January 27, 2011

CNN Email Alert Cites ‘Surge’ in New Home Sales — To Worst December on Record

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:40 pm

To those who follow the news fairly closely and look at underlying reports, CNN’s email alerts are sometimes entertaining. Much less frequently are the accurate and informative.

Even though they tend not to realize it, those who don’t follow the news closely and attempt to stay informed by relying on CNN’s alerts are regularly deceived by the network that used to call itself “the most trusted name in news.”

An example of such deception arrived in my e-mail box yesterday:


This is what CNN called a “surge” (source):


For the record, the pathetic total of 22,000 homes actually sold in December was a tiny, incremental improvement over November, which was the worst single month in the 48 years the Census Bureau has been tracking these things. December’s total was still the worst December on record (the previous worst December was in 1966). 2010 as a whole was the worst year for new home sales, even before adjustment for population increases, since World War II.

Although I can see how a 2,000-unit increase in monthly sales can create the increase noted after seasonal adjustment, calling the worst December in the 48 years of Census Bureau recordkeeping a “surge” is ridiculous, as is not telling readers that the figure is seasonally adjusted. “Dead cat bounce” might be a more accurate description.

If the surge in Iraq had worked like this, our soldiers would have been flying white flags of surrender several years ago.

Relatively disengaged CNN email alert readers will have no idea of the realities stated in this post. That’s not an accident.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

‘Rebound? What Rebound?’ Economy Ratchet-Down in Progress?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:18 am

Bring out the “unexpected” chorus:

In the week ending Jan. 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 454,000, an increase of 51,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 403,000. The 4-week moving average was 428,750, an increase of 15,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 413,000. (Last year’s single-week figure was 476,000 — Ed.)

… The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 482,399 in the week ending Jan. 22, a decrease of 67,491 from the previous week. There were 502,710 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

The seasonally adjusted (SA) expectation was 405,000, according to Zero Hedge.

It’s only one week, but whoa, what an awful one. The most recent week’s claims (SA and NSA) are within about 4% of last year’s. Subsequent revisions have almost always been increases during the past year.

The initial AP reax/attempted explain-away says that “much of the increase was blamed on bad weather in four Southern states.” I guess we’ll see next week.

Related:Durable goods orders drop 2.5 percent” — “U.S. factories saw a disappointing drop in demand for their products in December, reflecting weakness in demand for commercial and military aircraft.”

Previous Post:
- January 2, 2010 — Economic Rebound? What Economic Rebound?

Positivity: House speaker lends legislative support to Catholic schools

Filed under: Education,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:41 am

From Washington:

Jan 26, 2011 / 06:38 pm

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R–Ohio) showed his support for Catholic education and school choice on Jan. 26, announcing the introduction of a bill that would restore funding for school vouchers in Washington, D.C.

“There’s only one program in America where the federal government allows parents from lower-income families to choose the schools that are best for their children, and it’s right here in D.C.,” Boehner said in a morning press conference, announcing his plan to restore funding to the program along with Senator Joe Lieberman (I–Conn.).

“The D.C. program provides a model that I believe can work well in other communities around the nation,” the speaker said. “It should be expanded, not ended.”

The D.C. program first received authorization in 2004, and enabled 1,700 children to attend private schools. On average, four families applied for each single scholarship that was given, and just over half of the parents who received the vouchers chose to send their children to Catholic schools. President Obama defunded the program in 2009.

Boehner is placing a high priority on his bipartisan effort to restore vouchers in the nation’s capital. The D.C. voucher restoration proposal is the only bill he plans to sponsor during this session of Congress.

The previous evening, he had indicated his support for Catholic education by inviting several guests from Washington, D.C.’s Catholic schools, along with the district’s Cardinal Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl, to share the Speaker’s Box at his first State of the Union address. The school representatives were involved with the Consortium of Catholic Academies, which benefited from D.C.’s school voucher program before its defunding.

The 2011 State of the Union address took place during the Jan. 23-29 National School Choice Week – an event highlighting the potential of school vouchers, charter schools, tax credits, and other educational alternatives.

Following Republicans’ mid-term electoral gains last year, school choice advocates are once again hoping to advance their cause.

Sr. Dale McDonald, Director of Public Policy and Educational Research at the National Catholic Educational Association, told CNA that she and her colleagues were “particularly encouraged” by Rep. Boehner’s effort to restore D.C.’s “very successful” Opportunity Scholarship initiative.

She noted that Virginia, Indiana, and New Jersey were giving serious consideration to expanding vouchers or scholarship tax credits. A bill in the Colorado state house would also create income tax credits for private education. The first bill introduced into Pennsylvania’s state legislature during its current session is, like the Boehner-Lieberman proposal, a bipartisan effort to fund low-income students’ attendance at private schools.

Sean McAleer, head of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, told CNA on Jan. 25 that the new proposal was receiving unprecedented support from both Democrats and Republicans. …

Go here for the rest of the story.