Business News Update

In addition to the Federal Reserve’s widely-publicized 0.25% rate cut there have been a number of interesting business stories thus far this week:

Economic Growth

Inflation-adjusted GDP growth in Q3 (July-September) was reported to have been 3.9%. That follows a 3.8% growth rate in Q2.

If a Democrat were president the national, front-page headlines would read: “Strong Economic Growth From Summer to Fall.” Or perhaps “Strong Economy Continues, Growth Rate Higher.” Or something along those lines. For obvious reasons, however, the national media’s headlines will be couched in different terms.

The higher growth rate in Q3 vs. Q2 is a function of lower inflation. Top-line growth in Q3 actually was lower than Q2, but still solid nonetheless.

Goin’ Nuclear

Here’s a link to a decent AP business wire story regarding the latest news on the nuclear power front.

New AG Secretary

The Prez nominated former North Dakota GOP Governor Ed Schafer to become U.S. Agriculture Secretary. Here’s a link to the Prez’s announcement.

(BTW, there is a political irony to this nomination. For years the national GOP has been asking Schafer to challenge North Dakota’s incumbent media/Democrat U.S. Senators. Schafer always declined, sometimes on the stated gounds he didn’t want to uproot himself and move to D.C. Sure enough, now that non-voting conservatives have thrown away the Upper Chamber Gov. Schafer will be moving to D.C. Nice timing, huh? Sheesh. Former Montana GOP Governor Marc Racicot pulled a similar stunt a few years ago — declining to mount a winnable U.S. Senate bid on the grounds he didn’t want to become a D.C. insider, then turning around and doing precisely that. In other words, it’s not only because of dead people voting for Democrats in big cities and conservative fecklessness that Republicans have and will continue to struggle politically.)

PROTECT ACT

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on whether that 2003 anti-porn law should be thrown out on 1st Amendment grounds. Here’s a link to an article which, especially by AP standards, is relatively devoid of agendas and editorializing.

Speaking of editorials, if I were a betting man — which of course I am — I’d say that law is poised to get struck down entirely or at least severely limited. Which would be a good thing. The less laws we have regarding pornography the better, especially federal laws. Not only because of federalism. In virtually every instance in which the 1st Amendment is implicated — save for obvious national security issues — it’s better to err on the side of free speech/expression.

Exxon Valdez

The Supreme Court also agreed to review that long-standing saga of the Exxon Valdez.

To put this interminable litigation into perspective, back when Capt. Hazelwood decided to go rock climbing with his {ahem} oil tanker the Kos/Colbert blocs were in Pampers, the president was the other George Bush, and most of Bill and Hillary’s closest associates were alive and not murdered and not even jailed. Yep. The wheels of justice grind slower than Kucinich’s brain waves.

In any event, for obvious reasons it was an impossible task to find a non-biased and non-agenda-driven media account of the SCOTUS/Exxon Valdez story. So, I guess it suffices to say the end result almost certainly will be yet another Supreme Court decision limiting the scope of punitive damages. Which would be a good thing. Punitive damages are nothing more than criminal sanctions hiding behind the veil of civil laws and procedures. They should be eliminated entirely. Chop, chop.

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