November 30, 2017

Media Gatekeepers Keep Kate Steinle’s Name Out of Tweets, Most Headlines

A San Francisco jury found Jose Ines Garcia Zarata, aka Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, aka several other undisclosed aliases, not guilty in the death of Kate Steinle on Thursday. Two leading wire services, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times kept Steinle’s name out of their tweets, and all but two kept it out of their stories’ headlines.


Positivity: How Tampa Serial Killer Suspect Was Caught

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:40 pm

Answer: an alert employee

Published: November 29, 2017, 10:54 am
Updated: November 29, 2017, 10:54 am

After a 51-day manhunt, police have made an arrest in four murders in the Seminole Heights area.

Late Tuesday night, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan and Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced the arrest of 24-year-old Howell Emanuel Donaldson III. Donaldson is charged with the murders of Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton.

Donaldson was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon at the McDonald’s restaurant he works at in Ybor City.

Arrogant, Ignorant Velshi at MSNBC Lies About Tax Plan Impact, and Doesn’t Even Know It

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and co-host Stephanie Ruhle apparently gained a bit of far-left street cred in August when they fiercely berated a Donald Trump supporter with an usually strong dose of condescension, telling him that “You can’t just lie on TV” about the economy. On Monday, Velshi lied about the estimated impacts on various income groups of the GOP tax plan published by Congressional Budget Office and didn’t even know it — because he had no idea that the table he used contained completely different and irrelevant data.


Ali Velshi’s Arrogant, Ignorant Mid-August Claim About Obama’s Credit for the Stock Market

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:08 pm

In mid-August, Ali Velshi of MSNBC, with the help of co-host-Stephanie Ruhle, angrily berated Trump adviser Brad Thomas when Thomas attempted to give the Trump administration some credit for the post-election rise in the stock market.

Here’s the historical record for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with key data points added by me:


Several important points must be made here for the historical record to correctly assign credit and blame:

  • Velshi should know that properly attempt to assign credit or blame for stock market performance to president, the relevant data points are election days, not inauguration days. Once the markets know who’s in charge, they react accordingly. A supposedly experienced financial journalist should know that expectations largely drive market valuations.
  • Velshi was incredibly disingenuous in measuring the Obama administration’s performance from March 9, 2009. Just look at the chart for the period Election Day 2008 and March 9, 2009. On November 7, 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 8,944, and the effects of the recession were already priced in.
  • During the next four months the DJIA fell by almost 27 percent to 6,547. That’s because investors fully expected, and were unfortunately then proven right, further dampening expectations, that the Obama administration’s Keynesian nonsense would hold sway in Congress, giving rise to a “stimulus plan” which was destined to accomplish nothing meaningful and cause deficits and the national debt to explode. More broadly, it was clear that Obama intended to ramp up the government’s regulatory over-reach, particularly in the financial sector and over environmental matters. Market declines accelerated, and monthly job losses increased, because of Obama’s stated intentions. (The fact that in December 2008, the President-elect sided with the members of a union which illegally took over a bankrupt window company in Chicago [he said, "They're absolutely right"], a situation which led to two banks paying out money to make the union members go away at virtual gunpoint, only added to the climate of fear in the business community.)
  • As seen in the chart, the DJIA went absolutely nowhere from December 26, 2014 until November 1, 2016. That’s a nearly two-year perpendicular line in Velshi’s falsely claimed “straight-line” upward growth — an interruption any reasonable person would consider significant. Why did it occur? Partially because the economy was showing that it was not going to shake out of its post-recession doldrums, especially with the Obamacare premium-hike overhang, while it also became clear that the 2015-2016 Congress wasn’t going to do anything to alter the Obama administration’s business-hostile priorities.
  • Thus, a proper evaluation of the stock market as Donald Trump has affected it would begin on November 8, 2016, when the DJIA closed at 18,333. The day after Donald Trump was elected, the markets shook off their two-year stupor and began heading up again on sustained basis. Since then, in just over a year, the DJIA has gone up by over 32 percent, hitting a record close of 24,272 on Thursday. Even a commentator at the mostly left-leaning Bloomberg News has conceded thatTrump Deserves Some Credit for the Rally in Stocks,” specifically because “Less regulation is one campaign promise made by the president that is coming true.”

The bottom line: President-elect Obama did everything he could to tank the markets in an attempt to get all the credit when they came back. The markets rose during the next five years, but hit a plateau which lasted from late-December 2014 until just before Election Day in 2016. After that the markets have, through November 30, advanced on a sustained basis by 32 percent — an advance for which Obama deserves no credit, and for which Donald Trump deserves some.

Related: ”10 Reasons Why the 2017 Record Stock Market Rally is Due to President Trump’s Actions”



Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (113017)

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.

November 29, 2017

National Media Not Interested As Philly Soda Tax Collections Flounder

In June of last year, with much national media fanfare, the City of Philadelphia passed a dishonestly named “soda tax.” The levy of 1.5 cents per ounce, which taxes not only sugar-sweetened beverages but also drinks containing “any form of artificial sugar substitute, including stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), saccharin, and advantame” after it took effect on January 1, was supposed to raise over $90 million. Actual collections are falling far short, and appear to be in decline. The national press is uninterested in reporting this result.


WashPost ‘Fact Check’ Angrily Gives Pence’s True Statement About Jobs ‘Three Pinocchios’

In one of the more brazen and fraudulent “fact checks” one will ever see, the Washington Post’s Nicole Lewis told readers on Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence’s absolutely true mid-November statement that “There are more Americans working today than ever before in American history” deserved “Three Pinocchios,” and that the audience which applauded this statement should be ashamed of themselves. The bogus nature of Lewis’s “fact check” is only exceeded by the seething anger which virtually drips down readers’ screens.


3Q2017 Gross Domestic Product, 2nd Estimate: An Annualized 3.3 Percent, Up From Original Estimate of 3.0 Percent; Not As Positive As One Might Think

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:00 am

This post may not be live on Wedneday because the (hopefully) final resolution of medical matters will be taking place. We’ll see.

Update, 8:25 a.m.: Surprise. I’m here live.

The first reading of GDP for the third quarter came in at an annualized 3.0 percent a month ago. Tomorrow’s reading appears to be headed a bit higher, but I’m having a hard time finding specifics:

  • As of late Tuesday, Bloomberg was only reporting that “The second print of third-quarter U.S. GDP on Wednesday may be revised up thanks to consumer spending and inventory accumulation.”
  • Moody’s is predicting an upward revision to 3.3 percent, but “the risks (of a different result from that) have shifted from the upside to the downside.”
  • Last-minute update: Found an AP item from Monday predicting 3.2 percent.

If there are other estimates out there, I couldn’t find them.

One other pre-release comment: There’s no way anyone can look at how poorly the economy performed last year and give the Obama administration any kind of credit for giving Donald Trump economic momentum going into his administration. In fact, I’d argue that without Trump’s election a year ago, we might have seen 4Q16 come in below 1 percent and 1Q17 go negative.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link with tables): An improvement, but as will be explained later, there’s less here than meets the eye —

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the third quarter of 2017, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 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 3.0 percent. With this second estimate for the third quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same; nonresidential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and private inventory investment were revised up from the prior estimate.

Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 2.5 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.3 percent (revised) in the second. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 2.9 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 2.7 percent in the second quarter.

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and exports that were partly offset by a negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

The acceleration in real GDP in the third quarter reflected an acceleration in private inventory
investment, a downturn in imports, and smaller decreases in state and local government spending and in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by decelerations in PCE, in nonresidential fixed investment, and in exports.

Current-dollar GDP increased 5.5 percent, or $259.0 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $19,509.0 billion. In the second quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 4.1 percent, or $192.3 billion.

Corporate Profits

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment) increased $91.6 billion in the third quarter, compared with an increase of $14.4 billion in the second quarter.

UPDATE: Here’s the detail chart for the past seven quarters:


My take on changes seen in this month’s revision and the changes from second quarter to third quarter is that I don’t think they’re healthy.

Health care spending’s contribution to GDP shot up from the second quarter to the third. That’s not helpful, especially GDP contributions from spending on all other services almost disappeared plummeted from 0.55 points to 0.15 points, with this month’s revision taking this quarter’s contribution down from 0.47 points to 0.15 points. Combine “all other” with “other services” above and you see a decline in GDP contribution from 0.93 points to 0.24 points.

These are not encouraging signs that consumers are backing up the optimism they’re expressing in surveys by actually buying everyday goods and services.

It is encouraging that the investment side improved a bit, and that imports are less of a drag on GDP than they have been. But, especially because it appears that fourth-quarter inventories are falling, a similar fourth-quarter performance in consumer spending other than health care will not yield an overall result above 3.0 percent.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112917)

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: Auto shop employees credited with taking down accused Rockledge gunman

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Rockledge, Florida (HT Bearing Arms):

Published 11:13 a.m. ET Nov. 25, 2017
Updated 12:17 p.m. ET Nov. 25, 2017

A man armed with a .45-caliber handgun and a lot of ammunition wandered onto an auto repair shop property and began firing in the parking lot Friday afternoon, police said.

The gunman killed one employee and paralyzed a second. That’s when the employees at Schlenker Automotive fought back with equal force, Rockledge police chief Joseph La Sata said.

“The manager, who was a concealed weapons permit holder, came out and engaged in gunfire in the parking lot,” La Sata said. “The manager fled back inside the building, being chased by the gunman. Another Schlenker employee, who also had concealed weapons permit, engaged in gunfire with the suspect.”

Police said the suspect in the homicide is Robert Lorenzo Bailey Jr., 28, of Cocoa. He was shot twice and was in critical condition at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne. Officers are keeping him under watch.

“If not for the brave, quick thinking of the employees at Schlenker, this could have been a lot worse,” La Sata said. “Mr. Bailey had multiple magazines on his person. He was intent on doing harm. The employees stepped up.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 28, 2017

MSNBC’s Joy Reid: Rural America Is ‘The Core Threat to Our Democracy’

The latest recipient of joyless Joy Reid’s seething contempt is rural America. You see, in her view, it has “disproportionate power over the urban majority,” and it’s a hotbed of fascists and bigots who are being duped by Donald Trump.


Fusion What? Despite Important Developments, AP, NY Times Have Ignored Fusion GPS for 4 Weeks

The truth about Fusion GPS’s involvement with creating, promoting, and disseminating the infamous Trump-Russia dossier has slowly emerged during the past four weeks. Yet, based on site searches, the Associated Press and New York Times have not published a single substantive, genuinely related in-house story in over four weeks.


Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112817)

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: Across Ireland, Catholics pray rosary to strengthen pro-life cause

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Dublin, Ireland:

Nov 28, 2017 / 12:03 am

Hundreds of groups of Catholics gathered across the island of Ireland on Sunday to pray the Rosary for the preservation of the Catholic faith and for the defense of life against the threat of abortion.

“Firstly, we thank Christ our King, and the Most Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Ireland for all the graces and blessings,” Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith organizers said on the group’s Facebook page Nov. 27. “From the bottom of our hearts we humbly thank everyone who organized one of the 300 plus locations around the coastlines of our beautiful country.”

“We are incredibly grateful to each and every one of you, that braved the elements to pray for the protection of life, from conception to natural death, and for the preservation and increase in faith in Ireland,” they said.

The events took place both in Northern Ireland, which is legally part of the United Kingdom, and in the Republic of Ireland at 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, the feast of Christ the King.

Secular tendencies have increased in Ireland, especially in the Republic.

The Republic of Ireland’s national constitution recognizes the right to life of the unborn child under the Eighth Amendment, approved in a 1983 referendum by 67 percent of voters. However, the amendment has been targeted for repeal by pro-abortion rights advocates, and public opinion appears to have shifted against it.

Unlike other parts of the U.K., Northern Ireland’s laws only permit abortion in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, or where there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health. Pro-abortion activists are working to make these laws more permissive.

One organizer of the all-Ireland rosary, Kathy Sinnott, co-hosts EWTN’s Celtic Connections radio show. She spoke with the National Catholic Register ahead of the event.

“Whatever happens in one half is going to affect the whole,” she said. “In terms of the threat to life, we’re one island.”

She also reflected on the prayer intention for the preservation of faith.

“If our faith is strong, we wouldn’t be even looking at abortion,” she said, adding that organizers want “the blossoming of the faith, once again, in the hearts, in the souls, in the minds and in the lives of the Irish.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 27, 2017

CNN Column Rewrites History in Attempt to Ban the Term ‘Fake News’

At on Sunday, Hossein Derakhshan and Claire Wardle told us that they want to “Ban the term ‘fake news.’” Though theirs is an opinion piece supposedly representing the authors’ views and not those of the network, its wish to banish the term “fake news” from public discussion echoes CNN head Jeff Zucker’s sentiments expressed in early May, and acts as if CNN itself wasn’t one furiously trying to pin the tag on others a year ago.