June 30, 2018

Rubin on Real Time: L.L. Bean Should Leave Maine If Susan Collins Supports Trump’s Court Nominee

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:41 pm

We don’t even know who President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will be, but Jennifer Rubin thinks she can prevent his pick from being confirmed by the Senate. Half of her strategy involves telling Maine-headquartered L.L. Bean that it should threaten to “leave Maine” unless Pine Tree State Senator Susan Collins votes against Trump’s nominee, and then follow through on that threat if she supports him or her. We’ll stop there for a moment to let readers catch their breath.


AP Resists, Tries to Distort Good News in Trump-Saudi Oil Discussion

Saturday afternoon, Ken Thomas and Jon Gambrell at the Associated Press demonstrated the wire service’s chronic resistance to recognizing genuinely good news during the Trump era. The pair pretended in their story about Donald Trump’s Saturday conversation with Saudi King Salman that the President could only “claim” that Saudi Arabia has agreed to significantly boost its oil production in response to a tightening in worldwide supplies — even though as soon as Trump tweeted about it, the Saudi news agency confirmed its substance.


Massachusetts Reporter Fired For Claiming Annapolis Shooter Wore MAGA Hat

On Thursday, shortly after news broke of the Capital Gazette massacre in Annapolis, Maryland, Conor Berry, a reporter at the The Republican newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts, published a tweet which appeared to be serious claiming that the shooter “dropped his #MAGA hat on the newsroom floor before opening fire.” Berry, a journalist with 21 years of experience, is now an unemployed journalist, as he resigned on Friday.


NBC’s Pete Williams Painfully Attempts to Explain the ‘Reverse Backwards Funnel’ of Shotguns

Reporters often get basic facts wrong and otherwise embarrass themselves when attempting to explain specifics about guns. This is what happened to Pete Williams at MSNBC Friday morning as he tried to describe shotguns in the aftermath of Thursday’s Capital Gazette massacre in Annapolis, Maryland.


Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (063018)

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: 5 WWII airmen who died during mission in Germany buried together at Arlington

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

From Arlington, Virginia (HT Weasel Zippers):

Published: June 27, 2018

They died together during a mission over Germany in 1944. For more than 70 years, the location of their remains was unknown. Wednesday afternoon, the five airmen were finally laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

“For over 150 years, our nation has honored her fallen warriors and patriots. These hallowed grounds are a lasting memorial to the men and the women who have honorably and faithfully served our country,” U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Matthew Whitehead said during the burial ceremony in section 60.

“First Lt. John Liekhus, Tech Sgt. John Brady, Tech Sgt. Allen Chandler, Staff Sgt. Bobby Younger, Staff Sgt. Robert Shoemaker have all earned a resting place in these hallowed grounds.”

The U.S. Army Air Forces airmen were members of the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy), Eighth Air Force. On Nov. 2, 1944, they were part of a nine-man crew that joined an armada of bombers on a mission to Merseburg, Germany and the Leuna Werke, a sprawling chemical factory that produced synthetic fuels.

Their B-17 was hit by flak, or ground, anti-aircraft fire, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. As the B-17 fell out of formation, German fighters attacked. Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft burst into flames and then descend rapidly. Three crewmembers survived the crash and were taken prisoner. One of the airmen killed was identified in May 1945; the other five crewmembers were declared missing in action.

In the raid, 38 bombers were lost and 481 were damaged, according to an April 2007 Air Force Magazine article. The USAAF estimated that as many as 500 Luftwaffe fighters attacked and almost 400 men did not return. Many were missing in action after bailing out of their aircraft.

The Nov. 2nd mission was the deadliest, the article explained, but not the last of the missions to Leuna. Crews risked a half-dozen more missions over an array of at least 1,700 flak guns.

In 1951, the American Graves Registration Command concluded that 26-year-old Brady of Taunton, Massachusetts, 23-year-old Chandler of Fletcher, Oklahoma, 29-year-old Liekhus of Anaheim, California, 23-year-old Shoemaker of Takoma Park, Maryland, and 19-year-old Younger of McKinney, Texas, died in the crash, and confirmed that the location of their remains was unknown.

A few years ago, historians and analysts from the Department of Defense, German researchers and local government officials identified a potential crash site. Recovery operations were conducted from June to September 2015, then DPAA returned to the site in April and May, 2016. On both occasions, additional remains, material evidence and aircraft wreckage were found.

The five missing airmen were accounted for on Aug. 10, 2017. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

June 29, 2018

CNN’s Acosta Repeatedly Shouts Question at Trump Tax Reform Event

With so many possible selections, it’s hard to come up with a worst-of list to rank the most pathetic attempts by CNN’s Jim Acosta to pose as an oh-so-tough reporter. His Friday stunt, though, was in the upper echelon for its laughable false bravado.

At President Donald Trump’s event celebrating six months since the Republican Congress’s passage of corporate and individual tax cuts in late December, Acosta thought it was appropriate (h/t Twitchy) to shout out a question about the President’s treatment of the press — and to shout it out again, and again:


JIM ACOSTA (cups hands around mouth, as audience is clapping): Mr. President, will you stop calling us the enemy of the people, sir?

(man turns around and gives Acosta the finger-over-mouth “shush” gesture)

Will you stop calling the press the enemy of the people, sir?

(same man turns around and repeats “shush” gesture)

Mr. President, will you stop calling the press the enemy of the people, sir?

Acosta took special umbrage to the man in the video who silently suggested that shouting out questions the CNN reporter knew the President wouldn’t answer wasn’t a polite thing to do in the circumstances, and vented in a tweet:


Acosta’s tough-guy schtick is well past what should have been its expiration date.

Acosta’s tweet, as seen above, responded to another reporter’s observation that journalists’ rude shout-out tactic, like so many other actions in which press members have engaged during the Trump era, had a boomerang effect.

Evergreen reminders:

  • In 2012, when then-Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro shouted out a question at Barack Obama which was actually related to the then-President’s presentation on immigration matters, the rest of the press proceeded to treat Munro as a “heckler” and a pariah.
  • Some reporters who shout at Republican presidents or interrupt ceremonial events to ask nagging questions have been treated as royalty, e.g., Sam Donaldson during the Reagan era. That is certainly not how most Americans saw Donaldson’s actions when they took place.
  • The press’s habit of shouting out questions at Reagan, even at times when his helicopter was making so much noise that he couldn’t possibly hear them (and they could barely hear themselves), became problematic enough that the Associated Press’s Christopher Connell felt he had to publish a story defending the indefensible practice. Someone he quoted gave an equally indefensible go-to excuse: “All the regular channels of access to the president have been cut off.” Boo-hoo.

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

AP Describes Authoritarian Court-Upheld California Gun Law As ‘Unusual’ and ‘Rare’

California’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that the state’s legislature can pass a law knowing full well that compliance is impossible. The law in question, as described in the Associated Press’s coverage, requires “new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings when shots are fired.” The underlying law defines any such weapon without this technology as an “unsafe handgun.” The AP’s Sudhin Thanawala described the law as “unusual.” The wire service’s headline called it “rare.”


Is California’s Economy Hitting the Brakes?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:08 pm

Using the total payroll employment as an indicator, the answer, based on the past four months, is “probably”:


Rounding everything to the nearest 1,000, the state has only added 38,000 jobs in the past four months (44,000 in the private sector, not shown).

Average job additions in California from January through May during the previous seven years were 138,000.

If California had added the same number of jobs during the past four months as it averaged in the previous seven years, the nation’s payroll employment would have increased by 961,000 instead of 861,000. That’s a not-inconsequential 12 percent difference.

Yeah, it’s only four months, but we haven’t seen the full impact of the state’s move to a $15-per-hour minimum wage yet.

It would seem that the best one can hope for is that the state won’t move from very small gains to flatness or job losses — and California is big enough to hold back other nationwide economic stats from what they could be without the state’s hyper-intervention in its economy.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (062918)

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: Doctors Said Rick Santorum’s Daughter Bella Would Die After Birth. She Just Turned 10

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

From Washington, via Life News:

JUN 19 2018, 5:26PM

On May 13, Bella Santorum did what doctors didn’t think possible: She turned 10 years old.

The daughter of former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Bella has Trisomy 18, or Edwards syndrome, and doctors thought she would die at birth. But year after year, the little girl has continued to defy doctors’ predictions.

Her mother, Karen Santorum, said Bella’s 10th birthday was extra special because it occurred on Mother’s Day.

“Happy 10th Birthday Bella!” she wrote in a birthday message to her daughter. “You are an extremely joyful and exceptional little girl and we are so proud of you! Ten years have gone by since your birth. Ten years more than the skeptical and scientific said you would live. 87,648 hours of life, unexplained and miraculous. 3,652 days of letting all the world know that you are beautifully and wonderfully made!”

Santorum said Bella has been a perfect example of how faith, hope and love can conquer the worst of predictions. She said her daughter is a happy child who loves to giggle and smile.

“You are living proof that when we ‘just give the kid a chance’ he/she may defy the odds and surprise everyone,” her mother wrote. “Thank you precious teacher of our souls for being a constant joy and light in our lives.”

Although Bella frequently was hospitalized during the first year of her life, her family has been able to provide most of her care at home. Her mother thanked her caregivers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for keeping Bella strong. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

After Annapolis Massacre, Reuters Editor Tweets: ‘Blood Is on Your Hands, Mr. President’

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:07 am

Thursday afternoon, in a tweet which has since been deleted, Thomson Reuters Global Editor for Breakingviews editor Rob Cox sent out a tweet which directly blamed President Donald Trump for the mass shooting which occurred at the Capital Gazette newspaper’s newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. It read, in part: “Blood is on your hands, Mr. President.” In a Thursday evening release about Cox’s tweet, Reuters Editor-in-chief Steve Adler stated that “We do not condone his behavior and will take appropriate action.”


June 28, 2018

1Q18 Gross Domestic Product, 3rd Estimate (062718): An Annualized 2.0 Percent, Down From 2.2 Percent in May

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:59 am

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

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.0 percent in the first quarter of 2018 (table 1), according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.9 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 2.2 percent. With this third estimate for the first quarter, the general picture of economic growth remains the same; private inventory investment and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) were revised down.

Real GDP: Percent Change from Preceding Quarter

Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 3.6 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 2.8 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent in the fourth quarter (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, PCE, exports, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased (table 2).

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter reflected decelerations in PCE, exports, state and local government spending, and federal government spending and a downturn in residential fixed investment. These movements were partly offset by a smaller decrease in private inventory investment and a larger increase in nonresidential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decelerated.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.2 percent, or $206.0 billion, in the first quarter to a level of $19.96 trillion. In the fourth quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 5.3 percent, or $253.5 billion (table 1 and table 3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.7 percent in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 2.5 percent, compared with an increase of 2.7 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 2.3 percent, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent (appendix table A).

Updates to GDP

The percent change in real GDP was revised down 0.2 percentage point from the second estimate, reflecting downward revisions to private inventory investment, PCE, and exports that were partly offset by an upward revision to nonresidential fixed investment. Imports were revised up. For more information, see the Technical Note. A detailed “Key Source Data and Assumptions” file is also posted for each release. For information on updates to GDP, see the “Additional Information” section that follows.

I’ll have the components analysis shortly.


UPDATE: Here it is —


The reported 0.30-point drop from the first reading to the third isn’t helpful, but the highlighted items point to why the news mostly not as bad as it looks, and appears to bode well for future quarters:

  • If you’re going to pick a component for spending to be flat, it would be health care, where spending has spiraled out of control for years. At the consumer level, it’s taken away from spending on more tangible, everyday items.
  • The government found an additional half-point in fixed nonresidential investment’s contribution to GDP from the first reading to the third. The 1.28-point contribution is the highest quarterly figure in 14 quarters (1.31 points in 3Q14). Only four quarters since the beginning of 2006 have had higher contributions. This performance is consistent with the idea that companies are taking advantage of the tax cuts to invest in productivity-enhancing capabilities. Quarterly fixed nonresidential’s contribution averaged only 0.50 points in the 30 quarters from the recession’s end to the end of 2016.
  • The inventory change figure’s 0.44-point decline from the first reading to the third likely means that the second quarter’s positive contribution will be pretty significant.
  • The worsening figures in net exports seem to reflect flattening economic growth in key economies around the world, which is clearly not helpful.

Next month’s GDP report, besides being the first reading for 2Q18, will also have a comprehensive revision to previous quarters and years, and may end up revising certain items going all the way back to the 1930s.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (062818)

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.

June 27, 2018

Snopes Claims Media Has ‘Consistently Claimed’ Little Girl at Border ‘Was Never Separated’

Snopes.com has once again created fact-check fiction. On Friday, the site’s Kim LaCapria contended that the press has “consistently reported” that the girl photographed by Getty Images’ John Moore “was never separated from her mother,” and that any claim to the contrary is “Mostly False.” There is more evidence than one can even hope to chronicle that it is LaCapria’s claim which is false.