Graph of the Day

Randall Hoven
“From a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over at this point.”  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Sept 15, 2009.  

us_indicators

Data Source: St. Louis Fed. (NOTE: The charts plot four main economic indicators tracked by the NBER dating committee; each series is indexed to 100 at the start of the recession. For industrial production, employment, and real retail sales, the average series includes the 10 recessions starting with the November 1948 business cycle peak. For real income, the average starts with the April 1960 peak. For additional information, see the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Economic Synopses, 2009, No. 4.)

 

Hoven’s Index for September 16, 2009

 

Percentage of doctorate degrees in engineering in the US awarded to foreign students in 1996: 56%.

 

Percentage of doctorate degrees in engineering in the US awarded to foreign students in 2005: 63%.

 

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/09/graph_of_the_day.html at September 16, 2009 – 07:11:10 PM EDT

Dem Senator Warns of ‘Big, Big Tax’ on Middle Class in Baucus Bill

Dem Senator Warns of ‘Big, Big Tax’ on Middle Class in Baucus Bill

 

ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports:
It’s not every day that you hear a Democratic senator charge that a fellow Democrat is proposing to raise taxes on the middle class, but that is what happened on Tuesday when Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., ripped into the health-care bill developed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mt., the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The Baucus proposal would impose, starting in 2013, a 35 percent excise tax on insurance companies for “high-cost plans” — defined as those above $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for family plans.

Health economists believe a tax on high-priced benefits could help slow the growth of health costs by making consumers more sensitive to prices.

The tax contemplated by Baucus is also a big revenue raiser. It is expected to raise $200 billion, money that Baucus is hoping to use to pay for subsidies for the uninsured.

Given how much money this kind of tax can raise, Rockefeller says he understands why it is “tempting.”

The West Virginia Democrat worries, however, that a lot of middle class workers, like the coal miners in his state, will end up facing “a big, big tax” under the Baucus bill because they currently enjoy generous employer-provided health care benefits which they receive tax free.

Referring to Baucus, Rockefeller said, “He should understand that (his proposal) means that virtually every single coal miner is going to have a big, big tax put on them because the tax will be put on the company and the company will immediately pass it down and lower benefits because they are self insured, most of them, because they are larger. They will pass it down, lower benefits, and probably this will mean higher premiums for coal miners who are getting very good health care benefits for a very good reason. That is, like steelworkers and others, they are doing about the most dangerous job that can be done in America.”

“So that’s not really a smart idea,” Rockefeller continued. “In fact, it’s a very dangerous idea, and I’m not even sure the coal miners in West Virginia are aware that this is what is waiting if this bill passes.”

Rockefeller made his comments on a conference call with reporters which was sponsored by the liberal Campaign for America’s Future.

Rockefeller, who sits on the Finance Committee, said that he cannot support the Baucus bill unless it receives major improvements during the amendment process.

Baucus, the Finance chair, is scheduled to discuss his “chairman’s mark” with reporters on Capitol Hill at 12 noon on Wednesday.

ABC News’ Brittany Crockett contributed to this report.

September 16, 2009

So far, Obama’s failing miserably

So far, Obama’s failing miserably

September 16th, 2009

By JEREMY LOTT, Politico.com

 Luckily Obama is not succeeding in passing much of his liberal agenda

When he ran for president, George W. Bush promised to be a modest reformer at home and a humble representative of the United States on the world stage. The Al Qaeda-organized-and-funded terrorist attacks of eight years ago changed all that. During his presidency, Bush created massive new government bureaucracies, sent troops into two wars and threatened more as part of America’s war on terror.

Barack Obama’s initial approach to the office of the presidency has been as grandiose as Bush’s was restrained. It’s not hard to recall that he ran as a transformative candidate, promising sweeping, though somewhat fuzzy, “change” during the campaign.

For the first several months of his presidency, Obama has labored to deliver on that pledge. He pushed a controversial stimulus bill through Congress to help rev up the economy, turned Bush’s reluctant bailout of Chrysler and General Motors into a giant government auto buyout and appointed a record number of “czars” to help regulate bureaucracies in both public and formerly private sectors.

Then, Step 2. Obama is trying to fundamentally alter the American economy by backing sweeping environmental, labor and health care legislation. He wants to change the way Americans consume energy, unionize and see their doctors.

So far, he’s failing miserably.

Read More:

Another day, another ACORN scandal

Another day, another ACORN scandal

Ethel C. Fenig
Another day, another ACORN prostitution scandal from Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government.com command. The 20-something pseudo pimp and prostitute couple, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, continue to be ignored by the MSM.

Meanwhile, the increasingly mainstream Fox News’ Glen Beck and their other anchors have devoted considerable time to this story, playing the videos of the young couple traveling around the country visiting ACORN offices seeking–and getting help — from ACORN personnel on buying a house to be used as a whorehouse/bothel, staffed by underaged illegal immigrants.

Their latest travels and their latest video take them to San Bernardino, CA where another helpful ACORN employee, Tresa (Theresa?) Kaelke gives them advice.

Earlier on the video, O’Keefe tells Kaelke that they’ve been discriminated against by banks and other institutions in their search to land a home.

“ACORN will tell you the same thing, they will,” Kaelke said. “You might get an old-timer like myself who really knows what’s up and who could care less.”

Kaelke said her supervisor “would shoot this down faster than a bat out of hell” but advised the couple to conceal the prostitution business by calling it a massage parlor.

What do you think about my idea about disguising it as a spa?” Giles asks.

“That’s exactly what I would do,” Kaelke said. “And they’re all over the place – Thai massage, Swedish massage, I mean, there’s just a bunch of them.”

It is reassuring to know that Ms. Kaelke believes her supervisor “would shoot this down faster than a bat out of hell;” perhaps they’ll show other videos of other ACORN personnel doing just that.

Kaelke expresses doubts about the pair “If I didn’t know better, and I don’t, but I would think this is a total setup.” and ACORN representatives defend her

ACORN issued a statement Tueday evening saying that Kaelke, indeed, suspected she was being set up and only responded as she did to play along with the obviously fake pimp and prostitute.

“She matched their false scenario with her own false scenarios,” ACORN said in its written statement.

(snip)

But ACORN, in its response to the new video, quoted Kaelke as saying the O’Keefe and Giles “were not believable.”

“Somewhat entertaining, but they weren’t even good actors. I didn’t know what to make of them,” she said. “They were clearly playing with me. I decided to shock them as much as they were shocking me … saying the most outrageous things with a straight face.”

Some of the “outrageous things” she said were that she sympathized with them as she formerly ran an escort service and once had paid sex and that she even murdered her husband who abused her.

So, who is telling the truth? More to come, I’m sure.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/09/another_day_another_acorn_scan.html at September 16, 2009 – 11:13:44 AM EDT

Obama’s “Diversity Chief” and the End of Talk Radio

Obama’s “Diversity Chief” and the End of Talk Radio
By: John Perazzo
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

 


The FCC’s Mark Lloyd aims to purge conservatives from the airwaves under the rubric of “diversity” and “localism.”
Two months ago, Georgetown University affiliate professor of public policy Mark Lloyd was appointed to be the Diversity Chief of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). At the time, Lloyd was also Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR). A quick overview of this legislative advocacy group’s perspectives and agendas reveals a great deal about who Lloyd is and what he believes. Most notably, LCCR condemns the American criminal-justice system as a thoroughly racist institution; it avidly supports President Obama’s quest for socialized medicine; it contends that racism permeates the housing market and the money-lending industry; it views the U.S. as a sexist nation that discriminates against women, particularly in terms of workplace compensation; it supports the League of United Latin American Citizens’ vision of immigration reform, where illegal aliens would be permitted, en masse, to pursue a pathway to citizenship; it favors voting rights for ex-felons; and it contends that the existence of poverty in America is due to “the gates of economic opportunity” being “mostly closed to minorities, women, and others by both governmental and private action.” In short, it views America as a cesspool of racism and discrimination. Lloyd himself embraces each of the foregoing positions.

During various periods of his career, Lloyd has served as a consultant to the Bill Clinton White House and to two of the major funders of far-left causes: the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and George Soros’s Open Society Institute. Lloyd was also a senior fellow at John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, which has served as perhaps the most influential think tank advising the Obama administration on matters of policy. As evidenced by these affiliations, Lloyd is clearly a creature of the political far left.

Since Lloyd took the reins of the FCC, conservative critics have accused him of planning to drive conservative talk radio from the airwaves. Some charge that he wishes to restore the Fairness Doctrine, a 1940s-era regulation that required radio and TV broadcasters to provide airtime to opposing viewpoints and was repealed in 1987. As the Heritage Foundation correctly observed years ago, the Fairness Doctrine, far from encouraging free expression of diverse views, actually inhibited such discourse:

“By requiring, under threat of arbitrary legal penalty, that broadcasters ‘fairly’ represent both sides of a given issue, advocates of the doctrine believe that more views will be aired while the editorial content of the station can remain unaltered. But with the threat of potential FCC retaliation for perceived lack of compliance, most broadcasters would be more reluctant to air their own opinions because it might require them to air alternative perspectives that their audience does not want to hear.”


Staking claim to that same ideological turf, Lloyd assures us that he has no intention of repealing the Fairness Doctrine, a position consistent with the one that Barack Obama has stated publicly. So it sounds like Lloyd and Obama are content to let the marketplace decide who wins the battle of competing ideas in the broadcast media, right?

Wrong. “[T]he market solution,” Lloyd laments, “has clearly failed to meet audience demand.” Lloyd elaborates on this theme in “The Structural Imbalance of Talk Radio,” a lengthy report commissioned jointly by the Center for American Progress and the Free Press, which Lloyd co-authored. This publication states that because “91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming is conservative, and 9 percent is progressive,” the stations and networks that air such shows are failing to abide by Section 315 of the Communications Act of 1934, which “requires commercial broadcasters to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of issues of public importance.”

Lloyd dismisses the most commonly cited theory as to why conservative talk radio is so much more popular than liberal/left formats — the contention that “station owners are merely providing the programming that the market forces demand.” Says Lloyd:

“Although talk radio audiences tend to be more male, middle-aged, and conservative, research by Pew indicates that this audience is not monolithic … It is difficult to argue that the existing audience for talk radio is only interested in hearing one side of public debates, given the diversity of the existing and potential audience.”

In Lloyd’s calculus, a more accurate assessment is that “the imbalance in talk radio programming today” is a result of “the elimination of clear public interest requirements such as local public affairs programming, and the relaxation of ownership rules, including the requirement of local participation in management.”

Specifically, Lloyd contends that when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 “removed the national limit on the number of radio stations that one company could own,” it triggered the development of a “wave” of “conglomerates” consisting of “several hundred stations apiece.” Says Lloyd:

“The number of locally-owned, minority-owned, and female-owned stations was constrained—and the very different programming decisions these owners make were less visible in the market.”

Lloyd asserts that this development has had a profound effect on the mix of political perspectives advanced on talk radio. He writes that “stations owned by racial or ethnic minorities [or by women] are statistically less likely to air conservative hosts or shows, and [are] more likely to air progressive hosts or shows” – because conservative programming “is so far out of step with their local audiences.” Moreover, says Lloyd: “Stations controlled by owners who run just a single station [are] statistically less likely to air conservative talk and more likely to air progressive hosts or shows.”

“Ultimately,” Lloyd maintains, “these results suggest that increasing ownership diversity, both in terms of the race/ethnicity and gender of owners, as well as the number of independent local owners, will lead to more diverse programming, more choices for listeners, and more owners who are responsive to their local communities [i.e., the concept of ‘localism’] and serve the public interest.”

In other words, “diversity” and “localism” go hand-in-hand, and both can be used as pretexts for shifting the political balance of radio programming leftward. President Obama himself has cited localism as a key consideration for the issuance of broadcast licenses. On September 20, 2007, Obama submitted a written statement supporting localism at an FCC hearing held at the Chicago headquarters of Jesse Jackson’s Operation Push.

Under localism’s dictates, the degree to which radio stations conform their programming to government-mandated guidelines for ideological “balance” will determine whether or not they are able to successfully renew their broadcast licenses. And Lloyd wishes to decrease the term of a broadcast license from eight years to three years. In other words, every three years broadcasters will have to be prepared anew to make the case that they have been complying with the dictates of localism and diversity.

According to Seton Motley of the Media Research Center, Lloyd “is fundamentally opposed to virtually any private ownership of media…. The original sin in communications, in his opinion, is when … President [Thomas] Jefferson relinquished … the Post Office control of the telegraph. When they relinquished control to a private entity, that was the original sin of communications because that turned over communications vehicles to the private sector outside of the scope of government control.”

This assessment of Lloyd’s views about private broadcast ownership is consistent with what Lloyd writes in his book Prologue to a Farce: Communications and Democracy in America, where he suggests that private broadcasters should pay an annual licensing fee in an amount equivalent to their total yearly operating costs. That money, in turn, should be redistributed to public broadcasting stations (which supposedly are more in tune with their audiences’ needs), thereby ensuring that the operating budgets of such stations will be just as large as those of their privately owned counterparts.

In short, stations that are successful and profitable would be required to turn over an enormous portion of their earnings to competitors that are failures in the marketplace. Writes Lloyd:

“Federal and regional broadcast operations and local stations should be funded at levels commensurate with or above those spending levels at which commercial operations are funded. This funding should come from license fees charged to commercial broadcasters.”

Lloyd views governmental control over the airwaves as a potentially potent “means of social change” because of radio’s capacity, if harnessed properly, to give all Americans “a political voice” and access to “information that they can trust.” By contrast, he views conservative talk radio largely as a source of misinformation. To combat that misinformation, he advocates the abrogation of free speech, as evidenced by this excerpt from Prologue to a Farce:

“It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press…. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration…. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.”

Lloyd’s campaign to greatly diminish the influence of conservative talk radio, if not to eliminate it altogether, is based heavily on the tactics of Saul Alinsky, the late community organizer who painstakingly laid out a detailed blueprint for revolutionary social change. Citing Alinsky repeatedly as his primary inspiration, Lloyd outlines a strategy that conceals its ultimate objective by masking its radical ends under the rubric of “diversity,” “localism,” and “the public interest.”

But like Alinsky, Lloyd also understands that there is a time and place for open defiance and aggression rather than stealth; for what he terms “a confrontational movement … committed to active and sustained protest against the present order.” By Lloyd’s reckoning, no tactic, however unethical, is off-limits if it stands a good chance of yielding the desired result. Thus he fondly recalls the late Ted Kennedy’s 1987 “campaign to prevent the Supreme Court nomination of the ultra-conservative jurist Robert Bork” as a source of “inspiration and guidance.” In case you’ve forgotten, Kennedy, who vehemently opposed Bork’s constructionist judicial philosophy — the idea that the Constitution is not a “living document” subject to endless reinterpretation — went to the Senate floor to deliver what ranks among the most disgraceful pack of slanderous lies ever uttered by an American politician:

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens …”

Though Lloyd professes a desire to flood the airwaves with a wide diversity of political opinions, he is a devoted admirer of none other than Venezuela’s Communist President Hugo Chavez – a steadfast opponent of free-speech rights for his political adversaries. At a June 10, 2008 National Conference for Media Reform, Lloyd gushed:

“In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution – a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela. The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela rebelled — worked, frankly, with folks here in the U.S. government – worked to oust him. But he came back with another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.”

But what has Chavez actually done for free-speech rights in his country? In a March 1, 2009 televised address, he said that “if it weren’t for the attack, the lies, manipulation and the exaggeration” of the private media networks, the Venezuelan government would enjoy the support of at least four-fifths of the population. Thus he ordered his governors and mayors to draw up a “map of the media war” to determine which print and broadcast outlets were “in the hands of the oligarchy.” By July, Chavez had shut down 34 radio stations in the name of “democratizing” the media. On September 5 his spokesman announced that “another 29 [stations] will be gone before long.” It is expected that by the time Chavez is done, he will have forced more than 100 broadcasters to cease operations altogether.

During Chavez’s recent campaign for a constitutional amendment to remove term limits for elected officials, a statistical analysis found that more than 93 percent of the Venezuelan state news channel’s coverage of the proposed amendment was favorable.

Such unquestioning allegiance to the agendas of a far-left president is essentially the direction in which America’s major television networks are likewise headed. Talk radio offers conservatives an oasis of sanity in an otherwise scorching desert of leftist media drivel. Yet Lloyd, like his hero Chavez, would transform talk radio into just another echo chamber for the left – under the righteous-sounding banners of “diversity,” “localism,” and “the public interest.”


John Perazzo is the Managing Editor of DiscoverTheNetworks and is the author of The Myths That Divide Us: How Lies Have Poisoned American Race Relations. For more information on his book, click here. E-mail him at WorldStudiesBooks@gmail.com

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