October 8, 2018

Positivity: California governor vetoes campus ‘abortion pill’ law

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

From Sacramento, California:

Oct 1, 2018 / 02:00 pm

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill Sunday that would have mandated that public universities in the state offer abortion inducing “medication” through campus student health centers starting in 2022.

The bill, SB 320, was “not necessary,” Brown said in his veto message signed Sept. 30, as abortion services are already “widely available” off campus. Governor Brown is a public supporter of abortion rights.

Student health centers at California’s public universities do not provide abortions, but they do provide referrals to abortion facilities. However, many of these centers do distribute the “morning-after pill,” which can block fertilization or prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a uterus.

Kathleen Buckley Domingo, senior director of the Office of Life, Justice & Peace for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said that she was “grateful” Brown vetoed the bill.

“He recognized that this bill was unnecessary for California and did not empower our college women, but only offered more abortion for our state,” said Domingo.

Instead, Domingo said she hoped the state would pass bills to assist college students who are already parents. Such legislation would “ensure women’s Title IX protections for pregnancy are known and understood, and to make childcare and family housing for student mothers and fathers readily available and accessible for California women.”

Her comments were echoed by executive director of the California Catholic Conference Andy Rivas, who said that “Hopefully next session we can convince legislators to pass a bill that students and universities really need, one that provides financial support for students with children.”

Rivas said he was not surprised by the veto, and that students “were not pushing for passage” of the bill and universities “did not want the responsibility of providing abortion pills to students.”

Pro-life advocates also applauded Brown’s move. Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee-turned-pro-life advocate, said that the veto was a “huge victory for not only the pro-life movement in California, but the students at these universities” as well.

“These drugs are dangerous and are often not discussed truthfully with women who decide to take them to end their pregnancy,” Johnson told CNA. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 7, 2018

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100718)

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.

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Positivity: The Holy Spirit can guide, heal nation, justices hear at DC Red Mass

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Oct 1, 2018 / 04:42 pm

Americans should call on the Holy Spirit to guide and heal the Church and nation, Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi said to attendees at Sunday’s annual Red Mass, celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC.

Vaghi, who is chaplain of the John Carroll Society as well as pastor at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Md., spoke at the Sept. 30 Mass of the Holy Spirit, which traditionally marks the beginning of the judicial year. The US Supreme Court’s 2018-2019 session opened Oct. 1.

The name Red Mass is taken from the red vestments worn to symbolize the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit.

It is this Holy Spirit whom people should call upon “to return and enlighten us, to enlighten in a special way each of you who serves the cause of justice and the common good,” said Vaghi.

“The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console, to renew, to heal,” he said. “Yes, to heal us.”

Vaghi noted that both the Church and country could benefit from this healing power, as “it is a power that treats the anger and divisions that so need the healing touch of our God if we are to continue our respective missions with love and effectiveness in our day.”

The Holy Spirit is a guide for those working in the legal profession and in government service, as the Holy Spirit helps people experience God’s wisdom and love as “the guiding principles and foundation of our very existence moving us to be men and women of justice, compassion, boundless mercy and joy” in their jobs.

Vaghi drew comparisons between the Holy Spirit as “the spirit of truth” and the words used in the Declaration of Independence.

“So we call upon the Holy Spirit to help us understand and deepen our understanding of these ‘truths’ referred to in our Declaration of Independence” – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Red Mass, he said, is “a most appropriate time” for one to think about these truths.

“In our day, these ‘truths,’ truths whose origin is the Holy Spirit, are sometimes seen in ways not always as self-evident – these truths that from the beginning of our national experiment helped define us as Americans – these truths of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” he said. The country is divided, but Vaghi believes that the truths laid out in the Declaration of Independence are a solid base for rebuilding the American consensus.

The Red Mass is celebrated each year prior to the start of the Supreme Court’s new term, and stems from a tradition in the Middle Ages. It is meant for all members of the legal profession, including lawyers, judges, law students, and government officials, Catholic or otherwise. The Red Mass has been celebrated in D.C. for the past 66 years.

This year three Supreme Court Justices, Stephen Breyer, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas, attended the Mass, along with newly-retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 6, 2018

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100618)

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.

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Positivity: Mexican state advances pro-life constitutional amendment

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

From Culiacan, Mexico:

Oct 2, 2018 / 05:42 pm

The congress of the Mexican state of Sinaloa on Friday [September 29] passed a constitutional amendment protecting human life from the moment of conception.

The amendment, passed Sept. 28 by the unicameral state legislature, must be ratified by a majority of the state’s municipalities.

The vote was 32 in favor, one against, and one abstention.

Since the 2007 legalization of abortion in Mexico City under the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), 18 Mexican states have passed constitutional reforms protecting human life from conception.

The proposed Article 4 of the Sinaloa constitution reads: “Everyone has a right to have their life respected. The state protects the right to life from the moment an individual is conceived, enters under the protection of the law and is considered as born for all legal intents and purposes, until their natural death.”

Rodrigo Iván Cortés, president of the National Front for the Family, told ACI Prensa the amendment was introduced by Juan Pablo Yumani of the National Action Party (PAN).

The majority party in the Sinaloa congress is the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

For Cortés, this amendment to the Sinaloa constitution “is a ray of light in a very murky time” since several organizations recently celebrated the legalization of abortion in Mexico City and demanded that it be extended throughout the country. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 5, 2018

September 2018 Employment Situation Summary (100518): 49-YEAR LOW Jobless Rate (3.7Pct.); 134K Jobs Added (But Seasonal Conversions VASTLY OVERSTATE Strength); Prior-Month Revisions Add Another 87K; Average Hourly Wage Up 25 Cents in 3rd Quarter (3.75 Pct. Compound Annual Rate)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:42 pm

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (permanent link to full text with all tables):

The unemployment rate declined to 3.7 percent in September, and total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 134,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.7 percent in September, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 270,000 to 6.0 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 0.5 percentage point and 795,000, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.3 percent) and Whites (3.3 percent) declined in September. The jobless rates for adult men (3.4 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Blacks (6.0 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.5 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.4 million over the month; these individuals accounted for 22.9 percent of the unemployed.

In September, the labor force participation rate remained at 62.7 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4 percent, was little changed.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 263,000 to 4.6 million in September. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 134,000 in September, compared with an average monthly gain of 201,000 over the prior 12 months. In September, job gains occurred in professional and business services, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 54,000 in September and has risen by 560,000 over the year.

Health care employment rose by 26,000 in September. Hospitals added 12,000 jobs, and employment in ambulatory health care services continued to trend up (+10,000). Over the year, health care employment has increased by 302,000.

In September, employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 24,000. Job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+8,000) and in couriers and messengers (+5,000). Over the year, employment in transportation and warehousing has increased by 174,000.

Construction employment continued to trend up in September (+23,000). The industry has added 315,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up in September (+18,000), reflecting a gain in durable goods industries. Over the year, manufacturing has added 278,000 jobs, with about four-fifths of the gain in the durable goods component.

Within mining, employment in support activities for mining rose by 6,000 over the month and by 53,000 over the year.

Employment in leisure and hospitality was little changed over the month (-17,000). Prior to September, employment in the industry had been on a modest upward trend. Some of the weakness in this industry in September may reflect the impact of Hurricane Florence.

Employment showed little or no change over the month in other major industries, including wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities, and government.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.5 hours in September. In manufacturing, the workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $27.24. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 73 cents, or 2.8 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 6 cents to $22.81 in September.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up from +147,000 to +165,000, and the change for August was revised up from +201,000 to +270,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 87,000 more than previously reported. … After revisions, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month over the last 3 months.

There’s very little not to like in this report — at least after seasonal adjustments:

  • The unemployment rate is the lowest since 1969.
  • Black unemployment is barely above its all-time record low earlier this year, and seems likely to stay at 6 percent or below for some time.
  • The Hispanic unemployment rate, at 4.5 percent, tied its all-time low two months ago.
  • Even the 134K in job gains is acceptable, given the huge revisions to July and August. Considering ADP’s 230K September private-sector jobs number reported Wednesday, it seems likely that the government’s September number will get revised upward in future months. Additionally, the Household Survey showed employment gains of 420K.
  • This month’s hourly wage gains continued a three-month upward trend. The 25-cent increase during the past quarter annualizes to a compound rate of 3.75 percent, which would be the best in a very long time. Let’s hope it continues.
  • Once again, a higher-than-average portion of job gains was in goods-producing jobs (46K out of 121K in the private sector).
  • The volatile full-time employment figure increased by 317K. Longer-term, it’s up by 2.218 million in the past 12 months.

If there’s cold water to throw, it would be, first, over the participation rates and the lukewarm labor force growth (150K in September, and 840K in the past 12 months) — and second, over how the seasonal conversions gave Team Trump a HUGE (YUGE) break this month.

How solid was the seasonally adjusted jobs number?

This won’t win me any popularity contests, but the underlying raw numbers were horrible, and should be a cause for restrained enthusiasm:

SeasonConversionsNSAandSA0918

In comparison to the past four years’ numbers, today’s 350K in raw overall job gains and 618K in private-sector job losses would have predicted seasonally adjusted job losses of 59K and 21K, respectively.

This is probably as good a time as any to note that the Reality Check above doesn’t take number of Monday-Friday business days into account, while the actual seasonal conversions at BLS do. last month had only 19. But so did 2017, while the three previous years had 21. That may mitigate the concerns raised a bit, but not by much.

So it remains the case that Trump got a huge break today, and we need to hope for future-month revisions to September that get the underlying reality above sea level. Again, given ADP’s Wednesday number, that seems pretty likely.

And of course the concerns over the Establishment Survey shouldn’t dampen the celebration of the 49-year low in the unemployment rate.

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100518)

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 here5

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Positivity: Catholic charities worldwide join Indonesia tsunami relief efforts

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Manado, Indonesia:

Oct 3, 2018 / 04:01 pm

Caritas Italy will donate more than $115,000 to help the victims of the tsunami that struck Indonesia last week.

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck 6 miles beneath Sulawesi just after 6 pm Sept. 28. It set off a tsunami, which caused 20 foot-high waves which devastated coastal cities, including, prominently, Palu. The quake also caused landslides and power outages.

More than 1,400 people have died as a result of the disaster, and tens of thousands are displaced from their homes.

Rescuers expect the death toll will rise, as access to some areas is currently blocked by damaged roads and communication lines.

Caritas Ambrosiana, the charity arm of the Archdiocese of Milan, has allocated $34,000 for disaster relief on Sulawesi.

Catholic Relief Services and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund have provided relief funds and teams to address the emergency situation.

As heavy damages have affected access points and infrastructures, CRS expressed it has had difficulty in reaching devastated areas.

“Humanitarian groups are struggling to get people into affected areas,” Yenni Suryani, CRS’ Indonesia country manager, said Sept. 30. “With the airport damaged, getting access to Palu and Donggala is a huge problem. Responders and local aid groups are having to drive overland 10-12 hours.”

“That means a bottleneck for relief supplies in coming days. Landslides are hindering road travel in some places. There’s very limited electricity in Palu but power is out almost everywhere. Some mobile phone towers have been repaired allowing limited communication, but it’s unreliable.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 4, 2018

Hurricane Effect Absent After Just a One-Week Blip, As Jobless Claims Drop

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:40 pm

From the Department of Labor:

In the week ending September 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 207,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 214,000 to 215,000. The 4-week moving average was 207,000, an increase of 500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 206,250 to 206,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending September 22, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending September 22 was 1,650,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 2,000 from 1,661,000 to 1,663,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,664,500, a decrease of 15,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since October 27, 1973 when it was 1,664,250. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 1,679,250 to 1,679,750.

Monday’s data alone (mainly ISM Manufacturing and Census Bureau Construction Spending) has pushed up the third-quarter GDP estimates at the Atlanta Fed, which is now at an annualized 4.1 percent as of Monday, up 0.5 percent from Friday’s level. Moody’s was at 3.2 percent as of Tuesday. Wednesday’s ADP report and the record ISM Non-Manufacturing result should push the estimates even higher when they’re revised.

Tomorrow’s estimated seasonally adjusted job additions look to be about 184,000, according to Bloomberg News, 185,000 per CNBC, and 184,000 per the Associated Press.

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ISM’s September Reports: Still Going Strong (Mfg. at 59.8 Percent, Non-Mfg. at 61.6 Percent All-Time High)

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 7:30 am

From the Institute for Supply Management on Monday:

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September, and the overall economy grew for the 113th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The September PMI® registered 59.8 percent, a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from the August reading of 61.3 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 61.8 percent, a decrease of 3.3 percentage points from the August reading of 65.1 percent. The Production Index registered 63.9 percent, a 0.6 percentage point increase compared to the August reading of 63.3 percent.

The Employment Index registered 58.8 percent, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from the August reading of 58.5 percent. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 61.1 percent, a 3.4-percentage point decrease from the August reading of 64.5 percent. The Inventories Index registered 53.3 percent, a decrease of 2.1 percentage points from the August reading of 55.4 percent.

The Prices Index registered 66.9 percent in September, a 5.2-percentage point decrease from the August reading of 72.1 percent, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 31st consecutive month.

Comments from the panel reflect continued expanding business strength.

Backlog of Orders came in at a pretty strong 55.7 percent. The overall 1.5-point drop shouldn’t cause concern, especially because Production and New Orders are still in the 60s.

On Wednesday, the Non-Manufacturing Report came in extraordinarily strong:

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in September for the 104th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The NMI® registered 61.6 percent, which is 3.1 percentage points higher than the August reading of 58.5 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a faster rate and is an all-time high for the NMI® since the inception of the composite index in 2008.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 65.2 percent, 4.5 percentage points higher than the August reading of 60.7 percent, reflecting growth for the 110th consecutive month, at a faster rate in September. The New Orders Index registered 61.6 percent, 1.2 percentage points higher than the reading of 60.4 percent in August.

The Employment Index increased 5.7 percentage points in September to 62.4 percent from the August reading of 56.7 percent. The Prices Index increased by 1.4 percentage points from the August reading of 62.8 percent to 64.2 percent, indicating that prices increased in September for the 31st consecutive month.

According to the NMI®, 17 non-manufacturing industries reported growth. The non-manufacturing sector has had two consecutive months of strong growth since the ‘cooling off’ in July. Overall, respondents remain positive about business conditions and the current and future economy. Concerns remain about capacity, logistics and the uncertainty with global trade.

No industry reported a decrease in September.

Backlog of Orders was a very strong 58.5 percent. I don’t think the Business Activity Index can or should stay at its current 65.2 percent level. So if there’s anything to worry about, it would be possible overheating leading to inflation, shortages, and bottlenecks.

I believe the weighted and combined indices, at 61.4 percent (weighted 12 percent for Manufacturing and 88 percent Non-Manufacturing) are also at or surely very near an all-time record.

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September 2018 ADP Employment Report: 230,000 Private-Sector Jobs Added

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 7:14 am

This is interesting, because by now Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics, the report’s director, expected that monthly private-sector job additions would be coming down by now.

Not yet, at least:

Private-sector employment increased by 230,000 from August to September, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From the press release:

“The labor market continues to impress,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Both the goods and services sectors soared. The professional and business services industry and construction served as key engines of growth. They added almost half of all new jobs this
month.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “The job market continues to power forward. Employment gains are broad-based across industries and company sizes. At the current pace of job creation, unemployment will fall into the low 3%’s by this time next year.”

Upward and downward revisions to prior months have been minor compared to their original estimates.

ADP’s average during the past six months (including September) has been over 190,000, so yesterday’s number was a significant pickup.

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100418)

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.

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Positivity: Pro-life doctors in Ireland call for robust conscience protections

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

From Dublin, Ireland:

Oct 3, 2018 / 05:01 pm

A “small but significant” number of general practitioners in the Republic of Ireland are appealing to the county’s health minister to exempt them from being forced to refer patients to other doctors for abortions, the Irish Independent is reporting.

Ireland is facing a potential shortage of doctors willing to participate in abortions; a March survey of Irish healthcare professionals found that that roughly seven out of 10 general practitioners in Ireland are unwilling to perform abortions.

The Independent reports that the objecting GPs “will require some form of accommodation,” though it is not yet clear how it will be done.

The current draft of the legislation to be debated in Irish parliament states that a doctor, nurse or midwife who has a conscientious objection to abortion must make arrangements for the woman to “transfer her care “ to another medic who will terminate her pregnancy, and must do so “as soon as may be.”

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in September called for the establishment of “clear procedures within healthcare facilities for medical personnel to report in advance their refusal to provide certain services,” as well as the “establishment of a register of objecting providers.”

Dr Maitiu O Tuathail, president of the National Association of General Practitioners, wrote in June that his organization had voted unanimously that its 2,000 members wanted to be able to opt in to abortion procedures rather than opt out.

“Medical abortion is not part of routine general practice. 85% of GPs are of this opinion. This has again been replicated in several polls consistently,” O Tuathail wrote in The Journal. “By equating abortion to the management of asthma, heart disease or diabetes, people are being disingenuous and I believe disrespectful to women.” …

Gp here for the rest of the story.

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October 3, 2018

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100318)

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.

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October 2, 2018

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100218)

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.

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