May 31, 2016

Zoo Officials Around the Country …

Filed under: General — Tom @ 3:30 pm

… as a result of this incident in Cincinnati, should rethink the idea of not having animals in absolutely entry-proof cages, or at least behind fully human- and child-proof barriers, instead of in (an obviously far from human- and child-proof) “enclosure.”

Also agree with the estimable Warner Todd Huston on this (paraphrasing his graphic): “If you care more about the gorilla than the fact that a four year-old child is still alive, you’ve got a serious problem.”

Feinstein on ABC: Hillary ‘Broke No Law,’ and ‘Enough Is Enough’

Two NewsBusters posts on Sunday addressed Senator Dianne Feinstein’s This Week interview with ABC’s Jon Karl that morning. Nicholas Fondacaro noted the California Democrat’s insistence that Hillary Clinton rival Bernie Sanders should be “able to read the sign posts as well as anybody else,” and that “If he did that, he would know that it’s all but over.” Brad Wilmouth posted on the laughable excuse Feinstein made for Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private server, namely that “She wants to be able to communicate with husband, with daughter, with friends, and not have somebody looking over her shoulder into her emails.”

Feinstein’s most outrageous single statement during the interview was her talking-point repetition of what has clearly become Clinton defenders’ primary, clearly coordinated last-ditch lie about the contents of the State Department Inspector General’s report last week on her handling of job-related emails and her use of a home-brew private server while she was Secretary of State, namely that she supposedly “broke no law.”

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (053116)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:40 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: Video of cop caring for boy left in car wreck goes viral

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:35 am

From Los Angeles (video at link; HT Catholic News Agency, which has reported that the officer involved is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio):

May 18, 2016, 10:03 AM

Video of a Los Angeles police officer comforting a toddler who police say was left behind after a crash over the weekend has gone viral, CBS Los Angeles reports.

When LAPD Officer John Neal Cooke arrived on scene to the crash early Saturday morning, he thought it was just a typical hit-and-run: A vehicle had struck a fire hydrant that was spewing water.

“Witnesses tell us, ‘Hey, there was only one person involved, one car involved, and she went running down the street,’” he said.

But it turned out the crash was anything but typical when he said another officer checked the back seat and said, “You guys, there’s a baby in here.”

Police said the 2-year-old boy had been left by himself by his 27-year-old mother who crashed and then took off.

Video of how LAPD officers, including Cooke, calmed the scared child soon went viral.

“He was crying and reaching for me, so I mean it’s kind of just human nature,” he said.

In the clip, Cooke is seen patting the little boy on the back and giving him his bottle, something he says he’s used to in a big family.

“I’ve been taking care of kids since I was kid as they say,” he said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 30, 2016

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (053016)

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: The History of Memorial Day

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:55 am

From About.com (more background is at this link at usmemorialday.org):

It was 1866 and the United States was recovering from the long and bloody Civil War between the North and the South. Surviving soldiers came home, some with missing limbs, and all with stories to tell. Henry Welles, a drugstore owner in Waterloo, New York, heard the stories and had an idea. He suggested that all the shops in town close for one day to honor the soldiers who were killed in the Civil War and were buried in the Waterloo cemetery. On the morning of May 5, the townspeople placed flowers, wreaths and crosses on the graves of the Northern soldiers in the cemetery. At about the same time, Retired Major General Jonathan A. Logan planned another ceremony, this time for the soldiers who survived the war. He led the veterans through town to the cemetery to decorate their comrades’ graves with flags. It was not a happy celebration, but a memorial. The townspeople called it Decoration Day.

In Retired Major General Logan’s proclamation of Memorial Day, he declared:

“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country and during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”

The two ceremonies were joined in 1868, and northern states commemorated the day on May 30. The southern states commemorated their war dead on different days. Children read poems and sang civil war songs and veterans came to school wearing their medals and uniforms to tell students about the Civil War. Then the veterans marched through their home towns followed by the townspeople to the cemetery. They decorated graves and took photographs of soldiers next to American flags. Rifles were shot in the air as a salute to the northern soldiers who had given their lives to keep the United States together.

In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day and soldiers who had died in previous wars were honored as well. In the northern United States, it was designated a public holiday. In 1971, along with other holidays, President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday on the last Monday in May.

Cities all around the United States hold their own ceremonies on the last Monday in May to pay respect to the men and women who have died in wars or in the service of their country. …

Read additional history at the About.com link.

May 29, 2016

Chris Wallace to Adam Schiff: ‘We’re Done With’ Hillary’s ‘Colin Powell Did It’ Defense

On Fox News Sunday, in a segment comparing statements in the State Department Inspector General’s report with claims Hillary Clinton has made about her emails and use of a home-brew private server while she was Secretary of State, host Chris Wallace had to endure Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff’s obsessive insistence on bringing up former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who left office over 11 years ago, at seemingly every turn.

At one point in the Sunday morning segment, Wallace said, twice: “We’re done with Colin Powell,” and then told Schiff that “I would expect more from you,” clearly meaning, “I expected better.” But then, after quoting a section of the IG’s report noting that Powell was interviewed, while Mrs. Clinton, despite public assurances to the contrary, refused to cooperate with the investigation, Schiff basically said, “Aha, you brought up Powell!” Wallace’s final comeback was priceless: “You know what? I’m not going to vote for Colin Powell for president this time.” He did not give Schiff a chance to speak again — nor should he have.

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Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052916)

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: Man Pays It Forward by Donating $10,000 on Behalf of Woman Who Paid for His Groceries

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Smyrna, Georgia (HT Daryn Kagan):

Mar 10, 2016, 3:59 PM ET

Man Pays It Forward by Donating $10,000 on Behalf of Woman Who Paid for His Groceries

A modest Christmastime gesture of kindness that a Georgia woman made to a man who’d forgotten his wallet has come full circle to reward her in a big way.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Smyrna resident Tracy Warshal, 39, noticed the man behind her in line at an Aldi supermarket was shuffling around looking for his wallet, she told ABC News. Realizing he’d forgotten it, Warshal offered to pay for his $7 grocery bill.

“It would have been more of a headache for him to go out and find his wallet,” Warshal said.

Warshal called the act of kindness “instinctual” and said “anybody would have done it.” When the man asked for her name, she gave him her first name only. Then she told him “Merry Christmas” and walked out of the store, she recalled.

A few weeks into January, Warshal found out the man was looking for her when two representatives for The Piedmont Foundation visited her at work to inform her that he would like to make a $10,000 donation in her name.

Warshal, who works as a scheduling coordinator for the Piedmont Cancer Institute, an affiliate of Piedmont Healthcare, just happened to be wearing a T-shirt with “Piedmont” emblazoned on it the day she stopped at Aldi on her way home from work. That, and her first name, were the only thing the man had to go on, she said.

The man then contacted the Piedmont Healthcare’s Vice President of Philanthropy Mendal Bouknight to help track Warshal down and “thank her” for her gesture, Bouknight said in a statement.

“Tracy is an angel and proof that kindness and compassion are always inside you,” Bouknight said.

Warshal hasn’t interacted with the donor since the day she paid for his groceries, she said. He wished to remain anonymous, the foundation told her. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 28, 2016

At Just One Agency, ‘Scandal-Free’ Obama Admin Has Had a Molester, 20-Year Absentee, and Fake CIA Agent on Payroll

Saturday morning, Tom Johnson at NewsBusters called attention to how Paul Waldman at The Week crowed about the Obama administration’s supposedly scandal-free record consisting of “only piddling little scandalettes.” Waldman’s fever-swamp take is made even more hilarious by the fact that he considers George W. Bush’s “selling of the Iraq War” a genuine scandal. But somehow, President Barack Obama’s selling of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare — where even the reflexively leftist evaluators at Politifact labeled his core “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” promise the Lie of the Year in 2013 — must not be a scandal, or is at worst a “piddling little scandalette.”

Waldman, along with most of the establishment press, which has consistently ignored hundreds of examples of scandals and scandalous behavior during the Obama administration (more on that later in this post), surely won’t consider the “90 EPA employee misconduct cases pending” anything more than “piddling.” The rest of us in the real world will, so what follows are just a few of them, as described by Jacqueline Leo at The Fiscal Times on May 18.

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Positivity: Iraqi refugee children make First Communion in Erbil camp

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:38 pm

From Erbil, Iraq:

May 28, 2016 / 05:13 am

On Friday, the first of three rounds of displaced Iraqi children made their First Communion in a refugee camp in Erbil, providing a silver lining to an otherwise bleak situation.

Out of the 5,500 people living in Erbil’s Aishty 2 camp for the displaced, the majority – more than 2,000 – are children. Of these, 470 will make their First Communion in the coming weeks.

The number of children receiving the sacrament is up from last year’s class, which numbered about 400.

Since this year’s number of recipients is so high, the children have been divided into three groups. The first, numbering around 175, made their First Communion on Friday, May 27.

Next Friday, June 3, a second group of about 145 will receive the Eucharist, while the third and final group of about 150 will receive the sacrament Friday, June 10.

All of the children are from the Syriac-Catholic rite, and most fled the city of Qaraqosh, the former Christian capitol of Iraqi Kurdistan, with their families when ISIS militants attacked the night of Aug. 6, 2014.

The May 27 Mass for the first group was celebrated by Syriac-Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Yohanno Petros Moshe in the camp’s large, prefabricated church.

With a capacity for roughly 800 people, the church started out as a tent when the Christian refugees first poured into Erbil two years ago, asking for a place to pray. Now it serves as the main parish for the city’s Aishty camp, which is the largest in Erbil and is divided into three smaller camps: Aishty 1, 2 and 3. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052816)

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.

May 27, 2016

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052716)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:40 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.

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Planned Parenthood-supporting prosecution of David Daleiden in Houston blows up:

D.A. Admits Breaking the Law When Indicting Planned Parenthood Investigator David Daleiden

An attorney representing Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Josh Schaffer, has admitted that he pressured the Harris County District Attorney’s office to refocus a grand jury investigation away from his client and onto pro-life journalists David Daleiden and his associate, Sandra Merritt, of the Center for Medical Progress. Schaeffer also confessed that Assistant District Attorney Sunni Mitchell did an “end around” the State Attorney General Ken Paxton in order to share sealed video evidence with Planned Parenthood.

… Attorney General Paxton had instructed the Harris County DA’s office not to share evidence with Planned Parenthood – including CMP videos – that was obtained through the grand jury process.

It should be prosecutorial turnaround time — for both Schaffer and Planned Parenthood.

1Q16 Gross Domestic Product, Second Hard-to-Take-Seriously Estimate (052716)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:30 am

Original draft was posted at 12:30 a.m. Brought to the top after the government published revised data.

_________________________________

Predictions:

Coloring the entire enterprise to the point where it’s going to be hard to take anything we see today seriously, good or bad, is the fact that Census Bureau revisions completed recently (but after April’s first GDP estimate) knocked over $100 billion off of both manufacturing orders and shipments in 2014 and 2015, and that these changes will, as I understand it, not be reflected in official GDP figures until the first estimate for the second quarter on July 30. This item was alluded to for the capital expenditures element of durable goods only at Zero Hedge yesterday. A graphic containing the Census Bureau’s revisions to total manufacturing orders and shipments is here.

If the revisions just mentioned are incorporated into today’s GDP data, we’re going to see a significantly smaller dollar amount of GDP than we saw in the first release last month, even if the reported GDP percentage increase remains positive. But, as I noted, I don’t believe we’ll see this downward change incorporated into official GDP until July.

However, it may be that reported first-quarter growth will come down because it’s still “live” and subject to revision (including what the Census Bureau did to the first quarter — which, as best I can tell, was to reduce originally reported manufacturing orders and shipments by about $25 billion — while clearly overstated previous quarters won’t get revised until July 30. What the Census Bureau did has already been incorporated into its detailed tables for orders and shipments — and the numbers are really, really ugly.

It would appear, all other things being equal (which they probably aren’t), that the aforementioned revisions will ultimately reduce 2014 GDP by about 0.7 percent, taking that year’s growth down to about 1.7 percent by itself (again, there will surely be other revisions, so that’s not a prediction of the post-revision result), while leaving 2015 and year-to-date 2016 nearly unchanged.

The government’s report, for what it’s worth, will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (full text link):

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 0.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to the ”second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 1.4 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 0.5 percent. With the second estimate for the first quarter, the decrease in private inventory investment was smaller than previously estimated (see “Revisions” on page 2).

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily 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, exports, private inventory investment, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

I’ll have the comparison chart — again, for what relatively little it’s worth, based on the discussion of revisions to manufacturing data discussed above, shortly.

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UPDATE: Here it is —

GDPcomponentsThru1Q16at052716

The reduction in this quarter’s negative inventory change impact probably pushes it into second quarter — but inventory changes are also part of the Census Bureau revisions discussed earlier. The reduced negative impact of net exports was expected based on marginally improving trade data.

UPDATE 2: Zero Hedge

In summary, a report of little significance, and one which will not provide much clarity on the direction of the US economy, at least until the Q2 GDP print which, however, will not come until late July, and after the July FOMC meeting, which means the Fed will be flying blind if it is indeed set on hiking rates in June or July.

We’re all flying blind until late July, guys.

Katie Coward? ‘Individual’ Says She Regrets ‘Poor Decision’ in Editing Anti-Gun Film

Those poor, naive folks who have been expecting a mea culpa from Katie Couric for the deceptive insertion into her Under the Gun documentary of a long silence following a question directed at Virginia gun-rights supporters will be disappointed at what has transpired since the controversy arose.

As of Thursday afternoon, no one was genuinely apologizing for anything. Stephanie Soechtig, the film’s producer, employed a tired “I apologize if anyone was offended, but I didn’t mean any harm” excuse — garbage which the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, as Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted, should cause anyone using it to lose “their standing as professionals.” For her part, Couric issued a statement saying “I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.” Early Thursday evening, however, Couric appeared to move into damage-control mode, but in a way that should forever earn her the nickname “Katie Coward.”

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