April 30, 2016

Media Fail: Bloomberg News Goes After Contrarian Blog, Beclowns Itself

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:52 pm

That the establishment press despises New Media isn’t exactly breaking news, but a lesser-known subset of that tension has just become more visible. As usual, an Old Media outlet is the smear merchant, and the New Media site has the upper hand on the truth.

Mainstream business journalists really despise the financial and economics blogs which puncture the insufferable “the economy is just fine” meme the financial wires have relentlessly foisted on us during the past seven years. When leading contrarian blog Zero Hedge had a recent fallout among its top authors, Bloomberg News sensed a chance to vilify a site it has had to grudgingly recognize as a genuine competitor. Instead, the wire service committed the types of journalistic errors which explain why only six percent of Americans “say they have a lot of confidence in the media.”

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Positivity: Father Surprises Son as Captain of Flight Back from Deployment

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 2:00 pm

From Norfolk, Virginia (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan)

A soldier returning from deployment got quite a sweet surprise thanks to a clever plan from his father.

Capt. Mario Lopes, a Washington D.C.-based pilot with United Airlines, learned that his son, First Lt. Mario Lopes, was scheduled to return from Kuwait on April 14. When Lopes learned that there was an opportunity to pilot a military flight to Norfolk, Virginia, on the same day, he knew he had to seize it.

“I told my wife that this couldn’t be a coincidence,” Lopes said. “No one could confirm or deny if he would actually be a passenger on my aircraft, but I knew I had to take the chance and find out.”

When the day of the flight came, Lopes briefed the crew about his plan to surprise his son and asked for their help in distracting him.

“I gave my lead flight attendant Audrey a bag of Mario’s favorite cookies to distract him while I tried to sneak onboard,” Lopes told ABC News.

And then the moment arrived.

“It seemed like time was standing still; I was anxious, excited, and just could not believe that this opportunity was ahead of me,” Lopes said.

Once his son was on board and before the flight took off, Lopes made his entrance.

“I made my way behind him and asked, ‘First Lieutenant Lopes, what are you doing on my aircraft?’” Lopes told ABC News. “When he turned around we embraced for as long as I could hold him. I cannot express the emotions I felt holding my son after not seeing him for so long.”

The touching reunion was captured on camera and it’s something that Lopes said he will never forget. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (043016)

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.

April 29, 2016

Now He Tells Us: MarketWatch Writer Discovers That Presidential Candidates’ Political Posturing Affects the Economy

On Thursday, shortly after the government estimated that the economy only grew at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in this year’s first quarter, Jeffry Bartash at Marketwatch.com commented on the especially weak performance in nonresidential business investment.

That category subtracted 0.76 points from GDP, the worst result since the second quarter of 2009, during the recession. Bartash, presumably based on real discussions he’s had with real economists wrote: “Many economists doubt business investment will show much strength in 2016. A tepid global economic scene and a tumultuous U.S. presidential election marked by heavy anti-corporate rhetoric appears to have made business executives more cautious.” What? “Anti-corporate rhetoric” affects the decisions of entrepreneurs, investors and businesspeople? Who knew? I don’t recall anyone in the press blaming “anti-corporate rhetoric” for the economy’s struggles in 2008, when the criticism and actual threats to the corporate sector were going full-tilt.

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WashPost Writer: Cops Less Likely to Shoot Unarmed Black Vs. White Suspects

The Black Lives Matters folks and their enablers in the press won’t like this one bit.

On Wednesday, Washington Post writer Tom Jackman, at the paper’s True Crime blog, reported on a rigorous study of police behavior which found that, in his words, “even with white officers who do have racial biases, officers are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects.” Talk about busting a meme.

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (042916)

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: Benedictine nuns back at it again with a new album

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Kansas City, Missouri:

Apr 27, 2016 / 04:52 pm

A new album from the chart-topping community of Benedictine nuns in rural Missouri has an intimate selection of the songs they sing when they gather for Eucharistic Adoration at their monastery.

“We pray that the music on this album will contribute to a more profound belief, adoration, hope and love…in the Blessed Sacrament among many, many souls,” Mother Cecilia told CNA.

“This new album contains much of the music we sing for Eucharistic adoration,” she explained. “The Sisters gather for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every Sunday, Thursday, and Solemnity for just over an hour. As the priest first places Our Lord in the monstrance, we sing a hymn to greet Him.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

Here’s a link to the “Jesus My Lord, My God, My All” video.

Broke Socialist Paradise Venezuela Can’t Pay to Have Its Money Printed

Venezuela’s hyperinflationary economic crisis has gotten worse in one very important and apparently unprecedented sense than even the one seen in Weimar Germany in the 1920s. Yet the Associated Press and the New York Times apparently have no interest in telling their readers, listeners or viewers about it.

In the post-World War I German Weimar Republic, the situation became so out of control that people needed wheelbarrows to carry around the money they needed to pay for basic everyday purchases. A Bloomberg News story published early Wednesday morning, i.e., in plenty of time for the rest of the world’s press to notice the story by now, has a similar “wheelbarrows” reference to Venezuela’s crisis. But there’s more. Venezuela doesn’t even the money to pay to keep those wheelbarrows stocked with ever more worthless cash.

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April 28, 2016

Not News: Study Shows $4 Trillion in Annual GDP Growth Lost to Post-1980 Regs

The editorialists at Investor’s Business Daily have reported on the results of an important study by several George Mason University Mercatus Center economists showing what regulations have cost the economy in economic growth since 1980. The establishment press, which has been singularly uninterested in reporting anything that has to potential to slow the regulatory leviathan down — y’know, because its causes are so noble and righteous — is virtually ignoring the Mercatus study.

IBD tied the study’s findings into the “new normal” nonsense the “mainstream” economics community and most of the business press has been foisting on us since it became obvious about 6-1/2 years ago that the U.S. economy’s post-recession performance would likely be singularly underwhelming. What we’ve seen is the worst growth post-downturn economy by far since World War II.

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Positivity: Elderly man thwarts robbery; kills a suspect, wounds another

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Positivity — Tom @ 8:45 pm

From , West Virginia (HT Sons of Liberty):

April 19, 2016 at 6:30PM

An elderly man opened fire on three suspects who tried to force their way into and rob his home in Fairmont, killing one and sending another to the hospital late Monday, Fairmont Police said.

The 80-year-old man, whose name has not been released, told officers a young female approached his house in the 700 block of Gaston Avenue around midnight on Tuesday claiming that she needed to use his phone for an emergency.

Suspicious that someone would be knocking at the door, the man had concealed a pistol on his person before answering it. The man allowed the girl to come in when two men dressed in dark clothes forced their way inside the house, investigators said.

The suspects, later identified as Larry Shaver, 28, of Fairmont and John Grossklaus, 28, of Fairmont, threatened the victim with what appeared to be a handgun and demanded various items, according to Fairmont Police.

The elderly man then pulled out his own pistol and opened fire on the assailants. At least three rounds hit Shaver and Grossklaus.

Meanwhile, the female accomplice, identified as Whiteny Kabiru, 23, fled during chaos. She was apprehended a few hours later.

Police responding to the call found Shaver lying in the street with an apparent gunshot wound to the head and neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after medics arrived.

At this point in the investigation, investigators say it appears the man had reason to be believe his life was in danger and that his use of force was necessary to defend himself.

Go here for the rest of the story.

The elderly man is alive and the criminal is dead. That’s a positive.

1Q16 Gross Domestic Product, Advance Estimate (042816): Annual Rate of +0.5 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:34 am

Predictions:

  • Yahoo’s Economic Calendar has +0.6 percent for Briefing.com and +0.9 percent for “Markets.”
  • The Atlanta Fed moved up to +0.6 percent at the last minute yesterday, supposedly justified on the flash international trade report.
  • Moody’s high frequency model moved up to +0.5 percent at the last minute yesterday, with the same argument. (Moody’s spent 11 days at -0.1 without narrative explanation from April 15 to April 25.

I could not find a prediction at the Associated Press.

The release is here (full text report):

Real gross domestic product — the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 1.4 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3 and “Comparisons of Revisions to GDP” on page 4). The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 27, 2016.

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, exports, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected a larger decrease in nonresidential fixed investment, a deceleration in PCE, a downturn in federal government spending, an upturn in imports, and larger decreases in private inventory investment and in exports that were partly offset by an upturn in state and local government spending and an acceleration in residential fixed investment.

I’ll have components posted shortly.

UPDATE: Here’s the components breakdown —

GDPcomponentsThru1Q16at042816

Reactions:

  • Consumer spending on goods hit a wall.
  • The contribution to GDP of “Housing and Utilities” services (+0.26 points, part of “other” above) is hard to square with the mild winter and the Fed’s reported 1.5 percent combined first quarter decline in utilities production. The offset would be that rents went up substantially, which wouldn’t point to increasing living standards.
  • The fixed nonresidential investment decrement of -0.76 points is awful, and is likely about the worst we’ve seen since the recession officially ended in mid-2009. Update: Yep, it IS the worst figure since 2Q09, i.e., during the recession. Also, the positive 0.05-point contribution in computers and peripheral equipment is hard to square with the steep first-quarter PC sales declines reported elsehwhere.
  • The residential fixed investment contribution of +0.49 is hard to take, given the mediocre first-quarter results in starts, new-home sales and existing-home sales.
  • The net exports/imports decrement of -0.33 points is less negative than the -0.45 points the Atlanta Fed predicted it would be.
  • The inventory change decrement of -0.33 points is less negative than the 0.5 points Moody’s had been touting in previous narratives, though the actual annualized increase the government reported of $60.9 billion is very close to the $57 billion Moody’s predicted yesterday. But there have been plenty of reports telling us that inventories have been declining, so it’s hard to make sense of the inventory decrement being so low.

Overall, the points above argue for a gradual takedown on GDP in subsequent revisions to near zero. But we had similar situations in last quarter’s advance releases, and subsequent revisions went up, so who know any more?

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (042816)

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.

April 27, 2016

John Bolton: Obama Has Iran ‘On a Highway to Nuclear Weapons’

On Fox News shortly after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech today, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton evaluated what the GOP frontrunner had to say about Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

He also stated the inconvenient truth about the Obama administration’s nuclear “deal” with Iran, namely that it puts the jihad-driven, terrorist-funding, death-to-America nation “on a highway to nuclear weapons” — a reality that the Barack Obama-defending press simply won’t admit, at least partially because elements of the press, particularly alleged “journalists” at the Associated Press, helped clear the route for that highway:

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AP Story on Calif. Anti-Trump Violence Explains Why So Few Trust the Media

An April 17 Associated Press story reported that “Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media.” AP writers Carole Feldman and Emily Swanson complained that “perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, fueled in part by Americans’ skepticism about what they read on social media.”

In a later paragraph, they confessed that “The poll shows that accuracy clearly is the most important component of trust.” This is where the AP and the establishment press contantly fails their readers, listeners and viewers. As seem after the jump, an unbylined Wednesday morning AP report quite obviously and deliberately waited four paragraphs to reveal who did the pepper-spaying at a council meeting in Anaheim, California where the subject was Donald Trump.

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Bloomberg Editor, As ‘Microscopic’ GDP Growth Looms: Lower Your Expectations

Just in time for tomorrow’s first-quarter economic growth announcement from the government, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Economics Editor is telling readers: “Don’t Sweat America’s Upcoming Microscopic GDP Growth.”

Besides, Peter Coy writes, people need to get used to the supposedly inescapable fact that “Normal growth for the U.S. economy is just a lot lower than it used to be.” Americans shouldn’t worry, even if tomorrow’s GDP figure shows a small contraction (perhaps indicating that Mr. Coy has been tipped to the fact that it will be). The key, the glib Mr. Coy contends, is to understand that “Happiness is all a matter of lowering expectations.”

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