July 27, 2015

Press Mostly Fails to Report Union Exemptions in Some Minimum-Wage Laws

I guess the slogan of labor has changed from “Look for the union label” to “Look for the union waiver.”

The Los Angeles Times published a long front-page story early this morning on an issue some people thought disappeared after its initial exposure two months ago. The issue is whether union workers should be exempt from minimum wage laws, especially the sky-high minimums being enacted in some U.S. cities. To those who have been unaware of the issue up until now and are thinking that all of this must be a joke — it’s not. It’s just that the press, which not coincidentally has a higher percentage of union members than the private sector as a whole, has barely noted it.


AP’s Ken Sweet Plays Stall-Ball, Waits Four Paragraphs to Disclose Size of Historic Chinese Stock Dive

Based on how they handled it today, it’s pretty obvious that the Associated Press’s Ken Sweet and his wire service’s headline writers want the lowest possible number of users of their reporting — consumers and subscribing print and broadcast outlets — to know about the mainland Chinese stock market’s historically deep 8.5 percent Monday dive.

It took four paragraphs for Sweet to get to the specifics. What preceded it was clearly intended to create an “It’s No Big Deal, so you can move on to something else” impression.


June’s Advance Durable Goods: +3.4 Percent, 2nd Quarter Net Decline of 0.5%; Year-Over-Year June Raw Shipments Up 3.2 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:29 am

Durable goods orders is the final significant hard data element to be reported before Thursday’s report on Gross Domestic Product. The GDP report will include a multi-year revision in addition to second-quarter results,

Orders are expected to increase significantly due to an apparently known pickup in aircraft orders, but there is a wide variance in predictions. According to Yahoo’s economic calnendar, Briefing.com is predicting +5.5, while the “market” is going with +3.0 percent. That calendar also indicates that the previous month’s initial figures have been revised down to -2.2 percent from -1.8 percent.

Core duarable orders are expected to come in at +0.5 percent by Briefing.com and the “market.”

It will also be worth seeing how badly this year’s shipment, especially core shipments, continue to lag last yeear’s, which seems likely.

We’ll see here at 8:30.


New Orders

New orders for manufactured durable goods in June increased $7.7 billion or 3.4 percent to $235.3 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 2.1 percent May decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.8 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.8 percent.

… Shipments

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in June, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $0.3 billion or 0.1 percent to $239.4 billion. This followed a 0.3 percent May decrease.

… Inventories

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in June, up twenty-four of the last twenty-five months, increased $1.6 billion or 0.4 percent to $402.3 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 0.2 percent May decrease.

Considering revised changes of -1.7 percent and -2.1 percent in April and May, respectively, the net seasonally adjusted decrease during the quarter was -0.5 percent (.983 x .979 x 1.034).

There is good news on shipments. Raw shipments of $260.7 billion in June came in 3.2 percent ahead of the $252.6 billion seen in June 2014, a big improvement over May’s 0.3 percent year-over-year increase. Continued increases of this size will justify the unadjusted inventory buildup of 3.7 percent, but reversions back to what we saw in May won’t.

It would be even nicer if the rest of manufacturing and the wholesale sector were showing sales increase. They’re not — which lead inevitably to the mystery of how GDP can be higher at all than last year at this time when so many key elements of it are lower.

Speaking of GDP, Yahoo’s calendar currently shows an unusually large variance between the Briefing.com prediction on an annualized 1.3 percent increase and the “market” prediction of 2.6 percent. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Fed’s model is predicting +2.4 percent as of July 17, and Moody’s currently has +3.0 percent.


UPDATE: Zero Hedge claims that today’s report shows that a recession in imminent, but is basing it on a claimed “month over month 3.1% unadjusted decline I haven’t been able to verify.

My take is that today’s report isn’t all that bad, but is far from what we need to be seeing.

UPDATE 2, 11:35 A.M.: AP’s coverage of durable goods predicts 2.5 percent annualized second quarter GDP growth.

AP’s Obsessed Weissert Whines About Perry’s ‘Pricy’ and ‘High-Powered’ Legal Team

2016 GOP presidential candidate and former Texas Governor Rick Perry is fighting a legal battle against an out-of-control Lone Star State county. That county’s prosecutor has sued Perry, claiming that a) he committed an illegal act of “coercion” by threatening to veto legislation funding a “public integrity” office headed by Travis County’s Rosemary Lehmberg, who was convicted of drunk driving in 2013 but refused to resign; and b) that he committed another illegal act by carrying out his veto promise. In effect, the county wants to criminalize Perry’s exercise of his then-gubernatorial duties.

A Texas Court threw out the “coercion” contention on Friday. The Associated Press’s Will Weissert, who has demonstrated consistent hostility towards Perry in recent years while somehow retaining employment as an allegedly objective journalist, was quite displeased. He whined about Team Perry’s lawyers doing all they can to defend him — twice — while making sure readers know that the politician he so despises is not catching on very well as a candidate for the GOP nomination.


July 26, 2015

Goalposts Moved: Reporter Asks For Proof Hillary’s Private-Server Classified Emails Caused ‘National Security Harm’

Veteran journalist John Harwood, according to his Twitter home page, covers “Washington and national politics for CNBC and the New York Times.”

Saturday morning, despite all of his experience, Harwood tweeted a question (HT Twitchy) so naive that a freshman journalism student would have been embarrassed to ask it:


July 25, 2015

Not News: Coal CEO Decries EPA’s ‘Political Power Grab of America’s Power Grid’

In a speech at a Republican Lincoln Day dinner in West Virginia earlier this week, Murray Energy Corp. founder and CEO Robert Murray decried the Obama administration’s determination to, as described at the financial news site SNL.com (to be clear, no relation to Saturday Night Live), “bypass the states and their utility commissions, the U.S. Congress and the Constitution in favor of putting the U.S. EPA in charge of the nation’s electric grid.”

In the establishment press, Murray’s speech was only covered in a single snarky paragraph by Darren Goode at the Politico titled “Don’t Hold Back Now” — obviously attempting to paint Murray as unreasonable and extreme — and a writeup at the Wheeling (WV) Intelligencer. After all, what does Murray know? He’s only the head of the largest company in an industry which is still responsible for fueling 39 percent of America’s electrical grid, and the majority of it in many states. Who would want to give him any visibility, as if he has anything valuable to say? Well, I do.


AP’s Lederman Really Believes That Obama Got ‘Three-Quarters of a Loaf’ in Iran Deal

I’m virtually certain that he wouldn’t dream of it, but the Associated Press’s Josh Lederman seriously needs to consider correcting two extremely embarrassing paragraphs he wrote in his coverage of President Obama’s appearance on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show earlier this week.

At the 15:03 mark of the Comedy Central video following the jump, Obama treated Stewart as if he’s a legitimate journalist, telling him that “It’s not your job to focus on the three-quarters of a loaf or half a loaf that we get. Your job is to point out what we still haven’t gotten.” Actually, after enduring the video, it seems far more correct to say that Stewart’s job was to make it look like he was challenging Obama by giving him a bit of grief several minutes earlier about the still-scandalous situation at the Veterans Administration, and then to give him a virtual open mic the rest of the way. But I digress.


Positivity: Why the Catholic behind the Planned Parenthood videos went undercover

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Bismarck, North Dakota:

Jul 22, 2015 / 03:49 pm

With the façade of a fictitious biotechnology company, David Daleiden and his fellow investigators from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) infiltrated the bowels of the abortion industry at its ugliest.

For 30 months, as part of their “Human Capital” investigation, they followed the trail that led to aborted babies whose parts are earmarked for sale, even while their little hearts are still beating.

“It is a paradox that we can’t have laws that recognize unborn babies as human, and yet, it is their very humanness that makes them valuable for experimentation,” Daleiden said in an interview last week with the Register.

“It is as if they [the biotech companies] are going on a treasure hunt for the heads or hearts of babies, but how much more valuable would those heads and hearts be if they were allowed to grow up and be a part of society?”

As leader of the project, Daleiden schmoozed and lunched with people at the top of Planned Parenthood — abortionists, administrators and directors. Acting as if he wanted to procure the valuable parts of aborted babies, Daleiden secretly videotaped the perpetrators so they would be admitting their own guilt in front of what certainly would be a shocked public.

It was mission accomplished on July 14, when Daleiden released the first of a dozen videos. In just a few days, more than 2 million people had viewed the video, and five investigations were opened: three congressional and two state. And this week, his organization released a second video that has further intensified the public questioning of Planned Parenthood’s fetal-tissue policies and calls for defunding and more investigations.

But Planned Parenthoods’ callous disregard for the bodies of innocent babies should have surprised no one, according to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.

“No one should be shocked by this video,” Archbishop Chaput said in a statement for the Register. “This is who Planned Parenthood is and what it does. It’s been part of the organization’s gene code from the start. The logic of its disdain for new life is just working itself out. And it won’t stop until the money and the media adulation are cut off.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 24, 2015

Sympathetic AP on Hillary Emails: Darn It, They’re Such a Distraction

The press — especially the Associated Press — wants everyone to know that the email controversy “swirling” around her is partisan and distracting. Why anyone would worry about its national security or legal implications is almost completely lost on them. That’s their story, and they’ve been sticking to it for months.

The latest installment from the AP came tonight from Lisa Lerner, Eric Tucker and three other contributing reporters. Even though it’s at the core of the firestorm over her undisclosed use of a private server out of her home, the term “national security” didn’t appear until Paragraph 17 — and even then it was in a quote from a Republican. The big problem, from the AP team’s perspective, is capsulized in their report’s pity-party headline and opening paragraphs (bolds are mine):


As New-Home Sales ‘Unexpectedly’ Dive, AP’s Boak Says They’re Just ‘Not As Hot’

Thanks to year-over-year declines in manufacturing orders, manufacturing shipments, and wholesale sales, along with bloated inventories, apologists for the current condition of the U.S. economy are down to three defenses supposedly demonstrating that all is still really well after yet another rough first quarter (once again excused away as due to supposedly historically awful winter weather).

One of the three is that the housing market, particularly for new homes, is in a genuine recovery. Effective today, we can scratch at least the new-home element of that claim. The Census Bureau told us today that seasonally adjusted new-home sales fell by 7 percent in June, after May’s originally strong figure was also revised down by 5 percent. The raw data showed that the number of new homes sold in June — supposedly peak season for new home purchases — was the same as the number sold in February.


Today’s Winner of the Internet



Underlying story:


… And there’s no mystery about why, as reporter Michael Schmidt explained to Politico: “It (the editing — Ed.) was a response to complaints we received from the Clinton camp that we thought were reasonable, and we made them.”

Another ‘Unexpected’ Occurrence: New-Home Sales Fizzle During Peak Season

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:29 am

So much for the housing recovery, for the umpteenth time, from the Census Bureau:

Sales of new single-family houses in June 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 482,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 6.8 percent (±12.5%)* below the revised May rate of 517,000, but is 18.1 percent (±18.1%) above the June 2014 estimate of 408,000.

May was 546,000 in last month’s report, but got revised downward by 5 percent.

June’s seasonally adjusted annualized 482,000 is the lowest figure of the year, the lowest figure since November of last year, and is only 4 percent higher than June 2013.

Zero Hedge agrees: “There goes the housing recovery — again.”

July 23, 2015

Fiorina Rejects Tapper’s ‘Rape/Incest’ Bait, Attack Hillary Clinton’s Radical Abortion Stance

The press’s favorite abortion questions usually have nothing to do with the 700,000-plus terminations of preborn babies’ lives which take place each year in the U.S. (Note: The real figure is likely quite higher, because reporting is voluntary.) Especially when the person interviewed is a Republican or conservative, abortion questions focus heavily on the fewer than 1% of all abortions which are performed because of rape and incest. This is the equivalent of a news organization focusing all of its attention on a single house fire while an entire city a few miles away burns out of control.

2016 GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina had no interest in playing this game with Jake Tapper on Tuesday. In the process, she put on a clinic which should be mandatory viewing for any Republican or conservative who is in or wants to have a career in politics.


Initial Unemployment Claims (072315): 255K SA (A Dubious 45-Year Low); Raw Claims (263K) 8 Percent Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:17 pm

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending July 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 255,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 281,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since November 24, 1973 when it was 233,000. The 4-week moving average was 278,500, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 282,500.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 262,981 in the week ending July 18, a decrease of 81,382 (or -23.6 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 54,210 (or -15.7 percent) from the previous week. There were 287,049 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

The “record” achievement is VERY dubious, given that this year’s seasonal factor of 103.3 is significantly higher than the factor for the same week last year of 99.4 for no apparent reason. Both weeks were full weeks of business unaffected by holidays.

If last year’s factor had been used on this year’s raw claims, the result would have been 10,000 claims higher; 262,981 divided by .994 is 265,000, rounded. That would have only been the lowest figure since May 9, i.e., a whole 2-1/2 months ago.

All of that said, it is nice to see raw claims trailing last year by 8.4 percent. It would be nicer if that would continue. We’ll see if it does.

July 22, 2015

Sekulow Sets the Record Straight on Obama Laughable Denial of IRS Targeting

Earlier today, Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters noted how the Big Three morning network news shows on NBC, ABC, and CBS failed to cover President Barack Obama’s denial that the Internal Revenue Service ever went after Tea Party and other conservative groups in his appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Specifically Obama said that “it turned out no … the truth of the matter is there was not some big conspiracy there … the real scandal around the I.R.S. right now is that it has been so poorly funded.”

Following the lead of the Associated Press, whose Josh Lederman completely ignored Obama load of IRS-related horse manure, the same crowd which spent years screaming about how “Bush Lied” about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — he didn’t lie, period; even the left has to agree, thanks to the New York Times, that it’s no longer arguable — has remained notoriously silent about Obama’s claim. Jay Sekulow, who has defended several organizations targeted by the IRS, went on Neal Cavuto’s Fox Business channel show this afternoon to set the irrefutable record straight (HT to a longtime tipster):