September 30, 2017

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (093017)

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: New boys’ choir CD explores rich music of Mary

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From :

Sep 27, 2017 / 06:03 am

Boys’ choirs have been a tradition in the Catholic Church since the Middle Ages, when men and women did not sing together in public, and boys’ higher-pitched voices were needed to round out the sound of sacred music used at Mass.

Today, the United States is home to just one Catholic boys’ choir school – St. Paul’s choir school in Cambridge, Mass. The school is open to boys in 4th-8th grade, who must audition to earn a spot in the renowned and rigorous program.

Having celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2013, and having produced their first CD, “Christmas in Harvard Square” in 2014, the school has enjoyed a recent uptick in interest and awareness of both their program and music.

Given the success of their first CD, the group decided to produce another CD entitled “Ave Maria,” with a wide variety of sacred music centered on the theme of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was released on Sept. 8, the feast of the Nativity of Mary.

“(We) wanted to do something that would be ‘in season’ all year round, so something that honors Our Lady seemed like the perfect choice,” choirmaster John Robinson told CNA in e-mail comments.

“There is such an amazing richness of music that honors Our Lady,” he said. “Because Mary is so central to everything we believe, we felt that music that honors her can also show certain devotional aspects of other themes as well, so the recording has a wide range of subject matter.”

The 18 tracks selected for the CD cover a range of lesser-known as well as more popular pieces of sacred music, from Gregorian chant written in the 7th century to works written as recently as the 19th and 20th centuries.

The boys in the choir school have a small window of time to capitalize on their young voices – the younger boys in 4th and 5th grade go through a practice phase before joining the older choristers, usually around 6th grade. …

Gp here for the rest of the story.

September 29, 2017

Nick Kristof Channels Walter Duranty in Instagrams From North Korea

On Wednesday, I criticized Helen Gao at the New York Times for praising the “emancipation of women” in China under communist tyrant Mao Ze Dong. I also noted that in 2005, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof had engaged in similar “Mao was not all that bad” argumentation while reviewing a book conclusively showing that the death toll under Mao was over 70 million. Little did I know that Kristof was about to embark on a trip to North Korea, where he would channel his paper’s Pulitzer-winning Walter Duranty, who told the world in the 1930s that Josef Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians wasn’t happening.


Crowder Exposes Media’s Refusal to Report Antifa Violence and Tactics

The proactive, preemptive violence of so-called anti-fascists, aka “antifas,” a group whose outlook and actions fit the true definition of fascism, has gotten very light media exposure. It’s fair to say that one big reason for this is the establishment press’s reluctance to recognize or even report their violent and intricately planned attacks. A months-long undercover investigation by Steven Crowder and his producer found ample evidence of antifas’ premeditated determination to commit violence against those who merely express views they don’t like. He also showed that local and national journalists deliberately walked away from the evidence he presented and have refused to recognize his work, even when corroborated in the presence of law enforcement authorities.


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092917)

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: Deshaun Watson gives first game check to Hurricane Harvey victims

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Houston (video at link; HT Powerline):

September 28, 2017

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has made a strong impression on the field early in his rookie season. But Watson may have made his best pass this week, when he donated his first game check to help three women who work in the team’s cafeteria.

The women lost all their possessions in the floods that devastated Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last month.

The Texans captured the moment Watson handing over the game check, worth just over $27,000, to the women.

“Anything else y’all need, I’m always here to help,” Watson told the women.

Go here for the rest of the story.

September 28, 2017

AP Tries to Pretend Convicted, Resigned Paterson, NJ Mayor Isn’t a Dem

Mayor Joey Torres of Paterson, New Jersey, that state’s third-largest city and a Democrat, pled guilty to corruption charges on Monday after leaving office the previous Friday. According to a USA Today affiliate, Torres and three supervisors in the city’s public works department “pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree conspiracy on Friday for directing Paterson employees to perform work at a private warehouse leased by his daughter and nephew.” References to Torres’s party have either been deeply buried in related stories, not present at all. In one comical instance at the Associated Press (where else?), readers were given the impression that Torres only became corrupt after regaining the mayor’s office as an “independent” in 2014.


2Q16 Gross Domestic Product, 3rd Estimate: An Annualized 3.1 Percent, Up From Previous 3.0 Pct.

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:40 am

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

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the second quarter of 2017, according to the “third” 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 “second” estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.0 percent.

With this third estimate for the second quarter, private inventory investment increased more than previously estimated, but the general picture of economic growth remains the same.

Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 2.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.7 percent in the first. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.0 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent in the first quarter.

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

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.1 percent, or $192.3 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $19,250.0 billion. In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 3.3 percent, or $152.2 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.6 percent in the first quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 0.3 percent, compared with an increase of 2.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 0.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent (appendix table A).

Updates to GDP

The revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected an upward revision to private inventory investment.

Component analysis coming shortly …



The only meaningful component here is how the Health Care line item increased the 3rd estimate by 0.21 points. “Other services” includes health insurance premiums paid by private individuals, but it’s impossible to know how much of that 0.07-point increase is due to that element as opposed to others.

Overall, as the two highlighted figures show, this was a “no change” report which created a very minor change due to rounding. For one quarter the Trump administration has gotten the “impossible” 3 percent growth it promised. Whether it’s a one-time event or the beginning of a trend remains to be seen. According to the Atlanta Fed at the moment, it doesn’t look good, given their estimate of 2.1 percent for the third quarter. However, Moody’s is carrying an estimate of 3.0 percent as of September 8, which is clearly a bit dated (Moody’s may have decided to hide everything behind their subscription wall during the past few weeks, so we’ll have to see to if they publish any update revisions in the coming days).

Obviously, the hurricanes are going to going to have an impact, which may explain why Moody’s is holding back.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092817)

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.

September 27, 2017

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092717)

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: For homeless woman, Rome trip proves that ‘good things can happen’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Rome:

Sep 26, 2017 / 12:24 am

After a long struggle with alcoholism and homelessness, Melanie Medina has turned her life around. She said that a recent pilgrimage to Rome has proven that change is possible, and that “good things can happen.”

Medina spoke to CNA at the end of a six-day visit to Rome. She is the fourth person selected to go on pilgrimage to Rome through Denver Homeless Ministries (DHM).

“It’s all just a blessing, everything’s been turning totally different than the way it was before, everything,” Medina said.

DHM is an organization working to provide opportunities to serve the homeless as both “equals and friends.” DHM offers the pilgrimage as a way to encourage those who have made steps to change their lives.

This year’s pilgrimage lasted from Sept. 9-14 and consisted of Medina, trip organizer Tanya Cangelosi, and chaperone Christine Logan.

The pilgrimage was organized with the help of the Catholic Travel Centre (CTC), who payed for their hotel, limo transportation service to the airport, and Medina’s birthday dinner while in Rome. The CTC also took care of their flights after a delay left them stranded at the airport.

Until last year, Medina, 38, had been living on the streets and was struggling with alcoholism. She grew up in an alcoholic family, and from a young age she was often responsible for taking care of her parents and cleaning them up at night.

Medina left home at the age of 15, and went to stay with her older sister, who was also an alcoholic. She started hanging out with gangs and eventually entered an abusive relationship. She left the man after having two children with him by the age of 19.

After entering another long-term relationship and having her third child, Medina began to drink heavily herself, but eventually broke up with the man and entered rehab. When she got out, her ex-boyfriend offered to pay rent on their apartment so she and her kids could stay together while she got on her feet.

However, the man went back on his promise, leaving Medina on the streets, while her kids went to live with her mother.

Although she tried to stay sober, Medina started drinking again when the camp she made with a friend was raided and all of their things taken. When they moved camps, they would often have to put their food and belongings in the trees, so rats and mice didn’t get into them.

Throughout her time on the streets Medina was beaten several times, once until she was unrecognizable, and she was also raped. Last year she began having severe problems with her feet and could barely walk.

With no diagnosis, she bandaged her feet and quit wearing shoes. After awhile they began to heal, and it was around that time that Medina and her boyfriend, Christopher, decided to make a change and get off the streets.

In her comments to CNA, Medina said the turning point for her was Christopher: “ I met a really good guy out there, and we just wanted a better life for ourselves and to get my family back together,” she said.

After Medina’s visit to Rome this year, Christopher has been selected to go on next year’s pilgrimage. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

WashPost Opinion Writer Loses It Over Roy Moore’s GOP Victory

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:20 am

The labeling in the press’s reaction to Roy Moore’s victory over Luther Strange in Alabama’s GOP Senate primary runoff Tuesday night has been negative and predictable. The dominant word, seen at both the home page of the New York Times’s and at the Associated Press at about 11 p.m. Eastern Time Tuesday, is “firebrand.” But Washington Post opinion writer Stephen Stromberg went miles over the top in a column at the paper’s “Post Partisan” blog published shortly after Moore’s victory became assured.


September 26, 2017

How Awful (Not)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:19 pm

Donald Trump did his “duty” and aggressively supported Luther Strange in the Alabama U.S. Senate special election. Supposedly, this effort could buy him some goodwill with Mitch McConnell (but it won’t).

Instead, Judge Roy Moore, who will be a more reliable supporter of Trump’s agenda, triumphed by just under double digits.

We should all have such “problems.”

NY Times, in ‘Red Century’ Op-ed, Lauds Chinese Communism’s ‘Emancipation’ of Women

In its roughly 30th installment of “Red Century,” a weekly series of op-eds dedicated to the notion that 20th century communism wasn’t all that bad, the New York Times performed a bit of perhaps inadvertent recycling. On Monday, Helen Gao, in an item the Times appears to have had the good sense to keep out of its print edition, argued, with “crucial caveats” (but not enough of them) that “the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big.” Times columnist Nicholas Kristof infamously said much the same thing in 2005.


Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092617)

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.