November 13, 2015

AP’s Crutsinger Makes His Report on Troubling October Deficit Almost All About Other Things

The federal government kicked off fiscal 2016 yesterday by reporting that its October deficit was $136.5 billion, 12 percent higher than the $121.7 billion shortfall seen in October 2014.

Single-month comparisons can be tricky because of timing differences, but the Associated Press’s Martin Crutsinger noted that analyzing the results from this October and last October is an apples-to-apples proposition when he wrote that “In both years, Nov. 1 fell on a weekend, which required the government to mail out November benefit checks in October.” But instead of diving into and comparing the two Octobers, the AP reporter devoted the vast majority of his writeup to virtual cut-and-paste regurgitations of previously published news about the 2015 fiscal year and projections for the next two years. He wrote just one sentence directly comparing any of the details in two October statements, and buried it at the end of his report.

(more…)

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111315)

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: A ‘most powerful woman’ – National Geographic’s major hat tip to the Virgin Mary

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Nov 10, 2015 / 03:45 pm

Our Lady. Blessed Mother. Virgin Mary. Queen of Peace. Theotokos. Handmaid of the Lord. Mother Mary.

These are just some of the titles used to describe the young woman to whom an angel appeared some 2,000 years ago with the message that she would conceive and bear the Savior of the World.

Mary has very few recorded words in the New Testament, but her worldwide devotion spans across time, cultures and even religions.

In a Nov. 8 feature for National Geographic, “How the Virgin Mary Became the World’s Most Powerful Woman,” Maureen Orth explores the worldwide phenomenon of devotion to the Mother of God in anticipation of the Dec. 13 National Geographic Channel special, “The Cult of Mary.”

In her piece, Orth spoke with Marian scholars and experts and even followed pilgrims to Marian apparition sites to learn more about this “most powerful woman.”

“We see the relationship of Mary with us isn’t just any relationship – it’s sacred,” María Enriqueta García, who did her sacred theology dissertation at the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton, told Orth.

The idea of Mary as an intercessor before God comes from scripture at the Wedding Feast of Cana, when Jesus performs his first miracle after his mother’s prompting of, “They have no wine” followed by her instruction to the servers to, “Do whatever he tells you.”

“Since then no other woman has been as exalted as Mary,” Orth said. “As a universal symbol of maternal love, as well as of suffering and sacrifice, Mary is often the touchstone of our longing for meaning, a more accessible link to the supernatural than formal church teachings. Her mantle offers both security and protection.”

For her story, Orth accompanied pilgrims around the world to Marian apparition sites including Lourdes, Kibeho, Mexico City, and even Medjugorje – where apparitions are said to still be occurring and the Vatican has not yet ruled on its authenticity. …

Go here for the rest of the story.