October 31, 2015

Not News: Obama-Clinton Emails Render His Related Kroft Interview Statements False

A Friday evening story at the New York Times covered the Obama administration’s decision to “try to block the release of a handful of emails between President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

In it, reporters Michael D. Shear and Michael S. Schmidt demonstrated that President Obama undoubtedly did not tell the truth in his interview with CBS News’s Steve Kroft in a 60 Minutes episode which aired on October 11.

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Not News: Mediocre Economic Peformance Has Cost Americans Thousands Each

On Thursday, the government reported that the nation’s economy turned in yet another quarter of poor economic performance, estimating that its gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the third quarter.

The business press almost universally downplayed the news, and told readers that the fourth quarter will be better. No one talked about how much the tepid growth of the past six-plus years since the recession officially ended has been sacrificed in the name of misguided and dangerous Keynesian stimulus. As is so often the case, an editorial at Investor’s Business Daily did that, performing a job the press has consistently refused to do.

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AP Story, Only Carried Locally, Fails to Tag NY Co-op’s Crackup As an Obamacare Failure

Many of the state cooperative health insurers, or “co-ops,” set up under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, have gotten into serious financial trouble quite quickly. Almost half have cracked up completely. Specifically, as noted at Forbes.com on Thursday morning, “[O]f the 24 Obamacare co-ops funded with federal tax dollars, one (Vermont’s) never got approval to sell coverage, a second (CoOportunity) has already been wound down, and nine more will terminate at the end of this year.”

Perhaps the most expensive such blowup to date has occurred in New York. An unbylined Associated Press blurb, seen after the jump, about how New York’s co-op will be forced to close its doors in just a month, is a perfect example demonstrating why the general public may never learn about Obamacare co-ops’ track record of miserable failure:

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Self-Defense Act of the Day — Thug Picks Fight With Retired Boxer Named ‘Champ’ … Bad Idea

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:57 am

As the story at Conservative Tribune says, it’s not a good idea to act tough and try to “pick a fight with someone that the locals all call ‘Champ’”:

And yes, for those who wish to complain about my category choice for this post, self-defense is a positive thing.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (103115)

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: Baby With Brain Tumor Doctors Said to Abort Because She Would Die Defies the Odds

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Texas, via Life News:

OCT 30, 2015 | 1:44PM

Earlier this month, Texas Right to Life relayed the story of baby Abigail Jones.

Abigail was born with Down syndrome and a tumor doctors thought would claim her young Life. The Joneses started a blog to share their journey with Abigail, who was believed to be dying. In mid-September, Abigail’s mother, Erika, penned the following poignant words on the blog:

[…]Abigail has no nursery, no cute, themed room especially designed for her. In fact, I have no idea where she’ll sleep when she has outgrown the bassinet. We haven’t planned that far ahead. In an effort to guard my heart, I’ve made every attempt to prepare for Abigail’s impending death.
But what if she lives?

The family had accepted Abigail’s dark prognosis and was settling into a phase of acceptance. The potentiality that Abigail would live was weak, but Erika saw the glimmer of hope amidst the family’s sadness.

And then something extraordinary happened. The family’s shred of hope exploded into a joyous reality. Abigail was taken to Boston to see a neurosurgeon the family hoped would have a different opinion of the tumor in her head – the tumor that her team of doctors in Florida believed was malignant and deadly. And the neurosurgeon in Boston did have a different opinion.

“The doctors were wrong. Way wrong! And I’m so, so glad! I cannot wait to march this girl into their offices and say ‘Look at her!’”

Of Abigail’s doctors in Florida, Erika said: “The doctors prepared us for every scenario, except life. But hope is always an option!” In fact, the neurosurgeon in Boston not only had a different opinion; he also removed Abigail’s tumor and sent her home to live a healthy, happy life with her family.

Go here for the rest of the sto

October 30, 2015

AP’s Boak Minimizes Significance of Recent Declines in Pending Home Sales

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 11:11 pm

Here’s what should be an easy question: With data which has already been seasonally adjusted, what’s more important — a) the fact that an index is a) up by 3 percent in the past year or b) the fact that it has fallen 5 percent in the past four months?

The correct answer is obviously b) — unless you’re a writer for the Associated Press whose mission is to convince readers that the housing market, despite clear evidence to the contrary, is just fine. Therefore, the AP’s Josh Boak chose a):

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Moderators at CNBC, Which ‘Graded’ GOP Debaters Speech Patterns, Scored At or Below Every GOP Candidates

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And people who ridicule the level of others’ speech patterns should check theirs first.

CNBC didn’t do that. Instead, on Thursday, as I noted in a previous NewsBusters post, it childishly rushed out a grade-level evaluation of the Republican presidential candidates’ speech patterns during the first three debates, including the Wednesday train wreck it rudely hosted, and created a graphic with the title, “Are you smarter than a GOP candidate?” Payback is sweet (bolds are mine):

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Personal Spending Barely Grows; Related Reuters Coverage Has Key Errors and Omissions

The government’s Personal Income and Outlays report for September bore more evidence of a slowing economy. Consumer spending rose by only 0.1 percent, trailing expectations of 0.2 percent. That’s troubling news, given that the optimists believe that strong consumer spending will supposedly drive stronger fourth-quarter economic growth.

Lucia Mutikani’s coverage at Reuters made a common error in explaining the importance of consumer spending, made a significant technical error in describing the report’s contents, and ignored a very disturbing item present in the government report’s detail (related items are tagged [1], [2] and [3], respectively, in the excerpt following the jump; bolds are mine):

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (103015)

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: Greta Perske shares tears of wedding joy with marrow donor

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Sartell, Minnesota:

6:52 a.m. CDT October 21, 2015

Everybody cries at weddings — brides, grooms, parents, friends, sometimes virtual strangers. Really, it’s almost mandatory.

“Oh, exactly,” Greta Perske said. “A very happy cry.”

In that sense, everything went pretty much according to form Oct. 10 when Greta married Tony Hokanson at Celebration Lutheran Church in Sartell.

But some of the tears that flowed freely into that evening were for an entirely different reason.

“The wedding was filled with tears of joy. To me, it was nothing short of a miracle,” said Joe Perske, father of the bride. “It was a day we didn’t know if it would happen.”

“It was just amazing,” added Jan Perske, the bride’s mom. “The emotions can just take over.”

These also were tears of gratitude — especially during the reception, when the bride danced with a 51-year-old man whom she had met exactly once before.

This was the man who made the wedding possible, the man whose generosity saved Greta’s life.

“It was special for me, too,” said Danny Daniels, an Arkansas resident whose bone marrow donation in 2007 was pivotal for a Minnesota high school girl with leukemia. “I’m just very humbled that it worked out as well as it did for her.”

“I can’t even describe what that feeling is,” Greta said. “There’s the man who saved my life, standing right in front of me.

“He didn’t have to do what he did, but he did.”

He did. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 29, 2015

CNBC Rates Grade Level of GOP Candidates’ Speech Patterns; Childish Moderators Not Taken Into Account

It would appear that CNBC isn’t going to take the criticism of its debate panelists’ awful conduct last night lying down.

In what appears to be an all too predictable immature response to the dressing-downs several Republican presidential candidates administered to certain of their moderators as a result of their juvenile behavior and insulting questions — particularly John Harwood and Carl Quintillana — the network has rushed out an outside firm’s ratings of the top ten GOP candidates’ speech patterns during the first three debates, with an obvious undertone: Ignore these candidates; they’re just a bunch of dummies.

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3Q15 Gross Domestic Product (102915): An Annualized 1.5 Percent; Health Care Is Almost One-Third of It

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:16 am

Predictions:

  • Yahoo’s Economic Calendar has an annualized 2.9 percent per Briefing.com (!) and 1.6 percent for “markets.”
  • The Associated Press yesterday claimed that FactSet’s consensus was 1.7 percent.
  • Reuters has 1.6 percent, and says that “GDP could print slightly higher after data on Wednesday showed a smaller-than-expected goods trade deficit in September.”

With lousy production-related data for many months, one would think that if there’s going to be a surprise, it would be to the downside. But this metric, despite what it’s supposed to represent, is dependent largely on consumer spending, which, while also not impressive, hasn’t been trending downward. So it’s really a crapshoot.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent text release with tables):

Real gross domestic product — the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 3.9 percent.

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

Real GDP increased 1.5 percent in the third quarter, after increasing 3.9 percent in the second. The deceleration in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected a downturn in private inventory investment and decelerations in exports, in nonresidential fixed investment, in PCE, in state and local government spending, and in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a deceleration in imports.

I’ll have the graphic with the components up shortly.

UPDATE: Here are the components —

GDPcomponentsThru3Q15at102915

The inventory change isn’t as large as the -2 points many forecasters predicted, meaning that everything is that much weaker.

This isn’t “consumer saves the day” material.

UPDATE 2: Zero Hedge

… The component breakdown reveals that virtually every component of GDP was weaker, starting with Personal Consumption expenditures which dropped from 3.6% to 3.2%, missing expectations of 3.3% as a result PCE contributed 2.19% to the bottom line GDP number, down from 2.42% last quarter. Once again the biggest contributor to spending growth was healthcare expenses.

Fixed investment – something the Fed was bullishly touting in its statement yesterday, also tumbled and added just 0.47% to GDP down from 0.83%.

… recall that during the financial crisis, Inventories subtracted a whopping $718 billion from GDP over 8 consecutive quarters. At some point, that same liquidation cycle which can only be delayed so long, will take place once again.

The liquidation cycle is likely to continue, though at a slower pace, because the cost of holding inventories involves very little in the way of interest expense on borrowed funds. Nevertheless, stuff that isn’t moving either has to be off-loaded at fire-sale prices or obsoleted, and inventory-to-sales ratios are far too high.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (102915)

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 Francis to youth — the Bible can change your life. Now read it!

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 23, 2015 / 06:03 am

The Bible is so dangerous that some Christians risk persecution to have one. But for Pope Francis, its life-changing role in daily life is important too.

“The Bible is not meant to be placed on a shelf, but to be in your hands, to read often – every day, both on your own and together with others,” he wrote in the prologue to a Bible for youth in Germany.

He encouraged young people to read the Bible together the way they play sports or go shopping together.

“Why not read the Bible together as well – two, three, or four of you? In nature, in the woods, on the beach, at night in the glow of a few candles … you will have a great experience!”

“Read with attention! Do not stay on the surface as if reading a comic book! Never just skim the Word of God!” he exhorted, according to a translation by the news site Aleteia.

The Pope encouraged young people to ask what God says to them through the Bible.

“Has he touched me in the depths of my longing? What should I do?” he encouraged them to ask. “Only in this way can the force of the Word of God unfold. Only in this way can it change our lives, making them great and beautiful.”

The Pope’s comments come in the prologue to the German edition of the YouCat Bible. The youth Bible is from the makers of the YouCat catechism for youth.

The new Bible edition includes the text of the Bible packaged in a modern layout with a storyline, line drawings, and color photographs accompanied by explanations and quotations.

The YouCat Bible was proved popular at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Fifteen publishers from countries including the U.S., Poland, and Argentina signed agreements to publish the Bible. …

Go here for the rest of the story.