Archive for April, 2009

Obama-Chrysler-Fiat-GMAC-Canada: If This Works; Pigs Can Fly

April 30, 2009

For an executive who is fond of hybrids, President Obama now has the most hybridized company known to the automobile industry.

The new Chrysler is a four-headed mutant partially owned by two governments, the United States (8 percent) and Canada (2 percent). It will be run by an Italian automaker, Fiat Group SpA. Fiat will pour its fuel-efficient technology into U.S. factories owned by fuel-hogging Chrysler to pump out vehicles whose sales will be financed by GMAC. 
.
By Major Garrett
FOXNews.com

Chrysler filed for bankruptcy Thursday. Its CEO Robert Nardelli announced he would leave the firm when bankruptcy proceedings are complete. Chrysler also announced it will idle all auto manufacturing as part of the bankruptcy-planned restructuring. 

The tumult, Obama said, has and will cause pain for many of the auto company’s employees, bond holders and dealers. But, he said at the White House, “the necessary steps have been taken to give one of America’s most storied automakers, Chrysler, a new lease on life.” 

Along the way, Obama ripped into the hedge funds who refused to accept the government’s offer of about 29 cents on the dollar for about $6.9 billion in debt Chrysler owed. This reluctance forced the White House to push Chrysler toward bankruptcy in the hopes that a judge will allow Chrysler to shed this debt at prices even lower than the hedge funds were asked to accept. 

“A group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout,” Obama said, flanked by his economic, energy and environmental teams. “They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices, and they would have to make none. Some demanded twice the return that other lenders were getting. I don’t stand with them.” 

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at the daily briefing that the hedge funds and investment firms were playing games.

“They tried to, in a sense, play chicken with the government for a better deal, and nobody blinked,” Gibb said. Later, Gibbs said the hedge funds and investment firms were within their rights to reject the deal, but that didn’t diminish Obama’s frustration or anger. 

“I’m not sure the president’s problem with them is based on their rights,” Gibbs said. “I think the president’s problem with them is based on the notion that, as he said, and as many members of the team have said, and as many members involved in this agreement have done, which is make sacrifices in order for a company to move forward.” 

The Associated Press reported that a group of funds identifying themselves as 20 of Chrysler’s “non-TARP lenders” released a statement saying they had been sidelined during negotiations between lenders and the government. The group, which said it holds $1 billion in Chrysler debt, complained that the four banks were “obviously conflicted” because they had accepted money from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program while the funds had not gotten TARP money. 

The group said its offer to the Treasury Department to reduce its claim to 40 percent was “flatly rejected or ignored.” 

According to its bankruptcy filing, Chrysler owes more than $10 million apiece to 20 of its unsecured creditors, many of whom are vendors and suppliers. 

A top administration official said the goal was a “surgical, short” bankruptcy that could be wrapped up in within two months.

“We expect this to be a very short, 30-to-60-day bankruptcy process, during which the company will function normally,” the official said. “People will be able to buy cars, they will have their warranties honored, and everything should go on normally.” 

Auto industry experts warned that Chrysler bond holders and dealers could fight bankruptcy proceedings, delaying the restructuring for months and possibly years. 

“This is just nuts,” said William Holstein, author of “Why GM Matters: Inside the Race to Transform and American Icon.” “They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Gibbs waved off questions about a bankruptcy process that could last longer than the 60-day target. 

“Let’s not get 61 days into the equation,” Gibbs said. “We’ll have any number of opportunities to do that as we get closer.” 

The new Obama “lease” on Chrysler’s future will cost U.S. taxpayers $3.3 billion in up-front bankruptcy bridge financing and another $4.5 billion in exit financing. That up-front financing may not last if bankruptcy proceedings drag out. Under the deal, Chrysler won’t begin selling Fiat-designed cars until 2011. The company will have to muddle through until then with a new board of directors and new CEO and with the United Auto Workers holding a 55 percent stake in the firm. 

For an executive who is fond of hybrids, President Obama now has the most hybridized company known to the automobile industry.

The new Chrysler is a four-headed mutant partially owned by two governments, the United States (8 percent) and Canada (2 percent). It will be run by an Italian automaker, Fiat Group SpA. Fiat will pour its fuel-efficient technology into U.S. factories owned by fuel-hogging Chrysler to pump out vehicles whose sales will be financed by GMAC. 

Chrysler filed for bankruptcy Thursday. Its CEO Robert Nardelli announced he would leave the firm when bankruptcy proceedings are complete. Chrysler also announced it will idle all auto manufacturing as part of the bankruptcy-planned restructuring. 

The tumult, Obama said, has and will cause pain for many of the auto company’s employees, bond holders and dealers. But, he said at the White House, “the necessary steps have been taken to give one of America’s most storied automakers, Chrysler, a new lease on life.” 

Along the way, Obama ripped into the hedge funds who refused to accept the government’s offer of about 29 cents on the dollar for about $6.9 billion in debt Chrysler owed. This reluctance forced the White House to push Chrysler toward bankruptcy in the hopes that a judge will allow Chrysler to shed this debt at prices even lower than the hedge funds were asked to accept. 

“A group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout,” Obama said, flanked by his economic, energy and environmental teams. “They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices, and they would have to make none. Some demanded twice the return that other lenders were getting. I don’t stand with them.” 

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at the daily briefing that the hedge funds and investment firms were playing games.

“They tried to, in a sense, play chicken with the government for a better deal, and nobody blinked,” Gibb said. Later, Gibbs said the hedge funds and investment firms were within their rights to reject the deal, but that didn’t diminish Obama’s frustration or anger. 

“I’m not sure the president’s problem with them is based on their rights,” Gibbs said. “I think the president’s problem with them is based on the notion that, as he said, and as many members of the team have said, and as many members involved in this agreement have done, which is make sacrifices in order for a company to move forward.” 

The Associated Press reported that a group of funds identifying themselves as 20 of Chrysler’s “non-TARP lenders” released a statement saying they had been sidelined during negotiations between lenders and the government. The group, which said it holds $1 billion in Chrysler debt, complained that the four banks were “obviously conflicted” because they had accepted money from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program while the funds had not gotten TARP money. 

The group said its offer to the Treasury Department to reduce its claim to 40 percent was “flatly rejected or ignored.” 

According to its bankruptcy filing, Chrysler owes more than $10 million apiece to 20 of its unsecured creditors, many of whom are vendors and suppliers. 

A top administration official said the goal was a “surgical, short” bankruptcy that could be wrapped up in within two months.

“We expect this to be a very short, 30-to-60-day bankruptcy process, during which the company will function normally,” the official said. “People will be able to buy cars, they will have their warranties honored, and everything should go on normally.” 

Auto industry experts warned that Chrysler bond holders and dealers could fight bankruptcy proceedings, delaying the restructuring for months and possibly years. 

“This is just nuts,” said William Holstein, author of “Why GM Matters: Inside the Race to Transform and American Icon.” “They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Gibbs waved off questions about a bankruptcy process that could last longer than the 60-day target. 

“Let’s not get 61 days into the equation,” Gibbs said. “We’ll have any number of opportunities to do that as we get closer.” 

The new Obama “lease” on Chrysler’s future will cost U.S. taxpayers $3.3 billion in up-front bankruptcy bridge financing and another $4.5 billion in exit financing. That up-front financing may not last if bankruptcy proceedings drag out. Under the deal, Chrysler won’t begin selling Fiat-designed cars until 2011. The company will have to muddle through until then with a new board of directors and new CEO and with the United Auto Workers holding a 55 percent stake in the firm.

Read the rest:
 http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009
/04/30/chrysler-deal-obama-create
s-auto-company-hybrid/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/04/
30/at-long-last-the-obama-usb-drive/

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Karl Rove: Obama Outsources His Presidency

April 30, 2009

While officials in the Obama White House dismissed yesterday’s “100 Days” anniversary as a “Hallmark Holiday,” they understood it was what sociologist Daniel J. Boorstin called a “pseudo-event.” By that, Boorstin meant an occasion that is not spontaneous but planned for the purpose of being reported — an event that is important because someone says so, not because it is.

What happens in a president’s first 100 days rarely characterizes the arc of the 1,361 that follow. Jimmy Carter had a very good first 100 days. Bill Clinton did not.

Still, a president would rather start well than poorly — and Mr. Obama has a job approval of 63%. That leaves him tied with Mr. Carter, one point ahead of George W. Bush, and behind only Ronald Reagan’s 67%. Four of the past six presidents had approval ratings that ranged between 62% and 67%, a statistically insignificant spread.

Mr. Obama is popular because he is a historic figure, has an attractive personality, has passed key legislation, and receives adoring press coverage.

However, there are cautionary signs. Mr. Obama’s policies are less popular than his personality, the pace of polarization with Republicans has proceeded faster than ever in history, and independents are thinking more like Republicans on the issues and less like Democrats.

The first 100 days can reveal a pattern of behavior that comes to characterize a presidency. In this respect, there are two emerging habits of Team Obama worth watching.

One is the gap between what Mr. Obama said he would do and what he is doing. His administration is emphasizing in its official 100 days talking points steps he has taken to “deliver on the change he promised.” During the campaign, Mr. Obama denounced the $2.3 trillion added to the national debt on Mr. Bush’s watch as “deficits as far as the eye can see.” But Mr. Obama’s budget adds $9.3 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years. What happened to Obama the deficit hawk?

From Mr. Obama’s Denver acceptance speech through the campaign, Mr. Obama did not publicly utter the phrase “universal health care.” Instead, his campaign ran ads attacking “government-run health care” as “extreme.” Now Mr. Obama is asking, as he did at a townhall meeting last month, “Why not do a universal health care system like the European countries?” Maybe because he was elected by intimating that would be “extreme”?

Another emphasis in the Obama 100 days talking points is that the president is a decisive leader. However, Mr. Obama is enormously deferential to Democrats in Congress and has outsourced formulation of key policies to them. He appears largely ambivalent about the contents of important legislation, satisfied to simply sign someone else’s bill.

On the $787 billion stimulus package, he specified less than a quarter of the bill’s spending and let House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey decide the rest. On cap and trade, Mr. Obama is comfortable to let Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman and Edward Markey write that legislation with virtually no White House guidance. On health care, the White House is providing very little detail. Mr. Obama tees up an issue, but leaves its execution to congressional Democrats.

This leadership style may be a carryover from his Senate years, when he was unusually detached from the substance of legislation. Mr. Obama’s focus on broad descriptions of a goal will produce laws, but handing over control of the process may produce deeply flawed products.

The stimulus bill turned into a liberal spending wish list that will retard, not hasten, recovery. Already, with mounting job losses the gap between the 3.675 million jobs he said he would create or protect in his first two years and the number of actual jobs in the economy has risen to nearly five million. Reaching his job target now requires creating 249,400 new jobs a month for the next 20 months. Democrats will not fare well in next year’s elections if there is a yawning Obama “job gap.”

Democratic congressional leaders are ecstatic about Mr. Obama’s willingness to outsource major legislation to them. They thrive on sausage making and, with the president’s popularity high, they appreciate that his strengths are not their strengths. Yet Mr. Obama clearly did not gain their respect for his legislative abilities during his Senate years.

Mr. Obama is a great face for the Democratic Party. He is its best salesman and most persuasive advocate. But he is beginning to leave the impression that he is more concerned with the aesthetics of policy rather than its contents. In the long run, substance and consequences define a presidency more than signing ceremonies and photo-ops. In his first 100 days, Mr. Obama has put the fate of his presidency in the hands of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He may come to regret that decision.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

President’s Biggest News Conference Lie: Jobs

April 30, 2009

Forget that jerk Joe Biden saying we shouldn’t travel while there’s flu in the air: a remark everyone had to clarify with “What the Vice President meant to say….”

How about the president saying last night his stimulus saved or created 150,000 jobs already?  He knows what “net” means, one would think, and he knew last night he was already scheduled to announce the end of Chrysler as we know it on Thurday.

Related:
Obama-Chrysler-Fiat-GMAC-Canada: If This Works; Pigs Can Fly

Added May 9:
Obama Team Might Have “Miscalculated” On Jobs, Stimulus
.
Yet last night President Obama said his “stimulus” or as he calls it, “the Recovery Act” “has already saved or created over 150,000 jobs.”

“That dog won’t hunt,” said Neil Cavuto of Fox Business.

Today?

Just in today’s and yesterday’s news, GM is telling news outlets that 1,000 dealerships will have to close, defence equipment firm BAE Systems said Thursday that it will cut around 500 jobs and close three sites, and Swiss bank UBS said on Thursday it had eliminated 2,000 U.S. jobs as part of its latest mammoth round of job cuts announced earlier in April.

The Labor Department said today 631,000 Americans filed applications for jobless benefits in the week that ended April 25, and the total number of people on jobless rolls rose by 133,000 the prior week to 6.27 million, the 13th straight time the figure has set a record.
.

Christina Romer, chair of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, predicted another economic contraction in the second quarter albeit at a slower pace and delivered a downbeat assessment about unemployment. “The recovery will almost surely take a long time,” she said.

And how about Chrysler?  CNN says:

The company’s liabilities and an unspecified number of Chrysler’s 3,300 dealerships which now sell the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands will be left behind in the bankruptcy court.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/30/news/
companies/chrysler_bankruptcy/index.ht
m?postversion=2009043009

Remember Nancy Pelosi: “The auto industry is too big to fail”?

Pelosi, a California Democrat, didn’t cite GM by name in her statement endorsing a bailout last November, but she said an automaker collapse would have a “devastating impact on our economy.”

From Bloomberg last November 12:

“Trying to reorganize the auto industry in bankruptcy would be as close to reorganizing the whole U.S. economy as you could get,” said Alan Gover, a bankruptcy lawyer with White & Case LLP in New York. “The vast supply chain involves thousands of businesses, millions of existing jobs and just as many retirees, as well as whole communities and states.”

Passage of an industry bailout plan may keep GM from running out of operating cash by year’s end, which it says may happen without U.S. help. Detroit-based GM is the second-biggest provider of private health-care benefits and was the third- biggest advertiser in this year’s first half.

“It’s truly one of those companies that’s too big to fail, and everybody understands that,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. “If it does collapse, it could make the recession deeper and longer.”

See:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/ne
ws?pid=20601087&refer=home&sid=
a6QTsj05Md04

Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/
04/30/at-long-last-the-obama-usb-drive/

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/3
0/obamas-prime-time-audience-dro
ps-by-29/
:
Former Continental Airline CEO: Biden Over Reacting, Over Hyping Flu
.
President Says Stimulus “Saved or Created over 150,000 jobs;” But GM, Chrysler, UBS and BAE Job Losses in Two Days Seem Greater Than That
.
Obama Must Be Lonely At The Top
.
Get ready for Obama’s coming hyperinflation

Related

Barack Obama has marked 100 days as president with a trip to ...

Former Continental Airline CEO: Biden Over Reacting, Over Hyping Flu

April 30, 2009

Frank Lorenzo, the former CEO of Continental Airlines added his voice to a chorus of others today who were taken aback by Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that he would tell his family to stay off airplanes during the flu outbreak.

Lorenzo said Biden was “overreacting and overhyping.”

“If a person decides not to travel due to the risks, that is his issue,” said Lorenzo.

Lorenzo appeared on Fox News with Neil Cavuto during the 4 PM (Eastern) hour.

Earlier today White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had to answer questions about Biden’s gaffe and said, “What the Vice President meant to say was….

Janet Napolitano also tried to rescue Biden and said the best defense from the flu was to wash with soap and water.

Maybe she should wash the Veep’s mouth out with soap and water….

Related:
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/30/tapp
er-to-gibbs-can-you-clarify-bidens-moronic
-comment-about-subways/

Related:
Obama Must Be Lonely At The Top
.
 American Airlines: Biden “Fear Mongering” on Flu
.
Monkey See Monkey Do Doesn’t Work: Obama Says Wash Your Hands; Biden Says Stay Off Subways; NBC Says “Panic”
.
 Biden: Stay Off Subways During Swine Flu Panic (Actual NBC Headline)

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at ...

Gibbs: “What the Vice President meant to say…”

President Says Stimulus “Saved or Created over 150,000 jobs;” But GM, Chrysler, UBS and BAE Job Losses in Two Days Seem Greater Than That

April 30, 2009

Last night the President of the United States claimed his “stimulus” or as he calls it, “the Recovery Act “has already saved or created over 150,000 jobs.”

Sounds like a Joe Bidenism to us.

Just in today’s and yesterday’s news, GM is telling news outlets that 1,000 dealerships will have to close, defence equipment firm BAE Systems said Thursday that it will cut around 500 jobs and close three sites, and Swiss bank UBS said on Thursday it had eliminated 2,000 U.S. jobs as part of its latest mammoth round of job cuts announced earlier in April.

The Labor Department said today 631,000 Americans filed applications for jobless benefits in the week that ended April 25, and the total number of people on jobless rolls rose by 133,000 the prior week to 6.27 million, the 13th straight time the figure has set a record.
.

Christina Romer, chair of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, predicted another economic contraction in the second quarter albeit at a slower pace and delivered a downbeat assessment about unemployment. “The recovery will almost surely take a long time,” she said.

And how about Chrysler?  CNN says:

The company’s liabilities and an unspecified number of Chrysler’s 3,300 dealerships which now sell the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands will be left behind in the bankruptcy court.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/30/news/
companies/chrysler_bankruptcy/index.ht
m?postversion=2009043009

Remember Nancy Pelosi: “The auto industry is too big to fail”?

Pelosi, a California Democrat, didn’t cite GM by name in her statement endorsing a bailout last November, but she said an automaker collapse would have a “devastating impact on our economy.”

From Bloomberg last November 12:

“Trying to reorganize the auto industry in bankruptcy would be as close to reorganizing the whole U.S. economy as you could get,” said Alan Gover, a bankruptcy lawyer with White & Case LLP in New York. “The vast supply chain involves thousands of businesses, millions of existing jobs and just as many retirees, as well as whole communities and states.”

Passage of an industry bailout plan may keep GM from running out of operating cash by year’s end, which it says may happen without U.S. help. Detroit-based GM is the second-biggest provider of private health-care benefits and was the third- biggest advertiser in this year’s first half.

“It’s truly one of those companies that’s too big to fail, and everybody understands that,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. “If it does collapse, it could make the recession deeper and longer.”

See:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/ne
ws?pid=20601087&refer=home&sid=
a6QTsj05Md04

Today See Bloomberg:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/ne
ws?pid=20601087&sid=aD8OEaxDH
8Sw&refer=home

Add to that:

Does the president understand what “net” means; as in net jobs lost?

Or do we have to wait for Robert Gibbs now to say, “What el Presidente meant to say is….”

The Associated Press said:

This assertion is dubious on several levels. For starters, the U.S. has lost more than 1.2 million jobs since Obama took office, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even if Obama’s stimulus bill saved or created as many jobs as he says, that number is dwarfed by the number of recent job losses.

But Obama’s number is murky, at best. The White House has not yet announced how it intends to count jobs created by the stimulus bill. Obama’s number is based on a job-counting formula that his economists have developed but have not made public. Until that formula is announced –probably in the coming week or so — there’s no way to assess its accuracy.

Whatever the formula, economists who study job creation say it will require some creative math. That’s because Obama has lumped “jobs saved” in with “jobs created.” Even economists for organizations that stand to benefit from the stimulus concede it probably is impossible to estimate saved jobs because that would require calculating a hypothetical: how many people would have lost their jobs without the stimulus.

AP:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/
04/30/fact-check-obamas-job-creatio
n-deficit-claims-questionable/

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/0
4/30/100-days-presser-150000-jobs/

Gibbs: “What the Vice President meant to say…”

April 30, 2009

Not only did White House spokesman Robert Gibbs clarify the VEEP Joe Biden’s remarks on NBC this morning, he used the demeaning “what he meant to say” line twice, as if to say he himself, Gibbs, was a lot smarter than Biden.

If you know Biden you knew this day would come….

Journalist Bill Samon called Biden a “gaffe machine…a political liability.”

Meanwhile the White House press briefing today seemed to revolve around the flu.

And why not?  Biden said don’t fly or ride the subway, he even mentioned sneezing in classrooms, the president was in Mexico 13 days ago and NBC used the word “panic” in the headline about Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at ...

In the Congress, a Republican said he couldn’t find ground truth at the DHS and Centers for Disease Control.

Rep. Brian Bilbray of California said he was told DHS and CDC told border agents and airport screeners not to wear protective masks because they looked too sinister.

“For somebody sitting in D.C., who won’t even allow their family to fly, and then to sit there and say, don’t put on the masks until you know someone is sick is absolutely absurd. And it shows that Washington doesn’t understand the procedures or the conditions along the border,” Bilbray said. “Washington ought to wake up.”

The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it has not told agents at U.S. airports and border checkpoints that they cannot wear masks to protect from exposure to swine flu.

“The Department of Homeland Security has not issued an order saying our employees cannot wear masks. The health of our employees is of utmost importance to us. And today we are issuing department-wide guidance to our workforce,” DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban told FOX News. 

Kuban was responding to a claim made Thursday that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security issued a guideline banning masks because they look too intimidating.

Hot Air:
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/0
4/30/video-bidens-symphony-of-stupid/

Related:
Obama Must Be Lonely At The Top
.
 American Airlines: Biden “Fear Mongering” on Flu
.
Monkey See Monkey Do Doesn’t Work: Obama Says Wash Your Hands; Biden Says Stay Off Subways; NBC Says “Panic”
.
 Biden: Stay Off Subways During Swine Flu Panic (Actual NBC Headline)

Obama Must Be Lonely At The Top

April 30, 2009

Sometimes we get the feeling Barack Obama is a one man show — which would make him very lonely at the top.

Who does Barack go to for a laugh about the numbskulls around him?  I mean, when Biden blows a two minute shot on NBC by telling people not to go into tight places like aircraft, subways, trains, cars, taxis, and well, it’s implied, WORK, during a recession because of the flu, who does Barack go to see for a laugh?

Now Janet (“keep your eyes on those veterans and Canadians”) Napolitano is clarifying what Biden says.

This is rich.

And why did the president have to make the Chrysler announcement this morning?  He’s a camera hog?  Nope.  Would you have paid any attention to Tim Geithner?  Or “Sleepy” Larry Summers?

Barack: Get the reset button from Hillary and Biden and start the day over….

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air wondered: Does anyone in the White House actually do research?

Not as far as we can tell….

***************************

Was it Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton that thought it was a good idea to encourage Russia to just hit the “reset” button?  Well, whoever…..

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian.
Coffrini/Getty

Related:
Barack, Hillary: Moronic “Reset” Idea for Relations With Russia

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
4/30/biden-avoid-planes-and-subw
ays-but-not-really/

Related:

***********************

From Politico

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tried to cover for Joe Biden Thursday by arguing that when the vice president suggested …

… Americans avoid planes and trains, he was giving advice similar to what the government has been saying all along.

“I think the vice president, if he could say that over again, he would say if they’re feeling sick, they should stay off of public transit or confined spaces because that, indeed, is the advice that we have been giving,” Napolitano said during an interview on MSNBC.

“What we’re advising people to do is if you feel sick, take responsibility for yourself and stay off of transportation or crowded areas. Don’t go to work. Don’t send your child to school. And, again, it’s not — it’s not just a cold, but if you have signs of the flu, which is commonly associated with a fever, heavy cough, and the like,” she added.

“So again, let’s not — let’s not overreact. We’re asking people to take common-sense precautions. And that’s how we’re going to work our way through this problem.”

POLITICO:
http://www.politico.com/politico44/p
erm/0409/napolitano_covers_d5a20
ff5-5c11-4ea7-b15b-ddb792a31682.html

Winston Churchill
Persona non grata in today’s White House used as a positive reference during last night’s news confernece….

See:
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/
30/100-days-presser-flubbing-churchill/

Related:
Obama’s Dumb Moves Getting More Difficult to Ignore? On Friday Mainstream Media Realiazes Monday’s Cabinet Meeting Was Laughable, Really
.
“Mister Green” Obama Flies To Iowa on Gas Guzzling Jet To Visit Wind Factory On Earth Day
.
Obama White House Engineered Photo Ops, Publicity Stunts Not Always Honest, Well Conceived
.
Obama’s Team Stages Insane Looking Cabinet Meeting: Arms Them With Squirt Guns To Put Out Forest Fire in Economy, Fed Spending
.
Obama Announces 1/35,000th Spending Cut!

Consumer spending, new jobless claims dip

April 30, 2009

Consumer spending fell more than expected in March after two straight monthly gains, a stark reminder of a fragile economy that has pushed a record number of Americans to draw jobless benefits.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that consumer spending dropped 0.2 percent in March, worse than the 0.1 percent decline economists expected. Incomes, reflecting persistent mass layoffs, dropped 0.3 percent, also worse than expected.

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

The personal savings rate rose to 4.2 percent from 4 percent in February. It stood at 4.4 percent in January, the first time in more than a decade the rate has been above 4 percent for three straight months.

Households have been cutting back on spending and boosting savings during the recession, worried that they need to replenish depleted nest eggs as job cuts mount and investment values plunge.

The fact that spending turned negative in March after two straight gains is a worrisome sign. Consumer spending in the first quarter grew at a 2.2 percent annual rate after two consecutive quarters of declines, but some analysts said that may be just a blip. Economists closely watch consumer spending because it accounts for 70 percent of total economic activity.

Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s largest consumer products maker, on Thursday reported a dip in its quarterly profit and trimmed its full-year outlook, expecting slow sales through June. P&G has been promoting Tide detergent, Pampers diapers and its other products by emphasizing their value to consumers and cutting costs, but sales fell across its broad portfolio.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said new applications for unemployment aid fell to a seasonally adjusted 631,000 last week. That was down from the prior week’s 645,000, which was revised slightly higher from the government’s initial estimate. Economists had expected a small increase in new claims.

The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims, which smooths out volatility, dropped last week to 637,250. That was the lowest level since late February and a decrease of about 20,000 from the high in early April. Goldman Sachs economists have said a decline of 30,000 to 40,000 in the four-week average is needed to signal a peak.

“We are seeing a mixed picture with the data. Now we have shades of gray, which is an improvement from the fall and winter when it was uniformly black” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services.

Christina Romer, chair of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, predicted another economic contraction in the second quarter and delivered a downbeat assessment about unemployment. But she said the pace of the decline will moderate sharply over the next several months.

“Whether the recovery begins later this year, as most private forecasters predict, or takes a bit longer is hard to know,” she told Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. “The recovery will almost surely take a long time.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009
0430/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/us_economy

Related:
Get ready for Obama’s coming hyperinflation
.
 Measuring By What We Grow; Not What We Spend
.
 After 100 Days, Can Obama, the Media and Americans End the Childish Charade?
.
 Health Care is 1/6th of U.S. Economy But Obama Will Cram Reform Through Congress? Why?

Tea Parties Tell Us: The Real Culture War Is Over Capitalism

Obama has largely done the fun part of governing: promising people free stuff

April 30, 2009

Facing the biggest financial crisis of our generation, the Obama administration has certainly been busy. In the first hundred days, the administration has pushed through the largest stimulus package in U.S. history, steered Chrysler and GM toward a managed reorganization, and stress tested our banking system. Treasury Secretary Geithner has floated multiple plans to rebuild Wall Street with a mixture of public and private capital. And if, as many critics have claimed, the administration’s proposed packages have not always been harsh enough to put the fear of God into wayward bankers, the administration certainly managed to scare the bejeesus out of them Monday morning with the fighter plane that buzzed Manhattan’s financial district.

By Megan McArdle
The Atlantic

It’s probably no exaggeration to say that Obama’s presidency will ultimately stand or fall on its handling of the financial crisis. And at this point, with respect to all the frantic activity, the polls seem to be saying, so far, so good. Even though a recent New York Times/CBS survey suggests that Americans don’t expect the country to be out of recession by the end of his first term, Obama’s approval ratings are in the mid-sixties.

Of course, Jimmy Carter’s early approval ratings hit 70% before beginning their long downward slide. And Bush’s ranged as high as 95% after 9/11. As the Wall Street prospectuses all say, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Still, Obama’s performance thus far ought to offer some clue: has he set the stage for economic victory, or defeat? In some sense, for all its exertions, the Obama administration hasn’t actually done all that much.

There is, to be sure, the stimulus. It is indeed large, filled with scores of spending plans, alleged to be “temporary.” Like the recently discontinued tax on telephone service — originally enacted to fund the Spanish-American War — many of these programs will undoubtedly be with us for decades to come. As of now, however, most of the stimulus money remains to be spent.

Yet while the stimulus package will provide some modest boost to aggregate demand, it in no way addresses the central problems the Obama administration faces. The Medicare and Social Security systems are about to start draining the budget, rather than contributing to it. The “stress tests” are starting to tell us what we already knew: Large parts of the banking sector need more capital, which won’t be easy to raise in the current economic environment. The recession, and especially the decline of Wall Street, is badly undercutting Federal tax revenues. All of these problems are just revealing themselves. And they will get worse before they get better.

So far, Obama’s only proposal for dealing with the funding shortage is a tax increase on high earners, leaving “95% of working families” untouched. But the math doesn’t work. In 2006, the latest year for which data are available, the top 5% of families took home a whopping 36% of national taxable income, and paid 20% of that, or around $600 billion, in Federal income tax. But even before the president’s ambitious health care plan emerges from the Congressional policy grinder, the CBO estimates that his budget plans to spend an additional $400 billion each year. He’s not going to get there with a small, or even a large, tax increase on high earners. For one thing, the share of national income collected by the top 5% has undoubtedly dropped sharply since 2006, because their incomes tend to depend more on capital and business income, and on bonuses, all of which have fallen off. (That’s why tax revenues fell off so steeply in 2001.) And work by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez suggests that the deeper the crisis, the longer and deeper the hit to top incomes: the lessening of the gap between rich and poor during the fifties and sixties may in fact have been largely attributable to the deleterious effects of the Great Depression and World War II.

Even if this weren’t the case, it’s not really feasible to pay for everything simply by doubling taxes on the wealthy — because federal income taxes aren’t the only taxes they pay. Higher incomes are disproportionately concentrated in places with high state and local taxes, like New York City. There’s a practical limit to how high a percentage of income you can take from even the wealthiest financier, not least because they have more discretion about how, and whether, they make money, which means that raising taxes above a certain level rapidly starts depressing the amount of income available to tax. Even most European countries don’t try to pay for their welfare states just by soaking the rich.

Up until now, Obama has largely done the fun part of governing: promising people free stuff.

Read the rest:
http://politics.theatlantic.com/200
9/04/the_trillion_dollar_fix.php

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/
04/30/tea-time-for-obama/

Related:
Get ready for Obama’s coming hyperinflation
.
 Measuring By What We Grow; Not What We Spend
.
 After 100 Days, Can Obama, the Media and Americans End the Childish Charade?
.
 Health Care is 1/6th of U.S. Economy But Obama Will Cram Reform Through Congress? Why?

Tea Parties Tell Us: The Real Culture War Is Over Capitalism

Obama Should Cancel Notre Dame Visit: Or why not throw a pig roast in Mecca?

April 30, 2009

Here’s why Rahm Emanuel might tell his boss to go to Notre dame: the photo of Obama before a giant Notre Dame seal will be priceless.

I can hear Emanuel now: “You bowed to the Saudi and got away with it…”

But there might be a price and not just to Notre Dame, if el Presidente goes to ND..  People who respect life might take that as an in-your-face insult that No Drama Obama doesn’t need or want.

After just 100 days, Obama is sure to enjoy another 7 years, 265 days in the White House.  Time to run out the clock: expecially on something as touchy as this.

Or just go to the rib roast in Mecca as Kathleen Parker suggests.

Pork ribs….

*************************

Here on planet “What About Me,” principled people are so rare as to be oddities. Thus, it was a head-swiveling moment Monday when Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, quietly declined Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal.

By Kathleen Parker
The Washington Post

Glendon — a Harvard University law professor and a respected author on bioethics and human rights — rejected the honor in part because Barack Obama was invited to be commencement speaker and to receive an honorary degree.

In a letter to Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, Glendon wrote of her dismay that Obama was to receive the degree in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ position that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”

But the more compelling reason seems to have been Glendon’s sense that she was being used to deflect criticism. As a mutual friend put it, “Father Jenkins thought he could use Mary Ann Glendon as a fig leaf.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte
nt/article/2009/04/28/AR2009042803254.h
tml?nav=rss_opinion/columns&sid=ST20090
42803371

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/0
4/30/100-days-presser-the-foca-fade/