Consumer confidence takes a nose dive in June

Consumers are not so stimulated these days.

Major stock market indexes fell after the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index showed households felt gloomier about their current situation and less optimistic about what the coming months might bring.

Kevin Kruszenski, head of listed trading at Keybanc Capital Markets in Cleveland, said the confidence data “kind of took the wind out of things a little bit.”

Investors had been in a somewhat better mood since an early March trough as economic data suggested the pace of the recession was slackening. But with no clear sign that growth is about to resume, sentiment has begun to fade in recent weeks.

The consumer confidence index fell to 49.3 in June from 54.8 in May. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a healthier reading of 55.0 for the month.


Felon Finneran asks SJC to ignore “ignorant criticisms” and just give him his law license back already

For those of you who aren’t familiar with MA politics, here is the Reader’s Digest Version.  Former Speaker of the House, Tom Finneran, pleaded guilty in 2007 to obstruction of justice in U.S. District Court.  Since then, he has lost claims to a $30,000 annual pension and his law license has been suspended indefinitely.   Finneran is asking the MA Supreme Judicial Court to suspend his license for a finite time period which I assume would take precedent over the BBO decision which is expected to be a permanent disbarment.

Here, we have a case where the evidence indicates that (Finneran) – a lawyer with an otherwise impeccable record for honesty and service to the commonwealth – had a moment of personal weakness,” attorney Arnold Rosenfeld contends in a document whose opening statement is a single, 172-word sentence.

And while he’s not mentioned by name, Finneran, who hosts a morning talk show on WRKO-AM (680), appears to implore the SJC to ignore the “ignorant criticisms” of

Herald columnist and fellow ’RKO talkmeister Howie Carr when factoring in the public’s anticipated reaction to whether the disgraced pol gets the boot or the kid-gloves treatment.

After Finneran pled guilty he was hired by talk radio station, WRKO for the morning drive. Popular Boston Herald columnist, Howie Carr, is the afternoon host of the #1 talk show in Boston, also on WRKO.  Howie has never met a hack he wouldn’t love to ridicule and has been relentless in his criticism of Finneran and his own radio station for hiring the convicted felon.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the drive home from work this afternoon.

For the record:  Finneran is the second of three Speakers IN A ROW to be accused of crimes and forced to resign.

Update 7/1:  Howie Carr responds in today’s column.

Deval Patrick signs budget which includes a 25% sales tax increase, preserves $70 million in health care for immigrants

They don’t call the Bay State “Taxachusetts” for nothing.  Obama’s pal, Deval Patrick, has done more than his share to keep it that way.

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick has approved a new state budget that hikes the Massachusetts sales tax by 25 percent, largely preserves education spending, and makes deep cuts to other state services.

The increase in the sales tax allowed the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority earlier today to vote to avoid a planned toll hike scheduled to take effect July 1, relying instead on $100 million from the tax increase.

In signing the $27 billion budget, Patrick issued $147 million in line-item vetoe

At the same time, he submitted a separate $269 million supplemental budget to fund other initiatives, including $70 million for health care for 30,000 legal immigrants.

I have a suggestion.  Lets take the $32 million dollars slotted to help preserve the legacy of the Kennedys and use that towards health care for immigrants.  It would combine two of Ted Kennedy’s pet causes after all.  Surely, he would rather have that money spent on the downtrodden instead of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, right?

Oh and that sound you hear in the distance is the ringing of cash registers in tax-free New Hampshire.

BREAKING: Supreme Court Overturns Sotomayor – again


WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

The wise Latina got it wrong.  Again.

Justice for Ricci and a blow to racial preferences.

Updates to come.

Update #1: Both the AP and NYT headlines read that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of white firefighters.  WRONG.  A Hispanic was also discriminated against when his test was tossed.  Also of note is the glaring omission of Sotomayor’s name in their headlines.

Update #2:  copy of decision in pdf

Axelrod dances around Obama’s no tax-hike vow

Who can forget Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families making less than $25o,ooo?  It was part of every stump speech, all of the debates and was oft repeated by his surrogates.

Now Obama seems to be backing off of the pledge as proposals to tax health care benefits to pay for health care reform are considered.

Under persistent questioning from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod declined to restate the vow and left open the possibility that the president might sign health care reform legislation that taxes high-cost, employer-provided insurance plans which some middle-class families currently receive tax free.

“The president had said in the past that he doesn’t believe taxing health care benefits at any level is necessarily the best way to go here. He still believes that, but there are a number of formulations and we’ll wait and see,” Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The important thing at this point is to keep the process moving, to keep people at the table, to the keep the discussions going. We’ve gotten a long way down the road and we want to finish that journey.”

When Stephanopoulos asked why Obama hadn’t drawn a “line in the sand” over his tax pledge, Axelrod suggested that kind of ultimatum is at odds with the president’s effort to being a new tone to politics.

“One of the problems we’ve had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand and they stop talking to each other. And you don’t get anything done. That’s not the way the president approaches this,” the White House adviser said.

What makes this especially odious is that while Obama is hedging on his campaign promise not to tax below the $250,000 level, he is considering adopting something that he vilified John McCain for daring to propose.

UK Embassy staff members arrested in Iran

Overreach?  Time will tell.

David Milliband,  the foreign secretary, responds:

Miliband, speaking from a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Corfu, said the government was “deeply concerned” at the arrests. “This is harassment and intimidation of a kind that is quite unacceptable,” he said. “We want to see them released unharmed.”

Miliband said he believed nine local staff had been detained, although some had since been released. “We have protested in strong terms, directly to the Iranian authorities, about the arrests that took place yesterday.

But lets get back to more important matters, like what killed Michael Jackson and who will get custody of Blanket.

Dude, where’s my job?

We know the stimulus bill has not created the millions of jobs that Obama and Company claimed it would.  In fact, at his press conference earlier this week, Obama conceded that unemployment is going to reach 10% – and soon.

Now they are touting Cap and Trade as a jobs bill.  Obama started this new tact earlier in the week and Nancy Pelosi continued the meme with her shrill scream of “JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS” on the House floor last night.  Calling this a jobs bill is a blatant lie.

As unemployment continues to rise and the deficit continues to explode, Americans are becoming skeptical and Republicans need to be all over this like white on rice.  It looks like they are formulating a plan that includes shining the light on this.

Hot Air has a link to the GOP’s weekly address…starring the George Hamilton of Congress.  That’s not a dig against Congressman Boehner.  I’m a tad jealous of that tan andI will always hold him dear to my heart after he threw a copy of the stimulus bill to the House floor in disgust.

The latest GOP turncoats: Bono, Mack, Castle, Kirk, Lance, LoBiondo, McHugh, Reichert, Smith

Remember their names.

Their collective eight votes made the difference in passing the Cap and Trade bill in the House last night.

Hot Air reports that Kirk is considering a Senate run.  I hope he hasn’t printed up any bumper stickers yet.

It’s time to turn up the heat on members of the Senate.  This bill will have devastating consequences on American families and must be stopped.