Archive for August 4th, 2009

Since When Is Plunging Trade ‘Good News for GDP? Cato’s Daniel Griswold

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

This morning’s Commerce Department report on second-quarter GDP contained what passes for good news these days: the U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of only 1.0 percent in the April-to-June quarter. And in the twisted logic of conventional thinking, a drastic fall in international trade was supposedly part of the good news.

An Associated Press report beautifully captures the conventional wisdom. Buried deep in the story was this gem: “An improved trade picture also added to economic activity in the spring. Although exports fell, imports fell more, narrowing the trade gap. That added 1.38 percentage points to second-quarter GDP.”

TARP profit claim bugs skeptics: The Treasury Department’s bank investments are paying dividends. But saying they have earned $6 billion for taxpayers, as Tim Geithner did, is a stretch.

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

NEW YORK (Fortune) — The markets are on a roll, but it’s still a tad early for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to be counting his bailout winnings.

Geithner said this past weekend that taxpayers have made a small profit on their investments in banks via the Troubled Asset Relief Program. “We’ve already earned about $6 billion for the taxpayer on those investments,” Geithner said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Club for Growth Launches $1.2 Million Ad Campaign to highlight the dangers of government-run healthcare

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

From Club for Growth:

Club for Growth Launches $1.2 Million Ad Campaign
TV blitz to highlight the dangers of government-run healthcare

Washington – The Club for Growth will launch a $1.2 million ad campaign this week aimed at Members of Congress who may be persuaded to reject a government-run health insurance program, as well as members with leading roles in the healthcare debate.

“We need to reform our healthcare system with patient-centered, free-market solutions that bring down costs and ensure more Americans have access to quality care,” said Club President Chris Chocola. “But some in Congress are pushing for government-run healthcare, which would crowd out existing plans, increase costs, and stick taxpayers with a bill they can’t afford.”

Starting Thursday, the Club will air television ads highlighting the dangers of government-run healthcare in Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, and North Dakota aimed at Senators Harry Reid, Michael Bennet, Mark Udall, Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, Byron Dorgan, and Kent Conrad as well as Representatives Marion Berry, Vic Snyder, Mike Ross, Diana DeGette, Jared Polis, John Salazar, Betsy Markey, Ed Perlmutter, and Earl Pomeroy.

The ads (shown below) focus on the crushing financial burden of government-run healthcare, as well as the horrors of the Orwellian-named N.I.C.E. agency in England, which has broadly the same powers over healthcare decisions that would be delegated to the U.S. government under current proposals in Congress.

The Club’s ad campaign will run throughout the August recess and could be expanded to other states and districts as the debate over healthcare reform unfolds.

“Members of Congress who would support a plan that raises taxes and involves the government in some of the most important and personal decisions in our lives will hear from us,” added Chocola. “It’s time for President Obama and congressional leaders to scrap their costly takeover of the healthcare sector and focus on solutions that empower patients not government bureaucrats.”

At Goldman, Matt Taibbi Fires and Misses — John Tamny

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

In a piece written to shed light on the allegedly evil doings of Goldman Sachs, Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi unwittingly let readers in on why the majority of his strident protests against Wall Street’s most prominent bank were near meaningless. For those who caught on, they likely quit reading halfway through. Sadly for this somewhat masochistic writer, pure curiosity took him to the bitter end.

But for those not privy to the article in question, about credit-default swaps Taibbi observed that they “were essentially a racetrack bet between AIG and Goldman: Goldman is betting the ex-cons will default, AIG is betting they won’t.” For a piece which included no less than 29 mentions of the word “bubble”, and almost as many variations of the word “speculation”, could Taibbi have really been so dim as to acknowledge that “speculation” is always and everywhere a two-way street?

Barron’s — Clunker Cash Is Anything But Smart Money

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

IF THE GOVERNMENT IS DUMB ENOUGH to give me the money, I’ll take it.

Thus did a recipient of Cash-for-Clunkers dough explain the appeal of the wildly popular federal handout to an NPR reporter. Once again, middle America is vastly wiser than Washington.

On the face of it, the scheme has been a smashing success. “This is the stimulus program that has worked better than any other stimulus program that was conceived,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood crowed.

The Star — The Watchdog | With red light cameras, a tie goes to the driver

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Sensors trigger the cameras when a vehicle enters an intersection after the light has turned red. Each potential violation is reviewed by a police officer before the $100 tickets are issued. In determining if a ticket will be issued, officers focus on the vehicle’s front tires in relation to the wide white stripe marking the entrance to an intersection.

If the front tires are beyond the white stripe when the light turns red, the driver won’t be ticketed.

Which brings us to today’s question from Terry Rueckert of Kansas City.

Rueckert wants to know what happens if a driver stops at an intersection with his tires on or just beyond the white stripe.

The Star: First-degree murder trial opens for KC man

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

A first-degree murder trial began Wednesday for a Kansas City man who authorities said was linked to the slaying through strands of cat hair found in the dead man’s blood-soaked pockets.

Henry Lee Polk also faces a charge of armed criminal action in the death of Stephen M. Nolte, 41, on March 7, 2004.

The Star: Nebraska abortion provider wants to locate clinic in Wichita

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

WICHITA | A Nebraska abortion provider says he still plans to open his own late-term abortion practice in Kansas in the wake of George Tiller’s shooting death.

LeRoy Carhart said Monday his “main choice” would be to locate the clinic in Wichita. Carhart said his attorney has talked to the Tiller family’s attorney, but it is too early to make an announcement.

The Star: Missouri River race is under way

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Two friends had expected adventure, but not quite like this.

It was 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and pouring down rain when Erik Kish and Brett Stephens realized they’d forgotten the cooler of food they planned to pack in their canoe for the first day of the Missouri River 340 race.

“I guess it makes it more exciting,” Kish said.

The Star: Butterfly populations drop in KC area

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Blame the cool weather you’ve been enjoying much of the summer for the butterflies you’re not seeing outside your window.

Numbers of butterflies are so low that a count last weekend at Powell Gardens found only half as many as usual.

The Star: Man sentenced to 38 years in fatal crash that killed mother and daughter

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

A Lee’s Summit man will be at least 75 when he finishes a prison sentence assessed Monday for killing a mother and daughter in a car crash.

A Jackson County judge sentenced Randy Ralstin, 43, to 38 years in prison in the deaths of Tiffany Berry, 33, and Suavae Rouser, 12, last year. He must serve at least 85 percent of that before being eligible for parole.

The Star: Sanders to seek re-election, not KC mayor post

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Possibly the most talked-about potential candidate for mayor of Kansas City – Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders – said Monday that he would not seek the city’s top elected job.

Instead, Sanders said he would run for a second term as county executive.

The Star — KC-area Latinos air concerns about education in forum with White House adviser

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Latinos continue to rise as the fastest-growing ethnic group in Kansas City-area schools, but too often they stand alone.

That was the message that Hispanic students and teachers wanted to deliver to the Obama administration, which last week sent a representative to the area to hear their concerns and ideas.

The Star: Kansas City turns human waste into fertilizer for city trees

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Kansas City is turning black into green: black as in sewage and green as in leafy trees.

The city is using “biosolids” – yes, they are what they sound like – as a high-power fertilizer to nourish hundreds of saplings destined to shade the city’s streets and grace its parks.

The Star — IRS employee wanted employer kept a secret on HUD applications

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Dora J. Fry apparently counted on the right hand not knowing what the left was doing.

Unfortunately for her, both hands belonged to the federal government, and one was the massive mitt of the Internal Revenue Service.

Olathe News — City Council decides to keep Animal Shelter open for now

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Stray and unwanted dogs and cats will will find shelter in Olathe for at least another year.

Olathe City Council members on Tuesday decided to keep operating the Olathe Animal Shelter instead of outsourcing services to Animal Haven in Merriam.

Olathe News — Cat left in apartment dumpster finds a new home in Gardner

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Kathy Kitchen heard about Honey’s plight in the news and couldn’t stop thinking about the red-tabby cat.

An Olathe sanitation driver found Honey more than two weeks ago inside a sealed tote box someone had thrown in a dumpster at an apartment complex.

“The whole story just broke my heart,” Kitchen said.

Olathe News — East’s Settle 2009 Olathe News Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

He was the winning scholar-athlete for the entire Kansas City metro area, so it shouldn’t come as much surprise that Rick Settle also has been selected the 2009 Olathe News Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The Olathe East graduate was a model citizen in all his affairs as a Hawk, earning eight varsity letters with the football, baseball and bowling teams.

Olathe News: Female athlete of year: Determination fuels Olathe Northwest’s Boeh

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Alexis Boeh made it look easy.

Of course it seldom was for the Olathe Northwest graduate. She worked hard, be it in the weight room or on the basketball court, tennis court or, until her senior year, softball field.

The Big Lead — ESPN’s Memo on Social Networking: Smells Like They’re Cooking Up Some Changes

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

ESPN Digital Media is currently building and testing modules designed to publish Twitter and Facebook entries simultaneously on ESPN.com, SportsCenter.com, Page 2, ESPN Profile pages and other similar pages across our web site and mobile platforms. The plan is to fully deploy these modules this fall.

Specific Guidelines

· Personal websites and blogs that contain sports content are not permitted

· Prior to engaging in any form of social networking dealing with sports, you must receive permission from the supervisor as appointed by your department head

· ESPN.COM may choose to post sports related social media content

· If ESPN.com opts not to post sports related social media content created by ESPN talent, you are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on your personal platforms

· The first and only priority is to serve ESPN sanctioned efforts, including sports news, information and content

* Assume at all times you are representing ESPN
* If you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in your column, don’t tweet it
* Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, business associates and our fans

· Avoid discussing internal policies or detailing how a story or feature was reported, written, edited or produced and discussing stories or features in progress, those that haven’t been posted or produced, interviews you’ve conducted, or any future coverage plans.

· Steer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it and do not engage in media criticism or disparage colleagues or competitors

· Be mindful that all posted content is subject to review in accordance with ESPN’s employee policies and editorial guidelines

· Confidential or proprietary company information or similar information of third parties who have shared such information with ESPN, should not be shared

Any violation of these guidelines could result in a range of consequences, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal.