December 6, 2017

Bloomberg Forced to Correct Trump-Deutsche Bank Subpoena Story

Another day, another major story correction. This time, Bloomberg News, which reported on Tuesday that Deutsche Bank records subpoenaed by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller “zeroed in” on President Trump’s business dealings, now says that the records Mueller requested instead “pertain to people affiliated with” Trump.


Positivity: Baker argues for cake and conscience at Supreme Court

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:38 pm

From Washington:

Dec 5, 2017 / 03:35 pm

A Colorado baker’s right to express himself through artwork – edible artwork– lies at the center of today’s Supreme Court arguments, say lawyers for Masterpiece Cakeshop owner, Jack Phillips.

“The right of all creative professionals to speak and to live consistent with their beliefs is at stake,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who represented Phillips before the Supreme Court, told CNA.

The Court heard arguments today in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case which has garnered attention from LGBT-rights advocates and religious liberty proponents.

Waggoner said that the justices asked difficult questions of both sides, and explained that she and US Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued before the high court that forcing Phillips to “sketch, sculpt and to handpaint a message” about marriage that is contrary to his faith violates the Constitution’s protections for free speech.

“Whether you support same-sex marriage or you oppose it, you should be able to have the right to speak freely; to hold beliefs and to speak freely in the public square,” she said.

The case comes after five years of litigation involving Phillips and his Lakewood Colo. bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, which he opened in 1993. In 2012, Phillips found himself faced with a lawsuit filed by Charlie Craig of Colorado, after he declined to make a wedding cake for the same-sex wedding of Craig and David Mullins. Phillips offered to create another cake for the couple. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a state agency that represent Craig and Mullins during litigation, claimed that by declining to make the cake, the baker had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.

The lawsuit was decided in favor of the plaintiffs in 2013, and a Colorado judge ordered Phillips to receive anti-discrimination training and to serve same-sex weddings or stop serving weddings altogether.

Phillips lost appeals at the state level, and the Colorado Supreme Court declined to take the case. In June, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

The couple was able to obtain a rainbow-themed cake from a bakery near Phillips’ cake shop.

Phillips declines to bake other kinds of cakes that promote ideas at odds with his beliefs, such as cakes that portray anti-American, atheist, or racist messages or disparage members of the LGBT community. Phillips also declines to create custom cakes for other events he is uncomfortable supporting, such as Halloween and bachelor parties. “Though I serve everyone who comes into my shop, like many other creative professionals, I don’t create custom designs for events or messages that conflict with my conscience,” Phillips explained in a Dec. 5 press conference outside of the Supreme Court. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120617)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 pm

I apologize for the lateness of this post.

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.

Bogus: AP Blames ‘Booming Economy’ For Spike in West Coast Homelessness

You had to figure that the Associated Press would at some point finally recognize the existence of the nation’s “booming economy,” at least compared to the historically weak 7-1/2 years of post-recession malaise which preceded it. Well, they’re finally doing it — and erroneously tagging it with sole blame for the fast-growing homelessness problem in the nation’s three West Coast states.


November 2017 ADP Employment Report: 190,000 Private-Sector Jobs Added; Zandi Says ‘Overheating’ Is Now a ‘Threat’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:20 am

Was elsewhere during today’s released and conference call, but here’s the news:

Private-sector employment increased by 190,000 from October to November, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From the press release:

“The labor market continues to grow at a solid pace,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Notably, manufacturing added the most jobs the industry has seen all year. As the labor market continues to tighten and wages increase it will become increasingly difficult for employers to attract and retain skilled talent.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The job market is red hot, with broad-based job gains across industries and company sizes. The only soft spots are in industries being disrupted by technology, brick-and-mortar retailing being the best example. There is a mounting threat that the job market will overheat next year.”

Wish I had been on the call, especially given that Zandi told the world with a straight face in September 2014 that the full-employment rate for the economy was 5.5 percent.

Wages aren’t increasing as much as we’dlike to see yet, so it’s a little early to be concerned about overheating. But it seems to be a common theme, with Robert Samuelson sounding a similar alarm in the Washington Post today.

Prior month revisions:
- October — now 235K, unchanged from last month.
- September — now 95K, was originally 135K.
- August — now 228K, was originally 237K.

ADP vs. BLS:

  • Year-to-date ADP private-sector additions (through November): 2.296 million
  • Year-to-date Bureau of Labor Statistics private-sector additions (through October): 1.623 million.
  • Difference: 673,000.

At some point, this difference needs to be reconciled. The guess here is that the real number is much closer to ADP’s figure than it is more to BLS’s.