February 29, 2016

AP’s Superville: Critics of Obama Economy Are ‘Deniers’

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:19 pm

It appears that there’s an effort underway to expand the definition of “deniers” beyond the realm of climate change/global warming.

Ideally, in leftists’ minds, a “denier” would be “anyone who doesn’t accept leftist dogma without reservations.” That definition would apparently extend to anything relating to the economy, if Associated Press White House reporter and dedicated Barack Obama groupie (yes, I mean ”groupie“) Darlene Superville had her way. Her story’s headline, as she covered President Obama’s remembrance of the wonders of the “Recovery Act” — formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and informally known as the “stimulus plan — directly targeted those who dare to disagree with Obama, and even attempted to concoct another phony version of “consensus” clearly intended to eventually stifle historians’ dissent:

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AP: U.S. Economy Started 2016 ‘With a Bang,’ Consumer Spending ‘Roared Back’

At the Associated Press, in a Friday morning writeup, the wire service’s headline writers and reporter Martin Crutsinger demonstrated extraordinary auditory powers.

The headline writers somehow heard the entire U.S. economy start the year off “with a bang.” Meanwhile, Crutsinger, continuing to earn his designated title of “worst economics writer” given by Kevin Williamson at National Review almost three years ago, picked up the sound of consumers who “roared back to life” in January. Those of us in the real world utterly failed to detect these things. What would we ever do without the extraordinary talents of the people at AP?

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Pending Home Sales Dive 2.5 Percent in January, vs. Expected 0.7 Pct. Increase; Raw Data is Worse

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:30 am

Wow, this huge miss will be put a pin in that “started with a bang” balloon — and wait til you see the excuse:

Pending home sales fell 2.5 pct in January

The winter wallop may have chilled housing activity in some parts of the country, but overheated home prices are really what are slowing sales nationwide.

Home buyers signed 2.5 percent fewer contracts in January to buy existing homes compared to December. The expectation had been for a slight gain. The so-called pending home sales index from the National Association of Realtors, an indicator of future closed sales, is now just 1.4 percent higher than it was in January of 2015. Pending sales have been higher annually for 17 straight months, but this is the second smallest gain in that time.

“While January’s blizzard possibly caused some of the pullback in the Northeast, the recent acceleration in home prices and minimal inventory throughout the country appears to be the primary obstacle holding back would-be buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “Additionally, some buyers could be waiting for a hike in listings come springtime.”

Expectations were for a 0.7 percent increase. The upward revision of December from +0.1 percent to +0.9 percent only made up for a quarter of the January miss of 3.2 points.

All of this is enough to make you think that the National Association of Realtors forgot to seasonally adjust the data. Of course, they didn’t.

Readers who go to the link will also see that raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) pending home sales fell nationwide by 0.9 percent, and fell in every region except the Northeast, where raw sales were 9.4 percent higher … (blink, blink) … because the Northeast is where that awful blizzard occurred which held results back. (That’s sarcasm, folks.)

Obviously, the attempts to explain things away make no sense. Pre-closing activity in the existing-home market contracted in January compared to a year ago, and January could mark the beginning of a depressing trend.

Sorry, guys, this year’s January wasn’t that bad compared to the previous two. Using bad winter weather as an excuse is beyond pathetic.

Chicago Business Barometer Goes Into Contraction Again

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:09 am

The report can be accessed from a link found here:

February Chicago Business Barometer Down 8.0 pts to 47.6
Production Plunges While Employment Lowest Since 2009

The Chicago Business Barometer recoiled 8.0 points to 47.6 in February following a sharp increase to 55.6 in the previous month, led by significant declines in Production and New Orders.

Four of the five Barometer components declined between January and February, with only Supplier Deliveries posting an increase on the month. While the latest fall left the Barometer running a little below the 12-month average of 50.1, following significant weakness in Q4 2015, activity looks set to rebound in Q1.

The Barometer’s decline was led by an 18.5 drop in Production, which completely reversed January’s near 16 point gain, pushing it back into contraction. New Orders also fell sharply and Order Backlogs slipped further into contraction, a situation that has persisted for a year. Employment also declined significantly, leaving it at the lowest since November 2009 and the fifth consecutive month below 50.

Predictions were for an expansionary reading of between 51.3 and 52.0. Oops.

The Barometer’s last 4 months have been 48.7, 42.9, 55.6 and today’s 47.6. It looks like January was a one-off, which would be consistent with the idea that seasonal adjustments (and yes, the report is seasonally adjusted) made the January data look stronger than it actually was, because this year’s winter weather wasn’t so rough.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022916)

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: Police Officer to Receive Award for Saving Toddler’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From San Diego, California:

February 27, 2015

San Diego Police Department Officer Robert Carlson will receive a special award for his service next month

A San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officer is receiving a special award next month for saving the life of a toddler in Logan Heights – a heroic act the girl’s mother will never forget.

In April 2015, Officer Robert Carlson responded to a 911 call involving an 18-month-old girl, Kendall Hidalgo, who was unconscious and not breathing.

Carlson arrived at the girl’s family home in Logan Heights almost immediately. The toddler was suffering from a violent seizure and had stopped breathing. Her face and lips were blue.

Carlson rendered first aid to the girl until paramedics arrived. Going above and beyond, the officer stayed with the family at the hospital until they knew Kendall would be okay.

Fast-forward one year later and Carlson has become a big part of the girl’s life – a life her mother says she owes to the officer.

“If it took him a minute more to get here, she wouldn’t have been here now,” said Kendall’s mother, Jessica Salas. “I was really grateful that he helped her. He saved my baby.”

Salas said she still gets tearful when she thinks about that fateful day.

Carlson said he’s very glad he was able to help. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

‘All Is Well’ Update

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:34 am

As of 1:30 this morning Eastern Time, China’s Shanghai stock market has officially dropped by over 50 percent from its high of 5,366.350 last June:

ShanghaiMkt022916

The 2016 Republican Presidential Campaign in a Nutshell

Filed under: Activism,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:07 am

Glenn Reynolds (for better or worse, and don’t believe anyone who thinks they know which one it is):

The GOP establishment has an almost-religious attachment to open immigration. It appears to be their only firm principle. It’s what led to Trump’s rise.

Exhibit A: The Wall Street Journal has never renounced its “There Shall Be Open Borders” stance originally taken during the mid-1980s.

February 28, 2016

Press Virtually Ignores Emotional Testimony of Fired Disney IT Worker

Two categories of news the press has studiously avoided during the Obama era came together this week, causing it to (in my view) proactively decide to ignore emotional congressional testimony which should have been front-page news almost everywhere.

The first is their virtually complete disinterest in reporting on congressional hearings. The list is longer than can be recounted here, but certainly includes Operation Fast & Furious, the IRS targeting scandal (now on Day 1,025) and implementation of Obamacare. The second is their reluctance to report any news casting the government’s handling of legal and illegal immigration in a bad light. Leo Perrero’s shocking testimony, which detailed the treatment of American IT workers at Disney who were replaced by lower-skilled foreign workers they were required to train, contained both elements. It was thus ripe to be ignored — and was.

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Vice-Chair Gabbard Resigns From DNC; AP Buries the News in a Timeline

The simmering feud between the Democratic Party establishment and leftists who believe that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has acted more like “Democrats Nominating Clinton” than a genuine political party presenting viable alternatives to Hillary Clinton, visibly erupted today.

This morning, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard resigned her position as Vice Chair at the DNC and immediately endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. Reuters jumped on the news quickly, and has a seven-paragraph story. The New York Times has also devoted a story to the matter. By contrast, the Associated Press posted a brief blurb in a running timeline at 9:55 this morning, and has reported nothing since, effectively burying the news so deep that almost no one will see it. Perhaps AP is awaiting word from either Team Clinton or the White House as to what they’re going to be allowed to report.

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Barely News: Dem Turnout in South Carolina Down Sharply from 2008

532,000 people voted in the South Carolina Democraticy Party presidential primary in 2008. In this year’s primary, completed yesterday, only 370,000 did. In the meantime, the state’s pool of eligible voters increased by about 8 percent.

Thus, turnout in this year’s Democratic primary in the Palmetto State, down by just over 30 percent in absolute terms, was down by about 35 percent on a population-adjusted basis. Beyond grudging, routine and non-specific recognitions of the decline, that’s barely news. Moreover, the fact that this result occurred in a state no Democratic Party candidate has won in 40 years and in a region Republicans have mostly swept during that time certainly can’t be allowed to distract from Hillary Clinton’s “sweeping victory.”

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Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022816)

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: Why this diocese is holding a 24 hour confess-a-thon

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Bismarch, North Dakota:

Feb 24, 2016 / 12:04 am

Priests will be available for confession throughout a special 24-hour period in the Diocese of Bismarck to help celebrate the Year of Mercy.

Bismarck’s Cathedral of the Holy Spirit will host “24 Hours of Mercy” on March 4-5. There will be Eucharistic adoration, as well as two priests at the cathedral each hour to hear confessions.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. Friday and end at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Fr. Nick Schneider, director of the diocese’s Office of Worship, discussed the event.

“Confession is a great gift from God, through which he gives us the assurance of mercy,” he said Feb. 8. “It’s a chance to receive this great gift of mercy together with many others over the course of a day.”

The event will also allow pilgrims to pass through the cathedral’s Holy Door of Mercy, which provides a plenary indulgence for those who are properly disposed. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 27, 2016

Obama Again Uses ‘Signing Statement’ Tactic He Promised Not to; Press Yawns

In August 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged, as paraphrased in a New York Times story, “not to use signing statements to undermine legislation passed by Congress,” and “called Mr. Bush’s frequent use of such statements an abuse of his power.”

On Wednesday, Obama issued another signing statement — there have now been over 30 during his presidential tenure — to put a thumb in Israel’s eye, and to give aid and comfort to the misguided international anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement. The establishment press is minimizing its exposure of Obama’s move, and, as usual, utterly failing to note Obama’s about-face on signing statements since he took office.

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WashPost’s Thiessen: Biden Blocked Federal Court Nominations in 1988 and 1992

Conservative and center-right columnists often have to do far more digging than their liberal counterparts, simply because overwhelmingly left-leaning beat journalists, aka “Democrats with bylines,” provide such unbalanced reporting on current events on a daily basis.

Fortunately, the Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen did the entirely necessary work of rummaging through available information about federal court nominations in 1988 and 1992. Any beat reporter could have done the same thing, but either didn’t, or decided not to report what was found. What Thiessen unearthed makes an argument-ending mockery of Vice President Joe Biden’s claim, made in a Monday evening tweet, that when he was then Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he “urged the Senate and White House to work together”:

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