April 26, 2012

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John Hinderaker posts on the administration’s bad day in court yesterday.

Some years ago, I worked on a big case in Alaska and spent a lot of time there. At that time, the local bar was buzzing about a lawyer who had a really bad day in court: he was kicked to death by a moose in the parking lot of the federal courthouse in Anchorage. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli didn’t have that bad a day today in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that Arizona’s immigration law is invalid by virtue of federal pre-emption, but he was kicked about a good bit by the justices.

On Twitter, Byron York asked: “Question for legal types: Is Donald Verrilli bad at his job or just burdened by having to defend the indefensible?” You can read the entire argument here and draw your own conclusions, but in my opinion, the problem was not with Verrilli but rather with the quality of the arguments that he was required to make by his client, the Obama administration.


Mort Zuckerman, who voted for Obama, now outlines the president’s economic failures.

America has long been a country where almost everyone, including the poor and unskilled, could get a job. Given the will to do a reasonable day’s work, a job was a passport to economic and social well-being; it was the fount of self-esteem and the foundation of family life. Indeed, work was Life.

More than 15 million Americans no longer have that passport to Life. Think of it as roughly the entire population of the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Arkansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma, all standing idle—every man, woman, and child. The traditional breadwinners, namely men between the ages of 25 and 54, are among those hardest hit. According to an Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll, some 25 percent of households include someone who is unemployed and looking for work. As well as laying waste to work, to the equivalent of losing every job created in the last decade, the Great Recession has visited us with reduced incomes, declining home equity, and a growing contraction in credit.

For the 80 percent of Americans born after World War II, this is their Depression. They have 5.5 million fewer jobs than at the recession’s start in 2008, despite the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policy in our history. Employment has been below the pre-recession peak for over 50 months. It’s the longest time since the Great Depression that payrolls have not made a new high. The 120,000 new jobs for March make no dent (and adjusted for the peculiarity of warm weather, the number of real net jobs created was 76,000); we need at least 125,000 jobs each month just to provide for new entrants in a rising population.

Discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force make the unemployment rate look fractionally better, but the 8.2 percent headline masks the misery. It is a reflection of the U-3 statistic, which counts only people who have applied for a job in the last four weeks. Among the jobless army, a staggering 42 percent of them are long-term unemployed, without jobs for six months or longer. Look instead at the more relevant U-6 statistic, which counts the number of people who have applied over the last six months. U-6 also includes those who are involuntarily working on a part-time basis. That U-6 unemployment is now in the range of 15 percent. Since 2008, some 3 million people have dropped out of the job market. If they hadn’t, the unemployment rate would be about 10.8 percent. In March, the unemployment rate seemed to fall a tenth of 1 percent, yet the number of people who are actually employed dropped by 31,000. Why? Because the number of people who looked for a job dropped by 164,000 and they are not considered unemployed. Not to mention that half the new jobs are in temporary help agencies. …


Joel Kotkin and two other dudes write in American.com about some areas in the Midwest that are doing well.

The Midwest’s troubles are well-known. The decline of manufacturing has resulted in job losses and dying industrial towns. The best and brightest have fled the flatlands for more exciting, sunnier, mountainous, or coastal places where the real action is. Even Peyton Manning has left the heartland for the Rockies.

This narrative is so deeply embedded both in and outside of the Midwest that many people overlook the ways in which parts of the region are bouncing back. The Midwest’s story is important because it serves in significant ways as a regional microcosm of how growth and opportunity should look in America today.

In a recent study we look at trends that upend the conventional wisdom about the Midwest. We find that it is neither doomed to a slow and dirty demise like an old house on an eroding slope, nor forced to reinvent itself Dubai-style in order to compete with Silicon Valley or Manhattan. The Midwest’s future is rooted very much in its past—but with some important updates.

What do we mean? For starters, this means capitalizing on Americans’ desire to reside where the cost of living and doing business is favorable. As the last Census showed, Americans move in droves to regions where the cost of living is low, businesses face fewer obstacles, and workers have choices. As Wendell Cox and Joel Kotkin have shown, this goes for 25- to 35-year-olds as well as 55- to 65-year-olds. People want options and a good quality of life at a price they can afford.

In the Midwest, these trends have favored placed like Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana. …


Roger Simon says forget about the Pulitzer, the Walter Duranty Prize is available for the media.

We try not to be sore losers at PJ Media.

So after our first ever attempt at a Pulitzer Prize for Christian Adams & Hans von Spakovsky’s series “Every Single One” – revealing how every single Obama Justice Department appointee has been a liberal — lost this April, you won’t hear a peep out of us.   We will not complain even though a 2007 Pulitzer was awarded to a similar series that detailed how 57 percent of Bush’s Justice Department appointments went to conservatives. (Okay, that’s maybe a peep.

We know the biases of the Pulitzer Prize and did not expect to win.

No, at PJ Media we don’t get mad or complain… we get even

Starting this year, PJ Media, in conjunction with our good friends at The New Criterion, will be awarding the first annual Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity

Walter Duranty – it will be recalled — was the New York Times’ Moscow correspondent in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced mass starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression

Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts

Despite numerous attempts by Ukrainian organizations and others, the prize has never been revoked. Duranty’s photograph remains in its honored place on the New York Times’ wall along with the newspaper’s other Pulitzer winners. …


Jennifer Rubin posts on the small minded Santorum.

Just about every name Republican at this point has endorsed Mitt Romney. He is, after all, the only guy in the race who can and will win his party’s nomination. So Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) both gave their stamp of approval on Tuesday.

But there is a holdout among household-name Republicans: Rick Santorum. I know, the tension is too much to bear: When, oh when, will he announce he is throwing the legion of his supporters to the man whom 90 percent of Republicans already support? He’s still in self-delusion land, it seems. The National Journal reports: …


John Tamny wants to know what in the world conservatives saw in Santorum.

Rick Santorum dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday. Almost to a column, editorial and news account, the analysis centered on Santorum’s somewhat successful capture of conservative voters.

And there lies the mystery. How could a man seemingly so opposite of conservative have entranced so many voters who label themselves just that?

The easy answer is that as someone who made his religion such a prominent part of his campaign strategy (at one point saying “we need a Jesus candidate”), religious types who tend toward conservatism perhaps felt they’d found their man. The answer to this is why?

Figure Jesse Jackson is very religious, as is presumably Rev. Al Sharpton, and then President Obama, though he suffered much grief for the church he attended in Chicago, is presumably another politician who can claim being a man of faith. About all three, self-described conservatives arguably don’t find much to like.

After that, government throughout the centuries has arguably been religion’s greatest enemy, so it seems religious conservatives wouldn’t very much concern themselves with the faith of any candidate; their lone interest in a candidate his or her desire to protect the right of all who are religious to practice their faith without persecution. More to the point, it seems true religionists would correctly fear a “Jesus candidate.”

The truly religious would because just as a nation could elect someone of faith who might incorporate their religion into all aspects of government, that same nation could theoretically elect an atheist who would do the opposite. In short, there’s nothing conservative about a democracy that animates its operations with religion. If Santorum is a believer that may be great for some, but religious conservatives should more realistically prefer freedom of religion over someone eager to foist their values on a nation that at least at inception granted the federal government and executive branch rights limited to protecting individual freedom. …

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