March 26, 2014

Politico: Obama Wants ‘Halo Effect’ From Pope Francis, ‘Whose Cool Factor Far Outweighs His Own’

Someone needs to tell the Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown that it isn’t 2008 any more. While they’re at it, that person also needs to inform her that the Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, could give a rip about whether or not he is perceived as “cool,” and certainly isn’t Obama’s “replacement.”

Budoff Brown wrote tonight that President Barack Obama’s meeting tomorrow with the Pope “is a rare chance for Obama to associate himself with a world leader whose cool factor far outweighs his own.” Gag me. Obama’s ability to move merchandise, one of the supposed indicators of “cool” tanked in the fall of 2009 and has never come back. Excerpts for readers who can stand more such drivel follow the jump (bolds are mine):

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Bruce’s Big Boo-Boo: In Video Posted by a Donor, Iowa Dem Braley Insults Grassley and Iowa Farmers (Update: Vid Posted)

This appears to be an example of a gaffe which the left-loving press can’t ignore — at least online.

Democratic Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley of Iowa spoke of the mortal dangers the nation faces if Republicans win back the Senate in November at a trial lawyers’ fundraiser in Texas in January. Among those dangers is the near certainty that “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school” will be put in charge of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. That “farmer” happens to be five-term Hawkeye State GOP Senator Chuck Grassley. Jennifer Jacobs at the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Politics Blog appears to have filed the first establishment press report on Braley’s belittling, and revealed an important point which others covering the story are conveniently ignoring (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Durable Goods: Bloomberg Pegs It — Slow Corporate Investment

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 am

While the AP is putting heavy emphasis on February’s overall rise in durable goods orders (+2/2%), Lorraine Woellert at Bloomberg has a more measured take:

Capital goods orders drop as U.S. business spending cools

Orders for U.S. business equipment fell in February for the second time in three months, signaling corporate investment will be slow to gain momentum following an unusually harsh winter that put a damper on demand.

Bookings for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft fell 1.3 per cent after a 0.8 per cent gain in January that was smaller than initially reported, data from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Demand for all durable goods — items meant to last at least three years — climbed a more-than-forecast 2.2 per cent, reflecting the biggest gain in automobile demand in a year.

Frigid temperatures and snow across much of the country have muddied the outlook on the U.S. economy by restraining the housing rebound and consumer spending. That means companies will need to see additional proof that the recovery will accelerate in 2014 before expanding operations.

“We’re fairly convinced the soft patch we’re seeing is temporary,” Doug Handler, chief U.S. economist at Lexington, Massachusetts-based IHS Global Insight, said before the report. “We still have a crummy quarter to get through.”

Macroeconomic Advisers thinks that this “crummy quarter” will come in showing an annualized growth rate of 1.4%.

Zero Hedge notes:

… the long overdue CapEx recovery continues to not appear, and in fact in February, Capital Goods non-defense ex aircraft tumbled 1.5% compared to expectations of a 0.5% rise, with the January increase of 1.7% cut by more than half to just 0.8%.

The Census Bureau’s report shows a truly unimpressive increase overall and significant decreases in many categories in year-over-year (Feb. 2014 vs. Feb. 2014) new orders.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (032614)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:06 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 lauds Mary’s meekness on feast of the Annunciation

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 25, 2014 / 09:47 am

During his Mass celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Pope Francis emphasized that salvation is a gift from the Lord which we ought to receive with humility and obedience, just as Mary did.

“In order to receive this salvation, we need a humble heart, a meek heart, an obedient heart. Like that of Mary,” the Pope affirmed in his March 25 daily Mass.

Addressing those gathered in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse chapel, the pontiff recalled the story of Adam and Eve, noting that it was out of pride that they disobeyed God and ate the fruit he had forbidden them to touch, explaining that it was Mary who untied this knot of disobedience with her own act of obedience.

“The Lord is walking alongside his people” the pontiff reflected, asking “and why does he walk alongside them with so much tenderness? It’s to soften our hearts.”

Observing how Jesus explicitly says “‘I will make your heart of stone become a heart of flesh,’” the Pope repeated that the Lord’s tenderness is “to soften our hearts to receive a promise he made in Heaven.”

“Sin entered among mankind but from another man comes salvation,” he continued, adding that “this very long road will help all of us to have a more human heart, closer to God, not so proud, not so self-sufficient.”

Reflecting on how the day’s liturgy demonstrates the various stages along the road of recovery from sin, the pontiff also expressed that it speaks to us of both obedience and meekness regarding the Word of God.

“Salvation cannot be bought or sold: it’s a gift. It’s given to us, it’s free. We can’t be saved through ourselves: Salvation is a totally free gift,” the Pope emphasized.

Highlighting how “It’s not bought through the blood of bulls or goats: it can’t be bought,” the pontiff stated that in order to receive this salvation, we need “a humble heart, a meek heart” and “an obedient heart. Like that of Mary.”

“And the model for this road towards salvation is the same God, his Son, who didn’t consider being equal to God” something to be grasped, the Pope observed, adding that “Paul said this.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.