March 31, 2017

Washington Post Won’t Tag Tim Kaine’s Smear in Opposing Gorsuch As False

Virginia Democratic Senator and former vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine announced on Thursday that he will oppose President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch. The smear Kaine has employed to justify his opposition has generated well-deserved criticism, especially in the Commonwealth. The Washington Post’s alleged fact-checking operation, however, has given him an unearned pass.


4Q16 Gross Domestic Product, Third Estimate (033017): An Annualized 2.1 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:21 am

Thursday’s release was the “final” estimate for the final full quarter of the Obama administration, though there will be a comprehensive revision in July which will likely affect the past three to five years of results, and at least in theory the government could change their estimates going back as many years as they feel necessary.

Predictions were for an annualized 2.0 percent, up from the 1.9 percent estimate in the initial and second estimates.

The actual result was 2.1 percent:

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter of 2016, real GDP increased 3.5 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 1.9 percent.

With this third estimate for the fourth quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains largely the same; personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased more than previously estimated.

Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 5.0 percent in the third. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 4.3 percent in the third quarter.

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

The deceleration in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected downturns in exports and in federal government spending, an acceleration in imports, and a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by accelerations in private inventory investment and in PCE, and upturns in residential fixed investment and in state and local government spending.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.2 percent, or $194.1 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $18,869.4 billion. In the third quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 5.0 percent, or $225.2 billion.

Updates to GDP

The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected upward revisions to PCE and to private inventory investment that were partly offset by downward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment and to exports. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised upward.

… Real GDP increased 1.6 percent in 2016 (that is, from the 2015 annual level to the 2016 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.6 percent in 2015

Here are the updated results for the past five quarters:


One could argue that the main drivers of the increase in GDP growth in the third estimate compared to the second (+0.35 points in personal consumption expenditures and 0.07 points in inventory increases) could have been the result of a Trump effect which encouraged consumers to spend a little more and businesses to build up their inventory stockpiles in anticipation of that improvement continuing. Whether there’s strong basis for that optimism remains to be seen.

Even with the change, growth in the fourth quarter was far slower than what was seen in the third, and 2016 full-year growth was far slower than seen in 2015. Anyone who doesn’t think we’re fortunate to have a change in presidential direction is suffering from serious delusions.

Positivity: Pence casts tiebreaking vote as Senate advances pro-life measure

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:47 am

From Washington:

Mar 30, 2017 / 03:27 pm

Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote in the Senate Thursday to advance a measure allowing states to once more have the freedom to avoid funding Planned Parenthood clinics with federal “family planning” grants.

The vote was “a victory for all Americans who don’t want to see their tax dollars subsidizing the abortion industry and its ghoulish trafficking in aborted baby’s organs,” Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association, stated on Thursday.

At issue is a rule created by the Obama administration last December which forbade states to withhold Title X “family planning” grants to Planned Parenthood clinics on account of the fact that they perform abortions. States had been instead looking to fund other health clinics.

On Thursday, the Senate was voting to advance a joint resolution of disapproval that already passed the House. It would cancel the HHS rule.

With Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) joining Democrats in opposing the repeal, the vote was evenly divided 50-50 before Pence broke the tie and voted for its advancement.

Go here for the rest of the story.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (033117)

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.

March 30, 2017

Media Burial of Rockville Rape Story Avoids Admitting High Cost of Illegal Immigration

National establishment media coverage the alleged Montgomery County, Maryland rape of a 14 year-old freshman at Rockville High School at the hands of two late-teen classmates in the U.S. illegally — a story which first drew national attention only because it became a White House press briefing topic — has been grudging from the start. Now it has virtually ceased, even though the incident is at least the second recent violent one at the school, even though the father of one of the two teens is also an illegal immigrant who is now under arrest, and even though school system spending on English for Speakers of Other Languages largely resulting from the County’s “sanctuary” status is spiraling out of control. Despite all of this, virtually no one in the press cares.


Judges Who Overturned Trump Travel Ban Used Non-Authoritative ‘Draft’ Document Leaked to AP

Two Associated Press reporters appear to have officially joined the “resistance.” In late February, the wire service released an “exclusive” covering a “draft” document leaked by someone in the Department of Homeland Security not reflecting the agency’s official position. In mid-March, two judges used that AP dispatch — while ignoring readily available contradictory and genuinely authoritative information, as well as inconvenient information in the “draft” document itself — to justify preventing President Donald Trump’s second attempt at a temporary travel ban involving six countries from taking effect.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (033017)

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: Mother Angelica was a ‘forerunner’ of the New Evangelization

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Rome:

Mar 27, 2017 / 12:02 am

A veteran Vatican official praised EWTN foundress Mother Angelica as a pioneer of the New Evangelization, saying the way in which the Church speaks to the men and women of today wouldn’t be the same without her influence.

“I think Mother Angelica was a New Evangelizer ante litterum (before her time),” Monsignor Graham Bell told CNA.

An official of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization who has spent around three decades in Rome, Msgr. Bell said that while St. John Paul II coined the phrase some 30 years ago, Mother Angelica had been an active player “long before.”

“She just fits into that so well, because why do we have the New Evangelization? Not because the Gospel is new – the Gospel is ever-new, but it’s also unchanging, and the ‘new’ in the New Evangelization is essentially seeking to find new languages with which to communicate the Gospel to the men and women of our time.”

Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation founded EWTN in 1981, and it has since become the largest religious media network in the world. She died March 27, 2016 after a lengthy struggle with the aftereffects of a stroke. She was 92 years-old.

Mother Angelica, Msgr. Bell said, was able to talk about even difficult or sensitive topics in a meaningful way that always brought people “back to the center, which is Christ.” …

Go here for the full interview with Msgr. Bell.

March 29, 2017

Fox’s Jeanine Pirro Exposes Appalling Results of 1982 Ruling on Public Education

CNN’ Brian Stelter angrily contends that the rape of a 14 year-old girl at Rockville High School in Montgomery County, Maryland on March 16 at the hands of two late-teen illegal immigrant freshman classmates should never have been a national story — and the fact that it is to an extent, despite obvious attempts to blackball it by the Big Three broadcast networks, is all Fox News’s fault.

The real question, which the public education establishment and their accomplices in the press don’t want anyone to ask, is this: What has happened in the nation’s schools during the past 35 years as a result of the Supreme Court’s 1982 Plyler vs. Doe decision, which opened the floodgates allowing children in this country illegally unlimited access to U.S. public education?


Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (032917)

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: How an American bishop became a Korean martyr

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Mar 26, 2017 / 08:01 am

Bishop Patrick James Byrne was born in the United States, but he died on a forced march in the harsh Korean snows under the watch of communist soldiers.

Now the Catholic bishops of South Korea are considering whether he should beatified among a group of Korean martyrs.

“Bishop Byrne is one of the unsung heroes of Maryknoll,” Father Raymond Finch, Superior General of the Maryknoll Society, told CNA. “We remember him as an example of a missioner who stayed at his post.”

March 28, 2017

NBC ‘Intelligence’ Reporter Describes London Terror Attack As ‘Small-Bore’

Shortly after Khalid Masood’s London March 22 terror attack outside the Palace of Westminster in London, NBC’s Ken Dilanian, “Intelligence and national security reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit,” tweeted: “I know it’s a big story, but every time we freak out about a small-bore terror attack we play into their hands.” This of course leaves one wondering where Dilanian, who has had a problem with wording in the past, draws the line between “small-bore” and “large-bore.” The fact an “intelligence” reporter thinks that the line is somewhere above the three known dead (later raised to 4) and 50 injured in London is hardly comforting.


LA Times Publishes Fact-Challenged Immigration Smear of Former Calif. Gov. Pete Wilson

The appearance of a March 23 portrayal of former California Governor Pete Wilson at the Los Angeles Times, though probably coincidental, is quite serendipitous. Six days after the alleged rape at a Maryland high school of a 14 year-old freshman girl at the hands of two late-teen classmates in the U.S. illegally, Times writer Mark Z. Barabak went after Wilson for his support of that state’s Proposition 187, a 1994 initiative passed overwhelmingly by voters, whose purpose “was to make immigrants residing in the country without legal permission ineligible for public benefits.”


AP Reporters Betray Breathtaking Obamacare Ignorance As They Crow Over GOP’s ‘Humiliating Failure’

This past weekend, Erica Werner and Alan Fram at the Associated Press had a good old time beating up on President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled House over their “humiliating failure” to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. In the process, though, the reporters, who have been covering Washington politics since the ACA’s inception, betrayed breathtaking ignorance of one of its basic principles, calling into question whether they have any genuine knowledge of the legislation the GOP tried and failed to repeal and replace.


Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (032817)

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.