May 23, 2015

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052315)

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: Converted by love, not ideology — An archbishop’s reflection on Dorothy Day

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Fort Wayne, Indiana:

May 20, 2015 / 03:02 am

Last week, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles told scholars at the Dorothy Day Conference at St. Francis University that the social activist was not converted by ideology, but by love.

“It was not the teachings of the Church that convinced her to leave the past behind and change her life. She was changed by Love, changed by the over-powering awareness of the reality of God’s love and mercy,” the archbishop said during his May 14 keynote address at the Dorothy Day Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Archbishop Gomez said he admires the social activist for the example of holiness that she has left for today’s Catholics.

As a young woman in the early 20th century, Day embraced what she and many others in her generation believed would bring happiness: a life that included abortion, communism and “free love.”

“Dorothy and many others thought they had found the ‘answers’ they were looking for in the ‘progressive’ vision of a society liberated from Christian morality and the capitalist economy,” Archbishop Gomez said, but what followed was a period of great pain and suffering in her life, including the abortion of her child.

When Day converted to Catholicism years later in 1929, it was not due to the hardships she had endured, the archbishop continued. Rather, Day converted because she found love – first in the birth of her beloved daughter, Tamar, and then in God.

“As she described it, the beauty of the created world convinced her that there must be a Creator. The joy of human love helped her to realize the beauty of divine love,” he explained. “She came to see that her life – and all our lives – are a search for love, a search for a love that is Supreme, for God.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 22, 2015

Hostess’s Revival: What Can Happen When You’re Allowed to Start Fresh

Given how much wailing and gnashing of teeth there was in the press when the old Hostess liquidated in 2012, a mid-April story at Forbes on the company’s revival has gotten surprisingly little attention. Well, maybe it’s not that much of a surprise, for reasons which will be indentified here.

Readers may recall that the final straw in that drama occurred late that year when the the AFL-CIO-affiliated Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers union called a strike after rejecting management clearly communicated final offer. The company, already in bankruptcy, was through negotiating, and chose to liquidate. The press moaned about how all of this meant the end of an era. Steven Bertoni’s Forbes writeup shows how wrong they were, and what a business can accomplish when it’s not saddled with legacy costs and constraints.



Quip of the Day

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:03 am

From today Consumer Price Index April release at the Bureay of Labor Statistics:

The medical care index rose 0.7 percent, its largest increase since January 2007. The index for medical care services rose 0.9 percent with the hospital services index rising 1.9 percent.

All in just one month.

Zero Hedge’s reaction: “Thanks Obamacare.”


NewsBusted (051915)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 9:00 am

Here we go:

– Hillary Clinton
– Body Cameras
– Iran
– President Obama
– Rob Kardashian
– Medical Marijuana
– Underground Tunnels
– Ben Carson
– Mama June

Best Line: “Authorities have discovered two more underground tunnels linking San Diego and Mexico. Experts say as a result Californians seeking to buy illegal drugs could experience delays of up to 10 minutes.”


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052215)

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: Pope Francis to parents — Come out of ‘exile’ and educate your children

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 20, 2015 / 10:41 am

In his general audience Pope Francis spoke of the essential role parents play in educating their children – a role he said has been usurped by so-called experts who have taken the place of parents and rendered them fearful of making any correction.

“If family education regains its prominence, many things will change for the better. It’s time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile – they have exiled themselves from educating their children – and slowly reassume their educative role,” the Pope said May 20.

He gave harsh criticism to the “intellectual critics” that he said have “silenced” parents in order to defend younger generations from real or imagined harm, and lamented how schools now are often more influential than families in shaping the thinking and values of children.

“In our days the educational partnership is in crisis. It’s broken,” he said, and named various reasons for this.

“On one part there are tensions and distrust between parents and educators; on the other part, there are more and more ‘experts’ who pretend to occupy the role of parents, who are relegated to second place,” he said.

The Pope spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience. His focus on the vocation of families to educate their children is part of his ongoing series on the family.

Since the end of last fall Francis has been centering his Wednesday catechesis on the theme of family as part of the lead-up to the World Day of Families in September, as well as October’s Synod of Bishops on the Family.

In his address he stressed that educating and raising children in the human values which form the “backbone” of a healthy society is a responsibility that each family has. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 21, 2015

State Gets Paper Copies of Hillary’s Emails; Is She Hiding Info Available Digitially?

In a complete non-surprise given her career track record, Hillary Clinton’s definition of “cooperation” with requests to turn over whatever emails she unilaterally deigned could be seen meant giving them to the State Despartment on paper.

That’s lots and lots of paper, 55,000 pages in all, some of them double-sided, all seemingly part of a conscious strategy to deliberately slow down the process at taxpayers’ expense. It’s quite easy to believe that if a Republican or conservative politician engaged in these tactics instead of turning over digital files, the press would be giving this a lot more exposure. Beyond that, a person with IT experience has informed me that Mrs. Clinton may have chosen to turn in paper copies of those emails because digital copies might have exposed damning information.



Houston Chronicle Reporter Writes That Ted Cruz Believes Opponents Will Force People Into Same-Sex Unions

This afternoon, Dylan Baddour at the Houston Chronicle comically interpreted a remark made by 2016 GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz as meaning that Texas’s junior senator is worried that same-sex “marriage” proponents are “trying to force all Americans into same-sex unions.”

The only open question is whether Baddour is so dense that he really believes what he wrote, or if he was trying to spread an obvious lie about a GOP candidate’s statement so that some people would actually believe his nonsense, thereby partially poisoning the electoral well.

Here is the part of what Baddour originally which was later changed, as captured by Caleb Howe at Truth Revolt:

Cruz apparently believes that efforts to let same-sex couples marry in the United States would force him to wed a man.

Here is how it currently looks at the comical Chronicle:

Cruz recently made comments on a conservative radio show that suggest “mandatory gay marriage” may be on the way.

But to be clear, there is still serious fever-swamp paranoia in Baddour’s write just a couple of paragraphs later in the revised story:

In an interview with conservative talk radio host Eric Metaxas on Friday, Cruz apparently alleged his political opponents were trying to force all Americans into same-sex unions.

For heaven’s sake, no one believes that. “Mandatory gay marriage” is about force, but “only” about forcing states to allow same-sex marriages to occur and forcing the states to recognize them.

The Chronicle can’t possibly allow that sentence to stand.

Baddour’s blather is reminiscent of Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s crude, ignorant attempt to smear Wisconsin Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker in late February at Jezebel. Vargas-Cooper originally claimed that Walker wanted colleges to stop reporting sexual assaults. Three months later, her post still carries that dishonest headline (“Scott Walker Wants Colleges to Stop Reporting Sexual Assaults”), which will conveniently give any readers who stumble upon her post and don’t read on the impression that the headline’s claim is still true.

It isn’t. Vargas-Cooper ultimately, but only after a great deal of online drama-queen agony, apologized on Twitter. That’s nice, but the Jezebel “correction” at the original post only apologizes for not providing “full context” and for presenting “an unfair and misleading picture.”

That’s utterly inadequate. In reality, Vargas-Cooper’s story is utter horse manure. Scott Walker doesn’t “want colleges to stop reporting sexual assaults.” Instead, he was asked by the University of Wisconsin system to delete redundant reporting requirements.

That’s it. There was no story.

We’re supposed to believe that the Houston Chronicle is not like Jezebel. It’s supposedly a reputable news organization which cares about the ultimate accuracy of what it publishes.

If that’s really the case, it’s not showing in the current instance.

What’s more, the Jezebel incident was clearly journalistic negligence. The proper characterization of the origins of the Chronicle’s lie about Ted Cruz, as noted in this post’s introduction, remains an open question.

Given the only two possibilities — breathtaking ignorance or maliciously lying — I don’t see how the Chronicle can defend continuing Dylan Baddour’s employment — and it obviously still owes its readers and the general public a correction, and an apology.


Paper on ‘Changing Minds’ on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Retracted, Media Outlet Retractions Abound

Examples of scientific fakery in matters relating to sexuality and especially homosexuality go back decades, all the way to Alfred Kinsey.

One of the more recent such underhanded episodes, involving a paper originally published in December 2014, was called “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality.” It claimed that “a single conversation (can) change minds on divisive social issues, such as same-sex marriage.” That assertion made by a “layman” wouldn’t pass the smell test with most people. But because the paper was published in Science Magazine (“The World’s Leading Journal of Scientific Research, Global News and Commentary”), it gained a now-obviously clearly undeserved veneer of credibility.



AP, After Nationally Hyped Preview, Treats GOP Win in Jacksonville Mayor’s Race as a Local Story

The idea that the nation’s largest cities are impenetrable Democratic Party strongholds took a serious hit Tuesday night. In Jacksonville, the nation’s 13th-largest city, a Republican took back the mayor’s office, unseating the incumbent Democrat who won four years ago.

Predictably, the Associated Press, perhaps sensing that Democrat Alvin Brown might hold on in his reelection attempt, treated the hotly contested race as a national story before the election, identifying Brown as a 2011 beneficiary of a Barack Obama campaign effort which “targeted … 2008 and 2012 with the goal of making a solidly Republican area more competitive,” and tagging him as “on a short list of Democrats seen as potential candidates for governor in 2018″ if he won. Today, with Republican Lenny Curry winning the race, it’s crickets at the wire service’s national site:



Initial Unemployment Claims (052115): 274K SA; Raw Claims 16 Percent Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:27 am

Predictions at Yahoo’s Business Calendar: 265,000 seasonally adjusted claims at; 270,000 for the “markets.”

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.


In the week ending May 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 274,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 264,000. The 4-week moving average was 266,250, a decrease of 5,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 271,750. This is the lowest level for this average since April 15, 2000 when it was 266,250.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 242,794 in the week ending May 16, a decrease of 88 (less than -0.1 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 8,722 (or -3.6 percent) from the previous week. There were 287,398 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

The seasonal adjustment factors were virtually identical for last week and the same week last year.

Though its larger meaning is debatable, the report itself is another strong result.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052115)

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: Pope Francis, as he canonizes four saings, shares the secret of the saints — life in Christ’s love

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 17, 2015 / 10:11 am

Pope Francis canonized the Church’s four newest saints on Sunday, praising their loving witness to Jesus Christ’s Resurrection.

He said “this is the secret of the saints: abiding in Christ, joined to him like branches to the vine, in order to bear much fruit.”

The four newest saints showed how “to abide in God and in his love, and thus to proclaim by our words and our lives the Resurrection of Jesus, to live in unity with one another and with charity towards all,” the pontiff said in his May 17 homily

The Pope’s words came during the canonization Mass of Saint Jeanne Émilie de Villeneuve, Saint Maria Cristina Brando, Saint Mariam Baouardy, and Saint Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas in Saint Peter’s Square.

These women–two Palestinians, a Frenchwoman, and an Italian–offered a “luminous example” challenging the lives of Christians, he said.

“How do I bear witness to the risen Christ? How do I abide in him? How do I remain in his love? Am I capable of ‘sowing’ in my family, in my workplace and in my community, the seed of that unity which he has bestowed on us by giving us a share in the life of the Trinity?” Pope Francis asked.

Tens of thousands of people took part in the Sunday morning Mass, as tapestries bearing the images of the new saints hung from the facade of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

During his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the Book of Acts’ account of the election of Matthias to replace Judas as one of the Twelve Apostles in being “a witness to Jesus’ resurrection.”

The Pope observed that many people believed in the Resurrection through the testimony of these witnesses, and Christian communities were born.

The pontiff said that the faith in the risen Lord which exists today is based upon the Apostles’ witness passed down through the Church’s mission.

“Our faith is firmly linked to their testimony, as to an unbroken chain which spans the centuries, made up not only by the successors of the Apostles, but also by succeeding generations of Christians,” he said.

Pope Francis added that all those who follow Christ are called to be witnesses to the Resurrection, “above all in those human settings where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 20, 2015

As Press Ignores Soldiers Who Fought and Won at Ramadi, Debbie Lee Speaks Out

Web and news searches at Google, as well as a search at the Associated Press’s national site, indicate that there is very little interest in the establishment press in getting the reactions of current and former U.S. soldiers who defeated enemy forces in Ramadi during last decade’s Iraq War to the loss of that city to Islamic State forces.

Sadly, that’s not surprising. Posters at NewsBusters have noted three different times the broadcast networks’ reluctance to air any form of criticism of the Obama administration’s decision to take U.S. tropps out of Iraq when it did or the Pentagon’s strategy (assuming one exists) for turning things around. As usual, Fox News is doing work the rest of the press refuses to do. This morning, Debbie Lee, whose son Marc Alan Lee, the first Navy SEAL killed in the Iraq War, died at Ramadi, appeared on Fox & Friends. Video, plus an excerpt from a rare exception to the establishment press’s indifference at the Daily Beast, follow the jump.