April 1, 2015

More Ominous News for 1Q15 GDP: February Construction Spending Drops Again, January’s Revised Decline Much Worse

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:37 am

From the Census Bureau — the press release won’t load, but the detailed table shows a 0.1 percent decline overall, with identical -0.1 percent readings in both residential and nonresidential.

The detailed monthly table indicates that seasonally adjusted annual spending in January fell from December’s $984.5 billion to $967.9 billion — a 1.7 percent drop. January’s originally reported figures were $971.4 billion and a 1.1 percent drop. Ouch.

If there’s going to be a positive GDP result in the first quarter, it doesn’t look like it’s going to come from construction spending.


UPDATE, 1 p.m.: Sometime earlier this week, Moody’s 1Q15 GDP prediction dropped to an annualized 0.6 percent. Today’s construction spending news caused it to stay right there.


March ISM Manufacturing Index: 51.5 Percent, Down from 52.9 Percent in February

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 9:59 am

Predictions are for a somewhat expansionary reading of 51.5 (Briefing.com) and a bit stronger 52.5 (“Markets”), down from 52.9 last monnth (any reading above 50 indicates expansion).

The report will be here at 10:00 a.m.

HERE IT IS (permanent link): Briefing.com nailed it (some paragraph breaks added by me) —

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March for the 27th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 70th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

… The March PMI® registered 51.5 percent, a decrease of 1.4 percentage points from February’s reading of 52.9 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 51.8 percent, a decrease of 0.7 percentage point from the reading of 52.5 percent in February. The Production Index registered 53.8 percent, 0.1 percentage point above the February reading of 53.7 percent.

The Employment Index registered 50 percent, 1.4 percentage points below the February reading of 51.4 percent, reflecting unchanged employment levels from February. Inventories of raw materials registered 51.5 percent, a decrease of 1 percentage point from the February reading of 52.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 39 percent, 4 percentage points above the February reading of 35 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the fifth consecutive month.

Comments from the panel refer to continuing challenges from the West Coast port issue, lower oil prices having both positive and negative impacts depending upon the industry, residual effects of the harsh winter, higher costs of healthcare premiums, and challenges associated with the stronger dollar on international business.”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 10 are reporting growth in March …  seven industries … (had) contraction in March …

That 10-7 split on growing vs. contracting is the narrowest differential in quie some time.

It remains to be seen whether the sleuths at Zero Hedge or elsewhere detect any gamesmanship in ISM’s seasonalizing.


March ADP Private-Sector Payrolls: 189K Jobs Added, Lowest Figure in 14 Months

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 9:02 am

From the ADP Research Institute:

Private-sector employment increased by 189,000 from February to March, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From the press release:

“March job gains came in under 200,000 for the first time since January of last year,” said Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP. “The decline was centered in the largest companies, those with 1000 or more employees.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Job growth took a step back in March. The fallout from the collapse in oil prices and surge in value of the dollar is hitting the job market. Despite the slowdown, underlying job growth remains strong enough to reduce labor market slack.”

This was a pretty large miss compared to Briefing.com’s expected 230K and the “market’s” expectation of 225K.


UPDATE: Zero Hedge — “Misses (vs. Expectations) By Most In 4 Years, Lowest In 14 Months”


Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (040115)

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: ‘So God made a farmer’

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

I missed this when it first appeared two years ago.

If you did too, don’t miss it now:

This commercial goes a long way towards explaining why the company advertised has prospered and taken market share since its emergence from bankruptcy despite foreign ownership, while its larger domestically-owned counterpart in engineered bankruptcy has lost share.

March 31, 2015

Not News: Black Church Group Cuts Ties With PCUSA Over Same-Sex ‘Marriage’; Membership Decline Continues

Filed under: Activism,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 11:02 pm

On March 18, Associated Press Religion Writer Rachel Zoll covered the decision by the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) “recognizing gay marriage as Christian in the church constitution after decades of debate over same-sex relationships.”

A search at the AP’s national site indicates that the wire service hasn’t done a story on the U.S. congregation since then. This means that it has ignored a development going at least back to Friday indicating that there has been significant external blowback:



Cuomo Bans ‘Non-Essential’ Travel to Indiana, Still Going to Cuba

The press won’t roast New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for this, but it should — at a very high temperature.

Today, Mr. Self-Righteous, who in the past has suggested that anyone who is pro-life, against same-sex marriage, or for the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment as written and adjudicated should leave his state, banned all “non-essential” state travel to Indiana, home of a recently enacted religious freedom law similar to that found in roughly 19 states — uh, make that soon to be 20, with Arkansas imminently getting on board:



Reid: No Regrets Lying About Mitt’s Taxes Because ‘Romney Didn’t Win, Did He?’

So Harry Reid knew he was lying about Mitt Romney not paying taxes for ten years when he made the claim in 2012 from the lawsuit-free zone known as the floor of the U.S. Senate, but didn’t care.

That’s what one must conclude from Reid’s response to CNN’s Dana Bash about that statement. Asked on the network’s “New Day” program if he regrets what he said, Reid responded: “Romney didn’t win, did he?” Rather than question Reid’s outrageously cynical “end justifies the means” mentality, Bash’s edited interview moved on to another topic. Video (HT Washington Free Beacon) and transcript follow the jump (HT Instapundit):



Daily Beast Writer Partially Blames Bush For Bergdahl

Bush Derangement Syndrome is alive, well, and living in the head of Nancy A. Youssef at the Daily Beast.

In a March 26 item tagged "Fallen Hero" (?!) about the Army charging Bowe Bergdahl with "desertion and misbehaving before the enemy," the web site's Senior National Security Correspondent wrote that "the administration celebrated negotiating his release after years of failed bids by both the current and former administration." But Bergdahl walked away from his post in June 2009, five months after Barack Obama's inauguration. Youssef's report actually had worse components than that.



NewsBusted (033115)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 8:30 am

Here we go:

– Harry Reid
– Ted Cruz
– Bowe Bergdahl
– Jen Psaki
– Starbucks
– Atheism
– Census Bureau
– Elton John
– Dolce & Gabanna

Best Line: “Starbucks employees will no longer discuss racial topics with customers as the company has dropped its “Race Together” campaign. However, Starbucks remains committed to gouging all races equally.”


Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (033115)

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: 500 years after birth, witness of St. Teresa of Avila remains strong, says Pope

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 28, 2015 / 01:56 pm

On the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila’s birth, Pope Francis praised the Spanish mystic and reformer for her witness of self-gift to God, as well as her particular relevance during this Year of Consecrated Life.

“How much goodness does the testimony of her consecration – born directly from the encounter with Christ, her experience of prayer as continuous dialogue with God, and her community life, rooted in the motherhood of the Church – do for us!” the Pope said, according to Vatican Radio’s translation.

In a Mar. 28 letter addressed to Fr Xavier Cannistrà, superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, the pontiff wrote that it is providential that the anniversary of the saint’s birth should coincide with the Year of Consecrated Life, which began late last year.

St. Teresa of Avila, the Holy Father said, “shines as a sure and attractive model of total self-giving to God.”

Born March 28, 1515 in Avila, Spain, St. Teresa is known as a mystic and reformer. Entering the Carmelite order in 1535, she became disillusioned by the laxity of monastic life within the cloister, and committed herself to reforming the order. She is considered one of the founders of the Discalced Carmelites.

During her lifetime, St. Teresa wrote several important works on the spiritual life, such as Interior Castle and The Way of Perfection. Canonized 40 years after her death in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, she was declared as one of the first ever female doctors of the Church in 1970 by Pope Paul VI.

St. Teresa of Avila remains relevant for consecrated men and women, Pope Francis wrote, as demonstrated by her prayer life, her proclamation of the Gospel, and her understanding of the importance of community life. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 30, 2015

CNN’s Dana Bash Goes After Ted Cruz For His … Lack of Experience!

On Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Dana Bash, while interviewing Texas Senator and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, attempted to compare his alleged lack of experience to that of Barack Obama when he declared his candidacy in 2007.

It did not go well for her. It’s a mystery why Bash might have thought that Cruz wouldn’t have an answer for her faux concerns, but he did, and he hit her pitches out of the park. Video and a transcript follow the jump.



AP Lapdog Lederman Covers Obama Golf Foursome, But Not How Reporters’ Pool Hung Out at a Shed (Updated)

UPDATE, March 31: This morning in an email, the AP's Lederman pointed me to a Saturday afternoon "Big Story" item time-stamped the day before the report to which this blog post below links. For whatever reason, that earlier "Big Story" item has more detail than what appears, despite the Sunday time stamp, to be Lederman's original report posted at the AP's national site. In that "Big Story" item, Lederman writes that "Like last time, the White House arranged for the reporters covering the president to wait at a separate location nearby where Obama won't be visible," and that "Previous administrations have allowed brief news media coverage during presidential rounds of golf. Obama's policy generally is not to allow reporters to observe him." Lederman did not mention reporters' decision to stay in a shed rather than return to their hotels. The posts' point about reporters' willingness to submit to what I described as "dismissive, insulting treatment" stands.

It has (until now) been commonly understood that “Big Story” items are mirrored at the AP’s main national site, but apparently that is not always the case.

At the Associated Press on Sunday, Josh “Lapdog” Lederman filed a brief report telling readers the names of the captains of industry who would be golfing with President Barack Obama that day. Bigwigs with the Floridian, the Boston Celtics, and (yes) even Halliburton, the former source of all evil during the Bush 43 administration, were in the foursome.

Lederman “somehow” failed to note that the White House ordered reporters back to their hotels, and that when they refused, they chose to hang out at a shed. Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner has the details Lederman didn’t care to mention, even in passing:



Mystery Solved: Why MSNBC and CNN Aren’t Suffering Financially

Maybe the left needs to rethink their oft-present and deep-seated hatred of all things associated with Comcast, other cable companies, and the satellite TV providers. It turns out that those “evil” entities have done quite a bit to cushion left-leaning CNN and MSNBC from what would otherwise be a harsh financial reality.

The Associated Press’s David Bauder, in an item which somehow was deemed to be deserving of “Big Story” status, essentially acknowledged that in his Sunday afternoon review of the cratering and chaotic situation at MSNBC when he gave an overview of how the cable news channels’ revenues shake out.