## 9/05/2009

### Mark Lloyd, the Diversity Officer at the FCC

A version of Mark Lloyd's Diversity Metric Formula

The Lloyd and Napoli simple equation (2007) was applied to both the Hispanic television and radio industries in these two specific cities.

(A) x (B) x (C) / N = D

∑ of D’s = M

A = Outlet (value = 1)

B = Potential audience reach (i.e. percentage of Hispanics in the market)

C = Content (provision of local news = 1; non provision of local news = 0)

N = Number of outlets owned by the owner

D = Diversity contribution of owner

M = Diversity metric for market

This equation seems extremely arbitrary to me. There is really no explanation that I can find for the form that it takes, but the bottom line is that it seems driven to make the measured level of diversity as low as possible. Here is a brief discussion of what this equation means:

Take variable C. No weight is give to stations if they do not produce local and original news content or public affairs programming. They are given a weight of one if they produce any local and original news content or public affairs programming. In other words, the station could have hours of talk radio or make political comments between songs and they wouldn't be given any weight. Also network news for Univision Radio and Border Media Partners presumably at least occasionally carries local news stories that are of interest to local Hispanics (for example, something big might effect Hispanics in Texas and it gets covered), but the weight given to that news coverage is still zero.

The written discussion indicates that weight is only given to stations that are apparently 100 percent owned by people of Spanish heritage (Hispanics, Mexicans, Venezuelans, etc.). No weight is given to non-Spanish stations where the news director or the reporters are Hispanic. Presumably Hispanics own stock in Citadel or Westwood One or Disney, but those ownership shares do not count at all. I assume that this is what variable A stands for.

Take variable B. This is very strange because if there are no Hispanics in a market, the market cannot be diverse. You could have all the radio and TV stations owned by Hispanics and producing local news, but without any Hispanics in the area the variable B would equal zero and zero time anything else is still zero, so there would be no diversity.

Finally, even if you have 10 Hispanic stations that provided local news and were completely owned by Hispanics, if you had two companies owning five companies each, that would only count as two stations. This dramatically reduces any measure of diversity. In theory, some radio stations might have talk aimed at liberals and some at conservatives, but that wouldn't matter in terms of diversity.

The bottom line is that this definition of diversity dramatically underestimates the news and information provided by Hispanics to other Hispanics. Presumably the definition was chosen precisely to make diversity look as low as possible.

Lloyd's original report with Phil Napoli is available here.

Here is Mark Lloyd's view on Hugo Chavez.

"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.

So this is the "democratic" country that Chavez is trying to create.

CARACAS, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Venezuela will pull the plug on 29 more radio stations, a top official in President Hugo Chavez's government said on Saturday, just weeks after dozens of other outlets were closed in a media clampdown.

Infrastructure Minister Diosdado Cabello closed 34 radio stations in July, saying the government was "democratizing" media ownership. Critics say the move limits freedom of expression and has taken critical voices off the airwaves.

The powerful Chavez ally has threatened to close over 100 stations in total, part of a long-term campaign against private media that the government says are biased against Chavez's government.

"Another 29 will be gone before long," he told thousands of Chavez supporters at a political rally, without giving details which stations would be closed or when.

Cabello also said he was launching a new legal case against Globovision, the country's most prominent anti-government television network, accusing it of inciting a coup against Chavez. . . .

The Politico has this discussion:

Conservatives have accused Lloyd, appointed by the Federal Communications Commission as the agency’s Chief Diversity officer in late July, of secretly wanting to reinstate the controversial Fairness Doctrine — a regulation the FCC abolished in 1987 that required broadcasters to present contrasting views on important and controversial issues. Conservatives radio hosts have said Obama wants to reinstate it, and that it would push them off the air.

In right-wing media, where Lloyd has been christened Obama’s "diversity czar," pundits rail against the former vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Massachusetts Institute of Technology law professor. . . . .

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has picked up the call. "Mr. Lloyd supports a backdoor method of furthering the goals of the Fairness Doctrine by other means," he wrote in an August letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

But in a 2007 report for the liberal Center for American Progress, where he was a senior fellow, Lloyd noted that conservative shows dominate the airways — but did not endorse the Fairness Doctrine.

"We call for ownership rules that we think will create greater local diversity of programming, news, and commentary," he wrote in a July article about the paper. "But we do not call for a return to the Fairness Doctrine."

Labels: , ,

### What the US really owes

Here is a useful quote to remember:

One way the Peterson Foundation wants to change that is to bring big numbers down to earth so people can comprehend them. "Our \$56 trillion in unfunded obligations amount to \$483,000 per household. That's 10 times the median household income—so it's as if everyone had a second or third mortgage on a house equal to 10 times their income but no house they can lay claim to." As for this year's likely deficit of \$1.8 trillion, Mr. Walker suggests its size be conveyed thusly: "A deficit that large is \$3.4 million a minute, \$200 million an hour, \$5 billion a day," he says. That does indeed put things into perspective. . . .

Labels:

### No budget cut backs for government health care? just look to Canada

A sign of the future for America?

Health authority plans to do 4,400 fewer scans to ease cash shortfall
By Lindsay Kines and Richard Watts
Staff reporters
The Victoria Times Colonist
September 4, 2009
MRI scans that are used to detect tumours, fractures and other ailments will be cut by 20 per cent this year, the Vancouver Island Health Authority has confirmed.

The health authority plans to do 4,400 fewer of the magnetic resonance imaging scans to help cover a \$45-million budget shortfall, figures released yesterday show.

The cuts likely mean patients will wait in pain even longer for treatment and surgery -- and already they are waiting twice as long as last year.

VIHA spokeswoman Shannon Marshall said patients are being booked for March, six months away, for elective MRI scans. Last year, wait times for MRI scans were only three months.

Marshall said emergency scans will be performed immediately.

Howard Waldner, VIHA's chief executive officer, had previously said that the authority would return to 2008-2009 budgeted levels for MRIs as a cost-saving measure as it wrestles with a projected deficit of about \$45 million on its total \$1.7-billion budget.

Last year, medical imaging in VIHA went 9.2 per cent over budget, to \$21.2 million instead of the planned \$19.4 million. The figures released yesterday showed 18,100 MRI scans were budgeted for last year, but 22,567 were performed.

If the health authority returns to budgeted levels, that's a drop of more than 4,400 MRIs.

Critics say the move to reduce the number of scans contradicts the Liberal government's election promises. "In spite of the fact that the government campaigned on more MRIs, they weren't telling the truth. They're having to cut MRIs and having to cut MRIs by 20 per cent," said NDP health care critic Adrian Dix.

"It really is an indication of their plans for health care here on Vancouver Island."

Health Minister Kevin Falcon conceded wait times for non-emergency procedures will be going up as health authorities scale back to meet their budgets. . . .

Labels: , ,

### Where the health care debate currently stands

There is not a crisis among those without health insurance, but I think that this quote gets it correct regarding people's perceptions about the health

“At the moment, except for the people without insurance, we’re not in a health-care crisis,” said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington. “You do need a crisis to generate movement in Congress and to help build a consensus.” . . .

Labels: ,

### The media ignores the extreme statements made by Obama's "Green Jobs Czar"

Byron York beat me to the punch on this one. Given how crazy Van Jones' claims are, it is pretty amazing that it isn't being covered. Suppose that there is a big conspiracy theory regarding Jones, given the coverage on the cable channels this would still be news worthy.

The Van Jones (non) feeding frenzy
By: BYRON YORK
Chief Political Correspondent
09/04/09 11:30 AM EDT
From a Nexis search a few moments ago:
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the New York Times: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the Washington Post: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on NBC Nightly News: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on ABC World News: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on CBS Evening News: 0. . . . .

Labels: ,

## 9/04/2009

### So the stimulus worked right?

I have tried to point out earlier that economists were pointing to this change in the economy before, during and after the stimulus debate. Now the Washington Post has a top of the front page article entitled "Stimulus Credited for Lifting Economy":

"The Recovery Act has played a significant role in changing the trajectory of our economy and changing the conversation about the economy in this country," Biden said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "Instead of talking about the beginning of a depression, we are talking about the end of a recession." . . . .

It is a bit ironic that this top story comes out today as the unemployment increases to 9.7 percent.

Labels: , ,

### Judge's statement on parent's extremist religious views is pretty extreme

This is a pretty amazing case:

A New Hampshire court ordered a home-schooled Christian girl to attend a public school this week after a judge criticized the "rigidity" of her mother's religious views and said the 10-year-old needed to consider other worldviews as she matures.

Ever since the judge's ruling came out in July, the case has aroused the interest of home-schooling groups nationwide, whohave asked why a court has the power to decide whether someone's religious views are too extreme.

The girl's mother, Brenda Voydatch, has engaged the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group based in Scottsdale, Ariz., to contest the ruling, in which the judge granted a request by the girl's father, Martin Kurowski, that the girl go to a public school.

On Tuesday, the girl, Amanda Kurowski, started fifth grade at an elementary school in Meredith, N.H., under court order. Amanda's "vigorous defense of her religious beliefs ... suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view," District Court Judge Lucinda V. Sadler said. . . . .

Labels: , ,

### New Fox News Op-ed: Serious White House Puts Parents In an Awkward Position

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

Six, seven, and eight-year-old kids shouldn't be put in a position where they have to say that a particular president is inspiring and such a wonderful person. Next Tuesday, the opening day for many schools across the country, President Obama will give a speech to elementary and secondary students across the country. There is a reason why no president has commanded the time of America's school children in the past to make them listen to the president as part of their school day.

Could you imagine the outrage if the president requested time to address adults during their work day even if it were simply to encourage them to work hard and be productive for the good of the nation? But why would they be upset? The very act of listening to a politician is a political act. It is no more appropriate than requiring that Americans to listen to a political ad. Some adults simply don't want to waste their time listening to a politician or they might simply dislike that person. Others might not be political and not care enough to watch such an address the politician. But this is less objectionable for adults than kids – kids are much more impressionable. . . . .

UPDATE: A copy of his speech is here.

### The U6 measure of unemployment climbs to 16.8 percent

The broadest official measure of unemployment soars a half a percentage point to 16.8 percent.

Labels: ,

### Good Samaritan justifiably shot the thief in order to save the store manager from imminent vehicular injury

From the Kansas City Star:

Here’s the score from an Independence shoplifting case that involved a bag of meat, a wild ride atop a car’s hood and a gunshot wound:

• The alleged shoplifter, Loucinda M. Carroll, 41, of Independence, has been charged with second-degree robbery.

• The store’s manager, who was struck by Carroll’s car, landed on its hood and held on during an attempted getaway, was unharmed.

• And the bystander who shot Carroll will not be charged because he felt he and the manager were being threatened, authorities say. Carroll suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The incident began at 6:49 p.m. Saturday at the Sunfresh Grocery at 2301 S. Sterling Ave.

According to court documents:

The store’s manager told police she saw a woman leaving the store with the bag of meat products. The manager yelled for the woman to stop, but she didn’t.

The manager followed the suspect to her car and started writing down the license plate number. The suspect started the car and drove toward the manager, striking her. The manager fell onto the car’s hood and held on as the suspect accelerated through the parking lot toward an exit onto Sterling Avenue.

Hearing screams for help and seeing the manager clinging to the car’s hood, the bystander blocked the exit with his vehicle. He approached the suspect and told her to get out of her car.

The woman tried to drive around his vehicle. The bystander, who told police he feared for his life and the life of the manager, pulled out a 9mm handgun and yelled again for her to stop. He then fired through the driver’s side window, striking the suspect in the left shoulder and neck.

The woman continued onto Sterling and then traveled north about 250 feet to East 23rd Street, turning west, with the manager still on the car’s hood. About 200 feet later, the car slowed and the manager jumped off the car unharmed.

Carroll ended up at her son’s home in the 1000 block of Stone Arch Drive in Independence. He called for an ambulance. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, police said Wednesday.

The bystander, who had a valid concealed weapon permit from Utah, will not be charged, Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said.

Under Missouri law, people can use deadly force if they feel their life or the lives of others are in danger or they are in danger of suffering serious physical injuries, providing they are not the initial aggressors, Kanatzar said.

Labels: ,

## 9/02/2009

### Why are public school students being asked to help President Obama?

Why are public funds being used to put together lesson plans about what students can do to help the president? This is a serious use of government funds at both the national and local level?

A suggested lesson plan that calls on school kids to write letters to themselves about what they can do to help President Obama is troubling some education experts, who say it establishes the president as a "superintendent in chief" and may indoctrinate children to support him politically.

But the White House says the speech is merely "designed to encourage kids to stay in school."

Obama will deliver a national address directly to students on Tuesday, which will be the first day of classes for many children across the country. The address, to be broadcast live on the White House's Web site, was announced in a letter to school principals last week by Education Secretary Arne Duncan. . . . .

A copy of the US Department of Education announcement is available here. Among the questions students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade to discuss in class are: "Why is it important that we listen to the president and other elected officials . . . Why is what they say important?" "Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?" "What is the president asking me to do?" Older students from 7th to 12th grade are asked to discuss such questions as: "How will he inspire us?" "Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything?"

Public schools have no business telling young children that they should listen to politicians. Having teachers ask students “how will he inspire us” looks like the Department of Education wants teachers to put the president’s speech in a positive light.

### Democrats try to demonize the Republicans who are negotiating with them on health care

Note that Grassley voted for the CHIPS program to give government health insurance to children. Grassley also voted with the Dems earlier this year to expand the program. The notion that Republicans are bad because they are upset about the cuts in Medicare and Medicaid is a rich objection for Democrats to make.

WASHINGTON -- A top White House adviser said Tuesday he doubts two Senate Republicans at the center of health-care talks are negotiating seriously, as Democrats adopted a new, more confrontational tone accusing key Republicans of blocking change. . . .

Labels: ,

### UK patients "made to die prematurely" under government health care

When all the doctors work for the government, there is some risk for doctors who speak out against the government.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.
Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.
But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.
As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. It has been signed palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.
“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.
“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients."
The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS. . . . .

Labels: ,

### How difficult is it to get a handgun in DC? Very, very difficult.

This article in the Washington Post has a lot of handwringing about the risks of owning guns, this is the key section:

It took \$833.69, a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam.

Oh, and the votes of five Supreme Court justices. They're the ones who really made it possible for me, as a District resident, to own a handgun, a constitutional right as heavily debated and rigorously parsed as the freedoms of speech and religion.

Just more than a year ago, by a 5-to-4 decision, the court struck down the District's three-decades-old outright ban on handguns -- the most restrictive gun law in the country. In District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said the Second Amendment guarantees the right of an individual to bear arms, not just Americans in a "well regulated Militia"; the District's prohibition was therefore unconstitutional.

Reluctantly, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration set up a process through which about 550 residents -- now including yours truly -- have acquired a handgun. But as my four trips to the police department attest, D.C. officials haven't made it easy.

Which was exactly their intent. The day the Heller decision was announced, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) vowed that the city was still "going to have the strictest handgun laws the Constitution allows." Fenty decried the ruling, saying that "more handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence." . . .

It may be legal to own a gun in the District, but you still can't buy one within the city limits. At least not in a gun store because there are none. Instead, you must make the purchase in one of the 50 states and have the weapon transferred into the custody of one man: Charles Sykes, who plays an odd role in the transaction.

As a licensed firearms dealer, he could, theoretically, sell guns. But he chooses not to because "I don't want to have to carry an inventory," he says. "Too much liability." Instead, he's the middleman, the only licensed dealer willing to help D.C. residents acquire handguns, a nice little side business for which he charges \$125. . . .

Labels: , ,

### GM's PR problem?

Might the government subsidies come at a real cost?

"[GM's] pride, [the celebrated] Chevy Malibu, was outsold in June not only by the Japanese competitors and the Ford Fusion but even by the Korean Hyundai Sonata. . . . GM has some fine vehicles, but it is working uphill against public resentment. Here are the people who don't like it: the stockholders who got wiped out, the bondholders who got moved to the back of the creditor line, the dealers who were dumped, the workers who lost their jobs, the retirees who are at risk of losing some of their health benefits, the owners of orphaned brands (Pontiac, Saturn and Oldsmobile) and the several million taxpayers who think government support is just wrong" -- veteran Forbes Magazine auto writer Jerry Flint on the continuing hurdles GM faces in getting Americans to buy its cars.

Labels:

### Obama's Green Jobs 'Czar' has more crazy comments

From Fox News:

Van Jones, the Obama administration's "green jobs" adviser, told a group of listeners earlier in the year that the reason Republicans are stonewalling the president is because they're "assholes."

Jones' remarks were recorded in a video from February that was posted to YouTube.

He made the remark during an energy lecture in Berkeley, Calif., after a woman in the audience asked him why President Obama and congressional Democrats were having trouble moving legislation -- even though Republicans, with a smaller majority, didn't have as much trouble earlier in the Bush administration.

"Well, the answer to that is, they're assholes," Jones said, to uproarious laughter. "That's a technical, political science term."

The questioner responded, "I was afraid that that was the answer."

But Jones said that, even though Obama is "not an asshole," others have to step up the fight.

"Now, I will say this. I can be an asshole, and some of us who are not Barack Hussein Obama are going to have to start getting a little bit uppity," he said.

Obama's Green Czar says that "white polluters" steered poison into minority communities.

This Fox News article really shows this guy is crazy:

He also has consistently leaned on racially charged language, pointing the finger at "white polluters and the white environmentalists" for "steering poison" to minority communities, as he makes the case for lifting up low-income and minority communities with better environmental policy. . . .

Jones denies that he ever signed the petition, but a source says: "A source said Jones did not carefully review the language in the petition before agreeing to add his name."

Labels: ,

### About 300,000 jobs lost in August

A positive spin continues to be put on the job loss numbers. There is one month were the numbers were twice what they are here, but that is the benchmark being used.

The pace of U.S. job losses slowed last month, a report released Wednesday showed, but the small improvement suggests a return to job growth could still be many months away.

Service-sector employment declined by 146,000 in August while goods-producing jobs including construction and manufacturing fell by 152,000, according to Automatic Data Processing Inc., a payroll firm.

The combined loss of 298,000 jobs was an improvement from July's revised drop of 360,000 and was less than half the pace of declines seen earlier this year.

Meanwhile, revised figures showed worker productivity was even stronger than initially reported during the spring, growing at a 6.6% annualized rate, though it resulted from companies' cutting workers or their hours.

"If you're a worker you don't really want to see productivity growing for the reasons it did in the second quarter," said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., a New York-based consulting firm. . . .

Labels: ,

## 9/01/2009

### Appearing on Thom Hartmann's Radio Show on Air America

We will be discussion Thom's piece: "Want to Stimulate the Economy? Lower the Retirement Age to 55 Now!" I will be on at 1:15 PM EDT.

Labels: ,

### Concealed-weapons permit holder defends himself against pit bull

Another defensive gun use by a permit holder:

Vancouver man shoots, kills pit bull
Story Published: Aug 30, 2009 at 1:13 PM PDT
Story Updated: Aug 31, 2009 at 7:55 AM PDT
By Meghan Kalkstein, KATU News Reporter
VANCOUVER, Wash. - A 78-year-old man with a licensed concealed pistol said he was trapped by two pit bulls he had never seen before, and the only way to survive was to shoot and kill one of dogs.

Albert Gosiak (pronounced like go-shack) said he walked out of his East Vancouver house just for a minute Saturday morning. That's when he met two pit bulls in his walkway.

Gosiak said the dogs were aggressive and he was trapped. He said he acted in self defense when he shot one of the pit bulls.

"It was just a snap judgment," Gosiak said. "What do I do, fumble around? They were right there ... I gotta do something now, so I pulled out my gun and shot them." . . . .

Animal control officials are investigating the case, and have told KATU that they believe Gosiak indeed was acting in self defense. Consequently, it is unlikely they will charge Gosiak in this case.

A video is available here.

Thanks to Gus Cotey.

Labels: ,

### So much for the government running its programs well

Well, possibly the government health care can run this well.

Auto makers will release their monthly sales reports Tuesday and they're expected to show the first year-to-year increase since 2007. While the Cash for Clunkers program is getting all the credit, local car dealers are still waiting for their cash.

During the month long program, Billion Automotive sold close to a thousand vehicles but has only been reimbursed for 272 of them. Vern Eide sold over 200 cars and has only been paid for 27 of them, and that's fueling lots of concerns in the auto industry.

Billion Automotive cashed in during Cash for Clunkers, but owner Dave Billion is still waiting for the rest of his money from the government run program, \$3.2 million.

"I wonder how long they'd wait if I owed them \$3.2 million. I think they'd be at my door or at least my banker's door," Billion said.

Even though Billion is beginning to get some of his reimbursement money, he's still concerned because he says there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the program.

When Cash for Clunkers was first announced, dealers were supposed to be reimbursed within 10 days of a sale. Billion says that hasn't happened.

"The program started in July and we haven't gotten paid for cars we sold back then, but then on the other hand we got paid for a car we sold last week. They don't have an accurate format. It's not like they're taking the first deals that were submitted and working those. I don't know how they're doing it, no idea. I know it's very random" Billion said. . . . .

"We had a situation where we had a submission, they rejected it for multiple reasons. We didn't see anything wrong with it, so we resubmitted it. They rejected, we resubmitted it. They rejected it, seven times and finally they paid it, and we never changed a single thing on it," Billion said. . . . .

CBS reports on "Car Dealers Still Waiting On 'Clunkers' Cash":

Here's the figure: \$2.878 billion. That's how much money the government owes car dealers for the "Cash for Clunkers" program.

More than \$200 million of that is owed to dealers in Illinois and Indiana, so CBS 2's Mai Martinez checked with some of them to see how much money they've collected from Uncle Sam.

Now that the popular program has ended, many dealerships are asking the federal government to "show me the money."

CAPTURE MY CHICAGO: Send us your pictures of Chicagoland. You could get published in a book.

"Out of 142 deals they owe us for, we've gotten paid on seven," Lou Tornabeni of Ettleson Hyundai said.

"We had 102 cash for clunkers," Carm Scarpace of Westfield Ford said. "We've been paid for one."

With each Cash for Clunkers deal worth between \$3,500 and \$4,500, many dealerships are anxiously awaiting their government payday. . . .

Roberts says his dealership sold 142 cars under the program -- for a total of about \$568,000 in government rebates. So far, the dealership has only been paid about \$68,000 for about 17 of the deals, which means Uncle Sam still owes them roughly \$500,000.

"It's not crippling, but it definitely affects the cash flow on a regular basis," Roberts said.

Roberts says his dealership can handle the cash crunch, but others may not be as lucky, especially if they didn't follow the government's strict guidelines for the program.

"We know of one dealer that sold 40 cars under the Cash for Clunkers programs, and out of those 40 cars, he's expecting to get paid on eight," Roberts said. . . . .

Car sales in August didn't quite work out as planned for Chrysler and to at least some extent GM. The big beneficiaries were foreign car makers.

Car makers sold 1,261,977 cars and pickup trucks industrywide, an increase of about 1% from a year earlier and up from July's 997,824. It was the highest total sales since May 2008 and the first time the industry saw a year-over-year increase since October 2007.

August's annualized sales pace jumped to 14.09 million vehicles, said Autodata Corp., an industry research firm. That is up from 11.24 million in July and 9.7 million in June and compares to 13.56 million in August 2008.

Foreign-based makers benefited the most from the clunkers incentives. Toyota sale rose 6.4% to 225,088 and Honda Motor Co. sold 161,439 vehicles, up almost 10%. But the rebates also aided Ford, whose sales jumped 17% to 181,826 vehicles.

In contrast, GM reported a 20% decline in sales to 245,066 vehicles, in part due to strong year-earlier sales when it had a big promotion celebrating its 100th anniversary. Still, GM sales were up from July's 187,582 and June's 174,006.

At Chrysler Group LLC -- which, like GM, recently underwent a U.S.-sponsored bankruptcy revamping -- sales fell 15% to 93,222. Chrysler was hurt by lean inventories that left many dealers short of vehicles.

The clunkers program offered as much as \$4,500 to customers who traded in old vehicles for new, more-fuel efficient models. More than 700,000 vehicles were sold with the rebates between July and Aug. 24, when the Transportation Department stopped the program because it was about to exhaust its budget. . . . .

The AP has this prediction for the rest of the year.

Consumers are expected to steer clear of dealers this autumn now that the clunker rebates are no longer available.

NPR notes:

According to the Department of Transportation, as of Friday, 59 percent of vehicles bought with Clunkers cash were foreign. The top two sellers were the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, both made by Japanese auto manufacturers. The only Detroit vehicles in the top 10 were the Ford Focus and Escape. . . .

This is in from Bloomberg:

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. “cash for clunkers” vehicle trade-in program has repaid 17 percent of dealer rebate applications nine days after the filing deadline, and is hiring more workers to process the paperwork, an official said today. . . .

Labels: ,

### Zogby: Obama Approval Plummets because of Democrats feeling that Obama isn't push hard enough for change

These numbers mean that Obama's poll numbers could rebound very quickly, so I wouldn't put a lot of weight on them. The strangest part of the poll is that while 75 percent of Democrats approve of Obama's job, 74 percent of blacks do. This makes me believe even more strongly that one shouldn't read too much into this decline.

President Barack Obama's job approval rating is down to 42%, with a decline in approval from Democrats the leading factor.

The latest Zogby Interactive poll of 4,518 likely voters conducted from August 28-31 found 48% disapprove and 42% approve of the job Obama is doing. The poll found 75% of Democrats approve of Obama's performance, a drop of 13 points among Democrats from an interactive poll done July 21-24 of this year. That same poll found 48% of all likely voters approving of Obama's job performance, and 49% disapproving.

In the most recent poll, 8% of Republicans and 37% of Independents approve of Obama's job performance. Both are down slightly from six weeks ago; two points among Republicans and three among Independents. . . . .

Labels: ,

### Very activist Justice Department coming from the Obama Administration

Look for a lot of cases that will claim that discrimination exists wherever there a differential outcomes for blacks and whites. The NY Times has this story (very difficult to read with all the biased political claims in this "news story"):

Seven months after taking office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is reshaping the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division by pushing it back into some of the most important areas of American political life, including voting rights, housing, employment, bank lending practices and redistricting after the 2010 census. . . .

## 8/31/2009

### Blagojevich's deal with Rahm Emanuel?

Make of this what you want:

CHICAGO -- Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says in a new book that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel wanted his help in arranging to leave the Obama administration after two years to reclaim his seat in Congress.

Mr. Blagojevich writes in "The Governor" that Mr. Emanuel spoke with him about whether it was possible to appoint a "placeholder" to the congressional seat Mr. Emanuel was giving up so that he could win back the seat in 2010 and continue his efforts to become speaker some day.

"As we have done for many months, we will continue to decline comment," Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said in an email Monday.

Mr. Blagojevich also admits that he wanted something in exchange for appointing President Barack Obama's replacement in the Senate, but it wasn't the deal described in federal corruption charges against him.

The Chicago Democrat says that the night before his arrest in December, he had launched a plan to appoint Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the Senate seat because he hoped to cut a deal on pet projects with her father, powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

That plan was ruined by his arrest. Mr. Blagojevich writes that he eventually appointed Roland Burris, in part because of Mr. Burris's famously big ego. No one else but Mr. Burris would accept the appointment and fight to be seated under the circumstances, Mr. Blagojevich says. . . .

Labels: ,

### 41 percent of Economists think inflation will increase

The WSJ has this:

Half of 266 members of the National Association for Business Economics surveyed in August said the Fed's decisions to increase the money supply won't lead to inflation in the next few years, the NABE said Monday. Some 41% disagreed, though, citing "lagged effects of policies now in effect," "monetization of the debt" and "ineffective exit strategy" as their primary concerns.

The economists overall said they expect inflation excluding food and energy to average 3% from 2014 to 2018. "This may reflect their view that an excessively stimulative fiscal policy and a complicated exit from its quantitative easing policies over the medium term will result in the Fed tolerating a higher level of inflation than it desires," the NABE report said. The Fed aims to keep inflation between 1.5% and 2%. . . .

Labels: ,

### Victim who had his iPhone stolen can use GPS to track the criminals

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has this:

Victim uses GPS to track robbers
Sunday, August 30, 2009
By Kaitlynn Riely, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Myron Knox, Jr.
Using a computer to tap into the GPS function of his cell phone, a man directed police to the location of the men he said robbed him early yesterday in Shadyside.

The victim, who was not identified by police, said two men approached him at about 1 a.m. near the intersection of Amberson Avenue and Amberson Place. He told police the men demanded his wallet and asked for his PIN number for his credit cards; one of the men also showed what appeared to be a handgun.

The man told police he turned over his wallet, his PIN number and his iPhone before running away toward Ellsworth Avenue. Officers arrived while he was contacting his bank to cancel his cards.

The man later used his computer to track the location of his iPhone to a Wal-Mart in North Versailles, where police said the suspects purchased items with his stolen credit card before moving on to an Eat'n Park restaurant on Route 30.

North Versailles police detained the suspects, who were in a gray 2004 Dodge van, at a gas station. Police said they recovered a black pellet gun, as well as stolen identification, credit cards and cash. . . . .

Labels: ,

### Bill Clinton explains one reason to pass the government health care takeover

In Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday night, Bill Clinton explained 'We need to pass a bill this year. Doing nothing is . . . also the worst thing that we can do for Democrats."

Labels: ,

### When competitors threaten turn to the government: NYSE turns to Congress and the SEC to stop Direct Edge

From the WSJ:

. . . . Direct Edge, a trading system that has commandeered 12% of U.S.-listed stock trading, a six-fold increase in just two years. The Big Board is leading an attack against Direct Edge, and has found a sympathetic ear in Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Direct Edge, of Jersey City, N.J., is at the heart of the world of high-frequency trading, in which computerized models dash in and out of stocks by the millisecond, hoping to capture fleeting distortions between the prices of securities.

What has gotten the NYSE so upset is Direct Edge's advocacy of "flash trading" -- a particular variety of high-frequency trading that briefly previews some orders to a few dozen market participants and trading platforms in hopes of finding a match.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer last month said use of such orders "creates a two-tiered system where a privileged group of insiders receives preferential treatment," and he urged the SEC to ban them. In response, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro has vowed to curb any "inequity" in such orders as part of a review of high-speed trading practices and "dark pools" operated by Wall Street firms and other traders.

While some competitors say they won't do flash trades, Mr. O'Brien takes an unrepentant approach. To him, the orders allow his customers to access additional orders to buy and sell stocks, providing a "bridge" to off-exchange trading pools, including dark pools, that may give them better prices. Customers' use of such orders is voluntary, he adds. . . . .

## 8/30/2009

### Obama pays for Offshore drilling in . . . . Brazil?

Why is the Obama administration giving money from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to a state owned oil company (Petrobras) in Brazil? If the Obama administration is concerned about the environment and they believe that offshore drilling is such a danger, why not stop offshore drilling anyplace. The WSJ:

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of \$2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas. . . . .

George Soros apparently owns has his largest holding in Petrobras.

The attacks on Palin is basically wrong (note also those mentioned in the Fox News piece). Here is a note on the taxpayer funding issue. The notion that the U.S. Export-Import Bank couldn't use their money to reduce taxes seems pretty important also. As to lending money so that American companies can bid on contracts, if the return from lending this money was so large, the companies would lend the money themselves to Petrobras.

Labels:

### Obnoxious behavior by Senator Harry Reid in threatening Las Vegas Review-Journal

From Fox News:

The publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, of "bullying" his newspaper by telling an employee he wants the Review-Journal shut down. . . . .

"No citizen should expect this kind of behavior from a U.S. senator. It is certainly not becoming of a man who is the majority leader in the U.S. Senate. And it absolutely is not what anyone would expect from a man who now asks Nevadans to send him back to the Senate for a fifth term," he wrote. "So today, we serve notice on Sen. Reid that this creepy tactic will not be tolerated."

Labels: ,

### States passing "Racial Justice Act" for the death penalty: Keeping race out of the decision or putting it in the decision?

I have no doubt that one can find places in the country where minorities are sentenced to the death penalty at relatively high rates, but overall whites quite disproportionately face the death penalty compared to the number of murders that they commit. What this means is a high black rate in some areas must be offset by an even much higher than average rate for whites in other areas. Does that mean that whites are being really discriminated against?

A new law in North Carolina could help murderers get off death row and stymie prosecutors who seek capital punishment in future cases, according to legal experts.

Last month, North Carolina became the second state after Kentucky to enact the Racial Justice Act, which seeks to ensure that race plays no role in who gets sentenced to death. . . .

Among the 163 people on North Carolina's death row, more than half - 88 inmates - are black. Sixty-two are white. . . .

North Carolina's law applies to two groups:

Those already on death row, who may seek to prove that race played a role in their sentences. They have until Aug. 11, 2010, to ask a judge to overturn their death sentences. Those who prove their cases would see their sentences converted to life in prison without parole.

Those accused of capital murder, who would have to raise the race issue before trial. If they can show that efforts to sentence them to death were racially motivated, death would no longer be an option. The maximum potential punishment would be life in prison without parole. . . .

Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt expects to be on the receiving end of Racial Justice Act claims. The county has four people on death row - three Indians, one white. Britt regularly seeks the death penalty in murder cases. . . .

Labels: ,