Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Obama’s phony $4 trillion in deficit ‘reduction’

By Bill Wilson

Only in Washington, D.C. can a proposed budget that increases spending and borrowing every single year be considered to somehow reduce the deficit. The latest Obama budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 — and how the Administration is spinning it — was no exception.

According to Barack Obama himself, the proposal would somehow “reduce” the deficit by $4 trillion. By every measure, however, there is simply no way to get there.

An even bigger whopper was tossed out by departing White House Budget Director Jack Lew, who on Meet the Press said, “The president's budget has $1 of revenue for every $2.50 of spending cuts.”

The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) baseline for 2013-2022 says outlays will total $47.053 trillion. Obama’s proposed budget takes that to $46.959 trillion. Since spending actually increases every year under Obama’s proposal, the only cut is off of the baseline — and that’s just $94 billion of so-called “cuts”.

Meanwhile, OMB says revenues over the next ten years will total $38.391 trillion. Under Obama’s proposal, that goes up to $40.274 trillion — an increase of $1.883 trillion in taxes, mostly on job creators.
By our count, that’s about $20 of tax increases for every dollar of “cuts,” and those are not even real cuts to the actual budget. Spending would still increase every single year under Obama’s proposal. Meanwhile, the tax hikes are real.
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America’s Lingering, Looming Employment Problem

By Howard Rich

Earlier this month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that America’s unemployment rate fell from 8.5 percent in December to 8.3 percent in January — its fifth consecutive monthly decline. The agency also estimated that the U.S. economy created nearly a quarter of a million new jobs last month — its highest output since last April.

According to the White House, this data provided “further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Is this really the case, though? Scratch the surface of the “good news” touted by these official statistics and you’ll find several troubling indicators — including sharp increases in the number of long-term unemployed and a labor force that’s shrinking to historic new lows.

No wonder most Americans aren’t experiencing the economic “healing” that the White House claims is occurring all around them.

According to the BLS, 43 percent of America’s 12.8 million unemployed workers have been out of a job for more than six months. Two-and-a-half years ago that figure was below 30 percent. Moreover the average unemployment duration now stands at 40 weeks — up precipitously from a then-record high of 25 weeks two-and-a-half years ago.

And with the federal government continuing to fund long-term unemployment benefits in perpetuity, taxpayers are simultaneously subsidizing and incentivizing this sustained joblessness.

“This crisis of long-term joblessness is unprecedented in the post-war period,” The Economist noted last October, adding that “for the first time in decades, jobless workers are more likely to drop out of the (labor) force … than to get a job.”

This grim outlook isn’t likely to improve anytime soon, particularly given the scant availability of construction work associated with America’s still-reeling housing market.
Get full story here.

Breaking News: Funeral for Whitney Houston set for Saturday in NJ

Whitney Houston's funeral service will be held Saturday in the church where she first showcased her singing talents as a child.

The owner of the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark said Tuesday that Houston's funeral will be held at noon at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. The funeral home said that no wake would be held and that there would be no public memorial at Newark's Prudential Center, the sports arena that the family had discussed as a possible venue.

The 48-year-old Houston died Feb. 11 at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., just hours before she was set to perform at producer Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards bash. Officials say she was underwater and apparently unconscious when she was pulled from a bathtub.

After an autopsy Sunday, authorities said there were no indications of foul play and no obvious signs of trauma on Houston. It could be weeks, however, before the coroner's office completes toxicology tests to establish the cause of death.

Iranian bomber maimed in blasts in Thai capital

(Reuters) - An Iranian man was seriously wounded in Bangkok Tuesday when a bomb he was carrying exploded and blew one of his legs off, police and government officials said, but they declined to speculate on whether he was involved with any militant group.

Shortly before, there had been an explosion in a house the man was renting in the Ekamai area of central Bangkok, and shortly afterwards, another blast on a nearby road.

"The police have control of the situation. It is thought that the suspect might be storing more explosives inside his house," government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng told reporters.

The three blasts came a day after bomb attacks targeted Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia. Israel accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind those attacks.

Hezbollah is a Shi'ite Islamist group backed by Syria and Iran that is on the official U.S. blacklist of foreign terrorist organizations.

Iran denied involvement in the New Delhi and Tbilisi bombs. Read More

Here's the Kate Upton spread from the 2012 SI Swimsuit edition

The SI Swimsuit cover dropped yesterday...

...the oddly hazy spread drops today.

Mentality Magazine has 49 more. Go.

Dutch Magazine Walks Back Rihanna Apology: “We Have Nothing To Be Sorry For’

What the Ha-yell reports:

After Eva Hoake, editor of Dutch magazine, Jackie, resigned after pop-star, Rihanna, was called a “nigga-bitch” in a fashion spread, the world was just beginning to revert back to normal. Then, Rihanna issued a scathing “F-You” to Jackie on Twitter, and the publisher, Yves Gijrath, said that they never should have apologized in the first place, reports Villamedia.

Gijrath says that Hoake should have stood firm behind her editorial decision, instead of bending to the controversial pressure:
[T]here is nothing wrong in the magazine. [Hoeke] presented it as a joke, but it most certainly was not a joke. It was an interpretation [of a fashion style]. [...] She should have said: “we did not realize this interpretation is such a touchy subject. We never meant any harm and offer our sincere and upright apologies.” But because of all the fuss, Eva started to wiggle in all directions, and therefore we have come to the conclusion her credibility has been undermined.
Gijrath claims that Rihanna has been invited to respond, but that they would not be printing a retraction. “We will not be silenced,” he said. “People are totally off limits when calling both the magazine Jackie and Eva Hoeke racist. Jackie is even produced by an editorial staff that is of mixed origins.”

Floyd Mayweather Says Knicks Player Jeremy Lin Gets Special Treatment Because He’s Asian

Floyd Mayweather chimed in on Jeremy Lin mania on Monday, saying that Lin is getting an undue amount of praise and adulation because he is Asian, and not because of his talent.

Mayweather tweeted “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”

The “Linsanity” began when Lin scored 89 points in his first three starts, including an incredible 38 to beat the Lakers in the Garden on Friday night.

This is not the first time the outspoken Mayweather has drawn attention with his statements and admonishments. He has made more than a few sensational comments about his arch rival,  Manny Pacquiao.

White Man Arrested for Having a Black Granddaughter

A man who is a self-described “Texas Redneck” says that he has been harassed repeatedly by Texas police because his granddaughter is black.  Scott Henson often volunteers to babysit his granddaughter and claims that he is the victim of “babysitting while white.”   On his blog, “Grits for Breakfast,” Henson says that police have been racially-profiling he and his granddaughter for years, and getting very aggressive when they come after him.

This week, Henson was handcuffed and detained by police. His granddaughter was separated from him after someone called and said that they saw a black girl being kidnapped by a white man.   Henson admits that when officers stop him, he is terse and impatient with them.   He says  that he is insulted that they are asking him questions just because his granddaughter is of a different race and that he has no obligation to stop.
Mr. Henson is a retired political consultant and journalist who runs a blog about the Texas criminal justice system.

He describes his last encounter with police and his granddaughter, whom he refers to as “Ty.”
Ty edged up the hill away from the officers, crying. One of them called out in a comforting tone that they weren’t there to hurt her, but another officer blew up any good will that might have garnered by brusquely snatching her up and scuttling her off to the back seat of one of the police cars,” he wrote.
Henson also says that officers refused to call his wife and other who can verify the relationship.  He was eventually released with apologies, but there is no word if he is going to file any kind of legal action.

Tyler Perry’s Jet Flies Whitney Houston Back East

Tyler Perry
Media mogul Tyler Perry has offered his assistance to the family of Whitney Houston.  Her body is being flown back to New Jersey, where her funeral is being arranged. When Perry heard about her death, he offered his jet as a service to the family, who took him up on his offer.

Whitney Houston died this week in the bathtub after taking pills.  Although the autopsy results are not yet conclusive, there is no suspicion of foul play in her death.   Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Christina Brown, was rushed to the hospital shortly after her mother’s death.