February 28, 2018

Nets Tout Gun-Control Polls, But Another Notes Blowback Against NRA-Abandoning Companies

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 3:56 pm

The press is touting polls purporting to show support for more “gun control” at the highest level in decades, while a Morning Consult poll reports that companies severing their ties with the NRA have seen a serious drop in their public perception. How can that be?


Movie Critic, on ‘Chappaquiddick’: Mary Jo Kopechne Was ‘First #MeToo Victim’

In his Tuesday review of Chappaquiddick, film critic Roger Friedman called Mary Jo Kopechne, who died in July 1969 as a passenger in a car driven by Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy which “went into the water and turned upside down,” the “First #MeToo victim of Kennedy Family Money, Power and Corruption.” He also speculated: “The Kennedys … may try to kill this film.”


4Q17 GDP, 2nd Reading (022818): An Annualized 2.5 Percent, Down From 2.6 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:19 am

Related data points (relevant to fourth quarter):

  • New home sales in December were revised up by about 3 percent (currently 643,000 seasonally adjusted, was 625K a month ago). The latest release revised November by 9K to 698K. The bigger picture, as of now, is that seasonally adjusted fourth-quarter sales were almost 11 percent higher than 3Q and 15 percent higher than 4Q16. The not seasonally adjusted year-over-year difference was about the same, while fourth quarter raw sale were the same in the fourth quarter as the third, which almost never happens (typically, there are big declines). Those are strong performances. Residential fixed investment contributed 0.42 points to GDP in the first reading based on an 11.6 percent increase from the third quarter. I don’t see that contribution to GDP going down, and it may go up.
  • At the opening point of the home construction pipeline, 4Q17 housing starts were up by an impressive 6.4 percent over 3Q17.
  • Meanwhile, the news in the manufacturing sector has been strong. 4Q17 durable goods orders were 7.3 percent and 4.0 percent higher than 4Q16 and 3Q17, respectively; the latter increase annualizes to almost 17 percent. Comparable TOTAL manufacturing orders were 7.0 percent and 3.6 percent higher, with the latter annualizing to over 15 percent. The durables results would seem to foreshadow stronger GDP contributions than the 1.02 points (14.0 percent increase over third quarter) seen in the original release. If not, the strength in orders should translate into strength in the first quarter.
  • Retail sales increases aren’t as strong (up 5.0 percent 4Q17 vs. 4Q16, and 2.3 percent 4Q17 vs. 3Q17) , but it seems that the latter figure should be translating into a bigger GDP contribution than originally reported.
  • All of that said, the trade data has been more of a drag than anticipated.


  • On Sunday, the Associated Press predicted that the initial 2.6 percent reading reported last month wouldn’t change.
  • On Tuesday, Seeking Alpha predicted 2.5 percent.

The report will be here at 8:30.

10:00 A.M. (sorry for delay, fighting fatigue and illness) HERE IT IS (full release with tables)—

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.2 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 fourth quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same.

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

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter reflected a downturn in private inventory investment that was partly offset by accelerations in PCE, exports, state and local government spending, nonresidential fixed investment, and federal government spending, and an upturn in residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, turned up.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.9 percent, or $235.9 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $19,736.5 billion. In the third quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 5.3 percent, or $250.6 billion.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.7 percent in the third quarter. The PCE price index increased 2.7 percent, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 1.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.3 percent.

The 2.5 deflator seems higher than it should be. More in a moment.

UPDATE: Here is the components breakdown:


Except for a 0.15-point flip between goods and services in Personal Consumption Expenditures, there’s no noteworthy movement in today’s report. Recent news about upticks in inventories probably foreshadow a pretty positive number for that line item in first quarter. Recent GDP forecasts for the first quarter are in the 2.5 percent to 3 percent range.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022818)

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: From North Korea to Catholicism — Mi Jin’s answered prayer

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Seoul, South Korea:

Feb 16, 2018 / 09:38 am

During her childhood in North Korea, Mi Jin Kang never believed in the existence of God, until one person began to spark her curiosity.

“From school education, I learned that religion is a drug,” Mi Jin told CNA, “However, I heard the story of God from a girl that I met in North Korea before my escape. This was the first step to belief.”

“Before escaping North Korea, the story of God was a curiosity and miraculous,” said Mi Jin who decided to escape North Korea in 2009, at the age of 40.

“When I escaped from North Korea, I prayed with my two hands,” remembered Mi Jin, “When my prayer to God at the moment of escape was answered, I decided to be a child of God.”

“It was especially this prayer to God at the moment of escaping from North Korea that led me to be a believer during the process of settling in South Korea.”

Though she did not share details of her escape, many North Korean defectors are helped to South Korea by a network supported by Chinese Christians.

In South Korea, an order of Korean religious sisters taught Mi Jin and other North Korean defectors about the Catholic faith. Mi Jin learned about Saint Therese the Little Flower from the sisters.

At her baptism, Mi Jin took a new Christian name, as is the custom for Korean Catholics. She became Teresa.

“I wanted to be like Saint Teresa, who lived a faithful life,” Mi Jin said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

San Francisco TV Station Omits Captured Illegal Immigrant’s Four Previous Deportations

On Sunday, CBS’s San Francisco affiliate appears to have originally thought it had a sympathetic story about an illegal immigrant “taken away” in front of his wife and daughter. But two-thirds of the way into its report, KPIX finally told viewers and readers that the man “does have a dangerous past” — but never mentioned four previous deportations.


February 27, 2018

MSNBC’s Ari Melber Lies About Supremes’ 2008 Heller 2nd Amendment Ruling

Monday, MSNBC’s Ari Melber lied about the Second Amendment and related Supreme Court decisions, particularly the Heller ruling. Melber claimed that “2A” has never protected AR-15s or so-called assault weapons, and that politicians deferring to it are cowards for pretending it does. Anyone genuinely understanding Heller knows otherwise.


Devin Nunes, on Press Reaction to Dems’ Memo: ‘The Media in This Country Is Dead’

Sunday on Fox & Friends, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes assessed that committee’s Democratic minority memo issued Saturday in response to the Republican memo published in early February as “scary.” He also had harsh words for the establishment press, which has dishonestly pretended that the Dems’ memo refutes the GOP’s effort: “The media in this country is dead.”


Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022718)

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: Hundreds rally in support of Ireland’s pro-life amendment

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

From Dublin and Dun Laoghaire, Ireland:

Feb 15, 2018 / 10:36 am

Hundreds of people rallied in the coastal suburb of Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, on Saturday to show support for the country’s 8th amendment, which protects the right to life of both mothers and their unborn children.

The Feb. 10 event was called “Loving the 8th” and was organized by Dún Laoghaire Life Canvas and Cherish All the Children Equally as an extension of the Save the 8th Campaign.

Ireland’s 8th constitutional amendment was added in 1983 with nearly 67 percent of voters in favor and 33 percent opposed. It recognizes the equal right to life of the unborn child and the mother, outlawing abortion except in medical emergencies.

A referendum in May will ask voters if they want to repeal the amendment.

Mairéad Hughes, spokesperson for the Save the 8th Campaign, expressed the movement’s gratitude for local pro-life groups, and said the theme “Loving the 8th” would continue through this week. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

CNN Law Enforcement Analyst: Women Aren’t Capable of Carrying Guns in Classrooms

Tom Fuentes, a Senior Law Enforcement Analyst at CNN, had 29-year career with the FBI. His Saturday comments about the alleged difficulties women allegedly have carrying guns — y’know, because they wear dresses and skirts — leave one wondering whether he learned anything while he was a G-man.


February 26, 2018

Asked to Apologize For Haley-Trump Affair Rumor, Michael Wolff Claims He Can’t Hear

Sunday, Australia’s The Today Show host asked Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff whether he should apologize for starting and backing away from a rumor of an extramarital affair between UN Ambassador Haley and President Trump. Wolff then claimed that his earpiece wasn’t working. At one point, when the host asked Wolff if he could hear him, the author responded almost immediately. Today subsequently demonstrated that there were no technical difficulties.


Southern Poverty Law Center Smears Women For Defending Men and Boys

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Scams — Tom @ 11:35 am

Several press outlets have noted that in its latest annual “Hate Tracker,” the Thought Police at the Southern Poverty Law Center have added “Male Supremacy” as a “hate group” category. What they aren’t reporting is that the SPLC has also begun laying the foundation for marginalizing anyone providing intellectual support for the Men’s Rights Activist movement.

The SPLC long ago recognized that tracking the small number of relatively powerless people in white and black nationalist groups (yet somehow exempting the violent, “hate-filled,” exclusionary Black Lives Matter movement) was a losing proposition. Thus, SPLC has in recent years expanded the scope of its identified “hate groups” to those holding non-violent conservative beliefs:

  • “Anti-immigrant.” Believing that illegal immigration needs to be stopped, and that legal immigration should be sensibly controlled makes you a hater.
  • “Anti-LGBT.” SPLC thought crimes include believing that homosexual marriage should not be legal (but lacking the guts to go up against the Catholic Church), that Christian businesses should not be compelled to provide services for same-sex marriages, and that gay agenda-driven sexuality discussions don’t belong in grade schools.
  • “Patriot groups.” Thought crimes here include “resistance against any kind of gun control” and “transferring … federal lands to the states.”
  • “Christian Identity,” and even “Traditional Roman Catholic.” Advocating for the Latin Mass is apparently a thought crime.

Expanding its frontiers to maintain its relevance, SPLC’s 2018 “The Year in Hate” has a new “Male Supremacy” category, whose alleged “vilification of women … makes them no different than other groups that demean entire populations …”

In its “Male Supremacy” narrative, the SPLC has disgracefully smeared the following women who sympathize not with Male Supremacy, but with the awful (in their view) “Men’s Rights Activist” movement (HT Instapundit):

… Prominent MRAs also include anti-feminist female voices, such as popular Canadian YouTube personality Karen Straughan, American psychologist Helen Smith, and the former head of a domestic-violence shelter for women, the British Erin Pizzey. Men’s rights issues also overlap with the rhetoric of equity feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers, who give a mainstream and respectable face to some MRA concerns.

Smith’s book, Men on Strike, plausibly claims, based on her decades of experience as a psychologist, that “males have been subjected to intense discrimination in the name of equality.”

Sommers, an American Enterprise Institute resident scholar, is an SPLC-designated hate-enabler because of The War on BoysWho Stole Feminism?, and her opposition to “gender feminism.”

The SPLC’s smears of these women as Male Supremacy enablers is designed to build support for cutting off their access to speaking engagements, mainstream publishing, social media, and Internet video platforms.

Associated Press coverage on Wednesday ignored SPLC’s new “Male Supremacy” category. A story at the Arizona Republic and a Newsy video found at many local and regional news sites recognized it, but ignored the group’s smear of the four women. The New York Times only carried the AP story. Predictably, several women’s magazines, including Elle and Ms., celebrated this development.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022618)

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: Rescued from Korean War by US ship, now Olympic volunteers

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Gangneung, South Korea:

February 24, 2018

Their nicknames, bestowed upon them long ago: “Kimchi 1″ and “Kimchi 5,” babies born aboard a ship that was helping them flee a war and a regime that, thanks to their rescuers, they’d never have to face.

Sohn Yang Young says he owes his life to the U.S. military. So does his friend Lee Gyeong Pil. They were among five babies born on an American ship that ferried 14,000 Korean refugees, including their parents, from North Korea in one of the world’s largest humanitarian evacuation operations ever.

U.S. sailors from a ship called the SS Meredith Victory named the babies Kimchi 1 through Kimchi 5, nicknames that have become a symbol of the South Korean-U.S military alliance.

They are 67 now, all of them, and the whereabouts of three are not known. But the final two — Sohn is Kimchi 1 and Lee Kimchi 5 — are making their way around the Pyeongchang Olympics, promoting peace and reminding younger generations of South Koreans of their Korean War history.

On Friday, they were in Gangneung’s curling center, where South Korea’s women’s squad made a storybook run to the finals. The two men were volunteering for the Olympics with their wives, checking spectators’ tickets and guiding them to the right gates.

“I’m the fruits of the South Korea-U.S. alliance,” Sohn said. “The U.S. military is the savior of our lives and they saved my parents and other refugees. I always feel grateful to the U.S. military.”

Both Sohn and Lee say they feel comfortable being called Kimchi — happy, even. During a joint interview, they often called each other by those monikers and said they were “Kimchi brothers.” Lee’s business card, in fact, shows “Kimchi 5″ written alongside his name both in Korean and English.

“I didn’t become Kimchi 1 because I wanted it. It was like my destiny,” said Sohn, who runs a steel products trading company.

Their parents were among tens of thousands of civilians who gathered at North Korea’s northeastern Hungnam port in December 1950, hoping to board one of about 190 U.S. vessels originally mobilized to evacuate U.S. troops retreating from advancing Chinese and North Korean troops.

Those civilians were mostly North Korean residents who wanted to flee from the North’s harsh systems, such as big landowners, wealthy businessmen who feared political purges or others who sympathized with South Korea or sheltered southern soldiers.

The U.S. military eventually decided to ship those North Korean refugees to safety despite worries that the crowd might include North Korean soldiers disguised as civilians.

The 10,000-ton SS Meredith Victory was one of the last ships to leave the Hungnam port on Dec. 23, 1950. It discarded military supplies and other cargo to take as many refugees as possible. …

Go here for the rest of the story.