April 30, 2015

Press Ignoring Maryland Sheriff’s Insistence That Baltimore Cops Were Told to Stand Down

On Wednesday, Fox News reported that “a senior law enforcement official” who has since emerged from anonymity told them that Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake “gave an order for police to stand down as riots broke out Monday night.”

That source, Michael Lewis, currently the Sheriff in Wicomico County and a former Sergeant with the Maryland State Police, appeared on the Norris and Davis show in Baltimore today and repeated his assertion, while adding that the orders included commands to retreat. Those who listen to the interview following the jump will have little doubt that Mr. Lewis is telling the truth, leaving all to wonder how it can be that, from what I can tell, no one in the nation’s establishment press at this point has reported what he is saying:

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AP Writers: Cities Hit by 1960s Riots ‘Have Taken Decades to Recover’; They Haven’t Recovered At All

An Associated Press report on small businesses hit with looting, fires and property destruction in Baltimore during the past several days wraps up with a final paragraph only a historically ignorant person could possibly believe.

Without getting too personal, David Dishneau and Joyce M. Rosenberg, the two AP writers responsible for that final sentence, appear to be old enough and learned enough to know better than to have written that final paragraph. But here it is:

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PunditFact Calls an Accurate Assertion About the Clinton Foundation by the Federalist and Rush Limbaugh ‘Mostly False’

If Rush Limbaugh told his audience that the sun rose in the east today, it seems that PunditFact, an arm of Politifact, would find a way to determine that he wasn’t telling the truth.

That’s pretty much what you have to conclude from the web site’s laughable evaluation of Limbaugh’s true assertion that “The Federalist reports only 15 percent of the money donated to the Clinton Family Foundation went to actual charitable causes.” So its beef isn’t really with Limbaugh anyway, but the cynical evaluators at the web site knew that they would catch more eyeballs by going after Rush.

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Initial Unemployment Claims (043015); 262K SA; Raw Claims 19 Percent Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:40 am

From the Department of Labor, a big seasonally adjusted drop:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending April 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 262,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since April 15, 2000 when it was 259,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 295,000 to 296,000. The 4-week moving average was 283,750, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 284,500 to 285,000.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 250,815 in the week ending April 25, a decrease of 28,982 (or -10.4 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 3,253 (or 1.2 percent) from the previous week. There were 318,127 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

The seasonally adjustment factor for this week was only a bit higher (95.7) than the one used during last year’s comparable week (94.5).

Predictions, according to Yahoo’s Economic Calendar, were 290,000 for Briefing.com and 295,000 for the “market,” so this is surely a significan beat.

As long a raw claims stay in the quarter-million range during full business weeks, it’s hard to complain about the results.

In an item I missed because it was just posted at the DOL’s history pages for the first time (though it has been the case since early April), “covered employment,” at 134,074,626, one of many long-term malaise indicators, has finally returned to and slightly exceeded its previous fourth quarter 2008 peak (133,902,387). It took a far too long 75 months for that to happen.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (043015)

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: Will youth inevitably support same-sex marriage? These activists say nope

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Apr 29, 2015 / 04:08 pm

Old and young, gay and straight, marriage defense advocates rallied outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, calling for the institution of marriage to be maintained.

Doug Mainwaring was one of those standing up in defense of marriage as the union of a man and woman.

He himself is an admitted former member of a same-sex union.

“I have as much trouble with no-fault divorce as I have with same-sex marriage,” he told an audience outside the Court building.

Nonetheless, he sees danger in re-defining marriage – so much so that he is actively fighting it in front of the Supreme Court.

“The way I got into this was through concern for my children,” he explained to CNA. “In trying to form a family with another man, I finally concluded this is nuts. My kids don’t need two dads in the house. They need both a mother and a father.”

He left the union to repair his marriage, which he believes was in the best interest of his children. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

April 29, 2015

Not News: Obama Admin Admits Tax-Exempt Status of Non-Complying Churches at Stake in Supremes’ Same-Sex ‘Marriage Case

Add the following to the “you will be made to care” stories Erick Erickson at RedState began to recognize several years ago.

Those who think that legalizing same-sex “marriage” won’t affect them should have received a wake-up call on Tuesday during arguments at the Supreme Court over whether inventing a constitutional right for two people of the same sex to have such an arrangement. Most of them didn’t get it, because, with only one exception I could find, the establishment press covering the proceedings perfectly understood the gravity of the discussion and its implications — and refused to report it, because it gave away the Obama administration’s, and the left’s, ultimate game plan.

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Not News: Obama Education Secretary Threatens to ‘Step In’ Over Common Core Testing Opt-Outs

Well, this is awkward — or rather, it would be if the press cared about the federally-driven tyranny which is in the process of capturing the nation’s public and private K-12 schools.

Common Core’s proponents have insisted and still insist that “it was and will remain a state-led effort” (italics is theirs). Yet when faced with the “problem” of too many parents opting out of its intrusive testing regime — something they are supposedly free to do without penalty or reprisal — guess who steps in with threats and smears? You guessed it: Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

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WashPost Fact-Checker Hits O’Malley For Truthful Statement on Baltimore Crime

At the Washington Post early Tuesday morning, Michelle Ye Hee Lee vetted a statement frequently made by former Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat and possible 2016 presidential contender, about reductions in crime on his watch.

Ms. Lee must have been in a hermetically sealed cave during the previous two days, because her sole justification for conducting the fact check was the protesting taking place against “the police-custody death of Freddie Gray,” despite the fact that Baltimore’s “mass riots” began Saturday night.

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1Q15 Gross Domestic Product (042915): An Annualized +0.2 Percent, With a 0.74-Point Inventory Buildup (UPDATE: Health Care is +0.62 Points)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:25 am

Predictions:

  • Yahoo’s Economic calendar has Briefing.com predicting an annualized 0.4 percent with the “Market” at 1.0 percent.
  • A report on the decline in consumer confidence yesterday at the Associated Press predicted 1.0 percent to 1.5 percent. This morning, in a separate report, it’s 1.0 percent. (Ever since Dear Leader took office, the AP has been a laggard in recognizing downward forecast trends.)
  • A Bloomberg writeup carries a prediction of 1.0 percent.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is at 0.1 percent. Moody’s is at 1.0 – 1.2 percent.

Readers here know that many hard statistics relating to orders, shipments and production have declined from what was seen during the fourth quarter. Some of them are lower than they were during the first quarter of 2014. These indicators would seem to presage a trip into contraction for today’s change in GDP.

But this ia a government report, so who knows? Additionally, we shouldn’t forget that today’s release is the first of three. In the first quarter of 2014, the first estimate was +0.1 percent and fell to -2.9 percent two months later, before being comprehensively revised in July to -2.1 percent.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS (full HTML link): Initial props go to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which almost nailed it —

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3 and “Comparisons of Revisions to GDP” on page 5). The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 29, 2015.

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and private inventory investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

… The deceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter reflected a deceleration in PCE, downturns in exports, in nonresidential fixed investment, and in state and local government spending, and a deceleration in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a deceleration in imports and upturns in private inventory investment and in federal government spending.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, decreased 1.5 percent in the first quarter, compared with a decrease of 0.1 percent in the fourth. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.3 percent, compared with an increase of 0.7 percent.

… The change in real private inventories added 0.74 percentage point to the first-quarter change in real GDP after subtracting 0.10 percentage point from the fourth-quarter change. Private businesses increased inventories $110.3 billion in the first quarter, following increases of $80.0 billion in the fourth quarter and of $82.2 billion in the third.

Without the inventory buildup — which relies on the assumption that you’re going to be able to sell what you’re making or buying, it’s a 0.5 percent contraction. Yikes.

More later, after I update the components table.

_________________________________________

UPDATE: Here are the components, showing yet another large contribution from health care, which is a relatively small item ($2.2 trillion out of $17.7 trillion, or 12.4% in current dollars) —

GDPcomponents3Q4Q14and1Q15

As seen above, health care has been over 60 percent (1.50 points out of 2.40 points) of the GDP increase during the past two quarters. Everything else has contributed less than one point.

The increases in health care costs can’t possibly be entirely supported by improvements in quality. They’re mostly a drain from spending available for everything else.

The combined +1.36-point contribution of inventory buildups and health care costs tell us that today’s report represents a substantive contraction of over 1 percent (annualized) as it affects average Americans.

I expect that the weather excuse machine will be pushed to its limit for the rest of the day.

UPDATE 2: The -0.40 point negative contribution in fixed investment excluding inventories is the worst such result since 2009.

UPDATE 3: Bloomberg economist Carl Riccadonna — “Disappointing Q1 GDP looks similar to what occurred last year, when growth was ultimately nudged into negative territory through revisions.”

UPDATE 4: That negative gross domestic purchases deflator (corrected from “GDP deflator,” which is not how the text reads; thanks to commenter Steve for that catch) of -1.5 percent also seems far more negative than it should be (the lower it is, the higher the resulting GDP growth).

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (042915)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:13 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: Baltimore archbishop — With God, a broken city can heal

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:13 am

From Baltimore:

Apr 29, 2015 / 02:43 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After both peaceful protests and violent riots following the death of an African American man in the custody of the Baltimore police, the local archbishop appealed to prayer and truth as means of healing and restoring human dignity.

“May we pray together that God will grace us with his presence always, so that our broken city can once again be made whole, and that our minds and our hearts will be open to peace and God’s love beyond all understanding,” Archbishop William E. Lori said in an April 28 video message.

“Today, many in our city are trying to come to grips with the aftermath of emotional and sometimes violent protests that threaten to overshadow two realities that cannot and should not be lost: a family’s devastating loss of a young man whose body was laid to rest Monday, and a grieving community’s peaceful quest for answers and for justice.”

Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, 25, died on April 19, one week after he sustained injuries while being transported following an arrest by Baltimore police. His injuries included a severed spinal cord and a crushed voicebox.

His funeral was on Monday.

“Our hearts cannot help but go out to the loved ones of Freddie Gray, whose pain and anguish we share,” Archbishop Lori said. “Freddie was not merely a symbol, but a real person whose life was tragically cut short.”

The archbishop said this pain will be endured by “far too many other Baltimore families” as long as “senseless violence and hatred continue.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

April 28, 2015

Orioles to Play in an Empty Stadium on Wed., Play 3 Home Games in Tampa

At NewsBusters this morning, Matthew Philbin posted on how Michael Eric Dyson, in a guest appearance on MSNBC (where else?), placed a great deal of blame for Baltimore’s blight on “the ways in which the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles with their tax-exempt status were given tremendous goodies to stay into the city.”

It would be reasonable to believe that Dyson, who has revealed a vengeful streak in the recent past — in July 2013, after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, he said that “Not until, and unless, the number of white kids die that approximate the numbers of black and other kids who die, will America see” — is quite pleased at the financial losses the Orioles, their employees, and businesses in the vicinity are being forced to absorb. Thanks to arguably necessary decisions made today, they will continue.

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Sherrod Brown’s Fictions About Bush 41 and Trade Spanning 12 Years Don’t Interest Ohio’s Newspapers

It must be nice to be a leftist Washington politician representing congressional districts in or the entire state of Ohio.

You can serially fib about something for years on end, and ordinarily the folks back home won’t know any better. Even when you’re caught red-handed by the national press occasionally breaking down and doing its job, your area’s or the Buckeye State’s press will ignore it. A case in point is the Washington Post’s finding on April 23 at its Fact Checker blog that Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has for a dozen years completely fabricated statements he has attributed to President George H.W. Bush.

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AP Protects Obama, Who Said ‘Thugs,’ Carries Baltimore Mayor’s Apology For Using the Word

The language police came out in full force today, expressing outrage that President Barack Obama employed an accurate word — “thugs” — to describe many of those involved in Baltimore’s three days of rioting.

The PR flaks at a leftist media group went to a spokesperson for a Latino “organizing” group. He attacked Obama, not for using the word, but for having the temerity to apply it a “handful” (Obama’s word) of rioters instead of to the police — “President Obama Should Call Freddie Gray’s Murderers Thugs, Not Protesters.” The Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, has dutifully fallen into line, not only protecting Obama by ignoring his use of the word, but also by giving prominence to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s pathetic apology for having previously used it.

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