May 24, 2012

Passage of the Day: Thomas Lipscomb

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

At PJ Media, reacting to Barack Obama’s failure to change his “born in Kenya” bio for over 1-1/2 decades:

… now we have the ridiculous spectacle of a literary agency which specifically by its own policy requests authors to supply biographical detail, and made several changes over 17 years to Obama’s biography as he progressed in his career, without ever changing his claim to Kenyan birth, claiming it was a “clerical error.” That becomes all the more ridiculous when one learns the agency finally made the change in late April of 2007 when Obama was running for the presidential nomination, apparently in response to the latest revise of the bio sent to Obama in early April. Clearly Obama had been directing the changes to his agency biography right along for the previous 17 years. And that is exactly what I would have expected after many years in publishing in which I have never seen a clerical error in an author’s birthplace listing in his publicity material, or ever heard of one.

One can forget the “birthers” and the question of a valid birth certificate issue. We can even forget arguing over what the eligibility clause means and whether it needs to be amended.

We now have a far more serious problem. We have a sitting president of the United States running for reelection who has proven himself a liar in a matter that directly raises the issue of his eligibility for office. People have been sent to jail, or thrown out of the armed forces for questioning it, and now we see they were right.

If George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service in the 1970s mattered in 2004 (and to the press, which tried to push lies about it on the American people and failed, it certainly did), you’re damn right what Obama’s failure from 1991 to 2007 to submit a bio identifying his birthplace as Hawaii — the place we are to assume is his correct birthplace based on the “birth certificate” the State of Hawaii has issued — matters. Ask Yahoo’s former CEO whether lying about your bio matters.

As Usual, Press Fails to Note How Last Week’s Jobless Claims Were Revised Upward

Last week, what the Department of Labor had originally reported as a dip in unemployment claims the previous week (from 368,000 to 367,000) was revised into an increase (to 370,000). This week, what DOL originally reported was a no-change situation (i.e., 370,000) was revised into an increase (to 372,000).

It’s getting ever more difficult to accept DOL’s ongoing underestimations, which now run to 60 of the 61 most recent weeks I’ve been able to track (the one exception was a “no change” situation during the week ended June 18, 2011). In covering today’s charade, Reuters, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press (aka the Administration’s Press), all failed to note that this week’s revision to last week turned last week into an increase instead of a no-change. In what should be seen as only a marginal improvement, two of the three (the AP, predictably, was the exception), headlined this week’s small initial reduction from last week — which seems destined to disappear after revision next week — as “essentially unchanged.” Excerpts follow the jump.

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Unemployment Claims: Stuck in the 370s SA; NSA Claims 13% Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:12 am

From the Departement of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending May 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 370,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 372,000. The 4-week moving average was 370,000, a decrease of 5,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 375,500.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 327,595 in the week ending May 19, an increase of 2,515 from the previous week. There were 376,632 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

The seasonal adjustment factor for the past week is virtually the same as the one for the comparable week a year ago.

The press apparently gets to play its yo-yo game again this week, as initially reported claims are below last week’s revised number, but will likely end up at or above it after the typical upward revision occurs next week.

This is the fourth week of essentially no movement, at a level that’s hardly acceptable:

UnempClaims15wksTo051912

Though it’s not particularly relevant to the job market as it exists in the real world (thanks to the extraordinary number of discouraged and on-the-sidelines adults who would like to be working), the Associated Press’s contention that claims consistently under 375,000 should lead to a lower unemployment rate will get tested next week.

In Ohio, the number of claims for the most recent reported week ended May 12 came in at 9,552, 20% lower than last year’s comparable week, which had 11,968 claims. It marked the fourth straight week below 10,000.

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Another Week That Reeked at ‘The Administration’s Press”) Is Up

It’s here.

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

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My suggested sub-headline was “a growing case of “thin-skin syndrome,” which references last week’s BizzyBlog comment by an AP media relations person and my response to it.

PJM, as is their perogative, went with:

“Home construction is near a three-year high,” according to AP. So is the chocolate ration in Oceania.

Since that’s an Orwell reference from 1984, I’ll relay the related passage (bolds are mine) about how Winston Smith engaged in rewriting history:

As for the third message, it referred to a very simple error which could be set right in a couple of minutes. As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a ‘categorical pledge’ were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.

As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.

What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the pneumatic tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs — to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date.

Nice literary allusion by the guys at PJM.

Too bad for the AP that, unlike Winston Smith, it can’t change the underlying home construction data which exposes how utterly false reporter Chris Rugaber’s claim that “Home construction is near a three-year high” really was — and still is.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052412)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:45 am

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

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Positivity: New organization mobilizes lay Catholics for public square

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:40 am

From Washington:

May 24, 2012 / 04:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- As concerns over threats to religious liberty continue to mount, a growing Catholic organization aims to help lay men and women take action to protect conscience rights and religious freedom.

Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser for the newly launched Catholic Association, said the group serves as both “a voice for Catholics in the public square” and a way to educate Catholics on important issues.

Ferguson told CNA on May 23 that the association is currently focused on the defense of conscience rights, which she believes are currently facing serious threats in America.

Chief among those threats is a federal mandate issued by the Obama administration to force employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences.

The mandate has been widely criticized by individuals and groups across the U.S., including bishops from every diocese in the country, who warned that it threatens religious freedom and could force Catholic hospitals, schools and charitable organizations to shut down.

Ferguson cautioned that the mandate will affect all Americans because the Church is the biggest non-government provider of education, health care and social services.

In discussing the mandate, the U.S. bishops “have repeatedly called on lay Catholics to step up to the plate” and work to defend freedom of conscience, she said.

The Catholic Association is trying to respond to bishops’ call by helping the lay faithful to speak out and act in support of religious liberty.

The organization is currently “preparing a campaign” to support the “Fortnight for Freedom” called for by the U.S. bishops from June 21 to July 4 in response to the current threats to religious liberty.

Dioceses across the country will launch initiatives aimed at prayer, education and public action for religious freedom during the fortnight.

Ferguson explained that The Catholic Association will be reaching out through television and internet efforts, as well as a social media campaign, to mobilize Catholics throughout the two-week period.

Go here for the rest of the story.