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.


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.



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.


UPDATE: Here it is —


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.”


Positivity: Here’s what the next World Meeting of Families will focus on

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:05 am

From Vatican City:

May 25, 2016 / 12:11 pm

“The Gospel of family, joy for the world.” This is the theme for the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, and it is meant to emphasize the family’s role as a stabilizing force in society, said the local archbishop.

“The family is not just the object of the attention of the Church,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told journalists at a Vatican press briefing Tuesday.

Rather, he said, families have a “vital role” as “real protagonists of renewal and of the transmission of the faith to the coming generations.”

This was stressed at the recent Synods of Bishops on the Family, the archbishop said. Families are “active participants in the ministry of the Church,” through “the authenticity of their daily life in the family and in the home.”

He continued: “The World Meeting of Families must be an occasion to encourage and sustain families in this task.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.