Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jobs & Market...

Via HotAir, the June jobs report shows only 17,000 jobs created in the private sector. All those other jobs were mostly temporary government jobs for the census.

Meanwhile, how's that stock market doing after today???


Kagan Update...

So, Kagan pushed for partial-birth abortion here and here.

Her controversial stance on the Commerce Clause here.

Her position on the 9/11 case here.

And, of course, yesterday's info re: her book-banning support here.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Roundup...

Consumer confidence takes a tumble...

U.S. consumer confidence was rocked in June as Americans fretted about the weak jobs picture and more turbulence in the financial markets, a new report showed on Tuesday.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dropped to 52.9 in June, sharply below a reading of 62.7 in May and not even close to the 62.8 reading economists had forecasted. The 9.8 point drop in June marked the steepest decline since February.

Which makes the entire market tumble (early this morning all 30 Dow stocks and all but one S&P stock was down)...

A darkening view of the economy sent bond market interest rates to their lowest level in 14 months and kept many investors out of the stock market.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, considered a benchmark because it's used to set rates on consumer loans including mortgages, fell to 3.03 percent Monday, its lowest point since late April 2009.

Santelli goes off again...

"... government needs to, “Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending!”

The AP tries to put lipstick on the housing market pig...

Home prices in April rose for the first time in seven months as government tax credits bolstered the housing market. But the rebound may be short-lived now that the incentives have expired [ummm, yeah, 'cause it expired on April 30].
Kinda tough to do when this info is out there, too.

And how's ol' Obama doing with that oil spill mess in the Gulf of Mexico, anyways???...

Meanwhile, as of just last year Kagan seems to have had no problem having a law banning books. Yeah, I'd love to have someone like that on the U.S. Supreme Court.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Ventura County Income Requirements...

From today's Ventura County Star:

A family of four in Ventura County that includes two young children and two working adults needs an income of $82,231 just “to achieve a modest standard of living without assistance from public programs,” a report released Thursday concludes.

That amount exceeds the countywide median household income of $76,190, which means more than half of county families make less than that.

The study, called “Making Ends Meet,” was prepared by the nonpartisan California Budget Project, a group that advocates for government policies that assist low- and middle-income workers.

The minimum amount needed for a single adult in the county to live modestly was pegged at $34,764, which translates to an hourly wage of $16.71 for a full-time worker...

“It’s a reality check on what it costs to support a family in California, allowing only for the basics,” said researcher Alissa Anderson. “They need well into the range of what’s considered middle-income to make ends meet.”

The amounts, broken down for each county in California, were calculated using government and private industry data that detail median rents, child-care rates, health insurance premiums, taxes and costs for food and transportation.

After all those expenses are met, the hypothetical family of four with an $82,231 income would have $479 per month left over for “miscellaneous” items, including saving for retirement or college expenses.

Uhh... hmm... oooookay... that doesn't make me feel to good (not that I didn't already intuitively know this).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Huff & Puff & Blow the Housing Market Down...

Via Ace, the Obama "no proof of income" mortgage re-finance program is a major bust:

More than a third of the 1.24 million borrowers who have enrolled in the $75 billion mortgage modification program have dropped out...A major reason so many have fallen out of the program is the Obama administration initially pressured banks to sign up borrowers without insisting first on proof of their income. When banks later moved to collect the information, many troubled homeowners were disqualified or dropped out.

Well, DUH!

Meanwhile, AP has this today: Pre-existing home sales dropped 2.2% in May.

Sales of previously occupied homes dipped 2.2 percent in May, signaling that a boost from home-buying tax credits is fading sooner than expected...

The tax credits were expected to lift sales in May and June...

The report is "a worrisome sign for what will occur in July and thereafter when the effect of the tax credit is behind us," said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., an economic consulting firm in New York...

The report "suggests that even government stimulus in the form of a tax credit isn't enough," to support the U.S. housing market, wrote Guy LeBas, an analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott.


6/23 UPDATE: More bad news. New home sales down 33% since end of tax credit. Lowest on record.

Sales of new homes collapsed in May, sinking 33 percent to the lowest level on record as potential buyers stopped shopping for homes once they could no longer receive government tax credits... The bleak report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday is the latest sign of a precarious housing market that is struggling to recover and could weaken the broader economic recovery. It follows a disappointing report issued earlier in the week showing sales of previously occupied homes had dipped in May.

6/24 UPDATE: Mortgage rates are now at the lowest level in recorded history.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for 30-year fixed loans sank to 4.69 percent, from 4.75 percent last week.

That's the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971. The previous record of 4.71 percent was set in December. Rates for 15-year and five-year mortgages also hit lows.

Mortgage rates have fallen over the past two months. Investors wary of the European debt crisis and the turbulent stock market have shifted money into the safety of Treasury bonds, driving down yields. Mortgage rates tend to track the yields on long-term Treasury debt.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More on the Tea Party...

Gateway has a linked post on an article about the Tea Party Movement.

UPDATE: Gateway has a 3-part series on the movement. Part I is here. Part II is here. Part III comes out tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

EU ewe......

Tick... tock... tick... tock...

On the Border...

Problems in Arizona.

"The One" has a plan... of sorts. Yeah... let's just give up, and let the thugs rule the area.


Tea Party Redux?

Gateway Pundit has a nice post on the Tea Party Movement. Some key excerpts:

Years from now, historians will look back at the Tea Party Movement and divide it into two primary eras. Tea Party 1.0 was about the birth of the first massive, spontaneous grassroots movement in a generation. It was about rallying the troops and waking up America to realize that the inmates are running the asylum; that the first Manchurian Candidate became the first Manchurian President; that government programs and government spending were poised to destroy our children’s future. Tea Party 1.0 was the start of what I believe will prove to be the 4th Great Awakening in America...

Tea Party 2.0, is characterized by the swift march of Tea Party Patriots into political activism on a permanent basis. Tea Party 2.0 is an unstoppable freight train. Patriots will be just as active on November 3rd as they were on November 2nd. Because, win or lose, we’re fighting to WIN…permanently. Sure, this will take a number of years. But the election of Barack Obama and the hegemony of socialists in our government were not suddenly achieved overnight...

BUT THIS IS THE KEY: Whereas in the past we were content to win a given election (a mere battle), now we’re focused on winning the war. The war doesn’t end on November 2nd, and neither will our volunteerism...

The mistake of the ’94 revolution was thinking that after we had taken the “beaches” of Congress we had won the war. But Eisenhower didn’t stop at Normandy, nor shall we at Scott Brown, Chris Christy, or Rand Paul.

More Housing Woes...


Housing starts fell to a five-month low in May but industrial output rose, evidence of an uneven recovery that has kept inflation at a minimum.

As the government's tax incentives for homebuyers expired, new home building dropped 10 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000 units, the lowest level since December, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

Home construction plunged last month and building permits also fell, the latest signs that the construction industry won't fuel the economic recovery.

Builders are scaling back now that government incentives have expired. The biggest evidence of that trend: single-family homes tumbled 17 percent, the largest monthly drop since January 1991. The struggle in the housing industry is a concern for the broader economy because fewer homes mean fewer jobs across various sectors.

Overall new homes and apartments fell 10 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. April's figure was revised downward to 659,000. Applications for new building permits — a sign of future activity — sank 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 574,000. That was the lowest level in a year.

Don't say I didn't tell you so.

A Well-Oiled Machin-- umm, Administration!

Gateway Pundit did a live-blog of "The One's" speech last night (NOTE: He's been in office for a year and a half, and this is his FIRST address from the Oval Office).

Real Clear Politics has MSNBC video of their reaction to "The One's" unimpressive speech. Gateway and Hot Air also have links, and they all have take-away quotes and/or summaries. Olbermann, Matthews & Fineman are NOT happy. Krauthammer chimes in, too.

This does NOT bode well for "The One". Especially when Louisianans now think his response to the oil spill crisis is WORSE than Bush's with Hurricane Katrina. THAT'S bad... REAL bad.

UPDATE: And American Thinker sets the record straight about all the oil we are sitting on but are forbidden to extract.

6/17 UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has Rep. Joe Barton's apology for the administration's "shakedown" on BP.

And Flopping Aces has more detailed info on what oil is actually out there (both on land and just off shore) for the U.S. to drill for... IF the bans were removed.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Santelli Moment...

(Via PoliPundit)

Michael Barone writes about the "Rick Santelli Rant" (aka, the birth of the Tea Party Movement).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Housing Mess Continues Downslide...

Via Hot Air:

... May, traditionally the height of the spring housing season...

Mortgage applications to purchase a home began to sink... are down nearly 40 percent from a month ago to their lowest level since April of 1997. Yes, you can argue that a larger-than normal share of buyers today are all cash, but those are largely investors that means real organic buyers are exiting in droves.

Meanwhile, Ace has this:

... 31 percent of foreclosures in March were deemed to be "strategic default" by researchers at University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

That's up from 22 percent in March of 2009.

Don't say I didn't tell you so.

June 9 Update: Mortgage aps fall 12%, to lowest level since 1997!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

News on the Personal Front...

Last week my girlfriend and I spent a wonderful 4-day vacation on the gorgeous Catalina Island off the California coast.

It was there that I proposed on bended knee... actually, both knees.

She said, "Yes!"

And Cindy is now my fiancé. :-)

Housing, Unemployment & Fraud... OH MY!!!

Ace has a post on how bad the housing mess has become:

... More than 650,000 households had not paid in 18 months, LPS calculated earlier this year. With 19 percent of those homes, the lender had not even begun to take action to repossess the property — double the rate of a year earlier...

Hot Air has a post on California's unemployment numbers for April:

Unemployment claims in California hit 768,709 in April, a modern-day record and the highest during this recession, state Employment Development Department officials report...

Just two years ago in April — a year into California’s recession — the unemployed filed 254,123 claims for benefits, EDD stats show. This April, that number more than tripled as the state remained at a record 12.6% unemployment rate, third highest in the country.

And Big Government has a post from James O'Keefe and his recent fraud investigations:

On April 27, 2010, I got a job with the United States Census Bureau in New Jersey. With a hidden camera, I caught four Census supervisors encouraging enumerators to falsify information on their time sheets. Over the course of two days of training, I was paid for four hours of work I never did. I was told to take a 70 minute lunch break, was given an hour of travel time to drive 10 minutes, and was told to leave work at 3:30pm. I resigned prior to doing any data collection but confronted Census supervisors who assured me, “no one is going to be auditing that that level,” and “nobody is going to be questioning it except for you.” Another Census supervisor only said he’d adjust my pay after I gave him a letter recanting my hours.