January 21, 2016

Eduardo Porter at the NY Times: ‘America’s Best Days May Be Behind It’

You could have set your watch to it. When a leftist local, gubernatorial or presidential regime enters its final year after demonstrating its corruption, incompetence and inexcusable disrespect for law and procedure to that point, someone in the press will directly or indirectly excuse them by saying that the entity that person is running is “ungovernable,” or that “its best days are behind it.”

President Barack Obama hit the one-year-to-go mark for his second term yesterday. On cue, Eduardo Porter at the New York Times told readers that “America’s Best Days May Be Behind It.” Naturally, Porter did not mention Obama’s name, nor did he cite Obama’s outsized contribution to why that may be the case. Of course, another element at work here is quietly discrediting anyone on the Republican or conservative side of the fence who believes that this nation can do much better.

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AP Acknowledges Christmas Season Sales Increased Only 3 Pct., Ignores the 8 Pct. It Trumpeted in Late December

On December 28, the headline at a conveniently unbylined report at the Associated Press screamed: “HOLIDAY SPENDING UP 8 PERCENT; ONLINE SALES SURGE.” As I noted in a post later that day, This was odd, to say the least, given that even the incurably optimistic National Retail Federation had predicted an increase of only 3.7 percent. It turned out that the reported growth rate was based on the number of sales transactions, not their dollar amount. Despite that, that late-December AP report repeatedly and irresponsibly characterized the percentage increase as showing growth in “sales” and “spending.”

The NRF came out with its official Christmas shopping season sales increase on Friday: +3.0 percent. While she at least had the integrity to describe the news as “disappointing,” the AP’s Anne D’Innocenzio simply relayed the organization’s excuses for the almost 20 percent underachievement (0.7 percent divided by 3.7 percent) without challenge, and never acknowledged that someone at the wire service which employs her had previously reported a figure that was over 2-1/2 times higher (8 percent divided by 3 percent).

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Initial Unemployment Claims (012116): 293K SA; Raw Claims (378K) Less Than 2 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:22 am

Well, it looks like the number is getting bigger over time, at a perhaps accelerating rate.

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending January 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 293,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 1,000 from 284,000 to 283,000. The 4-week moving average was 285,000, an increase of 6,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 250 from 278,750 to 278,500.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 377,730 in the week ending January 16, a decrease of 125,174 (or -24.9 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 137,491 (or -27.3 percent) from the previous week. There were 383,538 initial claims in the comparable week in 2015.

This week’s seasonal conversion factor 128.9. Last year’s for the same week was 127.6. Seasonally adjusted claims would have been 3,000 higher using last year’s factor on this year’s raw claims (377,730 divided by 1.276 is 296,000, rounded).

Note that the year-over year drop in raw claims is below 2 percent, i.e., we’re close to a “no better than last year” situation, which I would hope readers will recognize is occurring at a higher level than we would be seeing in a genuinely healthy economy.

Despite what Zero Hedge says, today’s news in and of itself isn’t a recession flag — yet. Another month of rises would be. I wouldn’t bet against that occurring.

Positivity: This man has been in a coma for 33 years – and his wife has stayed by his side

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Lyon, France:

Jan 20, 2016 / 03:06 am

After sustaining a damaged leg tendon in 1982, 34-year old international footballer Jean-Pierre Adams thought that a routine knee surgery at a hospital in Lyon, France would relieve some of his discomfort.

By the end of the day, the surgery had left Adams in a comatose state, unable to perform normal bodily functions like walking or talking.

That was over thirty years ago.

Today, his devoted wife Bernadette personally cares for Jean-Pierre in their home near Nimes, France, where the beloved footballer remains bedridden and comatose.

“I think he feels things. He must recognize the sound of my voice as well,” Bernadette told CNN in a recent interview, saying he can still breathe on his own but needs round-the-clock attention.

Bernadette and Jean-Pierre met at a dance in the 1960s. As an interracial couple, the two grew in resilience through the challenges they faced and married in 1969. Not long after, Jean-Pierre was playing first division side football as the “garde noire” alongside some of the best in the world.

“He was the ‘joie di vivre’ embodied in human form – a laugher and joker who liked to go out,” his wife told CNN.

That all changed on March 17, 1982 when the understaffed hospital botched Adams’ intubation, causing a heart attack, brain damage, and an eventual coma. The surgery was ruled as an “involuntary injury” and the medical workers were found guilty seven years after the incident.

Jean-Pierre, now 68, is cared for daily by his faithful wife Bernadette. She feeds him, talks to him, clothes him, and still buys presents for him to open on his birthday.

“I’ll buy things so that he can have a nice room, such as pretty sheets, or some scent. He used to wear Paco Rabanne but his favorite one stopped so now I buy Sauvage by Dior,” Bernadette told CNN. …

Go here for the rest of the story.