January 4, 2016

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010416)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 11:00 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.

December ISM Manufacturing: Still in Contraction at 48.2 Pct., Down From 48.6 Pct. in Nov.

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:59 am

From the Institute for Supply Management (most paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine):

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the second consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 79th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The December PMI® registered 48.2 percent, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point from the November reading of 48.6 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 49.2 percent, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from the reading of 48.9 percent in November. The Production Index registered 49.8 percent, 0.6 percentage point higher than the November reading of 49.2 percent.

The Employment Index registered 48.1 percent, 3.2 percentage points below the November reading of 51.3 percent. The Prices Index registered 33.5 percent, a decrease of 2 percentage points from the November reading of 35.5 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the 14th consecutive month. T

he New Export Orders Index registered 51 percent, up 3.5 percentage points from the November reading of 47.5 percent and the Imports Index registered 45.5 percent, down 3.5 percentage points from the November reading of 49 percent.

As was the case in November, 10 out of 18 manufacturing industries reported contraction in December. Contraction in new orders, production, employment and raw materials inventories accounted for the overall softness in December.

The complete scoreboard on industries was that 6 reported growth, 2 were flat, and 10 reported contraction. In November, it was 5 growing, 3 flat, and 10 in contraction.

The three key GDP drivers are all in contraction, though two of them are barely so: Orders, Production and Backlog (not noted above, coming in at a dismal 41.0).

As bad as today’s ISM report is, it’s not nearly as bad as the regional reports we’ve seen, and it arguably understates the degree of contraction which is really occurring.

CNN: Bill Clinton’s War-on-Women History Is Only ‘Alleged’

Since last night, Matt Drudge has teased his link to CNN’s coverage of Hillary Clinton “heckler” Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien with the following headline: “Clinton heckled in NH by rape survivor.”

The headline at CNN’s story by Dan Merica is quite different: “NH GOP lawmaker heckles Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton’s sex scandals.” The headline difference is not unusual. What is unusual is that Merica’s article as currently posted never refers to O’Brien as a “rape survivor” (which, by the way, she has said since at least 2000). Since Drudge usually refers in some way to a story’s content when he writes his headlines, this opens up the possibility that earlier versions of Merica’s story did mention O’Brien’s rape survivor status, and that CNN censored it. What we do know is that CNN and Merica made sure that readers of their story wouldn’t know that Juanita Broaddrick credibly accused Bill Clinton of raping her, and that they treated Clinton’s one-man war on women sexual history as entirely “alleged” (bolds are mine):

(more…)

Positivity: Mercy is stronger than violence and injustice, Pope says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 1, 2016 / 05:38 am

The miseries of the world are powerless against the mercy of God, whose entrance into history brought about a new era for humanity, Pope Francis said at the opening Mass of the new year.

“History does not determine the birth of Christ; rather, his coming into the world enables history to attain its fullness,” the Pope said in his homily Friday morning in Saint Peter’s Basilica.

“For this reason, the birth of the Son of God inaugurates a new era, a new computation of time, the era which witnesses the fulfilment of the ancient promise.”

Pope Francis delivered these remarks during Mass for the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, which is celebrated each year on Jan. 1.

In his homily, the Pope centered his reflection on the day’s second reading from Saint Paul to the Galatians which speaks of God having been “born of a woman” in the “fullness of time.”

Taking into account that moment in history, under the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus, the pontiff explained how Jesus’ birth in the “fullness of time” should not be seen in a geopolitical context. Rather, it should be considered from God’s fulfillment of his promise to humanity.

The fullness of time is God’s presence in history, he said. “Now we can see his glory, which shines forth in the poverty of a stable; we can be encouraged and sustained by his Word, made ‘little’ in a baby. Thanks to him, our time can find its fullness.”

However, Pope Francis noted how the mystery of God’s entrance into history “clashes” with the human experience of injustice and violence against the weak and the innocent. …

Go here for the rest of the story.