May 31, 2015

AP’s Borenstein Notes No Hurricanes for 9 Years; Didn’t Global Warming Alarmists Say There’d Be More?

In a report on the relative infrequency of hurricanes in the U.S. during the past decade nationwide, and many decades in certain coastal areas, the Associated Press’s Seth Borenstein detected a problem.

The problem is that those who contend that human-caused global warming is ruining our planet believe that hurricane frequency should be increasing, but it’s not. So Borenstein tried to cover his tracks (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Baltimore Sun Reporter, in Covering City’s Request for Riot ‘Disaster’ Assistance, ‘Forgets’ That Mayor Condoned Looting, Held Back Police

In case you missed it, the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland have requested disaster relief assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to recover costs incurred during that city’s April riots. You read that right.

Yvonne Wenger at the Baltimore Sun predictably buried the lede in her May 26 story’s third paragraph, giving uninitiated readers the impression that applying for FEMA assistance after a riot is something that is routinely done. (Perhaps, given the quality of today’s journalists, she really believes that herself.) More critically, she forgot to remind readers that the city arguably deserves no help at all from any outside source, because the vast majority of the rioting’s damage would have been prevented if Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had done her job.

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David Brooks: ‘Obama Has Run An Amazingly Scandal-Free Administration’

One doesn’t know what to do with the rubbish which follows beyond noting it and hoping that the ridicule which results will somehow and in some way have some kind of impact.

Despite 6-1/2 years of horrid governance and dozens of acknowledged scandals, several of which a few of the credible remaining outposts of liberal thought have agreed are scandals, David Brooks, the New York Times’s resident fake conservative, asserted on Friday’s PBS NewsHour, as if it’s an indisputable fact, that “President Obama has run an amazingly scandal-free administration, not only he himself, but the people around him.”

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Schieffer: Lack of Collegiality a Greater Danger Than Terrorism

Friday morning, Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters covered retiring Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer’s appearance on CBS This Morning. Schieffer went into the same predictable whines seemingly every retiring establishment press reporter does as they’re about to leave: there’s too much money in politics, we can’t control the news like we used to, congressional gridlock has never been worse, blah-blah-blah.

One other peculiar item, gleaned from David Bauder’s Associated Press report on his own interview with Schieffer, needs to be noted before the CBS reporter rides into the sunset (possibly interrupted from time to time, as Bauder noted, by “some elder statesman role”).

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Latest PJ Media Column (‘The Economy Has No Clothes’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:25 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday morning (link won’t work until then) after blackout expires.

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (053115)

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: Love requires work – not just attraction or feelings, Pope tells couples

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 27, 2015 / 12:04 pm

In his weekly general audience, Pope Francis said the process of engagement is essential for any couple on their way to marriage since it not only allows love to mature, but helps future spouses deepen in knowledge of one another.

“Marriage, as a vocation from God, is not just a relationship based on attraction and feelings, of a moment, of something short. It requires a journey,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square for his May 27 general audience.

The journey of marriage “establishes a very strong and lasting partnership, which makes two lives one, a true miracle of human freedom and the grace of God,” he said, adding that such a partnership “is not improvised overnight.”

An “express marriage” doesn’t exist, he said, explaining that “we have to work for love. We have to journey in the relationship of love between a man and a woman until it learns (and) until it grows.”

Stages along this journey “should not be burned,” the Pope said, warning against the consumerist “throwaway” culture prevalent in society that wants “everything and immediately.”

When seen through this lens, love is turned into an object of consumption, and is unable to form a solid foundation for such a “vital” commitment as marriage.

Francis’ focus on engagement is part of his ongoing catechesis on the family, which he began last fall as part of the lead-up to the World Day of Families in September, as well as October’s Synod of Bishops on the Family.

In his address, the Pope said that the process of engagement is a call for couples to lay the foundations for a “project of common love” that should be assumed by both parties with “full awareness” of what they are committing to. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 30, 2015

Latest Labeling Game at AP: Two Attackers Killed at Texas Muhammad Cartoon Contest Were ‘Would-Be Terrorists’

On Friday, Jessica Gresko at the Associated Press reported on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board of directors’ Thursday vote to “suspend issue-oriented advertisements until the end of the year.” Though they wouldn’t admit it, the board’s move was obviously a reaction to Pamela Geller’s request to post an ad from her American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) which included a cartoon depiction of Muhammad. Gresko actually used the T-word — terrorists — to describe the two men who were killed when they attempted to attack Geller’s Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest in Garland, Texas on May 3. But she ruined with her preceding modifier: “would-be.”

While it’s an improvement over the repeated use of “militants” and “gunmen” to describe people who are in fact terrorists, it’s still far from sufficient, and still horribly inaccurate.

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The Hill’s Rebecca Shabad: ‘Washington Is Ready to Spend,’ But Doesn’t Mention How Much

Facts are such inconvenient things. Especially financial facts and figures.

On Tuesday, Rebecca Shabad at the Hill composed a 34-paragraph report entitled “Washington is ready to spend.” Really? When have Congress or the White House not been ready to spend? Oh, I get it. She really means that they’re getting ready to spend more. How much more? Readers will search in vain for anything beyond a one-paragraph discussion of a “$51.4 billion House bill funding justice” discussing two tiny items amounting to less than $100 million. That bill represents a whopping 1-1/2 percent of the roughly $3.5 trillion in annual federal spending. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

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Bloomberg News Still Thinks the U.S. Is in a Six-Year Economic Expansion

This shouldn’t be a trick question, but to the nation’s establishment press business reporters it apparently is: What is the current length of the U.S. economy’s expansion?

The answer, after yesterday’s reported 0.7 percent annualized contraction in U.S. Gross Domestic Product, is obviously zero. But that’s not what Bloomberg News and reporter Sho Chandra, who has used her full first name of Shobhana in previous reports, would say. Despite three separate quarterly contractions since the recession officially ended in the second quarter of 2009, they, like the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger two months ago, want us to believe a fairy tale, namely that we’re still closing in on six straight years of expansion.

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Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (053015)

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 — Not a burden, but a grace: The indissolubility of marriage

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 27, 2015 / 06:03 am

The sacrament of marriage, characterized as it is by indissolubility, is good news for the people of today, according to a Spanish priest who specializes in family and marriage issues.

“The family is in crisis: divorce, models of the family contrary to the Gospel, abandoned children, abortion … it’s true there are problems, but before anything else the family is good news and the indissolubility of marriage is not a burden, but a grace that comes from the Christian Gospel,” Father Jose Granados, DCJM, told CNA.

“Christ places marriage at the center of the Gospel,” he continued. “The Church has good news when speaking of marriage and the family, and that’s becoming more important in the secularized society in which we live.”
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May 29, 2015

1Q15 Gross Domestic Product, 2nd Estimate: A 0.7 Percent Annualized Contraction

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:05 am

Predictions:

  • At Yahoo’s Economic Calendar — Briefing.com has an annualized 1.0 percent contraction; the “markets” have a 0.7 percent contraction. Both are steep falls from the original estimate of a positive annualized 0.2 percent in late April, which itself fell short of most of the predictions, which were in the neighborhood of 1.0 percent.
  • The Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger last night wrote that “Economists surveyed by data firm FactSet predict that the government will say GDP shrank at an annual rate of 0.8 percent last quarter.” But (of course) “economists see little cause for concern.” And yes, I’ve noticed the discussions about how “Many economists also suspect that the government’s calculations have tended to underestimate growth in the first quarter of each year.”

Somehow, that was never a problem until the Obama administration came along, but now all of a sudden there’s “residual seasonality” which must be “mitigated.” It doesn’t help the credibility of these claims that they were originally raised by one of the most pathetic, rude, argumentative Keynesian koolaid-drinkers on the planet.

For what it’s worth, my research indicates that during the past 30 years the net alleged “problem” has entirely occurred during leftist-controlled admnistrations and has been absent during others. (How weird … /sarcasm) I’ll have more on that in separate writeups.

BACK ON POINT — The report will appear here at 8:30.

8:25 a.m.: A predictive note — I’ve pointed out several times duirng the past two months that many hard-number stats for the second-quarter which directly impact GDP have been running not only below 4Q14, they’ve also been running below 1Q14, implying that all of the growth seen in the past three quarters has been reversed.

I’m not saying that it’s going to be reflected in today’s result, but I’m hard-pressed to see why it shouldn’t be. If it is, today’s result will be a big “surprise” to the downside.

I will update the graphic below as soon as I can after the numbers appear.

8:35 a.m.: HERE IT IS (full text version) —

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — decreased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, real GDP increased 0.2 percent. With the second estimate for the first quarter, imports increased more and private inventory investment increased less than previously estimated (for more information, see “Revisions” on page 3).

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

3Q14and4Q14and1Q15GDP052915

Those opposing the trade pact under consideration in Washington — how can you not be opposed, when the administration won’t let the public know what’s in it? — would appear to have gained a bit of leverage, given that majority of the revision occurred because of a spike in the negative effect of imports. The overall net exports result of -1.90 points is the worst in at least the past 12 quarters (that’s how far back today’s release goes).

UPDATE: Wow, that -1.90-point impact of net exports ties for the worst since the second quarter of 1985. The most recent worse result is -2.31 points in the first quarter of 1984. That was in the early stages of the Reagan boom (it was the last of four consecutive quarters showing annualized growth of over 8 percent), and was likely due to the need to import many items simply because our manufacturing sector couldn’t grow fast enough to keep up with demand.

That surely isn’t what’s happening now.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052915)

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.

_____________________________

The snarky comments write themselves: “(MSNBC’s Chris) Matthews: Hillary Clinton Should Tap Republican Gov. John Kasich for Vice President”

Positivity: Think you’re important because you have money? Think again, Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

May 26, 2015 / 08:21 am

In his homily Tuesday Pope Francis cautioned against the “counter-witness” of those who seek to follow both Jesus and worldly temptations, saying that to follow Christ means denying oneself and serving others.

“There are three things, three steps that take us away from Jesus: wealth, vanity and pride,” the Pope told attendees of his May 26 Mass in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse.

Riches, he said, are dangerous “because they immediately make you vain and you think you are important. And when you think you are important, you build your head up and then you lose it.”

Francis took his cue from the day’s Mark Chapter 10 Gospel reading in which Peter asks Jesus what the disciples will get in return for following him. The scene takes place right after Jesus had told the rich young man to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor.

Instead of talking about wealth, the Lord gives an unexpected answer when he says that the disciples will gain the Kingdom of Heaven, but only “with persecution, with the cross.”

“When a Christian is attached to (worldly) things, he gives the bad impression of a Christian who wants to have two things: (both) heaven and earth,” the Pope said, explaining that that the daily cross of denying ourselves is the remedy. …

Go here for the rest of the story.