May 4, 2014

AP’s Friday Jobs Report Coverage Also Ignored Many Predictions of Downward Revisions to First-Quarter GDP

This morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Friday afternoon’s coverage of the government’s jobs report at the Associated Press by economics writers Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak carried predictions of “nearly 3 percent” economic growth this year. Those predictions ignore how difficult achieving that will be after the first quarter’s miserable 0.1 percent annualized result and “most economists’” estimates that the second quarter will come in at 3.5 percent. Those two results require average annualized growth of 3.9 percent during the third and fourth quarters — something the economy hasn’t seen in ten years. Additionally, it appears that if the Federal Reserve under Janet Yellen sees that kind of growth, it will put on the brakes by raising interest rates in the name of heading off inflation.

Since they were entertaining predictions about future developments, it’s more than a little odd that the AP pair chose to ignore many analysts’ predictions that the first quarter’s GDP result will move into contraction when it gets revised in future months — especially since those downward revisions, supposedly reflecting deferred growth, partially justify their 3.5 percent second-quarter prediction. It sure looks like Rugaber and Boak were selective in deciding what they would report.

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Huckabee to Hillary: You Can’t Run or Hide From Benghazi

I have often criticized Mike Huckabee, in my opinion quite validly (examples here [3rd item], here, and here). But on Benghazi, the guy deserves credit for prescience — and persistence.

In the intro in the video which follows of Huckabee’s Fox News show last night, he correctly points out that he was among “the first to say outright that our government had lied to us about what happened” in Benghazi, Libya the night Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others who tried to save him were murdered in a terrorist attack.

At the 2:45 mark, he starts to go after Hillary Clinton, first for the contrast between her “3 a.m.” 2008 presidential campaign video, then for the lack of any record of a conversation between her and President Barack Obama on the night of the murders, then for the lack of any effort to try to save the besieged ambassador and his defenders.

At 4:50, Huckabee gets to the heart of the matter, and conveys a promise:

President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Hillary Clinton all looked those family members in the eye and promised they would get to the bottom of it. They even said they would find out who was responsible for that little video. Well, maybe that was easier than trying to find out who was responsible for the actual murders, and the subsequent lies and coverups.

They knew then, and they know now that the attack was not about a video.

We once had real newspapers and broadcast new outlets that cared about a government lying to the people. Lying and covering up in Watergate ultimately resulted in a president resigning and several of his top aides going to prison.

But there are big differences between Watergate and Benghazi. The press didn’t look the other way. And in Watergate, neither did Congress. Oh, and in Watergate, no one died.

I promised Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, that I wouldn’t forget the sacrifice of his son. I keep a photo of Tyrone that Charles gave me. I keep it right in my office as a reminder. And that photo’s not coming down until the truth does, and until somebody answers for what happened.

And I’m going to serve notice to Hillary if she runs for President: Sooner or later, you’re going to have to answer for this: [clip of Hillary Clinton screaming "What difference at this point does it make?"]

Well, let me tell you the difference: Those four murdered that night couldn’t run or hide. And Hillary, neither can you.

AP Pair Ignores How 2014 Growth of ‘Nearly 3%’ Requires Second-Half Growth Fed Would See As Inflationary

In a Friday afternoon dispatch issued in the wake of the government’s jobs report earlier that day, Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak at the Associated Press wrote that “most economists … forecast a strong rebound in economic growth – to a 3.5 percent annual rate in the current April-June quarter. And growth should reach nearly 3 percent for the full year, up from 1.9 percent in 2013, they expect.”

There are two problems with that prediction. The first lies in how strong the third and fourth quarters will have to be for the economy to get “nearly 3 percent” for the full year, given the tiny first-quarter annualized growth of 0.1 percent reported on Wednesday. The second and perhaps more crucial issue is that the full-year estimate significantly exceeds the “altered assessment” at the Fed concerning how fast it thinks the economy can grow without running the risk of igniting inflation.

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Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (050414)

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: FOCUS grateful for injunction against contraception mandate

From Denver:

Apr 30, 2014 / 04:19 pm

The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) has welcomed a federal court’s injunction against the HHS mandate that the student missionary organization says threatens the freedom of religious ministries.

“Affirming the freedom of FOCUS to operate as a Christian ministry is the only constitutionally correct solution to this government-created problem,” John Zimmer, vice president of training and formation for the organization, said April 29. “The court was absolutely right to block enforcement of the HHS mandate against FOCUS, and we are grateful for this decision.”

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate on April 23. The court order said that there was no “timely filed” response in opposition to the FOCUS request for an injunction.

The Department of Health and Human Services mandate requires most U.S. employers to provide insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some drugs that can cause abortions. Many Catholic organizations do not qualify for the narrow exemption from the mandate, despite their religious and moral objections to providing the coverage.

Zimmer told CNA that the mandate “ignores freedom” and forces institutions to provide employees with “life-destroying drugs” or “be punished with crippling fines.”

“No individual, business, or ministry should be forced to make that decision,” he said. “If the government can fine religious ministries like FOCUS out of existence because they want to uphold their faith, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away.”

“One of the blessings we have as Americans is the right to act in accordance with our faith in God,” Zimmer continued. “The Constitution protects religious freedom and forbids government from forcing anyone to act against their deeply-held convictions.”

The Colorado-based Catholic organization is represented by the religious freedom legal group Alliance Defending Freedom. …

Go here for the rest of the story.