March 4, 2015

Reader Email: ‘Does this look like someone who feels there is ‘finally a chance to rescue our nation from six years’ of Obama? (Uh, NO)

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:11 pm

Readers will agree that the answer is “no.”

From an emailer, responding to a plea for money from Arizona’s senior senator, throwing words contained therein back at him (bolds are mine):

(John) McCain is not the only voice of surrender. Referring to a TEMPORARY stay against the implementation of Obama’s Amnesty Decree that was recently issued by a federal judge, Senator Jeff Flake proclaimed: “Why don’t we just… declare victory and move on?”

Senator Lindsey Graham chimed in: “When the judge ruled, that was the way I wanted to end it.”

And Congressman Peter King went so far as to say that people who actually value the Constitution and who do NOT want Obama’s Unconstitutional Amnesty Decree funded are “absolutely irresponsible” and “have no concept of reality.”

McCain, Flake, Graham and King are advocating what is being called the “escape hatch theory” in Washington. It goes something like this… “Look, the courts have delayed Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional actions for now, so let’s just go ahead and fund those unconstitutional actions… since we really want amnesty to pass anyway… and when the dust clears, we’ll blame the courts for the evisceration of our Constitution.”

You can almost hear them chuckle.

But wait just a minute: Now that a federal judge has placed a temporary hold on Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional decree… is that not a reason why Congress SHOULD NOT fund it? Would logic not dictate that Congress wait for the courts to reach a final decision BEFORE funding Mr. Obama’s lawless amnesty decree?

Sorry gentlemen, but a TEMPORARY stay by a federal judge is not a “victory” and it’s not an excuse or an escape hatch that ALLOWS you to fund Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty decree. Rather, it’s the reason why you SHOULD NOT fund Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty decree.

We’re not that stupid, Sens. McCain, Graham and Flake.

As to Rep. King, the “reality” is that you, sir, are the one who is being “irresponsible.”

Speaking of money, isn’t it amazing how the GOP can come up with significant funds almost instantly to attack its own true conservative members but never, ever, ever consistently spends the kind of money needed to go after the Obama administration and the left and around the press?


Latest PJ Media Column (‘Newspapers’ Obituaries Smear Pro-life Legend’ John Willke) Went Up Early This Morning

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

Here’s two other “little” things almost no one in the press chose to report about Willke:

Dr. Willke encouraged pro-life advocates to focus on both pregnant women and their unborn children and was a leading popularizer of the phrase “Why can’t we love them both?”

“They were, from the very beginning of their work, strong advocates for pregnancy help centers, maternity homes and positive alternatives,” Mr. Donovan wrote in a Feb. 23 essay at First Things.

He noted that the Willkes were always hosting an expectant mother or a troubled teenager at their Cincinnati home.

RIP, John Willke. Well done, good and faithful servant.


February 2015 ISM Non-Manufacturing: 56.9 Percent, Up from 56.7 Percent in January

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 12:21 pm

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

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in February for the 61st consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The NMI® registered 56.9 percent in February, 0.2 percentage point higher than the January reading of 56.7 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased to 59.4 percent, which is 2.1 percentage points lower than the January reading of 61.5 percent, reflecting growth for the 67th consecutive month at a slower rate. The New Orders Index registered 56.7 percent, 2.8 percentage points lower than the reading of 59.5 percent registered in January.

The Employment Index increased 4.8 percentage points to 56.4 percent from the January reading of 51.6 percent and indicates growth for the 12th consecutive month. The Prices Index increased 4.2 percentage points from the January reading of 45.5 percent to 49.7 percent, indicating prices contracted in February for the third consecutive month.

According to the NMI®, 14 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in February. Comments from respondents have increased in regards to the affects of the reduction in fuel costs and the impact of the West Coast port labor issues on the continuity of supply. Overall, supply managers feel mostly positive about the direction of the economy.

Backlog of Orders, the third major future GDP driver besides Production and New Orders, went back into expansion, rising from 49.0 percent to 53.0 percent.

After seasonalizing, this report basically says that all is well. Sadly, we have seen questionable seasonal adjustments in past reports, so we must temper any enthusiasm with many grains of salt.


ADP Private-Sector Payrolls: 212K Private-Sector Jobs Added

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:06 pm

From ADP:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 212,000 Jobs in February

The graphic at the link shows that January, December, and November are now at 250K, 275K, and 284K, respectively. These are meaningful revisions totaling +69K from last month’s estimates.

From the press release:

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Job growth is strong, but slowing from the torrid pace of recent months. Job gains remain broad-based, although the collapse in oil prices has begun to weigh on energy-related employment. At the current pace of growth, the economy will return to full employment by mid-2016.”

Since previous months have been revised upward, it’s a little early to definitively declare a “slowing,” but it February’s number holds, Zandi’s so-called full-employment return won’t happen until the fall of 2016 (why it’s “so-called” is explained here).


Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (030415)

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 back from Ariccia with new seeds planted

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Rome:

Feb 27, 2015 / 06:15 am

After a weeklong spiritual retreat outside of Rome, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the priest who led the reflections, saying that although it’s not always easy to preach to priests, seeds have been planted.

“On behalf of all of us, I too would like to thank the father for his work among us during the spiritual exercises,” Francis said after his return to Rome Feb. 27.

“It’s not easy to give exercises to priests, right? We’re a bit complicated, all of us, but you succeeded in sowing seeds,” he said, and prayed that these seeds would continue to grow.

Francis’ words were directed to Carmelite priest Fr. Bruno Secondin, who preached on the theme “Servants and prophets of the living God” during the Roman Curia’s Feb. 22-27 Lenten retreat.

This year’s spiritual exercises focused on the figure of Elijah and the Church’s prophetic role. They are were held in the Casa Divin Maestro center in Ariccia, Italy, which is adjacent to Albano Laziale and sits roughly 16 miles outside of Rome.

It is the second consecutive year in which Pope Francis wanted the Curia’s spiritual exercises to be held outside of the Vatican, in order to foster the spiritual aspect of the retreat and avoid the temptation to continue working. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 3, 2015

About That Construction Spending Report Yesterday …

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:05 am

The official news yesterday:

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during January 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $971.4 billion, 1.1 percent (±1.2%)* below the revised December estimate of $982.0 billion. 

Well, that’s okay because December increase was revised up from +0.4% to +0.8%, right?

Wrong. The main reason December’s percentage increase went up is because the dollar figure for November’s annualized construction spending was revised down by over $4 billion, from $978.579 billion to $974.301 billion (Page 2 at each link). Note that even after November was revised down, the seasonally adjusted number for January 2015 still came in almost $3 billion below it.

Oh, and that November revision should have a tiny bit of negative impact on the final fourth-quarter revision to GDP.


NewsBusted (030315)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 7:55 am

Here we go:

– FCC to Regulate Internet
– James Clapper vs John Kerry
– Jihadi John
– Eric Holder
– Obama Approval
– Terror Group al-Shabaab
– D.C. Winter
– Joe Biden
– Madonna

Best Lines:

  • “National Intelligence Director James Clapper said 2014 was the deadliest year for global terrorism, while John Kerry said we’re safer than ever. Asked if the administration is sending mixed messagess, a White House spokesman said, ‘Yes, and no.’”
  • “Attorney General Eric Holder has finally called the enemy by name. Of course, Holder thinks the enemy is Fox News.”
  • “After a brief uptick, President Obama’s job approval nmbers have fallen once again. Obama is so unpopular his new Secret Service code name is ‘Radical Islam.’”
  • “The DC area has been experiencing a severely brutal winter. It’s been so cold Joe Biden has been wearing mittens when he gropes women.”

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (030315)

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 puts family at the center of social justice

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Feb 28, 2015 / 02:00 pm

In an audience with the Confederazione Cooperative Italiane (confederation of Italian co-operatives) Pope Francis called for the “globalization of solidarity” which places the dignity of persons and families at the center of social justice.

“To globalize solidarity,” the Pope said during the Feb. 28 gathering, “means thinking about spiraling unemployment, the constant tears of the poor,” and “the need for real, integral progress for the person,” not just in terms of income.

First founded in 1919, the Confederazione Cooperative Italiane is a “business incubator” which helps new and start-up companies get off the ground by providing services and resources. Suppressed under Italy’s Fascist Regime, it was re-established in 1945.

Speaking to the 7,000 people gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI during the audience, comprised of men and women representing various sectors of the work force, Pope Francis offered a few points of encouragement.

First, he spoke of the need to prioritize the creation of “new cooperative enterprises,” while developing those that already exist, thereby creating “new possibilities for work” which are currently unavailable.

Pope Francis also addressed the need for welfare reform, especially in the area of healthcare.

“I know what you have done for years with heart and with passion, in the peripheries of the city and our society, for families, children, the elderly, the sick and disadvantaged,” he said. “Charity is a gift,” the Pope added, “without which one cannot enter into the house of one who suffers.”

Turning to the economy, the pontiff discussed “its relationship with social justice,” as well as the “dignity and value of the human person.”

Pope Francis spoke of a “certain liberalism” which believes in the necessity to “produce wealth,” regardless of how, in order to “promote some political redistribution on the part of the State.” Such an approach runs the risk of focusing on marking, “without leaving the deadly circuit of the pride of persons and companies who have the money-god at the center,” he said.

Rather, in establishing “a new quality of economy,” he said, “one creates the ability for persons to grow in all of their potential.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 2, 2015

February 2015 ISM Manufacturing: 52.9%, Down Slightly From 53.5% in January

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:15 am

From the Institute for Supply Management:

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the 26th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 69th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

“The February PMI® registered 52.9 percent, a decrease of 0.6 percentage point from January’s reading of 53.5 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 52.5 percent, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the reading of 52.9 percent in January. The Production Index registered 53.7 percent, 2.8 percentage points below the January reading of 56.5 percent.

The Employment Index registered 51.4 percent, 2.7 percentage points below the January reading of 54.1 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 52.5 percent, an increase of 1.5 percentage points above the January reading of 51 percent. The Prices Index registered 35 percent, the same percentage as in January, indicating lower raw materials prices for the fourth consecutive month.

Comments from the panel express a growing level of concern over the West Coast dock slowdown, negatively impacting exports and imports and requiring workarounds and added costs.”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 12 are reporting growth in February in the following order: Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Primary Metals; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Chemical Products. The three industries reporting contraction in February are: Textile Mills; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.

Yahoo’s Business Calendar has a prediction of 51.0 percent, while the “Market Expects” figure is 53.0 percent.

Expansion is expansion (anything about 50%), so in that sense we’ll take it. Backlog of Orders returned to expansion (51.5%) after seriously contracting (46.0%) in January.

That said, the modest drop in New Orders and more significant drop in Production, two of the three primary GDP drivers, are not comforting.

Zero Hedge has noted that the “MarkIt” version of PMI seems artificialy high.


Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (030215)

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 message of Jesus at the Transfiguration: Listen and follow, Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 1, 2015 / 10:50 am

The Transfiguration reveals the glory of Christ and demands a response of listening to and following Jesus, Pope Francis said in his Sunday Angelus address March 1.

Last week the faithful were shown Christ victorious in the desert after enduring temptation from the devil, a reminder of the victory over sin offered to everyone through Christ. Today Jesus reveals the destination of the journey of conversion, which is “participation in the glory of Christ”.

The Transfiguration takes place as Christ is on his way to Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecies through his death on the cross. Jesus takes Peter, James and John away to a high mountain in order to reveal his glory in advance to them, to strengthen them in faith for what is to come – the way of the Cross, Pope Francis said.

“The three disciples are frightened, while a cloud covers and rings out from above…the voice of the Father, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him’” (Mk 9:7), the Holy Father said.

Christ’s glory is revealed because his “full adherence to the will of the Father makes his humanity transparent to the glory of God, who is Love,” the Pope explained.

Moses and Elijah appear next to Christ at the Transfiguration to show he is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, that “everything begins and ends in Jesus.”

The invitation at the Transfiguration, for the disciples as well as for the faithful today, is to listen to Jesus and to follow him, laying down our lives as a gift of love for one another in obedience to the will of the Father, the Pope explained.

“The way of Jesus always leads us to happiness, do not forget it!” Pope Francis said. “There will always be a cross in the middle, but at the end… (he) always leads us to happiness.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 1, 2015

Positivity: RIP, Michael Murray

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:40 pm

Yes, this IS a positivity post.

Local drummer Michael Murray, apparently facing terminal illness, took his life on Friday.

The true meaning of “Judge not, lest you be judged” is operative here.

In a pinch, Mike agreed to play drums for free at a benefit gig one of the bands I’m in played last fall. He took it upon himself to learn roughly 30 songs in just a few weeks and found the time to practice with the band twice before our appearance. He worked very hard at being prepared and getting it right. We would have been thrilled in the short-notice circumstances if he had just shown up and muddled through, but that wasn’t acceptable to him. His presence and performance that day meant a lot to all of us. We thanked him at the time, but one can never be thankful enough to someone who pulls you out of a difficult situation.

He also jammed on Monday nights at McAuly’s Pub north of Cincinnati, and was always an uplifting, scene-brightening presence.

Based on what I’m seeing at his Facebook page, all of the positivity we saw in that short time is what his friends and family routinely experienced.

We will miss you dearly, Mike. Rest in peace.


Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (030115)

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.