April 6, 2012

Good Friday’s Gospel

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 3:00 pm

Note: This BizzyBlog tradition will be Friday’s last post.

John 18:1 — 19:42


1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples.
3 So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”
5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.”
9 This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, “Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one.”
10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.
11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”
12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him.
13 First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Ca’iaphas, who was high priest that year.
14 It was Ca’iaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus,
16 while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in.
17 The maid who kept the door said to Peter, “Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?” He said, “I am not.”
18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly.
21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.”
22 When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”
23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
24 Annas then sent him bound to Ca’iaphas the high priest.
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “Are not you also one of his disciples?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”
26 One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”
27 Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Ca’iaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.
29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”
30 They answered him, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over.”
31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”
32 This was to fulfil the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.
33 Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”
35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?”
36 Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.”
37 Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”
38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, “I find no crime in him.
39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?”
40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barab’bas!” Now Barab’bas was a robber.
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.
2 And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe;
3 they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.
4 Pilate went out again, and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.”
5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.”
7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid;
9 he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer.
10 Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”
12 Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab’batha.
14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
17 So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol’gotha.
18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
19 Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
20 Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
21 The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, `The King of the Jews,’ but, `This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom;
24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfil the scripture, “They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag’dalene.
26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.”
29 A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him;
33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
35 He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe.
36 For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.”
37 And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”
38 After this Joseph of Arimathe’a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body.
39 Nicode’mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight.
40 They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.
42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

CBO: March Federal Spending Smashes All-Time Single-Month Record

Given that the press, including the Associated Press (aka the Administration’s Press), virtually ignored the fact (shown here) that the federal government’s deficit of $231.7 billion in February was an all-time single-month record, I expect that the following item, when officially released, will also get the media silent treatment.

Today, in its totally misnamed Monthly Budget Review (misnamed because there has been no federal budget for over three years), the Congressional (We Don’t Have a) Budget office estimated that March’s deficit will be $196 billion. If correct, it will be the third straight month of year-over-year deficit increases. But that’s not the big news, as will be seen in the graphic which follows:

CBODeficitEstimateMarch2012

The real news is the spending number of $368 billion. It’s an all-time record, and not by a small margin. It’s $28-plus billion (8.6%) higher than the previous record of $339 billion in March 2011.

Oh, the CBO has a ready explanation for this, and it’s legitimate:

Outlays were $29 billion higher this March than they were in the same month last year, mostly because about $31 billion in payments that would ordinarily be made in April were instead made in March this year (as April 1 was a Sunday). In addition, revisions to the estimated cost of several credit programs—mostly the Troubled Asset Relief Program—added $7 billion to spending this March compared with outlays last March. Absent those effects, outlays would have been $9 billion less in March 2012 than in March 2011.

That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a record, and an extremely dubious achievement.

It would be nice to be wrong in my prediction about how the establishment press will treat this, but I don’t expect to be. Pleasantly surprise us for once, folks.

Even after “correcting” for the timing point the CBO made, the year-to-date deficit is only about $45 billion lower than last year. If the second half is a repeat performance, fiscal 2012′s deficit will be $1.2 trillion, barely an improvement from the past three years.

I’m still not confident that the country can avoid hitting a financial wall between now and November, or now and January 20, 2013.

Conservative HQ: ‘Push to Get Santorum Out Shows Romney’s Weakness’

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

Don’t agree with everything in this post at ConservativeHQ, but I want to highlight some of its key points, especially the final excerpted paragraph:

… (Mitt) Romney is far from having a commanding lead in delegates, and Romney is not “over half way there” as his camp and their establishment GOP allies claim. If the Republican National Committee rules are correctly applied, and the delegates elected by local caucuses in states the mainstream media has stopped following are allocated, Romney has more like 482 delegates, compared to Rick Santorum’s 331.

Romney’s desperate attempt to push Santorum out before the primary campaign moves back south to Texas, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas masks the fear that if Texas changes to winner-take-all, as it appears poised to do, Romney’s lead would be wiped-out in one loss. (that should be “could be wiped out” — Ed.)

Romney has yet to win in the South or in the rural areas of key Midwestern states – his wins in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio were all powered by negative campaigns in urban media markets where he outspent Santorum 10 to 1. This is a tactic he won’t be able to repeat in the general election against the well-funded Obama machine.

Conservatives also note that a large chunk of Romney’s claimed delegates come from states, such as Maryland and his adopted home of Massachusetts, that he is unlikely to win in November and which have relatively little influence on the Republican electorate or activist convention delegates.

The Romney camp is making a grave error in trying to push Santorum out because they are confirming to grassroots conservative Republicans that Romney and his Washington establishment supporters really don’t care what they think.

Oh, but they’ll want the grassroots to show up for a guy who doesn’t have an instinctively conservative bone in his body, and whose administration, based on what actually happened in Massachusetts and his conduct since then, would be a total crapshoot.

Undercover Video: Lib Groups and DOJ Demand ID For Access

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

From PJTV (HT Taxmanblog):

Scott Ott’s wrap-up question:

Asking someone to prove that they are who they say they are. If it’s a proven precaution at the headquarters of those who fight for your civil rights, then how can they object to applying the same screening measure to guard your electoral franchise?

They object because they have no shame, Scott.

It’s not about “disenfranchisement.” It’s about enabling fraud.

The March Employment Situation Summary (040612): 8.2% Unemployment, only 120K Seasonally Adjusted Job Adds

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:03 am

Econ catch-up:

  • ISM Services: 56.0%, down from 57.3% in February. Still well into expansion.
  • Auto Sales: GM barely beat out Ford after trailing in March 2011. GM was up 12% over a year ago. Others: Ford, +5%; Chrysler, +34%; Toyota, +15%; Nissan, +13%; Honda, -5%. Overall sales were up 12.7% from a year ago.
  • ADP Private Sector Employment: +209,000 seasonally adjusted private-sector jobs added; basically in line with expectations. January and February were revised upward by 9,000 and 14,000, respectively.

Predictions:

  • Associated Press (“Fourth straight month of strong US hiring expected”) — “The U.S. economy probably generated more than 200,000 jobs in March, capping the best four months of hiring since before the recession.”
  • Time quotes Bloomberg – ”According to Bloomberg News, economists predict that the report will show the economy gained 205,000 jobs in March, roughly in line with a report from payroll services firm ADP, which estimated that the private sector added 209,000 jobs last month. If the figure does come in above 200,000 it will be the fourth consecutive month of more than 200,000 jobs being added to the economy.”
  • Reuters – “Economists, on average, expect the report to show that the economy added 203,000 jobs in March, according to a Reuters poll.”
  • Business Insider’s email got specific: “Business Insider projects a gain of 193,000 for March, with revisions of nearly 40,000 new jobs to the February and January reports.”

Raw Numbers Review:

Readers here know that I believe the real story is in the raw numbers, especially because the seasonally adjusted numbers have been so skewed by the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy since late-Spring 2008.

After February’s report, I wrote the following in reaction to the following record of actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) job additions for the past five years:

PrivateSectorNSAJantoJue2007to2012 PrivateSectorSAJantoJune2007to2012

For the next four months to be truly impressive and representative of a genuine recovery, the economy in my view will have to add at least 4.2 million jobs on the ground. Given that this year’s gas-price surge arrived two months earlier than last year’s, that’s going to be a tough climb.

In March, in the private sector, that has to mean 950,000 or more jobs added. My gut reaction is that they will be there, and that revisions to January and February will be positive. How that translates into seasonally adjusted numbers is nowhere near as important. We’ll see.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS: Ruh-roh (full version with tables) –

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in manufacturing, food services and drinking places, and health care, but was down in retail trade.

… Household Survey Data

The number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.2 percent) were both little changed in March.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March. In the prior 3 months, payroll employment had risen by an average of 246,000 per month. Private-sector employment grew by 121,000 in March, including gains in manufacturing, food services and drinking places, and health care. Retail trade lost jobs over the month. Government employment was essentially unchanged.

… The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +284,000 to +275,000, and the change for February was revised from +227,000 to +240,000.

The total seasonally adjusted change including prior-month revisions is +124,000 — about 60% of what everyone was predicting.

Assuming that the seasonally adjusted number reflects the raw data (not necessarily a safe assumption, as history has shown), it seems that there are only two ways you can get to a lower unemployment rate with weak job additions: 1) the two surveys (Household and Establishment) are seriously out of sync, and the Household Survey news is really good, or 2) if they are in sync, the number of people in the workforce is continuing to shrink.

More later.

UPDATE: Even though there’s a lot of slack in the economy and a lot of people who could be working if the jobs were there, the raw number for March in the private sector is far lower than last year, barely better than two years ago, and far lower than every year from 2004-2007 — y’know, when the press told us the economy was so unimpressive but the unemployment rate was much, much lower –

NSAandSAprivateEmpToMarch2012

In historical context, the seasonally adjusted figure of 121K doesn’t look skewed in either direction.

An acceptable raw number for April will have to be 1.25 million or more. Anything can happen, but that does not seem at all likely. It seems more likely that it will be about 1 million and generate another seasonally adjusted figure in the low-100k range.

The misery this administration has needlessly inflicted on the unemployed and under-employed during its three-plus years in office because of poor and historically proven to be poor policy choices is unforgivable.

UPDATE 2: Zero Hedge — “The unemployment rate drops to 8.2% for one simple reason: the number of people not in the labor force is back to all time highs: 87,897,000.”

UPDATE 3: Silver Lining Dept. — The number of seasonally adjusted full-time workers increased by 882,000 in March (the NSA number increased by 1.329 million). Part-timers dropped steeply (-664K SA, -599k NSA).

But the total number employed per the Household Survey dropped by 31,000.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (040612)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

__________________________________________