July 5, 2015

Tapper Zaps Whiny Libs on Twitter: ‘Can’t Help It If Entire Democratic Field Is White’

Jake Tapper had a less than perfect outing Sunday on his “State of the Union” show as characterized Hillary Clinton’s past voting and public positions. As Tim Graham at NewsBusters reported, he called her record “fairly moderate,” and then had to backtrack. That noted, Tapper arguably won the day on Twitter, deliciously humiliating a couple of semi-prominent and uniquely annoying hard-leftists who thought they had free rein to whine over an alleged lack of “diversity” in the five major networks’ Sunday show guests.

As seen at Twitchy, one, who I will call Tweedledee, tweeted: “Featured guests on big 5 Sunday shows today (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN): 11 men, one woman.” The other, Tweedledum, as if on cue, chimed in about an hour later: “the problem is these shows set the agenda and guest lists are way imbalanced on race, gender.” Tapper was not amused.



Randy Barnett, on Why the Declaration and Constitution Are Inextricably Intertwined

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:01 am

On July 4 at the Washington Post (bolds are mine):

The political theory announced in the Declaration of Independence can be summed up (as) … First come rights, and then comes government …

  • The rights of individuals do not originate with any government, but pre-exist its formation.
  • The protection of these rights is both the purpose and first duty of government.
  • Even after government is formed, these rights provide a standard by which its performance is measured and, in extreme cases, its systemic failure to protect rights—or its systematic violation of rights—can justify its alteration or abolition.
  • At least some of these rights are so fundamental that they are “inalienable,” meaning they are so intimately connected to one’s nature as a human being that they cannot be transferred to another even if one consents to do so.

Those inalienable rights include — but, by the way, aren’t necessarily limited to — life, liberty. and the pursuit of happiness.

For decades, the courts have refused to refer to the Declaration’s inalienable rights as a standard. If they did, abortion would not be legal. Over 50 million pre-born babies have, as a result, lost their lives.

If the courts took the Declaration’s inalienable rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness seriously, they would not have permitted the imposition of the strict regulatory regime which began in the New Deal and continues its merciless advance to this day. The presumption should be that property and business owners have the liberty to conduct their affairs as they see fit. Sadly, they often don’t.

Now, as we see in Oregon, the inalienable rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and raw power politics:

State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

Now, you can’t pursue happiness as a baker without being forced to support something which you believe is objectively evil — and you don’t even have the liberty to speak out against your persecutors.

In many ways, American has become something other than the land our founders envisioned.


Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070515)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 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: Rebuilt from the ashes — The story of an American basilica

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Norfolk, Virginia:

Jul 4, 2015 / 04:41 am

An immigrant parish, burnt down, with only the crucifix remaining. A parish rebuilt, transformed and a key part in giving back to the community. In a sense, one parish’s story of struggle, pressure and rebirth is metaphor for the American Catholic experience.

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, Virginia, is the only black Catholic church in the United States that is also a basilica. Its dramatic history captures both the broader American Catholic history of persecution, growth and acceptance, but also a witness to the unique challenges faced by black Catholics over the centuries. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 4, 2015

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070415)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 12:18 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: What Many of the Declaration’s Signers Endured

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:17 pm

This post is a BizzyBlog tradition.

Go here for the story of the controversy over this column, originally written by Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe in July 2000.


Fifty-Six Great Risk-Takers
By Jeff Jacoby

On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted 12-0 — New York abstained — in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s resolution “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”

On July 4, the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson — heavily edited by Congress — was adopted without dissent. On July 8, the Declaration was publicly proclaimed in Philadelphia. On July 15, Congress learned that the New York Legislature had decided to endorse the Declaration. On Aug. 2, a parchment copy was presented to the Congress for signature. Most of the 56 men who put their name to the document did so that day.

And then?

We tend to forget that to sign the Declaration of Independence was to commit an act of treason — and the punishment for treason was death. To publicly accuse George III of “repeated injuries and usurpations,” to announce that Americans were therefore “Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,” was a move fraught with danger — so much so that the names of the signers were kept secret for six months.

They were risking everything, and they knew it. That is the meaning of the Declaration’s soaring last sentence:

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Most of the signers survived the war; several went on to illustrious careers.

Two of them became presidents of the United States, and among the others were future vice presidents, senators, and governors. But not all were so fortunate.

Nine of the 56 died during the Revolution, and never tasted American independence.

Five were captured by the British.

Eighteen had their homes — great estates, some of them – looted or burnt by the enemy.

Some lost everything they owned.

Two were wounded in battle.

Two others were the fathers of sons killed or captured during the war.

“Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” It was not just a rhetorical flourish.


Positivity: The Declaration of Independence

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:11 pm

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

[The 56 signatures on the Declaration were arranged in six columns:]

[Column 1] Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton;

[Column 2] North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn;
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge; Thomas Heyward, Jr.; Thomas Lynch, Jr.; Arthur Middleton;

[Column 3] Massachusetts: John Hancock;
Maryland: Samuel Chase; William Paca; Thomas Stone; Charles Carroll of Carrollton;
Virginia: George Wythe; Richard Henry Lee; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Harrison; Thomas Nelson, Jr.; Francis Lightfoot Lee; Carter Braxton;

[Column 4] Pennsylvania: Robert Morris; Benjamin Rush; Benjamin Franklin; John Morton; George Clymer; James Smith; George Taylor; James Wilson; George Ross;
Delaware: Caesar Rodney; George Read; Thomas McKean;

[Column 5] New York: William Floyd; Philip Livingston; Francis Lewis; Lewis Morris;
New Jersey: Richard Stockton; John Witherspoon; Francis Hopkinson; John Hart; Abraham Clark;

[Column 6] New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett; William Whipple;
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams; John Adams; Robert Treat Paine; Elbridge Gerry;
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins; William Ellery;
Connecticut: Roger Sherman; Samuel Huntington; William Williams; Oliver Wolcott;
New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton.


July 3, 2015

Reuters Video Claims June Job Gains (Virtually All in Services) Were ‘Broad-Based’

The folks at Reuters issued a pretty sloppy video yesterday relating to the government’s June jobs report.

That videos described yesterday’s reported jobs gains of 223,000 as “broad-based.” That’s true only if you think having 222,000 of yeaterday’s those seasonally adjusted gains occurring in service industries, while only 1,000 were seen in goods-producing industries, is “broad-based”:



May Factory Orders ‘Scream Recession’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:04 am

From the Census Bureau:

New orders for manufactured goods in May, down nine of the last ten months, decreased $4.5 billion or 1.0 percent to $470.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. This followed a 0.7 percent April decrease.

Shipments, down two consecutive months, decreased 0.3 billion or 0.1 percent to $482.1 billion. This followed a virtually unchanged April decrease.

And they arguably should have come in worse on a seasonalized basis:


Readers will see that monthly results, both seasoned and unseasoned, have been coming in lower than those seen three years ago throughout 2015 thus far.

Readers will also see that a May 2015 seasonal conversion to -2.0 percent or worse could easily have been justified.

Zero Hedge, with more thoughts:

Factory Orders Scream Recession: Annual Drop Biggest Since 2008

This has never happened outside of recession. .. Year-over-year, factory orders dropped 6.3% (adjusted) but 8% non-adjusted, the most since the financial crisis. Against expectations of a 0.5% drop MoM, manufacturers saw new orders tumble 1.0% and previous months were revised dramatically lower. Factory orders has now missed 10 of the last 11 months.

Factory Orders have fallen for 9 of the last 10 months

Absent the occasional spike one sees due volatile aircraft orders, the year-over-year decline appears destined to worsen next month.

Factory orders and shipments factor into GDP.

How can these declines be so steep and projected second- through fourth-quarter GDP growth still be 2 percent to 3 percent?


Positivity: You’re Not Alone

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:32 am

From CatholicVote.org:


NewsBusted (063015)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 6:30 am

Here we go:

- U.S. Supreme Court
- Obamacare
- same-sex marriage
- Al-Qaeda struggling
- Pentagon
- Rosie O’Donnell
- Michelle Obama boyfriend
- Charlize Theron and Sean Penn split
- Hillary Clinton

Best Lines:

  • “New reports indicate that Al Qaeda is struggling financially. As a result, some jihadist terrorists are so depressed they’ve lost the will to die.”
  • “So far the Pentagon has spent $2.7 billion to fight ISIS. But just think how much it would cost if we were trying to win.”
  • “According to the National Enquirer, Rosie O’Donnell decided not to adopt a baby boy because he had a birth defect. Ironically, the child may never know how lucky he was to have a birth defect.”
  • “Tabloids are reporting the Michelle Obama is having an affair with a Secret Service agent. But President Obama isn’t jealous. In fact, he told Michelle, ‘If like your boyfriend, you can keep your boyfriend.’”

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070315)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 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.

July 2, 2015

June Employment Situation Summary (070215): 223K Jobs Added; 60K in Prior-Month Downward Revisions; Civilian Workforce Shrinks; Phony Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.3 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:54 am


Not seasonally adjusted benchmarks: Based on reviewing past history, the economy overall needs to actuall add 650,000 jobs before seasonal adjustment, and the private sector needs to see 1.05 million jobs added. If that happens, the seasonal conversions will probably be in the neighborhood of 300,000.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS: And with prior-month writedowns, the news is not very good, despite the fall in the unemployment rate —

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, financial activities, and in transportation and warehousing.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.3 percent in June, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 375,000 to 8.3 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.8 percent), adult women (4.8 percent), and blacks (9.5 percent) edged down in June, while the rates for teenagers (18.1 percent), whites (4.6 percent), Asians (3.8 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) showed little change.

The civilian labor force declined by 432,000 in June, following an increase of similar magnitude in May. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 62.6 percent in June. The employment-population ratio, at 59.3 percent, was essentially unchanged in June and has shown little movement thus far this year.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in June, compared with an average monthly gain of 250,000 over the prior 12 months. In June, job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, financial activities, and in transportation and warehousing.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 64,000 in June, about in line with the average monthly gain of 57,000 over the prior 12 months. In June, employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (+20,000), in architectural and engineering services (+4,000), and in computer systems design and related services (+4,000).

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised from +221,000 to +187,000, and the change for May was revised from +280,000 to +254,000. With these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 60,000 lower than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 221,000 per month.

So the number of people believed to be working June was only 163,000 more than the number believed to be working in May (223K June increase minus 60K in prior adjustments), and the malaise indicators got worse.

More in a bit.

Benchmarks review:
- Overall — Benchmark was 650K, actual was 455K.
- Private Sector — Benchmark was 1.05 mlllion, actual was 893K.

These are big disappointments.

Here’s an up-to-date chart of NSA and SA numbers:


Without detailing the numbers, I think that anyone looking at June results form the previous four years and seeing how they seasonally converted will agree that the seasonally adjusted results could have, and probably should have, come in at about 175K or lower instead of the 223K seen in both metrics.

By the way, the AP anticipated before the report’s released and originally claimed it came out that it would show and did show, respectively, that the job market is “close to full health.” By about 9:15, the wire service had revised their assessment to say that it’s a “mixed picture.” I have saved the three reports, and will probably go after them in a separate column.

Other notes (data is seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated):

  • Today’s labor force shrinkage is bad enough. In the past four months, it’s only grown by a negligible 35K.
  • The number of people employed per the Household Survey dropped by 56K.
  • “Not in the labor force hit an all-time high of 93.6 million. The participation rate dropped the to a level last seen in 1977.
  • Full-time employment FELL by 351K. Part-time employment increased by 161K. That’s a net reduction of 190K. If you’re having trouble how that can be when total Household Survey employment fell by only 56K, join the club. Perhaps a surge in multiple job holders (+173K) explains it, but I thought that was an independent stat.
  • U-6 fully-loaded unemployment is supposedly 10.5 percent. No one can possibly believe that.
  • Virtually all of the Establishment Survey jobs pickup was in Services. Goods-producing came in with whopping 1K.
  • The temping of America continues, with 37,000 temps added in the past two months.
  • The supposed expectation for the average workweek was a 0.2-hour pickup. It was unchanged.
  • Average earnings were also unchanged.

Overall, this was a very disappointing report, with little if any indications that the six-year low-participation, low-pay malaise is lifting.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070215)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 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: Meet Father Salvatore, the young priest whose life moved the Pope

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Trani, Italy:

Jul 1, 2015 / 12:02 am

The life of Father Salvatore Mellone, who died on Monday, was moving to thousands of people. He was to have at least two more years of seminary when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but by special permission and the blessing of Pope Francis, he was ordained nevertheless.

Fr. Mellone, who died June 29 at the age of 38, had been a priest of the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie for two and a half months. With his failing health, he was able to say Mass daily, baptize a child, and console the other sick persons at his hospital.

Two days before his April 16 ordination Fr. Mellone received a phone call from Pope Francis. “The first blessing that you’ll give as a priest, you’ll give to me. Salvatore, I’m with you. You ‘ll be ordained and you’ll celebrate Mass,” the Pope assured him over the phone.

At his ordination, Fr. Mellone said, “Today I feel myself carried on the shoulders of Christ; and as a priest I’ll wear the stole with Christ, for the salvation of the world. Moreover, to celebrate just one Eucharist, for me will be a real participation in the priesthood of Christ.”

Fr. Mellone’s funeral Mass was said June 30 by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Pichierri of Trani at Most Holy Cross parish, where the priest was ordained.

A statement from the Trani archdiocese shortly after the priest’s death noted that he had a recurrent expression for “the many people who came to visit him over the last few months: ‘to be a priest is beautiful.’”

“Despite his illness, he always warmly embraced everyone who came to see him. He listened to what everyone had to say. He consoled everyone.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.