August 31, 2016

AP’s Matt Lee Fails to Cite Kerry’s Plea For Less Media Coverage of Terrorism

Filed under: Economy,Lucid Links,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:45 pm

In Bangladesh on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry had a concern about media coverage of terrorism he felt he needed to communicate, namely that “the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much.” That would be a great thing, apparently, because then “People wouldn’t know what’s going on.” You can’t make this stuff up.

The dateline location at Diplomatic Writer Matt Lee’s August 29 story at the Associated Press on Kerry’s related speech indicates that he is accompanying the Kerry entourage on his current trip. Lee, who has acquired a reputation as a pesky questioner at State Department briefings in DC, failed to include Kerry’s media-related remark, obviously the most controversial element in his speech, in his report. This move by a veteran reporter at the nation’s de facto gatekeeping wire service likely influenced the three major broadcast networks, as Curtis Houck at NewsBusters noted Tuesday evening, to almost completely ignore Kerry’s remark in their recent newscasts.


August ADP Employment Report: 177K Private-Sector Jobs (Also See Conference Call Notes)

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:12 am

Predictions: 170,000 (markets) to 190,000 ( private-sector jobs added.

The report will be here at 8:15 a.m. I will be on the conference call which goes from 8:30 – 9:00.


Private-sector employment increased by 177,000 from July to August, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From the press release:

“Job growth in August was stable and consistent with levels from previous months as consumer conditions improve,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. “Continued strong growth in service-providing jobs is offset by weakness in goods-producing areas.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The American job machine continues to hum along. Job creation remains strong, with most industries and companies of all sizes adding solidly to their payrolls. The U.S. economy will soon be at full employment.”

Prior months:
- July is now 194K; it was 179K last month.
- June is now 171K; it was 176K last month, and was originally 172K.


MARK ZANDI, Moody’s Analytics — another month, another 177K jobs. Labor market is sturdy and strong. We need 85K to absorb growth in working-age population, meaning that unemployment and under-employment are declining.

Goods side is soft (const -2K and goods -6K). Job losses should wind down there pretty soon. Const may be weak because winter was warn. Mfg is trade-related softness.

Services side is strong. Large company job growth is good.

Solid growth in number of establishments – best since 2006, and is across the board, energy sector aside.

Expects BLS number on Friday to be about 185-190K, a good solid number if we get that. But initial August reports have traditionally been weak but have been revised up by 60-70K (slow reporting in that month, messing up the numbers, residual seasonality, recession seasonality still affecting). Also start dates for school have been changing. Thus 150K initially eventually revised up to 190K.

Switching gears to immigration: Two candidates have very different positions. Clinton is all-in and supports Gang of 8 legislation and expand legal immigrants.

Immigration is important to labor market. Pew Research estimates 5-6 million illegals in labor force. Also they will reduce consumption.

Qs. Producitivity messed up by stock options (????). Atlanta Fed’s wage-tracker weighting of different measures. Wage growth is accelerating pretty steadily. Caution putting too much weight on one measure.

Participation rate of working-age men has declined for a long time. Longer-running process. Jason Furman of CEA dissected the factors at work. Demand side issue but also supply side. More are staying at home. Wives working more, they’re working less. Lifestyle choice. Don’t need to work as much, and will instead work internittently. Or underground economy.

No substitution (used a landscaping company example). Immigrants are complementary workers, not substitutes. Based on CBO 2013. If you legalized the undocumented, they can take jobs better suited to their positions. (hurting productivity). Also, LEGAL immigration is better for productivity and risk-taking.

(Yours truly expressed disappointment in Zandi failing to disclose Clinton campaign contribution since he’s commenting on the candidates. Zandi acknowledged that, and that he’s a Democrat. I essentially said he should be disclosing that himself without my help.)

Chris Rugaber, AP — Is there a benefit from a growing population? Zandi: It’s a plus for entitlement programs. Important to compare us to other countries with declining pops which are running into big problems like Japan and Germany.

Chris Rugaber, on Fed rate change. Zandi: Diff between what they should do and what they will do. He thinks they should do it, but his sense is that they won’t unless it’s a fabulous number Friday, because they’re so risk-averse. They will in Sept. and won’t do again until Dec. plus four rate hikes next year.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (083116)

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.


6:50 a.m.: The lengthy treatment of something like this at a supposedly respectable, well-funded web site reportedly run by really smart people (just ask ‘em) has to be an indication that the culture has finally reached rock bottom.

Positivity: The miracle twins and the unknown hero

Filed under: Health Care,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Toronto and Kingston in Ontario, Canada (HT Good News Network):

August 18, 2016

How the anonymous liver donor who saved one of the Wagner girls became part of their family

Kris Chung walked through the front door of Toronto General Hospital at 7:00 a.m., as instructed. Over the next hour, while medical staff prepped him for surgery, every doctor who approached his bedside asked the same question: Are you absolutely sure about this? It is not too late to change your mind.

“I was very calm,” Kris recalls, more than a year removed from that April morning in 2015. “Honestly, I felt more nervous about walking into an exam than being wheeled into the operating room.”
A soldier-in-training, the 19-year-old assured the docs, again and again, he was good to go. By 8:00 a.m., the anaesthetic kicked in.

Across the street at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, four-year-old Binh Wagner was waiting for what Kris had come to give: a piece of his healthy liver. By then, Binh and her twin sister, Phuoc, had triggered countless headlines around the world, their story almost too heartbreaking to believe: both girls, adopted from a Vietnamese orphanage, needed life-saving liver transplants—but their dad, a perfect match, could donate to only one. (A portion of his liver had already gone to Phuoc, deemed the sicker of the two.)

Moved by the girls’ rarest of plights, more than 600 strangers volunteered to be the second donor, knowing full well they were signing up for major surgery, weeks of recovery, and complete anonymity. Kris was the chosen one, his identity known only to hospital staff and a few trusted others. In a medical drama that was so widely publicized, he was the unknown hero.

“I’d like to thank the donor,” said a tearful Michael Wagner, the girls’ Kingston, Ont., dad, at a post-surgery press conference. “They put their life on the line for someone they’ve never met, and changed our lives forever.” Beside him, his wife was crying, too. “I would like to say to the anonymous donor that you were in my thoughts as much as my daughter was in my thoughts,” Johanne Wagner said. “Thank you for your unselfishness.”

Today, 16 months later, the Wagners know exactly where to direct their eternal gratitude. Binh’s anonymous donor, it turned out, lived barely five minutes down the road, in the dorm at Kingston’s Royal Military College (RMC). …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 30, 2016

Why Almost No One in the Real World Believes That Overall U.S. Living Standards Have Improved

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 pm

From Zero Hedge:


Gosh, I wonder who controlled Congress during all of that seven-year period?

I wonder who was President during six of those seven years?

I wonder how much of that period includes the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy? (Answer: All but about five or six months.)

Fox’s Kilmeade: Obamacare Implosion ‘Most Underreported Story in the Country’

Tuesday morning, Fox Business’s Stuart Varney appeared on Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends program to discuss what he called the “terminal decline” in the financial viability and even availability of health plans being provided under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

Brian Kilmeade called it “the most under-reported major story in the country by far.” A Friday Investors Business Daily editorial described the situation as a “market meltdown,” and further noted that the Obama administration is putting a happy face on huge rate hikes by reassuring us that higher subsidies, i.e., more tax dollars, will cover the increases most customers see.


Writer Axed by HuffPo For Questioning Hillary’s Health Hits Back Hard

A once-frequent Huffington Post writer, David Seaman, has posted a video (HT Zero Hedge) indicating that the high-traffic lefty website has revoked his publishing access and deleted two recent articles, both of which, in his words, “mentioned Hillary Clinton’s health.”

Seaman has put up about 60 posts just since July 1. The website tells readers who click on his two Hilary health-related items — “Donald Trump Challenges Hillary Clinton To Health Records Duel” on August 28, and “Hillary Clinton’s Health Is Superb (Aside From Seizures, Lesions, Adrenaline Pens)” on August 26 — that “This post is no longer available on the Huffington Post.” Clicking through on about a half-dozen of the other listings in his post-July 1 archive indicates that Seaman’s other articles are still available.


Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (083016)

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: ‘I was sure that it was Mother Teresa who healed me’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Rimini, Italy:

Aug 30, 2016 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Brazilian man who received the miracle allowing for Mother Teresa’s canonization has shared his story, saying he and his wife were ordinary believers who received an extraordinary sign of God’s mercy.

“From the beginning, the diagnoses weren’t good and they seemed only worse. (But) from that moment, inside this great suffering, we understood that something had happened,” Marcilio Haddad Andrino said of his miraculous healing.

“I was sure that it was Mother Teresa who healed me.”

Andrino, who comes from Santos, Brazil, was healed through the intercession of Mother Teresa – the miracle that paved the way for her canonization, which is set for Sept. 4.

He spoke with journalists during the Aug. 19-25 annual Rimini Meeting in Italy alongside his wife Fernanda, who each shared their own perspective of Marcilio’s illness and miraculous healing.

Fernanda, sharing her perspective of her husband’s long, drawn-out illness, explained that Marcilio had been sick for two years and had seen countless doctors, but with no diagnosis.

“It was a wait full of anguish, because he was very sick for two years and we didn’t know what was wrong,” she said, explaining that the first attempt for treatment “was unsuccessful. So the doctor changed therapy, but Marcilio continued to deteriorate.”

She recalled how it wasn’t until Marcilio was hospitalized in October 2008 that they finally received their answer.

After running a series of tests “the doctor looked at the exam and, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, understood that Marcilio had eight brain abscesses,” she said.

“We always prayed to Mother Teresa,” she said, noting that her parish priest had given her a relic of Mother Teresa before the couple got married.

“I put the relic on Marcilio’s head, where he had the abscesses. I recited the prayer of beatification and also what came from my heart,” she said, noting that “it wasn’t easy, but this period enriched me a lot, it enriched our love, our faith … today I can say it was worth it.”

Marcilio, speaking of the moment he was healed, said he woke up Dec. 9, 2008, just a few months after he was diagnosed, with an “unbearable” headache that left him unable to speak, and asked his wife to pray for him.

“From that moment many doctors came to visit me and found that my situation was very serious,” he said, explaining that he was eventually taken to the hospital and prepped for surgery.

However, Marcilio said he never made it in. Instead, he awoke inside the operating room with “a great peace inside me and I no longer had the headache. I didn’t understand what was happening to me.”

The doctors, he said, told him that since he was feeling better they were going to move him to intensive care and put off the surgery until the next day.

Marcilio said he slept through the night without any problems, and that when he met with the doctor the next day, was told to return to his room if the headache still hadn’t come back.

Upon returning to the room “I learned that the abscesses were greatly reduced, just as the hydrocephalus,” Marcilio said, referring to the medical term for the abnormal build-up of fluid in the skull, causing the brain to swell. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 29, 2016

Press Reports Kaepernick’s ‘Openly Racist’ Trump Slam, Ignores His ‘Prison’ Comment on Hillary

Those who continue to bitterly cling to the notion that the press is fair and balanced won’t be able to explain this one away.

In covering Colin Kaepernick’s Sunday comments about his decision to sit through the National Anthem just before the beginning of National Football League games, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback called GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump “openly racist.” He immediately followed by stating that “any other person” would “be in prison” for having “done (the) things illegally” that Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton has done. The press has frequently mentioned what Kaepernick said about Trump, but has almost completely ignored what he said about Mrs. Clinton.


Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski Announces She Can’t Be Objective About Trump (We Knew Already, Ma’am)

In what must be at least the twentieth media installment of “I can’t be objective about this,” MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski brought out her death stare as she reacted on Friday’s Morning Joe show to Donald Trump’s characterization of Hillary Clinton as a bigot — after several months during which Mrs. Clinton, her campaign and the press (but I repeat myself) have routinely called Trump or his rhetoric “racist.” Apparently unaware that we heard her the first time, Brzezinski addressed Mr. Trump as if there, saying “You have no idea” three separate times, and also said, “I can’t pretend and sort of try to cover this fairly and put it in a veil of objectivity.” Why don’t you tell us something we didn’t already know, ma’am?

The clueless one is Brzezinski if she really believes that Trump’s observations about what 50 years of Democratic Party “compassion” have done to America’s inner cities are off-base, or if she really believes that Hillary Clinton won’t be thrilled to accept another four or more years of lost opportunity, shattered dreams and lost lives there by making promises she has no intention of keeping in the name of getting elected.


Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (082916)

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: Scherlen kids surprised with police escort on first day of school

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Amarillo, Texas (HT Good News Network), where police officer Justin Scherlen died earlier this month, 11 months after his vehicle was struck “during the performance of his official duties”:


For Jessica Scherlen it’s a year of firsts.

“It’s a really emotional time,” Scherlen said.

Her son Jackson is starting Pre-K and it’s the first year the kids won’t have their dad there to see them on the big day.

“I’d give it all back just to have Justin here with his son,” said Officer Daniel Smith. “At least we can be here for him and let Jackson know that he always has someone to call on.”

A sea of police officers showed up to walk Jackson into Coronado Elementary to wish him luck and hug him goodbye.

“He was shocked when we first showed up and saw everything,” Scherlen said.

As Scherlen looked at her grown up four-year-old with his dad’s eyes, she said she’d do anything to have him here for the first day.

“I think his daddy would be very proud of how his brothers and sisters have stepped up to be here for his kids,” Scherlen said.

It wasn’t just emotional for the family, spending the afternoon with Justin’s two youngest sons brings back memories of their friend who passed away two weeks ago after complications following an on-duty crash.

“He was always so kind to everyone,” said Carla Burr. “Even this last year when he was in so much pain and not even able to walk on his own sometimes, he would always ask what he could do for you. Constantly checking in on people.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 28, 2016

What Really Drove Target’s Single-Stall Bathroom Move: Falling Store Traffic

When Target Stores reported results for its second-quarter, which ended on July 31, on August 17, the Associated Press’s Anne D’Innocenzio told readers that “Sales at stores open at least a year fell 1.1 percent, reversing seven straight quarters of gains,” and that “Customer traffic fell for the first time in a year and a half.”

What could have caused such a stark reversal, especially in light of the fact that the next day, larger arch rival Wal-Mart reported, as seen in the Wall Street Journal, that “sales at established stores up for the eighth consecutive quarter and more shoppers visiting for the seventh period (i.e., quarter) in a row”? The AP’s D’Innocenzio dutifully relayed a statement from Target’s chief financial officer in Paragraph 17 of her 19-paragraph report that “the impact of the bathroom issue has ‘really not been material.’” Balderdash.


Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (082816)

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.