July 28, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘AP Reporter: Get Used to the ‘New Normal’’) Went Up Yesterday

It’s here.

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

July 27, 2014

NYT Headlines Decline in Median Net Worth Since 2003, Downplays Much Steeper Drop Since ’07

Which is the more important statistic: A 36 percent decline in U.S. median household net worth since 2003, or a 43 percent decline in that same statistic since 2007?

The average person would certainly be more concerned about the latter, which represents an annual drop of about 7 percent compared to the less than 4 percent per year seen in the past decade. But apparently if you’re a reporter or editor at the New York Times, the former statistic is of far more interest, while the latter doesn’t merit a specific numerical mention.

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Federal Court Strikes Down ‘Nation’s Last Explicit’ Gun Ban; Press Mostly Ignores

On Saturday, District of Columbia Circuit Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. finally ruled that the city of Washington’s ban on residents carrying firearms outside their homes is unconstitutional.

Emily Miller at Fox News calls it a decision which “leaves no gray area in gun-carrying rights.” But a Google News search on “Washington DC gun case” (not in quotes, sorted by date), returned only 16 items, only one of which — a terse five-paragraph Reuters dispatch carried at the New York Times and appearing in Sunday’s paper on Page A16 — is from a U.S. establishment press outlet.

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July 26, 2014

Megyn Kelly Chronicles IRS Lies and Flip-Flops the Press Refuses to Cover, Let Alone Feature

On Thursday, with PJ Media’s J. Christian Adams as her guest, Fox News’s Megyn Kelly recited a list of assertions (under oath, she reminded us) made by Internal Revenue Service officials which have later been shown to be lies or cause for agency flip-flops after “new” facts have been revealed.

It’s a significant list. By implication, it’s an indictment of the vast majority of the establishment press, which has refused to give the IRS scandal the attention it deserves. Video and a transcript follow the jump.

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Wasseman Schultz Says Nev. Governor Didn’t Implement an Obamacare Exchange; But He Did

It seems that Democratic National Committee chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz has herself programmed to automatically criticize any Republican governor in the U.S. for refusing to implement a state Obamacare exchange.

Wasserman Schultz made that contention on Tuesday about Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. She did so on Nevada’s “Ralston Reports,” a TV program hosted by Jon Ralston, whose bio indicates that he is “a contributing editor at Politico Magazine” and that he has appeared “on national television, including programs on MSNBC, FOX and PBS.” There’s only one problem: Nevada tried to set up an Obamacare exchange, but decided to “scrap its crippled Obamacare exchange and join the federal HealthCare.gov for at least a year.” Video and a transcript follow the jump.

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July 25, 2014

The (Vain?) Search for 3 Percent 2Q14 GDP Growth

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:04 pm

Today’s durable goods report showed that the seasonally adjusted value of June shipments rose 0.1%.

Knowing orders is useful for gauging the future, but what goes into GDP is what is shipped/sold. This quarter’s rundown was +0.1% April, -0.1% May, and +0.1% June — before inflation, which was certainly greater than the 0.1% sum of the three months.

Meanwhile, over in consumer spending land, the markets were spooked by Amazon’s larger than expeted second quarter loss, its much larger forecast loss in the third quarter, and Visa’s weak second quarter.

Meanwhile monthly new-home sales have trailed the same month froma year for four out of the past five months.

So where is this 3 percent GDP growth going to come from?

Dereliction of Duty, Pure and Simple

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:31 am

From WCPO (HT to an emailer):

Does (Cincinnati) Mayor John Cranley’s goal of making Cincinnati the most immigration friendly city in America mean not enforcing the law?

Police chief Jeffrey Blackwell says police won’t aggressively go after undocumented aliens in town.

“We’re trying to make this the safest big city in America, and there’s a lot involved with that. And going after undocumented illegals is not part of that,” Blackwell said Thursday.

Apparently Mr. Blackwell has never heard of MS-13 or the other Mexican drug cartels.

Besides the obvious fact that being here illegally is a crime, Blackwell also apparently doesn’t know anything about the murder of Kevin Barnhill or the attempted murder at a construction site in Hamilton Township.

Yes, those incidents happened eight years ago. So? Think about how many more criminal illegals will locate here thanks to Mayor Cranley’s and Police Chief Blackwell’s Welcome Wagon invitiation.

July 24, 2014

IBD on IRS BS

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:59 am

From a Wednesday editorial at Investor’s Business Daily (HT Doug Ross; link added by me; bolds are mine):

… On Monday, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, which deals with such technical questions regarding computer hardware and record retention on a regular basis and which has reacted with the same incredulity as the rest of us, released a list of six basic questions the IRS needs to answer.

1. First, what happened to the IRS’ IT asset managers who seemingly vanished during this critical period? IAITAM , which runs the only worldwide certification program for IT asset managers, says its records show that at least three IRS IT asset managers were moved out of their positions at the time of the May 2013 inspector general’s report that detailed the agency’s targeting practices. What can they tell us?

2. The hard drives in question are federal property and cannot be destroyed or recycled without proper documentation. “Proper IT asset management requires clear proof and records of destruction when drives are wiped or destroyed,” notes IAITAM President and founder Barbara Rembiesa. Where are these records?

3. IAITAM asks if the drives were destroyed by an outside IT asset destruction unit, a not-unusual practice among federal agencies. If so, it adds an entire second layer of documentation of the destruction of these assets, including who approved it.

4. What are the IRS’ specific policies and procedures on document retention when hard drives are damaged or destroyed? In most large private-sector organizations, hard drives and computers are just not tossed in the dumpster or dropped off at the local recycling center until recovery of the lost data is assured.

5. What is the disaster recovery policy at the IRS, an agency responsible for our most sensitive tax information, particularly in light of its statistically implausible number of hard drive crashes?

6. Where are Lerner’s emails from her BlackBerry device and what is on the enterprise server? Some have even suggested Lerner may have off-loaded her emails to what is known as a USB flash drive and still has them in her possession, another federal offense.

The IRS is counting on the general public’s relative ignorance of computer technology to believe its smoke-and-mirror cover-up.

But in the age of the iPad and iPhone, even a child knows that something does not compute here.

Initial Unemployment Claims (072414): 284K; Raw Claims Come in Under 300K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:06 am

Prediction: Well, a sort-of prediction — Bloomberg News says that “U.S. economic data today will show new home sales fell in June, while a weekly report on initial claims for unemployment insurance will say applications rose.”

Last week came in with 302,000 seasonally adjusted claims.

Update: Business Insider has a 307K prediction.

Seasonal adjustment factors:

  • Week ended July 19, 2014 — 99.2
  • Week ended July 20, 2013 — 103.0

Raw claims:

  • Week ended July 12, 2014 — (before revision)
  • Week ended July 20, 2013 — 340,457

It looks as if this week’s seasonal factor will make today’s result look better than it should by about 11,000 or 12,000 claims. Both weeks above were full five-day, mid-July business weeks, and there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for the differential between the years’ seasonal factors, and last year’s seasonally adjusted results were consistent with other weeks in July.

For a repeat of or improvement upon last week’s performance, raw claims will need to be 311,000 or lower (311K divided by 1.03 is 302K, rounded).

But, consisted with what was just noted above, raw claims really need to come in at or below 300K.

We’ll see here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS:

 SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA 

In the week ending July 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 284,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since February 18, 2006 when they were 283,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 302,000 to 303,000. The 4-week moving average was 302,000, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since May 19, 2007 when it was 302,000. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 309,000 to 309,250.

UNADJUSTED DATA 

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 292,344 in the week ending July 19, a decrease of 78,215 (or -21.1 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 58,477 (or -15.8 percent) from the previous week. There were 340,457 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

This is a good result — just not as good as the reported seasonally adjusted 284K number would indicate. It’s really the equivalent of about 295K.

___________________________________

UPDATE: Regarding the seasonal factors

“Initial jobless claims probably remained near the 300,000 mark as seasonal factors likely continued to misestimate actual claims activity during the July auto factory shutdown season,” said Citi’s Peter D’Antonio.

“We posit that filing have been artificially low, relative to the May-June average, reflecting in part the inability of the seasonal factors to account for two post-crisis trends in the auto sector: (1) the auto sector is much smaller, resulting in fewer hourly worker claims than before; and (2) many factories stay open in order to accommodate stronger demand. Separately, beneficiaries and the insured rate likely also remained low due to factory retooling period seasonal factor idiosyncrasies.”

Mr. D’Antonio’s argument would support this year’s seasonal factor being lower than last year. Instead, this week’s factor, as noted above, was higher than last year’s comparable week.

July 23, 2014

Quote of the Day: On Halbig v. Burwell

Filed under: Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:50 pm

Sean Davis at the Federalist:

In 2010, Nancy Pelosi famously claimed that Congress needed to pass Obamacare in order to find out what’s in it. Well, a federal court just read Obamacare and found out what wasn’t in it: tax credit subsidies for federal exchange health plans.

A full DC circuit court failure to acknowledge this clear, irrefutable fact will mean that the rule of law is on death’s door.

If it gets to that, a Supreme Court failure to uphold Tuesday’s DC circuit court panel ruling will mean that the rule of law really is dead.

Press Ignores General Amos’s Criticism of U.S.’s Poor ‘Leadership’ and Inadequate ‘Courage’

It has been eight days since Marine Corps Commandant and Joint Chiefs of Staff member General James Amos spoke out against the current lack-of-leadership climate in Washington.

Specifically, in a question-and-answer session at the Brookings Institution on July 15 (PDF transcript here), Amos noted how badly the situation in Iraq has deteriorated since U.S. troops’ departure in 2010, and questioned whether it would have happened if there had been “the right leadership, the right mentoring, the right government and courage” in place. This was a de facto callout of the Obama administration for failing to consolidate and secure the victory achieved in 2008. If this kind of criticism occurred during a Republican or conservative administration, it would be front-page news. Instead, a Google News search on “Amos Iraq” (not in quotes) returns roughly 10 relevant items, and the Associated Press has nothing relevant. The video and a transcript of Megyn Kelly’s related interview of Oliver North Monday evening follow the jump (HT to a longtime emailer):

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July 22, 2014

Aww: Politico’s Glenn Thrush Doesn’t Like ‘Abortion Barbie’ Nickname For Wendy Davis

Politico reporters are badly burning themselves on Twitter these days.

Last night (as yours truly noted this afternoon), the web site’s Roger Simon, apparently upset that Rick Perry is doing his job, tweeted that the Texas governor is “sending 1,000 National Guard troops to border to shoot small children.” Yet 12 hours later, Glenn Thrush, another longtime Politico veteran, tweeted a plea for civility, begging people not to use a popular opponents’ nickname for Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (HT RedState):

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