August 31, 2017

People.com Claims Black KC Serial Killer Suspect Shot White Victims ‘At Random’

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 4:38 pm

Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the fact that the Fredrick Scott alleged multiple-murder story is not a major national news item yet is to a degree understandable. But there are already signs the the establishment press doesn’t want to give this ugly saga the attention it deserves. Despite the fact that Scott is alleged to have made a threat to “kill all white people” in 2014 and that the known Kansas City trail murder victims (two on which murder charges have been filed, and three of which police believe may also be tied to Scott) were all white, the headline at People.com’s coverage of the story is: “Suspect in 5 Kansas City Killings Allegedly Shot Men at Random While Walking Their Dogs.” Yeah, “at random.”

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (083117)

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: Gale Sayers’ Inspiring 1970 Speech Honoring Brian Piccolo

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

True stories like this one from over 45 years ago should fill anyone and everyone in America who is currently engaging in any form of genuinely racist behavior with shame — and I think it happens to be the perfect time to shame them all:

“I Love Brian Piccolo….”

Brian’s Song was loosely based on Chicago Bear’s running back Gale Sayers autobiography and documented Sayer’s relationship with fellow player Brian Piccolo. The film stars Billy Dee Williams as Sayers, and James Caan as Piccolo. Several actual Chicago Bears players also appear on film.

Sayers and Piccolo were fast friends in a time when black and white didn’t mix so well together. It was a racially charged time when even in the National Football League, roommates were usually segregated by color. During most of their time together, Sayers and Piccolo despite both being in the running backs category, were the only mixed roommates on the team. Not even Sayers’ status as a “premiere” running back to Piccolo’s back up could separate the two friends. Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Any real Bears fan says it like peanut butter and jelly.

Brian Piccolo was never drafted by the NFL as a player, he was undersized for a running back and as a result Piccolo had to make the Chicago Bears football team as a walk on, then assigned to the practice squad. That meant suiting up, playing just as hard, if not harder, and preparing the team for the upcoming opponent, yet never being able to suit up for game day. So determined was Piccolo, he eventually made his way to a full squad member and although there was never any question that Sayers was the number one running back on the team, Piccolo would eventually be the starting fullback, blocking and picking up ground in short yardage situations.

Piccolo’s work ethic was superb which is why on November 16th, 1969, when Piccolo pulled himself voluntarily from the game, more than a few eyebrows were raised. Upon examination, Piccolo was diagnosed with embryonal cell carcinoma. Surgery would only prolong the inevitable, and Piccolo would pass away six months later at the age of 26, leaving behind a wife and three daughters. He would also leave behind a legacy that would pass down to fans that never watched Piccolo play, thanks in part to Sayers.

Gale Sayers was selected in 1970 as the NFL’s Most Courageous Player, where he would give one of the sporting world’s greatest speeches, telling the crowd that they had chosen the wrong man, and he would only accept it on Brian Piccolo’s behalf (the scene is from the Brian’s Song movie):

August 30, 2017

Press Misreports Feinstein’s Trump-Hopeful Comments, Crowd’s Reaction

In an interview in front of a predominantly liberal audience Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, 84, who has held that office for 25 years and has announced no current plan to retire, said of President Donald Trump: “This man is going to be president most likely for the rest of this term. I just hope he has the ability to learn and to change. And if he does, he can be a good president. That’s my hope.” Though the video of the event contains some audible jeering at the end of that statement, the press coverage of her appearance has been wildly inconsistent and has vastly exaggerated the immediate negative audience reaction.

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The New York Times Botched Direct Quotes At Least Five Times in August Alone

As Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted in an August 24 post about the reckless smear of Sarah Palin in the New York Times after unhinged leftist James T. Hodgkinson shot and nearly killed Congressman Steve Scalise in June, the paper’s latest ad campaign insists that “The truth is hard to know,” that “The truth is hard to find,” and that “The truth is now more important than ever.” Those first two claims of difficulty should not apply in this day and age when you’re quoting what someone actually said. Despite the obvious ease of that task, the Times has misquoted President Donald Trump, using quote marks, at least five times during the month of August alone.

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2Q17 Gross Domestic Product Revised up to an Annualized 3.0 Percent from 2.6 Pct. (vs. Consensus Expectations of 2.7 Pct.

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:49 am

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis (full text release with tables):

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the second quarter of 2017 (table 1), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 1.2 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 2.6 percent. With this second estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same; increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and in nonresidential fixed investment were larger than previously estimated. These increases were partly offset by a larger decrease in state and local government spending.

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

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

My comparative table will go up shortly.

UPDATE: Here it is —

GDPcomponentsThru2Q17at083017

Concerning the highlighted areas above:

  • The increased personal spending on goods was very helpful, and seems in sync with the increases in industrial production and employment.
  • The reduction in health care spending accompanied by the “other services” increases likely reflects the idea that consumers are tapped out in being able to spend their own money on health care, and are getting socked hard by Obamacare- and employer plan-driven increases.
  • The improvement in fixed nonresidential investment was nice, but needs to get even better in next month’s revision and future quarters.
  • State and local governments are finally running into a spending wall  and (many years too late) being forced to deal with it. As this plays out in mostly-blue states, it won’t be pretty.

After last month’s initial release, I noted the following:

It may be that the next two revisions will be positive, given that recent information on durable goods and the recent pattern of upward revisions to previous months’ retail sales data.

I can’t speak to durable goods, but there have been significant (and, I would argue, possibly suspicious) upward revisions to May’s and June’s retail sales (May, from an original -0.3 percent to a current 0.0 percent; June, from an original -0.2 percent to a current +0.3 percent).

These revisions may seem minor, but they have a big-dollar impact on reported GDP, as seen in the increase spending on goods seen above, which, along with fixed investment, was the main influence driving the upward revision to GDP.

OVERALL: Today’s annualized 3.0 percent is the highest quarterly result since 1Q15, and was exceeded during the Obama administration only 8 times in 32 quarters. Today’s upward result is okay, and beats the alternative, but it’s not a cause for excessive celebration (and it’s a relief that President Tweet, er, Trump, is not excessively celebrating — at least not yet).

August 2017 ADP Employment Report (With Conference Call Notes): 237K Private-Sector Jobs Added, June and July Revised up by 57K vs. Original Releases

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:02 am

Prediction: Yahoo’s economic calendar: 185,000 private-sector jobs added.

HERE IT IS, an expectations-smasher:

Private-sector employment increased by 237,000 from July to August, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From the press release:

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The job market continues to power forward. Job creation is strong across nearly all industries, company sizes. Mounting labor shortages are set to get much worse. The initial BLS employment estimate is often very weak in August due to measurement problems, and is subsequently revised higher. The ADP number is not impacted by those problems.”

Prior months:

  • July — was 178k, now 201k
  • June — originally 158K when released, now 192K

Conference call notes:

MARK ZANDI: Another impressive report. Very broad-based. Goods-producing was very strong (+33K, consisting of +16K manufacturing, +18K construction, and -1K mining). Underlying job growth is strong.

August BLS numbers might not conform, but its history is one of initial weakness revised upwards. Why? Response rate from large companies is lower because of low large-company responses, making data incomplete. ADP survey is more representative of companies out there, while BLS tends to be biased towards larger companies.

Expects significantly softer BLS by 50K-100K on September 2 (this Friday).

No significant headwinds right now, vs. 2009-2012 deleveraging, then European debt crisis, fiscal austerity during 2011-2013 and shutdowns hurt (fiscal brinksmanship), collapse in oil prices, China issues.

Since early 2016, things have stabilized, and there are no significant headwinds. (no mention of deregulation?)

Debt limit discussions loom as a potential problem.

Job growth will slow. We’re pretty darned close to full employment. Underlying labor force growth is less than 100K. So prepare for 100K per month results sometime down the road.

Expects construction worker shortage in Texas because that sector is already tight on workers.

Predicts Harvey will not have a meaningful impact on national jobs data (10K-20K in a few months).

QUESTIONS: ME on full employment when so many states are in the low 3 percent range — ANSWER: Be very careful on individual states. States like WI, IN and IA with low-3 rates are rural, and when jobs disappear, people just move. (Huh?) Still thinks full employment is 4-plus percent nationally (despite claiming it was 5.5 percent three years ago because of permanent damage to the economy caused by the recession).

“Patricia” from Bloomberg: Wage pickups, trade, BLS downward August bias. ANSWERS: BLS has problems with August since the recession. Very weak initially, but gets revised higher. What drives it is debatable. It may be residual seasonality, schools are all starting earlier every year, can’t totally figure it out. Wage growth is picking up. Employment cost index is slowly accelerating. But wage growth won’t end up being as strong as in past because productivity growth and inflation are lower than we’ve seen historically. We should mark down our expectations of wage growth that is considered acceptable.

Aging of population is weighing on productivity and wage growth. We’re going to see slow productivity and wage growth for some time.

Richard Leon from Reuters: Harvey effect, 10-20K job mostly temporary? ANSWER: More construction, landscaping, utilities, engineering, anything related to rebuilding. It may take longer for reconstruction to kick in because of labor shortages. Historically have relied on immigrants to address such market tightness, especially in Texas, which they won’t be able to do this time. (?!!? Expect that to become a media meme if reconstruction has any kind of hiccups.)

FOLLOW-UP Q on unemployment claims: That will likely be lower at first because govt. offices are closed during hurricane, then an upward blip for a while, but then should settle down. Maybe some disruption to industrial production, particularly mining, and perhaps vehicle sales and production (followed by a significant catch-up effect). Oil price disruption may occur, shouldn’t be significant or long-lasting.

SUMMARY: ADP says the economy has added 1.783 million seasonally-adjusted private-sector jobs this year through August. The government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 1.231 million such jobs through July. That’s a stunning 582,000-job gap BLS would have to report on Friday if it were to fully catch up with ADP.

Zandi’s reasoning on historical initial and revised BLS data during August has historical support. More broadly, though, given the huge job gap (284K if comparing ADP to BLS through July, which is still clearly significant), there are three possibilities:

  1. ADP is overstating its numbers (doesn’t seem likely, and Zandi claimed that ADP’s company universe is really more representative than BLS’s).
  2. BLS is understating its numbers, and will catch up to ADP in the next few months.
  3. (sorry, I have to raise this, but it’s a legitimate possibility) BLS, whose former head was a hard-leftist and likely hired a lot of hard-leftists who are still there, is deliberately sitting on upward-revising data it already has which it won’t allow to become official until early next year’s usually under-publicized comprehensive revision.

I think there’s reason to believe that Friday’s BLS number will see an upside surprise, but we’ll just have to see.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (083017)

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: EWTN launches studio at Walsingham shrine in England

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Norwich, England:

Aug 29, 2017 / 02:24 pm

On Tuesday EWTN opened its first studio and office in the U.K. at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, emphasizing its role in supporting the Church’s evangelization in the region.

In an Aug. 29 statement on the studio launch, EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael P. Warsaw called the opening of the facility “a particularly important” step for the network’s continued development in the U.K.

The new studio, he said, “will allow us to greatly expand our capacity to produce programming for our European channels as well as to more easily incorporate content from the U.K. into our other channels around the world.”

He said it’s appropriate that the new studio sits just steps away from the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, which annually draws hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the U.K. and the world, and which for centuries “has been one of the most important centers of Catholicism in Britain.”

With such strong pilgrim activity, Warsaw said he is “very happy that EWTN now has a presence in this extraordinary place and can share what happens here with our audience around the globe.”

Located in a converted house in the village of Walsingham, about 30 miles northwest of Norwich, the studio includes a street-level reception area and welcome center for visitors, where pilgrims can watch clips of EWTN’s most popular television shows, films, and documentaries. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 29, 2017

Not News: Kansas Under Sam Brownback Vastly Cuts Welfare Rolls

Since Republican Sam Brownback became the Governor of Kansas, the press has been salivating at the opportunity to declare his fiscally conservative policies a failure, to the point where they believe that their failure is an undisputed truth. Really? If they’re such a failure, why have the welfare rolls in The Sunflower State declined by a reported 78 percent, and why have those who have been moved off the welfare rolls into the world of productive work been so financially successful?

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Positivity: Oldest Latin commentary on the Gospels rediscovered, translated

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:00 pm

From Birmingham, England:

Aug 29, 2017 / 06:02 am

Missing for more than 1,500 years, the earliest known Latin commentary on the Gospels has been rediscovered at the Cologne Cathedral Library and was published in English this week.

The biblical commentary, penned by the fourth century Italian bishop Fortunatianus of Aquileia, was originally rediscovered in 2012 by Dr. Lukas Dorfbauer, a researcher from the University of Salzburg.

Fortunatianus’ manuscript was widely known to have existed, although many scholars believed it had either been destroyed or permanently lost. St. Jerome had also pointed to the existence of this commentary in his work, Lives of Famous Men.

Dorfbauer found the 100-page document in an unmarked manuscript dating back to about 800 at the Cologne Cathedral Library, which had been digitized in 2002. While other scholars were aware of the document, the majority of its biblical content was overlooked.

But Dorfbauer’s curiosity persisted, and he further researched the manuscript to find that it was not just an anonymous document, but rather seemed to date back further than the ninth century.

He began to take notes on the document and cross-checked some of its contents with St. Jerome’s writings on Fortunatianus in the fourth century.

“I was able to compare the biblical quotations in the Cologne manuscript with our extensive databases,” said Dr. Hugh Houghton, the Deputy Director at the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE) at the University of Birmingham.

“Parallels with texts circulating in northern Italy in the middle of the 4th century offered a perfect fit with the context of Fortunatianus,” he said, according to the Conversation.

Digital technology was then enlisted from the University of Birmingham’s ITSEE department. Dr. Houghton, a specialist in the Latin New Testament, began to pull quotes from the rediscovered manuscript and compared it with other 4th century texts by using the university’s mega database.

He used a methodology for analyzing the text and found that the comparison “seemed to preserve the original form of Fortunatianus’ groundbreaking work.”

“Such a discovery is of considerable significance to our understanding of the development of Latin biblical interpretation, which went on to play such an important part in the development of Western thought and literature,” Houghton said.

The rediscovered Latin commentary from Fortunatianus now replaces the Vulgate as the earliest known Latin commentary of the Gospels. The Vulgate was translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Latin by St. Jerome between 382-405, and was known as the earliest form of written Latin commentary of the Gospels.

The 160-chapter commentary mainly focuses on the Gospel of Matthew, but also includes brief references to the gospels of Mark, Luke and John. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

AP, NY Times Have Ignored Dem IT Scandal For Over a Month

Since Imran Awan’s arrest in late July, the Daily Caller has published roughly two dozen follow-up stories on various aspects of the scandal involving the longtime rogue Democrat IT staffer and his inexplicably enriched family members. The Associated Press and the New York Times have published nothing since July 28.

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (082917)

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.

August 28, 2017

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (082817)

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.

God Bless Jim Brown

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Let’s be clear here: I have not always been Jim Brown’s biggest fan.

His decision to retire before the 1966 season was rash and related to a movie career which could have waited a year or two (to be fair, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, perhaps the worst NFL owner in history, brought things to a head when he didn’t have to, so the blame is clearly 50-50.)

His post-football life had some domestic violence issues which would have caused him far more troubles in today’s legal environment, and from all appearances justifiably so.

All of that said, Brown appears to have tried to live an exemplary life during the past 15 years, and has served the team as its executive advisor and special adviser since 2008.

There is no point in disputing the fact that he was and remains the greatest NFL running back ever, that he has a slew of records which haven’t been broken in the 52 years since he retired, and that many of them probably won’t be broken for many, many years — if ever.

Obviously, he should command the respect of all NFL players when he says, of players who won’t respect the National Anthem during its playing, “Do not disrespect your country, do not disrespect the flag.”

At least we know that the Browns’ players respect him:

Five days before the Browns Saturday night preseason tilt against the Buccaneers, twelve Browns players protested the two-minute playing of the national anthem. Fast-forward five days, to yesterday, and zero Browns players protested the national anthem. What do all these numbers add up to?

Don’t mess with Jim Brown, that’s what they add up to.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Brown addressed the team and told them, “Do not disrespect your country, do not disrespect the flag.”

From my perspective, Jim Brown’s move, and the Browns players’ reactions, saved the NFL season. The previous week’s antics by members of a team which went 1-15 last year caused me to decide to try to not watch a single minute of a single game this year. I suspect I was not alone in that assessment. I’m not a glued-to-the-tube fan, but at least I’ll be paying attention and watching occasional games now.

Now it’s not as if there aren’t still several spoiled-brat, historically ignorant players present on other teams throughout the league, but the Browns players’ move threatened to grow into a “they’ve completely lost their minds” tipping point which was going to make these antics regular, high-participation events throughout the league — maybe even to the point where those NOT participating were going to start feeling intense pressure to conform.

I hope I’m right that Jim Brown appears to have kept the problem from getting out of control. He had Hall of Fame moves as a player. This week, he showed that he still has some.