January 2, 2014

Self-Important NYT Columnist Drops Middle Initial From Byline, Insists That We Notice

Nicholas D. Kristof (I’ve tended to call him “Nick” through the years) has made and implemented a momentous, course of civilization-altering decision effective 1/1/2014 (HT Twitchy): “If you look closely at my Times byline … I’ve knocked out my middle initial for the new year.”

Why oh why would Nick want to do that? “I think in the Internet age, the middle initial conveys a formality that is a bit of a barrier to our audience. It feels a bit ostentatious.” I’ve got a clue for you, Nick, old buddy old pal: Your columns are much more than “a bit” ostentatious and pretentious. Unfortunately, the disappearance of your middle initial is not likely to change that. If ever anyone exemplified navel-gazing, knee-jerk, double-standard liberalism, it would be you. Accordingly, I suggest that you begin to use a more appropriate middle initial than the one you just dropped. My suggestion follows the jump.

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The Challenge For Ohio’s Establishment Challengers in the Governor’s Race

Filed under: Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:42 am

On the Democratic side, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune is challenging the party’s clear favorite, Ed Fitzgerald.

The reaction on the left is predictable. Basically, it’s “who the h*ll are you?”; “how dare you?”; and (ROTFLMAO) “you’re conservative!!

Today, Clermont County resident and former Ohio Liberty Coalition President Ted Stevenot is making his challenge to incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich official.

I haven’t seen any direct establishment reax to Stevenot’s annuncement, but I really don’t have to. It will basically be the same as that seen on the left, though perhaps in a more moderate tone and accompanied by the claim that “You’re TOO conservative!!”

Both establishments’ candidates, based on their records, represent another four years of drift the Buckeye State can ill afford.

The challenge for Portune and Stevenot is to convince their respective establishments that they are more than “protest” candidates — i.e., that they have a legitimate shot at getting hordes of their supporters to the polls who will ignore the poll watchers and the threats to anyone who dares to be a donor and give their candidate a legitimate shot at winning.

I’m not saying it can’t be done, and I certainly don’t wish to discourage the efforts. But I must observe that I have yet to see anyone pull off a successful challenge such as this in Ohio at the gubernatorial level in my lifetime.

That said, have at it, guys.

December ISM Manufacturing: 57.0%, Down Slightly from 57.3% in November

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 11:16 am

From the Institute for Supply Management:

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December for the seventh consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 55th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.

… “The PMI™ registered 57 percent, the second highest reading for the year, just 0.3 percentage point below November’s reading of 57.3 percent. The New Orders Index increased in December by 0.6 percentage point to 64.2 percent, which is its highest reading since April 2010 when it registered 65.1 percent. The Employment Index registered 56.9 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage point compared to November’s reading of 56.5 percent. December’s employment reading is the highest since June 2011 when the Employment Index registered 59 percent. Comments from the panel generally reflect a solid final month of the year, capping off the second half of 2013, which was characterized by continuous growth and momentum in manufacturing.”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 13 are reporting growth in December …

This basically matches expectations (e.g., 57.0% at Business Insider).

New Orders and Production were really strong. Backlog of Orders dropped to 51.5% from 54.0%, which in context isn’t really that troubling.

This is a strong report. Whether it really reflects the underlying reality in this economy is more than a little debatable.

MSNBC’s Irin Carmon Tweets ‘Et Tu, Sotomayor’ in Reax to Justice’s One-Page Obamacare Contraception Injunction

Apparently, “I will think before I tweet” should be on Irin Carmon’s New Year’s resolution list. Her failure to do so shortly before the ball dropped in Times Square signaling the beginning of 2014 has caused her considerable embarrassment.

On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an injunction which “temporarily prevented (the government) from enforcing contraceptive coverage requirements (in Obamacare) against the Denver-based Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged.” MSNBC Digital National Reporter Carmon then proceeded to compare the “wise Latina” to the man who betrayed Julius Caesar (HT Twitchy):

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Initial Unemployment Claims (010214): 339K SA; Raw Claims 9.5% Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:47 am

Prediction at Bloomberg: 342,000 seasonally adjusted claims. Update: Business Insider has 338,000.

Seasonal adjustment factors:

  • Week ended Dec. 28, 2013 — 130.9
  • Week ended Dec. 29, 2012 — 131.8

Raw claims:

  • Week ended Dec. 21, 2013 — 417,638 (already revised)
  • Week ended Dec. 29, 2012 — 490,099

For Bloomberg’s prediction to come true, raw claims will need to be 448,000 or lower (448K divided by 1.309 is 342K, rounded).

That level of raw claims is about 10% below the same week last year, and getting at or below that level *should* be a breeze. If not, it will be cause for a bit of concern.

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

HERE IT IS (permanent link):

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending December 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 339,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 341,000. The 4-week moving average was 357,250, an increase of 8,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 348,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 443,513 in the week ending December 28, an increase of 25,875 from the previous week. There were 490,099 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

The revised 341K figure for last week is 3K above what was originally reported. Obviously, the four-week average moving over 350K is not good.

The next two weeks will be pretty important. Last year’s raw claims in the comparable two weeks were about 550K. With high seasonal adjustment factors, lower levels of raw claims *should* generate seasonally adjusted results at or below 320K. Will they? We’ll see.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010214)

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

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

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Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal: Barack Obama’s complaints about income inequality are “another instance of Mr. Obama being the cause of the very problems he aspires to address.”

Also: “The moral greatness of capitalism rests in the fact that it is the only economic system where one person’s gain can be another’s also … It’s what draws people to this country.” For now.

Related, from James Pethokoukis: “Why Obama frets about income inequality, not family breakdown”

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In November, Yolanda Burroughs Vestal “attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of Americans when she wrote a letter (i.e., a Facebook post — Ed.) ‘thanking’ (President) Obama for forcing Obamacare on hard-working citizens at a time when many are ‘rob[bing] Peter to pay Paul’ just to get by.”

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At the disastrous Oregon Obamacare exchange, (Cover Oregon’s then-director Rocky) King “admitted before taking leave that exchange officials were aware the site would be delayed due to significant problems, all while presenting a rosy picture to the public.”

King would be facing civil and/or criminal prosecution if he had done such a thing at a publicly-traded company.

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Moonbattery: “So Much for Moonbats Supporting the Troops”

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Walter Williams: “I believe our nation is at a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative.”

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John Stossel on Common Core: “Common Core, like public school, public housing, the U.S. Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration, etc., are all one-size-fits-all government monopolies. For consumers, this is not a good thing.”

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Michelle Malkin, on 13-year-old Jahi McMath (recent story here): “As the mother of a 13-year-old girl, I would have done everything Jahi’s mom has done to this point. Everything.”

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For the “Words Fail” File: Eleanor Holmes Norton “blamed a ‘negative propaganda campaign’ by Republicans that confused Americans into thinking that the law was no longer in effect.”

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John Hayward at Human Events: “Here Comes the Obamacare Tax Valanche”

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Scapegoat: “Retiring: Top official who oversaw Obamacare website”

Positivity: Auburn’s homecoming queen’s inspirational life story

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

The story is from October. I shouldn’t have missed it then, so I won’t now.

From Auburn, Alabama (direct YouTube):

The story, as relayed in The Blaze:

Oct. 15, 2013 1:08pm

Auburn University selected its 100th Miss Homecoming in Molly Anne Dutton this weekend. But Dutton’s victory is anything but a typical win.

Instead of winning based on popularity or the backing of a big campus organization, it was the Alabama student’s personal story that earned her the crown — and with it, plenty of national attention.

The 22-year-old’s biological mother was faced with an extremely difficult situation. The victim of a sexual assault, the young woman became pregnant with Dutton and was given an ultimatum by her husband: Either abort the baby or get a divorce.

She chose to keep the baby, leading to a “ridiculously inspirational life story” for her daughter. Rather than aborting, she carried the baby to term and worked with Lifeline Children’s Services, a Christian adoption group in Birmingham, Ala., to ensure that the baby girl was given a good life.

Dutton’s adoptive parents served on the agency’s board at the time and when they heard about the situation, they took action.

Fast-forward to 2013, where Dutton — running on a platform of adoption advocacy with the campaign slogan, “Light up LIFE” — is a happy, healthy young woman. And she’s giving credit to the Christian organization that made her birth possible.

“Because that resource was made available to my mother, she decided to give birth to me,” she said in a campaign video for Miss Homecoming. “And here I am talking to you guys 22 years later.”

In that same video, Dutton said that if she could deliver one message to women who find themselves pregnant, it would be that they aren’t alone and that help is always available. …

Go here for the rest of the story.