March 16, 2018

Murder of Four in South Carolina Virtually Ignored; Is It Because Killer Didn’t Use a Gun?

On March 10, “authorities say,” a 22 year-old man in South Carolina killed “his grandparents, an aunt and a cousin.” It appears that only the Associated Press has given attention to this story. By contrast, recent “mass killings” involving fewer victims received widespread national coverage. Why is that? The answer appears to be that the South Carolina attacker didn’t use a gun.

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February 2018 Federal Reserve Industrial Production: Up 1.1 Pct.; Mfg. and Construction Both Strong

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:16 pm

Industrial production results during the past three months have been weak. Fortunately, according to the Federal Reserve, that changed in a pretty big way in February:

FedIndustrialProduction0218

The net increase, after including prior-month revisions, was 1.0 percent, which basically puts year-over-year over IP back on track. Manufacturing, at 2.5 percent during the past 12 months thanks largely to February’s turnaround, has not been as strong as one would like to see, but it’s a big improvement over the zero and near-zero figures seen during the final year or so of the Obama administration.

Those weak performances were also present overall. For example (seen here), the overall IP index was 103.5 in both January 2016 and 2017, signifying no increase.

It seems safe to say that blue-collar industries are finally off the mat after years in the doldrums. It seems very fortunate that the tax cuts passed in December, because it’s reasonable to think, based on the flat November, December, and January, that the IP might have been running out of steam. Their passage will probably push future IP improvements for some time.

ProPublica Retracts Key Claims in 2017 Gina Haspel ‘Torture’ Story

A February 2017 ProPublica story claimed that Gina Haspel, nominated as CIA director this week, “was more deeply involved in the torture of Abu Zubaydah” at a secret Thailand prison “than has been publicly understood.” Thursday evening, the group published a correction admitting that Haspel wasn’t even present when one of the program’s primary targets was, according to the New York Times, waterboarded 83 times.

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (031618)

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: Trump Administration Tells UN Abortion is Not a ‘Human Right’

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

From Washington:

MAR 8, 2018, 4:08PM

(originally at C-Fam.org) A coalition of 197 groups from around the world have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson thanking him for expected changes in the annual State Department report on human rights.

The letter thanks Tillerson “… for supporting a proper understanding of international human rights in the forthcoming State Department’s annual Human Rights Report. By rejecting attempts to include abortion and other contentious issues, which are not universally agreed-upon human rights, you are returning the United States to its leadership role in promoting the right to life and protecting the family.”

The letter “… welcomed news from spokeswoman Heather Nauert that the State Department will no longer attempt to dilute the seriousness of human rights and ‘will sharpen the focus of the report on abuses of internationally recognized human rights and the most egregious issues.’”

In recent years, under the Obama administration, the report became a grab-bag of issues that are not considered human rights but are considered important issues to the political left, most especially abortion, (and) also LGBT issues.

The report is intended to shine a light on human rights abuses and concerns around the world. Traditionally understood, human rights are those found in agreed-upon human rights documents, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; rights to vote, assemble, freedom of religion, political self-determination, and others.

Since the political left decamped to the United Nations several decades ago, attempts have been made to reinterpret human rights documents. These efforts, to make abortion a human right and to include special protections based on sexual practices, have consistently failed at the UN. But this has not stopped leftwing governments from attempting to export them through reports like the one expected any day from the U.S. State Department. …

Go here for the rest of the story.