obama, who continues with a slow but positive economic growth. There is still enough information for the undecided to support Obama who has kept us going even though Mitch McConnell and his Republicans have worked overtime to keep Obama’s Job Creation proposals and other forward moving activities from passing or getting any Congressional support. It’s interesting that Obama has gotten as far as he has… and it is even more interesting how little the Republicans have been concerned with helping to relieve our economy.

 

Educator and Cultural Critic Jacques Barzun Dies at 104;

 

Historian, essayist, cultural gadfly and educator Jacques Barzun, who helped establish the modern discipline of cultural history, was probably best known for viewing the West as sliding toward decadence. He died Thursday night at his home in San Antonio.  He was 104.

His remarkable curiosity and manifold interests and accomplishments, encompassed both Berlioz and baseball (and many other subjects.) He stood with Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell and Lionel Trilling as one of  the mid-20th century’s most wide-ranging scholars. He tried to reconcile the achievements of European philosophy and culture with the very different American intellect and culture.

He wrote dozens of books across many decades, demonstrating that old age did not necessarily mean intellectual decline. He published his most ambitious and encyclopedic book at the age of 92 (and credited his productivity in part to chronic insomnia). That work, “From Dawn to Decadence,” is an 877-page survey of 500 years of Western culture in which he argued that Western civilization itself had entered a period of decline.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Barzun showed little interest in taking political positions. This was partly because he became a university administrator and had to stand above the fray, and partly because he approached the world with a detached civility and a sardonic skepticism about intellectual life.

He traced periods of rise and fall in the Western saga, and contended that another fall was near — one that could cause “the liquidation of 500 years of civilization.” It looks like he won’t be around to see it.

 

It looks like last night’s debate was Obama’s triumph…

Although I don’t think Mittens made any huge gaffes, he did tell a pile of obvious lies and Obama seemed to catch him on them.  I was reading Andrew Sullivan’s online live commentary as the debate went on, and his summations in the last few minutes pretty much made the event understood:

10.35 pm. After the first truly epic implosion in the first debate, Obama has clawed his way back in the following two, in my view. He has marshalled his arguments as potently as possible; he brought the themes of his candidacy together compellingly. His advantage on foreign policy will not, I think, diminish; it may well strengthen. And that is only just. After eight years of the most disastrous, misguided, immoral and a catastrophic foreign policy, Obama has brought the US back from the brink, presided over the decimation of al Qaeda, the liberation of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, and restored America’s moral standing in the world.
For Romney, he made no massive mistakes. No Gerald Ford moments. And since the momentum of this race is now his, if now faltering a little, a defeat on points on foreign policy will be an acceptable result. But this was Obama’s debate; and he reminded me again of how extraordinarily lucky this country has been to have had him at the helm in this new millennium.
He’s flawed; he’s made mistakes; but who hasn’t? If this man, in these times, with this record, against this opposition, does not deserve re-election, then I am simply at a loss for words. I have to believe the American people will see that in time.
10.34 pm. Obama’s closing statement was his best few minutes in all three debates. Romney’s seems a little desperate and now he – the man whose running-mate is Paul Ryan – is saying he is more bipartisan than Obama.
10.30 pm. So Romney just blames the entire economy on Obama alone. This litany of “the economy sucks throw him out” is the crude but effective big lie.
10.27 pm. “Governor, the people in Detroit don’t forget.” The lies this man has said tonight have been more numerous than I can ever remember in any debate. The man does not have the moral character to be president, in my opinion.

I think Obama, aside from appearing presidential and in control of his information (and correct in presenting his record, as well.) Romney, as Obama said, tried to “Airbrush History.”  The best turnover Obama brought around was when Romney claimed Obama had made an “Apology Tour” of the middle east, and the president cleared up his trips and and made it clear that the charge Romney has made was his “biggest whopper.”

Romney has seemed to abandon neoconservatism by endorsing Obama’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and agreeing on many other of the president’s foreign policy actions.  Obama made sure to point this out. It seemed like Romney was congratulating the President of the United States.

Obama really came out as one who deserves a second term.He was clearly the Commander in Chief and Romney didn’t look like he would fill that role in the same way.

 

Want the details on the Romney Ryan Tax Plan?

Nobody seems to know what the plan entails… Romney and Ryan say they have it, but never spell it out in debates or speeches. I wonder why that is?

To find out more about the plan click HERE.

Getting ready for tonight’s debate…

I really want to think about those things Romney is lying about so that when they pop up in the debate I can yell at the television and wish him ill results in the election.

For instance, when Mittens says Obama added more to the deficit than any previous President, we should look at the facts:

 

Did you see what those Repiglicans did?

 

It’s interesting, then, that Obama has the trust of Americans on most issues, but somehow Romney has labeled himself as the deficit reducer — given the things he seems to be representing, this is really impossible. I think people need to think this over and I hope Obama clarifies everything tonight.

 

Great lead for Obama on handling an unexpected crisis.

And look what Obama scored in government spending vs. the Repilicans’ great hero Reagan:

 

Ok… I have high expectations for Obama tonight. I hope you do, too.

 

I’ll bet the Romney Campaign is a little more nervous with today’s Gallup announcement.

Gallup’s 30 day moving average poll finds unemployment has dropped to 7.3%. While not an official jobs number in the sense that the BLS numbers are, it obviously correlates to the recent BLS numbers that had the right wing in a frenzy of conspiracy talk. Also correlating to the improving BLS numbers are the facts that recent jobless claims numbers are dropping dramatically and today’s consumer confidence number hit a 5 year pre recession high.

Can’t wait to hear Romney’s response to all of this.

 

We say farewell to former Senator Arlen Specter, dead at 82.

Arlen Specter, who spent 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the Senate offended Republicans and Democrats in almost equal measures with maverick votes and a frank cockiness that finally ended his career in politics, died Sunday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82

Specter, who had battled a number of major illnesses in recent years, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was a hard-driving former prosecutor described even by some admirers as sarcastic. But he stood well above many of his Senate colleagues in his combination of intelligence and effectiveness.

Specter won no lasting gratitude from either liberals or conservatives during his career, and he especially alienated women.

After yet another “betrayal” of Republicans on the 2009 stimulus plan, he was forced to make the most dramatic leap in a career that was full of them. But this time he did not make it across the chasm. Facing defeat in the 2010 Republican primary election, Specter surprised the nation by announcing in April 2009 that he was switching parties – for a second time. (In 1965 he switched from Democrat to Republican after winning election as Philadelphia district attorney on the Republican ticket in an end-run around the city’s Democratic machine.)

His Senate change delivered a veto-proof majority there to President Obama. But not for long. Pennsylvania Democrats, many of whom had voted against him for years, refused to accept his final conversion. The party change did not secure his position, however. He avoided the Republican primary but got smacked in the Democratic primary. His career ended.

Why Obama Now…

An animation by Simpsons/Family Guy animator Lucas Gray:

Pass it around. It sums up the issues very well…very understandably. Entertaining, too.

My great thanks to José Moreno for contributing to the blog…

My thanks to
José Moreno for last night’s donation to Under The LobsterScope. Thanks,
 José . I think you are our first member from Mexico.

Watch your e-mail, your Bill’s Victorian Ornaments  font is on the way!

- Bill

If you’d like to help us out at Under The LobsterScope (and we hope you will), go HERE.

Obama was blocked by Republicans from passing so many bills. Romney doesn’t seem to know that.

In 2010, Mitch McConnell set the Republican Senators’ goal to make sure Obama didn’t get the legislation he promoted approved. Both the Senate and House Republicans set working AGAINST Obama as more important than working FOR America.

Here’s the Republican record for the past 3.5 years:

  1. Tax companies that ship jobs overseas – BLOCKED (Source)
  2. The Dream Act – BLOCKED (Source)
  3. Political Ad disclosure Bill – BLOCKED 2x (Source)
  4. Small Business Jobs Act – BLOCKED 2x (Source)
  5. Anti- Rape Amendment – BLOCKED (Source)
  6. Benefits for Homeless Veterans – BLOCKED (Source)
  7. Affordable Healthcare for America – Voted 33x to Repeal (Source)
  8. Healthcare for the 9/11 First Responders – BLOCKED (Source)
  9. The Jobs Bill – BLOCKED (Source)
  10. Wall Street Reform – BLOCKED (Source)
  11. Oil Spill Liability – BLOCKED (Source)
  12. Immigration Reform – BLOCKED (Source)
  13. Fair Pay Act of 2009 – BLOCKED and DEFEATED (Source)
  14. Unemployment Extension Bill – BLOCKED (Source)

In 2012 they want you to think that Obama is to BLAME!! What do Americans think? If your neighbor blames Obama, pass this list on and let them know the way the GOP congress has acted.

Romney says he’ll eliminate PBS to cut the debt… Not a good move!

He shouldn’t have let us know that Sesame Street was on the line for cancellation if he was elected. Big Bird is going to get even by exposing the Mittster’s lies:

Today there will be debate evaluations everywhere…

There is general feeling on the television news shows that Romney scored last night, primarily by not screwing up. However, I agree with reporter Michelle Goldberg said in The Daily Beast:

“Romney lied brazenly about everything—notably on taxes—yet over and over again an honest but listless and meandering Obama failed to effectively challenge him.”

The fact that Obama didn’t call him on his lies, that he never hit on the 47% comments… well Goldberg sums it up thusly:

“Perhaps Obama, feeling comfortable in his lead, didn’t want to get down in the muck and call Romney a liar, or perhaps he was just unprepared for the level of deceit on display. Debating someone who is willing to simply make things up is incredibly discombobulating. Regardless, it means that most viewers will be left with a seriously distorted view of what the Republican candidate is proposing. Tomorrow, the fact-checkers will try to correct the record, but the Romney campaign has already decided that facts don’t matter.”

I expect this will change Obama’s approach to the next debate.
Don’t Forget:

I imagine that Romney will accuse Obama of not having created jobs…

 

… but I doubt if he will identify the actions of the Republican House majority or the Senate Republican filibusters in preventing Obama‘s 17 jobs bills t6o go through.

So what were the results of the Republican refusal to work with their president? Take a look:

Remember this when Romney brings up the 8.1% unemployment rate… remember it when he says Obama has done nothing to even attempt to create jobs.

 

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – As Romney gets closer to the debates…

Tony Auth of Newsworks.org:

Romney plans health care for the 47%…

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Rob Rogers in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette:

Is Romney sure he wants to cut off about half the contributors?

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Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

Isn’t Romney the king of mixed messages?

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Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

At least he has Ryan to depend on…

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David Horsey in the L.A. Times:

Now if he could avoid the bad dreams…

 

Rep. Todd Akin has made up his own responses to rape and women…

Rep. Todd Akin has made up his theories about the female body being able to turn off responses to rape.

This is pretty stupid for the Tea Party… and female bodies when subjected to rape do not have ways to shut the whole thing down.

This is not the situation that is defined by response by women to the Tea Party view.

When Romney criticizes Obama on education, ask what he did as Massachusetts’ Governor…

 

Want to know what Massachusetts educators learned from Mitt Romney‘s single term as Massachusetts governor? He forced them into increased classroom sizes, school budget cuts, higher fees and less out-of-school services for students.

As Ronald, a former superintendent from Attleboro, MA explains:

“Governor Romney said that he was not going to cut education. And then the next thing we knew those cuts were made.”

So take a look at this, then tell the Romney supporters you know with school children what they can expect if he gets elected.

 

The New Romney Health Plan for the Poor…

 

I watched’ “60 Minutes” last night and heard Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney reveal his new plan for the millions of Americans who don’t have any health care coverage: Go to the emergency room.

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance. If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

- The 2012 Mittster

As just about anyone will tell you, this is a publicly more expensive program and must less effective than insured quality care on an ongoing basis.

This is the same man who implemented the universal health care law in Massachusetts (what we tend to call Romneycare) while he was the governor. He also reiterated the need for universal coverage back in 2010 during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Look, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care for which they have no responsibility, particularly if they are people who have sufficient means to pay their own way.” 

- The 2010 Mittster

Does this guy ever stick to his opinions? Are any of his thoughts really his own?

I doubt it.

 

Does Romney know he doesn’t live in Switzerland? Take a look at his tax return.

 

Romney, in his 1040 income tax form, listed himself as being in a foreign country…uh…the USA.

“If you have a foreign address,” the tax return instruction reads, “also complete spaces below.” In the space below, under “foreign country name,” Romney’s form reads “USA.”

 

Of course, it probably points out how rarely Romney actually fills out income tax forms. If he made the 12 years of forms previously available, maybe we could get a true sense of where Romney comes from.

 

Watching Romney on 60 Minutes led me to remember the things he was lying about…

 

Post these on your websites if you want to be aware of what Romney-Ryan will do to Medicare… and what they will do to employment and tax income, etc.:

Gee, I’m lucky… being in the oldest category they only grab about 50% of my retirement payments from Social Security (or all of my pension each year for the next 8… then it’s gone.)

Did you hear Romney say he was going to cut taxes on Middle America? Go you remember ythe other day when he said the income rate of Middle America started at $200,000.00 a year in annual income… and averaged a quarter of a million dollars. All at once I was not part of Middle America any more. Neither were ALL of the people I know and deal with every day in West Virginia.

I hope most people realize the bullshit Romney is bubbling over with. We have the possibility of having the worst president in history. Let’s avoid that situation by not voting for him.

 

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