August 19, 2018

Pathetic Pro Publica Is Desperate to Smear Bret Kavanaugh

This isn’t The Onion: It’s the Open Society, George Soros-funded Pro Publica earnestly begging the public for help in smearing Supreme Court nominee Bret Kavanaugh with guilt by association:

Did You Go to a Washington Nationals Game With Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh?
Trump’s pick is a baseball fan who racked up considerable debt buying season tickets. Help us figure out who went with the nominated judge.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh accrued as much as $200,000 in debt buying tickets to Washington Nationals baseball games.

White House spokesman Raj Shah told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh would go to games with a “handful” of friends. These friends then reimbursed him for the tickets, the White House says, and the debts have been paid off.

But the White House and Kavanaugh are not answering questions about what happened. Who did Kavanaugh buy tickets for? How did they reimburse him? Was this properly disclosed? And how was all of this treated for tax purposes?

Kavanaugh is up for one of the most powerful positions in the land. A lifelong position.

We think it’s important to figure out as much as we can about a nominee’s background before he is confirmed. So we’re turning to you.

We’d especially like to figure out where he sat, how many seats he bought and which friends attended games with him.

The desperately ignorant “reporters” involved don’t understand that buying things for others and getting reimbursed is an utterly nontaxable event.

If there’s an upside to this nonsense, it’s that Pro Publica is spending time and money on something so inane and wasting some of George Soros’ (and other donors’) resources.


IBD Cites Real Clear Investigations in Declaring That ‘It Was Hillary Clinton All Along’ Colluding With Russia

From Investor’s Business Daily on Monday:

it wasn’t Donald Trump who was guilty of Russian collusion. It was Hillary Clinton and U.S. intelligence officials who worked with Russians and others to entrap Trump.

That’s the stunning conclusion of a RealClear Investigations report by Lee Smith, who looked in-depth at the controversial June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between officials of then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign staff and a Russian lawyer known to have ties with high-level officials in Vladimir Putin’s government.

The media have spun a tale of Trump selling his soul to the Russians for campaign dirt to use against Hillary, beginning with the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting.

But “a growing body of evidence … indicates that the meeting may have been a setup — part of a broad effort to tarnish the Trump campaign involving Hillary Clinton operatives employed by Kremlin-linked figures and Department of Justice officials,” wrote Smith.

Smith painstakingly weaves together the evidence that’s already out there but has been largely ignored by the mainstream media, which have become so seized with Trump-hatred that their reporting even on routine matters can no longer be trusted.

But he adds in more evidence that the Justice Department only recently handed over to Congress. And it’s damning. …

It sure is.

Read the whole thing.



Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081918)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 5:55 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Having Children Transforms Women’s Brains

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Breakpoint columnist John Stonestreet (HT Life News):

August 17, 2018

Are men and women that different? The answer assumed by much of our culture is, “no.” But any woman who’s had a baby knows better.

… science keeps reminding us that men and women are profoundly different. And that we should be thankful for this.

A recent essay in the Boston Globe highlighted just how visible this difference is at the neurological level. Using modern imaging technology, researchers can peer inside the brains of expectant and new mothers, and they’ve witnessed the unique and life-altering changes that occur.

This remarkable new “discovery” comes as no surprise to women who have experienced pregnancy. Chelsea Conaboy, for example, confessed in the Globe article that her tendency to be a worry-wart ramped up after having her son.

Of course, for some women, these changes can be extreme and lead to depression, and require treatment. But for the vast majority, the motherhood metamorphosis is healthy and essential. It helps mold women, as Conaboy explains, into “fiercely protective, motivated” caregivers, “focused on…baby’s survival and long-term well-being.”

And we’re now discovering that what’s at the root of this transformation is a radical restructuring of the brain that occurs in nearly all women when they become mothers.

To call motherhood a “major event” for the mother is the understatement of the century. But University of Rennes researcher Jodi Pawluski clarifies that it’s also a “major event” for the brain.

A 2016 paper published in “Nature” details how brain imaging has revealed dramatic changes in the volume of gray matter in new mothers’ brains. These changes are concentrated in regions involved in social interaction and “theory of mind,” which is the mental ability to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” In other words, the brains of new mothers literally reconfigure themselves for empathy and understanding.

The surge of hormones associated with pregnancy and birth appears to trigger these changes, and may even equip women to better cope with sleep deprivation and multitasking that always comes along with the new little bundle of joy.

This incredible transformation does more than just keep the baby safe. According to Israeli neuroscientist Ruth Feldman, it shapes a newborn’s brain as well. The basic neurological circuitry our brains develop when our mothers first hold and kiss us is the same circuitry we later “repurpose” to connect with friends, spouses, and even fellow players on sports teams. We quite literally carry the marks of our mothers’ love with us wherever we go, for the rest of our lives. …

Go here for the full story.

August 18, 2018

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081818)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: ‘A Classic Case of Self-Defense’

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Des Moines, Iowa (video at link):

Published 1:55 p.m. CT Aug. 15, 2018

Police have identified the man who shot and killed another man in an altercation in a Des Moines home Saturday night.

Justin Adam Grayson, 27, fatally shot Joshua James Wheeler, 32, at about 11:30 Saturday night after entering a home on the 200 block of East Park Avenue, police said in a news release Wednesday.

Grayson was lawfully armed with a handgun and had a valid concealed weapons permit, the release said.

Sgt. Paul Parizek, a spokesman with the Des Moines Police Department, previously said when Wheeler arrived at the home, he was in defiance of a court order forbidding him from having contact with a female resident, who is a former domestic partner of his.

Parizek said Grayson was visiting the 25-year-old woman, who is a friend of his, and the two had discovered that Grayson’s car tire was slashed outside the home. They were inspecting the damage when Wheeler quickly drove into the driveway.

The three got into a verbal altercation, and the woman and Grayson went into the house, at which point Wheeler forced his way into the home and began assaulting Grayson, police said.

Grayson told Wheeler he had gun — which he legally owned and had a permit to carry. Wheeler again attacked Grayson, who shot Wheeler once in the abdomen, according to police. Wheeler later died in Iowa Methodist Hospital.

When the evidence was presented to the Polk County Attorney’s Office Sunday, “they determined it was a classic case of self-defense,” Parizek said.

Two children, ages 2 and 5, were in the home at the time of the shooting, Parizek said. …

Go here for the video and full original story.

August 17, 2018

Media-Assisted Trump-Russia Corruption Hits a Wall — Maybe

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:13 pm

From Conservative Treehouse:

Co-Conspiring “Media Coalition” Sue For Names, Addresses of Manafort Trial Jurors – Judge Ellis Refuses, No Verdict Reached …

The media institutions that are the central players in advancement of the two-year-long corrupt scheme against candidate Trump, now President Trump, all listed themselves as a “Media Coalition” on court documents demanding the names and addresses of the Manafort Jury …

… Fortunately, Judge T.S. Ellis denied the motion by the media.

Shortly before 3:00pm this afternoon Judge Ellis said he personally had received threats and would keep the names of jurors a secret for their safety despite the media demand their names be made public.

The judge is being protected full time by the U.S. Marshals and shared with the court: “I won’t tell you what threats I’ve received,” he said, “but I have the Marshals’ protection. Where I go, they go. I had no idea this case would excite these emotions,” the judge said.

Ellis also said that he would ultimately unseal everything from the trial except for the jurors’ names and the transcript of a sidebar conference with lawyers that he said was related to Mueller’s broader investigation.

There is some insightful speculation, based on a history of media complicity within the larger storyline, that the media already have a juror contact (perhaps paid) and were seeking the names and addresses as cover for their reporting from their juror source. Given the media conduct in the larger two-year dynamic; and considering they have attached themselves to the inherent risk of sunlight; we cannot dismiss this possibility.

The media are enmeshed within the story of the DOJ and FBI corruption. However, only recently did we discover the media engagements were not just pervasive, they were/are participatoryAs a consequence the same media cannot reasonably report on any aspect of the story without exposing their own duplicity; their only choice is to double down on lies they helped create and promote.

… The only way they (the media) could align with the truth is to admit that virtually every scintilla of their reportage over the past 18 months was inherently false or manipulated by the “sources” distributing the material for their reporting.

There’s not a single media outlet capable of doing that. …

Do read the whole thing. Even though it is virtually guaranteed to make readers’ heads spin, it’s also the best available way for readers to get their arms around corruption on such an unprecedented scale.


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081718)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:45 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Life of Spanish chemistry professor shows ‘holiness is in the ordinary’

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:40 am

From Madrid, Spain:

Aug 15, 2018 / 10:33 am

Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri, a Spanish member of Opus Dei who is moving toward beatification, teaches us that sanctity can be found amidst chemistry books and classrooms, said a priest leading her cause.

Spanish priest Fr. José Carlos Martinez de la Hoz, who is responsible for the canonization causes of Opus Dei members in Spain, said that Guadalupe’s life contains a simple message: “Holiness is in the ordinary.”

“She became holy giving chemistry classes, being a good professor, and this tells the rest of us that we can achieve the same in an ordinary life,” he reflected.

“Guadalupe lived dedicated to her chemistry students, dedicated to souls and especially her mother who died a half hour after her. She lived dedicated to God and others, despite her serious heart disease which at the end of her life really slowed her down.”

In June, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to publish the decree approving on a miracle attributed to Guadalupe’s intercession.

The miracle involved a 76-year-old man suffering from a malignant skin tumor near his eye. After praying to Guadalupe in 2002, the tumor instantaneously and inexplicably disappeared.

In addition to this recognized miracle, Martinez de la Hoz said “there are many favors from people who start to lose hope and Guadalupe has given them back peace, thanks to the patience that she had.”

Guadalupe was born in Madrid in 1916. She studied chemical sciences and was one of five women in her graduating class.

She met St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, in early 1944. According to Martinez de la Hoz, “one Sunday in 1944 when she was at Mass in the church of the Conception on Goya Street in Madrid, she became distracted and heard the voice of God inside telling her that although she had a boyfriend, he had something else prepared for her. She left Mass impacted by this and knew that was God’s call.”

“On the tram going back home after Mass, she met Jesús Hernando de Pablos, a family friend, and she asked him if he knew of any priest she could talk with. He gave her St. Josemaría’s contacts and she started to go to him for spiritual direction,” the priest told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency.

St. Josemaría Escrivá taught her that Christ can be found in professional work and ordinary life.

“I had the clear sensation that God was speaking to me through that priest,” Guadalupe would later say.

Martinez de la Hoz noted that “when Guadalupe discovered her vocation at 23, she had a boyfriend, was a chemistry teacher and lived with her mother. From that time on, she was in good spirits because of the intimate conviction of doing what God wants.”

On March 19, 1944, Guadalupe joined Opus Dei as a numerary, committing to celibacy and complete availability for the work of the prelature. Numeraries normally live in an Opus Dei center. However, she did not go to live at a center, but settled into an apartment with her mother, who needed care due to her advanced age. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 16, 2018

About That Second-Quarter Productivity Surge and the Accompanying Decline in Unit Labor Costs: Don’t Worry, It’s All Good

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:24 pm

On Wednesday, the government reported the first good news on productivity in a long time:

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.9 percent during the second quarter of 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 4.8 percent and hours worked increased 1.9 percent. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018, productivity increased 1.3 percent, reflecting a 3.5-percent increase in output and a 2.2-percent increase in hours worked.

Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked by all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.

Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector decreased 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2018, reflecting a 2.0-percent increase in hourly compensation and a 2.9-percent increase in productivity. Unit labor costs increased 1.9 percent over the last four quarters.

Some observers are concerned about the decline in unit labor costs, with little support:

  • First, that’s what happens when the “units” go up by so much (an annualized 4.8 percent), which *could* foreshadow an upward second-quarter GDP revision from the 4.1 reported in late July.
  • Second, the 2.0 increase in hourly compensation is an aggregate figure, meaning that compensation for everyone working went up by that amount.
  • Finally, you have to look at who entered the workforce during the second quarter.

Concerning the third item, it’s worth noting that newer workforce entrants, especially those who have been on the sidelines and are finally returning, are likely getting entry-level pay which is far below the national average hourly rate. So in addition to the output increase just cited, people who aren’t as expensive to pay are keeping the overall cost of labor down.

This lesson is important, because the wailing and gnashing of teeth over average hourly and weekly pay is somewhat misplaced. When lower-paid workers get added to the mix (and I should add, are on the books and not off the books, as would be the case will employed illegal immigrants), these metrics won’t increase as much as one might hope.

But overall personal income will still increase because more people are employed — and it has, advancing in real terms by 1.1 percent in the past five months. That translates to about 2.7 percent annually — again, in real terms, which really means about 5 percent before inflation.

So, thanks to the economy finally getting within striking distance of genuine full employment and getting relatively marginal workers into jobs, it’s reasonable to believe that existing, non-entry-level workers are seeing better pay increases than seen in the monthly Employment Situation Report, and that the obsession with flat wages is a bit misplaced.

Perhaps this partially validates what Mark Zandi, the ADP Employment Report’s director, has been saying for quite a while, namely that existing workers, based on ADP data, are seeing pay increases in the 4 percent to 5 percent range.




Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081618)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:20 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: Tim Tebow Releases New Feature Film ‘Run the Race’ Celebrating Life and Faith

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:15 am


AUG 15, 2018, 12:54PM

Heisman Trophy winner, national champion and NFL veteran, and professional baseball player Tim Tebow can now add “filmmaker” to his impressive list of accomplishments. Tebow and his brother Robby are executive producers of the new film RUN THE RACE, telling the inspiring, fictional story of two high school athlete brothers who see their relationship tested as they seek different paths out of their troubled lives.

“RUN THE RACE is about so much more than football. This is a story about overcoming the hard issues of life, about the power of sacrifice, the power of family, and the power of forgiveness,” Tim Tebow said. “I love being a part of a project like this because it will impact lives, inspire hope, and even prompt action. When I read the script, I knew this was an important project to get behind.”

“The script pulled me in right away, and I wanted to bring it to life cinematically,” Robby Tebow said. “As somebody with brothers in a big, super-close family that has gone through a lot together, it resonated with me on a deep level.”

RUN THE RACE marks the Tebow brothers’ first foray into feature films.

RUN THE RACE stars Mykelti Williamson (FENCES, FORREST GUMP) as the boys’ coach, Frances Fisher (TITANIC, UNFORGIVEN) as their surrogate mother, Tanner Stine (NCIS, HBO’s Here & Now) as Zach and Evan Hofer (Kickin’ It) as David. Supporting cast includes Kristoffer Polaha, Mario Van Peebles and Heisman-winner Eddie George, along with many others. From Reserve Entertainment and 10th Leper Productions, the film is produced by Darren Moorman, Jake McEntire and Ken Carpenter; directed by Chris Dowling (WHERE HOPE GROWS); and co-written by McEntire, Dowling, and Jason Baumgardner.

“RUN THE RACE is about two young brothers facing unbelievable odds with an unbreakable bond,” said creator Jake McEntire, who co-wrote the script,. “I believe audiences will resonate with this uplifting story of faith, sacrifice and hope.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 15, 2018

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081518)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 1:00 pm

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.


Positivity: The history of the Assumption – and why it’s a Holy Day of Obligation

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:55 pm

From Washington:

Aug 15, 2018 / 12:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Today, Catholics around the world mark the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, commemorating the end of her earthly life and assumption into Heaven. But while the feast day is a relatively new one, the history of the holiday – and the mystery behind it – has its roots in the earliest centuries of Christian belief.

“As her earthly life comes to an end, the Assumption helps us to understand more fully not just her life, but it helps us to always focus our gaze to Eternity,” said EWTN Senior Contributor Dr. Matthew Bunson.

“We see in Mary the logic of the Assumption as the culmination of Mary’s life,” he continued. “A Eucharistic requirement for that day is very fitting.”

The dogma of the Assumption of Mary – also called the “Dormition of Mary” in the Eastern Churches – has its roots in the early centuries of the Church. The Catholic Church teaches that when Mary ended her earthly life, God assumed her, body and soul into heaven.

This belief traces its roots back to the earliest years of the Church. While a site outside of Jerusalem was recognized as the tomb of Mary, the earliest Christians maintained that “no one was there,” Bunson said.

According to St. John of Damascus, in the 5th century, at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Roman Emperor Marcian requested the body of Mary, Mother of God. St. Juvenal, who was Bishop of Jerusalem replied “that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven,” the saint recorded.

By the 8th century, around the time of Pope Adrian, the Church began to change its terminology, renaming the feast day of the Memorial of Mary to the Assumption of Mary, Bunson noted.

The belief in the Assumption of Mary was a widely-held tradition, and a frequent meditation in the writings of saints throughout the centuries. However it was not defined officially until the past century. In 1950, Pope Pius XII made an infallible, ex-cathedra statement in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus officially defining the dogma of the Assumption.

“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory,” the pope wrote. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 14, 2018

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (081418)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.