August 21, 2014

Well, Well …

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:52 am

… innocent lad Michael Brown, to quote that famous philosopher Britney Spears (that’s sarcasm, folks), is “Not That Innocent”:

Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of Michael Brown touched off more than a week of demonstrations, suffered severe facial injuries, including an orbital (eye socket) fracture, and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before firing his gun, a source close to the department’s top brass told FoxNews.com.

“The Assistant (Police) Chief took him to the hospital, his face all swollen on one side,” said the insider. “He was beaten very severely.”

According to the well-placed source, Wilson was coming off another case in the neighborhood on Aug. 9 when he ordered Michael Brown and his friend Dorain Johnson to stop walking in the middle of the road because they were obstructing traffic. However, the confrontation quickly escalated into physical violence, the source said.

“They ignored him and the officer started to get out of the car to tell them to move,” the source said. “They shoved him right back in, that’s when Michael Brown leans in and starts beating Officer Wilson in the head and the face.”

The source claims that there is “solid proof” that there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson for the policeman’s firearm, resulting in the gun going off – although it still remains unclear at this stage who pulled the trigger. Brown started to walk away according to the account, prompting Wilson to draw his gun and order him to freeze. Brown, the source said, raised his hands in the air, and turned around saying, “What, you’re going to shoot me?”

At that point, the source told FoxNews.com, the 6-foot-4, 292-pound Brown charged Wilson, prompting the officer to fire at least six shots at him, including the fatal bullet that penetrated the top of Brown’s skull, according to an independent autopsy conducted at the request of Brown’s family.

Wilson suffered a fractured eye socket in the fracas, and was left dazed by the initial confrontation, the source said. He is now “traumatized, scared for his life and his family, injured and terrified” that a grand jury, which began hearing evidence on Wednesday, will “make some kind of example out of him,” the source said.

In fact, if Michael Brown were still alive, he would almost certainly be headed for a long term in jail.

Initial Unemployment Claims (082114): 298K SA, Raw Claims Below 250,000 For Second Week in Past Three

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:13 am

Predictions:

  • Bloomberg — “Data today will show initial claims for unemployment benefits declined last week.” Last week’s figure, pending possible adjustments today, was 311,000 seasonally adjusted claims.
  • Post-release updateBusiness Insider predicted 303K.

Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended August 16, 2014 — 83.4
  • Week ended August 17, 2013 — 83.3

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended August 9, 2014 — 268,637
  • Week ended August 17, 2013 — 281,164

For seasonally adjusted claims to match or decline from last week’s 311,000, raw claims will need to be 259,000 or lower (259K divided by .834 is 311K, rounded).

That seems about right. If raw claims are above last week’s figure, it will be cause for a bit of concern. If they beat last year’s same week, it will justify significant concern.

We’ll see what happens here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link), and it’s pretty strong —

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending August 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 298,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 311,000 to 312,000. The 4-week moving average was 300,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 295,750 to 296,000.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 248,759 in the week ending August 16, a decrease of 20,709 (or -7.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 9,357 (or -3.5 percent) from the previous week. There were 281,164 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

This is the second week in the past three where raw claims have come in below a quarter-million (pending possible adjustment to this week’s raw number).

There’s nothing troubling here. Whether this translates into a lower unemployment rate is another matter, but it’s obvious that layoffs and involuntary terminations have pulled back to roughly where you’d like to see them stay.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (082114)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:01 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Memory, hope, witness are Korea trip’s import, Pope reflects

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Aug 20, 2014 / 08:22 am

Pope Francis discussed his recent trip to South Korea in his General Audience address Wednesday, saying its significance is found in the three words memory, hope, and witness.

In South Korea “the Church is the guardian of memory and of hope: and is a spiritual family in which adults transmit to youths the torch of the faith received from the elderly; the memory of the witnesses of the past becomes a new witness in the present, and hope for the future,” he said Aug. 20 at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

“In light of this it is possible to read the two principle events of this voyage: the beatification of 124 Korean martyrs, who are added to those canonized 30 years ago by St. John Paul II; and the encounter with the youth, on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day.”

The Pope began his address giving thanks for the great gift of his visit to Korea, calling the Church there both “youthful and dynamic, founded upon the witness of the martyrs and animated by a missionary spirit.”

He noted that the Republic of Korea “is a nation which has had a remarkable and rapid economic development. Its inhabitants are hardworking, disciplined, ordered, and must maintain the strength inherited from their ancestors.”

Youth are always “searching for that which makes life worth living, and the martyrs bear witness to that, indeed, to That One for whom it is worth to give up one’s life. This really is the Love of God, who took flesh in Jesus, the Witness of the Father.”

Pope Francis discussed also the Church in Korea as “guardian also of the memory of the primary role of the laity in the dawn of the faith … in that land, in fact, the Christian community was not founded by missionaries, but by a group of Korean youth in the second half of the 1700s, who were fascinated by certain Christian texts, who studied them profoundly and chose them as a rule of life.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.