July 5, 2015

Factory Orders Dive Again; AP’s Crutsinger, As Usual, Hides Full Extent of Decline

All the attention given to the decidedly mixed employment report the government issued early Thursday morning and the ongoing debt drama in Greece overshadowed a very disappointing release on factory orders which arrived from the Census Bureau 90 minutes later.

In a cursory eight-paragraph report at the Associated Press, Martin Crutsinger relayed the basic bad news, but studiously avoided citing the kinds of statistics which might have gotten noticed on the cluttered news day. These items include but are certainly not limited to the fact that seasonally adjusted orders have declined in eight of the past ten months, that reported monthly shipments have been coming in below levels seen two years ago, and that reported monthly orders are trailing levels seen three years ago.

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Tapper Zaps Whiny Libs on Twitter: ‘Can’t Help It If Entire Democratic Field Is White’

Jake Tapper had a less than perfect outing Sunday on his “State of the Union” show as characterized Hillary Clinton’s past voting and public positions. As Tim Graham at NewsBusters reported, he called her record “fairly moderate,” and then had to backtrack. That noted, Tapper arguably won the day on Twitter, deliciously humiliating a couple of semi-prominent and uniquely annoying hard-leftists who thought they had free rein to whine over an alleged lack of “diversity” in the five major networks’ Sunday show guests.

As seen at Twitchy, one, who I will call Tweedledee, tweeted: “Featured guests on big 5 Sunday shows today (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN): 11 men, one woman.” The other, Tweedledum, as if on cue, chimed in about an hour later: “the problem is these shows set the agenda and guest lists are way imbalanced on race, gender.” Tapper was not amused.

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Randy Barnett, on Why the Declaration and Constitution Are Inextricably Intertwined

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:01 am

On July 4 at the Washington Post (bolds are mine):

The political theory announced in the Declaration of Independence can be summed up (as) … First come rights, and then comes government …

  • The rights of individuals do not originate with any government, but pre-exist its formation.
  • The protection of these rights is both the purpose and first duty of government.
  • Even after government is formed, these rights provide a standard by which its performance is measured and, in extreme cases, its systemic failure to protect rights—or its systematic violation of rights—can justify its alteration or abolition.
  • At least some of these rights are so fundamental that they are “inalienable,” meaning they are so intimately connected to one’s nature as a human being that they cannot be transferred to another even if one consents to do so.

Those inalienable rights include — but, by the way, aren’t necessarily limited to — life, liberty. and the pursuit of happiness.

For decades, the courts have refused to refer to the Declaration’s inalienable rights as a standard. If they did, abortion would not be legal. Over 50 million pre-born babies have, as a result, lost their lives.

If the courts took the Declaration’s inalienable rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness seriously, they would not have permitted the imposition of the strict regulatory regime which began in the New Deal and continues its merciless advance to this day. The presumption should be that property and business owners have the liberty to conduct their affairs as they see fit. Sadly, they often don’t.

Now, as we see in Oregon, the inalienable rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness are being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and raw power politics:

State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

Now, you can’t pursue happiness as a baker without being forced to support something which you believe is objectively evil — and you don’t even have the liberty to speak out against your persecutors.

In many ways, American has become something other than the land our founders envisioned.

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070515)

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: Rebuilt from the ashes — The story of an American basilica

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Norfolk, Virginia:

Jul 4, 2015 / 04:41 am

An immigrant parish, burnt down, with only the crucifix remaining. A parish rebuilt, transformed and a key part in giving back to the community. In a sense, one parish’s story of struggle, pressure and rebirth is metaphor for the American Catholic experience.

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, Virginia, is the only black Catholic church in the United States that is also a basilica. Its dramatic history captures both the broader American Catholic history of persecution, growth and acceptance, but also a witness to the unique challenges faced by black Catholics over the centuries. …

Go here for the rest of the story.