Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Quick Hits - August 1, 2012

Today is Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day - fighting back against the progressive anti-free speech movement which has been demonizing the restaurant chain because of their Christian values.  Visit your local Chick-fil-A today to show your support.

Gateway Pundit has a link up this afternoon with photos of some of the massive lines being experienced at many Chick-fil-A locations around the country...

August 1st is also the date that the Obamacare anti-religion mandate takes effect.  Effective today, organizations like the Catholic Church have to provide their health insurance customers with free contraceptive, abortifacients, and sterilization services even though the Church and other organizations have religious or moral objections to those services.

The battle over this mandate has just begun, but already, one judge has ruled against it on religious freedom grounds.  The Heritage Foundation notes:
Yesterday, on the eve of its religious-liberty-crushing mandate taking effect, President Obama’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) made an outrageous claim:
The Obama administration will continue to work with all employers to give them the flexibility and resources they need to implement the health care law in a way that protects women’s health while making common-sense accommodations for values like religious liberty.
Religious liberty is a fundamental right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution, not a mere “value” whose worth is subject to devaluation by any given Administration’s policy. Regrettably, devaluation of this first principle is exactly what we’ve seen from the Obama Administration, which after a year of such lip service to religious liberty has held firmly to its original mandate despite widespread, intense, and ecumenical outcry against it.
Even with the new month, the mainstream media is continuing to demonstrate their bias against Mitt Romney and conservative principles....

Major elements of the mainstream media are celebrating the latest CBS / NY Times / Quinnipiac polls of the critical battleground swing states which is showing that Barack Obama has crossed the critical 50% threshold in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

The WaPoo is also touting these polls, with the headline on their website for their report saying, 'Romney Viewed Unfavorably In Key Swing States' and the link using the title 'Swing State Poll - Romney Still Struggling to Convince Voters He Cares'.  Expect more of the sycophants to jump on this bogus bandwagon.

Bogus?  Yes - and I hope that wasn't a surprise to you.  Hot Air's Ed Morrisssey delivers another vintage fisking of the poll and the reporting of CBS News here....
First, let’s look at CBS’ lead on the new poll numbers, which they tout as good news for Barack Obama and bad news for Mitt Romney:
President Obama leads Mitt Romney among likely voters in Ohio and Florida – and has a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania – according to a Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll released this morning.

The poll, conducted from July 24-30, shows Mr. Obama leading his presumptive Republican challenger 53 percent to 42 percent in Pennsylvania. The 11-point lead results largely from independents, who favor the president by 22 points, and women, who favor the president by 24 points.

Mr. Obama holds a six-point lead in Ohio, 50 percent to 44 percent, a state where he holds a campaign event later today. His lead here is also due in large part to women, who back him by a 21-point margin. Romney leads by ten points among Ohio men, and seven points among Ohio whites.

In Florida, Mr. Obama also holds a six point lead, 51 percent to 45 percent. He holds a small lead among both men and women and a 19-point lead among Hispanics, while Romney leads by double-digits among whites and voters age 65 and above.
Now let’s take a look at the partisan breakdown (D/R/I) in the sample data for each state, and compare them to 2008 and 2010 exit polling:

• Florida: CBS/NYT 36/27/32, 2008 37/34/29, 2010 36/36/29

• Ohio: CBS/NYT 35/27/32, 2008 39/31/30, 2010 36/37/28

• Pennsylvania: CBS/NYT 38/32/26, 2008 44/37/18, 2010 40/37/23

The CBS/NYT model has Democrats a +9 in Florida when in 2008 they were only a +3 and an even split in the 2010 midterms. Ohio’s sample has exactly the split in 2008 (D+8), which is nine points better than Democrats did in the midterms. Pennsylvania’s numbers (D+6) come closest to a rational predictive model, somewhere between 2008′s D+7 and 2010′s D+3, but still looking mighty optimistic for Democratic turnout.

In other words, these polls are entirely predictive if one believes that Democrats will outperform their turnout models from the 2008 election in Florida and Ohio.
More examples of media bias...

Weasel Zippers highlights a media report slamming Ann Romney for wearing a $990 designer shirt while not only giving Michelle Obama a pass, but praising her for wearing a $6,800 jacket.  Who is a member of the 1%?
The media’s overabundant love affair with the Obamas has become increasingly blatant as this election draws nearer. Scrutinizing Mrs. Romney for a fashion choice that cost considerably less than that of the First Lady is yet another example of the media being purely sanctimonious,” former political publicist Angie Meyer told “The media continues to relish their roles as liberal bullies, and have relentlessly bullied the Romneys from the beginning. It is pure hypocrisy at its finest.”
[Just another reason why the WaPoo is not even fit for lining a bird cage....]'s Big Journalism pages highlights one of those 'a broken clock is right twice a day' moments as the increasingly leftist Politico exposes the Romney press corps as partisan, petty, and bitter....
But in his attempt to excuse and defend his fellow Obama Palace Guards from their appalling behavior at Poland's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Dylan Byers actually exposes just what a petty, childish bunch of left-wing crybabies the media really is:
Over seven days in the UK, Israel and Poland, Romney held just one media availability for the U.S. traveling press — and even then, standing outside 10 Downing St. in London, he answered only three questions. While he gave a series of interviews to the major television networks, he granted no interviews to other U.S. outlets.

The snub has become the straw that broke the back of an already bitter press corps, long frustrated by limited access to the Republican candidate on the campaign trail. And those frustrations, which traveling reporters are voicing loud and clear online, are putting unprecedented pressure on the Romney campaign’s communications team.

The tensions came to a head in Warsaw today when reporters, increasingly aware that there would be no end-of-tour press avail with the candidate, began shouting questions at Romney as he walked back to his vehicle from a wreath-laying at their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
It's just a fact that during this trip, among others, Romney sat down for extensive, in-depth interviews with Greta Van Susteren, Piers Morgan, Wolf Blitzer, and Brian Williams. Thus, what Byers inadvertently admits here is not that the traveling press corps was fighting for some higher ideal that says a presidential nominee should avail himself to the media -- because Romney most certainly did that -- what Byers reveals here is that -- in his words -- the "bitter" and "frustrated" press corps had a childish temper tantrum on sacred ground this morning because they wanted Romney to answer their questions, not someone else's.
Of course, having a Romney advisor demolishing NBC / MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell in an interview isn't going to help the bruised battered ego of an increasingly irrelevant press corps....

Then there is this laughable moment from MSNBC host Al Sharpton who proudly proclaims himself to be 'non-partisan' to the chittering of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz...

DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: The Democratic party is going to do everything we can to make sure that regardless of whether you speak English or Spanish, regardless of where you live, if you are eligible to vote, and lawfully eligible to vote, we are going to do everything we can to make sure you can cast that ballot. The Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent it.

AL SHARPTON: Now, congresswoman, you know I've spent some time in Florida lately

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: Yes you did, and thank you for that [giggles]

SHARPTON: -- around voter ID, and it's been non-partisan, not for either party.

The DC based newspaper, Roll Call, is enacting drastic job cuts - reflecting a growing trend in the mainstream media...
DC based Roll Call enacts drastic job cuts - Roll Call is the quintessential insider newspaper featuring award-winning reporting on the activity in our nation’s capitol. Roll Call has been a fixture on the Hill since 1955.

On Tuesday, Fishbowl DC reported that it had received an email crying, "Fire sale at CQ Roll Call," and reporting that layoffs were to be announced for the business side of the company.

We received word late yesterday that three conference rooms (one that can be split in half by a dividing wall and one other large room) had been booked for this morning’s proceedings.

Well, that sounded ominous, didn't it?

Only a few minutes later, Fishbowl went on to report that some 30 employees were laid off at Roll Call.

According to Roll Call suits, the company is reshuffling its priorities and the original reporting from Congress and the publishing of the newspaper are getting less focus while other areas of "the greatest growth" are taking priority.
Another topic that the mainstream media is focusing on as their never ending effort to tout Barack Obama is their focus on the ADP July Jobs Report which comes out just days before Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics 'official' numbers for the month of July.  ADP is reporting signs of a turnaround in July in the jobs numbers...which have been dismal since April.  Hot Air tosses the required splash of cold water on the excitement over the ADP data...
That sounds like good news on the surface, but this series almost always overstates the BLS figures — usually by a considerable margin. For instance, the 176K predicted by ADP for June turned into just 80K for the official BLS numbers. May’s ADP increase of 129K ended up as 69K from the BLS. Using ADP to figure out actual numbers for the BLS is a bit of a fool’s errand.

However, the ADP series usually tracks well as a trend indicator. The trend downward signals that July’s numbers aren’t going to be much better than June’s, and might be slightly worse.

… Manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted for a second month in July, indicating a mainstay of the economy was struggling to improve.
ZeroHedge is reporting that hopes that American manufacturing sector would expand are premature...
Expectations that the American manufacturing sector would expand after "briefly" contracting in June were promptly doused after the Manufacturing ISM printed at 49.8, below expectations of an expansionary print of 50.2, and essentially unchanged from last month's 49.7. Where did offsetting growth come from? The most hollow of indicators - Inventory - which keeps on being built up in expectation of a demand spike that never comes. This is also the third miss in a row for the ISM, whose most watched component, the Employment index, slid from 56.6 to 52.0 confirming that the earlier ADP number was a total noisy fluke as usual.
The latest campaign advertisement from the latest prime time speaker for this year's Democrat National Convention, self-proclaimed Native American and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, unfavorably compares America to China, demands more government spending, and uses it's title, 'Rebuild' to  remind voters of her original 'You didn't build that rant'.....

Nice message - kind of like this one...

This as the U.S. Federal deficit is now at its highest levels since we were in the midst of the Second World War....

Compare the Warren advert to this one from Mitt Romney - 'Time For a Change'....

It's also time for a change for the voters of Long Beach, California - represented by Democrat Laura Richardson - who was found guilty on seven counts of violating House of Representatives rules by the House Ethics Committee for improperly pressuring her staff to campaign for her, destroying evidence, and tampering with witness testimony.

The Ethics Committee is recommending that Rep. Richardson is hit with a formal reprimand  slap on the wrist and asked to pay a $10,000 fine.  38 years ago this week, the House Judiciary Committee had voted three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon for his efforts as part of the Watergate cover-up to withhold evidence and obstruct justice (but not witness tampering) - and today, Rep. Richardson gets a $10K fine plus a reprimand.  No wonder so many hold Congress in contempt - and see that the rules are different if one has a 'D' after their name.

In a dramatic come-from-behind victory, GOP Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz overcame a double digit deficit in the polls against GOP establishment candidate, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and won the Texas run-off election to be the GOP Senatorial candidate in the November race to replacing the retiring incumbent Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  The victory is a reminder that the Tea Party of 2010 has not disappeared and remains motivated and enthusiastic for the November elections to elect conservative candidates.

American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis has a very good editorial covering what is at stake with 'Taxmageddon' in January - and growing likelihood that Congress will not take action as Senator Patty Murrary (D-WA) promises to block any deal that does not increase taxes on those earning over $250,000 a year to 'address the debt'.
The mere possibility of this tax-hike tsunami is now weighing on business and consumer confidence, which are at levels more typical of an economy already mired in recession. In a new research note, Action Economics blamed yesterday’s weak June report on consumer spending on “rising public fear over the impending fiscal cliff.” As it is, economists think the economy will be lucky to grow 2 percent for the rest of the year, after growing just under 2 percent in the first half. In the past, economic growth that slow for that long has led to a recession 70 percent of the time.

Now add a big, fat tax hike into the mix.

Letting just the upper-income tax hikes expire would cost nearly a million jobs, according to consultancy Ernst & Young. And it could push 2013 GDP growth to under 1 percent. That’s far too weak to produce many jobs or make paychecks bigger. Another year of Stagnation Nation.

And if the all those tax hikes actually take place? Well, megabank Citigroup is telling its clients that the entire fiscal cliff (which also included $65 billion in scheduled military and Medicare spending cuts) would knock a whopping four percentage points from GDP growth next year.

And even the White House is predicting GDP growth of only 2.7 percent next year — so we’re talking about a fairly nasty downturn and possibly a return to double-digit unemployment. That’s moving backward, not forward. The Obama campaign might need a new slogan.

Even letting the issue linger into 2013 might be enough on its own to snuff out the anemic recovery. What business would want to buy pricey new equipment or hire lots of new workers on the hope that Congress quickly gets its act together after what’s likely to be an extremely close and divisive election?

Even if Mitt Romney wins, the Republicans take full control of Congress and they all agree to kill these tax hikes, it still might take until summer before they get it done over fierce Democratic opposition.

In a sane Washington, Congress would immediately pass at least a temporary extension of all the tax cuts, while promising to work on Simpson-Bowles-style tax reform, lowering marginal tax rates while killing loopholes. But that won’t happen when Team Obama is trying to get the president re-elected with an all-out populist campaign against the “1 percent.”
Don't forget the hike in capital gains, dividends, and estate taxes that are also coming in January.

In Europe, a showdown is looming between the European Central Bank (ECB) and Germany's Bundesbank...
The European Central Bank is primed for a debate this week over whether to use its printing press to save the euro, with Germany's conservative central bank positioned to determine the course of Europe's escalating debt crisis.

The showdown pits ECB President Mario Draghi, a veteran Italian central banker who has headed the ECB since November, against Jens Weidmann, the 44-year-old Bundesbank president. Last week, Mr. Draghi said the ECB would "do whatever it takes to preserve the euro." The comments were viewed by investors as a signal that the central bank was poised to prop up government debt markets by buying vulnerable countries' bonds en masse.

Such a move would be anathema to the Bundesbank, which argues that the purchases would risk violating the ECB charter's ban on central-bank funding of government debt. Two senior German officials—the ECB's former chief economist, and Mr. Weidmann's predecessor as Bundesbank president—resigned last year in protest over the ECB's previous interventions in government debt markets.
The efforts that some will undertake to protect and prop up a failing concept....

Wrapping up, leftist author and commentator Gore Vidal died yesterday at his Hollywood Hills home in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 86.  Here's a video of Gore Vidal and conservative icon William F. Buckley squaring off in a debate on ABC during the 1968 Democrat National Convention in 1968...

The discussion turns nasty quickly as Vidal calls Buckley a 'Nazi' and Buckley retorts by calling Vidal a 'queer'...

Today in History

1790 – The first U.S. census was completed showing the country with a population of 3,929,214.

1864 – Union General Ulysses S. rant appoints General Philip Sheridan to command the Union Army of the Shenandoah. Within a few months, Sheridan drive a Confederate force from the Shenandoah Valley and destroyed nearly all possible sources of rebel supplies – in a march of destruction that might have exceeded Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’.

1914 – 4 days after Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, Germany and Russia declare war on each other as the escalation to World War I nears its end. France orders a general mobilization of its military and within the next three days, France, Belgium, and Britain will join Russia in facing off against Austria-Hungary and Germany. The ‘Great War’ was underway – with its unprecedented (at that time) destruction and scope – more than 20 million soldiers and civilians would die before the 1918 Armistice.

1936 – Adolf Hitler presides over the opening of the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

1943 – An American PT boat captained by Lt.(jg) John F. Kennedy is rammed and sunk during a skirmish with Japanese destroyers near Kolombangara Island in the Solomons. 2 crewmen are killed, but 11 survive to swim to shore. The survivors ultimately meet with friendly natives who take a message to an Allied coastwatcher who then arranges for a PT boat to rescue them from Gomu Island. Kennedy would receive the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for gallantry in action.

1944 – 40,000 poorly supplied soldiers of Poland’s Home Army, an underground resistance group, launches the Warsaw uprising against the German occupiers. The Soviet Army has just reached the eastern outskirts of the city, and liberation seems at hand. Unfortunately, for those in the revolt, and the citizens of Warsaw – the Soviet Army held position to permit the Germans to ruthlessly break the revolt, destroying large parts of the city, and killing nearly 200,000 civilians during the 63 day revolt. With the crushing of the revolt, many of those who would oppose Soviet efforts to establish a communist government in Poland were killed, easing the Soviet efforts.

1966 – Charles Whitman, armed with a stockpile of guns, ammunition, and supplies, enters the observation platform atop a 300 foot tower at the University of Texas, and proceeds to shoot 16 people, and wound another 30 before police stormed the tower and shot Whitman dead. An expert marksman, Whitman hit victims at ranges as long as 500 yards.

1981 – MTV makes its maiden broadcast. "If advertisers make the video disco channel a success, the implications for cable television and the recording industry could be far reaching," wrote a New York Times business columnist in the summer of 1981 about the upcoming premiere of a new cable television network dedicated exclusively to popular music. This prediction proved to be an understatement of historic proportions, though not exactly overnight.

1998 – US book and music chain Borders opens its first European outlet with a 40,000 square foot store on London’s Oxford Street. The Borders chain would file for bankruptcy in early 2011 and failing to find a buyer, would liquidate, closing their last stores in September 2011 as a victim of the internet and competition.

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