May 30, 2013

Dem Mouthpiece: If You Won’t Meet Holder Off the Record, You Forfeit ‘Your Right to Gripe’

This looks like a perfect exhibit of intimidation combined with insufferable arrogance.

Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner reports that Democratic Party spokesperson Brad Woodhouse, apparently temporarily assuming the role of White House Press Secretary, is really upset that the New York Times refused to meet yesterday for an off-the-record discussion about Attorney General Eric Holder about recent revelations and admissions that the Justice Departmet has been conducting secret sureillance of reporters for several years (bold is mine):

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1Q13 GDP, First Revision: An Annualized 2.4%, Down from 2.5%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:25 am

Predictions are for it to stay at an annualized increase of 2.5%.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS (full text and tables):

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2013 (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 0.4 percent.

With the second estimate for the first quarter, increases in private inventory investment, in exports, and in imports were less than previously estimated, but the general picture of overall economic activity is not greatly changed.

… The acceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected an upturn in private inventory investment, an acceleration in PCE, a smaller decrease in federal government spending, and an upturn in exports that were partly offset by an upturn in imports and a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment.

A minor miss, but in the wrong direction.

Initial Unemployment Claims (053013): 354K, Up 10K from Last Week’s Revised 344K; NSA Claims Down 8% From Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:24 am

Predictions:
- Reuters — 340,000
- Business Insider — 340,000

Seasonal Factors:
- Week ended May 26, 2012 — 90.6
- Week ended May 25, 2013 — 89.7

Raw Claims:
- Week ended May 26, 2012 — 346,260
- Week ended May 18, 2013 (before revisions) — 301,056

So the question is whether raw claims will come in at roughly 3% or less above last week’s 301K. If so, seasonally adjusted claims will beat estimates.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m. Reaction will be delayed by looking at the GDP report which will be issued at the same time first.

HERE IT IS (permanent link):

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending May 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 354,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 344,000. The 4-week moving average was 347,250, an increase of 6,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 340,500.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 317,732 in the week ending May 25, an increase of 13,653 from the previous week. There were 346,260 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

The “trading range,” if you will, of 340K-360K seen this month probably isn’t enough to bring the unemployment rate down by much if at all.

Media Bistro Adds More Detail on MSNBC’s Ratings Freefall

Wednesday evening, Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters pointed to a Hollywood Reporter story on MSNBC’s ratings free-fall.

Media Bistro’s Merrill Knox had even more damning detail in a Wednesday afternoon post (links are in original; bolds are mine):
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Producing ‘Scandal Exhaustion’

That’s the Obama administration’s apparent strategy.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

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In discussing the Obama administration’s most recent entries to its already exhaustive roster of scandals, we could start by trying to figure out which one is the most important.

The answer, unfortunately, is that each of the three most recent scandals Team Obama has inflicted on the nation is the most important in its own way.
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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (053013)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

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

Positivity: Dark moment reminded Pope to seek God’s will above success

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 29, 2013 / 10:10 am

At his daily Mass in St. Martha’s residence this morning, Pope Francis warned about the dangers of a Church that is too concerned with “organization and success” by recalling a “dark moment” of his spiritual life.

“A Church that only thinks about triumphs (and) successes, does not know that rule of Jesus: the rule of triumph through failure, human failure, the failure of the Cross.

“And this is a temptation that we all have,” the Pope told employees of the Vatican City State Governorate at the May 29 Mass.

For Pope Francis, today’s Gospel reading from St. Mark reminded him of when “I was in a dark moment in my spiritual life and I asked a favor from the Lord.”

“Then, I went to preach the annual spiritual retreat to nuns, and on the last day they made their confession.

“One elderly nun, over 80 years of age, but with clear, bright eyes came to confession: she was a woman of God. In the end I saw that she really was a woman of God so I said ‘Sister, as penance, pray for me, because I need a grace, ok? If you ask the Lord for this grace on my behalf, I am sure to receive it.’

“She stopped for a moment, as if in prayer, and said, ‘Of course the Lord will grant you this grace, but do not be deceived: in His own divine manner,’” the Pope recalled.

“This did me a lot of good. To hear that the Lord always gives us what we ask for, but in His own divine way. And this is the divine way to the very end. The divine way involves the Cross, not out of masochism: no, no! Out of love. For love to the very end,” he said.

Pope Francis told the story to drive home his point that there is a risk of becoming “half-way Christians,” that is believers who shun suffering and only look for what they perceive to be success. …

Go here for the rest of the story.