Friday, December 2, 2011

Quick Hits - December 2, 2011 - UPDATED

Headlining US economic news this morning is the announcement that the US unemployment rate has dropped significantly from 9% to 8.6% - the lowest level of unemployment since early 2009.  Also being touted as a clear sign of economic recovery, information that the US added 120,000 new jobs while the number of new jobs for August and September were also revised upwards.

What is not being referenced are the reasons for the significant drop in the unemployment rate.  The 8.6% unemployment rate was achieved because 315,000 workers were dropped from the calculation because they have stopped looking for work.  The job gains also appear to reflect the effects of holiday hiring as manufacturing job growth remained stagnant.  For the first time in several weeks, this week's number of new jobless claims exceeded 400,000.

UPDATE - From Hot Air - more insight into the 315,000 workers who were dropped from the unemployment calculation -
The 315,000 seasonal drop in the civilian labor force is almost unprecedented for a November. Since 1982, there have been only 7 times the labor force has dropped between an October and a November, and only 3 times has the drop been even close to this steep. In 2002, 273,000 departed the labor force, in 2008, 332,000 departed the labor force, and in 2009, 227,000 departed the labor force.
Gaming the numbers yet again for political benefit?

CNBC is reporting that if we consider the 'real' unemployment rate, which includes 'discouraged' workers, this measure dropped from 16.2% to 15.6% - which is also the lowest level for this since March 2009.

Digging beyond the surface reflects more challenges, as Stephen Green notes on his PJ Media blog...
“Not seasonally adjusted people who are ‘Not In The Labor Force’ increased by 576,000 in one month.” The “adjusted” number was well over 300,000. For every person who found a new job last month, almost three became so discouraged that they quit looking and no longer count in BLS’s figures. Or more than five-to-one, if you use honest numbers.

If those “discouraged workers” had a little more of that hope, the unemployment rate this month would be 8.9%. If we had the same size labor pool we had on January 20, 2009 — just to pick a random date off the top of my head — the unemployment rate would by 11%. Instead, the labor participation rate is down yet again, to 64%. You have to go back to the early 80s — when women still had yet to be fully integrated into the workforce — to find a number that low.

Biased media elements will decide to not look beyond the surface - and will be presenting this as a huge turning point brought on by President Obama and his economic policies...

Speaking of media bias, today we find a number of shocking, or what should be shocking, examples of bias being promoted by the mainstream media.

MSNBC's Martin Bashir had a lovefest with the DNC Chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz discussing Voter ID laws that a number of states are trying to put into effect to ensure that only registered voters cast ballots.  Both agreed that these efforts were not designed to ensure legal votes being cast, but are examples of the GOP's racism and efforts to suppress the minority vote.  Of course, no Republican officials were present during the segment to provide rebuttal.

Continuing to reflect the lack of objectivity and professionalism of NBC News, they reported the comments from Jimmy Carter's former National Security Advisor, Zbignew Brzenzinski, that called America "one of the most socially unjust societies in the world" - which Andrea Mitchell emphatically agreed to...somehow ignoring Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, People's Republic of China, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Libya, and others which fully embrace and practice socially unjust systems.  Clueless statements like this uttered by one of the biggest failures ever in the role as a National Security Advisor are not very are the support these statements gets from useful idiots like Andrea Mitchell.

In print, one of the most irresponsible newspapers in the US is the Los Angeles Times.  This is a paper that has a level of subscribers (and still falling) equal to the early 1960's - but with a market that is about 20 times larger than it's market in that same timeframe.  Even with several major layoffs of staff over the last 18 months, there are some real pinheads remaining.  Patrick Frey of Patterico's Pontifications, has an end of year 'hall of shame' summary of the LA Times bias and unprofessional journalism - which extremely well researched and documented.

Last night, on the LA Times website's home page, a featured story was present about Sharon Bialek, Gloria Allred's client and an accuser of Herman Cain for sexual harassment.  After the initial media splash organized by Democrat smear merchant, Allred, and an attempt several weeks ago to revitalize the accusation by hosting a press conference where Bialek's boyfriend at the time of the alleged harassment, the lack of real proof has relegated these accusations to background noise.

This article, written by a LA Times partisan hack, Robin Abcarian, is an effort, likely orchestrated by the Times, Abcarian, and Allred to try to restart the smears against Herman Cain in the light of the newest accusation made - that Cain had a 13 year affair with another woman.  Abcarian is not new to carrying Allred's water or being a major smear artist attacking Republican candidates.  During the 2010 California election for Senate, Abcarian wrote a 34 paragraph hatchet job attacking Carly Fiorina to support the liberal Barbara Boxer.  This was followed up supporting Allred's illegal immigrant partisan attack on Meg Whitman - which effectively crippled the Whitman campaign.

Abcarian's history goes back even further - as she was an active participant in attacking James O'Keefe and his video's demonstrating the bias / unethical operations of ACORN as documented in Patterico's Pontifications here, here, and here.

Amnesty International, the extreme left anti-US, anti-Israeli organization that is supposedly for promoting human rights, is having a fit that former US President George W. Bush is currently travelling in Africa visiting Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia to promote AIDS and cancer awareness, is not being arrested by those host countries to stand trial for 'international war crimes' related to the US government's use of waterboarding as an interrogation tool on 4 captured al-Qaeda terrorists including the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. 

On a related note, President Barack Obama has announced that his Administration has pledged $50 million towards promoting AIDS care and awareness in Africa.  During his Presidency, George W. Bush provided $15 billion for the same cause.  One of the most visible spokesman for this cause, U2's Bono, was not hesitant to praise President Bush for his efforts saying that this 'greatly improved America's standing around the world'.

The US Senate approved a new Defense Appropriations bill yesterday by an overwhelming 93-7 vote.  This bill reduces defense spending by $43 billion from last years spending levels - with the new budget amount at $662 billion.  This bill, however, set's up a major showdown between Congress and the White House.  Included within this bill, as well as a House bill, are provisions that require the US military to hold suspected terrorists linked to al-Qaeda or its affiliates, including to be held indefinitely,  as opposed to these captured terrorists being processed through the civilian courts.  President Obama has threatened to veto any bill containing this provision.  The bipartisan landslide vote by the Senate is effectively calling the President's veto threat.

In the irony department, the Milwaukee School Board, which actively opposed the Wisconsin's legislature Act 10 reducing the power and influence of public sector unions, like teacher's unions, has invoked Act 10 to cut it's labor costs, require the teacher's in the union to pay a larger share of their healthcare and pension costs, and address the huge budget deficit that it faced if Act 10 did not exist.

New York's junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, has apparently introduced a bill into the Senate to do the exact opposite of a bill that Massachusett's junior Senator, Scott Brown, has introduced.  Brown's bill, in response to an expose in the book, Throw Them All Out, makes it illegal for Members of Congress to use insider information gained through their responsibilities to make stock trades.  Gillibrand's bill seeks to legalize insider trading for Members of Congress.  Brown is a Republican.  Gillibrand is a Democrat.  I will not be holding my breath waiting for OccupyWallStreet to start demonstrating outside of Gillibrand's home or offices.

A House Committee has voted to issue a subpoena for former Senator, New Jersey Governor, and CEO of the failed investment bank, MF Global, to appear before the committee to answer questions.  MF Global, which failed early in November because of extremely risky bets on the Eurozone, still cannot account for $1.2 billion in client funds that Corzine apparently commingled with corporate funds.

Upcoming for today and this weekend - posts on President Obama, the Payroll Tax Cut sham, the GOP Presidential Primary race, and the continuing crisis in Europe.

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