January 8, 2015

Clueless Nick Kristof Asks: ‘Is Islam to Blame’ For the Charlie Hebdo Massacre?

On cue, at around 6 p.m. Wednesday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was still wondering: “Is Islam to Blame for the Shooting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris?” (“Shooting?” Singular?) Maybe he still is.

This was many hours after it was known that the perpetrators shouted “We avenged the Prophet Muhammad!” and “Allah Akbar!” after completing the Charlie Hebdo massacre of 12 in Paris, and after ISIS celebrated the “blessed operation.” Excerpts from Kristof’s column, published in Thursday’s print edition, follow the jump.


Initial Unemployment Claims (010815): 294K SA, 420K NSA

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:31 am

This one, for the week ended January 4, will be affected by holiday-driven factors.

Business Insider is predicting 290,000 seasonally adjusted initial claims. Bloomberg has the same.

This week’s seasonal adjustment factor is 144.6, which is a bit lower than last year’s 146.9. For the predictions just noted to come true, raw claims will need to be 420,000 or lower.

That should be easy, because seasonal-only hiring for Christmas shopping was light. I would hope that the seasonally adjusted number comes in quite a bit lower.

We’ll see here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link):


In the week ending January 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 294,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 298,000. The 4-week moving average was 290,500, a decrease of 250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 290,750.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 425,399 in the week ending January 3, an increase of 35,581 (or 9.1 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 41,457 (or 10.6 percent) from the previous week. There were 488,537 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

As noted, I think that’s more raw claims than we should have expected based on Christmas season hiring patterns. Next week’s report will cover 2015′s first full week of business.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010815)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 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: Pope: This New Year’s, embrace gratitude, reject slavery of sin

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Dec 31, 2014 / 01:44 pm

At the year’s end, Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s saving presence within time, cautioning against nostalgia for the slavery of sin, and encouraging gratitude that leads to repentance.

The theme of time was central to Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff homily, delivered during evening Vespers in Saint Peter’s Basilica Dec. 31.

“The significance of time, temporality,” he said, “is the atmosphere of God’s epiphany, that is, of the manifestation of God and his concrete love.”

The evening celebrations were also marked by the chanting of the Te Deum, an ancient prayer of praise which grants the one who recites it publicly on New Year’s Eve a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. The Pope also presided over exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Pope Francis turned his reflection to the words of Paul to the Galatians, taken from the evening’s Vespers: “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

“Time was – in a manner of speaking – ‘touched’ by Christ, the Son of God and of Mary,” he said, thereby becoming the “’salvific time’… defined by salvation and grace.”

This theme of time, in turn, “inspires us to think about the end of life’s journey, the end of our journey,” the Holy Father said. By examining our conscience, he explained, we revisit what we have done, giving thanks for the good we have received and have been able to accomplish, all the while recalling “our weaknesses and our sins.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

NYT Front Page Item Obsesses Over ‘Anti-Immigrant Sentiments’ in Europe

At 4:45 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, the New York Times, teasing an item entitled “‘Dangerous Moment’ for Europe, as Fear and Resentment Grow,” tweeted that “The Paris terror attack seems certain to accelerate the growth of anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe.”

Consistent with a long-established nasty habit, the opening sentence of the report by Steven Erlanger and Katrin Bennhold has since been revised without notice, and is tagged as appearing on Thursday’s front page. The headline is the same, but the first sentence now reads: “The sophisticated, military-style strike Wednesday on a French newspaper known for satirizing Islam staggered a continent already seething with anti-immigrant sentiments in some quarters, feeding far-right nationalist parties like France’s National Front.” Yeah, those are Europe’s biggest problems, not Islamic terrorism.