The Hive – Please Talk Among Yourselves

Here, once again, is our weekend discussion thread.

Please feel free to post your thoughts on the issues of the day in the comments below. But remember to post any specific news items in the ‘News Selected By Our Correspondents’ section in the sidebar.



Selected News For The Week Jul 30 – Aug 5

This thread is for the busy bees of S&L to post news articles that expose the rampant distortions and biases of our media watchdogs.

Posting Guidelines

To make the articles as readable as possible, please:

  • Only post ‘hard news’ from establishment media outlets.
  • Avoid editorials and ‘thought pieces’ unless they are truly newsworthy.
  • Eschew major news items that most people will likely have seen elsewhere.
  • Post articles that fit under the topic of a recent thread as a comment there.
  • Always spell out the name of the source and post a link to it.
  • Always post less than one quarter of the original article.

Posts of articles that do not follow these guidelines may be edited or deleted.




Potential Debt Limit Plan C Emerges (Taxes)

From Fox News:

Potential Debt Limit ‘Plan C’ Emerges, Democrats Say

By Ed Henry
Published July 28, 2011 |

Democratic officials are cautiously optimistic that the outlines of a potential compromise – a “Plan C” – are emerging that could bridge the differences between plans pushed by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev…

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., hinted at such a compromise earlier Thursday during an interview on Fox News.

“Let me just say behind the scenes there are discussions underway to find a way forward,” said Conrad. “To how would you harmonize what Leader Reid has come up with and Speaker Boehner has come up with and I’m increasingly of the view that we can do that.



GDP 1.3%, 1st Quarter Revised Down To .4%

From a seemingly surprised Reuters:

Economic growth tepid as spending flat

By Lucia Mutikani
Fri Jul 29, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The economy grew less than expected in the second quarter as consumer spending barely rose amid higher gasoline prices, and growth braked sharply in the prior quarter, a government report showed on Friday.

Growth in gross domestic product — a measure of all goods and services produced within U.S. borders – rose at a 1.3 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said. First-quarter output was sharply revised down to a 0.4 percent pace from 1.9 percent.

Lest we forget, the New York Times and others in the media said a GDP of 3.3% was proof the country was in a recession when George Bush was President.



Sob! Obama Is Losing Sleep Over Debt Deal

From Reuters:

Obama losing sleep as debt deal goes down to wire

By Alister Bull
July 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama is deeply involved in trying to win a debt deal and his White House was working flat out, aides said, pushing back against any impression Congress had sidelined the administration.

"He’s getting absolutely no sleep. He’s working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise," top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett told Reuters Insider.

Even so, we are so relieved to learn that he isn’t just standing on the side of the ditch drinking a Slurpee. Maybe he will even get around to coming up with his own plan.



Treasury Sales (Not) Weak On Debt Worries

From the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch:

Weak debt auctions highlight investor worries

Weak auctions highlight uncertainty about U.S. debt issues.

By Sara Sjølin, MarketWatch
July 28, 2011

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The latest round of Treasury auctions ended Thursday with a sale of 7-year notes that showed weak demand from investors, underlining investor worries as the Aug. 2 deadline for raising the U.S. debt ceiling approaches

Meanwhile, the same Treasury auction, as reported by Reuters:

Mixed demand greets last pre-Aug.2 U.S. bond auction

Seven-year auction mixed but no disaster

By Burton Frierson
Thu Jul 28, 2011

NEW YORK, July 28 (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury drew mixed demand on Thursday at its $29 billion offering of seven-year notes, the last auction of bonds before the government’s Aug.



S&P: US Needs $10T Cuts For Debt/GDP Ratio

From Reuters:

S&P: Deficit cuts of $4 trillion a good start

By Walter Brandimarte and Daniel Bases – Thu Jul 28, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cutting the U.S. deficit by some $4 trillion over 10 years would be a good start, but more savings would be needed over time to bring the country’s finances under control, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said on Thursday.

John Chambers, the chairman of S&P’s sovereign ratings committee, said deficit cuts of that magnitude "would signal the seriousness of policymakers to address the fiscal position of the United States."

His comments, made during a conference call with clients, suggest S&P would probably be convinced to keep U.S. ratings at AAA if lawmakers were to show commitment to solving the debt problem with bold deficit-cutting measures.


1 Comment »

Shocker: Democrats Want More Defense Cuts

From an unrelenting Associated Press:

Struggling with debt, Congress talks defense cuts

By DONNA CASSATA – Associated Press
July 29, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — Once unthinkable in a time of two wars, Democrats and Republicans alike are insisting that the billions spent on the military can be significantly cut back over the next decade as the nation struggles to reduce its spiraling debt.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to slash spending and increase the government’s borrowing authority would cap spending by the Pentagon and other government agencies at $1.2 trillion. Conservative Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has called for just over $1 trillion in defense cuts in his "Back in Black" plan, including fewer weapons, fighter jets and personnel. A bipartisan group of six senators envisions reductions of more than $800 billion in 10 years.



Gore’s Polar Bears Didn’t Drown From AGW?

From an unfazed Associated Press:

Arctic scientist under investigation

July 28, 2011

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

Charles Monnett, an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into "integrity issues."

My goodness. How can anyone question the integrity of an environmental scientist trying to save polar bears?

But he has not yet been informed by the inspector general’s office of specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.



Lower Jobless Rate Due To Debt Uncertainty?

From a non dot connecting Reuters:

U.S. jobless claims fall below 400,000

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) – New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, dropping below the key 400,000 level for the first time since early April, according to a government report on Thursday that pointed to some labor market improvement.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 398,000, the Labor Department said.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 415,000. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 422,000 from the previously reported 418,000

So, as usual, last week’s new claims number was revised up by 4,000. And if that happens to this week’s number, it will not longer be below the "key 400,000 level."

The drop in jobless claims last week below the 400,000 mark that is normally associated with stable jobs growth will be welcome news for the economy after a recent string of weak data.



WSJ/GOP Ruling Class Attack The Tea Party

This is the pronouncement from the Republican Ruling Class, via the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, that John McCain read from on the floor of the Senate yesterday:

The GOP’s Reality Test

Republicans who oppose Boehner’s debt deal are playing into Obama’s hands.

July 27, 2011

The debt-limit debate is heading toward a culmination, with President Obama reduced to pleading for the public to support a tax increase and Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid releasing competing plans that are the next-to-last realistic options. The question now is whether House Republicans are going to help Mr. Boehner achieve significant progress, or, in the name of the unachievable, hand Mr. Obama a victory.

How will Obama get tax increases thanks to the House Republicans?



Reid Plan Savings (Don’t) Trump Boehner’s

An all too typical media ploy, from the Politico:

Reid plan’s savings trump Boehner’s

By: David Rogers
July 27, 2011

In the battle of budget scores, the Senate Democrats’ deficit reduction bill is the clear leader thus far over an alternative by Speaker John Boehner, which had to be pulled back from the floor Tuesday night for retooling.

The Congressional Budget Office released a report Wednesday morning that credits the Senate bill with reducing budget deficits by about $2.2 trillion through 2021, nearly three times the $850 billion credited to the Boehner bill on Tuesday.

At first we were surprised to hear that the CBO had been able to ‘score’ Harry Reid’s plan at all. Since, as far as we know, it has yet to be written down.



Wasserman Schultz: GOP Seeks Dictatorship

From a cheering Politico:

DNC: GOP seeks ‘dictatorship’

By: Mike Allen
July 27, 2011

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Wednesday that House Republicans are trying to impose “dictatorship” through their tactics in the debt-ceiling negotiations. She said the GOP rhetoric could “spark panic and chaos,” which she called “potentially devastating” to the economy.

Perhaps using mayonnaise as a hair tonic is hazardous to one’s mental health. Still, to be fair, Nancy Pelosi has said similar things lately, so this is clearly a new DNC talking point that Ms. Washerwoman-Schultz has been told to parrot.

The chair telephoned POLITICO to express “significant disappointment in where … Republicans have allowed this debate to degenerate.”

Instead of keeping things on a high moral plane, as Ms.



AFP: Stocks Plummet 1.6% Over Debt Limit!

From those shameless fear mongers at the Agence France-Presse:

Plummeting stocks amid US debt default jitters

by Olivier Knox
July 28, 2011

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Spurred by plunging stocks and fears of global economic crisis, polarized US lawmakers called a key vote for Thursday and privately hunted for a compromise to avert a default on the country’s debt.

Jittery stocks plummeted Thursday amid fears of global economic crisis, as President Barack Obama and his Republican rivals bickered over competing plans to avoid defaulting on US debt.

Is Mr. Obama bickering? We didn’t even know he had offered a plan.

Asian markets followed Wednesday’s big losses on Wall Street, as next week’s deadline approaches for US lawmakers to strike a deal to avoid a disastrous default.



US Health Costs Will Almost Double By 2020

From an unfazed Associated Press:

Gov’t: Health tab to hit $4.6 trillion in 2020

July 28, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s health care tab is on track to hit $4.6 trillion in 2020, accounting for about $1 of every $5 in the economy, government number crunchers estimate in a report out Thursday.

How much is that? Including government and private money, health care spending in 2020 will average $13,710 for every man, woman and child, says Medicare’s Office of the Actuary.

Given how notoriously the government lowballs such estimates, the final costs will probably end up being many times more.

By comparison, U.S. health care spending this year is projected to top $2.7 trillion, or about $8,650 per capita, roughly $1 of $6 in the economy.



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