March 6, 2015

Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) Boycotts Bibi’s Speech, Then Virtually Copies May 2011 Statement to Effusively Praise It

In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry infamously stated, in connection with an Iraq War spending resolution, that “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”

Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida has done her own John Kerry imitation. She was against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress earlier this week, and expressed her disapproval by boycotting it. But in a press release issued shortly after that speech, she effusively praised it. The Tampa Bay Tribune’s Alex Leary noted the breathtaking switcheroo on Tuesday. The rest of the establishment press has been utterly uninterested. There’s even more to this story, as will be seen after the jump.


February 2015 Employment Situation Summary (030615): 295K SA Payroll Jobs Added, Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.5%; Malaise Factors Continue Unchecked; Seasonal Adjustments Overhype Real Results

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:25 am


Update: The contrarians at Zero Hedge expect a number “well below 200,000″ — “unless some 100,000 bartenders were hired in the deep of winter.”

Not seasonally adjusted benchmarks:

I’ll have to put up the tables later, but they show that February is a month of major net job additions.

Accordingly, based on a look at historical results:

  • The economy needs to have added 1.075 million nonfarm payroll jobs to be marching along acceptably. For comparison’s sake, that’s a bit more than the 1.038 million added in February 2013.
  • The economy needs to have added 575,000 private-sector payroll jobs. That’s somewhat more than the 553,000 added in February 2013.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent full HTML link): A strong report, pending a look at the raw figures (Update: See the rest of this post; it’s not nearly as strong as the seasonal figures would lead one to believe)

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 295,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, construction, health care, and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in mining was down over the month.

Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate (5.5 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (8.7 million) edged down in February. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.2 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers decreased by 1.7 percentage points to 17.1 percent in February. The jobless rates for adult men (5.2 percent), adult women (4.9 percent), whites (4.7 percent), blacks (10.4 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) showed little or no change.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.7 million in February. These individuals accounted for 31.1 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed is down by 1.1 million.

The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, changed little in February and has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 to 62.9 percent since April 2014. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 59.3 percent in February but is up by 0.5 percentage point over the year.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 295,000 in February, compared with an average monthly gain of 266,000 over the prior 12 months. Job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, construction, health care, and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in mining declined over the month.

In February, food services and drinking places added 59,000 jobs. The industry had added an average of 35,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 51,000 in February and has risen by 660,000 over the year. In February, employment continued to trend up in management and technical consulting services (+7,000), computer systems design and related services (+5,000), and architectural and engineering services (+5,000).

… After revision, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December remained at +329,000, and the change for January was revised from +257,000 to +239,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January were 18,000 lower than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 288,000 per month.

Immediate observations (seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated):

  • The seasonally adjusted labor force shrunk by 178,000 (…!), and the jobs pickup in the Household Survey was only 96,000 (after a 759,000 increase in January). Over the past four months, the Establishment Survey of payroll jobs has added about a quarter-million more jobs than the Household Survey (Update: Specifically, 1.286 million vs. 1.037 milllion).
  • “Not in labor force” is back to its previous record of 92.9 mllion.
  • Full-time employment increased by 123,000, while part-time employment dropped by 75,000.
  • In raw numbers, the 100,000 “bartenders” Zero Hedge alluded to almost materialized. “Food service and drinking places” employment increased by 97,600, which was seasonally adjusted to 58,700.

Not seasonally adjusted benchmarks (link):

  • Total nonfarm — 903K actual vs. 1.075 million needed.
  • Private sector — 467K actual vs. 575K needed. (Also note that 12.6% 21% of those jobs — 97,600 divided by 467,000 — were in ”Food service and drinking places,” a segment which is only about 8% of the workforce.)

Both shortfalls are significant. Pending a further look, it appears that the seasonal adjustments yielded a result more favorable than justified by the raw numbers.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, the seasonally adjusted figures are higher than justified —


The Feb. 2015 raw NFP figure is 135K below 2013 and 51K below 2012, but this year’s seasonally adjustment figure of 295K is only 19K lower and 48K higher, respectively. I’d say today’s number makes things look at least 75,000 jobs better than justified.

Readers comparing this year to 2014 may point out that this year’s seasonally adjusted figure went up by less than the raw increase. The answer there is that the February 2014 seasonally adjusted figure was miles higher than the horrid 741K in raw job additions justified.

The result is similar on the private-sector side. The Feb. 2015 raw figure is 86K below 2013 and 26K below 2012, but this year’s seasonally adjustment figure of 288K is only 9K lower and 39K higher, respectively. I’d say today’s number makes the situation in the private sector look at least 60,000 jobs better than justified.

Overall: So despite what appears to be a pretty strong month after seasonalizing, February was really a bit weaker than January, though not alarmingly so. February and the the next four months are supposed to be big ones for raw job additions. February’s start to the festivities, while not awful, was certainly not wildly encouraging.

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s (and Others’) Disgraceful John Willke Obituaries

This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.


Enduring the Cincinnati Enquirer’s seemingly interminable attempts to round up new subscribers is among the more annoying trials Greater Cincinnatians must face. Their recruiters often appear in local grocery stores, desperate to almost give away three-month “trials.”

This once respectable full-throttle newspaper, which now looks as if it was cobbled together and produced at Fedex/Kinko’s on the fly overnight — and is actually produced 100 miles away in Columbus — is clearly hurting for readers. All the groveling in the world won’t gain my subscription as long as they publish disgraceful obituaries like the one which appeared on Saturday about national prolife legend and Cincinnati resident John Willke, who died on Friday at age 89. Other national establishment press outlets also participated in smearing Willke, but his local paper had a far higher duty to at least try to be fair — and failed.

Perhaps the best way to familiarize readers with Willke before illustrating how horrid the Enquirer’s obit was — as well as those found elsewhere — would be to excerpt the following paragraphs from the National Right to Life organization’s Monday tribute (bolds are mine throughout this column):

National Right to Life Mourns the Death of Dr. John C. Willke

In the early days of the right-to-life movement, Jack and Barbara Willke helped form the foundation of right-to-life educational efforts through the development of the “Willke slides” on fetal development and abortion, and their first book, “The Handbook on Abortion,” which sold an estimated 1.5 million copies. Both were considered must-haves for local activists.

“Every pro-lifer relied on the ‘Willke slides’ on fetal development that beautifully depicted the development of the unborn child as well as the brutal reality of abortion,” Tobias said.

The Willkes crisscrossed the nation for four decades speaking out on behalf of society’s most defenseless members. They inspired some of the earliest state and local right-to-life groups combatting abortion before the Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. The Willkes co-founded Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati in the early 1970s.

In September 1973, Dr. Willke joined the National Right to Life board of directors representing his home state of Ohio, and served continuously until his retirement in 2012. He served in a variety of capacities throughout the 1970s, including terms as vice-chairman of the board and vice president. He was elected president of National Right to Life (1980-1983 and 1984-1991), serving a total of ten years. During his tenure, he helped raised the profile of the organization through countless radio and television appearances, and trips across the country and around the world as an ambassador for the right-to-life movement.

To expand National Right to Life’s efforts to educate the nation, on January 7, 1985, Dr. Willke premiered Pro-Life Perspective, National Right to Life’s daily radio program. The show, now in its 30th year and hosted by National Right to Life president Carol Tobias, has served as an educational resource for countless millions of Americans concerned about the right-to-life issues.

… In addition to his work locally and nationally, Dr. Willke expanded right-to-life efforts with the formation of the International Right to Life Federation, which brought together pro-life organizations operating in countries around the world. He was president emeritus of the organization at the time of his death.

Now let’s see how the Enquirer’s Emile Eaton wrote Willke’s obituary.

Incredibly, especially considering that Willke said nothing false or misleading at the time, Eaton spent five paragraphs dishonestly tarring him with Todd Akin’s 2012 U.S. Senate campaign blunder, and followed that exercise with a clumsy paragraph creating the impression that Willke and his wife Barbara, who died several years ago, were stubborn old coots who wouldn’t let go of the outlook which sunk Akin (numbered tags are mine):

Willke’s view on abortion didn’t come without criticism. Willke, who was a retired general physician [1], believed the stress of rape caused the female body to inhibit conception. [2] Former Missouri congressman Todd Akin also touted that idea, saying victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. The 2012 comments caused a media sensation and national debate on the subject. [3]

Willke first put forward that theory over 30 years ago and in 1999 he said rape “can radically upset (a woman’s) possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing a pregnancy.” [2]

“I’m not saying she doesn’t get pregnant from assault rape,” Willke said. “She can and she does. It’s just very rare.”

David Grimes, an obstetrician and gynecologist in North Carolina who was a chief of the abortion surveillance branch at the Center for Disease Control, criticized Willke for this. [4]

“For Dr. Willke to say a woman can avoid getting pregnant by squeezing her Fallopian tubes is ridiculous,” he told The Enquirer in 2012. [5] “To suggest this doesn’t happen is cruel, cruel, cruel. Rape is an ugly and common occurrence.”

The Willkes maintained their viewpoints. [6] Their daughter Marie Meyers told The Enquirer in 2013 after Barbara died that the couple felt it was the right thing to do and believed they would be rewarded in heaven.

[1] — Willke was an obstetrician. National Right to Life says so, as does the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press in their respective otherwise similarly tasteless obits. Wikipedia says that he “was an obstetrician in Cincinnati, Ohio, but ceased practicing medicine in 1988 in order to devote himself full-time to the anti-abortion movement.” In 1988, Willke was 63. Eaton’s claim that he was a “retired general physician” could conceivably be technically true, but it’s obviously misleading. The default assumption, given that others got it right, has to be that it’s deliberately so, to downplay upcoming Item [2] and to make Items [4] and [5] appear credible.

[2] (tagged twice) — Willke didn’t just “say” it in 1999. He fully documented his reasoning in an April column that year. Emile Eaton and others obsessed with diminishing Willke should actually read it. Using a set of reasonable assumptions based on data available at the time, the doctor estimated that there were perhaps 450-740 potential instances per year of forcible rape-related pregnancy (as opposed to instances involving statutory rape) nationwide. He further expressed the following informed, expert opinion as an obstetrician as to why that number was probably lower:

To get and stay pregnant a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones. Hormone production is controlled by a part of the brain that is easily influenced by emotions. There’s no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy. So what further percentage reduction in pregnancy will this cause? No one knows, but this factor certainly cuts this last figure by at least 50 percent and probably more. If we use the 50 percent figure, we have a final figure of 225 (or 370) women pregnant each year. These numbers closely match the 200 that have been documented in clinical studies.

The obit at the New York Times, in a rare bow to fairness, noted that Willke drew on a New England Journal of Medicine report which “suggested that rape victims typically experience a level of shock that prevents their bodies from functioning normally.” So the idea that being raped influences the odds of getting pregnant compared to consensual sex isn’t some crackpot idea John Willke concocted out of thin air.

Willke’s (and Akin’s) naysayers often absurdly assert that there are 32,000 “rape-related” pregnancies per year, over 100 times greater than Willke’s midpoint estimate. That number is based on a study which extrapolated a grand total of 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy over a three-year period out of a group of 4,008 to the general population of adult women 12-45 years of age. The researchers absurdly contended that “The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape” (italics are mine). Readers comparing that figure to Willke’s careful calculations will see how who’s really practicing pseudoscience. The correct number, if it could ever be determined, is far closer to Willke’s than it is to 32,000.

[3] — Akin’s comments didn’t spur a national debate. They spurred a national smear. Almost no one is any smarter on this subject as a result of the press’s coverage of Akin’s failed 2012 U.S. Senate campaign. More than a few people, though they feel really smart, are instead quite a bit dumber.

[4] — Eaton makes sure we know that Grimes in an ob-gyn. So we’re supposed to believe he’s smart about these things. As noted above, Eaton characterized Willke as a “general physician” to diminish his relative stature.

[5] — Contrary to what Grimes claims, Willke never stated or implied in any way, shape, or form that “a woman can avoid getting pregnant by squeezing her Fallopian tubes.” In fact, as seen above, he indicated the exact opposite, i.e., that the act of rape causes emotional trauma. While he did correctly observe that a woman’s Fallopian tubes can be “spastic” in a 2012 interview, he never stated or implied that such spasms can be willfully controlled.

[6] — To complete the smear, the first sentence of Eaton’s following paragraph, which presumptively refers to the previous five unless the reader is told otherwise, will cause many readers to believe that the “viewpoints” the Willkes “maintained” concerned forcible-rape pregnancies. It would have been so easy to write “The Willkes maintained their prolife viewpoints”  — or, if you must, “their anti-abortion viewpoints.” But Eaton, and the Enquirer, apparently had no interest in letting accurate writing get in the way of a “good” hit piece.

Though addressing the technical matters Eaton risibly raised is important, the overriding point is that she — and for that matter, the rest of the establishment press — had no business devoting any verbiage to this matter in the obituary of a man who arguably did more to save pre-born babies than any other prolife activist has before or since.

From a local perspective, that Eaton would even have thought to go there, let alone carry the idea into her piece, and that the Enquirer’s editors didn’t say, “Whoa, this is way out of line,” tells you everything you need to know about why I won’t subscribe to the paper even if they bring a copy to my door on a silver platter every day.

I’m not alone. In early 2006, the Enquirer had 201,000 daily subscribers. By late 2011, that number was down to 149,000. Now it’s 111,000. The Internet doesn’t even begin to explain that degree of decline. Being out of touch with your community and allowing outrageous bias to permeate every aspect of coverage, even your obituaries, does.

March 5, 2015

initial Unemployment Claims (030515): 320K SA; Raw Claims Only 2% Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:51 am

From the Department of Labor, the sound of a hiccup:


In the week ending February 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 320,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 313,000. The 4-week moving average was 304,750, an increase of 10,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 294,500.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 310,497 in the week ending February 28, an increase of 29,858 (or 10.6 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 23,491 (or 8.4 percent) from the previous week. There were 317,832 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

The seasonal factor this year (97.1) barely differs from the one used for the same week last year (97.8).

Last week I wrote that I wasn’t troubled by the raw claims number of 280,000 (slightly revised up to 280,639).

This week, I am troubled, because raw claims shouldn’t be topping 300,000, and it should cause concern if they remain that high in future weeks.

Next week’s year-over-year raw claims comparable will be 302K. Last year’s four weeks after that are all under 300K; one of them is only 275K. We may be heading into a period where raw claims start running ahead of last year — and I don’t remember anyone saying the economy was humming along at this time last year. After all, 1Q14 GDP came in at an annualized 2.1% contraction.

Easter wasn’t until April 20 last year, and it’s April 5 this year, so the week-over-week comparisons for the next four weeks should be clean.


UPDATE: Zero Hedge notes that predictions were for 295K. But to be clear, I think their claim that this is the “worst start to a year since 2009″ doesn’t hold up. After all, raw claims have come in below the previous year during almost every week so far this year.

But, as noted earlier, that may be about to change.

March 4, 2015

Reader Email: ‘Does this look like someone who feels there is ‘finally a chance to rescue our nation from six years’ of Obama? (Uh, NO)

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:11 pm

Readers will agree that the answer is “no.”

From an emailer, responding to a plea for money from Arizona’s senior senator, throwing words contained therein back at him (bolds are mine):

(John) McCain is not the only voice of surrender. Referring to a TEMPORARY stay against the implementation of Obama’s Amnesty Decree that was recently issued by a federal judge, Senator Jeff Flake proclaimed: “Why don’t we just… declare victory and move on?”

Senator Lindsey Graham chimed in: “When the judge ruled, that was the way I wanted to end it.”

And Congressman Peter King went so far as to say that people who actually value the Constitution and who do NOT want Obama’s Unconstitutional Amnesty Decree funded are “absolutely irresponsible” and “have no concept of reality.”

McCain, Flake, Graham and King are advocating what is being called the “escape hatch theory” in Washington. It goes something like this… “Look, the courts have delayed Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional actions for now, so let’s just go ahead and fund those unconstitutional actions… since we really want amnesty to pass anyway… and when the dust clears, we’ll blame the courts for the evisceration of our Constitution.”

You can almost hear them chuckle.

But wait just a minute: Now that a federal judge has placed a temporary hold on Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional decree… is that not a reason why Congress SHOULD NOT fund it? Would logic not dictate that Congress wait for the courts to reach a final decision BEFORE funding Mr. Obama’s lawless amnesty decree?

Sorry gentlemen, but a TEMPORARY stay by a federal judge is not a “victory” and it’s not an excuse or an escape hatch that ALLOWS you to fund Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty decree. Rather, it’s the reason why you SHOULD NOT fund Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty decree.

We’re not that stupid, Sens. McCain, Graham and Flake.

As to Rep. King, the “reality” is that you, sir, are the one who is being “irresponsible.”

Speaking of money, isn’t it amazing how the GOP can come up with significant funds almost instantly to attack its own true conservative members but never, ever, ever consistently spends the kind of money needed to go after the Obama administration and the left and around the press?

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Newspapers’ Obituaries Smear Pro-life Legend’ John Willke) Went Up Early This Morning

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

Here’s two other “little” things almost no one in the press chose to report about Willke:

Dr. Willke encouraged pro-life advocates to focus on both pregnant women and their unborn children and was a leading popularizer of the phrase “Why can’t we love them both?”

“They were, from the very beginning of their work, strong advocates for pregnancy help centers, maternity homes and positive alternatives,” Mr. Donovan wrote in a Feb. 23 essay at First Things.

He noted that the Willkes were always hosting an expectant mother or a troubled teenager at their Cincinnati home.

RIP, John Willke. Well done, good and faithful servant.

ADP Private-Sector Payrolls: 212K Private-Sector Jobs Added

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:06 pm

From ADP:

ADP National Employment Report: Private Sector Employment Increased by 212,000 Jobs in February

The graphic at the link shows that January, December, and November are now at 250K, 275K, and 284K, respectively. These are meaningful revisions totaling +69K from last month’s estimates.

From the press release:

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Job growth is strong, but slowing from the torrid pace of recent months. Job gains remain broad-based, although the collapse in oil prices has begun to weigh on energy-related employment. At the current pace of growth, the economy will return to full employment by mid-2016.”

Since previous months have been revised upward, it’s a little early to definitively declare a “slowing,” but it February’s number holds, Zandi’s so-called full-employment return won’t happen until the fall of 2016 (why it’s “so-called” is explained here).

March 3, 2015

About That Construction Spending Report Yesterday …

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:05 am

The official news yesterday:

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during January 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $971.4 billion, 1.1 percent (±1.2%)* below the revised December estimate of $982.0 billion. 

Well, that’s okay because December increase was revised up from +0.4% to +0.8%, right?

Wrong. The main reason December’s percentage increase went up is because the dollar figure for November’s annualized construction spending was revised down by over $4 billion, from $978.579 billion to $974.301 billion (Page 2 at each link). Note that even after November was revised down, the seasonally adjusted number for January 2015 still came in almost $3 billion below it.

Oh, and that November revision should have a tiny bit of negative impact on the final fourth-quarter revision to GDP.

February 28, 2015

Classless and Spiteful: Jezebel’s ‘Update’ to False Walker Sexual Assault Reporting Story

As noted this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Jezebel’s Natasha Vargas-Cooper wrote a Friday morning hit piece directed at Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor, calling him a “conservative werewolf” for including a provision in the Badger State’s latest proposed budget to elminate the requirement that universities report campus sexual assault statistics to the state.

Vargas-Cooper took this to mean that all such sexual assault reporting would end. Hardly. Hours later, an unbylined Associated Press story carried at USA Today (but still not carried at its national site) made it clear that a) the University of Wisconsin system had requested the provision, and b) such statistics would continue to be reported to the federal government. Jezebel’s “correction” and Vargas-Cooper’s spiteful tweeted reaction follow the jump.


AP’s Crutsinger Provides Four (Not Five) Weak Reasons Why Lowered 4th Quarter GDP Isn’t a Problem

After yesterday’s government report on economic growth reduced the fourth quarter’s originally estimated increase in gross domestic product from an annualized 2.6 percent to 2.2 percent, you just knew that the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, would try to ride to the rescue.

Late Friday afternoon, the AP’s Martin Crutsinger gamely tried to concoct five reasons why we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads over a growth figure which confirms that the worst post-World War II recovery on record continues to be the worst post-World War II recovery on record. He only came up with four highly questionable reasons, while pretending he still had five (bolds and numbered tags are mine; I also numbered the reporter’s reasons):


Jezebel Writer Falsely Accuses Walker of Wanting to Stop Reporting of Campus Sexual Assaults

On Friday morning at Jezebel, a Gawker-affiliated web site, Natasha Vargas-Cooper thought she had Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by the — well, you know.

In a post tellingly tagged “Conservative Werewolves,” Vargas-Cooper was absolutely sure — so certain that she apparently felt no need to check any further — that Walker’s proposed budget would allow its colleges to “to stop reporting sexual assaults.” Vicious vitriol ensued (bolds are mine throughout this post):


February 27, 2015

AP Report on Wisconsin Right to Work Move Presents Union Side Only

A couple of thousand protesters have showed up to rail against the Wisconsin Legislature’s move to pass right to work legislation this week.

That number is far smaller than what was seen four years ago, when Badger State Governor Scott Walker championed Act 10, a budget repair bill which limited — but please note, contrary to frequent press assertions, did not eliminate — most public-sector unions’ collective bargaining rights. Todd Richmond’s Wednesday evening coverage of the situation in Madison at the Associated Press got plenty of perspectives from union members and others upset with the legislature’s latest move, but predictably failed to get any insights from right to work supporters or those skeptical of protesters’ positions. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbereed tags are mine):


Former WashPost Reporter at the Fiscal Times Falsely Claims Food Stamp Caseload Is Down 11 Percent

The Fiscal Times is a generally strong and informative online publication. That said, it has occasionally exhibits symptoms of what could be seen as either serious leftist bias, quite disappointing ignorance, or both.

One such example arrived in my email box early this morning. It contained the following headline and opening tease for a story concerning the food stamp program:


4Q14 Gross Domestic Product, 1st Revision: An Annualized 2.2 Percent, Down From Original 2.6 Percent Estimate

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:51 am


  •’s Economic Calendar has a estimate of an annualized 2.0 percent and “Market Expects” prediction of 2.1 percent, down from the 2.6 percent originally reported in late January. We should also recall that forecasts before the first release ranged from 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent.
  • Bloomberg’s writeup tells us that “Household consumption, which is the biggest factor in growth, forecast to hold at the previously reported 4.3 percent pace.” That is “probably owed to strong job growth last year.” I think Zero Hedge has observed that it’s because families have had to spend more on medical care out of their own pockets.
  • The Associated Press isn’t carrying a prediction in its overnight report on the overseas stock markets. The wire service’s coverage of yesterday’s durable goods report had a prediction of 2.1 percent.
  • Though you never know with government reports, I have pointed to Macroeconomic Advisers’ mid-February blog post indicating their estimate that GDP contracted by 0.6 percent in December alone as a reason to believe that today’s number may come in lower than 2.0 percent — perhaps quite a bit lower. If it does, the obvious question should be why the press ignored what the highly respected firm was saying.
  • A mid-February Wall Street Journal blog post carried estimates ranging from 1.7 percent to 2.0 percent.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link): Not quite as big of a drop as thought —

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 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 the second estimate for the fourth quarter, private inventory investment increased less than previously estimated, while nonresidential fixed investment increased more (see “Revisions” on page 3).

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

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in imports, a downturn in federal government spending, and decelerations in nonresidential fixed investment and in exports that were partly offset by an acceleration in PCE, an upturn in private inventory investment, and an acceleration in state and local government spending.

Here’s the scoreboard:


Because of other commitments, I won’t have any time to review the revults until this evening, or perhaps even Saturday morning. I’ll try to monitor the blog for comments, and will post any comments as I see as soon as I see them.

February 26, 2015

AP’s Dilanian Avoids Clapper’s ‘Worst in 45 Years’ Threat Statement

At the Associated Press late Thursday morning, Ken Dilanian, the wire service’s intelligence writer, did a marvelous job of covering up the essence of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s Worldwide Threat Assessment testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The trouble is that if he were doing his job as our Founders anticipated he would when they gave the nation’s press extraordinary and then unheard-of freedoms, he would have covered the story instead of covering it up.