January 9, 2014

In May, LAT’s McManus Called IRS, DOJ Spying on AP ‘Scandals’; But Now They’re Not

In the competition for most obvious Obama administration apparatchik at the Los Angeles Times (i.e., the biggest tool in the toolbox), Doyle McManus has to be considered a front-runner.

As I noted on Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), McManus, in a Sunday column, contended that “President Obama has run into his share of controversies, but none that quite reached scandalhood.” He even petulantly asked, “Does anyone even remember the IRS flap?” McManus was apparently so unconcerned about being seen as inconsistent that he didn’t bother telling readers that he held exactly opposite positions on at least two Obama administration “scandals” — that’s what he called them – just eight months ago (HT to frequent commenter Gary Hall).

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Follow-up Comment on ‘A Chaos-Driven Path to Single Payer?’ Column

Filed under: Health Care,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:48 pm

From a commenter at my PJ Media column which appeared yesterday:

How can this incompetence be allowed to go unchecked? My insurance is under the FEHB (Federal Employees Health Benefits) program, and its online system has worked flawlessly and clearly for the several years I have been using it. Considering that it is possible to have safe and WORKING systems under the government, I am beginning to believe the accusations that this administration is deliberately trying to foist an unworkable system on the public, for reasons based on the Cloward-Piven ideas.

Great point. Much of the FEHB shell should have been portable. But it’s as if, as far as HHS is concerned, it doesn’t exist.

Initial Unemployment Claims (010914): 330K SA, Down From 345K in Previous Week

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:30 am

Predictions:

Seasonal adjustment factors:

  • Week ended Jan. 4, 2014 — 147.3
  • Week ended Jan. 5, 2013 — 149.6

Raw claims:

  • Week ended Dec. 28, 2013 — 451,649, an increase of more than 8,000 over the initially reported 443,513, which pushes last week’s seasonally adjusted figure to 345,000
  • Week ended Jan. 5, 2013 — 557,724

For Bloomberg’s prediction to come true, raw claims will have to come in at 494K or lower (494K divided by 147.3 is 335K, rounded). I’m tempted to say that this should happen, but the way the past few weeks have gone, I’m gun-shy to predict anything.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link):

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending January 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 330,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 345,000. The 4-week moving average was 349,000, a decrease of 9,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 358,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 486,033 in the week ending January 4, an increase of 34,384 from the previous week. There were 557,724 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

This week’s figure has the New Year’s holiday in it, and I would have expected layoffs to be lower than the same week last year, simply because retail hiring in advance of Christmas was lower.

I think the overall situation remains in the 340K-350K range. We’ll seen in next week’s report, which will cover the first full business week of the new year.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010914)

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.

Positivity: Pope urges faithful to remember ‘glorious hope’ of Baptism

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 8, 2014 / 05:01 am

In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis reflected on the importance of the sacrament of Baptism, highlighting how it is a gift which incorporates us into the body of Christ and impels us to evangelize.

“Let us not forget the great gift we have received,” Pope Francis stated during his Jan. 8 general audience, “our baptism has changed us, given us a new and glorious hope, and empowered us to bring God’s redeeming love to all.”

The Pontiff greeted the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, announcing the beginning of a new catechesis on the Sacraments, during which he will reflect on each of the seven, beginning with Baptism.

“The Second Vatican Council tells us that the Church herself is a ‘sacrament,’” he explained, “a grace-filled sign which makes Christ’s saving work present in history, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

As “the first of the Church’s seven sacraments, baptism gives us new birth in Christ,” said the Pope, and it “makes us sharers in the mystery of his death and resurrection, grants the forgiveness of sin and brings us new freedom as God’s children and members of his Church.”

“Baptism is the sacrament on which our faith is founded and we are living members of Christ and of his Church,” the Pontiff emphasized, highlighting how it is not just “a simple rite or a formal act.”

“For Him, we dive into the inexhaustible source of life; we come from the death of Jesus. So we can live a new life of communion with God, and with our brothers.”

Pope Francis noted that although there are many who “don’t have the slightest memory of this sacrament,” we are all “called to live each day aspiring to the vocation that we receive in Him.”

“If we follow Jesus and remain in the Church,” observed the Pope, “with our limits and our fragilities, and sins…we become new creatures and we are clothed in Christ” through the Sacraments. …

Go here for the rest of the story.