December 31, 2015

On Economy, AP Wraps Up Year With Two Weak Stories and a Glaring Omission

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 3:13 pm

This week, the Associated Press wrapped up a year of largely pathetic business reporting with three items exemplifying the wire service’s habits of data-twisting, sloppiness, and convenient omissions.

A deceptive AP post-Christmas story pretended that Christmas-season “spending” was twice as high as anyone else has predicted. A report on pending home sales omitted a concerned comment from a normally incurably optimistic economist at the National Association of Realtors. Finally, the AP appears to have ignored today’s Chicago manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management, even though it came in at a level which has previously foreshadowed a nationwide recession.

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Unreported: Industrial Revolution and Capitalism Explain Sharp Decline in World Poverty

In September, President Barack Obama “committed the U.S. to a new blueprint to eliminate poverty and hunger around the world” in a speech at a United Nations “global summit.” A review of his speech’s transcript indicates that while he acknowledged the ugly reality that “800 million men, women and children are scraping by on less than $1.25 a day,” he made no mention of the fact that just three decades ago, the percentage of humanity in that condition was many time times greater.

A Washington Post item on October 5 reported, per the World Bank, that less than 10 percent of the world’s population is in extreme poverty” for the first time ever. Both Obama and the Post failed to give credit where credit is due, namely to the Industrial Revolution and capitalism. In an Investor’s Business Daily column last week, Terry Jones set the record straight (links are in original; bolds are mine):

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Initial Unemployment Claims: 287K SA (Change in Seasonal Adj. Factor Caused Increase); Raw Claims 11 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:46 am

Initial unemployment claims, for the week ended December 19, the last full business week for the year, came in at a seasonally adjusted 267,000. Raw claims were 320K, about 6 percent below last year’s comparable week.

Here’s are the key paragraphs from today’s Deparment of Labor release for last week (ended 12/26):

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending December 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 287,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 267,000. The 4-week moving average was 277,000, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 272,500.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 346,619 in the week ending December 26, an increase of 26,978 (or 8.4 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 2,134 (or 0.7 percent) from the previous week. There were 389,757 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

Given the 11 percent drop in comparable raw claims, there’s no reason to get worried about the 20K rise in seasonally adjusted claims. Last year’s seasonal adjustment factor of 132.9 is way higher than this year’s 120.6. If last year’s adjustment factor had been used on today’s raw claims, the seasonally adjusted result would have only been 261,000 (346,619 divided by 1.329).

Dick Morris Predicts Bernie, Meaning It Will Be Hillary

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:36 am

Hope I’m wrong about Dick Morris’s predictive ability in this instance, but his track record is horrible:

Hillary Will Lose Nomination to Bernie Sanders

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (123115)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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 families: forgive each other and journey together towards God

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Dec 27, 2015 / 10:03 am

Pope Francis on the Feast of the Holy Family reflected on the power of forgiveness in families and compared everyday family life to an ongoing pilgrimage of prayer and love.

“How important it is for our families to journey together towards a single goal! We know that we have a road to travel together; a road along which we encounter difficulties but also enjoy moments of joy and consolation,” the Pope said Dec. 27 in his morning homily at St. Peter’s Basilica.

“A pilgrimage does not end when we arrive at our destination, but when we return home and resume our everyday lives, putting into practice the spiritual fruits of our experience.”

“Let us not lose confidence in the family!” he said. “It is beautiful when we can always open our hearts to one another, and hide nothing. Where there is love, there is also understanding and forgiveness.”

The Pope connected the Feast of the Holy Family to the Catholic Church’s Year of Mercy. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 30, 2015

‘Progressives,’ Recognizing Their Sex Harassment and Assault Problems, Won’t Even Mention Bill Clinton’s Name

Liberals and “progressives,” who are supposedly big on dealing with “root causes,” are apparently not interested in the root cause of the now-acknowledged problem of sexual harassment and abuse in their ranks.

Exhibit A: Emily Crockett’s lengthy hand-wringing treatise at Vox.com on December 21, prepared in the wake of the closure of far-left PR firm FitzGibbon Media over its owner’s multi-year pattern of sexual assaults and harassment, completely failed to bring up former President Bill Clinton or his enabling spouse Hillary (but she did manage to mention Bill Cosby). At Acculturated.com, Carrie Lukas, managing director of the Independent Women’s Forum, contended that “liberals treat women worse” than do others in positions of power on the ideological spectrum because of “The Bill Clinton Effect” — an effect with so much staying power that “progressives” still won’t dare mention its obvious impact.

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Time.com Writer Cites Temperature at North Pole, Alaska As Coming From THE North Pole

The temperature in the Fairbanks, Alaska suburb of North Pole earlier today was apparently in the low-40s Fahrenheit.

It was then that Alexandra Sifferlin at Time.com reported the Alaska town’s temperature as if it came from the North Pole. The only current evidence of Sifferlin’s original grievous error at Time.com is a deliberately vague correction at the bottom of her post telling readers that “This article originally misidentified a temperature reading as belonging to the North Pole.” Fortunately, ever-alert blogger Patterico excerpted the post as originally written (the link to North Pole, Alaska’s conditions at Weather.com is in the original):

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New York Times Now Supports National $15/Hr. Minimum Wage; in 1987, It Wanted ‘$0.00′

Establishment press pundits often wring their hands over how supposedly far to the right the Republican Party and conservatives in general have moved since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, that flaming moderate, to the point of claiming that Reagan would never be accepted by today’s “wingnuts.” They seem to actually believe this amusing nonsense.

In a classic example demonstrating where the real ideological shifts have taken place, the New York Times Editorial Board on Saturday expressed its wish to impose a $15-an-hour minimum wage on the entire nation. That really isn’t a surprise to those who have seen so-called “progressives” move ever further to the left and out of the realm of common sense in recent times. But it might surprise many readers that the Times advocated a minimum wage of zero — that’s right, expressed as “$0.00″ for emphasis — in January 1987, during Reagan’s second term.

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Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (123015)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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: For one young Catholic, music is an apostolate of beauty

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Ann Arbor, Michigan:

Dec 29, 2015 / 03:55 pm

An up-and-coming Catholic musician in Michigan aims to expose listeners to God in the same way she did during her school years – through beauty found in “truly good” forms of art.

“My desire with this music and this album is to reach anybody, anywhere and hopefully open their hearts to the reality that transfiguration and transformation is real,” singer/songwriter Alanna-Marie Boudreau told CNA.

Growing up, she said that her parents made it a point to expose their children to “the transcendental truth, goodness and beauty” through beautiful literature and art. Since they believed that was not available in the upstate New York schools where they lived, her mother decided to homeschool them.

Learning from a Catholic curriculum, Boudreau says excellent books and beautiful music were a regular part of her education.

“It was a very natural part of the fabric of our life and it was interwoven with a really sacramental understanding of life and of family,” she said.

“The faith, it always fit like a hand in the glove with our upbringing and with our education.” That integration of faith, beauty and truth is something the 24-year old woman says she hopes permeates her music, including her recent, full-length album, “Hints and Guesses” – a follow-up to her 2012 EP, “Hands in the Land.”

“And anybody – everybody – is affected by beauty, no matter what their life experience is, where they’re from, or what they’ve done, there’s something about beauty that bypasses those preconceived ideas and it just sets the heart in a very good position to hear God.”

But Boudreau doesn’t label her work as “Christian music” – not because it doesn’t deal with the faith, but because of the inclination of some to automatically be turned off by such a label or assume that it will sound a certain way without listening to it. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 29, 2015

WSJ and WashPost’s Marcus Agree: Bill Clinton’s Sexual History ‘Is Fair Game’

Just one week after CNN’s Don Lemon shut down a guest who dared to raise the issue, there is now an agreement across the ideological spectrum that if Hillary Clinton is going to use her husband Bill as a campaign surrogate and go after her opponents’ real or imagined sexism, then, as the headline at liberal Ruth Marcus’s Monday evening Washington Post column says, “Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual history is fair game.”

Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal editorial, while citing Marcus’s column, agrees: “if Mrs. Clinton wants everyone to forget about Bill’s harassment of women, she ought to stop playing the sexism card, or drop Bill as surrogate, or both.”Marcus clearly struggles to remain intellectually honest before ultimately admitting what should be obvious (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (122915)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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: Maryland Woman Credits Search-and-Rescue Dog Heidi With Detecting Her Lung Cancer

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 5:40 am

And her doctor agrees — From Halethorne, Maryland (video at link):

Dec 18, 2015, 1:59 PM ET

A Baltimore-area woman and her oncologist believe her search-and-rescue dog “sniffed out” and detected her lung cancer early enough to possibly save her life.

Her 9-year-old shepherd-Lab mix, Heidi, has helped save several people’s lives and find over 2,000 missing pets during her work as a search-and-rescue dog for over seven years, Anne Wills told ABC News today.

Wills and Heidi work for Wills’ nonprofit Dogs Finding Dogs, which has professionally trained dogs that can sniff out drugs and find missing pets and people.

But Wills never expected that Heidi would ever save her life, she said.

“Around February this year, every time I would sit down, Heidi would start barricading me and literally not let me get up,” Wills, 53, said. “She would scratch my arm, and she was very panic stricken and panting a lot.”

Heidi continued doing this for about a week when she suddenly became “more upset and insistent” and “started taking her nose and stuffing it in my chest and keeping it there and breathing in really deeply,” added Wills, who lives in Halethorne, Maryland.

She said Heidi continued the behavior for weeks.

Wills thought something was wrong with Heidi, so she took her to the veterinarian. But when the vet said Heidi was fine, Wills realized Heidi could be sensing something wrong in her, so she went to the doctor.

“I was sent for a CAT scan, and 9 a.m. the next morning, I get a call saying that I have three spots of cancer in my lungs and that I have to get it taken care of right away,” Wills said. “And so the journey begins.”

Had Heidi not been so persistent in trying to alert Wills, the cancer may have spread to other parts of the body, likely making it incurable, according to Dr. Enser Cole, Will’s oncologist and chief of medical oncology at Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore.

“When you meet Heidi, you feel like you’re in the presence of dog with a couple of PhDs,” Cole told ABC News today. “This dog diagnosed the cancer before the doctors did, and it’s justly something to marvel at.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

Virtually No Media Repercussions for Minn. Councilwoman Who ‘Doxed’ Constituents

Did you hear the story about the conservative city councilman who was so incensed at his private-citizen critics that he or she published their names and addresses and accused them of racism in the process?

Of course you didn’t. If it happened, press coverage of “right-wing intimidation” would be everywhere. Instead, “doxing,” the term given to such exposures, is a technique predominantly practiced by hardened leftists and even occasionally by their politicians, more often than not with little in the way of media or other repercussions. One such person who appears to be skating virtually scot-free is Minneapolis City Council member Alondra Cano.

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