Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

Hey, wait a minute--I thought when illegal immigrants came to America, all they did was work and do jobs Americans won't do. Well, but maybe not:
"A new report finds immigrant unemployment (legal and illegal) was higher in the first quarter of 2009 than at any time since 1994, when immigrants were first separated out in the monthly data. This represents a change from the recent past when native-born Americans tended to have higher unemployment rates. The findings show that immigrants have been harder hit by the recession than natives. Although data on immigrants is collected, it is generally not published by the government. This report is one of the few to examine this data."
Such statistics are unfortunate, and no one should take any satisfaction from them. It goes to show how difficult the recession really is. But at the same time, it's also an example of why illegal immigration is a problem for this country.

Meanwhile, in my opinion, this is one of the most important signs of coming economic trends, and hence this is a good sign for the economy:
"Hopeful signs that the worst may be over for the economy boosted Americans' moods in April, sending a closely watched barometer of sentiment to the highest level since November. The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose more than 12 points to 39.2, up from a revised 26.9 in March. The reading marks the highest level since November's 44.7 and well surpasses economists' expectations for 29.5. The consumer confidence survey showed a substantial improvement in consumers' short-term outlook, including even their assessment of the job picture."
Better confidence means that people will buy more, which will spur production, which will create jobs...and do so better than any government "stimulus" bill can.

Wow...so Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is switching parties. He will become a Democrat, and leave the Republican Party. Well, obviously any politician has that right. And he may very well be right when he says his views are now more in line with Democrats than with the GOP.
But at the same time--don't be fooled. Specter wants you to believe that he's switching mainly due to philosophical reasons, reasons of principle. But then why was he, as recently as the late winter of 2009, still proclaiming that he's a Republican? No--the real reason he's leaving is that he's up for re-election this year, and polls show that he has no shot at winning the PA GOP primary. A recent poll I saw put conservative Pat Toomey ahead of him among Republican primary voters, 51-30. So of course he doesn't want to be judged by Pennsylvania's Republican primary voters. He hasn't left them. Instead, they've left him, far behind. I suspect he'll have a tough road ahead in gaining the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania...

I guess I'd tend to say to Specter, "hey, go in peace"...but on the other hand, Michael Steele today has a point:
"Speaking to CNN's Gloria Borger and Kyra Philips, the Republican National Committee Chairman said it was "not only disrespectful, but downright rude" of Specter to make this decision after the national party made it clear it would stand behind him in a contentious primary fight. "[National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John] Cornyn went out on the line for this man," he said. "For the senator to flip the bird back to Senator Cornyn and the Republican Senate Leadership, a team that stood by him, who went to the bat for him in 2004, to save his hide is not only disrespectful but down right rude."
And yet, and yet...Chairman Steele, let's just focus now on helping Pat Toomey win this seat in 2010.

BASEBALL DIARY: the big news last night is easy: the Tigers and Justin Verlander. Detroit beat the Yankees, 4-2; and Verlander shut them out over 7 innings, striking out 9. That's the Verlander the Tigers must have, and he showed up last night, big time, in a big spot. Now he has to keep it going with consistency (something he didn't do last year). The Tigers are now 11-8 for the season...not bad.
Meanwhile the Texas Rangers battled back from a 4-run deficit to beat Baltimore, 6-4. They took 3 of 4 on the road, and starter Matt Harrison, after giving up 4 early runs, then held the Orioles cold. The Rangers are now 9-10; maybe there's still hope!
But the Cubs had a bad night, losing 7-2 in Arizona. Danny Haren shut them down, and Ted Lilly was off. The Cubs continue to play poorly; they're lucky they're at .500 still...