Jim Croce was taken from us much too soon. When I was in high school in the Seventies he was still getting a lot of play on the radio, and hearing him always takes me back to those days. Here, from 1973, is a live performance of what I always thought was his best song: I Got A Name.
Bloomberg is a tad more optimistic, but not much: U.S. Economy Shrinks for First Time Since 2011; Pent Demand Suggests Temporary Setback.
Key excerpt from CNBC:
The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter for the first time in three years as it buckled under the weight of a severe winter, but there are signs activity has since rebounded.
It was the worst performance since the first quarter of 2011 and reflected a far slower pace of inventory accumulation and a bigger than previously estimated trade deficit.
A pickup in receipts at retailers, stronger manufacturing and faster job growth indicate the first-quarter setback will prove temporary as pent-up demand is unleashed. Federal Reserve policy makers said at their April meeting that the economy has strengthened after adverse weather took its toll.
“The good news is that the first quarter is over, it was a difficult one for the U.S. economy,” said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “I wouldn’t worry too much about the decline, it’s mostly driven by less construction spending and less inventory accumulation. This quarter should be a good one.”
Oddly enough, in 2012 I remember being told that if I voted for Mitt Romney, that unemployment would stay above 5% and economic growth would go in the crapper. And look – they were right!
I think both articles may have one good point; the bad winter did hurt retail movement, and there may be some rebound now that spring has well and truly sprung and people are moving about more. But that’s not a major move, and the economy remains in an anemic growth cycle; really anemic if you remember the Roaring Eighties.
And we may be in for a major market move, too. Excerpt:
Of these (indicators), the most important will likely be the first-quarter GDP due on Thursday. The last estimate was for growth of 0.1%, while expectations for the revision are a -0.6% decline in growth for the first quarter. A decline here would be an unwelcome development, as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP is the official definition of recession. While this will probably be blamed on bad winter weather, a slip into recession could easily trigger the next “Minksy moment” and escalate market volatility. I remain cautious as we enter the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
Could that presage a crash? It’s hard to tell, but the Fed can’t keep pumping cheap money in to the economy forever – and when they stop, a major adjustment is inevitable. See Stein’s Law.
No real surprises there. This isn’t really what you’d call a scientific survey, but it is based on several factors including right-to-carry, Castle Doctrine laws, ease of obtaining a Class III weapon, magazine bans and other miscellaneous items.
Sadly our own Colorado comes in well down the list at #40, certainly in large part because of the legislative idiocy forced on our state only last year. Alaska, where Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. plan to retire, fares much better – again, no surprise in a state with a long-standing outdoor tradition, not to mention plenty of toothy and dangerous wildlife.
This is an election year here in Colorado though, and plenty of folks are unhappy with the current powers-that-be – Governor Hickenlooper, I suspect, will squeak by in a re-election but the mood of the country and the state are moving against the party that currently controls our legislature.
Then, True Believers, we’ll see what we’ll see.
This just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson: Lord Obama. Excerpt:
Think of the following: the Fast and Furious scandal, the VA mess, the tapping of the communications of the Associated Press reporters, the NSA monitoring, Benghazi in all of its manifestations, the serial lies about Obamacare, the failed stimuli, the chronic zero interest/print money policies, the serial high unemployment, the borrowing of $7 trillion to no stimulatory effect, the spiraling national debt, the customary violations of the Hatch Act by Obama cabinet officials, the alter ego/fake identity of EPA head Lisa Jackson, the sudden departure of Hilda Solis after receiving union freebies, the mendacity of Kathleen Sebelius, the strange atmospherics surrounding the Petraeus resignation, the customary presidential neglect of enforcing the laws from immigration statutes to his own health care rules, the presidential divisiveness (“punish our enemies,” “you didn’t build that,” Trayvon as the son that Obama never had, etc.), and on and on.
So why is there not much public reaction or media investigatory outrage?
There are two possible reasons.
- The public is just plain disinterested.
- The media is overwhelmingly in the Obama camp.
Of the two, I honestly think the first is a greater part of it – and more depressing. We have produced a society where more registered voters are intimately familiar with which of the Kardashians are getting married/divorced/pregnant than with incidents in another country, including such things as a U.S. Ambassador being beaten to death and dragged through the streets.
To be sure media bias is there and real; Dr. Hanson gives several examples of the beating the more recent President Bush took in the media, and how they are looking the other way at the various hushups and incompetencies of the Obama administration. But this isn’t the 1970s; there are plenty of alternate media sources for those of us who want a variety of viewpoints.
The problem is that most people just don’t seek them out. Most people aren’t interested in challenging their own opinions, their own preconceptions, their own biases. (To be fair this is true of people of every political bent.)
And many of these people vote.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, all but said on Sunday that negotiations over the country’s illicit nuclear program are over and that the Islamic Republic’s ideals include destroying America.
“Those [Iranians] who want to promote negotiation and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason,” Khamenei told a meeting of members of parliament, according to the regime’s Fars News Agency.
Khamenei emphasized that without a combative mindset, the regime cannot reach its higher Islamic role against the “oppressors’ front.”
Yeah, you might want to look up Adolf Hitler and ask him how that worked out for Nazi Germany.
And yes, that is precisely the historic precedent that applies here. At the risk of having someone invoke Godwin’s Law, the parallels here are too obvious; a rogue nation, arming themselves for war, loudly voicing martial ambitions and seeking regional hegemony, led by a cabal of complete nutbars with delusions of sanity – and let’s not forget, they are building nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the United States and Europe dither.
I’m hoping this won’t end with a mushroom cloud over a Western city, but that is increasingly looking like Iran’s goal.
From the land of the calamitously stupid comes this gem: Dem Congressman: ‘We’ve Proved That Communism Works’ Uh huh. Money quote:
“Let me give you an example, the kind of money we’ve poured in,” he said. “So the most dangerous — sorry, the safest city in America is El Paso, Texas. It happens to be across the border from the most dangerous city in the Americas, which is Juarez. Right?”
“And two of the safest cities in America, two of them are on the border with Mexico,” Garcia continued. “And of course, the reason is we’ve proved that Communism works. If you give everybody a good government job, there’s no crime.”
“But that isn’t what we should be doing on the border,” he continued. “The kind of money we’ve poured into it, and we’re having diminishing returns.”
The first words that come to mind are “what a moron.”
And seriously – to ensure prosperity, all we have to do is “give everybody a good government job?” What
Wesley Mouch Joe Garcia apparently fails to realize is this: The government doesn’t have any damn money. Government, at all levels, can only spend money it has taken – with the threat of force (try not paying your taxes and see how long it takes before men with guns come looking for you) from the productive.
And Communism? The legacy of Communism is not prosperity – it never has been and never will be. The legacy of Communism is misery, poverty, and mass murder. The legacy of Communism is bread lines, baggy, ill-cut, cheap clothing; it is Stalin’s purges and Mao’s Great Leap Forward, both episodes that caused the deaths of millions.
And this jackass wants to emulate that? Here?
I’m no wild-eyed conspiracy theorist or survivalist kook, but an attempt – a serious attempt – to implement Communism here would be enough to drive me to arms.
No time for news or deep thoughts today, so instead have a look at something that the U.S. Army (of which I was once a proud member) seems to have overlooked (tip of the Stetson to loyal sidekick Rat for the link):