August 27, 2015

Vox Comic Relief: Web Site Uses New Deal-Era National Recovery Administration Photo

Two weeks ago, cable and broadcast giant Comcast announced that its NBCUniversal unit would invest $200 million in Vox Communications, thereby “creating a partnership to help the television giant better connect with younger audiences.”

Based on what follows and far more examples than one could hope to cite in a single post, Comcast should consider asking for their money back. Apparently trying to capitalize on the anti-Second Amendment hysteria the Obama administration and the left have attempted to foster after Vester Lee Flanagan II shot and killed Alison Parker and Adam Ward in Virginia, Vox posted the following breathtakingly ignorant tweet (since taken down; HT Twitchy):

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Back to the ‘New Normal’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:19 pm

The U.S. markets have receovered much of the losses duirng the week or so which ended Tuesday, even though:

  • China’s stock market only rose on Thursday because of government share purchases.
  • China has been selling much of its U.S. Treasury holdings. IAnd we’re sure there are other buyers who won’t force China to take lossses? And who is going to buy the new issuance at current near-zero rates?)

I don’t have a crystal ball, but this is no time to be breathing easy.

2Q15 GDP, Second Take: An Annualized 3.7 Percent, Up From 2.3 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:44 am

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis (full release with tables here):

Real gross domestic product — the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.6 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 2.3 percent. With the second estimate for the second quarter, nonresidential fixed investment and private inventory investment increased. With the advance estimate, both of these components were estimated to have slightly decreased (see “Revisions” on page 2).

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, state and local government spending, nonresidential fixed investment, residential fixed investment, and private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

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

Real gross domestic income (GDI) — the value of the costs incurred and the incomes earned in the production of goods and services in the nation’s economy — increased 0.6 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 0.4 percent (revised) in the first. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 2.1 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 0.5 percent in the first quarter.

This was better than the 3.1 percent expected.

Of course, no one can really explain how so many underlying indiactors of “the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy” were lower in the second quarter of this year than during the second quarter of last year.

I’ll have a comparison chart shortly.

UPDATE: Here it is –

GDP3Q14thru2Q15rev082715

Primarily, we saw fairly significant upward revisions to fixed nonresidential investment, inventories (from a decline to an increase), and in government purchases, accompanied by a small increase in consumption.

The upward revision is good news.

There is a widespread belief that the third quarter will be relatively weak because the inventory buildups we’ve seen are going to go into reverse. Given the year-over-year declines in sales I’ve seen, that would seem to make sense. But so much about GDP — which again, is supposed to reflect “the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy” — isn’t reflected in underlying hard data, it’s hard say that with a lot of conviction.

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UPDATE: The Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now model, which has NOT incorporated today’s GDP report into its reckoning, is projecting annualized growth of 1.4 percent in the third quarter. Today’s inventory rise would seem to argue for a lower estimate once they reanalyze.

Initial Unemployment Claims (082715); 271K SA; Raw Claims (227K) Down 9 Percent from Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:34 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending August 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 271,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 277,000. The 4-week moving average was 272,500, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 271,500.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 226,855 in the week ending August 22, a decrease of 2,396 (or -1.0 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 2,769 (or 1.2 percent) from the previous week. There were 249,006 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

The seasonal adjustment factor (83.8) was identical for this year and the same week last year.

These reports, especially the raw claims numbers, continue to come in strong.

August 26, 2015

NY Times Runs Interference For Hillary’s Bogusly Taking ‘Responsibility’

I’m sure we all feel better now that Hillary Clinton, as reported by the New York Times late Wednesday afternoon, “took responsibility” for “her decision to use only private email while she was secretary of state.”

Well, no — and Times reporter Maggie Haberman should (and probably does) know why that doesn’t cut it. Mrs. Clinton still maintained on Wednesday that investigations currently in process “will prove that I never sent, nor received, any email that was marked classified.” Information already known shows that contention to be false, and the noise about “markings” is irrelevant in any event.

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AP, While Making Excuses for Hillary, Admits That She Sent Classified Emails

Over at the Associated Press this afternoon (later updated), Ken Dilanian, with the help of four other reporters, prepared a lengthy dispatch attempting to defend 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email and private-server practices. Boiled down to its essence:Boiled down to its essence: “[D]iplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations.”

Nice try, guys, but there are two problems with your “many others did it” defense. First, in the course of attempting to defend her, Dilanian and his team quietly admitted that Mrs. Clinton has been lying when claiming that she never sent any classified emails. Additionally, they ignored a December 2009 Executive Order from President Obama which, as Catherine Herridge at Fox News reported this morning, specifies that only “intelligence agencies who own that information in the first place have the authority to declassify it.”

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AP Drags Bush 43 Into Coverage of IG’s Report on Solyndra

Almost four years ago, solar energy manufacturer Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, leaving the federal government with a loan guarantee-related loss of up to $535 million.

The Energy Department’s inspector general released a report on the debacle today. At the Associated Press, reporter Kevin Freking made sure readers knew that the loan guarantee program began under President George W. Bush, but somehow “forgot” to note, as the Weekly Standard did at the time, that the Energy Department under Bush made a “unanimous decision to shelve Solyndra’s application two weeks before Obama took office.”

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Press Seems Determined Not to Blame Venezuela’s Chavista Government For Social and Economic Calamity

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:36 am

As Venezuela’s Chavista economy under Nicolas Maduro continues to crumble, the Associated Press and others in the media continue to describe its problems as if they came out of nowhere instead of originating with its statist, oppressive government.

Examples follow the jump.

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August 25, 2015

Apple Gets Kid-Glove Treatment After CEO Emails CNBC’s Jim Cramer About Its China Business

It doesn’t seem likely that an oil company CEO would get the benefit of the doubt Apple CEO Tim Cook received from the press yesterday after he emailed well-known financial commentator and investment adviser Jim Cramer about his company’s performance in China.

In an email read over the air on CNBC, Cook reported that “we have continued to experience strong growth for our business in China through July and August.” The question is whether, by providing this private disclosure, Cook violated U.S. “fair disclosure” regulations requiring that “materal information” be disclosed to the public.

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Here We Go Again … (Turnaround Tuesday Fizzles, Goes Red Again)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:15 am

4:05 p.m.: Just when you think the storm had passed, markets, which were way ahead, went south again and closed significantly down:

NASDAQmktsClose082515

In the context of recent days, is it a good day when the Dow and S&P “only” go down by about 1.3 percent?

7:15 a.m.: Shanghai closed down 7.64 percent (2,964.967).

(original post at about 12:15 a.m.)Shanghai is down another 5.45 percent (Update: Down 4.33 percent at the mid-day break):

BloombergShanghai082515

The “good” news is that it’s at least off of its opening low, which was down from yesterday by well over 6 percent.

Remembering the Real Ted Kennedy, Six Years After His Death

This post is an annual BizzyBlog tradition.

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Chappaquiddick_Kennedy_Car_25First, excerpts from Doug Patton’s barn-burner of a column in 2009, followed by a telling remembrance relayed by a close friend of Kennedy’s (the remembrance is that he liked to hear jokes about Chappaquiddick):

Let Us Not Confuse Longevity with Statesmanship
September 2, 2009

It was almost nauseating to watch the media fawning over Ted Kennedy’s corpse as though he were the last brother of King Arthur, and his passing was signaling the end of a real place called Camelot. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that Chris Matthews and company actually believe in that mythical kingdom.

… Even one of my formerly favorite columnists, Cal Thomas, had glowing, gooey things to say about his “old friend Ted Kennedy,” the most laughable of which was that Kennedy never personalized his politics. Tell that to Robert Bork. Remember Kennedy’s ridiculous speech on the floor of the United States Senate, wherein he hyperventilated that “Robert Bork’s America is one in which women will be forced into back-alley abortions and blacks will be sitting at segregated lunch counters”?

… what we have witnessed in his passing is the near-deification of a man merely because he came from a rich, powerful family, because he lived a long time and because he managed to bamboozle his gullible state into re-electing him simply because his name was Kennedy. What has been sorely missing in all this is a sense of perspective. This was more than just a flawed man. This was a man who cheated, lied and undermined his family, his friends, even his own country.

Perhaps Ted Kennedy’s most contemptible moment — many consider it treasonous — came in 1983. President Ronald Reagan was in the process of bringing the Soviet Union to its knees. In one of the hotter moments of the Cold War, Kennedy sent word to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov through an old friend and former senator offering Kennedy’s help in undermining the Reagan administration in its dealings with its old arch enemy in exchange for Andropov’s help in defeating Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. Think of that. A United States Senator offers to help our sworn enemy in exchange for political propaganda to win an American election.

This country is not better off because Edward Moore Kennedy sat in the United States Senate for 46 years. He was unqualified when he was first elected. He disgraced himself, his family and our nation throughout his long, tedious career. But the event for which Ted Kennedy will be remembered by most Americans — and by historians, if they are honest — is Chappaquiddick. Forty years ago this summer, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne died in the drunken senator’s Oldsmobile when he drove off a bridge and left her to drown.

You or I would have gone to prison for the negligence he displayed that night. Kennedy went on to become “the lion of the senate.” He lived a life of power and luxury, and was even arrogant enough in 1980 to think this country would elect him president.

Ted Kennedy served a very long time in the U.S. Senate, but let us not confuse longevity with statesmanship. He died a death none of us would wish on anyone — a brain tumor at age 77 — but I’m guessing Mary Jo Kopechne would have preferred to die at age 77 of almost anything.

Now to a 2009 remembrance of Ted Kennedy ‘s alleged sense of humor. I’ll never forget it, and I intend to make sure readers here don’t either.

It came in an interview between Katty Kay of NPR and former Newsweek editor Ed Klein shortly after Kennedy’s death:

Former Newsweek Foreign Editor: Chappaquiddick One of Ted’s ‘Favorite Topics of Humor’

… Klein: Well y’know, he, I don’t know if you know this or not but, one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, “have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?”

I mean, that is just the most amazing thing. It’s not that he didn’t feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne (background music begins building), but that he still always saw, um, the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too.

Kay: Ed Klein, former foreign editor of Newsweek, and author of a new book on Ted Kennedy.

Audio of the full interview is in the YouTube that follows (direct link):

What a guy.

Too bad Mary Jo Kopechne was never available to join in the laughter.

It is mildly comforting to know that what the Democrats called “Ted Kennedy’s seat” really wasn’t.

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UPDATE, August 31, 2010: An example of the type of pathetic attempts at historical revisivionism we’ll probably be seeing for the next hundred years –

Rewriting History on Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick Accident

… Now, a year after Kennedy died, his lifelong biographer Burton Hersh, armed with fresh interviews with Kennedy’s mistress at the time, tells Whispers that the whole July 1969 episode should have been handled as a simple crash, leaving the senator’s legacy untainted. “It was a car accident,” he says. “Ted was a terrible driver. He never paid much attention to where he was going.”

“He took a tremendous blow on the head,” says Hersh. In interviews following the crash, Kennedy displayed confusion and amnesia, he says.

“If the thing had been handled properly, the first thing they would have done is put him in a hospital. Then they would have said he was a victim of an auto accident and didn’t know what he was doing and couldn’t be held responsible for anything that happened really after that, which would have been a fair explanation,” says author-journalist Hersh, who knew Kennedy since they were classmates at Harvard. “But instead, he felt terribly guilty about the whole thing … tried to take responsibility and … just confused the issue.”

Horse manure.

August 24, 2015

Miami Herald Columnist: ‘All Lives Matter’ Preference of the Vast Majority of Americans of All Races Is ‘Moral Cowardice’

Columnist Leonard Pitts may not have caught wind of Thursday’s Rasmussen poll before he wrote the column published Saturday at the Miami Herald. Perhaps he still doesn’t realize that Rasmussen reported that 64 percent of blacks and 78 percent of likely U.S. voters overall say that “All lives matter” is closer to their own views than “Black lives matter.”

In his column, Pitts accused what turns out to be a vast majority of Americans of all races of “moral cowardice” for holding that view. In doing so, he gave the (white guy George Soros-funded, co-led by a guy who his family says he is white) ”Black Lives Matter” movement an undeserved pass for the radical lunacy it promotes to this day, while he absurdly argued that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself would likely be behind that movement (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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NY Times Finds Dem Who Thinks Hillary’s Email Scandal is GOP’s ‘Swift Boat Issue of 2015′

You can tell that the left is getting nervous about a scandal when they invoke the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth campaign of 2004 against John Kerry.

As I noted on Saturday, Maria L. La Ganga at the Los Angeles Times did that as she described Planned Parenthood’s attempts to fight back against the Center For Medical Progress’s exposure of their baby body parts business. On Friday at the New York Times, in a story about how Hillary Clinton was “interrupting” her Martha’s Vineyard vacation, Amy Chozick found a Clinton contributor who characterized her email and private server scandal as “somewhat of a tempest in a teapot” and also described it as “their (Republicans’) Swift boat issue of 2015.”

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Nearly Lily-White Politico Cites George Wallace Four Times in Covering Trump’s Mobile Speech

Politico’s outright hostility towards Donald Trump in its coverage of his Friday speech in Mobile, Alabama could hardly have been more obvious.

Reporter Ben Schreckinger tried to portray the crowd as “only” 20,000, which in addition to being a lowball number compared to others who weighed in, was a large multiple of the less than two thousand the Trump campaign is said to have originally expected when it first planned the event. More tellingly, he did all he could to compare Trump and his crowd to George Wallace and his followers over 40 years ago (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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O … M … G

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:27 am

(link to NASDAQ home page for latest indices quotes)

4:10 p.m.: Dow ends up down 588 points. Indices down 3.5% – 4.0%.

3:10 p.m.: Lord have mercy. Just when you think things might have settled down, I now see that the Dow is down over 500 points and that all the indices are down 3% or or more.

10:50 a.m.: More bounceback — Indices have regained about two-thirds of what was initially lost. But Dow is still down over 300 points.

9:40 a.m.: Some bounceback — Indices have regained about 40% of what was initially lost.

9:32 a.m.: Dow down almost 1,000. NASDAQ down 8 percent:

StockIndices082415at932am

8:32 A.M.: At Drudge:

DrudgeOnGreatFallOfChina832amOn082415

7:15 A.M. Update: The index recovered about 60 percent of its losses during the afternoon session, only to give it all back and close at 3209.905, a loss for the day of 8.49 percent which apparently would have been worse without the 10 percent daily loss limits described below.

12:30 A.M. (original post time): The Shanghai stock market lost 8.45 percent in 2-1/2 two hours before it took its scheduled mid-day break:

ShanghaiMktNoonOn082415

It would apparently be even worse but for the fact that the Shanghai “market” has a daily individual stock loss limit of 10 percent — which 2,000 stocks have hit.

It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that if the most any individual stock can drop is 10 percent, and the overall loss is 8.45 percent, most stocks, and perhaps darned near all of them, have taken serious hits.

Good thing the AP and establishment press apparatchiks say this shouldn’t affect us. (/sarc)