May 23, 2016

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052316)

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.

May 22, 2016

AP’s Coverage of Supreme Court’s HHS Mandate Move Waits 17 Paragraphs to Identify Plaintiffs

On Tuesday at, 2015 Noel Sheppard Blogger of the Year recipient Mollie Hemingway pointed to several outrageous examples of poor press coverage of the Supreme Court’s unanimous move to send Obamacare’s HHS contraception mandate case back to the lower courts.

Hemingway’s core observation was that usually plaintiff-sympathetic establishment press outlets “suddenly have trouble even naming the Little Sisters of the Poor” until their stories’ very late paragraphs. She even found that Adam Liptak’s story at the New York Times, one of the establishment press’s two primary gatekeepers, failed to mention the Little Sisters at all in a 1,283-word report. One item she did not cite was at the Associated Press, the other primary gatekeeper, where the coverage was in some respects even worse.



Louisville Paper Covers ‘Dozens’ Trying to ‘Counter’ NRA Convention

Friday morning, the Louisville Courier-Journal gave the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America priceless free publicity by promoting the group’s “event on gun violence Saturday at Spalding University in Louisville.”

Reporter/promoter Deborah Yetter relayed the group’s hype that “Due to limited space, organizers are asking people to register in advance for free tickets.” As seen after the jump, the space may have been “limited,” but the attendance at Saturday’s event was even more limited:



Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052216)

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: Man finds hero who saved his life at Hillsborough

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Froo the UK:

Thursday 19 May 2016 7:03 pm

It took 27 years – but Joe Smith was finally able to thank the man who saved his life at the Hillsborough disaster.

He was only eight years old when he was caught in the crush at the stadium where 96 football fans lost their lives in 1989.

People were screaming in pain around him, but Joe managed to escape when a rescuer put him on his shoulders and lifted him to safety.

Joe, now 35, didn’t know his identity for than two decades.

Now he does. That man was John McMahon, and the two reunited today in moving scenes at the memorial in Anfield. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 21, 2016

BREAKING: Muslim Pilot Of EgyptAir Flight 804 Converted The Plane Into A Portable Mosque And Said Farewell Before the Crash

From Walid Shoebat, accompanied by a mountain of evidence:

More evidence is arising to show that the pilot of Flight 804 went suicide. He did some bizarre things. He converted the plane into a makeshift mosque, used the equipment to tell passengers the direction of Mecca. Had a last supper and said “farewell” as if ‘we who are about to die salute you’. He called his brother before take-off telling him to ‘pray for him’ as he was going for martyrdom. He had connections with one of the most radical preachers and terror supporters in Egypt.

We start off with testimony of Osama Abdel Basset, the captain in charge of the air hospitality in Egyptian Air says it all“The Captain Mohammed Shakeer, the pilot of that fateful flight” had organized a “last supper” knowing he is “about to die”

Shoebat’s challenge:

Have at it. Examine the links provided here for yourself using Google Translate. Go ahead, refute, dispute, make my day. The statements are all accurate.

Concerning the pilot Shakeer’s connections to and contacts with a known terrorist:

… Shakeer’s link to Amr Khaled should raise some serious alarm bells. The latter is a well known Muslim Brotherhood operative and an active Jihadi who openly aided and abetted terrorists. He shares his friendship with the pilot Shakeer with old photos on that very flight with the same captain of the crashed Egyptian flight 804. Amr Khaled says in the photo: “I was with Captain Mohammed Ahmad Shakeer in the plane that is missing in one of my journeys. He is the kindest of pilots whom I travelled with. May Allah have mercy on him and give patience to his family. I hope who reads my words to pray for him and the rest of the passenger”.

… Ahmad Musa, a well known journalist and TV personality correctly exposes Amr Khaled showing from his own video admitting to sending young men and material help to terrorists in Libya and Benghazi for Jihad. Khaled is also an Islamic tele evangelist who runs a TV show called “The Makers of Life” using it to raise Jihadists.

So why are there no hints of this in the establishment press? At a minimum, the idea of a pilot-suicide is as plausible as any other theory seen thus far.


Facebook Tags Patricia Heaton’s Pregnancy Center Tweet ‘Anti-Abortion’

On Thursday, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, following a meeting the previous day between some of the nation’s top conservative leaders and company officials at Facebook, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “told Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto … that he ‘left encouraged’ that the site wants to fix the ‘erosion of trust’ set forth by allegations of censoring conservative news topics.”

An incident the previous week confirmed that Zuckerberg and Facebook have a genuine and serious credibility problem on their hands, as the site’s “Trending Topics” monitors characterized a well-known actress’s shout-out for the wonderful work done by a DC-area pregnancy and parenthood center as an “anti-abortion message.”



Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052116)

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: Surprise! After Infertility and Heartbreak, California Parents Film the Moment They Reveal Adoption News to Family

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From North Hollywood, California (HT Daryn Kagan):

UPDATED 05/18/2016 AT 09:20 AM EDT

Following years of infertility and one miscarriage, Lacey and Banks Farris decided to surprise their loved ones with some special news – they adopted a baby girl!

Banks filmed the heartwarming moment he showed up unannounced at the houses of various family members, with Lacey holding 1-month-old Finley.

“Our entire family was overjoyed for us!” Lacey, 28, tells PEOPLE. “Both sides had been praying for so long for us, they had no idea!”

In fact, Banks’ 78-year-old grandmother was so shocked, she had to sit down.

“Oh my word, I’m going to pass out!” she exclaims in the video.

The North Hollywood, California, couple had tried to get pregnant for 15 months in 2012 before receiving good news – Lacey was going to have a girl.

“I was so envious of all of my friends who were pregnant, I just wanted to be a mother,” says Lacey. “It’s hard seeing everyone you know posting pregnancy pictures and being happy.”

Lacey had been carrying the baby – who she called Poppy – for 20 weeks when her water broke.

Poppy died at birth.

“It was the hardest thing we’ve had to go through,” Lacey says of her and Banks, 29. “I held Poppy, and I’m grateful for that. It put a face to my grief.”

Lacey and Banks went through two rounds of intrauterine insemination (foregoing in vitro fertilization due to Lacey’s “incompetent cervix”) in 2015 before seriously considering adoption.

They pursued an open adoption, but the biological mother and father ended up choosing to parent the baby.

“I was hurt, but now I understand the mother made the right decision,” says Lacey. “The questions that came in from my family were hard though. I just didn’t want to talk about it.”

She adds, “I knew that we would pursue adoption again, and that when we did I didn’t want to tell any of our family until we actually had our baby in our home.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

May 20, 2016

Illinois Is Set to Be First in Line …

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:16 am

… in the coming battle over whether a broke federal government should be compelled to bail out a broke state (HT Zero Hedge):

A new report released today by the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute finds that state government workers in Illinois are the highest paid in the nation, when wages are indexed for cost of living. The average annual salary of state government workers in Illinois is $59,088 – approximately $10,000 more than the national average for state workers. This is in addition to other benefits such as health insurance and pensions.

The report also found that salaries for state workers in Illinois have increased by 41 percent since 2005, according to state and federal data. Meanwhile, earnings in the private sector have remained nearly flat.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been negotiating for more than a year with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a government union that represents more than 35,000 state workers in Illinois. AFSCME is seeking more than $3 billion in higher salaries and benefits for government workers, including raises that range from 11.5 to 29 percent. The governor has instead asked AFSCME for a temporary salary freeze in return for new merit pay and incentive bonuses, to bring the contract in line with what taxpayers can afford.

“AFSCME claims it’s ‘middle-class’ salaries and benefits are under attack, but the numbers say otherwise. Not only do state workers in Illinois make more than the private-sector workers who pay their salaries, the average pay for state workers in Illinois is out of step with their peers in the other 49 states,” said Ted Dabrowski, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. “Illinois taxpayers simply cannot afford the contract AFSCME is fighting for, and it is wrong to ask everyone to pay more so that a mere .5 percent of the workforce can get another round of raises and benefit increases.” …

AFSCME wants $3 billion the state doesn’t have.

Illinois’ deep blue model inevitably points to bankruptcy.


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (052016)

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: Official Statement From the Little Sisters of the Poor on Monday’s Supreme Court Ruling in HHS Mandate Case

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington, in full (links are in original; bolds are mine):

May 16, 2016

Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously protected the Little Sisters of the Poor from draconian government fines and recognized that the government does not need the Little Sisters to provide services such as the week after pill. The Court also noted the government finally admitted it could indeed meet its goals without involving the Little Sisters.

In its decision, the Supreme Court held that after its unprecedented call for supplemental briefing that the lower courts should again review the cases.

“All we have ever wanted to do is serve the neediest among us as if they were Christ himself,” said Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “We look forward to serving the elderly poor for another 175 years to come.”

“This is a game-changer,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The Court has accepted the government’s concession that it can get drugs to people without using the Little Sisters. The Court has eliminated all of the bad decisions from the lower courts. And the Court has forbidden the government from fining the Little Sisters even though they are refusing to bow to the government’s will. It is only a matter of time before the lower courts make this victory permanent.”

Less than a week after the Supreme Court heard the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor in March, the Court made an unprecedented move asking both sides to provide additional arguments about whether the government could find ways to distribute contraceptives without the involvement of religious non-profits and their health plans. The religious non-profits responded to the Supreme Court: “Yes.”

The government exempts 1 in 3 Americans from the HHS mandate. It also exempts large corporations such as Exxon, Visa and even the government’s own military family plan. A total of 100 million Americans are exempt from this regulation.

The Little Sisters’ win was also a win for other Becket clients, including Christian Brothers Services, Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, Houston Baptist and East Texas Baptist UniversitiesReaching Souls International, Truett-McConnell College, and GuideStone Financial Services of the Southern Baptist Convention. Other parties in this case include Geneva College, Southern Nazarene University, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, and the Most Reverend David A. Zubik. All of these clients also had the adverse decisions in their cases vacated and sent back to the lower courts.

Paul D. Clement of Bancroft, PLLC presented the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. Noel J. Francisco of Jones Day also presented arguments on behalf of several other ministries. The Little Sisters of the Poor are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Locke Lord LLP, and Professor Kevin Walsh of the University of Richmond Law School.

For more information about the case, visit

May 19, 2016

Camille Paglia on NY Times Trump Hit Piece: ‘Agenda Journalism’ ‘Caught Red-Handed’

In a Thursday morning column at, leftist and longtime social critic Camille Paglia found it amusing that the New York Times thought that its supposedly major exposé about “a boastful, millionaire New Yorker (who) liked the company of beautiful women” was going to be considered big, game-changing news.

In Paglia’s view, the fact that the people at the Times believed they had something newsworthy in light of, in her words, the “long record of crude groping and grosser assaults” committed by Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s husband Bill, demonstrates “why NYT can’t lay a glove on Trump.”



AP’s Cynical ’2-for-1′ Hill-Bill Writeup Revises Political and Economic History

Three offensive elements pervaded the Associated Press’s Monday coverage of Hillary Clinton’s statement that she will put her husband “in charge of revitalizing the economy.”

The first was how AP reporters Lisa Lerer and Catherin Lucey decided to resurrect the infamous “2-for-1 offer” then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton campaigned on in 1992 — an especially weak move, given its real-world results during the first two years of his presidency. The second was the reporters’ implicit assumption that political beliefs are infinitely fungible if the old ones are getting in the way of a leftist’s march towards victory. Finally, the AP pair engaged in blatant historical revisionism in glorifying the economy of the 1990s.



Initial Unemployment Claims: 278K SA; Raw Claims (245K) Barely Above Same Week Last Year (244K)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:42 am

From the Department of Labor, a bit of a pullback from the brink:


In the week ending May 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 278,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 294,000. The 4-week moving average was 275,750, an increase of 7,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 268,250.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 244,797 in the week ending May 14, a decrease of 17,099 (or -6.5 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 3,230 (or -1.2 percent) from the previous week. There were 243,612 initial claims in the comparable week in 2015.

Today’s result is in the range of predictions found at Yahoo’s Economic Calendar.

The seasonal adjustment factors this year (88.1) and for the same week last year (88.3) were virtually identical.

Given where things were headed the past three weeks, as “(seasonally adjusted) initial claims soar(ed) by the most since 2005,” we’ll take it.