Obama “Recovery” Continues: Lowe’s Closes 20 Stores, Lays Off 1,950 Workers

October 17, 2011

(Reuters) – Lowe’s Cos Inc is closing 20 of its U.S. locations and eliminating nearly 2,000 jobs, and the home improvement retailer is slashing its store-opening plans to improve profitability.

Lowe’s, which operates about 1,700 stores in the United States, said on Monday that it had closed 10 on Sunday and would close another 10 within a month.

Some 1,950 workers will be laid off. As of January, Lowe’s had 161,000 full-time and 73,000 part-time employees.

The company also said it planned to open only 10 to 15 new North American stores per year starting in 2012, down from a previous goal of 30.

Shares of Lowe’s were up 2.8 percent at $21.37 in morning trading.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Niblock said in a statement that the company had to “make tough decisions” to improve profitability.

Lowe’s has been slower to cut costs than market leader Home Depot Inc , whose sales at stores open a year or more have beaten its rival’s for nine straight quarters.

“This continues (Lowe’s) progress toward becoming a more efficient operator,” Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser said in a research note on Monday. “Management is making significant changes that should improve returns.”

Expenses from the closings will come to between $100 million and $130 million, including lease obligations, employee layoffs and inventory adjustments, Lowe’s said. It expects to record those charges in its current and next quarters, according to a regulatory filing.

Including noncash expenses, the closings and abandoned store openings will reduce earnings by 17 cents to 20 cents per share this fiscal year, Lowe’s estimated.

Lowe’s reduced its full-year sales and profit outlook in August as U.S. homeowners put off renovations. It also announced plans to buy back $5 billion of its shares.

Lowe’s becomes the latest retailer to pare the number of stores it operates amid tepid consumer demand.

Gap Inc last week affirmed a plan announced in June to close 200 of its 889 namesake U.S. stores, while luxury retailer Saks Inc has closed seven of its department stores in the past two years and plans to eventually close a few more over time.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Lisa Von Ahn)

From: http://www.portfolio.com/business-news/reuters/2011/10/17/lowes-closes-stores-lays-off-1950-workers


While the Nation Suffers, Tickets to Obama Birthday Bash Cost Up to $36,000 Per Person!

August 4, 2011

Presidential birthday bashes are nothing new, but in the wake of a months-long debt battle and in the midst of an economy barely chugging along, some see President Barack Obama’s Wednesday birthday celebration coming at a terrible time.

“We’re nearing a double-dip recession. We’ve lost 125,000 jobs here in Illinois just since he took office,” Illinois GOP chairman Pat Brady said Tuesday.

Mitt Romney tweeted a campaign video painting a dreary picture of Chicago’s economy and the message, “@BarackObama celebrates his 50th bday & collects $35,800 checks but IL is struggling due to his failed policies.”

Still, there will be plenty of prominent Democrats who will find it in their schedule — and their pocketbooks — to attend the festivities.

And there’s no secret that the event at the legendary Aragon Ballroom in Uptown is a campaign fundraiser.

Tickets for Obama’s birthday celebration range from $50 for the concert to nearly $36,000 per person for a private dinner with the President.

From:  http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics/obama-birthday-chicago-126648603.html

Time Magazine: Obama Being Politically “Crushed in a Vice”…

October 12, 2010

Barack Obama is being politically crushed in a vise.


From above, by elite opinion about his competence. From below, by mass anger and anxiety over unemployment.


And it is too late for him to do anything about this predicament until after November’s elections.


With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters.


This view is held by Fox News pundits, executives and anchors at the major old-media outlets, reporters who cover the White House, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and governors, many Democratic business people and lawyers who raised big money for Obama in 2008, and even some members of the Administration just beyond the inner circle.


On Friday, after the release of the latest bleak unemployment data — the last major jobs figures before the midterms — Obama said, “Putting the American people back to work, expanding opportunity, rebuilding the economic security of the middle class is the moral and national challenge of our time.”


But elites feel the President has failed to meet that challenge and are convinced he will be unable to do so in the remainder of his term. Moreover, there is a growing perception that Obama’s decisions are causing harm — that businesses are being hurt by the Administration’s legislation and that economic recovery is stalling because of the uncertainty surrounding energy policy, health care, deficits, housing, immigration and spending.


And that sentiment is spreading. Many members of the general public appear deeply skeptical of Obama’s capacity to turn things around, especially, but not exclusively, those inclined to dislike him — Tea Partyers and John McCain voters, but also tens of millions of middle-class Americans, including quite a few who turned out for Obama in 2008.


The misery afflicting the country has no political affiliation. 


…Obama has exacerbated his political problems not just by failing to enact policies that would have actually turned the economy around, but also by authorizing a series of tactical moves intended to demonize Republicans and distract from the problems at hand.


He has wasted time lambasting his foes when he should have been putting forth his agenda in a clear, optimistic fashion, defending the benefits of his key decisions during the past two years (health care and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, for example) and explaining what he would do with a re-elected Democratic majority to spur growth.



Throughout the year, we have been treated to Obama-led attacks on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Congressman Joe Barton (for his odd apology to BP), John Boehner (for seeking the speakership — or was it something about an ant?) and Fox News (for everything). Suitable Democratic targets in some cases, perhaps, but not worth the time of a busy Commander in Chief.


In the past few days, we have witnessed the spectacle of the President himself and his top advisers wading into allegations that Republicans are attempting to buy the election using foreign money laundered through the Chamber of Commerce, combining with Karl Rove and his wealthy backers to fund a flood of negative television commercials.


Not only is this issue convoluted and far-fetched, but it also distracts from the issues voters care about, frustrating political insiders and alienating struggling citizens (not that many are following such an offbeat story line). Feinting and gibing can’t obscure those job numbers.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,2024718,00.html#ixzz126iuQ5GK

Obama has the book thrown at him at rally; missile narrowly misses U.S. President’s head

October 12, 2010

This is truly unprecedented in that Obama’s political rallies consist chiefly of his supporters rather than his detractors. 


Only yesterday Obama had to ask his supporters to “please don’t embarrass me in public.” This, after several instances in which supporters publicly expressed regrets at his lack of accomplishments since being elected.


If this book throwing incident is the answer to his request, then it’s pretty clear the Stuttering Messiah and his Democrat colleagues are in bigger trouble than they might think.


— Spencer


Obama has the book thrown at him; missile narrowly misses U.S. President’s head


This is the astonishing moment (see photo) a book was apparently hurled at the head of President Barack Obama during a campaign rally in Philadelphia.


The flying missile narrowly missed hitting the President yesterday.


It is not clear what the book was, where it came from in the crowd, or why it was thrown at Mr Obama – who did not appear to notice the danger.


But it is expected that there will be fallout from the security breach as the Secret Service investigates how close the President came to danger.


The rally was clearly an eventful one – other images showed a naked man being led away in handcuffs by police.


It is not clear if the man was involved in the book-throwing incident – or why he was not wearing any clothes.


The bizarre incident recalled the moment in 2008 when an angry Iraqi journalist hurled a shoe at then-U.S. President George Bush during a press conference in Baghdad.


The surprisingly nimble Mr Bush ducked the shoe – and the moment became immortalised with online parodies and internet video games.


But the incident was also marked with controversy as U.S. media questioned why the Secret Service – whose members are supposed to be willing to take a bullet for the President – were not close enough to Mr Bush to deflect the attack.


It is expected that the same questions will be asked about yesterday’s incident.


It came as Mr Obama tried to rally voters in Phildelphia to use the three weeks left before congressional elections to go to the polls.


The president relied on an oft-used speech as he addressed the crowd in the city’s Germantown community with the driving cadences that swept him into the White House two years ago.


He and the Democratic party know, however, that this year finds Democrats imperiled because of what has become known as the ‘enthusiasm gap’, with party voters expected to stay away from the polls.


That could be disastrous in a nationwide vote that was widely believed to hand the majority in the House of Representatives and, perhaps, the Senate to Republicans.


There are ample reasons for Republican optimism. Poll after poll shows deep voter discontent and even anger at Mr Obama’s and congressional Democrats’ leadership. Mr Obama and his fellow Democrats are being blamed for the slow economic recovery and continuing high unemployment.


On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics – in the last major economic news before the November elections – delivered another painful blow to Democrats: The U.S. lost 95,000 jobs in September and unemployment remained stubbornly stuck at 9.6 per cent.


In another complication for Democrats, the government is expected to announce this week that more than 58 million Social Security recipients will go through another year without a cost-of-living increase in their monthly benefits.


It would mark only the second year without an increase since automatic adjustments for inflation were adopted in 1975. The first year was this year.


‘I think the pundits are wrong. I think we’re going to win. But you’ve got to prove them wrong,’ Mr Obama said, jabbing his finger toward the audience.


It was the second of four large rallies designed to recapture some of the big-stage excitement that Mr Obama created in 2008 with stirring speeches to thousands of young and first-time voters.


The President spoke to more than 17,000 people last week in Madison, Wisconsin, where many more thousands watched on screens in an overflow area.


Democrats are desperate to fire up their base and win back independent voters against the likelihood that Republicans will grab the majority on November 2 and create a more hostile Congress that could cripple Mr Obama’s efforts to implement his agenda in the last two years of his term.


The President sometimes sounds wistful when noting the differences between this year and 2008, and he remarked again on Sunday about the extraordinary political high that he and his supporters felt after his victory.


 Popular: Not everyone wanted to throw things at Mr Obama – others embraced the President at the rally


 Riding on hope: The President is facing an uphill battle at the November 2 congressional elections


The shoe incident: U.S. President George Bush ducks as an Iraqi journalist hurls his loafer at him during a press conference in Baghdad in 2008


First Lady Michelle Obama recently told Democratic supporters that the big-stadium events of 2008 were ‘very exciting, and people should know that those rallies invigorate Barack as well’.


‘It’s time for us to re-engage that energy,’ said the First Lady, who plans to campaign with her husband later this month.


Republicans need to pick up 40 seats to win power in the House and would need to gain 10 seats in the Senate to take control from the Democrats.


Governing parties typically lose seats in U.S. midterm elections, which take place in the middle of a president’s four-year term. But polls indicate that Democratic losses are likely to be particularly severe.


From:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1319448/Obama-book-thrown-Philadelphia-rally.html


Thank you, Obama! Dismal Economy Now Forcing Family, Friends to Move In With Each Other

September 30, 2010

The Grundy family seemed to be headed down the conventional path followed by American families:

Daughter goes to college, graduates, gets a job and her own apartment.

Then something happened.

“She lost her job,” Vel Grundy says about daughter Monika, 25. “She kept looking and got very, very discouraged. She moved back home.”

Grown children returning home. Brothers and sisters moving in together. Families taking in grandparents. Friends living in the basement.

Fueled by the dismal economy and high unemployment, more Americans — friends and families — are doubling up.

From:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/census/2010-09-29-doubling-up_N.htm

America Hits “Barak Bottom” as Unemployment Rate Soars to 9.8%

October 2, 2009

economy2Even as the Obama-messiah’s economic team touts so-called “economic green shoots” as evidence that America is emerging from recession, the government’s own figures tell a contradictory story as unemployment continues to soar. 

In February, Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus bill while promising that the unemployment rate would not surpass 8% if the stimulus bill was passed.  He promised America the stimulus package would result in “a new wave of innovation, activity and construction” that would be “unleashed all across America.”

Obama also promised the stimulus would “save or create up to four million jobs.”

Vice President Joe Biden said the massive federal spending plan would “drop-kick” the economy out of the recession.

Instead, unemployment has soared to 9.8% — over 20% higher than what Obama said it would be if his stimulus was passed.  Indeed, it is now higher than what the Obama administration said it would be if nothing was done to revive the economy. 

In other words, far from saving the economy, Obama’s stimulus plan is instead sinking the economy.  There are now 3 million fewer American workers working than what Obama promised.

America is clearly hitting “Barak Bottom.” 

— Spencer

263,000 More Jobs Lost


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employers cut a deeper-than-expected 263,000 jobs in September, lifting the unemployment rate to 9.8 percent, according to a government report on Friday that fueled fears the weak labor market could undermine economic recovery.

Reuters - A worker constructs a new home in Geneva, Illinois, June 23, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes ...Reuters – A worker constructs a new home in Geneva, Illinois, June 23, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes …

The Labor Department said the unemployment rate was the highest since June 1983 and payrolls had now dropped for 21 consecutive months.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected non-farm payrolls to drop 180,000 in September and the unemployment rate to rise to 9.8 percent from 9.7 percent the prior month. The poll was conducted before reports, including regional manufacturing surveys, showed some deterioration in employment measures.

The government revised job losses for July and August to show 13,000 more jobs lost than previously reported. Preliminary annual benchmark revisions, released together with September’s employment report showed that total non-farm payroll employment for March would have to be revised down about 824,000.

Stubbornly high unemployment is viewed as the missing link in the economy’s recovery from its worst recession in 70 years.