Saturday, April 08, 2006

Yesterdays economic news - good news or bad news?

I will admit, I don't understand economics. Especially when it concerns what is or isn't good for the average American. So an article in today's business section of the DMN has me even more confused. My comments are in red...

U.S. companies add 211,00 jobs (this sounds like good news)

Unemployment dips again, (more good news I think); strong report triggers worries on Wall Street (uh oh, that doesn't sound good - must be bad news)

"American employers added 211,00 workers in March, and the unemployment rate matched a four-year low, capping the best first quarter for hiring of any year since 2000 (this is obviously good news). The unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent, from 4.8 percent in February, the Labor Department reported Friday (confirmation of good news). 'Let's face it, 211,000 jobs at this stage of the employment cycle is pretty darn good,' said David Wyss, chief economist of Standard and Poor's (an expert agrees that this is good news). The strong employment data triggered a decline in the stock and bond markets (uh oh, I guess it was bad news) as investors fretted that businesses' growing appetite for workers might drive up wages (good news for workers) - and inflation (never good news) - and make it more likely the Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates (ok, I KNOW that high interest rates are not good for anyone, correct?)."

After reading just this part of the article, I have no idea if the news was good or bad. Maybe good for workers (more jobs, growing business, higher wages) but bad for investors (growing business, higher wages, higher inflation). The bottom line appears to be that what is good for investors isn't good for average American. Or, stated another way, low unemployment and more jobs created is bad for Wall Street but good for average Americans. My head is spinning.....I don't know what is good or bad, what economic news I should be happy about or sad about.

Maybe I should just skip the business section from now on and concentrate on easier subjects, such as immigration.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Re: Parque Nacional los Glaciares

Now I have to go. I've got to ski below the Equator.

Last of the Argentina memory road pictures

Damn, I want to go back.

This is looking down the street that the first hotel we stayed at was on. It was in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. The name of the hotel was Hotel Bobo. Had a great continental breakfast (all homemade pastries).

One of the many glaciers at the Parque Nacional los Glaciares. The little white speck in the lower middle is one of the tour boats. The park is on the Argentina - Chile border. The mountains with snow-covered peaks are in Chile - the ones without are in Argentina.

Looking down the Avenida 9 de Julio, the largest street in the world. 11 lanes each way (there is a median on each side which divides the lanes after the 3rd lane). When the lights changed to cross the street, the furthest we ever made it was to the median on the other side. Lanes, however, don't mean much to drivers in Buenos Aires. We were amazed that there didn't seem to be many traffic accidents, though every time you came to an intersection, you just waited to be hit.

Amen corner

One of the features (I think it is new this year) at the Masters website is "amen corner live". You get to see every shot of just these 3 holes. It's awesome. I've been watching it today. Lots of carnage at #12. Phil (my favorite golfer) is coming up.

Re: Más recordando el pasado acerca de Argentina

The more I look at those pics, especially the Casa Rosada, the more I want to go.

Otoh, if I'd been Juan, I'm not sure how I'd have felt living in The Pink House.

Re: Bush interaction [yesterday] at a Townhall Meeting

For those of you who can't see LJ's video, here is some of the dialogue between the president and Mr. Taylor, courtesy of the Seattle Times:

"While I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water," real-estate broker Harry Taylor told Bush at a town-hall meeting.

"I have never felt more ashamed of nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington."

"I'm not your favorite guy," the president said. "What's your question?"

Taylor didn't have one, but he wasn't finished.

"I feel like, despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration," he told Bush. "And I would hope, from time to time, that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself [emph. mine]."

For all their differences, Bush and Taylor agreed on at least one thing.

"I really appreciate the courtesy of allowing me to speak what I'm saying to you right now," Taylor said near the conclusion of his reprimand. "That is part of what this country's about."

"It is," Bush agreed.

That exchange just astounds me. Now, I've never "hated" a president, especially a sitting president so maybe that is why I don't get this. If LJ or Michael were elected president and sought my advice over an issue I thought either had botched badly, I'd tell him so behind closed doors. To tell him he should be ashamed, though, and in public, that I could not do.

As Hugh Hewitt pointed out yesterday in his coversation with James Lileks (you can read it at Radioblogger), the lovely irony here is that he is so frightened by his leadership that he can say this face to face to der Fuhrer himself without fear:

HH: But there's a lot to say about that exchange. I'm just mulling it over, and isn't it wonderful that we live in a country where someone can get up and slag the President, and then pronounce himself fearful of the times in which we live?

JL: Well, you don't know whether or not he was taken out in the parking lot.

HH: We don't. He might never have gotten home.

JL: No, he's gone to that secret camp where Susan Sarandon's been for the last 18 months.

Finally, I would not take James' bet:

JL: ...I will bet you $1,000 dollars that that man has at least 16 bumper stickers on the back of his car.

This can't possibly be true, can it?

From Tony Snow in today's JWR:

Since the immigration "reforms" of 1986, the number of jobs in the United States has risen a net total of 44 million. The standard of living in the nation has grown to the point that the average welfare recipient has more creature comforts (homes, computers, televisions, cars, air conditioners, etc.) than the average citizen of France.

I wish he'd cited his source. I do think his overall point, if not all his arguments, is correct. Seems like every 20 years or so this blows up, we realize there is not much we can do, and then it goes away. The difference this time, of course, is 9/11.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Re: Bush interaction today at a Townhall Meeting

Courtesy of CNN, HERE is the video that Scooter references.

Bush interaction today at a Townhall Meeting

Just heard an amazing exchange between the president and an audience member in which the audience member lambasted (admittedly very politely seemingly sincerely) the administration in general and the president in particular. At one point he said something to the effect of never being more ashamed and more frightened by an administration.

Bush took it all in stride and with his usual good wit and grace. Jovial at first and then turning very serious in refusing to apologize for the phone tapping procedures and offering the best, most succinct, justification of the procedures I've heard to date.

I'll try to poke around and find the sound somewhere and post a link. I'm sure it can't be too hard to find...but for now I'm off to my favorite local music venue: The Cactus Cafe.

Re: SSJ number one and two...

Michael, when you do a post about "Steyn + Demographics" searches showing up No. 1, does that mean you search for the quote on google and then an SSJ link is the first to show in the search?

A pet peeve

So I'm driving around this morning (mother-in-law is still here) and was listening to Laura Ingram. She has a habit (one that I have heard on the radio before, but she takes it to a whole new level) of saying:

"Next on the show, Senator (any Republican Senator other than McCain) to talk about (whatever). We're a big fan of his/hers...."

"I watched the PBS special about Bob Dylan. We don't care for his politics, but we're a huge fan of his music..."

"Did you catch (use any Democratic politican) on (CNN/Today Show/msm news) yesterday. I mean, come on, it's just anti-Bush, anti-American, anit-troops and we aren't buying what they are selling. We just can't handle anymore sofball interviews with (Wolf, Matt, Katie, any White House correspondant) fawning all over (said Democrat)."

The we stuff drives me insane. Who is the "we"? Her and her lap-dog studio hacks? Her and her listeners (which makes the assumption that they are ALL in lock-step with her)?

I know this..if she continues, then we'll have to stop listening to her (the little that we do).

Más recordando el pasado acerca de Argentina

The Casa Rosada. The window on the 2nd floor, 2nd to the right of the arch, is the "Evita balcony".

The La Boca neighborhood. On the weekends, it is an arts/craft/tourist area. However, it is also one of the very few neighborhoods that is NOT recommended to be in at night. In fact, even during the day, it is advised to stay in the about 4 square block "tourist area".

A dog walker leaving a "dog park". Most of the parks (and Buenos Aires has TONS of them) have fenced areas for dogs. Argentine's love dogs, especially big dogs. So you see the dog walkers walking dogs everywhere. Most of the walkers have between 5-10 dogs. They walk them twice a day. Doesn't seem to be a difficult job. No poop cleaning and when you get to the park, you either let the dogs run around doing whatever or you tie their leashes to the fence. Then you visit with your fellow walkers or go somewhere for 30 minutes or so. Seems like EASY money to me.

Ann on DeLay, Earle and Austin

"To finally get some grand jury to hand up an indictment, Earle had to empanel six grand juries in Austin, Texas, which is like the Upper West Side with more attractive people."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Re: DeLay

Byron York has an interesting column up today. In it, DeLay claims that his polling showed he had a only a 50-50 chance of winning. I thought for sure that he had gotten wind that he was in trouble over Abramoff, but DeLay is emphatic that he is not. He also claims he turned over everything he had on Abramoff to Justice even though they hadn't asked for it. I think most conclude that the Earle indictment will fail. So it may well be that this was simply a case of a seasoned pol reading the tea leaves and getting out while the getting is good. No doubt it's a plus for the Repubs not having him as a whipping boy for the Dems and their "culture of corruption" nonsense.

DeLay...What can you say?

Found this today on DU, regarding the reasons for DeLays' resignation. Here is a portion:

"DeLay was determined to hang on to his seat at least through the primary, said Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. That was because he considered his three Republican challengers gadflies and traitors and he was determined to try to block them from succeeding him. ...An additional impetus for putting off the resignation until now was suggested by John Feehery, a former aide to DeLay and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). "He needed to raise money for the defense fund. That was the bottom line," Feehery said. "He wanted to make sure he could take care of himself in the court of law." Under federal campaign rules, any reelection money a lawmaker raises can be used to pay legal fees stemming from official duties".

Gee, what a class act Tom is!

And so I don't get accused of "strained or deliberate misreading of the source material about Republican leaders or well-known conservative commentators...", HERE is a link to the entire article from the Washington Post.

Good riddance Tom...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dennis Prager...

nicely points out the how we are different. I can cite this with authority because I was once a lib.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The most popular search that lands hits SSJ...

Is something Scooter wrote about Judas and Mary and Damon. I also get some Bart Whitakers. Scooter gets the remainder because he blogs on esoteric and, apparently to some, interesting things. Scooter, I'll note that its not economics that is attracting your audience, its the " offbeat" (and I guess by that I mean your other interests) or local things. The Whitaker hits tend to confirm local may "sell," but I'm not going to do it unless its really worthy. I thought my Whitaker story was important because of the message I found (that apparently no one else had) that he had left for the brother he killed (link here, just kidding, look it up) and the Katrina stuff, which I could have owned (from the very first day of this blog in the Astrodome), but lost interest in.

So what? Local and different makes traffic; Maybe, slightly. Never big blog-money traffic. I'm happy to send smoke signals to my blog-Injuns in the outposts. If you think differently, I'm ready to completely abandon my previously strongly-held beliefs for whatever you think.

UDPDATE: Having given this a moments thought, and without any input from my brothers, I realized that a lot of what I said in the final paragraph is just wrong. I've been thinking about LJ's Argentinian stuff and Scooter's "other" stuff and I realize that what they are doing is exactly what we ought to do; that's our "good stuff."*

* The fact that I have no "good stuff" has absolutely no bearing on what I wrote previously and is quite beside the point.

UPDATE 2: Send me a smoke signal occasionally.


Wal-mart meteorologist

Number five on Google.

SSJ number one and two...

on Google for "steyn+demographics." You'd think Steyn himself would beat us, since he knows a bit more that we on the topic. Well, you'd be wrong.

Richard B. Cheney

I've noticed, LJ, that you've studiously avoided criticizing our vice-president. Could THIS be the reason?

Re: DU morning bile

I started to do a full-on fisking of this thing, but I'm not up to it, so just a couple of observations. It appears to me that the criticisms here fall into three groups: (A) lambasting, and appropriately so, unknown/unelected persons and/or fringe characters who identify themselves as Republicans; (B) strained or deliberate misreading of the source material about Republican leaders or well-known conservative commentators (with a sub-category of anything that can remotely be put into the Bush-lied-people-died meme); and (C) gratuitous mocking of unflattering photos.

Now for your scorecard: A: 1, 6 (in part: Freepers, Imus producer), and 10. B: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9. C: 3* and 9. Couldn't get through 7 so I'm not sure what that's all about.

I would note that my criticism of DU falls squarely in Category A (Democrat version). Thus it is meaningless and a waste of time. Note that this differs, in so many ways, from a criticism I might have about Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, Hillary, Jackson and others (SJL and McKinney I consider fringe so I won't insult you with that) based on what they actually said.

* I like that DU thinks this a bad thing. I loved the video. Somebody put together a piece that mixed the Bush video with the Little Pony video with HIGHlarious results. Oh, here it is. Watch it if you dare, LJ, and then tell me you're sad that JK/LP lost.

Great Monday morning reading

Grab your morning coffee and enjoy this from the Democratic Underground. Just try not to have said coffee blow through your nose when you start laughing. I just love Republican idiots.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

One year anniversary

A year ago this Friday C and I left for our trip to Argentina. We still talk about the trip and how much we want to go back. Ah, the memories:

This is the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the largest in the world. One of our Argentine friends recently told us that the glacier had a major break not too long ago. I can only imagine what that would be like to witness.

This is a view of the "supporters" area at Estadio El Monumental, home to River Plate football (soccer) club. This is also the national stadium. Notice the people sitting on the top of the stadium - a very common occurrence. Most of the banners are either (1) names of neighborhoods or (2) bands (notice the U2 banner in the lower middle). The stories one hears about the passion and fervor of South American football fans and matches is very true.

I also attended a match at the home of Boca Juniors (the most popular team in Argentina and the VERY bitter rivals of River). They play at Estadio Alberto J. Armando (know affectionately as "La Bombonera", the chocolate box). A much rowdier crowd and a much larger police presence. A trip to see "los xeneises" playing at La Bombonera is a MUST for any soccer fan.

I would recommend Argentina to anyone wanting a fantastic vacation or experience. With the exchange rate, it is a SUPER bargain for Americans. You don't have to know Spanish to get around (though they appreciate the effort), they have a wonderful subway system, the people are very nice and friendly, they have the best ice cream I have ever eaten and if you like beef, you will be in heaven.

Re: Ugh

I have been having just a wonderful time with my mother-in-law, thus why I haven't been able to pull myself away from the good times and post. Don't know what Scooter's excuse is - perhaps Condi made a "surprise" trip to Austin this weekend.


Seems a bit moribund here.
I'll go. I've read some interesting historical fiction recently, and I recommend them: Pillars of the Earth, and The Alienist.