May 27, 2016

Katie Coward Sends a Flunky Out to Call Anti-Gun Film’s Deception a ‘Poor Decision’

Those poor, naive folks who have been expecting a mea culpa from Katie Couric for the deceptive insertion into her Under the Gun documentary film of a long silence following a question directed at Virginia gun-rights supporters will be disappointed at what has transpired since the controversy arose.

As of Thursday afternoon, no one was genuinely apologizing for anything. Stephanie Soechtig, the film’s producer, employed a tired “I apologize if anyone was offended, but I didn’t mean any harm” excuse — garbage which the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, as Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted, should cause anyone using it to lose “their standing as professionals.” For her part, Couric issued a statement saying “I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.” Early Thursday evening, however, Couric appeared to move into damage-control mode, but in a way that should forever earn her the nickname “Katie Coward.”



1Q16 Gross Domestic Product, Second Hard-to-Take-Seriously Estimate (052716)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:30 am


Coloring the entire enterprise to the point where it’s going to be hard to take anything we see today seriously, good or bad, is the fact that Census Bureau revisions completed recently (but after April’s first GDP estimate) knocked over $100 billion off of both manufacturing orders and shipments in 2014 and 2015, and that these changes are, as I understand it, not going to be reflected in official GDP figures until the first estimate for the second quarter on July 30. This item was alluded to for the capital expenditures element of durable goods only at Zero Hedge yesterday. A graphic containing the Census Bureau’s revisions to total manufacturing orders and shipments is here.

If the revisions just mentioned are incorporated into today’s GDP data, we’re going to see a significantly smaller dollar amount of GDP than we saw in the first release last month, even if the reported GDP percentage increase remains positive. But, as I noted, I don’t believe we’ll see this downward change incorporated into official GDP until July.

However, it may be that reported first-quarter growth will come down because it’s still “live” and subject to revision (including what the Census Bureau did to the first quarter — which, as best I can tell, was to reduce originally reported manufacturing orders and shipments by about $25 billion — while clearly overstated previous quarters won’t get revised until July 30. What the Census Bureau did has already been incorporated into its detailed tables for orders and shipments — and the numbers are really, really ugly.

It would appear, all other things being equal (which they probably aren’t), that the aforementioned revisions will ultimately reduce 2014 GDP by about 0.7 percent, taking that year’s growth down to about 1.7 percent by itself (again, there will surely be other revisions, so that’s not a prediction of the post-revision result), while leaving 2015 and year-to-date 2016 nearly unchanged.

The government’s report, for what it’s worth, will be here at 8:30.


Positivity: Here’s what the next World Meeting of Families will focus on

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:05 am

From Vatican City:

May 25, 2016 / 12:11 pm

“The Gospel of family, joy for the world.” This is the theme for the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, and it is meant to emphasize the family’s role as a stabilizing force in society, said the local archbishop.

“The family is not just the object of the attention of the Church,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told journalists at a Vatican press briefing Tuesday.

Rather, he said, families have a “vital role” as “real protagonists of renewal and of the transmission of the faith to the coming generations.”

This was stressed at the recent Synods of Bishops on the Family, the archbishop said. Families are “active participants in the ministry of the Church,” through “the authenticity of their daily life in the family and in the home.”

He continued: “The World Meeting of Families must be an occasion to encourage and sustain families in this task.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 26, 2016

O’Reilly Blames Black Lives Matter For Spike in Violent Urban Crime

Wednesday evening, Bill O Reilly at Fox News sharply criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, assigning it primary blame for the spike in violent urban crime seen throughout the nation since late 2014.

Though his monologue contained one significant exaggeration, his overall take — expressed in layman’s terms, that the “Ferguson effect” is real — was spot-on. Leftists, up to and including President Obama, with the full cooperation of a sympathetic establishment press, have denied the linkage between the orchestrated attempt begun in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014 to embed into the nation’s consciousness the false idea that police are on a mission to gun down innocent black youths and the rising crime levels which have since arisen in so many of the nation’s cities. O’Reilly also sharply rebuked the press, which has been far too quick to downplay the serious increase in urban crime and to ignore the violent records and actions of BLM and its leaders.



April Advance Durable Goods: Up 3.4 Pct. Overall on Aircraft Orders, Ex-Transportation Up 0.4 Pct., Key Business Investment Stat Down 0.8 Pct. and 4.1 Pct. YTD

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:24 am

From the Census Bureau:

New orders for manufactured durable goods in April increased $7.7 billion or 3.4 percent to $235.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up three of the last four months, followed a 1.9 percent March increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.4 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.7 percent.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in April, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $1.5 billion or 0.6 percent to $232.5 billion. This followed a 0.8 percent March decrease.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in April, down nine of the last ten months, decreased $0.7 billion or 0.2 percent to $384.4 billion.

Nondefense aircraft orders made up $6.64 billion of the $7.67 billion seasonally adjusted new orders increase from March to April.

Keep in mind here that even if the generally improved orders-increase percentages seen this month repeat themselves for the next several months (but see the update for an important exception), what we’ll be seeing, if we’re lucky, is a slow emergence from a fairly deep funk going back to late-2014.

Additionally, shipments are still relatively flat, and the March revisions to all shipments (durable and nondurable) reduced them by $1.2 billion, or 0.2 percent. Actual April shipments of durable goods came in 2.8 percent below April 2015, pushing year-to-date shipments 0.2 percent below last year.



Demand for durable goods jumped 3.4 percent after a 1.9 percent gain in March, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Orders in the closely watched category that serves as a proxy for business investment fell 0.8 percent after a 0.1 percent decline in March and a 2.1 percent plunge in February.

It’s the line item for “nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft.” Year-to-date, that category is down 4.1 percent.


Initial Unemployment Claims (052616): 268K SA; Raw Claims (241K) 4 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:04 am

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending May 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 268,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 278,000. The 4-week moving average was 278,500, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 275,750.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 240,868 in the week ending May 21, a decrease of 4,001 (or -1.6 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 5,003 (or 2.0 percent) from the previous week. There were 253,454 initial claims in the comparable week in 2015.

The seasonal adjustment factors (89.9 for same week last year and 90.3 this year) were roughly identical.

So things seem to have settled down in this area. After hitting 294K two weeks ago, claims have dropped back to the range of the past several months.

What this tells us about the true condition of the job market is far from clear, though, give that announced layoffs are up and jobs added pulled back a bit last month.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052616)

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: Custodian Graduates From College He Spent Nearly A Decade Cleaning

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Worcester, Massachusetts (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

May 13, 2016 6:31 PM

Michael Vaudreuil hopes anyone who hits rock bottom hears his story. “You go through life and you say, ‘someday I’m going do this. I’m going do that,’ and very often in life you’re hit with a curveball that kind of throws you off track.”

It was the recession that threw Vaudreuil off track. “It left our heads spinning. It happened so fast.”

In 2007, his plastering business went under. Within six months, so did everything else. “We lost our home, bankruptcy, and our personal vehicle… decimation was completed. I was just a shell of a person at that time.”

He took the only job he could find, a custodian at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. To cut the boredom, he signed up for a tuition-free class WPI offers employees. That brought him to a new world, and the lab where he designed his own prototype of a reusable dust fuel cartridge.

After eight years of classes all day and cleaning all night, Vaudreuil now emerges a mechanical engineer. He graduated Saturday, May 14th, with a class of students less than half his age. “It’s a lot. It’s a lot to comprehend,” says his wife, Joyce. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 25, 2016

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052516)

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: Father believes phone deflected bullet and saved daughter’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Chicago:

May 24, 2016 8:11 AM

Jeniece Smiley picked up her phone as she sat in a white sedan in Englewood late Monday night. And her father thinks that may have saved her life.

As she talked, someone on the street at 71st Street and Wentworth Avenue opened fire, hitting her in the head, the shoulder and the hand. One of the bullets struck her phone.

“It hit the phone, that’s what saved her,” said Smiley’s father, John. “I’m OK now. She’s going to be all right.”

Smiley, 24, was among eight people shot in Chicago from Monday afternoon through early Tuesday. She was on her way to pick up a friend around 11:15 p.m. when she heard gunfire, her father said.

“She said she didn’t realize, she thought they were shooting at someone else,” John Smiley said Tuesday morning. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 24, 2016

AP Reporter Claims Freddie Gray-Nero Verdict ‘Failed to Hold Police Accountable’

Seldom have there been more clear-cut examples of bias than those found in Juliet Linderman’s Associated Press story yesterday on the acquittal of Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero on all charges relating to the death of Freddie Gray last year.

The first half of Linderman’s first sentence reads: “Prosecutors failed for the second time in their bid to hold Baltimore police accountable for the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.” We’re sorry you’re so obviously disappointed, Juliet, but the fact is that the judge in the case, by rendering not-guilty verdicts, concluded that Nero was not legally accountable for the death of Freddie Gray. The AP reporter’s opening presupposes that any failure to convict Nero or other officers involved automatically means that the justice system has failed.



Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052416)

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: Gun store owner stops suspicious sale, prompts arrest of local man

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

From Albion, New York:

Published: May 23, 2016, 10:15 pm Updated: May 23, 2016, 11:01 pm

A gun store owner in Orleans County prevented a suspicious gun purchase, leading to a Friday arrest.

Police say a gun store owner alerted authorities to the suspicious actions of a local man after he was denied a gun purchase for refusing to fill out a required background check form. Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputies say John Klotzbach asked a female third party to buy a shotgun for him after he was turned away. The straw purchase was uncovered when the gun store owner noticed the female wanted the exact same shotgun Klotzbach asked for and drove in the same vehicle Klotzbach had used.

As deputies investigated Klotzbach, they say they located a loaded sawed off shotgun in his possession, prompting his arrest and charges of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fifth degree conspiracy. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 23, 2016

Sanders Delegate: Single-Payer Health Care Would Help Reduce Death Threats

Liberal interviewers are quick to question reasonable but somehow “controversial” assertions made by Republicans and conservatives, while loony statements uttered by leftist interview subjects often slide right on by without challenge.

On Tuesday, MSNBC host Thomas Roberts heard Bernie Sanders delegate Angie Morelli claim that single-payer health insurance might “help those people out” who made “death threats” against Democratic Party officials after Nevada’s contentious delegate selection process last week. Instead of bursting out in laughter or questioning Morelli as to how she could possibly believe what she had just said, Roberts wrapped up the segment as if she had just made a perfectly reasonable statement.



MSNBC’s Matthews: ‘Media Is Not Representative of the Country,’ Especially on Guns

In what he should have recognized as damning self-criticism, Chris Matthews admitted to MSNBC’s infamous self-promoting fabulist Brian Williams Friday afternoon that the establishment news media is “not representative of the country,” especially in regards to how the U.S. is “uniquely pro-gun as a country.”

But those who observe the Hardball host’s choice of words, his demeanor, and his tone of voice will detect the predictable condescension of the smug media elites, specifically that the rubes outside of New York, Washington and L.A don’t possess “the usual sophistication we’re used to” or the “cosmopolitan attitude we all share.”