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Willisms

« June 2008 | WILLisms.com | August 2008 »

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 155.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

georgesnewgal.jpg

The actual caption:

U.S. President George W. Bush sits next to 91-year-old Ruth E. Harris (L) on her birthday after stopping his motorcade in Gates Mills, Ohio, July 29, 2008. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES)

Hmm, yes.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, August 5. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
lesbosforlesbos.jpg

And... the winners:

1 (GOLD). Bigfoot:

Residents of another Greek Island would later register their complaint. Their banner said, "If you don't go to school in Rhodes, you're not a Rhodes Scholar."

2 (SILVER). rodney dill:

The inhabitants of Lesbos swore never to give Mick Jaeger's lips back until the world complied.

3 (BRONZE). Hoodlumman:

Earl loved to show off the handkerchief that helped him win Poughkeepsie's regional sneezing contest.

Captioning: totally awesome. Enter today!

Posted by Will Franklin · 30 July 2008 07:02 AM · Comments (11)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 508 - Media In The Tank.

Obama Messiamania-

You've probably already seen this, but here is some evidence of a new level of absurd media bias:

issues04072408.gif
An analysis of federal records shows that the amount of money journalists contributed so far this election cycle favors Democrats by a 15:1 ratio over Republicans, with $225,563 going to Democrats, only $16,298 to Republicans .

Two-hundred thirty-five journalists donated to Democrats, just 20 gave to Republicans — a margin greater than 10-to-1. An even greater disparity, 20-to-1, exists between the number of journalists who donated to Barack Obama and John McCain.

Searches for other newsroom categories (reporters, correspondents, news editors, anchors, newspaper editors and publishers) produces 311 donors to Democrats to 30 donors to Republicans, a ratio of just over 10-to-1. In terms of money, $279,266 went to Dems, $20,709 to Republicans, a 14-to-1 ratio.

....

The contributions add up to $315,533 to Democrats and $22,656 to Republicans — most of that to Ron Paul, who was supported by many liberals as a stalking horse to John McCain, a la Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos with Hillary and Obama.

What is truly remarkable about the list is that, discounting contributions to Paul and Rudy Giuliani, who was a favorite son for many folks in the media, the totals look like this: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans (four individuals who donated to McCain).

Let me repeat: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans — a ratio of 100-to-1. No bias there.

This is incredibly important. And ridiculous.

Lavish positive media attention on Obama's world tour has clearly given him a boost in the polls. Media bias matters.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Responsible For Nearly 300% Of All New Private Jobs.

Posted by Will Franklin · 28 July 2008 08:37 AM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 507 - Texas Still Has Room For Improvement.

Texas Is America's Job Creation Station-

Lately, this blog has focused a lot on how Texas is responsible for essentially all of the private job growth in the United States-- and then some. Almost 300% of it, over the past year.

But we should be careful to explain what's going on here, because this is not the late-70s, when the Texas economy was booming while the U.S. economy languished.

No, Texas has become a lot more diversified in its economy since then, and its job creation and job loss patterns tend to follow the rest of the country. The 4.4% unemployment rate in Texas is definitely up from earlier in the year.

However, in recent years, Texas has outpaced U.S. patterns, just slightly.

Indeed, Texas has outpaced (yet tracked) U.S. job growth for quite some time:

texasnotthelate70s.gif

So, are we sure it isn't just oil and gas that's propping Texas up right now?

Positive.

oiljustpartofit.gif
The large service sectors consisting of professional and business services, education and health, and leisure and hospitality generated the bulk of jobs created in April and May.

Generally, these trends have held up beyond May, although in the "trade, transportation, and utilities" sector, Texas has added roughly 10,000 jobs just in the past three months.

Oil and gas is a big player in job creation in Texas, but it's not the bulk of the jobs. Not even remotely close. Texas is doing well in most sectors of the economy, because Texas generally has a good business climate.

Again, though, we should be careful. Texas has probably the best business climate among all of the large states. However, it does not have the best business climate, period. Our property taxes are too high. Our overall tax burden has crept up a bit. And our new margins tax is hurting small business owners (without delivering promised property tax relief).

Texas has a lot going for it, including a gargantuan budget surplus that legislators will be tempted to spend in 2009. Instead, they need to aggressively provide for tax relief to keep Texas the engine of our nation's GDP growth and the job creation powerhouse of the country.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Job Growth.

Posted by Will Franklin · 25 July 2008 08:28 AM · Comments (1)

Wednesday Caption Contest (THURSDAY EDITION): Part 154.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

lesbosforlesbos.jpg

The actual caption:

Greek-American Paul Thymou (C), resident of the Aegean island of Lesbos, holds a banner, reading: "If you are not from Lesbos, you are not a Lesbian," outside of an Athens courthouse in June 2008. The court rejected a complaint by the inhabitants of the Greek island who had wanted gay women to stop monopolising the term 'lesbian.'(AFP/File/Louisa Gouliamaki)

How gay.

Talk about a frivolous lawsuit.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, July 29. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
deputydogs.jpg

And... the winners:

1 (GOLD). elliot:

(Left dog: What choo talkin' 'bout mate?


2 (SILVER). Chris:

(Dog on left): "Oh yeah, you blend."


3 (BRONZE). Dan Melson:

You'd bite, too, if your human dressed you like this!


Captioning, uber alles. Enter today!

Posted by Will Franklin · 24 July 2008 04:07 PM · Comments (11)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 506 - Texas & Job Growth.

Texas Is America's Job Creation Station-

In a post from Monday, we mentioned that Rhode Island was the antithesis of Texas.

In that discussion, this might have been overlooked a bit, so it deserves another airing (BLS .pdf):

texasandthenation.gif

Yes, Texas really created nearly 300% of all the private-sector jobs in the United States over the past year. And, yes, Texas really did create nearly 3/4 of all jobs in the United States over the same time.

It's almost hard to believe, but it's a story that needs to be told. Texas is doing well, but there are some other, smaller states that are also doing well. It's been noted before, but what they all have in common is relatively low taxes and relatively low levels of unionization. More freedom, in other words.

If you want to look at the data yourself, go here.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Live Free Or Die, New Hampshire.

Posted by Will Franklin · 24 July 2008 03:47 PM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 505 - New Hampshire & Jobs.

Live Free Or Die-

In the past year, New Hampshire is the only top-10 job creation state that didn't vote for Bush in 2004*. It's also the only top-10 job creation state in the Northeast part of the United States.

What's interesting about New Hampshire is that it's kind of a tax haven within that part of the country. New Hampshire has one of the lowest tax burdens in the entire country, and it shows. While most of the Northeast is losing people to the South and West (and SW), New Hampshire is actually gaining people from other states (.pdf):

nhmigration.gif

Compare that to Massachusetts:

mamigration.gif


Or New York:

nymigration.gif


Or New Jersey:

njmigration.gif


Or Connecticut:

ctmigration.gif


Most every state in that region of the country is losing people. They also tend to have fewer new jobs and poorer economic growth.

Hmm, so fewer jobs, poorer economic growth, and losing people. Someone might want to fill in those Northeastern states that there is a connection there. Someone might want to inform them that they are taxing themselves into oblivion.

Now compare those migration numbers with, say, Texas (.pdf):

txmigration.gif

Sure, 2006 is a bit inflated due to Hurricane Katrina, but, still, people are moving to Texas, not for our upper-90 degree heat for 5 months out of the year, but because our policies are generally pro-growth policies. Texas is a good place to get ahead in life. Our taxes-- especially our property taxes-- could certainly be lower, but our overall tax burden is relatively low. Our regulatory climate is fair rather than strangulatory.

One thing that is somewhat instructive about Texas is that our crazy third-party activist types are more likely to support Michael Badnarik and Ron Paul than, say, Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich.

We have a small government streak to us, and it's paying off. The same could be said for New Hampshire.


*NH did vote Bush in 2000.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Laws Favoring Union Bosses Ruin Economies.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 July 2008 09:43 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 504 - Unionism & Jobs.

Unions Drive Jobs Away-

In the past year, America's economy is a tale of two types of states.

The lower tax states, which also tend to be right-to-work states and therefore have low proportions of unionized workers as a percentage of the total workforce, have ranged somewhere between decent, pretty well, and booming.

The higher tax states, however, which tend to be forced-unionization states with high proportions of union workers, have seen a range of economic performance somewhere between OMG and WTF.

Let's examine the top 10 states for private-sector job creation (rate, not raw #) over the past year, versus the top 10 states for private-sector job loss (.pdf):

unionstateslowerjobgrowth.gif

The top ten states for job creation, from June 2007 to June 2008, added 332,100 jobs.

The bottom ten states lost 330,400 jobs.

Pretty much identical.

Interestingly, in those top ten states, the median percentage of workers who are unionized is 8.9%.

In the bottom ten states, it's 14.2%.

A fairly substantial difference.

Maybe unions should change their bumper sticker from "the ones who brought you the weekend" to "the ones who brought you the weakened economy in your state."


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Rhode Island Is The Opposite Of Texas.

Posted by Will Franklin · 22 July 2008 08:11 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 503 - Rhode Island, Texas' Antithesis.

Texas = Prosperity; Rhode Island = Patrick Kennedy-

Last month, WILLisms.com examined the notion that Texas is Michigan's antithesis, economically. Maybe Rhode Island, home of the Fightin' Lincoln Chaffees, is a better comparison than Michigan.

First, a recap of the data from a month ago:

From May 2007 to May 2008, Texas was responsible for (BLS .pdf):

53% of all net jobs created in the United States.
5% of all net government jobs created in the United States.
112% of all net private-sector jobs created in the United States.

Well, there's fresher data. And from June 2007 to June 2008, the numbers are even more startling. Over the past year:

Texas was responsible for 73.4% of all net job creation in the United States.
Texas was responsible for 7.6% of all net government job creation in the United States.
Texas was responsible for a staggering 289.8% of all net private-sector job creation in the United States.

Yes, you read that right. 289.8%.

From June 2007 to June 2008, there were 33 states that added jobs and 16 that lost them. When you look at just the states that added jobs, exclusively, Texas still added 40% of total net jobs, 12% of total net government jobs, and 51% of total net private-sector jobs.

In total, Texas added 245 thousand jobs from June 2007 to June 2008. The rest of the country added 89 thousand. Those numbers in the rest of the country are inflated by government job additions, to the tune of 237 thousand in the past year.

In the past year, America added 78 thousand net private-sector jobs. That means if you take out Texas' 226 thousand private-sector jobs added over that period, the rest of the nation lost 148 thousand private-sector jobs.

Last month, this location on the intertubes picked on Michigan for its pro-labor laws and regulations, its high taxes, and its overall crummy business climate. While this upset some of my Michigander buddies, why is it that so many of them do not live in Michigan anymore? And some even live in-- you guessed it, Texas.

Michigan's economic policies are simply antiquated, having ostensibly perished around 1989 or so. Instead of demanding that politicians come pander to them about how Washington is going to fix it for them, Michiganders really need to vote in strong majorities of reform-minded free market Republicans for about a decade. Just as an experiment.

Or, they can just keep doing what they're doing (voting in Canadian socialists for Governor and/or fleeing the state for places with decent business climates). It really ought to be up to them, as long as they're not imposing their garbage policies on the rest of us. Unfortunately, only Hawai'i and New York contribute more left-wing policy to the Senate than Michigan, according to the National Taxpayers Union rankings (.pdf).

But what about Rhode Island?

Rhode Island has one of the highest state tax burdens in the country, at 12.7%. It is a forced-unionization state, it has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, and it ranks 48th on Art Laffer's Rich States, Poor States Economic Outlook (.pdf).

Rhode Island is also losing people to other states at an accelerating pace (.pdf):

gettingoutofrhodeisland.gif

Over the past year, Rhode Island has only lost 11,900 jobs, but for such a tiny state, the rate of job loss is more than twice the rate in Michigan. Rhode Island, which now has an unemployment rate of 7.5%, is losing jobs faster than anywhere else in the country right now. By far. Mostly, those jobs are private-sector jobs, but they're hemorrhaging so badly (with a nearly half-billion dollar state budget deficit) that they're even resorting to eliminating government jobs, albeit only 300 of those in the past year.

Meanwhile, Texas, a right-to-work state with one of the lower tax burdens in the country, has a government budget surplus somewhere in the low double-digit billion range heading into our biennial legislative session in 2009 and an unemployment rate more than a full percentage point (4.4%) below the national average (5.5%).

Interestingly, over the past year, Texas' employment level increased by 2.4%, while Rhode Island's decreased by 2.4%. Mirror images in a lot of ways. Completely different worlds.

I've put this data up on a Google Spreadsheet if you're interested.

More on this subject the rest of the week.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: States With High Gas Taxes Also Have Poorly Performing Economies.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 July 2008 07:11 AM · Comments (0)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 153.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

deputydogs.jpg

The actual caption:

Two miniature long-haired dachshunds are seen here in Sydney. Small dogs, especially dachshunds, are likelier to attack strangers and other dogs compared with pitbulls, rottweilers and other macho breeds, it's been revealed in a study published on Wednesday. (AFP/File/Greg Wood)

Dog bites man, eh?

There's got to be more to this picture than that.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, July 22. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
chineseninjacheerleaders.jpg

And... the winners:

1 (GOLD). Jody:

(Above) Fortunately, the age of consent in China is cumulative.

(Below) Unfortunately, nerd is cumulative everywhere.


2 (SILVER). sammy small:

Beijing unveils their bevy of finalists for the upcoming remake of Charlie Chan's Angels.


3 (BRONZE). LomaAlta:

We are Chianeese if you please,
We are Chianeese if you don't please.

Some very funny captions this week, but unfortunately there could only be three medals, in honor of the Olympics.


Captioning is to awesome, as Rue McClanahan is to The Golden Girls. Enter today!

Posted by Will Franklin · 16 July 2008 09:57 AM · Comments (8)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 152.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

chineseninjacheerleaders.jpg

The actual caption:

Cheerleaders strike a pose with numchuks, the colloquial name for the Japanese weapon 'nunchaku', during a training session for cheer squads on July 4, in Jingdong, in northern China's Hebei province. Chinese dance squads will perform at various events during the 8-24 August Olympics in Beijing, including basketball, beach volleyball and soccer. (AFP/File/Frederic J. Brown)

Ha. Okay.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, July 15. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
microsoft.jpg

And... The Winners:

1. Wyatt Earp:

On the 11th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . . 11 lifetime virgins!

2. Maggie Mama:

Staff from Obama's San Francisco campaign headquarters gathers for a group photo op.

3. elliot:

The Jones's, all from West Virginia, pose for their wedding picture.
Top row..Groom Jed(cousin), Groom Bob(cousin), Groom Ken(cousin). Second row..Groom Ted (brother),Groom Ted(other brother),Groom Ted(other brother),Groom Ted (other brother). Third row.. Brides Clara and Helen(Sisters), Bottom row.. .......Groom Daniel(Cousin) and Groom Benjamin(Uncle)

Honorable Mention. Maggie Mama:

Obama has already started a review process for potential Supreme Court appointees.

Captioning is good for the environment. Enter today!

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 July 2008 08:33 AM · Comments (18)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 151.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

microsoft.jpg

The actual caption:

In this 1978 file photo provided by Microsoft, the 11 people who started Microsoft Corp., are photographed in Albuquerque, N.M., just prior to moving the company to the Seattle area. Shown, top row from left, are: Steve Wood, Bob Wallace and Jim Lane; second row, Bob O'Rear, Bob Greenberg, March McDonald and Gordon Letwin; and front row, Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood and Paul Allen. Bill Gates, Microsoft's iconic frontman, is finally giving up his full-time gig at the company to devote more time to world health charity work. (AP Photo/Microsoft, file)

This is pretty caption-worthy. And photocrank-worthy, for that matter.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, July 8. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
michelleobama.jpg

And... The Winners:

1. Hoodlumman:

"For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my Gillette razor..."

2. Maggie Mama:

Pants suit? I don't wear no stinkin pants suit.

3. Jaan Doh:

Damn woman, what HAVE you been eating?

Captioning is full of essential vitamins and minerals. Enter today!

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 July 2008 07:24 AM · Comments (16)