August 4, 2015

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080415)

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.

August 3, 2015

Before We Fry Ray Tensing in the Death of Sam DuBose …

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:28 pm

… we need some clarity.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is not providing it.

He claims, based on Tensing’s body-cam video of the incident which ended in DuBose’s death, that “Tensing ‘fell backward after he shot [DuBose] in the head.’”

As eager as Deters may have been to calm a situation involving a white university cop and a black man in an already tense city (Cincinnati), his announcement of this snap judgment based on the viewing of a fast-moving video should have waited.

That’s especially the case because longtime Cincinnati-area blogger extraordinaire Porkopolis has presented conclusive evidence of the following, based on detailed analysis of the body-cam video:

Prosecutor Deter’s assertion — that “Rather than being dragged by the moving car, Deters said, Tensing “fell backward after he shot [DuBose] in the head” — is incorrect.

You read that right.

Here are the Cliff’s notes of Porkopolis’s post, supported in great detail (bolds are his):

  1. Officer Ray Tensing may (jury will decide) have feared he was being dragged and thus feared for his life.
  2. The fear (from 1) may have justified use of lethal force (jury will decide).
  3. Not only may Officer Tensing have feared that he would be dragged, Officer Tensing WAS dragged as the video evidence conclusively shows.
  4. The jury will have to reconcile the fear of being dragged with the fact that he was dragged.

Porkopolis has also prevented two videos from other outside sources (direct YouTube links here and here) supporting Tensing’s contention that he was dragged.

Please note that I am not commenting on the impact this direct rebuttal of one of Prosecutor Deters’ core contentions has or should have on the charges to be filed and pursued against Tensing.

I’m not in a position to evaluate, for example, whether Tensing was within the normal rules of engagement to reach into the car after DuBose turned the ignition key, or whether the offense involved should have called for Tensing to request backup or to just let DuBose drive away be be possibly apprehended later.

What I do know is this, and those of you who are defending Sam DuBose need to understand this: If you’re pulled over and then decide to flee, as DuBose did, you lose control of your destiny.

I’m NOT saying that DuBose deserved his fate; he obviously didn’t. But I’m saying that once you choose to flee, the likelhood that bad things will happen goes up exponentially.

The lesson, for kids, adults, whites, blacks and EVERYONE: For God’s sake, when pulled over, NEVER, EVER, EVER flee.

Why is that so hard to understand?

Back to the central point: As Porkopolis wrote, the primary interest here should be “Justice for Sam DuBose, Officer Ray Tensing and the People of Cincinnati.”

Joe Deters has dealt that effort a serious setback, to no one’s benefit.


Despite Weak Seasonally Adjusted Increase, June Construction Spending Was Strong

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:56 am

Here are the seasonal (at an annual rate) and raw tables.

After a tepid first quarter, raw and seasonally adjusted construction spending were both up by double-digit percentages year-over-year in May and June.

It bears watching to see if it’s reached a plateau, but no one can reasonably complain about the past two months’ reported results.


July ISM Manufacturing: 52.7 Percent, Down From 53.5; Seasonal Adjustment Games in Evidence?

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 11:40 am

From the Institute for Supply Management (bolds are mine; paragraph breaks added by me):

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in July for the 31st consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 74th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The July PMI® registered 52.7 percent, a decrease of 0.8 percentage point below the June reading of 53.5 percent. The New Orders Index registered 56.5 percent, an increase of 0.5 percentage point from the reading of 56 percent in June. The Production Index registered 56 percent, 2 percentage points above the June reading of 54 percent.

The Employment Index registered 52.7 percent, 2.8 percentage points below the June reading of 55.5 percent, reflecting growing employment levels from June but at a slower rate. Inventories of raw materials registered 49.5 percent, a decrease of 3.5 percentage points from the June reading of 53 percent. The Prices Index registered 44 percent, down 5.5 percentage points from the June reading of 49.5 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the ninth consecutive month.

Comments from the panel reflect a combination of optimism mixed with uncertainties about international markets and the impacts of the continuing decline in oil prices.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 11 are reporting growth in July

Five industries are reporting contraction, and two are flat.

While Production and New Orders are solidly in expansion, Backlog of Orders, the other direct future GDP indicator is at 42.5, which has to be the lowest in several years. Exports are also in contraction (48.5), which is not helpful.

I’d be tempted to say that the overall reading is okay and sufficiently expansionary despite the Backlog flag, but there’s this from Zero Hedge, which, as has been its custom, calls the credibility of seasonally adjusted results into question:

… a more than cursory look at the headline reveals something quite unpositive: the onlyreason they New Orders print came where it did, is due to seasonal adjustments.

As the chart below shows, which tracks the Manufacturing ISM New Orders history, while the seasonally adjusted New Orders datapoint was indeed the highest since 2015, the unadjusted, or one which merely reflects what respondents are saying even as they already factor in for seasonals (which goes back to the idiocy of seasonally adjusting a survey which is already subliminally adjusted) New Orders of 52.5 was the lowest print not only in 2015, but the lowest since December 2013.

Just to repeat because it bears repeating: the exact same data point can either be the highest since 2014 or the lowest since 2013 depending on whether one “seasonally adjusts” it.

Questioning how actual (i.e. not seasonally adjusted) New Orders can dive but somehow go up a bit after seasonal adjustment is quite legitimate. The silver lining is that at least the raw number is also in expansion, so it’s a matter of degree and not direction.

The real mystery is how ISM Manufacturing can remain in expansion when so many other hard-number manufacturing data points have been in contraction or mostly declining year-over-year for some time, e.g., manufacturers’ shipments and new orders (meanwhile, unfilled orders are through the roof, which may either mean that there’s a big pickup ahead or that a lot of customers are telling manufacturers to defer their work until later months). Then there’s the Fed’s Industrial Production data, where the manufacturing subset’s monthly readings declined by a combined 0.4 points in the first quarter, and only increased by a tenth of a point in the second.

One can’t help but think that ISM is mostly hearing from the firms that are doing well, and not hearing much, if anything, from those which aren’t.


Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080315)

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: Nuns, guns and the Wild West – the extraordinary tale of Sr. Blandina

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Santa Fe, New Mexico:

Aug 1, 2015 / 04:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Billy the Kid, a notorious bank and stage-coach robber of the Wild West, met his match in the most unlikely of people when he met Sister Blandina Segale.

According to legend, and to Sr. Blandina’s journal and letters, one of Billy the Kid’s gang members had been shot and was on the brink of death when the doctors of Trinidad, Colo. refused to treat him. Sister decided to take him in and cared for him for three months, nursing him back to health.

But Billy the Kid (William Leroy) was still unhappy. Word got out that the outlaw was coming to town to scalp the four doctors of Trinidad in revenge. When he arrived, Sr. Blandina intervened, and convinced him to call off his mission on behalf of his man she had saved.

After that incident, Sr. Blandina and Billy the Kid became friends. She once visited him in jail, and he once called off a stage-coach robbery as soon as he realized Sister was one of the passengers.

When she wasn’t calling off outlaws, Sr. Blandina was founding schools, building hospitals, teaching and caring for orphans and the poor, and advocating for the rights of Native Americans and other minorities. All in a day’s work.

Her heroic virtue and enduring works are why her cause for sainthood was opened in New Mexico last summer, earning her the title “Servant of God” and allowing people to ask for her intercession. Since then, several documents have come to light corroborating her stories, and the necessary miracle for the next big step – beatification – seems to be well on its way. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 2, 2015

Press Still Unhinged Over Walker’s Refusal to Say Whether He Knows Obama Is a Christian

One of the more outrageous chapters during presidential campaign season so far, the press harassment of 2016 GOP candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in February over his statement that he “doesn’t know” whether President Barack Obama is a Christian, is back.

Nobody in the press seems interested in asking Obama himself how he can still profess to be a Christian and support homosexual marriage, especially when he referenced his Christian beliefs as a basis for his stated opposition to it in 2008. Nor are they curious in learning how Obama can square his self-professed Christianity with his support for abortion at every in utero stage — and arguably beyond that. And of course, nobody is asking Hillary Clinton to declare whether she believes any of her potential November 2016 opponents is a genuine Christian. Yet here was Philip Elliott, who recently left the Associated Press for, getting a case of the vapors on Saturday when Walker, asked again, basically said, “I don’t know, but I presume he is”:



A Question No One Will Ask — And Someone Should

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:06 pm

Maybe the press can tear itself away from asking stupid, irrelevant questions of GOP candidates (like “do you think President Obama is a Christian?”) and get an unqualified declaration from Barack Obama or the White House Press Office that he will end his presidency as constitutionally designed on January 20, 2017.

This seems necessary because what Obama said early last week was not definitive:

In 18 months, I’m turning over the keys. I want to make sure I’m turning over the keys to somebody who’s serious about the serious problems the country faces and the world faces.

I understand that it’s overwhelmingly likely that Obama means it when he says he’s “turning over the keys.” But then why would he qualify it, even slightly, by saying “I want to be sure” that my successor is “somebody who’s serious”?

It obviously raises the question of what would happen if the Election Day 2016 winner isn’t, in Dear Leader’s view, “somebody who’s serious.”

Absent a a definitive, unqualified statement to the contrary from Obama himself or someone in the cadre of smartalecks who serve in his press office, Obama seems to have told us that the possibility of him “turning over the keys” is not necessarily 100 percent. Someone needs to get Team Obama on the record by asking them to verify their intent.

I also believe that if George W. Bush had said something similar on July 27, 2007, the White House press corps would have done exactly what I would like to see it do now within hours.

Here’s hoping that no one will see the need to remember this post 17 months and 18 days from now.


Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080215)

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: Why the effort to make gay marriage sacramental won’t work

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

From Washington:

Aug 2, 2015 / 04:02 pm

Dissenting Catholic groups have called for gay marriage to be recognized as a sacrament, but Catholic theology has a clear priority: marriage is God’s creation – and not even the Church can change that.

Dr. John Grabowski, a professor of moral theology at Catholic University of America, said that the push for “sacramental equality” by groups such as Dignity USA shows “a lack of understanding of what the Church is and the nature of the Church and what the sacraments are.”

“’Marriage equality’ made for a good slogan, but in the Church’s understanding, marriage is not something that can be ‘redefined’; if you will, by interest groups, by government, or even by the Church itself,” he told CNA July 29. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 1, 2015

Juxtapose This

Link (HT to an emailer; text cleaned up a little):


**Warning** Be mad at me if you want for what I am about to write, but I do not fit into the mold of political correctness, and never will.

Cecil the Lion from Zimbabwe was killed unjustly by a foreigner who shouldn’t have been there. Cecil was supposed to be protected by Zimbabwe’s National Park Patrol. Killer receives death threats from people all over the US. People who stand up for Cecil are called loving.

Kate the Human from the US was killed unjustly by a foreigner who shouldn’t have been there. Kate was supposed to be protected by the US Border Patrol. No death threats around the US. People who stand up for Kate are called racist bigots.

Right now there are US citizens looking at this photo, looking back and forth at the pictures from left, to right. Right now someone’s eyes are tearing like Jimmy Kimmel’s did. As their eyes fill up with water, it is because they can’t help but focusing at the picture to the right, and feel no emotion to the left picture. This is the reality of our current situation. This is what we are up against….

There are hundreds of other Kates:

according to Jessica M. Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, the 36,007 criminal immigrants that the Obama administration released in 2013 to prowl the streets of America even though they had a collective 88,000 convictions, including 193 homicides, 426 sexual assaults, 303 kidnappings and 1,075 aggravated assaults. And that was just one year’s worth of criminal illegal aliens let go to continue to prey on the citizens of the USA.

That’s just one one year’s worth of releases.


Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080115)

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: The 3-Word Message a 94-Year-Old Paid to Run on TV Flashed Across the Screen for Only 5 Seconds

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Franklin, Tennessee (video at link):

Jul. 18, 2015 1:31am

A 94-year-old Tennessee woman recently purchased five-seconds of ad time on a local television channel to air a three-word message: “love one another.”

The woman, who lives in the city of Franklin, had been crossing off items from her bucket list for years. Airing that message was the last thing remaining.

“I said there is one thing,” Shirley Batchelder told WSMV-TV. “I want to put an ad on television.”

… Batchelder’s said it’s up for the audience to choose how to act on her message, but felt it was an important idea to spread.

Go here for the full story at the Blaze.

July 31, 2015

AP Buries Judge’s IRS Contempt Threat in Final Graphs of Story on Congressional Hearing

On Thursday, Curtis Houck at NewsBusters noted how the Big Three networks and the two leading Spanish-language networks ignored the latest developments in the now 813 day-old IRS targeting scandal. As usual, only Fox News covered a congressional hearing on, in Fox’s words, “the lack of accountability following the IRS targeting of tea party and other groups” as well as a federal judge’s threat “to hold (IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court for failing to produce status reports and Lois Lerner e-mails.”

Not that this excuses the non-coverage, but if these outfits were relying as subscribers on the Associated Press to make sure that the contempt threat made by U.S. District Court Judge Emmitt Sullivan got the visibility it deserved so they would be aware of it and use it, the wire service’s Stephen Ohlemacher let them down — and, I would argue, deliberately so.



More Deadpan Humor at AP: Concern That We’re ‘Entering … Historically Slow Growth’

These economics reporters at the Associated Press have become experts at deadpan humor.

Earlier today, I noted how the wire service’s Christopher Rugaber told readers, in the wake of a government report showing the lowest wage and benefit increases on record, that “the job market is not yet back to full health.” No kidding, Chris. On top of that, the AP’s Martin Crutsinger reacted to yesterday’s tepid report on gross domestic product, which was accompanied by significant downward revisions to the past three years, by expressing “concerns that the U.S. economy has entered a period of historically slow growth.” Dude, we have been living through historically slow growth for six years, ever since the recession officially ended in the middle of 2009.